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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the  14911 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Nick v Nigel: the polls call it for Farage. Disappointing, but don’t panic! Here’s 3 reasons why you shouldn’t… (56 comments) by Stephen Tall

Nick v Nigel Round 2, My second thoughts  (39 comments) by Stephen Tall

UKIP’s success masks its existential crisis (40 comments) by Caspian Conran

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

UPDATED: Full list of Lib Dems standing in our held seats and top 50 targets

We’re little more than a year from the May 2015 election so here’s my latest running check on how candidate selection is going in our held and key target seats…

Lib Dems winning hereI published a first draft of this list at the start of October, and asked readers to help me update it. Many thanks to those of you who have helped me keep it updated, including the party’s Candidates Services Office. Here’s the latest version of the list of (re-)selections in our held seats and the top 50 targets for the party.

It’s a snapshot of how the party’s doing in getting people in place in the battleground seats that will determine the extent of Lib Dem influence in the next parliament:

Posted in Selection news | Tagged | 4 Comments

Stephen Lotinga appointed as Nick Clegg’s new Director of Communications

stephen lotingaReaders may recall the rather brief tenure of Emma Gilpin-Jacobs as Nick Clegg’s Director of Communications – she left after a few weeks in the job “because my strategic global, corporate-focused communications experience will be better utilised in a less day-to day-political operational role”.

Her replacement has now been appointed. Here’s how Nick’s chief of staff, Jonny Oates, announced the news:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

Alison McInnes MSP writes…The Scottish Justice Secretary is wrong to say stop and search is an operational matter

Police stop and search1st April 2014 marked the 1st anniversary of Police Scotland, a single national police force that replaced our 8 regional forces.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats were the only group in the Scottish Parliament to oppose the national force from the outset.

One of the key strengths of Scotland’s policing up until then had been its local foundations.  Funded by local councils, managed by local officers and officials, accountable to locally elected representatives, responsive to local needs.

photo by: Tony Austin
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Norman Lamb MP writes: Ending face down restraint

Department of health, mental health care reportI am sure that many of you will remember the stories about the Winterbourne View scandal a couple of years ago.  Vulnerable residents with autism and learning difficulties were subjected to shocking abuse from those who should have been protecting and caring for them.  The review that was carried out into the scandal highlighted the widespread and inappropriate use of physical restraint, including dangerous face-down restraint, at the hospital.

As a Liberal Democrat I am committed to tackling poor quality care, and ensuring that everyone in …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Opinion: I will not hide…

rainbow flag on white background  : harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012)Boy, has this been a tough week. This week I suffered some homophobia. This is tough to write.

It came in the form of an e-mail from someone who should know better, but sadly doesn’t.

Someone who believes their faith gives them the right to put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and accuse me of being immoral.

I’ve been lucky since I came out as a gay man, in 2011, in that I’ve faced very little homophobia (at least that …

photo by: torbakhopper
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 16 Comments

Liberal Democrat peers support asylum seekers’ right to work

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodThe Immigration Bill is currently going through its final stages in the House of Lords. On Thursday, Liberal Democrat peers, led by Roger Roberts, tried to amend it by inserting a clause which would have entitled asylum seekers to work after 6 months.

Roger told me that he was not able to press the amendment to a vote because it received no support from either Labour or Conservative front benches. This, he felt, was grossly unfair given George Osborne’s desire for full employment and Labour’s …

photo by: kateausburn
Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

What’s on in our Parliaments next week? 7-10 April

Houses of ParliamentThe Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are in recess next week, but Westminster is still sitting.

House of Commons

The Commons is still dealing with the Finance Bill, implementing the measures in the Budget. There, is however, a Justice and Home Affairs debate on Monday.

