Tag Archives: david cameron

The Nigel Farage Paradox: the higher his public profile, the lower is public support to leave the EU

Nigel Farage

Here is the Nigel Farage paradox: the more that Ukip’s media profile, poll rating and party membership has grown over the last two years, the more that support for the party’s core mission – that Britain should leave the European Union – seems to have shrunk.

    Sunder Katwala, director of British Future (New Statesman, 3 April 2014)
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Fraser Nelson is wrong: Cameron’s supposed EU re-negotiation allies are set on a very different path

european union starsLike so many Eurosceptics, Fraser Nelson was at it again this morning in the Telegraph: taking a couple of things they heard from foreign politicians and adding it all up to make something that matches exactly what they want: less Brussels.

Nelson was continuing his theme from the Spectator a couple of weeks ago, describing a Northern Alliance Cameron had been building to reform the European Union in his image. There is one problem with all that: it simply is not true.

In the UK, the Dutch are …

photo by: notarim
Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 8 Comments

FT: “For nearly four years, Britain has been served reasonably well by multi-party government”

On Tuesday, it was reported that David Cameron wanted to rule out the possibility of a second Lib-Con coalition in the event of another hung parliament. This tit was matched by an equivalent tat from the left, when Unite leader Len Mclusky urged Labour to do the same.

Today’s Financial Times leader attempts to inject a dose of reality into this anti-coalition arms race:

All this chest-beating has stirred Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, whose party can only govern with others, to denounce “tribal voices”. And he is right to do so. This should not

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: What Clegg was really up to last week

In his regular Conservative Home column, Liberal Democrat Voice co-editor Stephen Tall looked at the rationale behind two things that Nick Clegg had done last week, the debate challenge to Farage and his comments on Steve Richards’ programme which were interpreted as showing willing for a coalition with Labour.

So what does Stephen think it’s all about. Firstly, about getting the best deal in 2015 if there’s another hung Parliament:

In part, he’s preparing the ground for what may be. In part, he’s reaching out to those 2010 Lib Dem voters who’ve peeled off to Labour. And in part, he’s laying down

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Cameron to “rule out second Lib-Con coalition” claims Telegraph. It may be a bluff but that doesn’t mean he won’t be forced to do it.

Today’s Telegraph splashes on the claim that David Cameron is preparing to rule out the possibility of a second Coalition with the Lib Dems if the Tories are the largest single party but lack a majority:

The Prime Minister wants to make a commitment in the Conservative Party election manifesto not to sign a second power-sharing deal with a smaller party in the event of a hung parliament next May, it is understood. Instead, a Conservative party that won the most seats but lacked a Commons majority would attempt to rule as a minority government, a course that would almost

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Clash of the Cabinets: A wasted opportunity

I’m feeling a bit disgruntled today. My two governments are in the news. The Scottish and UK Cabinets have set up rival camps, glowering at each other with the City of Aberdeen providing an unwitting No Man’s Land.

How very different it could have been.

Given that these governments share responsibility in really important areas like employment, climate change, transport and energy, I think it would have been so constructive if they’d been able to organise a joint session to discuss these issues. Youth unemployment, for example,  is a significant issue north of the border and it’s something that both governments are …

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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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Opinion: David Cameron – the Conservative Party’s answer to Harold Wilson

More and more, David Cameron reminds me of Harold Wilson.

Both became leaders of their party when a sequence of election defeats forced change upon it. Both briefly were the young leader with a new purpose for their political tradition; the white heat of technology in the 20th century, huskies in the 21st.

Both struggled to win over the public, with neither getting an overall majority at their first attempt. Both turned out to be heavily beholden to their party’s traditional, backward-looking wing.

Wilson’s opportunities to be a dominating figure who reshaped society and rejuvenated the economy were wrecked on the Labour …

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Marriage tax breaks: Lib Dem members oppose Conservative plans by 62% to 22%

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’ve been publishing the full results.

(There were a couple of results I ran out of time to publish during the Christmas holiday period – I’ll be publishing them this week.)

Lib Dems oppose married couple tax-breaks by 62% to 22%

The tax break for married couples and civil partners was a Conservative election pledge that has lain dormant during Coalition. Not because of Lib …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Postcard from a British immigrant in Poland

As a Briton living and working in Poland I am ashamed of the small-mindedness David Cameron is encouraging in Britain by attacking Polish immigrants and insinuating that they are nothing but benefit scroungers. It is doing great damage to our image here and cutting deep into the trust and respect between our peoples.

I am a guest in this country, an economic migrant if you will. Since coming here to Warsaw in 2010 no one has ever uttered even the mildest criticism of my taking up the opportunity to work here (at an international college of European studies). Far from it …

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Immigration: 87% of Lib Dem members back free movement of EU people; but 65% also support benefit restrictions for EU migrants

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

87% of Lib Dems support the free movement of EU citizens

Overall, do you support or oppose the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want?

