Author Archives: Paul Fisher

Reformation – without a security and defence policy the Lib Dems are toast

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Uncomfortable as it is for people of a liberal and democratic disposition to face the harsh realities of a rough and tumble world, the government must deal with the bully who disregards the norms of international rule-based peaceful co-existence. The same applies within the nation-state; it is the government which polices the law of the land and in both cases is there to provide the secure infrastructure which supports the well-being of the citizen and society.

In a globalised world, how on earth (literally) as liberals can we perpetuate the emotive implication of them and us? Citizens everywhere belong to the global village, and we need to contribute to the policing of the village rules for co-existence. As a nation-state, we should focus on our contribution outside, or external to, our part of our village.

From an international standpoint, and we are internationalist, aren’t we? The first sacred cow which has to be scrapped is the concept of foreign policy with its implicit narrative of “foreigners”. The second sacred cow for slaughter is to replace the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with a Ministry of External Affairs. Oh dear, I see the massacre turning into a blood bath!

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Is Britain overplaying its hand with its proposal to deploy a new aircraft carrier in the Far East?

Military chiefs plan to send HMS Queen Elizabeth to the region after it enters service next year, and is expected to conduct exercises with allies in the region where China lays claim to the disputed South China Sea.

“How many countries take seriously the UK’s military strength right now? Britain needs a realistic view of itself instead of biting off more than it can chew,” wrote Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, in the Global Times, a party-run newspaper.

He said that the purpose of the deployment made little strategic difference to Beijing and was designed instead as a political sop to the US. He added that China’s advances meant that it could no longer be bullied militarily as it was in the Opium Wars of the 19th century, during which Hong Kong was ceded to Britain.

“It should know its limitations before attempting to strong-arm China, which is no longer a weak military country to be bullied as it was during the Opium War.”The South China Sea, which Beijing claims as its own, is rich in resources and vital to international shipping. China has reclaimed atolls and militarised several islands in recent years despite competing competing claims to sovereignty by at least six Asian governments to parts of the territory.

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Oblivion: The LibDems

In the English collective memory Covid-19 and Brexit are pre-eminent. Further away, we have had Suez and Dunkirk. Etched deeper into the English psyche is the Somme and Gallipoli. In the mists of time, buccaneering adventurism marked the first Elizabethan age which set the beginnings of an Empire. This has entrenched the view that this plucky little offshore island can see off all-comers with a game of bowls and a hopeless cavalry charge.

Meanwhile, back in the real world the evidence paints a very different narrative! Let’s just recall that Henry VIII had just severed English ties with the predominant …

Posted in Op-eds | 31 Comments

No vision

‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. The Lib Dems did not communicate a positive vision to the electorate because we have not created that vision for ourselves. Vision is derived from values and without a vision there is no plan. Our manifesto was wishy washy; no ifs, no buts, we failed to “Get it Done” and hence the General Election result.  Here are some ideas for debate. We need a Lib Dem vision and thereby a radical and progressive agenda.

  1. The Athenian leader Cleisthenes (507 BC) introduced demokratia, or “rule by the people”. Europe, its birthplace, and now, in the 21st century, the European Union (EU) embodies democracy. We need to resume our place at the heart of a flourishing EU to underpin the sovereignty of the citizen, underpinned by a common currency, universal security and democratic government which can ensure peace and security for our society.
  2. At the heart of global trade is money and that monetary system is out of control and injurious to humanity; it is not fit for purpose and must be reformed. The cause stems from the privilege enjoyed by private banking to create money from nothing in the form of demand deposits and lending it at interest. The solution is to correct the system by moving money creation to a public body working on behalf of citizens. A sound monetary system will underpin fair trade and thus ensure equality, liberty and freedom for citizens.
  3. Well-being is at the centre of individual and community health, happiness, and prosperity. Well-being pivots on the self worth of the individual citizens and their communities and is the foundation of an egalitarian society underscored by universal education and health care provision.
  4. There is limitless potential in the application of new technologies where advances in medicine, communications, power generation and food production can be exploited. We must rebuild our physical infrastructure. Cybernetics will be at the heart of this transformation. The purpose of technology is to free people from repetitive and boring jobs enabling them to become self fulfilled human beings.
  5. The long history of democracy and law enshrined in a written constitution is the underpinning of Human Rights. The Cyrus Cylinder (539 BC – religious freedom and racial equality), the Magna Carta (1215 – equality before the law), the First Geneva Convention (1864 – law of armed conflict), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Ruggie Principles (2008 Human rights in the international private sector) all provide the basis for a written constitutional and electoral reform necessary to become a 21st century democracy.
  6. Ours is the first generation to properly understand the damage we have been doing to the planet and probably the last generation with the chance to do something about it. Our divisive and degenerative behaviour undermines households, the commons, the marketplace and the state. It needs to be replaced with a sustainable distributive and regenerative model whereby we husband our planet so that we cannot only survive but thrive.
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Democracy in the Liberal Democrat family

Liberal Democrats are agreed on equality and democracy, right? We all assume that this so. I am reminded of the old adage that to ‘assume’ can sometimes ‘make an ass of you and me’ (ass-u-me)!

In the run up to the European Parliamentary Elections in April 2019, we went through the procedure for the selection of our candidates for each European Parliamentary Constituency and, as expected, Party HQ sent out emails informing all the Membership of the process for these elections. Good so far? Many LibDem members living outside the UK were registered and eligible to vote in these European Parliamentary …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 4 Comments

Citizenship – a human right

It is Liberal Democrat Party policy to bring forward legislation to create overseas constituencies and votes for life for the British diaspora abroad. The Election Manifestos of 2017 and 2019 are explicit on this matter. Currently, British citizens living outside the UK loose their right to vote in Parliamentary elections and referenda after 15 years of absence; their enfranchisement ceases. After BREXIT, Britons living in the European Union will loose their local voting rights (European Parliamentary and Municipal Elections) and as they pass the 15 year threshold, they become completely disenfranchised for life. Is this democratic? No, this is an …

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Recent Comments

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    The Scottish Highlands is one of those places where electoral success depends strongly on personal popularity, and ideology is a lesser consideration. If this A...
  • David Evans
    Kit, I sad to have to contradict you, but there is evidence. You seem to be choosing to ignore it and that is a concern. All the best, David...
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    Correction: Michael BG's important article on how deep poverty could be ended by 2029 was of course posted here in October 2023, not 2013; the reference I gave ...
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    Bit worried that Angus MacDonald openly identifies himself as economically right wing on the highland lib dems website, how's that going to go down in such a po...
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