Author Archives: Adrian Sanders

Mods and Libs – who are we?

Some enterprising organisation at our conference, my money is on Liberator, will be selling ‘I’m a Liberal not a Mod’ badges, although I’d be careful not to wear one outside the Brighton Centre for fear of upsetting the Scooter fanatics.

That old rocker Vince Cable has certainly captured the attention of the Party with his March of the Moderates vision, but before it is dismissed out of hand by those who see dangers from opening up decision making powers to non-members, it’s worth looking at how some of this vision is already working in practice, and why fears that Lembit Opik …

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Adrian Sanders writes… the South West is missing a voice

Where is the South West’s voice at Westminster? In fact, where is there any opposition voice speaking up for the region, scrutinising and where necessary opposing policies not in our best interests.

In the South West region at the last election the Conservatives gained every seat held by the Liberal Democrats. Fourteen gains that gifted the Conservative Party its overall majority of twelve in the House of Commons.

There was no great swing to the Conservatives in May to give them this position of absolute power. Instead, a number of people who had previously voted Liberal Democrat to prevent a majority Tory Government cast their votes for the Greens, Labour and Ukip, or not at all.

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Adrian Sanders writes… Cameron’s cunning

John Stuart Mill is often quoted as describing the Tories as the stupidest party. The modern Conservative Party is many things, but at the top where they consider parliamentary and electoral strategy they are anything but stupid.

Those who think the withdrawing of the Statutory Instrument to amend the Hunting with Hounds Act is a victory for those opposed to any watering down of animal welfare legislation are cruelly mistaken.

Posted in Op-eds | 39 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes…New global parliamentary Diabetes network will ensure vital action is taken across the world

World Diabetes DayOn 2nd December 2013 at the first Parliamentary Diabetes Global Network (PDGN) meeting in Melbourne, Australia, attended by invited parliamentarians representing 50 countries, a declaration on Diabetes was agreed and signed.

Meeting in the Victoria State Parliament building MPs from across the globe reported on the state of Diabetes care in their countries, discussed how to raise the profile of the condition and agreed a declaration calling for urgent action to address the diabetes pandemic, committing the signatories to work across parliaments to help prevent the incidence of diabetes, ensure …

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Adrian Sanders MP writes…Let’s have a respectful debate about how we persuade voters to support us again

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsHow we engage with a sceptical electorate before they cast their votes in the General Election next year is the critical question facing the Liberal Democrats.

I’m no expert in psephology but even I can tell we are heading for a worse General Election result in 2015 than in 2010 when we often forget we actually lost seats.  In fact we have been losing elected representatives 6 years in a row, a trend that started before we entered Government.  Thankfully Party leaders are …

Posted in News | 53 Comments

Adrian Sanders writes from the cut-off far South West

Three big issues face the South West and the future of its rail links to the rest of the country.

The first big issue is resilience east of Exeter. What we do west of the city is irrelevant if we cannot get beyond Taunton in the north and Crewkerne in the east.

Being cut off at Exeter for the second year running presents an opportunity to focus on what is in all our best interests and that means reliable, faster and greater capacity services to and from the West Country.

The Government has already given the go-ahead for the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 14 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes…The Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare should be taken up on an international level

Benjamin BunnyLast May the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) was granted General Consultative status at the United Nations. This is the only international animal welfare organisation with such status, and the decision represented a positive development for animal welfare on the global agenda.

However, more needs to be done. By encouraging the support of international organisations, we can ensure that effective animal welfare strategies are not just kept to the west and within the European Union. Instead, bodies like the United Nations can help support animal welfare improvements in …

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Adrian Sanders MP writes…The Government must learn where it went wrong over Syria

The Government’s handling of the Syria crisis continues to raise more questions than it answered.  I’m not sure if this is a response to the media coverage of the issue or a general surprise that the process of sanctioning military action would necessarily have to differ from that used ten years ago when invading Iraq.

Focussing on the domestic political situation, it is clear that MPs in general supported a robust response to the use of chemical weapons despite the understandable concerns of the public.  The motions failed solely due to Ed Miliband’s rather devious pragmatism; something one doesn’t expect in …

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and Parliament | Tagged , and | 76 Comments

Adrian Sanders writes: Behind Blue Eyes

UKIP logoBoth UKIP and the Conservative Party fear the exposure of the truth of what lies behind the image UKIP have so successfully deployed.

It is a truth that on the one hand explains why UKIP would be opposed to what they perceive as big government – the European Union – but it also exposes the designs its ideological founders have for the UK economy and our welfare state, and that is where their problem lies.

It is a truth both parties would prefer hidden as it could encourage even more Conservative

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 27 Comments

Why is the UK government encouraging companies to use tax havens?

