Tag Archives: inequality

The Establishment

In a couple of previous posts I have looked at the effects of Brexit and possibilities for LibDem positioning and policy that may emerge. In many ways the EU is a distraction from the key political battles we face. The most pressing problem we have is inequality in its many manifestations and an economic and social system that works very hard to maintain and increase inequality while we try to redress the balance. That is the case whether we are in the EU or out of it. This is an opportunity to consider some key parameters of our policies without having to look at everything through the prism of the EU debate.

One constant in the debate is the thing called the establishment, a word as much misused as used. I cannot think of anyone more “establishment” than Nigel Farage, who has managed to make a career out of selling the lie that he is anti-establishment. Like many insurgent politicians he has no intention of changing the way the system works. He just wants to change the personnel at the top.

The nature and function of the establishment remains the same though its form has changed in recent decades. Whatever it is, it needs to be a focus of LibDem policy making so we need to consider clearly what it is, what it does and how to deal with it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

LibLInk: Alistair Carmichael: Theresa May’s liberal rhetoric a surprise

Alistair Carmichael has written an article for today’s Scotsman in which he matches up Theresa May’s words on entering Downing Street to her actions in government. Certainly we can all remember Margaret Thatcher’s warm words about bringing peace and harmony when she entered No 10, and we know how that turned out.

For many people there were three main reasons for being pleased to see Theresa May enter No 10 Downing Street last week. Firstly she was not Boris Johnson; secondly she was not Michael Gove and thirdly she was not Andrea Leadsom. As a father, I felt it could have been worse. Mrs May, a vicar’s daughter we are told, delivered a little homily for the benefit of the world’s media outside her new residence. The rhetoric was good. I know from five years in coalition government that getting some Conservatives even to acknowledge the inequalities of modern life can be difficult. Here we had a Conservative prime minister not just acknowledging them but promising to tackle them.

But her record so far doesn’t quite reflect this:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Vince, Brexit and inequality: a day at the Social Liberal Forum Conference

Vince  Cable SLF Conference 2016The alarm call at 4:30 was pretty brutal. I suppose it was my own fault. I could have been sensible and not have drunk large quantities of wine at a wonderful dinner with friends and got home before 12:30, but you only live once and all that.

So, I felt a little weary heading off to London for the Social Liberal Forum’s annual conference.

The event took place in the Resources for London building – definitely worth going to if you are planning a similar event. It’s a super space with halls and breakout rooms all on one floor. Our Mary Reid has a leading role in organising this event every year and she always does a brilliant job. Everything is run with efficiency and the programme is planned so that there is enough time for socialising and networking.

The theme of the day was Inequality Street, looking at the various types of inequality in our country, why it’s so bad and how we deal with it. It was based around the 2009 book The Spirit Level, which showed that the countries with the highest levels of inequality also had the highest levels of all manner of social problems.

The day started with a minute’s applause to remember two great social liberals we’ve lost this year – Eric Avebury and David Rendel.

The vote to leave the EU meant a significant re-jigging of the programme to give us an opportunity to discuss the implications of the vote and what we should do about it. Investigative journalist Shiv Malik, Jonny Oates, David Howarth, Lindsay Northover and Sal Brinton shared their thoughts with us. 

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

Inequality and Brexit

inequality street 4The Social Liberal Forum conference on Inequality takes place on Saturday in Holloway, central London and readers of LDV are very welcome to come along and participate. We have added a morning session on Brexit to give everyone an early opportunity to debate the implications for the party. Please register in advance via the Social Liberal Forum website.  Guest speakers include Vince Cable, Norman Lamb, Sal Brinton, Shiv Malik, Neil Lawson from Compass and Karin Robinson from Democrats Abroad.

So why are we focussing on inequality?

The EU referendum result came as a terrible shock. Just as we started to wonder where we go from here, news came in of the reactions this provoked, one of which is a huge increase in Lib Dem membership. This opens the possibility that the Liberal Democrats may become a major force in British politics again. Another of course is a huge increase in racially motivated violence and intolerance. So we have more Lib Dem members becoming active in an increasingly illiberal society.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Liberal Democrats must seize the moment

Both the main parties are currently paralysed as political forces by their leadership battles. The Government is leaderless, the country at a standstill politically. This is our moment to assert our right to be heard as former and future political leaders, and force our presence on the airwaves and on social media. Moreover if the right-wing press will not accept our voice, this is surely the moment to invest in national advertising.

The week of the Chilcot report is the time to remind the country that it was the Liberal Democrats who opposed the attack on Iraq, along with a great mass of the public whose voices were also ignored. We should now claim again to represent the majority of the public, not by ignoring the result of the Referendum, but by acknowledging the many doubts that were felt by people voting either way, and pledging to try to meet the needs that were  ignored by their self-obsessed leaders.

While the politicians of the two main parties fight for supremacy, we, the united Liberal Democrats, must fight for the people. With a growing recession, we must fight to protect the poorest, demanding government measures to alleviate probable rising food costs, and extra rises if necessary in the Living Wage. We should demand investment for growth, so that jobs can be created that are not just short-term or on zero-hours contracts, and social security reform to stop penalising those least able to protect themselves. We must insist on more funds for the NHS, more integration of health and social care – and also a welcome and thanks to the immigrant doctors and nurses and care workers. We should demand more social housing and some re-introduction of rent controls. We must develop economic policies which highlight the scandal of excessive pay rises for top executives, challenge the power of sophisticated predators linking hedge funds with top Tories, and promote greater equality through taxation.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Nick Clegg chairs meeting on educational inequality in Sheffield

Back in January, the Social Market Foundation, a think tank, established its cross-party Commission on Inequality in Education. It wants to tackle the disparity of attainment and break down barriers it identified relating to where you live, your family’s income and your ethnicity.

Yesterday, Nick chaired a meeting  of the Commission at Sheffield Hallam University.

Nick said:

On launching the commission, our research showed that where young people live now has more impact on their performance at school than used to be the case.

It is not just the relative wealth of parents that holds lots of bright kids back: it is postcode inequality too. What part of the country a child grows up in has a real impact on their life chances.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

Farron: Tackling inequality is my mission for 2016

Tim Farron says that his mission for 2016 is to raise inequality up the political agenda. In a special Christmas message for the Mirror, he says:

From my family, to yours I want to wish readers of the Sunday Mirror a happy, joyous and restful Christmas.

My primary mission politically in 2016 is to raise the issue of inequality up the political agenda.

No-one should go hungry or homeless in Britain. We must have a national crusade to end this scandal. Once and for all.

We have the mission but we must also have the will power to do it.

The values of Christmas – charity, togetherness and compassion must be taken forward and I am committed to doing that.

He also reveals some of what he will be doing over the Festive Season:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 27th Aug - 2:33pm
    Well said Caron. I think Eddie Sammon is on to something when he puts this in the context of historic French struggles against the combination...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th Aug - 2:30pm
    Simon , you are right to say thanks to Caron and the team for keeping it going , wrong to think it a thankless task...
  • User AvatarMark Pack 27th Aug - 2:24pm
    Happy birthday - and you're absolutely right about Ryan.
  • User AvatarThomas Shakespeare 27th Aug - 2:12pm
    Happy birthday and thank you to you and the team for all your hard work.
  • User AvatarSimon mcgrath 27th Aug - 2:07pm
    Thanks to you and all the volunteers who keep it going , a thankless task if ever there was one.
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th Aug - 2:05pm
    Happy Birthday Liberal Democrat Voice , we Virgo s , need to stick together !