Electoral fraud – the truth about personation

I doubt that one in a hundred readers of LDV have ever heard of a tendered ballot paper, let alone seen one.

Electoral law makes provision at EVERY election for the issue of tendered ballot papers, sometimes known as pink ballot papers.

If you go down to the polling station to vote and the presiding officer says to you, “I’m sorry, but I can’t give you a ballot paper because you’ve already voted”, what do you do? The answer is that you can insist that you haven’t voted, and the presiding officer must then offer you a ‘tendered’ ballot paper. This is the same as the white ballot paper, but for two things.

  1. It is a different colour (usually pink)
  2. It is stored separately from the white ballot papers.

How is it counted? The answer is that it isn’t, unless the election is challenged in an electoral court. In that case, the original ballot paper is found and compared with the tendered ballot paper and the tendered paper is the one that is counted. Now of course you might quite correctly argue that this breaks the secrecy of the election, but it does give an element of protection against personation, that is the attempt to impersonate a voter and vote instead of him/her.

I have been involved in an election where tendered ballot papers were issued. This was in a big city in 2008, in a local election where the Lib Dem candidate lost by less than 120 votes. The election had many strange features, but it became clear that a party had engaged in personation by finding out who wasn’t going to vote and sending someone to vote for them. Following this narrow win, I asked the returning officer if there had been any tendered ballot papers issued and there had. He also told me it happened in many wards in the city.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments
Advert

Three reasons to back Mark Pack for President

When I first met Mark Pack almost three decades ago he made quite an impression. I was campaigning to become Chair of what was then the Young Liberal Democrats and attempting to secure his support. Unlike most others at the conference, Mark did not seem particularly interested in the hackery of student politics, but wanted to know what I was going to do, rather than simply what I thought, or what faction I was in.

I’ve no idea if Mark voted for me, but I’d like to think he did.  And 28 years later, with the roles reversed, I’m delighted to say I will certainly be backing Mark to be our next President.

There are three main reasons why I believe Mark is the stand-out candidate.

Firstly Mark is a born campaigner and communicator. His record within the party is unrivalled, both as a trainer and advisor and also as a foot soldier. There aren’t many places across the country where Mark hasn’t delivered an expert training session or a bundle of leaflets, or in many cases, both. I’ve attended his sessions and also trained alongside him. He motivates people and knows his stuff.

Our party is at a crossroads, with so many members, both old and new, impatient to grasp the current political opportunities and meet the social, economic and environmental challenges facing us today. With his core vote strategy, Mark has been ahead of the curve in seeking to build our support across the country.

Secondly, Mark knows the party inside out. He understands the different needs of members geographically, demographically and politically. Importantly to me as a councillor for the past 24 years and now a council leader, I know that Mark recognises the huge role of local government. He understands localism and knows that much of the excellent campaigning going on in the Lib Dems is outside any Parliament. 

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

Federal Policy Committee report 16th October: Finalising the manifesto

The Federal Policy Committee is now on the final straight in to completing our manifesto for the expected General Election, and we cleared the agenda for our planned meeting on 16 October to focus on some key aspects of the document.

Our close collaboration with the Campaigns and Communications teams continues, and we started with a review of current research information about how messages are going down with voters, which was very helpful for our discussions which followed. Because of the way that we as a party make policy through conference, our policy on almost every area is already very well established.  So the challenge of writing a manifesto is not so much writing the policy as working with others so that we present it in the way which is most useful and appealing, especially to our target voters.

This is particularly visible in the area we discussed next, the few key headline policy commitments which will be most high profile. We want these, as well of course being the right policy, to make specific commitments which help to tell the wider story about areas that Liberal Democrats prioritise and the approach we take to them. Clearly Brexit will be central here, but there is plenty more we have to say about what we will do to help people in their everyday challenges.

One thing we are rightly proud of is that our manifesto is always accompanied by a robust set of costings which set out what our proposals will cost and how we will find the money to pay for these. This is something other parties tend not to do very properly, or not at all. We spent some time with Ed Davey, the shadow chancellor, going through these plans, and are now very well down the track of developing a strong plan for committing resources to our priority areas, funded in ways which make Britain fairer.

