Vince Cable writes: Lib Dems will be at the forefront of political realignment

It is a year today since I became party leader, and a great deal has happened since.

Thanks to the efforts of so many of our members and campaigners, we had the best set of local election results of the three main parties in England in councils gained and the best overall for us in fifteen years.  We have every reason to hope that next year will be better still – we are already preparing.

The by-election in Lewisham East was our best against Labour for a decade.  Local council contests each week continue to reinforce the positive message our surveys are giving us.

Whatever toxicity attached to the Lib Dem brand after the Coalition has substantially dissipated.  Large numbers will vote for us if they think we have a chance of winning and if there is an effective campaign

As well as winning elections, we are setting out big ideas to change the country.  A few weeks ago, I detailed an ambitious but realistic approach to house building, describing what could be achieved without the impediment of ideological prejudice.

I have also launched a series of initiatives to confront the issues thrown up by the new digital economy and deal with the ‘data giants’; a group is looking at how best to support lifelong learning for people whose future is potentially subject to the upheavals of technological change; another will soon look more broadly at the impact of new technologies like AI and how best to respond to them.

On the core economy, I have set out a revised approach to fiscal and monetary policy which builds on, but does not destroy, existing structures.  We have carried out serious work on land value taxation, which will come before Conference in the Autumn. And I have described how in practice we create a corporate structure which is best described as ‘responsible capitalism’.

On public services, Liberal Democrats continue to lead the argument about the mechanics for funding health and social care with the advice of leading figures in health policy. The Federal Policy Committee has recently set up a new health working group to take forward their work, and to continue our leadership role in mental health policy pioneered by Norman Lamb. Layla Moran, our education spokesperson, has published proposals to address the concerns of parents, teachers and schools, which we endorsed at conference.

The politics of Brexit is moving slowly but substantially in our direction.  Where our calls for a final say on the deal for the public were once derided, more and more people are now joining with us in that campaign.  A highlight of my year was addressing the 100,000 people amassed in Parliament Square for the People’s Vote march.  We remain the leading political force arguing that whatever the parliamentary wranglings over detail, the best course for Britain is to stop Brexit altogether.  Giving the people a choice at the end of this dismal negotiating process is the best way to obtain an exit from Brexit

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LibLink: Wera Hobhouse: Solving the housing crisis means using the empty houses we’ve already got

Housing spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has written for the Huffington Post about how a Liberal Democrat amendment passed in the Lords this week will help alleviate the housing crisis.

Politicians have a moral obligation to help solve this crisis, and one part of the process must be bringing empty properties back into use. Of course, we must build more homes – 300,000 per year to be precise – but bringing empty properties back into use is an excellent way in the short-term to help families in desperate need of a home, whilst saving valued green belt land from development. Equally, by bringing empty homes back into use, we can help regenerate struggling communities. After all, regions with the highest number of vacant dwellings are often also the areas that have been left behind in terms of economic growth.

Last year was the first year since the recession that the number of empty homes in England did not decrease. This is unsurprising. Tory Government cuts to local authorities hamper their enforcement capabilities. All dedicated empty homes investment programmes, programmes that my colleagues in Coalition fought tooth and nail for including my predecessor in Bath Don Foster, were severed in 2015. It was a 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto promise to reduce the number of empty homes by 250,000, and that is something they delivered in Coalition and can be incredibly proud of.

t is clear something must be done. The Liberal Democrats strongly supported the calls to double the council tax on empty homes, but now we have gone one step further. Yesterday in the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrat amendment, which increases council tax the longer you leave it empty, has been adopted and passed by Parliament. There are of course exemptions, for example where a resident is in residential or nursing care or when a member of the armed forces serves overseas for long periods. These premiums on council tax are not statutory. Councils have the flexibility to apply them or not.

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Reform the Reformers – Part 1 Policy making

The business world has its special expressions for what politicians call ‘reform’. ‘If you are standing still you are going backwards’ for example. In Japan there is the business concept of ‘kaizen’, translated as ‘continuous improvement’.

The UK Liberal Democrats are a reformist party. People join the party because they wish to improve things and solve problems.

By contrast some people join political parties to preserve the status quo, or a prior status quo. It’s not so common in business. I sometimes wonder if the CEO of the communist East German state company that made the famous plastic 2-stroke Trabant car, had a business philosophy of ‘continuously staying the same’.

