Author Archives: Mary Reid

Mary Reid was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, and has developed websites for several parliamentarians and Lib Dem organisations. She manages the annual conference for the Social Liberal Forum.

Topping up your suntan – and your favourite soap

 

I’ve just got back from a holiday, replenishing my Vitamin D in the Canaries. Although I had a wonderfully relaxing time I didn’t want to cut myself off completely from things happening back in the UK.

Like most hotels across the world, we were offered just two English language TVchannels – BBC World and Sky News – which was a bit limiting. Unlike business hotels, holiday hotels  took a while to realise that their customers would value free Wi-Fi anywhere on site, but that is now pretty standard. So I could also listen online to the radio live and on catch-up whenever I wanted through the BBC and other channels. But that did not apply to TV programmes.

Whenever I tried to access www.bbc.co.uk, I was redirected to www.bbc.com, so I wasn’t able to watch UK based BBC television programmes live or on catch-up. This didn’t exactly spoil my holiday but I was rather keen to see the final two episodes of Apple Tree Yard, which had left us with a cliffhanger. No doubt other holidaymakers would have appreciated a chance to follow their own favourite soaps and series, as well as news from their home towns.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

LibLink: Mike Storey on defibrillators in schools

Over on Politics Home, Mike Storey has written about the need for defibrillators in schools, and calls for them to be a legal requirement.  He writes:

In March 2011 a tragic event took place at King David School in Liverpool, when a 12 year old boy, Oliver King, suffered a cardiac arrest while winning a swimming race. The tragic and untimely demise of that young boy bought indescribable grief to this family and friends and shocked the whole community.

It was noted that the 24 minutes that lapsed between Oliver’s cardiac arrest and the paramedics’ arrival would have seen the boy’s chances of survival considerably enhanced, had a defibrillator been available on the School premises.

For every minute that a patient that needs it doesn’t get defibrillation, their survival rate drops by 7-10%. Effective CPR extends the window but only on rare occasions are emergency services able to attend and provide defibrillation early enough. With this rate of decline the benefits of having a defibrillator within easy reach is clear.

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Tom Brake challenges May to stick up for Mo Farah and other Muslims

 

The news that everyone’s favourite athlete – Mo Farah – may not be able to return to his family in the US has encapsulated the impact of Trump’s vicious travel ban. He was, of course, born in Somalia, one of the banned countries, although he is a British citizen and does not hold dual nationality. He is currently at a training camp in Ethiopia.

Mo Farah wrote:

I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home.

Now me, and many others like me, are being told that we may not be welcome.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 5 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron writes “May’s Brexit intentions will betray the values promoted by Churchill”

Tim Farron has written an article in The New European. He starts:

If 2016 felt like a never-ending cycle of shocks and surprises, then 2017 already shows no sign of relenting.

I, like all other ‘Remoaners’, get constantly criticised for being too negative about the prospects of Brexit Britain. Yet right now, it is not my confidence in the government’s direction that is significant, it is the markets, displayed so clearly in the pound slumping to a fresh 31-year low on Monday.

The prompt for this had been the impending sense of gloom in anticipation of Theresa May’s Brexit speech on Tuesday, which outlined her plans for the UK to quit the single market, before even entering into negotiations with the EU.

Staggeringly, the PM, increasingly characterised as ‘Theresa Maybe’, has chosen her only act of decisiveness to be on leaving the single market – a British invention that she and her own cabinet have spent their careers recognising as being so fundamental to our public life and economic wellbeing.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 14 Comments

Tim Farron on Gove’s interview with Trump

 

I expect that many of you will, like me, feel slightly sickened by Michael Gove’s interview of Donald Trump for The Times. Private Eye has a word for it…

Tim Farron has given a robust response:

Michael Gove has had a rare opportunity to put questions to the most divisive and reactionary President Elect in modern history and all we get is a puff piece from a clearly admiring fan.

