Author Archives: Martin Shapland

Martin Shapland writes: A petition to retain the ban on capital punishment

You can tell it’s silly season. The top story today is that a petition on the Death Penalty is at the top of the government’s new e-petition site. You might not have noticed that the petition with the most signatures says – ‘Retain the ban on Capital Punishment.’

Yes I launched the petition; no this isn’t a vanity project. Paul Staines (AKA Guido Fawkes) and the Daily Mail, which have both launched campaigns to restore the death penalty, need to be opposed. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and most Members of Parliament happen to be on holiday.

It might …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 35 Comments

Opinion: Equidistance is as important now as it ever was in opposition

Liberals, I put it to you that we are neither wannabe conservatives nor right wing Labourites. We are distinct as Liberal Democrats and need to start making this clear.

The small ‘c’, conservatives who fought for a no vote in the referendum show, at heart, narrow party interest drives activists in both Labour and Conservative parties. As long as they remain tribal, with every motivation checked against what is best for party, it will prove fatal if we continue to seek pluralism in a world where pluralism is derided and to ignore the self preservation of our own party and values.

Instead …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: Its time for a well informed response on Diversity

Conference is almost upon us once again, and glancing my eye over the agenda I am pleased to see a motion based on Baroness Sal Brinton’s report on party diversity.

You may remember this came up at the last conference. The speech I made at Liverpool was my maiden at a federal conference; the amendment I co-sponsored helped pave the way for the motion on improving diversity we will debate this coming Saturday.

It was also one of the most depressing experiences I’ve witnessed as a party member. Friends who supported the amendment were treated appallingly by supporters of the motion. I …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: we’re walking the wrong path on fees

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” Barack Obama

“Our party has long prided itself on its commitment to education as the great leveller; the best way to create social mobility and equality of opportunity in society” – words written by Jo Swinson MP in her article yesterday.

I agree with her, and that’s why I disagree that a near tripling of fees meets that commitment. That’s why I will be lobbying MPs to vote down the measure in the House of Commons in December.

There is much that is progressive in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 42 Comments

Liberal Youth respond to graduate tax proposals

Well I, for one, was hoping for a quiet summer.

Having been elected as the new Chair of the Youth party exactly two weeks ago I’m just about getting my bearings about where all the buttons to push are, so imagine my surprise when I found the big red button marked ‘Higher Education Funding.’

The issue of Higher Education funding is, perhaps, Liberal Youth’s biggest single issue, and our policy, and that of the Federal Party, is probably our most recognisable to young people across the country; When you ask a student about Fees they will be able to tell …

Posted in News | Tagged | 27 Comments

Opinion: the challenges facing Liberal Youth are not of policy, but of delivery

The following article is written by Martin Shapland who is a Candidate for Chair of Liberal Youth.

In an article on Wednesday, Richard Heinrich and Phil Jarvest – two of my competitors for the Chair of Liberal Youth – sought to open up a policy discussion about our Higher Education funding policy.

For the record I do fully support our current policy to abolish fees. I believe that education is the great driver of social change and individual liberty. I believe that widening access to quality education is fundamentally important, not just at higher education, but at Primary and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Get Activated

I’m not really going to comment on the Lib Dem Voice piece by Richard Wilson about Liberal Youth being stuck in the proverbial headlights; with 600 new members since March, a new website being launched and a brand new executive team taking over next week, we need a youth party that looks to the future and prepares for the battles to come, like the Norwich North By-election this summer, and beyond to the upcoming General Election and the next parliament.

The first step to building those future successes will be Liberal Youth’s comeback training event, Activate, taking place …

Posted in Events | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Christian
    Opinion polls aren’t really improving for the Lib Dems, yet the economy is in crisis and Lab have no actual solution. Isn’t it time we flew the banner for R...
  • Paul Barker
    FYI Labour conference has just passed a motion calling for a change to Proportional Representation, this is a big step forward but conference does not decide p...
  • Julian Tisi
    I have a few disagreements with the OP. First - democracy: we must surely continue to support the concept of an elected HOL (or at least the vast majority must...
  • David Raw
    I’m old enough to remember Harold Wilson getting a huge amount of stick from the Tory press for a definite Government decision to devalue the £ by 14% back i...
  • Alan Jelfs
    Too complex. Keep it simple. Abolish the House of Lords and have a parliament for England, like Scotland and Wales do. It could sub-divide into regions later,...