The Liberal Democrats might find even greater success if they focused even more on their primary job of ‘reforming’. That means doing even more to solve problems and make improvements for the general public. Liberal Democrats are keen to tell the public about their liberal values and democratic principles. It is not always easy for the public to make the connection between Lib Dem values and principles, and improvements to their lives; how those principles and values solve real problems.

There is scope for improvement here.

The Lib Dems will surely do better if they are perceived more as a problem-solving service for the public. Indeed, at a recent Liberal International meeting in Berlin a spokesperson for the German FDP explained that this conclusion at a strategy meeting a few years ago led to their revival as a political force.

With the UK Lib Dems the deployment of our values and principles in solving problems, is undertaken by a relatively open policymaking system. This is where one might look for the scope for improvement.

The rules of an organisation reflect its culture.

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Your Conference venues for next year are…..

I am delighted to announce the venues for Federal Conference in 2019.

For the Spring, we will be returning to the York Barbican.   It is a venue that enjoys consistently positive member feedback, located, as it is, in a magnificent city.  The conference hotel will be the Novotel York Centre Hotel.  The dates for conference will be 16th to 17th March 2019.

Autumn Conference 2019 will be held in the Bournemouth International Centre.  As with York, it is a venue well known to us and we are really pleased to be returning to what is a great seaside location.  The conference hotel will be the Marriott Highclff.  The dates for Autumn Conference will be 14th to 17th September 2019.

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A very strong hold in Oxfordshire

Oxford Liberal Democrats pulled off a brilliant hold last night, getting over 60% of the vote.

Congratulations to Cllr Stefanie Garden

There was a bit of a Conservative surge in Bury but we managed to hold our own in terms of vote share as …

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Dinosaur found at Westminster

The BBC’s Nicholas Watt seems to have been trawling the bars of the Parliamentary Estate looking for dinosaurs. And he struck gold.

Oh.My.Days.

I have a list of suspects, although that grows exponentially if we’re including Lords.

I have been saying for a while that we should paint in primary colours, that we should say what we really feel and not be too subtle.

Our Press Office stepped up to that plate tonight. Do not read on if you are easily offended.

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Leadsom, Lewis and Smith in trouble over Jo Swinson pairing scandal

Remember when the Tories cheated in order to win the tight vote in Parliament, just like Vote Leave cheated to win the EU Referendum?

Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis, paired with Jo Swinson who was at home with her two week old baby, should not have voted on Tuesday night. He honoured that in the first few, but in the really crucial ones, on the European Medicines Agency (which the Government lost) and the customs union, (which the Government narrowly won), he cast his vote. Now, had he voted in the earlier divisions, Alistair Carmichael, our Chief Whip, might have noticed …

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George Dunk’s memorial service to take place this Saturday

George Dunk was a much-loved presence on the Lib Dem scene for decades. I first knew him through his wife, Sandra, who was the Party’s fantastic candidates officer. She died very suddenly in 2004. He was such a kind and funny man who always had a story to tell and he is incredibly missed. He died at the end of April.

This Saturday, his memorial service will take place at St James Church, Bermondsey, Thurland Road, SE16 4AA at 11:30 am. It’s just off Jamaica Road, and three minutes from Bermondsey tube station.  There will be a gathering in a local pub …

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Baroness Shas Sheehan writes…Lib Dems lead the opposition to Brexit

This week I was chatting to a (pretty senior) press person about the forces of gravity holding Lib Dem polling figures below the double-digit mark. 

Their response was that we were playing it too safe and needed to do something alarming. This was whilst waiting for the Commons’ votes on Monday night. Neither of us thought for one moment that that event might be our current leader and our former leader missing a Commons vote on a Jacob Rees-Mogg amendment designed to make the cobbled together Chequers agreement even less palatable to the EU. The Government won the vote by a whisker – just 3 votes in it. 

So, the fact that 17 Labour MPs went awol and 4 (if you include Kelvin Hopkins) voted with the Government, was lost in the excitement of Vince and Tim having been let off the whip by prior arrangement at a point when it had been deemed safe to do so, and Jo had been paired.

Of course, had it been realised that Labour were going to, unexpectedly, oppose the Government (a rarity when it comes to Brexit legislation) and the vote was going to be a close one, then our arch-remainer leader and former leader would have been in the lobbies. So, the expected, comfortable, Government victory margin was reduced to three. 

It’s a shame they missed this vote, but let’s not despair – we are nowhere near the end of the long Brexit road. There are opportunities aplenty coming up when Vince will be leading our Commons team trying to stop the Government taking a wrecking ball to our economy for a pipe dream.

