Tag Archives: the guardian

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

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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.

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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)

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How the Guardian makes the news, then reports the news

A nimble two-step from The Guardian:

1. Polly Toynbee sends tweet encouraging all and sundry to take part in an open-access online poll being run by the BMJ.

2. The Guardian reports result of said BMJ poll.

Then only thing missing, alas, is:

3. The Guardian then realises that reporting a voodoo poll which its own staff have been encouraging people to take part on is low grade self-referential journalism and pulls poll report.

 

Hat tip: Anthony Wells

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NEW POLL: Who is your Liberal Voice of the Year?

Today’s the day we launch our search for the Liberal Voice of 2011 to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is the fifth annual award, and as is our tradition, we’re looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s not a member of our party.

The list of nine nominees appears below. These were sought from Lib Dem members via our most recent survey; 233 nominations were submitted, and each of those short-listed needed to clear a threshold of five.

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VIDEO: Paddy Ashdown, Shirley Williams and Julian Glover on the Liberal Democrats, recession and The Guardian

You can now watch again in full one of the best fringe meetings from the party conference, which saw Paddy Ashdown, Shirley Williams and the then Guardian editorial writer Julian Glover launch a new history of the party and its predecessors, Peace, Reform and Liberation.*

Julian Glover gave a very funny speech about his newspaper’s love/hate relationship with the party – “So there you have it, 150 years from The Guardian and the Manchester Guardian calling on the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats to be brave, radical; praising the party’s policies and then writing it off as irrelevant”.

Shirley Williams turned to the history of America and of the 1930s, drawing lessons for the current economic difficulties, including why American history has made her a supporter of coalition government in the UK.

Paddy Ashdown’s speech included a collection of his favourite liberal quotes and why the lessons contained in them are still highly relevant to contemporary liberal politicians, ending with this exhortation:

The thing that we have in our party title – liberal – goes back thousands of years. You should be proud of that. It should give us strength, and it should make us campaign even harder … Henry Gibson once said, ‘You do not go out to battle for freedom and truth wearing your best trousers’. Sometimes I think our party wears its best trousers too much. This is our heritage and it is also our message today – and we should be proud of it.

Here is the meeting in full to watch, and chances are it is much better than quite a few of those Christmas TV repeats you’ll otherwise find yourself watching…

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LibLink | In praise of… Shirley Williams

One of this week’s Guardian leader columns, ‘In praise of…’, was deservedly dedicated to Shirley Williams, a Lib Dem peer, founding member of the SDP, and former Labour education secretary. Here’s a snippet:

Forever running late, but with a warmth that ensures she’s forgiven, Williams has great faith in reasonable compromise. She has pursued a more softly-softly approach towards the dreadful health bill than we have advocated. But survivors of the SDP’s internecine wars recall a wily chair perfectly capable of calling a crunch vote when an awkward customer had gone to the loo, and it is too early to judge

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How best to boost growth? Coalition debate sees Tories argue for supply-side reforms, Lib Dems pushing for new ‘pension infrastructure fund’

As the OECD forecasts a sharp slowdown in global growth, the Coalition is re-examining old and new ideas to boost the economy here in the UK. And, judging by this report in The Guardian, the likely approach illustrates the impact of Lib Dem thinking within government…

The Coalition choice: Tory supply-side reforms OR…

One area that has been looked at to boost growth is supply-side reforms to free up the labour market, such as those championed by Conservative adviser Adrian Beecroft. The ‘Beecroft Report’ has urged radical reform, most controversially advocating the government to stimulate private industry to hire workers …

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Opinion: Whisper it, but the press are starting to get it

Whisper it, but it seems they might be starting to get it. It’s only taken them a year and a half.

‘They’ of course are the assorted numpties of the British press and ‘it’ is how coalition government works and just how important and influential Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are within it.

For most of the time since May 2010 a crude and simplistic caricature of our government and the Lib Dems’ role in it has taken hold – that this is really a Tory government and the Lib Dems are either naive puppets being taken for a ride by …

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Could you edit The Guardian? Take a simple test

Here’s a simple test to see if you too have what it takes to edit The Guardian.

a. You have an interview lined up with a Treasury minister.

b. You have a journalist who happily admits they don’t understand the difference between a cyclical and structural deficit.

Do you say:

1. “Pah, so what? It’s not like we need an interviewer who can understand the basics of economics to interview an economics minister”, or

2. “Err, could we get a different interviewer?”

