I’m delighted it’s Jo, even though I voted for Ed

I spoke at party conference in the Spring and said, amongst other things, that I had no idea why I hadn’t started sooner in politics. The truth is I knew full well.

Back in the early 1990s, when I had my first child at the age of 25, and a couple more in a short space of time, only one of us *had* to take time off straight after the birth. Maternity segued into parental leave after the second child. My husband and I have a pretty egalitarian household but it would have been financial suicide for us to use paid childcare that early in our lives- we would have ended up paying over not only my entire salary, but also some of my husband’s- it simply wasn’t financially viable.

After the first child, I went back to work, but it seemed that everywhere I turned I was on the “mummy track”, not expected to be ambitious, expected in fact to focus my entire world around my children. Which of course every new parent does. Paternity leave did not exist, even in my husband’s forward-thinking workplace. Society at large expected care of the children to be the mother’s, not the father’s, concern. The entirety of society was built around that premise- for example, my children’s school finished at 2:50pm- there was no after-school care because the headteacher thought children should be at home after that time. There was great judgement cast on mothers who worked when their children were small.

I started to be politically active 3 years ago. I’ve passed the age now where I care what people think about my parenting. Alongside my three now very accomplished 20-somethings, I also have a 9 year old and in 2019, no-one in the Liberal Democrats seems to think that puts me out of the running for anything. I’m older, and I live in a beautiful bubble of determination and bullheaded refusal to take any hints about how I *should* parent my fourth child. Society has also moved on slightly.

Every time I see Jo Swinson in passing, I mention to her how lovely it is to see her making speeches with baby Gabriel strapped to her front, how much of an inspiration it is to see her forging ahead babies and all. I I forget that I’m living in a bubble hewn from my own experiences.

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The Swinson Surge is under way

So we’re gaining more new members and supporters on the back of Jo Swinson’s compelling speech just after she was elected leader.

1200 by the time she made her rally speech three hours later.

Here’s a selection:

If you are wondering what we mean, watch her speech here.

 

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WATCH LIVE: Jo Swinson’s first rally

Liberal Democrats are gathering in London to welcome Jo Swinson as leader at a rally. Watch it live here.

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In full: Jo Swinson’s first speech as Lib Dem Leader: Don’t just shout at the television, join us and transform our country

Text below:

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And our new leader is…….Jo Swinson

 

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Cheers, Vince

His successor will be announced soon, but we really need to say a massive thank you to Vince for the work he has done over the past two years.

He took on a party which was not in the best place. He leaves a party which is rejuvenated, united, determined, confident and has given up equivocation and nuance in favour of a give zero hoots attitude that has paid dividends in terms of the number of members, councillors and MEPs we have.

I have had my disagreements with Vince during his time as leader. I felt that the emphasis on a supporters’ scheme was misplaced when what we actually needed to be doing was to tell our story better. But he did take the time to seek out views in the party and listen to people. Leaders are always going to do stuff that activists don’t like. It goes with the territory. Whoever wins today is going to annoy me at some point – and one of the candidates has been a really good friend for the best part of two decades.

Vince has consistently been the grown up of British politics for way beyond these past two years to be honest. He knows everything and everybody and has been essential in developing the cross party working that’s been going on over Brexit. He has laid the foundations for collaboration that could put paid to this Brexit disaster once and for all. And it is his strong friendship with Chuka Umunna, forged in the years they faced each other at the Dispatch Box when Vince was Business Secretary, that facilitated Chuka joining us.

And he has been really clear about the behaviour we will not tolerate in the Lib Dems. Last Summer he wrote that bigots of any kind are not welcome in our party:

The lazy use of group stereotypes should be unacceptable to us all. But we must not be blind to the fact that these issues affect our party as well.

The Liberal Democrats have always been at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we have a record on these issues of which we’re very proud.

But sadly, the truth is that a very small minority of our own members do hold some views that are fundamentally incompatible with our values.

Our party’s constitution is clear:

We reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.

As a liberal, I respect people’s rights to hold different views to my own, but my message to everyone is that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, transphobia and bigotry are not welcome, and not tolerated, in the Liberal Democrats.

We should also say thank you to his wife, Rachel Smith, who has travelled the length and breadth of the country with him. Being a leader’s spouse is not an easy job.