It’s becoming clearer by the day that the only logical end to this sorry saga will be for the public to have the final say. This has been the Lib Dem position from the start.

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Another way out of the Brexit mess

I have never been on an aeroplane and I do not have a passport, but think of myself as a European. I am also a patriotic Englishman and I love the country in which I was born. My father came here at the age of seven with a sun-darkened skin and speaking with a Greek accent. He was born in Smyrna in 1922. His life, and those of his parents, and my mother’s parents, and my partner’s grandparents were all scarred and disrupted by war and conflict, the consequences of which still reverberate in our lives today.

And now my country has embarked upon a course which could have terrible repercussions for new generations to come. Our government, if that is what it is, appears to have no consistent strategy and no realistic vision of the future. Theresa May, like Donald Trump, shamelessly argues that black is white, and an hour later that white is black, and gets away with it. How can this be! Partly it is because there is no opposition in the Commons worthy of the name: Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins, Dennis Healey, Jim Callaghan and Ted Heath would have eviscerated the third raters who now sit on the government benches in a matter of hours. But it is also because there seems to be no plausible way out of the situation the referendum landed us in.

I was on the People’s March, but I don’t support the Party’s policy of a  referendum on the deal. Leaving aside Justine Greening’s absurd proposal for three options, if a second referendum again supported Leave it would at least settle the matter, but although a Remain vote would ameliorate the economic disaster that will otherwise afflict this country it would deepen the divisions that the referendum created and poison our political system for decades to come.

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A young person’s ideas for a better online Lib Dem presence

The digital profile of the Liberal democrats is not making use of the huge opportunities the internet provides. I am a young Liberal Democrat who is often annoyed at our lack of digital presence as a party. This is a time where, due to our small number of MPs, we aren’t often appearing on the mainstream media and so it is the best possible time to start creating media of our own. A strong social media presence has two key benefits for the party. It will solidify our base of support with current members and simultaneously attract new ones.

The main problem with our current social media strategy seems to me to be a lack of tailoring to each individual platform so with that in mind here would be my recommendations for each platform.

YouTube

 Perhaps the greatest untapped goldmine the Lib Dems have is YouTube. The thing one must understand about YouTube is its current trend towards long form content. An example of this would be the series of interviews done by James O’Brien for Joe.co.uk. One recent interview was with Nick Clegg and gained 26 thousand viewers yet cost almost nothing to produce.

Why doesn’t the party dig out a camera, a microphone, have a young party member sit down and interview each MP for an hour. If it only gets a few thousand views no money has been wasted and a few thousand people have had the chance to listen to a Liberal Democrat point of view. Produce a podcast version of it and release that too. If Ed Miliband’s podcast can get 100,000 downloads surely, we can get into the marketplace too.

An important thing to remember is the right are already doing this, look at the recent news on UKIP or a half an hour interview with Katie Hopkins that gained 300 thousand views. This is an untapped goldmine of exposure, crucially aimed at a younger audience, that we are wasting.

Twitter

The twitter presence for the Liberal Democrats is on the whole good, the Lib Dem Press Office account being the highlight. The thing to remember about twitter is it is the opposite of YouTube. On YouTube users sit for hours watching long form content but twitter is about short, snappy and if possible humorous posts. I would change two things, firstly make our tweets funny, punchy and sharable to attract more people and gain more publicity. We need more “Stalin to Mr Bean” type tweets. Secondly, and this may seem a small detail, subtitle our twitter videos. People use twitter when they’re on the bus or walking down the street and so often won’t listen to the audio of videos, every Labour party video is subtitled for this reason, we need that too.

Reddit

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Report Back on the Federal Conference Committee (FCC) Held on 14th July 2018

As a member of the FCC, I attended the meeting held last Saturday (14th July). My comments follow the more informative article by Zoe.

The main purpose of the meeting was to go through all the motions that had been selected for FCC to review for possible inclusion at the Autumn conference. Subject area split the motions (54 in all):  Business Innovation and Skills, Communities and Local Government through to Work, Social Security and Pensions (14 different policy areas, in all).

