Tag Archives: the independent

LibLink: Layla Moran “You can’t silence me now”

Following the dreadful way she was treated by Tory MPs at PMQs on Wednesday, Layla Moran has written for the Independent in some detail about the Tories’ failures on free childcare which led to her question to Theresa May.

She outlined the basic facts:

The news that parents would get 30 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four year olds came as a relief, as it offered the chance for women to return to work, as a structured and cost-friendly option was being put on the table for them.

This was an extension of policies the Liberal Democrats pushed in the Coalition government and is one of the answers to closing the gender pay gap, as well as allowing parents a real choice about how they want to bring up their families.

But – and it is a big but – it turns out that this childcare isn’t free after all. It all seemed like a great idea until the Government realised they were actually going to have to pay for it.

Quite simply, the Government aren’t giving child minders and nurseries enough money to actually deliver these places for three and four year olds, and make a living at the same time.

The consequences are hurting parents with either no provision being offered or:

Stories I have heard include child minders and nurseries having to increase the cost of childcare for under-threes in order to make up the shortfall. Many more have started charging parents for extras like nappies, baby wipes, lunches and early/late pick-ups that had previously been included.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: The EU is facing a liberal insurgence. Now is not the time for Britain to leave

Nick Clegg has been writing for the Independent in the wake of the Dutch elections in which the racist populist Geert Wilders didn’t do as well as expected. He recounted a family gathering in the Netherlands at Christmas time.

What was striking when we were talking about the Dutch elections, however, was almost everyone around the table wanted to cast a vote that provided the best guarantee of keeping Wilders out of power. For most, that seemed to point towards supporting Mark Rutte, the affable and skilled Dutch PM, even if they’d never voted for him before.

It worked and the lesson, he finds, from D66’s success is not to pander to populism. Be yourself.

The polarisation of politics along new lines – no longer left vs right, but now open vs closed – is mobilising voters against right-wing populism. We are witnessing the beginnings of a liberal backlash against the backlash against liberalism. Of course, it wasn’t just Mark Rutte’s VVD which benefited, but other parties too.

D66, the second Liberal party in the Netherlands (lucky Dutch to have two liberal options) did well, surging to almost level pegging in the polls with Geert Wilders and adding seven seats to their tally in the Dutch Parliament. D66 are, ideologically, most similar to the Liberal Democrats in Britain. Alexander Pechtold, their experienced leader, told me when we met how he was going to run an unapologetically pro-European campaign. He was not going to bend to the populist times. His decision paid off handsomely.

And he sees the chance of reforms that would make British voters want to stay in the EU.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Labour under Corbyn can’t be decent opposition – so it’s up to me

Tim Farron has been writing in the Independent about how the Liberal Democrats are the only party capable of providing decent opposition to the Conservatives following the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn:

If one child was lifted out of poverty by Blair, that would be a progressive legacy. But what will Corbyn’s legacy be? At this rate, to render Labour so unelectable that successive Tories will be able to play pass the parcel with the keys to Number 10.

Perhaps the Corbynistas can afford such generosity to the Tories, but the people I grew up with in towns such as Preston can’t. Self-righteous, ideological purity doesn’t buy food, pay the rent or provide the training that might lead to a better life.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 46 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: Cameron must veto this poisonous deal with Turkey before our response to the Refugee Crisis becomes immoral

Strong words from Tim Farron in today’s Independent about the proposed EU deal with Turkey which would see refugees returned from Greece to Turkey. Rather than create safe and legal routes for refugees, Tim argues that this deal would violate international conventions.

For instance, collective expulsions of people seeking international protection are condemned by the EU’s own Charter of Fundamental Rights. We know Turkey has failed to fully implement the Geneva Convention on refugees and has no functioning asylum policy. David Cameron would do well to re-read the international human rights agreements and principles Britain has committed to, before he signs on the dotted line in Brussels.

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Farron says there’s “not a lot of truth” in Independent report on secret talks with Corbyn over electoral reform

Today’s Independent has a report that there are secret talks going on between Labour and the Liberal Democrats over a joint platform for electoral reform at the next General Election.

It attributes the following to a “Lib Dem source”:

The Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Greens could also be involved in the talks, the source said. If the  negotiations are successful, up to five left-of-centre parties could stand on an agreed platform of voting reform at the 2020 election – giving them a mandate to scrap Westminster’s first-past- the-post system without a referendum, so long as they are able to secure a majority in the Commons.

It certainly strikes me that if there were successful talks going on, then there would be no reports about them in the press. It also strikes me that the Labour Party is in no position to commit to any deal, given the power struggles that are going on inside it. Another report in the same paper says that there is a plot afoot to move Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the end of Conference to prevent the final day of the event being ruined by the press finding opposition to it from within the Labour Party. Corbyn is fighting so many internal battles, that it’s impossible for him to look outward and work with others, which is a real shame. Actually, I think the sort of alliance that the Independent described on that one issue of electoral reform might not be a bad idea. You might not get a rainbow coalition to work in Government, but you could have one fighting for the Parliament the voters ask for. The Conservatives and SNP are tightening their grips on power on both sides of the border. They are very well resourced and the Tories look set to benefit from boundary changes. These of course would benefit the Tories in two way. Firstly, they benefit the Tories anyway, but   Labour would go nuclear as moderates and Corbynites scrapped over the new seats.

Tim Farron was asked about this on Pienaar’s Politics a few moments go. He said that  there was “not a lot of truth” in the report and that an alliance on electoral reform isn’t his priority at the moment. What matters is rebuilding the Liberal Democrats and effectively opposing the Tories. He said:

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Tim Farron on why he supported air strikes – and other things

 

Yesterday the Independent on Sunday published an interview with Tim Farron under the headline ‘Lib Dem leader on why he went against his party over Syrian air strikes‘.

Tim Farron has argued that the Liberal Democrats are “not a pacifist party”, following grassroots criticism of his decision to back Syrian air-strikes – a move opposed by two-thirds of members.

The Independent on Sunday can reveal that the Lib Dem leader was rebuked at a meeting of a senior party committee this month for failing to consult properly on the controversial vote.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable: Britain’s economic recovery is precarious and an economic storm is coming

Vince Cable has form for predicting economic disaster, so you take notice when he says that there could be another one on the horizon, even if he qualifies it with an anecdote from his professional life:

I use the word “could”. I am always mindful of the day 20 years ago when I was greeted in my role as chief economist at Shell with a plaque, in Arabic, which translated meant “Those who claim to be able to forecast the future are lying even if, by chance, they are later proved right”. The reputation of economic forecasting as a science, which makes astrology looks respectable, reflects the same scepticism. And that scepticism was greatly reinforced by a total failure of standard economic models based on efficient financial markets to anticipate the last disaster.

Writing in the Independent, he outlines the factors which could indicate that all is not well: the high level of debt, the asset bubbles which have been created particularly in housing and the international economy, particularly any shock waves from a Chinese slowdown.

One side-effect of keeping economies growing through cheap money and credit creation through quantitative easing has been the generation of asset bubbles, especially in property markets. Britain demonstrates the problem in an extreme way, magnifying underlying imbalances between housing demand and supply. Double-digit housing inflation is not merely creating appalling social problems and division between classes and generations but grossly distorting investment from productive activities to property holding. The Bank of England has tools of macro-prudential management to curb this inflation but the extreme timidity in using them reveals the high level of dependence on this precarious and dangerous form of growth.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments
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