Tag Archives: the guardian

ICM poll: Tories edge ahead of Labour, while Ukip collapse to 4th behind Lib Dems

Amidst all the reshuffle excitement, I didn’t get chance to report the latest ICM poll – regarded by pundits as the ‘gold standard’ – for The Guardian, published on Tuesday. It shows the Tories a nose ahead of Labour, 34% to 33%, with Ukip slumping to fourth place (9%) behind the Lib Dems on 12%.

icm poll - july 2014

The collapse of the Ukip vote is the most dramatic story in the poll – Nigel Farage’s party topped the nationwide Euro-elections just a few weeks ago. However, the pattern is a …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 19 Comments

LibLink: Lord Ken MacDonald: How the DRIP Bill will help us convict criminals

A telephoneThe Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill cleared its Commons stages last night after a long debate which saw Julian Huppert speak at every stage and in great detail. He was pretty much doing the job of a Minister and very clearly and rationally put the case for the Bill, at all times stating his own personal commitment to civil liberties.

Lord Ken MacDonald, who has been pretty sound on things like secret courts, the statelessness provisions in the Immigration Bill and the cuts to Legal Aid, has written an article …

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Benefits sanctions: what should happen when guidelines and reality are at odds with each other?

Benefits-welfareBack in April, I wrote about how the overuse of benefits sanctions appeared to be at odds with the Department of Work and Pensions guidance which was actually quite reasonable and gave decision makers some flexibility to take things like poor mental health into consideration.

Both the use and the penalty for even a minor infringement of the rules have been dramatically increased in the last couple of years. It’s worth noting that the minimum period of benefit loss is now 4 weeks. Given that the maximum help you can get from a food bank is 3 days’ food, 3 times a year, you can just imagine how much incredible hardship this can cause. You would think that a decision maker would take very seriously the consequences  of imposing a sanction and only do it when the circumstances were clear cut.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

LibLink: Danny Alexander: A like-for-like Trident replacement isn’t justifiable in terms of security or cost

110301-N-7237C-009Danny Alexander has written for the Guardian in response to yesterday’s Trident Commission report. He continues to make the case that the policy passed at Liberal Democrat Conference last September, which cut the number of submarines was the right one for two reasons.

First of all, we don’t need continuous at sea deterrence because the nature of the world has changed:

During the cold war, there was a credible threat of a surprise massive attack against this country or Nato allies. Our nuclear forces needed to be available within minutes in order to give credibility to our policy of deterrence. This is why we maintained continuous at-sea deterrence; we kept at least one armed submarine on patrol 24/7, 365 days of the year. But the Berlin Wall has been down now for 25 years and the threat of “state on state” attack is much reduced.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

“The Guardian view on the Lib Dem Orange Book”

The GuardianAs we noted earlier this week, the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Orange Book was marked by a conference hosted by CentreForum on Tuesday. Today The Guardian publishes an editorial reflecting on the book’s impact a decade on. Here’s an excerpt:

The book certainly signalled that the Lib Dems were not – or not only – a party of protest for those who resented tuition fees or the Iraq war. The market-minded emphasis of David Laws, who proposed a social insurance model for the NHS in his essay,

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: This knife crime law won’t work

Police motorbike - Some rights reserved by Metropolitan PoliceOn Monday, I wrote about the reported Coalition tension over Tory plans to bring in mandatory 6 month jail sentences for carrying a knife. I said that:

It’s important that Liberal Democrats stay in this debate and make the evidence-based case. Nobody else will do it for us. We may not be able to stop a bad law being passed, but we need to oppose it calmly, clearly and without rancour.

