Tag Archives: charles kennedy

LibLink: Charles Kennedy: Why our destiny must lie with the F word

Charles KennedyThe Independence Referendum campaign continues to be depressing. The only really good things associated with it tend to come from Liberal Democrats and most especially Charles Kennedy. He’s written a thoughtful and persuasive article in the Herald about the dilemma facing Scotland beyond 18th September as, whoever wins, we’ve all lost out from increasing centralism to Edinburgh in recent years.

He outlines the problem:

In the pre-devolution days of one- party Tory domination there was much legitimate railing against the excessive concentration of power within Whitehall. The centre accrued and amassed while

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Charles Kennedy: I miss being Rector of Glasgow University more than I missed being Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Charles KennedyLast week, Charles Kennedy spoke in Liverpool as part of the Liverpool John Moore University’s Roscoe series of lectures. His subject was the ongoing debate on Scottish independence and his comments were, as you would expect,  enlightening, in fact one of the most enlightening moments of the debate so far. The bar isn’t that high, but Charles’ lecture is actually very good. Here are some of the highlights.

He started off by referring to his 6 years as Rector of Glasgow University, saying that he misses it more than he missed being leader of the Liberal Democrats. He also remembered being told off by a Professor in his own university days for that typical student politico offence of not actually going to any questions. Discussing career options, the academic said to Charles:

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LibLink: Charles Kennedy: Britain must remain at the core of the European Project

Charles KennedyIn an article for the Euro Blog marking Europe Day yesterday, Charles Kennedy wrote of the need for Britain to stay at the heart of Europe.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the jobs and the trade and the money, but Charles starts with the principles of peace and the common good:

9 May marks the beginning of a process of cooperation, which intended to make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. We call it Europe Day The process that was set in motion that day was based on principles like democracy, open markets,

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Charles Kennedy pays tribute to Tom MacIver, Scotland’s oldest man and founder of Ross-shire Liberals

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 14.05.04Scotland’s oldest man, Tom MacIver died last Friday at the age of 106. He was a very significant figure in the Highlands and actually founded the Ross-shire Liberal Party way back in 1959. He remained active until relatively recently. He was awarded the MBE for services to politics.

He was a very important player in Charles Kennedy’s election campaigns and was known to ease tensions during those sometimes fraught years of the Alliance. He was a teacher by profession and also wrote a book, Croft Remote, about growing up on a remote Wester Ross farm during the First World War.

Charles paid a generous tribute to him in the Ross-Shire Journal:

Tom’s death is incredibly sad for me, as along with a small handful of people such as John Farquhar Munro and the late Harry Miller, Tom was absolutely crucial to my success in my first election in 1983,” he said.

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Better Together lets some of Willie’s “sunshine strategy” burst through

Better Together, the cross-party campaign for retaining the United Kingdom, must have been listening to LDV’s co-editor, Caron Lindsay (always a sensible precaution, we find…). Just a few weeks ago she cautioned against the deluge of negativity that seemed to be the No campaign’s main message:

Charles Kennedy was bang on last week when he said that the pro-UK campaign needed to be more positive. He could do with being a bit more explicit about what he thinks they should be saying. And then he needs to sit Alistairs Darling and Carmichael, Danny, Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader and Nick down and tell them. For the sake of the UK, they need to listen. Better Together is in desperate need of an injection of wit and warmth and not much time to do it in.

Here, then, is the new Better Together advert. Maybe not much wit, but a whole lot more warmth:

better together ad

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#NickvNigel: Charles Kennedy: I couldn’t get the Liberal Democrats to fight a pro-European campaign

Charles KennedyThis morning, Charles Kennedy went on the Today programme to talk about tonight’s Nick v Nigel debate.

There was just a trace of frustration in his voice as he remembered that he, as a “down the line unashamed unalloyed pro-European”, couldn’t get the party to campaign on that basis, so when Nick took the initiative:

I was absolutely delighted and if I’d been in his shoes I’d have taken the same initiative but I might have been blocked or thwarted. We are the down the line pro-European party and Nigel is the direct opposite. It’s a good clash that needs to be heard.