On a lighter note of my favourite Vince moments was when he turned up at Not the Leaders’s Speech in Bournemouth in 2017. In a tradition dating back to the coalition years, certain of the Awkward Squad don’t bother with the Leader’s Speech at Conference. They gather in a hostelry and watch it on Twitter, working out at which point they would have walked out had they been in the hall. To be fair, the potential for walking out has significantly reduced in recent years, but anyway. It turned out that following a motion on pubs, a photo-op had been arranged with Vince for after his speech. In the same pub as NTLS.

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Spring Conference is to take place in York

Next year’s Spring Conference will take place in York from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th March. Federal Conference made the announcement a short while ago just to give us something to think about while we wait for the leadership  election result.

York for me is a perfect venue for Spring Conference. It’s easy to get to, gorgeous, has some excellent pubs and restaurants and a Lib Dem council to boot.

I don’t know about you, but the hour and a half since 1pm has felt like seven years.

Only an hour and 29 minutes to go…… 

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Chuka Umunna MP writes…Lib Dems are the only party committed to stopping Brexit and tackling the causes of Brexit

As the Conservative leadership contest draws to a close, with both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt putting fresh paint on the impossible red lines set out by the Leave campaign, the threat of a a No Deal Brexit is closer than ever.

Both candidates are disregarding all the facts about the disastrous consequences this would have for the UK, with Boris Johnson even searching for ways to suspend Parliament to circumvent MPs to run down the clock to exit day.

Such a move would not only be a democratic outrage, but herald one of the most destructive acts of self harm on the UK ever willingly committed by our government. 

On Thursday, the Office for Budget Responsibility published its fiscal risks report. Commissioned in 2015, the report sets out to analyse the risks to public finances over the short to medium term. 

This year, the OBR devoted an entire chapter to assessing the risk of a No Deal Brexit to the UK’s finances and the findings were jaw-dropping.

Here are just 10 things the OBR warns would happen under Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit scenario:

1) The UK would enter a “year-long recession” at the end of 2019, with real GDP immediately falling by 2.1%.

2) The value of the pound would depreciate by 10% immediately, and remain low until at least 2024.

3) Business investment would drop due to trade costs, economic uncertainty and loss of some export markets.

4) Residential Investment and consumer spending would fall as real household income is squeezed.

5) Productivity growth would become even weaker, and remain below current projections until 2024. 

6) The growth in earnings would slow even further and remain so for the first few years.

7) Real wages would become “significantly lower”, by as much as 2.5% by 2024 compared to the last forecast.

8) Borrowing would be around £30bn a year higher from 2020-21 onwards due to tax receipts falling. This means no fiscal headroom at all for any of the tax and spend promises of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, or to allow the government to end austerity.

9) The overall impact of a No Deal Brexit and then trading on WTO rules would be a hit to GDP of 5.9%.

10) If a No Deal, WTO Brexit was combined with a stricter immigration policy for EU citizens, this hit to GDP would rise substantially, potentially as high as 9% according to the Government’s own figures.

On top of this, Brexit has already resulted in a weak pound, which has lost 17% of its value against the dollar since the 2016 vote; higher inflation; big falls in manufacturing output, construction, and business investment; and we have not even left the EU yet. 

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Caron’s Brecon Diary 3

The reason you are getting this today and not yesterday is that I came across a problem faced by many voters in rural Wales – no wifi and not even a 4G signal. A good job that Jane Dodds is campaigning for better connectivity.

Saturday started with a quick coffee with Jane. We did film an interview, but for some reason I can’t upload it so I will have to find someone clever to help me. It looks amazing on my phone, though.

Jane also caught up with Margaret, at her first by-election after 60 years in the party and who had spent Friday in the pouring rain delivering letters to postal voters in Rhayader.

Saturday was a bit dreich, as we Scots would say. Not as rainy as Friday but grey and damp. However there was some optimism in the Llandrindod HQ…

Actually, by the end of the day, the sun was shining, so it wasn’t misplaced.

I then went out with Jane, her aide Benny, John Dryden from Sheffield, Wendy Chamberlain, our wonderful PPC for the most marginal seat in the country, North East Fife, her organiser Celyn and the Chair of Scottish Lib Dem Women Ruth McElroy to canvass some gloriously beautiful villages.

Jane is so keen to get out to these places. She wants them to feel that they have been listened to and that she has made the effort to get there. She will continue to do that if she is elected as an MP. We started off in Llanbister and then headed to Felindre and Beguildy.

