Author Archives: Paul Walter

Is it safe to come out now?

Embed from Getty Images

With the certification of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes yesterday, Donald Trump finally bowed to the inevitable and signalled his administration to co-operate with the incoming transitional team of Joe Biden.

No concession though, you’ll note.

John T Bennett, Washington Bureau chief of the Independent writes today:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

A stunning speech from Joe Biden

Posted in LDVUSA | Tagged | 9 Comments

Biden on course to win

Embed from Getty Images

On your behalf, I have been carefully watching the US results as they come in.

It seems highly likely that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States of America.

He’s already flipped Arizona, the Nebraskan 2nd District and Wisconsin.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 12 Comments

Trump’s claim of electoral fraud – “historic and historically awful”

Embed from Getty Images

I’ve managed to get a good bit of sleep.

There are hopeful signs that Joe Biden has a path to win the US election, but we’ll have to be patient while the votes are counted. There are already hopeful signs from Arizona and Nebraska’s second district. I have also seen results from Wisconsin’s Dane County which are encouraging.

Just a few minutes ago I witnessed one of the most insane and disgraceful events in American political history.

Posted in News | 24 Comments

OPEN THREAD: Discussion of US election results as they come in

Paul writes..


Please use the comments thread below to discuss the US election results as they come in.

Here are a few links which may help you get your head round what to expect and when to expect it:

FiveThirtyEight has an excellent guide to the timings of the vote counts. Bear in mind that there are vastly more postal votes than usual this time. So results in some key states will not be available on election night.

Posted in LDVUSA | Tagged | 30 Comments

A few pointers for tonight’s American fun

Embed from Getty Images

We’ll be maintaining an open thread for discussion of the US Election results tonight. It will open at 11pm tonight.

Here are a few links which may help you get your head round what to expect and when to expect it:

FiveThirtyEight has an excellent guide to the timings of the vote counts. Bear in mind that there are vastly more postal votes than usual this time. So results in some key states will not be available on election night.

Posted in LDVUSA | Tagged | 7 Comments

Election USA: Brace yourself for delay, frustration and confusion

Embed from Getty Images

Those of a nervous disposition look away now.


-That could well be the headline you wake up to on Wednesday morning.

Donald Trump is preparing a podium to walk up to and say that he has won the US Presidential election, after a few votes are counted in swing states.

And he may well have some evidence to support him, to a small extent.

The way the votes are being cast in the USA, and the ways in which they will be counted, verified and challenged, is like no other American election.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Firms overlook the importance of nurturing young staff in the office at their peril

It was encouraging to read this report from the Guardian. A survey has shown that COVID-19 has changed attitudes to home working for the long term.

This is very good news. A healthy element of home working is good for the mental health of workers, saves on carbon emissions and reduces transport snafus.

But I am glad that the Guardian report has put the emphasis on a blended approach. That is, a mixture of home and office working.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

How you can help Liberal Democrat Voice

The Voice is only a success because of the interest and support from our readers. For many people just lurking and reading the site is all they want to do – and that’s fine, we’re grateful for people taking the time to read the site.

You can though help us continue to produce interesting content for a growing audience. Here are four simple ways:

Posted in Site news | 4 Comments

Reflections on the Internal Market Bill and Boris Johnson’s cooking skills

The genesis of the “law breaking” part of the Internal Market Bill can be traced back to Theresa May’s actions as PM. The following words were said to Theresa May at the time by Sir Ivan Rogers, former British Ambassador to the EU. He reported his statement to her to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons:

You have made three commitments in good faith to different audiences, but they are not really compatible with each other.

You have said to the Irish… under no circumstances will a hard border be erected across the island of Ireland.

You have said to the Democratic Unionist community that under no circumstances will there be divergence from the rest of Great Britain.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 51 Comments

Ed gets his listening tour off to a great start by dishing out fish and chips

Embed from Getty Images

Paddy did a listening tour back in the early 1990s. Because it was Paddy, it was very sleeves-rolled-up, get-stuck-in. And, of course, typical Paddy as well, he wrote a book about it.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Dawn Butler incident – hopefully this will lead to review and change in the Met Police

Embed from Getty Images

I have been very impressed by the calm and fair way that Dawn Butler MP has dealt with the police stop incident on Sunday. She has been very specific about the particular behaviour she is criticising.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Leadership election ballots hit doormats and inboxes

Leadership email and paper ballots have been going out over the last 24 hours.

