Tag Archives: don foster

Bath Lib Dems choose short-list to succeed Don Foster

don fosterThe Bath Chronicle reports the news of the contenders seeking to succeed Don Foster as Lib Dem MP for Bath:

The party has this week decided on a shortlist of contenders who will battle it out for the Lib Dem nomination. Mr Foster announced in January that he would be standing down from the seat he has held since 1992.

Several hopefuls turned to Twitter to announce they had made the shortlist including Chris Lucas, Steve Bradley, former Bath City chairman Councillor Manda Rigby (Lib Dem, Abbey) and former mayor Councillor

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Don Foster MP to stand down in 2015

One of the highlights of a dismal and disappointing election in 1992 was undoubtedly Don Foster’s election in Bath. He won the seat from then Tory party chairman Chris Patten.

Don has tonight announced that he won’t be standing in next year’s general election, it was in fact Jonathan Calder tweeted the news first, which led to me staking out Don’s Twitter and website looking for an announcement. When it came, it was on the Bath and North East Somerset website. Don Foster

After what will have been 23 wonderful years, this has been a very difficult decision to

Posted in News | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Did Nick Harvey turn down the job of Lib Dem chief whip?

nick harvey weaponSir Nick Harvey, summarily sacked as defence minister by Nick Clegg a year ago, was offered a job in government at last week’s reshuffle — at least according to James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday:

The Lib Dem leader had hoped Nick Harvey would be his Chief Whip. But, to Clegg’s surprise, Harvey turned down the job. ‘Clegg was gobsmacked,’ one Lib Dem tells me. The Deputy Prime Minister didn’t expect him to reject an invitation to join his inner circle. Harvey had been sounded out about taking

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Reshuffle redux: how Lib Dem members rated the ministerial performances of the sacked and the promoted

I posted earlier the most recent ratings by Lib Dem members of the party’s government ministers. Here’s how those affected by the reshuffle have done over the three-plus years we’ve been running our members’ surveys

Sacked

Michael Moore (Secretary of State for Scotland, May 2010 to Oct 2013)

michael moore performance

Jeremy Browne (Minister – Foreign Office, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister – Home Office, Sept 2012 to Oct 2013)

jeremy browne performance

David Heath (Deputy Leader – Commons, May 2010 to Sept 2012; Minister

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

Don Foster declares war on betting shops

don fosterOne of the lower profile motions on the agenda for Federal Conference in Glasgow is entitled ‘High Street Gambling’. It is relatively short and contains just two recommendations:

Conference therefore calls on Liberal Democrats in government to push for:
1. Betting shops to be put in a new separate planning use class, allowing local authority planning committees to control them
2. The Gambling Act to be amended to allow council licensing committees to take into account the cumulative impact of a proliferation of gambling activities when considering applications.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Let’s stop pussyfooting over property prices

According to a report published by Shelter this week, if the price of an oven ready chicken had risen as fast as the price of the average house since 1971, it would cost £51.18. House prices simply have to fall if we’re to find any way out of our economic mess and many of those with mortgages are going to have to take a hit. What we need to do is to ensure that the pain is borne by those who can best afford it… and who caused the problem in the first place.

We need to get over our obsession …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

LibLink: From Baftas to building standards – why Don Foster isn’t looking back

don fosterDon Foster begins his article in the Telegraph thus:

Having spent the first two years of the coalition government as a Lib Dem spokesman on culture, media and sport I knew what a gruelling schedule was, well before becoming Communities Minister.

Fitting in film premières, football and rugby matches, plays, and the BAFTAs was tough but somebody had to do it as the old joke goes. And I loved it. And now as the minister with responsibility for housing what have I swapped this for? Building regulations conferences.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Danny, Don and Nick stand up for Local Government in a way that Pickles never has

The Autumn Statement has announced no further cuts to local government in the next financial year, with a 2% cut the following year.

We’re grateful to Danny Alexander, Don Foster and Nick Clegg for stepping in and saying “no” to further cuts to local services over the next year – in a way we just haven’t seen from the DCLG Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

Liberal Democrat Ministers have stopped an across-the-board cut of 1% to local government next year. That means up to £240m extra that will be in council budgets every year which will help fund youth services, streets, parks, …

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Does Don Foster like his new government job?

