Opinion: US analysis of how to beat “far right” UKIP – be consistent

Washington DC based think tank, The Marshall Fund, which promotes understanding between North America and Europe, has produced a new research paper: “The Unstoppable Far Right?” that looks at UKIP in Britain and similar parties in Germany (Afd) and the Netherlands (PVV).

The paper compares “euro-sceptical right-populist” parties in these countries and concludes that what mainstream political parties say and do has a big impact on whether people vote for these parties. The “rise” of these parties is by no means inevitable: the PVV went significantly backwards at the 2014 European elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments
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LibLink: Farron – we need to be honest about the housing crisis

Tim Farron writing at politics.co.uk is calling for 300,000 homes a year to be built to end the housing crisis in contrast to some of the less ambitious policies around.

The key issue in housing isn’t that first-time buyers can’t get on the ladder, nor that rents are too high. ‘Help to Buy’ isn’t the cure-all to our ills and whilst a rent cap might help renters in the short run, in the long run it will only disappoint. The politicians who propose these short-term measures will also disappoint, unless they have a more thorough approach. Unless we aim to end the housing crisis in its entirety, instead of just tinkering at the edges, we are just short-changing people for short-term electoral gain.

Posted in LibLink | 11 Comments

Exclusive survey results: What Lib Dem members think of the Coalition so far

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Members back Coalition with Conservatives by 79% to 18%

Do you support or oppose the Lib Dems being in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives? (Changes since last time question asked, September 2014).

Posted in LDV Members poll | 15 Comments

Five vie to succeed Jeremy Browne as Lib Dem candidate for Taunton Deane

There’s a short-list of five to take over from Jeremy Browne as the Lib Dem candidate for Taunton Deane, according to the BBC:

The successful candidate will be defending a majority of 3,993 over the Conservatives.

Posted in Selection news | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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Vow Max? Has the Smith Commission delivered for Scotland? And what next for Yorkshire and the north?

In the febrile pre-referendum atmosphere, the Daily Record put together a “Vow” signed by all 3 UK party leaders to deliver “extensive” powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote. There would always have been further devolution. This “Vow” just put the inevitable on a more detailed timetable.

A Commission under Lord Smith of Kelvin was put together to deliver on that timetable and has done a power of work in just over two months. They have consulted widely, taking submissions from the five main political parties and many civic organisations and individuals. I managed to get my own submission in at 2 minutes to the deadline.

In the august surroundings of the National Museum of Scotland, Smith and the 10 members of the Commission unveiled the consensus they had reached. I have to say that I have been a little sceptical about this process. I knew that in the interests of self preservation it would have to deliver something credible or we’d be back facing another referendum before we could blink.

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The Independent View: The political culture in Britain seems to have been infected by a form of madness

With each electoral gain made by Ukip, politicians and the media respond with ever more apocalyptic descriptions of the insidious effect of mass immigration on this small overcrowded island.

A vivid picture is painted daily of a nation overrun by swarms of migrants who are taking our jobs, lowering our wages, scrounging our benefits, crowding our schools, clogging up our hospital wards, destroying our culture and boiling our children before eating them for breakfast.

Well, maybe not the last bit, but some of the scaremongering rhetoric comes close to such levels of hysteria. It would be laughably surreal were it not so inflammatory and potentially damaging, particularly when it is stirred up by people in positions of power and influence who really should know better.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Latest Ashcroft polls of Lib Dem seats: MP incumbency protects party in 10 out of 13 constituencies

Michael AshcroftThe Conservative peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has released the results of his latest polling of key seats for the next general election, including 13 seats currently held by the Lib Dems and one (Watford) which the party is actively targeting. These seats are ones with bigger majorities than those he’s previously surveyed, and include MPs who commentators have speculated are under threat, such as Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton.

Across all Lib Dem / Conservative battleground seats, 11 of the 13, the standard voting intention question (“If there were a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for?”) shows the Lib Dems trailing the Conservatives significantly: Con 33%, Lib Dem 22%, Ukip 20%, Lab 17%. Based on this, the Lib Dems would lose all the seats polled.

However, as is his tradition, Ashcroft has also asked the really important voting intention question: “And thinking specifically about your own parliamentary constituency at the next general election and the candidates who are likely to stand for election to Westminster there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?”

This produces a very different result: Lib Dem 36%, Con 27%, Ukip 17%, Lab 13%. On this basis, the Lib Dems hold 10 of the 13 seats surveyed:

Posted in Polls | Tagged | 25 Comments

The Independent View: What do the public want on migration?

