Author Archives: Maelo Manning

What our Liberal Democrat leaders are saying about the EU referendum

4 leaders and a president 1I was delighted to receive the email about the Lib Dem leaders’ European event and signed up immediately because, frankly, the EU referendum debate has been inundated with arguments that don’t always make sense and are often factually ambiguous. I am quite often irritated these days because of this.

The Lib Dems leaders,Paddy Ashdown, Ming Campbell, Nick Clegg and Tim Farron, didn’t let me down and it was excellent to see a united front on display. It felt like quite a historic moment for a young person like me.

The event took place at the BAFTA offices in Piccadilly. Each leader began with an impassioned speech explaining what staying in Europe meant to him and why we should adopt the same approach.

My favourite remark came from Tim Farron who said that those who support the leave campaign are “selfish” and should set aside their own prejudices or beliefs for the good of their children’s future and how we should avoid being, “insular, isolated, alone or irrelevant”. He said that he was not making the decision to vote in as a politician but as a “parent and a patriot”. Tim also attacked the out campaign and referred to it as “sheer dishonest elitism”. Tim’s analysis was spot on because of his emphasis on a concern for the future generations if we were to leave the EU.

I spoke to Tim afterwards and got a good account about his beliefs. He explained than any young person voting should, “consider educational opportunities, work abroad and most importantly climate change.” He sees climate change as an extremely pressing issue for future generations and that we would be “better equipped to deal with it in the EU”. He also said that staying in the EU would be a “smart outward looking statement”.

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Opinion: SLF Conference: Why social justice must be at the heart of re-booting liberalism

social liberal forumThe Social Liberal Conference was held on one of the hottest days of the year so far but not even good weather could have kept me away from joining fellow Liberal Democrats for a day termed as ‘Re-booting Liberalism’. I am a social Liberal because I believe strongly in social justice as a means of addressing the problems of inequality. This must be our fight as a party if the Liberal Democrats are to gain relevance and support from the electorate in the coming years.

The keynote speech was a William Beveridge memorial lecture and was delivered by Baroness Claire Tyler. The whole speech can be found here. Her words as follows set the tone for the day:

I think it is entirely appropriate to be revisting Beveridge at a conference entitled ‘Rebooting Liberalism’. It’s neither regressive nor intellectually lazy to be looking to the past as we seek to move forward. Far from it – we are fortunate to have an incredibly strong intellectual tradition within the party and in seeking to both clarify and communicate exactly what we stand for, we could do much worse than draw on the ground-breaking work of one of the grandfathers of modern Liberalism.

The morning sessions were split into roundtable discussions, open sessions and two fringe events. A very generous and yummy lunch was served. It was a great time to network, catch up with friends and be canvassed for GLA votes.

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Opinion: It’s my Party and I’ll cry if I want to


Since 10pm on election night I have been in utter despair. I joined the party five years ago at the age of 10 and I was told that the Lib Dems would never be in Government. I was overjoyed when Nick Clegg walked into Downing Street in 2010. By contrast, I was in tears when Nick resigned. Since then I have been thinking about how the party can learn from mistakes and move on.

My starting point is what Nick said in his resignation speech, ‘Fear and grievance have won, and liberalism has lost.’ The first thing the party has to do is to rehabilitate the concept of liberalism because it has been stolen by parties of other persuasions. This can only be done by defining our core voter base. Our liberalism was not differentiated from the politics of austerity and the scare tactics of the Tories. The Tories evoked a Hobbesian scenario which seems to have worked. Nick is absolutely right in saying that liberalism is not faring well against the politics of fear.

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Opinion: Was there ever a child who started a war?

Palestinian Children, HebronI attended the conference to ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ (ESVC) and I was horrified by the true life testimonies of how babies as young as 8 months are raped. I approached the War Child staff at the conference and asked about getting involved in their work. Today is National Refugee Day 2014. The purpose of this post is to raise awareness among Lib Dems and to urge you to factor the unspeakable horrors that children suffer into any part of your work or volunteering or fund raising opportunities. It could be that you come into contact with refugee children even in the UK.

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Facing the world

Cissy 009Cissy Nasande is facing a potentially life changing operation on 15 June but is most concerned to stress how nice the British medical and charity staff are who tend to her. It is at moments like this in our friendship that I am reminded about how life can be just about compassion and kindness and is not always about politics.

Cissy has a severe facial disfigurement. A growing bone tumour is pushing her right eye forward. ‘Facing the World’, a wonderful charity for children with severe facial disfigurement, has brought Cissy …

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Opinion: A child’s perspective of the election

I am a 10 year old girl and I want to offer a child’s perspective of the election. I watched the last Prime Minister’s Question Time and National Insurance tax was the main subject of the debate. In fact, it seems to be the main subject of the election so far.

Is this election between Red and Blue over the effects of the recession on big business? Let me tell you what this election means for a child starting out in life. Big businesses recruit graduates from red brick universities. These universities, in turn, recruit students who are capable of undergoing a tough degree course. These students often come from private schools or the grammar state school systems. Where does the fairness exist?

Elections should be about change and a vote for a better run country on matters such as the NHS, housing, poverty, climate change, help for children, crime, security, personal liberty, terrorism, disability issues, equal rights and globalisation.

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

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