Author Archives: Chris Key

An open letter to Liam Fox about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

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Dear Mr Fox/Liberal Democrat Voice

As a Cabinet Minister I am astonished that on the Today program you have claimed that we must be careful not to “over-react” about Boris Johnson’s comments over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. If your wife was stuck in jail on trumped up charges I don’t think you would be saying that.

Nazanin has already appeared in court since the careless comments of the Foreign Secretary.

Comments that are now being used against her. As a consequence she may face another five years in prison.

One of the primary duties of the Foreign Secretary is to help protect British citizens abroad. If Mr Johnson is unable to do that then he has failed in the basic part of his job description.

Posted in News | 9 Comments

How a Lib Dem budget could respond to the real challenges our nation faces

As we approach the forthcoming Budget, we have the opportunity to present ourselves as the party of business which also cares about the dreadful level of inequality in the UK today.

Brexit is obviously the key issue affecting the economy and there is nothing more pro business than our stance of wanting to remain in the Single Market and the customs union. Rising inflation is hitting the low paid particularly hard. Public sector workers need and deserve a proper pay rise. It is a disgrace when one reads that nurses are having to rely on food banks.

Outside of Brexit, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 12 Comments

It’s up to all of us to prevent hate crime

There is one childhood memory which will always stick in my head. Aged 8 or 9 our headteacher at primary school sat us down and told us about the first black child to enter our school. We were given a pep talk us that this boy was no different to the rest of us and that we were to treat him as an equal. This was middle class Surrey in 1982.

What I have seen and heard since the referendum in various parts of the UK has made me thing that in some ways we have not moved on when it comes to dealing with hatred and bigotry.

A French friend of mine was told last November to “F..k off back to France” after having his head beaten badly by youths in Hampshire, near where I went to University. A Polish schoolgirl committed suicide in Cornwall after being bullied earlier this year. A Spanish man was badly beaten for talking Spanish in Bournemouth last year. MPs have reported Polish children being spat at in school. There are more examples one could cite of the impact of the referendum vote has encouraged bigotry and hatred against EU citizens.

Daniel Hannan and Tory MEP and arch-Brexiteer has protested that the country has not become more racist since the referendum. There is no problem it would seem, all is well. No problem of course unless it is your Dad who was the one who was beaten up, or your daughter who ended their own life. One person’s statistic is another person’s loved one.

So what can we do?

Quite simply we need to challenge racism and xenophobia at its core. At a recent family event I was told that “we didn’t need foreigners”. Someone else told me that parts of Lincolnshire have an “immigrant problem”. A local Tory association in a part of my constituency was last week re-tweeting Katie Hopkins. Last year after leaving a Comments through the door of a local house, an elderly lady spent twenty minutes ranting at me. We need to send all black people home she snarled. Like my best friend who has a PhD and works for a big bank I enquired ? Yes she replied. It turned out she was a retired Geography teacher.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Why has nobody been held accountable for the Garden Bridge scandal?

Yesterday on LBC, Sadiq Khan acknowledged that the taxpayer is unlikely to see anything for the £50 million which has been spent on the Garden Bridge.

The Daily Express did its best to portray Khan, rather than Boris Johnson, as the guilty party here. Following James O’Brien’s show, they wrote a piece which totally failed to recognize the fact that it was Khan who had been the one who had instigated the enquiry which Margaret Hodge produced. A report which made it clear that no more public money should be invested in this project.

It is clear that there were …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 13 Comments

We can learn from the aviation industry about preventing and managing disaster

Air travel is safer than it has ever been. Despite a 60% rise in worldwide passenger numbers in the ten year period to 2015, that year was the safest on record for aviation. The following year was the second safest.

So this begs the question of whether we should look to the aviation industry when we consider how to respond to future tragedies like the Grenfell fire.

Put quite simply the airline industry is very good at learning from past accidents and near misses to understand why these have happened and what changes need to be made to make flying safer.

As an example after the Manchester airport runway fire in 1985 in which 53 people died, procedures from how pilots should react to an on board fire on the ground, to the seating configuration on planes were altered.

Planes are taken out of service when deemed a safety risk  and parts changed, pilots are re-trained and technology moves on to adapt to the safety needs of the industry. National air accident investigation bodies from different countries share knowledge and often work together after a crash.

This gives passengers re-assurance that their odds of being caught up in a plane crash are incredibly low.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

War with Spain over Gibraltar?

 

Normally I try to switch off on holiday. I am in the Canary Islands with my family. When I switched on my Twitter feed I nearly choked on my cafe con leche after reading Lord Howard’s comments about Gibraltar.

Today was the 35th Anniversary of the start of the Falklands war and should have been a day to remember the dead and learn from the past. Yet instead Lord Howard used an interview on a Sunday politics program to remind people of what Thatcher did in 1982 and support a similar reaction in relation to Gibraltar.

This was wrong at so many levels. As my wife who is from Argentina said, how can someone of his experience make a comparison between the military junta of Argentina in 1982 and the democratically elected government of Mariano Rajoy.

Secondly, we want to set up trade deals with the EU and other Latin American countries. Does Lord Howard think that being the class room bully  will help us to enter this wonderful global world we are told by Brexiteers was created on June 24, 2016 ?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

The refugee ban harms not just our reputation, it will harm our armed forces too

 

Yesterday, Tim Farron quite rightly called out the desperate situation in which Theresa May now finds herself. Like a door to door salesman selling their wares she is now desperate in terms of who she will deal with on the world stage.

The refugee ban imposed by Donald Trump goes against all of the British values we stand for as a party and has even resulted in a Conservative MP being banned from visiting the US.

The primary duty of any Prime Minister is to defend British citizens. Yet when quizzed at the press conference in Turkey she claimed it was for the US to determine the refugee policy of the United States. Imagine if Churchill had said the same about Nazi Germany in 1940 when it came to the treatment of Jews.

Secondly there is the impact this ban will have on our armed forces. Among those detained at a US airport was an Iraqi who had been a translator for the US army. He was held in handcuffs and quizzed for 17 hours before being released. If that’s how the US treats those who work for their military risking their lives it is much less likely that Iraqis or others for that matter will step forward to help. Would you do so if you knew safe passage to the US could not be guaranteed?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments
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  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 18th Nov - 10:41pm
    Arnold, that was a magnificent piece of prose writing, so well articulated, so reasonable, and yet so passionate and sad at the same time. It...
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    @ JoeB, I normally agree with Stiglitz but not this time. A two tier, or a multi tier, euro wouldn't really solve anything. In every...
  • User AvatarRichard Easter 18th Nov - 8:51pm
    And that is why people voted for Kennedy in 2005, Clegg in 2010 and now Corbyn.
  • User AvatarGlenn 18th Nov - 8:49pm
    The cut price less sonorously Machiavellian British Kissinger, but only because he as a squeaky voice.
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    @ Andrew Melmouth, You could be right about John Lanchester. There are those who do understand what a complete cock up the introduction of the...