In what seemed an inevitability, Theresa May admitted the annual net migration cap was “unlikely” to be met. The target of 100,000 a year net migration to the UK has long been posited to be unrealistic, and Cameron’s “no if no buts” pledge to meet it impossible. Yet in spite of this every year the government has pushed every effort to bring down migration levels.

We’ve seen caps on the amount of skilled non-EEA workers, much to businesses’ chagrin. Barriers put in place on UK citizens naturalising partners, heartbreakingly splitting up families. Curbs on international students resulting in the first drop in international student numbers in 30 years. None of these measures have worked to bring down net migration levels, but each have threatened family life, the financial health of our universities and our businesses’ access to the top talent.

Moreover there’s little evidence that the public actually supports these measures.  In public polling the public is unquestionably in favour of international students, with a plurality believing they bring in more than they take. Equally the public is in favour of professionals coming to the UK to work, with a majority seeing such workers as good for Britain. On spouses a solid majority support UK citizens naturalising their immediate family.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged | 46 Comments

Opinion: Media misunderstanding on Lib Dem immigration policy

When will the BBC begin to do its job properly, and understand what it is talking about? I woke up yesterday to a news bulletin telling me that Nick Clegg was considering raising the time limit for someone from an EU country to claim benefits. It was suggested that it would be 6 months. It then ended by saying that the Liberal Democrats were now joining other parties in concern about EU migration.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

40% of the British public wants the Lib Dems to poll higher than now at the general election, YouGov finds

Here’s an interesting survey finding via YouGov. The pollster asked the following (slightly awkwardly worded) question:

The Lib Dems are currently between 6% to 11% in the opinion polls. At the next general election, might the Lib Dems get closer to their previous several elections? Their average for the past five elections is around 19%. AND, do you personally wnat them to do better than where they are now, or not?

You can see the full spread of results below. But bundled up here are the two key findings…

First, 78% of the public thinks the Lib Dems will poll around either …

Posted in Polls | Tagged | 26 Comments

A sneak preview of the new Ad Lib

In the next few days, a relaunched version of Ad Lib magazine will be landing on all Liberal Democrat members’ doorsteps.

It has been redesigned in accordance with feedback received from subscribers. It’s bigger, brighter and bolder than before.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 17.30.26

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

What Liberal Democrat Councillors do – highlights of #ourday

Today has seen the annual celebration of local government on Twitter organised by the Local Government Association in England and Wales. Using the tag #ourday council employees and councillors have been tweeting about the work that they do. The ALDC website has some more information:

LGA Lib Dem Group Leader Gerald Vernon Jackson is encouraging Lib Dem councillors who have twitter accounts to support the LGA in raising the profile of local councils in England and Wales and the hard work you do locally as Liberal Democrat Councillors in your wards. It’s also a good opportunity for you to use social media to let communities know the extent and breadth of the work councils undertake.

This year #OurDay, the day when we ask people working in local government to tweet about what they’re doing to serve their community, is taking place on 26 November. Last year’s #OurDay saw over 3,500 people participating on twitter, sending more than 11,000 tweets.

Here’s a wee sample of some of the tweets from Liberal Democrat councillors which range from the political to practical to ultra cute.

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Simon Hughes writes… Counter-terrorism bill – the Liberal Democrats are on the right track

The rise of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is one of the most serious and dangerous issues we have had to face since we came into Government. Whatever we call this organisation – IS, ISIL or Da’ish – we can’t ignore their brutal activity. The graphic and disturbing images of violence coming from Syria and Iraq show the barbaric way this extremist group has perverted the Muslim faith.

We also need to face up to the reality that this group has publicly announced its desire to bring its murderous ideology to the streets of Britain. The murder of Drummer Lee Rigby is a stark example of the potential threat from extremist ideologues. It is estimated that around 500 British citizens have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIL and other military groups. Around half have returned and others will continue to do so. This presents a new and unique challenge to the UK security services and police, and earlier this year the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, run by MI5, raised the threat level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. This means that an attack in the UK by violent extremists is highly likely.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Israeli government proposes law defining nation-state of Jewish people

Israel Jews Wall Photo by Premasager Rose
The Guardian reported this on Sunday:

A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country’s democratic character.

