Author Archives: Kevin McNamara

Christmas Competition: Why Be A Liberal Democrat?

The answer is simple: we are the only party centered on people who trust people to change their lives, their communities, and their government. This message resonates with millions, and it united the Radicals, Liberals, Social Democrats, Whigs and Peelites that form the rich tapestry and history of our party.

We trust people to know best what their conception of the good life is. We believe that consenting adults can chase their happiness – our only role is to enable them to do so and get out of the way. Whether that meant legislating for same-sex marriage so consenting adults can make choices about their lives or creating the Start-Up Loans programme, so entrepreneurs can access finance to launch their businesses and change the world – that’s where we are about.

We don’t see local authorities as administrative bodies that exist to deliver schemes agreed in Whitehall. We believe that truly local government is a way for people to take control of their communities, to shape and transform them. It is why we created City Deals giving local government powers to invest in schemes that will revitalise their areas and create badly needed jobs. It is why we made it easier to create town and parish councils – to give residents a framework through which to organise and run their towns and parishes; to bring to life the community politics that Lord Greaves and Gordon Lishman pioneered.

It was our belief in people that led the Whigs to fight for the Reform Act 1832, why the radical wing of the Liberal Party rose up to fight for the Reform Act 1867, why our movement agitated for universal suffrage, and why the SDP-Liberal Alliance continued a decades-long struggle for voting reform. It’s why the Liberal Democrats today stand as the biggest party fighting for Votes at 16 and for fairer votes. It is why we back devolution on demand – so communities can take control of services and stand on their own two feet, but only if they choose to.

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

Opinion: It’s #timetotalk day today

Time to talk 2015What is that? It’s a day aimed at de-stigmatising mental health issues. As we’ve heard from Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb, as many as 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues. Most people are too afraid to mention them to anyone – they are afraid it will jeopardise their relationships, lead to their employers firing them (as happened to one worker), or make things worse and make them feel judged by colleagues or friends.

No-one would feel embarrassed and refuse to deal with or acknowledge a broken wrist, an upset stomach or a migraine – so what makes mental health different? The only way we can deal with stigma is to open up about our mental health experiences, so I will open up about mine.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: We are Liberal cherries in a very Conservative cake

Lords Reform might have only gone missing, but we should prepare for the idea that we might find a body.

We should first realise that we haven’t yet made a single, big achievement in this government. That is not to say that I do not think that the Pupil Premium is a bad thing – I am a passionate advocate. The same with the £10K tax threshold; I even believe we could move forward on that. These are good achievements, but not legacies.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 29 Comments

Opinion: The case for a Republic – and why Lib Dems should support it

This is a long fought argument and, maybe, one that everyone that will read this is tired of hearing. Nonetheless, it is an argument that all liberals should support.

As liberals, we oppose the arbitrary concentration of power – and you don’t get more arbitrary than your head of state being hereditary!

As a short disclaimer, I do not intend to go into arguments about cost et cetera, but rather the principle of having a monarchy.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments
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