Will the PM eat his ID card?

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In today’s Guardian Marina Hyde has unearthed this quote from Boris Johnson in 2004:

If I am ever asked on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and am simply ambling along and breathing God’s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded I produce it.

I am reminded of Paddy Ashdown promising to eat his hat in 2015 when the polls were predicting large Lib Dem losses. And of Lib Dem Voice’s former editor, Stephen Tall, who pledged to run down Whitehall naked if we halved our number of MPs in the same election. Stephen, bless him, honoured his commitment, and did the run in full view of TV cameras on a cold Autumn day, although he was permitted a thong. Even Paddy submitted to good humoured humiliation when he ate a chocolate version of his hat on Question Time.

I somehow doubt that the Prime Minister will honour his pledge. But then the requirement for voters to present photo ID in order to be able to vote in a polling station, as announced in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, has already met with a great deal of public opposition, so its chances of reaching the statute books are, in my view, quite slim. However, we must not make any assumptions about how it will play out, and we must ensure that everything possible is done to prevent it becoming a reality.

The reasons for opposing voter ID have been covered extensively, but it is worth reminding people that it was blatantly used in some US states by Republicans to suppress Democratic votes.

Any extra complexity added to voting processes anywhere in the world potentially discourages some voters from exercising their democratic rights, and may even disenfranchise them.

In simple terms, voter impersonation (“personation” as it is correctly called) is a vanishingly small offence in the UK, as indeed it is in the US.  The Electoral Commission has published reports which show that 1 person was convicted of personation in 2017, none in 2018, 1 in 2019, and none in 2020 (although very few elections took place last year). This is not a problem seeking a solution.

On the other hand, it is a solution creating a problem.

In a research briefing from the House of Commons Library, we learn that the Electoral Commission had found that around 25% of voters do not have either a passport or driving licence – the most popular forms of photo ID used in this country. By extending that to include other forms of ID, such as bus passes, some 92.5% would be covered. But that still leaves 3.5 million voters without any permissible form of ID.

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Ed Davey slams “illiberal, catastrophic, sickeningly cruel” Queen’s Speech

Ed Davey condemned many of the measures outlined in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, particularly the measures to make it harder for people to seek asylum in the UK – “sickeningly cruel” he called it.

He slammed the Government for failing to bring forward proposals on social care again.

He also described the voter suppression measures as being straight out of the Donald Trump playbook “the actions of despots.”

He did not hold back.

Enjoy.

The Queen’s Speech comes at a time like no other—after a year in which so many families have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, when we have all experienced isolation from friends and family, and when so many have lost businesses, jobs and hard-earned savings. That is why we are all so grateful to the scientists, NHS staff, care workers and community volunteers who have delivered the vaccine roll-out and given us all hope. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

Before I move on to the Gracious Speech, let me join in the tributes to the people this Parliament has lost in the past year. I shall focus on two remarkable women. The first is our friend Dame Cheryl Gillan, who sadly passed away last month. She was a truly dedicated public servant, warm, friendly, and liked and respected in all parts of the House. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.

The second is Shirley—Shirley Williams. The Liberal Democrat family are not alone in mourning the loss of Shirley. Shirley was a giant of British politics for over half a century. She combined a remarkable intellect and a wholehearted compassion with fierce determination like no one else I have known. Shirley was at once a wonderful human being and an unstoppable force of nature. We already miss her wise counsel, forceful arguments and boundless energy.

I pay tribute to the hon. Members for North West Cambridgeshire (Shailesh Vara) and for South Ribble (Katherine Fletcher). The proposer’s speech was mostly excellent, although I was slightly disappointed by two omissions. First, the hon. Gentleman omitted to tell the House how the Liberal Democrats have removed the Conservatives from power in his county of Cambridgeshire. Secondly, he was a distinguished Northern Ireland Minister, resigning on principle against the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May). He argued—I quote his resignation letter—that her withdrawal agreement would mean Northern Ireland being

“subject to a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK”.

I was hoping to hear an analysis of how the EU trade deal and the Brexit deal was impacting Northern Ireland, because he voted for that despite the fact that its impact on Northern Ireland is worse than that of the withdrawal agreement.

