Tag Archives: featured

Nick Clegg shows why he is such a credible, authoritative leader of the opposition to May’s “hard brexit”

A year ago, Nick Clegg’s career appeared to be pretty much over. Some even wondered if he night have been upset to have clung on to his Sheffield Hallam seat.

Now, former critics are starting to be glad that he is there. He is by far the most experienced politician in the country on both international trade and how the European Union works.

This week has seen the latest in a fairly long line of articles, which started with the Mystic Clegg stuff in June, suggesting that Nick Clegg’s star is in the ascendancy again. The New Statesman, of all things, was even nice about him.

Clegg has previously voiced the hope that a botched attempt at hard Brexit might trigger a desire for an alternative to Tory rule among the British people. For him personally, Brexit is the perfect issue upon which to position himself as a voice of reason. He has the experience, the gravitas and the passion to help win back some of the political credibility he lost during the dark days of the coalition and the tuition fees debacle. Whether he can ever fully lose the traitor tag remains to be seen, but his intervention on Brexit will be welcome among the 16.1 million people who didn’t vote for any kind of Brexit, let alone a hard one.

Over at the Huffington Post, Beth Leslie suggests that Brexit means that it is time to forgive the Liberal Democrats.

Four million UKIP voters in 2015 elected just one MP, but they snowballed an idea that made Brexit a reality. Why couldn’t we centrists do the same? And with the money, resources and national recognition of an established party, the Liberal Democrats are the best-placed vehicle for us to try to do so.

Tim Farron and Nick Clegg have both been brilliant on Brexit all the way through. Tim’s PMQ got the PM to admit she doesn’t give two hoots about the nearly half the country who voted to remain and Clegg continues to work with others to fight the parliamentary campaign against a hard brexit that nobody voted for.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 49 Comments

What Lib Dems have been doing on World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day organised by the World Health Organisation. This year’s theme is around offering support to those in psychological distress – mental health first aid.

Norman Lamb has written for the Guardian arguing that there should be parity between physical and mental health in the workplace with employers being required to provide mental health first aid. He said that he had recently done a training course in mental health first aid.

Employers could find that investing in mental health support saves them money given that mental ill health accounts for 70 million days of sickness absence every year.

How can we possibly justify leaving the law as it is? So far as the NHS is concerned the government has committed to the principle of “parity of esteem” between physical and mental illness. Surely they must apply the same logic to the workplace.

Put simply, this is a call for every workplace to have trained mental health first-aiders just like they have physical first-aiders. A number of employers are taking action. WHSmith has committed to match the number of staff that are physical first-aiders with mental health first-aiders over the next 12 months.

There’s a growing momentum for change, and hundreds more businesses across a range of sectors are implementing mental health training for staff from Unilever and Crossrail to Channel 4. Employers have a duty of care to their workforce, and with the scale of mental issues in this country much more needs to be done. The government must act now to ensure every employee has access to mental health support at work.

In a tweet, Tim Farron called for the NHS to be given the resources it needs to tackle mental ill health:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Tim Gordon writes…Elections for Party’s Committees now underway

I know that many of you will rightly be focused on the positive by-election campaign that we are currently running in Witney so you might have missed that internal elections to our Party’s Committees are now underway. Nominations opened last Wednesday. This is the biggest exercise in internal party democracy which the Party has undertaken in decades, following the implementation of One Member One Vote. For the first time, every member is allowed to vote for committee members and any member who receives the required nominations can stand for election.

There are four committees up for election: the Federal Board, the Federal Conference Committee, the Federal Policy Committee and the Federal International Relations Committee. In addition, a number of spaces are available for members to represent the party within our Delegation to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE). The position of Party President is also up for election this year.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

LDV Interview: Liz Leffman. Witney Lib Dem candidate on Brexit, NHS, Buses – and puppies and biscuits, too!

Liz LeffmanI spent a couple of days in Witney this week. Events since my return have prevented me from telling you too much about my trip – but I would say that if you can get there before the by-election on October 20th, do go. We have a brilliant candidate and a huge team doing an incredible job. I spent Tuesday canvassing with Liz and some of her team in Eynsham and  I was surprised by the warmth of the reception on the doors and it’s clear that the more people who go to help, the more people we can speak to, the better the result we will get. So, what are you waiting for? If you can’t go, phone! All the info you need to help is here.

Before we headed out, I sat down with Liz for a chat. She is an incredibly impressive candidate. I’ve known from working with her pretty closely for some years now that she is one of those people who can come into a situation where everyone is running around panicking and just sort stuff. She has the knowledge, the authority and the passion to be a brilliant MP for Witney. She understands the issues facing local people, from the threats posed by Brexit, to cuts in bus services which leave people trapped in their villages to the huge problems in accessing NHS services.

I am very grateful to John O’Neill from Northern Ireland Lib Dems, who very kindly transcribed it for me. 

CL: We are sitting in the Lib Dem office, currently a hive of activity, with Liz Leffman. You’ve been a by-election candidate for a week now, what’s it been like?

