The Liberal Democrats: on your side and fighting for you

The Liberal Democrat vote fell in June because too few voters believed we were the party on their side and fighting for them on the issues they cared about.

That wasn’t the only reason of course, but it was the main one.

So what next?

Forget talk of a progressive alliance. Labour will use it to beat us up. Caroline Lucas championed a progressive alliance and for her troubles the Green vote more than halved. Labour are always happy to take Lib Dem votes lent to them in the cause of beating the Tories, but in Lib Dem/Conservative marginals Labour actively campaigned against the Lib Dems. Had they not done so, May probably wouldn’t be Prime Minister. But Labour prefers to stop the Lib Dems and Greens even if it means a Tory government and that’s not going to change.

No. The Lib Dems will only survive and prosper by carving out a space for ourselves. Not some theoretical slot on the left-right spectrum. Not simply “we’re not the Tories/Labour and we can win here”. But a space where a substantial proportion of the British public see the party as fighting for them and on their side.

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments
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ALDC Campaigner Awards 2017 – nominations open

Each year, ALDC recognises the outstanding work of local Liberal Democrat campaigners and campaign teams through our Campaigner Awards. And nominations are now open.

The five categories:

  • Best By-election Campaign – We’re looking for local parties that have fought effective and strong by-election campaigns. We want to see your literature examples and hear about your strategy for winning the seat.
  • Best Online Campaign – We’re looking for local parties that have run successful online campaigns or developed a winning digital strategy. You may have used social media, emails, your website or another digital platform to achieve your campaigning aims, to fundraise or to grow your local party. Let us know what’s worked for you.
  • Best Literature Campaign – We’re looking for local parties’ examples of well-designed literature with strong messaging, photos and layout.
  • Best Community Campaign – We’re looking for parties that have successfully campaigned with local residents to benefit their area. We are particularly keen to hear from parties that have engaged hard to reach groups and used innovative approaches to do this.
  • Best Fundraising Campaign – We all know the importance of funding our campaigns and keeping our local party’s coffers in the black. Tell us how you engaged with your members and supporters to raise funds for your campaigns. You don’t need to have raised large amounts, but how you innovatively appealed to your audiences.

How to submit your nominations

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Tim Farron’s message for Eid

Here is Tim Farron’s message for Eid:

I would like to wish all those celebrating a happy and peaceful Eid.

For those celebrating, Eid will enable many Muslims to reflect on their own personal strength, particularly following the long fasts these summer days bring.

When travelling the country, I am fortunate enough to witness many examples of this strength first hand. Whether it’s in hospitals where thousands of Muslim doctors and nurses continue to provide excellent healthcare despite the increasing pressure our NHS is under.

Or in the countless towns and cities where businesses run by Muslims are driving our economy and overcoming the challenges of Brexit.

Or in mosques up and down the country who are organising charitable initiatives and promoting inter-faith dialogue.

These are just a few examples which make the heinous attack on Finsbury Park not just an attack on worshipers at the Mosque but an attack on us all.

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We need to go into the next election with a different strategy

The key issue for me in the leadership debate is our strategy for the next election. My take is based on feedback from electors.

On the whole, our manifesto is sound (although I can’t help adding a quick pitch for the addition of the term time attendance policy for tourism constituencies & to exemplify our trust in people over government/commitment to family life). There are just two huge, key exceptions.

  1. Ditch the referendum on the deal.

Nothing in recent history, from the AV referendum to Brexit to the Scottish Independence Reernedum, gives cause to trust referenda. The electorate had already learned that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 40 Comments

Momentum builds behind Brexit deal referendum

We shouldn’t assume that our failure to break through in the General Election means that people don’t agree with our policy on a referendum on the Brexit deal.

Polling is consistently showing that a majority of people are coming round to that position. For that reason, it would be unwise for us to ditch it.

A Survation poll carried out less than two weeks ago found that 53% of those who expressed a preference favoured a further referendum.

A poll of Scots for STV similarly showed that 61% of those polled said they wanted to see a referendum on the deal. This is particularly interesting given that 70% didn’t want a referendum on independence at the moment. It is significant, though, that 22% of those want to wait and see what happens with Brexit, so that argument isn’t entirely over.

Over at the Huffington Post, Tom Brake set out the case to continue wth our policy on a second referendum:

I do not agree with the view that we should just remain silent during the negotiating process and accept any deal the Government comes up with. This issue is far too important to give the Government a blank cheque. This is like saying that after a general election we should just accept and rubber stamp all decisions until the next election, without holding the Government to account.

I believe, even more strongly than a year ago, that just as people were able to vote for departure from the EU, they should be given a vote on our destination in our future relationship with the EU.

If the process started with a referendum, why shouldn’t it end with another one?

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Liberal Democrats should show leadership, and help shape where the Progressive Alliance goes now

Our national politics is in total turmoil.  The Tories are ‘between the devil and the DUP’.  Labour is utterly unfathomable on Brexit. The Lib Dems are pretty Captainless, as far as the media and the country at large are concerned.

And internally, within the party, there is turmoil too.  Some successes were had on 8th June but there were  huge disappointments. Good MPs were lost.  Many of us are still recovering from bruising contests, even where we had little chance of making a breakthrough.  I expect most Liberal Democrat candidates standing in key Tory-Labour marginals would attest to a level of online abusive from ‘Progressive Labour’s’ supporters that has exceeded anything previously experienced.

Here in Hastings & Rye, as candidate for the third time, I was vilified for having the temerity to stand in an election that unexpectedly (even I would suggest for local Labour), nearly removed the Home Secretary.  The eventual result saw Amber Rudd scrape home by a mere 346 votes with even an independent anti-corruption candidate gaining more votes than the eventual majority.

The criticism hasn’t only come from trolls.  Hastings & Rye Liberal Democrats get excoriated by Compass’ James Corré here:

But this analysis is misleading, especially when we had explicitly offered to work with the Labour Party in order to send fewer Tories back to Westminster from East Sussex.  You can read the statement that I made mid-May here:

Corré certainly does not give Labour fair treatment for their obstinacy in this whole process.

So what should be done now?  Locally, and at a national level?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 30 Comments

Housing fire safety a civil emergency – Brinton

Sal Brinton, who sits on the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group has said that the Government should declare a civil emergency over fire safety in tower blocks and compensate those who had been evacuated. During the flooding damage in 2015, the Government extended a Council Tax discount to help those who had been badly affected. Sal said that those evacuated should have their Council Tax suspended:

This is a civil emergency. The government must guarantee funding for local councils to do everything necessary to keep people safe and compensate those who have had their lives disrupted.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 26th Jun - 9:33pm
    Just write off the whole student loan book. It's no crazier than the right to buy.
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 26th Jun - 9:20pm
    More generally, a Norway type of arrangement would be very, very sensible indeed. And in fact the EU might do will to think about the...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 26th Jun - 9:17pm
    Tim, I'm not in politics to get Labour elected either, but without some kind of understanding, we will let the Tories in time and time...
  • User AvatarGlenfordB 26th Jun - 9:13pm
    Pj points out that it is not philosophy that gets votes so we should tell people what we will do...and do you know my heart...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 26th Jun - 9:11pm
    '10.Real estate prices will drop' Sorry but are you George Osborne? Falling house prices eh...Awful. Terrible. Stuff of nightmares. Really. Vote for the EU to...
  • User Avatarfrankie 26th Jun - 9:06pm
    Undoubtedly the government will try to blame the EU but as people get poorer they will find blame doesn't heat the house or feed the...
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