Willie Rennie warns SNP over ID database

Willie Rennie got a pretty good splash of headlines yesterday after he raised his concerns over SNP plans to create a massive ID database in Scotland. The Scotsman has details:

The Scottish Government is considering an extension of the NHS central register, which is already the “most complete and authoritative record of individuals in Scotland”.

It currently covers about 30 per cent of people, but ministers want to extend this and share information stored with more than 100 government agencies – including HMRC for tax ­purposes.

A similar population register was ditched south of the Border when controversial and expensive plans for ID cards were scrapped in 2010.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment
Advert

The Independent View: Progressive and pro-European voters must unite against Tory-UKIP chaos

Britain stands on the edge of a cliff with the General Election only 105 days away.  Will we vote Tory or UKIP for Euroreferendum chaos, lasting two years at least and putting thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and our long term peace and security at risk? Or will Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and all progressive voters come together in the marginal seats that matter to elect a Parliament for progress and reform and a Labour-led Government with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister?  He has stood firm against the clamour for a referendum with considerable courage and nous.  Scotland shows how referenda, even with a 55-45 vote, can settle nothing, just open a can of worms.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged and | 68 Comments

Brent Central’s Ibrahim Taguri appointed as Liberal Democrat Race Equality Champion

Ibrahim Taguri selected for Brent Central
Ibrahim Taguri was born and raised in Brent not far from the office he wants to take over from Sarah Teather in May. Last Summer he wrote of his ambition for the area:

Yet I was lucky. My mother was single minded when it came to our education as children. That was our route out of poverty. I was also lucky in many ways, so when I had opportunities I was able to make the most of them. That’s why when Sarah Teather announced she was standing down as MP, I knew I had to take the opportunity to represent my community. My job as an MP will be to challenge those structural barriers that prevent people getting on in life as well as to support the most vulnerable in our society on a day to day basis, helping them to escape a cycle of despair.

That’s why, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, I will be dedicating my first term in parliament to eradicating child poverty in the UK by 2020. A goal set out but the last administration and continued by the coalition. Yet the target is in serious danger of being missed as political parties continue to embroil themselves in blame games and semantics.

I believe that focusing on this issue we can tackle many of the great challenges of our time; improving life chances no matter where someone was born, integrating physical and mental health services; increasing housing stock to not uproot families; providing more educational opportunities and making work pay.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Lord Hugh Dykes writes: Chilcot delay is an utter disgrace

We have waited too long for the Chilcot Inquiry. I do not have to tell you this, the Lib Dems were after all the only one of the three major parties (despite the Tories fuss now) to disagree with going to war in Iraq.

I am proud to say that it was the Liberal Democrat party who marched officially as a party to protest against the war. The estimated 1.5 million marchers going along Piccadilly were subsequently all disappointed that the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, completely ignored their representations on the biggest march that had taken place in Britain in recent times.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Some thoughts on preventing suicide

Nick Clegg has been quoted this week as calling for the NHS “to commit to a new ambition for zero suicides”. That is an aspiration that nobody could argue with, but it is unrealistic to believe that it can quite be achieved. Throughout human history and in every kind of society people have died by their own hand, and it would be naïve to believe that a government initiative can single-handedly change that. Nevertheless, he is right to identify suicide as a “massive taboo”. He is also right to raise awareness of the risk. He was speaking particularly in relation to mental health, but we should not infer from that that everybody who contemplates suicide is mentally ill, even though many people suffering from mental illness may indeed see suicide as an escape from an unbearable life.

He was also speaking in relation to the NHS’s role. To be fair, doctors and psychiatrists do routinely ask patients who are depressed or otherwise at risk whether they are suicidal, and many involved in the medical profession are trained to recognise indications of suicidal thought. And everybody who arrives in A&E departments after a suicide attempt is supposed to be seen by a psychiatrist before being discharged, but inevitably many people will simply be returning to the situation from which they were trying to get away. We should also recognise that, among all those in the care of a government-funded organisation, the risk of suicide is rather greater among people sentenced to prison or remanded in custody than it is among those cared for by the health services. Sadly, calling for better emotional support of prisoners does not have the same electoral appeal as concern about the NHS.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: TTIP: a taxpayer funded safety net for the super-rich

Few things are more complicated and opaque than the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade deal being hammered out between the EU and the USA. It has been criticized by activists and journalists such as George Monbiot, but Vince Cable asserts there is nothing to worry about. Who is right?

When things get complicated, follow the money. Fortunately we now have a money bloodhound. The economist Thomas Piketty has spent a decade or more producing a huge scholarly work which reveals where the money is. His answer is simple: unless active measures are taken an ever larger proportion ends up in the hands of the already very rich. TTIP will make this even worse.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 57 Comments

Another Lib Dem website brilliantly topical error message – a pity it’s out of date so quickly

I wish I had seen this yesterday.

