Tories cheat like a Vote Leave campaign over crucial customs union vote

This country is currently on a path to economic self-destruction because of a narrow vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Today we discovered that the Vote Leave campaign had cheated. And, by the way, that monumental news isn’t even on the BBC’s front page any more.

Tonight, this country was helped along its path to economic self-destruction  because of a narrow vote – 307-301 against an amendment which would have kept us in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The desperate Tory government pulled a particularly dirty trick to win that vote.

The pairing system has long been a civilising feature of our Parliament. When an MP is indisposed for some reason or needs a night off, they can be paired with an MP who would vote the opposite way. Imagine the sorts of circumstances that you might need that in – maybe a dying parent, or a sick child, or your own illness, or being on maternity leave. Tonight, Jo Swinson, whose baby is just two weeks old, was paired with Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis. He voted in the crunch votes. He didn’t vote in the earlier votes.  Jo was justifiably furious:

The incident even got a Twitter moment.

After a couple of hours, Lewis tweeted that it had been an honest mistake:

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Whip issues apology over Trade Bill vote

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has issued a statement following yesterday’s vote on the Taxation (Cross-border trade) Bill:

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Labour in turmoil over the definition of anti-semitism

Yesterday the Parliamentary Labour Party voted to adopt the IHRA definiton of anti-semitism, in defiance of Labour’s NEC, which recently produced its own definition:

While Labour’s internal machinations are in a sense none of our business, I do think there are lessons to learn for all of us here. Anti-semitism is by no means confined to the Labour Party, and where we wish to criticise Israel, let us not undermine the moral force of our arguments by carelessly straying into anti-semitic territory.

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Our achievements in York

Since 2015 and the formation of City of York Council’s Joint Administration, York has continued to develop as a leading city in the UK, receiving much praise and attention along the way.

However, it is important to reflect on what we as Liberal Democrats have achieved for local residents and for the City.

In 2015, in a difficult set of elections for the party nationally, we gained four councillors in York. This was a great achievement and in this article, I outline seven of our major achievements to date, both in administration and in serving our local communities. I also outline our Fair Deal campaign for the future. 

  1. Frontline investment: 

Frontline services have been our number one priority in administration. Despite the massive cuts to the Council’s budget by the Conservative Government, we have launched an ambitious £20 million investment programme in our roads, footpaths and public spaces, as well as ensuring that residents continue to receive their first green garden waste bin at no cost. More recently, in June 2018, we committed a further £1 million investment in waste and recycling, green spaces and support for our local high streets.

  1. Clean Air Zone:

In 2017, York became the first city in the UK to have a fully electric Park & Ride fleet, thanks to a £3.3 million investment. Building on this, City of York Council is now well on its way to delivering the UK’s first Clean Air Zone, thanks to the efforts of Liberal Democrat Councillors. The Clean Air Zone will aim to introduce Ultra Low Emission standards as a minimum requirement for all buses on busy routes.

  1. Community Stadium:

Construction is well underway on the new Community Stadium and Leisure Complex, which will be a great facility for football, rugby league and leisure in York. Steel frames are now in place to construct the leisure site and stadium stands. This achievement builds on our record with leisure and swimming, having saved the Edwardian Yearsley Swimming Pool from closure in 2015.

  1. Local Plan: 

After decades without one, we have submitted a Local Plan for York to the Planning Inspector, avoiding the risk of Government intervention in York’s future. Our Local Plan, if passed by the Government, will deliver the housing we need in the city, whilst protecting York’s unique character.

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Trump; explaining the inexplicable

President Trump’s erratic and contradictory ‘negotiation’ behaviour over NATO, EU and the UK sends British officials off in a frenzy of textual analysis.

It might be more productive for UK policymaking however, to assess the underlying motives of, and domestic pressures on, Trump.

Trump’s core aim is to address US government debt, and close off a series of related economic vulnerabilities; potentially catastrophic for general US global negotiating strength.

Why?

US aggregate debt is likely to exceed 106% of GDP in 2018 according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). A level not seen since WW2. This …

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How we can stop a hard Brexit NOW: The case for the EFTA option

Brexit is an absolute shambles.

