Tag Archives: tony greaves

How did shuttleworths get their name?

imageIt is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want to know anything about the olden days of liberalism, you ask The Lord (Tony) Greaves. A few days ago, somebody emailed a group of friends how shuttleworths got their name. For those of you who don’t know, these are the pads that used to have the names and addresses of supporters in a particular area for use on polling day. I knew I’d heard the story before and the various answers  that were being told didn’t seem right but I couldn’t remember what it was and, frankly, I had lots of voters to talk to so I didn’t look any further.

Then, with extraordinary serendipity, a comment from Tony Greaves got caught in auto-moderation. I actually saw his slight grumble about it in the main thread before I saw the actual comment. Anyway, it was the first thing that made me smile all day yesterday, so I emailed him to tell him. I also too my chance to ask him. This is his reply, reproduced with his permission.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 26 Comments

Lib Dems amongst the top ten peers’ peers

House of LordsEd Lowther at the BBC has identified the ‘top ten peers’ peers of 2013‘, defined as backbenchers in the House of Lords who were name-checked most frequently by their colleagues in the chamber. As he says: “This approach may not measure popularity or power, but it gives an impression of impact. “

And are any of those lordly sociometric stars Lib Dem, by any chance? Of course they are.

At number 4 – drumroll, please – is ….

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

Three reasons why criminalising “annoying behaviour” makes me really uneasy

This afternoon, the House of Lords will debate amendments to the Government’s Anti Social, Crime and Policing Bill. Clause 1, which currently states that the new Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs) can be granted if:

the court is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person (“anti-social behaviour”)

is one of the main points of concern.

These provisions should make any liberal feel extremely uncomfortable. Campaigners, including the National Secular Society, the Evangelical Alliance and the Christian Institute have joined the usual suspect like Liberty and Big Brother Watch  in mounting vociferous opposition to this clause. George Monbiot, in the Guardian today, takes a very dim view of the legislation:

These laws will be used to stamp out plurality and difference, to douse the exuberance of youth, to pursue children for the crime of being young and together in a public place, to help turn this nation into a money-making monoculture, controlled, homogenised, lifeless, strifeless and bland. For a government which represents the old and the rich, that must sound like paradise.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Next week in the Lords: 13-16 June… God bless Her Majesty!

House of Lords chamberAfter the pomp of the Queen’s Speech, comes the dissection of its content. Of course, that’s not all that gets done, so let’s dive into the week ahead…

Monday sees the debate on elements of the Speech relating to business, economy, local government and transport, whilst crossbench peer, Baroness Young of Hornsey has a particularly salient oral question, seeking a view on how UK clothing sector retailers might ensure that people working throughout their supply chains enjoy safe and secure working conditions in light of the Rana Plaza disaster.

On …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Next week in the Lords: 4-7 March

House of Lords chamberYes, we’re back, after this column’s regular late winter break to study comparisons between government systems in the Caribbean. And whilst the House of Lords and the Cuban leadership do have some similarities – having octogenarians in prominent positions, for example – you would probably want to see more of Eric Avebury than you would Fidel Castro…

So, on with the motley…

Monday kicks off the week with the main business being Day 2 of the Report Stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Amongst the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | Leave a comment

This week in the Lords: 28 January – 1 February

House of LordsYes, just as late as has been the habit recently, here’s your heads up for events in the upper chamber this week… anyone would think that I didn’t have a day of my own…

It’s another long week for our Parliamentary Party, with a nod to the recent wintry weather, but Monday sees Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, where Tony Greaves will seek to remove attempts to place further limits on the power to require information with planning applications. Frankly, when I see …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | Leave a comment

LDVideo: Liberal Democrats: coalition, polls and 2015 election

Today’s BBC Daily Politics looked at the Lib Dems’ electoral fortunes.

In clip 1, they interview Lib Dem peer Lord (Tony) Greaves, former Lib Dem turned Labour councillor James Allie, and Gareth Epps, of the Social Liberal Forum…

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Government suffers defeat in Lords over ‘new poll tax’ changes to council tax benefits

The Government has suffered a defeat today on changes to the system of paying council tax benefit. As part of the Coalition’s existing welfare cuts, council tax relief is being reduced and local authorities are being given the power to set their own eligibility criteria from April 2013. As the Financial Times reported last week:

The coalition has earmarked £100m for councils that promise to limit the sums poorer people must pay to around 8.5 per cent of the full council tax rate – less than half what some local authorities are considering. … Lord Best, president of the Local Government Association, will on Tuesday propose an amendment

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Two priceless conference comedy moments (for about five people on the surface of Planet Earth)

Colin Rosenstiel is a Lib Dem legend, star of constitutional minutiae and progenitor of bicycling anecdotes.

