Nick Clegg back on LBC at 9am today

For over two years, Nick Clegg owned that Thursday morning 9 am slot on LBC as he spent half an hour taking calls from the public, It was a brave thing to do and he did it really well.

This morning, he’s back there in what’s billed as his first major interview since the election.

You can watch it here and we’ll certainly be discussing it later.

What are his plans? Will he get involved in the EU referendum campaign? And he ‘s bound to be asked, as the ballot papers hit members’ doorsteps, what he thinks of the leadership contest. Don’t expect him to endorse anyone, though.

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Guardian revelations about Clegg, Cable and the Lib Dem election catastrophe

Well, as the ballot papers get sent out in the leadership election, the Guardian publishes a series of revelations tonight about the last year of the coalition and the aftermath of the European elections.

Apparently Nick Clegg was ready to resign in the wake of the European elections and was talked out of it by, among others, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron. Certainly at the time, the feedback that Federal Executive members gave at our post Euro disaster meeting was that there was no appetite in the wider party for a leadership election, but they did want things to change.

Vince Cable, it transpires, did know about the Oakeshott polls.

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Liberal Democrat leadership: So what happens at a Lib Dem hustings meeting?

newcastle bridges by ratherbewalking
I was peeved when I saw that the Scottish leadership hustings were taking place this coming Saturday as I knew I had to be in London for a Federal Executive away day. In a moment of madness, though, I decided that I would make a trip to Newcastle for the hustings last Friday night. I am, after all, the FE liaison person for the North East region so it would be good to meet people there.

After a 90 minute train journey, a delicious Chicken Fajita in a place called Zapatista and a quick look at the Centurion pub next to the station to see the amazing Victorian tile work (honest), I headed to the Station Hotel a full hour before the hustings started. It was already buzzing with people. They were expecting so many to turn up that they had had to arrange a bigger room.

I managed to get one of the last seats in the room even though I’d got there so early. Strictly speaking, I might have spent too long drinking gin in the bar with my friend of two decades, Jo, where I also found out something about Tim Farron’s past that I didn’t know. I am now hunting down the evidence and when I find it, you will be the first to know. It’s not scandal, unless you count crimes against fashion in that category. 

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Lib Dem Leadership: Big name endorsements for each camp as ballots are posted to members

Ballots for the Liberal Democrat leadership hit members’ doorsteps from tomorrow.

With that in mind, both camps have unveiled big name endorsements. From the Lamb campaign, he kind of unveiled it himself in his inimitable style:

It isn’t the biggest surprise in the whole world. During our Spring conference, he was pretty critical of Tim. Paddy becomes the latest party establishment figure to support Norman Lamb.

At the start of the campaign, Tim Farron unveiled a list of over 100 parliamentary candidates who had supported him. On Monday he announced the support of over 200 councillors, council group leaders and elected mayors like Dorothy Thornhill and Dave Hodgson. The Westminster Bubble may have gravitated towards Norman, but Tim has significant grassroots support.

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Lib Dem Leadership: Farron and Lamb campaigns covered in Welsh media

Norman Lamb and Tim Farron have been featured in the Welsh media.

Norman’s comments were reported in Walesonline.

He talked about drugs policy:

We have a really crazy situation where there are very many people who end up criminalised and with their careers blighted when actually half of the Government will have taken drugs in their early years… This is put down as a youthful indiscretion if you’re a fully signed-up member of the middle classes, but there are many of their fellow citizens who have criminal convictions for doing the same thing.

He says he regrets signing the tuition fees pledge:

I don’t think we should have signed it in the first place. It was pressure from the campaigns department to sign this…

I should have stood up to that.

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Opinion: Filling the gulf in British politics – making the centre ground our own

On May 8th Nick Clegg told us that fear won the election. He was right. But hope played just as important a part.

It was hope that took votes from the Lib Dems: Ed Miliband’s hope that shackling business would help the poor; the Green hope that uncoupling ourselves from our addiction to economic growth would deliver social justice; the SNP hope that a fiscally empowered Scotland could abandon austerity.

Each of these visions is as misleading as it is inspirational.

The general election amounted to a choice between firm Tory hands on the reins and the whip alike, and four loose notions of where we ought to be heading – but never how to get there.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 24 Comments

Six fight for Lib Dem London Mayor nomination

Six candidates have bave applied to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London. They are:

Duwayne Brooks OBE.

