Tag Archives: featured

Voting for the next Lib Dem party president starts a week today

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderA week today, Wednesday, 29th October, ballot papers will be sent to all c.44,000 Lib Dem members enabling us to vote for the next Party President in succession to Tim Farron, who’s held the post for the past four years. Other than the party leader, the presidency is currently the only other post in the Lib Dems determined by a vote of all its members.

Three candidates successfully secured nomination — click on their names to follow the links to their campaign websites:

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Linda Jack drops out of race for party president

linda-jack-6The election for the new president of the party is underway. Ballot papers will be sent out on Friday  to all members of at least one year’s standing to everyone who was a member on the qualifying date at the end of September.  

Candidates had to collect 200 nominations from conference representatives across at least 20 different local parties, with no-one allowed to nominate more than one. Traditionally the candidates try to get the requisite signatures at Autumn Conference, but this proved to be a particular challenge this year.

Linda Jack has issued this statement:

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10 Years on from The Orange Book: What should authentic liberalism look like?

Orange_Book“10 Years on from The Orange Book: what should authentic liberalism look like?” That was the title of a Lib Dem conference fringe meeting in Glasgow, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), at which I was speaking alongside MPs Tim Farron and Jeremy Browne, Orange Book co-editor Paul Marshall, the IEA’s Ryan Bourne and ComRes pollster Tom Mludzinski. Here’s what I said…

I often describe myself as an Orange Booker. Like most labels it’s a short-hand. To me it simply means I’m a Lib Dem at ease with the role of a competitive market and who believes also in social justice. To many others in our party, though, Orange Booker is a term of abuse – Orange Bookers are thrusting, smart-suited, neoliberal Thatcherities, never happier than when mixing with red-blooded free-marketeers like the IEA.

What I want to do briefly is make a pitch for something that’s become quite unpopular among the party ranks: I’m going to make a pitch that the Lib Dems should be a party that’s unabashedly of the liberal centre.

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Voters give Liberal Democrats credit for tax threshold rise according to IPSOS-MORI poll

We all heard David Cameron and George Osborne take credit as often as they can for the raising of the tax threshold during this Parliament but a poll from IPSOS-MORI with fieldwork done after our Conference shows that the public just aren’t buying the Tory claims. 41% give the Liberal Democrats the credit for the policy compared to just 26% for the Conservatives as this graphic shows.

ISPOS-MORI tax threshold poll

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Economic liberals or social liberals? Pragmatists or ideologues? How Lib Dem members describe their own political identity

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 600 party members responded to this set of questions – thank you – in a supplementary poll ran just before the party conference.

How do Lib Dem members think of their own political identity? I asked this question in April 2011, when the Coalition was less than a year old. With less than a year of the Coalition left, I thought it was time to revisit it.

60% social liberals,

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 35 Comments

Danny Alexander, not Vince Cable, designated Lib Dem shadow chancellor (oh, and no Lib Dem reshuffle)

speech danny alexander 6The Guardian’s Nick Watt reports today the long-trailed announcement that Danny Alexander, Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, will take on the role of the party’s shadow chancellor at the 2015 election:

Nick Clegg has decided that Alexander, his closest ally in the cabinet, will be the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman during the campaign and will face George Osborne and Ed Balls in any television debates on the economy. … The Lib Dems insisted that the election roles for Alexander and Cable were consistent with their cabinet roles. A Lib Dem spokesman said: “We are enormously fortunate to have two talented and well-known ministers on economic matters that are recognised and respected by the public. By the next election Danny Alexander and Vince Cable will have both served for five years as chief secretary and business secretary respectively, so they know their areas inside out. It therefore makes complete sense that they should continue in those roles during the election.”

I’ve made no secret of my view on this: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Vince Cable should have continued in the role he held in 2010 as the party’s shadow chancellor. He is, quite simply, head and shoulders above any of his colleagues when it comes not only to understanding the British economy, but, just as crucially, explaining it in a way that is both credible and distinct from the Tories.

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Opinion: Jeremy Browne deserves our thanks

Jeremy BrowneSo my good friend Jeremy Browne has announced he is standing down as the Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane. This announcement by him has achieved a lot of opprobrium and gnashing of teeth: ‘too late’, ‘too soon’ – what has been little reflected upon is the burden we place on our candidates and MP’s.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeremy since 1990, when we met at the University of Nottingham: the long haired, railway-signalman’s cap-wearing, President of the Les Dawson Appreciation Society was a larger than life …

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Tim Farron MP writes…We must continue to fight hard for fairer housing

In case you weren’t able to make it to Glasgow, here’s some good news from Conference. The hard work that many people in the party have done on housing is being recognised. Jules Birch, housing blogger, sums up our party’s policies on housing: ‘As so often before the Lib Dems look like going into the next election with the best housing policies.’

