Tag Archives: the times

LIbLink: Alistair Carmichael: Parliament can not duck responsibility for UK joining Iraq war

As we have a 13-years-too-late mea culpa (but a big boy made him do it) from John Prescott, Alistair Carmichael writes for the Times about Parliament’s role in supporting the Iraq War.

He makes the very valid point that Parliament could have given Blair a much harder time, asking for more evidence, scrutinising every claim made, but they ducked it.

Too many of those who now say, “Of course, if I had known then what I know now …” must be challenged. For the most part they could not have known then what they know now because they were not prepared to ask the questions or to demand the evidence.

Attention focuses on the actions of the prime minister and government of the day and rightly so — they failed to do what they should have done. That is, however, equally true of the Conservative opposition. Where they should have questioned, they acquiesced. Where they should have demanded evidence, they accepted assertions. As a party of the establishment, they could not allow themselves to believe that the various arms of government would be embarking on a war without a sound basis in law.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Farron: Lib Dems will take on the Tories and deliver the internationalist, economically competent, decent government that Britain deserves”

An article on the Times Red Box website examined the potential for a Liberal Democrat comeback following the EU Referendum.

I spoke to the journalist who wrote it, Natasha Clark, and may have compared Tim Farron to another Liberal leader from across the Atlantic:

They had a dynamic leader who made the case, harnessed the mood of the people with a very simple message. I think we will soon have a majority of people who don’t want to leave the EU, and we will be there to make that case.

Tim Farron was also interviewed and he had a right go at Theresa May:

Farron is, understandably, not a fan of any of either candidate for the Tory leadership, in particular the home secretary, who he slams for her inaction during the referendum campaign.

“Theresa May makes Jeremy Corbyn look like a grafter,” he jeered. “In the sense that she can step into the breach having done nothing to save the country… she may have had more of an impact than if Jeremy Corbyn did. The economy is going down the plughole because of that cowardice.”

In contrast, he made it clear what he and the Lib Dems have to offer:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Tim and Vince write for the Times on the need for ministers to provide leadership on Brexit strategy

Tim Farron and Vince Cable have written for the Times’ Red Box website setting out what they think should happen in negotiations with the EU and in economic strategy as we face a self-induced Brexit recession.

As Nick Clegg said before the referendum, so called Project Fear was understating the impact Brexit would have. We are also suffering a void of leadership and some very unrealistic thinking from the Brexit camp who, as we discovered, didn’t really have a plan.

We can’t hang about, they say:

Business and investors won’t wait around forever to see leadership.  Many first tier organisations will simply pack their bags and go unless they see a path ahead.  Meanwhile our smaller businesses, and particularly those in high risk/ high innovation sectors will feel the squeeze as bank lending dries up as it did in 2008.

Two things need to be done. You get the feeling this was filed before yesterday’s extraordinary events:

The first can only be done by leaders of Leave – those who wish to lead us into the new unknown – and in particular, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.  They must now show his vision for the UK and provide a clear plan for Britain’s relationship with the EU.  To reassure the market they, and other potential prime ministers, need to make clear that membership of the single market is the priority ask for any negotiations.  Businesses need to know that, whatever else, their key relationships will not have to fundamentally change.

It will require real leadership, rather than populist platitudes.  It may mean securing a deal which pleases no one and does not address many of the concerns raised by leave voters about immigration and freedom of movement.  Leading is about making choices, it’s now time for Boris and Gove to tell us theirs.

The second urgent priority must be the responsibility of the current government.  There is now every likelihood of a Brexit recession.  If the government acts now, by abandoning its already unnecessary financial straitjacket and allowing capital investment and stimulus support to flow into precarious parts of our economy, we might avoid the worst impacts on jobs and livelihoods. The economy could be stimulated through the Network Rail Capital Project and local authorities being allowed to borrow to build houses. The £250bn the governor of the Bank of England has put aside could be put into the Funding for Lending and the Regional Growth Fund.

Of primary concern must be our most innovative industries.  Those businesses on the cutting edge are likely to see funding from traditional financial institutions dry up as banks revert to their core business model.  Giving serious financial help and stability to these industries is vital to ensure their long term future in the UK.

