LDV at 10: Pick of the posts: The one with the dodgy crystal ball

On 27th August, LDV will be 10 years old. In that time, we’ve brought you over 24,000 posts and published over 337,000 comments. Over the Summer holidays, we’ll take you on a nostalgic meander through a decade of Liberal Democrat history, seen through the eyes of our editors and contributors. We hope you enjoy our choices.

LDV burst on to the scene on 27th August 2006 with a bold prediction about the forthcoming Party Presidential election. Incumbent Simon Hughes was “certain to be challenged.”

Word reaches the Voice that weeks before the position had been advertised in Lib Dem News, party officials in Cowley Street received a call requesting a copy of the nomination papers for party President – the caller was not acting on behalf of Simon Hughes.

Word also reaches us that one potential candidate is positioning himself to blitz Autumn Conference with an army of supporters bearing nomination papers, to seize the momentum.

A Presidential contest is no bad thing – though there is an argument that there are better ways to spend the money. The Voice has been told that a proposal is being put to the Federal Executive to double the campaign expenditure limit – to  £5000 per candidate.

So our crystal ball may have been a bit wonky.

It’s worth noting that our last prediction about a presidential election,  a members’ survey suggesting a Daisy Cooper win, was similarly affected by the LDV Presidential Curse.

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Referenda need not offer binary choices

It might well be that the United Kingdom, or its successor rump state of England and Wales, will be relying on the skills of the New Zealand’s trade negotiators to help shape the Brexit agreement with the EU. Amusingly, these might be the same people who are also representing  New Zealand and Australia in areas where those two countries collaborate to reach common terms with the post-EU British / English-Welsh state.

That’s a mouthful of a paragraph because it’s a mind-blowing idea, or should be.

But it would unlikely to have become reality had it been thought about before the Brexit referendum.

Unfortunately, we have somehow got it into our heads that referenda are binary, yes / no questions.

But they needn’t be.

And we could have learned that lesson from New Zealand before forcing many people to choose between the status quo and an option that was, really, many options, none even remotely defined.

Last year and this, New Zealanders voted in two referenda designed to address one issue: to keep the current flag or replace it with a different design.

In developing the question to be put to the electorate, prime Minister John Key, his advisors and the parliamentary committee tasked with establishing the rules under which the referendum would happen realised that a simple yes / no option along the lines of “would you like to replace the current flag of New Zealand with a new design?” might well have resulted in a yes vote. There would then have followed a lengthy period of bitter argument about what the resulting flag should look like, at the end of which a significant percentage of the population who had voted for change might well have ended up wishing after seeing the new flag that they had voted, instead, to keep the current one.

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“Thank Goodness Nick Clegg Is Brexit Scrutineer-in-Chief”

So says Owen Bennett of HuffPost Politics:

On June 23, the UK was divided into three groups: Leavers, Remainers and non-voters.

Now, we are all in one group: Waiters.

We are all waiting to see what the three Brexiteers – Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson – do next.

We are all waiting to see if the UK gets access to the Single Market.

We are all waiting to see if freedom of movement into the UK is scrapped.

We are all waiting to see if those trade deals we were promised will materialise.

But one person is not waiting, and that is Nick Clegg.

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Mental health awareness was one of the reasons I became a Liberal Democrat

In 2013, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a long-lasting period of depression; a few weeks ago, I was discharged as an out-patient after spending several weeks under a mental health home treatment team, having suffered a manic episode crammed with delusions, little sleep and a somewhat adamant neglect of both food and hygiene (I lost weight and I’m still in desperate need of a barber due to a matted dreadlock that has formed from the absence of a comb during this period).

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Liberal Democrats GAIN seat from Labour in Totnes

This is the week of unusually scheduled by-elections and both of them have been good for the Lib Dems. On Tuesday, the party almost pulled off a sensational gain from the Tories. Their 9 vote deficit puts them in a very good position for next time.

Last night, John Birch gained a seat from Labour, this time, in Totnes in Devon.

Labour didn’t defend the seat, but there was an independent candidate.

This is great news – and John’s campaign was boosted when Cllr Robert Vint, Devon’s only Green Councillor, rejoined the Liberal Democrats.

Now, if you want to be part of making more good news happen, there are more chances to do so today.

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ALMOST another sensational by-election gain

By-elections are usually what Thursdays are for, but Hangers and Forest ward in East Hampshire polled yesterday – and it was tantalisingly close to being another Lib Dem gain.

It’s unusual to go from a standing start to almost half the vote, but they did it.

Just 9 votes in it

An incredible effort by Roger Mullenger and his team.

There does seem to be something of a pattern forming now, with …

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Liz Truss as you have never seen her before

If it hadn’t been for one of our peers moving house, we might never have had this wee gem fall into our hands.

We know that new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss was once a young Liberal Democrat activist before joining the Tories. However, we now have photographic evidence from an LDYS newsletter from the time of one Elizabeth Truss proudly holding up the LDYS banner on a mass trespass at Twyford Down in protest at the Criminal Justice Bill on 2 July 1994. Simon Hughes also took part.

This controversial piece of legislation was introduced by Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard and offended liberals by restricting raves, allowing inferences to be drawn from a suspect exercising a right to silence and strengthening unsupervised stop and search powers. Those latter powers were still being used until the Coalition years, when their use was curbed thanks to the influence of Liberal Democrats in government.
Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 14.34.11

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