Posted in News | Tagged | 15 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg – Mental health is top of our list

Nick Clegg with 2010 manifesto at Glasgow 2014 by Liberal DemocratsWriting in the Express, Nick Clegg explains why he is making mental health a top priority for the Liberal Democrats:

I have ­decided to make mental health one of my priorities for the next parliament, something no political party has ever done before.

I want this commitment to ­continue to overhaul our mental health services on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto at the next election.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Norman Lamb picks up an “Oscar” for his work on mental health

imageMinister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP picked up the prize for the “Best Use of Evidence” at the Political Studies Association Annual Awards, dubbed the “Oscars of Westminster”. These were handed out at a dinner which took place last night at Church House, Westminster.

The MP for North Norfolk was presented with the award for his work on mental health by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in front of a packed audience of high-profile academics, politicians, political campaigners and journalists.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Gulags in the UK? – “no” says Simon Hughes

Solzhenitsyn being painted - photo by thlerry ehrmannOn Monday, Theresa May introduced some new counter-terrorism measures to Parliament.

Let’s take two specifics which were mentioned:

Requiring ISPs to retain and disclose user IP address details

May announced:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Election for Lib Dem Party President: who will win, according to our exclusive survey

libby on the wall3Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. The survey closed at 10am today. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’ll be publishing the full results here.

Tim Farron’s four-year stint as Lib Dem Party President finishes at the end of this year. The contest to succeed him was a three-way election between three female candidates: Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, and Liz Lynne.

We asked a series of questions about the party presidency in our survey…

91% in our survey say they will vote! (That won’t be the turnout.)

Three candidates are standing for the post of Party President, an election which is being decided by a ballot of all party members. Do you plan to vote in this election?

Posted in LDV Members poll and Party Presidency | Tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Independent inquiry to probe handling of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes

On Sunday, LDV’s Stephen Tall raised serious questions about the handling, by Cornwall Council, of allegations against Councillor Alex Folkes. Now BBC Cornwall reports a new development:

An independent inquiry will examine a council’s handling of allegations that one of its members was a “risk” to children, the BBC understands.

Cornwall Council warned schools and clubs in Alex Folkes’ Launceston ward not to allow him near children.

Mr Folkes has denied any wrongdoing and said he was cleared by police in 2006 after his credit card was cloned.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Open season on Facebook is unfair

Does Sir Malcolm Rifkind actually understand the internet? As chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee he has pointed the finger at an un-named internet giant, later revealed to be Facebook, for failing to report a threat by Lee Rigby’s killers.

There seems to be an assumption, in the coverage of this, that Facebook actually knew about the threat.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 18 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg – ensure there is no benefit abuse while retaining free labour movement

Nick clegg rally glasgow 2014
Writing in the Financial Times (registration needed), Nick Clegg argues in favour of immigration for work purposes from the EU, but lists a range of restrictions on benefits for those coming to the UK:

Overwhelmingly, European migrants come here to work and pay taxes.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 42 Comments

It’s International Day for the elimination of violence against women. Lynne Featherstone highlights need for men and boys to act. What do Liberal Democrat MPs do?

Today marks the start of 16 days of action, from today’s International Day for the elimination of violence against women to Human Rights Day on 10th December, when events all over the world will raise awareness and take action to stop violence against women.

Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone have been speaking to students  at an NUS event aimed at Kings College London about the importance of changing the culture and the role that men and boys need to play in that.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 14 Comments

Liberal Democrat members and ministers talk mental health for Channel 4’s political slot

Last week, the Liberal Democrats used their Political Slot with Channel 4 to talk about mental health. Norman Lamb said that it was “morally wrong and economically stupid” to deny people with mental ill health speedy treatment and talked about Liberal Democrat plans to introduce waiting time targets over the next five years.

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The ‘nowcast’ for May 2015 which gives the Lib Dems 28 MPs

Over at the polling website May2015 (part of the New Statesman stable) Matt Singh has asked the straightforward question, ‘How are the Lib Dems polling and will they survive in May 2015?’ Except it isn’t all that straightforward…

First, there’s the issue that the different polling companies don’t agree on what the current Lib Dem rating actually is. In the last fortnight, the party’s been rated as low as 5% (Opinium) and as high as 11% (ICM): that’s a difference outside the margin of error you might expect.

Posted in Polls | Tagged , , , and | 78 Comments

A cute cross-party christening

Tom Watson is Labour MP or West Bromwich and general scourge of the Murdoch empire, which is no bad thing. He’s pretty much with us when he talks about the need to tackle politicians’ deference to the media.