Theresa May’s new Chequers deal did little to convince her own cabinet, let alone anybody else, and Labour in opposition are offering nothing either. All the while Britain is bitterly divided, and appears to be close to taking a long walk off of a short pier.

There is however a ready-made solution that could sort this mess out, and that is for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This arrangement already works well for Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and it could work well for Britain too.

By joining the EFTA Britain would remain in the single market, providing peace of mind to the business community, and the hundreds of workers whose jobs currently hang in the balance. We would also have access to the trade agreements that the EFTA states already have with Canada, Mexico and others, which would further alleviate the economic risks of a hard Brexit. In addition, EFTA countries have a significant amount of influence over single market legislation, which May’s plan would not give us. EEA membership would also allow us to retain freedom of movement, which would secure the futures of over 3 million EU citizens currently living here, that this government is ready to betray.

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Rebecca Trimnell picked as PPC for Gloucester

Local resident Dr Rebecca Trimnell has been picked to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Gloucester at the next General Election.

Rebecca, who lives in the Westgate area of the city, was chosen by Lib Dem party members from a shortlist of two at a selection meeting in the city on Saturday night. She will take on Conservative MP Richard Graham and Labour’s Fran Boait at the next General Election, which could happen at anytime between now and 2022.

Rebecca, 39, who lives in the shadow of St Oswald’s Priory, is a former researcher …

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Abandon Tory #BrexitShambles…

Harold Wilson once said “a week is a long time in politics”… The last few days make that sound like an understatement.

Last Sunday I offered something to Liberal Democrat Voice suggesting that it’s time to switch the language on Brexit into an explicit attack on “Tory Brexit”. The resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson take that a great deal further. I’m writing this now wondering whether there will be another resignation before it is read on Liberal Democrat Voice, and whether we will be in another Tory leadership contest, or hurtling into a General Election.

There’s been forceful …

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The Young Liberals need to take themselves more seriously… and the party does too

When I joined the party eight years ago I was surprised at the disdain some held for the Young Liberals (formerly Liberal Youth). Infighting, popularity contests and a distinct lack of coherent long-term objectives are all things which have came to epitomise the Young Liberals, and sadly much of that is true.

Our party can be daunting for young members so when I joined the party back in 2010 the thing which kept me involved was the youth wing. The knowledge that, somewhere within the party, there was a person not too dissimilar from me who was able to speak out …

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Welcome to my day: 16 July 2018 – are the tectonic plates of British politics shifting?

An opinion poll this weekend showed a significant shift from the Conservatives to UKIP, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise given the reaction to Theresa May’s proposals for Brexit. If, and one cannot be too cautious here, it is an early sign that Brexit supporters will desert the Conservatives if she proceeds as outlined, the beneficiaries are likely to be Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Of course, it might also cause Theresa May to revert to a more hardline approach…

But, whilst the experts and the commentariat pick through the entrails, we’ve got a website to run. And we start …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #524


Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 524th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the
Aggregator (8-14 July, 2018), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Now is not the time for the BBC to be cutting back its political programmes

This week the BBC announced changes to its political programming. When I say changes, I mean cuts. BBC Parliament will just cover Parliament and the devolved assemblies when they are sitting and the UK wide Sunday Politics is axed.

The main changes are outlined here:

A new team giving better digital and social coverage – including podcasts – of politics and parliament for audiences who are increasingly getting their news online, especially on mobiles. In an era of concerns about misinformation and ‘echo chambers’ this is designed to bring trusted impartial political coverage to younger audiences

A new daily political programme –

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Brexit contradictions and scary polls – how do we escape from the mess?

So Theresa May tells Brexiteers in the Mail on Sunday that they had better back her or there’ll be no Brexit yet on Andrew Marr, she trots out that old phrase “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

We’re all over the place here. The only option that gives us any control at all over what happens, ironically, is staying in the EU. Then we’ll have influence over the rules that affect us. Theresa May’s White Paper is unpalatable to the Brexiteers who see it as tying us too closely to the EU and to Remainers who don’t see the point in something that gives us less than we currently have with no say on any future changes. No deal is akin to jumping out of an aeroplane at 20,000 feet and convincing yourself that if you land in a soft pile of manure you won’t hurt yourself.

