Author Archives: Mary Reid

Winter elections

The last time there was a General Election in December was in 1923. The BBC has a fascinating account of the event.

It was not a particularly cold winter, more dull and drizzly than crisp and blindingly white, although there were occasional snow and sleet flurries with December seeing a mean temperature of 3.9C.

Houses were decorated with festive bunting and heated by coal fires, shopping streets bustled with rattling trams and women wore ankle-length skirts and cloche hats.

The Representation of the People Act five years previously had given them the vote, although not all women – only those aged 30 or over who owned property worth at least £5, which accounted for about two thirds of the nation’s women (full voting rights would come in 1928).

Back in 2012, Mark Pack brilliantly developed a suggestion I had made to the LDV team and reported the Government’s proposal to move the day of local elections from May to February. There were howls of protest until someone noticed the date.  I particularly loved the final sentence:

As a planned cost saving measure, if the last Thursday in February falls on a leap day, the elections will be skipped and all incumbents automatically re-elected …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pest control and security cameras

Here at Lib Dem Voice we receive some intriguing emails, especially those from people wanting to place a post to help their search engine status.  Here are a couple we have received this week.

This is xxx, a writer and a big fan of your blog/website content https://www.libdemvoice.org . I’m reaching out to you because I wish to write an amazing blog post for your readers.

The articles ideas I had:

Pest Control Services
Residential Pest Control Services
Commercial Pest Control Services
Termite Control, Termite Treatment
Ant Control & Extermination

I would appreciate if you could allow me to write a guest post for you!

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

Stephen Lloyd returns to the fold

Stephen Lloyd MP has announced that he will be campaigning in the General Election in Eastbourne as a Liberal Democrat, fighting to stop Brexit.

Stephen was first elected as the Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne in 2010. He narrowly lost his seat in 2015 but regained it in the snap election in 2017.

The background to this announcement is that Stephen Lloyd voted Remain in the referendum, but Eastbourne largely voted Leave. In the 2017 election Stephen promised to honour the will of his constituents and to support Brexit in the Commons. About a year ago he resigned the party whip and has been sitting as an Independent while remaining a member of the party.

He has explained his position to his constituents in this video.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Jane Dodds’ maiden speech

Jane Dodds has had an extraordinary introduction to Parliament. Yesterday she took her seat in the Commons, leading in Phillip Lee as he crossed the chamber.  Today she gave her maiden speech in the Brexit debate.

This is what she said:

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

May I start by paying tribute to my predecessor, Mr. Chris Davies.

He worked hard for our local communities, raising awareness on the difficult issue of mental health and suicide in our farmers.

I thank him for his service.

Chris

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Let’s talk about something else … diversity in film and theatre

I did enjoy the film Yesterday, not least because the songs of the Beatles have threaded through my life.

But I was struck by one thing – the fact that the lead actor was BAME even though the part did not call for it. That is still quite rare in film these days. Danny Boyle has said that he chose Himesh Patel because he could both act and sing, and his voice had soul. “I wouldn’t have cast him if I had found someone better”.

I go to the theatre a lot and these days it is so refreshing to see colour blind casting, as well as casting that ignores gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. Of course, the key difference between film and stage is the latter’s appeal to the audience’s imagination.

In a theatre the actors invite the audience to conspire together to imagine that a minimal set is a desert, a country house, a ship at sea or a street in New York. The prologue to Henry V captures the essence of theatre: “And let us … on your imaginary forces work”. Similarly we all suspend our disbelief and go along with the idea that an actor is really a king, a social worker, a prostitute or a politician.

On the other hand, most movies aim for verisimilitude, so scenes are filmed in realistic settings and the actor is transformed with make-up, prosthetics or CGI to match the character’s appearance. It is noteworthy that, because Yesterday was a film and not a stage play, Boyle cast, as the parents, the wonderful Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal – two actors who look as though they could have produced Himesh Patel. In contrast, on the stage any ethnicity might have been encountered.

However, there is a dark history of institutional prejudice within the theatre.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

On politicians and TV

Dorothy Byrne is Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4. She was invited to give the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Festival, and she grasped the opportunity to say some pretty pertinent things about politicians.

You can read her funny and very pointed speech in full here, but we can give some extracts:

On trust and politicians:

Don’t believe politicians when they say that the public doesn’t trust the so-called mainstream media in the UK. They trust TV. Remember, terrestrial television has huge levels of trust:  71 percent. 

