Thoughts from Holocaust Memorial Day

I’d watched a TV programme, been to an event with asylum seekers, and they told me about a talk by a local historian on the Jews on Teesside.

Several things, apart from remembering the atrocities of the genocide of the Jews, struck me hard.

The role of “ordinary people” in the genocide.  I hadn’t realised before how those who had been friends and neighbours were going along to see the spectacle of Jews being shot and falling into the trench to be buried.  How harassed some of the children were by fellow countrymen were as they set off on the Kindertransport to safety.  When listening to Skimstone Radio | Skimstone Arts with the asylum seekers we heard also of more subtle ways of causing distress, adding to what people were already going through.

The gas chambers did not happen overnight, the climate for such builds up, and this link Holocaust Memorial Day Trust | The ten stages of genocide (hmd.org.uk) leads to a description of the ten stages of genocide.  I won’t go into the detail of those stages here, but reading them brings it home how many of those steps resonate with current attitudes fostered by Government and right wing media.  The whole country may view with horror what happened in the genocide, but can everyone look at those 10 steps and say that as “ordinary people” they are not part of it in any way?

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Zahawi sacking: Cooper calls for inquiry into what PM knew

As Nadhim Zahawi finally and inevitably gets the boot, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has called for an inquiry into what Rishi Sunak knew and when. She also said Zahawi should quit as an MP.

Rishi Sunak has finally acted after spending days defending the indefensible on Nadhim Zahawi. It should never have taken him this long to act. Sunak’s first 100 days in office have been tarnished by endless Conservative sleaze and scandals.

Serious questions remain about what Sunak knew about Zahawi’s tax affairs when he appointed him. We need a proper independent inquiry to establish the facts and hold the Prime Minister to account.

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Tom Arms’ World Review

France and Germany

The Franco-German alliance is wobbling. As if to emphasise the problem, this past weekend the entire German cabinet decamped to Versailles in an attempt to improve relations.

The relationship between Paris and Berlin is one of the cornerstones of the European Union. It has been held since 1960 when Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer ended a century of war and suspicion at Reims Cathedral.

Some of the current problems can be attributed to the egos of Macron and Scholz. President Macron makes no secret of his desire to lead Europe. Unfortunately the French economy does not match its president’s ambitions. At the same time the rather colourless Chancellor Olof Scholz is having difficulty filling the over-sized shoes of his predecessor Angela Merkel.

The personal relationship between the two leaders is complicated by important policy differences over China, Ukraine, Russia and energy. Scholz encourages trade with China. Macron is more diffident. The French president also wanted the German Chancellor’s recent visit to Beijing to be a joint Franco-German affair. Scholz refused.

On energy, the French are annoyed that the Germans failed to foresee the problems of dependence Russian oil and gas and remain reluctant to build nuclear power plants. About 70 percent of French energy is nuclear while in Germany it is only 12 percent.

Then there is Ukraine. The French – along with most of the rest of France and Germany’s allies – are annoyed that almost every scrap of German military and economic aid has to be dragged out of the Scholz government. When it comes the aid is often generous, but the “frank discussions” that precede it are causing friction.

India

Don’t mess with the BBC. That should have been the message that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi heeded before trying to ban a documentary attacking him.  The BBC has 22,000 staff, 192 million radio listeners, 294 million television  viewers, the world’s most visited news website. Distribution deals with television networks around the world, and the most trusted brand in world journalism.

None of the above, however, stopped Modi from banning a two-part documentary entitled “India: the Modi Question” from being shown or distributed in India.

The documentary was not Modi friendly. In fact, it was extremely unfriendly The programme strongly implied that Modi climbed to power on the back of divisive Hindu nationalism. Also that while Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 he stood aside and allowed Hindu rioters to massacre 1,000 Muslims . That was part one. In Part two, the documentary accused Modi of trying to disenfranchise the Muslim minority; suppressing freedom of speech, assembly and the press, intimidating his political opponents and moving the world’s largest democracy towards an authoritarian Hindu state.

