Author Archives: Paul Walter

UPDATED: Commons committees’ report says government’s Covid response was “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”

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The “Lessons learnt to date” report has been published by two key House of Commons committees.

It says the government’s early planning was based on a risk assessment that a pandemic would result in 100 deaths and be like flu: “the likelihood of an emerging infectious disease spreading within the UK is assessed to be lower than that of a pandemic flu”.

It lists a catalogue of errors concluding:

…decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic – and the advice

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

News item related to LBC, James O’Brien and the Institute of Economic Affairs

Readers may be interested in the Guardian story entitled “LBC’s James O’Brien wins Ofcom battle with Institute of Economic Affairs“:

The Institute of Economic Affairs has lost a two-year battle with LBC radio presenter James O’Brien over claims the registered charity is a politically motivated lobbying organisation funded by “dark money”.

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PHOTO FEATURE: Chesham and Amersham by-election

It seems timely to show some of the excellent Getty Images which are available, depicting the Chesham and Amersham campaign. Scroll down to view them all or click on them individually to view them within the Getty Images website.

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WATCH: Sarah Green is sworn into Parliament


It was a big occasion yesterday! After an announcement by Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Sir Ed Davey escorts in Sarah Green, who bows three times and then swears the oath of allegiance in English and Welsh. (Sarah is the second consecutive MP for Chesham and Amersham who is Welsh-born). She then signs the register and is congratulated by the Speaker, while a cheer goes up. Wonderful stuff!

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Chesham & Amersham: what the Spectator said on Monday

Nick Tyrone – that’s T-Y-R-O-N-E – concludes the article as follows:

Instead, the Lib Dems will lose on Thursday, most likely fairly badly, and they will have no one to blame but themselves. If they want to get back to being the by-election masters of old, they will have to do a lot better than this.

You can read the full article here: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-lib-dems-are-utterly-lost

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Chesham and Amersham: the swing was 25.1%

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Chesham & Amersham: the fine print result

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Chesham & Amersham: Ed Davey hails huge victory

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Chesham & Amersham election results since the seat was created

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Chesham & Amersham: Sarah Green’s victory speech

In a confident speech earlier this morning, Sarah Green said she was humbled by the faith the people of Chesham and Amersham had placed in her.

Together, we have said enough is enough. We will be heard. And this government will listen.

No matter how safe the seat, you can have a Lib Dem representative.

Sarah had a message for young women. Don’t let people put you down or block your way. You can. You must. You will.

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Chesham & Amersham: This isn’t a dream is it?

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Chesham & Amersham: Video from the count

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Chesham & Amersham: Thank you!

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Chesham & Amersham: That stunning, historic result in full

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Chesham & Amersham: Majority is 8,028!!!!!!!!!!! – ITV news

From ITV News:

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Chesham & Amersham: Congrats Sarah Green MP!!!!!

Let’s just say that this has woken me up!

8K!!!!! I’ll be saying that in my sleep for the next six months!!

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+++++Chesham & Amersham: Lib Dems win the by-election!!

Sky News have just said this.

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Going down to the wire at Chesham & Amersham

Today I again went to Chesham & Amersham to help Sarah Green and team. I helped to deliver targeted letters to residents in Great Missenden and Chalfont Saint Peter.

My task was greatly assisted by my excellent co-deliverers, Baroness (Liz) Barker and Mukta Patil from Chesham & Amersham Young Liberals. They both greatly helped in plotting our various routes and in making the task a great pleasure in the sunshine! The selfie above shows us with our suitably coloured conveyance!

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Sir Nick Clegg lecture: “The end of global internet”

The Shirley Williams Lectures are now getting well into their stride. On Wednesday evening we had the honour of welcoming Nick Clegg direct from Atherton, California USA.

It was the day of Facebook’s AGM, so a busy one for Nick.

I was very impressed by Nick’s lecture, which was delivered flawlessly from notes.

After paying a very warm and heartfelt tribute to Baroness Williams, Nick outlined how he regards 1989 as the key year in his life. The Berlin Wall fell and Tim Berners-Lee invented the Worldwide Web.

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Chesham and Amersham needs YOU

Maddi Crickmay, Liberal Democrat Youth and Student Development Officer and Shrewsbury Councillor Alex Wagner at Amersham party HQ today

I spent today helping Sarah Green‘s campaign at Amersham.

What a great day! I don’t think I have had such a beautiful delivery round since the heady days of Littleborough and Saddleworth in 1995.

Then, I had to walk several miles up to a farmhouse to deliver one leaflet. But it was blazing sunshine and the surroundings were idyllic – so I didn’t mind.

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged and | 3 Comments

How easily we have surrendered our private freedoms….