Vince had this to say, which is all very sensible

Within a few hours Theresa May moves from saying Brexit might not happen to casting the spectre of ‘no deal’ and all the disastrous consequences that would entail for the country. These mixed messages and confusions show she is not in charge of negotiations – the Conservatives spent two years to reach a chaotic position that is unworkable.

Trump’s ‘advice’ again illustrates how ill-informed he is and that his interest in Brexit is not to help the UK but to create mayhem.

But then I’m finding myself becoming a bit cynical. Could all the confusion be deliberate?

Remember how confusion was a deliberate tactic during the referendum? One minute you’d have Brexiteers saying “But it’s fine cos we’ll stay in the single market” and the next that we’d be free of the EU and not having to abide by any of its rules. Creating that confusion was deliberate because the Leave campaign didn’t care about the issues. They just wanted to create enough anger to persuade people to give the establishment a kicking.  And it worked.

May seems to be trying the same tactic now, generating anger so that people are focused on that rather than the nightmare process of leaving the EU.

How much better would it be to deal with the cause of the discontent as Chris Bowers said earlier and I‘ve been saying for a long time that we need to inspire with a vision of what a liberal society could look like and how it is much more likely to happen if we forget about this Brexit business?

This Government’s approach to Brexit has been criminally irresponsible. Surely when there’s talk of stockpiling food – and not that much each either, as Adam Bernard pointed out on Twitter:

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WATCH: Christine Jardine speaks to anti Trump demo

It was a fine day at the Trump protest yesterday. The photo shows some of the Scottish Lib Dem contingent before we went to the pub to watch sports and drank ridiculous amounts of Prosecco.

My favourite banner was so rude that I definitely can’trepeat it here. To paraphrase, it suggested a name we might like to call the President if only he had warmth and depth.

Our speaker at the demo was Christine Jardine, MP for Edinburgh West. Here she is quoting Bobby Kennedy saying that we don’t need division and hatred but wisdom, compassion and love.

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We need a two pronged approach to Brexit

Theresa May’s travails suggest we may be close to a breakthrough on Brexit, but we need a new strategy. Normally if you’re making progress, your strategy is working, but something different is required for the final push. Let me explain.

There’s only one way to make sense of Brexit, and that’s to realise that it has nothing to do with the UK leaving the European Union. Or only peripherally. How else does one explain a situation that is already making Britain poorer, hitting hardest those keenest on being out of the EU? How else does one explain the vehemence with which anti-EU views are held, and the ease with which the supposed facts underlying this vehemence can so easily be discredited? And where will we go when we’ve left the EU but the very things the Leavers voted for – primarily lower immigration and greater sovereignty – just don’t happen?

Brexit is largely a protest. Not exclusively – there are some reasonable people who believe we’d be better off outside the EU (though the ones I’ve met have a fairly garbled understanding of how much sovereignty the EU actually has), and the future of the EU is itself somewhat hazy. But Brexit is Britain’s version of the rust belt revolt, a revolt partly based on genuine hardship, and partly motivated by how things seem. Traditional sources of work have gone, workers in eastern Europe and the developing world are paid a pittance to undercut British workers, immigration is out of control such that you can’t get to see your doctor but those who speak a different language have no difficulty, and the shop you knew in your childhood as a hard-working grocer’s is now a delicatessen run by someone from abroad. Oh and those City-types in London are doing rather too well for themselves.

It doesn’t matter how much of this is true. The fact that it seems to be true is enough. Add the growth of social media that allows the spread of views that go unchallenged, plus the relentless anti-Europe bombardment from certain tabloids, and even the most cogent anti-Brexit arguments fail to dent many people’s visceral commitment to it.