Plans by the government to change Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) rules are threatening to deny the developing world billions of pounds in tax revenues. The current CFC rules discourage UK companies from using tax havens, by requiring them to pay UK levels of corporation tax whether they are based in the UK or abroad. This system discourages the practice of profit shifting and protects the tax incomes of both the UK and developing countries.

The changes were proposed in the Budget earlier this …

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Adrian Sanders writes… What progress has been made towards achieving full primary education for all children?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were created by the world’s richest nations and institutions to tackle the major problems facing the developing world. The second goal states that by 2015 all children should be able to complete primary school. This was an ambitious goal as primary enrolment rates in 1999 were under 60% in some countries.

Current primary school enrolment stands at 90%, however progress varies over the developing world. The enrolment rates of wealthier regions like Latin America have remained roughly the same over the last decade staying around 95%, but poorer regions have seen much larger improvement since the …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes: Hunt vote – we need to save our energy for the battles that really matter

The vote in the Commons today is the latest highlight of the long running Phone hacking-BSkyB-Leveson saga.  It has been billed as an explosive vote that will tear the coalition asunder.  The Parliamentary party has unanimously decided to abstain, a position I strongly support for very good reasons.  We may well see traditional anti-Lib Dem rent-a-quotes like Peter Bone slamming us for betrayal but this is almost certainly a sign that we are doing the right thing.  Indeed, given our rather shaky performance in how we conduct Government to date, this is a refreshing sign that we might be back …

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Adrian Sanders writes: Social Animals and Elephants in the Room

Just about everyone in the Westminster Village will shortly be talking about the latest book that tries to explain why people vote the way they do.

Book Cover for The Social AnimalThe Social Animal, by US journalist David Brooks, has just been released in the UK and it suggests that people are driven more by gut instincts than rational thought when it comes to voting choices.

That rather obvious point has been haunting the Liberal Democrats from the moment they produced a joint programme for Government with the Conservatives on the weekend after the last General Election.

On the rational side of the challenge facing my colleagues and I a year ago were the electoral maths, the opposition from Labour politicians to contemplate compromise, the absolute imperative to produce a plan to reduce the deficit, and the need to act quickly to calm the markets.

My irrational instinct was that such a coalition arrangement was nothing short of a pact with the devil and it will end in tears, while my democratic rational side went along with a majority of the Parliamentary Party, the Federal Executive and Special Conference vote.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP writes: a targeted reduction in animal experiments

The numbers of animals used in experiments has been rising steadily over the past few years; up to 3.6 million in 2009 (whilst the number of individual procedures is far higher). It represents the presence of a vast amount of suffering.  In its Programme for Government the Coalition promised to ‘work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’. Our work has been supported by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) who warmly welcome our pledge, which is undoubtedly overdue.

But how does the Coalition intend to turn aspiration …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Adrian Sanders writes… The cap that doesn’t fit

People outside of London who cannot afford to buy a home or meet their rent without help from the benefit system are missing out in the current debate on the capping of Housing Benefit.

The housing benefit bill doubled under Labour but it wasn’t because of an increase in claimants, it was because Labour failed to ensure enough regulated rent social housing was built for the increasing numbers of people who could not and cannot afford to buy.

The problem didn’t start under Labour; it began in the early 80’s. The ratio between wages and house prices rose at the same …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 38 Comments

Adrian Sanders MP calls for new focus on Community Politics

Adrian SandersIf 2006 was the year of the renaissance of 007, 2007 could be the renaissance of the Lib Dems.

Despite taking a seat from Labour in a great Parliamentary by-election victory, launching the most radical green tax switch policy to reward work and punish pollution, and remaining the only force in Parliament around which opponents of the war in Iraq could unite, it was something of an Annus Horribilis.

The New Year offers us new opportunities to carve out distinctive positions on foreign affairs, domestic reform and where we stand in relation to the Government and Conservative opposition.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 24th Sep - 11:13am
    Well said Richard .i suspect that will be the general feedback we will get from the membership .Can i suggest we park the pre-registered supporters...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 24th Sep - 11:02am
    If the eu has decided that it can halt Brexit, they will negotiate with that in mind. They don't want the process to last too...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 24th Sep - 10:56am
    In a competitive global trading environment, we need a benefit system that protects people from the misfortunes that come with it. A generous top up...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 24th Sep - 10:47am
    The DUP might force the Conservatives into an autumn general election on the Ireland border issue. Presumably if we crash out of the eu, there...
  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 24th Sep - 10:43am
    interesting to watch ! I'd very much wanted Tim to speak in the debate given the content of his article here, that covers, accurately, the...
  • User Avatarexpats 24th Sep - 10:25am
    frankie 24th Sep '18 - 9:51am.....................I see Labour wobbled off the wall with “We may consider a peoples vote” they then wobbled back onto the...