“Not even a tin of baked beans!” A visitor shows the need for radical reforms.

Ten per cent – TEN PER CENT – of the population of Cumbria are using food banks!

said a fellow church-goer to me in horror, after a Sunday service in a West Cumbrian village church. We were discussing the local bearing of the damning findings by the UN rapporteur Philip Alston, reporting on the effects of austerity policies on Britain today.

After a twelve-day tour of Britain’s towns and cities, Mr Alston, UN expert on extreme poverty and human rights, spoke in stark term about his findings, in London on Friday.

Clearly shocked by what he had found, according to the Independent’s report …

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First political memories: Geoff Reid

While the Suez crisis was unfolding some of us ten year olds in a junior school playground discussed our vague awareness of Government incompetence. It was not my first school. I was born in the tough Scotswood Road area of Newcastle. Crucially I was an only child so my parents, living in a two room flat couldn’t get on the council house waiting list. This led to my father joining a ground-breaking self-build housing scheme, which in due course led to us moving across town.

That may well have contributed to my assumption that alternative solutions to problems were part of …

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May’s Brexit deal is the best the Tory party can produce, but there are better options for for the country

The Guardian recently offered an interactive tool which allowed readers to guess how many votes May’s deal would get in the House of Commons. (Apologies that I cannot find the link to the tool at the moment).

I had a fiddle around with the tool. What was astonishing is that whatever way one tweaked the tool, May was about 50-60 votes short of a majority. The basic problem is that there is a chunk of Tories, and probably DUP members, who will vote against the deal. The only way to make up the shortfall caused by those votes against, is for …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

Time to nail a vision to the mast…

At a time when the Government, or at least some of it, is offering the British public a Brexit deal which appears unacceptable to Remain and Leave supporters alike, where five Cabinet Ministers have taken it upon themselves to go try to redraft it in their own image, regardless of the fact that they might need to agree it with the European Union, the fact that the Leader of the Opposition cannot even bring himself to say how he would vote should there be a second referendum might seem like a mere sideshow in a Whitehall farce.

One need not be …

Posted in Op-eds | 18 Comments

18 November 2018 – today’s absence of press releases

It’s another Sunday, and whilst much has been said, no press releases have been received. So, instead, here’s another musical interlude for you. My former next door neighbour introduced to me to the wonders of sixteenth and early seventeenth century lute music, and here’s an example, courtesy of the Swedish lutenist, Jakob Lindberg…

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #535

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 535th 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 (11-17 November, 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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Theme of the week – First political memories

I was inspired to write this post by a conversation I had this week. My friend was talking about his earliest political memories in a house where Tony Blair was reviled. He first became aware of politics around the time of the Iraq war. He had never really been properly exposed to the Tories in his formative years and doesn’t have the same antipathy to them as I do.

It made me think about my first political memories and the impact they have on me now. I remember being taken along with my parents when they went to vote in one of the 1974 elections. I was also very aware of what was going on in the White House with the unprecedented resignation of a US President.

The first Government I was aware of was the Labour one of Harold Wilson and then Jim Callaghan. I knew that the economy went to hell in a hand cart at that time. I also remember being really frightened by tv pictures of these massive trade union meetings where everyone voted to go on strike. In a crowd like that, you daren’t not conform to expectations.

At around the same time, Alex Haley’s “Roots” was broadcast. I watched, horrified that human beings could keep other human beings as slaves and treat them with such barbaric cruelty. At around the same time, I also watched the Doctor wrestle with whether to stop the Daleks ever being formed. Alex Wilcock has always said that Doctor Who made him a liberal and I had a similar experience, fascinated by someone who travelled around space and time treating people well, encouraging respect and co-operation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Lib Dem Peers split on Lord Lester vote

This week, the House of Lords debated a recommendation from the Committee for Privileges and Conduct which recommended that Lord Lester of Herne Hill should be suspended from the House until 2022. The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards made this ruling about a complaint of sexual harassment against Lord Lester:

Applying the test of the balance of probabilities I find the complaint upheld, on the basis of the strong and cogent evidence of the complainant and her witnesses. I have carefully considered the challenges to this evidence, but do not find that those challenges undermine the strength of the evidence to any significant degree.

Lord Lester also admitted a further breach of the Lords’ Code as outlined in the Commissioner’s report which is annexed to the Committee report.

At a late stage in the investigation I was informed that Lord Lester had told another Member of the House, who knows the complainant, that it was she who had made the complaint against him. The Member confirmed that this had happened (Appendix AB) .

