Tag Archives: featured

Baroness Shas Sheehan writes…Europe’s humanitarian crisis and how you can help

Tim Farron has been superb on the issue of the humanitarian crisis in Europe. He was the first Leader of any party to visit the camp in Calais; in Lesvos he witnessed the desperation and fear of those fleeing Assad; for many months he has been calling for 3000 unaccompanied children in Europe to be brought to the UK.

Whilst lawyers and parliamentarians challenge the Government to implement the safe and legal routes into the UK, thousands upon thousands of people on the run from brutal regimes are suffering the most appalling conditions.

Humanitarian aid is needed.

What you can do to help

Many Liberal Democrats have been asking what they can sensibly do to help. So here are some suggestions:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Shirley Williams makes her final speech in the Lords

I was out and about yesterday and ended up being marooned in Glasgow and not getting home till late so I missed Shirley’s final speech in the House of Lords. She has been a giant of common sense and wisdom and one of my political heroes from the moment I first realised politics was a thing. This is a speech that you have to watch as well as read for all sorts of reasons, the interaction with David Steel being one, so thank goodness the BBC have provided an embeddable version.

She talks about the great institutions of the BBC, the NHS and the EU and how important they are to our national life. Two of them didn’t even exist when she was born.

Heaven knows she deserves her retirement at 85 and we all wish her well, but we are so going to miss her regular contributions to the Lords. However, it looks like she will be campaigning in the EU Referendum, which is great news as her contributions were one of the very few high spots of the Scottish Referendum on independence.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Is income inequality in the UK growing?

We have yet to see the full text of all the motions to be debated at Spring Conference in York, but it appears that this motion on economic policy has been selected.

There is much in the motion I agree with, and some places where I think it is lacking, but it was this line in particular that caught my attention, in the “conference notes…” section:

growing inequalities in wealth and income, coupled with unfair and regressive action against the poorest people in the country, now exacerbated by the assault on welfare spending.

It struck me because the most recent analyses of income inequality in the UK that I have recently read have concluded that the trend since the early 1990s is of broadly stable levels of income inequality, with falling levels after the financial crash of 2008/9.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Willie Rennie’s penny on tax for biggest investment in Scottish education since devolution

Willie and ACH on nursery visit

Finally, someone is actually planning on using the new tax-varying powers given to Scotland. Willie Rennie has made a big announcement on education this morning. He intends cleaning up the mess the SNP have made in education with 4 radical measures, paid for by a modest rise in income tax which will not affect anyone who earns £19,000 a year or less.

That £475 million investment will include the Lib Dem Pupil Premium, already successful in England and, thanks to Kirsty Williams, in Wales. That’s all about giving extra money to disadvantaged kids in school. Then there’s investment in nurseries and colleges, as well as a reversal of the SNP’s education cuts.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 16 Comments

Lynne Featherstone’s “Equal ever after” is out now – how same sex marriage became a reality (with added Lib Dem flouncing)

Lynne Featherstone Equal Ever AfterLast night, at a glitzy party, Lynne Featherstone’s book, Equal ever after was launched. In it she tells the story of  her crusade as Equalities Minister to deliver same sex marriage.

The launch was attended by Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson, Julian Huppert and many, many more. Sadly, I wasn’t there, even though I was in London. I was at a meeting of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee instead.

You have to wonder what position Jo Swinson was in when she took this:

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Sal Brinton’s Federal Executive report

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13Just before Christmas the Federal Executive (FE) met for an awayday to receive and consider your responses to the governance review consultation.

Two of the concerns that you told us about were the lack of diversity of our MPs, and how you felt that all the party committees and structures were hard to understand, and often out of touch.

We will be bringing back the next stage of the governance consultation to you in February, and will run a consultation session at the York Federal Conference in March, with some draft proposals and seeking your views on some of the key issues. Following your comments over the summer we will develop proposals, a new constitution and structures, which will then come back to the Autumn Conference in Brighton for your debate and voting. This would mean that the next round of Federal Elections (which will take place after Conference, ready to start at the beginning of 2017) would be run under the new arrangements.

In the meantime, FE wants to report back regularly to members: in addition to the report on the members’ part of the party website, we will let you know as soon as we can after a meeting what is discussed at our meetings. We will ensure that there is a report on Lib Dem Voice and in addition we want to encourage the cascading down through representatives on FE of important information. Clearly, some matters are (and must be) confidential, and others are seriously uninteresting, but we will do our best to let you know what is happening.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

“How to Pay for the War,” or, Just about Anything! – Keynes 1940

Whenever a progressive party proposes a better education system, a better NHS,  better public transport or whatever,  the killer question is always “How are you going to pay for it?” The implication is that someone will have to pay by way of an increased tax bill or the money will have to be withheld from some other worthy project to compensate.

Our parents’ and grandparents’ generation had a similar, but much harder, problem to solve when it came to the question of how to pay for the war against Nazi Germany in 1939. If the principles of ‘sound finance’ which held that government budgets must at all times be balanced had been rigidly applied then surrender would have been the only option. Fortunately, the Liberal Party, and the country, had at their disposal the best economic mind of the 20th century in John Maynard Keynes who explained, in his 1940 book “How to Pay for the War” how an inadequately armed country of 40 million people, with an economy which had been performing poorly in the inter war years, could at least start to function well enough to take on a much better performing country, at least economically, of twice its population.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMalcolm Lewis 11th Feb - 8:31am
    There are some good points here as to why the UK would be better off to remain in, as you say, the areas of the...
  • User AvatarDenis Mollison 11th Feb - 8:08am
    Chris_sh - I still think that "horse-trading" is a pejorative term hiding a faulty argument. Parties themselves are coalitions - particularly under FPTP where disparate...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 11th Feb - 8:06am
    Why did we say nothing about the Tories' European bedfellows in the European election campaign in 2014?!?!?!?!
  • User AvatarAllan Heron 11th Feb - 7:54am
    Is Tim "against delay"? He acknowledged he was comfortable with and edging towards September when this was discussed at the weekend. He didn't think having...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 11th Feb - 7:50am
    Roland, Are you sure about student loans? Just one other thing. I wish those mainly young doctors on the picket line would look less cheerful....
  • User AvatarPeter Parsons 11th Feb - 7:31am
    For NHS staff with families of school age Saturday is one of the only two days in the week where they have the opportunity to...