Author Archives: Edward Robinson

The inspiration for European integration is part of British history too

Two years on from the EU referendum and Walter Benjamin’s haunting observation that “the very past itself is at stake” seems appropriate.

What sort of future Britain will have depends, to a large extent, on how a working majority of voters and politicians understand her past. For, as the UK’s former judge on the European Court of Justice, Sir Konrad Schiemann, noted in a 2012 lecture on the EU as a Source of Inspiration, “what you find inspiring depends to a degree on where you come from and what you’re looking for”. Born in 1937, Schiemann was probably the last CJEU judge to have experienced the Second World War. Growing up in Berlin hiding from British bombs and then, via Poland and the Lancashire Fusiliers, landing up as a law student in Cambridge, Schiemann is clear where his generation were coming from and what they were looking for. His generation of Brits (and many of those that followed) understood the preamble to the European Coal and Steel Community as being part of their history too, despite Britain not having been a signatory to it.

Posted in Books | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Your Home, Your Power Station

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Ed Davey’s contribution (on the next steps to decarbonize the UK) to a new collection of essays from the Social Liberal Forum is a tour de force in strategic thinking. 

One of the great strengths of Liberal thought through the ages has been an ability to find practical, scientifically and economically-sound solutions to pressing social challenges. For an excellent example of this, from someone who has held high office, look no further than Sir Ed Davey’s essay in Four Go In Search of Big Ideas, which not only provides a wide-ranging discussion of the challenges of decarbonising the UK’s economy in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement but also presents up-to-date policy suggestions to support the deployment of cutting-edge green tech.

For the power sector, Davey suggests that “any new nuclear should be suspended until it can prove substantial cost reduction”. He is also clear both for the need to improve the incentives to supply-side innovations like renewable power with storage (the practice of equipping intermittent power sources like wind and solar PV with battery storage) and to rapidly speed up the ability of “demand-response” technologies and smart grids to respond to changes in supply and to cut overall energy demand.

In a section that reminds clean energy advocates like me of how useful it would be to have Davey back in the Council of the EU, he urges much more use to be made of interconnectors between neighbouring nations, as well as fast-tracking reforms to electricity markets to ensure, for example, that network costs are fairly shared among market participants and that barriers to new entrants like community energy groups are broken down.

Posted in Books | 15 Comments

The fundamentals of Brexit don’t change – so opposition to it is a matter of principle!

“If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, then you have seriously misjudged the gravity of the situation” – goes the rather silly adaptation of Kipling’s famous line.

I am not suggesting that Liberal Democrats are losing their heads. But I am suggesting that we are the only British political party that appears to have judged the gravity of the situation on Brexit. For certain, we are the only political party that is brave enough to oppose it explicitly. We know that the least privileged households will be the most harmed by Brexit.

I have …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 39 Comments
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    A letter from Laura Gordon's campaign, received yesterday, said that she is "doing the job of an MP because Labour didn't even check their candidate...
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 23rd Aug - 10:59am
    Apologies! The complete conclusion of my previous post is as follows: Is "Austerity" an inaccurate label for a policy of minimal to non investment in...
  • User AvatarAndrew 23rd Aug - 10:54am
    Maybe we can learn from Canada. I have become a regular listener to the CBC weekly political podcast The House (https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/current-affairs-information/the-house/): everyone is so polite!...
  • User AvatarRichard MacKinnon 23rd Aug - 10:45am
    I know this wont get published but what the hell; Lorenzo Cherin and all commentators on his article miss the point here. We are 9...
  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 23rd Aug - 10:36am
    I think that all Party Members need to accept that the EU has serious problems: for example its treatment of migrants, where only Angela Merkel...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Aug - 10:36am
    @ Ian Sanderson. Good point, Ian. Amazing how those down South have remarkably little knowledge of what goes on north of the Border..... though they...
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