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

Observations of an ex pat: Syrian hypotheticals

Politicians hate being asked hypothetical questions. Or so they say. Journalists don’t. They love speculating, flying kites and pontificating about the consequences of the actions of their political masters. I am a journalist and Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria offers a near limitless range of hypothetical consequences. So I will indulge myself with a few of them.

American military promises:  Gone, kaput, up in smoke. It is now confirmed that carefully negotiated alliances bound with the blood of allies can be wiped out with a single Trumptonian tweet. Bringing the boys home is more important than world peace. Japan and South Korea should be worried. President Trump has already moaned about the cost of keeping 73,000 troops In those countries and turned a blind eye to North Korea’s development of short range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. As for the security guarantees for Taiwan and the support for Hong Kong Protesters, the Chinese are rubbing their hands with glee—and possibly cleaning their gun barrels.

The European members of NATO have been under attack from Trump since before he entered the White House. He wants them to shoulder more of the worldwide defence burden and he certainly wants to cut back on the 60,000 American troops deployed in Europe (including Turkey). He has repeatedly told advisers that the rich EU should send an army to the Middle East. At the same time he undermines the European Union by supporting Brexit and slapping tariffs on EU products. But most important of all, he fails to recognise that the EU does NOT have an army. You cannot send into battle an army that does not exist.

Syria, is, however, likely to act as a spur to greater European integration, including more European military cooperation. ~This will probably increase the influence of France as the largest military EU power; weaken the influence of the United States; strengthen the position of Russia in Europe; possibly result in more nuclear weapons held by France and Britain and, as Europe is forced to rely more on its own defences, lead to a European foreign polic y more independent of the United States.

ISIS revived: One of the major jobs of the Syrian Kurds was to guard 12,000 imprisoned ISIS fighters and another 70,000 of their dependents. The troops that were on prison duty have now been pulled away to fight the invading Turks. As a result the ISIS prisoners are escaping. They will join the estimated 20,000 ISIS fighters who are at liberty but in hiding. Together they will doubtless exploit the chaos and the vacuum created by Trump’s decision.

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments

Sign Sheila’s petition on Northern Ireland and Brexit

The UK Government must not risk a return to ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. That’s what’s inspired Sheila Ritchie, our Lib Dem MEP for Scotland to launch a UK Parliamentary petition calling on the Government not to impose any additional border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Ms Ritchie’s petition comes as the Good Friday Agreement approaches the 20th anniversary of it taking effect and is sponsored by fellow Liberal Democrat MEPs.

Sheila Ritchie said:

For almost 20 years now, the Good Friday Agreement has kept the peace between communities. 

Freedom to move across the Irish border without restrictions has been a key contributor to this peace and should not be up for negotiation simply for Boris Johnson’s political convenience.

The UK Government must not threaten this agreement, or risk a return to ‘the Troubles’, by imposing any additional border restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The petition says:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

17 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people
  • Record high knife crime offences shows Tories failure to act
  • Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Commenting on reports that a deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK Government, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds, said:

It is remarkably clear that Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

His deal will create a hard border down the Irish Sea, hurting Welsh farmers

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

SNP spend more in Shetland by-election than across whole of Scotland for EU referendum

So the election spending returns from the Shetland by-election are out.

We spent £64k and won.

The SNP were right up against the limit, spending £99k.

But they only spent £90k in 2016, across the whole of Scotland on the EU Referendum.

As a Remain campaigner in West Lothian, I found it deeply frustrating that SNP activists kept saying that they were too tired from the Holyrood elections to fight the EU referendum.

If something is important, it doesn’t matter how tired you are. You get to sleep in a few weeks.

I don’t, to be honest, think that David Cameron’s insistence on holding the referendum just weeks after the Holyrood election was fair, but it was where we were.

We got out there and fought. And the SNP were tired. Even though they spent three years in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014 hanging around on every street corner trying to persuade people to their cause.

Alistair Carmichael, MP for the Shetland Scottish Parliament seat, who welcomed so many Lib Dems up there in August, said:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

WATCH: Second online presidential hustings

Yesterday a second online hustings took place between party Presidential candidates Christine Jardine and Mark Pack.

You can watch the whole thing here.

This weekend, there are in person hustings in Plymouth, London, Lancaster and Bedford. You can find details here.

