Author Archives: Paul Walter

“Vote Leave broke electoral law” – EU referendum needs to be annulled and re-run

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I’m sure readers can think of examples where election results have been declared invalid by the courts and had to be re-run.

The classic example was the 1997 Winchester election. At the general election, the returning officer declared Mark Oaten the winner by two votes. The court accepted the former Tory MP’s case that the failure by the returning officer’s staff to stamp 55 ballot papers with an official mark, leading to their rejection, cost him a win – also by two votes.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 42 Comments

++Lib Dems gain from Tories in Southwold and Reydon

Congratulations to David Beavan and team on a stunning win in Southwold and Reydon.

This was a by-election for Waveney council caused by the sad death of Conservative councillor Sue Allen.

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | 12 Comments

A dose of reality in the heart of one of the states that swung it for Trump in 2016

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Last year I had the privilege of boarding the Amtrak Hiawatha special from Chicago, Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to enjoy a visit to friends there. “Don’t mention politics” warned my host beforehand “My husband voted for Trump”. A lovely time ensued with only a tangential mention of Bernie Sanders, followed by a hasty subject change onto the safe topic of the excellence of Milwaukee’s many and varied beers.

But, of course, my host’s husband was not alone in Wisconsin. Whereas Obama won the Badger State by a handsome 205,204 votes in 2012, Clinton lost its ten juicy electoral college seats to Trump by 22,748 votes.

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

Theresa May – the Tories’ Harold Wilson?

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Mark Pack recently tweeted:


It is a very interesting parallel.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Wera Hobhouse slams lone Tory MP for pointlessly sabotaging “upskirting” bill

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has slammed an ‘out of touch’ Tory for sabotaging her Bill to make upskirting a specific sexual offence today.

Having secured the Government’s support for her Bill to make upskirting a specific offence, it was expected to pass through the House of Commons today. The Bill comes off the back of Gina Martin’s campaign, which she started after falling victim to the crime last summer.

However, in a shocking move Tory MP Christopher Chope, known for objecting to the second reading of the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill, defied the Government and Number 10 by opposing the Bill, preventing it from proceeding to the next stage.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Lib Dems wins three seats on Southwark Borough Council in delayed election


Many congratulations to Humaira Ali, William Houngbo and Damian O’Brien on being elected to Southwark Borough Council in the new London Bridge & West Bermondsey Ward. This election yesterday was delayed from 3rd May following the sad death of Conservative candidate Toby Eckersley. Well done to the local Southwark team on achieving this great result while also helping in our very strong showing in the Lewisham East by-election. This result means that, overall in Southwark, we made a net gain in seats for this year’s elections.

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

Paddy rallies the troops at Lewisham

It was great to spend a day campaigning for Lucy Salek in Lewisham East yesterday. It was my second time helping the campaign, greatly assisted by an off-peak Travelcard, which allowed fulsome use of the train, tube and bus. Tragically, there was a fatal incident on the line yesterday around Hither Green and Lee stations, meaning that I ended up, to my surprise, in New Eltham, at one point.

Anyway, our enormous HQ was brimming with volunteers all day. A hive of industry. There were people there from as far afield as Falmouth. It was particularly good to join in the traditional Blue envelope addressing work!

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Time to back the Communication Workers Union campaign to outlaw low level letter boxes


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We can afford to laugh about it. You’re delivering 200 Focii, and you come upon a floor level postbox. Oh dear. Do you kneel? Do you stoop down? Stooping down brings the blood to one’s head and risks back pain. I have about 40 floor level letter boxes on one of my delivery rounds. I usually need an extra shredded wheat in the morning before I do that round.

But there is no reason why new houses and flats should be built with low level letter boxes. British Standard BS EN13724 on mailboxes(which reflects the EU standard) says:

The height of the lowest mailbox aperture should be no lower than 700mm from delivery floor level and the height of the highest mailbox aperture be no higher than 1700mm from delivery floor level. Special circumstances allow aperture heights to be between 400mm and 1800mm from delivery floor level.