So, the programme was not re-broadcast on Indian television. But the ban was reported in the Indian press. The resultant publicity meant that  tens of millions viewed it on the internet and at special showings at Indian universities. And as they watched the viewers would have asked: If it isn’t true why has Modi banned it? Of what is he frightened? And finally they thought: the BBC is usually reliable.

The documentary ended with a diplomat saying that the Western world is turning a blind eye to Modi’s political excesses. He said that India was too important as an economy and a counterweight to Chinese influence in Asia.

Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock this week moved to 90 seconds to midnight. This is the closest it has ever been to nuclear Armageddon. The minute hand has been moved to its news dangerous position mainly because of the war in Ukraine.

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Observations of an expat: Ukraine tanks conundrum

Supplying tanks to Ukraine is not as simple a matter as it may appear at first glance.

It is an issue that is interwoven with competing and overlapping problems of military strategy, political pitfalls, German guilt, Russian nationalism and expansionist ambitions, Ukrainian self-determination, nuclear blackmail, the long-term prospects for peace in Eastern Europe and the age-old battle of good versus evil.

The solution to send perhaps a total of 200 tanks from various NATO countries to Zelensky’s army is insufficient to satisfy the Ukrainians and more than enough to fuel the Russian propaganda machine.

Ukraine is flat tank country. Ukraine wants NATO tanks – especially the German Leopards – to launch a counter-offensive to regain territory.

NATO initially rushed to Ukraine’s aid with defensive equipment; primarily anti-tank and anti-missile weaponry to stop the massive Russian tank attack from Belarus and to blunt Russian artillery barrages.

It worked. In fact, better than expected. So much so that Volodomyr Zelensky appears determined to build on his success to drive the Russians out of all the territory which Ukraine has lost since 2014 (and Russia has annexed) including Crimea.

This would seem quite reasonable as international law is quite-rightly wedded to the principle of self-determination and in 1994 Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders and its territorial integrity in return for Ukraine relinquishing its nuclear weapons and signing the nuclear non- proliferation treaty.

But Eastern Ukraine is predominantly Russian-speaking. The majority of its inhabitants have traditionally looked east to Moscow. As for Crimea, it has been Russian since 1783 and one of Moscow’s most important naval centres.

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27 January 2023 – today’s press release

Hunt’s speech is cold comfort for families and pensioners

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s speech this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative party sounds like an unfaithful partner asking for yet another chance – but after crashing the economy and sending mortgages sky-high – why should we trust them again?

Jeremy Hunt’s speech is cold comfort for families and pensioners facing unbearable price rises.

This Government’s economic record is nothing less than a shambles and the British public will see right through this desperate attempt by yet another Conservative Chancellor to rewrite history.

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ALDC by-election report: 26th January 2023

Laying the groundwork in the north…

A solitary by-election occurred this week, in Rotherham Council. In 2021, Keppel ward returned 2 Labour and 1 localist councillor, of the Rotherham Democratic Party. Last night saw a surge of 12% in the Lib Dem vote, with Khoulod Ghanem achieving 445 votes, 300 behind Labour.

Also notable was the collapse in Conservative vote, going down by 25% compared to the previous election in this ward.

Rotherham is a region where we’re a growing presence, gaining 3 seats in 2021. This is a fantastic result for the party making in-roads to new areas of the city. Going from coming last out of 5 parties, in a ward where we didn’t stand a full slate of candidates for the all up elections, to coming second in less than 2 years is excellent. This is what we can achieve when we stand candidates and campaign! Really well done to everyone involved, a solid basis to win in the future! Full results below:

Keppel, Rotherham MBC

LAB: 745 (36.0%, -3.0%)

LDEM: 445 (21.5%, +12.6%)

IND: 381 (18.4%, +18.4%)

YP: 314 (15.2%, +0.2%)

CON: 119 (5.8%, -25.0%)

GRN: 59 (2.9%, +2.9%)

No RDP (Rotherham Democratic Party)

LAB GAIN from RDP.

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News out of Outer Mongolia

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Outer Mongolia is a very large independent truly democratic country, landlocked between a pair multi-ethnic giant empires: the sprawling Russian Federation and the multi-ethic Inner Mongolia within the realm of China.