Page 3 error message

 

A brilliant response to the debate over Page 3.

The party has been doing this a few times with its error messages recently. It’s very amusing and it also directs people to relevant policy on the website.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all found out, the Sun was trolling us all along. Former presidential candidate and new member of the Diversity Engagement Group Daisy Cooper said this about the Sun’s behaviour on Facebook:

So, pretending to stop Page 3 was just a bit of fun. Raising expectations then crushing them in a humiliating way. Classic abusive behaviour.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 12 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…A proud day as we move nearer to Liberal Democrat vision of home rule for Scotland

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2One of my first political campaigns was the 1979 referendum on a Scottish Assembly, as it was then styled.

The failure of that campaign was formative in my political thinking.  We all learned the hard way some simple political truths. Constitutional change is only achieved by working with people from other parties and of no party and that our liberal vision of Home Rule for Scotland within a strong federal United Kingdom is more relevant today than it has ever been.

As a teenager growing up in a small tight-knit island community I also quickly realised that local communities were best placed to make the decisions that affect them. We also understood that Government in Edinburgh was just as capable of getting things wrong for us as government in London.

Fast forward thirty five years and it was a proud day for me as Secretary of State for Scotland when we won decisively the vote to keep our 300 year old family of nations together with a promise of extensive new powers for our Scottish Parliament.

We set up the cross-party Smith Commission to bring people together and build consensus on what these new powers should be.

No party got everything they wanted but we owed it to the majority of Scotland who made the democratic decision to reject independence to see through their desire for more powers – a desire shared by our party.

I was pleased the Smith Commission aimed high.

The draft clauses I have published today will mean our Scottish Parliament will raise over half of what it spends. It will create a new Scottish Welfare State System with a starting budget of more than £2.5 billion.

And it will introduce votes for 16 and 17 years olds for Holyrood and local government elections.

Smith also made another important point that has not received the attention that it deserves, namely that the process of devolution should not stop in Edinburgh but should be driven to local communities across Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 18 Comments

Lord Clement-Jones writes…Out and about on the doorstep

Tim Clement-Jones in WatfordFar be it from me (or at their peril anyone else!) to ignore an injunction from our General Election Chair Paddy Ashdown, so my New Year’s resolution has been to commit every Friday up to the start of the campaign proper to campaigning in a target or held seat. All the polling data shows that we have good prospects in a number of target seats.

There was an excellent response and name recognition for Sandy Walkington on my first Friday in St Albans, a constituency I helped in when he first fought it thirty years ago, and with a terrific local team. Last Friday I was with Dorothy Thornhill’s team (see pic) in both ends of the Watford constituency (it takes in part of Three Rivers) and it was great to see, and campaign alongside, really committed councillors and activists.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Securing a future for sustained government investment in cycling and walking

Frankly, this is one of the main reasons I went into politics and am now seeking to become an MP. It’s  amendments to legislation such as this that can mark a step change in how we travel around the places we live on a daily basis and the knock-on effects on health, wellbeing, pollution and congestion.

The Infrastructure Bill, which will dictate the future direction and spending commitments for infrastructure once it becomes an Act, is nearing its conclusion. CTC, the national cycling charity, along with a number of leading transport groups, is demanding a change from the old ways of looking at transport infrastructure, as set out in the following statement:

One of the most important bills going through Parliament this year is approaching its conclusion. The Infrastructure Bill proposes a five year Roads Investment Strategy, but currently makes no similar commitment to long-term funding to vitally increase cycling and walking.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Julian Hupert writes…We need a strategy to promote walking and cycling

We have a huge problem in this country with physical inactivity. Most people do nothing like enough to stay healthy, and as a result problems like obesity and being overweight are very common.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 30 Comments

Julian Huppert MP writes… Carbon and fracking

Climate change is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous threat facing the world today. The evidence could hardly be any clearer – unless we curtail greenhouse gas emissions sharply, the results will be massively detrimental to us all and put the lives of future generations at enormous risk.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 44 Comments

Opinion: Should Britain copy Obama’s capital gains proposals?

President Obama has announced proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy and help those on lower incomes (such as by boosting tax credits). The plans include reforms to capital gains tax (CGT): increasing its rate and ending a loophole. Should we do the same in the UK, and how do the Lib Dems’ proposals compare?

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

LibLink: Baroness Claire Tyler – Mental health matters

Writing on the Liberal Democrat website, Baroness Claire Tyler sets out detailed ways in which government can radically improve the treatment of mental health problems:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Opinion: Tuition fees – grasping the nettle

We have not sold Joe Public the idea that ‘equality of opportunity’ is in the soul, in the very DNA of Liberalism, and the Liberal Democrats, and that was why we pledged free higher education.

