Opinion: Here’s to our fallen comrades

Nearly two weeks have passed since the general election and while much has been analysed in reaction to that fateful day, as the party looks to turn a corner, it is also worth looking back and mentioning all of those good Liberal Democrats now out of office.

The election of 2015 will leave its mark in history for being the election of political scalps. Countless big names lost their jobs while the press looked on in disbelief as three leaders resigned all within a couple of hours of one another (and one even reinstated himself!). However we must also reflect on the loss of a large number of Liberal Democrats and their backroom teams whom the country will sourly miss. From Charles Kennedy in the North of Scotland to David Laws in the South West, Britain has lost many a servant to liberalism and the remaining eight MPs must shout louder than ever to have their voice heard.

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Some thoughts on the art of the apology

It is undoubtedly a good thing that Richard Brett, the Chair of the English Candidates Committee has sent out an apology to candidates for the very poor tone of the email they received on Monday. But did it pass muster?

Initial reports suggest that it is not being particularly well-received by candidates. You know how in an email you have to hook people in that first sentence? I’m not sure that this quite cuts it:

I am aware that the e-mail sent out on Monday upset some of you with its tone and I am very sorry if this was the case for you.

It doesn’t exactly say “I’m sorry you were upset”, but it’s a bit stilted. Sometimes it’s best to just say something like: “We got this wrong, and we are very sorry. We will learn for the future.”

Commendably, though, it explicitly stated what we knew already that the wording had absolutely nothing to do with the member of staff who sent it out, but had been agreed between Richard and his vice-chair Margaret Joachim. It’s good to see that personal acceptance of responsibility.

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

Opinion: #libdempint shows new members are proud of our record in coalition

On Monday night, four friends and I (all new members) hosted #libdempint, an informal event for fellow newbies in London. The original plan was to meet up together and share a drink or two. We thought we might get a couple of random strangers come along and make pleasant but slightly awkward political conversation with us. Instead, we had 100 fellow newcomers attend, three official speakers (Rob Blackie, Elaine Bagshaw and Tom Brake MP), and a couple of pretty interesting gatecrashers – a couple of lovely fellows called Tim Farron and Nick Clegg.

Needless to say, we hadn’t really expected any of this. Interest in what we’d set up has been phenomenal – national media have been interested but more importantly our follow up event next week is already fully booked, and so we’re putting on a third in the coming weeks.

All of this speaks to the very real sense of (perhaps renewed) energy that abounds in the party at the moment, as thousands of new members continue to sign up.

But among the hundreds of email conversations the five of us have had with some of these newbies over the last 10 days, as well as the face-to-face discussions we all had on Monday night, something else has become clear to us: a common thread woven through the motives of many of these people signing up to support the Liberal Democrat party.

That thread is a palpable determination to not let the last five years be brushed under the carpet.  Many of the people I spoke to on Monday night expressed this with no little passion. There seems to be both a fear that the party may react by recoiling from its time in government, and a consensus that to do so would not only be a waste, it would send a signal that the party believes it made a mistake going into coalition. We didn’t. We made a difference. We must always – always – be proud of that.

Posted in Op-eds | 36 Comments

Opinion: Fighting to win you back

The Liberal Democrats and the public have been going through a messy divorce. Things haven’t been right for some time and there is no shying away from it.

Perhaps the problems started when we were unfaithful and began a fleeting affair with the Tories? And when the lies began, including over how to fund the children’s university education, it was clear that there had been a breakdown in trust which we were always going to struggle to repair (things are always more complex when kids are involved).

I know we didn’t pay you enough attention, preferring to spend time on the things that mattered to us likes Lords Reform and the AV referendum. Instead we should have tried to love the things that you were passionate about like making sure there were jobs for everyone, lowering the cost of living, putting food on the table and improving healthcare and schooling. They should have mattered to us, because they mattered to you. We should have taken you to the ballet, even though we loath it!

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LoveProudly: An interview with Stephen Donnan about the fight for Marriage Equality in Ireland (North and South)

Tomorrow Ireland votes on whether to allow equal marriage. I recently interviewed Stephen Donnan who is one of the founders of LoveProudly , a grassroots group dedicated to marriage equality across all of Ireland. He is also a former Chair of the LGBT group in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

Mathew: Stephen, tell us a bit about this new initiative.

Stephen: Well, basically, Mathew loveproudly was set up by myself and a number of other activists from Belfast, Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland to facilitate and support the calls for Equal Marriage in both Northern Ireland and in the Republic.

