Author Archives: Layla Moran MP

Layla Moran writes: 24 hours to go – Vote to move forward

Every week LDV invites the leadership candidates to submit an article. This is Layla Moran’s for this week. 

It’s looking very close. Votes cast today could determine the future direction of our party. If you haven’t voted yet, please give me your support to move our party and our country forward, together.

I am standing because in my heart I am convinced our Party can do better than 6% in the polls.

And we need to do better than 6%. Because let’s be clear, Boris Johnson’s right-wing Conservative government will not deliver meaningful change.

They have failed to protect our brave frontline workers. They have failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families from falling through the cracks.

They are putting ideology before people, hurtling our country towards a dangerous no deal Brexit at the end of the year. They will fail to make this country fairer because they do not understand unfairness or disadvantage.

If not us, then who will shout about these burning injustices from the roof tops. Who will expose and challenge populism, self-interest and cronyism wherever it arises – and force U-Turns to protect people from bad Government decisions?

We must do whatever it takes to remove Boris Johnson and the Conservatives at every level of government.

I have a plan to help us win again. It starts with better living our values, listening to voters, and showing that we’re on their side, through a core message, a strong media presence and an empowered activist base.

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Layla Moran: Protecting lives and providing reassurance through the Cross-Party Coronavirus Inquiry

Each week LDV invites leadership candidates to submit one article. This is this week’s article form Layla Moran

This morning, I wrote to the Prime Minister in my role as the elected Chair of the Cross-Party Coronavirus Inquiry. Following over 1000 evidence submissions, we are recommending an urgent move to a ‘zero-covid’ strategy.

The evidence, from NHS frontline staff, care home workers, health bodies, charities, scientists, bereaved families and other individuals, has sometimes been difficult to read and listen to.

It has been shocking to hear about the impact of the lack of clear Government strategy in place to eliminate coronavirus from the UK. It has left the public confused and our NHS and care staff flying blind.

It was heartbreaking to hear from bereaved families, who know that more could have been done to protect their loved ones. But these stories must be heard, and lessons learned in time to protect others.

It’s why we set up the All-Party Parliamentary group last month, which now consists of over 60 cross-party MPs and peers. We’re holding a rapid inquiry over the summer months into the UK response to Covid-19, to learn lessons ahead of any potential peak this winter.

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Layla Moran writes …Tackling the environmental crisis from the bottom up

Each week, LDV invites the leadership candidates to write a post for us. This is Layla’s post for this week. 

The climate and nature emergencies are the greatest threats our country – and humankind – face. Climate change is not under control. Worldwide, deforestation and the destruction of habitats continue at a terrifying rate, with catastrophic impacts on wildlife.

This is why, alongside the economy and education, I’ve made the environment one of my campaign themes. My ambition as leader is to make our Liberal voice heard clearly on the environment and to recapture our position as the most innovative and credible party on environmental policy. In turn, this will enable us to build coalitions for action, and to attract support from Labour, Green and Tory voters concerned about the threat to the environment.

Several of the key actions have to be taken by the government. This includes accelerating investment in renewable power, an emergency programme of energy efficiency retrofits for homes, converting the natural gas network to hydrogen, investing in public transport, speeding up the transition to electric vehicles and creating incentives to expand ‘carbon sinks’ through planting trees, restoring peatlands and supporting innovation in carbon dioxide removal technologies. If we move fast enough on all these fronts, we can put the UK on a path not just to net-zero but to net negative emissions.

But government – particularly central government – can’t do it all by itself. They have to take the public with them – which means stressing that tackling the climate and nature emergencies is a shared effort, in which everyone – individuals, households, communities, businesses, investors, farmers, teachers, scientists, engineers, local and national government – has a role to play.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 18 Comments

Layla Moran writes…The change we need to move towards racial equality

Every week, LDV gives each leadership candidate the opportunity to write an article. This is Layla’s for this week. 