I would not suggest for a minute that the two events …

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LibLink: Ming Campbell: I will vote no to independence because I love Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWillie Rennie’s “sunshine strategy”, talking up the positive side of Scotland staying in the UK even got a mention on the Andrew Marr Show during our Scottish Conference. The independence referendum is sorely needing a lift, and on the rare occasion it gets it, it is usually down to a Liberal Democrat, it has to be said. Charles Kennedy, Mike Moore, Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael have all added some much-needed appreciation of the UK and thoughtful consideration of the arguments. …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 9 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 46 Comments

Danny Alexander’s passion for Irn Bru and admiration for Lyndon Johnson revealed in Guardian Q & A

Danny Alexander is featured in today’s Guardian Q & A. It’s a strange feature that is sometimes contradictory, sometimes very revealing and sometimes just a little too on message for comfort. But then, he’s not talking to Liberal Democrat members, he’s talking to the wider public so if there was no mention of a stronger economy or fairer society, it would probably be a bit of a missed opportunity. When we are sick of hearing something, it’s only just starting to get through to the wider public. He even recognises himself, though, that he might over-use “The mess Labour left …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 3 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Why has the plight of the overcrowded and the homeless not been prioritised?

In a hard-hitting article in today’s Guardian, Tim Farron hits out at David Cameron’s “lack of humanity in face of basic need” on housing while outlining what Liberal Democrats want to see done to make sure that there are enough affordable houses for people.

He outlines the scale of the problem first:

The real divide in modern Britain is not between strivers and shirkers, but between those who were lucky enough to buy homes before 1997 and those who were not. Unless we tackle the housing crisis, homelessness is going to become a mainstream problem. Working families can’t afford to buy, and

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

LibLink…Paddy Ashdown: After the Syria vote, Britain must not sleepwalk into isolationism

Paddy Ashdown has been writing about the implications of the Syria vote for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. First, he pretty much repeats what he said on Friday:

There are strange paradoxes here. It is possible to be both proud of a parliament that said no to the executive on a matter like military action. But sad; even – dare I say it – a little ashamed at the decision it took.

Of course there are reasons for this. The leftover poisons of the Iraq war; the toxic effect of public distrust in our politics. Mishandling by the government. President Obama’s

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Liblink: Nick Clegg “I share the concerns about David Miranda’s detention”

You can’t accuse Nick Clegg of hiding away. Now that he’s returned from holiday, his first direct public comment on the Miranda detention and Guardian files controversy comes in a column in that paper.

First, where the Liberal Democrats are coming from:

Liberal Democrats believe government must tread the fine line between liberty and security very carefully, and are not easily persuaded by a government minister asserting: “Just trust me.” So now that we are in government, we have been vigilant in ensuring the right decisions are made: scrutinising and challenging the assumptions of security experts, even as we give them our

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Why we should consider the detention of David Miranda and destruction of the Guardian’s data as distinct issues

The conflation of the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the story of the Guardian having destroyed the computers on which a version of the data released by Edward Snowden was stored was perhaps inevitable, and has certainly been encouraged by the Guardian. But we should avoid considering the issues as a single whole, for there are separate arguments at play in each in relation to the actions of the state and others, particularly when it comes to the actions of Liberal Democrats in government.

I have relatively few concerns about the state’s actions regarding …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

LibLink (Down Memory Lane Edition) | Paddy Ashdown – ‘After the conflict, a bright dawn for the Democrats’

Paddy Ashdown campaigning25 years ago, Paddy Ashdown became leader of the party then known officially as the Social and Liberal Democrats. Here’s an excerpt from what he wrote for The Guardian on his first morning as leader:

Hope, said Francis Bacon, is a good breakfast, but a poor supper. On my first morning as the new leader of a new party, standing at seven per cent in the opinion polls, I know what he meant! But at the end of a bruising and often damaging period in the fortunes of the Social

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Teather’s alternative voice on immigration: “it bothers me that there is a consensus among the three party leaders”

teather_cleggGood on Sarah Teather. This weekend’s Guardian carries an excellent in-depth interview with the Lib Dem former children’s minister by Decca Aitkenhead in which she makes clear her deep unease not only with the Coalition’s immigration policy, but also the political consensus of the three party leaders that public concern about immigration means they must be seen to crack down on it, regardless of whether it’s the actual cause of the problems the public is concerned with.

Sarah begins by talking about the Tories’ perverse decision to heap more and more …

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LibLink…Norman Lamb: What can we do to improve care in the home?