LL: Well, it’s been quite a journey! It started off on Tuesday when I was selected. The following day I went straight off to Chipping Norton with Tim Farron. That was very exciting, and then I was on television that evening. So, it’s been all go actually, and I think probably I haven’t really stopped since then.

CL: So, what sort of reception are you getting on the doorstep?

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

LDVideo: Liz Leffman: Come and help my campaign to save Oxfordshire’s NHS & bus services

I spent Monday and Tuesday in Witney helping Liz Leffman’s campaign. If it is at all possible for you to go there between now and the by-election  on 20th October, please do so. You will be worked hard – 10,000 steps a day before lunch, I found – but it is so rewarding. We are already out-campaigning both Conservative and Labour parties on the ground and there will be no let up in our activity. We really need to keep ahead of them both.

Liz is an amazing candidate. She combines a passion for the area, an anger against the neglect of the NHS and the scrapping of local bus services and what that means for people’s lives with such authority, serenity and real warmth. It is very early in the campaign for this to be happening, but people stopped us in the street and said they were voting for her – outside her own council ward. In her own council ward, she is hugely popular. She got pretty much two thirds of the vote there in May.

I spent yesterday canvassing in the village of Eynsham with Liz and her team. I was surprised by the warmth of the reception we got on the doorstep. I do feel for the poor people who had come back from a two week holiday and found themselves in the thick of a by-election at full pelt.

The campaign has a really good feel about it so I would strongly urge you to go and help. If you can’t get there physically make phone calls. I don’t like telephone canvassing either. Actually, it’s the thought I don’t like, but once I get started, I’m fine.

It’s worth remembering, too, that the County Council elections are next year and a good result in the by-election could also leave a legacy of a stronger local government base in future years.

Whatever you are able to do you can sign up here and someone from the campaign will be in touch.

Events prevent me from telling you more of my adventures in Witney right now, but they will be coming over the next few days.

However, I’ll leave you with this just now. I sat down with Liz and recorded an interview with her yesterday morning – and she also recorded this video about her campaign priorities and inviting you to go and help. Yes, that’s you she’s talking to.

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

REPRISE For new members: The Lowdown: How the party works and what it has to offer

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Liberal Democrats over the past few days – over 1000 since our Conference finished and hundreds more yesterday in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election. It’s great to have you on board. We have so much to do to stand up to the most appalling Government I have ever known.

This is basically a repeat of a post that I did last year when many joined the party in the wake of the election result in the hope that it might be useful to tell you a little bit about how our party works and give you a bit of an idea of the opportunities open to you. If you are not yet a member, read it and think it sounds appealing, sign up here.

What do we believe?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of organisation, the best statement of who we are and what we’re about can be found in the Preamble to our Constitution which underlines how we believe in freedom, opportunity, diversity,  decentralisation and internationalism. Here’s a snippet:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

We look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, in which they live together in peace and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely. We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms. Upholding these values of individual and social justice, we reject allprejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.

We have a fierce respect for individuality, with no expectation that fellow Liberal Democrats will agree with us on every issue. We expect our views to be challenged and feel free to challenge others without rancour. We can have a robust debate and head to the pub afterwards, the very best of friends.

Your rights as a member

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Happy Bi Visibility Day

Bi Visibility Day 2016Since 1999, 23 September has been a day to recognize and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in our lives.

The day has gone by various names: Celebrate Bisexuality Day (or International Celebrate Bisexuality Day), Bi Pride Day, but has really become well-known to a broader audience in recent years as Bi Visibility Day. This has been extended in America to the whole week being known as Bi Awareness Week (and to some extent internationally, thanks to the internet; it’s been #biweek all over Twitter).

So Why Do Bisexuals Need Their Own Day?

Most non-bi people probably assume bisexuals are sufficiently included in other “days,” like Pride or IDAHOBIT (the International Day Against Homophobia, BIphobia and Transphobia). The councillors among you might have had requests for your town hall to fly the rainbow flag at such times.

But bisexuals suffer for being “lumped in” with LGBT all the time. Bisexuals’ experiences tend to differ not just from heterosexuals but from gay men and lesbians as well.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct - 1:09am
    Paul Barker Stop Brexit etc and us becoming a one issue party is a recipe for disaster , silliness and lack of substance , in...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 23rd Oct - 12:03am
    It is shocking that a Belgian region can scupper trade deals of this kind. It's certainly not democratic for a tiny minority to hold the...
  • User Avatarfrankie 22nd Oct - 10:51pm
    El Sid Your point 4. The EU have made it clear that they’re not going to sit down and hammer out a deal that benefits...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 22nd Oct - 10:47pm
    @ EL Sid The EU has a tiny bureaucracy, but decision making is slow and difficult because of the need to try to bring every...
  • User AvatarAlistair 22nd Oct - 10:34pm
    Annabel, noone says the trade will stop. Merely that the terms of trade will be worse. Some things will be more expensive, others cheaper.
  • User AvatarAnnabel 22nd Oct - 10:19pm
    Paul W, you pointed out the stats in relation to trade between Canada and the US, and the fact that Canada's trade with the EU...