Tag Archives: eric avebury

Lord Eric Avebury writes…Polio and Terrorism

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO),has reduced the number paralysed by polio from 350,000 in 1988 to 405 in 2013, and the number of countries where the disease is endemic has been cut from 125 to just 3 –Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. But progress has come to a grinding halt, with Pakistan reporting 174 new cases so far this year out of 193 worldwide.

The WHO says there is a high risk that this highly infectious disease will spread to other parts of the world, paralysing many of its victims.

Three quarters of all cases are reported from two lawless areas of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP) and the misleadingly named Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In these provinces terrorists call the shots, intimidating and murdering those who don’t agree with their fundamentalist brand of Islam.

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The Immigration Bill: 23 Liberal Democrat Lords rebel on “stateless” power, 12 on child trafficking guardian

immigrationThe Immigration Bill was back in the Lords this Monday where the Government suffered two defeats. The first was to overturn the power of the Home Secretary to deprive terror suspects who had acquired British citizenship  (note, suspects, not anybody who has been convicted of anything) of that citizenship even if so doing would render them stateless.

Of the 242 peers supporting Lord Pannick’s amendment, 23 of them were Liberal Democrats. And their ranks included more than the usual Awkward Squad.

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Conservatives block moves to outlaw caste discrimination

eric aveburyEric Avebury has written before about the need to outlaw caste discrimination, and about the legislative processes as proposals within the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill  went through the Lords. It is therefore disappointing to learn that the campaign has suffered a serious setback. 

In 2010 the Government commissioned independent research into caste discrimination and harassment in the UK.  The summary (pdf) of that research reported that between 50,000 and 200,000 people in the UK are culturally identified as low caste. It found evidence of caste discrimination in work …

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Government changes its mind and makes caste discrimination illegal

The BBC reports that Vince Cable has agreed to outlaw caste discrimination after the House of Lords twice voted on an amendment incorporating it into the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Those proposing the change argued that those considered to be of lower caste in some communities were discriminated against in employment or even at school. A government report from 2010 argued that a change in the law was the most effective way of dealing with this issue.

Liberal Democrat peer Eric Avebury has been at the forefront of the campaign to outlaw caste discrimination and has written about

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Next week in the Lords: 4-7 March

House of Lords chamberYes, we’re back, after this column’s regular late winter break to study comparisons between government systems in the Caribbean. And whilst the House of Lords and the Cuban leadership do have some similarities – having octogenarians in prominent positions, for example – you would probably want to see more of Eric Avebury than you would Fidel Castro…

So, on with the motley…

Monday kicks off the week with the main business being Day 2 of the Report Stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Amongst the …

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Lib Dem peer Avebury on working in your 80s

Yesterday’s Guardian carries a feature on three people who have worked way beyond the age when they can collect their State Pension.

One of those is Liberal Democrat Peer Eric Avebury, who has written several articles for Liberal Democrat Voice.

At 84, he’s still attending the House of Lords 4 days a week.

He talks of the driving force that keeps him going:

As I have got older I have become more and more keen on the idea of equality. The evidence shows that most of the ills of society – such as crime, mental illness and so on – are deeply correlated

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Next week in the Lords… 10-14 December

Firstly, my apologies for missing a few weeks, mostly due to a rather hectic diary. So, where were we?…

It has to be said that next week is a relatively quiet week for the Liberal Democrats, with no oral questions scheduled, although Monday does see some Liberal Democrat ministerial action, with Jim Wallace taking the Second Reading of the Partnerships (Prosecution) (Scotland) Bill, which is intended to make provision for the prosecution in Scotland of partnerships, partners and others following dissolution or changes in membership. More important, probably, …

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Lib Dem Peers rebel as Government defeated on Welfare Reform

The Government has suffered a series of defeats in the House of Lords tonight on various aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill.

The House of Lords was discussing amendments relating to the Employment and Support Allowance.

