Tag Archives: featured

The #libdemFRIGHTback is go: The 2015 Liberal Democrat Voice Pumpkin Parade

It’s Hallowe’en. It’s dark. The streets are starting to fill with witches, goblins, ghouls, zombies and all sorts of scary creatures.

It’s time for the 2015 Liberal Democrat Voice Pumpkin Parade. What have talented Liberal Democrats round the country been carving? Have a reminder of what they produced two years ago.

Don’t for a minute think that we invented that hashtag, by the way. It came from Lib Dem organiser Alice Megan and it’s for that reason that she’s kicking off our festivities:

Posted in Humour | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Farron: Ministry of Justice need to be “dragged into 21st century” over Tara Hudson

Tim Farron has intervened in the case of Tara Hudson, the transgender woman from Bath who has been sent to serve a 12 week prison sentence at an all male prison because, basically, of some paperwork. She’s never applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate, but she has lived as a woman for all of her adult life.

Tim expressed his fears for Tara’s safety to Pink News. He said:

The Liberal Democrats will raise this case in Parliament.

There is a clear need for a policy change in this area. It looks like the Ministry of Justice needs be dragged kicking into the 21st century.

As I understand it, Tara has lived all her adult life as a female. I worry potential risk of harm to her in a male prison which was deemed to have levels of violence ‘considerably higher than in similar prisons’ by the prisons inspectorate.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 42 Comments

Tim talks: Talking to refugees in Lesvos and a question to the Prime Minister

The latest “Tim Talks” video below looks at Tim’s visit to Lesvos and his question to the Prime Minister:

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

A Labour leopard doesn’t change its spots

Don’t tell anyone, but George Osborne probably let out a sigh of relief when Baroness Manzoor’s fatal motion failed last night.

Of course, it was inevitable that Labour peers would rather bravely abstain on the cuts to tax credits, as their elected counterparts did in July. And Jeremy Corbyn is probably skating on thin ice, given that the scandal of Labour abstaining in July put him where he is today.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 44 Comments

In full: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Lib Dem Conference

Here is Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Lib Dem Conference in full, delivered 15 minutes late after the conference was evacuated when the fire alarm went off.

I have been a member of the Liberal Democrats for twenty eight years.  
I have stood up, spoken up and campaigned for this party all over the country. 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: The Tory assault on housing associations is another betrayal

Nick Clegg has a new regular Evening Standard column and in the latest edition, he talks about housing.

After a look at the history and importance of housing associations, Nick writes about how he and Danny Alexander secured assurances that housing associations would receive support to continue building more houses for rent. These assurances have now been trashed now the Tories have a majority:

Five years ago I dissuaded the Conservatives in Coalition from fiddling with social rents to cut the housing benefit bill because it would have had a disastrous effect on the ability of housing associations to raise the money

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Liberal jottings: Stephen Tall’s weekly notebook

Heidi Hi

The maiden speech of Heidi Allen MP, Tory successor to Andrew Lansley in South Cambridgeshire, received acclaim this week for its outspoken attack on her party’s plans to slash tax credits for 13 million households.

Posted in News | 11 Comments

Drug reform should be our new flagship policy

In my past two articles I argued for a more muscular liberalism that was more strident in championing liberal causes and for occupying the liberal ground whilst still appealing to a broader audience than ourselves.

In the interests of achieving this aim we need to pick our fights and causes carefully. We need a new flagship policy, one which wipes away the memory of tuition fees and sets us apart from our opponents. We must lead the charge on an issue and make it our own in a way we never quite managed in the public perception of equal marriage and green energy in coalition.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

We must take Oldham seriously

The Obelisk on Alderman's HillBy-elections caused by the death of the incumbent are always an occasion for sadness, so our first reaction to the passing of Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, must be a sincere expression of sympathy to his family and friends. However, politics is politics, as Michael would have said himself, and therefore we have to face the fact that there will be a by-election before too long. Even if we should not campaign until after the funeral, that does not mean we should avoid thinking about the challenge ahead.