Mongolia enjoyed a huge economic boom from investments by the Soviet Union and its Comecon satellites in eastern Europe notably East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslavakia and Poland. The Mongol workers and elite became fluent bilingual Russian-Mongolian, and a second huge construction boom in military construction ensued as a bulwark against China in the Soviet-China Cold War.  At the peak of booms, disintegration of the Soviet Block and Comecon triggered immediate collapse of Mongolia’s economy due to abrupt loss of all its export markets, spare parts and technicians. Peaceful revolution to democracy succeeded.

Today older Mongol elites speak fluent Russian, but the under 50’s have ditched Russian in favour of English as the second language in Ulaanbaatar: my 22-year old Mongol daughter Mandukhai (“Mandy”) teaches in the capital and is fluent in English. On Skype today she mentioned that the daytime temperature was in the minus 30°Cs and tonight may reach minus 40°C. Ulaanbaatar is the world’s coldest capital city in winter!

Into this harsh land, trickle escapees from the Russian Federation. Much can be gleaned in an article by Antonio Graceffo: Russians escaping Putin’s war face tough sanctuary in Mongolia.

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Holocaust Memorial Day: Review of “Jews don’t count” by David Baddiel

There are few books that I have read which have made me stop, think and completely re-evaluate my world view. “Jews don’t count” by David Baddiel was one of them and without a doubt the most important book I read last year.

The author’s argument is simple. There is a gap in the UK and much of the West for recognising Anti-Semitism and standing up against it. He directs his argument not against would be racists but quite deliberately at those who see themselves as progressives. The author frankly states that his personal belief as a British Jew that progressives treat Anti-Semitism as a lower-class concern compared to other forms of racism. The author believes this is the case for two main reasons, because Jews are seen by progressives as being privileged and not a true ethnic minority and therefore white. One is a shameful and misleading stereotype and the other is factually incorrect.

Much of the book consists of Twitter exchanges between the author and other commenters. These are chosen to illustrate the various ways that such people have sought to trivialise David Baddiel raising the spectre of Anti-Semitism. Many of these examples are really quite worrying. Baddiel seems to have quite a good grip on the characteristics and drawbacks for how such debates are held on social media. One thing has to trump another. It is about “owning” not discussing. In between nuance is lost. This has meant that when David Baddiel has called for Anti-Semitism to be given the same level of recognition as Black Lives Matter, sadly some supporters of the latter have seen this as a competition.

Sometimes it takes a good author to articulate what you have been thinking for a while. I thought that when he talked about those who seek to trivialise or downgrade the tragedy of the Holocaust (labelled as a genocide of “whites”), to allow for recognition of more “black” genocide’s such as King Leopold’s reign of the Belgian Congo. This is something that I have personally witnessed on internet debates and have found quite shocking. Is this world so full of suffering that we have to degrade ourselves further by having some kind of genocide Olympics to see which was the worst? Why can’t we just be united in acknowledging that all such chapters are shameful and should never have been allowed to happen? These are difficult things to talk about and confront, yet it is important that we do.

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Report of the FCC meeting – motions selection

The new Federal Conference Committee had its first motion selection meeting on Saturday, 21 January to run through the motions on the agenda for the Spring 2023 conference in York – the dates for conference at 17 to 19 March 2023.

If you haven’t had a chance to register yet for conference, you can do so here.

Going back a little further, at the end of 2022 the committee met shortly after the new federal elections and elected its officers, established its subcommittees, and started work on preparing objectives and a work plan for the term of office.

I am delighted to have been re-elected as Chair of the Federal Conference Committee. Cara Jenkinson and Jon Ball were elected as Vice Chairs of the committee.

The Federal Conference Committee has two standing subcommittees, each of which is chaired by one of the Vice Chairs. The General Purposes Sub-Committee (GPSC) is chaired by Jon Ball, The GPSC oversees many of the operational matters of conference, including finances, venues, rates, and party bodies. The Conference Communications Group (CCG) is chaired by Cara Jenkinson. The CCG has responsibility for communications, marketing, membership engagement and engagement.

Furthermore, at that meeting we established the Innovation Working Group, which will start work on developing new ideas and concepts for conference, I will be sharing more about this group over the next few months.