And if you can’t get to a hustings, you can question both candidates in the official Lib Dem Internal Election Discussion Group on Facebook here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Jo: The fight to stop Brexit is far from over

So Boris Johnson has struck an eleventh hour deal which he intends to put to Parliament as hundreds of thousands of marchers take to the street demanding a People’s Vote.  The Lib Dems will be meeting at the Duke of Wellington Arch in Hyde Park at 11 am.

Jo’s reaction was pretty clear. We continue to fight to stop Brexit:

The fight to stop Brexit is far from over.

Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 56 Comments

Poll sensation for Luciana Berger

A couple of weeks ago, Luciana Berger announced that she was leaving Liverpool to contest Finchley and Golders Green for the Liberal Democrats.

A Survation poll has put her way ahead of the Conservatives.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Stop the hate. We’re all human

Hate crime is inexcusable. It attacks an individual’s identity and can have an appalling and devastating impact on victims.

The issue is one that has always been close to my heart. My mother is from Poland and as a result I have in the past experienced racial discrimination due to my family’s overseas heritage.

Though my experiences of hate crime were rare and isolated I know for many other people this can be a very real and immediate concern, especially given the toxic post-Brexit atmosphere we now live in and an increase in Islamophobic incidents following the terrorist atrocities in Manchester and London.

Over the last six years we have witnessed a spike in extremism, including the murder of Jo Cox MP in 2016 and several disturbing incidents during the 2019 local and European election campaigns. 

That’s why Watford Liberal Democrats wanted to pass a new Council motion to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week (12th – 19th October), demonstrating that people’s fears are taken seriously, and by listening and responding to our constituents concerns we as a council, and as individuals, can make a difference.

People have crossed borders and lived together for thousands of years. We’re all immigrants.

Everyone can integrate into a society if they’re able to respect the rule of law and the fundamental values of their new country.

Newcomers are integral to helping the economy grow and keeping our country moving. Many vital sectors such as the NHS, construction, social care, retail and hospitality would struggle to function without immigration.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | Leave a comment

17 October 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems: Brexit will limit the horizons of college students

The Association of Colleges has today published a survey revealing that 94% of colleges would be unable to fund student and staff mobility programmes outside of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran MP said:

Brexit shuts the door on students and staff studying, training and working across Europe. This survey shows that colleges simply can’t afford their student exchange programmes without the funding that the EU provides through Erasmus+.

Colleges are wary about replacing Erasmus+ with a British-led alternative because they know

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

16 October 2019 – today’s press release

MP launches “Save Our Rural Banks” Campaign

Jane Dodds MP has launched a new campaign aimed at protecting existing rural banking services and restoring banking services to communities across Brecon & Radnorshire.

Over the past few years, many communities across Brecon and Radnorshire have seen bank branches in their towns close. Recent announcements by Barclays also reveal plans to reduce banking services available through the Post Office.

At present towns like Knighton, Crickhowell and Hay-on-Wye both do not have any bank branches in the towns, while towns like Ystradgynlais are reliant upon a single branch.

Jane Dodds, Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, …

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

The irony of the Tory Voter ID plans

Our democracy in this country is pretty much broken.

On one hand we have a government that constantly bangs on about the will of the people, whilst simultaneously doing its damnedest to undermining it.

The irony of that is not lost on me.

A Government that actually did care about the will of the people would make sure that the people got the parliament they asked for, for a start, by introducing a proportional system of voting. This is not boring constitutional stuff – we should be doing more to frame it as a fundamental issue of trust.

In recent years, the introduction of individual electoral registration has led to a severe democratic deficit. Just last month, Electoral Commission research showed that 17% of voters were not correctly registered.

That’s not far off one in five people, who are more likely to be young or from marginalised groups – and least likely to vote Conservative.

That is, surely, a much bigger problem than some confected spectre of “voter fraud” which is being used as a justification to bring in this measure.

The Electoral Reform Society has this to say on that subject:

Thankfully electoral fraud is very rare in the UK. Where voter fraud has occurred, it has been isolated and therefore is best tackled locally.