These conversations with voters matter so much. I spoke to a so many people over the weekend who were disposed to voting for Jane but there was a barrier in the way. For example, one man was concerned that stopping Brexit wasn’t democratic, even though he wanted that to happen. When I explained how we would do it through a People’s Vote, that barrier to him voting for Jane was removed. So we need to speak to as many people as possible to ensure that we get her over the line.

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LibLink: Layla Moran – We must talk about Palestine, without being antisemitic


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Over on the Guardian website, Layla Moran has written an opinion piece which says that the anti-semitism scandal in Labour is creating a fear among MPs of speaking out for the Palestinian right to equality, justice and statehood. Layla writes:

My mother is Palestinian. These issues are deeply personal; we still have family in the West Bank. I am very worried that, at this critical juncture in the history of the region, activists, parliamentarians and journalists feel that they cannot speak out for fear of being branded as antisemitic. My plea is that we must speak more about Palestine, not less, and in this current climate it is something members of both houses of parliament have confided that they are more fearful than ever to do.

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Final chance to vote for Ed or Jo

If you haven’t yet voted in the leadership contest, you had better get your skates on as the ballot closes at 1pm today.

If you are still trying to make up your mind which of our excellent candidates to vote for, our Liberal Democrat Leadership election tag, with our Ed’s Day and Jo’s Day series and other things might help.

Their BBC2 hustings from Friday night is here. 

If you can’t find your ballot paper, you need to email [email protected] quickly for a replacement – but act NOW.

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20-21 July 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Conservative Party reminded of Brexit realities

Commenting on Simon Coveney’s interview on the Andrew Marr Show, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Irish Deputy Prime Minister has reminded the Conservative party of the realities of Brexit today.

There will be no changes to the backstop and the fantasy of GATT 24 has been expunged once again.

The Conservatives must not be allowed to waste any more time to push the country ever closer to No Deal Brexit. Parliament must show that the only real way forward is a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the EU.

Hammond must join fight

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Jo Swinson MP writes….A campaign we can all be proud of

We are nearly at the end of this Leadership election, with voting closing tomorrow. Regardless of who you’re supporting, I want to thank every member who has engaged with this campaign. Everyone who came to a hustingsmeeting, emailed a question to Ed or to me, posted onto social media or caught up with us on visits – thank you.

There is a golden opportunity ahead of our party now. I have been so excited to see all the new members coming to hustings meetings, hearing their questions, thoughts and ideas. We have a unique offer and vision for the country and people are open to our message. We can continue this growth and build our movement further together. We can stop Brexit and compete to win a General Election.

This campaign has reminded me of how strong our party can be. We have such a range of skilled, talented people working around the country. We still need to do more to harness the incredible knowledge and expertise that we have in our members and supporters. I’ve been really buoyed up by seeing so many local success stories everywhere we have been. I know the new members I have met are going to be adding to those success stories soon too.

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The strange death of municipal England

The London Review of Books published a piece on Tom Crewe’s The Strange Death of Municipal England in 2016

The piece makes the point:
“Because councils have little political ‘ownership’ of the cuts they make – they are seen, rightly, as a consequence of central government decisions – normal accountability mechanisms cannot operate. Voting one party out of their council seats and another in won’t make much difference: whichever party is in control will face the same financial situation, and will have as little choice about reducing services. Labour and the Liberal Democrats won control of Walsall council from the Conservatives in May , having campaigned to protect the town’s libraries from closure: in October they announced plans to close 15 of its 16 libraries, admitting that the budget restrictions were ‘more severe’ than anticipated.”

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Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire Diary – Day 2

I woke yesterday morning to heavy rain. Knowing that the jacket I had bought was not up to the job, I headed to the local charity shops to see if I could find something better.

I had almost given up hope when I found something perfect – for a fiver! I am not an outdoorsy type so I didn’t realise that I had got an absolute bargain until Pete Roberts, who is running the Llandrindod office, pointed it out as he sent me off with some letters to deliver.

Once those were done, I was sent off with a wonderful lady called Margaret from Cheadle to deliver in the gorgeous town of Rhayader. Round every corner and up every hill (and there are a lot of hills), is another view that brings joy, even in the rain.

Margaret told me that this was her first by-election. She joined the party shortly after arriving at Edinburgh University to study medicine sixty years ago. She saw a poster saying “What do Liberals believe?” and thought she might like to find out.

