Author Archives: Richard Huzzey

Opinion: Richard Huzzey – “I resign”

Vince Cable and Nick Clegg have pursued a strategy that has resembled a poorly-scripted comedy as much as a bitter tragedy in the past month.

This week we have reached the final act of a farcical and disastrous process whereby Liberal Democrat MPs have squirmed to escape an explicit pledge and desperately tried to equate their promise to the level of a policy aspiration.

By now all readers know the argument that a pledge is more than policy and the arguments why more help for part-timers does not balance out the damage of full marketization of fees. So, instead of repeating them, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 226 Comments

British Social Attitudes survey: what does it signify for the Liberal Democrats?

While the BBC has focused on more liberal attitudes to homosexuality, the latest British Social Attitudes survey contains some other interesting results.

The survey found that 27% of people identify as Labour supporters, compared to 32% for the Tories. That suggests Labour’s current poll rating is pretty similar to the percentage of adults who think of themselves as “Labour people”. That presumably reflects Labour has been reduced to a core vote of devoted party loyalists. The only remaining question is how many more of those 27-30% of Labour voters can be shaken from party identification (which is a much stronger measure …

Posted in News | Tagged | 19 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 10 November 2009

2 Big Stories

Every phone call, email and internet click stored by ‘state spying’ databases – The Telegraph

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower – The Guardian

2 Must-read Posts

It’s a think tank reaction special…

Jonathan Calder compared the Taxpayer’s Alliance to a dead duck:

They are obviously very bright over at the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Because they are absolutely right. Animal rescue is not the central job of the fire service.

James Schneider praised a Tory plan for social housing, and noted its origin in a more radical scheme:

Tim Leunig’s original paper for Policy Exchange goes a

Posted in Daily View | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 27 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Police trainee fights for life after homophobic attackTelegraph

Brown fights to save Blair’s EU Presidential hopesGuardian

2 Must-read Posts

Politicians must chatter clearly in the age of twitter, thinks Mark Thompson:

Perhaps what will start to happen is that politicians will realise that being vague about something in a speech and then “clarifying” it in a briefing afterwards will not work in the world of Twitter and blogs.

Camden councillor Alexis Rowell’s mission to turn his borough green from top-to-bottom has reached the Town Hall roof:

Our green roof is little more than a blanket as

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Mark Littlewood resigns Lib Dem membership for IEA Director job

Mark Littlewood, the party’s former Head of Media and director the libertarian Liberal Vision group, has been appointed Director General of the “free-market think tank” IEA (Institute for Economic Affairs). The press release relating his appointment states that Mark has resigned from the Liberal Democrats in order to maintain the IEA’s non-partisan stance.

Posted in News | Tagged | 179 Comments

What is slavery?

For many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century abolitionists, slavery was easily defined as the ownership of one human being by another. But any technical definition of enslavement is problematic, given the messy realities of coercion in practice. Forced labour exists on a spectrum from slavery to freedom, with debt labour often very similar to slavery.

The BBC reports that Anti-Slavery International and Liberty are hoping the House of Lords will pass an amendment on indentured servitude later today, with the support of Lib Dem peers:

The campaign groups argue existing employment laws and legislation covering offences such as false imprisonment

Posted in News and Parliament | 12 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 20 October 2009

2 Big stories

Afghanistan set for run-off ballot:

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, will bow to international pressure today and concede that he did not win a clear ­majority in Afghanistan’s bitterly contested election, and also accept there should be a second round of voting.

Top brass take on BNP:

The Armed Forces are in danger of being hijacked by far-right extremists “for their own dubious ends”, a group of former generals warn today.

The British National Party is tarnishing the Forces’ reputation by associating itself with the sacrifices of servicemen, they write. They highlight fears within military circles that the party is

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Daily View 2×2: 13 October 2009

Two big stories

The Grauniad has been gagged:

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

Bonnie Greer and Chris Huhne to tackle Nick Griffin on next week’s Question Time:

The black playwright and author

Posted in Daily View | 3 Comments

Osborne’s pensions plan would leave women in the lurch – Webb

Lib Dem Work and Pensions spokesman Steve Webb was quick to share his thoughts about George Osbourne’s plan to raise the retirement age with Lib Dem Voice readers yesterday.