Each member of the committee was given a policy area(s) with internal party contacts (mine was, for example, a member of …

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Why the Party should reject calls to sign to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

In July 2017, a UN Conference on Nuclear Weapons comprised of 124 states voted 122 – 1 – 1 in favor of creating a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons; only The Netherlands voted against, and Singapore abstained. Though the Conference Vote itself results in no legal obligations on the UN Member States, the Treaty opened for signature on 20 September 2017.  As of today, 59 states have signed it, and 11 have ratified it; 90 days after 50 states have ratified the Treaty, it will come into force – currently a distant prospect.

Kevin White wrote an article for LDV on 11 July highlighting his second attempt backed by 156 party members to get FCC to consider a motion at Autumn Conference committing the Party to “to campaign for the UK to add its name to the list of signatories to the Treaty” – and presumably ratify the Treaty.

Speaking as a multilateralist who has consistently opposed Trident replacement on the grounds that it is too expensive – it will consume between a quarter and a third of the MoD procurement budget each year between now and the mid-2030s – and Trident is a level of capability that the UK no longer needs. As an academic international lawyer, I understand the attraction of a Treaty that would ban nuclear weapons and lead to global nuclear zero – an aspiration that I fully support.

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The Big Brexit Squeeze

We all know The Squeeze; when we alert voters to the binary choice forced on them by First Past the Post, asking them to drop their preferred option and settle for us.

The Squeeze runs through Brexit. Theresa May tells the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers that they might loathe her Brexit proposals, but the alternative is Corbyn.  A wider, presumed “Leave,” the audience is told the alternative is “no Brexit at all.”As that would suit me down to the ground, I am told that HARD Brexit awaits if I fail to get behind whichever fantasy proposal is currently touted.

The biggest squeeze of all, though, maybe around the corner. The government nears collapse; a collapse that would leave the UK rudderless, unable to agree on any deal and, so, inexorably be sliding into a calamitous No Deal Brexit. A General Election, under the First Past the Post system that did so much to create the crisis, would not help. FPTP enforces the party blocks, limiting the choice of the electorate which it then further distorts.

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Reforming National Insurance Contributions

There has been much talk recently about how we are going to raise money to fund public services, and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) is usually the option the Treasury takes. This is predominantly because the public see NICs as something distinct from general taxation.

However, continually raising NICs hurts the income of working people, depresses wages and is generationally unfair.

NICs is only levied on those aged 65 and under, this explains to an extent why it is still seen as a contribution rather than a tax. However, with life expectancies rising and insufficient pension savings, people are working much longer. Raising …

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What will the party debate in Brighton?

Federal Conference Committee met this weekend – unusually at Amnesty HQ in London rather than LDHQ – to set the Agenda for Autumn conference in Brighton.

If you have not yet registered, please don’t forget – conference runs from the 15th to 18th September, and you can sign up at https://www.eventsforce.net/autumnconference2018. Or, if you’d like to take advantage of our new refer-a-friend discounts, see https://www.libdems.org.uk/refer_a_friend

As noted in my reports on Spring conference, the snap election last year delayed progress on several policy papers which have now come through so time pressure was again an issue. This did mean that some good motions that would have fared better had there been more time were dropped early in round one of voting. I should also mention that a Nem Con decision does not mean that no members liked a motion. FCC runs largely according to consensus, where only issues that might be controversial or result in a close vote end up with a formal show of hands. If only one or two people are arguing for/against a motion, it is often not worth pushing it to a vote. Running 63 votes in round one alone would risk the meeting becoming a multi-day epic!

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“Vote Leave broke electoral law” – EU referendum needs to be annulled and re-run

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I’m sure readers can think of examples where election results have been declared invalid by the courts and had to be re-run.

The classic example was the 1997 Winchester election. At the general election, the returning officer declared Mark Oaten the winner by two votes. The court accepted the former Tory MP’s case that the failure by the returning officer’s staff to stamp 55 ballot papers with an official mark, leading to their rejection, cost him a win – also by two votes.

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Time to Start the Blame Game

The plan presented by Theresa May at Chequers and the subsequent resignations by two of her senior cabinet ministers (Brexit and Foreign Secretaries) is more to do with them running for cover than resigning in exasperation. What Theresa May agreed with her cabinet was not in any way a soft Brexit option, it doesn’t resolve the Irish border issue and from all accounts will be rejected by the EU. The proposal will still involve the UK leaving the single market, ending free movement and limiting the role of the European courts.

The proposal is that we will accept part of the four principles set out by the EU. We want to stay in the single market for goods but not services, capital or labour. The plan is we will collect the EU tariffs until we get a system in place to set our tariffs, and until we do that we stay part of the customs union. The proposal for Ireland is still the software option that took the US a decade to develop costing over $10 billion and is used by a very small number of companies. As we run a surplus on services and not on goods, this will be further impetus for companies to move to Europe.