Out of 44.6 million votes cast in 2017, there was one conviction resulting from the 28 allegations of in-person voter fraud – that’s 0.000063%. Adding a major barrier to democratic engagement off the back of this would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

And our Tom Brake said that this measure was a blatant attempt at voter suppression and rig future elections:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 14 Comments

Woodford – a lesson in hubris, both for individuals and councils

Embed from Getty Images

The story of the Woodford Equity Income fund should give investors great pause for thought concerning how many eggs to put in one particular basket.

The Guardian reports:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Is Canada heading for a coalition?

‘Lawn signs’ are being banged into front gardens across Canada with the 2019 Federal Election taking place on Monday (21st). With the polls close between the incumbent Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, and with neither looking likely to pull away, ‘The Hill’ could be a hung parliament. This would be truly historic as Canada has never previously had a formal coalition in Ottawa.

In recent weeks, the Liberals have pulled themselves level with the Conservatives after falling far behind the Tories in February. The polls suggest that the Liberals could win more seats than the Conservatives, but not enough to win an outright majority.

The role of the smaller parties will come to light here. The left-leaning New Democrats (NDP) are very much the third party but are closely followed by the regionalists in Quebec – the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens, who look set to pick up seats in the Liberal heartlands of the East, could also keep Trudeau in power. All of these parties have more in common with the Liberals than the Conservatives. If there is a hung parliament in Canada, it is more likely that Trudeau will remain at Sussex Drive, than Andrew Scheer.

Under Jagmeet Singh, the NDP have struggled to hit the heights of 2011, where under charismatic former leader Jack Layton, they pushed the Liberals into 3rd place. Singh won the Burnaby South by-election in February this year with an increased majority and will look to win similar ridings across British Columbia to advance from their 44 seats at the 2015 Federal Election. There is a lot of common ground between the NDP and the Liberals, and by winning in a similar number of seats (which is possible), they could help the Liberals over the line in October. With the election looking more and more like a two-horse race, it is entirely possible that the NDP will be squeezed even harder than in 2015. The election campaign hasn’t been easy for Singh, as several of his candidates have defected to the Green Party, believing they have a stronger chance of winning under the Green banner. Singh has said publicly that he could work with the Liberals in a coalition post-election.

The Green Party, under highly credible Elizabeth May, look set to gain seats in ‘Atlantic Canada’. They currently only hold 2 seats (out of 338), but in an election that is neck-and-neck, they could be kingmakers in Canada post-October 21st. Since 2015, the Greens have been on the march in regional elections, including in the April 2019 election in the province of Prince Edward Island, where the Greens beat the Liberals into third place. Like the NDP, there is common ground between the Liberals and Greens, and could work together in a coalition. One area of real opposition though, is the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which the Liberals have ‘green lit’ for a new phase of construction. If scrapped, there are no hard barriers to a Liberal-Green deal.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Carbon fee and dividend – how it would work

In my first post, I introduced the idea of carbon and fee and dividend. Now I want to look at how it would work in the UK.

Fees steadily rise and are economy-wide, paid by companies that sell fossil fuels in the UK. The tax would steadily rise at a rate set by an independent body such as the Climate Change Committee to give the policy institutional certainty and bankability. This would mean that the price of burning fossil fuels account for their true social and environmental costs.

Fees are structured around border carbon adjustments, to create a level playing field for domestic and international producers so that companies which export carbon intensive products into the UK will be subject to the same level of carbon tax as domestic producers, helping industries like the Welsh steel sector.

Dividends from carbon taxation are returned directly to individual households so they can invest in measures to reduce their own carbon footprint and offset any initial increases in energy prices. People should be able to borrow against their future dividend payments for investments in energy efficiency.

Environmental regulations are rationalised without reducing environmental protection. Eventually at least 10 direct carbon taxes would be rationalised into a single unified price paid for emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the UK. For example, we would no longer need the Climate Change Levy, but we should continue with energy efficiency standards and energy labelling.

What would the impact be?

Estimates suggest that we could prevent 230,000 premature deaths over 20 years from improved air quality alone, on top of climate change reversal and we could also create 2.8 million extra jobs.

The REMI Study in the US examined the effect of a progressive fee and dividend (F&D) carbon tax, starting at $10 per ton of CO2 on the national economy as well as the economies of nine regions of the US. The study then compared these results to the baseline case where there is no price on carbon.