Ordinary people do not credit us with Scottish zero tuition fees. They do not realise our non-negotiable condition of joining with the Scottish Labour Party was our policy and that it flew in the face of national Labour Party manifesto then, and since.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 41 Comments

LibLink: Baroness Sally Hamwee – Sending overseas students home is “economic nonsense”

Writing on PoliticsHome, Baroness Sally Hamwee, describes the recently mooted Conservative plans to send overseas students home as “economic nonsense”, which risk the good reputation of the UK:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Deliberately offensive cartoons did not begin in Paris in the last few weeks

george iv a voluptary gillray
James Gillray: “A voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion”, 1792, depicts the Prince of Wales at the time.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 65 Comments

The Green party – should we be panicking?

This post is reserved for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having post less than five comments in the last month.

Yesterday, a poll showed the Green party ahead of the Liberal Democrats by two points. Last week, figures showed that the Green party overtook the LibDems (and UKIP) in terms of membership numbers.

Posted in For new & infrequent commenters, News and Op-eds | Tagged | 30 Comments

Our next post will be for new and infrequent commenters

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday on Liberal Democrat Voice!

Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

Nick Clegg tells Chilcot: People will think your report is being “sexed down”

Following tonight’s news about the further delay in the publication of the Chilcot Report until after the election, Nick Clegg has written to Sir John Chilcott to ask him to get on with it.

Here’s his letter in full 

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Dr Cable, I presume…

I was a wee bit amused by this story from the Spectator about Vince Cable:

Word reaches Steerpike that a number of staff working with the Business Secretary, who has a PhD in Economics, have been advised to refer to him strictly as Dr Vince Cable in written correspondence.

‘We were a bit surprised that Vince Cable won’t do as that’s what we are used to but it apparently has to be Dr Vince,’ a mole whispers.

A Liberal Democrats source says that far from coming as a request from the business secretary himself it’s official guidance that in formal correspondence politicians are referred to by their full title.

The reason I’m amused, apart from the fact that this is obviously another of those “there must be an election coming on” stories, is that I’ve always found Vince to be one of the least pompous politicians I’ve ever met.

Posted in News | Tagged | 14 Comments

16 and 17 year olds in England and Wales have every right to be disappointed

This week the Scottish Parliament and Westminster both pass a Section 30 Order. Section 30 is the bit of the Scotland Act 1998 which allows powers to be given from Westminster to Holyrood. Two years ago a Section 30 Order gave the Scottish Government the power to hold the referendum on independence. This week’s transfers the power to the Scottish Parliament to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the next Holyrood elections which take place in May 2016. It will have to be confirmed by the Privy Council in March but that’s just a formality.

This means that young people in Scotland will have a say on the way their health, education, transport, justice and housing systems are run. We know that giving young people the vote was a massive success in the referendum. My heart swelled up seeing them head into the polling station with real excitement and pride on 18th September. There is surely no excuse for denying them the say at any level. Scottish 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote at Holyrood and local elections – but when it comes to Westminster, they will have no say. Of course this could all change if the next Parliament legislates. They surely can have no excuse to delay.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Lynne Featherstone: Good riddance to Page 3

There’s some interesting discussion on my social media timeline about  the Sun’s decision to stop printing clothes of topless women on Page 3. On one hand you have the male dominated group of people who think this is a dreadful infringement of liberty enacted by sinister feminists with An Agenda. Just you wait, they’ll be after your porn yet, they warn. They don’t like the fact that the No More Page 3 campaign started by Lucy-Anne Holmes and backed by more than 200,000 people has got what it wanted. It’s illiberal, they scream, for one group of people to interfere with the freedoms of others. That’s interesting. Presumably they would also be in favour of continuing to use the deeply racist language that was deemed acceptable when I was a child. Perhaps they’d oppose interfering in employers’ rights to send children up chimneys.

I just wonder how some of the men complaining about this decision if, every single day, there were pictures of naked men in a newspaper in a society where most of the positions of power were occupied by women who were never depicted in such a way. I don’t think they’d like it very much.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

Now, about those secret party elections we told you about the other week…

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about those important party elections, details of which were hidden in an obscure corner of the party website. Well, our stirring did generate a few nominations which meant that there were a good few contested positions.

Federal Executive members voted over last weekend and the results were declared last night. Here they are in full:

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Devolution Dialogue on Democracy Day

Today is “Democracy Day”, a project running across BBC TV and Radio.  It’s fitting that in this same week, Nick Harvey and I have published proposals to bring decisions closer to those whom they affect: a prerequisite for real democracy in Britain.

Here on Liberal Democrat Voice, we have already had considerable debate over the merit of “devolution on demand” as compared to a big-bang, devolution-everywhere-now solution.  My views are well rehearsed!