We also established a Constitutional and Standing Orders Working Group, chaired by Duncan Brack, which will be looking at how we keep Conference’s standing orders updated and assisting the Innovation Working Group with any changes that may need to be made to the standing orders.

At this meeting we also agreed provisional objectives for the Federal Conference Committee over the next three years, I will share more on our objectives soon.

Back to Saturday, it has been a while since we’ve had an in-person Spring conference, and we are all very much looking forward to returning to the Barbican and the Novotel in York.

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26 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Government Not Monitoring GP Waiting Times
  • HMRC and Zahawi investigation: Sunak must rule out a stitch up
  • £220,000 Johnson bailout fund for “cost-of-lying crisis”

Welsh Government Not Monitoring GP Waiting Times

  • Information obtained by the Welsh Liberal Democrats shows the Welsh Government has no idea how long waiting times for GPs are across Wales.
  • The Welsh Liberal Democrats claim this hinders the Welsh Government’s ability to see where resources should be directed to help local health boards.

The Welsh Government is not collecting data on how long GP waiting times are across Wales according to information uncovered by the Welsh Liberal Democrats. This is despite …

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Richard Foord tables bill on wild camping in national parks

Dartmoor was the only area of England and Wales where under a local law there had been an assumed right to wild camp without the landowner’s permission. However a High Court judge ruled earlier this month that this was legally wrong and permission was needed. That affects not only casual wild campers but also schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.

A limited agreement for camping access with some landowners on has been agreed. But concern remains that an already restricted right of access to camp is being restricted further. Following the decision, wild camping outside of a designated campsite without the landowner’s permission is no longer legal anywhere in England and Wales.

Yesterday, Richard Foord, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, tabled a bill in the House of Commons – the National Parks (Camping) Bill.

 

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Tim Farron on decarbonising steel production and that coal mine

Tim Farron spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on steel production yesterday:

Steel is vital to our green economy. As Britain decarbonises with new infrastructure based on steel, let us make sure that we also decarbonise the processes we use to make that steel.

His comments come in the shadow of the government approving the controversial Woodhouse coal mine in Whitehaven, the first deep coal mine in England since 1986.

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Bath & North East Somerset adopts net zero housing policy

Liberal Democrat controlled Bath and North East Somerset Council has become the first council in England to adopt an energy-based net zero housing policy as part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The new housing development policy will ensure the energy use of any proposed development is measured and meets a specified target — setting a limit on the total energy use and demand for space heating. It will also require sufficient on-site renewable energy generation to match the total energy consumption of the buildings — ensuring the development is 100% self-sufficient.

New policies will also address building emissions such as a policy to limit carbon emissions resulting from the materials used in the construction of large-scale developments. These ‘upfront’ embodied carbon emissions will be limited to 900kg CO2 e/m2.

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The Real Problem with Constitutional Reform

Despite being a Labour MP, House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is opposed to Labour’s plan to replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber. His view is that it would undermine the authority of the House of Commons. This has always been the problem with attempts to reform the Upper House. Change it into something democratic and accountable, and you are bound to ask why it doesn’t have more power. Leave it as a Ruritanian collection of robed elders, and you can defend putting limits on what it can do. For Hoyle it has a part in ‘tidying up bills.’ Like the cleaners, it plays a useful role that should not be criticised.

This will not do, but Labour’s plans for reform (so far lacking detail) may not do either. The trouble is their view of devolution, which has been focused on giving power away rather than sharing it. Yes, giving power away may be necessary to avoid too much centralisation. But often the most important thing is to allow authorities outside Westminster to participate in joint decision-making.

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats
  • Sunak holding “Hideaway Day” at Chequers with scandal-hit Cabinet
  • New sewage target passed in Parliament which allows 15 more years of harmful waste in rivers
  • Conservative MPs vote to cover up the truth about golden visas

Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats

The Liberal Democrats have written to Dominic Raab, calling on him to “urgently” bring in a new law to stop journalists and campaigners being silenced through legal threats.

