Category Archives: Op-eds

Leaving UKIP for the Liberal Democrats

I finally decided to leave UKIP in June this year.

Let me first say, this has not been an easy decision. It has taken me a year of talking to fellow party members, scrutinising Lib Dem party policy and wrestling with my own personal & political convictions. In the end the right choice was for me to join the Liberal Democrats.

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Policymaking reform; what the problem is and how to solve it

 

New members often ask how to find out what current policy is, on a wide range of topics, how to influence or ‘input’ on policy, and indeed what the party does with its policy once it is established.

Normally I explain that in policy Conference is supreme, at least in theory. I talk a bit about Policy Working Groups (PWGs), initiated by the Federal Policy Committee, FPC. I also explain that there is a review of policymaking underway, to be discussed at Autumn Conference.

In this context, new members may appreciate a quick summary of my personal views of some of the problems and how we might approach solving them.

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Rawls v Bayes

At the Social Liberal Forum conference session on equality, one of the points raised by Julian Huppert (pictured alongside chair Mark Blackburn and the other speaker Kelly-Marie Blundell) was that of philosopher John Rawls’ idea of the Veil of Ignorance.

Huppert Blackburn Blundell

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The Human Rights Act 1998: Why this must always be protected

Human Rights ActAfter the 2015 general election, David Cameron announced that during his time in government he will try and scrap the Human Rights Act of 1998 and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. After this statement only one thought sprung to mind: has David Cameron officially lost it?

However with David Cameron’s small majority, I hardly think this motion will be accepted among the MPs of the House of Commons, let alone the great British public.

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The economic consequences of tuition fees 

 

Volumes have been written on this site and elsewhere about the political, moral and social impacts of the coalition government increasing tuition fees in the last parliament.

I do not propose to rekindle that debate, but rather to examine the emerging, and potentially very long-term economic consequences of tuition fees.

Whilst the UK economic recovery started to gain a genuine depth, public policy makers and private sector market participants alike commented on both the narrowness of the recovery (the rate of growth being pedestrian for an economy exiting recession), the lack of wage growth, the subdued level of capital investment and lack of productivity growth.

Some of those metrics, notably wages, have shown improvement more recently, whilst demographic changes and the impact of quantitative easing on asset prices carry much of the blame for some of the other structural ills that have haunted this economic recovery.

But it is the contention of this article that the tuition fee rise has had a direct impact on the progress of the UK economy in recent years and will continue to do so in two distinct ways.

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Liberal Democrats can define themselves through football reform

 

In the world of football, all is not good. FIFA is undergoing the trials and tribulations of reform, whilst acting like some sort of pseudo- authoritarian state, corrupt to the very core. The FA is blind to the locking out of many fans and seemingly unable to push real reform. The Premier League can’t hear complaints over the cash pile that they find themselves eternally drenched in.

This matters, to a lot of people. In the UK, 32% of the adult population is engaged with the Premier League. This is before we address the Championship, where historically popular teams such as Derby and Nottingham Forest now lie. In 2013-14, Championship teams averaged 17,000 spectators per game, and in League 1 that figure still stood at a very reasonable 8,000. Football matters.

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Where are the Lib Dem business networks?

 

After many years on the cusp of joining the party, I finally made the decision to join the Lib Dems immediately after that fateful day in May. My motivations, I am sure, were much the same as those of many other waverers – despite having a stubborn, independent streak that made me loath to join a party (any party), and hesitation over the policies of the Coalition, I could no longer stand by and expect others to shoulder the burden of protecting liberal values and defending individual rights.

I can safely say that I haven’t regretted my decision for a moment: the warm welcome from Greenwich Borough Lib Dems, and the party as a whole, has reaffirmed my belief that liberalism has a bright future in English politics.

As a small business manager, one aspect of the Lib Dems that I have always found most attractive is its independence from vested interests. Not being dominated by – or acting as a mouthpiece for – the sectional interests of organised labour or powerful corporations is, for me, what allows our party to genuinely stand for individual rights and wellbeing. It is this independence which also makes the Lib Dems the natural home of the entrepreneur, the shopkeeper and the SME business manager – the small and the brave – as the social freedoms which we strive for as a party are those which independent businesses require in order to thrive.

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#Libdemfightback: What do the polls say?