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Danny, please listen to Charles Kennedy before you write about the Independence Referendum again

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TDanny Alexander’s article on the Independence Referendum in yesterday’s Sunday Times (£) was, for me, a frustrating read. If I’m honest, it was actually like nails being dragged down a blackboard.  Full of language like damaging, devastating and divorce, t is absolutely not what we need at this stage of the campaign. He even brought in the spectre of not being able to sustain the NHS in an independent Scotland. 

A poll published in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday

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Charles Kennedy: Pro UK campaign needs to be more positive

Charles KennedyCharles Kennedy has made a welcome intervention in the debate on Scottish independence. As far as the Better Together campaign is concerned, he’s quite off message. I suspect Liberal Democrats will feel that his comments needed saying and deliver a much-needed kick up the backside to the pro-UK organisation.

I very rarely share Better Together social media stuff because it’s only rarely that I see something that my friends will actually appreciate. The campaign generally gives off an air of dourness that doesn’t even connect with its own activists. They might well have bought into the idea that negative campaigning is effective, and while the polls are still in their favour, they will see no reason to change.

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Charles Kennedy’s tribute to “Highland Champion” John Farquhar Munro

John F and Charles KWhen Charles Kennedy was elected MP for the then Ross, Cromarty and Skye in 1983, John Farquhar Munro, the former MSP who died at the age of 79 on Sunday, was one of his key supporters. A friendship that would last more than 30 years was forged. Charles has paid tribute to him.

John’s passing is very sad not only for all his former constituents who he represented so ably for many years, but also for the wider Highlands and islands, where he was seen as a champion.

Since

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New Year reflections from Charles Kennedy: 2014 is not for the politically timid

Locally and nationally 2014 is going to be a decisive one – not just for us Liberal Democrats but for Scotland, the UK and the European Union as a whole.

It is going to be the most overwhelmingly political calendar year in the experience of most political participants. I believe that we are about to live through a period quite without precedent since 1974 – the year which saw two general elections. And its impact will be even more far reaching.

Both the European elections and the Scottish independence referendum offer us Liberal Democrats two pivotal platforms upon which to convey what, …

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Tim Farron “set to vote against the “Bedroom Tax” while Swales, Mulholland, R Williams and Sanders table motion against it

From the Guardian‘s live politics blog (3:15)

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is set to vote against the government on the bedroom tax tonight, I’m told. A friend of Farron’s tells me: “Party conference in Glasgow expressed its will very strongly against the bedroom tax and so Tim is listening to party members and will probably be voting against the government tonight. Tim is the voice of the party members, they have expressed their view and Tim wants to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Here’s the motion on the bedroom tax that the Lib Dems passed at their party

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Phil Bennion MEP writes: Manufacturers say Britain must stay in the EU

 EU flag - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentOn Monday, the UK’s manufacturing sector gave us a clear message. In Europe, in work. In a landmark report by the EEF, a trade association representing 6000 companies, manufacturers emphasised the importance of being part of the EU for their exports and business plans. 85% of firms surveyed would vote to remain in the EU.  One third said that they would be less likely to increase investment in Britain if we were to leave the EU.

Politicians across the political spectrum

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What has my marriage got to do with the Liberal Democrats?

More than you would think, I guess. My long-suffering husband at least went into our union with his eyes open. If there wasn’t actually a large bird of liberty in the room at the registry office, he knew that the party would play a large part in our lives together. And even then, I think it’s played an even bigger part than he anticipated and he’s dealt with it with patience, fortitude and humour. Most of the time, anyway.

Why is this even relevant? Well, it’s a Summer of 25th anniversaries. Next month, we will have been married for 25 years. Yesterday, it was 25 years since Paddy Ashdown was elected as leader and this video was released by the Party to celebrate.

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Helena Morrissey’s Report: No excuses – we have to do what she says and do it well

helena morrissey reportMy co-editor Stephen Tall has already published his first thoughts and a follow up post outlining where praise is due, which I agree with pretty much entirely. I’ve now emerged from my trip to London and subsequent burial under a pile of things that need to be stuffed into envelopes to add a few random thoughts of my own.

“A missed opportunity”

Norman Lamb started to draw up procedures for dealing with harassment in 2003. This work was never completed. Morrissey says:

Lamb is unsure why the drafted procedures were

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Charles Kennedy MP writes…

Charles Kennedy and Malcolm Bruce today celebrate 30 years as MPs for their constituencies. They have both issued messages to mark the occasion. Here is Charles’.

