Tag Archives: alex wilcock

The best speeches of Liberal Democrat Conference

I thought it would be good to remember some of the best speeches of this year’s Autumn conference. I wrote down a list of 7 that I thought were fantastic and then decided to ask Twitter.  The list that they came up with was remarkably similar. So, without further ado, and in no particular order until the end, let’s go through them:

First up, Glasgow’s own Paul Coleshill comparing renewal of Trident to a middle aged man buying a flashy sports car to prove his virility, but was only able to use it 3 days a week.

The Economy

In the economy debate two speeches caught people’s eye. Our own Nick Thornsby’s, described by Nick Clegg as “brilliant” said:

The great 19th century liberals of my home town of Rochdale ­­– John Bright and Richard Cobden –­­ led the way in persuading the country of the benefits of free trade. Now we, conference, should do the same again. Forging trade deals between the EU and America. Pushing the World Trade Organsation to re­-start talks on a global trade deal. Completing, finally, the European Single Market.

Because we know, as did Bright and Cobden, that it will not be government spending that restores prosperity, both here and abroad. It is through free trade, by opening up our economy and defeating the forces of protection that we can create the wealth needed to improve living standards and reduce poverty.

Prateek Buch, who had crafted the amendments, said in his speech:

It isn’t doom mongering to say that while output overall is rising again, living standards for those worst hit by the crash – those who have missed out the fruits of growth since long before the current crisis – have definitely not, and they won’t if the current path continues.

The capacity of people to secure for themselves a decent standard of living doesn’t grow when GDP is inflated any old how in pursuit of some feel good headlines – labours record in government is a powerful reminder of that. It grows through innovation as the motion indicates and ad vince is striving to deliver – and it grows through investment.

A debate of pure quality that we can be very proud of, not least because of this man being brave enough to sum it up:

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Lessons of Coalition (17): The two biggest problems are betrayal and betrayal

ldv coalition lessonsLibDemVoice is running a daily feature, ‘Lessons of Coalition’, to assess the major do’s and don’ts learned from our experience of the first 3 years in government. Reader contributions are welcome, either as comments or posts. The word limit is no more than 450 words, and please focus on just one lesson you think the party needs to learn. Simply email your submission to [email protected] Today Alex Wilcock shares his thoughts.

The two biggest problems for any future coalition will be the breakdown of trust between the voters and the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 46 Comments

A brief (recent) history of the Lib Dems’ flagship tax-cut for the low-paid

Tax Threshold infographicGeorge Osborne’s fourth budget saw him finalise the commitment to implement in full the Lib Dems’ number one manifesto commitment: taking out of income tax all those who earn less than £10k a year.

It prompted this post by my Co-Editor Caron Lindsay yesterday – Why it’s worth being a member of the Liberal Democrats – recalling the recent history of this focus on raising the tax-free allowance. Which in turn triggered this comment by Alex Wilcock, recalling the slightly less recent history:

The fact is, raising thresholds was party policy in the 1990s, then put back on the agenda when Chris Huhne made it the central plank of his Leadership campaign in February 2006.

Curious, I thought I’d do a quick fact-check. Here’s what I found:

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Some thought-provoking reminders of our liberal history

Alex Wilcock and I penned this list of six things* to remember for Liberal Democrat News, the party’s weekly newspaper:

Paddy Ashdown once admitted to under-estimating the importance of a party’s history: “A political party is about more than plans and priorities and policies… It also has a heart and a history and a soul”.

Yet there is no “history of the party” training session for the keen Conference representative nor history briefings for new members. So here are six snippets from the party’s history to entertain, elucidate and illustrate our heart and soul in ways that should still strike a note today.

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Lib Dem Bloggers’ Christmas stocking fillers… Part V

What presents are you looking forward to giving or receiving this year? That’s the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with link-throughs to Amazon for your shopping convenience (and ‘cos the referral fees help support LibDemVoice: so get clicking and ordering). Part I is available here; Part II here; Part III here; and Part IV here. In part five, our final duo of bloggers – Alex Wilcock and, erm, me – give us the low-down on their Xmas faves…

Alex Wilcock

If you want

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Blog of the Year Awards 2011: The Winners #LDBOTY

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2011 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Birmingham’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

Posted in Best of the blogs | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

The Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011: defining and explaining economic fairness

This is the final piece in a series of posts on the main Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011. You can find all the posts in the series here.

Having started this series with the economy and then moving on to more internal issue in latter posts, it seems fitting to return to economic issues for the final post in this series.

