Austin Rathe talks to the Standard about the importance of political geekery

The appointment of Obama’s strategist David Axelrod to advise the Labour Party has prompted the Standard to take a look at the digital operations of the three main parties. All three are looking to the success of the Obama campaign’s collection and use of data.

We know that the most effective digital campaigners are those who spend most of their time on the doorsteps. Jo Swinson was a Twitter pioneer, as was Willie Rennie and we know how much time Tim Farron spends on there. These three share a massive commitment and getting out and talking to people in real life. …

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Lorely Burt to support female entrepreneurs

lorely-outside-parliament-1 lorely burtVince Cable has appointed Lorely Burt to a new role aimed at promoting and supporting female entrepreneurs. From the Yorkshire Post:

Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt will help women-led businesses to understand the help available to their new and growing firms.

She started her career in the prison service and rose to become assistant governor at HMP Holloway, a tough female-only prison in North London.

Ms Burt later worked for companies including Beecham and Europcar in the field of personnel and training before setting up

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Edward Davey MP writes… Massive boost for clean, green energy

2008 - Evopod 1/10th Sea Trials @ PortaferryToday I have announced the award of 8 new contracts for renewable electricity projects which will provide around £12 billion of private sector investment and once built will contribute around 4% of Britain’s electricity capacity.

These projects will support 8500 jobs and our overall electricity reform plans will generate over 200,000 green jobs. These projects and the jobs created will be across Britain – from the Moray Firth to Liverpool Bay and from Teesside to Norfolk.

Five of the projects are for offshore …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: 3 days on Rebels and Radicals – a review of the Political Studies Association Conference

Che Guevara - Some rights reserved by StreetFly JZ

This year’s annual conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA) was held in Manchester, with the theme of Rebels and Radicals. For three days last week, PSA members attended panels, caught up with colleagues and drained the city’s bars. The conference, as ever, as is a fantastic place to take stock of evolving research and teaching practice across the discipline, meeting up with fellow academics at all stages of their careers to swap ideas and catch up.

As last year,

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Jenny Willott MP writes…Cracking down on copycat websites

imageThe internet has made life a lot easier in many ways for many people – I can hardly imagine a time when I wasn’t able to make online bank transfers, get a grocery shop delivered or book a holiday online. However, as we all spend more time online and use the internet to do increasing numbers of things, new problems and challenges arise which we have to address.

People deserve the same protection online as they get offline, and we need to make sure that we have the ability and resources to ensure this is the case.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Manufacturing is a growing sector in the UK and EU membership is vital

manufacturing - Some rights reserved by I-5 Design and ManufactureManufacturing has been something I have been passionate about for years now. When I was MP for Rochdale I helped to set up the all party manufacturing group in the House of Commons and then when I became MEP for the West Midlands region I jointly set up the Manufacturing Forum in the European Parliament. I have represented two areas where manufacturing has been so important. In my view, it is even more relevant today in helping to rebalance the economy and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

There are way too many elephants in Lib Dem Members’ survey

elephants - Some rights reserved by Colin the ScotYesterday, I was delighted to receive the latest Liberal Democrat members’ survey and I quickly completed it. Once I actually read the questions, though, some things made me snort with rage. I would be very surprised if they were able to glean any meaningful data from what they asked. Yes, they may well get a few decent press releases out of “Lib Dem Members’ favourite achievements in Government” or favourite things that we have stopped the Tories doing that will be covered only …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 34 Comments

Opinion: Britain needs jobs, not UKIP/Tory insults

Workers bankers london bridge - some rights reserved by zoonabar

Over 4 million British jobs depend on exports to the Single Market.

Those are the words of the Centre for Economic and Business Research regarding their recent report into British Jobs and the Single Market.

When we talk about this issue UKIP and the Tory Right throw around words like “liar”. When people do that it usually means they have lost the argument.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrat support in minority and other communities

3387203709_d0349346c3_bLiberal Democrats are thought to have benefited considerably from support in Muslim communities at the 2010 General Election.