At 9am yesterday, there was a constitutional amendments debate. (Yes – riveting. A few minutes before it was due to start, the audience would have been out-numbered by those six Liberal MPs who could get into a taxi in 1970. The debate started with the words, “Good morning, fellow insomniacs!”)

At the end, Colin stood up and raised a point of order – the Lib Dem equivalent of firing a tactical nuclear weapon. Something about a separate vote. The comedy moment was the withering, over-the-top-of-the-glasses dismissal …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Polls and predictions: The Chris Rennard Interview

Chris RennardLiberal Democrat News has just published extracts from an interview with Lord (Chris) Rennard, former Lib Dem Chief Executive, and Director of Campaigns and Elections. The interview appears in full below.
Journalist York Membery is a regular contributor to the nationals. He is also a contributing editor to the Journal of Liberal History.

Chris is credited with masterminding a string of past by-election victories as well as the target seat strategy that increased our number of MPs from 19 to 63. He tells York Membery that we should look to the future with hope not fear…

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Who Lib Dem members think are the most effective non-MPs at promoting the party

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Oakeshott, Ashdown and Pack top your list

LDV asked: Which prominent Lib Dems who are NOT MPs (eg, peers, campaigners) are doing an effective job of promoting the party to the public? Please write-in.

    Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott
    Lord (Paddy) Ashdown
    Mark Pack
    Evan Harris
    Baroness (Shirley) Williams
    Lord (Chris) Rennard
    Caroline Pidgeon AM
    Willie Rennie MSP
    Baroness (Susan) Kramer
    Stephen Tall
    Kirsty Williams AM
    Lord (Tom) McNally
    Baroness (Ros) Scott
    Brian

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Tony Greaves: From angry young man to simmering old guru

For many years Adrian Slade has interviewed prominent Liberal Democrats. To mark his recent decision to make his archive of the interview recordings available to researchers and other interested parties, Lib Dem Voice is running a selection of his write-ups of interviews from over the years. The latest is with Tony Greaves, dating from 2004.

There is something a little incongruous about the notion of the Liberal Democrats’ oldest angry young man donning the ermine of a peer of the realm.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

The Independent View: Lib Dem peers kill local referendums

On the 10th of October the House of Lords killed off the prospect of voters getting the power to initiate referendums on local issues. Up until then the Localism Bill had contained a modest proposal to give local people in England the power to call non-binding referendums on local issues if 5% of their fellow voters supported them. The proposal was hedged in with safeguards and protections to ensure that it did not contravene national laws or go beyond the powers of the local authority.

But the hopes that this could see revival of local democracy with citizens being given the …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Conference preview: party strategy

When I last made a broad-brush comment about how many conference strategy motions pass without leaving much of a trace behind, Tony Greaves pointed out the major exception to that: the Community Politics strategy motion of 1970. When it comes to details mattering, the triple lock mechanism from the No Glass Ceilings strategy paper also turned out to be important, as we saw last year.

The prime author of this year’s strategy paper is one of the founding fathers of Community Politics and the author of the triple lock, Gordon Lishman. The related motion being debated on Sunday morning at the Liberal Democrat spring conference may be lengthy but is unlikely to have the same impact of either of those two other texts. It can be summarised as, “We’re an independent party and we don’t want any pre-election deals”.

The motion rules out pre-election pacts or any preferences for post-election partners and sets out a five point list for how the party should decide who to make any future post-election deal with. Unlike the triple lock, this list is likely to have little lasting value as the political and media pressures to have a simple, clear one sentence answer to such questions means the list will be stripped down to a much shorter position as the next election nears – and it’s the debate over that which is what will really matter.

Tempting though it is to find reason to object to the motion calling for the party to win elections … I suspect the motion itself will not be controversial (unless there is an amendment submitted which kicks off a dispute). Rather, it will give people the opportunity to talk on a wide range of matters and it is the tone and balance of those contributions which will be the more revealing and, possibly, the more influential.

An overwhelming vote for a motion that says no to pre-election pacts and no to picking a preferred post-election partner may also be useful in both quieting some of the more fanciful speculation in the Conservatives and the media, and also in reminding one or two Liberal Democrats what the party overall thinks.

The full text of the strategy motion (F16) is in the conference agenda and directory embedded below.

