Author Archives: Laura Willoughby

Things are changing in women’s football – but is it just a clone of the men’s game?

A football groundFrom showing games on mainstream TV to featuring in the sports pages of newspapers, a lot has happened in women’s football in the last 5 years. In a country obsessed by football the women’s game is beginning to gain the recognition it deserves.

I have long believed that equality of pay would be the best way to get the football business to focus on promoting the women’s game. Change the economics and there is an incentive to stimulate the demand – generating gate receipts, TV rights and brand endorsement. I …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Why our peers need to embrace rather than shun social media

 

There has never been a day when the Liberal Democrats have been happy with their media coverage. We just don’t get our fair share, and when we do our liberal ideals are often squeezed in a way that makes us uncomfortable. It has always been hard talking about liberalism. It is why we focus so much attention to get our own message out through leaflet and now via email and social media. It is amazing to now have access to channels where we can broadcast what we are doing that can get to a mass audience without the filter of a biased media.

So I am disappointed to see that another Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords announced they are pulling the plug on their social media account. As our presence in the upper chamber has grown, our ability to communicate our every day liberal deeds seems to diminish. Ex Chief Executive and communications professional Chris Fox announced the closing of his social media accounts on the day he was elevated (thanks mate!). Others have never even tried to get to grips with sending out an email, let alone new form of social media. Every day our peers are working hard and telling no one. I despair.

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Everything Jeremy Corbyn taught me about being a liberal

I grew up in Yate and Somerset, and my first job was in Kingston – so having lived in Tory facing seats it was a big change to really cut my political teeth in Islington where there has not been any Conservatives for a long time.

And where else to study Labour up close and personal than Islington. I did 12 years as a councillor and twice as a general election candidate against Jeremy. Political campaigns in Central London are tough. Activists in all parties work hard, Labour had great resources and tied us up in one standards board complaint after another – because they could.

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Opinion: Three opportunities for us to do better as a political party

Understanding what party membership and political volunteering really means to people in 2015

I have always felt that we have missed on all the learning from the voluntary sector about how to motivate and engage volunteers, but in 2015 we need to go even further than that. Just like the electorate we need to know a lot more about our members, their motivations, their skills and the ways they want to be useful.

Technology allows to engage all our members in different ways that are not bound by geography (which bearing in mind our lack of organisation in many local parties this …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 20 Comments

Opinion: The firm hand of the state where you least want it

A government with Liberals in it has banned spanking on film. Who would have thought it? I was hoping for a society where the state at least kept pace with social attitudes. Instead we find that through obscure bits of legislation we are continuing a move towards controlling people more and more that was started by the Labour party.
Porn made in the UK can no longer include sexual acts such as facesitting, spanking, caning, fisting and female ejaculation thanks to the  Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 . There are many reasons why these changes are bad, 10 of them are here in an article by Emily Dubberly. It includes the fact that they are arbitrary, sexist and infringe civil liberties.
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 18 Comments

Opinion: The marriage tax allowance is no free lunch

We could give kids free lunch up to the age of 11 if we did not have this silly marriage tax allowance …..

In my last blog on the marriage tax allowance I wondered what we would gain for Lib Dem acquiescence over the illiberal and expensive marriage tax allowance. It is not what I expected but I quite like it.

In the most obvious bit of horse-trading in this coalition yet we won free school meals for five to seven year olds. (I hope that is as far as the involvement of horses goes – sorry!)

I don’t want to

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Opinion: Rewarding marriage – with less than the cost of the cake…

There must be better ways for Liberals to support families that the marriage tax allowance.

Politics has always been about compromise and pragmatism and in a coalition Government we are seeing the impact of this in a very public and often painful way. For every moment of joy there are two where I want to bury my head in my hands and weep for the future of liberalism.Don't Judge

Whether we like it or not the coalition agreement set out a commitment to introducing a married couples’ tax allowance. I don’t know what the logic was at the time for agreeing such an obviously un-liberal and expensive gesture. I hope that what we gained outweighs the feeling of nausea that this policy gives me.

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

Opinion: Down with marriage

bouquetIt’s always the smallest things that seem to end up creating the biggest noise. Take the current debate over marriage: I know it seems like a big issue, but if you really look, it’s a debate about semantics and contracts that’s become complicated by the fact that history is so unclear about its origins.

The Church thinks that marriage is theirs and that therefore they have a right to dictate who gets to do it. I used to be partly persuaded by the fact that marriage was the Church’s brand and that those of …

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Opinion: Spectators are as important as athletes to develop a sporting nation

Only in Britain could we end up having a debate about success and its ongoing legacy that sounds both ambitious (let’s seize the moment) and a like a moan (well we won’t do as well again)! Of course it is right that we start the debate now and ride the momentum whilst sport is on the front pages and the nation is discussing more than football.

Of course, participation is the key goal but evidence shows that the presence of an Olympics alone does not create a huge change …

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Opinion: Will the Lib Dems stand up for creative industries?

A Labour friend of mine was smugly telling me about last week’s launch of the Labour Creative Industries Network. Much of this reminded me of their ‘Cool Britannia’ efforts circa 1997.

However, it also got me thinking about how the creative industries see us. We too have some nice words about creative businesses on our website – but do we really have a sense of how we want to support and promote this economically and culturally important sector? The DCMS is the only department where Lib Dems have no ministerial presence. There is a hair’s breadth in arts policy between …

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Liz Rorison passes away

As many of you know, our dear friend and colleague, Liz Rorison succumbed to a short illness on the 24th of June.

Music was such an important part of Liz’s life it is no surprise that she is fondly remembered for giving melody to the party’s liberal enthusiasm at the annual Glee Club. Nearly everyone shares the memory of her at the piano playing with huge energy and with a great big smile on her face as Ralph Bancroft led the party faithful in a rendition of The Land.

She first played the piano at an informal singing gathering at the Scarborough …

Posted in Obituaries | Tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: Are the Government in danger of recreating the GLC by the back-door?

When is localism not localism? When it comes to London apparently!

As the Localism Bill makes its way through its committee stages in the House of Commons the clauses that have an impact on London were rushed and hardly discussed on Tuesday afternoon.

This is unfortunate because this is the one part of the bill where the idea of localism is stopped dead in its tracks. In contrast to the localist approach applied across England in the rest of the bill, when it comes to London it seems that devolution stops at a regional level.

There are three specific proposals in the …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 10:35am
    Is it too Machiavellian to suggest that Mrs May was the 48th Tory MP to send in a letter ?
  • User AvatarAndrew Melmoth 12th Dec - 10:23am
    I hope she gets 52% of the vote.
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:15am
    That should have been "I will be out in Bedale on Saturday"!
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:14am
    I have been campaigning for a Peoples Vote and will be out in Became on Saturday morning. I don't want a Peoples Vote though because...
  • User AvatarMartin 12th Dec - 10:05am
    At any other time, a PM in this position would not be able to continue. Joe Otten's assessment that roughly three quarters of Conservative MPs...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Dec - 9:51am
    Am tempted to write, "It's the DUP, st*pid". I wouldn't like to predict this vote, but for Conservatives remaining in office is the absolute priority....