Brian Haley. A strong communicator, comfortable with diverse communities. Stood to be selected as Lib Dem mayoral candidate four years ago. [email protected]

Teena Lashmore. From Hackney, criminologist working in resettling those released from prisons and detention centres andsafeguarding children. [email protected]

Caroline Pidgeon. Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly, specialises in transport, policing and housing. www.carolinepidgeon.org@CarolinePidgeon

Marisha Ray. Known as the Lib Dem crime fighting chief in her area and for work preventing teenage knife deaths. http://www.libdemvoice.org/author/marisha-ray  [email protected]

Paul Reynolds. Paul is an international government reform and anti-poverty specialist; an Iraq war ‘veteran’ and former Smithfield Market trader. www.THEfuture.london

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Opinion: Time to address our “Woman Problem”

Two out of four candidates for the UK Labour leadership are women. This remarkable fact has arisen with little comment. It seems normal and there is no suggestion that either Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall’s names on the ballot are tokenistic.

In contrast, no women are eligible to stand for leadership of the Lib Dems as we have no female MPs. We have two strong candidates for leader in Tim Farron and Norman Lamb. I feel, however, that it’s unacceptable to have got ourselves into a position where there is no possibility of voting for a woman leader.

The front-runner to be next Labour leader in Scotland is a woman. The Scottish First Minister is a woman, as is the leader of the Scottish Conservatives. The Scottish Greens have Co-Convenors with a man and a woman jointly holding the post. So it is likely that in Scotland we will soon be the only party not to have a woman leader. Indeed, unless there is a considerable change in our fortunes  before the Holyrood elections next year we will soon have no women in the Scottish Parliament either. Our current sole female MSP, Alison McInnes, has been voted number 2 on the North East list and there is only 1 region, out of 8, where we have a woman at the top of the list.

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Opinion: Wear a yellow flower to honour a Lib Dem friend

A few years ago I gave a training session at Wyboston for target seat candidates on the role of the PPC.  I tried to make it interesting, thought provoking, even different. One of the roles I had on my slides was attending funerals of long standing activists.  The idea aroused some discussion with a couple of those present dismissing the idea, and one person present saying they were going to concentrate on the living only.  Well I would still believe that one of the roles of a PPC is to attend funerals of long standing activists.  Let me explain.

Here in Camden we have a strong and sociable local party – food and drink are a large part of our staple campaign diet – we try to make it fun, we have a scheme whereby if you can’t go, but can afford it, you pay to attend and those less able to afford are given free access.
With this sociability goes a sense of family – this is something I often hear Liberal Democrats talk about up and down the country – well so with family we pay our respects when they pass away.
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Opinion: I’m a liberal so why should I feel excluded?

I am a Liberal, not just a Liberal Democrat, but a deep rooted Liberal. I believe in freedom of choice, freedom of expression. I believe in an individual’s right to privacy, to making choices that don’t hurt others. I believe in the self determination of life and of the right of the individual to end that right. I believe that everyone should be allowed to choose to live the way they are born and the way they choose, and for that to change as they grow and understand themselves better.  I believe that an individual should have the right to defend themselves against accusations and the right to a fair trial that starts from the premise of innocent till proven guilty. I believe in the individual and providing an opportunity for everyone to succeed no matter their background and without having to be measured by my understanding of success.

With all of this and more I am without a doubt in my mind a Liberal and I believe that the Liberal Democrats are the right place for me to express those beliefs and to fight for those beliefs. Yet at times, recently, I have felt like an outsider and at times been made to feel like I don’t belong in this party. I’m not a new member either, I’m chair of my Local party, have been on a number of welsh party committees and spoken at a number of our conferences. So why do I feel like I’m not welcome? Because I’m a man of faith.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 86 Comments

Sal Brinton’s message for Ramadan

Party President Sal Brinton has recorded a message of thanks and support to British Muslims for their holy month of Ramadan. The text is below.

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Opinion: Performance v Effectiveness: How the Lib Dems can (and must) fight smart

In the run up to the election, I sent numerous emails to activists in Hornsey and Wood Green, congratulating them for hitting ‘green’ in all our HQ-monitored key performance indicators (KPIs).

We were model pupils. Bar membership, I think we hit green every month, on every indicator.

And it’s no wonder. We worked so hard – and the campaign was the biggest that Hornsey had ever seen: in terms of numbers of activists on the ground, number of doors knocked on, and pieces of literature produced and delivered.

We were more organised and more targeted in our approach than ever before. We couldn’t have worked harder.

In fact, the one thing that didn’t hit ‘green’ was the only thing that really mattered – the result. That was a big fat (-10,000) red.

This pattern was true of many other seats – and as a local campaign manager, I’ve put a lot of thought into why this happened.

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Tim Farron and Norman Lamb face a live audience on Victoria Derbyshire

This morning leadership candidates Tim Farron and Norman Lamb appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2. They were quizzed by Victoria and a live audience. See how they got on below:

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Brian Paddick upsets the Daily Mail over drugs policy. Oh what a shame.

Brian Paddick is not some hippy anarchist. He used to be the Assistant Commisioner of the Metropolitan Police for goodness’ sake. He knows, therefore, about what works in trying to tackle drug addiction. And it’s not the futile “war on drugs” which successive governments have insisted on waging. Prohibition just doesn’t work. All the evidence points to that. Drug users who need help should get it through the health service not the prison service.