This coming Sunday will mark thirty years of serving Ross, Cromarty and Skye; Ross, Skye & Inverness West and currently, Ross, Skye & Lochaber. Through the many boundary and name changes it’s a continued privilege to serve the largest and arguably one of most beautiful constituencies in the country. The last three decades have brought have a wealth of issues to the constituency table; from the building of the Skye Bridge, ensuring the continuation of …

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Clegg and Rennie congratulate Bruce and Kennedy on 30 years in Parliament

David Steel at Malcolm Bruce's anniversary dinnerTwo senior  Liberal Democrat parliamentarians have been celebrating 30 years representing their constituencies in parliament. Sir Malcolm Bruce MP for Gordon and Charles Kennedy MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber both thanked constituents and Liberal Democrat party members this weekend for their support.

They have both marked the occasion with events in their constituencies. I travelled to Inverurie on Friday to attend a dinner in honour of Malcolm. His wife Rosemary had organised a few surprise guests for him too. The evening had no fewer than …

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Benefits Uprating Bill: Andrew George and Charles Kennedy’s arguments AGAINST

The Government last night won the vote for its Benefits Uprating Bill, with the third and final reading passed by 305 votes to 246. A fortnight ago, six Lib Dem MPs voted against or abstained from the Coalition line that benefits rises should be capped at the same rate as public sector pay (a below inflation 1% pa) for each of the next three years.

Andrew George, Charles Kennedy and other Lib Dems sought to move an amendment to the Bill, linking future welfare increases to the rise in average earnings. However, time expired before it was put …

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++ Government wins vote on Benefits Uprating Bill; 6 Lib Dem MPs rebel

There were no serious doubts the Coalition Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill — pegging increases in welfare payments at a below-inflation 1%, the same as public sector wage rises, for the next three years — would be approved. The only question was the size of majority and how many Lib Dems would rebel (I’ve been keeping a running tally here this afternoon).

There were two votes tonight. First, a Labour amendment to the Bill, defeated by 321 votes to 262, a government majority of 59. Then a vote on the unamended second reading, which the government won by 324 votes to …

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In other news… Trident, MI6, DECC, defections & other stories

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Coalition set for new split on cut-price Trident plan (Scotsman)

COALITION splits over Britain’s nuclear deterrent are set to be reopened after an internal Ministry of Defence review suggested a slimmed-down version of the £25 billion Trident replacement could be an option. … The report, led by Lib Dem armed forces minister Nick Harvey, looks set to reopen coalition divisions with many Tory back-benchers concerned that Britain’s replacement for Trident could end up being sacrificed for political reasons. However, with final decisions not

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LibLink: Charles Kennedy – Lords reform: we’ll defeat the rebels

In the Guardian yesterday evening Charles Kennedy challenged Labour to restore faith in Parliament today by supporting Lords Reform.

He writes:

For 100 years progressives in British politics have tried to bring democracy to one of the most important but arcane institutions in our country – the House of Lords. And for 100 years, the establishment has resisted, blocked or talked out those who argue for change at every turn. But today we have an historic opportunity to finally bring about that change – and it is in Labour’s hands.

Labour politicians for

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David Boyle’s appointment is excellent news

Under Charles Kennedy’s leadership, the party had a simple and generally popular approach to public services: Kennedy consistently supported higher spending on favourite public services and appointed as party spokespeople those with experience of that service. So in education, for example, it was ex-headteacher Phil Willis leading for the party, promoting costed policies to put more cash into the party’s priorities.

Overall, the party’s plans involved raising at least as much in extra taxes or savings as it wanted to spend, so the net effect was fiscally respectable but for each individual public service the party’s answer was pretty much, “we’ll …

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Labour’s not-so-very-local election broadcast shows how unimportant local decision-making is to Ed Miliband’s party

Tonight’s Labour local election broadcast, starring telly’s very own Lord (Robert) Winston, climaxes with the rallying cry:

On Thursday May 3rd, vote NHS, vote Labour

Exactly how voting Labour then will help the NHS isn’t explored — not surprisingly, because it won’t. There’s a reason these elections are called local elections, after all.