We’ve seen some awful stories in the media over the last few weeks about poor standards of home care. Norman Lamb has been writing in the Guardian about what the Government can do to ensure that everyone has good quality care.

First he outlines the problems:

One of the most common complaints I come across is where care is carried out by the clock. Carers will come to the house and have a time slot of around 15 minutes to get everything done and be off to the next appointment. But 15 minutes may not be enough to do what is needed.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

LibLink…Ed Davey MP: I want to see a community energy revolution in the UK

Ed Davey has been writing in the Guardian about grassroots energy projects.

He tells us the Government has commissioned research to find out what encourages people to get involved in community energy projects in the hope of generating more across the UK. So, what are these projects?

People across the country are coming together to change the way we think about our energy system and their relationship with it. From a community-run advice service in Hampshire that promotes energy efficiency to a community-owned windfarm just north of Swansea, to a renewable heat project in Herefordshire that replaces fossil fuels with locally grown

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

The Sun story about Chris Huhne that was a total invention (and which the other papers happily copied)

Remember that front page Sun story from 13 March? On the off-chance Voice readers missed this exclusive, let’s refersh your memory of the splash:

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne was ridiculed on his first day in Wandsworth jail yesterday — after a warder called him to breakfast by yelling “Order! Order!”

Only one small problem with the story: it was a complete fabrication.

sun huhne lie

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade has the story:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

LibLink.. Edward McMillan-Scott MEP: The EU and US must promote human rights worldwide – that includes China

Yorkshire and Humber Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has co-written a Guardian article with Chinese human rights activist Chen Guancheng arguing that just because China is becoming a superpower, it must still be challenged on its appalling human rights record:

China, the world’s rising superpower, continues to systematically engage in the political repression and torture of its citizens, with an estimated 7 to 8 million Chinese currently being held in prison or labour camps. From Cameroon to Cuba, Belarus to Bahrain, governments go on torturing and imprisoning those who dare to question their authority. For too many people around the

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Stephen Tall guests on Guardian Politics Weekly podcast – Tory EU referendum question: in hand or out of control?

guardian politicsLibDemVoice co-editor Stephen Tall joined the panel for this week’s Guardian Politics Weekly podcast, hosted by Tom Clark and also featuring political columnist Melissa Kite and Guardian social affairs editor Randeep Ramesh. They discuss the Tories’ latest implosion over when to hold an in/out EU referendum and Theresa May’s proposal that life should mean life in prison for anyone convicted of murdering a police officer.

You can listen to it here online, or download it as an MP3 here.

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Mrs Thatcher’s impact: how the public sees it now, how LDV readers saw it in 2008

The Guardian is the first off the blocks with an ICM poll asking the public’s retrospective verdict on Margaret Thatcher’s record in office. Here’s the topline figure of whether her 11-year premiership had been good or bad for Britain:

guardian icm thatcher

The paper also asked about specific policies, finding:

The sale of council homes and tackling of trade union power remain popular today, but people are less supportive of the fights she picked with Europe and tax cuts for the rich. Privatisation of the utilities and the poll tax remain deeply unpopular.

You can …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Bloggers unite to oppose “botched late-night drafting” that proposes new press/web regulation

I’m one of 17 signatories (on behalf of LibDemVoice) to a letter published in Saturday’s Guardian, reproduced below, which opposes the “fundamental threat” of the draft legislation approved this week by MPs of all parties which would regulate blogs and other small independent news websites.

It’s not often you’ll see us, ConservativeHome, LabourList, Guido Fawkes, Liberal Conspiracy and Political Scrapbook agree on something. But what we term the “botched late-night drafting process and complete lack of consultation” has, for once, brought us together. And, as the letter notes, perhaps even more remarkably got Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch agreeing, too.