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference Agenda and Directory 2011

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: Interpreting the internal election results

The bare bones of the internal party election results were set out here on Saturday showing who had been elected by conference reps to the various committees.

The detailed results for the Federal Executive and the Federal Policy Committee, hosted by Colin Rosenstiel, show some revealing trends when compared with previous years’ election results.

This year, in the Federal Executive elections, Evan Harris came top on first preference by a long stretch with 263 votes. Following him was David Rendel (107) and Ramesh Dewan (77) with others on 55. Evan is clearly identified with the progressive, Social Liberal wing …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 38 Comments

Tory councillor’s racist comments censured

Here’s what a Conservative borough councillor Smith Benson said at a public meeting in Colne, Pendle, last year:

The problem with Colne is that there are too many takeaways. And too many Pakis, that’s why people don’t come to Colne.”

His comment to the Colne town centre regeneration forum – and which he repeated in the meeting when asked to clarify his remarks – led Lib Dem councillor Tony Greaves to complain that Cllr Benson had breached the local authority’s code of conduct: this has been upheld, and the matter has now been referred to Pendle Council’s standards committee.

The BBC reports:

The

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

What the papers say…

Civil  servants are as bad as bankers … The Telegraph trumpets Gladstone’s anniversary … Tories support Labour’s school Sats Tests … Another dodgy Tory donor exposed … Labour split on voting reform … Lords skim expenses cream … BBC to make film on Thorpe tragedy … what Chris Huhne thinks of Prince Charles … Unions sit on money for Labour … look at who says Hauge is Vauge …and the only thing the final polls of the year can agree upon is that Liberal Democrat support is holding up

Now Civil Servants join bankers in ludicrous bonuses – Daily Mail,, 24.12.09

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | Leave a comment

Will Tory Barnet’s ‘Ryanair Council’ model backfire?

There’s been plenty of reaction to yesterday’s Guardian story in which Tory-controlled Barnet council revelled in their plans to adopt the practices of no-frills airlines like Ryanair in their delivery of local services:

Barnet wants householders to pay extra to jump the queue for planning consents, in the way budget airlines charge extra for priority boarding. And as budget airline passengers choose to spend their budget on either flying at peaktime or having an in-flight meal, recipients of adult social care in Barnet will choose to spend a limited budget on whether to have a cleaner or a respite carer or even a holiday to Eastbourne. Other examples of proposed reforms include reducing the size of waste bins to minimise the cost of council rubbish collections.

The proposals are being seen as an example of “new Conservatism” which is spreading among Tory-controlled boroughs. Observers believe “radical outriders” such as Barnet offer a glimpse of how a David Cameron government could overhaul public service provision in an era of heavy spending cuts.

The Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh has dug out a couple of revealing quotes, first from Tory Barnet councillor John Hart:

With council tenants, and I’ll admit I am putting it crudely, it has been a lot of ‘my arse needs wiping, and somebody from the council can come and do it for me’.”

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

New Lib Dem team announced for the Lords

Lord Thomas of Gresford has become Shadow Lord Chancellor with oversight of all the Law Officers and of legal reform. This follows Lord Goodhart’s appointment as Chair of the Delegated Powers Committee and changes in the designation of Government departments. Lord McNally and Lord Tyler will cover Constitutional Affairs, including reform of the House of Lords.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer will continue to lead the Defra team in which Lord Redesdale and Lord Teverson will cover energy, with environment, food and rural affairs continuing to be covered by Baroness Miller. Lord Redesdale becomes an agriculture spokesperson. Lord Dykes and Lord …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | Leave a comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJRC 23rd Nov - 2:37am
    Tsar Nicholas, we all knew what she meant because we all feel what we think she meant. The reason she should have resigned is that...
  • User AvatarMoggy 23rd Nov - 1:17am
    @Nigel Cheeseman - out in the real world there were two choices in the Rochester and Strood byelection, UKIP or Tory. The real choice was...
  • User AvatarAmalric 23rd Nov - 12:53am
    @ Paul Walter Please accept my apologies I got carried away. Both you and Brian Paddick did remember and mention the counting in and counting...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 23rd Nov - 12:53am
    @ Tsar Nicolas " whether some European leaders were being blackmailed into going along with US foreign policy" Whereas it is clear that most of...
  • User AvatarJudy Abel 23rd Nov - 12:11am
    Was at cinema this evening and thought clip was a trailer for a new film at first - when I saw it was for a...
  • User AvatarHywel 23rd Nov - 12:09am
    "Thousands of people every year decide that they can be ‘the boss’, but rather than creating the next Facebook, they simply innovate in the industry...