Ed Davey: Sajid Javid care package for unpaid carers “insulting”

Cash for unpaid carers amounts to 87p a year, Ed Davey told the Independent yesterday. This comment followed the publication of the government’s long delayed white paper on reforming funding for social care.

Ed Davey said that the funding on offer over a three-year period was an “insulting” response to the sacrifices made by millions of people who have cared for disabled or ill family members and other loved ones during the pandemic. They are now at “breaking point” after months without respite.

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Restating our political identity through a new liberal manifesto

Do you remember what you were doing on the evening of 16 April 2015? The chances are you were in front of your telly, as I was, watching the seven leaders’ TV debate in the run-up to the general election. I have a distinct memory of that night: I became aware I could sum of what six of the seven parties stood for in three or four seconds, but the one I struggled with was my own party.

We must be careful not to make too much of the ‘Do people know what we stand for?’ line, as politics is more about which parties feel right and trustworthy. But in a political culture dominated by two main parties, and a media culture governed by two sides to a story, it’s very hard for a third party to create an identity in the minds of the average voter. As a result, the Lib Dems have become in many voters’ eyes a compromise between Labour and the Conservatives, an image we have not shied away from encouraging with slogans such as ‘Stronger economy, fairer society’.

But we are not a compromise, we stand for something! The problem is that what we stand for is not easily summarised, the way being pro-environment is for the Greens or being anti-EU was for Ukip. So, we need to find a way of encapsulating what we offer.

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Low turnout as Tories retain Old Bexley and Sidcup with reduced majority

Conservative Louie French won the suburban London seat yesterday but the vote saw the Tories’ majority of nearly 19,000 slashed to just 4,478. The by-election had been called after the death in October of the well-liked former cabinet minister James Brokenshire. French won 11,189 votes, well head of the Labour challenger Daniel Francis who gained 6,711 votes. The turnout was low at 34 per cent compared to almost 70 per cent in the constituency at the 2019 general election.

Labour increased its share of the vote by over 7 per cent while the Conservatives’ share of the vote fell by more than 13 per cent. Reform UK kept its deposit, while both Lib Dems and the Greens lost theirs.

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North Shropshire’s Helen Morgan talks to LDV about campaign issues

The North Shropshire by-election is two weeks’ today. Yesterday, I spent half-a-hour talking to the Lib Dem candidate for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan. I was impressed by her determination, her grasp of the issues from farming to public transport, and of the biggest issue, health. The first article discussing how the campaign is going was published earlier today.

Helen spoke of the difficulty in getting to see a GP and the queues of ambulances outside the county’s A&E’s. In a very rural part of England, farmers are struggling in the transition from basic farm payments to the new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS). There is space in rural areas for some solar farms and for microgeneration of renewable electricity.

Public transport is a major issue, especially the infrequency of buses. The difficulty in getting housing people can afford is also high on the agenda.

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Young Liberals produce new campaign guide

As Helen Morgan’s campaign in North Shropshire gathers momentum – see last night’s post showing that we are doing even better there than in Chesham and Amersham at the same stage) – party members are flocking to the seat.

The Young Liberals are always a big part of any by-election and have already held several action days there with more to come until polling day on 16th.

You have no idea how much I want those shoes, by the way.

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North Shropshire’s Helen Morgan talks to LDV about the campaign

Yesterday, I spent half-a-hour talking to the Lib Dem candidate for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan.

In this first of two articles, Helen tells us how the campaign is going with just two weeks to go. Sleaze is not a big topic on the doorsteps but trust in politicians is very low. People in Shropshire are fed up with politicians who appear for a photo call during an election but don’t try to solve local problems in between. Helen wants to help restore that trust.

The Conservative vote is very soft. A lot of people are thinking about switching their votes, or maybe even not voting at all, because they are disillusioned with the way they’ve been treated over many decades by their Conservative representatives. A lot of people say that it’s time for a change in North Shropshire.

The canvassing of the postal voters has given really good results:

We can win if we get enough boots on the ground to come and put the leaflets through the door.

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Wendy Chamberlain on QT tonight

Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem MP for North East Fife, is on the Question Time panel tonight. The programme is being broadcast from Weston-super-Mare on BBC 1 at 10.35pm.

