Author Archives: Paul Walter

Will we ever move forward if failure is seen to be richly rewarded?


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I worked in the computer industry for my career.

I count myself lucky that I survived in a job that long.

But you have to be careful in industry.

I should imagine if a business manager spread a budget of £20 million over five times the area it should have been spread, with the result of modest failure rather than modest success, then she/he would be consigned to a dusty office with “special projects” written on the door for the rest of their career.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 122 Comments

Rumour: Jo Swinson set to be awarded a peerage

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye is proving to be quite a goldmine. I thoroughly recommend buying a copy at your local newsagent or similar outlet.

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“Her disastrous miscalculation” – Sir Nick Harvey’s view on Jo Swinson’s support for December election

Former North Devon MP, Sir Nick Harvey stood down as Liberal Democrat party chief executive shortly before 20th October last year.

In this fortnight’s Private Eye, a letter from Nick is published which severely criticises a decision made by the then party leader, Jo Swinson, soon after he left the role on 28th October.

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Whatever happened to the class of 2015? – the full list


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the result of my researches, in alphabetical order. If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 22 Comments

Whatever happened to the class of 2015? – third and final excerpt


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the third and final part of my researches, from P to W in alphabetical order (Part 1 is available here and part two is here). If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 12 Comments

Alastair Campbell plays his annual bagpipe lament to Charles Kennedy at his graveside

This is quite something. Handkerchieves at the ready. Thank you to @JohnPugh2017 who retweeted this.

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Whatever happened to the class of 2015? (2)


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the second part of my researches, from H to M in alphabetical order (Part 1 is available here). If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 3 Comments

Music news: Two albums released by former Lib Dem MPs



During my researches for my “Class of 2015” articles, I have been delighted to find that two of our MPs from the “Class of 2015” have released musical albums.

Norman Baker, who lost his Lewes seat in 2015 and previously recorded with his band “The Reform Club”, has released a solo album called “Staying Blue” which is available widely on Angel Air Records. A couple of the tracks are on YouTube including “Shipping Forecast” (above) which includes a snippet of the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast and these classic lines:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 1 Comment

Reminder: there’s still time to get the early bird discount for the York Spring Conference

This is a gentle reminder that you can still take advantage of the “early bird” discount if you register before January 7th – that’s this coming Tuesday – for the York Spring Conference.

Due to feedback from our esteemed LDV editor, Caron, the deadline was extended especially to allow people sufficient time after the hard work of the election.

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Whatever happened to the class of 2015? (1)


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I suppose that it is very easy to get into the mindset that politics is everything in life. But it turns out that there is life outside of Westminster.

I read the other day that former Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is training to become a gym instructor.

That started me thinking about what had happened to our vast number of MPs from before the election in 2015.

Stephen Gilbert, former MP for St Austell and Newquay, for example. Whatever happened to him after he posted a “Gone Surfing” post-it note on his Twitter account in 2015? Well, it turns out he’s a teacher.

I then thought I’d better find about some of the others and, before I knew it, I was launching a vast spreadsheet and had started a huge task.

Anyway, here is the first part of my researches, starting in alphabetical order. If you spot any omissions or errors, please let me know in the comments below:

Posted in Liberal History | Tagged | 15 Comments

2019 was the party’s least efficient General Election campaign

If the objective of a general election is to win the most Commons’ seats we can (which I assume it is), then 2019 was the least efficient general election in the party’s history.

That is, if you define efficiency as garnering votes in such a geographical way so that we maximise the number of seats we win. The figures are as follows:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 33 Comments

Our party co-leaders want to hear from us

Our current co-leaders, Sal Brinton and Ed Davey, have written to party members asking for their initial thoughts on the general election campaign and results.

They write:

…we know we have a lot of work to do and many lessons to learn.

In the new year, we’ll be conducting a full independent review of this election. This will include a chance for you to give us all of your views on what worked, what didn’t, and what we need to do differently in the future.

But we also want to give you a chance to share your views before the Christmas break.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 29 Comments

We did dreadfully badly amongst lower earners and those without university degrees – poll of 13,000 voters on election day

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Lord Ashcroft has published the results of a poll his organisation conducted with 13,000 voters on election day.

The output from the 29 questions gives some interesting insights and can be read here, complete with clear graphs and downloadable xls data tables.

