Opinion: Generation Y – Why don’t they vote Lib Dem?

Last year the Economist ran a fascinating article on  “The strange rebirth of Liberal England” on how young people have attitudes in many areas which are very liberal, though as we know this does not necessarily  equate  with voting for the Lib Dems. Liberal Reform explored this further at a fringe meeting in Glasgow which included some polling on Generation Y. Our three panellists, Kavya Kaushik, Jeremy Browne and Paul Marshall, with Chair Miranda Green talked about the polling and what Lib Dems could do to attract Generation Y to vote for us.

The polling is very clear on personal liberalism:  for example the percentage saying homosexuality is wrong, that people who want children should get married, and that a husbands job is to earn money the wife’s to look after the home and family are all lower for Generation Y. They also have markedly more Liberal views on immigration, being the only age group to see it as a net positive.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 114 Comments

The Independent View: Banning wild animals in circuses – a popular law whose time has come

adi-logo_2There was a time when the UK led the world on animal welfare issues. We were one of the first to ban the use of animals in cosmetic product and tobacco tests, and end fur farming. Sadly though, we have lost our global leadership on other animal issues, most spectacularly on animal circuses. A total of 27 countries have now introduced measures prohibiting such acts, leaving the UK lagging way behind.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Thank you, Glasgow

As well as making us welcome for the conference itself, Glasgow again provided a fine place to stroll and explore. Here are a few snapshots of this wonderful city, snatched in between LibDem meetings. Scroll down to view.

york street_tm crop

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Israel-Palestine conflict: the views of Lib Dem members

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 735 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

This afternoon the House of Commons debates the issue of Israel and Palestine: a backbench motion calling on the British government to recognise the state of Palestine. This follows the summer’s latest outbreak in the ongoing Israel–Gaza conflict, with seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks, and ground fighting killed more than 2,200 people, the vast majority of them Gazans. We asked Lib Dem members for their views…

61% sympathise primarily with the Palestinians

Posted in LDV Members poll | 7 Comments

Going forward, it’s all incredibly important to ordinary people

cf fringeOuch ! Don’t we sometimes cringe when we hear political or bureaucratic jargon during conference debates and fringe meetings?

Here are some of my favourite high-cringe-factor beauties…just a bit of fun….

1. Engaging with the public

Paints a picture of the general public and a political elite going out to meet ‘ordinary people’ (see below). Why not say ‘conduct research’, ‘find out what people want’, or just ‘meet people’.

Posted in Humour | 10 Comments

Call for feedback on progress since Independent Inquiry of June 2013

As set out in my Report into ‘Processes and Culture’ within the Party, I would now like to assess progress made against my recommendations. Taken together, the recommendations formed a suggested – but by no means exhaustive – blueprint for change over both the medium and long term. Less than 18 months has passed since my initial Review, so it was never my expectation that all would be resolved by now, rather that the direction of travel be firmly established.

A number of people attended a ‘surgery’ I hosted with the Pastoral Care Officer, Jeanne Tarrant, during Conference last week. Those inputs have been very helpful – thank you.  I’d now like to hear from anyone who has relevant experiences and views to help me assess the degree of progress made. As in my original Call for Evidence, it would be helpful if feedback could be given around three areas, with specific examples being particularly useful:

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

General election 2015: broadcasters propose 2-3-4 leaders’ debates formula

Nick Clegg in TV leaders debate, 2010The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 have announced their preferred plans to hold three debates during the 2015 general election campaign. The BBC reports:

One would involve a head-to-head debate between just the Conservative and Labour leaders, and another would include the Liberal Democrat leader. The other debate would involve all three leaders plus Mr Farage. The broadcasters said the proposed formats reflected “changes in the political landscape” since the three prime ministerial debates during the 2010 general election, which featured Conservative Mr Cameron, Labour’s Gordon Brown and Lib Dem Mr Clegg. … The broadcasters have written to the party leaders to invite them to take part. The suggested schedule is for debates on 2, 16 and 30 April, ahead of the election on 7 May.