In the same interview Trump told a German newspaper that NATO is obsolete, it will make for a more dangerous world if this view is strong enough for him to turn down his invite to this year’s summit.

This president warns that helping refugees, saving people escaping the horrors of war, is a bad idea and instead we should be lifting sanctions on Putin despite him backing Assad. This is a man lacking a moral compass who is about to be inaugurated as the President.

He has picked environmental protection and the desire to show compassion to the most needy as good reasons to leave Europe.”

I don’t know the shape of the Europe that Trump dreams of but I know it frightens me.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 27 Comments

Would you like to serve on a policy working group?

 

The party sets up policy working groups to investigate a policy area in some depth over the course of 12 to 18 months. The aim of each group is to produce a policy paper, supported by a motion to conference, based on consultations with members and evidence from experts. You can see updates on the progress of the current policy working groups here.

And you can be part of such a working group. The outgoing Federal Policy Committee set up two new ones, and they are now calling for members.

If you are interested in Immigration and Identity and have some knowledge or expertise to bring to the group then click here.

If you would like to be part of the group looking at Power for People and Communities, then click here.

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – “As Millwall’s crisis shows, football is about far more than just sport”

 

It’s not often that a senior Lib Dem is quoted in the Sports pages (Ming Campbell excepted). But today Tim Farron has been explaining his concern about the decision of Lewisham Council to compulsory purchase Millwall’s land.

He is quoted:

Football clubs are a crucial part of British society and are at the heart of our communities. I know how heartbreaking it would be for Millwall’s fans and the local community if their club was forced to move against their wishes. The details of this case seem quite extraordinary and I hope that the council don’t take actions that could risk the club’s future in the area.

Since that was published Tim has written a longer comment piece.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Keep Britain in the Single Market

As Caron mentioned yesterday a petition been posted on the Liberal Democrat website ahead of a possible statement from the Prime Minister today. It says:

Leaked documents suggest that the Conservatives are getting ready to take Britain out of the Single Market.

Leaving the Single Market would be deeply damaging for jobs, businesses and the economy.

Don’t let the Tories push our economy’s self-destruct button – add your name today and support our campaign to keep Britain in the Single Market.

You can sign it here.

Posted in News | 20 Comments

Last chance to submit your entry for ‘Your Liberal Britain’

What would Britain look like in 2030, if we Lib Dems had our way? That is the challenge set by Your Liberal Britain.

Before Christmas Sal Brinton reminded us in an email:

If we do this well, we’ll not only inspire manifestos and campaigns for years to come, but we’ll also inspire the people in this country who are looking for leadership through difficult times. Your ideas could help give them that leadership.

The authors of the winning entries will be invited to join Your Liberal Britain’s writing group, who’ll work together to take a shared vision to Conference in 2017. If it passes a vote, your contribution could become the official party vision.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

Sarah Olney’s maiden speech

Well, it has been a long time since we have been able to report on the maiden speech of a Liberal Democrat MP.

Sarah spoke today in the debate on the impact of Brexit on science and research. Until a few weeks ago she was working at the National Physical Laboratory, which lies just across the Thames from her Richmond Park constituency, so she has an insider’s view on the subject.

Here is her speech (taken from the rolling feed on Hansard which may be subject to correction):

Posted in News | Tagged | 12 Comments

Sarah Olney MP takes her seat in Parliament

Here is the footage of Sarah as she is sworn in as a Member of Parliament.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

What a campaign!

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The Richmond Park campaign was the biggest the party has ever done. Phew!

In writing this post I don’t want to give away too many campaigning strategies, although the media have been pretty quick to spot our ways of working. They know that we are good at ‘deploying’ volunteers, but they don’t really understand how we do it. How, they wonder, do we manage to recruit 1000 people in one weekend, from all over the country? How do we get them to travel and stay at their own expense and then embark on some punishing walking, talking and delivering in the cold and dark for hours on end?