This is not an easy feat. Housing is a complex issue which spreads its effects throughout society. It runs all the way from the individual tragedies of homelessness, to structure of our economy and the psychology of homeownership. To sort out housing you need action on at least four fronts: land, finance, the home building industry and political leadership. So bringing in my own motion on housing, it was a real privilege to build on the work that the party has already done to address the whole spectrum of issues affected by poor housing policy. I want to thank everybody who contributed to our policy development, spoke in the debate and voted for it.

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28 Lib Dem MPs vote for recognition of state of Palestine, 1 against

As we trailed here, last night saw the House of Commons debate a backbench motion (which is therefore not binding on the government): ‘That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.’

By my count, 28 Lib Dem MPs backed the motion – their names are below – with just one against (Sir Alan Beith). As the BBC notes: “It is convention that ministers abstain when voting takes place on a backbench MP’s motion and those of both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties did so. It is, however, Lib Dem policy to support recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

The debate was a relatively short one, so there was time for only one speech from a Lib Dem: Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood’s contribution is reproduced below. You can catch up with the debate via Hansard here.

Lib Dem MPs backing the motion to recognise the state of Palestine:

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 39 Comments

Thank you, Glasgow

As well as making us welcome for the conference itself, Glasgow again provided a fine place to stroll and explore. Here are a few snapshots of this wonderful city, snatched in between LibDem meetings. Scroll down to view.

york street_tm crop

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Call for feedback on progress since Independent Inquiry of June 2013

As set out in my Report into ‘Processes and Culture’ within the Party, I would now like to assess progress made against my recommendations. Taken together, the recommendations formed a suggested – but by no means exhaustive – blueprint for change over both the medium and long term. Less than 18 months has passed since my initial Review, so it was never my expectation that all would be resolved by now, rather that the direction of travel be firmly established.

A number of people attended a ‘surgery’ I hosted with the Pastoral Care Officer, Jeanne Tarrant, during Conference last week. Those inputs have been very helpful – thank you.  I’d now like to hear from anyone who has relevant experiences and views to help me assess the degree of progress made. As in my original Call for Evidence, it would be helpful if feedback could be given around three areas, with specific examples being particularly useful:

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Tim Farron’s “active and ambitious government” – some thoughts and questions

Tim Farron speaking - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsI am a fan of Tim Farron. His decency, thoughtfulness and authenticity add a great deal to our party and to our politics. He is also one of the party’s best speakers.

But I don’t always agree with him.

His speech to conference on Tuesday was very well-delivered. It also contained some interesting themes and observations.

I was very pleased to hear Tim defend globalisation, though it is a shame he chose to do so so briefly:

Don’t get me wrong: the rewards of globalisation are real.

The free movement of people, of capital, of ideas, have all made our society better.

And Liberals should always defend that freedom.

As I have written before on LDV, the successes of globalisation are immense, particularly in the reduction and, in places, near-elimination of destitution.

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Norman Lamb MP writes… Thank you, Nick, for your commitment to mental health

No major British political party has ever had a leader more committed to the cause of tackling mental health discrimination than Nick Clegg.

Nick’s first ever question in Prime Minister’s Questions as party leader was about mental health services. And throughout my time as heath minister, I have always been able to rely on Nick’s unwavering support for my work: on promoting parity of esteem for mental health; on tackling unacceptable standards of crisis care and support for children and young people; and in general raising the profile of an area of health that for far too long has been …

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Nick Clegg’s speech: 5 initial thoughts from me – and reaction from members and pundits

Nick Clegg has just delivered his seventh conference speech – you can read it here. Five quick thoughts from me:

1. It’s rare to remember party leaders’ speeches. However, I’ve a feeling this one will be remembered. Not necessarily stylistically — its rhetoric or his delivery — but for a government policy announcement: the emphasis on mental health-care which Nick made a centre-piece and which he has said will be on the front page of the party’s manifesto. Yes, there were plenty of positioning soundbites. But, more importantly, this announcement demonstrated, better than any finely crafted words, the point …

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IN FULL: Nick Clegg’s leader’s speech to conference

Clegg SpeechHere’s the text of Nick Clegg’s speech to the Lib Dems’ autumn 2014 conference:

Before I say anything else, I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Liberal Democrats when I say that our hearts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Alan Henning and David Haines for their tragic loss.

These were good men. In the work they did they stood for hope and compassion – the things that everyone in this room believes are more important than anything else. We have to take on the cowards who

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Hung Parliament: what Lib Dem members think will happen… and what you want to happen

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 600 party members responded to this set of questions – thank you – in a supplementary poll run last Thursday and Friday.

(All figures below are compared with the last time we asked this question, a year ago, in September 2013.)