Obviously we’re all a little wary of using the polls since the General Election, but it should be remembered that while the polls then underestimated the Tories and over-estimated Labour, they got our tiny percentage pretty much spot on. The only problem was that, because the Tory vote was higher in actuality than predicted, that we ended up losing a few more Tory/LD marginals than we’d ever expected to.

But Pollsters have been amending their weighting…and the ‘Shy Tory Voter’ doesn’t really seem to exist anymore. They’re out and proud! So I’ve been having a look at what the polls have been predicting for a General Election  held today.

The Method

My reading of the polls uses averages to fill in the gaps on the days when there aren’t polls, and then to run seven day rolling figures based on both those averages and the polls themselves.

The model I use is modelled heavily on that of Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus model, as featured often in the press. The idea is that one takes the ‘base’ vote of each constituency (i.e. Southport 2010 36% Con, 9% Lab, 50% LD etc), place that against the GE figure for that year (i.e. 37 Con, 30 Lab, 24 LD) and then see how the constituency figure moves with regards to latest polling (i.e. the final poll pre 2015 GE of 33 Con, 33 Lab and 9 LD) and then see how the initial constituency figure moves (in this case to 33 Con, 12 Lab and 35 LD) thus showing how John Pugh kept his seat.

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A liberal century

In many ways the 20th century could be described as a socialist one.

Internationally parties using that label emerged gaining electoral strength, or in some cases,notably Russia, lead successful revolutions.

In Britain, Labour overtook a Liberal Party wracked by division and by 1945 they appeared totally dominant.But as the century ended the collapse of the regimes in Eastern Europe left socialism of the authoritarian variety totally discredited and the democratic socialist parties in the West struggling to define themselves.

Here Blair created New Labour, dropped Clause 4 and built a new philosophy that turned out to be ideologically hollow. A temporary rise in their electoral fortunes has now given way to what looks like another long period of opposition and the inevitable soul searching that goes with it. Their current current leadership election could even bring about a split.

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Pay the top, squeeze the lot – the intuitive definition of Toryism

It is indicative that the ‘Welfare Bill’ made a news splash mainly for the Labour Party’s disarray “now we vote, now we won’t”. Otherwise no emotions shown or played, no questions, no strong public reaction. (With the exception of Tim Farron’s speech). The conclusion? Business as usual.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Labour is leaning left – we do not know the policies yet but the move is apparent. Whatever the result of the Labour leader’s election it will be ‘business as usual’.

What it shows is that Labour and the Tories are reverting to their stereotype. During my hustings as a PPC for South Holland and Deepings I argued that we cannot rely on ‘business friendly Labour’ and ‘working people Tories’. I reasoned that if and when they are put under pressure, if and when they have to make a decision in face of uncertainty, they will retort to their ‘intuitive reaction’: so the Tories will cut taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor and the Labour expresses preferences for Jeremy Corbyn.

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From the Liberal Democrats’ newest and youngest Councillor

Last night I was delighted to be elected as Councillor for the Seaford Central ward of Seaford Town Council.

In the previous election in May this year, I was not old enough to stand and therefore missed out. But when I found out that a by-election was taking place I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve always been active with helping the local community. Throughout my schooling at Seaford Head, I was Deputy Head Girl and Chair of the Student Council. Then again at BHASVIC (Brighton) I couldn’t resist making a difference so became part of the Student Council.

Now that I am on the Town Council, my main aim is to bring my knowledge of young people’s concerns. In the campaign, I stood for three main points:

  1. Stopping anti-social behaviour.
  2. More facilities for young people.
  3. Fighting for affordable housing.
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Have we got the balance right between fairness and equality?

The years since the financial crash have seen the 2010 Equality Act and an apparently unending stream of scandals in which firms have mis-sold products, rigged markets and exploited every loophole they could find to avoid paying tax while enhancing their managers’ pay, entailing in some sections of the media breaking the law for stories.

The Equality Act is the culmination of a series of ground-breaking laws since the 1965 Race Relations Act which have over generations changed attitudes in the UK. These laws have not prevented the stream of scandals, which come from a culture in which social constraints have eroded, so that managers can use their power to pay themselves more and justify that by growing the company however they like, including choosing which law will be applicable.

