Author Archives: Antony Hook

Gender equality… how becoming a councillor has changed my perspective

I am a feminist.

I have called myself that since the mid-2000s and by that term I simply mean that men and women deserve equality. To be valued equally and to have equal opportunity to make the most of our lives.

I have worked for the election of female parliamentarians.  I was part of the team that secured Sharon Bowles’ re-election and Catherine Bearder’s election for the first time in the 2009 European Elections. Five years later, I was Catherine Bearder’s running mate (Sharon having decided not to stand again) and I chaired the regional campaign.  We raised about £250,000 and honed …

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Kent County Council to debate “all options” on the Customs Union today

Kent is known as the Garden of England and the Gateway to Europe.

As a County Councillor, you will rightly expect me to be proud of the place. It’s England largest county authority with 1.82m people.  It has a significant economy (GDP about £37 billion in 2015).  We have everything from Blue Flag beaches (where you can quite often find a Lib Dem peer swimming…) to UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Our history has been shaped by being only 17 miles by sea from continental Europe. Today it’s just 75 minutes by ferry or …

Posted in News | 8 Comments

“Complaining is not a strategy”: Lib Dem European Group’s new invitation to join us

LDEG (the Lib Dem European Group) is an associated organisation of the party campaigning for Britain’s role in Europe and for peace and prosperity across Europe.

The last few years have been harrowing for Liberal Democrats and pro-Europeans.  Our representation in the European Parliament reduced in 2014, a reckless Europhobic government elected in 2015 and the narrow loss of the 2016 referendum.

Things will not change if we do and say the same things we have done and said for years. Nor can we just complain or retreat into self-satisfied disdain of those whose support we failed to win or our …

Posted in News | 32 Comments

The Parliamentary Boundary Review is continuing.

 

If you want to win a parliamentary seat at the next General Election start thinking about the new parliamentary boundaries.

Seasoned political campaigners understand the importance of the boundaries.  Any area that is divided up into electoral districts has to have lines drawn somewhere.  Moving a village between this or that constituency can make all the difference to who wins and who loses. Sometimes changes are so significant that new constituencies are radically different to their predecessors.

In 2011, Parliament amended the Parliamentary Constituency Act 1986. There were two main changes: 650 MPs …

Posted in News | 25 Comments

“We get fined if we meet your wishes” – the NHS could be so much better

Liberal Democrats are rightly proud of the fact that the NHS exists and the role of Liberals, especially Beveridge, in its creation.

But I find there is a lot to be concerned about in the way it is run.  From the point of view of a patient I often feel more like a player in an elaborate board game.

When I call my local surgery for an appointment I am invariably told nothing is available for 2 or more weeks.  It’s always longer if I want something early or late to minimise the disruption to work.

But I am always told “if it …

Posted in News | 15 Comments

The importance of the frame when debating Brexit

This piece arises out of a comment I made on Facebook that one of Lib Dem Voice’s founding editors asked me to write up as an article for LDV.

I have given training on debate and hustings skills to candidates at the party conference and there are a couple of rules to help you in that I think Remainers and Liberals are continuing to paying insufficient heed to in Brexit related debates.  This was brought home to me while watching recent episodes of Question Time and similar programmes.

The first rule is framing. In a debate, the success of what you have to say (measured by whether people will feel they agree, …

Posted in News | 36 Comments

4 May 2017: a chance to vote against hard Brexit

In 3 weeks most of the UK has a chance to vote in an election. 

The 2017 elections are a national opportunity to push back against hard Brexit.  Unlike so much else that supporters and opponents of Brexit can cite as evidence of public support for their side, the success or failure of each side is measurable, public and real.

On 4 May 2017 there are elections, in

Posted in News | 11 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Feb - 11:34pm
    Joe, it is good that you have clearly stated that economic rent can be earned by workers. I am not sure if you have recognised...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Feb - 10:14pm
    @ Arnold Kiel, If you are a "citizen of nowhere" you might like to apply for a UK passport if you are living here. Then...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 18th Feb - 9:04pm
    Peter Martin, just disregard my passport, call me a citizen of nowhere. Idiocy is a global phenomenon and should always and everywhere be called that...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 18th Feb - 9:01pm
    @Michael 1 "to reconnect with our pre-2015 voters we need to signal change from the coalition and that means the abolition of tuition fees" Ironically,...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Feb - 8:38pm
    Willie Rennie refers to the Guardian Poll (I assume this one https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/26/britons-favour-second-referendum-brexit-icm-poll). This poll shows a slight lead for Remain of 2%. The poll has...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Feb - 8:18pm
    @ Arnold Kiel, You do seem remarkably insistent that the UK should remain in the EU. I don't like to seem impolite but that's really...