Tag Archives: england

Baroness Lynne Featherstone writes…The State killed my nephew

It’s true. Nick was a haemophiliac and was infected with Hepatitis C and exposed to CJD through NHS treatment. And the Government knew the treatments were contaminated. They were warned. The NHS used blood treatment which bought blood – from American convicts. But the government carried on using contaminated blood products despite those warnings.

The result was 4670 haemophiliacs in the UK infected with HIV, Hepatitis C or both – and many exposed to CJD. In regard of the latter the consequences of that exposure are still unknown. In terms of HIV and Hepatitis C almost all haemophiliacs were infected with one or other or both. Over 2000 have died.

Nick died of Hepatitis C – or rather he died from a treatment meant to cure it. Nick was 35 years old, and left a 10 month old daughter, his partner of fourteen years. Nick’s mother (my sister), his father and his twin will never get over that loss. And that loss is made worse by the battle to get financial support and to get the government to admit its fault. It has never done so. The crucial papers were destroyed according the Department of Health.  Lord David Owen, former British Health Minister said ‘I can see why some people would be unhappy with having all the facts revealed because it will show negligence’.  No public inquiry has taken place. It must.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

The Government finally “nationalises” all our schools

So the government has finally decided to nationalise our nation’s schools. At least we now know where we stand. So, if an academy fails under the new system, the buck goes straight to the Secretary of State and not, as now, to the Local Education Authority (which, I assume will simply disappear).

When are we going to stop messing about with education? We are dealing with human beings, not building motor cars, for goodness sake. I note that the current secretary, like most of her cabinet colleagues, was educated privately. In the independent sector, business acumen and PR are part of the DNA of its member schools. “Sell yourself or go under”- and a few actually do!

Some have you may be aware of the goings on at an academy chain in Lincoln where the former Executive Head and his Director of Finance recently went on trial and, to many local people’s amazement, were acquitted.  Only this week it was announced that another secondary academy, the one I taught at for 23 years, is having to face redundancies because of some of its grants being cut. Now it is planned also to remove parent representatives from governing bodies, what chance will the local community have to influence their schools?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

Is George Orwell’s view of England still true?

George-orwell-BBCOver on the (unaffiliated) Journeyman blog there is a review of George Orwell’s collection of essays called Why I write, which was originally published in 1946.

The review quotes a couple of passages where Orwell makes observations about England. (I apologise that these opinions are very specifically given about England only, rather than the country as a whole).

The first passage is about the artistic and intellectual characteristics of the English:

Here are a couple of generalizations about England that would be accepted by almost all observers. One is that the English are not gifted artistically…the English are not intellectual… another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English life… The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker.
(The Lion & The Unicorn pp14-16)

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Lib Dem Lords fight for votes at 16 in Council elections

The Liberal Democrat campaign for votes at 16 enters a new stage today as the Lords debates the Cities Bill. Liberal Democrat Paul Tyler has put down an amendment which would enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote in Council elections in England and Wales.

Labour have said that they will support Paul’s amendment. If it passes, it will then be up to David Cameron’s Conservative MPs to overturn it. I suspect that they will have no problem doing that given that young people are hardly top of their list of priorities at the moment. However, you don’t need many Tory rebels to threaten the Government’s majority. The only thing is that you would need the SNP to vote in order to defeat the Government in the Commons. If the SNP does vote on this entirely English and Welsh matter, you would be less likely to get the Tory rebels. The chances of it becoming law therefore seem slim at this stage.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 12 Comments

Lord Paul Tyler writes…Devolution Dialogue on Democracy Day

Today is “Democracy Day”, a project running across BBC TV and Radio.  It’s fitting that in this same week, Nick Harvey and I have published proposals to bring decisions closer to those whom they affect: a prerequisite for real democracy in Britain.

Here on Liberal Democrat Voice, we have already had considerable debate over the merit of “devolution on demand” as compared to a big-bang, devolution-everywhere-now solution.  My views are well rehearsed!

However, the benefit of the CentreForum Devolution Dialogue in which Nick and I set out our alternative positions is that it brought us together in a greater measure of consensus than we …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Strong language from Nick Clegg on more powers for Scotland: This opportunity cannot be hijacked

I had a sneak preview of an article Nick Clegg wrote for today’s Sunday Post. I was a bit disappointed in its blandness. We needed more robust language, I felt. Why? Well, when Cameron had just had almost half of Scots who voted tell him they wanted out of the Union, his main message in response was to pick a fight with Labour on the so-called “West Lothian Question.” Really, Dave, is that what you take from all of this? By making more powers for Scotland seem contingent on resolving the English votes for English laws issues, he exacerbated tensions up here.

Yes supporters were already, entirely understandably, devastated. I only need to think of the anxiety I’ve felt over the last couple of weeks to understand entirely how it feels for them. The last thing these people needed to do was to find themselves in the middle of a scrap between the Tories and Labour over something that was irrelevant to them. There needed to be a very clear message that the powers would be delivered on time. If they aren’t, then, frankly, the three pro-UK parties are completely stuffed. As Ming Campbell memorably put it on the BBC News Channel on Friday night, you might as well hand out free membership of the SNP.

Rather than use his resignation statement to bring people together and soothe people’s emotions, Alex Salmond sought to raise tensions by suggesting that David Cameron had reneged on a commitment to have the Second Reading of the new Scotland Bill by 27th March. That was never part of the deal. As an MP of 20 years’ standing, Salmond should know that even if it had had its second reading by then, it would have fallen as Parliament is due to be dissolved days later. The commitment was to have a Bill ready to be debated by the next Parliament immediately after the election. That’s what the Better Together election poster explicitly said:

Better Together election poster

 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 39 Comments

Nick and The Sun – a missed opportunity

Nick Clegg and the SunI know I am coming late to this, having been out and about for most of the day. It’s only a few minutes since I logged on to Facebook and saw a picture of the leader of my party holding up The Sun. It was not a good idea for him to do this, especially given the renewed pain that relatives of those who died at Hillsborough are going through with the new inquests taking place at the moment. Nick’s picture can only be seen as a support for their unprecedented marketing initiative in delivering a free copy to every home in England at the start of the World Cup.

Now I don’t think for a moment that Nick Clegg has anything to prove when it comes to standing up to Rupert Murdoch. Let’s be clear about that. He instinctively did the right thing on press regulation. He has pandered to nobody unlike some others I could mention. Nothing can take away from that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 160 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndy Boddington 4th Dec - 9:36am
    We have had several homeless men passing through Ludlow this year. We have also had two locals rough sleeping. Even as a unitary councillor, I...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 4th Dec - 9:26am
    I'll be honest and say that it's not often that an LDV article and subsequent comments change my mind about anything, but this has got...
  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 4th Dec - 9:02am
    The team have been working really hard. If every Lib Dem who can either goes and helps or does some phoning or sends money we'll...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 4th Dec - 8:53am
    I can't be there because I'm currently in Sri Lanka. If you haven't got a real excuse, drop everything and go. If RP was a...
  • User AvatarPeter Kemp 4th Dec - 8:46am
    A difficult one, i must admit msometimes i do walk past .... but sometimes i do stop. As the above have said, a conversation and...
  • User Avatarethicsgradient 4th Dec - 8:01am
    with cash, I often find streeters are trying to get enough together to paid the £10-£20 for a hostel for the night. some might be...