Category Archives: News

Nick Clegg tackles the Daily Mail’s sexism with humour

So, this is the Daily Mail’s sadly predictable response to women being promoted to high or higher office.

Daily Fail catwalk

I guess you can’t really expect better when 7 of the top 10 stories on their sidebar could be easily headlined: “Woman goes out in public wearing clothes.” That’s actually quite low for them.

Nick Clegg responded with humour in a tweet today.

 

You …

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How you can support One Member One Vote for Party Committees

lib dem conf votingIn March, Sue Doughty invited members to take part in a consultation on the idea of allowing one member one vote for party committee elections and on party policy at Conference. The Internal Democratic Reform Working Group, which Sue chairs, then looked at the submissions they received and the feedback at a consultative session at York Conference. They have now drawn up some radical proposals which will give every  member the right to vote on policy at Conference and in Committee elections which they want to submit for debate at …

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Lord Rennard remains suspended

According to the BBC, Chris Rennard’s challenge against his suspension from the party has been rejected.

The former chief executive of the Lib Dems had been suspended amid claims that he had brought the party into disrepute by failing to apologise over sexual harassment allegations.

Lord Rennard challenged his suspension from the Lib Dems, saying it was against party rules.

A Lib Dem source said: “His appeal against his suspension has been rejected. He remains suspended while the investigation continues.”

 

Please note that all comments will be moderated on this post.

 

 

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It’s Party awards time!

key_awards1It’s that time of year again when members decide who should be in line for an award at Conference.

It could be someone who has worked tirelessly in their local area to elect Liberal Democrats or implement our policies or someone who has given years to our cause by working hard as councillors or candidates.

Maybe a political assistant to a councillor or someone who has supported a local MP in the hard work that they do.

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Reshuffle: One Nation Toryism has gone to meet its maker

David Cameron - Some rights reserved by The Prime Minister's OfficeDavid Cameron’s extensive reshuffle of the Tory ministerial ranks will continue today. Last night we learned of the casualties; today will be dedicated to the winners. But there’s no doubt at all about the biggest casualty: moderate, One Nation Toryism.

Ken Clarke, famously dubbed the sixth Lib Dem cabinet member, has gone. Too sensible to be left in charge of the Justice ministry he was exiled to the Cabinet’s fringes in 2012; now he has been retired completely. William Hague – transformed …

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SLF Conference 2014 – Governing as Liberal Democrats

Social Liberal ForumThe Social Liberal Forum have organised their next conference to take place in London on this Saturday  19th July. You can register via the website. We have an excellent line up of speakers and all Liberal Democrats of various shades of opinion are very welcome to attend, and for that matter anyone outside the party who is interested in the Liberal Democrats.

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UPDATED: Sarah Yong stands down as Lib Dem candidate for marginal seat of Somerton and Frome

20140201-202125.jpg Sarah YongIt’s six months since Sarah Yong was selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Somerton and Frome, held by David Heath since 1997. Today she’s announced her decision to stand down. Here’s the letter she’s sent to her local paper, announcing the news:

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to let you know that it is with great regret that I’ve decided to stand down from my role as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome. I have made this decision for personal reasons and as a result of changes in

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Laws: “99% of schools now have a plan in place to deliver universal free school meals in September”

school mealsI’ll be honest. If I had the choice over where to direct £500 million a year of taxpayers’ money, universal free school meals for infants would not be top of my priority list.

That said, the sheer desperation of right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail for the policy to fail just to spite Nick Clegg strikes me as pretty mean-spirited. It’s a policy which is highly popular with headteachers, and will be with parents too. Perhaps more surprisingly, it’s possibly the only Lib Dem policy ever to attract the support of …

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Opinion: Post 16 transport: It’s time to change the law to enable everyone to get on in life

Ear buds 'n' earsFor many 16 year olds across the country the post-exam, pre-result time in the summer should be a time of freedom, working a summer job to save some money or hanging out with friends and family, sure in the knowledge that come September they will be on track to take the next steps in life.

