Author Archives: Ben Johnson

Opinion: Cable may do enough to deserve our support

The coalition government is busy reading through Lord Browne’s report into higher education funding. He has recommended lifting the cap on fees, currently set at £3290 per year. All Liberal Democrat MPs were elected on the understanding that they opposed any rise in fees. But is the level of fee the critical issue here? And why is a graduate tax more popular?

I joined the Liberal Democrats back in 2001, whilst an undergraduate at the University of Warwick. I joined because of opposition to tuition fees. Back then, the tuition fees I opposed were set …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 58 Comments

Emergency motion: speak out on council housing

We are unique amongst the main political parties in having a democratic internal structure.   This weekend is our opportunity, denied to both Labour and Tory members, to decide the future of our party and proclaim what it means to be a Liberal Democrat.

In addition to major policy announcements, there are six possible emergency motions listed in Conference Extra.  Only one of these will be chosen for debate on Wednesday morning, following a ballot of conference attendees on Sunday.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark have submitted one of these emergency motions, and it is not without controversy.  It is in direct response …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged and | 26 Comments

Opinion: The Lib Dems need a better communications strategy

An opposition party can only be truly effective via the media. Government has its own spin and PR, but the opposition must cultivate this through good press stories for them and bad ones for the government.

Blair understood this better than anyone and used it to great advantage in the dying days of the Major administration, mostly through the fanaticism of Alastair Campbell.

Fast forward to today and a small party perpetually in opposition is now in government. When in opposition, projecting a clear party line was a key goal. For the Lib Dems in government, …

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

Recent Comments

  • Steve Trevethan
    Might a significant part of the lack of affordable housing lie with an extractive banking system and a lack of competition for the private sector? Might a no...
  • David
    What Katharine Pindar said!...
  • nigel hunter
    Affordable housing is 80% of actual market value of a house. Social RENT is 30% 0f house market value. We need MORE social RENT homes that are interspersed wi...
  • Katharine Pindar
    Thanks for asking, Callum. I believe we should champion strongly reducing poverty, getting the next government to commit to our policies which would first ensur...
  • Tom Harney
    I would like to see an examination within the party on how we can create an organisation which is a participative democracy. In the age of interactive communica...