If your answer is #1: well done, you’re made it (as the third paragraph of this new interview with Danny Alexander demonstrates).

If your …

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Opinion: Why David Cameron will not be Prime Minister in a year’s time

Bizarrely, I was watching dancing coal miners dressed in tutus when I heard the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation last Sunday evening. A little trigger went off in my mind. Suddenly, the unthinkable had become thinkable. “Cameron will be next” I thought.

OK. We’re now in the “long grass” of the parliamentary recess. Cameron put in a “Tory Trebles all round”, barn-storming performance at the dispatch box on Wednesday. He must have been thankful it was jet-lag proof Johannesburg he had come from (where he met a different type of Tutu) and not New York, with its jet-lag on the …

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Opinion: Hackgate – Who do you trust?

5 Live Drive had a poll yesterday on “Who do you trust?”, particularly with Hackgate in mind.

Emerging, blinking, from two weeks of saturation “Breaking News”, answering that question is a good way to take stock of where we are.

Who do I trust?

Vince Cable is the first person who springs to mind. He (inadvertently publicly) “declared war on Mr Murdoch”. He was then forced to be “hors de combat”. He said “I think we are going to win” and we did. Murdoch is in retreat. Well done, Vince.

Tom Watson is the second person I trust as a result of this …

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In Praise of Nick Davies, the British Bernstein & Woodward to Murdoch’s Nixon

One man, above all, deserves to be singled-out for his single-minded pursuit of the lies, deceit and criminality that have stained British journalism: The Guardian’s special correspondent, Nick Davies.

His has been a lonely crusade. Despite the mounting evidence of corrupt practices, the tentacles of which have extended right into the very centre of the Establishment in this country — Parliament, media barons, senior police officers, Downing Street — Nick Davies has doggedly pursued a campaign which has resulted in the closure of this country’s most-read newspaper. That is some accolade.

But, as he would be the first to point out, it should never have got this far.

The closure of the News of the World would have been avoided if those who knew the truth, or at least had the power to uncover the truth, had done their jobs properly, had fulfilled their duty to the public. And that’s as true of Rebekah Brooks as it is of ‘Yates of the Yard’.

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats to hold inquiry into AV Referendum

The Guardian reports that the Party has decided to hold an inquiry, headed by James Gurling, into the Yes to AV campaign.

I wrote a piece for Lib Dem Voice back in May calling for an inquiry and since then more and more information has come to light about the shambolic and incompetent way the Yes campaign was run.

What does seem rather odd is that there has been no announcement to Party members and activists that this inquiry was taking place and asking for their input. I asked a couple of Lib Dems who had been highly active in …

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What has the DPM done for us?

Lib Dem blogger Matthew Gibson has blogged Nick Clegg’s achievements as DPM over the past year, as viewed by the mainstream media.

Matthew’s been monitoring the papers for months, noting all the positive stories about the Deputy PM and Lib Dem leader.

He splits these up by the common themes that have emerged: leadership, competence, being principled and standing his ground.

Here’s a taster:

Competence

The Independent praise Nick Clegg’s simple and direct language in his speech at Conference concluding ‘Clegg knows what he is doing – quite unusual for a leader of a party’ (see here).

The Daily Telegraph believe

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My letter to The Guardian, unpublished

Sir,

I noticed that around half the recent stories about phone hacking on the Guardian website with photos feature a photograph of Sienna Miller. Does she make up around half of all the people whose phones were hacked?

Yours etc.

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Charles Kennedy to join Ed Miliband on a pro-electoral reform platform

It’s hardly surprising that Charles Kennedy and Ed Miliband would be appearing together to promote electoral reform. Kennedy has long been a supporter of electoral reform and by virtue of not being in government is seen by many in Labour as an easier figure to campaign alongside (even though one of Kennedy’s first acts on becoming party leader was to end the party’s then work in government with Labour). Ed Milband in turn is the author of Labour’s general election manifesto which not only pledged a referendum but also called for a change in the electoral system to follow from …

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We all know the Lib Dems U-turned on tuition fees, so why’s The Guardian indulging in half-truths?

The Guardian carries a sensationalist headline tonight: Revealed: Lib Dems planned before election to abandon tuition fees pledge. The truth is somewhat different from the newspaper’s anti-Lib Dem spin, however.

The story is clearly designed to make the reader believe that, even as Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems spoke out against tuition fees, it was secretly their plan to renege on the party’s manifesto pledge. Yet, if you read more carefully it becomes clear that the party was simply anticipating the likely hung parliament scenario — that faced with two parties, Labour and the Tories, committed to tuition fees …

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Opinion: Are the poor going to be driven out of the south by the Coalition’s housing benefit reforms?