Northumberland’s young people are facing uncertainty this summer. The previous Liberal Democrat administration at County Hall had guaranteed the right of free post-16 transport to the most suitable accessible course. This has been taken …

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Vince Cable shows why Liberal Democrats need him to be our Economic Spokesperson for the General Election

Vince Cable, Business Secretary at the launch of the joint government and UK automotive industry's automotive strategyVince Cable was interviewed by Andrew Marr yesterday. His confident and credible manner and his clear explanation of Liberal Democrat priorities make it very clear to me that he should be our Chief Economics Spokesperson during the election campaign. He can take the fight to both Conservatives and Labour in a way that nobody else can. Stephen Tall has been saying this for a long while. I have to confess that while my heart was …

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Opinion: Welcome to Bournemouth – eventually

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/artimagesmarkcummins/ Bournemouth Summers Eve'At last our party will have a proper seaside conference again in 2015. Bournemouth is the ideal spot for it.

The town has a remarkable story; from almost nil population in the present town centre area in 1810 it has grown to 180,000 today. It first developed as a place where the wealthy came to spend the winter.

Some would say that the rot set in with the arrival of the railway in 1870.

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A longer read for the weekend… Edward Lucas on the threat posed to peace by Russia and what the West should do about it

edward lucasEdward Lucas worked for Paddy Ashdown, has helped at by-elections, and was active in the National League of Young Liberals (NLYL) and the Union of Liberal Students (ULS). He’s better known, though, for being a senior editor at The Economist and an expert on energy, cyber-security, espionage, Russian foreign and security policy and the politics and economics of Eastern Europe. In 2008 he wrote The New Cold War, a prescient account of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In 2011 he wrote Deception, an investigative account of east-west espionage. And earlier …

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Departing female EU commissioners lobby for more women in new Commission

Neelie Kroes 10 or MoreThe current 8 female EU commissioners have written to new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to support his call for member states to appoint more women. The commissioners stated that they wanted to see at least 10 women appointed. The picture shows Dutch liberal commissioner Neelie Kroes holding up her hands to show symbolise support for the Ten or More campaign.

Their letter said:

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Dear Daily Telegraph, Enough already. It’s actually okay for MPs to claim 11p for a ruler.

The_Daily_TelegraphSo the Telegraph is back to its old tricks on expenses. Five years ago, the paper uncovered some serious abuses by MPs at the taxpayers’ expense – along the way, the paper was also (as I wrote at the time) “guilty of flaky fact-checking, unfair distortions and disgraceful smears”.

Yesterday the paper attempted, rather desperately, to re-live past glories by running the story, ‘MPs’ expenses: Ken Clarke bills taxpayer for 11p ruler’. It wasn’t just Ken who attracted the Telegraph’s ire though: ‘Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was found to …

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By-election update: Lib Dems jump from 4th to 1st to take seat from Tories in Julia Goldsworthy’s Cornish battleground seat

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)There were five by-elections in principal authorities this week (Cornwall, Torridge, Barnsley and two in Cheshire West and Chester) and one deferred election in North Hertfordshire.

The Liberal Democrats jumped from fourth place to take a seat from the Tories in Illogan (Cornwall Unitary Authority). David Ekinsmyth won 23.8% of the vote for the Liberal Democrats; an increase of 10.1%. The Tories slumped to third behind Mebyon Kernow with both parties receiving 18%. The UKIP vote fell by 9.1% to finish fourth (13.4%), Labour came fifth (11.1%), …

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The best time to recruit is now

Liberal Democrat membership formsI find the most powerful words before asking for help are “thank you”.

With ten months still to go before the next election, if you knock on a supporter’s door, you’re not just yet another politician, who only calls at election times. And if the first thing you say is ”thank you”, that’s powerful.

When I do it, I get smiles of surprise and pleasure. They know perfectly well that there’s another reason for my visit, but we all like to be thanked.

A lot of us are nervous to …

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++Ian Swales MP to stand down at next election ‘for personal reasons’

Photo by Keith Edkins - 640px-Ian_Swales_at_Sheffield_2011GazetteLive has the details:

Redcar MP Ian Swales is to stand down at the next General Election.

The Liberal Democrat, who was elected in 2010, said the decision was due to personal reasons.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my local area in Parliament,” he added.