This can be attributed both to the Lib Dems being the only party to oppose the invasion of Iraq in 1993, and also to Nick Clegg being the only party leader to consistently criticise Israel for its policies towards Palestinians in the years leading up to the Election.  This has caused some concern in the party that we may be losing Jewish votes. During the period of the coalition government there has been much more …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 18 Comments

Lord Roger Roberts writes …What UKIP peers had to say about the Immigration Bill

House of Lords chamberAmong Liberal Democrats at least, the House of Lords is viewed as an institution deeply in need of reform. That said, the potential of this house to monitor and moderate the work of the House of Commons was absolutely evident during the passage of the Immigration Bill, which is due for its Lords third reading on 6 May.

The Lords were responsible for moderating the Bill in several important ways, such as:

  1. exempting student accommodation from the proposed ‘landlord checks
  2. creating ‘guardians’ for potential victims of child trafficking, and crucially
  3. blocking the Government’s plans to grant the Home Secretary the power to strip a naturalised citizen of their citizenship even if that would leave them stateless.
Posted in News | 9 Comments

Jeremy Browne, South Korea and ‘Race Plan’

jeremy browne_Reform_Race_plan_coverIs Jeremy Browne really a secret lover of state intervention and a sceptic of free markets, believing in big state spending, government economic planning and regular intervention in the market? For all of the veneer of free marketeering in his book Race Plan, not to mention his choice of Reform as the publisher, it’s a question that comes to mind because in-between praising specific free market, small state policies, Browne regularly praises the results of governments such as the Chinese and the South Koreans, who are anything but.

It’s his praise of South Korea that is the most intriguing, for China can simply be put to one side as dramatic but its own unique case (though, as Stephen Tall has said, it is still an odd example for Jeremy Browne to trumpet).

South Korea is, as Browne rightly points out, seen by many developing countries as the one to emulate, transforming itself from a poor dictatorship to a wealthy democracy with globally successful industries in less than half of one person’s life time.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

LibLink: Where would you rather live – Great Britain or little England?

clegg farage lbcNick Clegg asked this question in The Guardian yesterday, and robustly attacked Ukip’s position:

The isolationists have been allowed to peddle their myths unchallenged for decades. Of all Nigel Farage’s far-fetched claims – and there are many – the most outlandish is the idea that Ukip’s call for an exit is the insurgents’ battle cry. European withdrawal is presented as a great revolutionary promise, held in stark contrast to the status quo upheld by a homogeneous political elite.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 24 Comments

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #372

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 372nd weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (13-19 April, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

Posted in Best of the blogs | Leave a comment

Indiscriminate and insensitive overuse of benefit sanctions needs to be tackled by Liberal Democrat ministers

Benefits-welfareI came across this article about some of the circumstances which had led to sanctions being imposed on benefit claimants. Everything in the article is sourced, but I also take it seriously because it resonates with real life examples that I have heard about.

The coalition has dramatically increased the scale of withdrawal of benefit for infringing rules. A claimant can be sanctioned for not apparently looking hard enough for work, for not attending job centre interviews or for turning down job offers. The minimum period you can lose your benefit …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 40 Comments

‘The Welsh Liberals’: new book published this month

welsh liberalsPublished this month: The Welsh Liberals: The History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties in Wales.

Despite being Wales’ oldest political party this is the first published history of the Welsh Liberal Party or its successor, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Party.

The Welsh Liberals: The History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties in Wales charts the highs and lows of an extraordinary party.

This comprehensive study includes over 40 interviews with senior figures from within the Welsh Liberal Party, the Welsh SDP and Welsh Liberal Democrat Party.

You can order it from …

Posted in Books and Wales | Leave a comment

NHS under pressure across whole UK – how do we fund the health service we need?

