Vote Labour in the local elections if you do not care about your community

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Lib Dem Party Election Broadcast April 2016

Yesterday evening (Monday), Labour aired its party election broadcast for the local elections next Thursday. I know this because it said so at the beginning of the broadcast: I certainly could not have guessed this from its content.

This broadcast was entirely devoted to knocking the Tory Government, without any mention of the work of local councils. This single message of the broadcast was summed up by Jeremy Corbyn at the start: “This Thursday’s elections are a chance to send a message to David Cameron and his Government. It’s become increasingly clear – they simply cannot be trusted. They certainly cannot be trusted to make sure that the richest their fair share of tax…”

In contrast, the Lib Dem election broadcast on 20th April was entirely devoted to the work of local councillors, serving their communities. Tim Farron summarised this excellently: “You have the opportunity to use your vote to support somebody who will make a difference for your community, work hard, keep in touch and get things done all year round. Who won’t just disappear the day after they’ve got your vote, and not show up for another four years, but will be committed to your community. Because that is what the Liberal Democrats are all about.”

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EURef: Disenfranchised Brits lose in High Court

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In a test case brought by two British citizens who have lives outside the UK for more than 15 years, the High Court has ruled that the state can deny them the right to vote.

It is estimated that 700,000 people are affected by the decision.  The Conservatives have pledged to scrap the restriction for future elections (in which they calculate it will assist them).

The court ruled that Parliament is entitled to restrict the franchise to those with a specified “closeness” to the country and also said it would be …

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The last thing the Liberal Democrats need is an ethical foreign policy

 

In yesterday’s article I alluded to ‘a central contradiction going on in the Liberal Democrats at the moment: the incompatible melange of pro-asylum seeker and pro-interventionist rhetoric and ideology.’

Today, I will say firstly that I do support accepting some asylum seekers in the UK; in accordance with a rather hard-headed ethic of prudence and restraint, rather than the gushy sentimentality that so often afflicts our party (of which more shortly). I will also say that my reasons for accepting asylum seekers are completely different from some dominant lines of discussion in the Liberal Democrats; and that this is far from inconsequential.

What does this mean?

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It’s nurses and midwives who really need our support

 

The ongoing junior doctors strike has unfortunately focused the attention of the public and the media away from the plight of nurses and midwives. I believe this group deserves much more sympathy.

Nurses and midwives, while not required to study for as long as doctors, nevertheless have to complete a degree course. Nurses’ standard hours are usually 37.5 to 40 hours per week and many work extra nights, weekends and evenings to earn enough to provide for themselves and their families. A Royal College of Nursing report from 2015 found that 35% of nurses have to work 12 hour shifts.

Unlike junior doctors  they are more likely to have to go home on public transport than jump into a car after a night shift. Even those  nurses and midwives who can afford a car are often required to pay for parking in hospitals, at a cost of up to £600 a year, while the Chief Executive has their nominated free parking space.

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Voting in the London elections – after 16 years voters are still confused

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The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.  After disclaiming any responsibility for the cold that has afflicted all the candidates, she says this about her campaign:

Overall, it’s gone well. Ordinary people are saying they like what I’m saying on childcare and cheaper fares that are affordable. And that’s not just in places where we are strong, like Sutton, or in Bermondsey, where I’m known.

She says this of her two main rivals, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan and the dirty campaign they have been running:

I think both of them, but particularly Zac, will wish they hadn’t done it. It’s damaged their reputations. Zac has always been seen by most people as a decent kind of guy.

On the doorstep voters are still confused about the voting processes for the London elections – and that is not surprising because they will be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different voting system.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 13 Comments

No criticism is bad criticism (and none is worse)…

Not long ago, I wrote a piece on how pacifists and non-interventionists might respond to the recent decision on foreign intervention.

Although, on balance, I don’t regret writing it, I am deeply dissatisfied with some aspects of my article. The feedback from a large number of people has been very helpful not only in helping me clarify my own views to myself, but also to think very carefully about matters of presentation and framing.

If I am reading them correctly, some commenters felt that my stance was not robust enough. My problematic reference to ‘maintain(ing) unity’ and worse still, to the purported risks of ‘irresponsible criticism’ (sic) could easily be read as conformist, condescending, authoritarian, or any combination of these things. Certainly, there were some poor choices of words.

I will acknowledge that as I only recently joined the Liberal Democrats, it is possible that I have a distorted view of the boundaries of criticism. Certainly, I would not wish to indulge in tone policing. I am as outraged at anyone else at the recent decision to go along with David Cameron and the self-styled ‘International Community’s’ self-serving crusade in the Middle East; the latest in a long line of cynical interventions.

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Blogging Against Disablism Day

 

As well a day for dancing around maypoles or celebrating workers and labour, the first of May is Blogging Against Disablism Day.

As explained on the blog of the person who started it, “This is the day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination (known as disablism or ableism).  In this way, we hope to raise awareness of inequality, promote equality and celebrate the progress we’ve made.”

There’s an example of disablism in a recent Lib Dem Voice article by Henry Foulds. He says he was told “by a senior activist that I should crop my cane from campaign photos or somehow hide it, I was horrified. I stumbled over my response and changed the subject. I’ve since explained to them that disability is nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of.”

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 5th May - 2:58am
    Matt (Bristol) Being born in Britain in Britain no longer automatically gives British citizenship. Only in Nothern Ireland is there an allegiance question. Most of...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 5th May - 2:01am
    Anyone not aware of the difference between talking to people you not only do not like , but dislike , because you must, to seek...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 5th May - 1:38am
    Jonathan Thank you for your excellent manners and considered approach , on this .In that , far more even than your views , which ,...
  • User AvatarHywel 5th May - 12:46am
    "Hywel makes good points but it is still true in a close election contest that a good polling day operation can make the difference between...
  • User AvatarAndrew Brown 4th May - 11:31pm
    We've got several new members standing in Bristol - including in target wards - and several more active behind the scenes.
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 4th May - 10:58pm
    Well done.