The Guardian reports that 3 Liberal Democrats, Jenny Tonge, Matthew Taylor and Roger Roberts voted for an amendment which protected young people’s right to claim Employment and Support Allowance.

The Government was also defeated on their one year time limit for claiming Contributory ESA. This was increased to two years by the amendment. The Liberal Democrat rebels were Dee Doocey and Jenny Tonge.

The third defeat was …

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Daily View 2×2: 11 February 2010

Well, let’s see. First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. Then it was February 11th and time for Daily View, on this, Canadian actor Leslie Nielson’s birthday.

He shares the date with the Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner, and Caribou Barbie, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Other notable occurrences today include the death of Sylvia Plath in 1963 and the début of Julia Child’s US TV show The French Chef in 1963. If you’ve never seen it before, go see Julia making omelettes.

2 Cheerful Stories

British Retail’s “irreversible downward spiral”

The Guardian has news that some British towns and cities have so many empty shops they may never recover:

Many of Britain’s towns and cities are suffering from such huge shop vacancy rates that they risk becoming ghost towns, wiping hundreds of millions of pounds off property values, a study revealed yesterday.

Cities such as Wolverhampton and Bradford, where nearly a quarter of shops lie empty, could be on an irreversible downward spiral as a result of the financial crisis. The research by the Local Data Company shows retail vacancy rates across Britain rose 2% in the past six months of last year to 12%, with some towns seeing as much as 24% of its shops lying empty.

“As much as 24%” ? What’s wrong with “Almost a quarter” ?

Oh, and NB, the photo in the story is my home city Nottingham. I’m not sure where it was taken, but it’s not really typical of the city.

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Daily View 2×2: 5 February 2010

Happy birthday to Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire!

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Biometric data
  • How many people have had theirs taken under the Terrorism Act 2000, and how successful have they been at getting the samples destroyed? Lord Eric Avebury has put down a Parliamentary Question.

  • Will libertarian bloggers ever grow up?
  • Jonathan Calder wants libertarian bloggers to widen their repertoire beyond “Get out of my room Mom!”

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Liberal Democrat MEP celebrates French equality win

Since August 2007, French couples in a Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PAC) have enjoyed the same rights in relation to tax and inheritance laws which had previously only applied to married couples. However, due to a legal anomaly, British civil partnerships were not recognised under French law, meaning couples living in France were liable for a 60% inheritance tax and were treated like any other unmarried couple.

Graham Watson pointed out the ridiculous situation that many people faced: “Up until now, the practicality of French law has meant that British civil partners living in France would have to dissolve their partnership and enter into a PAC in order to secure the same rights as French couples. This violated the idea of European citizenship and equality, and something had to be done.”

Watson asked the European Commission to press the French Government on the issue.
Ministers have now announced that British civil partnerships are recognised as equal to PACs, and reimbursements will be made to individuals who have made undue tax payments since August 2007.

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  • User AvatarMartin Land 18th Dec - 10:17pm
    @james Really? Have we reached that point? Local parties to be disciplined because they don't print colour leaflets? Don't use mediocre American software. What next?...
  • User AvatarRoland 18th Dec - 9:59pm
    The consideration of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, whilst limited by the practical considerations others have pointed out, they do raise an important point, namely what is...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 18th Dec - 9:53pm
    @Refitman - ' “The mess Labour left” – yep, gotten quite sick of that now.' I would if I were you, sadly the damage done...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 18th Dec - 9:52pm
    I'm sorry if it's terrible netiquette to quote oneself or repeat a post from another thread, but in the context of Lib Dem MPs and...
  • User AvatarChristopher Curd 18th Dec - 9:43pm
    Good Evening, how's u? I'm a Trade Unionist, Labour Supporter & Left Winger etc myself. I voted yes for the A. V & I've vote...
  • User AvatarSteve Way 18th Dec - 9:39pm
    Peter Black may have misread this piece Caron. He has tweeted (and it has been re-tweeted by Joe Otten) that Labour didn't turn up to...