During the Coalition government the Liberal Democrat powers that be took what I believed to be a misguided decision to virtually ignore northern parliamentary by-elections, with predictably disastrous results. In a couple of cases there was, however, a tremendous surge towards UKIP, almost causing shock Labour defeats. We lost our deposits spectacularly, despite the hard efforts of by-election candidates and mainly local party support. The impression given to the wider public, however, was that in the North of England the LibDems are rubbish, even irrelevant. We must not allow that to happen again.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 54 Comments

Why are you a Liberal Democrat?

That’s the question Tim Farron is asking this evening in the following mail to members:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

+++Liberals sweep to power

The Liberal Party has swept to power, winning 184 seats out of 338, an overall majority of 30. The election platform included such policies as

  • Cutting income taxes for the middle-classes while increasing them for the wealthy
  • Running deficits for three years to pay for infrastructure spending
  • Doing more to address environmental concerns over the controversial Keystone oil pipeline
  • Taking more Syrian refugees; pulling out of bombing raids against Islamic State while bolstering training for Iraqi forces
  • Legalising marijuana
Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 54 Comments

We need more blue collar Liberals

There is plenty of debate across the political spectrum about how unrepresentative of the overall population our elected politicians are.

Much of this discussion focuses on the lack of women and BAME people in the corridors of power.

photo by: NCVO
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 43 Comments

We need to make internal selections affordable for all

What makes a great candidate? It can be an incredibly demanding job and I imagine it’s lots of things. A strong ability to communicate, to listen, to represent people effectively. To demonstrate generous leadership, to inspire and to continually learn. These are all what I’d consider the headlines.

What about fundraising? It’s certainly vital – but I’d argue that not only is it not the single *biggest* priority.  It’s certainly not more important than the above qualities. It’s one of the skills that can most often be generated truly as a team effort whilst potentially being most successful when lead by the candidate themselves.

I learnt so much during the recent GLA London List Election. As a first timer I was clearly delighted with the result and I loved the opportunity to speak to literally thousands of members. Having phone canvassed for lots of candidates as part of the Team 2015 efforts in the General Election, it was a really interesting next step to be phoning and listening to people’s concerns as the potential candidate myself.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Thank you! 9,727 reasons getting naked on TV was well worth it

st runAs my LibDemVoice colleagues have been kind enough to highlight, I fulfilled my pledge* this week to run naked down Whitehall. My daft fault for claiming on live telly that’s what I’d do if the Lib Dems were reduced to 24 MPs. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, folks.

In any case, it was all in a good cause. I wasn’t going to go through with it for the lolz. But when Kelvin McKenzie challenged me on the Daily Politics — and said he’d back up the offer with £5,000 to the charity of my choice — I didn’t have to think twice. (My main regret now is I didn’t dare him to double it: as a professional fundraiser, I should know better than to accept the first offer made…)

I wanted the money to go to a charity working on the current refugee crisis. Having done a little research, I decided on Médecins Sans Frontières, aka Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian medical aid organisation providing medical aid where it is most needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or gender.

Posted in News | 4 Comments

The condescension of Camila

Two years ago I was in acting charge of a London day care setting for the elderly not a million miles away from the fabled Kids Company. My young colleague put together a craft afternoon for our clients. She sent off for £20 of glass beads on Ebay. A lot of elderly people with dementia had a lovely time making jewellery thanks to her. The £20 was authorised by my manager beforehand and accounted for afterwards. Of course it would have been nice to give handouts to our clients, many of them in great need, but we had to vouch for every penny spent.

It was therefore utterly bewildering to watch former head of Kids Company Camila Batmanghelidjh give evidence to a select committee yesterday and admit that large sums were handed to young people just because she and her colleagues deemed them vulnerable.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Europe is about more than the economy, it’s about opportunity

Catherine Bearder with Liberal Youth members October 2015At the official launch of the Stronger In Campaign on Monday it was great to see such a huge range of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, prepared to work together to secure Britain’s place in Europe. The board of the campaign represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women. This couldn’t contrast more with the male, pale and stale line-ups of the Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns.

