LDVideo: Interview with Ben Fearn, “youngest ever Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate”

Ben Fearn, the 21 year-old Manchester University graduate selected earlier this year as Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Derbyshire Dales – seat of the Tory transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin – has been interviewed by Digital Journal (hat-tip Charlotte Henry). You can watch a 3-minute video below, which includes the announcement of his selection, and read a fuller interview with him here. Incidentally he’s billed as the “youngest ever Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate”, but are there rivals to that title? Let us know below-the-line…

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

A reminder: It’s Party awards time!

key_awards1A quick reminder of this message from Tim Farron, originally posted last month

It’s that time of year again when members decide who should be in line for an award at Conference.

It could be someone who has worked tirelessly in their local area to elect Liberal Democrats or implement our policies or someone who has given years to our cause by working hard as councillors or candidates.

Maybe a political assistant to a councillor or someone who has supported a local MP in the hard work that they do.

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

Fairer funding for Wales: “Lib Dems will actually do something about it,” vows Kirsty Williams

rally kirsty williams 1Yesterday we reported plans from Lib Dem home office minister Norman Baker to restore the public’s trust in the police. Another policy within the party’s ‘pre-manifesto’ is reported by BBC News Online – to reform the funding arrangement that has long been criticised for short-changing Wales:

Wales could benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds under Lib Dem plans to change the way funds are allocated to devolved nations, it has been claimed. The current system, known as the Barnett formula, is based on population levels and has long been criticised for short-changing Wales. Suggestions to re-draw the formula have been fiercely resisted in Scotland.

Posted in News and Wales | Tagged | 8 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon AM writes… Why subsidising gun owners must come to an end

Today is the “Glorious Twelfth” which is the start of the shooting season, especially of Grouse.

I would suggest today, of all days, is a good day to look at the issue of why people who own guns are actually subsidised by the taxpayer.

From the outset, let me put a few points on record, on what I know is an incredibly emotive issue.

Firstly, I don’t shoot or have any desire to do so, but secondly I understand just how important shooting is throughout the UK for some people, with a recent report suggesting that at least 600,000 people in the UK shoot live quarry, clay pigeons or targets.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 45 Comments

Norman Baker: “The Lib Dems want to restore the public’s trust in the police”

Norman BakerToday’s London Evening Standard front page splashes on the news that the Lib Dems intend to tighten the laws on stop and search, and require some police officers to wear body cameras when they stop someone:

Armed police, riot squads and officers carrying out some stop-and-search in London would have to wear body cameras under Liberal Democrat proposals unveiled today.

The law and order reform, which will be in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto, will also require police to get a judge’s approval to carry out controversial Section 60 stop-and-searches. The existing law lets a senior officer authorise the stopping and searching of individuals in a certain area without suspicion of wrongdoing if he or she believes violence is about to erupt or that people are carrying weapons without good reason.

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LibLInk: Lord (Paul) Tyler – Just Deserts?

Paul TylerOver at Lords of the Blogs, Lib Dem peer Paul Tyler gives short shrift to the complaints of his parliamentary colleagues complaining that the red benches cannot accommodate the 22 new peers appointed last week:

What a nerve! If on 10th July 2012, having given the Government’s Bill a huge second reading majority, those very same MPs had allowed it to make progress, this alleged problem would have been solved. Egged on by Peers and journalists, they broke their manifesto promises to bring democracy to the Lords by playing party games. Had the Reform Bill passed, political appointments would have ceased by now and we would be preparing for the first election of 120 members representing every region and nation of the UK, next year. The choice was theirs two years ago: popular election or party patronage. They are now getting what they asked for.

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Opinion: time to break the blockade of Gaza

For the last seven years, Israel – despite no legal mandate – has been imposing a naval blockade on Gaza’s sea port, leading to widespread poverty and starvation in that small coastal enclave.

