Author Archives: Bridget Fox

Opinion: We need Homes for London

London faces a severe housing crisis. This problem will only get worse as our population continues to grow. One million more people are expected to be living in London by 2030.

Everywhere I go, people tell me they are concerned about housing – whether it is the long housing waiting lists, unaffordably high private rents or rogue landlords who rip you off. We have young people unable to make their first steps on the property ladder; or under threat from unscrupulous landlords and too many families living in overcrowded housing. For the average Londoner it will take 13 years …

Posted in London | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Digital Economy Bill latest – two cheers for the LibDem team

As Liberal Democrat Voice has reported in depth over recent weeks, there was a surge of debate around the party’s response to the Digital Economy Bill, leading to our open letter from PPCs, and the emergency motion passed at conference. Great joy.

Then it all went quiet.

There has of course been a little matter of the Budget. MPs and candidates have been, quite rightly, out on the hustings and the doorsteps. But if our Parliamentary party were otherwise engaged, the blogosphere was not. The dedicated campaigning of the Open Rights Group was joined by the 38 Degrees lobby. They have objected not only to the content of bits of the Digital Economy Bill, but also the obvious concerns about its process.

If nothing else, this Bill has highlighted to a new generation of voters the urgent need for Parliamentary reform. The unelected second chamber; ridiculous rush, horsetrading and lack of debate of the washup; the way a Government elected with a minority of the vote can railroad through legislation – all of this must change.

The Open Rights Group anti-disconnection rally took the issue from the screen to the streets, and I was delighted to be invited to speak on behalf of our party. As I told the crowds, we started campaigning for Freedom of Information against a Tory government; now we are campaigning for free exchange of information under Labour. When you deal with a death, there is a cycle of emotion from grief through anger to acceptance. When it comes to the death of our freedoms under Labour, as Liberal Democrats we may be aggrieved, we are angry, but we will not accept it.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Labour surrenders claim to climate change leadership

Today’s Guardian reports on Labour’s plan to abandon renewable energy targets: Leaked documents detail strategy for climate change U-turn.

It seems that John Hutton at the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform thinks the 20% target for renewables is too tough for the Armed Forces and big business to meet. And he is arguing that the UK should work with the enviro-sceptics in Europe to get EU-wide targets lowered.

Bringing the Ministry of Defence into the frame may be a smokescreen – Labour ministers can use national security to plead urgency, while being secretive on any details. But also …

Posted in Op-eds | 4 Comments

How ready are the Tories?

Election fever continues, and the Conservatives are ready for a snap general election, according to the BBC:

“The party has a £10m war chest, a draft manifesto and candidates selected in its top 200 target seats, sources close to leader David Cameron have said.”

Which is interesting, because they have not selected a candidate here in Islington South & Finsbury. It seems Dave accepts that with no Conservatives on the Council, and just 484 votes between Lib Dems and Labour here last time, there are better spots to plant his blue tree.

* Bridget Fox is Liberal

Posted in General Election | 7 Comments

Opinion: Vive la difference!

It’s not just the UK that goes to the polls next week. France will elect its first truly post-war President on 6th May.

“I’m not issuing any voting instructions. The French citizens who voted for me are free to follow their conscience and make their choice”. So says Francois Bayrou, the ALDE-backed candidate, contemplating the Sego vs Sarko run-off.

But how should a conscientious liberal vote? Bayrou famously joked that the others offer a choice between the woman who wants France to be like Scandinavia and the man who wants France to be like the USA.

Either …

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Opinion: Tories show their true colours [hint – not green]

Islington’s Lib Dem council has broken new ground by setting up a £3M climate change fund to take local action on climate change, through promoting renewable energy, energy conservation and sustainable transport (walking & cycling). This is despite Islington’s council tax rise being around 1.5% (continuing to deliver a longstanding pledge to keep Islington’s tax below the London average) and giving residents like me who pay by direct debit a £20 discount. In a neat twist, there’s an invitation to give the £20 to the climate change fund – a free ‘I feel good’ moment with every tax bill…. what’s …

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments
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    JohnMc "Plaid Cymru make a similar argument about Lib Dem funding in Wales (ie it comes from England)" That's not the point being made in...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Oct - 12:05am
    John Marriott - It looks as if Juncker was somewhat exceeding his authority. I suspect the EU would rule out an extension for more deal-tweaking....
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    Slightly odd comments in response to this article. The simple point being made is that it is odd, to say the least, for a party...
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