The result is that if Brexit implodes and we end up not leaving the EU, there will be masses of anger against the liberal elite, which could create a very dangerous situation. And in electoral terms, the result of an exit from Brexit could be an even bigger backlash against the Liberal Democrats than we suffered in 2015. Getting a referendum which we then win (and getting it may prove easier than winning it) won’t be enough to see off this anger. Somehow we have to separate membership of the EU from the sense vast swathes of Britain’s rust belt have that no-one is listening to them.

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Why I’m one of the many #libdemsagainstTrump today

I asked on Twitter this morning what the worst thing about Donald Trump was. Many of the replies I got were variations on the theme of “everything.”

It is rare that you find a human being with so little empathy for others and so few saving graces. When that person has so much global power and influence, it’s utterly terrifying.

It’s not just about his racism which leads him to ban people of a certain religion and decry Mexicans as rapists and slag off the most prominent Muslim politician in the UK. It’s not just about the ingrained misogyny which leads him to boast about sexually assaulting women. It’s not just that he is more comfortable with the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un than he is with Justin Trudeau. It’s not just that he is stitching up the Supreme Court and with it threatening human, reproductive, workers’ rights for generations. (Let’s not forget that his current nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who spent the 1990s persecuting  Bill Clinton, now thinks that no sitting President should be subject to criminal investigation). It’s not just that he brags about separating children from their parents and detaining them in soulless camps on the Mexican borders. It’s not just that he is doing the work of a deeply unpleasant Russian dictator for him. Who wins if Europe, the EU and NATO are destabilised? Putin, of course. And I’ll just leave here the news that you may have missed amid yesterday’s trail of chaos and destruction the entirely unrelated news that 12 Russians were indicted for interference in the election that Trump so narrowly won.

Any single one of these things is enough of a reason to protest. Together they are compelling.

How good would it have been yesterday if Theresa May had channelled Hugh Grant from Love Actually and ripped Trump a new one in the Chequers press conference? It was never going to happen, because our position in the world is so weakened because of Brexit, but someone has to stand up to the very real danger he poses to every civilised value that we have until now taken for granted.

But what is the point in protesting? It’s not going to change anything, is it?

Well, sitting at home while this appalling man takes a sledgehammer to the values I hold dear isn’t an option for me. Of course he’s not going to change his ways just because a few hundred thousand of the people he can’t stand take to the streets.

I hope that the coverage of the demonstrations gives some comfort to his targets, though. That they will know that people thousands of miles away stand with them.

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LibLink: Layla Moran: Don’t be fooled: The Chequers Plan is economic suicide

You might be fooled into believing, because of the gnashing of teeth amongst the Tory Brexiteers, that the plan thrashed out at Chequers, on which today’s White Paper was based, is hardly any Brexit at all.

Don’t believe that fiction, says Layla Moran, writing for Politics.co.uk.

First, though, she compares and contrasts two holders of that high office of state of Foreign Secretary:

The contrast between Carrington and Johnson is striking. Carrington served in Churchill’s cabinet yet was the more modern figure, seeing the importance of nations working for the common good. Johnson, in contrast, invited a photographer to capture for posterity his

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Inequality and taxation

Since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher came to power, politicians – sadly including many in our own party – have denigrated taxation, reduced the levels of income tax and switched tax from income and wealth to consumption. All mainstream political parties have perpetuated the myth that you can have low taxes and good public services. When I first worked, in the late sixties, the basic rate of income tax was 33% and the top rate was 98%. This had persisted since the war, regardless of which of the main parties was in power. The basis for these levels of taxation was the need to pay for public services, including a good number in public ownership. There was also a view that the gap between the bottom and top of the income scale should not be too large. Broadly people accepted this post war settlement, except of course for a few very highly paid individuals – like the Rolling Stones, who went to live abroad.

Mrs Thatcher, a disciple of economist Milton Friedman, changed all that. Tax rates at the top plummeted to 60% (and later to as low as 45%) and basic rates declined a little. Soon taxation on consumption was to rise and there were new taxes too. The argument used was that income tax was stifling enterprise and that letting people keep more of their own money would incentivise them to invest and develop new businesses. The corollary was that there was less money for public services and an inexorable squeeze on those services was started by Mrs Thatcher, continued by John Major and compounded by Gordon Brown. The coalition made it worse.