Posted in News | 18 Comments

How the government tried to win hearts and minds during the Northern Ireland troubles


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Available for the next 17 days on BBC iPlayer, there’s a very interesting documentary produced by BBC Northern Ireland. It chronicles the public service television adverts that were commissioned by the Northern Ireland office between 1988 and 1998.

Posted in TV and film | Tagged | 3 Comments

UK participation in Eurovision 2019 in Israel would condone “outrageous human rights violations”

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I’m just back from Lisbon where I was lucky enough to have a stageside position for the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday. Apart from a nasty stage invasion during Surie’s performance (with which she dealt brilliantly), the whole thing went without a hitch.

Portugal were Eurovision Song Contest entrants for 53 years before they won it in 2017. As a result, they were desperate to welcome everybody to their country and to put on a fantastic experience. That they did. Apart from anything else, Lisbon must have been the most LGBT+ friendly capital city in the world during the last week or so.

This was a “bucket list” trip for me. A one-off. Any temptation to become an annual Eurovision camp follower was cut short with the prospect of a 2019 contest in Israel.

From a musical point of view, Israel deserved to win last Saturday. The scoring system is, nowadays, fairly balanced between national juries and the vote of viewers throughout the 42 participating countries. So, they won fair and square.

On Sunday I was resolved to resist any 2019 Eurovision trip to Israel. While I might one day tour Palestine, Israel and Jordan as a triplet itinerary, visiting specifically Israel for Eurovision would feel like condoning injustice.

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

Dr Michael Thrasher: “The Lib Dems have a strong basis for saying they are back.”


Dr Michael Thrasher has said on Sky News:

You would have to say the Lib Dems have done well.. The Lib Dems have a strong basis for saying they are back.

Hat-tip: Commenter, Michael1.


Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

+++We’re now up 75 seats and four councils!




From the BBC summary at 18:21 with 149 of 150 councils declared:
Labour 2296 up 55
Tories 1330 down 26
Lib Dems 536 up 75
Greens 39 up 8
UKIP 3 down 123
Others 142 up 11

We have gained control of Richmond, Kingston, Three Rivers and South Cambridgeshire and won the Mayoralty of Watford.

Posted in News | Tagged | 17 Comments

+++Lib Dems gain control of Kingston!



As intimated in my earlier post, it has now been confirmed that the Lib Dems have taken control of Kingston from the Tories – we won 39 seats to their 9!


Posted in News | Tagged | 6 Comments

+++Lib Dems gain control of Kingston

As intimated in my earlier post, it has now been confirmed that the Lib Dems have taken control of Kingston from the Tories – we won 39 seats to their 9!

As we reported earlier, we have also taken control of Three Rivers, South Cambridgeshire and Richmond.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

+++ We’re now 76 seats up


The BBC now have these results after 146/150 councils declared:

Labour 2239 seats – up 58
Conservative 1319 seats – down 21 (no wonder they got their celebration in early)
Liberal Democrats 516 seats – up 69
Greens 35 seats – up 5
UKIP 3 seats – down 123
Other 142 seats – up 12

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Last night it looked good, today it’s not looking bad either :-)


The BBC summarises the local election results so far as follows:

Labour 1837 seats – up 58
Conservative 1230 seats – up 7
Liberal Democrats 444 seats – up 49
Greens 34 seats – up 5
UKIP 3 seats – down 121
Other 142 seats – up 16

Posted in News | Tagged | 9 Comments

Christine Jardine MP: Last week’s Commons debate confirms natural majority for the customs union


From the back of an agricultural vehicle used to transport shooters, Christine Jardine MP addresses the gathered throng in a barn in South Fawley, North Berkshire

Well, it was certainly a venue to remember. Yesterday, deep in the North Berkshire countryside, in a barn on a farm in South Fawley, local people gathered to hear Christine Jardine MP, who had driven all the way from Edinburgh for the occasion. In order to project her voice over the seated audience, Christine mounted the back of handy large agricultural vehicle. She said she felt a bit like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who famously addressed campaign crowds from the back of a train. (And yes, we know – “Jumping on the bandwagon…” – we got there before you).

