Author Archives: Alex Foster

Alex Foster is a former Lib Dem councillor in Nottingham and has been a party staffer working in the constituency offices of MPs and MEPs in the East Midlands. He is Lib Dem Voice's bursar and likes to create podcasts.

Thatcher papers show 25 Tory MPs considered joining early SDP

A number of things hit the headlines this morning as the Margaret Thatcher Foundation reveals papers from 1981.

The early morning BBC radio headlines focussed on a meeting between Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch around the time News International acquired:

Margaret Thatcher had a secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at Chequers weeks before his 1981 purchase of the Times newspapers, newly released files show.

A note by her press secretary Bernard Ingham says the prime minister thanked Mr Murdoch for “keeping her posted”.

But the contentious issue of whether to refer the bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission was not raised.

But as …

Posted in LibLink and News | Tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

Read Lib Dem Voice on your Amazon Kindle

Did you know you can subscribe to Lib Dem Voice using Amazon’s Kindle service? You can do so either on their Kindle device or using their apps for iPhone, Android, Mac or PC.

The link to Lib Dem Voice on Amazon is here. It will set you back a modest £1.99 a month.

Of course, if you think the content we produce here is worth £2 a month, and you don’t have a Kindle, you are more than welcome to cut out the middle-person and donate it to us directly by standing order.

You can also donate money to us indirectly by using any …

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Liberal Drinks / #tweetup at #ldconf

LibDemVoice have for the last few years nominated a time and a place for an informal drink and meet-up for internetty Lib Dems to let their hair down and have a chat.

This time around, we weren’t quite fleet enough of foot to get any such event in the conference directory, so we will have to rely on word of mouth helping to spread the details.

After a quick chat on the topic in Lib Dem Voice’s private members’ forum, we settled on meeting at the Wellington pub, a short distance from the conference centre itself, on the Monday night of the conference week. Kickoff will be around 7.30pm.

If you’d like to come along, why not click here to let your twitter friends know.

In addition, Lib Dem Voice have our usual strong presence at the conference, with the following events planned:

Posted in Conference and Events | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Read Lib Dem Voice on your Amazon Kindle

Did you know you can subscribe to Lib Dem Voice using Amazon’s Kindle service? You can do so either on their Kindle device or using their apps for iPhone, Android, Mac or PC.

The link to Lib Dem Voice on Amazon is here. It will set you back a modest £1.99 a month.

Of course, if you think the content we produce here is worth £2 a month, and you don’t have a Kindle, you are more than welcome to cut out the middle-person and donate it to us directly by standing order.

You can also donate money to us indirectly by using any …

Posted in Site news | Tagged | 3 Comments

Cross-party smackdown for Home Secretary

A tweet crosses my desk from Cllr Kemp, itself a retweet from LGCPlus journalist Ruth Keeling. It contains a link to the Association of Police Authorities – not a body I am overly familiar with, but it has a fairly self-explanatory title.

The link is directly to a fairly draw-dropping cross-party letter from chairs of Police Authorities around the country who have a fairly serious beef with the Home Secretary’s accuracy in a recent speech.

Theresa May appears to have tried to shore up support for the Conservative policy of elected police commissioners by insinuating that in London, taxpayers got a better service from the elected police chief (and Mayor) Boris Johnson, than in other parts of the country where there are indirectly elected Chairs of Police Authorities instead.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

80 dead in Norway shootings

I’ve been keeping late hours baking but as I was getting ready to turn in, the news began breaking about the extent of the awfulness in Norway. As I write, 80 are confirmed dead at a summer camp for youth members of Norway’s ruling Labour party.

It’s terrible, terrible news, all the more vivid for me for the thought that this meeting must have been a similar sort of thing to the dozens run by our own party over the years. None of us would ever have considered Activate, or a Liberal Youth meeting a target for such an atrocity. …

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

PODCAST: A forgotten liberal hero

In June, Mark Pack addressed the Liberal History Group‘s summer meeting on the topic of Forgotten Heroes for a Governing Party.  Further details of the event can be found here.

And who was Dr Pack’s choice? You will have to listen to find out.

PS don’t check the tags

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Read Lib Dem Voice on your Amazon Kindle

Did you know you can subscribe to Lib Dem Voice using Amazon’s Kindle service? You can do so either on their Kindle device or using their apps for iPhone, Android, Mac or PC.

The link to Lib Dem Voice on Amazon is here. It will set you back a modest £1.99 a month.

Of course, if you think the content we produce here is worth £2 a month, and you don’t have a Kindle, you are more than welcome to cut out the middle-person and donate it to us directly by standing order.

You can also donate money to us indirectly by using any …

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Is John Healey as dumb as a bag of spanners?

In the grand scheme of things, not a lot of people know the rules MPs are subject to when it comes to using parliamentary stationery.

If you were an MP with a boatload of postage-paid envelopes, you could probably abuse them with impunity, and send them out unsolicited to 95% of your constituents without getting any redress.