In all this the concept of fairness has been lost sight of. Everyone agrees what fairness means, but rhetorically individuals often apply it only to themselves in order to win an argument. In small children that is understandable, but growing up involves learning to see how others see things so that we can act as members of society and not just as individuals. The scandals show large organisations have been less good than individuals at learning socially acceptable behaviour. The immediate response has been to seek separate remedies for mis-selling, rigging markets, tax avoidance and media behaviour, whereas the scandals originate in managerial behaviour which has not been addressed. If the misbehaviour is not addressed, it will just find new outlets that are still legal.

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How new members helped us win in Grove

Like so many local parties in the days after our General Election defeat, the devastation we felt in Kingston was offset somewhat by the huge influx of new members, with over 130 joining since May 7th. The question was: how did we build on their enthusiasm when we were all so…..well, knackered?

And we were just putting plans together for new member welcome events when we got the tragic news that our longstanding councillor in Grove ward, Cllr Chrissie Hitchcock, had died suddenly. The fourth Grove by-election in recent years beckoned: in fact, the last one had been held on the same day as the General and we’d just held on by 18 votes – and we’d lost one of the 3 seats in the 2014 Borough-wide elections. So Grove was one of London’s most marginal wards.

To win in this split ward, we decided we needed all of the enthusiasm and energy of our new members. But how did we avoid putting them off, with just piles of leaflets?

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What could a Jeremy Corbyn victory mean for the Liberal Democrats?

A reasonably-new Conservative government lurches to the right. The defeated Labour Party elects its most left-wing leader in a generation. There is a new sense of opportunity in the party as the centre-ground seems to be opening up. At conference the leader’s uplifting speech ends “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government”…

That was David Steel in 1981, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and Michael Foot the leader of the Labour party. The excitement was real, but it didn’t happen. Our actual breakthrough waited until “New Labour” was electable and people were no longer frightened into voting Tory.

Pragmatism says we should wait to see who Labour elects, and what the actual effects are before getting too excited or worried. But thinking about the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn victory could help us in our journey. I’ll offer two thoughts as starters:

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Our tactical victories betray a lack of strategy – the need for an economic vision

Thanks to Labour’s abstention on the welfare bill, a party that was just two months ago caricatured as ‘Tory enablers’ can now credibly claim to be the only national voice of left-wing opposition to the current regime. While I’m sure we’d all much rather be seen as the latter than the former, the fact that this repositioning is possible at all speaks to the central flaw at the heart of our political platform.

When I consider voting for the Tories or for Labour, I know that in doing so I’d be declaring my belief in a certain economic narrative. If I vote Conservative, I’ll be paying lower taxes, and if I want to start a business it’ll be easier. If I vote for Labour, it’ll be easier to get employment in the public sector, and there’ll be more support for me should I lose my job. I know all of this without even glancing at their manifestos, because each party’s identity is inextricably bound to its economic vision.

Thinking about the Lib Dems, I could maybe list some specific lines of their manifesto, and I could probably think of a few things they achieved in Coalition, but I don’t know what those pieces add up to. People don’t vote for itemised policies, they vote because they identify as the sort of person who will be better off under party A than party B. And until we offer a unified narrative of our own, there will never be a constituency of people who think to themselves, ‘Yes, me and my family will probably be better off under a Lib Dem government’.

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Breaking the Establishment

House of Commons. Crown Copyright applies to this photo - http://www.flickr.com/photos/uk_parliament/4642915654/“We stand up for the outsider instead of the establishment.”, Tim Farron said during the leadership rally last week. For party members who were rather discouraged by our missteps in coalition, that line gives us hope.

Our failings in the Coalition can be traced to one key fault: after speaking out against the establishment, we were seen to be now a part of it. There are so many bills that we extracted key concessions on, but we were not able to communicate that. How could we, after all? We were bound by Cabinet collective responsibility. But it was never designed to operate the way it did in coalition.

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Lib Dem digital guru Rathe talks to Guardian about internet communications

The Guardian has taken an interest in the deluge of emails being sent out by the Labour Party recently. Our head of Members and Supporters Austin Rathe is quoted in the piece explaining the difference between Labour’s approach and ours.

Most of what is being done by both party’s has been poached from the Obama campaigns.  But while Labour have been more indiscriminate in their approach, the Liberal Democrats have sought to build relationships with people. All those emails with pictures of cute babies that the Labour Party use to harvest your email address are not well used. Over to Austin:

They knew nothing about you except that you’re an email address,” says Rathe. “And they just throw everything at you. It’s a sledgehammer approach – it’s watching what went on in the States and learning all the wrong lessons, just thinking that you just have to send a lot of email. But you’ve got to talk to people about things they’re interested in, it’s got to be driven by that.” Rathe’s party uses email more to focus on achievable local goals than the big national picture. “We build relationships with people on issues that they care about,” Rathe adds. “And we give local campaigners the tools to do it themselves.”