    87% – Support
    6% – Oppose
    1% – Don’t know
    5% – Other

An overwhelming proportion (87%) of Lib Dem members support the right of …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Telegraph: Clegg and Cameron have to intervene in “daily” Coalition rows

The Telegraph has a story today that is rather perplexingly filed under “news” but seems like a summary of what we knew already.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg spend a “disproportionate” amount of their time attempting to resolve rows in the Home Office and Department for Education, in particular, sources said.

Disagreements have also affected policy-making inside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, while rows between Lib Dem and Tory ministers from different departments are a frequent feature of government life, sources said.

The difference in tone between the two sources quoted is interesting. The Tory source is snarky as anything:

It’s

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The battle for pensioners’ votes begins with Cameron on Liberal Democrat turf

The latest Ashcroft polling shows that the Conservatives have a long way to go to be within a shout of victory, with 37% of those who voted Tory saying at the moment that they would not do so if there were an election tomorrow. It’s hardly surprising, then, that David Cameron kicks off the next stage in the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with today’s Sunday Times (£), by pledging to stick to one of the Coalition’s most successful policies through another Parliament.

The Tories have previous for trying to claim the credit for a Liberal Democrat policy. Last …

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Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Cameron still leading as Miliband recovers (a bit) among Lib Dems

We’ve been asking this question for over two years, and over the past year there has been quite a change in fortunes (and back again) for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

cam mili member ratings - dec 2013Continue reading »

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Better in Cameron’s Black Book than on the Statute Book

“The Lib Dems have held us back, says Cameron” screams today’s Daily Mail headline. Yes, it’s the Prime Minister showing that he can play the differentiation game too.

If there’s one thing that David Cameron and Nick Clegg can agree on, it’s that the Liberal Democrats and the Tories have divergent views on many issues. Both will take every opportunity to point that out to anyone who will listen.

The Daily Mail quotes Cameron’s interview with the Spectator in which he says that Nick Clegg has stopped him doing all sorts of things he would love to do. None of this is …

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“Nick Clegg is an idle f*****r says David Cameron”

clegg-cameron_different_directionsThe Mirror’s headline promised Coalition discord and rancour. The reality was a lot less interesting – a joke by the Tory leader as his Lib Dem counterpart enjoyed dinner with his wife. Here is that racy anecdote in all its “foul-mouthed” glory:

The PM’s foul-mouthed remark came as he heard the Lib Dem leader and his wife were enjoying a meal out – while he was still busy working. He made the discovery after calling a horse-training pal who happened to be in the same restaurant as the Cleggs.

Mr Cameron

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John Major: Class warrior

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major is back in the news today condemning the stranglehold on power and influence enjoyed by the elite:

In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking.

This follows his unexpected intervention in the energy debate calling for a windfall tax on energy companies. In both cases Major seems to be taking on the role of Cameron’s One Nation conscience, speaking up for people in modest …

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YouGov: Nick edges Vince on economic trust

Which politician (or combination of politicians) would the public most trust to run the British economy? That’s the question YouGov asked, and here are results courtesy the PLMR blog:

economic trust

Overall David Cameron has the single best economic trust figure (35%) followed by Ed Miliband (30%). As you might expect this breaks broadly on party lines: 91% of Tory voters trust their party’s leader; 76% of Labour’s trust theirs. The current Coalition partnership – Cameron and Clegg – are trusted by 29%, with Tories less enthusiastic and Labour supporters overwhelmingly hostile.

Intriguingly …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… This is the Liberal Democrats’ policy and everybody knows it

The Conservatives may claim to be the party of hardworking people. But the same cannot be said for their policy wonks. According to today’s Financial Times, the Conservatives are apparently considering a proposal for their manifesto to increase the personal allowance to £12,500. An almost identical idea to our own policy of raising the personal allowance to the minimum wage that we first passed in our spring conference of 2012 and reaffirmed just one month ago at our Autumn conference in Glasgow. Once again, it is the Liberal Democrats who are shaping the future of the British tax system.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

Why every minister should know the price of bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a classic journalist’s trap. David Cameron was challenged on LBC Radio. “How much does a value loaf cost?” His guess was “way north of a pound.” “Caught you”, the presenter almost said. A value loaf, in London at least, costs 47p.

Now, I simply did not believe this. To my certain knowledge – until this afternoon – an 800g white loaf costs a full £1. Of course, I was wrong.

I live in a classic rural market town of around 10,000 people, three supermarkets, four convenience stores, a great market, local butchers and bakers, and much more. Ludlow has streets that are amongst the 10% richest in the country. But walk just half a mile from the historic centre and you will find housing areas that are amongst the 10% most socially deprived areas in Britain.

We are a town famous for its food and we have some of the best bakers in Britain. But for so many of our residents, the price of bread really matters.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

David Cameron’s speech: meh, bah and hmm.

David Cameron - head in handsI missed David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference today. Or, rather, I didn’t see or hear it, which isn’t quite the same thing as missing it.