A young man was speaking at the meeting about how we should have more co-operation with our European friends and look after the environment. We are nothing if not consistent. Margaret liked the sound of that and signed up on the spot.

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19 July 2019 – live from Brecon, today’s press releases…

  • Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens
  • Lib Dems: Govt must provide urgent clarity on teachers’ pay
  • Lib Dem legislation to protect victims of crime passes second reading
  • Davey: Govt must fund police pay rise
  • Umunna slams economically incompetent Tories
  • Swinson: This is a time for cool heads in the Gulf

Lib Dems bring forward legislation to protect EU citizens

Today, the Liberal Democrats have brought forward a bill to safeguard EU citizens’ rights.

The Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates would provide a guarantee that, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of EU citizens and other EEA nationals living in …

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19 July 2019 – the overnight press releases

Lib Dems: Funding uncertainty for schools and colleges must stop

Responding to the publication of today’s report by the Education Select Committee, which calls on the Government to commit to a 10-year, multi-billion cash injection for schools and colleges, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

Over the past few years, our schools and colleges have been cut to the bone, as funding levels failed to keep up with spiralling costs and increased pupil numbers.

Teachers have been forced to buy resources out of their own pockets, teaching assistants have been let go, and tens of schools have been shutting their

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18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk

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How to help Jane Dodds win Brecon and Radnorshire

Here is all the information you need to know if you are able to come and help in Brecon and Radnorshire.

There are two HQs – one in the south at Brecon and one in the north at Llandrindod Wells. They are both open every day from 10am until 7pm:

Brecon HQ: 26 High Street, Brecon, LD3 7LE

Llandrindod HQ: Haslemere, Park Crescent, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 6AB

If you can’t come in person you can make calls from home by e-mailing: [email protected]

How to find us:

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A Lib Dem GAIN, three strong Holds, and a leap forward

There have been six by-elections this week, and five have seen fantastic performances from the Lib Dems.

Last night’s big news was a stonking gain in Daventry. Wow, Cllr Jonathan Carter!

In Cardiff in a rare Tuesday by-election, we held a seat in style.  Congratulations to Rob Hopkins and team.

Another good hold in Wiltshire for Carole King

And in East Sheen in Richmond, Julia Cambridge gained almost 13% in a brilliant hold.

And in Ceredigion we took a good chunk out of Plaid’s majority. Michael Chappell did a great job!

Thanks to Adrian Gee-Turner for flying the flag in more difficult circumstances.

All  in all, a …

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Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire diary

Today started at 6 am when I dragged myself out of bed and headed to Edinburgh Airport for the first leg of my journey to Brecon and Radnorshire.

The flight to Cardiff (yes, I know, but train was twice the price and I don’t do it very often) was uneventful. When I realised the airport bus went to Cardiff Bay, I decided to take a wee detour.

 

It’s remarkable to think that this shrine to a fictional character still exists ten years after the events in the chilling Torchwood: Children of Earth.

i decided to take a boat trip back to the centre of Cardiff just so I could say that I had been on plane, train, bus, automobile and boat.

 

 But it was all going too well. When I got to Cardiff Central station I found that my train had been cancelled and the next one would get me to Llandrindod Wells at 8pm.in

However the nice people at Transport for Wales arranged for me to travel to Shrewsbury and then get a taxi with some others who had been similarly delayed.

I got thanks to a very pleasant Shrewsbury taxi driver called Wayne, not much later than planned. After booking into my hotel, which had been chosen for its cheapness alone but turned out to be across the road from the station and 6 minutes walk from HQ, I headed to our office.

 

It transpires  the building where where we are hosting our by-election campaign is replete with Lib Dem lore. Previous MPs  Roger Williams and Richard Livsey had used it as their base. Their photos and that of current AM Kirsty Williams.

Let’s hope that they are soon joined by Jane Dodds.

After some delivery I had the most delicious meal. It was the fish curry on the menu at Nasra and Fabian Veiyra’s restaurant Fabian’s Kitchen that got me through the door. The artwork on the walls is bold and beautiful and there is even a Naughty Corner.

The fish curry was beautiful – aniseedy and coconutty and deep. I didn’t much care for the chut

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Liz Jarvis on gaining the confidence to stand as a parliamentary candidate

This weekend, a group of Lib Dem women will gather in a hotel in Milton Keynes for a weekend which, for some if not all of them, could be life-changing.