This was a breach of the confidentiality requirement in the Guide to the Code (paragraph 130), and I therefore asked Lord Lester to respond to the evidence of a breach of confidentiality. He replied:<
“As regards the allegation that I named the complainant to this is correct. I spoke briefly and privately to the Member. I apologise. I am not responsible for what occurred thereafter.”

Since the report has been published, the complainant, campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera has waived her right to anonymity. That was her decision to do so. It was not acceptable for Lord Lester to identify her to anyone during the investigation.

On Thursday, the Lords voted to send the recommendation back to the Committee for further consideration. 18 Lib Dem peers voted in that debate, 13 in favour of sending the recommendation back, 5 in favour of accepting it.

There are things that really worry me, reading the Lords debate. Regrettably, some of our peers chose to try to discredit the woman making the complaint. This led Ms Sanghera to say in today’s Sunday Times (£) that she felt a bit like Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who so bravely faced a Senate Committee to describe her experience of being sexually assaulted by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Sunday morning interviews open thread

This morning, politicians are lining up to talk to the Sunday political programmes – but those in favour of a People’s Vote don’t seem to have been invited to the party.

There is no serious non Conservative psychodrama opposition to the PM’s deal and nobody saying that there is an alternative – we can be given the chance to accept or reject the deal so that the Government isn’t marking its own homework.

You would have thought that the Leader of the Opposition would have something important to say. Unfortunately, he poured cold water on the idea of a People’s Vote and said that he he didn’t know how he would vote in it. At the risk of sounding a bit too on message, we really do ned to demand better.

I may be annoyed with our Vince on various internal matters at the moment, but he is very clear that Liberal Democrats want a People’s Vote as a means of securing an Exit from Brexit. He knows that staying in the EU is in the national interest.  He should be invited on to make that case. I have no doubt that our people will have done all they can to get him on. You have to ask why he isn’t.

I am disappointed that Sophy Ridge is not pointing out to May that her Deal is effectively a Blind Brexit that pushes a lot of the important stuff, like our future trading relationship, into the very long grass, after we have left. This is why we need the option to stay in so that we can make a choice between continuing the trading relationship we have that has brought us prosperity, or whether we take a leap in the dark.

The CBI has been brought out to support the deal on the grounds of certainty for business. If we go for this deal, we don’t know what terms business will face in two years time. If we have a People’s Vote, and choose to stay in, we have as much certainty as it is possible to have about continuity of current arrangements within 6 months.

The sensible opposition to the Brexit deal is not being given an airing.

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New issue of Liberator out

Issue 393 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers.

Our first free sample article for this issue is by Sarah Green deploring the diversion of money and time caused by the way Vince Cable’s reform proposals were handled.

In the other free article, Liverpool group leader Richard Kemp explains why he for one is not a ‘moderate’.

Both are on: www.liberatormagazine.org.uk 

Also in this issue:

Reverse Double – The Immigration debate at Brighton showed the party both morally and politically wrong, says Natasha Chapman 

Damned From the Start –The Liberal Democrats’ new foreign policy paper is riddled with flaws, hardly surprising when …

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17 November 2018 – today’s press release

Davis’ self appointment ‘farcical’ – Brake

Responding to reports that David Davis has spent several days in Washington speaking to US Trade Officials about a free trade deal with the UK, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Having failed to negotiate properly with the EU, the idea that David Davis is now touting himself as Britain’s self-appointed ‘man in Washington’ is farcical. The Prime Minister must confirm he has not been acting in any official capacity or with her blessing.

David Davis and his Brexiter colleagues have got us into a huge mess, with Britain now facing a damaging and

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Scottish Lib Dems campaign for People’s Vote

Brexitometers were out in force across Scotland today as Lib Dem activists took to the streets to campaign for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal. The big thing that we have to do over the next wee while is assure people that Brexit can be stopped. Vince Cable has said that a People’s Vote is now probable rather than just possible.

Here’s some of the highlights of the campaigning activity:

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How you can help Liberal Democrat Voice

The Voice is only a success because of the interest and support from our readers. For many people just lurking and reading the site is all they want to do – and that’s fine, we’re grateful for people taking the time to read the site.

You can though help us continue to produce interesting content for a growing audience. Here are four simple ways:

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Lib Link: Willie Rennie Brexit’s promises have fallen through so a People’s Vote must be held

In the Scotsman, Willie Rennie sets out the case for a People’s Vote in the wake of a woefully inadequate Brexit Deal that satisfies nobody.

