LibLink: Willie Rennie: SNP obduracy on using tax powers shows party is no champion of progressive politics

Willie Rennie’s ambition for better education and health services in Scotland has been clear and so has his ambition to use the tax raising powers given to the Scottish Parliament. His plan for a penny on income tax for an almost half billion investment in education to introduce the Pupil Premium, extend nursery education and reverse cuts to college and schools funding.

The SNP, having squealed blue murder for years about not having enough powers to do anything, fails to use them when they are given them.

Willie often says these days that the SNP “talk left and walk right” and he has written a damning critique of the SNP’s approach in the Herald.

As it was a Liberal Democrat Secretary of State who delivered these new tax powers, it is perhaps not surprising that we were the first to propose using them to transform education in Scotland. By putting a penny for education onto income tax bands, we would raise £475 million a year.

Willie’s proposals have brought outrage from SNP and Tories alike. Finance Minister John Swinney said he would rather sacrifice public sector jobs (which in turn affects the most vulnerable) than raise tax rates. The Resolution Foundation says a tax rise is progressive. Willie challenges the SNP:

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Lamb: Government wrong to impose junior doctors’ contract

Norman Lamb has commented on Jeremy Hunt’s ill-advised decision to impose the controversial contract on junior doctors. He said:

It is a mistake to force a new contract on junior doctors when there is clearly still such strong opposition to its terms. There is a serious risk that large numbers of junior doctors will leave the NHS to go and work abroad, which will have serious consequences for the health service and patient safety.

Growing demand for services, coupled with a funding settlement which doesn’t keep up, are the fundamental problems facing health and care and yet the Government is refusing to take real action to address this.

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Lord Paul Strasburger writes…Report shows that nobody thinks Home Office is right on investigatory powers

Today the Joint Committee published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. This follows hot on the heels of the Intelligence and Security Committee report which was surprisingly critical of the serious shortcomings of the Bill given its previous rather relaxed approach – what a difference a new Chair makes, you could say.
 
I was the only member of the Joint Committee that also sat on the Committee that looked at Theresa May’s last attempt to legislate on surveillance powers – the ill-fated draft Communications Data Bill. The previous committee had twice as long to look at the Bill than we’ve had this time round, despite the fact that this Bill is far bigger. The Home Secretary promised Parliament and the public that this process wouldn’t be rushed, that is not the reality.
 
As the only Liberal Democrat on the committee I knew it would be tough, and I think it will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that from the committee was heavily weighted in favour of the Home Office. It was a hard slog but as always with the Lib Dems, we managed to punch above our weight. If you flick to the back of the report you’ll see that on a whole range of issues I forced votes – sometimes I got others on side and we won, others were more lonely.

photo by: Defence Images
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With his Trident stance Corbyn shows himself to be no fan of ‘new politics’

Few words stir the heart of the politically interested than ‘a new politics’, and quite right too, for who on earth wants the status quo?

But the utterer of that rather normative phrase is immediately pitched a political challenge, to keep on board those who are the bedrock of their support, while also delivering something challenging enough to be new.

Jeremy Corbyn is a man with far less personal ambition than he has integrity and honour, and that may be ‘new’ for a politician in the UK right now, but it is not enough to qualify as ‘new politics’.

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“Shoot refugees” extremism from Conservatives in the European Parliament

In the European Parliament, MEPs form groups with colleagues from other member states who share their political outlook and aims.

For Liberals Democrats, ALDE is our long-standing pan-European party, which has existed practically since the Treaty of Rome was signed.  In 2009 the UK Conservatives left the similarly long-established European People’s Party to for a new ECR group.

From the outset there was concern about some of the extremists with whom the Tories were apparently prepared to work.

In 2014, ECR recruited a new German faction, Alterative fur Deutschland.  They are a hardline Eurosceptic party whom UKIP also courted.

One of AfD’s MEPs has said that refugees should be …

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Lib Dem In Campaign – the first video

Here is the first video of the Lib Dem In campaign. What do you think?

Today we launch our campaign for Britain to remain in Europe. This is Britain’s time to lead, not leave. Together we…

Posted by Liberal Democrats on Wednesday, 10 February 2016

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Lib Dems disagree on EU referendum date

There is a bit of a disagreement amongst Liberal Democrats about the date of a referendum. Of course, no date has been yet set, and if David Cameron can’t get a cast-iron deal on his renegotiation, it can’t be on the Government’s first choice date of 23 June.

Yesterday, DUP leader Nigel Dodds led an Opposition Day debate in the Commons arguing that:

Some Members who support our motion hold different views on EU membership and, indeed, on whether we should have a referendum at all. However, whatever side of the argument we are ultimately on, we agree that, when the referendum is finally held, there must be the fullest, most comprehensive debate possible, which does not overlap with, or otherwise become enmeshed in, the election campaigns in May for the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland and Welsh Assemblies, and indeed for that matter, for the London Mayor, and other local elections.

Our Mark Williams, MP for Ceredigion, intervened to say that all the leaders in the Welsh Assembly, including Kirsty Williams, were in favour of a delay beyond June:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJenni Hollis 14th Feb - 12:38pm
    Great idea Caron! Mine is Mark Ashton, who was instrumental in the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) movement - which in turn led...
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 14th Feb - 12:29pm
    It is not the 'fault' of women for not putting themselves forward to use Meral's word, which implies those apposing AWS believe this to be...
  • User Avatarexpats 14th Feb - 12:20pm
    An article full unnecessary adjectives and lots of 'mom and apple pie'.... As for "Rather than “fightback” I have in mind the plants that seem...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 14th Feb - 12:09pm
    A refreshed agenda on Europe as part of a reform package is not a bad idea .Ministers having a mandate from parliament strengthens their negotiating...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 14th Feb - 11:50am
    We can move beyond fightback when we have secured and gained additional council seats in May .When we have consistent good results in all elections...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 14th Feb - 11:20am
    It's a good point that the "fightback" can be seen as fighting back against the electorate, so whilst it was a good thing to begin...