A shocking story in the Guardian this week that, not content with driving the poor out of Kensington and Chelsea, the Coalition’s cap on housing benefit would force them out of southern England altogether. Worse, this came from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), who sound like they ought to know what they are talking about.

I rang up the CIH and asked how I could get hold of a copy of the study and was surprised to hear that there has been not actually been one. They are apparently ‘doing some work for a Select Committee’ which …

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How the media loves mixed messages (when they suit their own message)

‘Conservative spending cuts are worse than Thatcher’s, says Alan Johnson’ shouts today’s Observer, reporting the paper’s interview with Labour’s incoming shadow chancellor.

If the election had turned out differently — if Labour had won, rather than suffering one of the worst defeats in its history — the headline could have read a little different… Imagine this headline:

    Alistair Darling: we will cut deeper than Margaret Thatcher

But wait, we don’t have to imagine that headline: it already exists, and was used by the Observer’s stablemate The Guardian back in March when reporting the then Labour chancellor’s realistic appraisal of the …

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Lib Dems on child detention: read our lips, it will be ended

The Guardian today carries a story, Government climbdown on detention of children in immigration centres, which — if it were accurate — would have Lib Dems hopping mad. Thankfully, it’s not accurate.

It was six weeks ago, at his first acting stint at Prime Minister’s Questions, that Nick Clegg formally announced that (as per the Lib Dem manifesto and Coalition agreement) the practise of child detention would end:

It was simply a moral outrage that last year the Labour government imprisoned, behind bars, 1,000 children who were innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever. This coalition government will once again restore a

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Guardian verdict on voting reform: “Mr Clegg spoke for progress; Mr Straw for reaction.”

The Guardian has not always been kind to the Coalition since its formation; still less to the Lib Dems. But its stinging rebuke to Labour’s “opposition for opposition’s sake” — with its attempt last night cynically to torpedo the Lib/Con government’s electoral reform measures — might perhaps give the new party leader pause for thought.

In the topsy-turvy world of Coalition politics, two parties which do not support the alternative vote last night voted to endorse a referendum on it; while the party which pledged to introduce it in its manifesto decided to jettison that promise.

It was an irony …

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Who is who behind the scenes in the coalition?

Today’s Guardian has a pretty decent go at covering who the key advisers are, on both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative side, how they are working together, who talks to who and so on.

The piece has been praised by others today, but I only say “pretty decent” because it doesn’t mention Alison Suttie. Talking about Lib Dem advisers without mentioning her is a bit like talking about Lib Dem MPs without mentioning Vince or my diet without mentioning chocolate. Previously for Ming Campbell and now for Nick Clegg she’s played an absolutely key role in a deputy chief of …

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Marks out of ten for the coalition?

The Guardian is running the latest ICM poll today.

The overall story is good for the Lib Dems – up three points to 19% (both Labour and the Tories are slightly down against the last ICM poll), and the Coalition remains stubbornly popular, still in the 55-60% range.

But this is just one poll (and there are others both significantly better and worse for the party), so let’s not worry too much about the headline figures.

More interesting is the line the Guardian takes and the “marks out of ten” for the Coalition Government.

First the line taken in the article. If …

Posted in Polls | Also tagged and | 15 Comments
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  • User AvatarTabman 28th Mar - 3:54pm
    Expats. I think a majority Labour government led by Edward Samuel miliband would be an unmitigated disaster. So would a Lab SNP coalition, for the...
  • User AvatarEvan Harris 28th Mar - 3:46pm
    Caron, I share your concern. The only point I would make is that there is no possible "test" for IPSO. It rules were drawn up...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 28th Mar - 3:42pm
    We would never take any seat for granted, Mr Wallace, but we have a very good chance.
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 28th Mar - 3:28pm
    JohnTilley 28th Mar '15 - 5:35am [[Paul in Wokingham “… Those garrulous “sources close to Nick Clegg” are apparently claiming that 26 seats will qualify...
  • User Avatarexpats 28th Mar - 3:28pm
    Tabman....." Milipede" I think that explains your position far better than umpteen of your posts.... How difficult can it be to call him Milliband ?
  • User AvatarA Social Liberal 28th Mar - 3:12pm
    One of the side effects of depression is that, whilst often the sufferer thinks that they are thinking and acting rationally quite often they are...
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