Tag Archives: weekend debate

The weekend debate: Is mandatory arbitration the answer to public transport strikes?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

With the Olympics approaching and not all the details of staff conditions on London’s public transport settled, talk of how easy or not it should be to call a strike is often popping up in political debates. The answer from many Conservatives is to make strikes harder by demanding a minimum turnout threshold for strikes. That idea often runs into criticism and the one time I’ve sent a tweet which trended on the front page of Twitter’s website in its old guise …

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The weekend debate: should benefits for pensioners be restricted?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith have both been arguing within the government for rich pensioners to have their benefits cut:

Nick Clegg is backing calls for cuts in pension benefits such as winter fuel payments and free bus passes. David Cameron is said to be adamant that the Tories should keep to a pledge made before the general election that the payments remain. But Clegg is understood to have told colleagues he wants the winter payments and free TV licences cut

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The Weekend Debate: Bank of England independence – an economic success story or a well-intentioned failure?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The Liberal Democrat 1997 manifesto said the following:

We will turn the Bank of England into a UK Reserve Bank, free from political interference. We will charge the Bank with keeping inflation low and make it accountable to Parliament for achieving this goal.

Of course after Labour’s landslide victory in that election, one of Gordon Brown’s first decisions as chancellor was to borrow this Lib Dem policy and essentially transfer responsibility for monetary policy to the Bank of England.

Most Labour politicians look back on …

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The Weekend Debate: Who’d get your 2nd preference after Brian in the race for London Mayor?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This Thursday, millions of voters will go to the polls to cast their votes in local elections. And although London is only one of those elections, its electoral size and the colourful prominence of its candidates means it has got the lion’s share of the media coverage.

For the Lib Dems, Brian Paddick has fought a terrific campaign. The former Metropolitan police chief only narrowly squeaked ahead of Mike Tuffrey for the party’s nomination following what Brian himself has acknowledged was a tricky first outing as a Lib Dem candidate in 2008.

This time round, however, he has more than held his own in the televised debates, while his advertising, social media and online presence has achieved real impact. As I reported last month, the Lib Dems’ London fundraising has been a huge success, allowing the party actively to compete at this election in a way that’s not previously been possible.

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The weekend debate: Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Two questions for you to ponder:

  • Should the Formula 1 Grand Prix go ahead?
  • Do you think the drivers should take personal responsibility for their decisions on whether to drive or not, or is that a decision for someone else and they should do whatever is decided?

Over to you…

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Should Boris Johnson get his way on London’s tax take?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Incumbent Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson has developed plans for Londoners to keep more of the tax revenue generated in the city to spend on better public services. Boris said the capital should be getting a greater return from the tax it contributes to the exchequer.

According to the Evening Standard the equivalent of £2,500 for every Londoner goes to other parts of the UK rather than being spent on public services in the capital.

Boris Johnson said that London should no longer be …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Should Lib Dems support the pasty tax?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The details of the budget have been trailed extensively in the media and the blogosphere. We’ve had the increase in the personal income tax allowance, we’ve had the ‘granny tax’ and we’ve had a new stamp duty level of 7% for homes worth more than £2m. There were always going to be winners and losers in this fiscally neutral budget. But arguably the one measure that affects every self-respecting Briton is …

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The weekend debate: Who are the five most influential women of all time?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Borrowing from Lynne Featherstone’s blog:

It’s International Women’s Day on Thursday – and my local paper, The Journal,  have asked me to name my top 5 influential women of all time.

I know who mine are but who would be yours?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

The weekend debate: Should music be priced by morality?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Sony caught a lot flack this week for initially raising the price on Whitney Houston’s songs after her death (a rise since recanted). Was Sony initially right and the pricing of products like music should be left to market forces? Or was Sony’s second view right and is there also a moral angle? If so, which prices does it cover and when?

Post your comments below…

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The weekend debate: When should an MP rebel against their party?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

In the Australian system even a single rebellion against your party can mean the whip is withdrawn but in the UK we’re much more used to MPs ‘crossing the floor’ and voting against their party.

In fact there’s been a fair amount of coverage on Lib Dem Voice of Mark Pack’s research on the number of backbench Lib Dem MPs who have rebelled against the government since the last election.