UPDATE: Since writing this response, sent to the original letter writers on Sunday 2 August and posted on LDV on  4 August)  I have been involved in discussions with members, and have added my support to the Abolish BAME campaign. It’s time to end the use of BAME as a catch-all term. We can all do better on this, including me, and I hope this is the start of the change that’s needed.

Thank you for writing to me about racial equality in our country and our party. This issue must be an absolute priority and I am glad it has received such significant attention throughout our leadership contest, thanks to the work of members such as yourselves.

I would also like to sincerely apologise for the delay in replying and hope you have had the opportunity to hear about my vision during the hustings so far.

As you so rightly point out, the Liberal Democrats need to be at the forefront of challenging racism and since becoming an MP I’ve put this at the heart of my work.

Whether that’s campaigning for companies that profited from slavery to pay out and support BAME communities, leading calls for the statue of Cecil Rhodes to be removed, fighting to dismantle the Conservatives’ hostile environment, or shining a spotlight on systemic inequalities in our education system, which mean black pupils are so much more likely to be excluded than their white peers.

The events of recent months have shown us why this struggle is more important than ever. As chair of the only comprehensive cross-party inquiry into the government’s handling of coronavirus, I’m committed to ensuring that the appallingly disproportionate impact on BAME communities is properly addressed and never repeated.

However, we also need to go much further, in order to build a fairer society where opportunity for all is a reality not just a buzzword. Under my leadership, I want our party to harness the energy and passion shown by the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd and champion more ambitious policies that will deliver real change.

One of the biggest issues facing BAME communities today is inequality in the workplace, which is why I’ve reached out to the Confederation of British Industry, the British Retail Consortium, and the Trades Union Congress, to help draw up legislation that would require companies to publish data on their ethnicity pay gap for the first time.

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Layla Moran: The momentum is with my campaign – vote for me to move us forward together!

Each week LDV invites leadership candidates to submit one article. This is this week’s article form Layla Moran

Today’s the day! Ballots are finally dropping into inboxes and through letterboxes. I’m urging Lib Dem members to vote for me, to move our party and our country forward – and the momentum is with my campaign.

Let’s be honest – there is a burning need for change. At just six per cent in the polls, we are in sink or swim territory. Our country desperately needs a strong liberal voice to challenge Boris Johnson’s increasingly isolationist and regressive Conservative Government.

I’ve been clear throughout this contest: to change our country, we must first change our party. Because only by renewing ourselves and rebuilding trust will we win again. And only by winning will we be able to deliver progressive, liberal change for communities across the country.

In my plan for our party, I’ve outlined five key steps to strengthen our party at every level and win again from the bottom up. It starts with learning the lessons from the past decade, and sending a clear signal to voters that we are renewed as a party, and can credibly communicate a progressive message. We can do this by electing me as leader!

After this, we will win back trust and support by living our values as a party, listening to voters, empowering our activists to deliver a core message that resonates with a broad base of supporters

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Budget Response: The most vulnerable are being left out in the cold

Back in March, at the very outset of the crisis, the chancellor Rishi Sunak said that: “Now more than at any time in our history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion.” That was true then and it is true now. Yet the mini-budget announced yesterday regrettably showed that the government has failed that test. At a time when millions of people across the country are facing the threat of poverty and unemployment, this plan fell far short.

There were some important and welcome measures, in particular, the £1,000 incentive to persuade employers to keep on furloughed staff. But the decision to reduce stamp duty for landlords and second homeowners, for instance, the wrong priority at a time when so many are struggling to get by.

The total projected cost of cutting stamp duty is £3.8 billion. That is money that could have been spent on helping the hundreds of thousands of families being pushed into poverty by this crisis. This measure will disproportionately benefit the wealthiest, while poorer households that rent have been left out in the cold.

While a landlord buying an additional home costing £500,000 or more will now pay £15,000 less in stamp duty, a family of for relying on universal credit will struggle to get by on little more £280 a week. A discounted meal at a restaurant will be little comfort to those struggling to pay their rent each month.