Do we sit by as Rees-Mogg’s band of Brexit followers try to force us out of Europe with no deal? No. This is the time to rally for a People’s Vote. When Parliament is so divided it’s time to return it to the people. Growing numbers of people support the move to a People’s Vote. People are signing up every day. This deal satisfies no one, regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Brexit will

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16 November 2018 – today’s press release

Lib Dems in ‘call to action’ to stop Brexit

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP has today written to Remain MPs from all political parties, urging them to back the Liberal Democrat’s campaign for a People’s Vote in the fight against Brexit.

Tom Brake said:

The Liberal Democrats have been consistently fighting for the last two years, but we know that now is the time for every single MP to make their decision on the most important matter facing the UK.

That is why I have written to Remain MPs urging them to join us in this fight.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

ALDC by-election review – 15 November

Four by elections took place on an eventful day for politics as a whole in the UK, with Lib Dem candidates standing in all four seats. 

Oxfordshire CC, Grove & Wantage
LD Jane Hanna 1925
Con 1447
Lab 459
Green 185
Turnout 27.85%
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2017

The outstanding result from the night came in the Grove & Wantage by-election for Oxfordshire County Council. Jane Hanna and the Oxfordshire Lib Dems put on a great campaign and increased their vote by 4.6% increasing their majority to strengthen their hold on the seat. A fantastic result for Jane and the party, congratulations and keep up the good work!

Kent CC, Canterbury North
Cons 1355
LD Alex Lister 756
Lab 660
Green 157
Ind 155
UKIP 120
Turnout 26.04%
Con Hold
Percentage change from 2017

A hard-worked campaign from Alex Lister and Kent Lib Dems saw a great swing of 7.1% cementing the Lib Dems place as the second party in the ward. The result saw the Conservatives lose 12.3% of their vote share highlighting the excellent performance from Lister despite defeat. Congratulations and let’s hope this result provides a platform for an increased focus on liberalism in the area. 

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Financial support to attend Conference

Have you ever wanted to attend our federal party conferences but been discouraged because of financial or access issues?

The Federal Conference Committee (of which I am a member) wants to enable everyone to attend, so some years ago we set up an Access Fund to provide support.

This is how it works:

  • Everyone who registers for conference is asked if they would like to contribute to the Fund.
  • Anyone with relevant needs can apply to the Access Fund for support. In short, it can cover childcare, accommodation and travel for anyone who could not otherwise afford it, plus specific costs for those with disabilities (such as sign language interpreting and mobility scooters). You can see more detail about what can be covered and how to apply here.
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Friendship, addiction and Brexit: Alastair Campbell’s poignant and frank Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture

In the last 3.5 years, so many people have wondered what Charles Kennedy would have had to say about Brexit and our fight against it. A European to his core, he would have been such a strong and credible voice for Remain in the referendum.

Our politics is so much the poorer for his absence and in this party, his loss is particularly acute. People across politics and outside politics had so much time for him.

We didn’t find out until after he died how close he was to Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s Chief spin doctor. This was a relationship that transcended the fact that Charles was the leading opponent of the  Iraq war.

Last night Alastair Campbell travelled to Fort William to give the annual Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture.

He recalled when Charles asked him to think about running for Rector of Glasgow University when he stood down:

As his second term as Glasgow University Rector neared its end, he sounded me out as a possible successor. He said listen, your Dad was at Glasgow, your brother is the principal’s official piper, your name and your bagpipes give you a bit of Scottish cred, you get on with young people, and, you would love it.’

‘But Charles, what about Iraq?’

‘Oh, Iraq. Huh huh, yes, Iraq. I forgot you were part of all that, weren’t you? Ach well, not to worry.’

He touched on Brexit and what Charles would have made of it all:

On the day of his funeral, we were driving up to Fort William from Glasgow airport listening to the tributes across Good Morning Scotland. A constituent recalled asking him whether he intended to support or oppose the bedroom tax, and Charles saying he would oppose it. His reasoning was very simple. ‘It’s just wrong.’

And I think he would argue very strongly that it is just wrong if the government and Parliament press ahead with a course of action that they know is going to make people poorer, our country weaker, our standing in the world lower. I believe too he would have had no difficulty arguing against this notion that somehow it is anti-democratic to put the outcome of these negotiations back to the people, given the Brexit now on offer bears next to no relation to the false prospectus on which it was sold. MPs are there to lead not follow, and Charles would have led the argument that that far from it being anti-democratic to have a People’s Vote, it would be anti-democratic – just wrong– not to. So we keep fighting.

