Tag Archives: mark valladares

How can we do politics better?

There’s been a spate of articles and comments by Liberal Democrat politicians which, at a guess, isn’t co-ordinated, but they all address the same themes – the problems with the way that we do politics and lack of trust in politicians and institutions.

Paddy Ashdown told the Times (£), reported also for free in the Guardian that public faith in British institutions was “crumbling into dust” with some very harsh words for the BBC and NHS:

The BBC is revealed as an organisation which can’t manage its own affairs, misspends public money and seems to have been complicit in aggrandising

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Lessons of Coalition (2): what do the Lib Dems need to learn from the first 3 years?

ldv coalition lessonsLibDemVoice is running a daily feature, ‘Lessons of Coalition’, to assess the major do’s and don’ts learned from our experience of the first 3 years in government. Reader contributions are welcome, either as comments or posts. The word limit is no more than 450 words, and please focus on just one lesson you think the party needs to learn. Simply email your submission to [email protected] Today Mark Valladares shares his thoughts …

Better party communications responding to the realities of governing

My lesson of coalition is the importance of building a Party …

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Time to throw an anvil at secret courts

Next Tuesday, which is both my nephew’s 14th birthday and the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the SDP, the Justice and Security Bill comes back to the House of Lords for consideration. Now, my esteemed colleague Mr Valladares has given a very helpful account of what the Lords can and can’t do. He goes on to suggest that the Upper House will often back down in the face of pressure from the elected Chamber.

If ever, though, there was a time for the peers to kick off, it is now, when the right to a fair trial remedy for …

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BBC: ‘Lords boundary vote delayed ‘indefinitely”

Mark Valladares reported here yesterday the ‘temporary withdrawal of the Election Registration and Administration Bill’. That temporary appears to have become a bit more permanent, according to the BBC:

A Lords vote to delay the review of constituency boundaries until 2018 has been postponed “indefinitely”. The vote on an amendment to delay the changes, tabled by Labour and signed by Lib Dem and other peers, was originally expected on Wednesday and postponed until Monday. But government sources say it has now been delayed to an unspecified date. It follows reports that Downing St was unaware Lib Dems supported the motion

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A life in the day of an ELDR Council Member…

Welcome to the second of a series of pieces designed to inform members as to what happens to those people elected to various Party committees. This one won’t be like the others…

Whilst the other internal Party elections that take place in the Autumn are for places on committees that meet more, or less, frequently, this particular election is for the right to attend four two hour meetings, spaced over two years. Virtually all of the delegation’s activities are likely to go completely unnoticed by the average member and, if …

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Can we stop apologising for being in government yet?

One of the things that has puzzled me most about two years of the Coalition is the very differing approaches to being in power between the two partners, both in the way they look at the world, and in the way that the world looks back.

In many ways, the Conservatives have it far easier. The vast leviathan which is the deficit provides ample justification for doing what Conservatives are expected to do – cut government spending – although it has made cutting taxes for their client base rather more difficult. And, for that proportion of the population who vote Conservative …

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A lack of democracy at Unlock Democracy

The pressure group Unlock Democracy is generally pretty good at understanding that having a healthy democracy is more than simply about the narrow confines of casting and counting votes. Healthy democracy involves meaningful debate and choice between a range of views.

That makes the latest mailing I have received from them all the most disappointing. Good news – supporters are being asked to submit nominations for its governing council. Bad news – the highly restrictive campaigning rules that make even the old Liberal Democrat internal election rules seem rather …

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Welcome to our new volunteer editors!

Liberal Democrat Voice has always aimed to be ‘Our place to talk’, a site primarily for Lib Dem members to discuss and debate. We welcome readers’ contributions, whether financial (hem-hem) or intellectual.

Building and maintaining a site like this, with fresh news and opinion day-in-day-out, is a labour of love. We are therefore delighted to be able to welcome a clutch of new day editors to afforce the Voice Collective:

All have volunteered to do an occasional turn here at LibDemVoice.org (while continuing their own sites)… so don’t be surprised to see …

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Chris White writes: Approving Police Commissioner candidates

Readers of LDV will have noticed that there is an announcement about Police Commissioner candidates – presumably placed by the English Party.

Of course, none of us want these elections (and most councillors in other parties don’t either) but it’s in the Coalition agreement and so we are to an extent stuck with a particularly silly bit of the Tory manifesto. Such, I guess, is the nature of Coalitions.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that the English Party has decided to play the centralist card: candidates need in essence to be approved like parliamentary candidates.

One of the main …

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Ten ways to make your local party AGM better

At the weekend Mark Valladares rightly pointed out that now is a good time for local parties to start thinking about their autumn AGMs. AGMs are important not only for their role in party democracy and accountability but also for the role in having a lively, healthy local party that does politics, campaigning and socialising.