He’s an old friend and university sparring partner of long-standing Liberal Democrat Federal Executive and Federal Conference Committee member James Gurling and this weekend became godfather to Gurling’s incredibly cute 9 month old son.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Lamb urges online therapy for teenagers with Depression and McInnes urges Scottish Government to improve mental health services for young people

Norman Lamb has been talking to the Times (£)  about different ways of helping children and teenagers with Depression. This could include accessing therapy via an internet app. This would augment, to replace traditional face to face therapy:

MPs on the health select committee said this month that mental health services for children and teenagers were inadequate from prevention to crisis care, as they reported increasing concerns over cyberbullying and self-harm websites.

Mr Lamb wants to use online tools to solve some of these problems, including computerised cognitive behavioural therapy, online counselling and peer support networks for the mentally ill.

“If you’re a teenager and your world revolves around digital access, we must make sure you get access to therapy online. So these programmes are being developed. We’ve got a taskforce looking at how we can modernise children and young people’s mental health and that’s one of the key elements to it,” he told The Times.

“What I want to achieve is a much more seamless service that allows you access online, face to face or over the telephone, whichever is appropriate.”

Some programmes had already been shown to work, he said. “These platforms are evidence-based so the risk is very low that they’re not appropriate. Some people may need more than that so you have to have access to a gradation of different type of service.”

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

LibLink: Ibrahim Taguri: Immigration – do you want the truth or something beautiful?

Brace yourselves. Brent Central Liberal Democrat candidate has written a hard-hitting and heartfelt article for the New Statesman on immigration. He expresses his anger at what passes for debate on the issue:

This country has been built on the blood, sweat and backs of immigrants. This is the story of immigration in this country. It’s about time the political establishment recognised this. Not make us feel like foreigners in our own country.

The disenfranchised working classes are being whipped up over the issue and after being long abandoned by Labour are turning to Ukip.

Our country is being betrayed by politicians who are too weak and too self-serving to make the positive case for immigration. Instead it’s a testosterone fuelled race as to who can be hard, harder and hardest on immigrants.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: ALDE Party Council: Bouncing Czechs, “which Slovenes are the liberals?”*, and a prospective rise in the price of cod…

Whilst you might not have guessed it from those manifestos you read from candidates for places on the Party’s ALDE Council delegation, the policy debates were still in our future when Council made an early start on Friday morning.Our task was a straightforward one, debate changes to the constitution, including a revision of the membership structure, authorise the creation of a business club, consider six membership applications, receive and approve the 2015 budget and debate the report of the Bureau… in two hours (English Council, please note).

The constitutional changes were adopted, although there were concerns over the apparent absence of a code of conduct for fundraising. Luckily, a helpful British member of the Financial Advisory Committee was on hand to both reassure and clarify the position – there is one, it was available for circulation, and it could be applied to the proposed business club, a means for corporate sponsors to fund events without directly funding a political party’s campaigning activities.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

What do do if you haven’t had a ballot paper in the party Presidential Election

Over the last few months, the party has had the best Presidential election contest it’s had in years, with first four, then three candidates travelling the length of the country to meet and engage with members and answer their questions.

Now it’s almost over. Voting closes tomorrow at noon.

Ballot papers were sent out at the end of October to all members by post. Each member had an option of returning the green ballot paper, or using the unique information in it to vote by post.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 28th Nov - 12:59pm
    @ Tony Rowan - Wicks Would you really want to go on a UKIP site? Mark Reckless has already been left 'sore' after sudden 'changes'...
  • User AvatarPsi 28th Nov - 12:57pm
    JohnTilley You claim that flats will be built and left empty, well actually that can happen in the short term, funds and private investors can...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 28th Nov - 12:57pm
    In 1989 the Greens polled 15% in the European Elections and the Liberal Democrats 6%. In the subsequent 1992 election Liberal Democrats polled 17.8 %...
  • User AvatarGP Purnell 28th Nov - 12:53pm
    Or you could just adopt a sensibly expansionist economic policy, rather than back Tory austerity and years of stagnation! That is what has led to...
  • User AvatarPsi 28th Nov - 12:38pm
    Definitely the right policy in general. Matthew Your dystopian view is not reflected in the fundamentals. You have expressed concern elsewhere on this topic that...
  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 28th Nov - 12:36pm
    @John - can you point to some evidence that there are significant numbers of homes deliberately left empty as investment s outside a few much...