Category Archives: News

Tom Brake: Plans to divert aid for Brexit negotiations are a disgrace

One of the things we can be most proud of is that we ensured that this country was committed in law to providing 0.7% of GDP in foreign aid to provide things like food, humanitarian aid, water, schooling and protection for women and girls at risk of abuse to the poorest places on the planet.

Now it seems that the Brexiteers in government plan to divert some of that money to EU countries to advance our position in the Brexit negotiations. That doesn’t strike us as being what it’s for.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson Tom Brake has called the plans a disgrace:


P-5: The oatcake crisis at Stoke-on-Trent Central HQ

Problems often arise with a campaign – and today was one of those days when problems came in threes.

1. We ran out of delivery and residents and deliverers complained that we were doing some houses for the second and third time.
2. We ran out of canvassing that we had prepared and printed and ready and now have a data backlog
3. We ran out of bacon, cheese and tomoatoe to go with the oatcakes… yes really.
Given we need to be ready for the rest of the day and tomorrow and the final weekend I can’t talk for long and need to crack on.  The campaign HQ is at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheaf Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4LW and is open from 10 am – 9 pm daily.  You know where to come… I will leave it there.
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Another massive Lib Dem GAIN from the Conservatives…in John Redwood country

Arch-Brexiteer John Redwood has something to worry about on his patch. In a rare Friday by-election, Liberal Democrat Imogen Shepherd-Dubey gained the Emmbrook ward on Wokingham District Council with an eye-watering swing from the Conservatives!

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Tony Blair is on our side. Eek.

I’m not going to lie. I’m not Tony Blair’s biggest fan. In fact, there may have been a time when I rather naively described him as worse than Thatcher in some ways. You expect Tories to let down the poor and protect the rich. You don’t expect that from a Labour Prime Minister. And then there was Iraq.

Blair, though, has long been lapped in the governmental race to the bottom by the Brexiteer zealots intent on driving our country off a cliff.

Today, he has given a pretty forceful speech saying that we must all rise up against Brexit. 

He said:

Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, what that cost is.

To show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge, which will now become informed knowledge.

To calculate in ‘easy to understand’ ways how proceeding will cause real damage to the country and its citizens and to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.

He knows more about foreign policy muck-ups and decisions based on imperfect knowledge than most people. You also have to think of probably his finest achievement as PM – the Good Friday Agreement – which could now be completely unravelled by Brexit as Nick Clegg pointed out the other day.

Here’s the thing, though. He’s right to agree with us on Brexit. And it’s not only him. Sir John Major agrees with us too.


Can an English identity be a liberal one?

I was intrigued by Chris Bowers’ recent post A slogan you might not expect from the Lib Dems and by the comments on it. It revolves around the question of whether a national identity is or can be compatible with liberalism. Some clearly think not, but the comments thread reveals some blockages in debate that we need to clear up before an answer to the question can properly be made.

The first is that in many instances of the debate people speak past one another instead of to one another. What some people see as a statement of legitimacy, others see as a pitch for superiority. If I wave my St George’s flag, I will inevitably be seen by many as being chauvinistic. “Inevitably” means that that is what the current climate presupposes. It is not inherently so, as many liberals show when they say they want their flag back.

The second is that a claim to patriotism is in common discourse confused with nationalism – a belief in the superiority, the exceptionalism of the native race. This is mixed with the discourse of pride. One of the commentators wrote “I am not proud to be English – I am just English”. And another observed that being properly patriotic includes an ability to acknowledge one’s country’s flaws. Space for that acknowledgement seems to be remarkably small in the current climate. But again, that is the current climate. It is possible to argue that the British Empire was “A Bad Thing” and be patriotic.

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Farron: National scandal of thousands of deaths linked to social care cuts

Tim Farron has described new research linking tens of thousands of deaths to a lack of proper social care as a “national scandal” and has called for action, including a potential tax rise.

The new research paper by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Oxford concluded that “the evidence points to a major failure of the health system, possibly exacerbated by failings in social care”

Tim said:

It is a national scandal that in one of the richest countries in the world, vulnerable older people are missing out on the services they need and may even have

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By-Election watch

We are defending 3 seats tonight and the first result is in. It’s a good one.

A healthy increase in the vote, too.

Sadly the news from Uttlesford is not so good as we were not able to hold off a challenge from a Residents’ Group.

Well done to us for fielding a candidate (Lib Dem Voice contributor Alex Hegenbarth) in the Forest of Dean ward of Lydbrook and Guardian where we gained 6.6% of the vote in a seat that the Greens took from UKIP. This is the first time we’ve stood in the ward since the 90s.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 20th Feb - 12:40pm
    Jane, I find your post immensely cheering! I have M.E. so can't do anything to help in Stoke except make a donation but am desperate...
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 20th Feb - 12:34pm
    David Raw, I agree with you. We cannot be against Brexit without policies that address the real concerns of the people who voted Leave because...
  • User AvatarLester Holloway 20th Feb - 12:29pm
    Duncan Brack, your reply shows how far the Lib Dems have got to go on race equality. First, the 'Extending Opportunity' covered all equalities strands...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 20th Feb - 12:14pm
    Sorry - CORRECTION - "Why is general taxation "not viable" for NHS funding, but a health levy is?".
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 20th Feb - 12:13pm
    Why is general taxation "not viable" for NHS funding but income tax is? Income tax is likely to be fairer than anything else. OK, hypothecated...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 20th Feb - 12:12pm
    @David Raw: If the party in the HoL fails to use the opportunity to defeat the government on Brexit then it also risks losing credibility....