With her will be Maggie Throup (Conservative MP for Erewash), Thangam Debbonaire (Labour MP for Bristol West), Professor Peter Openshaw (Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College) and Theo Paphitis (retail entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den regular).

Expect questions on asylum seekers, No 10 Christmas parties and the impact of the Omicron variant.

 

 

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Lib Dems mark World Aids Day

Today is World AIDS day. I lived through the 1980s when a Tory Government ramped up prejudice against LGBT people. It was awful. It made so many of my friends fear being open about how they were. It made them suffer bullying and harassment.

Russell T Davies’ drama It’s a Sin brought that horror to our screens earlier this year. I was in bits by the end of episode 1. It’s a very powerful warning against demonising any group of people.

The theme of the day this year is about ending inequalities. You can find out more on the World Health Organisation website here. We have to end inequalities in prevention and treatment. At present more than 1 in 4 people internationally don’t have access to antiretroviral medications. That has to be fixed.

Lib Dems have showed their support for the day:

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Ed Davey challenges Boris Johnson to do more for farmers

Ed Davey took the opportunity at Prime Minister’s Questions today to challenge the Prime Minister to do more to support farmers. He mentioned three places in particular. Feel free to take a wild guess about which parliamentary constituency they are in.*

Farmers across our country are crucial to our nation’s prosperity, as has been shown, once again through the pandemic, but many are now on the brink. Farmers across the country, in villages such as Hodnet, Baschurch and Woodseaves and countless others, are about to see their payments cut by at least 5%, starting this very month. The Prime Minister promised a new support system, rewarding more sustainable farming, but in the meantime he seems prepared to see many British farms go bankrupt. There is an easy solution: stop cutting the current system’s essential payments until the new scheme is fully rolled out. Will the Prime Minister do that, and help our struggling farmers before it is too late?

The Prime Minister’s response will be of very little comfort to farmers who are struggling.

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Lib Dems looking good in North Shropshire according to “confidential” briefing

If you want people to spread some news, the best way to get them to do it is to send them an email marked “Confidential” and tell them not to pass information on because it’s “secret”.

To add a dash of drama, you send it out at 6:03 am, saying that you’ve just come out of the “daily briefing with the by-election team in North Shropshire.”

I don’t doubt for a second that Lib Dem Chief Exec Mike Dixon is an early riser and his cannily timed email to catch party members when they had their breakfast or were on their morning commute was a great way to get the message out that we are doing well.

The news that he was imparting, that our internal polling shows that we are only 10 points behind the Tories in the postal vote, had already appeared on Twitter last night.

This compares well with the Chesham and Amersham situation at the same time.

Certainly this chimes with the accounts of every single person I know (and that’s a lot of people, including some hardened cynics) who has been knocking doors in North Shropshire, and with my own efforts on the phone.

There is a lot of excitement about this by-election and there is a real feeling that we should not limit our ambitions.

Our candidate, Helen Morgan, is absolutely brilliant and is already acting as an MP should:

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Business forums at COP26 revealed what company bosses need from carbon pricing to facilitate decarbonisation – and it is not ETS!

The recent Sustainable Innovation Forum 2021 and Hydrogen Transition Summit revealed that business leaders want to decarbonise but are held back by the lack of price ambition and predictability of the Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) carbon pricing regime. They argued for an economy wide, strong, predictable, preferably global, carbon price to facilitate decarbonisation, ….”The best (thing) governments can do to promote hydrogen is a global carbon tax” Seifi Ghasemi Chairman, CEO and President of Air Products.

The management consulting company Roland Berger advocates a high carbon price to render decarbonisation cost effective, at a level only currently found in Sweden and Switzerland (alongside ETS, with Climate Income in Switzerland). Stefan Schaible, Global Managing Partner, Roland Berger, stated that COP26 had been as he expected, not the lowest or the highest step in the right direction. There was however, a step change in opinion on the environment, (the German government even includes Green Party members!) so there is continuing pressure to reduce emissions targets……“We need action. We cannot go on like this for certain sectors such as energy and transport. Only with carbon at $100 per tonne will profits shrink dramatically or even halve so they (the industry sectors) have to move”.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine Government looks heartless and out of ideas as migrants keep dying

In her Scotsman column this week, Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine accuses the Government of trashing our country’s long tradition of providing sanctuary to those who need it.

