Tag Archives: featured

Could train-gate derail Corbyn’s leadership campaign?

I travel up and down to London pretty frequently. I haven’t often had a problem getting a seat on the East Coast mainline – and when there has been an issue, it’s usually because there has been some extreme weather issue and two trains worth of people have been decanted into one train.

So when I saw that Jeremy Corbyn had had to spend a journey to Newcastle on the floor of a train, I was a bit surprised but didn’t let it distract me from enjoying my holiday.

Today’s development in that story is worthy of some comment though. It appears that the Labour leader could have had a seat on the train after all. Virgin’s media people have ridden a convoy of coaches and horses through his claims.  In an unusual step, they have released CCTV footage and said:

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

William Wallace writes: Could Brexit split the Conservative party?

 

How deeply could Brexit divide the Conservative Party, as the contradictory choices involved in negotiating an alternative relationship with the EU become clearer?

Media focus since the Referendum outcome has been on the widening divisions within the Labour Party.  Press comment has praised the self-discipline of the Conservatives, by contrast, in resolving the issue of leadership so quickly – though in reality it was resolved by the implosion of ‘Leave’ candidates, one after the other, leaving Teresa May in command of the field.  But the divide between practical Eurosceptics and ideological Europhobes is wide, and often bitter.

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Pressing questions on the iPlayer tax

The BBC has announced that, from September 1st, the “iPlayer loophole” will be closed and access to the BBC’s iPlayer will require payment of the licence fee. Of course, there was never a loophole; the licence fee is meant to apply only to live television broadcasts.

Of course, the blame cannot be put at the BBC’s feet. The BBC has been forced to make severe budget cuts leading to the scaling back of services that cost relatively little such as Radio 6 and BBC Three – services disproportionately used by people aged 18-34, while at the same time having to shoulder £750 million per year for concessionary licences for over 75s: the biggest cost to the BBC after BBC One. Indeed, TV Licensing emphasises the disproportionate effect on students, who increasingly exclusively use on-demand services.

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Some questions for More United

In a blaze on social media. the More United project, supported by Paddy Ashdown, launches this morning.

It’s certainly ambitious:

MoreUnited.uk is a new movement setting out to change British politics. We’re going to transform the way politics is funded, giving a voice to the millions of open and tolerant people in Britain who feel the political system no longer works for them.

It has a Facebook page here and you can follow it on Twitter here.

They intend to fund candidates who subscribe to a series of pretty broad principles:

 A fair, modern, efficient market based economy that closes the gap between rich and poor and supports strong public services

A modern democracy that empowers citizens, rather than politicians

A green economy that protects the environment and works to reverse climate change

An open and tolerant society where diversity is celebrated in all its forms

A United Kingdom that welcomes immigration, international co-operation and a close relationship with the EU

There some example policies to flesh this stuff out.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 81 Comments

+++Tim Farron calls for general election as Theresa May is set to become Prime Minister

Yet another dramatic turn of events. Theresa May is a drive up the Mall away from being Prime Minister as Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Tory leadership race.

Tim Farron commented:

Posted in News | 82 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Thanks to all for a positive campaign

IntogetherThis has been a tough week for us all. It’s followed the hard work in the build-up to voting day, the exhaustion of the day itself and the dreadful night as the results saw the collapse of the political and structural certainties we have all come to understand.

Firstly I want to give a huge thanks to all those up and down the country who have worked their socks off campaigning to keep the UK in the EU. Ours was a positive, passionate and patriotic campaign. It was always going to be a tough fight, trying to reverse in a matter of weeks the anti-EU propaganda and anti-establishment mood that built up over many years. But the Lib Dems stood firm, and our thousands of activists can be proud that when the time came, they stood up for the values we hold dear and for what we believe was firmly in the national interest.

On my return to Brussels on Monday, the overwhelming mood amongst my fellow MEPs was not one of anger, but of huge shock and sadness. Sad that a country that they love and admire could be so led astray by the lies and deception of the Leave campaign, and sad for the millions of young people who overwhelmingly voted to remain but who are set to be deprived of the opportunities EU membership brings. There was a spontaneous sign written on the windows of the European Parliament that simply said: “We will miss you.” This is the real European Union. Not faceless bureaucrats, but real people from all over Europe working together, celebrating our differences and eccentricities and doing our best to respond to big common challenges. That’s a vision that millions of people in the UK share. And it’s one we must stand up for in the difficult months and years ahead.

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Should Parliament put a stop to Brexit?

Most suggestions for resolving the “What the (insert expletive of choice) do we do now?” conundrum tend to involve various degrees of access to the Single Market or a General Election. Few are brave enough to suggest that Parliament simply declines to invoke Article 50. Until now.

Professor A C Grayling, Master of the New College of Humanities in London, has written to all MPs telling them that they have a responsibility not to support any such motion. He lists several reasons, not least the paucity of the campaign, the likelihood of the break up of the UK if we leave the EU and the fact that the threshold for such a huge change was set way too low. He has a point. You can’t change the number of places on a toddler group committee without a 2/3 majority. When the party conference considers a vast swathe of constitutional amendments in September, they will need a 2/3 majority to pass. With hindsight, you have to wonder why on earth we let such a major change through on a simple majority.

Harvard’s Professor Kenneth Rogoff agrees that the threshold is too low:

In terms of durability and conviction of preferences, most societies place greater hurdles in the way of a couple seeking a divorce than Prime Minister David Cameron’s government did on the decision to leave the EU. Brexiteers did not invent this game; there is ample precedent, including Scotland in 2014 and Quebec in 1995. But, until now, the gun’s cylinder never stopped on the bullet. Now that it has, it is time to rethink the rules of the game.

Grayling isn’t a fan of referenda anyway:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMark Goodrich 24th Aug - 1:15am
    This does have the potential to lose Corbyn the leadership race. All he had to do to win was basically do nothing but this is...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 24th Aug - 12:02am
    The sad thing about this is Corbyns publicity stunt to justify his policy on nationalisation has effectively let the rail companies off the hook because...
  • User AvatarPaul Murray 23rd Aug - 10:59pm
    Corbyn didn't lie. He sat.
  • User Avatarcrewegwyn 23rd Aug - 10:43pm
    There is a serious issue about overcrowding on some rail services. Not sure how nationalisation would change that. On the specific the fact that we...
  • User Avatarpetermartin2001 23rd Aug - 10:23pm
    @Hugh, You'd have to ask a monetarist what they'd think! If the government gives an amount of money to a individual, as a tax rebate...
  • User Avatarexpats 23rd Aug - 9:59pm
    I note that, when Corbyn was highlighting passenger discomfort there was no mention on LDV...However, at any hint of Corbyn wrongdoing, WHOOSH... As for Simon's...