The third Future Women MPs weekend in the last year or so takes place. I remember going on a weekend like that back in the 90s and I made friends for life as well as learned valuable skills.

Caroline Voaden, now an MEP, went on one of these events last year along with a load of young Scottish women.

As this takes place, Liz Jarvis, a London writer who joined us last year after a lifetime of supporting Labour, has written for The Parliament Project about her experience in the party and how a Parliament Project initiative helped her develop the confidence to stand:

Through Lib Dem Women I found a mentor from the party’s Campaign for Gender Balance; she was incredibly encouraging and gave me lots of invaluable support and advice for what I needed to do to achieve my goal of becoming an approved parliamentary candidate. She also helped me see that my imagined barriers to standing – my age, the fact I haven’t been a career politician – could actually be turned into positives. I also discovered the Parliament Project via Twitter, and was thrilled when I was accepted on to the 12 week online Peer Support Circles at the start of January.

The sessions were every fortnight, which was manageable, and I loved ‘meeting’ the other women and sharing our political journeys, as well as the assignments we were given, which were fun and challenging. Each session felt as though we were making progress and exchanging ideas and experiences was incredibly rewarding.

And it’s helped her on her journey in the Lib Dems:

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Living Standards Audit 2019

The  Resolution Foundation has published its annual report on living standards. Key findings include:

• Average disposable household incomes have roughly tripled since 1961, after accounting for inflation. But the last two-year period (2017-18 and 2018-19) looks to have been the worst on record outside of recessions.
• This period of weak growth post-referendum comes on the back of both the financial crisis as well as an earlier mid-2000s slowdown for some, with only a short period of healthy income recovery between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
• The groups most at risk of relative poverty have also changed. Parents living in couples, up …

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17 July 2019 – today’s press releases

May’s Govt has treated victims of child trafficking appallingly

Following reports that hundreds of child trafficking victims have been refused the right to stay in the UK, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May said that modern slavery is the greatest human rights issue of our time, but these revelations show that her government has treated victims appallingly.

The Government has a clear moral obligation to support children who have been trafficked to this country and held in slavery. The Conservatives’ failure shames our whole country.

The Liberal Democrats demand better protections for vulnerable people. Anyone who has

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Von der Leyens promises to address some of the UK’s direst needs: Poverty, Social Security, Clean Air Cities

The speech by German minister Von der Leyen (VDL), the proposed president of the European Commission, appealing to the sceptical centre parties (Liberals, Social Democrats, Greens) in the European Parliament, brought the Brexit Party MEPs to howls of both approval and anguish, according to Dutch media.

When she regretfully accepted that the UK appears on the way out, Farage’s bench applauded wildly. But when she added that she is ready to extend negotiations beyond Halloween, those cheers instantly turned into jeers.

And in his response, Farage again trotted out the “EU = Soviet Eastern Bloc” trope, to which VDL responded “we can probably do without what you have got to say here”. Dutch media quoted VDL responding to Farage’s Orbanite allies:  “I didn’t expect to get your support”.

In her speech, and in the accompanying resignation of controversial EU insider/super-technocrat Martin Selmayr, many saw new points that address failings in the present EU procedures, decision-making and legislation:

  • Giving the European Parliament the right to initiative; possibly heralding a critical review of EU nomination, decision and policy making procedures;
  • Opening up a formal debate about transnational party lists and “Spitzenkandidaten” at the next European elections; and
  • Starting, in this Trumpian era, a debate in the EU Human & Civil Rights agenda about sexual violence and its female (and LGBTQ+) victims.

Which beggars the question: why leave the EU just when it finally addresses shortcomings and failures of its democracy and human rights?

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Radical yet practical ways to improve food production

The RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission has published its final report, setting out radical yet practical ways to improve food production in the face of current challenges. They say

The actions we take in the next ten years, to stop ecosystems collapse, to recover and regenerate nature and to restore people’s health and wellbeing are now critical.

Our Future in the Land makes fifteen recommendations. First, under the headline “Healthy food is every body’s business”, they suggest a greater commitment is needed to growing our own food using sustainable agricultural practices. Increasing UK food production would help reconnect people to nature and boost all of our health and well-being. Further, community food plans should be established, bringing people together to meet their area’s needs.