Here’s how the Lib Dems have responded to the proposal:

Posted in News | Tagged | 48 Comments

The Independent View: Baking the UKIP Cookbook

UKIP-cookbookWe live in baffling times. Who, for example, can explain why Boris Johnson is still a thing? And why has no one told Ed Miliband that continually addressing a large number of strangers in a room as “friends” is just the sort of weirdness that someone whose weirdometer needle is already hovering over the danger zone should really avoid doing.

And then there’s Michael Gove.​ Just baffling.

But nothing is quite as baffling as the appeal of UKIP. That a bunch of fear-peddling, isolationist, blame-everyone merchants seem attractive to a large minority of the British public is not just confusing: it’s embarrassing.

So we’re doing what any sane, politically-aware progressives would do: we’re writing a spoof cookbook about it. Obviously.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged | 6 Comments

Opinion: It’s time to embrace write-in candidates for internal party elections

libdemwriteinAre our internal party elections really democratic enough?  We should ask this question because we want our party to maximise the talents of the wider membership and broaden the pool of candidates standing for party bodies.

We clearly value democracy and democratic process on all internal party matters.  But when we look at our internal party elections, can we truly say that we are offering the maximum possible choice to our members?  And, indeed, are members encouraged to stand, or even provided with enough information as to how to do so?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 27 Comments

Brian Paddick writes… Are We Confusing Anti-politics with Anti-Westminster?

I have just been watching Marr on BBC1 and there appears to me to be a theme developing.

In the paper review, Trevor Phillips said the rise of UKIP was really about voters´ perception that “Westminster politicians” were not listening to their constituents. He also suggested immigration is not the real issue for many British people but fear of change. He claims that rapid change is unsettling for people and a party that represents the past like UKIP is understandably popular. I guess a progressive, forward thinking and radical party like ours might be unpopular for the same reason.

Next up is Douglas Carswell, former Tory, now a UKIP, MP. He talks like a Lib Dem. He is clearly a dedicated constituency MP, just like a Lib Dem, who does not take his constituents for granted, just like a Lib Dem, and he sees representing his constituency as far more important than what happens at Westminster. He appeared to me to be so unlike a Tory MP or a Labour MP in a safe seat and so like a Lib Dem.

Posted in Op-eds | 66 Comments

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 22,400 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

Remembering Sarah – Thanking Nick

Almost two years ago I arrived home in the early hours from the Children and Young People Awards, to see the lights on. My stomach hit the floor – if my daughter was still up something was wrong. I was right – my sister Sarah had been found dead in her house, suspected suicide. Members in Watford will know Sarah as one of their deliverers, two weeks before she died she was out with me delivering for the PCC elections in Bedfordshire. But Sarah had one of the most painful illnesses known to man or woman – she was bi-polar and schizophrenic. She was also one of the most loving people you would ever meet, a carer all her life, a house always full of children, especially those who she thought needed feeding! However, her illness led to so much misunderstanding and prejudice, and even for someone like me – trying to get her the right care was like banging your head against a brick wall.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

What’s being debated in our members’ forum this week?

members forum wordleLibDemVoice has two parallel sites. The first is our public blog, the thing you’re reading now. The second is our private members’ forum, which only current Lib Dem members can access.

If you’re a member and want to chat with fellow party members about any issue that’s on your mind, then why not sign up? In addition, you’ll be included in our regular surveys’ of party members’ views.

Here’s some of the most active discussions this past 10 days:

Posted in Site news | 5 Comments

In the next month 27 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | 1 Comment

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #392

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 392nd 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 (28 September – 4 October, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, you might otherwise have missed. This is last week’s, being published late because of Conference. This week’s will also be a little late as I’m away this weekend. Seriously, Libereal Democrat conference last weekend, Doctor Who convention this weekend. I know how to live.