The challenge now for Stronger In will be to translate such a broad base of support into a coherent and positive message. We don’t just need to win over undecided voters, we need to make sure those who are broadly in favour of remaining in Europe turn up to cast their vote and play an active role in the campaign. Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. They probably won’t get passionate about dry economic facts on the impact of Brexit on trade and investment. We need to develop a powerful and uplifting narrative about why Britain’s future in Europe matters to them and their everyday lives.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

In video: Nick Clegg on Newsnight

In case you missed it, here’s Nick Clegg talking on last night’s Newsnight about the EU referendum. When asked whether hope or fear would win the day for the In campaign, he said that the simple fact was that it was in our national interest to be part of the EU.

He also said that he regretted sitting next to David Cameron at PMQs for five years, saying it looked like we were passive rather than architects of many aspects of the government’s programme.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

What they don’t tell you about TTIP

Countless articles, emails and campaigns have expressed anger about TTIP. This is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would cover over 800 million people in the EU and US, as well as helping determine the shape of future agreements the world over. There are numerous concerns – some entirely misguided, some merely exaggerated – and from reading the literature of campaign groups like 38 Degrees it might be hard to know whether there are any benefits at all from this trade deal. So supporters of free trade need to straightforwardly spell out some of TTIP’s advantages.

In particular, lost among the scaremongering and obscure debates has been the very foundation of TTIP: an abolition of almost all the remaining import and export tariffs between the US and EU. It’s true, as both supporters and opponents of TTIP say, that tariffs are only a part of the deal: harmonising regulations (without lowering standards) is now often more important. But when the entire process is under attack, the scrapping of tariffs should not be glossed over. I hope it’s not too insulting to suggest that many of those attacking TTIP or signing petitions (not to mention those who haven’t heard of TTIP) may have no idea that it includes the scrapping of import and export tariffs.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 69 Comments

What do you reckon to the latest Tim Talks?

Have you missed Tim Farron’s regular #TimTalks videos from his leadership campaign? He did some crackers, on issues such as housing, foreign affairs and rebuilding the party

Well, someone has put him in front of a video camera and he’s been talking about the key issues in this week’s news: Labour, the fiscal mandate and  how Osborne’s ruse is a trap that has well and truly snookered Corbyn’s party, housing and the EU Referendum. He also mentioned the Liberal Democrats’ audacious by-election win from the SNP in Aird and Loch Ness. Here it is in full:

So what did you think? How could he expand this idea?

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Tom Brake writes: My trip to the Calais Jungle


I visited the Calais Jungle a week ago, where around 4,000 people live in terribly squalid conditions. My trip was organised by staff from Lib Dem HQ, who had collected donations so we were able to distribute water, food and sanitary products.

It was a shocking experience to see the dreadful conditions people are living in. The Jungle is worse than a shanty town, with very few facilities.

There was no sign of water being provided and the people we met clutched gratefully the bottles we had transported.  Shoes, clothes and dry foods were also in demand. Portable toilets are provided by aid organisations while the local authorities seem to turn a blind eye to the conditions in the camp, simply wishing it would go away. I was told the French authorities don’t provide any help apart from a Centre where mobile phones can be charged and a hot meal is available. If someone is badly injured the local hospital bandages them up.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 17 Comments

Sniggered at Stephen Tall’s naked run? You need to donate. Them’s the rules

You do wonder what was in Stephen Tall’s mind. He could so easily have said: If the Lib Dems only get 24 seats, I’ll bake everyone lemon drizzle cake. But, no, he said he’d run naked down Whitehall. It’s one thing to do it in the pub with a few mates, but he did it on live tv.

Yesterday, Stephen’s run hit the Sun. Not the yellow thing in the Sky, the Murdoch raggy thing in the newsagent.

A prominent Lib Dem will run half a mile down Whitehall semi-naked after losing a bet.