68% of Lib Dem members predict another hung parliament in 2015

photo by: Francisco Diez
Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 76 Comments

EXCLUSIVE: Lib Dem Party Presidency – first members’ poll results are here

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 735 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Tim Farron’s four-year stint as Lib Dem Party President ends this year. The contest to succeed him appears to be a four-way election between four female candidates: Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, Linda Jack and Liz Lynne.

They hold their first official hustings today, Saturday, 10-11am But don’t worry if you can’t make that – LibDemVoice is hosting a special “Who Wants to be Party President?” fringe meeting tomorrow, Sunday from 1-2pm, in the Crowne Plaza (Castle 2), where you can hear from all four, with past party president Baroness (Diana) Maddock chairing.

We asked a series of questions about the party presidency in our survey…

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , and | 28 Comments

Lib Dem Voice at Conference: our events and what else we’re up to…

As well as covering the Lib Dem conference, we’re hosting a handful of events in Glasgow. We hope readers who are there will want to come along and enjoy the following…

LibDemVoice Awards 2014

Saturday 4th October, from 10pm (Crowne Plaza, Castle 3)
The nominations are in – check out the array of awards on offer here – voting will be decided by party members through our pre-conference survey. Put on your glad rags and enjoy the relaxed rivalry of our annual awards.

“Who Wants to be Party President?”

Sunday 5th October, 1-2pm (Crowne Plaza, Castle 2)
Your chance to hear from and quiz the candidates in the contest to succeed Tim Farron as Party President. Chaired by former Party President Baroness Diana Maddock, all four candidates – Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, Linda Jack and Liz Lynne – will be there to make their pitch for your vote and to field your questions.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Cameron’s conference: Giveaway budgets are dead! Long live giveaway speeches!

David CameronPoliticians don’t do giveaway budgets any more. It seems just too blatant to ‘bribe’ voters a matter of weeks before an election. Instead politicians now do giveaway leaders’ speeches.

Nick Clegg pulled a policy rabbit out of the hat last year by finding a spare £500m a year for free school meals for infants.

And yesterday David Cameron pulled two policy rabbits out of his top hat by announcing tax-cuts for basic-rate taxpayers (extending the personal allowance to £12,500) and higher-rate taxpayers (raising the threshold at which it becomes payable to £50,000) over the course of the next parliament.

This Tory pledge to extend the personal allowance — we really can’t call it a tax-cut for low-earners any more: most of those who benefit come from better-off households — provoked lots of outrage from Lib Dems.

Some pointed out that this was our idea. Forgive me if I excuse myself from joining the chorus of “But we thought of it first!” Others pointed out that it was an unfunded promise. True, but so’s ours.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

A bit of a howler in the Tories’ press lines…

Sky News have managed to get hold of a Tory briefing document which gives its MPs and media spokespeople the messages they want to emerge from their Conference. It was drawn up in the wake of the Reckless defection and Newmark resignation. Things drawn up in haste can often cause more problems than they resolve and this is no exception. Take, for example, the bit where they say that they are not stating red lines in coalition negotiations before, er, stating one:

Q. Is policy X a red line for future coalition negotiations?

A. We’re not going to answer hypothetical questions about red lines for coalition negotiations. Our aim is to win an outright majority at the next election so we secure a better future for Britain and that’s what we’re working towards.

Q. But what about your Europe referendum? You’ve said that’s a red line?

A. As our commitment to have a referendum would have to be fulfilled by a specific date after the next election, we think it is right in this one instance to confirm it’s a red line.

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Team Science wants YOU

AldesAt the last general election, support for the Liberal Democrats was buoyed by more than just Cleggmania: the party enjoyed particularly strong support from scientists and science commentators. Much of this was on the strength of Evan Harris’s foregrounding of evidence-based policy and support for reform of the outdated libel laws that saw author Simon Singh sued by the British Chiropractic Association. In the run up to the election, the party was endorsed by Richard Dawkins, and polls by Nature and Chemistry World revealed a majority of their readers saw our party as those most likely to table science-friendly policies.

Mark Henderson (author of The Geek Manifesto), wrote:

The Lib Dems have so far made the strongest case for the science vote. The extra detail that Clegg has now provided reinforces the view that they have most to offer.

photo by:
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Could it really not be any clearer than this?

Ed Balls MP, Denton - (Labour Leadership Campaign) - 2010Defending the clarity of his party’s position on the deficit after forgetting to mention it in his speech, Ed Miliband said

Ed Balls talked this week about our approach on the deficit. I have talked about our approach on the deficit. No one should be in any doubt about my approach on the deficit.

My approach is clear – we are going to get the deficit down, we are going to get the debt falling and we could not be clearer about that.

photo by: Harry Potts
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments

Why talking about global poverty reduction without talking about economic growth is a mistake

chinese by Kenno McDonnellBetween 1990 and 2010, the proportion of those living in extreme poverty around the world halved (from 43% to 21%), despite significant increases in the global population. Approaching one billion fewer people are living in extreme poverty now than two decades ago. One of the key United Nations Millennium Development Goals was met 5 years early.

