Tim Farron commitment to end homelessness – reason to be proud, but also conscious of a great challenge

A party press release yesterday said:

The Liberal Democrats have committed to ending the scandal of rough sleeping in Britain, as the Homelessness Reduction Bill enters into force today.

Following a campaign visit to the Hundred Houses Society, a charitable housing association in Cambridge, Tim Farron announced a series of measures the party would put in place to help end rough sleeping.

These include introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority, to put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters. Other policies include increasing funding for local councils for homelessness prevention, reinstating housing benefit for under-21s and reversing planned cuts to Local Housing Allowance rates.

This is a good reason to be very proud of our party. Making this commitment is a big deal. Housing is a basic human right, and we are right to base our policy on that.

Shelter advocate an approach based on the American “Housing First” model. I see that Tim Farron embraces that method.

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Election diversity – as if by magic

The Conservative Government has called a General Election for 8 June 2017 after its leader Ms May repeatedly said she would not do so.

We have responded with the truncated General Election process to ensure a full slate of candidates are in place by June 2017.  This has seen candidates up and down the country engaged with internal applications and shortlisting processes in a bid to become the PPC candidates for this election.

As if by magic, we may well see our biggest ever selection of visible ethnic minority candidates making it to PPC status – fulfilling a personal pledge of our Leader Tim Farron, who openly seeks diversity for both internal and external political positions.

Mr Farron has frequently articulated the importance of diversity and our party’s credibility.  No doubt he will be pleased with the current wave of candidates being announced as PPC  candidates who are also known as ethnic minorities.

So far we have in first name alphabetical order: Alexander Cunliffe for Ruislip Northwood and Pinner, London; Anita Day for Grantham and Stamford; Anita Prabhakar for Mansfield;  Amna Ahmad for Sutton and Cheam, London; Brian Haley for Tottenham, London; Dave Ravel for Hackney South, London; Dawud Islam for Middlesbrough; Gitanjali Gordon for South Shields; Glanville Williams for East Ham, London; Hina Malik for Feltham and Heston;  Humaira Sanders for Ealing North, London; Irfan Ahmed for Blackburn, Manchester; Joe Naitta for Derby South; Joyce Onstad for Hammersmith, Marisha Ray for Chipping Barnet, London; London; Michael Bukola for Camberwell and Peckham, London; Nigel Bakhai for Southhall; Rabi Martins for Luton North; Sarah Cheung Johnson for South Cambs; Suzanna Austin for Kettering; Tahir Maher for Milton Keynes South; Ukonu Obasi for Walthamstow, London; Zuffar Haq for Harborough Oadby and Wigston; and Zulfiqar Ali for Huddersfield.

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A proposal for tv leaders’ debates

I’ve been racking my brains about getting Theresa May to debate the other party leaders. With recent polls causing undisguised glee amongst Conservative MP’s and right-wing commentators, the perceived wisdom is that she really has nothing to gain from debating Tim, Nicola or even Jeremy and no pressure from a press led by the likes of The Daily Mail and Express to force her to do so. We need to change this.
The TV debates provide an opportunity for the PM to explain herself. If she is so sure of her approach to Brexit and the economy why won’t she take part? The answer, quoting Margaret Thatcher, is she’s “frit”. Anyone, having watched her lacklustre performances at PMQ’s, can see she is weak in debate. Forced into a corner she evades, quotes soundbites, launches personal attacks or relies on bluster from the MP’s behind her.
Given the likelihood that debates would damage her chances in the election the PM is unlikely to give in to a clamour to debate from fellow politicians. But could she resist a demand from the public?
For the first time and in order to overcome the current impasse I think that the general public should be asked to sponsor a series of prime time TV debates with pledges donated to charities such as Great Ormond Street or Help for Heroes.
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Autumn Conference registration now open

An email from Andrew Wiseman, chair of Federal Conference Committee, announced that registration was open for Autumn Conference in Bournemouth.

The Dorset town is my favourite conference venue. Maybe I’m just biased because the weather was so gorgeous the last time we were there, and the Goat and Tricycle pub is one of the nicest and has fantastic beer, but I’d strongly recommend coming. Let’s hope that we have many more MPs to welcome, too.

The exceptionally good news is that the Early Bird Discount rate would normally run out before the election, but it has been extended until 23rd June. This shows that the Conference Office and Federal Conference Committee have listened to criticism they received (some of it from me) about previous events when the discount has expired at a time when it would have caused difficulties for people. So, well done to them for that. 

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Vince Cable predicts second economic storm

Remember back in 2003, when Vince Cable was saying that at some point the economy would collapse because of the amount of consumer credit?

Well, he was right then and he’s now saying that we could be up for another Brexit fuelled crash.

The former Business Secretary, who hopes to win back his former seat of Twickenham, says that a combination of declining consumer confidence, job losses and inflation has the potential to outstrip the economic storm of the previous decade. That, if you remember, was the direst economic crash since the Depression in the 30s.

Vince said:

For Britain, the economic weather is arguably worse than it was before the credit crunch. The pound has plummeted, which is driving up prices and trapping consumers in a vicious Brexit squeeze.

Consumer confidence was all that kept the storm clouds away. But with job losses at everywhere from Deutsche Bank to Nestlé, that confidence is going to drain away further.

The Chancellor clearly has no confidence in the economic strategy of the government, because he knows that leaving the single market and customs union has the potential to devastate the UK economy.

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Could Rachel Johnson stand as a Lib Dem candidate?

First of all, Rachel Johnson, writer and journalist, welcome to the Liberal Democrats. Every media outlet is telling us that she has joined and some are even suggesting that she will be a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in this coming general election. The Guardian is feverishly speculating:

Johnson’s decision to join the Lib Dems is expected to infuriate her brother Boris, who has had a relatively marginal role in the post-Brexit negotiations so far.

She could not be reached for comment, while a spokesman for the Lib Dems declined to confirm her membership, citing data protection rules.

With just nine MPs,

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Save the date: 24 May for TV Leaders’ Debate

And it’ll be a good one, too.

No, Theresa and Jeremy haven’t overcome their fear of Tim Farron. This is the Scottish Leaders’ Debate where Willie Rennie will spend an hour and a half at 8:30 pm on STV debating Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson.

From the STV website:

The Scottish debates are usually of pretty decent quality and you should be able to watch on the live stream south of the border.

 

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Recent Comments

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    @John Grout. Yes, I have it marked as 09.00. That means I have to arrive on the Friday.
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    The problem with placing all your faith in opposition to leaving the EU is that for many people it is just a matter of personal...
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