The British government claims that it is doing all it can to end the blockade but, so far, its actions have proved fruitless. This is partly because the government has never pushed this matter as forcibly as they should, partly for fear of upsetting the powerful pro-Israeli lobby, both here and in the US Congress, and partly because it knows Israel will refuse to lift the blockade, as …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 45 Comments

ALDE sets sail for a new world from a old port

image aldeThe Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) have confirmed that they will be holding their next Annual Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, a country not known for its liberal politics in recent years.

However, as part of ALDE’s efforts to encourage the growth of liberal forces across the continent, links with a new group in Portuguese politics, Nos Ciadados (We Citizens) have been established, and it is hoped that, by meeting in Lisbon, that those links might be strengthened and nurtured.

In the light of the recent European Parliamentary election results, …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Shirley Williams on a role for Europe in solving the Gaza crisis

Many thanks to Paul Walter for bringing our attention to this piece, written by Baroness Shirley Williams for the Guardian last week.

In it, she calls for a more activist stance by the European Union, given her view that America is not, and cannot be, an effective mediator between the two sides in the Gaza crisis.

The EU, as the main financier of the Palestinian Authority, is in a position to influence the PLO and to work with the Arab League on a settlement. The US remains Israel’s essential ally, but as a mediator is hobbled by the dependence of its

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Welcome to my day: 11 August

Just another day at Liberal Democrat Voice, as the day editor re-enacts a scene from Beau Geste... Just another day at Liberal Democrat Voice, as the day editor re-enacts a scene from Beau Geste…Yes, it’s me again, I’m afraid. And after last week’s controversy over an article that never did get resubmitted by its author, we have more comment on Gaza. This time, I’ve published it, as I think each has something new to say. Do remember though, we pre-moderate all such stories given the propensity of some to make comments which …

Posted in Site news | 4 Comments

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #385

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 385th 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 (3rd-9th August, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, 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

LibLink: Tessa Munt – Why I’m boycotting Israeli goods and services

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsTessa Munt, Lib Dem MP for Wells in Somerset, has explained over at her own website why she’s taken the decision to boycott Israeli goods and services:

This summer, the majority of people I meet out and about are disturbed, upset and angry. It’s clear that Israel has crossed a line. It’s not ok to drop bombs on civilians and the sight of parents carrying the remains of their small children in plastic bags is sickening. Bombed hospitals and schools, an entire population stunned and damaged is criminal. It simply cannot be justified.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , , and | 73 Comments

How to enter the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALLThe English Premier League kicks off this Saturday and LibDemVoice has revived its Fantasy Football League to mark the occasion. So if you fancy pitting your soccer selection skills against fellow party members, here’s your chance.

To enter all you have to do is click on this link.

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14,050 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

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Vince to quit? The party’s “senior sources” have been out and about stirring again…

It’s not even six months since my co-editor Caron Lindsay urged fellow Lib Dems to make nice and drop the internal briefing against colleagues. This followed a spate of whisperings against Vince Cable and Tim Farron among others. The voices off against Vince even prompted Nick to start an internal inquiry, though, as Jonathan Calder observed here, nothing more was heard of it.

Today, though, the Mail on Sunday reports:

Allies of Vince Cable reacted furiously last night over a Liberal Democrat ‘whispering campaign’ suggesting that he is on the brink of walking out of the Coalition. The Mail on Sunday has been told by two well-placed sources within the party that the 71-year-old Business Secretary is considering leaving the Cabinet immediately after the party’s autumn conference.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 33 Comments

The Independent View: Norman Baker’s move to cutting edge science will benefit Britain

Norman Baker’s calls for an end to animal testing were dismissed as “short sighted” in Alasdair Hill’s Lib Dem Voice article (‘Why a ban on animal testing is short-sighted and bad for our knowledge-based economy’).

But the comments made by the Liberal Democrats’ Home Office Minister are welcomed by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) which has long championed moves towards modern science, benefiting humans and animals alike. However, progress away from animal tests will falter while researchers are working within an outdated system that hinders scientific progress and keeps animal experiments hidden from public scrutiny.