Getting the substance on economic fairness right is and should continue to be a top priority for the party. In addition, getting the messaging right will help differentiate not only the Liberal Democrat contribution to the coalition from that of …

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An old Liberal Democrat policy rides again courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith (UPDATED)

Unusual political times indeed courtesy of the front page of today’s Times. For a long time a central part of Liberal Democrat welfare policy was to integrate and simplify the tax and benefits system. The policy faded away from the party’s priorities, partly because the details were never that straightforward; for example, how do you integrate a system based on weekly payments and assessments (benefits) with another one based on monthly and annual payments and assessments (tax, particularly income tax and PAYE)?

A large chunk of that policy is now very much back on the political agenda, as ConservativeHome reports:

According

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Daily View 2×2: 2 April 2010

2 General Election/statistics-themed stories

Holding general election on May 6th would save £7m says Government
Which is nothing compared to, say, scrapping the Child Trust Fund – but Gordon Brown’s timing of the election has only ever been about saving political skins, not money.

Figures disclosed in a Parliamentary written answer show that it will cost £82.1m to stage the election on the most likely date, five weeks today.

But if the country went to the polls on any other day, it is estimated that the cost would rise by more than £7m to reach £89.6m.

The 2005 general election, which also coincided with regional votes, is said to have cost £80m.

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Telegraph: country’s first female director of adult films selected as Lib Dem parliamentary candidate

Here’s the story, Female adult film director runs for parliament with Lib Dems, which presumably earned its place in the Torygraph thanks to the titillating headline it teed-up:

Anna Arrowsmith, managing director of adult film company Easy on the Eye, will stand for the party in Gravesham, Kent. Under her pseudonym Anna Span the 38-year-old has produced around 300 pornographic films. She has specialised in “women friendly” films, with titles like Where’s the Rent Boys aimed at female erotica enthusiasts.

Mrs Arrowsmith asked the people of Gravesend not to judge her on the sins of her industry and pointed to her

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Make authoritarian MPs pay at the ballot box

There’s only one place to be at 8pm on Friday. It’s in Hall 8b at the Birmingham ICC for the latest in the legendary series of Lib Dem Voice fringe meetings*:

Many MPs have a record of repeatedly voting for authoritarian measures in Parliament. But will they suffer for that at the ballot box?

Come and hear how we can make authoritarian votes in Parliament a vote loser for MPs on general election day – and see the new Liberal Democrat Voice website which will help do just that.

Speakers:
Paul Burstow MP (Chief Whip)
Bridget Fox (PPC Islington South and Finsbury)
Mark Pack (Co-editor, Lib Dem Voice)
Alex Wilcock (Former Vice-Chair, Federal Policy Committee)

Chair: Helen Duffett (PPC Romford, Lib Dem Voice Contributing Editor)

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Annoyed by BBC Question Time panel selection? Then you know what to do.

A couple of years back, I was moved to write to the BBC complaining about Question Time’s pro-Tory bias, regularly featuring Tory-supporting journalists alongside Tory MPs.

Well, that’ll learn me to be careful what you wish for. Because what do we have to look forward to on tonight’s QT panel? The following: an official Labour representative (Lord Falconer), and two former Labour MPs (Clare Short and George Galloway); and, for balance, an official Tory representative (Theresa May), and professional right-wing agitpropette (Melanie Phillips). Deep joy.

As Love and Liberty’s Alex Wilcock acerbically notes:

It’s not as if the Liberal Democrats have

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Daily View 2×2: 1 January 2010

Happy New (General Election) Year!

On this day in 1973, the UK joined the European Community, along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland. On January 1, 2002, Euro coins and banknotes became legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

It’s a quarter of a century since Britain’s first mobile phone call was made. In a seemingly random intersection of the Fates, comedian Ernie Wise was calling from St Katherine’s Dock to a room above a Newbury curry house – the then office of a little company called Vodafone.

2 Interesting Stories

Is a Labour-Tory coalition unthinkable? Only until you think about it
Martin Kettle muses in the Guardian on a hung Parliament:

It seems innocent to assume that either Labour or the Tories would automatically turn first to the Liberal Democrats in those circumstances – or that the Lib Dems would necessarily deliver. The big parties could calculate that they would be better off in a marriage of convenience with a historic enemy they respected, from which they could withdraw with dignity when the moment was right, rather than to embark on a more permanent entanglement with a Lib Dem party which at bottom they each despise.

The more one looks at the evolutionary dynamics of British politics, the more serious the grand coalition option may one day become. Is a Labour-Conservative deal really unthinkable? Only until you start thinking about it.

At least the next government won’t be decided on the toss of a coin… or will it?