Judith Bunting hosted the event, which was entitled “The Power of Creativity and Brexit“.

Posted in Speeches | 4 Comments

Brexit: No cake, but let’s welcome the prospect of a nice big bit of fudge!

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Along, I’m sure, with many LDV readers, I’ve read hundreds of articles on the subject of Brexit over the last couple of years.

But one piece of writing has finally encapsulated a precise sensible solution to the whole sordid, messy business.

David Shariatmadari is a writer and editor for the Guardian in London. In a post yesterday entitled “On Brexit, the views of the 48% must be respected too. That’s democracy”, he argued that:

Given that the UK is split, it’s only fair if the government delivers ‘Brexit in name only’, as is looking increasingly likely.

After explaining that the Irish impasse will probably lead to the UK “both in a customs union and closely, if not entirely, aligned with the single market”, he concludes:

Posted in Op-eds | 50 Comments

+++Three Lib Dem by-election gains from the Tories tonight


We’ve been live posting some of the results tonight but here are the headlines:

The Liberal Democrats have picked up three seats from the Tories in today’s by-election results:

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Thatcham West by-election results – Live post to be updated as the results come in

There were two by-elections in Thatcham West, Berkshire today.One was for West Berkshire Council, caused by the disqualification due to non-attendance of a Conservative councillor. The councillor in question also resigned from Thatcham Town Council causing a second by-election on the same day.

Here’s the turnout numbers from West Berkshire Council:

This post will be updated as the results come in.

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++Stunning win for Dr Kate O’Kelly in Chichester and two other encouraging first-time performances in yesterday’s by-elections


Many congratulations to Dr Kate O’Kelly and the team for a superb win in the Rogate by-election for Chichester District Council yesterday! This was the first time that the Lib Dems have contested this seat in eleven years, and my goodness what a stunning performance going from zero to 55.8% of the vote!

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | 17 Comments

We’ve given an eye-wateringly broad “Snoopers’ Charter” to big corporations


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As Lib Dems we have campaigned long and hard for curbs on the government’s power to snoop on our internet data.

Yet, most of us (not all) have personally given an eye-wateringly broad “Snoopers’ Charter” to big corporations – namely Facebook and Google.

I know, I have checked on my data held by Facebook and Google. You can do it too. Facebook had all my photos, posts, friends etc etc going back to February 2007. The data was 354 megabytes in size. That’s equivalent to 71 copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 12 Comments

Vince explains his ‘blue, white and pink’ remark

Vince Cable was on robust form this morning, being interviewed by John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today programme. He commented on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s statement that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” regarding the country’s deficit.

Vince acknowledged that the government is roughly in balance on its day-to-day spending. He said, however, that the government would be very foolish to assume that they have turned the corner and that there’s no need to worry about the country’s finances. He added that the government should take advantage of its low lending rate to invest in the economy.

Vince explained his speech in Southport yesterday. Humprhys focussed on this statement from Vince, referring to Brexit voters:

Too many were driven by nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 35 Comments

The secret world of Whitehall – and other BBC Michael Cockerell gems


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If you’ve missed them when they were originally broadcast, YouTube has a wealth of BBC political documentaries for you to watch at leisure.

I missed Michael Cockerell’s “The Secret World of Whitehall” when it was originally broadcast. All three programmes from the series are on YouTube in full:

Episode 1 – The Real Sir Humphrey – This looks at the role of the Cabinet Secretary, chronicling the historic evolution of the role through its various job holders.