The speech by the hon. Member for South Ribble was entertaining, but, given her stated passion for a beer, I wish she had told us more about her time as a biology student at the University of Nottingham—my hometown, where there is a great night-time economy, which I am sure she enjoyed. Wikipedia tells us that during her student days she worked as a nursing assistant in an elderly care home, so I hope we can look forward to her support as Liberal Democrats press the Government to deliver on their promises on long-delayed social care reform.

The Government’s programme needed to heal the nation, learn the lessons from the pandemic and prepare our country for the enormous economic, social and environmental challenges ahead. I regret to say that, with this programme, the Conservative Government have failed on every single account. To heal the nation, we first needed to look after people who have been bereaved, especially children. I have been campaigning for a better deal for bereaved families for many years, drawing on my own experience of losing my father at the age of four, when my mother was widowed in her 30s with three boys under 10.

With this pandemic, the need to help bereaved children in our country has never been greater, especially those whose mums and dads were unmarried and who currently get no help at all after losing a parent. The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that about 3,000 children have lost an unmarried mum or dad during covid. A caring Government would give them support now, yet I have to tell the House that this Government are dragging their feet on even basic help for such children who have lost their mums and dads. They have even fought two court cases to prevent bereavement support from going to families, just because their parents were unmarried—as if the parents’ marital status was the fault of the grieving children. Fortunately the Government lost twice in the courts, thanks to the Human Rights Act—the Act that they ominously want to undermine with their threat in the Queen’s Speech to judicial review.

Even though the Government lost in the courts, Ministers have still tried to escape the rule of law, dragging their feet on obeying the court ruling, so that many children who lost their mum or dad to covid have gone without. That is a scandal. I have raised it with the Prime Minister himself time and again, most recently in a face-to-face meeting last month. He promised me action, but there is nothing in the Queen’s Speech for bereaved families or children. So, I am working on a cross-party basis to amend the Queen’s Speech so that the Prime Minister is forced to obey the rule of law—forced by the courts and this House to help children whose mum or dad has died during covid.

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Book review: Billy Bragg – The Three Dimensions of Freedom

One of the joys of the opening up of “non essential retail” is the opportunity to browse in bookshops, not least with respect to stuff that barely got a mention in mainstream reviews (although this got a paragraph by Melvyn Bragg in the Observer). I wasn’t aware of it until last week.

The singer/songwriter Billy Bragg is not every Liberal Democrat’s cup of tea but he is worth taking seriously for a number of reasons. We are woefully short on political songwriting and he can do that better that most in our day, even if like most of us he can be a bit off-target occasionally. Crucially, he is a committed socialist but flexible in both thought and deed. He is broadly Labour supporting, perhaps a musical latter-day Orwell.

He endorsed the Lib Dems in 2010 and is passionate about PR and other constitutional reforms. In recent elections he campaigned to get Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties to stand down in some constituencies to maximise the anti-Tory victories – and we all have our views on that one!

The Three Dimensions of Freedom is an extended pamphlet, a pocket-sized volume of little more than a hundred pages, but I found it well worth the six quid. Published by Faber and Faber in a “Faber Social” series, it is a glorious rant, worthy of affirmation and debate at the same time, if that is possible! It was written in the year Coronavirus minus one but it addresses a central issue that has become ever more urgent during the pandemic – accountability.

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A public interest defence is an essential part of Official Secrets Act reform

The Queen’s Speech includes plans to reform the Official Secrets Acts. The last of these was passed in 1989, before the dawn of the internet; the first in 1911 – most of the carrier pigeons that served in the First World War had not even been born.

The acts are antiquated and the Counter-State Threats Bill is intended to drag the way we tackle hostile activity from states and new types of actor kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There will be plenty in this bill to keep Liberal Democrats busy in the coming months, not least what Number 10 has briefed The Sun will be “sweeping powers to jail Russian and Chinese spies”.

But my concern is what appears to be a likely omission from the bill. The Queen’s Speech makes no reference to the introduction of a statutory public interest defence. This would create a safety net for people who believe that, for the greater good, they must disclose sensitive information covered by the acts.