Coin tossing through the ages

The Telegraph has an interesting history, including this:

Posted in Daily View and Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 29 October 2009

Good morning and welcome to October 29th. Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the birthday of Boswell, the biographer of Samuel L Jackson, and the anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh (he was executed – I didn’t know that.)

It’s also the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which first set up a Constitution for Europe.

2 Big Stories

The postal strike is on
Read all about it on the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian:

Both sides blamed each other after three days of talks mediated by the TUC collapsed without a deal being reached. As late as evening there had still been some hope that this week’s strike action could be called off to relieve the pressure on Royal Mail.

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Daily View 2×2: 1 June 09

This morning’s headlines had me singing into my hairbrush:

“My my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and Brown will meet his destiny in quite a similar way…”

Faced with a whole legion of bother (MPs’ expenses, this week’s elections, constitutional and electoral reform and rumours of a leadership coup) the Prime Minister marches into a critical week:

2 Big Stories

And yet:
Cabinet revolt won’t force me out, declares Brown
Today’s Independent reports Brown’s determination to stay on as PM and speculates on his plans to reshuffle the Cabinet:

Labour MPs return to the Commons in a grim frame of mind today after the half-term

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Daily View 2×2: 29 May 2009

2 Big Stories

Moves towards voting reform gain momentum

As the MPs’ expenses row rumbles on – today’s Telegraph villain is that arch-Eurosceptic Bill Cash – the recognition of the need for electoral reform is gathering pace. After yesterday’s clarion call by Nick Clegg for MPs to embark on a 100-day programme to rescue British democracy, today Labour stalwarts David Blunkett and Peter Hain have added their voices to those clamouring to ditch the archaic first-past-the-post voting system. Neither though subscribe to the Lib Dems’ stated single transferable vote preference, nor even for the Jenkins Commission’s AV+

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Which Lib Dem MP would you want to be the next Dr Who?

The news that David Tennant is quitting his role as The Doctor in the BBC series Dr Who has prompted a flurry of speculation in recent months about who might succeed him: David Morrissey, James Nesbitt, David Walliams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Catherine Zeta Jones have all been suggested.

To date – and perhaps not so very unsurprisingly – no Lib Dem MPs are yet in the frame for the job. But that didn’t seem any reason for Lib Dem Voice not to set our readers a different kind of Christmas quiz while we eagerly anticipate tomorrow’s special (BBC1, 6.00 pm): …

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , , , , and | 18 Comments

The Tangerine Book reviewed

Alex Wilcock has a characteristically thorough review of The Tangerine Book on his site. Not sure if you agree with his review? Buy the book here and find out.

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Welcome back to Gavin Webb

The Lib Dem PPC for Burton is once again a fully-fledged party member. Lib Dem bloggers Alex Wilcock and Paul Walter have the background.

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Total Politics list of top 50 Lib Dem blogs published

You can see the full list over at Iain Dale’s blog, but here’s the top 10:

1. Liberal Democrat Voice
2. People’s Republic of Mortimer (Alix Mortimer)
3. Norfolk Blogger (Nich Starling)
4. Quaequam Blog! (James Graham)
5. Liberal England (Jonathan Calder)
6. Lynne Featherstone MP
7. Millennium Dome, Elephant
8. Peter Black AM
9. Love & Liberty (Alex Wilcock)
10. Liberal Burblings (Paul Walter)

Thanks to those who voted for LDV, and congratulations to all the blogs who made the list. And for those who didn’t, remember: it’s just a list.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | 11 Comments

Bloggers’ summer reading (Part II)

Imagine you were going on holiday this summer: which two books would you take with you? One should be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other should be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old). That was the question I put to some of the Lib Dems’ leading bloggers. And here’s what they said:

(Click here for Part I).

Jonathan Calder – Liberal England

The Killing of the Countryside
Harvey shows

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  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 23rd Apr - 10:52pm
    This is good stuff, I saw it whilst browsing some other sites. I think there needs to be a sea change in opinion on the...
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    Paul Barker “The article & most of the comments strike me as a bit naive, the survey will be open to our enemies & any...
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    @John Dunn "For Ukip MEP think (St George), and for the Brussels EU establishment think (Dragon)." For UKIP supporter, think fairy tales.
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 23rd Apr - 9:29pm
    @John Dunn What is your point?
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    Thanks Jenny. Some radical liberals think people should be "free to copy" because apparently electronic data isn't "scarce", but it's completely not true because websites...
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    for John Dunn who says " To aid your thinking, remember that today is St Georges Day. For Ukip MEP think (St George), and for...