Posted in TV and film | Tagged and | 1 Comment

A longer read for the weekend… Sir John Major’s stunning speech on Brexit in full

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We don’t often feature speeches from members of other parties. But this speech made on Wednesday by Sir John Major is worth reading through in full. The text was published by the Mirror. At the bottom of the text is a video of the speech from the Guardian channel on YouTube:

I would like to express my thanks to the Creative Industries Federation, Somerset House Trust, and Tech London Advocates for the opportunity to speak here today.

Brexit matters to our creative industries. They express our culture and values – but give so much more.

Posted in Speeches | Tagged and | 1 Comment

The 2017 general election – the much overlooked rebalancing of British democracy

The British Election Study has been issuing data concerning the 2017 election based on their “face-to-face” process. They maintain, for example, that the much-acclaimed “Youthquake” of 2017 was in fact a myth.

But I was very interested in this graph, tweeted by James Kanagasooriam:

There are a number of conclusions to be drawn from this graph. Much has been made of the fact that the Tories had quite a chunk of Remainers voting for them – particularly in the South of the country.

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

Vince Cable wishes you a Happy New Year!

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Vince Cable says:

I would like to wish a Happy New Year to our friends and members of the Chinese community in the UK and to all who celebrate Lunar New Year during this time of year. May it be a time of great joy and celebration with family and friends.

The Chinese community have long established roots in the UK, whether coming from Hong Kong, South East Asia or from the People’s Republic of China. Your contributions enrich the cultural life of all Britons, enhance our professions and bolster our economy.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

+++Three stonking by-election gains from the Tories plus whopping vote share increases – “something is happening out there”

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP’s tweet nicely summarises the good news tonight:

Well done and congratulations to all the teams involved!

In detail, there was a stonking gain from the Tories in Teignbridge:

Posted in News | Tagged | 9 Comments

Are “Just-in-time” supply chains evil?

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It is strange what topics come up at an annual Liberal Democrat dinner, but this topic, in the post title above, came up at one I attended last week.

It’s a big subject.

First of all, we need to be clear what “Just-in-time” actually means. It is a phrase which is bandied about so that it sometimes ceases to have any precise meaning.

In its purest,original sense, Just-in-time refers to Just-in-time manufacturing, as defined by Wikipedia:

Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, also known as just-in-time production or the Toyota Production System (TPS), is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers. Its origin and development was in Japan, largely in the 1960s and 1970s and particularly at Toyota.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

Vince Cable joins rally to press for international students to be excluded from migration figures

Photo: Geoff Caddick/PA

Yesterday the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, joined academics, students, business leaders and other politicians at a rally in support of international students. London Frist’s “Stand up don’t be counted” campaign aims to take students out of the UK’s net migration target.

The photo above shows Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, Paul Currran, President of City University, Sir Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Tulip Siddiq MP attending the rally in Torrington Square, London.

The government aims to reduce net migration to under 100,000 people each year. In London alone, international students bring a net benefit of £2.3 billion per annum and support 70,000 jobs in the capital.

New data released by the organisers of the event, business group London First, shows the majority of people (57%) believe that international students should not be included in the government’s net migration target, with less than one in three people (31%) thinking they should be included.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments
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  • User AvatarJoeB 21st Jul - 9:58pm
    David Raw, collection of rents from use of the seabed has long been a prerogative of the Crown. The seabed from mean low water to...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 21st Jul - 8:18pm
    @Peter Watson It is of course useful to have the full figures - the problem being is that if you are reporting it very early...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 21st Jul - 7:59pm
    " and many still have memories of the last time the hard left were in power." When was that? I am the same age as...
  • User Avatardavid grundy 21st Jul - 7:43pm
    Speaking as a convert to the Lib Dems about 4 years ago, I don't feel as well-versed in all the issues as most of the...
  • User AvatarMike Read 21st Jul - 7:18pm
    Vince does not (and will probably never) make the rousing and passionate speeches Tim Farron made as leader. However, Tim's speeches were not shown to...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 21st Jul - 6:10pm
    David Raw - True enough! I suppose when most politicians are lawyers....