Author Archives: Rob Blackie

Opinion: Five quick thoughts on what we do next

Firstly we all need to take a few days off. Losing so many of our MPs is incredibly painful – when we know how they were champions of liberalism, as well as great local representatives. It’s easy for us to post-rationalise our problems to fit our existing prejudices, but smarter to take a short break.

Secondly we shouldn’t assume that everything winners do is good, and everything losers do is stupid. There are doubtless many things we did wrong, but not everything we did was wrong. Equally while we may have been hit hard by the other parties, we shouldn’t assume that aping them is the right solution.

Thirdly we should recognise that our problems fighting Labour, the Tories and the SNP may be very different. It is unlikely that there is one message or campaign technique that will allow us to be successful against all of these opponents.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 72 Comments

Opinion: How to interrogate a terrorist using diabetic biscuits

Is it more effective to force people to do things, or to charm them?

The surprising answer that’s tucked into the US Senate’s recent investigation into terrorist interrogation, is that, even with hardened Al-Qaeda terrorists, charm is usually more effective.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Keep the Bank of England Independent

Conference on Monday will debate an amendment from the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) to the Economy Motion which calls the government to “monitor closely the progress of the Bank of England, ensuring it has a refocused mandate that allows monetary policy to aid growth, reduce the unemployment rate to below 6% creating at least a million jobs, and to address weak income growth, targeting a higher level of national/median income.”

Who could possibly disagree with that? Well, me for a start. In practice this is reducing the independence of the Bank of England.

Liberal Democrats have long argued that the Bank of …

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

Opinion: How can we build a liberal movement?

Like a lot of Liberal Democrat friends, I was inspired by Barack Obama’s determination to build a long term movement for change across America. And for a couple of years I’ve been trying to copy his volunteer led approach to political organising, with some success.*

One element that is crucial to motivating volunteers is to have superb candidates, who are themselves heroes to their communities. This, of course, is a large element of good traditional community campaigning.

So I was delighted to see that in Peckham we are using our candidate’s amazing life story as the main motivator of volunteers on …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Can we campaign on Lords reform?

Let’s face it, Lords reform doesn’t come up on the doorsteps often, however important it is.

But there is one group of people in Britain who Lib Dem Voice readers know, who care deeply about Lords reform. Campaigners for AV, who most of us have spent the last 6 months working with, are overwhelmingly in favour of Lords reform.

So today we can all use Lords reform as a great campaigning opportunity. Simply create a local petition (like this one)  to make sure that your local MP votes for and campaigns for a 100% elected Lords.

Then send this petition to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: How are councils making savings?

Getting a picture on what’s happening across the country on council spending is difficult. We all hear stories, whether it’s the a plan to close a library or a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a friend who works in Brighton, who told me that the council had avoided almost all frontline cuts to services through efficiency savings.

Last week some surprising figures have appeared in an overlooked survey by the Financial Times. They show that at least half of the spending cuts that councils are making will have no impact at all on frontline services.

The Financial

Posted in Local government | 14 Comments

Opinion: We were prudent in opposition – time for Labour to follow our lead

Labour have refused to provide any detailed alternative to the Coalition’s tax and spending plans. They have also implied that during their recent period in government that nobody challenged their irresponsible tax and spending plans. This is simply a lie. Not only did the IFS explain their irresponsibility as far back as 2003 , but so did the Liberal Democrats.

There’s an easy way to test how responsible we were while we were in opposition. Every year since 1992 the Liberal Democrats have produced an Alternative Budget setting out our alternative to the government’s tax and spending plans, as well …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User Avatarnvelope2003 19th Nov - 3:41pm
    I would have done what Gladstone did when the Prussians attacked the French in1870 and there would have been a swift end to the war...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 19th Nov - 2:57pm
    The idea that addiction to alcohol and drugs only harms or affects the poor is not true. Many idle rich people are also harmed and...
  • User AvatarPalehorse 19th Nov - 2:55pm
    " Capitalism is fundamentally amoral " You want to try living under one of the other systems before being too harsh. Premier League football is...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 19th Nov - 2:14pm
    @ Arnold Kiel, You are could be right about historic poor governance in the so-called South. But, that's a different issue. It's not the reason...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 19th Nov - 1:34pm
    @ Mary Reid. I agree. Football, at the higher domestic levels, has become a contest between one club's highly paid overseas imports and another's. It...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 19th Nov - 1:02pm
    Clubs promoted from the Championship to the Premier League need all-seater stadiums. Safe standing exists in other countries and lower leagues. It's not cricket. Please...