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:

Posted in Best of the blogs | Leave a comment

Opinion: Transparency and Openness from the FCC

On Saturday afternoon conference voted overwhelmingly for more engagement by members through OMOV, and for transparency and accountability from the party and its committees, in order to nourish this engagement. The amendment, put forward by Mark Pack, Duncan Brack, and others was purposeful and helpful, and made clear that we need to make sure that the party is more accountable to members. The party needs to show its firm intent to follow up on this motion as soon as it can, preferably for endorsement by spring conference next year, so that our next autumn conference operates as members wish.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 17 Comments

Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… A revived nuclear industry could unlock the UK’s engineering potential for generations to come

In March 2013, the Government published its Nuclear Industrial Strategy with the ambition to make the UK once again world leading in nuclear new build and decommissioning expertise. It is forecast that globally £930 billion is set to be invested in new reactors and a further £250 billion to pay for decommissioning.

But to take advantage of these growing opportunities, the UK needs to recruit and train far more people into engineering than currently. Figures from EngineeringUK show that the sector needs to recruit 2.2 million candidates over the next five to ten years in the UK. Despite the many opportunities in an engineering career, only half of 11-to-14-year olds say they would consider it a viable option. This figure dropped to barely a third among girls and, unfortunately, less than a quarter of parents said they thought engineering was a suitable profession for their daughters.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: We will not stand aside while persecution takes place

Whilst party activists gathered in Glasgow and quite literally were debating policy F33 Age Ready Britain there was another gathering taking place of a quieter, but perhaps more significant nature.

In the Admiral Rodney Pub, in Southwell, Nottinghamshire a small group of LGBT activists and supporters prepared to demonstrate for equality. Archbishop John Sentamu was in Southwell for the opening of the refurbished Bishop’s Palace and he was accompanied by acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Don’t tax aspiration, let’s recruit entrepreneurs to our cause

If you asked a Lib Dem about why they joined our party, I think many of the following reasons for joining, would be on their list:

Posted in Op-eds | 37 Comments

UKIP breakthrough, Labour scrape through

The overnight news is that Douglas Carswell has been elected as a UKIP MP in Clacton with a majority of 12,068 over the Conservatives and 60% of the total vote. Liberal Democrats lost our deposit in 5th place, the 10th lost deposit this parliament.

Meanwhile in Heywood and Middleton, a Labour seat since its creation in 1983, Labour clung on with a majority of 617 votes over UKIP. This time, however, the Liberal Democrats did a little better, coming 4th with 5% and saving our deposit.

Here are the full results:

Posted in News | 257 Comments

A Lib Dem reshuffle? If it happens, here’s who party members would like to see promoted

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 735 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Jo & Lynne top choices for promotion to cabinet

The Lib Dems are expected to hold a ministerial reshuffle after the Scottish independence referendum. Which minister would you most like to see promoted to the cabinet?

Posted in LDV Members poll | 12 Comments

Opinion: Underpinning local enterprise through the banking system

Despite a last minute attempt to scrap criticisms of the big banks, the Lib Dems are now committed to a powerful programme to create a diverse local lending infrastructure in the UK.

And most important of all, thanks to the Rebanking the UK debate yesterday, the Lib Dems are now clear about how this great diversification is going to be achieved.

The big banks are going to pay for and mentor a new infrastructure of local banks, which will be geared up – and with the expertise they need – to lend money to a new UK mittelstand, the UK small and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Opinion: An embarrassing lack of diversity

The lack of Black and Asian members at federal conference was depressing and embarrassing.

Glasgow was the most racially undiverse Lib Dem conference since I joined in 2006. Every TV scan of the audience showed a sea of white faces, even for equality debates. The day I went was no different.

The message it sent Britain was that we are not a party that reflects modern multicultural society, and therefore probably don’t care much for it.

To add insult, the Federal Executive (FE) proposed committee quotas for women while ignoring BAME and other under-represented groups.

Under this system the three BAME men would all have lost their places to, in all probability, white women. The only ethnic minority left would be Pauline Pearce on Federal Conference Committee (FCC).