That wasn’t the main topic of his lecture though. He wanted to talk about mental health and addiction. 

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Observations of an ex pat: The re-United Kingdom

Britain is a United Kingdom again. After more than two years of divisive vitriolic debate it has emerged upon the sunny upland plain of total agreement.

Soon the British public will be treated to the sight of former bitter enemies Boris Johnson, Vince Cable and Jacob Rees-Mogg joining hands to skip gaily into the Commons division lobby. Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof may soon embrace on the banks of the Thames.

Fathers and sons who have scowled at each other for two years will again smile across the breakfast table. Mothers and daughters will cheerfully gossip over a steaming cuppa and the pubs will enjoy a booming trade as stalled friendships are renewed over a pint—or two.

Prime Minister Theresa May has succeeded in uniting the British people against the common enemy—Herself.

Brexiteers and Remainers who only yesterday were at each other’s throats have turned as one to sink the political axe firmly into the back of their prime minister and her draft Brexit deal with the EU.

 It took less than 24 hours for Dominic Raab– the man Mrs May placed in charge of Brexit negotiations—to resign. He refused to allow his name to be associated with the agreement. He was preceded by the junior minister for Northern Ireland, Shailesh Vara. At least nine other cabinet ministers are known to oppose the deal and it is quite possible that there could be more resignations before I finish this piece.

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15 November 2018 – today’s press releases

A tricky day for a Press Team, I’d suggest. After all, all the attention is directed towards who might, or might not, resign, and whether or not a leadership contest will be called. Who’d be a press officer under such circumstances?…

  • Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown
  • Cable: PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options
  • Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard
  • Cable: ‘No Brexit’ clearly on the table
  • Cable: PM in Brexit denial

Cable: The Conservative Government is in meltdown

Responding to the resignation of Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable said:

The Government started Britain on a journey with no

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Vince: People’s Vote is now probable

Well, it’s been quite a day.

I don’t work Thursdays, so under normal circumstances, I would have been glued to the telly and social media bringing you a blow by blow account of everything as it happened.

As luck would have it, I was at a housing conference. It was excellent, I learned loads, I met lovely people and I wouldn’t have missed it for any political drama, even without the excellent scones, jam and cream at the afternoon tea break.

I will admit to the occasional glance at Twitter to see the drama unfold. Looks like my crystal ball was a bit wonky the other day when I said that ministers wouldn’t create a fuss to cling on to power. However, the way that Amber Rudd and Nicky Morgan have been shoring Theresa May up today makes me worry that some Tory Remainers are folding as they have done fairly regularly for the last 30 years or so. Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston are still flying the People’s Vote flag, though.

I was on a cold station platform when May held her press conference. I spent the journey home glued to Twitter. No, she wasn’t resigning, she was just spouting the same Brexity rubbish and clinging to her deal that only she really loves.

There is no way her deal is in anything like the national interest. David Lidington couldn’t say it would make us better off. We would end up abiding by rules we had no way in making. I think those rules are generally ok to be honest, but it’s better if we have some deal of ownership of them.

Not only that but a Sky News poll became the second major tv poll in a week to show a majority of support for remaining in the EU. 54% would choose Remain, while 55% want a People’s Vote.

The party hastily organised a rally for an exit from Brexit in Parliament Square tonight. Vince told the assembled crowd that a People’s Vote had moved from possible to probable. Here he is:

Earlier in the day, Christine Jardine talked about how the Liberal Democrats had led the way on campaigning for the People’s Vote and how it was now the only way out of this mess.

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Rally tonight, Parliament Square, to demand a Final Say

An email has just gone around announcing a rally tonight in London from 6 pm to demand a Final Say on the proposed Brexit deal. More info here.

There have also been a flurry of press briefings and reactions to May’s proposals going out, here are some highlights.

Brexit chaos hitting UK businesses hard

Responding to reports that UK- focused firms have been hit hard by the PM’s proposed Brexit deal, with RBS, Lloyds, Barclays, Marks and Spencer, Barratt, Berkeley and EasyJet all seeing falls in their share prices, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Ministerial resignations and Brexit chaos are hitting UK-based businesses hard. But the short-term damage caused by a rudderless Government will be nothing compared to the permanent harm the PM’s bad deal or catastrophic No Deal would inflict on UK Plc. That is why we need a People’s Vote to get us out of this mess and secure an exit from Brexit.