Here are my ten top tips to make an AGM (or indeed pretty much any local party meeting or event) a success. Individually, each of them are pretty straight-forward but the collective impact can make a huge difference to how well a local party does …

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Lords reform: the Liberal Democrat trio announced

Over the weekend Mark Valladares blogged about the three Liberal Democrats being appointed to the Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament carrying out pre-legislative scrutiny committee on Lords reform:

From the Lords, representing the constitutional wonk tendency (in a good way), Lord Tyler is the first of the two nominees. Paul has been leading calls for a complete overhaul of the Second Chamber for a very long time and is one of the Party’s foremost constitutional experts…

From the Commons, that rather unusual beast, a former member of the House of Lords, John Thurso. As he has already been abolished once,

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Learning the lessons from last week #5: You can’t be distinctive with someone else’s vocabulary

A favourite pastime of cynical journalists with space to fill is to take select phrases from the speeches of different party leaders, remove the names of the authors, jumble up the order and then ask the reader to guess which leader said which. Even with the wondrous variety of the English language, it’s no surprise that words and phrases often overlap, even between politicians with radically different views of the world. There is, even so, sometimes a deeper truth in this parlour game for cynics.

It’s a truth that the words of Liberal Democrats in the run up to last Thursday’s …

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The VAT rise: a refresher course for Labour

Today’s increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20% — announced in the Coalition’s emergency budget last year — has triggered a fresh burst of opportunism criticism from Labour. The “wrong tax at the wrong time” claims their leader Ed Miliband.

How Labour’s last Chancellor backed a VAT rise

I suspect there’s a Labour MP we won’t be hearing from today, though: Alistair Darling*, Chancellor until the party’s defeat in May. As Mark Pack noted here last July, Mr Darling was a strong advocate of increasing the rate of VAT in order to tackle the UK’s massive deficit, with The …

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Our new year signing: Mark Valladares

In the new year Mark Valladares, of Liberal Bureaucracy and a sometime contributor to this site, will be starting up a regular fortnightly guest piece for The Voice concentrating on letting members know what party bodies are getting up to in their name and how they can influence their decisions.

If there’s any particular topic you’d like Mark to cover, just pop up a comment below…

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Paul Walter to guest edit Liberal Democrat Voice tomorrow

Tomorrow we’ve got our fourth guest editor running the site for a day, Newbury blogger Paul Walter. He follows Caron LindsayMark Valladares and Linda Jack.

Paul’s got a great set of guest posts lined up already, so do pop back tomorrow to take a read.

This is the last of our little run of experiments with guest editors so if you’ve got any views on how it has gone and whether we should do something similar in future, please comment below.

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Presidential prospects, passionate debate and poll confidence – a day of inspiration, optimism and hope

Mark Valladares, who was the first guest editor to be let loose on this hallowed site, was sober at the time he agreed to it. I can’t say the same, but if Dr Pack will insist on asking for volunteers very late on a Friday night, then he probably deserves everything he gets.

When Mark offered me a day this week, its proximity to our first Scottish Conference was too opportune to turn down.

Normally Autumn Scottish Conference is an earnest but modest gathering. This year’s was keenly anticipated, though. How would we adjust to being part of a Westminster Government with …

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Caron Lindsay to guest edit Liberal Democrat Voice tomorrow

Tomorrow we’ve got a new guest editor running the site for a day, Scottish Lib Dem blogger Caron Lindsay. She’s the third in our series of guest editors, following Mark Valladares and Linda Jack.

I’m really looking forward to reading the posts Caron’s already talked about having ready to publish. Do come back tomorrow and see how Caron adds a different perspective and touch from the usual on here.

We have a couple more guest slots lined up later this year already but if anyone else would like to be a guest editor for the day, please drop an …

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Guest editors on The Voice

Many thanks to Mark Valladares, who this week was the first in a series of guest editors. They will be running this site for a day each over the next few months.

As Mark demonstrated so well, having a guest editor can give the site something new; in his case a very pertinent theme for the day and a range of new contributors.

If anyone else would like to be a guest editor for the day, please drop an email to [email protected] with some details of your blogging or editing experience.

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Pay attention, there’s more than one Parliament, you know!

