Author Archives: Paul Head

Paul Head is a Lib Dem member in Haringey.

Opinion: Time to deliver on safe standing

Saudi football supporterAt Autumn Conference in 2008, the Liberal Democrats passed a motion backing proposals to change the regulations that prevent football stadiums in the Championship and Premier League from providing ‘safe-standing’ areas. The motion called for the Government to:

Replace any regulations requiring spectators to be seated with new regulations clearly setting out standards under which a safe standing area may be licensed.


Direct the Football Licensing Authority to prepare suitable guidance under which domestic football clubs, working with their supporters, may introduce safe standing areas.

Fast forward to 2014 and those regulations, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: Football, Freedom of Speech and the Y-word

spurs yid armyIn the last few days, the Crown Prosecution Service has taken the decision to charge three Tottenham Hotspur supporters with “using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour”. The charges relate to the use of the word “Yid” by the fans.

The decision to charge the fans should be a cause of major concern to anyone who values freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

For those unaware of the history and context behind the use of the word by Spurs fans, it’s worth a quick …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 26 Comments

Opinion: Is watching football a crime?

London police. Photo courtesy of Louis Kreusel on FlickrBack in March I wrote about the draconian policing methods being employed against Hull City fans. It’s more than a little depressing that, just a few weeks later, another set of football fans have had their civil liberties attacked.

This time it’s Brighton and Hove Albion supporters who were the target of unnecessary and heavy handed restrictions that should send a shudder down the spine of any liberal.

Brighton fans who attended the Play-off match against Crystal Palace were required to carry a separate document which confirmed their identity, and agree to hand over their ticket and identity document for examination by a police officer or steward at the stadium or en route to or from the stadium.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 18 Comments

Opinion: It’s time to burst the football fans’ ‘bubble’

policeThe travel arrangements for Hull City fans wanting to attend their team’s away trip to Huddersfield later this month probably haven’t caught the attention of too many Lib Dem Voice readers. And why should they?

Here’s why.

West Yorkshire Police (WYP) have decided to make the game a “bubble” match. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular policing tactic, it involves forcing all fans to travel on designated coaches, from specific pick up points, to and from the game. If fans want to make their own way to the game, …

Posted in Op-eds | 37 Comments

Opinion: “Too male and too pale” – Why shortlists and the Leadership Programme are not the answer

The problem of our Parliamentary Party being “too male and too pale” was brought up again at conference and I couldn’t help leaving with the feeling that we are edging towards another fight over whether we should introduce more proactive methods to help combat the chronic under representation of women and ethnic minorities among our MPs.

I was most struck when Paddy Ashdown, during the Guardian debate, seemed to shift from his previously held position and advocate the introduction of shortlists or “zipping” if the current leadership programme failed to make any significant impact.

I am completely opposed to the introduction …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Recent Comments

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    All good news. My Local Party is fighting a Kent County Council by-election in Willmington (north west Kent - near Dartford and easily accessible from London...
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    Might a necessary factor in considering the quality of a democracy be equity of wealth? How real is our democracy when 31% of our children go hungry, week afte...
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    Good summary from William Francis. Have you read Keith Middlemass's series? They're a bit dated, but very interesting....
  • John Grout
    We should not be surprised that people who are the subjects of a debate want to be part of it - it’s also not unsurprising that they won’t want to debate, p...
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    @Simon McGrath But that's not the whole story. The government can set the redistribution rules in an effort to tilt the system in their favour. For instance ...