Author Archives: Joe Dodd

How you can help save the Au Pair programme

Spending a year as an au pair in Berlin was one of the best years of my life. I made lasting friendships, learned a language and gained a lot of sympathy for the challenges of parenting. 

The experience of au pairing abroad at a young age has been enjoyed by young people for hundreds of years. Long before the Erasmus student exchange program was born, Europe’s youth have been swapping their home for a year in Rome, Paris or London. At the same time, thousands of families benefit from the au pair program with affordable childcare and the opportunity to exchange cultures and languages. 

German au pairs will continue to spend a life changing year in Paris, and Polish au pairs can enjoy a summer as an au pair in Dublin. In the UK, this is all about the come to a stop because of Brexit. 

According to the British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA), the number of au pairs coming to the UK has already plummeted by seventy-percent

This is because au pairs from EU member states have been able to arrive in the UK without a visa under the rule of free movement of people. As the Tory government is hellbent on putting a stop to free movement, the centuries old au pair program is collateral damage. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Green Liberal Democrats conference is happening online

Green Liberal Democrats Green Liberal Democrats

As the pandemic rolls on, the climate and nature crisis lurk in the background. The air is cleaner in cities. The birdsong appears clearer. We appreciate the outdoors more than ever. Moreover, commuters are discovering the joy of cycling for the first time.

Meanwhile, the price of oil has plummeted, and, the UK is running without coal for the longest time since the industrial revolution – thanks in no small part to the Liberal Democrats’ achievements in government.

It’s also increasingly apparent that air pollution contributed to higher death rates while the outbreak of the virus itself was made the more likely by our destruction of nature.

We need to keep some of the benefits of lockdown and ensure the economic recovery is invested in green jobs and not the fossil fuel industries that got us here in the first place. The Green Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for the UK government to attach ambitious climate targets to any bailouts of dirty industries. Is this what will become known as “2020 Vision”? As we remove our smudged spectacles, the destruction of the natural environment can no longer be brushed under the rug (or spilled into the Arctic circle in the case of Russia).

Posted in Conference, News and Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Solving the pandemic crisis and climate change go hand in hand


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The climate and ecological emergency have had to compete with concerns about immigration, the Brexit negotiations and public spending on the NHS and schools.

The desire to stop a damaging Brexit has even led staunch environmentalist Liberal Democrats to take their eye off the political ball. Just when climate change and the environment had finally risen up the political agenda in the UK and beyond, the coronavirus outbreak has forced it back down the list of government priorities.

The cost of the response measures and the subsequent economic fallout may undermine the commitment of many governments around the world to the reduction of carbon emissions and the restoration of ecosystems. Some people have already raised questions over whether we can still afford the fight against climate change with the economy on its knees.

Meanwhile, as air quality in normally polluted cities improves and the number of flights fall to an all-time low, goats have been seen running through the streets of Llandudno and deer are roaming Essex housing estates. Environmentalists are quietly cheering and nature lovers are cherishing government mandated walks in the spring sunshine. Even if the lockdown has shed light on how human activity pollutes the air and harms animals, the current lockdown is as economically unsustainable as our economy is environmentally unsustainable.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • Martin Tod
    Very sorry to hear this. John and Liz also lived for a while in Winchester - and were much appreciated and active supporters of the party here too....
  • Andrew Tampion
    Rob Kinnon-Brettle. "Brexit is a narrow-minded “Little Englander” policy that is the antithesis of internationalism" If that is true how do you explain th...
  • James Fowler
    @Alex Macfie: Your argument remains interesting but relates to procedures rather than first principles. There is no point citing the mere existence of rules ...
  • Lorenzo Cherin
    Andy Boddington The best I have read on this, thanks for it!!!...
  • James Fowler
    Good article from Max....