Author Archives: Matt Gallagher

Opinion: Charles Kennedy asks “What should we tell the Scots?”

September 14th "Welcome to Scotland"On Monday I received an e-mail from Charles Kennedy and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. It asked Lib Dems across the UK to help the No campaign by completing a brief survey entitled,”What do you think we should be telling voters in Scotland?” The survey was indeed brief (3 questions), and the answers were pre-loaded, so I thought that I would compose my own response to my fellow Scots.

The preamble to the Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution states that ‘we look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, in which they live together in peace and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely.’

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Opinion: What are the Lords Spiritual for?

house of lordsIn a week when the Prime Minister has been stung, twice – once by a malevolent jellyfish and then by public reaction to his observation “Britain is a Christian country,” there has been much analysis of polling and census data in support or denunciation of his statement.

Cameron supporters point to the 2011 census, where 59% ticked the box to describe themselves as ‘Christian,’ while his detractors preferred a YouGov poll where the question, “are you religious?” saw only 29% of respondents answer in the affirmative.

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Opinion: I don’t know what you stand for

Canvassing in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election I encountered a number of voters who asked the question; “Lib Dems, I don’t know what they stand for.”

It would be easy, and wrong, to dismiss such a questioner as uninformed or typical of the tribal element in every constituency who have no real interest in your answer.

As the date of the next General Election nears, the answer to this question will be critical to Liberal Democrat prospects.

The compromises of coalition have muddied the waters, and the Liberal Democrats stand to come off worst. In the northern cities, the supporters we won …

Posted in Op-eds | 35 Comments

Opinion: The dangers of acting without knowing the facts

By now, there cannot be many people in this country who have not heard about the disturbances across England this week. The scenes of wanton criminal damage and violence, the deaths and injuries, the families made homeless and businesses destroyed, have re-opened a debate that clearly was not resolved last time we witnessed such levels of disorder.

Questions are already being asked about the underlying causes of the trouble, and how it was dealt with. No doubt those arguments will continue for some time to come. Everyone has a theory and everyone thinks they have a solution. What is clear is …

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

Opinion: Labour needs to be honest with its core supporters

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. This quote, usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln, goes to prove that some things in politics never change.

After thirteen years of spin, media manipulation and bare-faced lies (don’t believe the rumours folks, Gordon and Tony really do have a very good working relationship), one might be forgiven for thinking that there was no one left who believed a word the Labour party had to say on anything. Nevertheless, they …

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Opinion: an alternative to cuts? Be careful what you wish for

While canvassing in South Manchester I have met a number of people who do not accept that cuts are necessary on the scale suggested by the government. The common mantra is that the banks who caused the collapse should be made to pay, not the taxpayer, or, by implication, the poor who rely on the taxpayer.

Telling people on the doorstep about the Banking Levy meets with the response that this has not stopped bankers receiving enormous bonuses. Reminding them that 50% of these bonuses end up in the treasury is just as ineffective. The public seem to want more. They …

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Opinion: is a Labour-led coalition possible?

Now that Ed Miliband has apparently embraced the Liberal Democrat agenda (voting reform, civil liberties, fairer taxation, condemnation of the Iraq war, cleaning up ‘the city’, the need for ‘fiscal credibility’ etc.,) he raises an intriguing question. Could Labour form a coalition government before the term of the present one expires?

The maths is intriguing. Labour currently hold 258 seats. Since Sinn Fein refuse to take up their five seats in Parliament the ‘magic number’ for a majority is an attainable 323. Were Labour to win three by-elections by taking seats from the Scottish Nationalists or Plaid Cymru, and were …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 91 Comments

Opinion: Labour’s new coat of gloss

So, Labour has a new leader, and as he enjoys his honeymoon the party is experiencing a surge in the polls. This is to be expected; indeed, it would be an odd thing if Labour slumped in popularity in the immediate aftermath of such an event. They experienced the same effect following the elections of Blair and Brown, and a fine thing it can be for energising the activists and uniting the party. It can also be an effective way of repackaging a failing brand. Changing the leader gives the impression that the past is now ancient history and the …

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Recent Comments

  • Brandon Masih
    Thanks for that @Simon R but why do you think it will be workable - geographic nature of NZ probably plays a better role for lower prevalence for illicit tobacc...
  • Simon R
    In answer to @Brandon Masih, I think the rolling ban will be workable for at least the next 10 years or so. Beyond that maybe less so because as the cut-off ag...
  • Martin Gray
    I'm sure they'll all be feeling good about themselves tonight . We know best you plebs .......
  • Brandon Masih
    For those arguing for the age moving process, are you definitely content with the policy going *further* than NZ’s proposal and covering smokeless tobacco, wh...
  • Paul Barker
    I disagree with the 5 but I can see where they are coming from. What was the argument for abstention ?...