Category Archives: Op-eds

Sarah Olney’s “festival of fun” and Stephen Lloyd’s t-shirt giveaway – just two of the things happening in Lib Dem target seats this weekend

A few weeks ago, we might have thought we’d be spending this bank holiday sipping gin and tonics in our back gardens in beautiful sunshine, but Theresa May had other ideas.

Never mind, though. Lots of Lib Dem target seat campaigns are pulling out all the stops to entice you in. I am sure that others will add details of their events in the comments, but here are two that caught my eye.

Sarah Olney has this lot to get rid off and a little bird tells me that they have all sorts of fun things planned to keep visitors happy in their work. Head here  – they still have the same office as the by-election.

In Eastbourne, Stephen Lloyd’s team is trying to tempt you with some fetching yellow t-shirts, promised to the first few campaigners who show up. Stephen lost by a whisker in 2015.  His campaign office at 100 Seaside Road) will be open 10-5 for you and on Sunday evening there is a campaign rally.

But, really, how could you resist these.

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Why I’ve always gone to help in target seats

This is the 9th General Election in which I’ve been politically active. Let’s not think about how old that makes me! You can also add 4 Holyrood elections to that. I missed out on the first one because I was living in England and just about to give birth. That didn’t stop me running a committee room in Chesterfield on polling day, though. Nor did it stop me doing stuff for the Newark by-election that never was.

I’ve just been reflecting on all these campaigns and maybe I should write about each one individually at some point.

In each election, I have made sure that my effort is concentrated on target seats, even if that has meant travelling on a daily basis. The reason for that is that I’ve always been very aware that I know that what matters the day after polling day is the number of bums we have on seats in whatever legislature we’re in. I could not have it on my conscience to lose a key target by a few hundred votes while I’d concentrated on getting single figures in percentage terms in my home seat. Believe me I have seen that happen several times.

Building that momentum throughout the campaign needs extra help. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful people from across the East Midlands region who travelled several times a week to Chesterfield in 1997, or the Lothian people who travelled to help us in Edinburgh South in 2001 and 2005. Martin Garnett, who’s our candidate in Erewash again today, was part of that Chesterfield support team in 1997.

That help from outside ensures that can establish ourselves as the challenger, that we can out-campaign the opposition and put ourselves in a winning position. It means that we can talk to more voters and build that all-important impression of a growing campaign. Every single day of the campaign, extra people are needed to boost local capacity and sow the seeds of victory.

I would go as far as to say that if you are spending the majority of your campaigning time in a seat that is not a target, you are actually doing the party more harm than good.

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Brian Paddick writes…A gap has opened up and we need to exploit it

Following on from Theresa May’s promise of a free vote to lift the ban on the cruellest of hunting with hounds, allusions to country sports seems to becoming increasingly apt.  On Monday, it was alleged that she had “shot our fox” by changing the Conservative manifesto to include “consultation on an absolute limit on what people need to pay” for their own social care.  In fact Theresa May has shot herself in the foot.

If we had deliberately set an ambush for the Conservatives, we couldn’t have done a better job.  The Tories had already broken a promise in their 2015 manifesto by not implementing the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission.  Instead, what had been agreed across all political parties, to put a limit of £72,000 on what any anyone would have to contribute to their social care was deferred until 2020.  Even then, £118,000 of assets would be protected.

Instead, in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, the Tories say they would introduce a “dementia tax”, where all your assets, except the last £100,000, could be taken to fund your social care, including your home.  Those lucky enough to be amongst the 1 in 4 who need little or no social care would be able to pass all the benefits of a lifetime of work to their children, while the 1 in 10 whose social care costs exceed £100,000, could be left with little for their loved-ones to inherit.  Instead of society sharing the risk, those unlucky enough to get dementia would have to bear the whole cost of their care without limit.  In the face of mounting criticism, until yesterday, the Tories were “strong and stable” – when asked specifically whether there would be a cap on individual contributions to social care, the answer was a definite “no”.

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Online Champions – an election initiative from Your Liberal Britain

Those nice people at Your Liberal Britain have already changed the way we do things as a party. Their initiatives  to help us create our vision of what a Liberal Britain could look like have been incorporated into the policy making process.

Now they are turning their hands to a new challenge for the General Election.

When you share something on social media, and it’s been liked by loads of people, have you had a look and seen whether it’s actually been liked or shared by someone who isn’t already a Liberal Democrat?

