Tag Archives: eu

Political disconnect in Calais and Dunkirk

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.30.54It is not surprising that media reports focus on the appalling conditions in the Calais and Dunkirk camps. On a recent trip Lord Roberts’ team saw for themselves how men, women and children live in knee-high mud, and brave the winter weather with little more than flimsy tents to keep the wind and rain at bay. In response to accusations that the British government are neglecting their humanitarian responsibilities, the Prime Minister champions the fact that under the Dublin Regulations, the UK has to allow family members of British people to claim asylum in the UK.

Despite the Dublin Regulations, the reality is that virtually no one can access this legal route. Many asylum seekers do not fully understand the unnecessarily complex system, and are unaware of exactly what their rights are; there are even reports of British passport holders unable to enter the UK from the camps. Despite government claims that British officials are present in the camp, these visits are occasional at best and offer no means of beginning an asylum claim. So although many asylum seekers in Calais and Dunkirk (as well as across Europe) have a legitimate legal right to claim asylum in the UK, it is incredibly difficult to access in practice. 

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem Remain campaign to be launched this afternoon

Tim Farron heads to the unlikely environment of a table tennis bar in London to launch the Lib Dems’ In campaign this afternoon.

Also speaking will be London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon and MEP Catherine Bearder:

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

A practical suggestion to improve the UK’s influence within the EU

As a Brit, living in Brussels and working in the European Parliament, I’ve had a lot to reflect on over the past months and weeks.

When asked by friends and colleagues, “well what do you think about ‘Cameron’s renegotiation'”, I reply “embarrassed”.

It’s a very English sense of embarrassment, arising from the social awkwardness of being associated with someone who has done something fairly stupid and feeling guilty by proxy. Like being the nephew of the drunk uncle who ruins the children’s birthday party, it is difficult to have any response other than a weary “yes, I’m sorry he’s at it again”.

This is in many ways the scenario we find ourselves in today.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 27 Comments

Tim Farron talks Wogan, refugees, EU and diversity on Murnaghan

Tim Farron was on Sky News Murnaghan this morning. It was quite refreshing to hear him introduced as “leading the charge” on the refugee crisis. It is actually blindingly obvious that we have been, but it’s not so often acknowledged.

The Murnaghan programme provides very helpful transcripts of their interviews, for which I am very grateful.

Terry Wogan

He was interviewed only an hour or so after the news that Terry Wogan had died and was asked for his reaction:

I am genuinely very, very upset. He formed an enormous part of my childhood, interviewing all sorts of people on his TV show but also the radio programmes, he was a peculiar and unique individual who appeals both to me – somebody who is obsessed with pop music – and my grandparents at the same time and I think that was his great strength, he spoke without arrogance or pomposity and he was a kind of warm and genuine figure in your living room and around the breakfast table and we’ll all very much miss him.

Refugee crisis

On refugees, he was asked if we should avoid creating a “pull factor:. He was clear that the way to do this was by creating safe and legal routes for refugees.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Tweets from the campaign trail: Snow edition

All over the country, Liberal Democrats have been campaigning today, some of them in the snow. Here are some of the icy tweets. Thankfully, the reception on the doorsteps was much warmer.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Words I can’t mention

 

I learned a valuable lesson on LDV last week and that is that there are some words so emotionally charged that their mere mention provokes a pre-programmed response more incendiary than the sight of a cat to a Staffy. So while I wanted to talk about the Lib Dem take on populist green causes I naively opened my piece with a discussion of the F-word and at that point lost my audience. I won’t make the mistake of stepping on that particular land mine again, you know the one I mean, the issue of vulpine persecution, Basil Brush meets the Hound of the Baskervilles?

Another topical tantrum trigger, one that is splitting Corbyn’s Labour party this week is the T-word – Neptune’s toasting fork (7 letters). No, I can’t say it for fear of unleashing a figurative Armageddon on the terrors of the real thing and blowing any chance of getting to the punch line.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Farron: We must not pull up the drawbridge because of the Cologne attacks.

Reports of crimes and sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve have now topped 500.

Tim Farron has said that this incident should not lead to us pulling up the drawbridge. It’s hard to see, though, how much further we could pull up our drawbridge. It’s practically wedged shut already.

Tim said:

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

But we also must not pander to those who say pull up the drawbridge to some of the most desperate people in the world.

The values that cause us to embrace those fleeing war are the same values that refuse to tolerate this kind of violence against women. We believe such crimes should be prosecuted with the full force of the law, regardless of whether they are refugees or not.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 57 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 14th Feb - 12:29pm
    It is not the 'fault' of women for not putting themselves forward to use Meral's word, which implies those apposing AWS believe this to be...
  • User Avatarexpats 14th Feb - 12:20pm
    An article full unnecessary adjectives and lots of 'mom and apple pie'.... As for "Rather than “fightback” I have in mind the plants that seem...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 14th Feb - 12:09pm
    A refreshed agenda on Europe as part of a reform package is not a bad idea .Ministers having a mandate from parliament strengthens their negotiating...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 14th Feb - 11:50am
    We can move beyond fightback when we have secured and gained additional council seats in May .When we have consistent good results in all elections...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 14th Feb - 11:20am
    It's a good point that the "fightback" can be seen as fighting back against the electorate, so whilst it was a good thing to begin...
  • User AvatarSimon Thorley 14th Feb - 11:09am
    @Brian Keith Fiske: there's also the question of the million pounds Bill Dixon magicked up to cover the shortfall for the new multi-storey car park...