Before the general election Stephen Tall, the former deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford, bet the Daily Politics that if the Lib Dems were reduced to 24MPs or fewer he would do a naked dash.

The party was all but obliterated at the polls in May with just eight MPs returning to the Commons.

And now Mr Tall, a Lib Dem blogger, has pledged to jog naked from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square – for the viewing pleasure of office workers from a string of government departments.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

+++Breaking: Lib Dem Jean Davis in stunning by-election win – from SNP #libdemfightback

Congrats Cllr Davis

It’s a while since there’s been good news for Liberal Democrats north of the border, but that has changed today. Jean Davis has just pulled off an audacious by-election victory in the Aird and Loch Ness by-election in the gorgeous Highlands. More to follow, but don’t let anyone tell you the SNP can’t be beaten.

The ward takes in the towns of Beauly, Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus and covers some of the most utterly beautiful terrain in the whole country. It’s a massive ward, which now has two Liberal Democrat councillors representing it. Given that we came fourth in this ward in 2012, this result is stunning. It’s really embarrassing for the SNP as it’s the seat vacated by their new MP for Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey who beat Danny Alexander in May.

Posted in News | 28 Comments

Tim Farron on Question Time: Open Thread

It’s time to gather together your Question Time survival kit – at least two of the following:


A nice up of tea

Gin on an intravenous drip

A nice glass of red


Pillow to hide behind or bite when Melanie Phillips  is on (although there is an argument we should be grateful it’s not Katie Hopkins, although a Hopkins vs Farron encounter would be deeply entertaining.

Tonight, though, at least we have Tim Farron on. He’s been on stonking form recently and he has made it very clear what he thinks of both Theresa May’s and David Cameron’s speeches this week.

Those lovely people in the Lib Dem Press Office have given us this to help us:

Do comment during the programme.

Posted in News | 37 Comments

Vince Cable’s “After the Storm – The World Economy & Britain’s Economic Future”

after the stormWider in scope and more ambitious in its reach, “After the Storm” is the acclaimed sequel to “The Storm” published after the financial crisis of 2008.  Having spent the last 5 years as Business Secretary within the Coalition Government (2010-2015), Vince has the added clout of first-hand experience introducing economic policies that have steered us out of the storm, not least an industrial strategy.

His professed motivation for penning a sequel were to update readers on the state of Britain’s economy in “a climate of guarded optimism,” and to share his insights, no longer bound by collective responsibility as Secretary of State at the Department of Business Innovation and Science.  Whilst the US and UK are expected to record 3% growth this year, Vince’s previous analysis of the underlying weaknesses still apply, such as UK’s over reliance on the banking sector and on the housing market for recovery and growth.

Posted in Books | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Stephen Tall really is running naked down Whitehall – how you can help him raise money for charity

Stephen Tall is making good on what turned out to be an ill-advised pledge in 2013 that he would run naked down Whitehall if the Liberal Democrats got 24 seats in this year’s General Election. He has decided that others should benefit from his immodesty and is raising money for Medecins Sans Frontieres. The charity will already be benefiting from £5000 promised by Kelvin Mackenzie, the former editor of the Sun, on live television last week. Stephen has set up a JustGiving page to augment that sum.

You can find out more about the amazing work that MSF does here on its website. I was particularly moved by this post where former MSF emergency co-ordinator wrote about the people she met while working on MSF’s search and rescue vessel. Here she tells the story of 17 year old Sako:

He had been in Libya for five years, and he had seen it fall into lawless anarchy and violence. His uncle who brought him there, died. His best friend died last year after a child soldier, about the same age as him, hit him in the head with a steel bar. He didn’t die immediately; it took a long time before he gave up. There are no hospitals.

“Child soldier my age.” Suddenly it struck me how young he looked. “17,” he said with a big smile. My mind spun again. So he was 11 when he arrived in Libya? He is still a minor, even though he has seen and survived more than any man I know has in a lifetime.