One of things that has bothered me for longer than I care to remember is the Party’s fixation on the green benches at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, almost to the total exclusion of anything, and everything, else. As a bureaucrat deep within the Party’s structures, I long for the day when more and better people come forward to be Local, Regional and State Party officers, candidate assessors, returning officers and trainers. But we bureaucrats are not alone in being overlooked in favour of the Commons…

Down the corridor, there are seventy-nine Liberal Democrat Peers (with Richard …

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Today’s guest editor, in his own words…

When the inestimable Mark Pack wrote to a number of bloggers looking for volunteers to guest edit Liberal Democrat Voice for a day, there was an initial chorus of ‘sounds interesting, get back to me when I’m sober’. My response was:

I, on the other hand, am sober. Sober enough to realise that Mark’s offer might not suit my particular skill set. Unless, of course, you want a day enriched by constitutional and organisational minutiae…

Back came the response;

“Thanks for offering to guest edit Lib Dem Voice for a day. Would a day in the week of Sat 17 July – …

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Hames, Swinson to wed

I had hoped not to write this story immediately after the last, less happy one, but sometimes, them’s the breaks.

Not since Baroness Scott and the Lib Dem’s bureaucrat of choice Mark Valladeres changed their facebook statuses to “engaged” has the Lib Dem online world been so charged with romance.

Now Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames used the medium of Twitter to tell the world of their engagement, to cheers of encouragement all round.

Every congratulation and wish for happiness from all your friends at t’Voice.

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Can the surge last? Lib Dem bloggers give their views …

Lib Dems leading the election race, and polling above 30% – that’s not a line (m)any of us expected to be able to type with a straight face. But it’s the present reality. The questions is: can the Lib Dem surge last? Here’s what a handful of Lib Dem bloggers think …

James Graham

Anyone who claims to know what will happen electorally next month simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. But there are a number of reasons to suggest that the Liberal Democrats’ poll leap over the weekend might last.

Firstly, polls tend to be mutually reinforcing. This is why some countries ban them during election time. The same factor which has reinforced the Lib Dems’ image as no-hopers in the past might well work in our favour now, especially since it is such a dramatic development.

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Daily View 2×6: 25 March 2010

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake up and find that, despite the fact I am doing the Daily View, it is indeed Thursday and not Tuesday! In celebration of yesterday’s Budget, there’s riproaring inflation of the number of posts featured in today’s Daily View. Don’t tell Vince! Is it sustainable? I doubt it, so enjoy while you can..

Thirty years ago, the British Olympic Association (BOA) voted by a large majority to defy the government and send athletes to the Olympic Games in Moscow.  The Conservative government has pressed the BOA to boycott the event in a protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Sir Denis Follows, the chairman of the BOA, said that whilst he was sympathetic to the government’s stance, “We believe sport should be a bridge, and not a destroyer”. 

On this day in 1655 Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn.  During their 1969 honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

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Daily View 2×2: 24 March 2010

It’s budget day, and with the General Election just six weeks away, the big question is whether Darling will pull something out of the hat to make us all feel happier (in the short term, at least) or whether – as he’s suggested so far – it’ll be steady as she goes.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

The clamour to ban mephodrone continues

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Daily View 2×2: 19 January 2010

On this day in 1966, Indira Ghandi was elected as the first woman Prime Minister of India, whilst 20 years ago today, the rebel English cricket team, led by Mike Gatting, landed at Johannesburg airport.

Today we wish a happy 30th birthday to world champion Jenson Button and also commemorate the 132nd anniversary of the birth of former Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman. Voters go to the polls today in Massachusetts, to elect a Senator for the seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.

2 Big Stories

Cadbury agrees Kraft takeover bid

It seems that UK confectioner Cadbury has given up the

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Daily View 2×2: 8 January 2010

Suspicious Minds. Steamroller Blues. Can you guess what it is yet?

No, not Labour and the Tories’ fortunes this week, but Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday.

It’s also the 1139th anniversary of the Battle of Ashdown.

2 (nearly) Big Stories

Coups and cricket balls: both spun, neither won:

Cabinet almost backed our coup, rebel MPs claim

Fresh doubts about Gordon Brown’s authority surfaced last night as rebel Labour MPs claimed that most of his Cabinet came close to backing the attempted coup against him.

One ringleader of the revolt told The Independent: “My understanding was that only three or four Cabinet ministers were absolutely determined to die in the ditch for Gordon.” Suggesting that Cabinet members were fomenting the revolt, the rebel MP said that: “We were asked to do something and we did it.”

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Lib Dem Bloggers Christmas stocking fillers … Part III

If you could choose up to three items for your Christmas stocking, what would they be? That was the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with all their choices added to the Amazon carousel widget featured on our home-page, referral fees from which will help support Lib Dem Voice: so get clicking and ordering. You can read Part I here and Part II here. In the final part, three more bloggers – Mark Thompson, Mark Valladares, Linda Jack and, erm, me – give

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Daily View 2×2: 13 September 2009

Welcome to the Sunday edition of LDV’s Daily View. And as Mark Pack of this e-parish is (apparently) forraging for chocolate in Bristol, it falls to me to bring you today’s supplement with extra multimedia entertainment.

