Author Archives: Liz Green

Seething Wells

The Seething Wells Filter Beds is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and it’s one of many across the country that needs a change in the law to enable the Council to protect its biodiversity. So we have launched a petition asking Government to ‘Give Councils the power to protect nature reserves

Current legislation is a mess, involving the Council, Police, Environment Agency and English Heritage. We think the Council should be the single reasonability authority for all nature reserves, including those in private ownership.

The Seething Wells Filter Beds was a Thames Water facility that they stopped using back in 1992. Since then, nature has come back to the site in abundance. It has bats in the under road tunnels, flora and fauna, London grasslands, insects that need standing water and the birds that feed off them. It is also historically significant as it played an important role in proving cholera was waterborne in the mid-1800s.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Now is the time for Community Politics to shine

I was reminded recently of the Liberal ideal from the 70’s and 80’s of Community Politics and how it is part and parcel of our Liberal Democrat genetic makeup to want to disseminate/distribute power. I valued this principle before Covid-19 became all consuming, but during this lockdown I am drawn back towards the concepts and ideology of community politics, specifically as set out by Greaves and Lishman in the ALC booklet in 1980, and a growing realisation now is the time to really take these ideas to the next stage.

Firstly, a couple of lines about what Community Politics is and isn’t.

Community Politics is always about people. It is about their control of the exercise of power – it is about the distribution of power, the use of power and the dissemination of power. It is an all embracing approach to the way in which multiple decisions are made. It is not limited to the making of ‘political’ decisions within the structures of ‘government’. Nor is it just about winning local government elections.

Community Politics starts with the belief that each individual can be enabled to fulfil their potential, not reduced to the status of ‘being led’ or ‘directed’. Individuals make up a community – it may be geographical, mutual interest, religion or many other factors – and we all belong to many different communities. It is interesting that in our massively centralized society, too often these communities are only recognised when they become useful or necessary.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

‘Best local election campaign’

Campaigners in Kingston upon Thames are rightly proud of receiving the ALDC award for the Best Local Election Campaign in 2018, especially given the high quality campaigns in many other areas including our neighbours in Richmond.

We’d love to share our story with you and maybe offer some hope and inspiration.

In May this year we increased the number of Lib Dem councillors on Kingston Council from 18 to 39, out of a total of 48. Of those,

  • 26 were new Councillors, all of whom stood for the first time
  • the majority (22) were female, with at least one woman standing in every ward, two with newborns!
  • the age range is 22 to 74 years old, with every decade represented
  • 23% are BAME (matching the Borough as a whole) and include the first Councillor of Korean heritage
  • between them they speak 10 different languages
  • we have strong LGBTQ and disability representation.

We are fortunate to have gained a significant number of new members after the general election in 2015, and again after the referendum in 2016. However, we did not sit on our laurels and we actively looked for local community activists who support Liberal Democrat principles as potential candidates.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: We need to address the need for a re-balance in education localism

If we, as Lib Dems, have learnt anything from the march from complete local authority control, through self-management of schools and on to the drive for academies and free schools, it is that localism in education should not just be about empowering head teachers and governing bodies but must also raise standards across the board.  If this means bringing back some of those vital local authority-run ancillary services that allow heads to concentrate on the quality of teaching, so be it. Dogmatic opposition based on historic myth or anecdotal evidence has no place in education policy.

As we have witnessed over the last three years, the relentless approach of the Secretary of State to a continual reform agenda – a few good, many not so good, and some downright awful from our local government Lib Dem perspective – has meant that problems such as the provision of sufficient school places and the needs of vulnerable pupils haven’t had a proper look in. Whilst it is okay to notice OFSTED looking at regional structures in order to undertake improvement, as well as inspection, is it enough without the input of the localised knowledge only a Council can supply? I think not.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Recent Comments

  • Alan Jelfs
    One of the keys of democracy (as witnessed in the USA recently) is for losers to accept the results of votes. There are still too many people in this party who...
  • David Evans
    I am pretty sure that some people in the NHS have been thinking about this for a while now. The problem will be the the behemoth that goes under the name of "T...
  • Alex Macfie
    @James Fowler: No he couldn't. The US Constitution couldn't be clearer — a Presidential term lasts 4 years, renewable once only by re-election. If no election...
  • James Fowler
    @Alex Macfie: That's interesting, but misses the point. This discussion is about whether people use COVID-19 to create precedent, in this case to suspend normal...
  • Matt (Bristol)
    Surely the solution is for the NHS to have separate sex and gender markers, and not to conflate the two....