It’s politicians who are not trusted – they have a trust rate of 19 per cent  And news on the internet – the medium  politicians are increasingly using to bypass us – has, according recent Reuters Institute figures,  a trust level of only 22 percent with a mere 10 percent for news on social. 

But in recent years, there has been a dramatic fall in politicians holding themselves up to proper scrutiny on TV and in recent months and even weeks, that decline has, in my view, become critical for our democracy. 

We have a new Prime Minister who hasn’t held one major press conference or given one major television interview since he came to power. 

That cannot be right. And we have a leader of the opposition who similarly fails to give significant interviews on terrestrial TV. We may be heading for an election very soon. 

What are they going to do then? I genuinely fear that in the next election campaign there will be too little proper democratic debate and scrutiny to enable voters to make informed decisions.  

On TV interviews:

During the 1987 election, Thatcher and Kinnock chaired daily press conferences and gave several full-length interviews. Even more recently, Miliband and Cameron also did extensive interviews in election campaigns.

However, Theresa May, when she was leader, and Corbyn, failed to hold themselves to account in the same way. In the 2017 election, May and Corbyn did only one or two events a day. 

Outside of election periods, and setting aside some interviews with Andrew Marr, Theresa May’s PR people generally said she would do interviews of only four minutes, maybe six if you were lucky. 

Throughout her time as PM, May’s longest interview with Channel Four News was seven minutes. How do you delve into the complex problems of our times in a few minutes. Jeremy Corbyn sometimes permits only one question, and then doesn’t answer it!

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

A cautionary tale from Norman Lamb

One day last year Norman Lamb woke up in his London flat with double vision, which did not clear. According to this newspaper story, he called his sister who is a GP, and she advised him to go to A&E immediately.

When he got there he was sent to the eye clinic for eye tests after which the staff told him that there was nothing wrong. But when he rang his sister again she feared a brain tumour. She told him not to leave the hospital but to go along to the neurovascular department. Once there he had an MRI brain scan and was told he’d had a minor ischaemic stroke.

The Stroke Association’s website advises that ‘sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes’ indicates a potential stroke.

‘I’m articulate enough and confident enough to go back and challenge what I’d been told,’ he says.

‘But there are many who wouldn’t have a GP sister to advise them, so there was a lot of luck in my stroke even being diagnosed. That worries me.’

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

++Breaking news: Jo Swinson announces Shadow Cabinet

Jo Swinson has just announced her Shadow Cabinet.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet
Jo Swinson Leader
Ed Davey Chancellor of the Exchequer
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Chuka Umunna Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
International Development
International Trade
Christine Jardine Home Department
Justice
Women and Equalities
Deputy Chief Whip
Tom Brake Exiting the European Union
Duchy of Lancaster
Jamie Stone Defence
Scotland
Vince Cable Health and Social Care
Layla Moran Education
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Wera Hobhouse Climate Change and Environment
Transport
Tim Farron Housing, Communities and Local Government
Work and Pensions
North of England (Northern Powerhouse)
Alistair Carmichael Chief Whip
Northern Ireland
Jane Dodds Wales
Food & Rural Affairs
Catherine Bearder Europe
Siobhan Benita London
Willie Rennie Scotland
Kirsty Williams Wales
Dick Newby Leader of the House of Lords
Sal Brinton President of the Liberal Democrats

*Please note that Norman Lamb and Sarah Wollaston will attend relevant Shadow Cabinet meetings but given their roles as Chairs of respective Select Committees they will not take a formal Shadow Cabinet role.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 19 Comments

++ Breaking news: Sarah Wollaston joins the Lib Dems

Jo Swinson has just announced that Sarah Wollaston MP has joined the Liberal Democrats. In an email to members Jo says:

I am thrilled that Sarah has chosen to join the Liberal Democrats.

Sarah is a fierce campaigner who I have enjoyed working with in the campaign to stop Brexit and as one of the most respected Members of Parliament and brings real expertise to our team.

She is one of more than 30,000 members who have joined us since May, along with 10,000 new registered supporters in rejecting the politics of nationalism and populism, showing it is the Liberal Democrats who can deliver an alternative vision for our country.