Public servants should not, for example, fear jail is inevitable if they are exposing illegalities committed at the top of government. They need to know they can make a public interest defence, albeit one that would later be tested rigorously by a jury. Simply dumping a load of state secrets on the internet would plainly fail that test.

By putting the defence on a statutory footing, civil servants, journalists and others would not have to rely on the creativity of lawyers and juries ignoring the directions of the judge. Katharine Gun and Clive Ponting, the Iraq and Falklands War whistleblowers respectively, escaped jail because of those factors. Others might not be so lucky, while the likes of Sarah Tisdall (the Greenham Common case) did not even have the option of at least testing this defence.

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Tories’ southern “Blue wall” is crumbling

In the Independent today, Daisy Cooper MP says:

The Tory Blue Wall has started crumbling in this election as the Liberal Democrats move forward in Tory former heartlands.

From Cheltenham to Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire to Woking, nowhere is safe for the Tories in their Blue Wall. The age of no-go areas for the Liberal Democrats in traditionally Tory southern cities towns and villages is over.

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Scrapping Vagrancy Act should be part of Queen’s Speech

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Layla Moran has put this very well:

Today it’s still the law for rough sleepers to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of not being able to afford a roof over their head. It’s a moral outrage that a Victorian-era law continues to punish those who desperately need help.

The clock is ticking for this Government. We urgently need a more compassionate and holistic approach to ending homelessness in this country. There is significant cross-party support for the Vagrancy Act to be repealed as

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Lib Dems increase their majority in Three Rivers

As this was my first election as a Leader of Three Rivers District Council in beautiful South-West Hertfordshire, I’m thrilled that the wonderful team have increased our majority by one.

We went in to the election with a council of 22 Liberal Democrats, 11 Conservatives, 3 Labour and 3 Independents and now we have 23, having taken back a seat from Independent. And in Three Rivers the PCC candidate polled an excellent 45.6% after second preference votes, great progress from the third position last time.

To achieve that result in such a complicated campaign, with a third of District seats up at the same time as the County seats, is a real achievement and testament to a great campaign team and real hard work by both the experienced candidates and campaigners and our fabulous newbies, two of who won and two others who really increased our share of the votes – targets for the future!

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I love it when a plan comes together

By-elections are funny old things.

In a by-election, the focus on the candidate is huge. Every utterance is monitored and liable to blow up a minefield.

I remember David Rendel, returning to the 1993 Newbury by-election HQ after a long evening’s canvassing. Just outside the entrance he was approached by, ostensibly, a member of the public who wanted to express their support for him. It turned out that they had a microphone stuck up the back of their jacket and were trying to catch David off-guard. Their plan failed. Apart from anything else, David on-the-record was just like David off-the-record!

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If there is a realignment, liberalism must claim its place

A lot of early evaluation of last Thursday’s elections has written the obituary of the Labour party as the ‘Red Wall’ further fell to Johnson’s populist Tories. There is a strong sense that a realignment is taking place in British politics and if so, Liberalism needs to be part of it.

While the death of Labour is, I think, still premature, the implications of the realignment analysis should not be lost on Liberal Democrats preparing for the electoral battles of the decade ahead. Many commentators have confidently concluded that Keir Starmer’s party has lost relevance and cannot recover now that the Tories have been accepted as a credible alternative in places that were solid Labour. That is, Labour is trying to hold together a coalition of younger, metropolitan types with older working class voters and there is a clash of values.

This evaluation is far from conclusive. The elections took place during a national (and international) crisis, 4.2 million furloughs were being paid by the state on polling day, Johnson has taken the credit for a successful vaccine rollout, as Tim Farron pointed out, the electorate has tended to support incumbents in England, Scotland and Wales, plus in analysis of the 1247 key wards there was actually a small swing to Labour. Don’t forget, after the 1992 election, there was similar analysis that Britain now lived in a one-party state. And it really wasn’t that long ago that commentators were wondering if there could ever be a route again to the Conservatives commanding a majority. So let’s take care with apocalyptic predictions.