Before highlighting Labour’s misleading tactics I thought I should first check out the Lib Dem record on fighting local elections. I have to say I was expecting to find comparable examples, times when the party leadership had called …

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LDVideo: Remembering the 1992 general election, 20 years ago today

Thursday, 9th April, 1992 — the first election for the newly-formed Liberal Democrats, and the last election when the Tories won a parliamentary majority. Here’s a video trip down memory lane…

Andrew Marr on John Major’s biggest popular mandate in electoral history

Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail

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In other news… Richard Kemp for Liverpool, Kennedy on the UK, defection in Cambridge, Hughes at Leveson

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Richard Kemp to represent Liberal Democrats in Liverpool mayor election in May (Liverpool Echo)

‘He said: “I am standing because I believe that only the Liberal Democrats have the long term strategies which will place this city in a leading position able to create the jobs and investment which this city so badly needs. Liverpool needs an encompassing vision and direction that everyone in the city, residents, business and friends can buy into and support.”

You can read Richard’s own account of …

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Nick Clegg’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference started yesterday in Inverness and runs until tomorrow (Sunday). Nick Clegg addressed Conference yesterday afternoon; here is his speech in full:

Liberals from the Highlands and Islands have always been at the heart of our party. From the late great Jo Grimond and Russell Johnston, great leaders like Bob Maclennan, Charles Kennedy and Jim Wallace in Scotland, to our current team at Westminster, Highland and Island voices have shaped who the Liberal Democrats are.

In Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael, I have Liberals from the Highlands and Islands with me right at the heart of British Government. …

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Was there a Clegg coup? Review of The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard

Many book titles reveal little about what their book contains, either providing but a banal name for its contents or a clever, clever name which obscures rather than reveals. However, The Clegg Coup – Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard has a title which is revealing in two aspects. First, the way general accuracy in the book is marred by detailed slips – for whilst the general point of the title is true, with the May 2010 coalition being the UK’s first peacetime coalition in Westminster since before 1939, the title does not use the …

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Book review: Peace, Reform and Liberation – “the first port of call for anyone wishing to learn more about Liberal and Liberal Democrat history”

There has long been a need for a single volume history of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties covering the entire period from its roots in the constitutional struggles of the seventeenth century to the present day.

While Liberal history has received plenty of attention from historians, previous studies of the party have been limited to a specific eras or themes. In many ways of course the party has several histories. This includes the origins of the Liberal tradition in the Whigs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the heyday of Liberal government in the middle of the nineteenth century, the party’s decline and near extinction between the 1920s and 1950s, its recovery in the second half of the twentieth century, and now the challenges of governing in coalition with the party’s historic enemies, the Conservatives.

So it is welcome that the Liberal Democrat History Group has sought to fill a gap with Peace, Reform and Liberation.

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Opinion: The failings of This Week

As we kick back and relax from a hard day’s work (or job seeking as is so often the case), we would expect our licence fee funded BBC to reflect our views, those of 23% of the electorate according to last year’s poll (the national election).

However, a glance at our daily political programming would suggest that the BBC is still pandering to the cosy duopoly of Labour and the Tories.

Perhaps this cosy duopoly is most evident on Thursday nights with “This Week” (BBC 1 11.30pm ish), promising “politics with attitude and without the spin”. Andrew Neil (ex-Conservative party employee and …

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Opinion: Who will sort out our colossal National Debt?

The one group I’d most expect to be drawing up a roadmap to a debt-free Britain would be true-blue Tories. Some of them at least understand the problem. In a new book by five Conservative MPs - After the Coalition: a Conservative Agenda for Britain,  dubbed by the Independent as the Bible of the new Tory right wing, there is an entire chapter on the National Debt and the risk it presents.

As I have argued elsewhere, it is wrong to think that debt doesn’t matter… that so long as you can keep getting enough out of Peter to pay Paul then …

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LDVideo at Conference | CK on Nick, the DPM’s last year, and party leadership contest rules explained

Were you at Birmingham and so missed out on how the Lib Dem conference was reported? Not at Birmingham and so missed out on seeing Lib Dem MPs and government ministers up close and personal? We hope these videos will help (re-)connect you…

Charles Kennedy on Nick Clegg


(Available on the BBC website here.)

Nick Clegg’s highlights over the last 12 months

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