Author Archives: Paul Walter

Reports: Vince Cable to stand down as party leader before 2022 and wants to see through party rule changes

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I see that there are a few media reports about this today. The first was in The Times (£), then the Express and Telegraph, and, this afternoon, the Guardian has followed with, perhaps, the most precisely worded article.

There is nothing on the Lib Dem Press Office Twitter feed about this, as I write. Also I don’t see a round robin email from the party about this. That suggests an element of “bouncing” in this story.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 73 Comments

Scottish LibDems support cross-community “People’s Vote” rally in Edinburgh


The Guardian reports:

Campaigners demanding a public vote on the final Brexit deal rallied in Edinburgh on Saturday to increase pressure on the UK government.

Backers of the so-called People’s Vote gathered in Festival Square to call for Theresa May’s deal on leaving the EU to be put to the electorate.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 19 Comments

Fun holiday photo quiz: And the winner is…..

Thanks to everyone who took part in our fun quiz on Friday – and to those who thought about it but were stumped by it!

We showed the photo above, which I took on my recent holiday. We asked you to name the location of the photo, which was mentioned wittily in a distinguished Liberal MP’s auto-biography.

The answer was Bergen railway station in Norway, which Jo Grimond, Liberal party leader 1956-1967, mentioned in his auto-biography (see below).

The first person to give the correct answer in our comments threads was Charles Dundas. Charles receives the accolade of “LDV Super Anorak” and a “very good” condition copy of Jo Grimond’s said memoirs.

Posted in Photo feature | Tagged | 4 Comments

Defence of Johnson amounts to a charter for the oppression of a vulnerable minority

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In defence of Boris Johnson’s remarks about the wearing of the burqa and the niqab, his supporters have replied: “You need to read the full article to see the context”. I have now read Johnson’s full article. That is ten minutes of my life I won’t get back. It is remarkable that he gets paid a King’s ransom for such tosh. More galling, he has been doing it (certainly up to 26th July, three weeks after he resigned from the government) at our expense from 1 Carlton Gardens.

David Yelland, who was Editor of the Sun from 1998 to 2003, has tweeted:


Shrouded amidst a rather generalised and vaguely creepy paeon of praise to Denmark, cloaked in criticism of their Burqa ban, was some very nasty and unnecessary verbiage. I quote here his whole passage with the particularly egregious words in bold, so that I can’t be accused of quoting Johnson out of context:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Today’s fun quiz – an extra prize and some clues


It seems I have stumped the complete Liberal Democrat Voice readership with my fun photo quiz from this morning.

Here is a wider version of the scene pictured this morning. This should give you a clue as to the category of location that we are talking about…

I took this photo while on my holiday last week.

Can you guess where it was taken? It is a location mentioned wittily in a distinguished Liberal MP’s auto-biography.

Another clue is that the Liberal MP in question was a leader of the Liberal Party.

Please use the comments …

Posted in Photo feature | 10 Comments

Fun holiday snap quiz – can you recognise the location mentioned in a famous Liberal’s autobiography?


I took this photo while on my holiday last week.

Can you guess where it was taken? It is a location mentioned wittily in a distinguished Liberal MP’s auto-biography.

Please use the comments field below to have a stab at the answer.

Comments will be held in our “pending” file until 3pm and then released to reveal the winner.

Posted in Photo feature | 2 Comments

Reporting Trump’s first year – fascinating insight into journalists on the ropes

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I have a guilty secret.

Every so often, I retreat to Greggs for a Steak Slice, sausage roll, cup of tea and a read of last Saturday’s New York Times.

I get quite excited by the Anglo-American mixture of it all.

Why last Saturday’s New York Times? – I don’t hear you cry.

Posted in TV and film | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Catastrophic supply chain risks of a “no deal” Brexit

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It’s not fashionable but I’m willing to put in a good word for Theresa May. Albeit unnecessarily and misguidedly, she has worked very patiently to stitch together some sort of tenuous British cabinet negotiating position for Brexit. You have to admire her patience. I was also impressed but some of her words when she announced the Chequers deal to parliament on July 9th:

The friction-free movement of goods is the only way to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and it is the only way to protect the uniquely integrated supply chains and just-in-time processes on which millions of jobs and livelihoods depend. So at the heart of our proposal is a UK-EU free trade area that will avoid the need for customs and regulatory checks at the border and protect those supply chains.

Those words suggested to me that Theresa May and her chief negotiator, Olly Robbins, have “got” just-in-time and how vital it is to our modern economy.

For a long time, whenever I tried to explain my career, I could see people’s eyes glazing over. Trying to explain in the pub that I worked in “logistics” was a concept only people who served in the army understood. I used to say I worked “in computers” instead. It was much easier. So, it is quite nice to finally see my career having some relevance to current affairs.

I spent 35 years working in IT supply chains. This involved relying on daily trucks from the Netherlands. Day after day. The crux of the job was to reduce inventory to a bare minimum, to maintain high service levels for the customer and to minimise cost. I spent those 35 years focussing laser-like on that subject – cost, service, inventory.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 61 Comments

Good weather to bury bad news?

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Whilst enjoying listening to the county cricket commentaries I watched the news yesterday with half an eye.

Hello – did they really just do that?….

…I thought.

Yes, the government dumped out a plethora of inconvenient announcements just as MPs packed their sandals and beach balls for the summer recess. (What West Wing viewers will know as “Take out the trash day”)

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

“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 | 34 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 | 20 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

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged | Leave a comment

++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
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  • User AvatarMichael 23rd Jan - 10:47pm
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