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Call Clegg 11 July – data retention, Israel, Royal Mail, Germany to win World Cup

call cleggCall Clegg began with a question on the retention of communications data, with a supplementary of whether this is one of those things that can be blamed on the EU.

Nick was very clear that this law is just to underpin the maintenance of existing arrangements for data retention, as have been applied for many years, and not extending them. That the ECJ had struck down the EU Data Retention Directive, was a reasonable exercise of the checks and balances of a mature way of making decisions but left data retention without a legal framework.

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The security bill: why I think dirty hands are better than empty hands

Hands on ! Photo by craig Sunter Cjs*64Today saw the surprise springing of emergency new surveillance legislation, announced by David Cameron and Nick Clegg and agreed with Ed Miliband. The Lib Dems have been quick to assert this isn’t the Snoopers’ Charter Revisited – torpedoed by Clegg after a Lib Dem grassroots’ revolt in April 2012 – but any attempt by the government to legislate in these areas gets liberal hackles up.

I’ve not had chance to read and absorb the details yet, though I’m reassured by the clear …

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An idea to put a stop to those public sector strikes

Don't Work and Fight BackSchools, libraries, the Welsh Assembly and other government offices were shut or operating a reduced service day because of a strike by several public sector unions in protest at their falling wages, increasing pensions contributions and longer working lives.

David Cameron has a totally wizard wheeze to stop all this from happening. He wants to shift the goalposts so that a certain threshold have to turn out to vote in favour of strike action. Oh, Dave, really. If you start questioning the legitimacy of elections with low turnout, …

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Jo Swinson tipped to replace Ed Davey in Cabinet reshuffle…

Jo Swinson Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer AffairsInteresting speculation from George Eaton in the New Statesman that Nick Clegg may have been listening to Stephen Tall and is about to reshuffle the Cabinet, replacing Ed Davey with Jo Swinson. Jenny Willott would take over Jo’s job at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The report says:

A senior party source suggests that Jo Swinson could replace Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, in the party’s top team. Swinson, who recently returned from maternity leave (she is married to fellow Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames), has long been regarded as the strongest female candidate to enter the cabinet. She is a Clegg loyalist, a strong media performer, and has impressed during her time as a business minister.

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UPDATED: (Not) The Snoopers’ Charter: Where we are, how we got here, what we should look for and what should happen next

The Houses Of ParliamentI’m feeling slightly nervous this morning. As I was going to bed last night, news came through that apparently a deal had been struck to introduce emergency legislation on communications data. The Guardian has the details.

The government will announce that it is rushing through emergency legislation underpinning the state’s right to keep personal data held by internet and phone companies.

Labour is expected to accept the bill on the basis that it will simply restore what the government believed to be the law before the European Court of Justice ruled in April that an EU directive on privacy retention had over-reached its powers and amounted to an invasion of privacy.

But, as part of the deal, the opposition has won agreement that ministers will launch a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act passed in 2000. The act is seen as the source of excessive surveillance by the security services.

Hang on, what was that last sentence again? “The opposition has won agreement that Ministers will launch a review of RIPA.” Let’s just remind ourselves who was in Government when RIPA was passed? Ah yes, that authoritarian, illiberal Labour government that thought it was ok to lock people up for 90 days without charge.  Our MPs have been going on about reviewing RIPA since it was passed. It’s really important that Labour don’t get to claim that ground.

photo by: garryknight
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Alistair Carmichael to co-host Scottish Fashion Awards

AlistairCarmichaelSomeone must have heard of Alistair Carmichael’s excellent skills at Ed Fordham and Russell Eagling’s wedding last Saturday. He’s only gone and got himself another hosting gig, at the Scottish Fashion Awards in September, just 17 days before the Referendum on independence.

Fibre 2 Fashion has the story:

The Scottish Fashion Awards have announced an impressive list of nominees and honourees for the 9th annual fashion extravaganza, which will take place in 8 Northumberland, London on 1st September 2014. The event will be co-hosted by The Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael

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Check out Centre Forum’s Atlas of Variation on Mental Health

Phrenology head - mental health - Some rights reserved by evansvilleYesterday, Paul Burstow told us about the report published by the Mental Health Commission he chaired.