Study Highlights:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Brexit: the penny drops as Sir Humphrey is wheeled in amidst the “whiff of sexism”

Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK ambassador to the EU, had to have an uncomfortable conversation with the then Prime Minister, Theresa May in 2016. He told her:

…you have made three commitments in good faith to different audiences, but they are not really compatible with each other.

You have said to the Irish, under no circumstances will a hard border be erected across the island of Ireland.

You have said to the Democratic Unionist community under no circumstances will there be divergence from the rest of Great Britain.

And you have said to the right of your own party that you are heading out of the customs union.

Posted in Humour and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 32 Comments

15 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Poll shows we are now third party for Westminster
  • Lib Dems call for urgent action to tackle rising hate crimes
  • Lib Dems table People’s Vote amendment to Queen’s speech

Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business

Responding to the reports that one in three car firms are cutting jobs, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

It is time Boris Johnson woke up to the fact that the manufacturing sector, and the automotive industries in particular, are suffering badly from Brexit-related uncertainty. Jobs are being lost, investment is down

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 7 Comments

Review: The Yorkshire Yellow Book 2019

If Liberal success is to be more than transitory, it needs to be based on a clear vision that can easily be transmitted to and acclaimed by the electorate.  On this basis, Yorkshire’s Liberal heritage is about to be reborn. The Yorkshire Yellow Book 2019 is bursting with ideas about how a future Yorkshire should develop.  Importantly, these ideas are evidence-based and embedded in sound Liberal principles.

The theme of the book – a devolved Yorkshire administration – is set out clearly in an excellent Foreword by Chris Haskins (former chairman of Northern Foods).  Illuminating comparisons between Yorkshire, Scotland, and London are made by David (Lord) Shutt. Yorkshire, with a population almost identical to that of Scotland, has higher unemployment but a lower GVA per head.  Both have GVA figures far behind that of London. Despite its relative prosperity, though, London is to receive over 50% of planned future transport spending in England, even though its extensive transport system is already massively subsidised by the rest of us.  New ways of sharing are obviously needed.

In this context, the authors build a convincing case for devolution. They emphasise that Yorkshire is a strong “brand”, with a recent track record of sparkling achievement in areas as diverse as sport (the Tour de France) and culture (Hull’s successes as City of Culture in 2017).  Philip Knowles points out that the party constitution implies Yorkshire’s entitlement to local decision-making on matters including health, education, agriculture and transport. Other valuable essays examine how Yorkshire devolution could work as part of a broader federal structure, as well as avoiding over-dependence on Leeds.

I was pleased to note scepticism about proposals for elected mayors, because it is difficult for the public to hold them effectively to account.  Rather the authors show a preference for devolution more along Welsh or Scottish lines, which two decades show to have delivered local accountability and to have engendered self-belief (as if that were lacking in Yorkshire!)

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Johnson’s Proposed Brexit Deal: Chances and likely Impact on UK economy and public finances

Whist there is history of EU negotiations going to the wire and wee-hours of coffee-fuelled (now smokeless) last minute give-and-take, these events tend to be about intra EU matters such as the EU budget or the “musical chairs” argy-bargy of who agreeing who and which country gets which plum jobs within the European institutions. 

Can a modified deal therefore be agreed between the Johnson government and the Commission in time to put forward to the European Council on October 17-18? 

On a range of probabilities, yes, but it is a low-probability one. But it would essentially require the PM to essentially converge – if not fully cave in – to the EU demands.  The chances that the required sequence of steps: agreement, Council blessing, agreement by UK parliament (inc DUP and ERG), and before askance from the other EU27 plus the European Parliament can all be addressed remains unlikely. 

The baseline remains that there will be no FULL agreement in place although the PM could then go to the electorate with a partial agreement that allows him to argue that he has “delivered” pre October 31st  even if the Benn Act kicks in for an extension (which as I have argued could go on to June 2020).