PM’s incompetence leaves UK unprepared for all options

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today criticised Theresa May for failing to prepare for no Brexit, despite admitting it was an option.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s Brexit statement in the House of Commons today, Vince Cable said:

The Prime Minister rightly asserts that there are two alternatives to her plan, no deal and no Brexit. The Government is investing considerably in contingency planning for no deal. What contingency planning is she doing for no Brexit? Including, for example, advising the Commission that Article 50 may have to be withdrawn? And is she herself preparing for the fact, however much she hates it, that the House may instruct her to carry out a People’s Vote?

In response, the Prime Minister confirmed the Conservative Government was making no plans for no Brexit.

Following the exchange, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said: 

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The rest of us can learn from what the Welsh are doing with education….

Two recent press releases have caught my eye. As PPC for North Devon, a rural economy where, on average, schools get £300 less per pupil than in the rest of England, I am keen on education reform. Key to that is ensuring good teaching and supporting our teachers.

So I was pleased to see that Welsh Lib Dem Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the single biggest investment in Wales’ teachers since devolution. This is through a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum. Kirsty says,

This major investment shows how highly we value teachers’ professional learning. It is an investment in excellence and we are aiming for nothing less than a wholesale reform of how teachers learn; a process that starts from the moment they begin initial teacher education and goes right the way through their career.

The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL) will focus on flexible ways of learning that don’t disrupt the school day. A much more accessible blend of learning will be available through Wales’ regions and universities. This will encompass learning outside the classroom, online learning, classroom learning and coaching.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented,

This announcement is yet another example of the transformational reforms the Welsh Lib Dems are implementing in our national mission to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a Wales where every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential and determine their own destiny. This funding will help us realise this vision.

Not only are the Welsh investing in teachers, but they are also protecting rural schools.  Kirsty Williams introduced a new, stronger code last week which includes a presumption against the closure of rural schools. This is part of a wider Rural Education Plan which also includes a Small and Rural Schools Grant.

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

The Core Vote

Through the feeds of politics-internet I haven’t been able to escape the BMG research on the UK’s political clans (find out yours here). If you’ve managed to escape the discussion there’s more information in The Independent (and a more in depth report here), but basically it splits people into ten values and identity groups and then analyses how each vote, essentially highlighting how fractured the current alignments are and how little the current party system reflects these clans.

For liberals of all stripes, the initial findings can be disheartening. People with explicitly authoritarian beliefs make up the largest part of the electorate at 38 percent. Those who might broadly be termed liberal are a much smaller group.

It’s not scientific, but the smattering of polls in various Lib Dem online discussion forums suggest that roughly two thirds of our members are ‘Orange Bookers’ (OBs). This is a group who favour market solutions but are broadly in favour of redistribution and government intervention when the evidence supports it. They’re supportive of free trade, free movement of people and are optimistic about multiculturalism. Another third are ‘Global Green Community’ (GGC). BMG define these as those with a more interventionist view on the economy, but with liberal and environmentalist stances on social issues. They want government to pursue an ethical foreign policy, and have little interest in the nation-state, preferring a civic interpretation of Britishness. After that we have a small smattering of members who fall into one or two other camps.

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Settling Disputes

The block over which the government are now stumbling is called ‘dispute resolution‘. There is substantial disagreement between the negotiators of the United Kingdom and of the European Union.

On the one hand, the EU has proposed that the European Court of Justice should be the final arbiter in the construction of the withdrawal agreement and any future problems, because it says that the agreement will embody many provisions of EU law: the CJEU has declared itself to be the only binding interpretative authority of EU law.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom has argued that it is unacceptable that the appeal body, the final resolution body, should be a court whose judges are drawn only from the continuing EU member states. That is the nub of the matter.

Of course, the issue is bedevilled by the irrational demonisation of the European Court of Justice, first by those who campaigned to leave the EU and later by the Prime Minister, who has lost no opportunity to declare that leaving the jurisdiction of the CJEU is one of her red lines. I have never understood how that court could have been painted in such scarlet colours. In the first place, its function has never been to lay down draconian law which binds us all in servitude, but to interpret law which, even if it starts with the Council of Ministers or the Commission, has been subjected to a democratic process in the European Parliament. The United Kingdom has, since joining the EU, had full representation in these three bodies.

Secondly, we have always provided a distinguished judge to sit on the court. Sir Konrad Schiemann, the former United Kingdom-nominated judge of the court between 2004 and 2012, said in evidence to the Lords EU Committee that,
“in the Luxembourg court the tradition is that you lose your nationality the moment you join the court, which makes no distinction between judges of one nationality and another. … The tradition was that you were not there to plug the point of view of your national Government. That was not your job. Your job was to try to decide the law in the light of the general European interest”.

