Tag Archives: shirley williams

LibLink: Shirley Williams: Bring all sides together to negotiate our future with Europe

While Tory and Labour parties rip themselves apart, the Liberal Democrats have spent a great deal of time offering ideas and solutions. The latest is Shirley Williams in today’s Observer:

She succinctly sums up the mess we are in:

With every passing day, the problems confronting the new prime minister multiply. The balance of payments worsens, the pound sinks against the dollar, the London property market, no longer attractive to ambitious young bankers and financial experts, declines and Brexit begins to look more and more like snake oil.

How do we face those challenges? Well, it needs strong government and opposition:

To get through the business of negotiating an alternative to membership of the European Union, and to do so without our country falling apart, will require patience, tolerance of different and often strongly held views and good, grown-up government. None of these were evident in the bitter, brutal referendum debate. We need not just good government but a serious, responsible opposition as well.

She draws parallels with the mess of the Labour Party in the 80s.

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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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEdis Bevan 9th Dec - 1:21pm
    There are some serious and painful discussions we all need to go though here.... Been looking at some of these issues and would welcome comments...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 9th Dec - 1:21pm
    Helen, I am so glad you have written this, as I have long felt we in Britain should not continue to look for more income...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 9th Dec - 1:18pm
    Ben - I understand the principle of what you are saying, but in practice would this help? Any employer is likely to want to see...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 9th Dec - 1:08pm
    The Steady State Economy is always going to be a tough sell when we have any like the current level of wealth inequality in our...
  • User AvatarRoland 9th Dec - 12:57pm
    By contrast, one European state, Germany has actively been pursuing economic growth by using immigration policies to halt population decline and fend off stasis Only...
  • User AvatarTom Papworth 9th Dec - 12:55pm
    Glenn, Economic expansion did not require war, genocide, imperialism, plunder and slavery. That is just a marxian myth. In fact,war, genocide, imperialism, plunder and slavery...