Tag Archives: the guardian

LibLink: Julian Huppert If you’re pro-science, you should be pro EU

There’s not enough Julian in these parts these days, sadly. In May just under 700 votes kept him from continuing as MP for Cambridge and one of the Commons’ few scientific experts. Today, though, he’s written for the Guardian’s Science column, saying that if you are pro-science, you really need to vote to remain in the EU.

Cambridge is massively pro-EU, for many reasons, but he highlights one in particular

The answer I think lies in another special feature of Cambridge: its world leadership in science and technology. We see this in the huge number of Nobel Prizes amassed here, 92 and rising; biomedical success, such as Humira, the Cambridge-developed anti-inflammatory drug that is currently the highest-selling prescription drug in the world; and technology leadership, such as the silicon chips designed by ARM, which now power almost every mobile device in the world. Last year there was as many ARM chips shipped, as there are human arms in the world.

All of this success, from pure research to the most applied technology, from huge global companies to tiny start-ups, benefits from our international connections, and particularly our role in the EU. We get large amounts of funding from the European Research Council – well above our expected share. Overall, about a quarter of the University of Cambridge’s research funding comes from the EU. Our students go on Erasmus exchanges, experiencing life and study elsewhere, and we get many students coming here from around the EU, benefiting from the free movement of people, enriching our cultural, academic and social lives – and spending their money in our city.

It’s not just Cambridge who benefits, though:

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Farron: Don’t train people from countries with bad human rights records at Sandhurst

Tim Farron has called on the Government to stop taking money from states with poor human rights records to train their military officers at the elite Sandhurst training college. He said to the Guardian:

These Sandhurst sheikhs are sitting in our military academies, learning from our best and then taking these things back to regimes that repress their population and trample all over human rights. People will look at this and think why are we selling weapons to Saudi, training Bahrainis and then sitting there while they oppress their population.

Shared military training with our allies is a fantastic resource, but it is time to stand up for the values we talk about so much – democracy and human rights. British forces provide some of the best military training in the world, but the privilege to train with our top class troops should be reserved to those foreign armed forces who share our values and our strict adherence to humanitarian law in combat. I believe we need to end to the training of overseas royals from regimes with terrible human rights records at Sandhurst.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder: There will be no 12 days of Christmas if we lose the turtle dove

This year the turtle dove officially became an endangered species. Psssionate conservationist Catherine Bearder MEP, who’s been made the dove’s species champion by the RSPB, has written tot the Guardian about what we stand to lose:

Hunting is affecting turtle dove populations across their European breeding grounds. Every spring, hunters in Malta shoot and trap thousands of migratory birds as they fly over the island. Malta is now the only country in the EU that allows spring hunting of turtle doves. EU conservation laws ban the killing of endangered birds, but Malta still has a derogation to do so during the spring period. Several other countries also allow the hunting of turtle doves in the autumn.

Ever since he took office, I’ve been piling the pressure on the EU’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella to demand that laws protecting turtle doves from illegal hunting are strengthened and properly enforced. These migratory birds belong to the whole of Europe. That is why we need strong EU laws to ensure they are protected at each stage of their journey. So I’m pleased that following this pressure the EU is taking Malta to court for breaking rules that protect birds.

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Paddy Ashdown on snoopers’ charter: Politicians in a democracy must guard our freedoms

Paddy Ashdown took part in a Guardian Live event the other night, talking to Andrew Rawnsley in Bristol. The subject of the new Investigatory Powers Bill, son of Snoopers’ Charter, came up. Paddy knows about this kind of stuff. He said:

We charge the intelligence services with keeping us safe, so of course they want the maximum amount of power. But the job of a politician in a democracy is to be jealous about giving away those freedoms, and to do so only when it’s necessary. You have to make judgments as to how much infringement of the liberty of

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LibLink: Ed Davey: The Tories are trying to kill off our renewable energy boom

Former Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has condemned the way that the Conservatives governing alone are trashing all he did to create a boom in clean, planet-saving renewable energy:

My experience as energy and climate change secretary – in the months I spent battling George Osborne over the budget for investment in low carbon, and in the daily attrition with Eric Pickles over onshore wind – was that many Conservatives simply regard their commitment to climate change action as something they had to say to get into power. With some honourable exceptions, most Conservatives I worked with seemed to view Lib Dem green energy policies as part of the political price they paid for the coalition.

Happily, the Conservatives cannot undo much of what the coalition achieved: from the trebling of the UK’s renewable power capacity to the 27 contracts I signed in March for more renewable power plants to be built over the next few years, the Lib Dems’ green legacy stands. I have heard that the chancellor has asked if he can get out of the contracts I signed. But he can’t. So I’m looking forward to Conservative ministers opening onshore and offshore wind farms that I commissioned.

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Ten Lib Dem council leaders call for borrowing powers to build council houses

Terraced housing
Ten Liberal Democrat council leaders, including the party’s local government spokesperson Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, have written to the Guardian to call for the government to allow councils to borrow money to build council houses to deal with the “national emergency” in housing provision:

As Liberal Democrat council leaders we are outraged at the government’s short-sightedness in selling off council homes to pay for the right-to-buy extension to housing associations (PM warns councils over housing provision, 12 October). We have a vast shortage of affordable homes, which constitutes nothing short of a national emergency, and yet the government is seeking to make quick financial gains by disposing of properties that could provide much-needed homes for generations. Forcing right to buy on housing associations was the wrong policy before the election and it remains the wrong policy now. Shifting homes from one tenure to another without addressing our failure to build enough homes overall is like rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.

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Farron tries to kill off Immigration Bill completely

Tim Farron will try and kill off the Government’s flawed Immigration Bill during the Second Reading debate on Tuesday.

From the Guardian:

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has challenged Labour and the Scottish National party to back an amendment he will table to the government’s immigration bill that would stop it becoming law.

Farron will table a reasoned amendment – a device used to offer reasons for rejecting a bill – when the government’s proposals are debated in parliament on Tuesday.

Tim is quoted as saying:

It is simply ridiculous to have a bill that ignores the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation – the growing numbers of refugees in southern Europe who need us to act now,” he said.

That is why I have tabled an amendment to block this inadequate bill. I am calling on Labour, the SNP and all Tories with a conscience to back our amendment and force Theresa May to listen to the British public when they say ‘Refugees Welcome’.

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