Communities & Local Government, Foreign Office, the Department of International Development (therefore Lynne Featherstene) and Business, Innovation and Skills face questions.

photo by: wwarby
Posted in Parliament | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Nick v Nigel – Cheer up Liberal Democrats (and other pro-Europeans)

Farage cleggSome Liberal Democrats, and other pro-Europeans, seem to be rather down about the outcome of the Nick v Nigel debate. Certainly it is depressing to see your fellow citizens support a man who professes admiration for Vladimir Putin. But Nick Clegg really was up against first-class populism on Wednesday night. Farage dropped every conceivable fear or concern about the modern world at the door of the European Union. Would you like an end to war, waste, politicians, people speaking foreign on the train and every problem the outside world bothers …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 37 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems help end roaming charges, UKIP back higher phone bills

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 18.00.12Another week, another success for Lib Dems in the European Parliament. This week it was hammering the final nails into the coffin of mobile roaming charges in Europe. From the end of next year, the extra fees for using your mobile phone in another EU country – already reduced significantly in recent years – will be scrapped entirely.

It’s another practical, common sense measure which means good news for consumers – despite resistance from the telecoms sector.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Lord Navnit Dholakia appointed as Chair of the Diversity Engagement Group

Some rights reserved by Keith EdkinsIt’s been announced tonight that Baroness Sal Brinton is stepping down as Chair of the Diversity Engagement Group. Nick Clegg paid tribute to her work in the role:

Her hard work and dedication have clearly demonstrated the commitment of the party to becoming more representative of British society, and ensuring that the targets set for increased diversity are met. The Leadership Programme is a significant and important part of that dynamic, giving outstanding candidates from under-represented groups the skills that they will need to win seats in

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | 1 Comment

Scotland mourns Margo MacDonald MSP

Contains Scottish Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.There won’t be a dry eye anywhere in Scottish politics this afternoon. Margo MacDonald, the spirited, warm-hearted, funny, plain-speaking, independent minded MSP for Lothians died this lunchtime.

Margo shot to prominence after winning the Govan by-election in 1973. Although she lost her seat in the General Election 2 months later, she made an impact on Scottish politics. She never returned to Westminster, but has been one of the real stars of the Scottish Parliament over the last 15 years. She …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Crimea/Palestine – unfavourable comparisons

As a Liberal Democrat one is appalled by the heavy handed way that Russia has moved into Crimea with an apology for a referendum. It may be the wish of the majority but this invasion is totally against international law and indeed tears up the post-Soviet treaty between Russia and Ukraine. The criticism of Russia is led by the USA and strongly supported by the rest of Europe. Many in Europe and the Middle East are wondering why the same critics have been so mute in the face of not dissimilar aggression and occupation of Palestine by …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Chart of the day: how spending on day-to-day public services will have been cut by 37% by 2018-19

It is simply not true – as our critics on the left pretend – that we are slashing and burning the state. By the end of this Parliament, public spending will still be 42% of GDP. That’s higher than at any time between 1995 and when the banks crashed, in 2008.

    Nick Clegg, 10th March 2013

It’s a soothing line from Nick Clegg, designed to reassure Lib Dems that the Coalition’s austerity programme is simply curbing the spending excess of the Blair/Brown years.

photo by: Images_of_Money
Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 24 Comments

Opinion: Towards a sensible welfare system

Piles of money. Photo credit: czbalazs - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1236662Where is the development of Lib Dem welfare policy? It’s hard to see any. Even the recent living standards policy paper (pdf) said “we do not believe that this paper is the appropriate place to determine a Liberal Democrat approach to welfare reform. this is an area that needs further debate within the Party.”

We all want a society in which technology, employment, education, high pay, low inequality, progressive taxation and cheap homes reduce the need for means-tested benefits, but this long-term …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Our survival lies on the back of moderate Conservatives whether we like it or not

True blue supporterFor many of our voters the Lib Dems have always been a party to the left of British politics. A party who has more in common with Labour than the Tories, and who sees their chief enemy as the Conservatives. However, our survival now rests on winning over the very people who many of us once wrote off as true blue Tories.

The fracture on the right of British politics gives a significant opportunity to unite around a fiscally conservative but socially liberal banner: the same banner which is being …

photo by: pigliapost
Posted in Op-eds | 86 Comments

Sarah Ludford MEP writes… on roaming charges and net neutrality

Smartphone bar.Liberal Democrats have long championed ease of communication and information exchange, and been alert to threats to online freedoms. Both at Westminster and in the European Parliament, we have fought aspects of measures to combat child sexual exploitation or copyright infringement which could infringe on internet access rights.