Figures I uncovered yesterday, reported in the Mirror, show the number of families struggling to pay bills has more than doubled since the coronavirus outbreak, rising to almost one in nine. The Government needs to step up and provide extra support to these hard-pressed families, including by scrapping the heartless two-child cap on benefits which is projected to push one million children even deeper into poverty by 2023-24.

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Netanyahu’s annexation plans must not go unchallenged

Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn, reacting to the new Israeli government’s intention to annex 30% of the occupied West Bank, put it well. ‘Thou shalt not steal’, he said.

Unfortunately, Binyamin Netanyahu has little time for this type of directive. Encouraged by the so-called US ‘peace plan’ for the middle east, he wants to introduce legislation to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, to begin the process of annexation. He had originally planned to declare this today, and while there might be a delay to the announcement, by all accounts his intention has not changed.

This must not go unchallenged. International law is clear. …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 53 Comments

Move Forward Together

In the aftermath of this crisis, our country has an opportunity to change.

Watch video here

And we must change. Going back to normal means continuing to damage our planet. It means entrenching educational inequalities before a child even steps foot in a classroom. Treating people differently because of the colour of their skin, and prioritising GDP over wellbeing.

Change is in the air; no matter where you go, you can feel it. Communities are coming together to help those in need. More and more young people making their voices heard on climate change. And when you turn on the news, you see statues of slave owners and supremacists finally coming down.

This is a once in a generation chance. We must be brave and use this energy to be better; to build the society that we want to see. The Liberal Democrats, and progressive ideas must be at the forefront of this.

At the heart of my leadership campaign is a vision to make this happen.

Posted in Leadership Election, Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 24 Comments

Layla Moran writes: Build Back Better: Policy ideas for Liberal Democrats

Yesterday evening I proudly launched Build Back Better, a new 128-page booklet exploring progressive policy ideas for Liberal Democrats in the post-coronavirus world. With contributions from a diverse range of over forty party supporters and councillors, Peter Frankopan, former MPs Lynne Featherstone, Martin Horwood, David Howarth and Julian Huppert, and former Party Leader Vince Cable – I hope this booklet will start discussions in and outside of our Party, and help us answer that deceptively simple question: ‘What are we for?’

Defining what we’re for is vital to winning back support. Having listened to members and voters, I also believe we need to send a signal that our Party is renewed since previous publications such as ‘Reinventing the State’ and the ‘Orange Book’ – with a policy platform that is clearly progressive in approach.

This will help us win support from across the moderate political spectrum and ensure that the Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of radical plans to Build Back Better from this crisis. Only then can we do right by the communities we seek to represent, and build a better, more compassionate country, where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.

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For Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s remember Mill’s mantra and campaign for better wellbeing measures

We are living in a time that’s taking its toll on different people in different ways. And we have required changes in our approach to contend with this new reality. Now more than ever, I find myself reflecting on JS Mill’s mantra, that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.”

My modern interpretation of this philosophy is that we should be considering wellbeing metrics and indicators in all Government decisions and policymaking. And, if a policy would worsen people’s wellbeing, it should be dropped.

It’s …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Layla Moran writes: Campaign for Coronavirus Compensation Scheme gathers momentum

Over the last four weeks, the numbers of NHS workers losing their lives to Coronavirus have risen. The figure now stands at well over a hundred. And then there are the other frontline workers: bus drivers, carers, teachers, to name but a few, who are risking their lives to help others.

I want to ensure that the Government recognises their bravery and courage. I’ve been calling on them to introduce a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme, to look after the families of frontline workers should the worst happen.

Over 8000 people and 50 cross-party MPs have supported the campaign so far. And this week, I unexpectedly teamed up with The Express, who to their credit, put their weight behind this campaign and are proving instrumental in helping drive this forward.

You can help too. Please sign the petition and share it far and wide.