Social media can be a bit of an echo chamber. That’s why Your Liberal Britain has decided to tackle that to widen the reach of Lib Dem messages.

YLB’s founder Jim Williams told me:

The thinking behind the initiative is that thousands of Lib Dem supporters work hard every day to make the case for the Liberal Democrats online – but all too many struggle to break out of their echo chambers. And they often lack access to the party’s messages, not knowing which topic to best tackle at any one time.

The Online Champions community empowers these activists to break out of their echo chambers and speak directly to voters, not just to their friends.

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Feeling appreciated

My poor husband doesn’t get a lot in the way of post. It tends to be bills, or adverts for stair lifts or begging letters from the Liberal Democrats.

The latter do not please him so I tend to intercept them so he doesn’t see them. He is of the not entirely unjustified opinion that his household has more than enough disruption because of his wife’s involvement in the party that they don’t need his money as well. The begging letters, 3 issues of Ad Lib a year and an absent wife sum up his membership experience. That and every five …

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The SNP and the Tories are using the same playbook to delegitimise opposition and checks on their power

There has been a very unfortunate trend in recent years of those in power condemning anyone who stands in their way. We all remember the failure of the Conservative Justice Secretary Liz Truss to stand up for the Supreme Court judges who upheld the law after the “enemies of the people” headline. However, that wasn’t the first time the judiciary had come under such attack. Back in 2011, Alex Salmond insulted Lord Hope, a judge who had found the Scottish Government to be wanting on human rights. As I wrote at the time:

Peter Cadder, whose case sparked the SNP’s casual quadrupling of pre-charge detention time in an afternoon last year, won his human rights case because, then a teenager, he had not had access to a lawyer before a police interrogation that led to his conviction for assault.  Now, to me, it seems eminently reasonable that people should have access to lawyers. A system that does not allow that is flawed. Rather than slag off judges and court judgements, surely the Scottish Justice Department would be better off comparing Scots law with European human rights law and sorting out where there could be problems. You could argue this should have been done years ago.

Alex Salmond is pandering to a Daily Fail type agenda with is comments and he needs to catch himself on.

The Tories and the right wing press are playing from the same playbook with their “saboteurs” and “enemies of the people” narrative as if they alone are the true diviners of the will of the people as if that is as immovable as Mount Everest. There’s a certain irony about those who claim to be all about enacting the will of the people zealously ensuring that the people don’t get a chance to mark their homework.

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This election is about protecting our democracy

Remember the Brexit “Battle Bus” with this slogan, “We send the EU £350 million a week lets fund our NHS instead Vote Leave”? It was powerful and “misleading” according to the UK Statistics Authority. Mr Farage referred to it as a “mistake”.

No! “The number plastered on the side of the Brexit bus was a big fat lie.” 

It was not a mistake because it affected the “Brexit” result the way Mr Farage wanted.

In short, we were misled and those who subverted our democracy with this deception have gone unpunished. Therefore it will happen again to further diminish democracy.

Last month the CPS announced that there would be no criminal charges brought against 14 MPs over their expenses in the 2015 election. In March 2017, The Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party a record £70,000 for “numerous failures” in reporting expenses for the 2015 General Election. For that election the Conservatives raised some £38, 000,000. 

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th May - 2:58am
    A very intelligent article, interesting none of the contributors from the pro Corbyn , not , Liberal Democrat , voting Labour , brigade, are nowhere...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 27th May - 2:00am
    I think it was the invasion of Iraq which increased anti-UK, anti-USA and anti-Western feelings amongst Muslims plus the failure to bring peace to Iraq...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 27th May - 12:53am
    I hadn’t realised that the current act protected £118,000 of assets but I knew it set a limit on care costs of £72,000. The system...
  • User AvatarGary 27th May - 12:29am
    Tynan here in a village in Milton Keynes North the tally is: Lab: 0 Con: 0 LibDem: 0 It is really capturing the imagination...
  • User AvatarNom de Plume 27th May - 12:14am
    Peter, "Brexit was last year’s argument for most people." - Any evidence? Brexit has just begun. "they’ve caught the public mood" - Define your terms....
  • User AvatarTynan 27th May - 12:12am
    Half way through, middle of York campaign leaflets received to date-: Labour - 3 Conservatives -1 LibDems - 0