Tag Archives: the guardian

LibLink: Tim Farron: The Lib Dems will fight Brexit. Labour is not doing its job

Tim Farron is popping up everywhere today. You’d think that this was co-ordinatd or something.

He’s written for us about his plan for Britain and Europe. He was on Good Morning Britain before dawn, Radio 5 Live, the Today programme.

He’s also gone and pitched a massive great marquee on Labour’s lawn in this article for the Guardian.

Labour, he says, are all over the place.

For Labour, it is still deciding whether it’s even a pro-European party. Owen Smith has made clear he wants it to be, but Jeremy Corbyn’s ambivalence was plain for all to see in the referendum campaign, and he has already made clear he wants to see the Brexit process get underway.

If they can’t or won’t hold the Government to account in the way that is required, the Liberal Democrats will. And if you think that’s unlikely, you might want to look back to the last session of the Scottish Parliament where it was the wee Lib Dem group that scored most forced changes in SNP government policy. Don’t ever underestimate us:

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Clegg in the Guardian: “Why on earth would you not want to try and do s**t?”

We’re going to be hearing quite a lot from Nick Clegg over the next couple of weeks in the run up to his book being published on 15 September.

Today he has a long interview with the Guardian in which he talks at length about some of the key moments of the Coalition. Just to get this over with. I come from the Highlands of Scotland. If any journalist had written about some of the villages I love in the same patronising way that Clegg’s interviewer, Simon Hattenstone, did about Miriam’s home town in Spain, I’d be furious.

Whilst I have often disagreed with decisions that Nick took during the Coalition years, I stand by my long held view that he was often unfairly criticised, too. We can see with ever-increasing clarity that he brought a lot of common sense and stability to government. The minute he and the Liberal Democrats vacated Whitehall, everything started to fall apart. We are suffering the consequences of an arrogant Tory party governing exclusively in its own interests.

Naivety

Any feeling that we might have had that we could have been a lot better prepared for the realities of government is confirmed by the interview. However, the caveat is, of course, that we onlookers have the benefit of hindsight now and detachment at the time. Nick does admit to what appears to be astonishing naivety. It perhaps underlines the fact that he should maybe have had more people around him who had spent years fighting the Tories and knew first hand what they were capable of.

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Guardian obituary of Jonathan Webber

In February, former West Midlands Lib Dem chair and President’s Award winner Jonathan Webber sadly died. His partner Kathryn Ball wrote an obituary for us, with tributes from Nick Clegg, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Farron. Tim said:

His advice and counsel to successive leaders, his energy and his optimism, helped sustain the party in the most challenging of circumstances.

Kathryn has now written a very interesting article on Jonathan’s life for the Guardian. Here’s an excerpt:

After studying drama and setting up a small business as a bookseller, Jonathan worked as a bus conductor in Exeter. There he met a Greek student, Kleio – and later hitchhiked 1,500 miles to Athens to be with her. He spent the next 18 years in Greece, becoming fluent in Greek and working as a literary agent publishing Greek versions of bestselling Penguin novels.

After moving to Thessaloniki, he was asked to run the UK government division of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce to help stimulate business links throughout the Balkans – and he also started the Thessaloniki Cricket Club.

Jonathan returned to the UK in 1995. He joined the Department of Trade and Industry, helping to promote British exports and advising on trade with Greece and the Balkans, before joining the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, where I met him, and where he became director of international trade in 2005.

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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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  • User AvatarRoland 5th Dec - 2:18am
    "There is a window of opportunity available to any party which has been the most pro remain at the point Brexit is shown to be...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 5th Dec - 12:36am
    I've made my fair share of complaints at the time and after one time receiving a response I felt was unsatisfactory I began to support...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 5th Dec - 12:21am
    The odd thing to me is why so many in our party have such slavish loyalty to institutions, a very statist left or conservative right...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 5th Dec - 12:04am
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  • User AvatarSimon Banks 4th Dec - 11:55pm
    I think Goldsmith's cult of personality had worn a bit thin.
  • User AvatarRoger Roberts 4th Dec - 11:39pm
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