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged , , and | 14 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 7 days:

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“Lynne Featherstone ‘horrified’ over homophobic abuse at Lib Dem councillor”

Lynne featherstone by paul walterMany Lib Dems will have read with sadness of the resignation of Sam Phripp from Somerset County Council owing to “hostility, intimidation and bullying” – including “being referred to as ‘that dirty bloody homosexual’” – from activists from other parties. Here’s what the Lib Dems’ international development minister Lynne Featherstone has had to say about it:

“I was horrified to hear of the treatment of the local Lib Dem Councillor in Somerset,” Ms Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green told PinkNews.co.uk. We’ve come such a long way in this country to achieve equal LGBT rights and I couldn’t be prouder that this government introduced equal marriage.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Opinion: Woodland and Water – a success story in Kent with no de-silting and dredging

IMG-20131226-00110Almost 1,000 properties were affected by flooding from rivers across Kent earlier this year. However, against this backdrop there were small glimmers of hope.

A local success story involves the River Len, a small and heavily urbanised tributary of the River Medway in Maidstone. In autumn 2000, under similar rainfall conditions, the Len had flooded commercial and residential property in Maidstone town centre.

In 2002, the acquisition of 2.5 hectares of the River Len corridor was negotiated by Maidstone Council as environmental mitigation for a new supermarket and business park extension. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Clegg: “I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough in mental health research”

lib dem mental illness posterThe Lib Dems have unveiled plans to increase funding spent on mental health research by £50m, by 2020, as the party seeks to ensure it’s are treated as seriously as physical illnesses are. Here’s Nick Clegg:

“Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues. I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes. That is why I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments

ASD Lib Dems: Reducing Barriers to Activism

Autism Awareness Ribbon, Colorful Puzzle Pieces,  Free Creative Commons Public Domain DownloadThe Lib Dems are currently at around 8-11% in the polls, and with c.20,000 fewer members of the party than in 2010, with less than a year to one of the most important General Elections that this party has faced since we were formed. But it is within this time period of emotional stress and exhaustion where tempers are frayed and relationships between people are made and indeed broken.

Since the formation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Lib Dems I have had several members come up to me explaining how they would like to help their local party but feel totally unable to go canvassing despite wishing to do so. Whilst everyone on the spectrum is different – no two people are the same – there are some common areas of difficulty such as picking up non-verbal clues, lack of empathy and memory.

photo by:
Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 4 Comments

Norman Baker: in profile

normanbakerThe latest Total Politics magazine has a profile of Lib Dem health home office minister Norman Baker. Here’s a snippet:

at the Home Office, Baker’s relationship with his boss Theresa May has developed into one of mutual respect. (May apparently told Baker early on that she didn’t know where the “spitting tacks” comment had come from.) According to one fellow MP: “He probably likes her because she stands up to Number 10. For her part, Theresa May doesn’t suffer fools gladly. It would’ve leaked out if she was unhappy with him.”

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Six new Lib Dem peers named

House of Lords - Some rights reserved by UK ParliamentThe names of six new Lib Dem peers have been published today. They are:

  • Chris Fox – Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats
  • Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport
  • Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher
  • Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council
  • Posted in News | Tagged | 59 Comments

    The Sun: “Nick Clegg makes a powerful case for reform of our drugs laws”

    The Lib Dem website says this: “Nick Clegg has announced that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to end imprisonment for possessing drugs for personal use, so that no one is sent to prison, where their only offence is one of possession. Under the proposals, users would instead receive non-custodial sentences and appropriate medical treatment.”

    That’s not so surprising. The Lib Dems have long argued for a more rational approach to our drugs laws, with Nick making the point before that “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform.”

    More surprising is that The Sun newspaper says this:

    Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 29 Comments

    Catch up with ‘Call Clegg’: on Boris, immigration, Gaza, Europe and the Tories’ electoral srategy

    If you missed the latest ‘Call Clegg’ you can catch up with it below. Here are some of the edited highlights…

    On Boris:

    Do you know I think the thing about Boris Johnson is you know despite all the kind of clumsiness and bumblingness he’s actually a really, really ambitious politician. And you know you don’t need to sort begrudging him that. He treats his political ambition a bit like he treats his hair. He wants everyone to think that he doesn’t really care but he actually really, really does care. And so look he’ll now have to, I think now he’ll come a bit, you know have to come clean a bit more about the fact that he is in many ways a much more conventional politician than he likes to appear. … At some point he’s actually going to have to say, I’m going to be responsible for stuff, I have to take difficult decisions. Boy have I got the t-shirt on this, I know this. You sometimes just have to take a choice between a lot of invidious difficult decisions all of which you know are not going to be wildly popular and you’re going to have to stick with them. And he’s going to have to do that at some point if he really does want to see through his political ambitions and then we will see.

