Category Archives: News

The scariest thing you have never heard of

On 30th December 2016 the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (more commonly known as the Snoopers’ Charter) came into force; suffocating personal privacy and liberty without so much as a whimper from Labour or the SNP.

Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the government has achieved unprecedented surveillance powers over its own citizens and now has the ability to indiscriminately monitor, record, hack and spy on the communications and internet use of everyone in the country.

With the official opposition in disarray and unable (and even in many cases unwilling) to scrutinise the government’s actions and challenge the narrative that state security automatically overrides and supersedes the protection of civil liberties without a second thought, the result has been the slow but steady growth of the state’s industrial-scale espionage on its own citizens and the erosion of the liberty safe-guards put in place by the Liberal Democrats while in government.

While much ink has been spilt on the consequences of this Act – most notably in the LDV articles written by Elliott Motson, Alistair Carmichael and Tim Farron – many consequences have only been seen in isolation. Ironically, legislation designed for a modern digital age becomes the more dangerous when coupled with one of the earliest – A Bill of Attainder.

Tagged and | 6 Comments

Lib Dem amendment to give power to mobile phone users defeats Government in Lords

After two days of debate on the Article 50 Bill, the House of Lords turned its attention to the Digital Economy Bill last night – and inflicted a defeat on the Government as the Mirror reports.

The House of Lords backed plans to cap monthly mobile phone bills tonight as peers inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the Government.

Supporters say it will stop cash-strapped users seeing costs spiral out of control, barring them from making calls when they hit their limit.

Tory ministers hoped to block the move, which would let customers set limits on how much they can spend.

But the plan, written as amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, was approved 244-198 (majority 46) against the government’s wishes.

Lib Dem Lord Clement-Jones backed it, saying: “Mobile phone billing is one of the most complicated areas of domestic expenditure.

There may be in particular some danger of vulnerable customers getting into difficulty and it should be possible for a consumer to set a cap on expenditure on a mobile phone.

The amendment also makes it easier for people to switch mobile phone contracts. Tim Clement-Jones added after the debate:

The Liberal Democrats have beaten the government to create a fairer system in which the consumer rights of many millions of mobile phone users are put first.

Today’s vote will mean greater rights for the millions of people across the country who have a mobile phone contract.

The Government now has to decide whether it is going to fight against this proposal. Overturning this amendment will be a slap in the face to anyone who has had been tied up with an unjust and exploitative phone contract.

The Government suffered a second defeat on the issue of rural broadband. Tim Clement-Jones explains:

Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Where power is going and more reason for democracies to band together

The Independent has covered a PwC report on the likely biggest 32 economies by the middle of this century.

It is a familiar prediction of power slipping away from the West towards the global South and East.  As history teaches us, with economic size go political, diplomatic, military and cultural power.

The PwC prediction has China and India overtaking the USA.  Only Germany, Britain and France from Europe in the top 12.

Of the top 5: China, India, the USA, Indonesia and Brazil.  All except China are putative democracies and have functioning multi-party systems, to an extent, but all have serious human …

12 Comments

P-2: Feeding the team that delivers on its stomach

I always found one aspect of military history interesting – yes, army logistics.  It’s all very well sending 200 people out but how do you feed them at breakfast, in the morning, at lunch and in the evening and then when they are randomly hungry?

So we have sought to run a HeadQuarters that is warm, friendly, welcoming and well stocked.  Now there have been a few local stalwarts who have been champion at ensuring our kitchen has been well stocked – croissants, biscuits (most variants), savoury biscuits, bread, oranges, bananas, apples (most variants), and yes we also have oatcakes, cheese, tomatoes and some bacon.  And how could we forget the ever ending supply of samosas.

And the atmosphere – well you have all been very willing, cheery and prepared to go out again and again.  It has been really noticeable how many of you who have travelled have a) arrived early, b) have stayed for a full day of work and c) stayed overnight and d) returned again and again.

Now I can say the team here have been bouncy and energetic and focused on making sure you left with a positive impression.  Now I realise that risks sounding flippant, but we have deliberately constructed the campaign in a way that places huge value on a quality and warm reception.  Under the attentive gaze of Simon Drage we try and make sure that you are fed watered and rested between and after your campaign activity.

Tagged and | 5 Comments

Even the Daily Telegraph now says Leave was “wrong, “wrong” and “wrong”

The Daily Telegraph was once a Liberal newspaper.  It praised Gladstone as “the People’s William”, supported the abolition of the death penalty in the nineteenth century, and reform of the House of Lords.

As the Liberal Party lost public strength in the inter-war years it became a Conservative newspaper, although like Liberals in the 30s, opposed Hitler and the Conservative policy of Appeasement.  It also gave Tony Blair a sympathetic hearing in 1997 and 2001.

In recent years it has seemed to drift to the more UKIP end of the Conservative Party.  It was the only daily broadsheet newspaper that backed Leave …

35 Comments

Time to speak out against business rates

Margaret Thatcher nationalised the business rates because she felt local councils could not be trusted to work sensibly with local businesses. At around the same time she introduced the community charge in place of domestic rates, which morphed into the less regressive – but still considerably regressive – council tax.

Liberal Democrats have agonised over the latter and our policy is still to introduce a Local Income Tax, instantly handing the tabloids an easy stick with which to beat us – the Lib Dems want a chancellor in every town hall and plan to increase our taxes. The policy is right …

Tagged | 7 Comments

Topping up your suntan – and your favourite soap

 

I’ve just got back from a holiday, replenishing my Vitamin D in the Canaries. Although I had a wonderfully relaxing time I didn’t want to cut myself off completely from things happening back in the UK.

Like most hotels across the world, we were offered just two English language TVchannels – BBC World and Sky News – which was a bit limiting. Unlike business hotels, holiday hotels  took a while to realise that their customers would value free Wi-Fi anywhere on site, but that is now pretty standard. So I could also listen online to the radio live and on catch-up whenever I wanted through the BBC and other channels. But that did not apply to TV programmes.

Whenever I tried to access www.bbc.co.uk, I was redirected to www.bbc.com, so I wasn’t able to watch UK based BBC television programmes live or on catch-up. This didn’t exactly spoil my holiday but I was rather keen to see the final two episodes of Apple Tree Yard, which had left us with a cliffhanger. No doubt other holidaymakers would have appreciated a chance to follow their own favourite soaps and series, as well as news from their home towns.

Tagged | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 25th Feb - 4:20am
    Eddie With the election of Trump, English republicanism is going to take a back seat for awhile. There is reform of church state relations i.e....
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Feb - 12:46am
    Eddie There you prove why I shall ever think you are one of my favourite people on this or any other site we might find...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 25th Feb - 12:09am
    Lol, thanks Lorenzo. We should discuss it another time! Maybe send an article pitch to LDV. Anyway, back to the topic...
  • User AvatarMartin 25th Feb - 12:03am
    Dan Falchikov: We could speculate what Corbyn's ratings would drop to if he were PM, or even deputy PM. Not that this would ever happen...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 24th Feb - 11:26pm
    Eddie My support ,and kinship, for and with you, would evaporate speedily ,if we are to be taking anti-monarchy stances anywhere other than ot the...
  • User AvatarTerence Weldon 24th Feb - 11:15pm
    I'm seeing a lot of downbeat commentary here tonight - not surprising, as Stoke and Copeland were certainly not exciting results. Nevertheless, in focusing just...