One could argue that MPs have a duty to vote with the party …

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The weekend debate: Should Stephen Hester accept his bonus?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Since the £963, 000 shares bonus for RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester has been revealed there have been opinions pouring out from across the political spectrum.

When Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of a “failure of leadership” over it, Cameron promptly distanced himself from the process altogether, with George Osborne claiming it was due to rules put in place by Labour.

Boris Johnson seems to be against it, as is our usually economically …

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The weekend debate: Should we do business with people who don’t share our values?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The weekend debates have been light on foreign policy so far, so for those foreign policy buffs out there here’s one inspired by our former leader.

Over at Ted talks, Paddy Ashdown has been discussing ‘the global power shift’ from the West to the rest and in particular to the nations around the Pacific rim.

He touches on a lot of areas, including what the future of global governance might look like, how long American power might remain dominant and the growth of …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

The weekend debate: Should we end the bargain booze bonanza?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Just in time to kill everyone’s new year buzz David Cameron has announced government plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in England, similar to recent proposals by the Scottish government.

The details are still to be confirmed but the proposed system could stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets and cost drinkers up to £700 million a year.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

The weekend debate: Should former MPs get to keep their parliamentary passes?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This week saw the revelation in the Independent that there are now 326 former MPs who hold Former Members’ Passes.

The passes allow them access to bring guests into the House of Commons and book restaurants with family in the Palace of Westminster. The Independent raises worries that former MPs may be using these passes to further there lobbying careers.

Former speaker Michael Martin introduced the scheme to allow former MPs to keep up with friends in Parliament but should former MPs have …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

The weekend debate: Lobbying

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

It has been a week of scandal surrounding the lobbying industry, with The Independent publishing a series of stories based around the claims of the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger to be able to influence government policy.

The consultants at Bell Pottinger made claims to undercover reporters that they had already influenced government policy and could do so again for a fee. The government initially responded by saying these claims were rubbish but later conceded that lobbying from companies did have some impact.

So who’s …

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The weekend debate: Should the Government send a King James Bible to every school?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Michael Gove is planning to send a King James Bible to every school in the UK to mark the 400th anniversary of its translation, with a short introduction written by himself.

The National Secular Society has criticised the decision and believe that there are already enough bibles in British schools.

So, is this a worthwhile celebration of an important part of British history or is it a waste of money that could …

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The weekend debate: Who would you send to Mars?

NASA’s latest astronaut recruitment drive is talking about sending people to Mars. They are looking for people with advanced degrees in engineering, maths, biology or the physical sciences. You can’t be shorter than 5’2″ or taller than 6’3″. Pilots with more than 1,000 hours of flight time are desired; so are educators.

And of course you’ll need a sense of daring!

But let’s forget all that and think instead about the more whimsical idea of who we’d like to send a few million miles away.

The only rules are: stick to …

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

The weekend debate: Are Lib Dems too pro-European?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

With the looming debt crisis in the Eurozone and Eurosceptics from across the political divide baying for blood, the LDV weekend debate couldn’t resist the pressure any longer.

So, with people openly talking about the possibility of the end of the Euro as we know it, and Europe seemingly in crisis, are Lib Dem Ministers taking the right decisions for the party and the country as a whole?

The party has long been …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 59 Comments

The weekend debate: Is it time to end the ban on political TV advertising?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

A few weeks ago a campaign advert made by ONE, an organisation founded by Bono (of U2 fame) was banned from TV because it breaches political advertising rules. 

Many people seeing this story for the first time might be quite pleased not to have to deal with the unbearable smugness of Bono on their TV screen again. But outside of any personal dislike of a particular celebrity, politician or political party is this an issue where broadcast regulations are simply out of …

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The weekend debate: Would Mitt Romney make a better President than Barack Obama?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over the last three years Obama has had to concede much of his programme to Republicans in Congress. His healthcare reforms had to be significantly watered down even before Republicans won back the House of Representatives in 2010. And the reforms themselves have since acted as a lightning rod for criticism of the President.