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On Farron’s lurch to the left…

If you read some commentators, you’d think that in less than a week of leadership, Tim Farron had virtually turned us all into revolutionary socialists.

Matt Dahan wrote a story for the Independent which suggested that Nick Clegg would be “shaking his head” in “uncomfortable dismay” at Tim Farron’s bid to “form a Lib/Lab pact” to oppose welfare cuts.

The former deputy prime minister has been left sitting on the backbenches in the House of Commons, where he is forced to choose between toeing the party line or causing what would be a major rebellion in a party of just eight MPs.

It seems Mr Farron is leading the Lib Dems further to the left than Labour, even sending a letter to interim Labour leader Harriet Harman telling her to form a Lib-Lab alliance to fight the Government’s spending cuts.

Except Tim’s stance on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill is entirely consistent with the stance Nick Clegg took in Government. He stopped all this nonsense about taking Housing Benefit off young people and limiting tax credits to two children and further reducing the benefits cap. If Tim had supported them, it would have been a massive story.

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#Labstain: Labour’s mass indifference to the Welfare Bill

labstainspineYesterday, all but 48 Labour MPs abstained on government proposals to save £12bn from the welfare bill, in particular from the working age poor. This dithering follows 5 years of vitriol directed at Liberal Democrats over measures that did not go this far.

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Opinion: The next election?

 

Three Lib Dem gains in council by-elections coinciding with Tim Farron’s election as leader are great news. They invite the language of a gradual comeback to a much improved result in 2020.

But is the next General Election five years away?

In the normal course of events the Conservative majority of 15 would be vulnerable to defections and losses through by-elections. In the last parliament, there were two defections from the Tories to UKIP and 21 by-elections. It is entirely possible that they would seek form a minority government, but the Tories would lose their overall majority of just eight seats moved to other parties. In the normal course of events, that happening in this parliament would be far from implausible.

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Opinion: The reason I was nodding so much behind Tim Farron on Thursday

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 16.25.58I’ve always been a massive fan of Tim Farron. Like many, it started off watching his 2014 Conference Speech as Lib Dem President and only grew as I saw him being awarded Lib Dem MP of the year by the PatchWork foundationand fighting along side Caroline Lucas to improve mandatory PSHE in Schools over that year. It’s for that reason that, when I saw all these articles titling Tim as the ‘Bookies Favourite of next LD Leader’, I knew I would support his leadership campaign, whenever …

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Opinion: Tim Farron’s Gut Liberalism

 

Last week I was on the train heading up to Guildford for a special opportunity to meet Tim Farron, potential leader of the Lib Dems. As I travelled I was nervous as any young party member would be. I was about to meet my first real big name in politics, someone who had taken his place in Parliament, someone who had sat on BBC Question Time, someone who had played the political game against numerous reds and blues. But what I did not expect was the passion I was going to feel after this meeting.

Tim spoke as he did a few days later after winning the candidacy about a new type of liberalism he wanted to introduce. This new type of liberalism was less a theoretical frame work but more an emotion and rejuvenation of what being Liberal meant. He coined this new experience, Gut Liberalism.

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Opinion: Three small ways in which a British Bill of Rights could improve on the Human Rights Act 1998

Every_Canadian_Needs_A_Copy

The title of this piece is fairly self-explanatory. As such, I shall get straight into the substance of my proposals:

1) Whereas any interference with a person’s human rights must be “necessary in a democratic society” according to the Human Rights Act 1998, let’s replace this test with “necessary in a free and democratic society” in the forthcoming British Bill of Rights

In recent years, it has become apparent that many in political life, as well as in our judiciary, would benefit from a liberal nudge when it comes to deciding cases involving our civil liberties. For the sake of brevity, I am not going to revisit every controversy in this regard, but suffice it to say, the Brown Government’s proposals for 42 days pre-charge detention, the Coalition’s plans to sanction “annoying and nuisance” behaviours in public places and the current Government’s proposals to turn Ofcom into a censor rather than review body were / are extremely concerning given our cherished status as a free country.