A few observations from me. Based on this sample:

  • It is noticeable that a high proportion of our voters were “AB” in socio-economic terms. 15% of ABs voted for us (two points of the across-the-board total of 12% in this poll). But

Posted in News | Tagged | 66 Comments

9am update

This email has come into members’ inboxes from Shaun Roberts, the party’s Director of Campaigns and Elections:

I’m tired, I’m sad and I’m frustrated, (member).

In 6 seats, we were less than a thousand votes away from winning. That is agonising. Some of these campaigns saw increases in vote share of 20-30% – an extraordinary leap forward, achieved by hard work from fantastic teams.

Posted in News | Tagged | 49 Comments

5am update

Party members have just received this email from James Gurling, Chair of the Federal Communications and Elections committee:

…This is not the email I had hoped to be sending you.

We wake this morning to a double blow. A Conservative majority Government, hell bent on pushing Brexit through, and the loss of our Leader, Jo Swinson from Parliament.

Posted in News | 31 Comments

OPEN THREAD: Your thoughts on the election campaign and the results as they come in

via GIPHY


Bat shit crazy.

Getting up in the dark to deliver “Good Mornings” for two hours before dawn.

This task was leavened by a vague blob in the darkness besides the A4. He was a blob of anoraks, waterproof trousers and ski hats at 7am in front of me as he approached a 4*4 which had arrived to collect him for work:

You must have covered a lot of ground

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 175 Comments

Two earthly halves locked in a downward spiral

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Jeremy Clarkson recently became a climate change believer when he experienced a dry lake in Cambodia.

I recently experienced something of the bush fire season in Australia. As well as all-pervasive smoke in most of Queensland and New South Wales, ABC Radio news is a constant stream of news on the bush fires – hundreds of them raging all the time. And it is still their spring.

Without trying to rehearse the dangers of climate change, I have one particular fear.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Tammy Duckworth and the importance of second chamber reform

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One issue that has not come up during this campaign, but should have, is second chamber reform.

Firstly, may I say that our House of Lords has many, many fine members and does a fantastic job.

But there is a problem. We can’t get rid of it. It fails on the five democratic questions that dear old Tony Benn used to repeat endlessly:

What power have you got?

Where did you get it from?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Jo Swinson on brilliant form on transgender rights

If you haven’t seen this clip, it’s worth watching. Jo is on brilliant form as she responds to an LBC caller who criticised boys wearing skirts. As Nick Ferrari wades in about “national security” and risks for British citizens in Saudi Arabia, Jo is passionate and concludes:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Hugh Grant on the frustrating lack of progress in combatting press abuses since the Leveson Inquiry

When I interviewed Hugh Grant on Monday, I started by asking him a couple of questions about his work with the pressure group Hacked Off on press abuse.

Firstly, I asked how he thinks the campaign to curb press abuse issue is looking at the moment. Here’s his reply:

Well, it’s extremely frustrating that we got as far as we did. Hacked Off campaigned for a judicial enquiry. We got it. Leveson’s recommendations at the end of that were very mild really, on the spectrum of what he could have recommended. It was then a struggle to get them into law but finally, as you’ll remember, they were passed by the entire House. There was the Royal Charter, and then there was Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which I assumed, if the whole of Parliament has given it the thumbs up, must become law. It turns out there’s a technical glitch called “commencement”, which the Tory government managed to exploit, and they never pressed that commencement button.

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Jo Swinson is impressive under the Andrew Neil grilling

Jo Swinson gave a very impressive performance under the grilling of Andrew Neil this evening on primetime BBC1. (You can view it here).

She was confident, offering contrition on the mistakes of the coalition and outlining the Liberal Democrat positions clearly.

There are plenty of past examples of car crash interviews with Andrew Neil at the helm. Jo did very well under his forensic questioning.

Here’s a selection of tweets reacting to tonight’s programme:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 14 Comments

Traditional Tory voters in London are coming across to the LibDems

Siobhan Benita, our London spokesperson and 2020 mayoral candidate (right), has been campaigning for LibDem candidates all over London. Yesterday she spoke to me about how things are going. This was her assessment:

I think it is going really well. We’re definitely seeing, in some of our key target seats, what we’ve heard here (in City of London and Westminster), which is (that) especially traditional Conservative voters, are (coming across to the LibDems). (This is) not just about Brexit – what we were hearing in Kensington yesterday, for example with Sam’s team, and a lot of the older voters there who have only ever voted Conservative, were saying they don’t associate with Boris Johnson’s Conservative party – they don’t like him – they don’t like the lies he is saying – and for the first time ever – some of them had already postal voted – they’d already given us their vote. So I think we are definitely seeing that across the capital. The nice thing for me, I think as well, is that I know we are obviously strong in parts of London – say south-west London – we have traditionally been strong. I’m definitely getting that sense in the north as well, in Finchley and Golders Green it’s going to be really really exciting there too. So I am hoping that we can – you know – change the map across London and that we’ll be seeing yellow pockets across London, other than the south-west – but I think we’ll grow there as well.