Funnily enough, the Daily Mail doesn’t much like his plan to amend the government’s ridiculous law banning legal highs.

This afternoon, Brian moved his amendments to the Bill. Here’s his speech in full:

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Caroline Pidgeon and Duwayne Brooks launch campaigns to be Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate

Today the race to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for mayor has had two entrants. Current London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon and former Lewisham Councillor Duwayne Brooks have thrown their hats into the ring.

Duwayne Brooks linked to an exclusive interview with ITV News in a tweet

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Baroness Kate Parminter…What I will do as a Lib Dem Deputy Leader in the Lords

Last week I was elected as one of two Deputy Leaders (alongside Navnit Dholakia) of our group in the Lords.

We have many battles ahead of us and whilst I’m a supporter of an elected second chamber (and have long campaigned for one and will continue to do so) we Liberal Democrats in the Lords have a real opportunity to hold this Government to account. We can improve the laws that the Tories bring forward and campaign alongside others to make Britain less unjust, more liberal and greener.

I’m looking forward to working with Navnit & our Leader Jim Wallace as our 102 strong group in the Lords calls into question any illiberal moves by this Tory Government (and so far it looks like there will be many opportunities to do so). This will play a part in the Liberal Democrat fightback and keep the liberal voice loud in Westminster, helping re-build support for our party to win votes and seats right across Britain.

So what will I do?

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Greg Mulholland MP writes…Free on Friday evening? Join Tim Farron’s online Q & A

Tim Farron and Greg MulhollandThis Friday will mark three weeks until the Liberal Democrats have a new leader. Other than the many visits and hustings he’s doing to meet as many party members as possible, this Friday evening, 6.30pm-8pm, Tim’s also doing an online Q&A live via webcam. I’d highly recommend signing up, and you can do so via this link.

In this election, I am proud to back Tim Farron to take the party forward and get us back to our winning ways. Why do I trust Tim to do that? Simply, because it’s what he’s always done. It takes a solid campaigner to end 95 years of Tory hold on a constituency- that’s what Tim did when he won Westmorland & Lonsdale for us in 2005, the same year I was elected for Leeds North West.

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Opinion: The future of pensioner benefits

Our pensioners quite rightly enjoy a number of benefits and it was of course a Liberal government that introduced the old age pension over a century ago.

As part of the coalition it was a Lib Dem minister, Steve Webb, who steered through the legislation ensuring the triple lock and the introduction of auto enrolment for those workers without an occupational pension.

Great reforms, but with an ageing population there has been an increased focus on whether we can justify or indeed afford the universal payment of benefits such as Winter Fuel Allowance and free tv licences.

There is also need to focus on the issue of free transport concessions.

In my view, the starting point should be that as liberals we are committed to making sure retired people have a good level of support, but we are not about paying money to those who simply don’t need it.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 32 Comments

Probe into “undue spiritual influence” in Birmingham election

 

An election petition has been launched into the May 2015 local elections in Birmingham. I want to be clear about a few things at the outset.

These proceedings are all about principles of public importance and the protection of democratic elections. It is about preventing future recurrence of kinship voting swaying bloc votes in favour of a political party. It is about the corrupt practice of providing fertile battleground for Pakistani political parties to flex their muscle during local British elections. It is about undue spiritual influence installing fear in the minds of the voter that if they don’t vote the party endorsed by the spiritual leader, punishment awaits them in the afterlife. It is about the illegal practice of segregation of men and women at political rally in contravention of the Equality Act 2010. These practices have no place in modern politics and for any political party to turn a blind eye to such practices amounts to selling values for votes.

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LibLink: Paul Burstow on leaving the elderly at death’s door

Paul BurstowIn the Telegraph today, Paul Burstow expresses his concerns for social care under the Conservative Government. He writes:

Ninety per cent of NHS leaders now believe that social care cuts are directly affecting patient care, while social care leaders report that over half of the providers they work with are facing financial difficulties. This is not sustainable.

Social care has always been the poor relation of the NHS, but in the last Government, Norman Lamb and I made the reform of social care a priority, and, we made more progress in five years than the previous government did in thirteen. We secured an extra £7.2 billion, reformed social care law putting well-being and prevention centre stage, limited individual exposure to care costs and made sure no one should ever again have to sell their home to pay for care. And we laid the groundwork for bringing the NHS and social care together with one budget.

But he sees all that being placed at risk.

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Tim Farron’s campaign video

Tim Farron has launched his Leadership campaign video today.

 
 

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Lib Dem fightback is strong in Kent  

liberalyouth2015In the South East we took a bit of battering, just like the rest of the country. On Thursday, 18th June 2015 Kent Liberal Youth held a #liberalpint event in Maidstone. Considering everyone is saying that the Lib Dems are slowly dying out, it’s not the case for Kent Liberal Youth. We had over eleven new members who were under the age of eighteen, plus another five who were over eighteen.

