Tag Archives: norman lamb

Archie Lamb talks to The Times about his struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Norman Lamb’s son Archie has been talking to the Times about his experience of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Many people with this condition find it incredibly irritating when people casually joke about “being a bit OCD”. If you are one of them, perhaps you’ll stop after reading about what life is like for sufferers. This is not a condition to be belittled.

Archie talked about how the condition affects him:

“People think OCD is nothing, that it’s a bit of a joke. It is not just about being clean and washing your hands or lining up cans of Coke in the fridge. It’s not. It’s about terrible thoughts and what it does to you having them in your head all the time. It goes a lot deeper than rituals,” Archie says.

Archie’s rituals were about checking — that lights were switched off, that he had the right kit in his bag, keys, money, everything. Often accompanied with paranoia, they became so bad that at times he could not leave the house. On a simple walk down the road he would constantly check that he had not stepped in something.

Despite his illness, he left school and began to make his way in the music business, setting up a hip-hop night in a Norwich club, then moving on to managing performers. At the age of 21 he had a chart-topping hit on his hands when Tinchy Stryder went to No 1.

Sadly, his OCD was so bad that he had become a recluse. “I suddenly got spots on my face at that age and just could not go out of the house. Everyone was out partying because we had this No 1 hit and I didn’t even care. I just stayed in.”

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Opinion: Will mental health be a vote-winner?

Mark Argent 1

I was surprised when I saw the promotion of mental health emerging Liberal Democrat policy. Its effects are far more widespread than people like to admit, but mental health is so stigmatised that it seems a long way from being a vote-winner. Like entering the coalition, championing it seems like something important, but where we might have to pay a price in terms of popularity.

It is a difficult area to write about. Among my own circle of friends there are a number of people whose lives are badly affected by mental health issues. The area is so stigmatised that I feel I can’t tell stories in writing, but the stories I can’t write down would include some real achievements, of people coping with really difficult situations.

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Norman Lamb writes…A blueprint for a fairer society

1 in 4 of us will develop a mental health problem at some point in our lives – and 75% of these conditions develop by the age of 18. If people don’t get the support they need in childhood and adolescence it can have an impact on the rest of their lives.  
 
And in yesterday’s budget, Liberal Democrats acted decisively to make sure the best possible support is available, with £1.25bn of new investment in young people’s mental health services, and a clear blue print for delivering the transformation needed.
 
If we want to build a fairer society, where everyone has the opportunity to realise their full potential in life, we must ensure that young people with mental health problems get the help and support they need.
 
There are some really good mental health services for young people around the country. But too often these services are fragmented and under-resourced, and young people are simply not getting help when they need it.  A complete overhaul is long overdue.
 
Last year, I set up a Task Force to look at how we can link up mental health services with other advice services in the community, making it easier – and less daunting – for young people to seek help, and making sure they get the right support when they ask for it.
 
The task force brought together clinicians, counsellors, and mental health experts – but also, crucially, young people themselves with experience of mental health problems.  The charity Young Minds helped us work with young people to understand the problems they have faced getting help, and their priorities for change.
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Norman Lamb and his family deserve our support

There was always going to be a lot of warmth in the room when Norman Lamb appears on stage to give his speech to Liberal Democrat conference this morning His actions in government to transform mental health and care services touch every single one of us. If we don’t need these services ourselves, someone we know does and he has made life easier for so many people.

A story in the Mirror today lays bare some of the details of the personal pain that lies behind his determination to build a mental health system that makes sense and works for people. We in the LDV team are struggling to see the public interest in publishing such a story about a very private matter about the health of Norman’s son, Archie. We particularly question the rather lurid headline and the inference that Norman was in any way worried about his own career. His own words are pretty clear to me that it’s Archie’s career that they were worried about. Norman has spoken to the Mirror and it’s his words we quote here:

He says: “I have talked openly and publicly that our family has been touched by mental ill health but I haven’t, because I have to protect his interests, said anything about Archie’s situation.”

He was diagnosed at the age of 15 with obsessive compulsive disorder and has been on medication ever since.

“He’s carried a heavy burden with his ill health. He wants to be open about his mental health as this is the source of the problem. We have had a very traumatic 10 years in many ways.

“He’s had amazing success in the music business and he’s also had very dark periods and that led to him drinking too much and, as we understand it, getting into bad company and drugs.”

But Mr Lamb insists Archie – who discovered Tinchy Stryder as a young music producer – is now clean.

“We are immensely proud he has escaped from that. He’s rebuilt his career and is doing very well – this is what is so tragic about this blackmail.”