It comes following numerous reports that Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi used the threat of legal action against campaigners and journalists who raised questions about his tax affairs.

The government has previously promised new legislation to tackle the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Last year in response to a consultation on the issue, Dominic Raab warned these sorts of legal threats can have a “chilling effect” and “stifle legitimate reporting and debate,” with “media and others intimidated into abandoning critical stories in the face of crippling legal costs.”

Raab also previously said that “it is wrong that unscrupulous individuals and corporations are able to exploit our laws and our courts in this jurisdiction with claims designed to muzzle respected journalists, academics and campaigners.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to bring in new anti-SLAPP laws as quickly as possible, and to clarify if they would prevent Cabinet Ministers such as Nadhim Zahawi from behaving in the way which has been alleged.

The party is also calling for the current investigation by the ethics adviser to look into the use of legal threats by Nadhim Zahawi.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Dominic Raab has rightly warned about the chilling effect that the threat of legal action can have on media scrutiny and exposing corruption. It’s now time to put his money where his mouth is by finally bringing forward tough new laws to tackle these baseless legal threats.

It is particularly worrying that Nadhim Zahawi reportedly used the threat of legal action against those raising questions about his tax affairs. We need to know whether the new rules the government is proposing in this area will tackle such behaviour by Cabinet Ministers in future.

The current inquiry into Zahawi by the ethics adviser must also look into this issue, and whether legal threats were used in an attempt to cover up the truth. It can’t be one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing
  • Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400
  • Powys Patients Waits in English Hospitals Raised in the Senedd
  • Wagner Group: Rishi Sunak must order an immediate inquiry

Zahawi: What more will it take for Sunak to do the right thing

Responding to the growing calls for Rishi Sunak to suspend Nadhim Zahawi as Conservative Party Chairman, including among his own party, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Every day that Nadhim Zahawi clings on does more damage to Rishi Sunak’s credibility.

The Conservative Party is stuck in an endless cycle of sleaze and chaos, while the country suffers from a cost of living and NHS crisis.

What more will it take for Sunak to finally do the right thing and sack Zahawi, or at least suspend him for the duration of this investigation?

He promised his government would have integrity and accountability, but instead once again it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.

Govt lags behind key 20,000 police officer pledge by over 3,400

New Police uplift statistics from the Home Office have revealed that the Government would need to double its police recruitment efforts in the next three months to meet its 20,000 targets as it lags behind by 3,427.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being on track to break their key 2019 manifesto promise to recruit 20,000 new police officers by the end of March 2023.

The Government’s flagship crime policy lags behind the total by 3,427 – with only 3 months left to go.

Analysis from the Liberal Democrats shows to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023, the Government would have to hire 130% more officers each month, up from 494 extra officers a month over the last six months to 1,142.

The most recent statistics reveal that 17 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have failed to recruit a single new officer in the last 2 months.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Conservatives are too busy dealing with sleaze and scandal to properly tackle crime festering in our communities. They are letting down people across the country with their failure to recruit police officers and tackle crime.

Victims right across the country will be left without confidence in this Government and it’s all because of these broken promises and failures.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing where people feel safer in their areas and the Government is focused on cutting crime instead of squabbling in Downing Street.

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The other crisis: Civil and human rights under attack

Canvassing in South London, I am often asked by residents what Liberal Democrats stand for today. After all, they say, Brexit is no longer a battlefield (although for many it still is), and most of today’s pressing issues are claimed by other opposition parties. Who are we and what do we want to do that is not just anti-Tory? What is our offer, our ‘USP’ to voters that no other political party will prioritise? And why is our message relevant, perhaps more relevant than ever, in today’s world?

Maybe the answer can be found in the history of liberalism: from the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights – defending (religious) freedom against state transgression – to more contemporary ideas – claiming freedom to be and do whatever doesn’t harm others. So here is what I say on the doorstep:

We stand up for your rights.

The right to speak up if things go wrong. The right to breathe clean air. The right to claim asylum if you flee persecution or conflict. The right to be consulted about things that affect you. The right to access information and education. The right to have a decent home regardless of your income. The right to be judged on merit alone. The right to be who you want to be, live how you want to live and love whom you want to love, and the duty to respect others’ rights to do the same.

