The Independent View: Neal Lawson’s letter to Liberal Democrats

Dear Liberal Democrats,

This is one a series of letters to the progressive parties. I know you didn’t ask me to write but hope you will read it with the same emotion as it was written, a spirit of generosity, hope, realism and just a bit of frustration.

So, it’s one year on from the election and where are you? Recent results were mixed. In some councils you won back seats but in London and Wales little headway was made. Maybe bottoming out is a success – I can see that. But I can also see the potential for you to grow and be a huge part of the political and electoral force a progressive Britain needs. What is the strategy to do that?

Let me start from the fundamentals. Liberalism matters. To be liberal is to be open, to cherish freedom and start politics from the only place we can – from us as people in all our wonderful diversity. Of course liberalism can go one of two ways – you can be a neo-liberal and worship the market or you can be a social liberal and recognize that we only make sense as individuals within a social context. For me it’s the role of the social liberals that is crucial to the future of progressive politics. Indeed is there any real difference between social liberalism and liberal socialism? Someone once wrote that socialism is organized liberalism. I concur.

Posted in The Independent View | 61 Comments
Advert

What next Mr. Gove? Martians flooding your A&E departments?

 

It is always useful to know what you’re talking about when invoking possible EU expansions in any debate about Europe and European membership.

  • The Dutch army and society were traumatized when poor UN organization and a British/French/American No Bombing deal forced our DutchBat soldiers to witness helplessly how a Serbian massacre got underway at Srebrenica in 1994. The Dutch have been taking extra attention of Balkan goings on ever since.
  • Inside the past year, Erdogan has first interned and then expelled (or: allowed to slip away) two critical Dutch journalists working from Turkey. The first was Mrs. Geerdink, an expert on Turkish-Kurdish relations working from Diarbakir (Turkish Kurdistan); the second was the Dutch & Turkish columnist Ebru Umar staying with her Turkish parents in a sea resort. The Dutch governments have been closely involved in all kinds of talks about Turkey joining the EU since the formal EU procedure for that was started around 2005; that is because like Germany, we have a substantial segment of Dutch citizens from Turkish descent (holding obligatory Turkish passports as well, and voting in Turkish elections).
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Liberal Britain – Changes for the better

Your Liberal BritainA Liberal Britain cannot simply consider this country alone. The picture must include Britain in Europe and the wider world. The vision should be long-term, not simply the life of the current Parliament. I suggest:

  1. A United Federal Kingdom. The existing Parliament suffices as a federal one, provided voting on matters of sole concern to England is restricted to English MPs. At present many issues relate to the ‘four nations’ but the more powers are devolved to Scotland etc the more likely federal concern will be limited

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Is it the BBC’s fault that Bargain Hunt is so popular?

I have a confession to make. I watch BBC’s antiques competition, Bargain Hunt, three times a week. Perversely, I watch it with the volume turned down, reading the sub-titles (I’m on the treadmill in the gym at the time).

It’s a strange programme, because, as my lifelong auctioneer father often says, in exasperation:

They’re going the wrong way!

What he means is, that prices are lower at auctions than flea markets/boot sales. So, if you buy some things at an auction, you can earn good money on them at a boot sale. But if you go the other way, you are often on a hiding to nothing.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 69 Comments

A personal view on the successful Watford campaign

If we cast our mins back to Friday 6th May, one of the pieces of good news in our election results was in Watford. We won seven seats, wiping out the Tories on the council and gaining control.

Over on “Rambles of a Liberal“, Nassar Kessell has written a personal view of that campaign. For those of you not familiar with Nassar, he is one of our live wire activists. He has brought a remarkable mixture of passion and energy to campaigns.

Nassar identifies five headers in the Watford success story:

Posted in Local government | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #458

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 458th 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 (15-21 May, 2016), 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

Online abuse might not break bones, but it can come close to breaking your spirit

The internet is a pretty torrid place at the best of times. Some users delight in throwing rage, bile and abuse around the place. If you are a woman the abuse can be particularly graphic, sexualised and incredibly unpleasant.

In a feature for Radio 5 live, 3 politicians, including our former minister Jo Swinson, talk about their experiences of online abuse and how it affected them. Also taking part are my SNP MP Hannah Bardell and Labour’s Diane Abbott, who gets a whole load of racist bile thrown in just for good measure.

This is fairly routine for any woman who commits the “offence” of going on the internet in possession of an opinion. I’ve come in for it myself and it does wear you down. There was a time a couple of years ago where it really started to affect me badly and reduced me to tears on several occasions. The European elections disaster and the independence referendum combined to create what seemed to be a never-ending spiral of abuse. The most hurtful came from commenters on this site, members of the party, some of whom I actually know in real life, who said some pretty unpleasant personal stuff, but they were just part of it. It felt that wherever I turned, there was nastiness.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 26 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 25th May - 9:24pm
    Consequently, an imaginative industrial policy encouraging some of this research onto our shores, ... the graduates with the hard science skills, the open door to...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 25th May - 9:13pm
    I'm doubtful as to whether the Tories will split in two - the party looks too power-hungry for that particular act of blatant self-harm -...
  • User AvatarJenny barnes 25th May - 8:53pm
    Our precious NHS would be in a lot less trouble if we hadn't had the Lansley reorganisation privatisation plan. Was it the good baroness who...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 25th May - 8:50pm
    Thanks for your leadership Anne Shaw and Iain Sharpe. The service continues...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 25th May - 8:33pm
    tonyhill Liberals may start from many of the same policy positions as socialists, and indeed as a leftist Liberal I’m probably a lot happier with...
  • User AvatarGlenn 25th May - 8:15pm
    Barry' Exactly.