Dr Sarah Wollaston is the MP for Totnes in Devon. She came to people’s attention as the winner of the first open primary for a Conservative PPC in 2009. Sarah worked as a GP until she was elected in 2010, and she retained her seat in 2015 and 2017.

In February she resigned from the Conservatives and joined The Independent Group/Change UK, but in June she left them to sit as an independent. However she continues to chair the Liaison Committee and the Health Select Committee.

Posted in News | Tagged | 48 Comments

On that power pose

Josh Bararinde has reminded us of the Tory power pose.

As it happens I took my two grandsons to Hampton Court Palace on Monday. As we explored Henry VIII’s apartments we came across the man himself, holding court to a delighted audience of children and their adults.

One of my grandsons had noted that the King had to wipe away sweat from his brow and asked if he was hot. That gave the actor an opportunity to talk about the clothes he was wearing and to introduce a new word to the boys’ vocabulary: codpiece.

He told us that the familiar Holbein portrait (which his costume was based upon), a copy of which hung in the corridor outside, was the first full-length portrait of a monarch standing. It was designed to emphasise Henry’s power, and most importantly his masculinity, hence the stance with legs apart and exaggerated shoulders.

And, at the very centre of the painting, acting as its main focus, is the famous codpiece, which lies at eye height.

Nuff said.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

On editing Lib Dem Voice

I have enjoyed being back in the editor’s chair today. My role on LDV these days is to provide cover when members of the team are away, unwell, or, as today, busy fighting by-elections.

I have been dealing with around eight submissions, some of which were more fully formed than others. Plus a few of those bizarre emails offering us guest posts on subjects ranging from setting up powers of attorney to tyre maintenance for car fleets.

But one thing struck me quite forcibly: ignoring the SEO chancers – not one of those eight submissions was put forward by a woman. In fact, of the 20 posts published so far this week only three had female authors, and two of those were written by our editor in chief, Caron Lindsay. A similar pattern emerges for the whole of the last month – and I have rather lost the will to trawl back further in time.

So what is going on?

Of course, I can’t pretend that there ever was a golden age when half our posts were penned by women, but I can certainly remember a higher proportion than we have now.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

I’m so looking forward to Conference this year

Well, with all that excitement behind us we can now look forward to the warm glow that will infuse Autumn Conference this year. I can just imagine what the Rally will be like, with all those new MEPs and councillors celebrating alongside our new leader.

We will be by the seaside again in Bournemouth from 14th to 17th September.

Registration is now open, and as usual the early birds get the cheapest rates. For a full member’s pass you pay £70 before 14th June; after that it becomes £90, or £150 after 2nd August. As always there is a hefty discount for first-timers who only pay £60 whenever they register.

Those rates come down to £20, £30 and £40 respectively if you are a full-time student, or if you claim Universal Credit/Employment & Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit/Income Support or Personal Independence Payment. A while ago I asked whether apprentices were included as students and indeed they are.

This year all our new Registered Supporters are also very welcome to attend. They pay the same registration rates as party members, however they will not be able to vote on motions.

Once again I’d like to draw attention to the ring-fenced Access Fund. Members generously contribute to it each year, including a regular donation from Lib Dem Voice, and it is used to enable people to attend Conference who might otherwise not be able to do so. It provides support for people with a range of disabilities and also offers grants for childcare, accommodation or travel for those on low incomes. Full details about how to apply are here.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

Putting a bomb under it, and other polling day stories

There was a bit of drama in Kingston upon Thames on Thursday morning. Construction workers uncovered a 250Kg unexploded WW2 bomb near the town centre.

A large exclusion zone was set up, and 1500 people were evacuated from their homes.

The area included the town centre campus for Kingston University, two schools – and two polling stations, which had to be relocated.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Looking good in Northern Ireland

The counting in the Northern Ireland local elections was finally concluded late last night. And the good news is that, matching Lib Dem successes in England, the Alliance Party increased their seats by 21, far more than any other party.

Alliance is our sister party in Northern Ireland. There is a small Lib Dem branch there as well, but they didn’t put up any candidates, and Lib Dem members are allowed to have dual membership.

Councillors are elected through Single Transferable Vote every four years, and there are five major parties, plus a handful of smaller ones.  As a result no council has a party with an overall majority.