It is as if the Government does not know that the word and concept of refugees was created by this country.

Its origins are in the creation of a safe haven, a refuge in London for Huguenots fleeing persecution in 17th century France.

They became known as refugees.

That was the start of a long, proud tradition of this country providing sanctuary for those fleeing persecution or poverty and willing to contribute to our society.

Perhaps the proudest episode was the kinder transports of the second world war which allowed so many youngsters who might otherwise have perished in Hitler’s death camps to build happy, prosperous lives in this country.

She outlined how this current Government is failing in its obligations:

I know individual members of the cabinet will be as shocked and upset as any of us at the horror of what has happened this past few days.

But collectively their response to the issue to date looks heartless and devoid of any compassion.

At best it is incompetence that has led the Home Secretary to announce hopeless policies like the dangerous ‘push-back’ of refugee boats to French waters or the ludicrous proposal to process arrivals in Albania.

There seems to be little if any understanding of what the problem is or any creativity in addressing it.

The cruel and counterproductive Anti-Refugee Bill serves as proof of that and is a nasty piece of legislation that only makes problems worse.

She highlighted the awful conditions of refugees around Calais:

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30 November 2021 – today’s press releases

  • Storm Arwen: Govt “abandoning” rural communities hit by power cuts
  • Zahawi breaks yet another promise as school absences soar by 80,000
  • Bring back work from home to help save Christmas

Storm Arwen: Govt “abandoning” rural communities hit by power cuts

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government provide emergency support to rural communities who have been left without power for days after Storm Arwen.

In a letter to ministers from Liberal Democrat Communities Spokesperson Tim Farron MP, Welsh Party Leader Jane Dodds MS and local North Shropshire candidate Helen Morgan, the party warns that rural communities in areas like North Shropshire are being taken for granted and “abandoned by the Government in their time of need.”

Tim Farron also raised the issue in Parliament yesterday and criticised the Government for failing to make an official ministerial statement on the issue.

The letter calls for ministers to step in and provide food, emergency accommodation and other essential supplies to vulnerable people on the ground impacted by the storm. It also urges the armed forces to be brought in to provide emergency electricity generators to communities until power is restored, and for the Government to provide additional support to engineers working hard to bring back power as soon as possible.

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Cllr Sarah Cheung-Johnson takes the helm of Chinese LibDems

At a virtual AGM last Sunday, South Cambridgeshire Councillor Sarah Cheung-Johnson (pictured) was unanimously elected as the new Chair Chinese LibDems (CLD) for 2022. The meeting was well attended including by members from the Korean and Vietnamese diaspora communities.

This has of course been the vision of CLDs. – To be a network representing not just Chinese people but those of East and SE Asian heritage as well. In fact CLDs attempted a name change to BESEA (British East/South-East Asian) or CESEA in the past year, but the resolution did not pass.

During the formal part of the meeting, attendees received reports on the activities of CLDs over the past year including a virtual Chinese New Year celebration in February with Sir Vince Cable as guest speaker.  Members of the CLD executive Linda Chung, Victoria Collins and Dr Yeow Poon have also been active in the anti-racism campaign (CARG – Covid19 Anti Racism Group) including participation in rallies in London and Birmingham.

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How should we behave in the party? – have your say this Thursday at 6pm

There are some fantastic examples of supportive behaviour towards each other within our party, but we don’t always get it right.  So the Federal People and Development Committee is reviewing our Members’ Code of Conduct, and we want to hear from you what should be in it.

The current version can be found at Members’ Code of Conduct, and we also have an Online Code of Conduct and a Candidates Code of Conduct for Parliamentary candidates.  Fortunately they all say similar things.

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Should the mass proliferation of AI-driven war drones and robots be left uncontrolled?

Embed from Getty Images

The Chinese government, as I hope our MoD, will have noticed the important article of Nicholas Chaillan ‘To catch up with China, the Pentagon needs a new #AI strategy“, published in the Tuesday 23rd of November issue of the Financial Times.