We had a great discussion on what issues we were passionate about, we had members say they were passionate about drug reform, education, civil liberties, campaigning against secret courts and being liberal.

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Opinion: The Commonwealth and the EU

 

Pro-Europe supporters are heading to repeat the same mistake as the Fair Votes referendum campaign by ignoring multicultural Britain’s perspectives. Should the race become neck-and-neck this could well tip the balance in favour of ‘out’.

A key difference from the electoral reform vote is that the EU ‘out’ lobby can see the value of attracting diverse communities for the Euro poll. UKIP, in particular, are pushing a pro-Commonwealth argument by claiming that Britain’s trade relationships can be switched from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

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Opinion: Bill

He was cold. His shivering was so intense it was more like a palsy. The surgery receptionist ignored his growing distress. He had been sitting in the freezing cold waiting room for over two hours. The door stood open letting in a draught that cut through his thin clothes. He was wearing three layers – all the clothes he had.

Bill was 88 years old with sores on his legs and needing to get his dressings changed. Scandalous that in any NHS run medical facility an elderly and vulnerable person should be treated in this way. In a GP surgery or …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Suffolk Liberal Democrats – building a stronger Party for a brighter future

SuffolkSo, we’d got all of these new members, and they were still flooding in. It was just what we had wanted over the years, a whole new bunch of enthusiastic Liberal Democrats keen to do things. And yet, there was a nagging doubt in my mind, a memory of new, keen people in the past who had come, been confronted with a tradition of doing things a certain way, or given a pile of leaflets, and who had then drifted away. This time, it was going to be different.

But, in Suffolk, where distances are greater and members rather more spread out, it wasn’t enough for the Local Parties to be left to run their own events, we wanted something that would bring people together, old and new, from across the county, but which would help all of our members to engage in all of the work of the Party, and to allow us to tap their skills and enthusiasm.

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #420

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 420th 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 (14 – 20 June, 2015), together with a hand-picked quintet, 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:

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 12500 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

David Laws joins CentreForum (85 comments) by The Voice

Labour leadership: who should Liberal Democrats be cheering on? (82 comments) by Joe Otten

Cllr Fran Obosrki MBE writes…Why I rejoined the Liberal Democrats (90 comments) by Fran Oborski

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LibLink: Cllr Keith House: The New Housing Finance Institute can help Councils build homes

Eastleigh Council leader Keith House has written on the party website about the potential of the new Housing Finance Institute to ensure that we build the houses we need to tackle the housing crisis we face in this country:

The aims of the HFI are to increase housing supply across all tenures; to unlock opportunities for the public sector and to help business to deliver and finance housing.

The HFI was a key recommendation of the Government-commissioned Elphicke-House Report 2015. Over the course of a year-long review, Natalie Elphicke and I listened to more than 400 organisations from across the nation. The organisations came from all parts of the housing and finance industries as well as local and national government. They made the case for a new approach that would bring everyone together. The idea for the HFI was born and made a key recommendation of our report. Councils can do more, working with housing associations and developers, with private and public finance. My own Council, Eastleigh, is building homes for affordable and private rent, and homes for sale.

There are three things the HFI can do:

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Liberator questionnaire to Lamb and Farron

Issue 372 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers and takes a hard look at the lessons to be learnt from the fiasco of 7 May.

For the free sample content for this issue we’ve done something different from normal and posted Tim Farron’s and Norman Lamb’s answers to the questionnaire we sent them. You can see their answers here.

We aimed to try to get responses that shed some light on where they think the party stands now and what sort of party they want to lead, rather than opinions on specific policy issues. Both were given the same questions and allowed up to 1,500 words to use as they chose to answer them.

The questions were:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Norman Lamb’s campaign removes two volunteers for alleged misuse of personal data for negative push-polling

So just over 24 hours ago, I was sitting in a packed room with hundreds of Liberal Democrats from all over the North East Region. We had all been treated to an excellent two hours of debate between leadership candidates Tim Farron and Norman Lamb. They had each shown the best of themselves. Norman’s thoughtful, intelligent analysis and ideas, his determination to give a voice to the voiceless, Tim’s tub-thumping, barnstorming adrenaline rush of a speech underpinned with good ideas and things that would make Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail hyperventilate. It was great. We truly do have two hugely talented contenders.

Tonight, though, a shadow has been cast over the contest as Norman Lamb has had to suspend two volunteers for misuse of the membership data. The Telegraph has the story:

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    So do the leaders of the federal constituents of the party get local vetoes on manifesto commitments in 'their own' manifestoes? And what about that...
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    STV for Local Authority elections will only work when all wards in that Local Authority are up for election at the same time. At the...
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