Party members have until 1pm on Wednesday 26th August to place “1” or “2” or “blank” against the names of (listed alphabetically) Ed Davey and Layla Moran, or to abstain.

I received my email this morning from Alan Masters, the returning officer. The email included a unique number which I should use to place my vote.

It included the following links for those who are yet to decide:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Register now for our first online conference!

Members are just receiving an invitation to register for the first Liberal Democrat online Autumn Conference, being held from 25th-28th September 2020.

The email from Geoff Payne, chair of the Conference Committee is as follows, minus my membership number (if you’ll forgive me!):

It’s official: Registration is now open for our first-ever online conference!

You’ll need your membership number.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 2 Comments

100% face masks in English shops on Friday? They’re having a laugh…..

Embed from Getty Images

We’re sailing breezily towards Friday when, suddenly, everybody is meant to be wearing face masks in shops.

It’s not going to happen.

I see hardly any face masks being worn out at the moment.

To expect a sudden pivot on Friday is just ridiculous.

The police aren’t going to enforce the rule to any significant extent.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 130 Comments

Every so often, it’s worth having a look at this table…

OK, I know that countries have very different ways of reporting deaths from Covid-19.

But this table, from Worldometer (excluding a couple of micro-states), gives us some idea how the UK is doing in terms of Covid-19 deaths per million of population.


We are second in the world for the rate of deaths, after Belgium.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 68 Comments

I went to the pub…light the blue touchpaper and stand well back

Embed from Getty Images

I figured that last weekend would be a bit crowded in pubs, so I reserved time in my (not-so)busy diary to visit the pub yesterday. Monday is the new Saturday.

All went well. The pub I visited seem to have lots of measures in place, and well-trained staff.

I enjoyed an excellent couple of pints of a local brew (Loddon Brewery’s Citra-Quad, since you ask). I had a meal which was obviously well-familiar with the inside of a microwave but still, as they used to say, “filled a hole”.

So far, so uncontroversial.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 32 Comments

+++Wera Hobhouse pulls out of party leadership race

This was tweeted by Wera Hobhouse a few minutes ago:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 42 Comments

My heart leapt for joy when I saw that statue chucked into Bristol harbour

Embed from Getty Images

Sunday’s event in Bristol was exceptional.

I am not going to be mealy-mouthed about it.

My heart leapt for joy when I saw that damned statue unceremoniously chucked into the harbour.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 69 Comments

If we, as a nation, do not now properly fund the NHS, all our clapping will look like deep hypocrisy

Embed from Getty Images

I’m an enthusiastic Thursday 8pm clapper. The NHS and key workers deserve it. And its good to see our neighbours more than usual.

But there comes a point when one has to ask: Well, do we keep on clapping every Thursday or actually show our support for the NHS and Care Homes where it counts – through our bank accounts?

Time and time again, over the last seventy years, the public have rejected greater public spending including for the NHS. Just a whisper of an income tax rise has been enough, in most cases, to ring the death knell on the chances of a party coming to power. Time and time again, governments have kicked the ball of proper public funding of elderly care into the long grass.

Posted in News | 83 Comments

“An accident waiting to happen” – comprehensive, astute and blunt panel report on the 2019 elections

Embed from Getty Images

Over the weekend, I have been thoroughly reading, and inwardly digesting, the 61 page panel report on the 2019 elections.

I started making notes of passages which would make good quotes for this article. But my list was soon very long. Pulling out pithy quotes turned out to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 56 Comments

+++Output from General Election review expected on Friday

Embed from Getty Images

It is understood that output from the party’s General Election 2019 Review panel will be published this coming Friday.

Posted in News | 39 Comments

On pandemics and health, we need to look to South Korea – Phil Hammond “MD” in Private Eye

Dr Phil Hammond
Dr Phil Hammond

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, the “MD” column, written by Dr Phil Hammond, in Private Eye has provided a refreshingly astute and wise commentary on the crisis.

The latest issue of Private Eye is out now. I have recently subscribed to it, so I receive my copy without leaving home. Sheer luxury! (As an aside, someone once asked me to name the thing or service which I had bought or used for the longest period in my life. I came up with Lloyds Bank and Private Eye, of both of which I have been a customer since I was 17 years old. Some 43 years. Crikey – that makes me feel old.)

MD’s latest commentary covers two pages and is very interesting, as always.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Covid-19 five tests: By sleight of hand, the government seems to be trying to remove the spotlight from testing and PPE issues

Embed from Getty Images

You would have thought that the government’s five tests for moderating the lockdown have stayed the same, wouldn’t you?

