Author Archives: Paul Rowen

Opinion: We need discipline and compromise from both leadership and members

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsLast week’s local and European elections were truly awful.

Those of us who joined the Liberal Party back in the dark days of the 1970s remember the many false dawns and disappointments that followed local and General Elections.

We built our base bite by bite from the bottom up and fighting Labour it was tooth and nail.

The loss of all our Councillors in Manchester or seeing Liverpool reduced to just three Councillors or in my own Rochdale where we have gone from 33 to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 54 Comments

Opinion: The National Rail Conference and the strategic case for HS2

HS2The last few months have not been easy for supporters of HS2. Attending a meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in September I was taken aback at the rising level of opposition to this keynote Coalition Project.

The opportunity therefore to attend the National Rail Conference at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on the day that the Department for Transport published it Strategic Case for HS2 provided an opportunity to hear first-hand why this project was so important.

Though generally supportive for the principle of HS2 as “good for the north” …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 33 Comments

Opinion: National Citizen Service – value for money?

Throughout the summer holidays up to 13,000 16 to 17 year olds across England and Wales will be taking part in the second year pilot of the National Citizen Service.

This is the Coalition government’s flagship youth development programme described by David Cameron as: “A kind of non-military national service. It’s going to mix young people from different backgrounds……Above all its going to inspire a generation of young people … what they can achieve and how they can be part of the Big Society.”

The scheme is a three week programme in which young people spend the first two weeks living away …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Lessons from the Rochdale sex abuse scandal

There are painful lessons from the Rochdale sex abuse scandal for those of us from Rochdale who are concerned about the welfare of looked-after children or good community relations.

We need to have a full and frank discussion, unafraid of the strictures of the politically correct brigade or the far right.

While it is definitely not a religious issue the attitude of a significant percentage of men from a South Asian background towards women is a matter of serious concern that needs addressing.

I say women in general, rather than an attitude to white women in particular, because my case load regularly dealt …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Green light for Light Rail

Six years ago amid a huge amount of controversy, the then Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced the scraping of several “tram schemes” designed to serve Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Hampshire. In doing so he effectively scrapped plans outlined by the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for a network of 30 Light Rail schemes to serve our major conurbations. The reason – escalating costs.

Light Rail was deemed too expensive in this country compared to costs on the continent.

Despite a subsequent report from the Transport Select Committee on what could be done to reduce costs little was done by the Department …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Tackling violence against women

The conference motion “Tackling Violence Against Women” rightly highlighted the fact that only 10% of local authorities offer dedicated services for Black and Ethnic Minority Women many of whom are subjected to specific forms of violence such as female mutilation and forced marriage.

In areas like Rochdale with a large Pakistani/Kashmiri and Bangladeshi community, the need for such services and support is very real. This is particularly the case when the arranged marriage involves someone from the Indian sub-continent and the marriage breaks down within two years.

Under our current immigration system these women (and some men) are subject to the NRPF …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments
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