A few days earlier, Centre Forum produced a detailed and significant accompanying piece of work, an Atlas of Variation showing differences in prevalence, treatment and recovery from mental health conditions across England. The research, which you can read in full here,  shows huge variations in services in different parts of the country. Have a look and see where it’s a good place to have a mental illness and where you have to suffer unnecessarily as a result of poor provision.

Its conclusion shows that despite the Government’s strategy to improve mental health treatment and services, this isn t yet being felt on the ground in many places:

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Talking on Scotland 2014 about the Orange Order and those Commonwealth Games outfits

DSC_7379I was on the new Scotland 2014 show on Monday night.  It was my first live studio based interview. I travelled to the beautiful BBC headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow for 9pm. I am not a great user of cosmetic products, usually because I end up looking like a clown if I try to apply them myself, but the very lovely experts soon had me looking 10 years younger. They even straightened my hair!

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Liberal Reform’s submission to the Gurling Review

Liberal ReformLiberal Reform have submitted their recommendation to the Gurling Review on the recent election campaigns.

We believe that the Party needs to present a set of policies around the theme of freedom and opportunity which will allow the electorate to see how a government containing  Liberal Democrats would be different from the other two parties

The Submission has  5  areas where we believe the Party needs to  focus on for 2015

Clear reasons for voting Liberal Democrat

We can no longer rely on people to vote for us because we are ‘none of the other …

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Kirsty Williams condemns sacked Welsh Labour environment minister’s “smear campaign”

Kirsty WilliamsKirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, has condemned Labour’s environment minister Alun Davies – sacked today by First Minister Carwyn Jones – for mounting a smear campaign. Mr Davies had asked for details of farm subsidies paid to five opposition AMs: Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies and Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat William Powell and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd.

Here’s Kirsty Williams’ response:

The actions of Alun Davies as a Minister are atrocious and completely unacceptable for anyone serving in public

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Are the Greens to the Lib Dems what Ukip is to the Tories?

image“As Ukip is to the Tories, so can the Green party be to the Lib Dems.” That’s a sentence I wrote here, almost seven years ago, on 3rd November, 2007.

In The Times, Sam Coates has looked at how the quiet rise of the Greens in recent months – the party polled just ahead of the Lib Dems in May’s European elections – might hurt the Lib Dems at the May 2015 general election.

An analysis of the European election results shows the Green vote strengthening and consolidating in the

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Nick Clegg doesn’t want his children to follow him into politics

Nick Clegg in a London schoolThere are a couple of reports today of an interview Nick Clegg has given to the Radio Times. The publication itself, in its teaser, has him saying that, being a protective parent, he doesn’t want to see his children following him into politics because of its tough and hostile environment.

I’m like any parent. The first, most visceral instinct you have as a parent is you want to protect your children, and politics is a very rough business you know. It’s absolutely not for the faint-hearted

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Liberal Democrat Conference to return to Bournemouth in 2015 – share your memories of the town

Bournemouth West Beach 3 Nikon D3100.  DSC_0259Yesterday, it was announced that next year’s Liberal Democrat Autumn conference would be returning to Bourmemouth for the first time since 2008.

This’ll be a big first for me as I have never managed to get to a Conference there.

So, I’m relying on you all to tell me what the place is like and to share some of your memories of Conferences there.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTim13 25th Jul - 8:53am
    I have learnt, reading up on James Gurling, that he is, in his day job, a communications consultant. He has also been Chair of Campaigns...
  • User AvatarJenny Barnes 25th Jul - 8:36am
    There's a political fable about ice cream vans. You have a very long beach, and 3 ice cream vans. Good for the public would be...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 25th Jul - 8:22am
    "Of course, it may be that you’re an English nationalist and don’t want to preserve a working union. Fair enough." I certainly am not. :)
  • User AvatarHelen Dudden 25th Jul - 8:06am
    The further comments by McMillan-Scott, did only further to offend. I would say to anyone who is being paid a generous amount out of the...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 25th Jul - 7:59am
    Richard, your comment would almost be funny in itself, if it bore any resemblance to the facts - 1 MEP. "Get out and knock on...
  • User AvatarTim13 25th Jul - 7:53am
    Adding a thought to my post last night, for those Liberals of a 60s and 70s generation, it looks totally upside down. It seems to...