I explained how in Europe you are still a child until you are 18 and that if he wanted I will make sure he gets off together with all the other minors we had on board.

He nodded. Looked down. Suddenly he looked like a child after all.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

We’re all “Preamble Lib Dems”

There has been a very minor outbreak of people using the label “Preamble Lib Dem” to describe themselves.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 104 Comments

Corbyn: No horses were scared during delivery of a speech full of Liberal Democrat policies

For the first time in a long time, I watched a Labour leader’s conference speech this afternoon and didn’t cringe with horror. To be fair, that’s because he kept name checking Liberal Democrat policies. He even said that the agreed with Paddy Ashdown over airstrikes on Syria.

Many people,including some in that Brighton hall, wanted him to fail terribly today. Indeed, the Blairites were desperate for that to happen. Labour spin doctor Lance Price was quick to condemn the speech as one of the worst he had ever heard. Was he listening to something else? For sure it wasn’t an example of oratorical excellence, with perfect construction, but Corbyn did what he had to do today. No horses were scared in the delivery of the speech. The entire nation wasn’t petrified by the thought of  revolution coming to a street near them any time soon as the more excitable of our friends in the press have made out.

He clearly wasn’t used to having an autocue, but that added to the sincerity of what he was saying. We would be very foolish to underestimate Corbyn. As Gareth Epps reminded us, we tried underestimating the SNP and look where that got us in Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 47 Comments

TTIP update: A Liberal in charge, and a new investor dispute proposal

Container Ship tradeYou can catch up with my previous pieces on TTIP here:

A new face at the negotiating table

It’s a few months since I last wrote here about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade and investment agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and United States. It is Liberal Democrat party policy to support TTIP, so it is worth keeping up with developments in the negotiations.

Since my first post in July 2014, one of the most significant changes has been the replacement in November 2014 of Karel De Gucht as European Commissioner for Trade by Cecilia Malmström.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

The future of the railways – a Liberal view

Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a People’s Railway has sparked interest and support, tinged with more than a little nostalgia for a past that really didn’t exist. Those who hanker after British Rail were clearly not there. It was the butt of national jokes about punctuality, cancellations, strikes and stale sandwiches. It was also serving a transport market very different from today. Rail journeys in Britain have doubled since 1997 and are set to continue rising rapidly. Freight traffic increases every year too. Our rail lines are the busiest and most intensively used in Europe if not the world. Britain has the only growing rail market in Europe. So when people adversely compare our structure with that in France or Germany it is worth remembering that they are declining businesses while every aspect of Brtish railways is growing fast and needs to do so, because of our growing population and if we are to have a successful economy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 48 Comments

Result – Lib Dem London Assembly list selection

With a hat-tip to Mark Pack, here is the result of the internal Liberal Democrat party election to select the order of candidates for our London Assembly list:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPhyllis 30th Nov - 9:27am
    There are too many different agenda to make the bombing of Syria followed by the inevitable ground war a good outcome. There are no moderates...
  • User Avatarexpats 30th Nov - 9:10am
    Eddie Sammon 29th Nov '15 - 12:47pm...................RIght, some more reasons why we should bomb Daesh in Syria: ................................... If we don’t help France in this...
  • User AvatarPeter Hellyer 30th Nov - 9:02am
    Since I live in the Gulf, ISIL is already on my doorstep. A few comments, from this perspective, on the Conditions. Condition 4 cannot be...
  • User AvatarJonathan Pile 30th Nov - 8:40am
    British Airstrikes debate is symbolic about Britain's role in the world as an ally, NATO member & EU member. To stand aside ringing our hands...
  • User AvatarVictor Ient 30th Nov - 8:40am
    I agree the airstrikes alone will not defeat ISIL in Syria. Yes, we must have wider diplomatic framework including efforts towards a no-bomb zone. Yes,...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 30th Nov - 8:22am
    It is troubling that so many are prepared to abandon the most basic principles of morality, just because a situation is labelled "war". In peacetime,...