My campaign has clear asks. This new scheme should mirror the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and include:

  • a lump sum upfront
  • a guaranteed income for their family
  • child payments to eligible children under 18

This would be in addition to pension benefits. Furthermore, given the extraordinary nature of this crisis, the state should also contribute to funeral costs.

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The compelling case for a national Universal Basic Income trial

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Coronavirus has lifted the lid on the prevalence of financial insecurity in this UK. For many, there is no safety net in place for times of crisis. So, now more than ever, we need progressive, forward-thinking solutions to help people cope.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 41 Comments

Layla Moran MP writes: Why we need a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme

Last week, I launched a petition calling on the Government to implement a Coronavirus Compensation scheme, to protect the families of all frontline workers should the worst happen. I need your help to make it happen.

During this crisis, the message to all of us has been repeated over and over: where possible, stay at home. But it isn’t possible for everyone.

The NHS, for instance, isn’t a faceless organisation. It is made up of many members of our community, our neighbours and our friends. In times of crisis, our society relies even more heavily on essential workers, such as doctors, carers, food suppliers and teachers, to name but a few.

All of these essential workers are now putting their lives at risk to protect others. And, similar to those in our armed forces, they should know that if the worst happens the state will help their loved ones.

I believe a scheme similar to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme should be put in place to protect the families of frontline workers, should the worst happen. In addition to pension benefits, it would include:

A lump sum upfront
A guaranteed income for their family
Child payments to eligible children under 18

At the time of writing, over 2600 people have backed the petition, calling for the safety net our front line staff and their families deserve. Yesterday, 50 cross-party MPs added their support, in a letter calling on the Prime Minister to introduce the Scheme.

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Let’s put our values into action

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Coronavirus, covid-19 will indiscriminately impact the most vulnerable people in our communities, leaving them isolated. Today I am asking all of us, as Liberal Democrats, to put our values into action.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Layla Moran MP writes…From Belfast with love

I’m not an expert on Northern Irish politics. In fact, until a few weeks ago I’d never been to the province.

But when I was asked a few months ago if I would sponsor a cross-party Bill in Westminster that would introduce the right for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland to get married it was a no-brainer.

As debates rage over Brexit, the border and the backstop we hear that the Government’s confidence and supply the partners, the DUP, don’t want Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK.

But when it comes to LGBT+ rights Northern Ireland is years behind England, Scotland, Wales and, now, the Republic of Ireland too.

Of course, people originally from Northern Ireland who now live in my Oxford West and Abingdon constituency and across Great Britain can marry the person they love here – but if that person is someone of the same sex then when they step off the plane in Belfast their marriage isn’t recognised.

When I visited Belfast recently, I met with Amnesty International NI, representatives from the LGBT branch of the cross-community Alliance Party and with campaigners from Here NI and The Rainbow Project. We discussed the campaign for love equality for people in Northern Ireland and what MPs in Westminster could and should be doing.

For me, the biggest take-away from these meetings was the intense feeling of frustration. As they see friends and family members in the Republic of Ireland and across the water getting married and being treated as equals, progress in Northern Ireland is non-existent.

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Layla Moran MP writes: Where I stand on the leadership contest

My, it feels a long time ago since June 9th.

My first few days in Parliament have been hectic, exhilarating and at times utterly magical. The first time you sit on the Green Benches and you pinch yourself to check you’re not dreaming. Accidentally on purpose getting lost in the warren of passages and have policemen refer to you as ma’am (being in my early 30s I find this very odd indeed). Your first engagement as the MP in the constituency and random people stopping you with huge smiles to say how happy they are that ‘we did it!’. Having a quick nap and waking up to find the Leader who got us there has decided to step down. Thud.

Like many of you, the changing of this particular guard was not something I remotely expected, nor indeed desired.

I was hoping for a period of stability. Not least for me and my fellow new MPs to have time to settle in and tackle such mundane tasks as: work out how the internet works (very well actually), where the ladies’ loos are (clearly an afterthought in some areas) and where all the post has gone (in the hidden Post Office off Central Lobby, 3 bags worth).