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Britain’s obligation towards Hong Kong

Former MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who until June was a Vice President of the European Parliament with responsibility for human rights, has written about the current situation in Hong Kong. First he sets out the context:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , and | 10 Comments

The Guardian’s “10 things we’ve learned from the Lib Dem conference”

The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow has once again collected together his thoughts on the ten main things we have learned from the last few days in Glasgow.

Here are the first three:

1 – The Lib Dems have no desire to give up power. Given that the experience of being in coalition has been so electorally catastrophic, you might expect the party to have some regrets. But they don’t, and there’s no appetite for a spell in opposition. As well as a desire for another try at government, the Lib Dems are also assuming there’s a good chance it will happen. If it doesn’t, the party is in for a psychological shock.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 34 Comments

The Glee Club makes the headlines

Glee Club 2014There’s no question that the Liberal Democrats’ traditional end of conference sing-a-thon is very marmite and Brussels Sprouts. I love it and am usually in my place for the start at 10 pm. This time, though, I didn’t get there till nearly 1 in the morning. It took me from 11pm when I arrived back at the Crowne Plaza after going out for dinner till then to cover the short distance from the door to the room where it was taking place because I kept meeting friends and new people and chatting away to them. I do hope that the people I was chatting to were sober enough to remember the ideas for articles that we talked about. “Confessions of a Trotskyite at Liberal Democrat Conference” is one I definitely want to read.

Anyway, I missed the traditional gathering of the Scots to sing Oh Flower of Scotland, but I did get there just in time for a very non-traditional rendition of English Country Garden. Do not ever find out the lyrics of this song if you are of a delicate disposition. I thought I was broad-minded but there were some things I didn’t know and had to ask. It is the smuttiest thing you will ever read.

The Liberator Song Book is a satirical and nostalgic meander through our party’s history. From The Land, a centuries old radical protest song calling for land value taxation to a song castigating Don Foster for ending our support for student grants (in order to maintain free tuition) in the 1990s, each song and its backstory means something to us. Rumour has it that at the Conference where this was debated, a pint found its way over Don’s head in a late night heated discussion in a Conference bar.

Posted in News | 8 Comments

Tim Farron’s “active and ambitious government” – some thoughts and questions

Tim Farron speaking - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsI am a fan of Tim Farron. His decency, thoughtfulness and authenticity add a great deal to our party and to our politics. He is also one of the party’s best speakers.

But I don’t always agree with him.

His speech to conference on Tuesday was very well-delivered. It also contained some interesting themes and observations.

I was very pleased to hear Tim defend globalisation, though it is a shame he chose to do so so briefly:

Don’t get me wrong: the rewards of globalisation are real.

The free movement of people, of capital, of ideas, have all made our society better.

And Liberals should always defend that freedom.

As I have written before on LDV, the successes of globalisation are immense, particularly in the reduction and, in places, near-elimination of destitution.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Mental health – an issue whose time came at Glasgow

Nick clegg and norman lamb at scottish action mental health photo by dave radcliffe from the liberal democrats flickr streamBased on my circumambulation of the Glasgow conference corridors, there were three highlights concerning mental health:

1. Oxford West and Abingdon conference representative, Matthew Sumption made his maiden speech in the pre-manifesto debate. He’s currently taking time out from university study. But, my goodness me, what a brave young man he is. He basically stood up and said that he is undergoing treatment for mental illness.

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Praise for Norman Lamb’s work on mental health

Here is the video shown to Conference showcasing the work that Norman Lamb has done on mental health which was shown before his speech. 

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Norman Lamb MP writes… Thank you, Nick, for your commitment to mental health

No major British political party has ever had a leader more committed to the cause of tackling mental health discrimination than Nick Clegg.

Nick’s first ever question in Prime Minister’s Questions as party leader was about mental health services. And throughout my time as heath minister, I have always been able to rely on Nick’s unwavering support for my work: on promoting parity of esteem for mental health; on tackling unacceptable standards of crisis care and support for children and young people; and in general raising the profile of an area of health that for far too long has been …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments



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