Tag Archives: conservatives

Lib Dems Telegraph splash: EU bashing “weak, opportunistic and fundamentally un-British” say Ashdown, Ludford, Brinton, Farron and 90 Lib Dems

Even Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t have taken the isolationist path that David Cameron’s Conservative party is romping its way down, according to 90 Liberal Democrats in a letter to the Telegraph today. The letter states:

David Cameron’s recent speech on European immigration is the latest in a series of desperate moves from a Conservative Party in full-scale panic.

We’ve had: “Go home or face arrest” vans. We’ve had: if you are from the EU and want to move to Britain, go and register at a police station. We’ve had: if you’re out of work, even for a few months, go back to where you came from.

In her Bruges speech in 1988, Margaret Thatcher said: “Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.”

What happened to that Conservative destiny? The dual menace of the Tory headbangers and the rise of Ukip.

There is nothing patriotic about bashing immigration from Europe. It is opportunistic, weak and fundamentally un-British. Migrants from the EU claim less in benefits than people born in this country. They are a massive net positive to the British economy. The Tories are scared to admit this. They have lost all sense of political courage – and that is why people have lost confidence in them.

We, the undersigned Liberal Democrats, konw that the real patriotic case is for Britain to remain in Europe; our jobs and our economic future depend on it.

photo by: rockcohen
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Cameron and the Tories show us what Government by Daily Mail would look like

It seems very strange to have watched three leaders’ speeches before our own Conference has started. We normally go first in the Conference season but thanks to Mr Alex Salmond and his choice of referendum date, we are bringing this conference season to an end. For once, Nick Clegg gets the chance to have the last word.

Farage, with his dodgy wireless microphone, was as full of himself as ever, even more so when he had a defecting Tory MP to brandish. This was in sharp contrast to Ed Miliband’s clumsy performance. And then we had Cameron. Standing in front of a dark backdrop, looking at his most charming, delivering a speech that had passion and promise. It didn’t just have a melody. It had the whole darned symphony. But he and his ministers have this week painted a picture of a Britain that I really don’t fancy living in, a country where government by Daily Mail values is the norm.

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Edward McMillan-Scott writes…Postscript: The Tory Conference – more Euro-sceptic than ever

Edward McMillan ScottIt was a poignant watching the Tory Conference at Birmingham’s ICC on TV. After all, it was there at our Spring Conference in March 2010 that I became a Liberal Democrat, only to find my new party in coalition with the Tories two months later!

I described that as the happiest day in my political life: ‘the Lib Dems have tamed the Tory extremists’ I wrote as the Coalition Agreement was published, especially on the EU and human rights.

My impression is that the Conservative Party has made absolutely no progress …

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Opinion: The ECHR is a “British Bill of Rights”

Following the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, the push from within the Conservatives to repeal the Human Rights Act and remove the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights with a British Bill of Rights in its place now seems firmly in the forefront of our political debate.

The most notable change was clearly William Hague’s surprise departure from Foreign Secretary and announcement that he would stand down as an MP next year but the most significant change was the sacking of Dominic Grieve from Attorney General. Serving as the Chief Legal advisor in the government, he had provided sound …

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Danny Alexander: UKIP is wrong on jobs, wrong on prosperity and wrong on security

Danny-Alexander

Today, The City UK publishes two reports which, they say, “show that leaving the EU poses very significant risks to the UK’s future, undermining economic well-being and the ability of business to grow and compete in world markets.” All in all, “A Legal Assessment of the UK’s relationship with the EU – a financial services perspective” and “Analysing the case for EU membership – How does the economic evidence stack up? predict a quadruple whammy of higher prices and unemployment, lower growth and wages should Britain leave the EU. That’s before you …

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Opinion: Britain needs jobs, not UKIP/Tory insults

Workers bankers london bridge - some rights reserved by zoonabar

Over 4 million British jobs depend on exports to the Single Market.

Those are the words of the Centre for Economic and Business Research regarding their recent report into British Jobs and the Single Market.

When we talk about this issue UKIP and the Tory Right throw around words like “liar”. When people do that it usually means they have lost the argument.

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Opinion: Nick, Nigel and the Hokey Cokey party

In common with many Lib Dem activists I have ambivalent feeling about Nick Clegg. I don’t feel that there is a strong case to either say that that no good had come from the coalition or from his leadership, or alternatively that it’s all been peachy. In my view it’s actually a case of what you think the balance has been between successes and disappointments, a debate where I sit roughly in the middle.

However Nick’s latest move – challenging Nigel Farage to a public debate on Europe – has my unbridled admiration, both morally and politically. Morally not only because …

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Coalition with Labour on, if they don’t “break the bank”

Tonight’s radio programme Nick Clegg: The Liberal who came to power has hit the news-stands for this apparent top line demand of any future coalition with Labour:

There is just no doubt in my mind that if there were a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, we the Liberal Democrats would absolutely insist that government would not break the bank.

More details can be found in the Mirror, Guardian and BBC, and other sources of news are available.

Let’s contrast the following comments by Nick on the Labour Party

I think they’ve changed. I think there’s nothing like the prospect

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Opinion: as Labour and the Conservatives play “Find the Lady” on immigration, what are we to do?

I must admit that the whole immigration debate bemuses me. As Labour and the Conservatives compete for the prize of being ‘not quite as tough on migrants as UKIP want to be’, some of my fellow Liberal Democrats respond by only talking of the benefits of migration, making the mistake of assuming that there is a rational debate to be had there.