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Liberalism and Constitutional Democracy

The UK is sliding into a major constitutional crisis. The future of the Union itself presents the most immediate issue, with rising discontent in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. And Johnson’s casual dismissal of the conventions of constitutional behaviour, his insistence that as ‘the people’s government’ (on 43.5% of the national vote in December 2019) he and his ministers can push back parliamentary scrutiny and sweep aside reasoned criticism, is taking us down the road from liberal democracy to authoritarian rule.

Right-wing think tanks call this ‘post-liberalism’ – a kinder concept than authoritarian populism. Constitutional, deliberative democracy is at the heart of liberalism. Liberal philosophy in Britain grew out of the civil war and the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, arguing for limited government, parliamentary and judicial checks on executive power, and toleration of dissenting opinions. The 19th century Liberal Party fought for home rule (devolution), elected local government and successive widening of voting rights, and education, for citizens. Minority rights, civil liberties, power spread as widely as possible rather than concentrated in Westminster and Whitehall, have been central to liberal campaigns over generations.

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Welcome to my day – 10 May 2021: reasons to be cheerful?

It’s been a tough decade or so to be a Liberal Democrat – losing sucks, and watching your friends and colleagues fight unsuccessful campaigns doesn’t exactly raise the spirits. But this year felt a bit better, despite the losses in some places, some familiar faces were pictured smiling, and there were plenty of new faces doing the same. We’ve demonstrated some relevance and proven that, with hard work, spirit and persistence (and, occasionally, a fair wind), Liberal Democrats can win pretty much anywhere.

That’s not to say that the results are great. Caron, who knows far more than I ever will …

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8 Lib Dem GAINS in Oxfordshire – including Tory Council Leader’s seat

Lib Dems in Oxfordshire have taken 8 seats from the Conservatives and are now just one seat behind them.

One of the seats was that of the County Council Leader in Woodstock.

To add to Tory miseries, they also lost a seat in affluent Chipping Norton to Labour.

And there could be more..

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Lib Dems gain control of St Albans with 5 gains

Good news from Hertfordshire. We have taken control of St Albans District Council.

Chris White has been leading a minority administration since 2019 but we have now made 5 gains to take total control.

Chris was re-elected with 62% of the vote in  Clarence ward.

Here are some of the delighted victors:

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Where next?

It beggars belief that a party led by the most incompetent, lying and self-serving group in modern times can carry not quite all, but most, before it in an election. What are we to do?

First, thank goodness for those who have held back the Tory tide: Labour in Wales, those glorious patches of the UK where Liberal Democrats and Greens have prevailed and, the Scots who remain unimpressed by Tory falsehoods.

But overall the picture is dismal. How can this well-educated and well-informed electorate vote for a group who almost on a daily basis betray all that is decent and honourable about our country?

There are two options. Either there’s something wrong with the electorate or something wrong with the opposition.

Since we cannot “dissolve “ the electorate and find another, indeed it would be pompous and presumptuous to want to do so, we must look to the opposition, including ourselves.

It’s too early to tally all of the votes cast on this Super Thursday, but it is a fair bet that the total number of votes cast of what might loosely be called “progressive forces” (Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and many nationalists) will exceed the votes cast for the Tories.(In the “Landslide election of 2019 which gave Johnson his 80 seat majority, and ignoring the nationalists and others, it was 43% Tories and 46% “Progressive.”)

Either we allow the Tories to use their money, their control of much of the media, and their shameless disregard for truth to hang on to the reins of power for another couple of decades or we get together to stop them.

Yes, I know, this will provoke groans about “siren voices” from some of our stalwarts who have tried to work with Labour and been rebuffed by their self-righteous assumption that Labour and Labour alone have the recipe for the good society and we should get off their patch and let them get on with it.

But it is time to stop mentioning that and look for the possible foundations for a Progressive Alliance.

I believe it would be possible to form a united front under the broad umbrella of Truth, Fairness and Opportunity.