We want to promote and campaign for Marriage Equality and highlight the existing inequalities in the law in both jurisdictions, but in a positive and constructive way.

We don’t want to indulge in the campaign of fear and division; that isn’t what loveproudly is about and we want to follow in the example set by MarriageEquality and Equal Marriage NI.

MH: It sounds great, Stephen, so is this a cross-party campaign?

SD: It’s strictly independent of endorsing or being endorsed by any one political party.

I am not doing this within the confines of a political party, however we have had input and support from various political representatives across the spectrum and across the border.

MH: So what campaigning have you done and will you be doing?

SD: Our first aim was to get the message out about who we are and what we are aiming to achieve and I think we did that successfully when we launched on Valentine’s Day.

Our next step is formulating a plan with the two campaigns.

There is a Marriage Equality referendum in the Republic of Ireland on May 22nd and while we are optimistic we are still very far from an assured Yes vote.

We will be canvassing with the YesEquality campaign in the south and getting the word out on why a Yes vote is so crucial.

MH: How’s it looking in the Republic…and what influence has Equal Marriage having become law in England, Scotland and Wales had on people there?

SD: It is clear that we are living in changed times.

The recognition of same sex marriage in the rest of the UK, and in places as unimaginable as Slovenia and North Carolina, has had a massive impact on the debate here.

If Ireland and NI want to be seen as part of Europe, part of a diverse future where same-sex couples can celebrate their relationships freely and safely, then there’s nothing to lose from a Yes vote in the referendum.

Polls are showing that it will pass but that could lead to complacency and that would be fatal for us.

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Opinion: Conservative health policies are short on detail

What have the Conservatives said on health so far? Their manifesto makes big promises – but is vague on detail.

NHS England’s Five Year Forward View called for £8 billion more annually by 2020 (alongside £22 billion efficiency savings) to maintain NHS standards.

Liberal Democrats were the first to sign up to this – and we set out clearly how to fund it. The Conservatives matched this – but give no details on funding this other than the ‘recovering economy’.

Lamb also called for a (much-needed!) cross-party Review of NHS & Social Care funding.

David Cameron yesterday proposed 7-day hospital services and 7-day extended hours GP access, offering 5,000 extra GP’s.

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What Lib Dem Voice members think about Nick Clegg stepping down as leader

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of the General Election results. Some 1065 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Was Nick Clegg right in standing down on Friday?

Posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged | 78 Comments

Tim Farron talks to Pink News about his record on LGBT issues, disestablishing the Church of England and the Lib Dems’ “massive embarrassment”

Tim Farron has given an extensive interview to Pink News in which he directly addresses his voting record on LGBT issues and announces some key policy initiatives he wants to take forward.

His three ideas are:

One, when it comes to the equal marriage legislation, I think we really missed a trick on trans issues. On the spousal veto, I think it’s an appalling thing that one person is allowed to block another person’s freedom. We should be making that a priority.

Secondly, it strikes me as deeply troubling is that there was no regulation of psychotherapists in the UK for quack conversion therapy.

Thirdly, we’ve got to end the gay blood ban, which is a disgrace. My pledge to you is that my first opposition day bill will be getting rid of the gay blood ban. All of these things need to be based on the science, not on prejudice.

One issue which has been widely discussed in recent days on social media is the fact that he voted against the motion to give time and money to the Same Sex Marriage Bill, although he never actually opposed the Bill itself, voting in favour at second reading and abstaining at third reading.

He says it’s because he was unhappy that there was insufficient time to fully scrutinise several aspects of it:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 71 Comments

Norman Lamb praised by Guardian for his work as care minister

There’s praise in the Guardian for Norman Lamb’s work on mental health and for his efforts on social care. They assess him as a good but not a great minister – although they then go on to make pretty clear that the things he couldn’t deliver were because they were blocked by the Tories. Norman’s judgement on what needed to be done seems to have been pretty much exemplary:

First, on mental health:

Once in post, Lamb threw himself into the role with gusto. He combined a heavy Westminster workload – not least ensuring passage of the watershed Care Act – with a remorseless programme of visits to observe care practice and engage with professionals, carers and people who use services. He always seemed accessible: approached by strangers on the train from his North Norfolk constituency to London, he would happily set aside his papers and chat.

Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, says: “Norman combined insight and integrity to help ensure a landmark piece of social care legislation was delivered with people across the sector. The time he took to listen to those working at the frontline was always invaluable and appreciated. He can look back knowing that he made a difference.”