That, indeed, is the way in which the Court of Justice has operated: it is not a court of competing national judges.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

14 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s been a long day today, with the last press release issued after 10 p.m….

  • Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages
  • Number Ten bows to pressure on FOBT stakes
  • Failures on women’s health becoming the norm
  • DUP “punishment beating” comments unacceptable and dangerous
  • ‘No Brexit’ still a very real possibility
  • Country still none the wiser on PM’s blindfold Brexit
  • Brexit will rob UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools

Tories “unacceptably risky” on impact of Brexit food shortages

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has warned the Tories are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages …

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More than one person a minute joins Lib Dems since May’s statement

Theresa May’s statement in Downing Street tonight seems to have motivated a bunch of people to do something to stop Brexit. They’ve joined the Lib Dems.

Actually, now it’s over 300…..

They got a welcome from the leader:

 

And it must be pretty remarkable if the BBC notices:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Brexit deal open thread….Lib Dems react

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, they are not going to give it up. So they grit their teeth and put up with a deal we know that they hate.

The deal is by its very nature worse than the deal we have at the moment. For sure, the EU needs its backside kicking in many ways, but then so does our own governance. Let’s face it, we have a whole house full of unelected people, with special places reserved for the leaders of one denomination of one religion.  We allow governments elected on barely a third of the vote virtually unchecked power.

We have been leaders in the EU. We have helped form the rules. We’re giving up all that to take what we’re given. In what universe is that taking back control? It’s like we’ve gone into a restaurant and ordered a roast beef with all the trimmings and been given a heap of tripe.

Lib Dems have been reacting to the news tonight. Vince picked up on two little words in the PM’s statement – no Brexit, which she said was a possibility.

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’.  Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

“It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

 

Willie Rennie pointed out the chaos in the Tory Party:

This Conservative Government is in total chaos. The veneer of unity in the cabinet will not secure unity in the country, parliament or even their own party.

This deal will not satisfy anyone regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Instead Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened.

Theresa May has a chance to steer the UK away from the cliff edge. She should call a People’s Vote and give the public the power to choose what happens next.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 29 Comments

Press Release: Brexit Deal

No deal was ever going to better than the deal we have as EU members and this is a very bad deal for the United Kingdom.  We are left rule takers not rule makers.

The Liberal Democrats won’t stand idly by and watch a Tory Brexit destroy our businesses, service sector, and our economy. Far from creating a ‘Global Britain’, this deal will leave the UK as an insignificant vassal state, tied loosely to Europe but with no influence, and shunned by the rest of the world.

Rather than wasting time, money and effort on delivering a Brexit deal which no one, whether they …

Posted in News | 24 Comments

Homelessness and Universal Credit

Panorama this week revealed large numbers of social housing tenants on Universal Credit owe more than double in rent arrears on average than benefit claimants on the legacy Housing Benefit scheme.
The new benefits scheme is sending many council tenant’s rent arrears spiralling. Research conducted by the show revealed that across much of the UK, Universal Credit (UC) claimants owe local authorities an average of £662.56, compared with £262.50 on the Housing Benefit scheme…

Universal Credit was rolled out in Flintshire, North Wales in April 2017. UC claimants there owe the council an …

Posted in News | 23 Comments
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  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 19th Nov - 8:03pm
    Alex Macfie, in my view the political naivety lies with what Mark Pack describes in this blog post-https://www.markpack.org.uk/121390/liberal-democrats-repeated-jo-grimonds-mistake/ in which he concludes: "Will the party...
  • User AvatarYvonne Finlayson 19th Nov - 8:02pm
    I joined the party as I thought, as per the constitution, that we would support the most disadvantaged in our communities. It’s to my dismay...
  • User AvatarMartin 19th Nov - 7:31pm
    Alex Macfie: I agree, a 'no deal' would be an extraordinary outcome given that it appeals only to the most blinkered and socially irresponsible ideologues....
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 19th Nov - 7:27pm
    Lib Dem voice has got a lot more hostile to food banks than in the coalition years when things like this were being written: "The...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 19th Nov - 6:55pm
    @John Marriott Agree with you on the Overseas Aid budget. @David Raw Agree with your point on voting for cuts during the coalition years. There...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 19th Nov - 6:49pm
    If there is one, amongst a few, things I welcome about left Labour, it is they have no guilt on these issues. It was the...