2 Big Stories

NSPCC and Nick criticise new Government regulations for parent helpers

Today’s Telegraph reports:

Ministers are under intense pressure to scale back plans for a “big brother” child protection database which will force millions of parents to undergo paedophile and criminal checks. In a major blow for the Government, Britain’s largest children’s charity, the NSPCC, criticised the regulations for parent helpers which it said threatened “perfectly safe and normal activities” and risked alienating the public.

The paper also quotes Nick Clegg’s condemnation of Labour’s proposals:

This scheme is wildly over the top. How are we supposed to create a country fit for our children if we regard every adult looking after children as a potential threat?”

TV companies to get product placament approval

The Government is to overturn its ban on TV companies selling product placement in programmes, after culture secretary Ben Bradshaw overturned predecessor Andy Burnham’s objections:

Independent broadcasters will be allowed to take payments for displaying commercial products during shows. The change is intended to bring in extra funds for commercial broadcasters. Experts believe it could raise up to £100m a year.

There are currently strict rules against product placement and this ban would remain in place on BBC shows. Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is expected to announce a three-month consultation on the changes in a speech to the Royal Television Society next week.

The move will not apply to the BBC, and children’s programmes will remain product-placement free. A long-overdue acceptance of commercial reality? Or a retrogade intrusion into public broadcasting space?

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

Why I Hate Leaflet Delivery (Jennie Rigg)

After about an hour or so of having my knuckles scraped by ridiculously snappy letterboxes, and falling over on uneven paths, and generally feeling pretty battered and bruised and grumpy, I got to a house where a skinhead with no shirt on and a BNP tattoo set his dog on me. … I suspect that this is a big part of the reason political parties are haemorrhaging membership. The expectation that people risk their own personal safety for nothing on a regular basis is not a rewarding experience for the activist.

Why you still don’t know what Party Committees are up to (part 4) – is there an easy answer to the dilemma? (Mark Valladares)

… the whole point of blogging is that it is interactive, or it is nothing. If most committee members don’t blog, don’t engage with the blogosphere, in short, have lives, and do not respond immediately, or even at all, will they be criticised? You bet they will and, like I did, would probably withdraw back into their collective shells.


Sunday Bonus track

You may have noticed a chap called Derren on the telly this week attracting a lot of attention. Here’s a reminder of him at his best:

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Lib Dem MP John Barrett to stand down at general election

Here’s how The Scotsman reports it:

EDINBURGH West Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett is to quit at the next general election. After eight years in the Commons he said he wanted a change and to spend more time in Edinburgh. He was due to tell local party members of his decision at a special meeting this afternoon.

He said: “I’m now 55 and if I do the rest of this term and another one, I’m going to be 60. My health is good and I’m definitely not planning on retiring – but I would like to do something else.” Mr Barrett said it was the right time for himself and for the local party for him to move on. He said: “The constituency is in fine fettle. I had a majority of 13,600 at the last general election, the second largest Lib Dem majority in the whole of the UK after Charles Kennedy – and I always think in politics it’s good to go out at the top.”

Mr Barrett has two grandchildren living in Edinburgh, one of whom is disabled, and he said he wanted to have more time for them. But he pledged there would be no let-up in his efforts between now and the general election. “I will be working flat out for the next year doing everything I have done for the last eight years,” he said.

Lib Dem bloggers have already paid their tributes to John’s work:

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Daily View 2×2: 8 July 2009

2 Big Stories


Labour backbench revolt over abolition of 10p tax rate is defeated

Big shock this one, I know… Labour MPs realise too late that their party’s tax changes are hitting the poorest hard in the pocket, threaten to mount a rebellion, and then – as per bloody usual – are bought off by the whips with a mixture of coercion and cheap promises. We’ve seen this story played out so many times before. Here’s The Times account:

Gordon Brown saw his Government’s majority cut to 43 in its defeat of an amendment to the Finance Bill that many thought would

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  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Oct - 1:14pm
    Quantitative!!! This is why we need a preview function!
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Oct - 1:11pm
    @Malcolm Todd23rd Oct '14 - 11:45am " The money comes from financial institutions, who lend it to the government (that is, they buy interest-bearing bonds,...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 23rd Oct - 1:01pm
    I have just spoken to Donnachadh. His arrest was for not giving his name - as he is carried into the van he is giving...
  • User AvatarSteve Coltman 23rd Oct - 1:00pm
    Ironically, this rather undemocratic system has got us a parliamentarian who is unusually well-qualified. A proper democratic system is unlikely to have produced such a...
  • User AvatarGF 23rd Oct - 12:57pm
    Julian Critchely - That exact same question was asked of Mariner Eccles, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank during President Roosevelt's administration when testifying before...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 23rd Oct - 12:53pm
    Paul Walter Would the 'beaker folk' include Danny Alexander? :-)