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Three things we’ve learned from today’s opinion polls

Three interesting and important poll findings to report today…

Big lead for Labour according to ICM

polling station -  Some rights reserved by Simon Clayson
First, the Guardian’s monthly ICM poll is out, showing the biggest Labour lead in almost a decade:

    Labour 41% (+3%)
    Conservatives 29% (-4%)
    Lib Dems 13% (-2%)
    Ukip 9% (+3%)
    Others 8% (+1%)

The movements are more or less within the margin of error. Still, the Tories will be pretty disappointed to see the party get no bounce at all from David Cameron’s promise of a post-2015 EU referendum. Perhaps unsurprisingly it …

Posted in Op-eds, Parliamentary by-elections and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 131 Comments

“Where we work, we win” – will that Lib Dem maxim survive the 2015 test?

Chris RennardDon’t splutter on your Saturday morning cornflakes, but the Guardian has today published two intelligent articles on the Lib Dems and the strategy which the party is hoping will see us through to the other side of the 2015 election intact.

First, there’s Patrick Wintour‘s analysis — Liberal Democrats bank on ground war to hold on to seats — which uses as its springboard an analysis by Lord (Chris) Rennard, the party’s former chief executive and elections guru:

insists it should not be ground down by low national polls. “The

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LibLink: Nick Thornsby – The Justice and Security Bill is the Liberal Democrats’ biggest challenge yet

Our Nick Thornsby has been writing about the Justice and Security Bill over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free site.

First of all, he gives his view about why this Bill is bad news for anyone who is committed to civil liberties:

It is difficult to comprehend just how fundamental a departure from centuries-old principles this would be. The right to see and hear the evidence of the other side, and subsequently to challenge the veracity or utility of that evidence, forms the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday morning, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

Where now for the immigration debate? – Sarah Mulley in the New Statesman with an excellent analysis: ‘the public don’t (on the whole) feel that immigration is a problem in their own local communities, although a large majority do feel that it is a problem for the country as a whole.’

The Empire Strikes Back: Ofqual, and the omnishambles of assessment – Tom Bennett on the latest GCSE controversy: ‘let’s be …

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Nick Clegg gets sassy at DPMQs

Yesterday saw the monthly “Pick on Nick Clegg” day at Westminster. Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions is not known for its searching scrutiny of Government. Instead, Labour and Tories line up to take cheap shots at Nick. The experience he gains there is probably why he’s so good at town hall meetings and question and answer sessions at Conference.

DPMQs usually passes by unnoticed by the press. Yesterday, however, was different. Nick had a “Stalin

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Paddy on the Coalition, joining the party & that Sun headline

There’s a fantastic interview with Paddy Ashdown by The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone published here. As you’d expect it’s crammed full of anecdotes and quotable bon mots. I’ve picked out just three to enjoy…

Paddy on the Coalition

He regards those who feel betrayed by the party as weak or naive – notably Guardian leader writers who backed them in 2010. “The Guardian feels like a jilted lover. It hates the Liberal Democrats. The Guardian feels personally betrayed because for the very first time it gave the Liberal Democrats its support and what did we do? We went off with the Tories.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Liblink: Nick Clegg – Rio’s reprise must set hard deadlines for development

Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has written for the Guardian about the Rio+20 summit he’s attending. He says that it’s vital that we “revive the spirit of our predecessors to get the world on a much more sustainable path”.

He spelled out the consequences if we don’t act:

Too many people still lack food: tonight, one billion will go hungry. There isn’t enough clean energy: right now women in some of the poorest communities are fuelling their homes with tyres and plastics. Despite the noxious fumes produced, they rely on anything that will burn. Dirty water and poor

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Tom Brake MP writes… Justice and Security Bill – a good result for the Lib Dems and Civil Liberties

Back in April, the Guardian, the Daily Mail and others reported that Nick Clegg, unhappy with the breadth and scope of the Justice and Security Green Paper, and having read the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ report into it, had written to Ministerial colleagues setting out his red lines for any Bill to be introduced in the second session.

These red lines, as reported at the time, were:

  • That any use of Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) should be restricted to exceptional cases of national security only
  • That they complement, not replace, the current system of Public Interest Immunity (PII)

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments



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