Tag Archives: featured

In conversation with David Laws

The former Liberal Democrat MP and government minister discusses his new book about the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, says what he would do differently in hindsight, and looks into his crystal ball to see what the future holds for the party…

Your new book about the Coalition has certainly made a few waves following its Sunday newspaper serialisation – the right kind of waves?

I think inevitably there is a temptation in the press to shed light on things which are currently topical, such as Tory divisions on the referendum. But the primary reason I wrote the book was to give an accurate, historic account of the Coalition and a proper explanation of our part in it – and if the serialisation results in more people reading the book, so much the better.

It sounds like you’re, by and large, proud of what the Lib Dems achieved in government?

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The “trailblazing, hell-raising rule breaking Rennie”

Another Friday, another day Willie Rennie wins the internet.

I don’t think there has ever been such fun at a manifesto launch ever.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ manifesto is centred around opportunity in so many ways. Children are at the very heart of it, so it seemed appropriate that the event took place in a soft play event in Edinburgh. And if you are going to go there, you need to get into the spirit of the place. You can’t afford to look too stiff and sober. And Willie didn’t.

The team got three specific things right. First a bit of humour, reminding everyone how you won the internet last week too.

And, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a treat to imagine hard-nosed political hacks being asked to wait in a room like this:

Finally, if you have a leader who can do a 3 second pitch while going down a slide, then that’s a talent you have to exploit.

Jamie Ross from Buzzfeed absolutely loved it:

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Offshore 101, or: Can we please stop asking David Cameron to resign?

One of my favourite things about the Liberal Democrats is members don’t just get stuck into debates – they go looking for the evidence to back up what they’ve got to say. That’s why this week’s furore around what David Cameron did or didn’t do has been so frustrating.

The Panama Papers are fascinating to me, as a lawyer and a would-be tax specialist. It looks likely that when the dust has settled there will be evidence of money laundering, of tax evasion, of tax avoidance and of regulatory failings. But so far most journalists and commentators are throwing around words like fund and trust as if they’re the same thing, and treating tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering as equivalent acts. Unfortunately, much of the social media discussion so far has accepted these red herrings.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 57 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable makes the case for TTIP and free trade

Vince Cable, who was involved in negotiations over the proposed EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, in his role as business secretary, has been writing about the issue, and that of free trade more generally.

Vince first summarises the rationale for TTIP:

The European Commission has prioritised a bilateral agreement with the USA: TTIP, which is proving a source of unexpected controversy, although negotiations are still at an early stage. The underlying objective is to apply, on a transatlantic basis, the same approach that helped to create the EU Single Market. Since, as within the EU, tariffs and quotas are no longer a major issue the emphasis has been on preventing differences in standards, mainly technical, acting as a barrier to trade. There are, for example, different specifications for seatbelt design and testing that make it difficult to export in both directions. In effect, a different production line is required to sell into the USA, which can be prohibitive, especially for low volume manufacturers.

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Tim Farron launches blueprint for UK to take 3000 unaccompanied refugee children

Tim Farron has this afternoon published his blueprint for how the UK could take 3000 unaccompanied refugee children.

Earlier he spoke to the Daily Politics about the plan and his visit to Northern Greece yesterday.

The plan has been drawn up in consultation with the charities and NGOs who attended his recent summit on the issue. The main recommendations are as follows:

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Baroness Lynne Featherstone writes…The State killed my nephew

It’s true. Nick was a haemophiliac and was infected with Hepatitis C and exposed to CJD through NHS treatment. And the Government knew the treatments were contaminated. They were warned. The NHS used blood treatment which bought blood – from American convicts. But the government carried on using contaminated blood products despite those warnings.

The result was 4670 haemophiliacs in the UK infected with HIV, Hepatitis C or both – and many exposed to CJD. In regard of the latter the consequences of that exposure are still unknown. In terms of HIV and Hepatitis C almost all haemophiliacs were infected with one or other or both. Over 2000 have died.

Nick died of Hepatitis C – or rather he died from a treatment meant to cure it. Nick was 35 years old, and left a 10 month old daughter, his partner of fourteen years. Nick’s mother (my sister), his father and his twin will never get over that loss. And that loss is made worse by the battle to get financial support and to get the government to admit its fault. It has never done so. The crucial papers were destroyed according the Department of Health.  Lord David Owen, former British Health Minister said ‘I can see why some people would be unhappy with having all the facts revealed because it will show negligence’.  No public inquiry has taken place. It must.

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Tim Farron on tax: “We must not miss this opportunity to change the system”

Tim Farron by Paul WalterTim Farron has written a note about tax on his Facebook page. As party leaders publish their tax returns, (including Willie Rennie, that’s 5 minutes of your life you won’t get back if you choose to read this unremarkable document), he says that it’s actually the system you need to change. He’ll publish his in the next few days, but that is not really the point. Here are his comments in full:

The politics of envy helps no-one, but trust in politics does.

I have no desire to poke around in the Prime Minister’s private wealth, and definitely have no desire to force him to relive the pain of losing his father, having to confront that time all over again through the pages of national newspapers.

It is absolutely essential that British people have full confidence in our leaders, and that when decisions are made and Budgets are written there is not even a slightest hint of a conflict of interest or personal gain. But we are now in a position where people no longer have complete faith in this Government’s decisions.

Trust in politics and our ability to get things done is taking another hammering. It’s an poor indictment of our political system that the demand is now so great for the public to see politicians’ tax affairs. Are we now in a world where there is an assumption that a politician is doing wrong, or is playing the system?

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

  • User AvatarViosr 6th May - 9:16pm
    Clootie, your thoughts now? The North Isles result was not too shabby for the Libs. You might want to have a heart to heart with...
  • User AvatarTim13 6th May - 9:09pm
    I don't think my comment was either absurd or harmful, Caracatus. By saying this I am not making overblown claims that we have suddenly recovered...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 6th May - 9:04pm
    @Peter Watson Perhaps you should refer also to SILVIO's post very similar post of 24th April http://www.libdemvoice.org/after-a-year-of-tory-rule-we-have-the-chance-to-show-our-disapproval-50257.html. There he said "Fighting tooth and nail for...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 6th May - 9:04pm
    Thanks Paul, up to your usual standard. Obviously you couldn't actually think of any campaigns. I do remember things like Axe the Tax and Green...
  • User AvatarPhyllis 6th May - 9:01pm
    Oh dear Lord! The Lib Dems cannot afford to lose the outstanding Kirsty Williams as a senior and prominent voice in the country. Please someone...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 6th May - 8:52pm
    It is a fantastic result in Watford but the comments about Lib Dems being clear winners of the local elections are absurd and harmful.
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