The problem is that there isn’t – not now, at least. Instead, I suggest a different approach – holding the other three parties to account over their proposals. You see, I have concluded that most of the proposals will …

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Danny Alexander MP writes: We shouldn’t fritter away our EU influence when we can lead drive for jobs and growth

As the House of Lords debates the EU Referendum Bill, you may be forgiven for thinking that the Coalition Government has already legislated for a referendum. In fact we did – in 2011 Parliament passed the EU Act which holds that there will be a referendum if there is a transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. This is a sensible approach which means that the British people will get their say in a referendum when our terms of membership change.

At the time, Conservative Ministers strongly supported the EU Act and rejected attempts by their own backbenchers to …

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Let’s be grateful for the EU

Former Special Adviser and current Scottish Euro candidate Christine Jardine writes in the Scotsman about what Europe means to her and how she first became aware of what it meant as a child:

For me, joining what was then the EEC was the beginning of a very different, more positive and much less life-threatening relationship with the Continent than the previous generations of my family had experienced.

In 1973 Europe was all about new money, counting everything in tens and hundreds and new equipment to learn with at school.

Yard sticks were out and metre sticks were in. No more inches. It was

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Telegraph: “Liberal Democrats believe party can oust several Tories”

Yesterday’s Telegraph has a report that the Liberal Democrats believe that they can win or win back some seats currently held by the Tories.

The seats mentioned are Oxford West and Abingdon, Winchester and St Albans. These seats have all selected their candidates, Layla Moran, Jackie Porter and Sandy Walkington. I could also add Richmond Park, where Robin Meltzer is working hard, campaigning against Heathrow expansion with the help of two neighbouring cabinet ministers. In Harrogate we have Helen Flynn and in Newton Abbot and Truro and Falmouth, Richard Younger-Ross and Simon Rix are in place. All these candidates are …

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Liberal Democrat MPs may be bound by the Coalition Agreement, but that shouldn’t stop us campaigning against judgemental Tory marriage tax break

Wedding ringsWay back in May 2010, I divided the Coalition Agreement into The Good, The Meh and the “Bring me the gin now.” What do you think the very first item on the “lock me in a cupboard with a bottle of gin when they vote on this list” was?

“We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement.”

Ok, it’s tokenistic but the principle is so plain wrong that

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Lord Tom McNally writes…Liberal Democrats secure best possible deal for collaborative EU justice

The Commons votes tonight on whether the government should exercise the impenetrably-named ‘EU Justice and Home Affairs mass opt-out’.

While it sounds dry and technical, this decision is hugely significant as EU ‘JHA measures’ have been crucial in securing justice for hundreds of British victims of crime. These instruments have been prominent in the extradition of attempted London bomber Hussain Osman from Italy under a European Arrest Warrant, in coordinating via Eurojust the investigation into the Annecy killings and in Europol’s EU-wide investigation, ‘Operation Veto’, into match-fixing and corruption in sport.

The mass opt-out is not an ingenious new attempt by the …

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David Cameron says “I can be Prime Minister without Nick Clegg”

David-Cameron-and-Nick-CleggThe Telegraph has the news that the Tories have drawn up plans for a minority Government, should Nick Clegg be ousted and replaced by someone who is less sympathetic to the Coalition.

Apparently, Cameron’s advisers have told him that he could stagger along to 2015 without Nick Clegg, because the Liberal Democrats would still support the key reforms to state pensions and long-term care.

What they haven’t revealed is how much of the programme would have to be ditched.  I cannot imagine a full timetable of legislation in those circumstances.

The article once …

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Lord Paul Tyler writes…Never on a Sunday?

Some little Englander MPs, as we know, are incredibly jumpy about anything they think might have come from Europe.  The latest in the line of Brussels bogeymen is the worrying advent of public activity at the weekend, which could – they say – cause all kinds of terrible problems.

The British Social Attitudes survey (not the dangerous ‘Eurobarometer’) has found that 45.7% of the public regard themselves as belonging to ‘no religion’.  Of those who do profess some faith, 57.5% say they ‘never or practically never’ attend meetings or services connected to their religion.  A further 20% say they do …

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Opinion: Against liberalism

Statue of David Lloyd George - Some rights reserved  by GabludlowI am a liberal. I believe in standing up for people and communities against over-powerful vested interests – in business, the State, the media, or the unions. However, I also believe that liberalism alone is an inadequate political philosophy, and an insufficient foundation for this Party.

The problem centres on our determination to play down the significance of Left and Right. We sneer that the concepts are simplistic. We seek to defuse or ignore left-right conflict. The inconvenient truth we deny is that Left and Right do matter, often enough to split our party.

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Opinion: We’ve got our strategy the wrong way round

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLast Friday Lib Dem HQ sent out an email to parliamentarians, PPCs, council group leaders and other office holders about our party’s new message script. The full email, if anyone is interested, can be found herehere, courtesy of the Liberator.

Aside from the immensely catchy wordy message of “the Lib Dems are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life” (complete with an incredible 16 sub messages), a key point was this:

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Opinion: Cameron’s lurch to the right is Clegg’s opportunity

Party conference seasons are rarely memorable. Apart from Cameron’s “call that election – we will fight, Britain will win” bluff, which prompted Gordon Brown to call off the “election that never was” in 2007. Apart from a few leadership shocks – Ed Miliband’s pipping of his brother to the line on the shoulders of the trade unions in 2010 and the foundering of David Davis’ leaden leadership bid in 2005.

It may be premature to pass judgment on this conference season just yet. But it is a season that will be remembered for three things. Nick

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