Category Archives: Op-eds

Another late night waiting a by-election result: Lib Dems doing “better than expected”

So who’s still up waiting for the Sleaford result then?

This would be the sort of seat where, in recent years, we’d have without question lost our deposit.

We just managed to retain it last year in the General Election, polling 5.7%.

So what would be a good result for us?

Well, anything above that would be good.

Very good would be double figures.

Absolutely miraculously excellent would be exceeding the results we had in 2010 and 2005 – 18.2%.

What does the party do when they are already focused on a highly winnable by-election in a held seat and another one happens? During the coalition years, we might have just ignored it, but this was an opportunity to try out new things in an area which had voted to Leave. So we sent a couple of our acest campaigners up there – Lincolnshire lad Ed Fordham who has form for inspiring the troops and pulling off unexpected results, and Yorkshire’s Ian Horner. They led a fantastic team of East Midlands activists who delivered an incredible campaign.

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Trump and Johnson on the world stage. What could possibly go wrong?

Sometimes I feel like I just want to get a big, soft cushion with Obama’s face on it to hide behind every time the news comes on after 20th January next year.

The US electorate has put a Twitter troll in charge. You would think that the person in the most powerful job in the world would have better things to do than take to social media to respond to every tiny criticism of him. The other day, for example, he said this of his call with Taiwan’s leader:

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Paddick: Police conduct in exploiting victims “totally unacceptable”

Responding to a report which found hundreds of police officers have been accused of abusing their position to sexually exploit people, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary and former senior police chief Brian Paddick said:

It is totally unacceptable that anyone in a position of power should abuse their position.

When those people are police officers exploiting people when they are at their most vulnerable, particularly women who are the victims of domestic violence and sexual offences, it is despicable.

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Banning the burqa is not the answer

Angela Merkel has this week called for a ban of the full-face veil (burqa) “wherever legally possible”. While many of us in the UK may be uncomfortable with the cultural assumptions behind the wearing of the burqa, it’s important for us to remember that, as liberals, we should enshrine wherever possible the right to decide how you live your life and practice your faith, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. A ban of the burqa is an illiberal assault on religious and cultural freedoms.

Unfortunately, there is another side to this issue – there is great concern, both from moderate muslims in the UK, and from wider observers, that some number of women are forced to wear the burqa or otherwise endure cultural or religious burdens that they do not want. Stripping away the rights of another, and forcing them to act as you will with threats of violence, exclusion, monetary penalties and more is abuse, and we need to tackle that with all seriousness.

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Why we need to help in Sleaford and North Hykeham

Sleaford campaigning Okay,  it’s true I enjoy elections! I get a buzz, enjoy the friendships made and love the campaign. Every election has a different vibe, atmosphere – much set by the tone and timing of the campaign and much set by the candidate & campaign manager. I started with Brent East and have a string of by-elections under my activist belt – Leicester South, Bromley and Chislehurst, Ealing Southall, Henley, Norwich North, Oldham East and Saddleworth, Croydon North, Eastleigh, Rochester and Strood, Witney, Richmond Park and now I will be helping Sleaford and North Hykeham.

I don’t pick and choose my elections – in many respects none of us do. They occur and time and travel permitting we go. But there is a small outstanding issue it seems to me. People make a judgement based on their perceptions. They sit and home and become a specialist results predictor – who will win and who will lose.

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Parliament needs to stand up to the Government on Article 50

Are there any Parliamentarians left in Parliament?  That was the question that kept occurring to me as I watched the submissions to the Supreme Court in the Article 50 case this week.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy an interesting court case as much as the next person. The Supreme Court will do an excellent job determining the law, and it has every right to do so. The problem is that it should not have been necessary for the court to consider the matter in the first place.

Parliament alone has the right to determine what the division of power between itself and the executive should be. As it has not acted to overrule the government’s claim that triggering Article 50 is an executive power, Parliament has implicitly accepted that the power is a prerogative. 

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Lib Dems to vote against Article 50 “stitch up”

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Democrats have confirmed that the party’s MPs will vote against any motion which backs the unconditional invocation of Article 50. Tonight’s vote will be a test for the SNP, too. Will they back the Liberal Democrat amendment calling for:

 the Prime Minister commit to a referendum on the final deal following the negotiations and prior to the UK departing the EU.

Tim Farron said:

We cannot support a parliamentary stitch up that would deny the people a vote on the final deal.

An amended motion would fail to include any meaningful commitment from the Conservative Brexit government to produce the equivalent of a White or Green Paper setting out its position on such fundamental questions as to whether it wants Britain to remain in the Single Market.

I call on the Labour Party to remember it calls itself the Official Opposition. It should not cave in to Conservative attempts to deny the public a final say on the most important question facing the country in a generation. It is appalling that a so-called opposition could allow itself to be muzzled by the Government on an issue that will face this country for years to come.

It is now clear that the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government, striving to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

At the moment, the SNP seems to be revelling in the constitutional mayhem. Willie Rennie called on them to back a referendum on the deal:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evans 9th Dec - 3:31am
    ... and Congratulations to Ross and the Lib Dem Team.
  • User AvatarManfarang 9th Dec - 3:31am
    Some crumbs of comfort.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 9th Dec - 3:24am
    The result from Britain Elects: CON: 53.5% (-2.7) UKIP: 13.5% (-2.2) LDEM: 11.0% (+5.3) LAB: 10.2% (-7.0) LIND: 8.8% (+3.6) I thought Caron was talking...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 9th Dec - 3:22am
    Third place with 3,606 votes, 243 ahead of Labour, but sadly 820 less than UKIP. Even more sadly, the Conservatives got 17,570. How any party...
  • User AvatarTynan 9th Dec - 3:04am
    DJ, you are right to raise this,but you might be surprised. I started my current career as a full time volunteer in a hostel for...
  • User AvatarManfarang 9th Dec - 2:58am
    A cool morning in Bangkok 75F. Fingers crossed.