Well, think again.

Comparing Dominic Raab’s reading of the five tests on Tuesday with his original announcement of them on April 16th, there is at least one significant difference:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 12 Comments

Should we be taking population density into account when comparing countries on Covid-19?

Embed from Getty Images

May I first offer my sincere sympathy to all those who have been directly affected by Covid-19 through their own illness or through loss or illness of loved ones. This is a truly terrible illness and my heart goes out to all those who have suffered, as well as the many NHS, care and key workers who have put their life on the line to help others.

One of the horrible sides of the pandemic is that it is often reduced to slides of statistics. When reducing thousands of individual tragedies of people’s lives cut cruelly short to graphs, it is terribly superficial. So I apologise for writing a post about the numbers. Behind every fatality there is the story of a beloved human being leaving behind grieving loved ones.

I suspect it will be many years before the full picture of this pandemic and our (human beings’) handling of it becomes clear.

When comparing countries, it seems now that poor old Belgium is top of the list of Covid-19 death rates. (Originally it was the USA, based on sheer absolute figures, which was a bit bonkers given the size of the country).

However, even though it is many moons ago, I remember the odd school geography lesson telling us that the Low Countries have a very high population density. So, surely the disease is bound to spread more quickly when the population is much closer to each other.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

Do we need to be careful about “Liberal Drinks”?

Embed from Getty Images

I wonder if anyone has had a think about “Liberal Drinks” and, in particular, about the impact of meeting up over drinks (or, these days, “virtual drinks”). Is it possible that this puts off some people from becoming more involved in the party?

Of course, “drinks” can mean non-alcoholic drinks. But the implication is that “drinks” means alcoholic drinks. This is underlined by such events normally being in pubs.

I’m not asking for such events to be curtailed.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 18 Comments

Fresh police guidance says that it’s OK to drive a reasonable distance for exercise

Embed from Getty Images

Following on from a couple of posts here about policing the Covid-19 restrictions, the police have been issued with fresh guidance on the matter, as reported by the Guardian:

Police chiefs have told officers that people should not be punished for driving a reasonable distance to exercise, and that blanket checks were disproportionate, in a bid to quell a row about heavy-handed enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown.

Amid anger at some forces setting up checkpoints and using drones to target people visiting rural beauty spots, the guidance reissued and updated late on Tuesday aims to forge more consistency across 44 forces in England and Wales.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 35 Comments

On thing we did really well for the 2019 general election – raising shedloads of dosh

Embed from Getty Images

There is nothing quite as wonderful as money.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash.
Some people say it’s folly,
But I’d rather have the lolly.
With money you can make a splash.

Eric Idle (Monty Python), “The Money Song

If you haven’t already done so, it is worth having a look at the Electoral Commission’s reports of Q4 donations to the political parties.

The Liberal Democrat report is particularly fascinating.

Between 1 October and 31 December 2019, the party received donations totalling ÂŁ13,372,664 from 433 donors. That is more than the Labour party received in the same period.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

How should we interpret the official advice as to whether a short drive to a walk is permissable?

Footpath Stile - - 244071

West Berkshire Liberal Democrat Councillor Tony Vickers has written the following on a public Coronavirus Facebook group:

I would contest the advice of TVP (Thames Valley Police). Where do these Regulations say anything about not using a car or limiting the distance one can travel to take exercise?

…There is some confusion about how to interpret the official advice on staying at home when it comes to one of the four allowed exceptions : to “do one form of exercise”. As the Council’s appointee on the Local Access Forum (LAF), which has a statutory duty to advise all public bodies on access to the countryside, I am personally interpreting this as follows. This advice only applies to people feeling well and with no special risk factors.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 34 Comments

In a liberal society, should police be using roadblocks and drones to enforce the virus lockdown?

Embed from Getty Images

The Guardian reports that the police are using roadblocks and drones to enforce the virus lockdown:

Derbyshire police tweeted drone footage taken near Curbar Edge, in the Peak District, and said they had checked the numberplates of vehicles in the car park and found that some cars were registered to addresses in Sheffield, a 30-minute drive away.

…In North Yorkshire, police said they would set up checkpoints to determine if drivers’ journeys were essential. The move was being introduced to ensure motorists are complying with government restrictions, North Yorkshire police said.

Officers will be stopping vehicles and asking motorists where they are going, why they are going there, and reminding them of the message to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” the force said in a statement. The checkpoints will be unannounced and could be anywhere across the county.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 57 Comments

Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.