Category Archives: News

New issue of Liberator is out

Issue 378 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers.

This issue’s free sample online content is the Commentary on how local parties need to feel able to innovate in campaigning, and Claire Tyler’s article on how many people are overlooked and left behind by an incoherent post-16 education system.

Elsewhere the issue has the Commentary, news and gossip in Radical Bulletin, book reviews, Lord Bonkers’ latest thoughts and among the articles:

A RETURN TO REASON? Adrian Slade finds hope for better politics in May’s election results

BACK FROM THE BRINK IN LIVERPOOL – The Lib Dems were close to being wiped out in a city they ran six years ago, but this year’s election have seen a small but crucial revival, says Richard Clein

COMMUNITY POLITICS BUT NO COMMUNITY – A new book observing London’s population shows a city grappling huge population churns of rich and poor, finds Wendy Kyrle-Pope

WHY LIBERALS LOST IN SCOTLAND – The tragedy of the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ near-demise in May’s elections was so predictable it could be written in advance, writes new arrival in Scotland Gareth Epps

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Willie Rennie announces Lib Dem leadership team – with a majority of women

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has announced his leadership team which contains the 5 MSPs and 7 women from outside Parliament. Some of them will be well known to LDV readers.

Willie said:

Scottish Liberal Democrats have punched above our weight over the last five years at the Scottish Parliament and the team announced today will help ensure that we continue to lead the agenda.

Our party is full of talented people and I am delighted that senior party figures outside of Holyrood will play a leading role in driving our policy agenda forwards for the next five years. They have contributed a huge amount to the communities they serve, from councillors to campaigners, and bring a wealth of experience to the team.

This gender balanced team will provide strong liberal voices inside and outside parliament. These appointments will put the Liberal Democrats in the strongest possible position to grow over the next five years.

The team includes:

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Elaine Bagshaw: Don’t let your opportunities be snatched away: Register to vote

The young Liberal Democrat who has led such a strong effort in East London, Elaine Bagshaw, today urged young people to register to vote so that they could make sure Britain stays in the European Union. Speaking at a Stronger In event in London, she said:

We have nothing to gain from leaving Europe. We have everything to lose. We’ll have a privilege that we have enjoyed and benefitted from taken away from us and the generations that will follow us.

If you don’t want that snatched away, you need to speak up and use your voice.

If you haven’t already, register to vote here. Here’s her speech in full:

Voting in this referendum is incredibly important because this time every vote counts. Whether you’re in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh or Liverpool. Whether you’re 19 or 90. Your votes are equal. Your vote and your voice is powerful and it matters.
It’s so important to have your say because this vote really matters. We won’t get another crack at this in 5 years like a general election. This is it.

I’m really passionate about opportunity. About everyone having the chance to succeed regardless of where you’re born, the colour of your skin, who you love and anything else that makes you, you.

Staying in Europe gives us so many opportunities. To live and work in other countries, experience different cultures, to live alongside people from Europe and to learn about them and ourselves.

If we vote to leave, we lose all of that. Those opportunities that you and I have now, and that our younger relatives, friends and siblings have will be quickly and cruelly snatched away.

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Sal Brinton takes part in Christian EU debate

Women’s voices have been sadly lacking in the EU referendum debate so far. Even the BBC debate on Thursday night had but one female panellist. What’s particularly annoying about that is that Diane James’ comment that she didn’t know if we’d need visas to go to France is being much lampooned and Liam Fox’s that he didn’t really know what would happen to the economy if we left the EU (but he’s willing to give it a go anyway) is being largely ignored.

Anyway, Thursday’s debate was perfectly gender balanced and was conducted with the theme of #disagreewell. This is all about leaving the bluff and bluster at the door and having a grown up conversation. It sounds good, but would the reality reflect that. Well, with a priest and a diplomat making up half the panel, along with our Sal, you would think so. It seems to have been relatively good-humoured.

One point that came up in the Scottish referendum was made here. In Scotland, it was “we might be poor, but at least we’ll be free” and a very similar argument was made by Rev Giles Fraser, arguing for Brexit. I find it incredible that supporters of Leave are happy to take an economic hit which by its nature will impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in all sorts of ways.

Sal was able to neutralise the idea that we’d somehow “get our democracy back” pointing out that our democracy is far from perfect and essentially gave Ann Widdecombe a job for life. Frankly, I’d much rather the EU was there to act as a check on a power-hungry Tory government which is trying to stitch the system in its favour on not much more than a third of the popular vote.