As indicated, Mr Chaillan was formerly the first chief software officer at the US Air Force and Space Force. He is now the chief technology officer at cybersecurity firm Prevent Beach. The article points out the shocking “kindergarten-level” of US military/Pentagon cybersecurity in the US’ critical national infrastructure and that the next war will be software-defined: “It won’t be won with a $1.7tn programme of fifth generation F35 fighter jets or $12bn aircraft carriers. China can take down our power grid without firing a single shot”.

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We need to respect asylum seekers’ choice of a new home, and streamline access to safe routes

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It is quite easy to over-simplify the situation asylum seekers face. Learning from my foster child’s personal experience, I can see that complex nature, which I would never learn from my years of psychology training. Understanding refugees takes a combined effort from Westminster and the public to be in touch with the hearts and minds of the thousands fleeing to our shores.

We must accept refugees realise life challenges await in their chosen refuge even before they set off. Strange as it may sound, “a better place to live” is not the pulling factor for sanctuary. I realise my foster child is extremely perplexed each time one of her friends back home has a day in court. Self-isolating then dwells within the mind. It is why asylum seekers will try whatever means necessary to arrive at a country where they share distant relatives or a similar culture or simply an unexplainable innate feeling that they can become accustomed to the new place.

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29 November 2021 – today’s press release

PM must stop sale of vaccine manufacturing centre

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Boris Johnson immediately steps in to halt the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell near Oxford, describing the move as “short-sighted penny pinching.”

It was reported this morning that the centre is being sold off to recoup some of the money invested by the Government.

On a visit to the centre last year, Boris Johnson claimed that the new vaccine centre “will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population… which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future …

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A Polish perspective – “positive patriotism” abroad

There are times when the Polish community particularly proud of its background and heritage. There are days when our nationality and origin are our great assets. Saturday, 27 November, was just such a day. It was ugly, rainy and windy. Many of us probably would not have left the house. However, despite the typical winter weather, the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City once again showed that it is the “force for good”, which brings a positive social change in Welwyn Hatfield.

Thanks to a grant from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the school, its teachers and volunteers organised an event promoting public health. In all fairness, it was one of many projects organised by the school. Moreover, the school organised possibly bigger initiatives, however the one in November was also quite special.

It was the Polish Saturday School that secured funding for a health and wellbeing project; a total of £2,500. The obtained grant helped the Polish School to become the driving force behind the whole event. Our guests and attendees, including the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield and the Leader of the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, had an opportunity to learn, listen and network with 15 organisations from many areas across Hertfordshire as well as many Polish residents.

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Welcome to my day: 29 November 2021 – the sun is out, the sky is blue…

Good morning(ish) everyone, and welcome to another Monday. I had been hoping that this would be coming to you from Mumbai, as I was supposed to be at a family wedding on Friday, but something about a pandemic…

Ah well, never mind.

Today is the 276th anniversary of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army occupying Carlisle. They had also reached Manchester at this point, but the high water mark of that uprising wasn’t far away. The Sonderbund War ended on this day in 1847, when the canton of Valais surrendered to the Swiss Federal Army. And, one hundred years later, the United Nations General …

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STOP: think again, does the Health and Social Care Bill address the issues?

The Government is putting in excess of £40 billion (and counting) into the NHS and social care. More money into the first aid camp at the bottom of the cliff instead of building a fence at the top. At the same time the Government has reduced the income of older people by stopping the free television licence and reneging on the triple lock which will inevitably increase demand upon health and social care absorbing much of the additional money. There appears to be a lack of understanding by Government of the correlation between income and demand upon the NHS or …

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Daisy Cooper outlines Lib Dems’ 5 point plan for clinically extremely vulnerable people

As the world’s scientists try to work out the extent of the danger posed by new Covid variant Omicron and Governments grapple with with what it might mean for the Winter ahead and Christmas in particular, Lib Dem Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper has set out a 5 point plan to address the needs of one group of people let down by the Government.

In the first lockdown, those who were clinically extremely vulnerable had to completely isolate. Our Mary Reid wrote a brilliant Isolation Diary which she later expanded into a book.

The impact on those who had to shield was profound but in recent months they have been forgotten. In fact, the Observer reports that over 100,000 people with compromised immune systems have yet to have their booster.

The emergence of Omicron will no doubt be yet another moment of anxiety for those who were shielding and those who love them.