The current edition of The House magazine features our very own Don Foster in full colour on its front page. There’s an interesting article on the legend that is “The Don”, but this little passage, about his job in government, caught my eye:

“One of the fantastic things I did for the first two-and-a-half years of this Government was to represent the Liberal Democrats at film premieres, at football matches, at rugby matches, at plays, at the BAFTA awards, and so on. It was hardly a big sacrifice to lose out first time round. I loved representing the

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

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

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

LDVideo | Election archive special… 1992

Last weekend — in a desperate attempt to offer our readers an alternative to The X-Factor — we highlighted some clips from elections of yesteryear: first, the 1960-70s, then the 1980s. Today, we’re scrolling forward to the video footage of the 1992 general election…

Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail

(Available on YouTube here.)

Don Foster wins Bath from Chris Patten (from 3:05)

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

News in Brief: Ming savages Danny, ‘Parenting Matters’, and Don Foster on “rodents with wings”

Former party leader Ming Campbell is apparently furious with fellow Scottish Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, according to the Telegraph.

The two MPs are, it appears, at each others’ metaphorical throats over the handing over to the British army of RAF Leuchars in Fife (Ming’s patch), while RAF Lossiemouth in Moray (Danny’s neighbouring patch) — though it should be noted that RAF Kinloss, also close to Danny’s own consituency, will suffer the same fate as Leuchars.

The Telegraph quotes Ming implying with scarcely veiled fury that Danny’s intervention in the defence …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Hughes, Farron and Foster write to Rupert Murdoch – full text of letter

Simon Hughes, Tim Farron and Don Foster have written to Rupert Murdoch about the proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International.

They ask Murdoch to respond to public opinion by changing his commercial strategy in the UK: withdrawing his News Corporation bid for BSkyB and concentrating all his efforts on cleaning up News International.

The letter in full:

Proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International

Ever since the report of our Information Commissioner ‘What Price Freedom?’ and the conviction and imprisonment of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2006, there has been growing concern about the policy and practices of UK newspaper titles owned

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Live music: government backs Lib Dem peer’s bill

The Publican reports:

Live Music Bill gets government backing

Baroness Rawlings, a government spokesperson, told the House of Lords the coalition will help the private members’ Bill become law, but with caveats.

The Bill, tabled by Lib Dem Lord Clement-Jones, includes plans to offer a licensing exemption to pubs that host gigs attracting an audience of 200 or fewer. It tallies with The Publican’s own Listen Up! campaign.

But Baroness Rawlings said certain criteria had to be met for the Bill to get the coalition’s full support…

Lord Clement-Jones said he was “delighted” the Bill had received such a “positive reception”.

He later added: “The

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PMQs: Miliband goes all Ballsy

Good Lord! Ed Miliband and David Cameron actually agreed on something. They agreed that yesterday’s growth figures were “disappointing”. They even agreed that if you set aside the bad weather impact, the figures were flat over the last quarter. An amazing level of agreement at PMQs! Unheard of!

Miliband asked about the causes of the disappointing figures. Cameron pointed to the UK’s large deficit and the large banking boom and bust. Ed Miliband then asked Cameron to confirm that he still thinks we are “out of the danger zone” (Cameron’s words from 15th December). We are no longer linked with PIG (Portugal, Ireland, Greece), said Cameron.

After Cameron said “If you do not deal with your debts, you will never have growth”, Ed Miliband came back with “If you do not have growth, you will never cut the deficit.” That has to be his best rejoinder ever at PMQs. Cameron dealt with that, however, by quoting the head of the OECD: “if you don’t deal with the deficit you can be assured that there will not be growth because confidence will not recover”.

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Don Foster MP speaks out against homophobia in football

Don Foster, Lib Dem MP for Bath, has given an exclusive interview to the Gay Football Supporters Network where he discusses homophobia in football and his own love of the sport.

From the Gay Football Supporters Network website:

Why do you think that we have made so much progress in football regarding racism (Kick It Out etc) and yet homophobia remains prevalent in the sport? Why do you think there are currently no openly gay professional players?

I think that groups such as yours have a vital role to play in challenging prejudices. We need to see individual fans,

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Digital Economy Bill latest – two cheers for the LibDem team

As Liberal Democrat Voice has reported in depth over recent weeks, there was a surge of debate around the party’s response to the Digital Economy Bill, leading to our open letter from PPCs, and the emergency motion passed at conference. Great joy.