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Norman Lamb quizzed on leadership ambitions by Independent on Sunday

No respectable publication seems to be able to interview any senior male Liberal Democrat these days without asking about their leadership ambitions. The Independent on Sunday was no different but it was slightly irritating that it had to spend half the article writing about a contest that hasn’t even been called yet. To be fair, they are doing it with Tories and Labour too, although not to the same extent. There was a chat on Pienaar’s Politics this morning comparing Yvette Cooper and Theresa May for example.

Anyway, Norman gave that sort of very diplomatic reply which he can do as a very obvious close ally of the leader:

When people raise this with me it inevitably makes you think, in the circumstances envisaged, what would I do?” said Mr Lamb. “I have to answer the question. I’m fiercely loyal to Nick. I always have been, but at some point there will be a further and I will consider the position. I am open-minded about it. My view is if people think well of the job that I’ve done and people then, as a result, conclude they want me to have a go for the top job, then I will consider it.”

What they didn’t mention about Norman is how well respected he is by activists. However people feel about the coalition, they love the work he’s been doing on mental health. Should there be a contest at some point in the future, Lamb is bound to be a strong contender. Of that there is no doubt.

It’s not until you get way down the article that they’ve put in some interesting stuff he has to say about his own brief. It’s clear that he is still full of new ideas:

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LibLink: Norman Lamb MP: Why we had to axe Lord Saatchi’s bill and think again

Last month, Dominic Nutt, one of the advocates of Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovations Bill, argued on this site in our Independent View slot that the Bill should be given Commons time for debate.

So what’s happened since then? Well, the Bill will make no further progress after the intervention of Liberal Democrat Ministers. Norman Lamb wrote a sensitively worded article for the Telegraph last week where he showed empathy for those with serious life-threatening illnesses, but said that he couldn’t allow them to potentially be preyed upon by unscrupulous people:

We must do everything we can to ensure patients get access to the best possible treatments, including removing any unnecessary barriers to innovation

So when I first heard about Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill I was immediately attracted to its purpose.

We must seek to ensure that doctors are confident that they are able to try innovative treatments within a clear framework which protects patient safety and safeguards them from litigation.

I have enormous sympathy for all those who have been through the awful experience of not being offered treatment which they believe might offer a chance of survival or of improving their condition.

But getting the law right in this area is incredibly important. We have to avoid the risk of unintended consequences.

The Liberal Democrats have listened to the concerns of patient organisations, research charities, legal bodies, royal colleges and medical unions who have told us the Bill in its current form could actually put patient safety at risk.

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Layla Moran shows the benefits of the Liberal Democrats drive to deliver 2 million apprenticeships

Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran was on Channel 4’s political slot tonight talking about apprenticeships. She interviewed apprentices, including Paige McConville, the 2 millionth apprentice. She also interviewed business owners who told her of the high value training apprentices receive and how having apprentices benefits us all as they provide the skills the economy needs to grow.

You can watch it here:

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Norman Lamb MP writes…Thanks for talking #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015Regular readers will be used to me banging my drum on these pages about the work that Lib Dems are doing in government on mental health.

Mental health has been disadvantaged within the NHS for far too long, and changes like legislating for equality for mental health, introducing the first access and waiting time standards, and – in particular – confronting the poor state of children’s mental health services in many places are all incredibly important.

But something just as important has been happening here on Lib Dem Voice today.

I wrote here about Time to Talk a year ago, saying that contributions from fellow members had reinforced for me, powerfully, why I am a Liberal Democrat. Tackling mental health stigma is fundamentally about freedom – freedom from poverty, ignorance, and conformity.

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Let’s ditch the rhetoric and do a deal on the NHS

Norman Lamb takes to the pages of today’s Independent on Sunday to make a plea to replace political heat with non-partisan light in the debate over the future of the NHS. He outlines what is currently happening:

Labour is pulling out all the stops to convince voters that the NHS is in crisis – a basket case run by private firms working to destroy it; the party searches for negative statistics and hospital horror stories to fit its narrative. On the other hand, the Conservatives have failed to come up with a plan to meet the £8bn shortfall by 2020 identified by Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS.

But the NHS is far too important to be treated as a political football. The truth is that it’s neither on the verge of disintegration, nor is everything perfect. There are problems, but also triumphs. The majority of patients, for the majority of the time, receive world-class care from dedicated staff.

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Opinion: Time to dump the 4 hour A & E target

To be frank, as a doctor, I have been underwhelmed by our Liberal Democrat offering on health issues over the years; certainly we are not as strong on health as we should be.

