Author Archives: Mark Henderson

New Event: How to win with Basic Income

At last year’s Autumn Conference, Liberal Democrat members voted overwhelmingly to adopt Universal Basic Income (UBI) as party policy.
Now, we have our first opportunity to make this vital policy part of our campaigning platform for the bumper set of elections coming up on 6th May.
Not only are there council seats and mayoral positions up for grabs all over the country, but there are also the elections for Members of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd.
So now it’s time for the really big questions:
Posted in Events | Tagged | 15 Comments

A Basic Income is a story the Liberal Democrats can champion

This time last year my Lib Dem council colleagues and I on Hull City Council tabled and passed a motion to call for a Universal Basic Income pilot in Hull; we were the first of what is now many Liberal Democrat Councillors to do so. Little did we know a year on Basic Income would pass overwhelmingly at our Autumn party conference into policy and be championed in Parliament by a number of our MPs.

Now, as we see the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic hit our society harder than ever before it is essential for Liberal Democrats to be pioneering and spearheading the charge towards making Basic Income a reality.

This, of course, comes with challenges.

Sceptics, of which I was one, always say,  “no one’s heard of it”, “we’ll never be able to make it work” or “it’s just for policy wonks” but the pandemic gives the idea of Basic Income limelight. It gives Liberal Democrats a lightbulb moment that can commit us to a caring society where no one gets left behind.

A Basic Income is explained simply – it is a fixed, unconditional, universal payment to all in our society. It has the power to be a great leveller to the economic insecurity Coronavirus has exposed.

A Basic Income would have seen the free school’s meals meltdown from government melt away with parents having a safety net. A Basic Income would see those who have fallen through the cracks of Covid support catered to and supported. A Basic Income, if championed by Liberals, could be our generation’s answer to the National Health Service.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 40 Comments

Layla Moran, cutting through the media

Lib Dem Voice invites each candidate for the leadership to submit one post in support of their campaign per week. This is the post from Layla Moran’s team for this week.  

While we’re all caught up in the policy nuances of our summer leadership debate there is something to me that seems to have been overlooked – a leader’s ability to make the Liberal Democrats part of the national conversation in the media. This for me is one of the main reasons I’m backing Layla to be our next leader.

Layla has the media nouse to make the Liberal Democrat’s voice heard in the national conversation. Throughout this campaign, she has secured front-page stories across the spectrum, from traditionally Labour-supporting newspapers like the Mirror to staunch Tory backing papers like the Telegraph where she helped expose historic slavery links to some of the UK’s top firms leading to them donating to BAME community groups and charities.

She even led a campaign with the Daily Express on an incredible (and in the end successful) campaign to force the Government to introduce a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme for bereaved families. This shows how working with the media isn’t just about raising the party’s visibility, it can change policy and change lives.

Since I joined this party in 2015, I’ve never seen a Liberal Democrat MP so good at making us a relevant part of the national conversation. Layla is a refreshing voice in the media, in many cases providing the only clear opposition to this shambolic Tory Government. Just in the past few weeks, she made the front page of The i newspaper on opposing the Conservative’s heartless choice to reinstate car parking charges for NHS staff.

Posted in Leadership Election | Tagged , and | 26 Comments

Hull Lib Dems make the most calls in the country in Covid-19 community campaign

Having been a Councillor for under a year, the Covid-19 crisis has shown me the very best of what Liberal Democrat Councillors do. When it was announced the UK was going into a three week ‘lockdown’, we knew in Hull we had to do what we could to help as community campaigners – and so we set about calling residents across the city.

I am proud to say that we have made well over 2300 phone calls across our wards, speaking to over 1500 people, many of whom are elderly and don’t necessarily have someone nearby who can help them. In times of crisis, it’s the small acts of kindness that shine through and this is one way we can say we’ve done our bit to look out for the people of Hull.

We are asking if at risk residents need help with the every-day tasks that now seem out of the ordinary – getting shopping, picking up medication and signposting helplines. In times of crisis, community campaigners have to adapt to the situation that strikes them. We in Hull are doing just that.