Alliance increased its share of seats on the following councils:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey
  • Ards and North Down
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
  • Belfast City
  • Causeway Coast and Glens
  • Derry City and Strabane
  • Fermanagh and Omagh
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City
  • Mid and East Antrim
Posted in News | Tagged | 15 Comments

Where did we gain seats?

The elves at LDV have been busy digging into the results to bring you a full list of all the Councils in England where Lib Dems made gains. Please let us know if they have made any errors.

So here they are. We have highlighted the ones where we are now in control.

  • Arun (where we are the largest party under NOC)
  • Barnsley
  • Basingstoke & Deane
  • Bassetlaw
  • Bath & North East Somerset
  • Bedford (where we are the largest party under NOC, and we retained the elected Mayor)
  • Blaby
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bolsover
  • Bolton
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Brentwood
  • Broadland

Posted in News | Tagged | 21 Comments

Selections for Euro elections underway

With Euro elections looking increasingly likely on 23rd May, Lib Dems have been busy preparing. Party members are currently voting to select their party list candidates in the Euro regions, and in spite of the condensed time frame there is no shortage of candidates. For example, in London 24 people have put in nominations for eight places.

How did we get to this position so quickly? Well, the party starting preparing last October, anticipating that the Prime Minister would not gain support for her deal.

Other parties seem to have been caught on the hop.

Labour emailed members last week seeking candidates, and one Labour MP said:

With a snap election, the problem is often one of properly vetting people – as we found out in 2017.

Which suggests that they are starting the approval process from scratch.

The Conservatives have only just called for nominations with a deadline of 24th April.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 23 Comments

What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day will be on Friday 8th March. Please share your plans to celebrate it in the comments below.

Here in Southwest London the local parties in the boroughs of Kingston, Sutton, Merton and Richmond have developed several projects, both political and non-political.

First, we are jointly running a conference with Liberal Democrat Women titled “WOMEN: Shaping the future, making a difference!“. A number of influential women have been invited to share their stories with us including Floella Benjamin, Sam Smethers (Fawcett Society), Siobhan Benita (candidate for London Mayor) and Lorely Burt.

There will be workshops led by practitioners on Women in Business, Tech, Political Activism, Community Activism, Creative Industries and Public Life. Christine Cheng will reprieve her TEDx talk on strategies for encouraging women to participate, and Sal Brinton will give a summary speech at the end of the day which should send us out energised and enthused.

The conference is open to anyone, of any gender, sympathetic to the Liberal Democrats.

In addition, councillors in the boroughs have worked with their Councils to develop some public events.

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Can’t afford to go to Conference?

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Did you know about the Access Fund which supports members who want to go to Conference? I expect you think that it provides resources for people with disabilities – and that is indeed true, because, amongst other things, it funds the BSL signers.

But it also offers grants to individual members who can’t afford the full cost of Conference. It can cover childcare costs and also accommodation and travel.

The deadline for applications to the Access Fund for Spring Conference was a couple of days ago, but not many applications had been received by that date so they are happy to receive late submissions this year. Full details are to be found on the Conference Access Fund page.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Jo Swinson on QT today

This evening’s Question Time is the first in 2019 and the first chaired by Fiona Bruce. And Jo Swinson is one of the panellists. She shares the podium with James Cleverly MP, Emily Thornberry MP, Melanie Phillips and Nish Kumar, which should make for a lively debate.

You will have spotted that the majority of people on the panel are women, as indeed was the case for David Dimbleby’s final programme in December. QT has been addressing the diversity of its panels over the last year – at least in terms of gender and ethnicity – so let’s hope that continues.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Financial support to attend Conference

Have you ever wanted to attend our federal party conferences but been discouraged because of financial or access issues?

The Federal Conference Committee (of which I am a member) wants to enable everyone to attend, so some years ago we set up an Access Fund to provide support.

This is how it works:

  • Everyone who registers for conference is asked if they would like to contribute to the Fund.
  • Anyone with relevant needs can apply to the Access Fund for support. In short, it can cover childcare, accommodation and travel for anyone who could not otherwise afford it, plus specific costs for those with disabilities (such as sign language interpreting and mobility scooters). You can see more detail about what can be covered and how to apply here.
Posted in News | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Selecting our candidates for London

 

If you are a party member in London then a bit of voting is in order.

The Mayor of London governs the Greater London Authority, and s/he is scrutinised and challenged by the 25 members of the London Assembly.