However, the benefit of the CentreForum Devolution Dialogue in which Nick and I set out our alternative positions is that it brought us together in a greater measure of consensus than we …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Norman Lamb MP writes… We need to talk openly about suicide and work to prevent it

Yesterday was supposedly “blue Monday” – the most depressing day of the year.  The idea was dreamed up in 2005 by a TV marketing campaign to sell holidays and the myth persists.

But yesterday, Nick Clegg and I were talking about something really serious.  Almost 4,700 people took their own lives in 2013 in England alone, and suicide remains one of the biggest killers for men under the age of 50.  We hosted a conference bringing together leading figures in the mental health world to call for an ambition for ‘zero suicides’ across the NHS.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

“What I need is what I think the Liberal Democrats are proposing” says Labour’s Peter Mandelson on Mansion Tax

Well, well. Who would have thought Peter Mandelson of all people would back a Liberal Democrat policy over a Labour one?

The Guardian has the story:

Speaking on Newsnight on BBC2, Mandelson said he favoured finding new ways of taxing property in Britain. But he added: “I don’t happen to think that the mansion tax is the right policy response to that. I think it’s sort of crude, it’s sort of short-termist.

“What we need is what I think the Liberal Democrats are proposing and that is the introduction of further bands that relate to different values of property within the council tax system. That’s what I would like to see. It will take longer to introduce, that’s true, but it will be more effective and efficient in the longer term than simply clobbering people with a rather sort of crude short term mansion tax.”

Mandelson is the latest senior Labour figure to criticise the party’s plan to impose a tax on properties worth more than £2m to help raise £1.2bn towards the £2.5bn costs of a new “Time to Care” NHS fund. This is designed to support 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and 5,000 more care workers by 2020.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 51 Comments

Edinburgh South PPC Pramod Subbaraman explains why he is a Liberal Democrat

We want to tell you as much as we can about the wonderful Liberal Democrats who will be putting themselves before the electorate in May. Our Edinburgh South candidate is Pramod Subbaraman who is a dentist.

Pramod is a dentist and recently, on GDPUK, a site for dental opinion and information, he explained his decision to join the Liberal Democrats, which was rooted in Nick’s sensible stance on immigration. He explains what liberalism means to him:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Nick Clegg’s speech today on mental health

Nick clegg by dave radcliffe, liberal democratsThis is the full text of the speech Nick Clegg gave today at the Mental Health Conference that he co-hosted with Norman Lamb. You can see a video of part of the speech here.

Imagine breaking your leg, only to be told that your nearest care facility was half way across the country, with a long waiting list and no guarantees about when you’ll actually get the help you need. Or developing diabetes but being too scared to tell your family, friends and your boss about what’s happening, because you’re worried about how they might react and possibly losing your job.

If any of these things happened to someone with a serious physical health condition in our country, there would quite rightly be outrage. It would be on the front page of every national newspaper and dominate Prime Minister’s Questions every week. People would be out on the streets calling for reform. But this is exactly the kind of second-class treatment that people with mental health issues have had to endure for decades.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Why I choose to stand in a seat I cannot win, this time

Beckenham_Junction_stn_main_entrance

There are two key reasons I have chosen to stand for a seat in my home constituency of Beckenham.  One reason focuses on achievements of Lib Dems in government and the second focuses on meeting the challenge of extreme voices in UK society today.

As a liberal and democratic thinker I believe that people should always be given a choice. It is ‘choice’ that symbolises freedom, which is at the heart of all free societies and civilizations. During this General Election it is vital for a Lib Dem voice that is unafraid to shout about what we have achieved within the coalition, because there are so many voices raised to suggest that Lib Dems have failed to be effective in government. The Lib Dem policies, listed by Mark Pack in a very clear infographic, would never have seen the light of day in a Tory majority government.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 20 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTim13 31st Jan - 6:59pm
    Stephen Donnelly - John Tilley is right - there are three threads devoted specifically to the Last Leg
  • User AvatarTim13 31st Jan - 6:56pm
    Well, we won't have Strictly, or Bake-off, till Autumn, by which time it will be too late! Not sure when next series of I'm a...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 31st Jan - 6:20pm
    Tony Blair was another notably successful politician who deployed humour and self-deprecation to his advantage, often to defuse some row or embarrassment. Just before his...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 31st Jan - 6:20pm
    @ Tsar Nicolas "This reminds me of all that bs about George W Bush being the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer...
  • User AvatarPBBrown 31st Jan - 6:19pm
    So what should Clegg do next ? Well there's always Strictly, or Great British Bakeoff, or if he's really desperate for exposure how about I'm...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 31st Jan - 6:18pm
    Osborne's and the Tory's primary contention, that they have 'turned the economy around' [along with NC's justification for the Party's support of their austerity program]...