Obama is struggling to get the economy going again amid continued turbulence in the global economy and unemployment is staying stubbornly high despite the massive £800 billion stimulus package. …

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Is there nothing left to vote for?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over on the BBC, Noel Gallagher has been talking about the last election and attempting to explain why he almost didn’t vote at all. In the end he voted for the Pirate Party because “there’s nothing cooler than a pirate”.

He went on to say:

 The Labour Party have managed, proved themselves to be just as sleazy and horrible as we all know the Conservatives are. There’s nothing left to vote for anymore.

Now as Liberal Democrats we know there’s an alternative but with …

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The weekend debate: Does the Prime Minister’s pay make a useful yardstick?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The level of the Prime Minister’s pay has become a widely used yardstick for other public sector pay – which suggestions of extra scrutiny for the pay deals of people who are paid more than the PM and counts or complaints about how many people are paid more.

But does the Prime Minister’s pay (or rather salary and pension, for the benefits in kind such as accommodation are rarely factored in) make for a sensible yardstick? And if not, is there an alternative …

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The weekend debate: Old versus young at work

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

During the week Foreign Secretary William Hague talked of having a network of diplomats who are past their retirement age of 60 but can be called on to help out at times of international crisis. However Labour MP Frank Roy attacked the idea saying that the Foreign Office instead should be “nurturing young talent”.

What’s your view on this and more generally – should we do more to keep on the skills of people beyond 60, or should people be promptly moved out …

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The weekend debate: How ethical should our foreign policy be?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The military coup in Egypt was met with widespread international support – because it deposed President Mubarak. Similarly, the sending of troops into Libya by Britain and other countries to help people leave has been met with barely a whisper of concern about whether or not troops should be sent into another country without any UN motion or similar. Yet pragmatism and self-interest is hardly all the rage – for Tony Blair’s attitude to Libya has been coming under much criticism as has …

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The weekend debate: House prices, up or down?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Either actual or projected falls in house prices are almost always described as bad news in both the media and political circles. Yet it is also common to hear people complain about the lack of affordable housing, difficulties getting together a sufficient deposit or problems with the cost of mortgages – and those complaints have been common in both times of boom and bust.

So if predictions for a fall in house prices this year turn out to be right, will that be …

Posted in Op-eds | 44 Comments

The weekend debate: Is it part of government’s role to encourage political campaigning?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

During the week, Lord McNally said in Parliament, as part of an answer to a written question, that “The Government do not have a role in encouraging party political activity on the ground”.

Is he right: should it be part of the government’s role to encourage party political activity or should government have nothing to do with it? For example, should the government fund (directly or indirectly) publicity campaigns to encourage people to get involved in politics, including via parties? Should it …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

The weekend debate: How do we make government think long term?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

“We must think long term” is a common cry in politics and government. Far easier said than done, but whether it is investing in early years education, making decisions over building new physical infrastructure such as railways, setting rules for pensions or a myriad of other decisions, government repeatedly makes decisions which only work well if they are stuck to for a long period of time and whose positive impact may not be directly felt for many years. For example, the failure …

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

The weekend debate: Paying, or not paying, taxes

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Here’s an issue which often comes up when tax avoidance and evasion is talked about on this site. Is tax avoidance acceptable, i.e. is it morally acceptable to follow any and every legal means to avoid paying tax? And why (or why not)?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 33 Comments

The weekend debate: Was Beveridge right to oppose the creation of a welfare state?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Though he is often thought of as the father of the modern welfare state in this country, William Beveridge in fact had other views on the matter. As he said of the Beveridge report, the aim, “was not security through a welfare state but security by cooperation between the state and the individual”. In other words, the state should assist people in achieving self-reliance (and so the contributory principle in the report) rather than being simply a benevolent charity writ large (and …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 71 Comments

The Saturday debate: Does Britain need nuclear weapons?

Here’s your starter for ten in our Saturday slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

One of the achievements of the Liberal Democrats in Coalition Government so far has been to ensure that no Trident replacement is orders during this Parliament. At the next election the party will be able to say, “We said we opposed Labour and Tory plans for replacing Trident – and those plans haven’t happened”. But is that going far enough; should Britain retain nuclear weapons at all – and if not, when and how should it give them up?

Agree? Disagree? Post your

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 47 Comments
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