StethoscopeA clinical commissioning group in South Warwickshire was heavily criticised last week for suggesting that it might charge patients for use of mobility aids like crutches, walking sticks and neck braces.  A rather hyperbolic Guardian column screamed that this was the “first painful step towards the dismantling of the NHS” which seems a bit strange given that they’ve been telling us for the past two years that the NHS had been all but privatised anyway.

The furore over this idea made me think, though. While you don’t and never should …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 33 Comments

Vince Cable to crack down on “rogue” directors

License Some rights reserved by eyewashdesign: A. GoldenVince Cable has rogue directors in his sights, announcing plans to stop people who are convicted of commercial crime overseas from being directors of British companies.

The BBC reports:

The business secretary said dishonest directors could cause “huge” harm.

UK criminals can already be banned as directors, and Mr Cable wants the same for those committed overseas.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the measures are due to be tabled in the Parliamentary session which ends in spring 2015.

They would mean “stronger deterrents”

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Easter Politics Quiz: my second starter for 10

I asked the following questions via Twitter on Friday – they’re all taken from the now-deceased Punch magazine’s Election 1992 political board game, Landslide. Yes, I have kept it for 21 years in the hope that it would come in useful for a blog-post on a quiet holiday week-end: I’m that far-sighted.

You can tackle the first set of questions here.

Answer here.

Answer here.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14000 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

On Sarah Wollaston’s naming and shaming in the Times of  “very aggressive male bloggers” (8 comments) by Stephen Tall

Daily Mail attacks Nick Clegg for Cyril Smith RIP tribute. Why? (34 comments) by Stephen Tall

Jeremy Browne’s Race Plan. I’ve read it, so here’s my review. (58 comments) by Stephen Tall

Opinion: Regina v Nigel Evans should wake up MPs (35 comments) by Antony Hook

Lib Dems: “Cyril Smith’s

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

Shirley Williams on her mother’s wartime nursing service and role of women in World War 1

shirley williams by paul walterNext week, Shirley Williams is to take part in the Stratford Upon Avon Literary Festival talking about her mother Vera Brittain’s role as a nurse volunteer in the First World War and on the wider role of women generally before, during and after the war.

From the Birmingham Post:

Baroness Shirley Williams is incredibly proud of her “wonderful” mother Vera Brittain, whose First World War memoir has been adapted into a new BBC drama with an all-star cast.

Testament of Youth charts Vera’s personal journey from an Oxford scholarship

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Labour’s “Easter Clegg” – that’s grown up politics for you

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 08.14.13Labour’s Easter weekend headline grab isn’t about their policies. It doesn’t tell you why you should vote for them, why their vision is any good.

Oh no. It’s a highly personal attack on Nick Clegg in the shape of a chocolate Clegg. All very mature.

From the Mirror:

But the packaging warns the Clegg Eggs are “guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth – and like the Deputy PM himself – are “completely hollow”.

The slogan for the campaign on Twitter suggests the eggs, shaped in the image

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 68 Comments

Easter Politics Quiz: my starter for 10

I asked the following questions via Twitter yesterday – they’re all taken from the now-deceased Punch magazine’s Election 1992 political board game, Landslide. Yes, I have kept it for 21 years in the hope that it would come in useful for a blog-post on a quiet holiday week-end: I’m that far-sighted.

Answer here.

Answer here.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

What’s being debated in our members’ forum this week?

members forum wordleLibDemVoice has two parallel sites. The first is our public blog, the thing you’re reading now. The second is our private members’ forum, which only current Lib Dem members can access.

If you’re a member and want to chat with fellow party members about any issue that’s on your mind, then why not sign up? In addition, you’ll be included in our regular surveys’ of party members’ views.

Here’s some of the most active discussions this past 7 days:

Posted in Site news | 2 Comments

Linda Jack to announce Lib Dem party president campaign

Linda JackLib Dem activist Linda Jack will shortly announce that she will be a candidate for the post of Party President in the all-member election that will take place this autumn.