But there is one group of people who are much more likely to know the rules: people who work in politics. A subset of those are councillors. And if you are really keen on getting shopped to the House authorities, who best to …

Posted in Parliament | Tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: Gay blood donation ban to be lifted – well, barely

The news broke over the weekend that an announcement is imminent on the policy surrounding the lifetime ban on donating blood for any man who has ever had sex with another man.

The writing on the wall appears to be that gay men who have not had sex for a decade might in future be allowed to give blood.

This decision was the likely outcome of the scientific review into blood donation, when I researched the issue for an op-ed slot on Pod Delusion live. It was one of the things I mocked in front of a live pub audience. …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

PODCAST: How do the government’s political reforms measure up to the Great Reform Act?

Soon after becoming Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg promised “the most significant programmes of reform by a British government since the 19th century…. the biggest shake-up of our democracy since 1832.” But how do the Coalition government’s constitutional changes actually compare to the changes brought in by the Great Reform Bill of 1832?

That question was addressed by a meeting organised by the Liberal Democrat History Group earlier this year, with speakers our own Dr Mark Pack (who studied nineteenth century elections and electoral reform for his PhD) and the History of Parliament Trust’s Dr Philip Salmon. Here now for those …

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Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Read LDV on your Amazon Kindle

Just a quick reminder that you can subscribe to Lib Dem Voice using Amazon’s Kindle service – either on their Kindle device or using their apps for iPhone, Android, Mac or PC.

The link to Lib Dem Voice on Amazon is here. It will set you back a modest £1.99 a month.

Of course, if you think the content we produce here is worth £2 a month, and you don’t have a Kindle, you are more than welcome to cut out the middle-person and donate it to us directly by standing order.

You can also donate money to …

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Roundup – Conference on LibDemVoice

A quick summary post to give you a full list of everything we produced during Spring Conference 2011 in Sheffield.

Posts

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PODCAST: Who controls the internet?

Here is a full podcast of our fringe last night, “Who controls the internet?”

Libel law reform campaigner and former MP Evan Harris, website pioneer Mary Reid, James Blessing of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) and Jim Killock of the digital rights champions Open Rights Group debate recent issues about free speech and the internet with chair Mark Pack.

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

PODCAST: Diversity debate in full

Following overwhelming demand from our twitter colleagues, we are now publishing in full the debate we had yesterday on diversifying our elected representatives.

You can find my written review of the debate here.

Play
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PODCAST: Nick Clegg’s speech in full

After a few minutes amplifying and chopping stuff off the beginning and end, and then many more minutes uploading large files to the internet, we can now bring you the audio recording of Nick Clegg’s conference speech.

You can play it by scrolling down and clicking the “play in another window” link.

And if you’d like to CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY, you will also find the published text here.

Play
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PODCAST: Nick Clegg Q&A

The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Nick Clegg MP, made himself available for a question and answer session with party members this afternoon, and a packed Oval Hall at Sheffield’s City Hall called in to hear his answers.

Hear him as he talks about Lords reform and tuition fees and takes questions within topic from speakers on the floor.

And did he really forget he was in charge of the country? Find out by clicking the “play in another window” link below.

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Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments

PODCAST: Q&A with Business, Innovation and Skills team

Earlier today, Simon Hughes, Lorely Burt, Vince Cable and Ed Davey joined chair Sal Brinton to answer questions from the audience about post offices, tuition fees, the education maintenance allowance and cutting red tape for small businesses.

You can hear the session in full by clicking the “play in a new window” link below.

Coming up later today: our podcasts of the Nick Clegg Q&A and a recording of our own fringe meeting, which is happening right now.

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Diversity motion passes

Welcome news from the conference floor this afternoon as the party finally votes for a diversity motion without referring it back or dithering further.

There were only a handful of people opposing the motion, led by Sophie Bridger, a candidate in the general election for Glasgow. She said what was proposed was against key Lib Dem values. It would entrench unfair advantage and tokenism. It would undermine the status quo where everyone gets a fair shot. It would even, she said, make a mockery of the selection process.

It sounded familiar to me – and Alistair Carmichael put his finger on …

Posted in Conference | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

EVENT: LDV’s Conference fringe – tonight, 8pm

A final reminder about our conference event here in Sheffield, tonight at 8pm – and with the podcast recording brought to a wider, internet audience as soon after that as possible.

With attempts to control the internet ranging from drastic actions of dictators in the Middle East to democratic debates in the US Congress over an internet ‘kill switch’, and not forgetting the continuing debate over the Digital Economy Act in Britain, The Voice’s fringe meeting tonight at the Liberal Democrat spring conference is looking at who has control over what on the internet:

Who runs the internet? Wikileaks, piracy and censorship

Posted in Conference | 1 Comment

PODCAST: (almost) the full NHS debate

Earlier today we brought you Mark Pack’s live coverage of the two key debates happening this morning in Sheffield, followed by his view of the aftermath.

To amplify that, we can now bring you an almost full recording of the debate. Thrill at procedural niceties! Coo at the applause for Baroness Williams! And bask in the self-righteous glow from delegates that no other party still has debates like this.

Apologies that the recording starts halfway through Paul Burstow’s introductory speech. It took longer than expected for me to wake up and eat breakfast clear security at City Hall.