The almost daily drip feed from the right wing press on NHS shortcomings and failures is demoralising to staff and frightening to patients and designed to be so. It serves no-one except those who want to undermine the public’s confidence in the NHS. The service treats three quarters of a million patients every day of the year, and for most people there is no alternative.

So I am  relieved that at last we have something distinctive to offer with Norman Lamb’s ideas on mental health; parity of access and delivery, more  research and funding. This is important, and we need to ‘own’ it as Liberal Democrat policy.

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Norman Lamb MP writes… We need to talk openly about suicide and work to prevent it

Yesterday was supposedly “blue Monday” – the most depressing day of the year.  The idea was dreamed up in 2005 by a TV marketing campaign to sell holidays and the myth persists.

But yesterday, Nick Clegg and I were talking about something really serious.  Almost 4,700 people took their own lives in 2013 in England alone, and suicide remains one of the biggest killers for men under the age of 50.  We hosted a conference bringing together leading figures in the mental health world to call for an ambition for ‘zero suicides’ across the NHS.

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Norman Lamb praised in Cosmo…

Norman Lamb

Could we be on the brink of a huge  mental health breakthrough?

So asks no less a publication than Cosmopolitan in an article citing how Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb has been making the weather on ensuring that the NHS has the money it needs in the future and for saying that improving mental health treatment is one of the key aims for the next Parliament.

Over the past ten years, there’s been a 77% rise in self–harm admissions to hospital among women under the age of 25, and young women are most likely to suffer from eating disorders. We’re also twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety disorders, and one in four women will require treatment for depression at some time in her life. So it makes sense that the NHS needs urgent help to make these changes, doesn’t it?

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Decades of not understanding Mental Health has left too many Unhelped – but we are getting there

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Health Minister, has written for the Huffington Post about the changes he’s been trying to implement in mental health care and treatment.

First he talked about services for young people:

Recent provisional data shows that hospital admissions for self-harm for young people aged 11-19 are at their highest for five years. Maybe it is better reporting, maybe it is a result of the added stresses young people face. But these figures represent real young people and their families and the serious emotional distress they face.

Some find it difficult to talk about their mental health, which is why it is so important for those who can to be open about the problems they have faced. Don’t underestimate how important it is to encourage others to feel they can talk about it. In a way, it’s the most important thing.

I want young people to get good and compassionate personalised care. I want them to be given both physical and mental health care which helps them in their time of need but also gives them techniques and support to help prevent or manage further problems.

That’s why, earlier this year, I convened a Taskforce to advise us on improvements to mental health services for children and young people. This is the first time a group of experts from across, health, education and social care have come together to focus on making sure every young person gets the care they need. Crucially, we are also involving young people in this work so they can give their views on what they want from services. And it’s my aim that services don’t just stop at the youngsters themselves – services need to support entire families to deal with the challenges of living with mental illness.

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Nick Clegg announces £150 million to help young people with eating disorders

Nick, Ibrahim and Norman in Brent mental health visitYesterday, Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb visited a youth centre in Brent where they announced £150 million was being invested in services to help young people with eating disorders. From the BBC:

Mr Clegg will say he wants to see services transformed, with the focus shifted from expensive institutional care to targeted community-based provision.

Eating disorders cost the NHS around £200m a year, and the bill for in-patient care averages out at £98,750 per admission.

From 2012 to 2013, there were 2,560 hospital admissions for eating disorders in England – a rise of 8% on the previous year.

One in five of those taken into hospital with an eating disorder was admitted and discharged on the same day.

But one in 17 stayed in hospital for longer than six months.

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What is going on with the Liberal Democrat media strategy?

This morning we have George Osborne all over the media talking about how wonderful it is that he’s able to give £2 billion to the NHS. Let’s bear in mind that Norman Lamb has been pushing for a cash injection for some time. All he gets is billing on the Liberal Democrat website for the months of tenacious evidence building and making the case for further investment.

I was quite pained to see Simon Hughes put out round the news channels on Wednesday to promote the Counter Terrorism Bill. While he was in the BBC News Channel studio, David Anderson was criticising the very plans that Hughes was defending. It seemed like a bit of a stitch-up. Nick Clegg has always set great store by David Anderson’s judgement. Anderson’s opinion of the Government’s plans to exclude people they think have been fighting in Syria for up to two years was pretty scathing.

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Norman Lamb picks up an “Oscar” for his work on mental health

imageMinister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP picked up the prize for the “Best Use of Evidence” at the Political Studies Association Annual Awards, dubbed the “Oscars of Westminster”. These were handed out at a dinner which took place last night at Church House, Westminster.