One difference that Lamb undoubtedly made, or at least helped in no small part to make, was the greatly enhanced profile of mental health. Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, describes him as “a fantastic advocate” who was clearly passionate about the cause. “As minister, he was involved in a number of key drives to improve mental health services, from the crisis care concordat to the introduction of the first waiting times and access standards for mental health.”

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Opinion: Could we have a #libdemfightback conference, please?

On 16 May 2010, 10 days after the general election, the Lib Dems organised a special conference to debate the Coalition Agreement. It was put together in four days.

As Duncan Brack, then Chair of the Federal Conference Committee put it “In holding this special conference we are demonstrating again that we are a democratic party which listens to and trusts its members.”  It also gave the impression of a party which is nimble enough to react swiftly to major developments.

On the morning after the general election on 7 May 2015, I woke up to the sad news that we no longer had a Lib Dem MP, the Parliamentary party had been decimated to just 8 and Nick Clegg was announcing his resignation. The perspective that the Conservatives had been given enough MPs to inflict their darkest, illiberal whims on the country for the next five years was even worse.

On Facebook, Mark Pack posted the news that the new Lib Dem leader will be elected by July. Yes, I thought, we do need a new leader to fight this situation urgently.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Opinion: Now is the time for social liberals to organise, and quickly

A member for 13 years, this is only the fifth time (out of five) that I have been a candidate and lost; it’s only the ninth set of elections that I have been involved with, all of which have been characterised by losses.  I realise that I am only a beginner compared to many folk in this wonderful political family of ours.

In our part of the world, there are elections (of some form or other) almost every year.  And I admit, particularly after the results became clear last Thursday, to have started to flag a bit.

But as the days have gone by since polling day, I have gradually begun to take heart.

Much has been made of the encouraging numbers of people that are joining the party.  The era of everything being the Lib Dems’ fault is now well and truly over.  As a result of Nick’s gracious resignation, we have the opportunity of a leadership election in which we can, as a party, make an important decision about the future.

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | Tagged and | 46 Comments

Opinion: The Human Rights Act – undemocratic and illiberal

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Liberals (with a small “L”) believe that society should not be governed by immutable dogma. New laws can be created when required and old laws changed or removed. Immutable revelation only applies to religion.

Not everyone believes that laws should be subject to the uncertainty of the democratic process. For decades the Soviet Union relied on the absolute principles of Marx and Lenin. Some religions provide God-given legal codes. But for liberals, laws are the work of humans and must be subject to democratic change.

It is therefore strange that the Liberal Democratics support the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which cannot be amended or corrected by our democratic process, or indeed any democratic process. Changes to its existing provisions must be unanimously agreed by members of the Council of Europe (which despite its name is completely independent of the EU): its 47 member states include countries as diverse as Russia, Turkey and Monaco.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 60 Comments

Opinion: What does Nick do next?

Given our new position in parliament with eight MPs, we’ll be handing out multiple portfolios to whoever can possibly take them – and I suspect, Lords, AMs and MSPs as well, where necessary. This is by no means a bad thing. We have fantastic members in all parliamentary institutions, and the devolved ones in particular could do with being taken more seriously. The only issue being they cannot then hold their respective ministers to account. The main question that strikes me now though is with a more or less inevitable EU referendum and being the most unapologetically pro-EU party – who takes the EU portfolio?

It has been suggested that Nick could lead the ‘In’ campaign in such a referendum, I assume doing a similar job as Alistair Darling did for Better Together. On paper, I can’t imagine anyone more qualified despite the fact I don’t think any such unified campaign being a good idea. For the purposes of this article however, I’ll work with the idea. For the merits that are pointed out in the above article;

Throughout his time in government he was an enormous asset to Cameron in international diplomacy, especially – but not exclusively – with Europe. Foreign policy was never Cameron’s forte, either as leader of the Opposition or during his first term as PM. “Abroad” was where Cameron made most of his misjudgements – all by himself.

There are few people better qualified on foreign policy and in particular Europe than Clegg. I’m hesitant to mention Tony Blair, setting aside one major caveat, perhaps a close rivalry. For obvious reasons, Blair doesn’t even make the short list for such a hypothetical position.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 31 Comments

Opinion: The right is winning on Facebook and votes, but the left on Twitter

facebook and twitterI have been thinking why it seems that right wing parties are more toxic than left wing parties. Is this true? Or is it simply my prejudices? Is there anything in the “shy Tory” phenomenon?

It does seem that popular culture is more left leaning, but I thought some numbers would help us understand society better and also help Liberal Democrats decide who to vote for in the upcoming leadership election.

