So what’s on your Christmas reading list?

It’s that time of year when we hope that our nearest and dearest know us well enough to get us the books we want for Christmas. There is nothing nicer than spending the Christmas holidays snuggled up on the sofa with a nice pile of books that you don’t usually get the time to read.

My husband has been pointed firmly in the direction of the new Nigella book. Anything with a recipe for a chocolate and amaretto cake in it will definitely have pride of place in my Christmas reading pile. He also knows not really to bother buying me politics books because I will have bought them for myself throughout the year and failed to find time to read them.  Here are some I am looking forward to reading over the holidays:

I’m already a fair bit of the way through Hillary Rodham Clinton’s What Happened. I also have the audio book of Hillary reading. With every page there’s a huge pang of what might have been. I’ve been a huge fan of Hillary’s for half my life and I think she would have made a brilliant President. She would have done so much for young people and particularly women and girls in the most difficult places on earth to be female. Her book is candid and terrifying and it even has a chapter on love and kindness which aren’t qualities often associated with modern politics. They are always there in abundance as there are good people in all parties, but they don’t get much coverage.

Iain Dale’s Biteback Publishing is very annoyingly having a “everything at half price” sale until 31st December. Here is a selection of the Lib Dem books you might wish to buy.


David Laws’ second book on the Coalition, his diaries as he wrote them, is another interesting take on those years in Government. It’s not so neatly organised and very much in the moment.  He even included those entires which show him in an unexpectedly poor light. I’ve been an admirer of David’s ever since I realised that, despite being a bit too right wing for me on the economy, he was in favour of banning smacking. However, his rather bitter attacks on decent Lib Dem activists like Linda Jack are the polar opposite of endearing.  I’ll save that one for a day I’m angry anyway.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Laura Gordon steps up her campaign for Sheffield Hallam

It’s only a few weeks since Laura Gordon was selected as Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the marginal seat of Sheffield Hallam but already she is making her mark.

In June, Nick Clegg was defeated by the controversial Jared O’Mara who has failed to do the job he was elected to do.

Laura is effectively having to behave like an MP to fill the vacuum. In a wide-rangingi interview with the Sheffield Star, she talked about what she is doing to help local people:

She is helping people with casework, ‘taking up issues’ for Hallam constituents with councillors and the Lib Dem parliamentary team. “I feel this is something we can usefully do,” Laura says.

At the moment Jared O’Mara is not holding surgeries, so somebody needs to be looking at those casework issues. “He hasn’t voted since the 18th of October, it’s on the public record. He’s the only MP elected in 2017 who hasn’t made his maiden speech yet. It kind of speaks for itself, really.

She also talked about the guy Jared beat and what a loss he is to Parliament:

A lot of people have commented on that as I’ve been going around talking to people. Lots of people have said ‘I was helped by Nick’, often with things that we might think of as quite small, like getting a road fixed and campaigning on school buses or crossings. “He was very willing to get engaged on local issues, as well as doing all this work on the national level. I’ve got big shoes to fill but I’m going to do my best to fill them.

She and her husband settled in Sheffield five years ago:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Vince speaks at launch of All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture

Sir Vince Cable opened the proceedings by emphasising the importance of approaching this fiscal reform in a way that was not “tribal or sectarian”. They valued the fact that representatives of four political parties had agreed to form the Group – Liberal Democrats, Conservative, Green and Labour. He noted the idea, in different forms, has been around seemingly forever” but that “very little in reality has happened.” The message was “for goodness sake let’s do something that takes this forward. Let’s have a practical route map”.

Vince noted that the proposal for land value taxation was supported by “a long history of economic reasoning that wants to base taxation on land.” He referred to the report chaired by Nobel laureate Sir James Mirrlees which had argued for “shifting the tax base in this direction on standard economic grounds as well as the practicality of this approach”. But there was also “the social justice point of view: inequalities of wealth, underlying which were land values”.

Vince stressed the problems associated with property development, including distortions in the planning system, the issue of who captures land values, and how to finance infrastructure. He pointed out that an obvious approach to funding was “to look at the appreciation of land value”.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Vince: Labour should be ashamed

Over the past few days, Liberal Democrats have been challenging Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to back our amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would keep us in the single market which is so important for jobs and prosperity.

We are at this singularly unlucky point in time where we have a reckless and incompetent government leading us towards a potentially terrible Brexit. It doesn’t know what it wants as ministers say different things. You have both Gove and Davis undermining the deal before the ink is dry. It does nothing for the reputation of our country.

You would think …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 34 Comments

Good news from Jo Swinson

Lovely to see some good news on Twitter today:

The new baby will be their second child. Their son Andrew was born in December 2013 and made history 7 months later when he became the first baby to go through the Commons voting lobby in the arms of his father.

Many congratulations to Jo, Duncan and Andrew.

Jo, of course, has a keen interest in protecting women from bad employment practice during and after pregnancy. Until she …

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Cable calls on chancellor to write to BoE governor

With inflation now standing at a 6 year high of 3.1%, Vince Cable has called on the chancellor to write to the governor of the Bank of England with an explanation.

This would be a reversal of the usual mechanism where the Bank of England has a duty to explain to the government why its Monetary Policy Committee has not prevented high inflation with appropriate movement of the base rate.

Posted in News | 28 Comments

Vince Cable’s message for Hannukkah

Here is Vince Cable’s message for Hannukkah.

As we usher in the long, dark nights of winter, so begins the Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah is a celebration of one of the greatest miracles in the Jewish history and for more than two millennia, Jews everywhere have celebrated the wonder of the lamp that miraculously burned for 8 days.

The story of Hanukkah is a story of faith and hope even in the most difficult of circumstances. It is also a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Jewish community; a strength we continue to see, even today, in the continued fight against anti-Semitism, hate and discrimination.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDominic 13th Dec - 6:39pm
    Anyone who remembers Margaret Hodge from her time running Islington council would be reluctant to go anywhere near her book, let alone pay for it...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 13th Dec - 6:28pm
    @ JoeB Just because Labour didn’t have the right policies on welfare cuts does not mean that we shouldn’t go further than ending the benefit...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 13th Dec - 6:14pm
    Janan Ganesh's biography of George Osborne (published by Biteback) is currently available in all good poundshops! I trust our former Chief Exec's imminent memoirs will...
  • User Avatarexpats 13th Dec - 6:07pm
    Tony Greaves 13th Dec '17 - 4:28pm...................But the idea that we can work with the Labour party per se (as opposed to their people who...
  • User AvatarJoeB 13th Dec - 6:02pm
    Joe, while the sterling depreciation is no doubt a significant factor - the effects on the annual inflation rate should have started to decline somewhat...
  • User AvatarJames 13th Dec - 5:53pm
    BBC News says he's been advised not to attend Parliament by his GP. It appears that mental health only matters when it suits us (the...