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Tories cheat like a Vote Leave campaign over crucial customs union vote

This country is currently on a path to economic self-destruction because of a narrow vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Today we discovered that the Vote Leave campaign had cheated. And, by the way, that monumental news isn’t even on the BBC’s front page any more.

Tonight, this country was helped along its path to economic self-destruction  because of a narrow vote – 307-301 against an amendment which would have kept us in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The desperate Tory government pulled a particularly dirty trick to win that vote.

The pairing system has long been a civilising feature of our Parliament. When an MP is indisposed for some reason or needs a night off, they can be paired with an MP who would vote the opposite way. Imagine the sorts of circumstances that you might need that in – maybe a dying parent, or a sick child, or your own illness, or being on maternity leave. Tonight, Jo Swinson, whose baby is just two weeks old, was paired with Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis. He voted in the crunch votes. He didn’t vote in the earlier votes.  Jo was justifiably furious:

The incident even got a Twitter moment.

After a couple of hours, Lewis tweeted that it had been an honest mistake:

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Whip issues apology over Trade Bill vote

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has issued a statement following yesterday’s vote on the Taxation (Cross-border trade) Bill:

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Labour in turmoil over the definition of anti-semitism

Yesterday the Parliamentary Labour Party voted to adopt the IHRA definiton of anti-semitism, in defiance of Labour’s NEC, which recently produced its own definition:

While Labour’s internal machinations are in a sense none of our business, I do think there are lessons to learn for all of us here. Anti-semitism is by no means confined to the Labour Party, and where we wish to criticise Israel, let us not undermine the moral force of our arguments by carelessly straying into anti-semitic territory.

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Our achievements in York

Since 2015 and the formation of City of York Council’s Joint Administration, York has continued to develop as a leading city in the UK, receiving much praise and attention along the way.

However, it is important to reflect on what we as Liberal Democrats have achieved for local residents and for the City.

In 2015, in a difficult set of elections for the party nationally, we gained four councillors in York. This was a great achievement and in this article, I outline seven of our major achievements to date, both in administration and in serving our local communities. I also outline our Fair Deal campaign for the future. 

  1. Frontline investment: 

Frontline services have been our number one priority in administration. Despite the massive cuts to the Council’s budget by the Conservative Government, we have launched an ambitious £20 million investment programme in our roads, footpaths and public spaces, as well as ensuring that residents continue to receive their first green garden waste bin at no cost. More recently, in June 2018, we committed a further £1 million investment in waste and recycling, green spaces and support for our local high streets.

  1. Clean Air Zone:

In 2017, York became the first city in the UK to have a fully electric Park & Ride fleet, thanks to a £3.3 million investment. Building on this, City of York Council is now well on its way to delivering the UK’s first Clean Air Zone, thanks to the efforts of Liberal Democrat Councillors. The Clean Air Zone will aim to introduce Ultra Low Emission standards as a minimum requirement for all buses on busy routes.

  1. Community Stadium:

Construction is well underway on the new Community Stadium and Leisure Complex, which will be a great facility for football, rugby league and leisure in York. Steel frames are now in place to construct the leisure site and stadium stands. This achievement builds on our record with leisure and swimming, having saved the Edwardian Yearsley Swimming Pool from closure in 2015.

  1. Local Plan: 

After decades without one, we have submitted a Local Plan for York to the Planning Inspector, avoiding the risk of Government intervention in York’s future. Our Local Plan, if passed by the Government, will deliver the housing we need in the city, whilst protecting York’s unique character.

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Trump; explaining the inexplicable

President Trump’s erratic and contradictory ‘negotiation’ behaviour over NATO, EU and the UK sends British officials off in a frenzy of textual analysis.

It might be more productive for UK policymaking however, to assess the underlying motives of, and domestic pressures on, Trump.

Trump’s core aim is to address US government debt, and close off a series of related economic vulnerabilities; potentially catastrophic for general US global negotiating strength.

Why?

US aggregate debt is likely to exceed 106% of GDP in 2018 according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). A level not seen since WW2. This …

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How we can stop a hard Brexit NOW: The case for the EFTA option

Brexit is an absolute shambles.

Theresa May’s new Chequers deal did little to convince her own cabinet, let alone anybody else, and Labour in opposition are offering nothing either. All the while Britain is bitterly divided, and appears to be close to taking a long walk off of a short pier.

