Author Archives: David Becket

We let the remainers down – now we need to focus on a Green New Deal


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The Liberal Democrats let the EU Remainers down, right from the 2016 Referendum.

On Nick Clegg’s recommendation the architect of our disastrous 2015 election campaign was appointed as chief of strategy for the remain campaign. The result was entirely predictable.

The party then spent four years in the wilderness. A steady, but uninspiring, leadership from Vince and hard work from our local government activists saw the party slowly improve its position.

In the 2019 Euro Elections the Remainers put their faith in the Lib Dems, only to be let down again at the General Election. This time a combination of a terrible campaign, inexperienced and badly advised leadership, fear of Corbyn and First Past the Post ensured that faith in the Lib Dems was once again misplaced. Not all our fault, but with a good campaign and steady leadership we should have made 50 seats, and the picture today would have been different.

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We need a flexible Conference

With the terrible twins Johnson and Cummings in charge, this country is in the most dangerous situation since the start of World War Two. They are planning a right wing coup, with neither of them elected by the British public. Johnson was elected by a handful of elderly right-wingers in the Tory Party and Johnson elected Cummings, who is contemptuous of our democratic process

The news changes every day, and the likelihood is that we are approaching a democratic and economic disaster.

Lib Dems now have a higher profile than for some years, and we can expect more interest in our Conference than in the past.

The public will want to know:

  • What are our solutions to the major issues this country faces?
  • What is our response if we are forced into a No Deal Brexit?

We need to achieve maximum publicity for our response to this crisis.

We therefore need to clear the decks at conference in order to address these issues in the light of the then current circumstances.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 62 Comments

Peoples’ Vote – are we ready?

If there is a Peoples Vote it is not clear that Remain would win. For Remain to be guaranteed to win we would be much higher than 10% in the polls.

Our leaders need to understand what is driving people to support Brexit, and have some answers.

Campaigning in this Brexit Capital of the Midlands (Newcastle under Lyme), the reasons people want Brexit are obvious. Some of the reasons have an element of truth; others are totally false, fuelled by the Brexit Campaign and the tabloid press.

Some of the arguments they put forward that we must provide answers to …

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The Brighton Declaration?

There is no leadership from the government, the Labour Party and we are not getting through. We are letting a golden opportunity pass by.

Pointing fingers at the government and repeating,  “Exit from Brexit” is not enough. We need a full programme that offers hope.

I am reminded of the golden memories of he most successful campaign I was involved in, the Newbury by-election. This took place when the Tories were in trouble.

A key to this campaign was the Newbury Declaration. a summary of the then current mess and  an offer of hope.

We need a similar declaration now. I give an example below. I call it the Brighton Declaration, ready for Conference, though maybe this is too late.

This is a draft attempt, it could be better but it is a start.

THE BRIGHTON DECLARATION

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Tackling inequality

 

The Kensington disaster, along with the referendum that voted for Brexit, demonstrates the pressing need to tackle inequality. Corbyn’s success was due to him offering hope.

It is time for Lib Dems to step up and offer radical solutions, as we have seen in France. Every candidate for the leadership must be asked what he or she will do to tackle this issue. Here are some ideas, though not exhaustive.

Government priorities

With a lame duck PM and a government in chaos we cannot expect to see too many balls in the air. We are not in a fit condition to manage Brexit, but we could get a consensus to tackle inequality.

We should apply to the EU to put Brexit on hold, if that means a withdrawal of article 50 so be it. We are not ignoring the referendum result; we are putting it on hold until we are in a fit state to deal with it.

We can then tackle the causes of inequality.

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Let’s make the Lib Dems the party of education, education, education

Education is going through a difficult time, with many schools declaring teachers redundant, increasing class sizes, cutting out subjects and asking parents for money. The Government claims education has never been better funded. It takes no account that this is mainly due to an increase in pupil numbers, or that additional costs are being placed on schools. Nor do they mention the unfunded increase in National Insurance. They are prepared to waste money on Grammar Schools. As Liberal Democrats we should take a different view, scrap the Grammar Schools and start funding education with a fully costed proposal, part funded by savings from staying in the Single Market.

When we have sorted out the finance and stopped wasting money on Grammar and Free Schools it is time to break down the National Education System (which Labour appear to support), and remove the Regional Schools Commissioners. The tasks currently carried nationally and regionally should be devolved locally, through revamped LEAs. That is not returning to the old LEA structure, but LEA school support was very valuable and in many cases achieved more than a ticking off from Ofstead. League tables should go, and be replaced by a report of strengths and weaknesses, with proposed improvement actions. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 27 Comments

Agenda 2020 Essay #9: What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today

Editor’s Note: The party is currently running an essay competition for members of the Liberal Democrats, to submit 1000 words on the theme “What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today.” The deadline for contributions is 2nd November. If you would like us to publish your submission, send it to [email protected]

As a Liberal Democrat my first belief is in freedom

Freedom from poverty
Freedom from poor health and education services
Freedom to live in decent housing
Freedom to marry who we like and worship how we like
Freedom from sexual discrimination
Freedom from crime and terrorism
Freedom to live our lives how we like whilst having respect for the freedom of others
Freedom from exploitation, particularly by large multi national companies with no social conscious and others with vested interests
Freedom from over bureaucratic government control, but having sufficient government protection in place to protect our freedoms

As a Liberal Democrat I am an environmentalist

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