Then it all went quiet.

There has of course been a little matter of the Budget. MPs and candidates have been, quite rightly, out on the hustings and the doorsteps. But if our Parliamentary party were otherwise engaged, the blogosphere was not. The dedicated campaigning of the Open Rights Group was joined by the 38 Degrees lobby. They have objected not only to the content of bits of the Digital Economy Bill, but also the obvious concerns about its process.

If nothing else, this Bill has highlighted to a new generation of voters the urgent need for Parliamentary reform. The unelected second chamber; ridiculous rush, horsetrading and lack of debate of the washup; the way a Government elected with a minority of the vote can railroad through legislation – all of this must change.

The Open Rights Group anti-disconnection rally took the issue from the screen to the streets, and I was delighted to be invited to speak on behalf of our party. As I told the crowds, we started campaigning for Freedom of Information against a Tory government; now we are campaigning for free exchange of information under Labour. When you deal with a death, there is a cycle of emotion from grief through anger to acceptance. When it comes to the death of our freedoms under Labour, as Liberal Democrats we may be aggrieved, we are angry, but we will not accept it.

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

The Independent View: Liberal Democrats should oppose the Digital Economy Bill

Last week we reported that, following the concessions forced on the government, Don Foster MP is broadly happy with the Digital Economy Bill’s proposals on illicit downloads. Jim Killock of the The Open Rights Group has a different take on the situation:

The Digital Economy Bill should be opposed by Liberal Democrats. Mandelson’s Bill seeks to reduce illicit downloads by punishing innocent people, removing any chance of a reasonable defence, and by disconnecting people.

Let’s start with this first idea, of disconnecting ‘infringers’.

Let’s say you pay BT, for broadband and somebody else downloads a number of copyright music tracks. You, your family, and …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

“A Liberal believes in the raucous, unpredictable capacity of people”

That’s the striking quote from Nick Clegg which opens The Power of Creativity, a set of new proposals for the arts and creative industries published today by the Liberal Democrats. The paper goes on to make the point that,

The first chairman of the Arts Council was that great Liberal John Maynard Keynes. His vision as set out in 1946 remains ours in 2010: “to create an environment, to breed a spirit, to cultivate an opinion, to offer a stimulus to such purpose that the artist and the public can each sustain and live on the other in that union which

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Don Foster on the Digital Economy Bill: carrot, pause and then stick

Yesterday Don Foster (Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary) kindly gave over some time to talk about his views on the Digital Economy Bill and the line the party is taking. It’s a topic we’ve often covered on The Voice, particularly the question of the balance between carrot and stick in responding to internet piracy. Should the response be making it easier for people to buy legal content and a move to new business models (the carrot) or should it be a crackdown based on the existing copyright rules (the stick)?

Don’s answer was that the carrot should be tried …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems move to clip Mandelson’s power over copyright

The Digital Economy Bill currently going through Parliament would give Peter Mandelson huge powers to rewrite the country’s copyright laws in future – and all without much in the way of Parliamentary scrutiny or checks and balances.

But Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement-Jones has tabled an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill to delete the controversial Clause 17.

He’s said:

This clause would give the Government carte-blanche to change all copyright law relating to the internet as and when they please.

Such powers are unnecessary and over-reaching and we have tabled an amendment to delete Clause 17.

Good news.

Whilst the Parliamentary Party’s approach seems to the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Oh God … It’s Don’s “there’s too many repeats on telly” rant again

In what has become a tradition almost as eagerly anticipated as the Queen’s Speech, Lib Dem shadow culture secretary Don Foster has unleashed his annual broadside against telly bosses for broadcasting too many repeats. The Telegraph dusts off the same-old, same-old:

Nearly 600 hours of repeats will be shown on Britain’s four main television channels over the festive period according to schedules released by broadcasters. It is thought to be the highest ever number of Christmas repeats to be shown during the two week holiday period. … Over the four main terrestrial channels some 580 hours will consist of repeated

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Liberal Democrats back campaign to free our postcodes

Welcome news from the blog of Lynne Featherstone (who, apart from being a LibDem MP, is also chair of the party’s Technology Advisory Board):

We need postcodes to be owned by the public – not sold to the public. Postcodes are the basic pre-requisite for allowing services to be developed that support democratic accountability.