For this analysis I have used the Facebook likes, Twitter followers and 2015 General Election votes for the following parties: Conservatives, UKIP, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Liberal Democrats, Labour, the SNP, The Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party and Plaid Cymru. I didn’t use Sinn Fein because they campaign throughout the whole of Ireland and I didn’t use any other parties that I deemed to be “minor”.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Video: Young activists say thanks to Nick Clegg

The production values aren’t maybe the slickest, but that doesn’t matter.  This heartfelt video made by young activists shows what Nick’s leadership has meant to them. Some people have agreed with Nick more than others over the years, but there is no doubt that there is much to thank him for.

Enjoy.

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Rennie: Scottish Liberal Democrats are listening

It’s 4 years since Willie Rennie became Scottish Liberal Democrat leader this week. He was elected in the wake of a crushing electoral defeat and he celebrates this anniversary in the wake of another one. That is despite him regularly being credited with landing some real blows on the SNP administration at Holyrood with not even 5% of MSPs. Let’s just look at some of the accolades he and his small team have received.

Within weeks of him becoming leader the journalists were full of praise:

A doughty campaigner, with an unpatronising down-to-earth style, Mr Rennie may grow into an impressive leader, building a level of credibility… The Herald

Amid what was… a general air of gloom, there was one bright spark.  This was the performance of Willie Rennie, the new leader of the much depleted Liberal Democrats, whose brief sojourn in the Commons seems to have at least taught him how to frame decent questions, on this occasion about Mr MacAskill’s outrageous behaviour.”  Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph (not a known fan of the Liberal Democrats, to put it mildly)

“The former Scottish Lib Dem chief executive has made a decent start and showed he wasn’t afraid to throw a punch”  Andrew Whitaker, Scotsman

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Opinion: Thinking on a delusion

On the morning after the General Election, feeling rather shell-shocked by the results, I turned on the radio and caught John Dowland’s lute song In darkness let me dwell. The music captured the feeling of the moment, but context was more thought-provoking: a Radio 4 programme The glass delusion, exploring a seventeenth-century phenomenon of people thinking they were turning into glass.

The link to Dowland was because melancholia was seen as a disease of the imagination. That flowering of melancholic music and the glass delusion were reflections of what was going on in society at the time.

Delusions are manufactured symptoms which make life bearable: they beg the question of what someone with a delusion is escaping from. Freud’s influential essay Mourning and Melancholia suggests that the two look very similar, but in mourning there is a clear sense of what has been lost, but in melancholia it is something unknown, or unacknowledged, so melancholia is more generalised.

This leaves me thinking about the election. We face some big issues: globalisation, climate change, the European Union, and the potential breakup of the UK. These were barely mentioned. Even talk of the NHS focused on money and fantasies of threats, ducking the real issues of increased life expectancy and fear of death.

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

What Lib Dem Voice members would like to see our defeated MPs do now

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of the General Election results. Some 1065 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Of the former MPs which stood for election, but failed to regain their seats we asked if you would like to see them Enter the House of Lords; Run for Mayor of London; Start work on 2020; Go on I’m a Celebrity or have no answer.
There was only one choice per MP, and I regret not asking about the Scottish Parliament / Welsh Assembly.

Below are the selected highlights:

Posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged | 9 Comments

Introducing LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

lGBT+ lib dems logoNew members have been asking about Lib Dem organisations that they can join.  You are welcome to submit similar items on behalf of other organisations.

The Liberals were the first party to support gay rights in a general election manifesto. The Lib Dems opposed Section 28 from the start, were the first to call for legal gender recognition for trans people, literally wrote the law on civil partnerships and were the first major party to support same-sex marriage, which was pushed through in Government by Lynne Featherstone as Equalities minister.

It’s clear that as a party we’ve always been there for LGBT+ people, and we always will. Liberalism is inherently opposed to conformity, and our party is constitutionally supportive of people regardless of gender orsexuality. However, there is room for an organisation which proactively advances the cause of equality and liberation.

LGBT+ Lib Dems, like its predecessor organisations, exists to promote the needs of LGBT+ people. We have ensured that the Lib Dems have been ahead of professional organisations such as Stonewall. As a recognised party body we submit policy straight to the Conference floor. We help the Lib Dems get the details right to make the best difference to LGBT+ peoples’ lives.

