Tag Archives: iain dale

Trump could be a good thing

What were you doing when Donald J Trump became the 45th President of the United States?

I was walking my dog. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it live. I just don’t know enough swear words.

Tim Farron wasn’t watching it either.

He made a video, though. And it was pretty uplifting.

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Tim Farron doing LBC phone in at 6pm tonight

Tim Farron will be taking calls from listeners on Iain Dale’s LBC show this evening. As the Tories and Labour seem to linking arms and heading off to Hard Brexit land together, Tim will know doubt be showing off what a proper opposition leader does.

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On Iain Dale’s Top 50 Liberal Democrats list

Over the weekend, political blogger and LBC presenter Iain Dale unveiled his list of Top Liberal Democrats in 2016.  It is generally viewed with amusement by conference-goers. While it may give people bragging rights over certain of their colleagues, it is fairly arbitrary in nature.

I was particularly happy to see some of the most energetic campaigners our party has make it on to the list. Daisy Benson has been a massive factor in galvanising the Lib Dem Newbies into quite a force within the party. Former Presidential candidate and now PPC for St Albans Daisy Cooper is another welcome addition. What is absolutely astounding, though, is that Elains Bagshaw, who has made a name for herself with her incredible campaigning in Tower Hamlets, isn’t there.

Annoyingly, Willie Rennie has leapfrogged Kirsty Williams. He has certainly had a good year with his vibrant and bright election campaign, but Kirsty, for goodness sake, is a Cabinet Minister. Along with Lib Dem Council leaders, she has much more actual power than just about anyone else. 

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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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More influential than the Liberal Democrat chief executive, 2 former cabinet ministers and a Council leader Really?

One of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a long time came during our Conference in Bournemouth when Iain Dale published his list of the top 50 influential Liberal Democrats. I’ve been meaning to write about it for ages but never quite got round to it.

I, believe it or not, am at number 30, up 11 places from last year. This puts me above Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Council in charge of a budget of millions, 2 former Cabinet ministers, Ed Davey and Danny Alexander and the Chief Executive of the Party. You can perhaps see why I was laughing so much. Mr Dale clearly has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this party.

Iain’s list certainly reflected our departure from government, with Tim Farron and his key allies close to the top. There are 17 women and 33 men in a vaguely random order. He said himself:

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Praise for Lynne Featherstone from the newly-married Iain Dale

LBC Presenter, publisher and blogger Iain Dale and his husband John Simmons have recently converted their civil partnership to a marriage.

Iain wrote about the day they got married here.

He had some pretty fulsome praise for Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister who made it happen.

Finally, when we were sitting in the register office going through the paperwork I had a moment when I thought of Lynne Featherstone. Lynne was the LibDem Home Office minister who, with the backing of Theresa May and David Cameron brought in the Equal Marriage Act. She lost her seat at the election, but she will always be able to look back and think that this was a real political achievement. Just as Roy Jenkins will be remembered for decriminalising homosexuality, she will forever be associated with equal marriage. I can think of worse political legacies. Most ministers go through their careers achieving very little. She set out to do something and had the political courage and nouse to see it through.

Cheers Lynne.

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LBC Women’s Debate: Lynne Featherstone gets Harriet Harman to admit she’s “happy” with Rachel Reeves’ plans to be tougher than Tories on benefits claimants

Last night’s 90 minute LBC women’s debate was, on the whole, well-mannered, informative and a billion times better than anything Michael Fallon had had to say.

Lynne Featherstone was our representative,  Nicky Morgan represented the Tories, Diane James UKIP and Harriet Harman was there for Labour.

I liked the 5 minute “Ask me Anything” segments where each candidate had to ask questions of the others. If I’m going to criticise, some of the questions were too long. If you are going to ask an awkward question, make it brief and make your opponent squirm for longer. Harriet Harman did keep her question brief, though – she asked Lynne which thing that Labour did in government did she like most and which thing she’d voted for in the Coalition had made her feel most uncomfortable. Lynne praised Labour’s Equality Act and said the Bedroom Tax was the most difficult thing. She did remind Harriet that it was Labour who had introduced the principle into the benefit system. She added that Liberal Democrats had had to hold their nose and vote for things that they didn’t like, but we’d always made them better than they would have been.

When the tables were reversed, Lynne asked Harriet whether she agreed with Rachel Reeves’ comments  that Labour would be tougher than the Tories on benefits claimants. Iain Dale emphasised Lynne’s point by saying to Harman that she must have winced at that. But when reminded of Reeves’ comments, she said

If that’s what she said, I’m happy to go along with that. She’s absolutely excellent and she sees things as I do.

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