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Tom Arms’ World Review – 9th May

The success of Brexit depends on a willingness to succeed and the desire to place the shared requirement for European stability before narrow political interests. This week’s Anglo-French dispute over English Channel fishing rights indicates that it ain’t gonna happen. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has again demonstrated his disdain for international law by slipping in additional restrictions related to the licensing of French fishing boats and the French over-reacted by threatening to block electricity to the British Channel Island dependency of Jersey. President Emmanuel Macron then added fuel by giving his blessing to a French fishermen’s blockade of Jersey and Boris went over the top by dispatching Royal Navy ships to the scene. The reason for this diplomatic comedy of errors (although no one is laughing) is the fishing clauses in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Both the British and French fishing industries demanded that their negotiators secure a win-lose agreement in their favour. Or, at the very least, the semblance of a win-win deal. Instead, both constituencies have suffered what they regard as a lose-lose deal. British fishing communities were a rich source of pro-Brexit and conservative votes. Now they feel cheated and are turning on their former hero Boris Johnson. His dispatch of the Royal Navy is meant to demonstrate his willingness to fight the fishermen’s corner. President Macron faces elections in 12 months. Jean-Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally, is edging ahead in the latest polls. She has a strong base of support in the French fishing community. Macron needs to erode that if he is stay in the Elysee Palace.  Both Boris and Macron backed down almost immediately as wiser heads in Brussels and Whitehall prevailed, but if their shoot-from-the hip reaction is a harbinger of things to come than expect a rocky road in post-Brexit Anglo-French and Anglo-EU relations.

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Election results: Current state of play

While there have been some bright spots, it’s not been the greatest set of local election results for us. It’s not been the worst, either. Maybe it was the best we could have hoped for given the circumstances.

The year ahead of any set of elections is crucial. You want to be building your campaign from at least a year out. Being locked down for most of that year under a stay at home order in the middle of a pandemic is not conducive to doing that.

A set of elections held as the country opens up again and people are getting their vaccinations and many are having their wages paid by the government is going to benefit the people who are organising the vaccine rollout and paying those wages.

I thought it might be useful to look at the current state of play.

London

We now have two assembly members. Hina Bokhari, one of the first three Muslim women to be elected to the London Assembly, joins Caroline Pidgeon, who has been an Assembly member since 2008.

Our brilliant mayoral candidate, Luisa Porritt, came fourth behind the Greens Sian Berry.

Wales

After a nail-biting few hours after we lost our sole constituency seat, Jane Dodds was elected to the Senedd on the Mid and West Wales list. It would have been an absolute disaster if we had no parliamentary representation in either Senedd or Westminster.

England

We went into this defending 580 Council seats. There are still some important councils like St Albans and Oxfordshire to count today, so our current total of 524, a net loss of 8, is set to rise. It looks overall as if we will gain slightly, but nothing like the heady days of 2019 when we gained 700 seats.

There are many bright spots within this. In Guildford, for example, we doubled our County Council representation in the parliamentary constituency once held by Sue Doughty.

I was particularly excited to see us gain two County Council seats in my old campaigning ground of Chesterfield. It reminds me of the 90s when we kicked the Tories out of the town completely and eventually took control of the Borough Council.  Ed Fordham will be familiar to LDV readers and I’m thrilled to say that he overturned a 600 Labour majority to win his county seat.

In a climate of Tory gains across the rest of Derbyshire, we gained the seat lost to the Conservatives in 2017 so Chesterfield is once again a Tory free zone.

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Scotland results open thread

The current state of play in Scotland is that the SNP is well ahead and will be forming the next government. We don’t know yet whether they will get an overall majority on their own or will need to rely on the Greens for support.

The Lib Dems ended last night on 4 constituency MSPs, with absolutely stonking victories by Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton. Alex got the highest ever vote of any MSP in the history of the Scottish Parliament, a record that Willie had previously held for a few minutes yesterday afternoon.

These are huge personal votes of confidence in our amazing MSPs.

Today we learn if we are going to get any list seats. We need 5 MSPs to be counted as a parliamentary group. We made it by the skin of our teeth last time. It’s going to be a stressful day.  We’ll keep you updated but there is unlikely to be any news until much later in the day – late afternoon, early evening.

