Tag Archives: featured

Friday night fun with Farron and Forde

Tim Farron went on Matt Forde’s Political Party the other night and the recording has been released today. It is hilarious. Tim is very funny, but also shows the substance and the principles behind everything he does.

Pour yourself a wee glass of something nice, put your feet up and enjoy. This is just what you need on a bank holiday weekend, if it is one where you live.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton’s maiden speech: EU is most important charter for freedom the world has ever seen

There is a reason I have spent so much time and energy over the past decade trying to get Alex Cole-Hamilton elected to the Scottish Parliament. I hope the video of his maiden speech this morning will help you understand it too.

I had pretty high expectations, if I’m honest. The subject, the EU, is one of his strong points. Last year he won best speaker in the Charles Kennedy Memorial Debate on our continued membership of the EU. Alex managed to exceed even my lofty expectations today.

He paid tribute to his immediate predecessor and to Margaret Smith, who, as Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh West until 2011, had played such a huge role in getting Free Personal Care through.

On Europe, he highlighted the role of the EU in preserving the peace. Only the last two generations of his family have been free from the losses of European war. As well as preserving the peace, the EU helps us tackle the challenges facing our world which know no borders, like climate change and human trafficking, he argued.  The case he made for the EU was persuasive, inspiring and optimistic.

The full text is below:

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Online abuse might not break bones, but it can come close to breaking your spirit

The internet is a pretty torrid place at the best of times. Some users delight in throwing rage, bile and abuse around the place. If you are a woman the abuse can be particularly graphic, sexualised and incredibly unpleasant.

In a feature for Radio 5 live, 3 politicians, including our former minister Jo Swinson, talk about their experiences of online abuse and how it affected them. Also taking part are my SNP MP Hannah Bardell and Labour’s Diane Abbott, who gets a whole load of racist bile thrown in just for good measure.

This is fairly routine for any woman who commits the “offence” of going on the internet in possession of an opinion. I’ve come in for it myself and it does wear you down. There was a time a couple of years ago where it really started to affect me badly and reduced me to tears on several occasions. The European elections disaster and the independence referendum combined to create what seemed to be a never-ending spiral of abuse. The most hurtful came from commenters on this site, members of the party, some of whom I actually know in real life, who said some pretty unpleasant personal stuff, but they were just part of it. It felt that wherever I turned, there was nastiness.

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David Rendel memorial event will be held on 4th July

David Rendel at Anti-Iraq war demo 15th Feb 2003 Some rights reserved by Paul WalterEarlier this week, we reported the sad death of former Liberal Democrat MP David Rendel.

David’s funeral will be attended only by members of his family but all will be welcome at a memorial event to be held on Monday 4th July at the Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, starting at 1.00 pm.

There will be an opportunity to make a donation to charity in David’s name – details will be announced in due course.

It is particularly fitting that the memorial event is being held at the Corn Exchange. It is an historic and striking building in the centre of the town he loved, Newbury. David led the campaign to save the Corn Exchange from closure and revitalize it as a modern arts and entertainment venue.

My photo above shows David, with the Houses of Parliament in the background, on the anti-Iraq war demonstration with other Liberal Democrats on 15th February 2003.

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Was this the funniest moment of the coalition?

Four years ago this week. Enjoy:

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What being in the EU has meant for my family

What has Europe ever done for me? It’s a question that the impending referendum has caused me to ask myself. I had always been supportive, but throwing myself into the campaign to remain meant I needed to be clear in my mind why I was supportive and what the benefits were. And having helped so far at street stalls in Truro, Plymouth, Taunton, Yeovil, Bristol and Stroud, it has proved a useful exercise as voters have rightly demanded to know what good the EU has done.

And the way I thought about it was to think about the generations of my own family. How have their lives been different because the EU exists and because we’re in?

Take my father, for example. He was a Royal Marine in the Sixties and Seventies. My brother too served in the armed forces, in the Eighties and Nineties, and his daughter – my niece – too. And my brother-in-law is a serviceman today and has been so for about 20 years. All of them have seen active service, but none of them thankfully were thrown into a conflict on the European mainland. Indeed, in the case of my father and brother, they once stood ready to defend our country from communist dictatorships in eastern Europe that are today our democratic friends and allies.

It is true that Nato helped prevent war between the West and the East during the Cold War, and stands ready to defend us today should Putin get a bit too trigger-happy. But there is a difference between an absence of war and a culture of peace. And it has been the European Union that has made it the boring, day-to-day norm that European countries talk with each other and work with each other on the big issues facing our continent. And it was the pull of EU membership, not the defensive military alliance of Nato, that helped embed democratic government and civil liberties in those eastern Europe countries that joined the EU a decade or so ago.

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What does the Queen’s Speech mean for Liberal Democrat strategy?

When the Government sets out its agenda for the next year in the Queen’s Speech, it gives the other parties a chance to do the same. What can we learn from the frenzy of Liberal Democrat activity in the press in the past few days about where we might be going.

Well, Tim had a piece in the Huffington Post the other day that put education at the heart of our thinking. This is far from being a new concept. It’s one of our core principles that we’ve always talked about. Tim had developed a 5-point education charter with the aim of giving young people and the economy the skills they need for the modern world.

The future is full of exciting opportunities, as technology changes the way we work and live. However, there are also massive challenges, from giving people the skills they need to adapt to our changing economy, to tackling climate change.

Education is key to meeting these challenges. That is why the Liberal Democrat vision is for a country which enshrines the rights of every child to a decent education. We believe this should be the number one priority of the Government when they set out their agenda. We are calling for a Charter for Education which guarantees every child is taught a curriculum which includes creative arts subjects, sports, languages, technical and vocational courses and practical life skills.

Over the years education has become more about passing tests and getting a good Ofsted rating than making sure children get the skills they need and grow into healthy, happy and confident adults. This is harmful for young people, and my fear is that it will leave them ill-equipped to deal with the challenges – and opportunities – of the future.

It’s a bit more satisfying than the Tories’ battle with teachers and local authorities for the sake of it. It also looks at wellbeing and happiness which are crucially important.

The nuts and bolts of the Charter are:

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  • User AvatarChris Rennard 28th May - 8:39pm
    The urgent need to register young people by June 7th in order to enable to vote in the referendum was the subject of a Lib...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 28th May - 7:44pm
    @ Stuart, Another 'OOPs' moment. I failed to mention that the ICM poll was in 2013. @nvelope Are you aware how many millions are sent...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 28th May - 7:15pm
    @ Stuart, Please don't spoil you r usually highly intelligent posts by equating the BBC with the NHS or education. You challenge the results of...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 28th May - 6:24pm
    @ Paul, I have read your comments, but he more I read, ( I am not simply referring to your comments), the less convinced I...
  • User AvatarGlenn 28th May - 6:22pm
    Nvelope2003 Have you got poof that most people who hate the BBC only want endless pop music and is it really about hate or is...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th May - 6:05pm
    Peter Watson You are making a very good point. As does Katharine prior to it .TCO , above , was the object of sarcasm from...