At our recent party conference in York we adopted a call for a Digital Bill of Rights, noting that ‘the internet has the power to liberate, to educate, to bring people closer together, and to boost our economy’. The threat in our sights …

Posted in News | 31 Comments

Opinion: How we made policy on asylum issues

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodEver wondered how party policy is made? I was on the “Immigration, Asylum and Identity” Policy Working Group, and the process has taken a whole year. Living in the north east, I daren’t begin to add up the cost of the fares, and food on the move, for meetings every 10 days on an evening in London, but it was an opportunity to get some good and Liberal policies for the Party for those asylum seekers who seek sanctuary in the UK.

Between March and …

photo by: kateausburn
Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 14 Comments

The Swiss Wheeze: the Better Off Out argument that’s full of holes

Swiss CheeseIf only we were Switzerland, eh? That’s the dream of the Better Off Out brigade, who long for its freedom as part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). And it’s a tempting offer: all the benefits of free trade with EU member states, and (if you believe Nigel Farage, Dan Hannan et al) none of the risks.

Except it’s not quite that easy, as The Economist highlighted when it investigated Britain’s options.

photo by: Filter Forge
Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 19 Comments

Nick v Nigel: What the commentators say – and don’t say

Farage cleggWell, there’s a surprise. After last week’s largely positive stories, the headlines aren’t so good this week. It’s interesting to see that those who called for Nick to be more passionate and to go less on the detail weren’t satisfied when he did just that. I wonder if last week’s coverage prompted too much of a strategic rethink to an approach that was working fine. In my opinion, the only thing that needed changing from the LBC debate was a stronger answer on the referendum question, especially as it …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 49 Comments

Opinion: The reason an EU Referendum is a bad idea is one that no politician dare utter

European Union flagWe are constantly told that we “need” a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union. Here’s the thing: we don’t. We don’t actually need a referendum on anything just now. Referenda are, in general, actually a bad idea.

They are vital every once in a while: the vote happening in Scotland on September 18th of this year is a good example. The government of Scotland is made up of nationalists who want to make Scotland an independent country. To legislate directly for this would be unthinkable, so …

photo by: YanniKouts
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 63 Comments

Lord James Palumbo’s maiden speech

"Frozen Poetry" - Houses of Parliament, LondonIt is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. On 6 March, Lord Palumbo made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the contribution of women to economic life. His words are reproduced below.

Lord Palumbo of Southwark (LD): My Lords, I thank my …

photo by: Gaurav Pradhan
Posted in News, Parliament and Speeches | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Party gets smart over fundraising

Pound coins with no dateWe know that the Obama campaign made great use of micro-fundraising during its two successful campaigns. If you are signed up to the emails, you’ll know the kind of thing. You get an email asking you to donate $5 before midnight to get a chance to have dinner with Obama or some (other) celebrity.

The Liberal Democrats have been experimenting a lot with that sort of thing. During the Eastleigh by-election I had a whole host of emails, with increasingly emotional appeals, designed to get me in my …

photo by: Images_of_Money
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

Nick v Nigel: the polls call it for Farage. Disappointing, but don’t panic! Here’s 3 reasons why you shouldn’t…

Farage cleggLast week we had one post-debate poll. It showed Farage won overall, but the split was more interesting: Labour and Lib Dem voters went for Nick, Tory and Ukippers for Nigel. As you’d probably expect.

This week we had two post-debate polls, and their results are remarkably similar. ICM says Clegg was reckoned to have won by 31% of viewers, Farage by 69%. YouGov says 27% preferred Clegg, 68% Farage.

ICM has released the breakdown of its poll. This week, Labour voters split (narrowly) in Farage’s favour, by 57% …

Posted in Op-eds and Polls | Tagged , and | 56 Comments

Nick v Nigel, Round 2: My second thoughts

clegg farage lbcLast week, there was no doubt in my mind that Nick Clegg won the debate – he quite simply out-classed Nigel Farage, and YouGov’s poll showed Labour and Lib Dem voters agreed (though not Tory and Ukip voters).