I will be spending the day at my count in Almond Valley. We got 2.9% in 2016, so actually keeping my deposit would be a major achievement. We just missed out on that yesterday in the other West Lothian seat in Linlithgow where we went up 1.1% to 4.5%.

See you later with some more news…

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England results: Saturday open thread

We will update this thread with Saturday’s results from England.

A heartbreaking result from Morecombe – we gained a swing of 32%, then lost by 3 votes.

But better news in Cheltenham:

And a whopping 43% swing to us in Shropshire:

We seem to be gaining seats in a number of local councils – Wokingham (+3), Tunbridge Wells (+4), Gloucester (+3), Devon (+2) – and we held all our seats in Watford.

And here’s a cheering result. Well done to colleagues in Wiltshire.

And on Surrey County Council our representation from Waverley has increased from 1 to 4. Congratulations to Penny Rivers, John Robini, Liz Townsend and Paul Follows.

And what about this …

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London results open thread

The count in London started yesterday in three very large venues across the city:  Olympia, Alexandra Palace and Excel Centre. So far results have been declared for 7 of the 14 Assembly constituencies, all with no political change – 4 Labour and 3 Conservatives. We are hoping to win our first ever constituency in South West London but it will be close.

Votes were also counted for the London Mayoral in those 7 areas and at the moment Sadiq Khan is ahead of the Conservative Shaun Bailey by 39% to 37% on first preferences. Lib Dem Luisa Porritt is lying fourth behind the Green. The Mayor is elected by the supplementary vote system, so if no-one achieves 50% in the first round the second preferences for third placed candidates and below are added to the top two. Of course, we are not expecting to get into the top two, but the first preference votes for the Mayor give us some indication of how they are stacking up in the list vote.

The party list vote is used to allocate the remaining 11 seats to the Assembly, in proportion. We have only ever gained seats through the list, and last time round we only managed one seat. We are hoping for more this time.

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Observations of an ex pat – Water Fights

One of this week’s lesser-reported clashes was over water rights between the two impoverished Central Asian republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It deserved more attention. Central Asia lies at the heart of the Eurasian land mass. The headwaters of its rivers provide water to half of the world’s population. But climate change and the consequences of the break-up of the Soviet Union are destabilising this strategic, and too often ignored part of the world.

or centuries the five stans (as they are often called) were a prosperous key trading link in the Silk Road connecting China and Europe. The ancient city of Merv in Turkmenistan was the world’s largest in the 12th century. It is now an abandoned ruin. Between 1861 and 1885 the five stans were absorbed by the Russian Empire. They tried to break away after the collapse of the Tsar, but were reconquered by the Bolsheviks in 1925 and fell behind the Iron Curtain and out of international politics for the next 66 years.

There were good and bad elements to Soviet rule. One of the good ones was that the Soviets stablished a trans-stan barter system that prevented the five states from squabbling over water. Eighty percent of the region’s waters originate in in the mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The other countries are mostly desert and rely on water from the Syr Darya and Amu Darya Rivers to maintain their agricultural industries.

The desert countries, however, are rich in gas and oil. So, Moscow devised a system whereby the water-rich mountainous stans provided the desert stans with water during the spring and summer and the desert stans provided cheap fossil fuel energy to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to prevent them from freezing in the winter.

The barter system lasted for a few years after 1991 and then fell apart as the energy rich stans discovered that they could earn more money selling their gas and oil to foreign buyers. The water-rich stans were forced to resort to hydro-electricity to replace energy supplies from their neighbours. This reduced the flow of water to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with the inevitable impact on their farming communities.

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Jane Dodds makes it into the Senedd

So I updated the Welsh results post at 10:30 last night and went, exhausted, to bed.

At that point, the Mid and West Wales result, our only hope of a seat in the Senedd, hung in the balance – and the mood music I was hearing was not positive. We were very worried that, for the first time in its history, there would be no Lib Dems in the Senedd.

Just after midnight, though, everyone else breathed a huge sigh of relief.

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Senedd Elections 2021 – the main points for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 22:30)

This post on the Senedd elections will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the main points. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

If you want a result featured because it is a wow, email to [email protected].