Daisy said that the Government needs to do much more for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable:

It’s often said that how a society treats its most vulnerable is the measure of its humanity, but if that’s the case, then this Government does not measure up.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families are incredibly worried about the news of a new variant on our shores. For too long, the Government has ignored these people, their concerns around the vaccine programme and the lack of guidance and support.

The Government must not ignore them any longer: it must be proactive in tackling this new variant and protect those most at risk. The clinically vulnerable deserve clear guidance and support from ministers instead of being treated as an afterthought.

The decision to end the shielding programme – when many continued to shield – left our most vulnerable feeling like the rug had been pulled out from underneath them. It’s high time the Government put support measures back in place, including getting on top of the utter mess surrounding third primary doses and introducing a shielding programme that genuinely supports those who need it.

The five point plan is as follows:

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Beatrice Wishart challenges media on reporting violence against women and girls

Thursday was White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At Holyrood MSPs paused for a minutes silence to remember those women murdered by men over this past year.

Later there was a debate on ways to eradicate men’s violence against women. Beatrice Wishart, our MSP for Shetland, who has a long record of helping women who have suffered domestic abuse made a brilliant speech in which she called for a Commission to look at ways of ending men’s violence against women in all its forms. She drew attention to the way the media reports violence against women, often victim shaming and she talked particularly about how they talk about this awful practice of “spiking”, drugging someone’s drink in order to assault them.

You can watch her speech here. The text is below:

I refer members to my entry in the register of members’ interests. I am a trustee of Shetland Women’s Aid.

I, too, pay tribute to Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and other services and individuals across Scotland for the good work that they do, not just on international day for the elimination of violence against women, but every day. It is worth saying again that 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the global 16 days of activism campaign. It has been 30 years, and, each year, the debate exchanges statistics that are unacceptable and horrific, as Pam Duncan-Glancy stated.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about one in three women worldwide will, in their lifetime, be subjected to

“either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.”

It is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights, and we know that Covid has impacted on women’s equality progress across the globe.

Earlier this year, Jess Phillips MP, the UK shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, read out the names of the 118 women who had been killed in the preceding year and in whose case a man had been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator. It took her a little over four minutes and the list did not include the names of the women referenced in the motion, who were tragically killed after March this year.

The number of domestic abuse incidents reported by Police Scotland has risen for the fourth year in a row, with one in four women in Scotland experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic violence is a plague that not only affects women but impacts whole households. Children are tragically caught in it, too. It was seeing the lifelong impact of domestic abuse on children and the financial abuse of women that drew me into my voluntary trustee role.

I know that all speakers in the debate are striving to ensure that women and girls across the globe and closer to home can live their lives free from fear. Scottish Liberal Democrats have previously called for—and we do so again—the establishment of the new commission to look at ways of preventing men’s violence against women and girls in all its forms, to ensure a co-ordinated approach across all levels of government. Along with providing increased training for those who work in education and on the front line in public authorities, we can work together to build better public understanding of the drivers behind violence against women and take action to eradicate it.

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World Review: Oil, vigilantism in America, refugees, Swedish politics and Omicron

Prepare for an oil price war in 2022. The combatants are OPEC and a consortium of top energy consuming countries including the US, China, UK, Japan, India and South Korea. All of these countries have built up huge strategic oil reserves in case of emergency such as war or another 1973-style OPEC oil embargo. The US has the largest reserves with 638 million barrels tucked away in storage facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The last two times America’s oil reserves were used was after Hurricane Katrina and during the Gulf War. Biden is depleting them to combat the energy shortage which has pushed up prices to $81 a barrel and is threatening the US and world economic recovery from the pandemic.

The OPEC countries (and Russia), however, like the high prices and they are used to controlling the market to suit their needs by raising and lowering production. They fear that Biden’s move on economic rather than security grounds threatens their historic stranglehold on the market. An OPEC summit is planned for 2 December. The oil ministers were planning to announce a 100 million barrel increase in production from January; not enough to substantially reduce prices, but possibly enough to stabilise them. That is expected to be off next week’s agenda. President Biden also has internal problems in the form of the Republicans who advocate increasing domestic oil production and reinstating projects such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline to reduce reliance foreign sources. But that, of course, runs afoul of climate change promises.