This week, it was much more evenly matched. The early part belonged to Nick. With the focus on the Ukip leader’s praise for Vladimir Putin as a “brilliant operator”, Nigel Farage was always going to be on the back-foot. He was, and Nick was able successfully to claim the calm …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 39 Comments

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #369

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 369thth 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 (23 - 29 March, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

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: It’s official – Lib Dems are “most successful and influential” in Europe

Europe Day - European Union - Some rights reserved by Niccolò CarantiAhead of the second EU debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage this evening, a timely new report has found that Liberal Democrats are the most influential British party in the European Parliament.

The analysis of MEPs’ voting records from VoteWatch Europe over the past five years by think tank Policy Network, finds that Liberal Democrats are the “most successful coalition partner” in the European Parliament and “have played a central role in policy-making in both Westminster and Brussels.”

As …

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

Nick Clegg talks of shock and disappointment at Sheffield’s Labour council refusing to accommodate vulnerable Syrian refugees

Syrian refugee children fleeing the violence in their country with their families pose for a picture on February 20, 2012 at a partially set up camp in Mafraq city, near Jordan's northern border with Syria.From today’s Guardian:

Nick Clegg has accused Labour council leaders in Sheffield of refusing to take a single refugee from Syria under the coalition government’s vulnerable persons relocation (VPR) scheme.

The deputy PM and Sheffield MP is furious that Labour put pressure on the coalition government to do more to help Syrian refugees but is refusing to offer practical help locally. Refugees have been arriving from Syria in the past few weeks under the government scheme.

photo by: FreedomHouse
Posted in News | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

So how’s my scenario 3 – a Tory lead of 6% by May 2015 – working out then?

Time to dust down a post from last December looking at scenarios for the 2015 election based on current polling – two of which pointed to the Conservatives being likely to take a poll lead in the next year.

(NB: as then, please note my huge caveat – “the extent of the polling science on display here is me playing around on an Excel spreadsheet.”)

In particular, I was curious what might have happen to my third scenario in the meantime. So pasted below is what I wrote in December, but I’ve updated the graph to add the last four months’ average poll leads to see how they fit the trend-line. (The answer is pretty well.)

Scenario 3

File this under the heading “a bit of fun… probably” – let’s look at the whole parliament and insert a polynomial trendline to take us through to May 2015. Here’s what happens:

tory lead in may 2015 scenario 3

Under Scenario 3, then, the Conservatives bounce back from their mid-term slump to lead Labour by 6% come the next general election. It couldn’t happen – could it?

Posted in News and Polls | Tagged , and | 20 Comments

Liberal Democrat membership grows by over 500 in first quarter of 2014

Lib Dems winning hereLiberal Democrat membership hit 44,000 in the first quarter of 2014, a rise of more than 1500 since the beginning of 2013. Parties in government tend not to increase their membership and last year’s results for the Liberal Democrats were the first time in recent history that this had been done.

This is in no small part down to new financial incentives to local parties if they increase their membership. If they have more members, they get more money to spend on their local campaigns. That means that they …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 29 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMartin 16th Apr - 11:39am
    Whether you want to call it "pedantic and argumentative" or not, it is clear that Simon Shaw has effectively called the bluff on Phyllis et...
  • User AvatarPhyllis 16th Apr - 11:37am
    "JohnTilley 16th Apr '14 - 10:58am @Simon Shaw You are being very pedantic and argumentative again." Actually Simon is trying to deflect criticism away from...
  • User AvatarStuart 16th Apr - 11:35am
    @John Tilley "Certainly cannot disagree with this last point — I come from Manchester. So I often wear clothes which are light blue :-) "...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 16th Apr - 11:31am
    @ John Tilley 'The list of 9 tasks from LDV in 2010. — Nick Clegg has already been given special responsibility for political and constitutional...
  • User Avataruglyfatbloke 16th Apr - 11:31am
    Has Danny sorted out what he's going to do for a job after next May?
  • User AvatarHelen Tedcastle 16th Apr - 11:29am
    Matthew Huntbach " We are asked to be tolerant and accept diversity and be open to change and new ideas, but that ALWAYS seems to...