Have you tried saying this on the doorstep? It is pretty much guaranteed to raise questions about the current state of these rights.

This is exactly the debate we need and Liberal Democrats need to lead.

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24 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left
  • Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage
  • Mark Drakeford Challenged on Abysmal Ambulance Waiting Times

Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left

Responding to the latest borrowing figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

A toxic combination of Conservative incompetence and reckless decision making at the top of Government have blown a hole in the country’s finances, and now ministers are making British families pay for it.

A long-list of Conservative Chancellors have hiked taxes, added hundreds of pounds a month to mortgages and left the country with unnecessarily high borrowing costs. The British public will never trust the Conservative party again with the economy. This Conservative Government doesn’t have a shred of economic competence left after months of chaos.

Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage

  • Water company hauled in front of public meeting to defend thousands of hours worth of sewage discharges into rivers
  • The Environment Agency confirms in written evidence that water quality is “poor” and the Water Industry “is responsible”
  • Chair of the new inquiry Cllr Smart slams “a national scandal which pollutes our rivers and puts animals lives at risk”

Liberal Democrat run Stockport Council has become the first council in the country to launch an official Sewage Inquiry.

There is widespread outrage across Stockport after United Utilities dumped sewage into the river Mersey a staggering 977 times last year, lasting 3,271 hours. Across Stockport, the water firm discharged 13,372 hours of sewage discharges into local rivers.

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Tributes paid to Paul Hannon, former LibDem leader of Newbury District Council

Over on newburytoday.co.uk, there is a fine obituary of Paul Hannon, former LibDem leader of Newbury District Council.

The piece includes this tribute to Paul from Lord Benyon, former MP for Newbury:

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Do you want to work for the Liberal Democrats?

Photo by Jon Ball Photo by Jon BallThere’s a special page on the party website which lists “all of the open work and volunteering opportunities with the Liberal Democrats”.

Current opportunities are include the role of Federal HR adviser (part time), a host of paid opportunities with constituency parties such as Campaign Officer with Twickenham and Richmond, to help re-elect Sarah Olney MP.

There are a swathe of volunteer roles that need filling including for Disciplinary sub-group members, volunteers to phone local party officers and Campaign for Gender Balance chairs and vice-chairs.

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Forgotten Liberal Heroes: Sir Edward Grey and Richard Haldane

The Liberal governments of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H.H. Asquith, from 1905 to 1916, included many ‘big beasts’. Sir Edward Grey served as Foreign Secretary 1905–16 and remains the longest-serving holder of the office. He maintained good relations with France and Russia at a time of great instability in Europe. When his efforts to avert conflict failed, in 1914, Grey persuaded a divided cabinet to support Britain’s entry to the First World War.

Richard Haldane was Secretary for War 1905–12 and created the Territorial Army and the British Expeditionary Force. As Lord Chancellor after 1912 he pursued a series of judicial reforms. He was also a co-founder of the UK university system.

Both have a credible case for being regarded as Liberal heroes. But Grey’s record has been strongly criticised in recent years and Haldane is largely forgotten.

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Borrowing figures: The Government have no economic competence left


Embed from Getty Images

The Office for National Statistics has announced that “Public sector borrowing in December 2022 was £27.4 billion, the highest December figure since monthly records began in January 1993”.

Responding to the new, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

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Lib Dem analysis shows 350,000 patients waiting over 12 hours for a hospital bed in 2022


Embed from Getty Images

A record 350,000 patients, equivalent to the population of Leicester, waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022.

The figures were uncovered in new analysis by the Liberal Democrats showing a staggering rise in 12 hour delays at A&E since 2015.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has set out an NHS rescue plan to reduce the shocking A&E delays which he warned are “needlessly costing lives”. This includes recruiting 8,000 more GPs, giving pharmacists more powers to prescribe medicines and boosting funding to get eligible patients out of hospital and into social care. The proposals would mean fewer desperate people turning to A&E after struggling to get a GP appointment.