Posted in Lib Dem organisations and Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

How not to motivate your exhausted, defeated candidates…

Let’s be honest, every single person who stood for the Liberal Democrats at the last election is a superstar. It would have been all to easy for people to decide to sit this one out because it was unlikely that we were ever going to make much in the way of progress outside our held seats. As it turned out, despite all the effort that wonderful teams on the ground put in, our parliamentary ranks were much depleted.

Yes, we will fight back, but we are all still really feeling it. Ed’s poignant piece On Being Beaten outlined the far-reaching effects of a bruising electoral defeat. At this time the Liberal Democrat family needs to be pulling together and looking after each other.

Sadly, looking after each other is something we haven’t been so good at in the past. We’ve tended to leave people who have put everything into their campaigns to lick their own wounds when they’ve lost, without showing enough appreciation and gratitude.

I thought we’d done better this time. Our peers, who were also campaign superstars, campaigning up and down the country, spent the weekend after the election phoning and thanking every candidate. I know how much that meant to my two.

It really looked like we had learned something. Another good thing about this election was that there were no inappropriate campaign emails to devastated members, candidates and activists. That is, until yesterday.

After every election, candidates are always asked to give feedback on the campaign and local parties are asked to give a report on their candidates. So far, so routine. Except yesterday’s “invitation” to participate was written in a most unappealing and demotivating manner, threatening people that if they didn’t complete the process (with one deadline being next Monday), they’d be dumped from the approved list. Here’s an excerpt:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 68 Comments

Opinion: “Britain isn’t a democracy – we can’t possibly say that!” Yes we can!

When I was at secondary school in the early 1970s, my history teacher was a man with a passion for his subject who always encouraged critical discussion. So while he taught us enthusiastically about British “democracy”, he was indulgent towards me when I challenged his assertion following the February 1974 election: the one where the Tories came top with 11.9 million votes (297 seats), Labour “won” with 11.6 million votes (301 seats) and the Liberals’ six million votes delivered 14 members of the House of Commons.

The reality is that the outcome of every election before and since 1974 has been unfair to a greater or lesser extent. Labour got more than nine times as many seats as the Liberal-SDP Alliance in 1983 with just 2% more of the vote. Tony Blair had a comfortable overall majority with 35.2% in 2005 while David Cameron fell well short five years later with 36.1%.

The 2015 election is more striking than most. The SNP got 95% of Scotland’s seats on just under half the vote. Each SNP MP represents roughly 25,000 voters while almost 3.9 million ballots were cast to get Douglas Carswell into Parliament. 51 of the 55 seats in South-West England are Conservative and Labour is the only other party with representation in that region.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 36 Comments

Elaine Bagshaw launches Tower Hamlets mayoral bid

Elaine BagshawElaine Bagshaw launched her campaign for Mayor of Tower Hamlets on Saturday, saying that the borough is in need of a clean-up and a resilient, bold, Liberal Democrat voice in our Tower Hall. The position of mayor is vacant following the conviction of Lutfur Rahman for breaches of election law.

Elaine lives and works in the borough and is offering new ideas and a fresh vision including:

  • Making sure that there are affordable homes for working families, by ensuring that all new developments in the borough include an allocation of social housing
  • Delivering

Posted in Local government and News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Paul Scriven writes… Be very clear about who we are

From the off let’s be clear, the UK has a centre left party called the Labour Party and a centre right party too; the Conservative Party.

If this is the case then why are some in the Liberal Democrats talking about a move to the left and some a move to the right? I personally don’t get that debate.

Recent history shows that moving left is to build our party on the fickle quick sand of shifting political fashion. We tried to be a “left wing party” when Labour wasn’t popular and looked what happened. People didn’t come to us because we …

Posted in Op-eds | 177 Comments

Opinion: Human rights? Don’t forget animal rights…

 

It wasn’t a passion for human rights that attracted me to the Liberal Democrats, but animal rights.

Five weeks ago, I hadn’t even registered to vote. I’d given up on politics, but something about this election spoke to me and I suddenly wanted a say, rushing to get my name down just before the deadline.

But who to vote for?

I thought about what mattered to me. Animals mattered to me. We share the earth with them, yet often they come off worse in that deal. Their freedom’s been compromised. They need protection – more than often from us.

So, I got on the case. I e-mailed all the main parties, asking what they were doing to protect and promote the welfare of animals. The Lib Dems were the first to get back, highlighting the progress they’d made while in government. Working with farmers, retailers and consumers to ensure full compliance of the EU’s ban on battery cages; pressing the European Commission to properly enforce a ban on sow stalls and promoting EU rules to support a humane and sustainable farming system for animals across the board.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 19 Comments

SPONSORED: Cheaper, Simpler, Faster, Quieter – with Gatwick, Britain’s new runway can actually happen

With a new Government in place, the issue of airport expansion will become one of the first major decisions for the new administration to make.