At the same time inequality started to get worse. Over time the ratio of top earners pay to shop floor workers’ pay went up from about 4:1 in the immediate post war years, then to 10:1 and much more in some cases, even as high as 50:1. Peter Mandelson may have been relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they paid their taxes, but the effects of this huge widening of inequality has had devastating effects on our society, as detailed in ‘The Spirit Level’ by Kate Pickett et al.

The reductions in income tax continued, urged on by the millionaire owners of the press and media. Despite the big increases in personal allowances the gap between the top and bottom has continued to grow and with it the breakdown of the caring society some of us still remember. The politics of envy, stoked by the advertising industry, create a society filled with anxiety, mental illness and violence. In many areas people don’t even know their neighbours, let alone love them. Gated communities tell you just how uncaring we have become.

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Inequality in society harms our mental health – how can we fix it?

“Wealth is not a measure of worth. But low income is related to feelings of inferiority.” Across a range of countries, studies have shown, the experience of poverty leads to people believing they have failed themselves for being poor, and accepting that others feel like that about them.

This is part of the remarkable findings of professors Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, epidemiologists, whom I heard giving a talk on inequality on Wednesday night in a Keswick church.

Speaking alternately and informally, the professors reminded an attentive audience of how common it is for people to feel inadequate in social gatherings. They may feel they aren’t dressed correctly, can’t make small talk, and are scared of being judged. Sometimes people find social contact so difficult that they withdraw from social life. 

“Yet social contact is crucial to health and to happiness”, the speakers said.

They explained that income inequality is linked to anxiety about social status. There has been a study across 28 European nations of social anxiety, looking at it in relation to different income levels in these societies. The study found that there is more anxiety about status in unequal societies, and the more inequality, the greater the anxiety.

It was apparently known ten years ago when the two professors’ important book ‘The Spirit Level’ was published that there was more mental illness in more unequal societies. But studies of social psychologists, they told us, had led them to understand how this may happen. People made to feel they are inferior will sometimes struggle against the feeling, but others will accept it, internalise a feeling of subordination and submission, and become more prone to depression.

Other psychological effects of living in a more unequal society, the speakers continued, include more wrong self-estimation. Apparently in the USA 96% of drivers think that their driving is better than the average! In Sweden it is 66%. The greater the inequality, the greater is the tendency for people to be narcissistic, so that it becomes difficult to tell the differences between self-esteem and narcissism. (And “It’s awful if narcissism gets to a position of power!” they added, to rueful laughter from the audience.)

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Observations of an ex pat: America without NATO

Can he do it? The latest NATO summit ended with the alliance still intact, but Donald Trump has opened the door to an American exit with the chilling words: “It is presently unnecessary” to withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Which means that it is still on the table.

Trump is angry that his alliance partners are slow in reaching the defence spending target of two percent of GDP by 2025. In fact he wants them to double the target to four percent. After all, America is spending 4.8 percent according to Trump (3.5 percent according to government accountants).

If they don’t? Well, that’s when he might start heading for the door he has just left ajar.  Which brings us back to the question: Can he do it? As well as the questions of the impact on Europe, America and the wider world.

In theory it would seem that Trump would need the support of Congress to withdraw from the Western Alliance. But political practice points in the opposite direction.

Under the terms of the American constitution all treaties and alliances need the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Senate. Once ratified they become part of “the supreme law of the land”. Exactly what this means, however, is open to interpretation. Founding father Thomas Jefferson interpreted it as meaning that revoking a treaty would also require approval from two-thirds of the senate.

But more recent practice indicates otherwise. In 2002 George W. Bush decided to unilaterally withdraw from the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The Leader of the Senate said nothing. Several democratic senators decided to sue in the courts to force a vote. It was rejected by the Washington DC federal judge partly because the Senate had already failed to adequately assert its powers and because the judge ruled: “Issues concerning treaties are largely political questions best left to the political branches of government, not the courts, for resolution.”

This treaty business cuts both ways. There are several treaties effectively in force without Senate approval. In each case, the White House enforced the treaty through executive decree because it feared rejection by the Senate. These include Salt Two, the Law of the Sea Convention, Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and many others.