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23 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Strip Boris of ex-PM £115k allowance until he comes clean
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats Respond to Building Safety Announcement

Boris Johnson should be stripped of the ex-PM allowance of up to £115,000 a year until he answers questions about his financial arrangements while he was Prime Minister, the Lib Dems have said.

This comes further to successive reports regarding ‘credit facilities’ which Johnson secured while he was in Downing Street, reportedly facilitated by Richard Sharp who was subsequently appointed as BBC Chair.

The Lib Dems have warned that until Johnson comes clean about these facilities, whether there was any conflict of interest with the …

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20-22 January 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: There must be an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this
  • Cleverly: Dog ate my homework type excuses simply won’t wash with the public
  • Boris loan: He must come to Parliament to explain his murky finances
  • Jane Dodds Responds to Cancelation of Young People’s Village at the Royal Welsh Show

Zahawi: There must be an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this

Responding to the latest statement from Nadhim Zahawi on his tax affairs, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Zahawi and his Conservative Cabinet colleagues are arrogantly trying to brush this under the carpet.

There are facts that still

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20-22 January 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

  • Sunak fine: From partygate to seatbelt gate, Conservative politicians are taking British people for fools
  • Research reveals squeezed middle facing biggest income tax hit in a decade
  • Alarm as Number of Homeless Children in Wales Rises by 59%

Sunak fine: From partygate to seatbelt gate, Conservative politicians are taking British people for fools

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak has been given a Fixed Penalty Notice for not wearing his seatbelt during a Lancashire visit, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

Rishi Sunak has shown the same disregard for the rules as Boris Johnson, and now becomes the second ever Prime Minister to be fined by the police.

From partygate to seatbelt gate, these Conservative politicians are just taking the British people for fools.

Whilst they continue to behave as though it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else, this fine is a reminder that the Conservatives eventually get their comeuppance.

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Tanks to Ukraine

Like many living in Germany, the Federal Government’s hesitancy in supplying weapons to Ukraine is not only puzzling to me, but frankly massively embarrassing. German profited massively from the Peace Dividend at the end of the cold war – and so reduced its spending on defence that the Bundeswehr is a shadow of its former self. Despite the clear threats to European stability, particularly after the Crimean annexation, previous governments, led by the Christian Democrats, had given little attention to active threats.

The “traffic light” coalition government is itself divided on the provision of tanks to Ukraine. Ministers from the …

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Record 350,000 patients waited over 12 hours at A&E last year

  • Figures reveal 1,000 patients left waiting 12 hours or more in A&E every day in 2022
  • Analysis shows shocking rise in long A&E delays since 2015, when just 1,300 people waited 12 hours or more
  • Lib Dems set out plan to tackle NHS crisis including recruiting more GPs and allowing pharmacists to prescribe more medicines

A record 350,000 patients, equivalent to the population of Leicester, waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022.

The figures were uncovered in new analysis by the Liberal Democrats showing a staggering rise in 12 hour delays at A&E since 2015.

Liberal …

Posted in News and Press releases | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Welcome to my day: 23 January 2023 – clinging desperately to the wreckage…

I’ve been away, which has come as something of a relief, it must be said. Admittedly, not much has changed since I went away – the people running our country still appear to have a restricted grasp of ethics and morality, the Opposition are still desperately attempting to avoid taking any firm position on very much, the lack of ideas for dealing with the huge challenges our country faces is still troubling.

And I’m weary. Weary of trying to serve a nation where those in charge barely pay lip service to the idea …

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Britain can never rejoin the EU, it might join it.

I have passionately supported European integration since I first became aware of the European Economic Community around 1962. I am as die-hard a Remainer as you can find. Despite that, I consider calls within our Party asking our leaders to campaign for re-join to be naïve.

To re-join something means basically to restore what existed before. If I fail to pay my subscription to the Chartered Institute of Taxation, I will be expelled. If I pay the missing subscription in a reasonable timescale, I can re-join and do not need to take any membership examinations; examinations that must be taken by new members seeking to join.

To put it very simply, the UK has left the EU. If it wishes to become a member, it needs to apply for membership. The EU has a detailed process for dealing with membership applications, and of course every single EU member state has a veto.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 66 Comments
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