Author Archives: Jo Hayes

It must be the right people who fall on their swords

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In October 1805 Napoleon was in what is now the Czech Republic and desperate to engage the armies of Austria and Russia, which had converged, before they became too strong to overcome. The Russian commander-in-chief, Kutuzov, also realised that Napoleon needed to do battle, so he counselled retreat. But the Austrians and Tsar Alexander, buoyed by what they believed was reliable reconnaissance information, overruled Kutuzov, who was demoted. Napoleon, by various stratagems, lured the Austrians into a battle on terrain of his choosing, near Austerlitz.

You can see where this is going.

French reinforcements, of whom the Austrians were unaware, arrived unexpectedly. Napoleon won one of his greatest victories, and an awful lot of people got killed. The Holy Roman Empire effectively came to an end a year later.

This is what happens when the top command makes the wrong decision.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 60 Comments

Jo Hayes: more on why I am a candidate to be Federal President

I’m a Remainer and proud of it. I have fought tooth, nail and tweet against Brexit and will do to the end. I completely agree with Conference’s decision to revoke Article 50 if we win an election, just as I completely disagreed with Parliament invoking Article 50 without a plan, three years ago.

It’s interesting that those who say it’s undemocratic of us to tell the people what we’d do if we won a General Election are the same ones who doggedly defend our failing electoral system. I want an end to Brexit, I want electoral reform and I want …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

Jo Hayes – why I am a candidate for Federal Party President

I was a founding member of the Liberal Democrats and have worked for it as a volunteer ever since. Over 30 years, I have done everything from deliver leaflets to chairing the Women Liberal Democrats and serving on the Federal Policy Committee, the Federal Executive, the International Relations Committee and the ALDE Council delegation. I’ve been a Borough Councillor and stood in General and European elections. I am currently Chair of the East of England Region. I think you could say I’m a Liberal Democrat to my bones.

I am also a barrister, practising from the same chambers I shared with the late Lord Willie Goodhart, one of the main draftsmen of our Party constitution. I have spent my career and Lib Dem life fighting for people’s constitutional rights. I am a fighter who uses the law and rules the way they are designed to work, for the people. I used equality laws to force Tony Blair’s Attorney-General to abandon the system of patronage used to appoint barristers for government work, and adopt a fairer, more transparent system.

Some of you may know me for my Remainer’s Diary blog. If so, you’ll know of my tenacity and dedication to the Remain cause. I want to see our party in government and then help Jo Swinson rebuild our nation, both democratically and socially. That is why I’m throwing my hat into the Presidential ring now.

A President’s role is not, primarily, a campaigning one, but a strong President provides the governance that makes our campaigning more effective, governance that guides and protects the party from top to bottom. It is our proud boast that the Liberal Democrats Party belongs to its members, all of them. As President, I will work to ensure everyone in party feels they have a stake in our movement, that they are heard and that their talents are embraced.

As President, I want to safeguard our values in practice, seeking to make our Party organisation a happier place. For example, I want to:

  • Devolve decision-making to as near the grassroots level as practicable.
  • Ensure transparency over appointments, complaints, outcomes and Appeals Panel rulings.
  • Ensure each component body in the party carries out its responsibilities without interference.
  • Bring in the advice and expertise when we need it, to avoid mistakes.
Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

The ethics surrounding the nuclear weapons debate

Members of the Nuclear Weapons Working Group are presenting their personal views as part of a wider consultation process into the party’s future policy on nuclear weapons. The full consultation paper can be found at www.libdems.org.uk/autumn-conference-16-policypapers and the consultation window runs until 28 October. Party members are invited to attend the consultation session at party conference in Brighton, to be held on Saturday 17 September at 1pm in the Balmoral Room of the Hilton.

The UK’s options for the successor to Trident are (boiled down to essentials):

  1. Same as now – nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines, only new.
  2. Keep most or all of the kit but stop continuous nuclear armed submarine patrols, unless circumstances change.
  3. Shift from missiles in submarines to bombs dropped from aircraft.
  4. Don’t keep nuclear weapons but do keep the expertise and the radioactive materials needed to make them, just in case.
  5. No nuclear weapons. Unilateral disarmament. The zero option.

I have been invited to write about these options in the light of ethical and humanitarian concerns.

Nuclear weapons are not really weapons of war. They are beyond war. They are means of annihilating life as we know it on this planet. There are about 15,000 nuclear warheads in the world today, which in a full nuclear conflict could comfortably exterminate us all.

They are so destructive that their use in pursuit of a traditional victory is impossible. They are not made to be used, but to make threats with. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 24th Jan - 4:56am
    I do agree Jane. If the Party does manage to resolve its inner conflicts and can agree on what its key policies should be -...
  • User AvatarJane Ann Liston 24th Jan - 12:44am
    I maintain that the fact critics continue to harp on about the Coalition and us, while other errors perpetuated by other parties seem quickly forgotten...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 24th Jan - 12:23am
    Important as electoral reform is, I don't think it can be a priority for the party for the foreseeable future. The biggest outcry over electoral...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 23rd Jan - 10:30pm
    N Hunter - I'm not sure that the identification of "women's issues" would go down well with a liberal audience, and I don't think that...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 23rd Jan - 10:25pm
    Stephen Howse - you are right, of course, about unconscious bias. But what I didn't make clear is that the vast majority of comments are...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 23rd Jan - 9:50pm
    Terry Pavey Why are people concentrating on the past? Its gone. Yes, and so are you suggesting people won't think about the past when it...