There is however a ready-made solution that could sort this mess out, and that is for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This arrangement already works well for Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and it could work well for Britain too.

By joining the EFTA Britain would remain in the single market, providing peace of mind to the business community, and the hundreds of workers whose jobs currently hang in the balance. We would also have access to the trade agreements that the EFTA states already have with Canada, Mexico and others, which would further alleviate the economic risks of a hard Brexit. In addition, EFTA countries have a significant amount of influence over single market legislation, which May’s plan would not give us. EEA membership would also allow us to retain freedom of movement, which would secure the futures of over 3 million EU citizens currently living here, that this government is ready to betray.

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Rebecca Trimnell picked as PPC for Gloucester

Local resident Dr Rebecca Trimnell has been picked to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Gloucester at the next General Election.

Rebecca, who lives in the Westgate area of the city, was chosen by Lib Dem party members from a shortlist of two at a selection meeting in the city on Saturday night. She will take on Conservative MP Richard Graham and Labour’s Fran Boait at the next General Election, which could happen at anytime between now and 2022.

Rebecca, 39, who lives in the shadow of St Oswald’s Priory, is a former researcher …

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Abandon Tory #BrexitShambles…

Harold Wilson once said “a week is a long time in politics”… The last few days make that sound like an understatement.

Last Sunday I offered something to Liberal Democrat Voice suggesting that it’s time to switch the language on Brexit into an explicit attack on “Tory Brexit”. The resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson take that a great deal further. I’m writing this now wondering whether there will be another resignation before it is read on Liberal Democrat Voice, and whether we will be in another Tory leadership contest, or hurtling into a General Election.

There’s been forceful …

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The Young Liberals need to take themselves more seriously… and the party does too

When I joined the party eight years ago I was surprised at the disdain some held for the Young Liberals (formerly Liberal Youth). Infighting, popularity contests and a distinct lack of coherent long-term objectives are all things which have came to epitomise the Young Liberals, and sadly much of that is true.

Our party can be daunting for young members so when I joined the party back in 2010 the thing which kept me involved was the youth wing. The knowledge that, somewhere within the party, there was a person not too dissimilar from me who was able to speak out …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 9 Comments

Welcome to my day: 16 July 2018 – are the tectonic plates of British politics shifting?

An opinion poll this weekend showed a significant shift from the Conservatives to UKIP, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise given the reaction to Theresa May’s proposals for Brexit. If, and one cannot be too cautious here, it is an early sign that Brexit supporters will desert the Conservatives if she proceeds as outlined, the beneficiaries are likely to be Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Of course, it might also cause Theresa May to revert to a more hardline approach…

But, whilst the experts and the commentariat pick through the entrails, we’ve got a website to run. And we start …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #524


Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 524th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the
Aggregator (8-14 July, 2018), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Now is not the time for the BBC to be cutting back its political programmes

This week the BBC announced changes to its political programming. When I say changes, I mean cuts. BBC Parliament will just cover Parliament and the devolved assemblies when they are sitting and the UK wide Sunday Politics is axed.

The main changes are outlined here:

A new team giving better digital and social coverage – including podcasts – of politics and parliament for audiences who are increasingly getting their news online, especially on mobiles. In an era of concerns about misinformation and ‘echo chambers’ this is designed to bring trusted impartial political coverage to younger audiences

A new daily political programme –

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  • User AvatarRoger Billins 21st Jul - 10:05am
    It is annoying and stupid to stay our vote held up at Bury, at 3%. This is not a propaganda sheet aimed at children. With...
  • User AvatarP.J. 21st Jul - 9:41am
    @Callum Robertson I am not aware of any poling been done and that is why I said IMO. MO comes from knocking on hundreds of...
  • User AvatarFiona 21st Jul - 9:35am
    Alex, I get what you are saying, and yes, what Labour did was far more damaging, and it isn't accurate or fair to say we...
  • User AvatarP.J. 21st Jul - 9:27am
    @Wera 'using the empty houses 'we’ve' already got' When did my property become jointly owned. Since when did the LibDems endorse taking private property into...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Jul - 9:14am
    I'm not sure I believed this Guardian article at the time but it is looking much more like Natalie Nougayrède was quite right now. The...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jul - 8:35am
    @william fowler. "Giving private tenants almost confiscatory rights". There you go again, distorting what was said and echoing the Tory right wing press. As I...