Meh

But it sounds like, by missing it, I didn’t miss much. There were no dramatic announcements, no new initiatives. Yes, there was talk of the need to “nag and push and guide” young people to either “earn or learn” – the Department of Work and Pensions reports over a million people between the ages of 16 and 24 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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LibLink…Paddy Ashdown: After the Syria vote, Britain must not sleepwalk into isolationism

Paddy Ashdown has been writing about the implications of the Syria vote for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. First, he pretty much repeats what he said on Friday:

There are strange paradoxes here. It is possible to be both proud of a parliament that said no to the executive on a matter like military action. But sad; even – dare I say it – a little ashamed at the decision it took.

Of course there are reasons for this. The leftover poisons of the Iraq war; the toxic effect of public distrust in our politics. Mishandling by the government. President Obama’s

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Revealed: What Lib Dem members think of Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Cameron bounces back as Miliband’s stock falls further among Lib Dems

We’ve been asking this question for almost two years, and over the past year there has been quite a change in fortunes (and back again) for the two party leaders, as this graph illustrates:

mili v cam - aug 2013

Here’s the

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 2 Comments

David Cameron poaches Lib Dem tax-cuts idea. (But that’s not half as annoying as the Tory ideas my party’s trying to claim.)

It’s amazing how much more popular with David Cameron the Lib Dems’ flagship policy of taking the low-paid out of income tax is these days… Just today he celebrated delivering an income tax cut for 25 million people and lifting 2.4 million low earners out of tax:

It’s all a bit of a contrast from the first 2010 televised leaders’ debate, when David Cameron argued the policy was unaffordable… unlike the Tories’ own proposals for raising the inheritance tax threshold to £1m or tax breaks for married couples, of course.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Cameron’s false porn panacea

From suggesting that the Blackberry messenger service be shut down during the 2011 riots, to proposing that the food standards agency can monitor your home internet usage It’s clear that Cameron, or those around him, have a limited appreciation of how the internet works.

Yesterday Cameron announced another clanger – default internet filtering for every household in the country, so unless you tell you ISP otherwise, pornographic content would be blocked – or at least some porn, as Cameron was today forced embarrassingly admit that the Sun’s Page 3 topless models wouldn’t be blocked.

So isn’t it a good idea to …

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Opinion: Cameron’s porn ban – what does it mean?

 "PC Baan" internet cafe in Seoul, Korea - Some rights reserved by HachimakiDavid Cameron is out to make the world a safer place by tackling what he sees as the problems caused by pornography. We don’t really know the details of the policy yet, but with Cameron doing the rounds on TV and radio today we’ve got a reasonable idea of what he’s got in mind.

Block pornography by default
Web filtering software is very common – most schools and businesses have it installed. It does a passable job of blocking access to undesirable sites whilst allowing others. Inevitably, some sites that you don’t want to block get caught up, but by and large the filters work OK.

Cameron’s concern is that they aren’t being extensively used by parents of younger children, and the suspicion (probably rightly) is that in many cases it’s because parents aren’t tech savvy enough to know they exist or how to implement them.

So this main headline item – that ISPs all implement filtering software for all customers, and that it be turned on by default (with someone in the household having to make a positive decision to turn it off) – is a “nudge” policy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 45 Comments

Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood socks it to the Tories over their “dramatic flip-flopping” on in/out EU referendum

martin horwoodWhile most of the country was enjoying yesterday’s sunshine, the Tory party indulged its own carnival of (to coin a phrase) banging on about Europe.

James Wharton’s private member’s bill legislating for an in/out referendum on the European Union to take place by 2017 (a pledge David Cameron has already conceded to his rebellious backbenchers, who don’t believe him) passed its second reading in the Commons by 304 votes to zero.

Only one Lib Dem MP made a speech: Cheltenham’s Martin Horwood. It’s a punchy tour de force which details …

Posted in Europe / International, News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 45 Comments

Will Ed Miliband “do a John Smith” and push for an early EU in/out referendum? There are advantages, y’know…

John Major and David CameronCould Labour be about to “do a John Smith” to the Tories over the timing of an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union?

In the 1990s, Labour wrought havoc on the fourth-term Tory government by (cynically) teaming up with the right-wing ‘Maastricht rebels’ to inflict damaging Commons defeats on their common enemy, John Major.

Could Ed Miliband try and do the same to David Cameron? That’s the hint in today’s Guardian:

Labour is considering backing an in-out referendum on Europe as early as

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Could the Lib Dems stay in the Coalition in the event the Tories dumped David Cameron?

As my Voice colleague Mary Reid notes, today’s Telegraph was keen to alert readers to the contingency plans drawn up by the Tories to carry on governing in the event that Nick Clegg were defenestrated as party leader.

I assume one of those contingency plans was the laughably blatant attempt by Michael Gove to try and undermine Nick Clegg last month and so distract the media from the Tories’ own ongoing internecine warfare over Europe.

Still, it should be a very exciting next couple of months for we Lib Dems if the Telegraph is to be believed

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments



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