The MP for North Norfolk was presented with the award for his work on mental health by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in front of a packed audience of high-profile academics, politicians, political campaigners and journalists.

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Liberal Democrat members and ministers talk mental health for Channel 4’s political slot

Last week, the Liberal Democrats used their Political Slot with Channel 4 to talk about mental health. Norman Lamb said that it was “morally wrong and economically stupid” to deny people with mental ill health speedy treatment and talked about Liberal Democrat plans to introduce waiting time targets over the next five years.

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Lamb urges online therapy for teenagers with Depression and McInnes urges Scottish Government to improve mental health services for young people

Norman Lamb has been talking to the Times (£)  about different ways of helping children and teenagers with Depression. This could include accessing therapy via an internet app. This would augment, to replace traditional face to face therapy:

MPs on the health select committee said this month that mental health services for children and teenagers were inadequate from prevention to crisis care, as they reported increasing concerns over cyberbullying and self-harm websites.

Mr Lamb wants to use online tools to solve some of these problems, including computerised cognitive behavioural therapy, online counselling and peer support networks for the mentally ill.

“If you’re a teenager and your world revolves around digital access, we must make sure you get access to therapy online. So these programmes are being developed. We’ve got a taskforce looking at how we can modernise children and young people’s mental health and that’s one of the key elements to it,” he told The Times.

“What I want to achieve is a much more seamless service that allows you access online, face to face or over the telephone, whichever is appropriate.”

Some programmes had already been shown to work, he said. “These platforms are evidence-based so the risk is very low that they’re not appropriate. Some people may need more than that so you have to have access to a gradation of different type of service.”

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LibLink: Norman Lamb on integrated funding for health and care

Norman LambIn an interview with Public Finance Norman Lamb says that he has his sights on 2018, as the date by which all health and care spending will be pooled in England. He said:

I want the approach to evolve rather than having anything imposed. The only imposition is to say that we have got to get budgets pooled locally completely, and I’ve talked to a lot of people about this and I think we’ve come up with a neat solution to achieve the pooled budget without a national reorganisation, which nobody wants.

The Better Care Fund seems to me to be the sensible way of achieving that objective, to progressively increase the extent of the pooling, and as you do that I think you remove the perverse consequences of the gaming across the boundary between the two.

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Norman Lamb warns against demonising people with mental ill health at Hallowe’en

We’ve always had great fun at Hallowe’en in our house. We love the guisers (none of this new fangled Trick or Treat stuff, if you please). My husband loves carving the pumpkin even if he isn’t as elaborate as some. My Facebook timeline has been full of everything from Pumpkin Daleks to the delicious irony of an actual Cinderella carriage. I have some very creative friends.

The Teenager is spending Hallowe’en with her friends and will be headed out in vampire dress leaving us to greet the scores of little devils, ghouls, zombies, fairies, princesses, ghosts and animals who will come …

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Norman Lamb MP writes…Liberal Democrats will fight relentlessly for NHS to have funding it needs

Today Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England published his 5-year Forward Look, setting out the challenges facing our health and care system in the coming years.

It makes sobering reading.  Simon Stevens sets out the huge scale of the financial challenge facing us in the years ahead as we continue to adapt to an ageing population, and increasing numbers of people living longer with multiple chronic conditions.  We also need more investment to ensure that people with mental health problems can get the same standard of care and support as with physical health.

Earlier this month, the Liberal Democrats set out their priorities for the NHS.  We committed to investing at least £1bn extra in our health and care system in each year in the next parliament.  £500m of that will go to mental health to ensure mental health patients get fair treatment, and can access the support they need.  And by the end of the next parliament we will give each carer £250 a year to recognise the immense contribution they make to society.

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Praise for Norman Lamb’s work on mental health

Here is the video shown to Conference showcasing the work that Norman Lamb has done on mental health which was shown before his speech. 

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LibLink: Norman Lamb – Supporting general practice

Norman LambThe GP magazine has run a piece by Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb on the party’s plans to support general practice.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats are proud to have ringfenced health spending over the course of this Parliament. With an ageing population, and emerging medical challenges, such as the growth in long-term conditions, facing our health service it may be a given that protecting health spending is a sensible thing to do.

That was not, however, the case in 2010. The coalition has made sure that we have protected the health budget, but the Labour party said that this was irresponsible, and in Wales have cut the health budget by 8%. Sadly, on this crucial area there is simply not consensus.