I have a very sage member in my constituency who has a mantra: “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”.

This is the approach that got OxWAb to the narrow win we achieved.  It is what will drive us to hold on to it.

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Science at risk – BREXIT and the dangers to Britain’s nuclear industry

One of the biggest fallouts from Brexit is the future of EURATOM, the European Atomic Energy Community, which manages the procurement and movement of all nuclear materials and waste across the EU, and JET (Joint European Torus), which is a nuclear fusion facility based in Culham, Oxfordshire.

EURATOM predates the formation of the EU but they are now legally entangled. The main sticking point for the Tories is their insistence on leaving the European Court of Justice which oversees the agreement. The hard Brexiteers’ obsession with the ECJ meant that while exiting the EU did not have to include leaving EURATOM, the Brexit White Paper made it clear that this is definitely going to happen if the Tories are in power.

This an important issue in Oxford west and Abingdon locally as the prospect of closing the £60m a year JET facility would lead to a direct loss of 1000 jobs in the area. But it goes well beyond that. JET itself it vitally important the UK as a whole. It is not only the centre for research into fusion technology which one day may be a massive contributor to the fight against climate change, but also includes cutting edge research that has led to breakthroughs in engineering and material science. Estimates suggest we make three times the UK’s investment back on the project thanks to spin offs and locally grown expertise.

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Moving towards a progressive alliance

General Election campaigning has got off to a flying start across the country and it is exhilarating to be ‘back in the saddle’. Oxford West and Abingdon was hard fought at the last election and it looks like it will be again. Like many seats, the Tory incumbent increased her majority here in 2015, yet this still feels like a marginal, and we are campaigning to win.

We were knocking on doors yesterday and what struck me was just how different this election feels compared to 2015. The political sands continue to shift beneath our feet but the wind is very definitely no longer against us. This constituency voted strongly to remain, yet the local MP flip-flopped and is now totally behind a Hard Brexit. This, combined with a weak Labour party nationally, has meant that local Labour and Green voters are more open than ever to lending us their vote to beat the Tory this time. And we are going to need them to do it.

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Opinion: League tables – Lib Dems deliver real change

schoolsignA quiet revolution happened last night that seems not to have made the front pages or even featured particularly prominently on Today. However, to me it represents one of the best examples of Lib Dems making a difference in education since being in government – and a genuine step in the right direction with regards to realising the potential in all students.

There is to be a massive shake-up of GCSE league tables which is designed to stop the ‘perverse incentive’ for schools focusing on the students close to the C/D border to maximise the number of students achieving A*-C grades. Thanks to David Laws and his work in the department of Education, league tables will no longer be measure on just 5 subjects but 8 subjects, which include the humanities and vocational subjects or arts. Schools will be measured not just by how students do at the end of GCSE’s but by how much progress was made between GCSE’s and the end of Key Stage 2 (about age 11).

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Opinion: Fracking cannot be at the expense of Climate Change targets

Next Sunday, conference will debate the Green Growth and Green Jobs motion (F10). This wide ranging motion includes, among other things, lines on fracking (56-58) which state:

Permitting limited shale gas extraction, ensuring that regulations controlling pollution and protecting local environmental quality are strictly enforced, planning decisions remain with local authorities and local communities are fully consulted over extraction and fully compensated for all damage to the local landscape

Like many of you I am skeptical about fracking for a number of reasons but primarily because I am absolutely committed to tackling Climate Change, and the lines in the motion do …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Syria survey shows surprising consensus in complex situation

Yesterday afternoon I emailed about 1000 voters in Oxford West and Abingdon asking them for their views on Syria.

What is interesting is that despite the complexity of the situation, there has been broad consensus in their views. Many start by saying things like ‘I am no expert’ and ‘I am torn’ but when they explain their reasoning the convergence is clear.