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Nick Clegg explains Liberal Democrat ministers’ decision to support air strikes on ISIL

RAF lightning II aircraft photo by defence imagesNick Clegg has sent an email to all party members this evening to explain why the parliamentary party will be supporting air strikes on ISIL in Iraq.

It contains the entire broadcast interview which he did this afternoon. He talks about what a”vile and murderous” outfit ISIL is, about how the action is legal and how this isn’t being done by “the west” to “the rest”. It comes as part of a coalition of countries acting on a formal request from the legitimate government of Iraq.

Posted in Europe / International, News and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 36 Comments

D.I.S.C.O

Glitterball photo by pixelthingNever in the field of Liberal Democrat fundraisers has one event attracted quite so much media attention as the Lib Dem Disco which is due to take place in just 10 days’ time at our Glasgow Conference.

This has been arranged by Cambridge Liberal Democrats to raise  funds for Julian Huppert’s re-election campaign. He will MC the event, assisted by 4 guest DJs, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael Don Foster and, wait for it, me.

Posted in News | 10 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems believe in local policing; should they also support a return to local courts?

Birmingham Magistrates' Courts / Victoria Law CourtsOver the past two decades summary justice has been transformed in England and Wales. Part of the change has been a loss of local visibility for the justice system. The police and Crown Prosecution Service has acquired new authority to sentence those admitting to crimes through use of Conditional Cautions and the expansion of fixed penalty and exclusion notices. In this they have been aided by new powers gained by local authorities.

On the other hand, local magistrates’ courts have disappeared from many towns and the suburbs of …

photos by: &
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Race equality survey of presidential candidates

Forms Diversity / SML.20121107.IPH5 / @lifecelebrates #diversityWhat do the candidates to be president of the Lib Dems think should be done to make the party more racially-diverse? I sent them a short six-question survey to find out.

The full survey results can be found on my blog here. Sal Brinton, Daisy Cooper, Linda Jack and Liz Lynne all agreed on many issues, with Sal and Linda proving the boldest in embracing new solutions to increase BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) diversity, Liz being the most cautious and Daisy somewhere in between. But there wasn’t a whole lot to pick between them.

photo by:
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Paul Scriven writes … From a council estate to the House of Lords

House of LordsPaul Scriven was made a peer just a month ago, and here he reflects on the path he has taken through life.

As the son of a dustbin man from a council estate in Huddersfield it was never in my wildest imagine that I would ever be in the House of Lords. Now that I have it is with a sense of both pride but just as important with a clear duty not to forget my journey in life and to fight for a more Liberal and fairer UK.

I know very well that the Liberal Democrats core aim to make sure all have opportunity to reach their full potential is a touch stone that makes us different from other parties. I wish to use my new role to fight to open opportunities and make sure that ladders for people to climb to reach their full potential are firmly planted for more people. I will make sure I shout up to ensure this happens. Also to fight with all my northern spirit those who seek to deny opportunities.

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Lib Dem pre-manifesto launched: includes policies to reform drugs laws and bus pass discount for under-21s

pre manifesto documentLast week’s pre-manifesto launch by the Lib Dems was postponed owing to the international situation. Thankfully no important news has broken over the past couple of days which might over-shadow today’s launch. Unless, that is, you think the potential break-up of the UK or a new Royal Baby are headline-grabbing events.

You can read the Pre-Manifesto in full below.

The party trailed its publication today with a couple of announcements intended to highlight key policies:

  • ‘Exclusive: Liberal Democrats to announce decriminalisation of all drugs’ headlined Politics.co.uk:
  • Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

    ‘Bedroom Tax': Lib Dem Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill wins key Commons vote backed by Lib Dem / Labour MPs

    andrew georgeA year ago Lib Dem members voted at the party’s conference for an urgent review of the impact of what’s termed by critics the ‘Bedroom Tax’. Two months ago Danny Alexander announced he’d be recommending a major U-turn on the policy. And this afternoon, as the BBC reports, Lib Dem MPs teamed up with Labour to vote through reforms which mean that tenants who cannot be found a smaller home will be exempt from the cuts, as well as disabled people who need a spare bedroom or who have adapted homes:

    Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs have joined forces to defeat Conservatives in a Commons vote to partly overturn housing benefit changes. MPs backed the Affordable Homes Bill at second reading by 306 votes to 231.

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 28 Comments



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      And the great thing is the EU are allowing the UK the privalage of paying an extra £1.7b towards the goal and increasing our annual...
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      Stefan Agreed it is total incompetence on the part of our metropolitan elite, but then that is sadly par for the course. But if you...
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      Colin Fair enough. Although there is not much of a party to fall apart is there? One MEP, one Westminster MP , 15 MSPs and...
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