When faced with these emerging challenges what is needed is to look at how we approach providing health care. We need big shifts in care: from repair to prevention, from fragmentation to integration, from impersonal to personal. That is why we are committed to providing better care, closer to home, and combining health and social care budgets. We also want to see more joined up care – hospitals working with GPs, district nurses and social care workers. There is also an opportunity to better utilise technology in our health service, but at the heart of any changes will be GPs.

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Norman Lamb announces task force to tackle “unfit for purpose” mental health services for children and young people

Norman Lamb, Minister for Consumer AffairsWhen your child suffers from a mental health problem, be it crippling, life limiting anxiety, devastating Depression, an eating disorder, schizophrenia or any other condition which causes them suffering and distress, you want them diagnosed and treated quickly and close to home. You want them to have that support for as long as they need it, not for it to be abruptly withdrawn at a particular date on the calendar.

There is nothing more devastating for a parent than to see your child suffer. You need to …

photo by: bisgovuk
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Paul Burstow MP: Liberal Democrats announce package of measures to help carers

Care in the home Some rights reserved by British Red CrossThere are 6.5 million carers in the UK today looking after friends and family who started to need a little help to carry on their day to day lives. Sadly for both carers and those they care for, a little help can become a lot more as conditions deteriorate and people are able to do less for themselves.

That one in eight of us is willing to selflessly prioritise the needs of our loved ones is truly inspirational. But too often as …

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Clegg: “I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough in mental health research”

lib dem mental illness posterThe Lib Dems have unveiled plans to increase funding spent on mental health research by £50m, by 2020, as the party seeks to ensure it’s are treated as seriously as physical illnesses are. Here’s Nick Clegg:

“Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues. I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes. That is why I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough

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The Right Hon Norman Lamb MP

LDV awards norman lambNo, that isn’t an error.

Norman Lamb has just been made a member of the Privy Council, which entitles him to be given the Right Hon treatment.  That privilege is automatically bestowed on Cabinet ministers, the Leader of the Opposition and senior judges, but other ministers are added from time to time.

From my research (ie a quick look at Wikipedia), I have discovered that the Privy Council advises the monarch, and in the past was the most powerful body in the country. Today, its powers have been transferred to the Cabinet, which technically is a committee of the Privy Council.

Membership is for life and at present there are 600 members of the Privy Council.  They only meet in full on the death of a monarch, or, intriguingly, when the Monarch gets engaged, which last happened in 1939.

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Liberal Democrats promise £250 Carer’s Bonus

Care in the home Some rights reserved by British Red CrossNick Clegg has announced that a Liberal Democrat Government would give carers an annual payment of £250. This comes on top of several measures introduced in Government to help those who care for family members, both practical and financial,  including;

  • £800m Department for Education funding to local authorities to fund short breaks for disabled children and their families.
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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Volunteers play a key role in the health care system

Care in the home Some rights reserved by British Red Cross

Norman Lamb has been writing for the Eastern Daily Press about the importance of volunteering. He looks at the sorts of things people can do and the difference it makes. He sees spending time with others as a very important part of keeping people healthy.

Last Friday I set off from my constituency office in North Walsham to visit an elderly lady I met through a local volunteering scheme. My job is to take her books from the

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Dementia, loneliness and how we can help

My motherIn Sunday’s Observer, Norman Lamb wrote about the importance of the Dementia Friends initiative. He starts by describing a situation that’s becoming all to common for people with Dementia and their carers:

It is four o’clock in the morning. A man has been roused from an already fitful sleep by his wife. She is upset and confused. And she has wet the bed. He has to comfort her and change the sheets at the same time. Eventually he is able to return to bed and get a little bit of rest

photo by: Vince Alongi
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  • User AvatarISHvinder Matharu 30th Mar - 11:52pm
    Wish him well in Vauxhall!
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 30th Mar - 11:49pm
    It's great news that he is standing for parliament, party politics aside, and he is going to help people with similar experiences. It does take...
  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 30th Mar - 11:40pm
    Good, interesting post Steve. We (the British in general, Liberal Democrats not excluded) do seem to have become pretty inward looking in recent years.
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 30th Mar - 11:32pm
    Interesting article by Neil Ascherson in today's Grauniad about the dangers to the SNP in being sucked into the Westminster system, and comparisons with the...
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    @Stuart "He lives in Sheffield and, as a student, voted for Clegg in 2010. When asked if he would vote for Clegg now he dismissed...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 30th Mar - 11:30pm
    Malcolm: Glad to be of service. I'm self-aware enough to realise that I wouldn't last long in the role you kindly assign to me ;-)...
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