The British Business Bank, set up by the Lib Dems in Government, is a crucial part of the support for business that’s needed:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 14 Comments

Catherine Bearder to Nigel Lawson: Pulling out of the EU would mean losing power and influence over our future

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has written to the Times (£) to respond to Nigel Lawson’s article which argued that the UK should leave the EU:

She wrote:

Sir, Lord Lawson’s argument for EU exit may be eloquent but it is fanciful. It is true that the 19 countries of the eurozone are going to have to move closer together. But that makes it even more imperative that Britain, as the financial capital of Europe, defends its economic interests in the EU’s single market as a whole.

Half of our exports go to the rest of Europe and even if we were

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 34 Comments

The Times’ curious use of single quotation marks in headlines

times falconer

Women ‘are not tough enough to lead Labour’

Such was the headline in the Times last Friday, above an article by Lord Falconer. You would be forgiven for tinking that Lord Falconer actually said that women “are not tough enough to lead Labour”. But what he actually wrote was:

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

Shirley Williams highlights SNP’s failings in government

SCaron and Shirleyhirley Williams has written to the Times (£) to highlight that the SNP has not been as successful in government as it would like people to believe. She highlights failures on student debt, class sizes, the NHS and, importantly for anyone of a liberal mindset, its many failings on civil liberties.Here’s her letter:

The election campaign in the United Kingdom has been seriously impoverished by the absence of any detailed analysis south of the border of the SNP’s record in government.

Today the Scottish NHS is in crisis, with targets for cancer treatments not being met. More than 1,000 beds have been closed in Scottish hospitals since 2012. Last year, expenditure on the NHS in Scotland fell by 1.2 per cent while in England it rose by 4.4 per cent. Expenditure on training nurses and midwives in Scotland has been cut by 11 per cent.

In education, the SNP pledged to limit primary school class sizes to a maximum of 18 — a pledge it made when it first came into government in 2007. In fact, class sizes have risen in every year since 2010.

University students have been saddled with greater debt because they have to start repaying their loans once their incomes reach £16,500, while the figure in England is now £21,000. Worst of all, part-time college places have been cut by 130,000 — a travesty at a time when the UK needs skilled women and men to get the economy back on track. The SNP has not even met its unambitious target to build 6,000 affordable homes, despite the obvious need.

Additionally, the SNP’s troubling record on civil liberties has been further extended by its efforts to build an identity database based on NHS records. Its creation of a single national police force has been to the detriment of local policing and communities they serve; Highlanders have been aghast at the sight of armed police undertaking routine duties on their streets. It is a bigger insult that local communities’ calls to reverse the policy were ignored.

The SNP now seeks to present itself as a party with a strong interest in the future of the UK. Its own record makes that very hard to believe.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

The Times: Lib Dem digital operations “closest to Team Obama”

The way the parties approach digital campaigning is examined in today’s Times (£), which is very complimentary about the Liberal Demcorats’ operation, saying that it is closest to the gold standard in this area, the Obama campaign.

Thanks to their strong ground intelligence, the Liberal Democrats have been able to come closest to the “micro-targeting” of individual voters pioneered by Team Obama. Yet data protection issues and lack of money present stumbling blocks for British parties as they try to match his campaign’s success.

Soon-to-be Marathon Man Austin Rathe is quoted:

Closest to the Obama model are the Lib Dems, who have a wealth of data gleaned from a long focus on door-knocking and detailed canvassing. In 2011, the party decided to shell out a “seven-figure sum” on Connect, a voter database used by the Obama campaign. It then paid a data company to identify the Facebook profiles of as many voters as possible. Rather than asking the site to target a broad range of people, the Lib Dems can provide lists of individuals to be targeted with a particular message.

On the day of the autumn statement, the party paid to push a story about a road expansion in front of 11,000 target voters in Berwick. “We will never put out a blanket email or Facebook post,” says Austin Rathe, a Lib Dem staffer. “We will make sure you see something you care about, whether it’s on the environment or climate change.”

What? You mean there are things I don’t see? Definitely in the huff now.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 29 Comments
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