    On immigration:

    Posted in YouTube | Tagged | 2 Comments

    David Steel writes… Time to talk to Hamas

    Gaza Burns - photo by Al Jazeera EnglishI suspect that there is growing dismay, not to say anger, among our population as they watch on television the daily slaughter and destruction in Gaza, at the mealy-mouthed statements from both our Government and the American’s in response.

    Spokesmen for the Israelis regularly recount the huge number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory, but fail to tell us that the vast majority of these have been successfully intercepted without casualties. In fact, over the entire last decade they have killed …

    photo by:
    Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 44 Comments

    Stephen Knight writes… Boris marginalises debate on Europe

    boris and cameronBy making a Europe speech at Bloomberg, just like the Prime Minister did over a year ago, it was clear that the Mayor of London was sabotaging the launch of his Chief Economic Adviser’s report on our place in the EU as a (re)launch pad for his political career. What a good use of £36,400 of taxpayers’ money!

    Predictably, the headlines are about Boris Johnson’s plans to return to the Commons. Once again, the debate about our role in the EU gets swept under the carpet and reduced to meaningless sound bites.

    The Tories have now made ‘EU reform’ another such sound bite. Reform of what? And how? And when?

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

    Opinion: Pressing Clegg on an arms embargo to Israel

    In the wake of Baroness Warsi’s resignation Nick Clegg has reportedly said that he will be pushing for an embargo on arms sales to Israel. I hope this actually happens rather than what I suspect will more likely be a more diluted ‘review’. Without a robust response, and without outside pressure being put on it, it’s likely that Israel will continue to act disproportionately in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. If the government goes for a review, then it will have no more effect than a modest ticking off.

    Doubtless there will be Liberal Democrats who will apportion blame jointly to both sides. They will criticise an embargo and claim that Israel has the right to defend itself from the missiles being fired from the territory. They will no doubt claim that civilian deaths is an unfortunate side effect associated with that action.

    On the Palestinian side they will condemn Hamas for using civilians as human shields, by firing missiles next to schools, hospitals and residences. They will demand that Hamas stop the rocket fire and, along with the rest of the Palestinian population, adopt a policy of non-violence instead. The assumption is that being ‘reasonable’ will encourage Israel to act similarly.

    Let’s put this into context then.

    Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , and | 8 Comments

    Opinion: On immigration, let’s keep out of this race to the bottom

    If there’s one area of political debate where perception triumphs over reality, it’s immigration. While the public rate it as the number one issue facing Britain, it tumbles to 12th place when they’re asked what concerns them most at a personal level, behind the more pressing issues of pensions, health and household finances.

    This is the ‘disconnect’ between what people hear about in our debate on immigration – fanned by political opportunists and their media allies – and the reality they experience in their daily lives. It’s the doorstep charge of “well there are just too many of them,

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

    Maajid Nawaz speaks out against Baroness Warsi’s “selective principle” against Israel

    maajid-navazWhile Paddy Ashdown has praised Conservative peer Baroness Warsi for quitting the foreign office, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz is less keen. Here’s his letter in today’s London Evening Standard:

    Over the past couple of weeks, Pakistan — my country of origin — has been shelling positions in North Waziristan to kill Pakistani Taliban terrorists, leading to more than 870,000 displaced refugees and an unreported number of civilian deaths.

    Baroness Warsi claims she resigned out of principled opposition to Government policy towards Israel’s actions. Few have called her out for presiding over an increase in this year’s aid to Pakistan by nearly £200 million.

    Posted in News | 45 Comments



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