However, I know that many of our readers do understand what that is all about. We all care passionately about our values and the vision we have for our society, and we enjoy putting them into action in the company of like-minded people, who quickly become our friends.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

This week in Richmond Park – all to fight for

This was the headline in the print version of the Observer yesterday, although it came out rather differently online.

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It states:

The Liberal Democrats are to target pro-EU Labour supporters and “soft Tories” who backed remain, in a final canvassing blitz ahead of Thursday’s Richmond byelection, amid growing confidence in their camp that they are within striking distance of winning the seat.

Party documents obtained by the Observer, laying out their strategy for the final days, suggest undecided Labour voters will be key, and failure to persuade enough of them to vote tactically may prevent the Lib Dems pulling off one of the biggest byelection upsets of recent years.

… The Lib Dems’ own internal polling now puts Goldsmith on 46.7%, the Lib Dems on 43.3% and Labour on 9.5%.

Posted in Campaign Corner and News | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Richmond Park – more pictures and a caption competition

Richmond Park is on course to be the biggest Lib Dem by-election campaign ever. Last weekend the Campaign Team put a call-out for 1000 volunteers, and very nearly reached that target. This weekend the team is planning to deliver an attractive magazine across the whole constituency, as well as make serious inroads into the canvassing. There are always admin jobs to do in the Kingston office as well.

People have been turning up from all over the country. Yesterday, in the space of a few minutes, I chatted with a couple of new members who had come down from Macclesfield for three days to help, as well as volunteers from Newcastle and Hull.

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Mark Williams and John Pugh out on the streets of Richmond.

Posted in News | Tagged | 19 Comments

Richmond Park massive Action Weekend in pictures

James Lillis, the Campaign Manager in Richmond Park, must have woken up with a sense of dread yesterday morning – it was raining, heavily. His challenge to the party was to get 1000 people along to the biggest Action Weekend ever.

But Liberal Democrats arrived, and kept on arriving.

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Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Congratulations to Sal Brinton on being re-elected as President of the Liberal Democrats!

 

Here is one presidential election you can all cheer about. The term of office for the President of the party is two years, with a limit of two terms, so every four years it coincides with the bigger event across the pond.

Sal Brinton has served her first two years and has been elected unopposed for a second term. She said:

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Lib Dems table motion on benefit cap

The original benefits cap limited the total benefits payable to any one household to £26,000. The argument was that the average household income is £26,000 that people should not be better off on benefits than if they were in work. The aim was to ‘encourage’ more people back into work, as the cap could be avoided if one of the members worked for at least 16 hours a week.

Damian Green, the Work and Pensions minister, has claimed that this strategy was a “real success” – a rather callous comment given the hardship it has imposed on a large number of families. In fact, of the 79,000 people who have already been subjected to a benefits cap, only 23,000 (30%) have managed to find the level of work that would allow them to retain their benefits.

From today the cap will be lowered even more, to £23,000. This will affect a further 88,000 people, with the average household losing £2000 each year. Single parents will be worse hit, as many anecdotes demonstrate.

The party has tabled a motion in the Lords, to be debated on Tuesday, which proposes that there should be increased support for getting people back to work. This is, of course, only a part of the solution to deal with a very messy situation.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 33 Comments

New office opened for Richmond Park by-election

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The sign above the shop front says ‘Free delivery’ – just as relevant for a by-election HQ as it was when it was a Chinese restaurant.  Today Floella Benjamin cut a yellow ribbon across the door and formally opened our second office in the Richmond Park constituency, alongside Sarah Olney, our candidate, and Susan Kramer, former MP.

We must have had 100 volunteers through the door today, from the party’s Chief Exec Tim Gordon to members from all over the country. There is plenty to do – admin tasks as well as delivering and canvassing – with encouragement in the form of cake and chocolate.

The new office is at 110 Canbury Park Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6JZ, and is conveniently just a few minutes’ walk from Kingston Station. The other office is still running at 65a Sheen Lane, Mortlake, SW14 8AD.