Cheaper. Simpler. Faster. Quietier.

Despite a new intake of MPs, a new Government and a new Cabinet, the same divisions of old remain with opponents to Heathrow resolute.

Posted in Sponsored Post | 13 Comments

Opinion: The passing of the torch

When I joined the Liberal Democrats, I told my family that I didn’t join for a job or for a career; sadly for too many that was the reality on 8th May.

We should thank, above all else, colleagues in HQ and around the country who campaigned tirelessly and with such dedication. They deserved much better and we owe them so much.

Charles Kennedy was straight off the mark with his thanks and in return I would like to thank him. Thank him for his service, for inspiring a generation of activists including myself, and for giving me the opportunity to work …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Introducing the Social Liberal Forum

New members have been asking about Lib Dem organisations that they can join.  You are welcome to submit similar items on behalf of other organisations.

Social Liberal ForumWhat we believe

The Social Liberal Forum exists to foster debate within and beyond the Liberal Democrats, with the aim of developing social liberal solutions to the challenges facing the country, and which find popular support.

The ethos that underpins the Social Liberal Forum has remained unchanged since its formation in 2009, and is best described as the belief that a democratic and open state has a positive role to play in guaranteeing individual freedom.

Like all liberals, social liberals believe that individuals should have the freedom to develop and grow as they wish. The creation, protection and nurturing of this freedom should be a central objective of all governments.

Posted in Lib Dem organisations | Tagged | 36 Comments

Opinion: Three opportunities for us to do better as a political party

Understanding what party membership and political volunteering really means to people in 2015

I have always felt that we have missed on all the learning from the voluntary sector about how to motivate and engage volunteers, but in 2015 we need to go even further than that. Just like the electorate we need to know a lot more about our members, their motivations, their skills and the ways they want to be useful.

Technology allows to engage all our members in different ways that are not bound by geography (which bearing in mind our lack of organisation in many local parties this …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 20 Comments

Opinion: The anti-Tory electoral alliance – a statistician’s look

I’m a data analyst by trade – I’m no activist or political strategist, so I have little else to offer to the party other than analysis of the election results. And I have been playing with the data since the election, trying to figure out the most optimal way to stop the Tory juggernaut from taking over Britain.

I found there was one way to win these elections (or the next, if nothing changes) away from Tories. Not for the Lib Dems – it was far too late for that – but for the nation as a whole. A way practised in this country only in times of great national danger, but nothing out of ordinary on the continent, in countries like Germany, France or Netherlands: an electoral alliance.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 60 Comments

Opinion: Politics as if we were in the 21st century

 

So, we’ve had a bounce of new members. The fight back begins and we’re planning how to make the Lib Dems strong again. All great stuff.

But hold on a minute. This is the biggest opportunity in my lifetime to change progressive politics for the better, and drag parties that were born in the 19th and 20th centuries into the 21st. But if we’re to grasp that opportunity, surely we need to think beyond just our own party?

I’ve written elsewhere about how the Liberal brand is weak – see: The Lib Dems need to appeal to people’s hearts, not their heads  – but more fundamentally, politics is weak. About a third of people don’t vote at all whilst many (a majority?) view politicians as self-serving, elitist or irrelevant to their lives. Even those who vote often do so without enthusiasm. Will all this be changed by a resurgence of the Lib Dem party alone? I doubt it will be sufficient.

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

  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 30th May - 12:48am
    @AWills Due to the massacre at the election the number of privately educated MP's we have has fallen massively of course, but the fact remains...
  • User AvatarMavarine Du-Marie 30th May - 12:16am
    @Peter: I presume you mean something constructive in the proposal (with perhaps a hint of utopia). Cordially,
  • User AvatarAWills 30th May - 12:07am
    I'm sorry but if we think that by making the MPs look more diverse we can change our fortunes we are mistaken. It's a desirable...
  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 29th May - 11:49pm
    I fear that until we find a new leader with suitable charisma and the ability to connect with the public, the national party will continue...
  • User AvatarPeter 29th May - 11:15pm
    Mavarine Du-Marie - I presume you are talking about the right to have children. Of course, everyone should have the opportunity to experience this joy,...
  • User AvatarMavarine Du-Marie 29th May - 11:08pm
    @Peter: "The right to enjoy endless money provided by others would be a wonderful thing." I thought that was what marriage "to death do us...
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