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4pm today – show your solidarity with refugees

People across Scotland will be placing an image like this in windows with a candle at 4pm today to show solidarity with refugees.

I thought it might be an idea to share the idea here in case any readers want to take part.

This started as an initiative from the Strathclyde Chapter of the Methodist Church. Lib Dem Councillor Fiona Dryburgh is a member and shared it. It’s fine for heathens like me to take part. The idea is:

Print the picture – or draw an orange heart on a piece of paper and put it in your window with a candle today at 4pm. Take a picture of it and post it on your Twitter account with the following tag: @IMIX_UK or tag your post with #TogetherWithRefugees.

I’m sure most people reading this will be filled with heartbreak and anger at the needless loss of life in the Channel. And we will also be horrified by our Government’s heartless attitude towards people trying to reach a better, safer life. And, to be honest, we’ll be horrified by the appalling way the French authorities have destroyed the refugee camps in Calais and hampered the efforts of people helping them.

Euan Davidson wrote on this site in 2018 about his volunteer trip to Calais to help refugees:

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Observations of an Expat: Thanksgiving – Made in Britain

Thanksgiving is the most American of American holidays. Or is it?

Like so many other American traditions and customs, Thanksgiving’s origins have its roots on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

Let’s start with the Puritans. They were English. They were religious dissidents who arrived on the shores of New England mainly from East Anglia via an unhappy sojourn in the Netherlands.

The beliefs, history, philosophy, politics and social structures were English. In 1620 there was no such thing as an “American” other than the Native Americans that they eventually supplanted. In fact, they were as English as apple pie, which they also brought with them from Britain.

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26 November 2021 – today’s press release

Government must reverse £30m aid cuts to Southern Africa to help tackle new variant

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the government reverse aid cuts and launch an emergency Covid support fund, to help countries in Southern Africa contain the new variant spreading there.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found that the UK is slashing aid to Southern Africa and Zimbabwe by £30m next year, or by over a third (35%), a move the party described as “cruel and short-sighted.” In addition to this, UK aid spending on global health funding has been slashed by £243 million, from over £1.1 billion …

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Johnson twitters while migrants drown in the Channel

How did it come this? Tens of migrants drowning in the Channel. There is a sense of inhumanity about current events. A sense of unreality. A sense that the horrors of humanity at its worst is lapping up on the shores of the Channel. Alive. But often dead.

There is a sense of unreality about our government’s response. And that of the French leadership.

This is people’s lives. People escaping the horrors of conflict and political suppression. People who want their children to go to school. People who want to set up thriving businesses. People who want to pay their way.

Instead, some of them drown. Their dreams of a better life destroyed by exploitation of modern day smugglers. Not smuggling contraband but smuggling people. There are many echoes of this from our colonial past but this a current emergency, not something you can look up in the index of a history book.

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25 November 2021 – today’s press releases

It looks as though we’ve had another surge of press releases so we thought that we might share them with you…

  • Channel crossings: Govt must rule out dangerous ‘pushback’ tactics
  • GP Shortages: Only 4-in-10 able to get same-day appointment
  • Nick Fletcher’s Dr Who comments straight out of the 1950s

Channel crossings: Govt must rule out dangerous ‘pushback’ tactics

Responding to Immigration Minister Kevin Foster’s refusal to rule out using ‘pushback’ tactics to turn back small boats in the Channel, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

It is disgraceful that the government is even considering pushing boats back in the Channel after yesterday’s tragic

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Postal votes: Shout out if you are helping in North Shropshire this weekend

There is the clatter of the letter box. Among the bills and magazines is a white envelope that contains the postal voting form. That is happening right now in North Shropshire. Postal votes are critical to us winning this by-election. And we can win this by-election. We have the right candidate. The right team. But in this huge constituency, we need people on the ground and on the phones to persuade people that this does not have to remain a true blue seat.

There is a lot of talk about the Lib Dems having to climb a mountain to win this by-election. A mountain is a challenge but not an impossibility. If we win this by-election, we will change the political dynamics of the Welsh Marches. We are a Tory leaning area with a huge streak of Lib Dem support. Winning here means that we can win so many other wards, councils and constituencies.

We need to tell the world that the Lib Dems are back.

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