Today he has issued a stinging rebuke of the implications of the Tory scheme for women:

Women have been a total afterthought to this announcement. It is simply impossible for the Tories to save £13bn a year by raising the state pension age for men alone.

George Osborne’s plans would require the pension age for women to increase each year until 2016. The Tories must come clean or risk leaving every

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Iain Dale for Home Secretary?

If we have to have a Cameron government, then I would much prefer an Iain Dale or a Dominic Grieve as Home Secretary than Chris Grayling. (All are, naturally, a disappointment compared to Home Secretary Huhne under PM Clegg!)

Yet I fear Iain’s chances of getting the job are only slightly worse than Dominic Grieve’s (as the Murdoch press is rumoured to have insisted Grieve was moved from his shadow Home Office role).

Writing about his visit to the Arts Alliance Music in Prisons fringe at the Tory conference, Dale notes that politicians are tough on crime when …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 5 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Chancellor-on-way-out promises freeze in public managers’ pay:

The freeze in effect represents a pay cut. And by targeting the richest public-sector figures, it will be seen as a sign that the broadest shoulders must carry the heaviest burden.

Chancellor-in-waiting proposes raising retirement age:

Shadow chancellor George Osborne would raise the state pension age from 65 to 66 from 2016 if the Tories win the next election to help tackle the UK’s debts.

2 Must-read Posts

Cllr Daisy Benson gave her readers a story about the human stories behind the unemployment statistics:

This morning, on my way to work I bumped

Posted in Daily View | 8 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 29 September 2009

Two big stories

Flood crisis worstens in Philippines

From the BBC:

The Philippines government says 240 people are now known to have died in severe flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana.

The country has appealed for foreign aid to deal with the disaster, which has displaced more than 450,000 people.

A rare moment of hope for Gordon Brown

For the first time in… a very long time, Gordon Brown may be relieved by some polling news from Sky and YouGov:

Support for Labour has climbed five points since the start of the party conference, according to a brand new Sky/YouGov poll.

The survey – the first

Posted in Daily View | 3 Comments

Rumours suggest Brown will accept debates, but seek to exclude Clegg

The BBC reports that Gordon Brown will accept the proposals, forcibly proposed by Sky’s Adam Boulton, for a leaders’ debate… but with only partial involvement for Nick Clegg:

Months ago, Conservative leader Mr Cameron called for a TV election debate to be held involving Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg as well.

Sources suggest Mr Brown would rather go “head to head” with the Tory leader and is prepared to take part in a series of debates – some involving Mr Clegg and others not – in order to allow this to happen.

This seems to be yet another gaffe by Brown. …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 17 Comments

FPC Says: Tuition Fees pledge *will* be in the manifesto

From James Graham’s Quaequam Blog, I see that a majority (18 of the 29 members) of the Federal Policy Committee have declared that they will vote in favour of including the tuition fees pledge in the manifesto. James, the Secretary of the Social Liberal Forum, writes:

Some of the names on this list are surprising. They can’t be dismissed as lefty malcontents – far from it. I would be very surprised if there weren’t other FPC members who would have signed the letter had the organisers managed to track them down in the short time period on Tuesday.

The letter, published …

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 22 September 2009

2 Big Stories

Airlines to halve emissions by 2050

The Guardian reports:

The British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, will unveil an agreement between airlines, airports and aircraft companies to cut emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. In a bid to seize the initiative from environmental groups clamouring for higher taxes on the industry, the plan will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations forum on climate change in New York.

Baronness Scotland Survives

Says The Times:

Gordon Brown has today spared his Attorney General the sack for employing an illegal immigrant as her housekeeper, but told Baroness Scotland to

Posted in Daily View | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 15 September 2009

2 Big Stories

Brown will acknowledge need for cuts

The BBC is leading with news that the Prime Minister will use the ‘C’ word for the first time!