Here’s a flavour of what went on:

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ALDC’s by-election report – 26 May 2016

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)Three principal council by-elections were held this week. In East Staffordshire (DC), Labour made a gain from UKIP in Stapenhill ward. They polled 44.3% and increased their vote share by 12.5% to take the seat and move their representation on the Council up to 13 Councillors. Hugh Warner polled 1.5% for the Liberal Democrats with the party not having a stood a candidate last year.

Elsewhere, there were two confortable holds for the Conservatives in Hambleton (DC) and North Yorkshire (CC). The Tories polled 48% and 48.3% in Northallerton South ward and Northallerton division respectively. There was no Liberal Democrat representation in either contest.

Next week, six principal Council by-elections will be taking place across England, Scotland and Wales. In Lewes (DC) Will Elliott will be hoping to secure a hold for the local Lib Dems in Lewes Bridge ward. In addition, Janet Baah will be the Lib Dem candidate as the party defend a seat on Lewes Town Council. The party will also be fielding candidates in contests in Lambeth (LB), Dorset (CC), Mid Suffolk (DC), Argyll & Bute (UA) and in two seperate by-election in Denbighshire (UA). There will also be a deffered election in Rushmoor (BC), although no Liberal Democrat candidate is standing.

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The Home Office is as out of touch as ever…

This week the Psychoactive Substances Act became law. Over at Politics.co.uk, editor Ian Dunt wrote a scathing review of the official Home Office guidance to retailers.

As he says, the guidance seems to be a melting pot of every prejudice you could imagine against young people:

The Home Office clearly envisions a youthful sub-class of drug fiends, unable to stay off the stuff even immediately ahead of purchasing it. Laughing gas has a mild effect which lasts for about a minute, so it’s unlikely the user would be intoxicated on it literally while purchasing more. Perhaps the Home Office doesn’t know this. Or perhaps they assume they are eating all sorts of drugs and are still high off them while going for a laughing gas chaser to finish off the evening. Or maybe they wrote this guidance in the same spirit in which they wrote the law: without due consideration for logic, legal validity or objective reality.

The drug fiend stereotypes go on and on. “Do they have physical symptoms of intoxication such as bad skin, weeping eyes, rash around the nose?” God help you if you’ve got spots or hay fever: the Home Office knows you’re a wrong ‘un.

This reminded me of how, under the previous Labour administration, carrying two mobile phones or ordering a vegetarian meal on a plane would be enough to raise suspicions of you being a terrorist. Helen Duffett wrote about that at the time.:

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What one piece of advice would you give a new Council candidate?

A wonderful new Liberal Democrat council candidate asked me the other week for some advice.

I thought that the most important thing she could do would be to join ALDC. The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners has a veritable treasure trove of resources to help your campaign. I’ve known many a councillor over the years who did what they said and won. Winning is not guaranteed, of course, but following their ideas makes it more likely.

It’s also worth going to their training events, particularly their Kickstart weekend when you will get individualised support for your team and your area. There are three this year. The first is in Scotland on 2nd July, then the main south of the border events take place from 2-4 September and from 25-27 November.

I see ALDC very much as a professional support organisation – a decent one that is constantly looking to enhance the skills of its members.

All it will cost you is £3.41 per month. It’s well worth it.  You can join here

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndrew Page 30th May - 9:39am
    It seems some people have mistaken me for the Andrew above. Please be aware that we are not the same person, even if we both...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 30th May - 8:52am
    John, if you had told me 6 months ago that we'd still have five MSPs and that we'd gain two constituency seats from the SNP,...
  • User AvatarSimon Pike 30th May - 8:32am
    The comments by Ruwan prompted me to look at the statistics for the demographics of Scotland compared to the UK as a whole. All ethnic...
  • User AvatarDenis Mollison 30th May - 8:26am
    In Scotland we stood still both in the constituency (just under 8%) and the regional (just over 5%) vote. While some see constituencies as prestigious...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 30th May - 8:15am
    @ Paul, The BBC has been receiving a subsidy for the over 75's. Indeed they have asked for those over 75 to consider paying voluntarily...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 30th May - 1:16am
    That Home Office guidance made me laugh out loud. Do they not know there are "other" uses for canned whipped cream that might make one...