Posted in News | Tagged | 13 Comments

Ten questions about the Richmond Park by-election

 

1. What is the correct name for the constituency? That question we can answer. The constituency is called Richmond Park. But all the parties seem to refer to it locally as Richmond Park and North Kingston, because it is easy to forget that four of its wards lie within Kingston Borough rather than Richmond Borough.

2. How posh is Richmond Park? Well someone did have the task of delivering our tabloid to a certain Royal elector who actually lives inside the park – you can’t get much posher than that. But the constituency also includes council-owned estates and relatively modest housing in well-established communities, as well as large secluded private houses.  In Richmond itself the average house price is not far short of £900k.

3. Zac Goldsmith has resigned as an MP, as he had promised to do if the Government backed the expansion of Heathrow. Has he resigned from the Conservative party as well? No-one seems to know.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Weekend engineering works?

 

“Weekend engineering works” – a phrase that makes the blood run cold just when you thought you had that visit to relatives, trip to the seaside or weekend meeting sorted.

This year we will have the triple whammy of weekend engineering works plus Christmas and New Year engineering works. Indeed, it is difficult to find any rail companies that are not announcing some scheduled improvements over the long weekend and through to the New Year.

The people most inconvenienced by these interruptions to service are those without cars, especially those in poverty and the elderly, who perhaps are most in need of a bit of cheer from friends and relations over the Festive Season.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 22 Comments

++BREAKING NEWS : Zac Goldsmith has resigned as MP for Richmond Park

The Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith has, as expected, resigned his seat. You can view his speech in Parliament earlier today here.

More information on the by-election will appear here as we get it.

Update: Zac Goldsmith will stand as an Independent and the local Conservative party will not put up a candidate.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 78 Comments

Reactions to the Heathrow decision

 

London Liberal Democrats organised a protest outside Downing Street today objecting to the expansion of Heathrow.

Tim Farron says the decision is a betrayal of the communities in West London:

The ‘No Ifs, No Buts’ pledge from the Conservatives has been thrown by the wayside in the rush to bulldoze homes and build a new runway.

Zac Goldsmith has failed Richmond Park on Heathrow and betrayed them on Brexit.

The turbulence in the Conservative Party is nothing compared to the anger felt by those they have betrayed by giving up their commitment to the environment and communities in West London.

Theresa May used to make this case, now she has ripped those words down from her website and scrubbed them from history.

Boris once said he would lay down in front of the bulldozer. Now he will find himself on the slow boat to China – anywhere to avoid having to stand up for his principles – or stand down from his seat at the cabinet table.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Zac Goldsmith set to quit and cause Richmond Park by-election

Earlier in the day The Huffington Post reported that Conservative members in Richmond Park had received an email from the local party stating:

You will no doubt have seen the announcement in the media this morning that the government has given the green light for expansion at Heathrow.

Zac has contacted the association to let us know that he intends to honour his pledge to resign and force a by-election in Richmond Park.

The chairman has called an emergency meeting for the executive council for Wednesday evening to discuss the turn of events and will issue a full statement to members on the association’s position.

Posted in News | 26 Comments

++ BREAKING NEWS: Heathrow decision

 

As expected, the Government has favoured the expansion of Heathrow, over its rival Gatwick.

The Transport Minister will make an announcement at about 12.30pm today, but the BBC reports that the decision was approved by a Cabinet Committee earlier this morning.

The political interest in this will be to see how many Conservatives speak out against the decision.  Ministers will be allowed to state their opposition to the plans, but have to get permission from the Prime Minister first – these will include Justine Greening and Boris Johnson.

Down in Richmond all eyes are on Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park. He has said on a number of occasions that he will resign as an MP if Heathrow gets the go-ahead. He reiterated his promise again last week, and wrote:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 27 Comments

“Brexit means disaster for the people of Ireland.” Do you agree?

 

We don’t see many posts on Lib Dem Voice about Northern Ireland – maybe because we don’t have many Liberal Democrat members there. So this is an invitation to discuss the increasingly worrying impact of Brexit – and the threat of Brexit – on the economy and security of that beautiful, but little known, part of the UK where 56% voted to stay in the EU.