Johnson v May Deal Basics

  • The Johnson deal is to effectively agree that Northern Ireland will continue to, in effect, remain in the status quo governed by EU rules for all goods AND with no border checks with the Republic of Ireland
  • The UK will want to exit from compliance with EU rules on labour and environmental standards where previously there was to be no divergence from EU law
  • The J-deal seeks full flexibility for free-trade deals with 3rd countries where previously it was for services only AND
  • A Good-only EU-UK trade deal akin or “Canada minus”

Implications

  1. Not completely addressed so far but Northern Ireland would in effect become something between the Isle of Man and a full Home Nation and may well set in train the move towards full Irish unification. Leaving aside parliamentary arithmetic and the DUP, put to a referendum, voters in Northern Ireland would likely agree to this.
  2. Both the Johnson and May deals represent a worse outcome economically for the UK vis-à-vis the REMAIN position. 
  3. Modelling undertaken by Professors Menon and Portes (and excluding spillover effects such as a more brutal potential Scottish Independence) have shown that living standards – as measured by per capita incomes –  would decline more under the Johnson deal than under May’s…and both are worse than the current status quo of REMAIN.
  4. That there would be an ouflow of EU workers by up to 600,000 over the coming years partly compensated by an inflow of non-EU workers – with the result of labour shortages in key sectors inc NHS, falling productivity 
  5. No fiscal savings from exiting (aka the £350m per week fallacy) because the UK would have to set up its own agencies where currently the work is delegated to EU bodies, raise its own aid financing currently carried out by the EU and lose access to funds returned through Structural funds and grants for R&D and education
  6. And A WORSENING short-term fiscal scenario relative to REMAIN: around 2% of GDP worse off or equivalent to between £40-60bn.
  7. Beyond the macro-fiscal, there should be alarm bells ringing at the implied roll-back of structural reforms (Competition Policy, State Aid, Consumer Rights, Labour rights et al). The current Johnson deal is arguably even worse from a macroeconomic context and potentially imply a roll-back of a basic framework of labour and consumer rights not seen for generations

Summary

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

The case for carbon fee and dividend in the UK

If we start from the position that in order to slow and halt the climate breakdown we need a root and branch systems change in the way our economy and society is structured and operates, we need to recognise that responses have the potential to negatively impact the least well off in our society.

We know that environmental harms caused by human activity, like air pollution, and that rising energy costs are issues that disproportionately hit the most vulnerable and those with least financial security. 

Every intervention or systems change aimed at slowing the climate breakdown therefore needs to satisfy these questions;

  1. Does this change recognise the magnitude of and respond sufficiently to the threat of climate breakdown?
  2. Does this change meet our obligations to protecting and safeguarding our planet for future generations?
  3. Does this help our economy move to a low or zero carbon footing?
  4. Does this help households adapt their practices and weather the changes in our economy?

Responding to the climate crisis should, fundamentally, be viewed through an economic and social justice lens.

Creating a low or zero carbon economy

Ending our dependence on fossil fuels is one of the biggest changes we could make to slow the climate breakdown.

  • Burning coal, oil, and natural gas is responsible for two-thirds of humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases, and yet provides more than 20% of GDP in two dozen nation states.
  • Energy accounts for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of CO2. Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 1.4% in 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt), a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat.
  • Emissions from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) rose by 0.3% in 2017 – the first rise in 7 years.

Moving from dependence on fossil fuels and meaningfully driving rapid investment in renewable energy does have the potential however to leave many people in the UK behind.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

15 October 2019 – the overnight press release

Urgent action needed in mental health and learning disability services – Lib Dems

Today the publication of CQC’s ‘State of Care 2018/19’ report reveals a rise of inpatient services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism that were rated inadequate.

The report also shows a rise of child and adolescent mental health inpatient services rated inadequate.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Vince Cable said:

It is rare for a public body such as the Care Quality Commission to be so scathing of the effects of Government policy. Their honesty is to be

Posted in News | Tagged and | 1 Comment

14 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: TV License changes detrimental to dementia sufferers
  • Swinson: Queen’s speech is a charade
  • Fifa and UEFA must take action against racist abuse of players

Jane Dodds: TV License changes detrimental to dementia sufferers

Jane Dodds, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, is calling on the Government to restore BBC funding in order to protect free TV licenses.

The BBC recently announced that, due to budget cuts from the UK Government, they are moving to scrap the blanket free TV licenses for over-75s and instead only offering them to people claiming Pension Credit.

These licenses have been provided by the BBC since 2000 and approximately 4.5 …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Jo: A politics of hope and inclusion, firmly set on a better future

Jo made us all look up today.

Wearing a dress the colour of sunshine, she showed the country a brighter future away from the relentless grind of Brexit.