This for me has been the best reception I’ve had from residents since becoming a Councillor last May. People are genuinely happy to be called from their local representative and as Councillors and volunteers it’s one of the most rewarding things to do.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Why the Lib Dems need to lead the charge for #EmergencyUBI

Embed from Getty Images

Here in Hull, where I’m a Liberal Democrat Councillor, I was proud that in January we moved a motion that, with unanimous support called on the Government to run the first UK pilot of Universal Basic Income (UBI). This would see every person receive a fixed amount of money to free them from financial insecurity – protecting the most vulnerable in society.

It’s safe to say much has changed since January, but the issue of Universal Basic Income is more important than ever before. The Corvid-19 virus has plunged our nation into chaos and shown how financial insecurity through the nation is rife. We have a duty as a progressive party that champions freedom to act.

I was delighted that one of our leadership hopefuls Layla Moran backed our cause in Hull to the hills and even more so that she has recently written to the Government calling for an emergency UBI.

Liberal Democrats up and down the country should be championing this policy especially given its clear advantages in times of crisis.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

How do the Lib Dems survive a stronger than ever two-party system?

During this General Election campaign I spent my time helping my local party and in the last week, helping in a target seat. It became clear that this election wasn’t a Brexit election but instead a clear battle between Corbyn and May, Red vs Blue.

The policies of the Lib Dems didn’t seem to resonate nationally even though they were clearly sensible and credible, which lead to our party’s vote share declining by 0.5% compared to 2015. From this it’s clear to see that tactical voting damaged the party in nine target seats leading to deposits been lost in the most extreme circumstances. With the two main parties obtaining a collective 82.4% of the vote, higher than any election since 1970, we need to focus on surviving in a two party system now more than ever.

While our vote share did decline, we did however make net gains but also losing some of the party’s best talent like Nick Clegg on the way. The fact that the party could still make gains in such a tough political climate for third parties is a demonstration for future survival. Targeting the right seats with a mass amount of resources from the central party and the nearby local parties shows how, as a party, we can still stand toe-to-toe with the two larger parties.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

Is an era of bipartisanship achievable in the UK?


Although relatively unheard of in the UK political system, bipartisanship is the idea of two opposing sides finding common ground and compromising in key areas. This form of politics was commonly found in the US political system which featured the Republicans and Democrats working together on political and social reforms to benefit the country, before there was such polarisation in American politics.

The prime example of bipartisanship in the UK was the 2010 coalition government. This coalition was the illustration of two parties being able to work collaboratively on policy agreements. Essentially it could be argued that the most effective accountability and scrutiny was provided inside the government itself with two contrasting parties having to agree on policy before it was passed.

With this in mind I feel that it’s time for an era of unity and bipartisanship in the political system. With division sparked massively in the UK as a result of the EU Referendum there is a need for cross party agreement and progression more than ever on multiple key areas such as the NHS, terrorism and Brexit.

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

Fighting for votes at 16

In light of the recent referendum result, as a Young Liberal, I have found this result  disheartening and frustrating. Joining the party at 16 and now being 17, I have not yet been able to exercise my voice and vote in any democratic election aside from the Liberal Democrat leadership election. This matter disappoints me and,  I’m sure,  many other politically passionate 16 and 17 year olds massively.

From a personal perspective I cannot help but feel that there is an enormous need for change to cater for this currently unheard voice in politics. I and many other young people have been active  in the political landscape since the day I joined the party yet feel angry that I am not allowed to exercise my passionate views through a vote.

Young people have shouted louder than ever on the issue of the European Union and I feel unsatisfied and discouraged that David Cameron declined me and other 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote on an issue that has shifted the tectonic plates of British politics more than any other issue in recent times.

It is clear that young people favoured Remain by a landslide yet they did not get the decision they wanted. It could be argued that this is down to a lack of a voice amongst young people, but also the lack of action to energise the base of young people in the United Kingdom and galvanise their opinion on the issues that will affect their everyday lives and also their future.

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

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