The second headline, “Farming is a force for change, unleashing a fourth agricultural revolution driven by public values” includes recommendations such as establishing a National Agroecology Development Bank and formulating a ten-year transition plan to fully sustainable farming by 2030. In addition, the report highlights the role of farmers, saying that innovation by farmers should receive more backing and that every farmer should have access to advice through farmer support networks.

The report includes reference to the need to implement the ten elements of Agroecology as set out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. These were developed by the UN to achieve Zero Hunger and other Sustainable Development Goals. I’m keen on the promoting the Circular and solidarity economy, to

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Lib Link: Christine Jardine MP on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has written in the Scotsman of her memories on the first moon landing fifty years ago. She writes,

For many of my parents’ generation, it was the ultimate fulfilment of John F Kennedy’s promise to explore the stars and send a man safely to the moon and back by the end of the decade. That generation had lived through World War II as children, endured the fear and tension of the Cuban missile crisis as young parents and the grief of lost opportunities with the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King.

And she recognises that the science developed in the course of space exploration benefits us all:

Those missions ultimately brought CAT scans, water purification, memory foam, equipment used to cut victims out of vehicles, and so many other things.

But even more importantly, Christine argues that the lunar missions gave people

confirmation that humans have an almost infinite capacity for invention and achievement.

She concludes that

Our planet currently faces a challenge that will demand all the passion, experimental science and technological advance we can find to save it from the damage we have done. Fifty years on, Neil Armstrong’s small step onto the moon should give us the belief that if we have the will, we can.

You can read the full article here.

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16 July 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Umunna: Ministers asleep at the wheel in the face of online shopping time bomb
  • New Lib Dem leader to hold Brexit talks with Barnier
  • Lib Dems: New PM must not delay Domestic Abuse Bill

Umunna: Ministers asleep at the wheel in the face of online shopping time bomb

The introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will lead to two-factor authentication for all online purchases. The aim of this is to cut down on fraud and improve digital security, however the Government have failed to both support retailers or inform consumers about this change.

Furthermore, it is estimated that around 2 million people do not have …

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Ed Davey MP writes….My reflections from the Campaign Trail

This map may resemble the route of one of Ian Botham’s never-ending charity walks or the British leg of the Tour de France where the organiser forgets to place a finishing line. But it’s actually a record of my campaigning odyssey over the past year, through our fantastic local and European elections onto my campaign to become leader of our party.

I’ve loved every minute – from Aberdeen to Penzance. Like my hero Paddy Ashdown and indeed most Liberal Democrats, I’m happiest out of Westminster meeting people – or, when with our brilliant Brecon candidate, Jane Dodds, meeting the odd sheep while clambering barbed wire fences. (Have you been to B&R yet?!)

I’ve been gate-crashed in Nottingham by Steve Bray, the amazing Stop Brexit campaigner – so we performed a great Stop Brexit duet; I’ve climbed a wind turbine in North Cornwall whilst campaigning to decarbonise capitalism; and I’ve endured the vagaries of the rail network – as I’m calling for rail improvements to discourage internal flights, my campaign is flight-free, to the occasional frustration of my diary manager.

On Sunday, after a head-to-head with Andrew Marr, I sacrificed all prospect of watching the Cricket and Wimbledon to go and speak to members in Oxford – and was welcomed by a healthy crowd, despite the competition!

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WATCH: LBC LIb Dem Leadership Debate

Iain Dale has spent much of the last few weeks going round the country chairing Conservative leadership hustings.

In what must have been a refreshing change, with a much higher quality of candidates, he put Ed and Jo through their paces in an hour long debate last night.

Watch it here.

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  • User Avatarchris moore 23rd Jul - 10:35am
    @ primroseleague Welcome to the party!
  • User Avatarchris moore 23rd Jul - 10:33am
    @Mick Taylor 23rd Jul '19 - 10:02am Whilst it’s true we have polled in the mid 20s, we have never got our score into the...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 23rd Jul - 10:16am
    Sorry. That last line should be: I don’t think you have one.
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    Psychology is important in Economics. We'd all agree on that. But there is more to the price of housing than just psychology. There is much...
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    The Tories have turned their first elected leader into an un-person. The news on 22/7/2019 was that a fantasist had been convicted and sentenced. Several...
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    Not on our out of date web site there is any surge. Main picture still Vince knocking on doors and main article "meet the candidates"...
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