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LDV Scottish Elections 2021 – the highlights for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 10:00pm)

This post on the Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the highlights. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

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England Local Elections 2021 – the highlights for Lib Dems as they come in (updated 19:40pm)

This post will be updated as results come in. We won’t be covering all results, just the highlights. Fuller coverage will be posted on Sunday or Monday when we have the final picture.

Please add your results in the comments. If you want them featured because they are a wow, email to [email protected].

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The 2021 elections are over. How was it for you? Open thread for comments

I write this shortly after the polls close. Many of you be hoping for a lie in. Some will be at work. Others will be too stressed to sleep much until the results are in and for many, that will not be until the weekend.

Lib Dems have been battling for seats in the Scottish Parliament and the Senedd. We have high hopes in many local councils. We have candidates in the mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. You can’t have missed that there has been a by-election in Hartlepool.

Our candidates and supporters have made supreme efforts on Super Thursday.

Lib Dem Voice will of course be publishing comment and analysis as the results come in. In the meanwhile, this blog is a space for you comment and tell anecdotes of the day. No nastiness please. This is a space for reflection not any attacks on campaigning or people. Such comments would not be fair on candidates anxiously awaiting their count. There will be space for analysis when the results are in.

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Good luck everyone!

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Jonathan Davies (1962-2021)

It is with deep sadness, the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) announce the passing of our dear friend and long-time LDFI Vice-Chairman and Treasurer Jonathan Davies, after a year-long illness.

Jonathan, an Oxford graduate and former Partner and Head of the Financial Services team at a large City law firm, was a Liberal Democrat stalwart. On a local level, Jonathan was a phenomenal activist in the London Borough of Barnet. He represented Childs Hill as a councillor from 1994-1998, stood for Parliament in Finchley and Golders Green on three occasions and was appointed the ward’s election agent in the very high profile 2019 election, as well as being elected as Chair of the English Party of the Liberal Democrats in 2010. His talents, dedication and calming influence spanned decades, and he devoted countless hours to campaigning for and supporting the Party.

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Local elections and the “Festival of Local Democracy”

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Well…I might be a bit weird, however I am really excited about tomorrow! Why? It is an election day, which gives us ALL another wonderful opportunity to shape our local communities by electing District and County Councillors. There are also significant elections in Scotland, to the Scottish Parliament and in Wales, to the Welsh Assembly. Tomorrow will be a busy day for voters and quite a nerve-wracking day for all the candidates!

We often don’t realise but it is very true that even the smallest elections to the parish council affect the way we live our lives.

I often wonder what makes us vote, particularly in the local elections? is it because we want to see a real change in our neighbourhoods? Is it because we want to positively influence the so called “status quo”? Or is it simply because we simply like a particular candidate?

Is our voting based on our political alliances? Would we vote for any candidates of the main political parties in the local elections only because we support their national policies?

Do we vote tactically?

Or do we vote because we passionately believe in democracy and we want to be part of the civic process?

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Sarah Green selected for Chesham & Amersham

The Chesham & Amersham by-election, following the death of Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan last month, will be held over the summer, although no date has been announced yet. In the General Election we came a solid second, so we will be fighting this with all the energy we can.

Congratulations to Sarah Green who has been selected as our candidate. Sarah is a training and communications professional, and many of you will have come across her at party training sessions.

Here’s how you can help.

Posted in News | Tagged | 22 Comments

Ed Davey’s message to voters

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Ed Davey has issued this message to everyone who will be voting tomorrow:

Covid has reminded all of us just how important our local community is, and by electing a Liberal Democrat, people will be choosing a hardworking local champion for their community.

People also appreciate now more than ever their local green spaces and their community’s wider environment so I’m proud how Liberal Democrats have always led the way in putting the environment at the heart of our campaigns.

Across the country Labour and the Conservatives too often sit on their hands while our green spaces are sold off to the highest bidder and our children breathe dangerous polluted air.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrat environment record in local government is unbeatable, whether it’s delivering the country’s first clean air zone outside of London to topping the country’s leaderboard for recycling rates.

So if you want to get things done in your community and you want your local environment protected, vote Liberal Democrat.

 

Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Comments
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