To date, two candidates have declared their intention to run: Baroness (Sal) Brinton and Pauline Pearce. I understand Linda will officially throw her hat into the ring after May’s local and European elections.

Linda Jack has twice been a parliamentary candidate for the party: in Luton North in 2005, and in Mid-Bedfordshire (up against Nadine Dorries) in 2010. She also …

Posted in News and Party Presidency | Tagged , , and | 35 Comments

On Sarah Wollaston’s naming and shaming in The Times of “very aggressive male bloggers”

sarah wollastonBlogging is back in the headlines again today. Dr Sarah Wollaston, the feistily independent Conservative MP for Totnes, has hit back at those online critics who denounced her role in the trial of her fellow Tory, Nigel Evans, acquitted this week on all charges of sexual assault and one of rape.

In an interview with The Times, Dr Wollaston was keen to stress that she was in no way challenging the verdict in the case, adding that she empathised with Mr Evans and his ordeal. She confessed, however, that the

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , and | 12 Comments

Bath Lib Dems choose short-list to succeed Don Foster

don fosterThe Bath Chronicle reports the news of the contenders seeking to succeed Don Foster as Lib Dem MP for Bath:

The party has this week decided on a shortlist of contenders who will battle it out for the Lib Dem nomination. Mr Foster announced in January that he would be standing down from the seat he has held since 1992.

Several hopefuls turned to Twitter to announce they had made the shortlist including Chris Lucas, Steve Bradley, former Bath City chairman Councillor Manda Rigby (Lib Dem, Abbey) and former mayor Councillor

Posted in Selection news | Tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Commenting on Liberal Democrat Voice

xkcd sums it up:

Posted in Site news | 28 Comments

Two Easter quiz questions from Olly Grender and Ed Stradling

First up, from Olly (former communications chief for the Lib Dems and Shelter, now a Lib Dem peer)…

And then from Ed (TV producer/director, the mastermind behind the excellent video The Lost Liberal Democrat Votes)…

Posted in News | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Steve Webb proposes fairer tax relief on pension contributions

Not content with the most radical reforms to private pensions in a generation, Steve Webb is proposing a flat rate of 30% of tax relief on pension contributions. Currently savers enjoy tax relief at the marginal rate of income tax they pay, so higher rate tax payers get the lion’s share, and standard rate tax payers have less incentive to save for a pension.

Steve told the Daily Mail

I’d like to see the benefits of pensions tax relief spread much more evenly.

Most people get 20 per cent relief, some people get it at 40 per cent. But the people

Posted in News | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Ed Davey MP writes… An onshore wind cap makes no sense

A few wind turbinesRarely a week goes by without an onshore wind story appearing in the media – normally negative, with some Conservative source trying to undermine this important source of renewable energy. The past few weeks have been no different.

First, let’s set the record straight. Liberal Democrats in Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. Of course what other parties choose to put in their manifestos is a matter for them. But this Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables and we will not …

photo by: vaxomatic
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 25 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Dean 23rd Apr - 9:29pm
    @John Dunn What is your point?
  • User AvatarSuzanne Fletcher 23rd Apr - 9:25pm
    for John Dunn who says " To aid your thinking, remember that today is St Georges Day. For Ukip MEP think (St George), and for...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 23rd Apr - 9:11pm
    I'm just concerned as to the fact that there's apparently someone working in HQ who considers the welfare cap to be an achievement. Perhaps next...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 23rd Apr - 9:02pm
    Although there is significant support for Nick Clegg in the above comments - the true and final measure of a leader's qualities is his or...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 23rd Apr - 8:29pm
    When I was a member of the Party [resigned some months ago] I did contribute to the Members Forum and was surprised how few did...
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Apr - 7:56pm
    Can someone 'moderate' my earlier comment - and for goodness sake done something about the filter that doesn't like any variant of fracking