It’s an important issue because the Royal Mail’s decision to take a hard line in enforcing its legal rights means a range of useful public services – including ones to help unemployed people find jobs and to help residents hear about planning applications near them – have …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 10 Comments

Filesharing plans ignore legal rights, claims Foster

The rights and wrongs of filesharing may still be very much up for debate, but Don Foster again confirmed that, if Lord Mandelson wants support for his “three strikes and you’re out” policy against filesharers, he won’t get it from the Lib Dems.

Lord Mandelson wants those suspected of illegal file sharing to have their bandwidth restricted or to be cut off from the Internet altogether. Mandelson claimed that young people downloading content for free was morally unsustainable.

Don Foster, who just last week was speaking out for live music performers (the clown’s the one on the left) has made …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Foster on online pay-per-view for England World Cup match: football’s “making a fast buck” at fans’ expense

Well, the good news for Lib Dems is that it should be safe to go knocking on doors on Saturday afternoon knowing you’re not going to interrupt an England World Cup qualifier on the telly. The bad news – if you’re a football supporter without home access to the Internet – is that you can’t watch England take on Ukraine.

The BBC explains:

England’s World Cup qualifier in Ukraine on Saturday will be shown exclusively live to subscribers on the internet who will pay at least £4.99. All previously broadcast England matches have been available on TV.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Should product placement be banned from TV shows?

Here’s Don Foster’s take on the subject:

In the current financial climate, we have to look at all revenue options including product placement.

The previous Secretary of State, Andy Burnham, was wrong to have ruled out the option of product placement.

With Google now having a larger advertising revenue than ITV, the commercial television companies need to fight back and it’s welcome that the new Secretary of State is using common sense and allowing product placement to be part of their armoury.

Given how controversial product placement was in its early days in US TV and in films, I’m struck how muted the public …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Film censorship “in chaos”, says Foster

As the BBC reports:

Retailers who sell violent video games and 18-rated DVDs to children cannot be prosecuted because of a legal blunder 25 years ago. Dozens of prosecutions under a 1984 Act have been dropped because the government of the day failed to notify the European Commission about the law. But previous prosecutions will stand, according to the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

Lib Dem shadow culture, media and sport secretary Don Foster was quick to react to the news:

The Conservative’s incompetence when they were in Government has made laws designed to prevent video piracy and protect

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Should BBC licence fee-payers foot £150k ‘Sachsgate’ fine?

No, says Don Foster, the Lib Dems’ shadow culture, media and sports secretary, following media regulator Ofcom’s announcement on Friday that it was fining the BBC £150,000 following the infamous prank calls made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on Mr Brand’s Radio 2 show:

This money should come out of Jonathan Ross’s salary so that broadcasting does not suffer.”

Hmmm. Sorry, Don, but you’ve not convinced me your statement is anything other than populist drivel.

Of course Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross bear ultimate resonsibility for their potty-mouths. But what they said was broadcast by the BBC, and the Beeb …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 25 Comments



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  • User Avatarpaul hunt 19th Apr - 5:56pm
    Thank you, Stephen. One of the people who introduced me to Liberalism in 1973 told me that he had been inspired to join the Party...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 19th Apr - 4:43pm
    @ Thomas, The difference is that, if Scotland were within NATO, the United Kingdom would have an obligation to defend Scotland, were it to be...
  • User AvatarThomas Robinson 19th Apr - 4:19pm
    RC I would say you absolutely own the illogical stance. Of course England would not be bothered at all if a non-NATO Scotland was invaded...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 19th Apr - 4:08pm
    @ Rabi, I did, less than four months ago, and nothing has happened since then to change my views on the subject. http://www.libdemvoice.org/2014-looking-for-a-dark-horse-or-a-safe-pair-of-hands-37695.html Here's something...
  • User AvatarTracy 19th Apr - 4:06pm
    I agree with Stephen Howse! I do hope we have a wide selection of candidates, including men!
  • User AvatarRabi Martins 19th Apr - 3:49pm
    @ MarkValladeres " I’ll be watching to see if any of the candidates show signs of understanding what is necessary to put up a good...