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to admit for the first time that spending cuts will be needed, the BBC understands.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Brown would make his most explicit comments yet on spending choices in a speech to union leaders on Tuesday.

Deliver us from Gordon

Meanwhile, The Times reports that almost half of voters would replace Mr. Brown with… well, anyone:

Almost half of voters think that anyone would do a better

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Nick would replace VAT cut with revolution in youth training

The BBC reports that Nick Clegg has renewed his call for the government’s cut on VAT – from 17.5% to 15% – to be scrapped. He suggests instead thousands of new apprenticeships:

In an interview with the BBC’s Chris Brierley, he said youth unemployment should be the government’s “top priority”.

He added: “We’re proposing to give young people the hope that they can stay active, stay in study, stay in work, stay in training, rather than find themselves put on a course towards long-term unemployment.

“This recession is, in my view, creating the real risk of a jobless generation and that’s an

Posted in News | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 10 September 2009

2 Big Stories

Tories announce curb in health spending increases

As The Telegraph reports,

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said that the Tories would cut the rate at which NHS spending was increasing.

The health service would have to “tighten its belt” and accept small increases in its budget, he added.

Afghanistan Rescue Mission Debated

Meanwhile, questions emerged overnight as to the British military intervention to rescue journalist Stephen Farrell:

Military officials tonight defended the decision to launch a dramatic raid to rescue a British journalist from the Taliban, in which his Afghan assistant and a soldier were killed, against angry criticism in

Posted in Daily View | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 4 August 2009

2 Big Stories

The joint committee of MPs and peers on human rights is calling for an independent review of the evidence that British intelligence officers were complicit in torture:

The Joint Human Rights Committee said it was unable to establish whether British officers were involved in mistreatment of suspects.

It also criticised ministers and the head of MI5 for refusing to testify at parliamentary hearings on the claims.

Meanwhile, Northern Rock has posted losses for its tax-payer owners of £724m:

The Newcastle-based bank, which is to be split into so-called good and bad banks, admitted that many customers were struggling over

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 28 July 2009

2 Big Stories

The biggest story of the day is surely controversy over the Ministry of Defense’s efforts to reclaim money awarded to injured soldiers:

The Ministry of Defence will go to the Court of Appeal later to try to significantly reduce the compensation awarded to two injured soldiers. One, who was shot in the leg in Iraq, received £46,000, while the other, injured in training, got £28,750. “

Meanwhile, TV’s Esther Rantzen plans to follow in the feet of Craig Murray and stand as an independent candidate at the next general election:

She will attempt to win the Luton

Posted in Daily View | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: Tuesday 21 July

2 Big Stories

Health Secretary Andy Burnham has attempted to regain the initiative after Monday’s criticisms with the announcement of a pandemic flu service by the end of the week.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the phone and website service will be able to provide flu diagnosis and access to drugs without the need to go to GPs.

He also defended the government against claims from opposition parties that the service was a month late.

He said the government had wanted to wait until the health service was under intense pressure before acting.

Meanwhile the MoD, under attack for the provision of …

Posted in Daily View | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 10 July 2009

Two Big Stories

The Times has reports of a humanitarian disaster unfolding in Tamil refugee camps:

About 1,400 people are dying every week at the giant Manik Farm internment camp set up in Sri Lanka to detain Tamil refugees from the nation’s bloody civil war, senior international aid sources have told The Times.

The death toll will add to concerns that the Sri Lankan Government has failed to halt a humanitarian catastrophe after announcing victory over the Tamil Tiger terrorist organisation in May. It may also lend credence to allegations that the Government, which has termed the internment sites “welfare villages”, has

Posted in Daily View | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 30 June 2009

2 Big Stories

A high-powered think tank report for the IPPR by Paddy Ashdown and oher defense gurus has questioned expenditure on trident and conventional forces:

The UK should consider slashing defence spending by up to £24bn and revisit plans to renew its Trident nuclear deterrent, a think-tank report says.

