Tag Archives: the queen

The Queen’s advice to Tim Farron

I am far from being an ardent royalist. The idea that someone should just inherit the position of head of state is very strange to me. However, that doesn’t stop me acknowledging that the current incumbent has been doing a fantastic job since way before I was born. I’ve always admired her dignity, dedication and the experience that comes from dealing with Prime Ministers as diverse as Alec Douglas-Home, Tony Blair and Winston Churchill and having an unrivalled perspective of almost six and a half decades of world events.

Today, MPs paid tribute to her service as they wished her a happy birthday. Here is Tim Farron’s contribution in which he tells us how she gave him a good tip to deal with a common problem:

I thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling me to speak, especially as I managed to make it into the Chamber only when the Prime Minister was concluding his remarks—my apologies to him. On this occasion I am convinced that, not having heard one of his remarks, I would have agreed with them all.

It is a massive honour to give praise and to acknowledge the service of Her Majesty on her 90th birthday. Unlike many people in this place, I have spoken to Her Majesty on only a limited number of occasions. It was on one occasion really, as a very new Member of Parliament. She was asking me how I was getting on as a new MP and how I was coping with the correspondence. I did confide that, on occasions, people would come up to me in the street and say thank you, or acknowledge a letter that I had written to them, and I would sometimes just go blank. I am sure that colleagues share that sensation and think, “Right, what are they talking about? I can’t quite remember the detail.” Her Majesty said, “Yes, that happens to me all the time. I always say that it is the least I could do”. Perhaps we should all cling on to that as a good get-out-of-jail card.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Did Clegg and the Queen have a huge bust-up over the EU?

If you read tomorrow’s Sun, you might think they did:

The account of the bombshell lunch during the last government – which a handful of other government ministers also attended – has been relayed to The Sun by a highly reliable source.

The senior source said: “People who heard their conversation were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration.

“It was really something, and it went on for quite a while.

“The EU is clearly something Her Majesty feels passionately about.”

The monarch is also said to have revealed her Eurosceptic feelings during a separate conversation with MPs at a Buckingham Palace reception.

Nick is quoted as saying:

Former Lib Dem boss Mr Clegg told The Sun: “I have absolutely no recollection of it.

“I don’t have a photographic memory. But I think I would have remembered something as stark or significant as you have made it out to be.

“No doubt you’ll speak to someone else and they’ll say, ‘I was there I heard it’. Fine.

“But I really can’t remember it at all.

“Anyway, without sounding pompous, I find it rather distasteful to reveal conversations with the Queen.”

He backed that up on Twitter:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Tim Farron’s tribute to the Queen: New Elizabethans, casework and a maypole

Tributes to the Queen for becoming the longest serving monarch were made today in the House of Commons and provided the first big national occasion when Tim Farron spoke as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. When you are as far down the pecking order as we find ourselves these days, you just can’t say the usual stuff. Tim’s tribute was slightly unconventional, quite funny and very fitting. It also makes us at LDV think he’s overdue an encounter with a maypole. Here it is in full:

It is a great honour to be able to pay tribute to Her Majesty on this very important day. I have only managed to meet Her Majesty on two occasions; obviously in the years to come I expect an audience more regularly. On the first occasion I met her, she gave me advice on how to cope with casework. On the second occasion, on her visit to Kendal in Westmoreland, there was very nearly an incident when a very well-meaning local councillor, Councillor Walker, decided to—I can only say—lunge across a crowd of 30 or 40 people carrying a bar of Kendal mint cake to offer to Her Majesty, which she accepted with great grace, looking forward, I am sure, to enjoying it. I have to say that the security services were less excited—or rather very excited—by that lunge. I also thank Her Majesty for the occasion of her silver jubilee in 1977, when she gave me my first, and so far only, experience of being able to dance around a maypole.

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Beware photos of the Queen shared on social media

A quick look down my Facebook timeline today understandably shows some lovely pictures of the Queen. Actually, my inbox is full of mentions of her as eager marketers exploit her record-breaking reign, but that’s another story. Now, I would happily get rid of the monarchy purely on principle as I don’t believe that a head of  state should come to that position by accident of birth. I know that that is very much a minority position and, frankly, there are more important things to take up my campaigning time.

However, my innate republicanism doesn’t mean I can’t respect the woman who has held that high office for the last 63 years and fulfilled her duties with dedication and dignity. She fully deserves the tributes being paid to her today.

This post isn’t about the Queen as such, though. Some of the aforementioned lovely images of the Queen on my social media have a much more sinister provenance.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Why did Cameron’s and Clegg’s Palace business have to be conducted in secret?

I was pretty grumpy on Monday when I was watching the rolling news coverage. First of all, the BBC had live reporting from Westminster, the only place in the country you wouldn’t find any politicians following the dissolution of Parliament. Ok, so they did find Simon Hughes, but they could have headed a couple of miles down the road to go to him.

Then there were people reporting from Downing Street long after everyone had departed to ht the campaign trail.

But what made my blood boil was the aerial shots of Buckingham Palace broadcast as David Cameron and Nick Clegg made their visits there. We all know what it looks like. The BBC and Sky didn’t really need to spend money on a helicopter to give us pictures of one of the most familiar sites in the country if not the world.

Why on earth were  we not able to see what was going on inside? What’s with the mystery? It wasn’t very exciting, but we weren’t even given a photograph of the occasions. Cameron met first with the Queen, although that was pretty much a waste of time given that the dissolution of Parliament is an automatic process these days. Then Nick Clegg met with the Privy Council he chairs to carry out the necessary formality. When I say chairs, there actually aren’t any as the meetings are traditionally held with everyone standing to make them shorter. 

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

We’re heading for a minority Labour government backed by the SNP

whitehall
The Guardian have a very useful web page called Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection. On it, each day, they update their state-of-the-parties graph with the latest polling data, which then flows into an infographic showing the parliamentary arithmetic and possible government options after May 7th.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 130 Comments

Majority of Lib Dem members back monarchy – but 40% would prefer UK to become a Republic

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

44% want Charles as King, 9% prefer Wills: 40% want neither

Thinking about the future monarch, which of the following would you prefer?
Prince Charles - Some rights reserved by University Hospitals Birmingham

    44% – Prince Charles should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II

    9% – Prince William should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II instead of Prince Charles

    40% – Neither – there should be no monarch after Queen Elizabeth II

    6% – Don’t know

By 53% to 40%, our sample of Lib Dem members opt for monarchy over a republic. As ever, though, those headline figures include a span of opinion revealed in the comments.

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments
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