Certainly, she told Boris Johnson in no uncertain terms how damaging Brexit would be for the country and exactly why the Liberal Democrats would not be supporting his Queen’s Speech. But she went beyond that and painted a picture of much more pleasant future once Brexit has been stopped.

She drew a parallel every woman in politics, or, for that matter, who ever goes to meetings, will recognise:

She had some special words for EU nationals – after she had cited some examples of the stress people had to go through to get settled status.

You can read her whole speech over on the party website. This is my favourite part:

Posted in News | 4 Comments

The Lib Dems have a new Chief Executive

Mike Dixon, currently Chief Executive of Addaction, a mental health, drug, alcohol and young persons charity, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. He will start his new role next Monday, 21st October.

He was previously Assistant Chief Executive at Citizens’ Advice.

Mike said:

I’m delighted to take on this role. We’ve just had our best ever European election results and new members are joining all the time, taking us to record levels of membership. Millions of people want the country to stop Brexit and focus on things like the climate emergency, investing in schools and people’s mental health.

I’m looking forward to getting started next week. We’ve got a great team, inspirational political leadership and a thriving, inclusive party. If you want change, join us today.

Sal Brinton added:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Kurds, Turks, Syria and hypocrisy

I’ll begin by making two things clear. The first is that Trump’s sudden decision to pull US troops out of eastern Syria is self-evidently irresponsible and very foolish. The other is that Turkey’s invasion will cause yet further civilian suffering and I suspect it will ultimately solve nothing. But now I’ve made these two admissions, I want to share some uncomfortable thoughts about the way this new conflict taking place within the borders of Syria is being perceived.

While Turkey’s invasion has hit the headlines, the regime bombing of Idlib and attacks on the ground receive almost no attention by comparison, …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Welcome to the Lib Dem Health and Care Association!

One of the great things about the Liberal Democrats is that whatever you’re interested in, there’s a group of like-minded people you can join to talk about it and exchange ideas with. Interested in the environment and climate change – join Green Lib Dems. Interested in Europe – join the Lib Dem European Group. Business your area? Join the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs Network. From the Humanist & Secularist Lib Dems and the Lib Dem Christian Forum, all the way to the Lib Dem Friends of Vegans and Vegetarians, and the low-intensity Swiftian …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 5 Comments

We must put the case for Remain and do it repeatedly in the public domain

I sent our local newspaper a letter giving ten points for Remain; they published it on 1st October with the heading “Ten reasons for us to have a new vote”. That is because I prefaced it by saying “Let me express my joy should there be a public vote to remain.” My reasons were affected by my responding to Brexiteers’ previous letters expressing joy at leaving. I am showing this here because I think we need to be saying much more of this. So many people are unfortunately no longer interested in what goes on in Parliament but their reaction …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

14 October 2019 – the overnight press release

Labour’s renationalisition plans set to cost billions

Responding to the analysis by the CBI that the cost of Labour’s renationalisation plans is estimated to be £196 billion, Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna said:

The Tories are pursuing an ideological hard Brexit, depriving the Exchequer of much needed revenue, whilst Labour plans to do the same with a Labour Brexit in addition to spending billions of pounds with no idea how they will pay for it.

The only sensible alternative to these two broken parties is to stop Brexit and use the resulting Remain bonus to invest in people and public services – the

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 48 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Duncalf 18th Oct - 5:52pm
    One of the most able and brilliantly qualified candidates for Party President we have had in a very long time. Good luck Mark.
  • User AvatarChris Bertram 18th Oct - 5:14pm
    Personation is not where the action is in electoral fraud. That's in postal vote farming, but there are no plans to tackle this in any...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 18th Oct - 5:11pm
    @John McHugo Sorry that my quote from an ex colleague caused you offence. I can assure you that his remark was totally unsolicited; but does...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 18th Oct - 5:00pm
    18th Oct '19 - 12:23pm FT forecast(£) 318 MPs in favour 321 against.
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 18th Oct - 4:53pm
    8th Oct '19 - 12:23pm Financial Times (£) findings 318 MPs in favour 321 against. Other forecasts are available.
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 18th Oct - 4:53pm
    Might it help if the government of the USA, those of the NATO nations and their attendant media modified their presentation of the USA military...