Tag Archives: shirley williams

Shirley on peace and economic prosperity that EU offers

Shirley Williams has been out and about campaigning for us to stay in the EU in the same way as she campaigned for Scotland to see in the UK. She took part in a question and answer session in Wales based around the question “What has the EU done for us?”

Shirley’s answer was clear. She talked about how the EU had secured the peace in Europe:

The main motivation behind the EU was to end wars in Europe after the horror of two world wars and for 71 years we have not had any wars in the territory covered by the EU governments,

She said that the campaign had become too personal and vicious, deviating from what actually matters:

One aspect of it I deeply regret is that it has been much too personal,” she said. “Much too bitchy and in many ways much too involved in one issue – that is, who is going to be the next Prime Minister of this country.

I think that’s a great pity as this is a very crucial issue – they have been few more crucial since the WW2. Whatever side of the argument we are on it is a travesty and a shame to allow it to become a slanging match between two sides of one party, which is essentially what it has become. The debate has been less impressive than it should have been and we have heard too few voices saying pretty much the same things.

Then she talked of the importance of being in on the discussions, working out with our neighbours how to deal with the huge challenges of the day – and cited the Paris climate change talks as an example of what can be achieved.

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ICYMI: Shirley Williams speaking on the EU at the National Liberal Club

On Monday, Shirley Williams came out of retirement to give a speech on why Britain should remain in the EU at the National Liberal Club.

The party made very good use of Facebook Live to broadcast the event – and you can watch the speech again here.

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Watch: Shirley Williams on retirement and how the government’s attitude to junior doctors could break NHS

Shirley on Victoria DerbyshireOn Thursday, her last day in the House of Lords before her retirement, Shirley Williams spent 20 minutes talking to Victoria Derbyshire.

You can watch the conversation, which covered women in politics, social media (she thinks that “the cruellest people in society” shouldn’t be given a voice), how some were bemused by her specialism in fields not traditionally done by women, such as nuclear proliferation, how we should take thousands of refugee children and relived the previous struggle over Ugandan refugees in the 70s when she stuck to her guns.

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Shirley Williams’ impression of Donald Trump

This little gem is from last Friday’s PM on Radio 4 and probably means that my licence fee has been well worth it for these 90 seconds of Shirley wit alone. Enjoy:


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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.

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Dick Newby writes….Limehouse at 35

2016-01-20 13.51.09

35 years on from the Limehouse Declaration and the launch of the SDP it’s easy to see the similarities. We have a Labour Party with a very left wing leader pushing ideologically driven policies and zero prospect of winning the next election. And we have a Conservative Party which is pursuing harsh economic policies at home and is split down the middle over the UK’s relationship with the EU.

But if there are similarities with 1981 there are even more differences. Britain is now a very different place socially and economically. It is much more ethnically diverse, particularly in the large cities. It is far less deferential and far fewer people have a strong party loyalty. It is also much more affluent – the average household is now earns twice as much as it did in 1981 – and unemployment and inflation are both much lower.

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Shirley Williams to retire from the Lords, 51 years after she was first elected as an MP

Shirley WilliamsThere are few people who have inspired me more than Shirley Williams. In 1981, 14 year old Caron watched her talk about scaling unscaleable heights and just taking opportunities when they present themselves. That was before she put herself up to stand in a by-election in a seat with a whacking great Tory majority. She won, of course, in Crosby in 1981.

Today, it’s been announced that she is retiring from the House of Lords. We certainly can’t grudge her her retirement.She’s 85 years old, after all, and she’s still been a thoughtful and powerful presence in the Chamber.

Tonight, Tim Farron will speak at an event to honour her 51 years of public service. She was first elected as an MP in 1964.

The party is going to miss her so much. Conference still loves her. This September, she was very influential in persuading Conference to back the leadership’s proposal for yet another fudge on nuclear weapons and did so in a much more conciliatory, thoughtful and wise way than some in the debate.

I will never forget the day she came to Dunfermline during the independence referendum. She could fairly draw a crowd, and even people from the Yes campaign were coming over to talk to her. At one point she held the hand of one woman who expressed her disappointment with the coalition. It was a moment of togetherness in a divisive campaign.

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