The …

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Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Is this the first draft of a UK constitution?

The Cabinet Office have published a book they calling the Draft Cabinet Manual.

You can download a PDF of it.

Here’s a bit of churnalism from the press release.

Posted in Parliament | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Telegraph turns on NUS over fees

Today’s Telegraph reports that the NUS would prefer to remove almost all of the hardship grants than charge higher fees.

The Daily Telegraph has seen emails from Mr Porter and his team in which the NUS leadership urged ministers to cut grants and loans as an alternative to raising tuition fees.

In private talks in October, the NUS tried to persuade ministers at the Department for Business to enact their planned 15 per cent cut in higher education funding without lifting the cap on fees.

I’m not sure this is anything other than an exercise in the dark arts on the day …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , and | 16 Comments

LibLink: two pieces in New Statesman

Two pieces in the New Statesman have crossed my desk recently, and I thought I’d pass them on.

First, a quick Q&A with Lib Dem peer Julia Neuberger, including this rather positive outlook:

Are we all doomed?
Absolutely not! Not only are we not doomed, we’ve got a bloody great responsibility to turn things around when we feel as if we are.

Me, I always feel as if the Eco-Apocalypse is just around the corner.

And secondly, David Laws pens a piece in reply to Andrew Adonis’s review of his book.

I am one of those many politicians across all parties who admire Andrew Adonis.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Equal marriage debate features in Pod Delusion

Agressively secularist podcast the Pod Delusion has, since its inception, carried pieces from contributors and former contributors to Lib Dem Voice. Former LDV editor Will Howells has guest-edited the podcast, and appeared in the first three episodes.

Latterly, I’ve started showing up in the occasional episode, holding forth on leaflets, tesco and polling day.

One time friend of t’Voice and party presidential hopeful Jennie Rigg added her distinctive voice with a rant about teenagers (but in a good way) and an interview with Julian Huppert MP.

And on the first birthday of Pod Delusion, both me and Will Howells appeared on a stage together for the first time – both trying to get a serious point across and make people laugh – at Pod Delusion Live. Much fun was had by all. And there was a most entertaining acronym of “atheist”.

So, to this week’s episode, released in the early hours of Friday morning. I took some of our recording of the Equal Marriage debate at Lib Dem conference and chopped it up and made commentary, almost like a real reporter / journalisty thing. Go me. The resultant reportage is cheek by jowl with reports on “Protest the Pope”, phone hacking and a trolling masterclass.

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Not too late to volunteer for multilingual blogging

Last week we posted an initial call for contributors to help Lib Dem Voice celebrate Day of Multilingual Blogging this Sunday.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, do please get in touch with me – [email protected]

Full details are in our original post here.

Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

PODCAST: Cabinet Minister Q&A

Our final podcast from the conference floor was the penultimate session, a Q&A with cabinet ministers Danny Alexander, Chris Huhne, Michael Moore and Vince Cable.

The last session at Lib Dem conference is usually reserved for the Leader’s Speech – but that was not possible this time as Nick Clegg had to fly out to the UN.

It’s quite a shock for Liberal Democrats to get to quizz cabinet ministers, but it’s something they took in their stride with relative ease. This was taped from the reserved press section – and it’s interesting that over a dozen journalists had stayed till this …

Play
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PODCAST: Equal marriage debate

After a brief hiatus during which our podcast host migrated us to an account we hadn’t asked for during our busiest week, we can now bring you, in full, the debate on LGBT marriage from Tuesday’s conference floor.

This debate may not necessarily be of interest to the wider public, but certainly anyone who loves Lib Dem conference will recognise many of the aspects of the debate.

Highlights for me include Dr Evan Harris’s explanation, in the opening minutes of the debate of his stint as the only openly gay Lib Dem MP despite not actually being gay; the Voice’s own Sara …

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Help spread the word about our lunchtime fringe

LibDemVoice are hosting four events at conference – fuller details are available here.

Our final event falls this lunchtime as Mark Pack takes the chair to explore the party’s general election campaign. With Hilary Stephenson, Duncan Hames MP and Paul Holmes.

If you’d like to come along, why not click here to let your twitter friends know.

Posted in Conference and Events | Leave a comment

Contribute to Lib Dem Voice’s coverage of conference

Just a quick reminder that LDV welcomes contributions from all, and none more so than during conference.

Our team is trying to provide a variety of different perspectives of how the conference works, but it is an enormous endeavour, and we welcome pieces from our readers with your experiences of conferences.

Have you been to an interesting fringe you’d like to review? Do you have a different view of what happened in the main hall from how we recorded it here?

You need no experience to submit a piece to the Voice, and neither do you need to have your own blog. …

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  • User AvatarDavid Evans 16th Nov - 12:41pm
    Simply the best leader we ever had.
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 16th Nov - 11:54am
    There is a sinister organisation within the Tory party called the European Reform Group which is presumably coordinating a hatchet job on Mrs May. As...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 16th Nov - 11:28am
    First thought .David Beckets comments should be put on all our focus leaflets!! (If that is ok)
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    On summing up the failures of the Tory and Labour parties today the "I" concludes "A curse on your houses. This country and its people...