Meanwhile, the row over future cuts-and-spending continues in Britain, over-shadowing Gordon Brown’s new Building Britain;s Future document:

Brown unveiled a manifesto entitled Building Britain’s Future and a draft Queen’s speech containing 12 bills. The overall aim was to downgrade Whitehall public service targets in favour of individual rights, with some enforceable by

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Daily View 2×2: 23 June 2009

2 Big Stories

Events continue to unfold afer Iran’s contested election results and surrounding protest. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed dismay at events yesterday, when protestors were dispersed by the police with tear gas. The Revolutionary Guard have threatened to suppress any further protests in favour of presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi. As The Independent reports,

Mousavi, who was officially beaten into second place by Ahmadinejad in an election which he says was rigged, called late on Sunday for fresh protests by his supporters.

“Protesting against lies and fraud (in the election) is your right,” Mousavi said in a statement

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Daily View 2×2: 16 June 2009

2 Big Stories

Should we be pleased that Labour are finally granting the public an inquiry into the Iraq war? Not when it’s held in private, as Gordon Brown suggests in the case of the long-awaited review. The BBC has the response of Rose Gentle, mother of a British soldier who died in Iraq:

We have fought and fought for this but it will be no use and it could all be for nothing behind closed doors.

Nick Clegg was also unimpressed.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Iraq, the ramifications of Iran’s disputed election continue to play out with protests in Tehran and at …

Posted in Daily View | 1 Comment

Poll Position for the Lib Dems?

Lib Dem Voice doesn’t do polls. But if it did, we would draw readers’ attention to two rather different recent surveys of opinion.

On Friday, Populus suggested a surge for UKIP — who would relegate Labour to third place and leave the Lib Dems fighting it out with the Green party for fourth place.

Sunday’s papers will bring a new ICM poll putting us at 25% at Westminster and 20% in the European elections – in both cases relegating Labour to third place in the popular vote.

Are they both outliers? Political Betting’s sage Mike Smithson offers …

Posted in Europe / International and Polls | Tagged | 10 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 26 May 2009

As we all return to work after the Bank Holiday weekend, the big issues I’ve picked for today’s Daily View are about governance: specifically, how the British state should relate to its citizens or how the world should govern the nuclear ambitions of a rogue state.

2 Big Stories

David Cameron is making a bid for reformist credentials with a wide-ranging speech on democratic accountability and the nature of politics and the state. Previewed in The Guardian, his remarks later today thoughtfully ponder ‘the post-bureaucratic age’ and try to appropriate liberal principles:

The Tory leader, who has in the past week ended the

Posted in Daily View | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Where I disagree with ConHome over the BNP’s Buckingham Palace Invitation

There will be – and should be – widespread disgust at the suggestion that BNP leader Nick Griffin is going to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party, hosted by HM the Queen. For the overwhelming majority of Britons who support racial and cultural diversity, it is offensive to see the British National Party attending a function hosted by the Head of State in honour of public service. It would be embarrassing for the Queen herself, who has been rightly keen to emphasise she is constitutional monarch for Britons of all faiths and races.

However, it would be mistaken to focus …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

LibDemBlogs.co.uk needs your help to keep running

Users of the excellent Lib Dem Blogs aggregator will have noticed it stopped working earlier today and no longer displays new posts from registered Lib Dem bloggers. This is because it has outgrown its current server arrangements and the site’s owner, Ryan Cullen, needs help from the Lib Dem blogosphere to cover the costs of moving.

If you value your visits to www.libdemblogs.co.uk, then please consider throwing in a donation to cover Ryan’s costs. His labour on the site has been a great resource for readers and authors of Lib Dem blogs. It would be a tragedy to …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Conversations with Nick Clegg

The Lib Dems’ new party political broadcast shows Nick Clegg’s conversations with voters.

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Tagged | 17 Comments
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