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Opinion: Historia est Magistra Vitae: no Grexit, no Greece

The last few days showed the EU as a very resilient organisation: the Bundestag had just approved the Greek bailout, after Finland, France and Austria. But it also showed EU stretched to the breaking point: there is no Grexit but there is no Greece either.

Let us step back and look at the recent past from the future perspective through the prism of the UK. 100 years hence the history of the UK could read like this:

At the beginning of the 21st century the UK was the only state able to offer an alternative to the Franco-German concept of unified Europe. But, rather than introducing UK’s own concept based on liberal values, individual independence and social liberal policies, the UK spent its energy on questioning the EU concept (so called ‘opting out’) and fighting in-between themselves under the then Conservative leader Cameron. This meant that the UK was not offering any viable alternative and completely lost its direction. With the diminishing role of the USA, the Anglo-Saxon governance model, so prevalent during 19th and 20th centuries ceased to play any meaningful role as ‘the bureaucratic super-state’ took on an ever increasing role.

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Channel 4: Cathy Newman, Tim Farron, sex and sin.

Tim Farron had a grilling yesterday on Channel 4 news from Cathy Newman on his personal position on some moral issues. There’s been some criticism of Tim for sounding a little bit evasive on this, and indeed suggestions have been coming into Voice for better answers that he might have given.

Now I don’t know exactly where Tim personally stands on this, but I have no reason to doubt that he is basically a liberal dealing with the sensitivities of the “traditional Christian” view rather than the converse. My apologies for use of these terms, no doubt there were and are many traditional Christians around who are sound on LGBT+ rights and abortion, and many old liberals who are not. But you know what I mean.

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The Independent View: Tim Farron’s election as leader provides hope that the party will embrace and enhance the green roots held dear by members and activists.

Congratulations to Tim Farron, an MP who has long championed environmental causes. His voting record, especially during the coalition years, was consistently green. In 2013 Farron was one of 16 Lib Dems to rebel and back a 2030 decarbonisation target. How different the energy politics landscape would look had more Lib Dem MPs (and later peers) joined him and ensured there was now a decarb target in the statute books to provide long term certainty for investors in the face of growing short term uncertainty.*

But that was then. With Tim Farron at the helm we look forward to the party adopting stronger green positions, such as Farron’s repeated pledge to oppose fracking. Most importantly – and in a move that puts clear water between him and Andy Burnham, the leading candidate for the Labour leadership – Farron’s opposition is on the grounds that burning shale gas is incompatible with tackling climate change:

Shale gas will only have a future in the UK if we abandon, or significantly scale back, our climate targets – and that’s something that I hope every Liberal Democrat would oppose

This is the sort of clear leadership sorely needed in the fight against climate change and the pressing need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Only the Greens and Plaid Cymru have made so clear the climate change rationale for opposing fracking (in addition to the more widely accepted risks to communities’ air, water and peace).

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Opinion: My problem with Scotland’s “Named Person” plan

The other day I commented on a Facebook post about areas we share with the SNP, mentioning my concerns about the SNPs plans for every child in Scotland to have a “named person” who is their point of contact with the social services. Caron Lindsay mentioned that Euan Davidson had written for this site in support of the measures, and invited me to post a response. I made sure I had the facts right (some of which I had to be corrected on but didn’t change my overall view) and got started. To the best of my understanding, the named person would be someone the child could contact if they had a problem that they needed confidential help from. It could also be to obtain information on subjects that may be either too sensitive or too awkward to discuss with parents. I agree with what is trying to be achieved here, but I don’t think this is the way to do it. Here is why.

On May 15th 2015, I finished my final secondary school exam. I was finished school. I was an adult? I would never have a teacher again. Lecturers, sure, but I would never again be in the situation where I would have to ask someone if I was allowed to go to the bathroom. Some of my teachers I would miss more than others because I had grown to trust them enough to act in the same way around them as I would around my friends. Some teachers I still showed restraint around, as if I was an employee of theirs. You would think that my guidance teacher, whom I was supposed to approach with any problems, would belong to the first category. This was far from the case.
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Lord Brian Paddick writes…Standing up for evidence-based policy on drug laws

Yesterday in the House of Lords I called a vote to change the government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill. The Conservatives and Labour refused to support the change and we lost the vote 314 votes to 95, which was a great result. So how can such a crushing defeat be good? Because we established, on the record, that neither the Tories nor Labour support a scientific, evidence-based approach to reducing the harm caused by drugs. And here’s why.

