Author Archives: David Warren

Dave Warren has over thirty years experience in the UK postal industry both as a front line worker and senior trade union representative. He also has experience of being a full-time carer.

Authoritarianism with a capital A

Albania is a small European country tucked away in the Balkans but for forty odd years from the end of the Second World War its people suffered under one of the most brutal regimes in modern history.

Liberals cherish freedom and liberty, if you want to look for an example of the opposite authoritarianism with a capital A it could be found in Enver Hoxha’s Albania.

In his excellent book Blendi Fevziu paints a graphic picture of a nation in the grip of fear.

Hoxha’s rise to power was in many way accidental, he was handpicked to lead by a representative of the Yugoslav Communists sent to assist the Albanian partisans in the fight against the Axis powers.

Once secure Hoxha stayed at the top by using terror in all its forms.

Torture, execution and murder were used against anyone seen to be an ‘enemy of the people.’

Internal exile was another favoured method of persecution.

Periodic purges of the ruling Communist party were also carried out, so even those who thought they were on the inside were not safe.

Their families were also targetted for persecution.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Remembering the SDP

SDP logoThe events that led to the formation of the SDP were also formative years for me as a very young man becoming fascinated with politics.

I can recall Roy Jenkins giving the Dimbleby Lecture and the Labour party conference of 1980 when the left won every vote on key issues such as Europe and Defence.

Then the elevation of Michael Foot to the post of leader an election in which many had thought the moderate candidate Denis Healey would triumph.

James Callaghan had timed his resignation so that MPs would elect his successor before  a conference arranged to discuss changing the method of election was held at Wembley.

Callaghan knew that the conference would adopt an electoral college system widening the franchise to include trade unions and constituency parties.

This change would give a left wing standard bearer a much better chance of winning.

Healey bungled his chances by alienating key moderates and the dye was cast. It wasn’t long before he would face a strong challenge for the deputy leadership from Tony Benn.

By then Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, David Owen and Bill Rodgers had walked out of the party taking a substantial number of MPs with them.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 29 Comments

The ongoing fight for social justice

My interest in political history sometimes finds me searching the used sections of the Amazon website for cheap second hand books.

A recent discovery was a fascinating autobiography of Victor Grayson by Reg Groves.

Grayson a working class lad from Lancashire was elected as an MP in the 1907 Colne Valley byelection at the tender age of 25.

He was by all accounts a brilliant orator and passionate about socialism.

This was before the Russian revolution when socialist ideas were rapidly gaining popularity amongst the working classes seeking a fairer system than the one they were living under.

Grayson is particularly interesting because he fought for a seat in parliament independent of  senior Labour figures suspicious and fearful of him.

He was successful but found his time in the House of Commons frustrating, as a lone voice he was isolated and became increaingly aware of the Labour leaderships desire to destroy him.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

The better angels of our nature

The US state of Alabama went to the polls this week in an election that can hardly have been more polarised.

In what is normally rock solid Republican territory, the GOP candidate Roy Moore faced Democrat Doug Jones. Mr Moore, a right winger opposes abortion in all circumstances, thinks homosexuality is a sin and believes Muslims should not be allowed to hold government jobs.

However Moore’s political views were not what made this race competitive.

The surfacing of allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour was the issue that dogged him during the campaign. It made his principle opponent a contender in a state that the Democrats hadn’t won for decades.

Jones, who has never held office, but is well known in the state for his involvement in a high profile prosecution of Klansmen, was sneeringly described by President Trump as a liberal Democrat in a statement endorsing Moore.

This from a man who with every passing day reminds the Stephen King fans amongst us of the megalomaniac politician, Greg Stillson, from the Dead Zone.

That said these days most Republicans are pretty scary.

You have to go back a long way to find a GOP liberal of the Rockerfeller variety.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Caring, Bereavement and the Liberal Family

I recently suffered a major bereavement, an event that triggered a decline in my health.

Ten years as a carer has taught me that there isn’t much help out there. That still appears to be the case as I try to cope in a very difficult situation.

Bereavement counselling is only available from charities and there is a three-month-long waiting list.

The alternative is the NHS run Talking Therapies which takes you through several hoops before you can even get to speak to a professional counsellor!

All this whilst dealing with the arrangements for the person who has passed away, which there is no …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

No country for old men?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the trend was for younger political leaders.

We had Blair, then Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

Our American cousins elected the youthful Barack Obama as their President.

Ming Campbell one of the Lib Dem leaders in this period was thought too old by some and his age was clearly a major factor in his stepping down.

He was 66 at the time.

Oh how things have changed.

Labour’s Corbyn is in his late sixties, in the US the President is 71 and arguably his main opponent the excellent Bernie Sanders is 75!

As Britain’s Liberal party undertakes a leadership election it looks like the septuagenarian Vince Cable may be the only runner.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 30 Comments

A personal reflection on the General Election, its aftermath and liberalism

I allowed my membership of the Liberal Democrats to lapse a while back but I took that decision without rancour.

My involvement had not been passive I stood for local council and campaigned vigorously in other elections.

I liked the party, still do but I just couldn’t live with the position it had taken on Brexit.

Another principled stand by yours truly, one of many over the years.

So as the General Election came upon us my personal focus was on the need to stop the Conservatives winning.

At the start of the campaign their arrogance and swagger was worse than ever and they are pretty bad at the best of times.

My election activity largely focused around the need to get a hung parliament which would then hopefully lead to some form of PR for future elections.

Like many other carers campaigners I wanted to see the future of adult social care high on the agenda, of course Theresa May did that for us with her dementia tax proposal.

A crucial moment in the campaign which I believe contributed in no small way to her losing her parliamentary majority.
On election night itself I stayed up hoping for Tory losses.

The social media campaign to get young voters registered, Corbyn mania and what I felt was a strong campaign by Tim Farron gave me hope.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 21st Apr - 1:28am
    Tamir, we didn’t “overall do a lot of good”. We overall supported a lot of bad things while doing a few good things which either...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 21st Apr - 12:38am
    @ nvelope2003 Your earlier post was a general attack on providing particular services and paying Councillors allowances. I am glad to read that you do...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 20th Apr - 7:38pm
    Anyone who thinks air strikes will change things in Syria should think again. Why can't Assad be charged with war crimes? We should be freezing...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 20th Apr - 7:34pm
    From 2001 to 2009 I was a County Councillor member of the Lincolnshire Police Authority before standing down in favour of another Lib Dem colleague....
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 20th Apr - 7:34pm
    At least The House of Lords is providing a voice for those who feel the present direction of travel of Brexit needs reassessing. If it...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 20th Apr - 7:30pm
    Regarding the motion on cervical screening it would be good if we sometimes looked at the cost effectiveness of different types of screening, the impact...