Martin McGuiness has been telling the media that Northern Ireland should be pressing for a special status within the EU. In The Guardian article today:

“As things sit at the moment we are going to suffer big time,” McGuinness said. “Theresa May says ‘Brexit means Brexit’, but so far as we are concerned Brexit means disaster for the people of Ireland.”

He said he was encouraged that the Democratic Unionists, with whom his party shares power in Belfast, also agreed that Ireland needed to be treated as a special case by Brussels because of the importance of the potential problems – borders, trade, peace and security – presented by Brexit.

And he added that many unionists were as unhappy as republicans at the outcome of the referendum and the risk posed by the restoration of immigration and customs borders, as well as loss of easy access to EU markets.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

LibLink: Julian Huppert “The UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill is about to become law – here’s why that should terrify us”

Julian Huppert MPJulian Huppert has written a powerful piece on Open Democracy.  He writes:

The Investigatory Powers Bill is sneaking up on the final steps before it becomes law – something that should terrify all of us.

Some of the powers in the Bill are deeply intrusive, and with very little possible justification. All of us want to be safe, and protected from terrorists and the like – but the evidence that these powers are all needed is thin indeed. However, the cost to all of our privacy is huge.

For example, a power the state never had before is to require a log to be kept for a year of every website we ever go to. Just think of that – your browsing history stored, just in case it’s ever useful. If you ever choose to visit a depression support website, would you want that to now be logged, potentially revealing your mental health state? What about an abortion advice site? Marriage guidance? Why does the state need to know this about every one of us?

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Would you like to organise fringe meetings for LDV?

(C) Manny Begum Yasadein PhotographyLib Dem Voice has run some cracking fringe meetings at Federal Conferences in the past, including the Blogger of the Year awards – the BOTYs.  Even Tim Farron won one. The awards seem to have run into the ground, mainly because there are now so many forms of social media and it is difficult to capture good practice in all of them.

But we do want to reboot our presence on the fringe, and we are looking for someone to join the LDV team in order to take on the job of organising fringe meetings in future. There is no requirement to write for LDV, although we certainly wouldn’t stop you!

We’ve drawn up a job description:

Fringe meetings manager

LDV is looking for a volunteer to join our team in order to organise fringe meetings at Spring and Autumn Federal conferences.

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

Thank you to everyone who supported the Conference Access Fund

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We have been telling you about the Conference Access Fund and how it has helped members to attend. Before we got to Brighton, Matthew Clark told us his experiences in a post titled ‘Young, disabled and believed in‘. By happy coincidence, I was delighted to be able to call him to speak in the debate on ‘Mending the Safety Net’ (the Social Security policy paper) which I happened to be chairing, and he was an impressive first time speaker. You can watch …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

LibLink: Cadan ap Tomos on the young and the voiceless in Wales

Cadan ap Tomos is the Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for young people, equalities and the Welsh language, and is a former adviser to Welsh Lib Dem Assembly Members. He has written a post for the Institute for Welsh Affairs with the title “The young and the voiceless?“.

He writes:

“Young people are the future.” An increasingly-used and well-meaning phrase that those in the political bubble will have heard more than once. Yet as well-meaning as it is, to an actual young person like me it’s one of the most irritating clichés of modern politics.

Condemning young people as merely the ‘future’ completely ignores the

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How you have helped the Conference Access Fund

 

Last week I reported that the Conference Access Fund has helped a good number of people to attend conference. A few days later, Matthew Clark told us about his experience as a disabled young person and how the fund helped him.

Conference goers are remarkably generous. 30% of them this time have contributed to the fund. A big thank you to all of them!

What we haven’t mentioned so far is how you, Lib Dem Voice readers, have helped – to the tune of £3000. That’s the amount we have been able to contribute to the fund this year: £1000 for Spring Conference and £2000 for Autumn Conference.

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