This week voting has opened for our candidates for the London elections in 2020. Most London members have received their online ballot instructions this week by email, while others should get their papers in the post.

When the London elections come around every four years, voters are sometimes a bit bemused to be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different electoral system. This provides plenty of material for happy hours of discussion by the election geeks amongst you …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

The dilemma of obesity

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The issue of obesity presents liberals with a dilemma. On the one hand obesity has serious health effects which have impacts not just on individuals but also on health service costs. On the other hand, body confidence campaigns encourage people to feel good about their bodies and condemn fat shaming.

So how can we, as a nation, reduce obesity while still respecting individual freedoms? Where is the balance to be found between societal and individual responsibilty?

We have been here before, of course. There were similar debates around seat belts, motorbike helmets and smoking. In all three cases public well-being eclipsed individual liberty. So the Government can enforce the use of helmets, against the will of any riders who don’t want to wear them, not on the grounds of the risk to the individuals but because of the huge cost to health and social services of dealing with accident victims. The harm to others is a collective harm.

George Monbiot was writing on this subject last week. He refers to this photo from 1976 of people sunbathing on Brighton beach, and says that it:

… appeared to show an alien race. Almost everyone was slim. I mentioned it on social media, then went on holiday. When I returned, I found that people were still debating it. The heated discussion prompted me to read more. How have we grown so fat, so fast? To my astonishment, almost every explanation proposed in the thread turned out to be untrue.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 46 Comments

Happy Anniversary!

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It’s hot, and our regular supply of posts from you, dear readers, seems to have melted away. But we can’t let today go by without acknowledging the 70th Anniversary of the NHS.

Of course, we can’t do it justice in a short piece, but we can be proud that, for all its faults, we do still have a system that is not only valued at home but also admired by other countries. Indeed, many nations now have systems of health care which are universal and free at the point of delivery, even if they differ in the methods used to achieve that.

Yes, of course there are anomalies in the NHS – dental care and prescriptions are often not free, social care is still not integrated properly with medical care, treatment is rationed by Clinical Commissioning Groups, too many services are outsourced.

But what has always astonished me is the fact that this blatantly socialist project, vilified by many at the time (including the majority of doctors), is now seen as an essential component of British life by people from across the political spectrum. And what saddens me is that the American right still don’t understand why we love it, and have dismantled the progressive systems that Obama carefully constructed.

The challenge over the last 70 years has been for the NHS to keep in step both with research and with societal changes, and that challenge will go with it into the future.

So it is appropriate that Vince Cable has chosen today to highlight quite a niche subject – access to fertility treatment for female couples.  He has written to Sir Andrew Dillon, the chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, about ‘shared motherhood’. This is a treatment that involves one partner donating an egg which is then carried by the other partner, so that both women are physically involved. At the moment it is only available privately at a cost of £6000 per cycle.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

LibLink: “The supply of social housing has almost dried up” – Dorothy Thornhill

If, when I was Elected Mayor of Watford, you had asked me what kept me awake at night, I would have said the number of families we had in bed and breakfast (it was once a matter of pride that there were none), and whether we had enough temporary accommodation.

Dorothy Thornhill (now an active parliamentarian in the House of Lords) has been writing in PoliticsHome about her worries about the supply of social housing. She writes:

It tells its own story that the rise in evictions from the private sector is now the top reason for people ending up in council temporary accommodation. Private rents are now out of reach for too many working families. The supply of social housing has almost dried up.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged | 15 Comments

On feisty and ditzy women

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Helen Mirren once told the Daily Express:

Two phrases I hate in reference to female characters are ‘strong’ and ‘feisty’. They really annoy me. It’s the most condescending thing. You say that about a three-year-old. It infantalises women.

I’ve been pondering on a long list of words that are only ever used to describe women. ‘Feisty’ is top of that list, but there are many more that worm their way into our everyday conversations.

At work women in senior positions are described as ‘ambitious’, ‘bossy’, ‘strident’, ‘shrill’, ‘abrasive’, ‘pushy’, ‘sassy’, ‘bitchy’ or ‘bolshy’. In contrast, women lower down the pecking order are said to be ‘bubbly’, ‘airhead’, ‘cute’ or ‘ditzy’. These are all words that are rarely used about men and they all have negative connotations.