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++Lib Dems gain from Tories in Southwold and Reydon

Congratulations to David Beavan and team on a stunning win in Southwold and Reydon.

This was a by-election for Waveney council caused by the sad death of Conservative councillor Sue Allen.

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Swinson: President’s Club trustees should be disqualified for sickening culture of sexual harassment

Back in January, the FT exposed a disgusting culture of sexual harassment at an annual gathering of rich men held under the auspices of a charity.

Madison Marriage’s report outlined some of the abuse that these women had to put up with:

Over the course of six hours, many of the hostesses were subjected to groping, lewd comments and repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester.

Many of the hostesses were subjected to groping, lewd comments and requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester

Hostesses reported men repeatedly putting hands up their skirts; one said an attendee had exposed his penis to her during the evening.

At the time, Jo Swinson called for the Charity Commission to investigate. They have now produced their report which states that women were let down but doesn’t deliver much in the way of consequences.

From The Guardian:

They were also found to have not done enough to prevent staff being harassed or to have investigated the allegations properly afterwards.

“The trustees thought insufficiently about the welfare of the women hired to work at their charity’s event while taking careful steps to protect the privacy of the male guests attending the dinner,” said the regulator’s chief executive, Helen Stephenson.

“Charities and their fundraising events should be places were all people are protected from harm, and where all people are treated with respect and care. It is clear from our findings that the trustees of the Presidents Club failed to put the proper steps in place to ensure the dinner fully met those expectations.”

Jo has said that the President’s Club trustees should have been disqualified from taking on a similar role in another charity in the future:

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WATCH: Vince Cable explain why we need a #peoplesvote

From yesterday’s Victoria Derbyshire programme:

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A quick shout out to the person who sends out the emails from LDHQ

Much of the information about the Trump protest in London came out in an email to members last night.

I didn’t get it.

This is a very good thing. Because as a Scot, I was getting all the info about the protest in Edinburgh on Saturday at which Christine Jardine is speaking (Meet at the Scottish Parliament at 11:45 am).

Heaven knows, I have whinged when things that affect England only are emailed to Scottish members. We Scots get a bit sensitive about these things.

So, when the lovely people who send the emails get it right, then they deserve the credit.

Thanks!

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Come and join Jo Swinson at the Liberal Democrat anti-Trump protest tomorrow at 2pm #LibDemsAgainstTrump

The party’s website carries this invite to an anti-Trump protest tomorrow:

The Government has made the right decision to cancel Trump’s state visit, but this scaled down trip must not be met with scaled down protests.

Protesting against a man with dangerous, misogynistic and racist views is our responsibility. It is our opportunity to stand in solidarity with all the people he has abused and denigrated.

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What’s your favourite thing about Liberal Democrat Conference?

In just over 9 weeks’ time, thousands of Lib Dems will be packing up and heading to Brighton for four days of serious debate, fun and thought-provoking fringe meetings.

This Saturday, Federal Conference Committee will have a very loooooong meeting to decide how they will fill up four days by the sea.

We’ve had a couple of posts about some of the motions submitted by members. Only a small fraction will make it on to the agenda. If you want to make a pitch for yours, there’s still time – just send …

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Guaranteed income: better than a second hand sandwich

The Ashdown Prize has shown there is a hunger in the Party for new policy and new radical and liberal solutions. A policy to make foodbanks more effective may address an immediate need, but why not instead make it our long-term policy to make them unnecessary?

As it stands, Britain has a system to pay people money if they lack an income. Unless they left their last job voluntarily. Or if they fail to jump through enough hoops to show that they’re looking for work in the DWP-approved manner. Or if they refuse to do unpaid demeaning labour for freeloading corporations. Or if they haven’t yet waited the statutory month of poverty after losing their job. Or if they have an illness that varies in severity, making it hard to assess. Or if they’re self-employed or otherwise on a variable income.

Enough is enough.

We have submitted a motion to FCC to consider for Autumn conference. In it we propose “an unconditional minimum level of income below which no-one is allowed to fall, guaranteed to all long-term UK residents”.