Posted in London and News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

In pictures: Hugh Grant campaigning for Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger

Here, from Getty Images, is a slideshow of Hugh Grant’s visit to support Chuka Ummuna yesterday, and Luciana Berger on Sunday evening.

Please use the arrows to go back and forwards across the slideshow, and hover your mouse or finger over each photo to read its caption:


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Posted in Photo feature | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Hugh Grant on Boris Johnson: Sinister, narcissistic and alarming with potentially no principles at all

Chuka Umunna and Hugh Grant talk with the press yesterday in St John’s Gardens, London SW1

“Could someone interview Hugh Grant tomorrow?” came the call from our esteemed LDV editor Caron, late on Sunday.

Well, one of the advantages of being gloriously retired is that you can often turn on a sixpence. So I jumped at the chance to interview the great man despite basic logistics issues such as “where” and “when” being still unclear. As these basics remained unclear as hours passed I realised I would have to bring forward my powers of initiative and assertiveness.

Fortunately, thanks to the great assistance of our old friend Dr Evan Harris of Hacked Off and Helen Davies, chair of City of London and Westminster Liberal Democrats, yesterday I was introduced to Hugh Grant as a “friend” and got my three minutes with him. You can hear the whole interview here on SoundCloud. (It includes a section about press abuse.)

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Something which might be an essential investment for the winter campaigning!

Thanks very much to Jane Reed from York Liberal Democrats, who has emailed us about “touchscreen gloves”.

These are gloves which keep your hands warm but allow you to input data into your mobile phone or tablet.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sam Gyimah to stand for Lib Dems in Kensington

Sam tweets:

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Stephen Lloyd MP intends to stand for the Lib Dems in Eastbourne

Stephen Lloyd MP has posted a YouTube video for his Eastbourne constituents. In it, he says that he has kept his word and voted for a EU exit withdrawal bill four times in parliament. He adds that, now he has done that, the slate is wiped clean with the forthcoming general election, so he will now be a ‘full throated’ “remainer”. He states that intends to stand in Eastbourne as the Liberal Democrat candidate.

This now means that there are 20 Liberal Democrat MPs in the House of Commons.

Here is Stephen’s video:

And here Layla Moran welcomes Stephen back to the Liberal …

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Fortune favours the bold


And so we head into an election campaign as ‘the goose is getting fat’ and Brenda from Bristol boards up her front door to keep out invading journalists.

We’ve whirled around and around the entire gamut of constitutional and Brexit permutations many times, and so we end up with a general election when the Rubic’s Cube of parliamentary arithmetic will be re-spun. Then the whole darn thing will start again.

It is somewhat forbidding to face the prospect of knocking on doors in the ‘deep mid-winter’.

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

Professor John Curtice predicts big gains for Lib Dems in 12th December election

From LBC:

The UK’s leading election expert Sir John Curtice told LBC he expects parties other than the two major ones to have a record number of MPs in the upcoming General Election.

Posted in News | Tagged | 59 Comments

+++MPs back 12th December General Election

From Guardian Live:

Boris Johnson’s wish for a general election on 12 December looks set to be granted after MPs voted in favour of it by 438 to 20; a majority of 418.

Posted in News | 9 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Feb - 1:41am
    Yes, well done Tom for getting early to deliver Good Mornings. I was once reported to the police for walking around at 5am. A couple...
  • User AvatarMalc Poll 21st Feb - 11:25pm
    The above should read 115 % *TYPO*
  • User AvatarPaul 21st Feb - 11:19pm
    For the uninformed what is the difference between the federal treasurer and the nominated treasurer?
  • User Avatarmalc 21st Feb - 11:16pm
    Paul Reynolds "BTW it is not true that France and Belgium have a lower standard of living than the UK" I've tried researching this a...
  • User AvatarMalc Poll 21st Feb - 10:49pm
    So to sum up your figures Tony... The Tories are about 55 %.more popular than labour... We are a gnats whisker away from labour... And...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 21st Feb - 10:23pm
    And just for the record the votes were: Conservative 689 Labour 279 Liberal Democrat 259 Independent 90 Independent 88