The Tory government, supported by Labour, is pushing through a draconian, authoritarian law that would ban any substance that changes the way you think or the way you feel (your mental functioning or emotional state). There is no doubt some of the substances that the legislation covers are highly dangerous, but Lib Dems do not support a blanket ban that could do more harm than good. Things normally consumed as food and prescription medicines are not covered but tea, beer and cigarettes would all be banned except for the fact that caffeine, alcohol and nicotine (and only those three things) are specifically listed in the bill as being exempt.

The government has made it quite clear that they do not intend to add anything else to the list of exemptions and the law also prohibits anyone from removing ‘the establishment’s drugs of choice’ from the exempt list. So despite the wealth of scientific evidence that shows how much more dangerous alcohol is than, say, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), both in terms of the harm it causes to individuals and to society, the government intends to use this Bill to ban it.

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Liberal Democrats should support a strong, member led trade union movement

Without trade unions. we wouldn’t have many of the rights we take for granted today. From parental leave to paid holidays to the right to strike, these organisations have helped build the case for better working conditions over the years. The right of workers to take action and withdraw their labour is an important one.

That’s not to say that unions always act sensibly. I grew up in the 1970s and was horrified by these mass meetings where people had to vote by raising their hands in front of everyone. If you didn’t agree with the scary leaders, would you not be terrified of what might happen to you if you voted against them? Abuse of power, wherever it happens, is offensive to the liberal mindset and what we had at that time was massive abuse of power by collectivist union leaderships. So, there were quite a few aspects of the Tory reforms of the 1980s that were helpful. Introducing secret ballots before strike action could happen was a very good thing. If Scargill had balloted the niners in 1984, the outcome might have been very different.

But now the Tories have come up with measures to completely undermine the unions. Even if we were having 1970s levels of strikes, some of these plans would not be appropriate. The requirement for 40% of those eligible to back the proposals imposes on unions alone a restriction not faced by the Government itself. Elected on just over a third of the votes of just over two thirds of the people, it is now free to impose its overall majority on all of us. Is that fair? It’s effectively questioning its own legitimacy but can’t see it.

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Opinion: Has the EU just come of age?

It sounds a daft question, given the number of articles critical of the solution to the Greece crisis which have been appearing in my Facebook and Twitter feeds, but things are not always what they seem. Looking at unconscious processes in organisations, the things that people act out without naming tend to be the really important ones

My sense is that we might just have tipped into the space where the EU functions like a truly federal entity — albeit with a deep faith in subsidiarity — and the griping is the griping one has when a government makes a difficult decision, not when it is seen as illigitimate.

What first sent my mind in this direction was the Greek referendum. Far from being an “in/out” referendum, this was one that assumed Greece was inevitably part of the EU, woven in so tightly that this bizarre stunt could not cause them to leave. The “no” vote was strong, but so was the desire to remain in the Eurozone and the EU. For Alexis Tsipras to have made such a fuss about democracy, and then ignore the referendum could seem bizarre, but it makes more sense if I compare it with the antics of a 1970s-style shop steward garnering the support of the workers as a negotiating tactic, or the rebellions of Liverpool City Council at the height of the Militant Tendency. In both cases, quite extreme behaviour is possible because people assume an underlying unity — the shop steward does not want their members to lose their jobs, and Liverpool was not going to cease to be part of the UK. As with Greece in the EU, the strong behaviour is possible because they feel they belong.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarClootie 29th Jul - 12:07am
    "Good sound bites without much substance" I think you will have a touch of déjà vu
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 28th Jul - 11:44pm
    There is an issue that mental health was typically funded by block grant as other areas were moving to per patient, and that mental health...
  • User AvatarJohn Dunn 28th Jul - 11:44pm
    I can fully respect someone for reviewing their party affiliation based on an appraisal of policy. You say : "I have always believed that we...
  • User AvatarAlex H 28th Jul - 11:40pm
    Welcome Jakob! I'm glad you took your time in weighing up your views and beliefs before leaving UKIP and in joining the Lib Dems, and...
  • User AvatarTed Logan 28th Jul - 11:26pm
    Welcome to the Liberal Democrats, Jakob. You are absolutely right that our party is a broad church, and we are very welcoming of all views...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 28th Jul - 11:19pm
    Peter, Good to hear from you. The point is that this man was in charge of the rules for conduct and behaviour. Their Lordships know...