There is also that give away phrase ‘very intelligent, but …’ (a variant of which pops up in the Helen Mirren interview), which implies that bright women must have compensating features, such as a sense of humour, to be acceptable.

And of course, we all know that the word ‘hysterical’ derives from the Latin for a womb, so can only be used of women, along with ‘hormonal’, ’emotional’, ‘highly strung’, ‘sensitive’, ‘illogical’ and ‘irrational’, not to mention ‘menopausal’.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

LibLink: Layla Moran “Airbus shows businesses are running out of patience with our Government”

Layla Moran has been writing on Huffpost on the fallout from Airbus’s announcement that it will pull out of Britain (with the loss of thousands of jobs) if there is no transition deal on Brexit.

She writes:

The difficulty for those of us campaigning against an extreme Brexit ripping us out of the world’s largest market is that not enough people feel that the economy is nose-diving.

Take Airbus. It is looking for a breakthrough later this week at the European Council meeting, or else. It was a brave announcement, that if we don’t secure a decent trade deal, it is likely to move factories and jobs abroad – brave not for the act of leaving but for coming out and saying it.

So why did Airbus risk such an announcement? Because this wasn’t a threat. This was the first stage of its disinvestment from the UK; the risk of a no-deal Brexit is now simply too great, and too soon. Even a company the size of Airbus cannot afford to risk £1billion a week.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 27 Comments

Gosport findings ‘shocking and devastating’

We have all be shocked by the revelations about the inappropriate treatment of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Here is Norman Lamb talking about the way the NHS closed ranks when he was Health Minister, and how he called for the enquiry that has just been completed.

We also have some quotes from him:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Carry on Brussels – David Davis asks Vince Cable to ‘sack’ Catherine Bearder

Last night’s episode of ‘Carry on Brussels’ on Channel 4 featured our own MEP, Catherine Bearder. Unfortunately she was juxtaposed with UKIP Press Officer, but it makes for entertaining viewing.

Catherine is seen gathering support amongst her European allies for her Exit from Brexit campaign.

The documentary demonstrates the links that Catherine has with Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit. He is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, but of more importance to us, he is the Leader of ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, which is the political group in the European Parliament to which UK Liberal Democrats are affiliated.

Catherine is shown greeting him as a friend in various meetings, including one with a UK delegation including Lindsay Northover (our Foreign Affairs spokesperson in the Lords), Sarah Ludford (former Lib Dem MEP) and Graham Tope.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Brilliant result in Richmond – and high hopes for Kingston

Liberal Democrats have gained control in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, leaping from 15 seats to 39. This is in spite of the deal with the Greens which allowed them to take 4 seats.


Historically we controlled Richmond from 1986 to 2002, then from 2006 to 2010.

Meanwhile, in nearby Sutton, which we have controlled for the last 28 years, we retained control, though with fewer seats than before, dropping from 45 to 33 out of 54.

Liberal Democrats: 33 (-12)
Conservatives: 18 (+9)
Independents: 3 (+3)

Attention now turns to Kingston upon Thames which lies between Richmond and Sutton. Their count starts at 10am today, and we have hopes of taking back control there as well.

Posted in News | Tagged | 6 Comments

Come and taste the coffee

Some of the local election candidates in Kingston upon Thames (plus an MP)

I have been rather quiet on Lib Dem Voice recently – and for very good reason. Two high profile election campaigns having taken up a great deal of my time and attention.

In last year’s snap General Election I headed up the digital campaign to get Ed Davey re-elected in Kingston & Surbiton. We developed new ways of working, made excellent use of many of our new members, and created a social media campaign that has been quoted as a model for other local parties to follow. And this May we intend to take back control of Kingston Council, having lost it to the Tories four years ago. With a longer lead time, and all the experience we had gained in 2017, we have been able to plan a full digital campaign, which we have never before attempted for local elections.

So that’s my excuse!

But I am editing LDV today, so I am shamelessly using this platform to call for support. And it is not just for Kingston. In the three South West London boroughs of Sutton, Kingston and Richmond the Lib Dems are all aiming to take control from the Conservatives (or hold on to it, in Sutton’s case) in May. We want to see that yellow banana on the map again. Since last June we now hold three of the five constituencies that make up the three boroughs, and we lost Richmond Park by just 45 votes, so it appears the voters like us.

Posted in Campaign Corner and News | Tagged , , and | 9 Comments
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