Let’s unpick that.

It’s unconditional. Yes, that means to the nasty undeserving poor that the Daily Express really doesn’t like. Yes, it means that poor people can turn down a job that’d be demeaning or bad for their career progression – just like richer people can do at the moment.

It’s a minimum not a maximum. Targetted payments such as housing benefit and additional expenses incurred by disabled people, would still be additional to this.

It’s guaranteed. It’s a proper safety net. One that’s actually safe, and not liable to be withdrawn because your bus to the JobCentrePlus was late and you missed your appointment. One that doesn’t rely on your intermittent medical condition being bad on the day that you’re booked for assessment.

It’s for all long-term UK residents. Not tied to citizenship. Not tied to people being judged to be “the right sort”. Part of our shared obligation to support everyone who is part of our community.

How might it work? Under one version, every eligible person gets a regular payment, with no strings attached on how they spend it. Tax rates are adjusted so that people who are richer are paying a little more overall to fund the payments; people in the middle stay roughly where they are as the tax rise is compensated by the payment; the poorest people, who are not paying much or any tax, simply gain extra income.

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LibLink: William Wallace Aggressive language from political extremes and media will spark violence against MPs

Our William Wallace writes for Politics Home about the dangers of the language used in political discourse.

Almost at the same time, the Telegraph tweeted this:

Tom Brake was quick to call them out:

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Fancy sending a message to our new Brexit Secretary?

Dominic Raab is a staunch Leave MP representing a constituency which voted strongly to Remain.

He was elevated to the Cabinet after David Davies’ resignation presumably because Theresa May was doing everything she could do to avoid giving the job to Michael Gove.

He and the Prime Minister crossed swords before, back in 2011, when he referred to feminist ideas as “obnoxious bigotry”

If you want to learn more about him, he actually wrote on this site back in 2015. The comments tell you a bit more about why.

Later that year, during the election campaign, Tim Farron said he represented

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Global Disability Summit

People with disabilities account for 1 billion of the world’s population. Too often they are among the most marginalised and discriminated against groups – and too often international development efforts have continued to leave them behind.

The upcoming Global Disability Summit, held in London on 24th July, is a chance to change this by building on the work of Liberal Democrats in government to promote disability-inclusive development. The Summit, hosted by DFID, the government of Kenya, and the International Disability Alliance will be the first of its kind with attendees from governments and NGOs from across the world.

A liberal worldview recognises the inherent value of every individual, and as Liberal Democrats, we must challenge the inequalities faced by people with disabilities in developing countries.

In government, the Liberal Democrats helped lead the change on disability-inclusive development. Lynne Featherstone championed the rights of people with disabilities during her time at DFID. Her work led to the ground-breaking Disability Framework – putting disability at the heart of what DFID does and ensuring it moved from a ‘tick box exercise’ to being mainstreamed across all of DFID’s work.

It’s common sense that all programmes should reach people with disabilities – schools should be accessible, healthcare inclusive, stigma challenged – the individual recognised and given the opportunity to flourish.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 2 Comments
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  • User AvatarJoe Otten 17th Jul - 11:11pm
    Update: https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/labour-mp-dame-margaret-hodge-jeremy-corbyn-1.467296
  • User AvatarFraser Coppin 17th Jul - 10:59pm
    @Katharine Pindar - Freedom of movement CAN be controlled while still in the single market, as I said in the article, Liechtenstein already do it....
  • User AvatarRoland 17th Jul - 10:56pm
    @Dav - Surely the issue is whether it is 51% of the electorate or 51% of those who voted. As far as I'm concerned at...
  • User Avatarfrankie 17th Jul - 10:56pm
    Just in case anyone asks why Jo Swinson didn't vote Jo Swinson ‏Verified account @joswinson 3h3 hours ago Just how low will your govt stoop...
  • User Avatartpfk 17th Jul - 10:41pm
    I hope that the Lords might decide there's enough doubt about the vote to send it back. We'll see. Proxy votes / maternity cover is...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 17th Jul - 10:28pm
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