Author Archives: NewsHound

Paddy: Trump’s tweets could trigger war

Paddy Ashdown has been speaking to PoliticsHome about the development of UK foreign policy in the age of Trump and how the US President’s unpredictable actions have an unsettling impact on the world.

“It does not mean that the Atlantic axis is going to be less important, but it ceases to be our primary axis on which to base our defence and probably our foreign policy as well.”

“That relationship must be much more mature, where both sides realise that there will be times when their interests in the world diverge,” he explains, citing US policy on Iran and Israel as two examples.

Beyond these ‘differing interests’ Ashdown presses the Government to  distance itself from the “irrational” Trump approach on “tinder pile” issues like North Korea.

He says the Trump tactic – of mocking and baiting Kim Jong Un on Twitter, alongside battle-cry threats of “fire and fury” – simply creates a space for North Korea to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, as shown by its offer of talks and participation in the upcoming winter Olympics in South Korea.

“We are used to a US president who is careful, thoughtful, intelligent and well informed, and we don’t have that now at the moment at all,” Ashdown laments.

“I can see five piles of tinder around the world, any one of which through inadvertence, stupidity or just blundering could be set alight… any one of which could have the capacity to ignite a much wider conflagration. And you want somebody blundering around the world, firing off tweets? In these very difficult circumstances I don’t think that’s the way to make a safer world. In a world as fragile, turbulent and close to war on several fronts as ours, I don’t think that’s a balanced and wise strategy.”

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Inquiry needed into questionable decisions around Carillion – Cable

Responding to reports that Carillion is to go into liquidation, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

In the light of today’s announcement that Carillion plc has gone into liquidation, Vince Cable has called for urgent action;

The government must now take responsibility for the big contracts run by Carillion, or re-tender them, to keep the supply chain going and protect thousands of jobs. Ministers must minimise the damage to the capacity of the construction industry.

We also urgently need a parliamentary inquiry into some of the very questionable decisions made in the past few months, not least the award of

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Vince, Christine, Jo and Layla marked out as politicians to watch in 2018

Over at HITC, Richard Wood has produced a list of politicians to watch this year.

Vince Cable, Layla Moran and Christine Jardine get mentions:

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has failed to make much of an impact this year. But with the Brexit drum beating louder than ever before, and the UK just one year away from exiting the EU, Brexit anxiety will likely increase, thus resulting in Cable rising to prominence. Cable and his party will likely capitalise on remain sentiment, but can he expand on that and turn the Liberal Democrats into more than just the anti-Brexit party?

Keep an …

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LISTEN: Willie Rennie: My mission this year is to stop Brexit

Listen to Willie Rennie’s start of year interview with BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland.

He said that public opinion was shifting in favour of a referendum on the final deal.

The Liberal Democrats’ fortunes were improving too, with more MPs, more members and running more councils.

We have constantly raised concerns about the running of Police Scotland and the way the Scottish Police Authority works and he said it was time for a root and branch review of the Authority after it invited the under-investigation chief constable to return to work before the conclusion of the enquiry into his conduct.

Listen to the whole thing here.

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LibLink: Robin Teverson: We should clean up our own mess, not export it to China

Lib Dem Peer Robin Teverson has written for Politics Home about the effect of China’s ban on the importation of low grade waste should be a wake up call for us to sort out how we deal with this problem.

China’s import ban, at a stroke, destroys the business model of the UK waste industry, together with its supply chain. The knock-on effects are huge, impacting local authorities and business.

But the UK has been slow to react. Defra is working overtime on Brexit agricultural and fisheries reform, producing a two-years late 25-year environmental plan, getting thousands of EU environmental laws onto the post-Brexit UK statute book. Michael Gove, no less, admitted to the Environmental Audit Committee that he had been taken unawares.

Lack of progress in waste policy, especially in England, has been a contentious issue for some time, not least with a frustrated waste industry. Scotland and Wales have been more ambitious in finding solutions for the future. That lack of focus, in England especially, is no longer an option.

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LibLink: Vince Cable What can be done to help street sleepers?

Some people were concerned that when Vince became leader, the high priority given to housing and homelessness during Tim Farron’s tenure in the top job might be lost.

Tim famously got involved in politics after watching Cathy Come Home.

However, those concerns were allayed at Christmas when helping homeless people was the focus of his Christmas Message and he has written further about those experiences in his regular column for his local paper, the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

He wrote about the various circumstances that had forced people he had met to sleep on the streets.

One man I talked to, who had lived for ten years under the arches of Waterloo Bridge, had never recovered from violence he experienced at home as a child from an alcoholic mother; he survives by selling “The Big Issue”.

But others have been forced onto the streets by the vagaries of unstable employment, expensive rents and inadequate or unavailable benefits.

I met a young man sleeping out in Covent Garden who was a chef, looking for work, who couldn’t afford the rent until his next job. Another had fallen through the cracks of Universal Credit, forced out of his home by lack of cash for the landlord.

He highlighted the aspects of welfare reform which caused so many problems.

So what can be done?

We need more emergency hostels – currently facing funding cuts which will hit provision by the Salvation Army and the YMCA.

There has to be a rethink of some of the brutal welfare cuts. The warm words about building affordable housing have to be supported by government action.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Former Conservative Camden Council Deputy Leader joins Liberal Democrats

Welcome, Andrew Marshall.

Andrew, who is still a Councillor in Camden but who resigned from the Tories last year, explained his reasons to the Ham and High

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 19th Jan - 3:23pm
    Expats. Don't get bogged down in this arguments. According to whichever post is being answered hard remainers and dogmatic party loyalists will claim the EU...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 19th Jan - 3:18pm
    Not the one who refers to the other by reference to his height.
  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Jan - 3:15pm
    @ William Wallace While it is good to see that you read the comments and have commented on a comment from somebody you know. I...
  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 19th Jan - 2:52pm
    The Tories advantage in Scotland are that they are the only right wing party whilst you have three shades of left opposing them so the...
  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 19th Jan - 2:42pm
    "Perhaps we should play the long game, keep on as we are and let people see us proved right on Brexit, but that’s a risky...
  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 19th Jan - 2:41pm
    I think it we avoid getting caught up in the "left behinds" rhetoric (which I've no patience for either), Arnold is making a sensible point...