I summarise the responses received so far in the hope that a) it has a cathartic effect on those who haven’t expressed their views as I suspect many people feel the same and b) to ask if this is the …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Performance related pay for teachers: does it drive up standards?

Michael Gove’s most recent big idea to improve the teaching profession takes the form of performance related pay. Like many of Gove’s big ideas it has incensed teachers. But it’s also a populist move. One poll estimated that 61% of voters backed the idea. But will it improve teaching standards?

The evidence for performance related pay leading to improving standards in education is inconclusive. Literature shows no causal relationship between performance related pay and standards and results vary enormously depending on the context. In India one study showed that “after controlling for student ability, parental background and the resources available …

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Layla Moran writes… Child Detention still happens: Boy held at Campsfield for ‘2-3 months’

It is my belief that in a civilized society we should protect children. That they should not be punished for the actions of their parents or grandparents and that they should be given every chance of leading a fulfilled, healthy and normal childhood. And they most certainly should not be locked up without cause because of their family’s decision either.

Celebrating the end of child detention with Citizens UK #LDConf
Photo: Helen Duffett on Flickr.

Sadly for many years, this was not only true but also prevalent. Children who were here illegally were held in immigration deportation centres for months and sometimes years, were not allowed to go to school, not allowed to develop. A child does not, in full understanding of the consequences, make the decision to enter a country illegally. It would have been the decision of their family in whatever form that may take; yet until 2011 they were punished as equals to these adults.

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The Lib Dem Candidates Leadership Programme – a participant’s view

Last weekend marked the official start of the Candidate Leadership Programme, with a residential training weekend in Greenwich. For many, this Programme marks an important shift in thinking to improve the diversity of our Parliamentary Party. I write this piece to give a participant’s point of view.

Despite efforts for years to get candidates from diverse backgrounds to become approved, sadly, and not without great effort on behalf of organisations such as the Campaign for Gender Balance (CGB), the result did not show in terms of elected Parliamentarians.

The Leadership Programme is designed to focus on the steps post-approval and selection, to …

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Opinion: Gaddafi’s Death – a conflict of emotion

As is customary in my family, any major news event (especially one in the Arab world) is first alerted to us by a text or call from my mother. While neither of my parents are party political, politics has permeated every hour of our family life for a long as I can remember. These days, usually as a result of either BBC World News or Al-Jazeera being the TV channel of choice at all times.

My father is currently operative as the EU head of ‘mission’ (in as much as one can exist) in Libya and so we have been watching …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Cameron tries to woo Lib Dem supporters – should we be worried?

I write this after watching the 6 O’Clock news on Sunday. After the usual sick feeling that I invariably feel when I hear Cameron speak subsides, I am left in a state of mild shock at what he just tried to do: make the public believe that there aren’t many differences between the Lib Dems and the Tories and scaremongering our supporters into voting for them under the pretence that a hung parliament would be ‘bad for Britain’.

I start by addressing the latter point first. There is an argument that decisive action is needed in facing the economic crisis. As I am not an economist and have heard this from many noted sources I will take this as read. However, the idea that the Liberal Democrats would, through a hung parliament, have a say in how and what is done is fantastic news to Lib Dem supporters. I hear the Tories want to set up some sort of “getting out of the recession” committee to work out what to do. Well who would the nation rather have steering this committee than Vince Cable MP? I’m sorry we don’t say this enough: he was right! And he’s consistently right. Over and over again. It beggars belief that this could be twisted into something bad for Britain.

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Opinion: Can we fix it? Yes we can!

As Lib Dem president Ros Scott has alluded, this is indeed a sad week for British politics. Yet again sleaze has smeared the political canvas, but this time the stuff is flying about at such speed that even we Liberal Democrats seem to be in the thick of it. However, it seems the electorate agrees that, while we are in it, we’re not quite as bad.

But should we rejoice in the likelihood of coming second in next week’s opinion polls? I rather suspect not given that it will come at the expense of the rise in the BNP …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments
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