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On Sunday we had a visit from a relative in the garden at a two metre distance.

On Monday they kindly returned and we hugged several times.

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Tories’ southern “Blue wall” is crumbling

In the Independent today, Daisy Cooper MP says:

The Tory Blue Wall has started crumbling in this election as the Liberal Democrats move forward in Tory former heartlands.

From Cheltenham to Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire to Woking, nowhere is safe for the Tories in their Blue Wall. The age of no-go areas for the Liberal Democrats in traditionally Tory southern cities towns and villages is over.

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Scrapping Vagrancy Act should be part of Queen’s Speech

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Layla Moran has put this very well:

Today it’s still the law for rough sleepers to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of not being able to afford a roof over their head. It’s a moral outrage that a Victorian-era law continues to punish those who desperately need help.

The clock is ticking for this Government. We urgently need a more compassionate and holistic approach to ending homelessness in this country. There is significant cross-party support for the Vagrancy Act to be repealed as

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I love it when a plan comes together

By-elections are funny old things.

In a by-election, the focus on the candidate is huge. Every utterance is monitored and liable to blow up a minefield.

I remember David Rendel, returning to the 1993 Newbury by-election HQ after a long evening’s canvassing. Just outside the entrance he was approached by, ostensibly, a member of the public who wanted to express their support for him. It turned out that they had a microphone stuck up the back of their jacket and were trying to catch David off-guard. Their plan failed. Apart from anything else, David on-the-record was just like David off-the-record!

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Immoral – Conservative MPs are tarnished by association with PM Johnson

Roger Roberts – Lord Roberts of Llandudno – has written a letter to his MP, Robin Millar, as follows:

Dear Robin,

Like many other constituents, especially Christian church members I am deeply disappointed in this government and this prime minister. Whether this attitude is reflected in the coming elections is of little importance, so much of the moral lead necessary in a prime minister cannot be found in Mr Johnson. Your own character is tarnished by association with him. I would welcome a meeting and discussion with you.

Yours faithfully,
ROGER – Lord Roberts of Llandudno

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“Creeping authoritarianism” – Liberal Democrats condemn government’s plan for Covid passports


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Over the weekend, Liberal Democrat MPs have been very busy condemning the government’s plans for Covid passports.
The BBC quoted Ed Davey as accusing the government of “creeping autoritarianism” over the plans, adding:

As we start to get this virus properly under control we should start getting our freedoms back. Vaccine passports – essentially Covid ID cards – take us in the other direction.

Yesterday evening, Ed tweeted:

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The strong Christian grounds for disestablishing the Church of England (as well as the democratic/fairness grounds)

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The Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats held a very interesting fringe meeting at the Spring Conference, entitled “Is it time to disestablish the Church of England?”

I was very pleased to hear from Simon Barrow from the website Ekklesia, which has always struck me as a very progressive-thinking website, with its “roots in Christians social thought” but “vital” partnerships with people of other convictions (both non-religious and religious).

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Confessions of a first time virtual conference speaker – Where’s the bar?

I can’t claim that this is my first Liberal Democrat conference – by a long chalk (snort!). That was back in 1992ish. And I think I made my first conference speech then (or shortly afterwards).

But last night was quite exciting. I attended my first virtual Liberal Democrat conference and made my first virtual conference speech.

I have to say that I was very impressed indeed by the whole set-up. Well done to Geoff Payne and the team for an excellent job putting it on!

It’s just like attending a “terrestial/physical” conference except for the absence of a certain essential facility – of which, more later.

I haven’t spoken at conference for a while. In fact, I think the last time I spoke was in 2013 when we rejected the idea of an automatic block on internet pornography.

Posted in Conference, Humour and Op-eds | Tagged | 4 Comments

Ed leads Lib Dems back onto the streets

As stated on the Lib Dem website, yesterday was a major milestone for leaflet delivery and canvassing in England:

Delivery of leaflets by members and volunteers
Applicability: England from 8th March, Scotland from 15th March, Wales tbc

Volunteer delivery is permitted and has been risk-assessed. Volunteer delivery should be organised in line with the agreed party protocols, which can be found here on the Campaign Hub (Sign up here for access to the Hub).

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Post Brexit trade – a refreshing British-Austrian perspective from an experienced UK industrialist

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Last night’s Shirley Williams Lecture (SWL) was really enlightening but also quite scary.

The speaker was Juergen Maier CBE, described as follows on the SWL website:

One of the UK’s leading industrialists and business thinkers, Juergen Maier rose to prominence as the Chief Executive of Siemens UK. A regular on Question Time and a Board Member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Juergen has been outspoken on major issues such as Brexit, Industrial Strategy and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Posted in Speeches | Tagged , , and | 15 Comments
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