Author Archives: Robert Harrison

Was your car made using slave labour?

Last week European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyden, announced a probe into China’s electric vehicle industry which apparently have benefitted from massive state subsidies. But it’s not only such subsidies that should worry us – production in the Chinese car industry ignores human rights and climate change, and the European car industry is complicit.

The global shift in manufacturing from Europe and North America to Asia has been well-documented. As factories have closed in the UK and the EU, the same companies have built up their manufacturing capability in China as well as trained and created a network of …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

The collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank – what does it mean for the UK?

A few days ago, I started writing a piece for Liberal Democrat Voice about the creation of the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology and what it might mean for the entrepreneurial science-based economy. I was going to look at financing of science-based companies and how it could be improved. The news of the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on Friday came as the piece was almost finished and has overtaken some of my conclusions in that article.

It’s likely that most Liberal Democrats will never have actually heard of the SVB until this weekend. As its …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Tanks to Ukraine

Like many living in Germany, the Federal Government’s hesitancy in supplying weapons to Ukraine is not only puzzling to me, but frankly massively embarrassing. German profited massively from the Peace Dividend at the end of the cold war – and so reduced its spending on defence that the Bundeswehr is a shadow of its former self. Despite the clear threats to European stability, particularly after the Crimean annexation, previous governments, led by the Christian Democrats, had given little attention to active threats.

The “traffic light” coalition government is itself divided on the provision of tanks to Ukraine. Ministers from the …

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged and | 30 Comments

How YOU can support EU citizens in the UK

Put yourself forward to be a member of the EU Citizens’ Panel.

Many members of the Liberal Democrats will have been horrified to hear about the treatment of EU citizens arriving in the UK, as reported in the Guardian, Politico and other newspapers. 

Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are cases of European citizens who have lived among us for many years suddenly finding themselves unwelcome with questions being raised about their entitlement to healthcare and even school places for their children. This was not supposed to happen. EU citizens were told “nothing would change” after Brexit and it was one of the negotiating positions of the European Commission during the withdrawal negotiations. The principle set out in the  Withdrawal Agreement was that those Europeans living in the UK at the end of the transition period would continue to maintain their rights. It is simply not happening.

The Withdrawal Agreement set up an Independent Monitoring Authority to monitor the implementation of the citizens rights aspects and its website can be found here

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

NHS – indefinite leave to remain

It’s not just non-British NHS workers who should get indefinite leave to remain.

Our party has rightly come out and argued that doctors, nurses and paramedics at the frontline who are not British citizens should not just have their visas extended by one year (as reported in the Independent, but be given an indefinite leave to remain in the UK. This offer is to be welcomed, but we need to go further. There are many community care workers working unselfishly with disabled and elderly people in their own homes, community centers and retirement centres throughout the country who have come from …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Huawei and 5G – a Liberal Democrat approach

Embed from Getty Images

Starting with the Sunday Times, several media sources have reported that the Cabinet was facing a massive split on whether to allow the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei to supply major parts of the UK’s new 5G network. The company has been prohibited from supplying critical components into the US and Australian networks and Donald Trump has reportedly urged Boris Johnson to ban Huawei in the UK. How the UK should deal with Chinese high-tech companies is not just restricted to this issue alone – and whatever decision the British cabinet takes on Tuesday is unlikely to be the final word – it goes also to the heart of the future trading relationship with China and the UK, as well as with the US.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Brexit – a view from the Continent

For the 1.3 million British migrants living in the EU, the past couple of weeks have been pretty eventful. Many of us have watched and listened (in horror) from afar whilst Brexit and Article 50 have been discussed in parliament. We’ve heard that it’s “the people’s will” and that Parliament should not ignore the referendum vote. Yet many of us did not have the vote in the referendum, as we have lived for too long outside of the UK. We saw an attempt to guarantee the rights of European citizens living in the UK defeated, even by Labour MPs such as Gisela Stuart, who is on record as supporting their rights. An amendment to force the government to support British migrants, proposed by the Liberal Democrats, was not even taken. Many of us are starting to be seriously worried about the way forward.

Recently I was told that it was the European Union that is blocking progress on recognising the situation of individuals and also that UK citizens were being used as bargaining chips. If anything, it is the frustration with the British government’s lack of communication that has led to this situation. Many countries, except apparently France and Germany, are prepared to come to an agreement. The common Franco-German position, as well as that of the European Commission, is that there can be no discussions until PM Theresa May has formally invoked Article 50 and declared that the UK will withdraw from the EU. On the contrary, both countries are clear that they have no intention of “expelling” British nationals living in their countries, many of whom have jobs and families. So why should we be afraid?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 48 Comments

Refugees – A small town in Germany

Germany refugees 3Budapest, Vienna, Munich – the newspaper and television pictures show a story of refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria and other countries, looking for a place to stay, to keep their families safe, and most of all to survive. Images of their reception in Austria and Bavaria – most notably at Munich railway station – have been seen worldwide. Helped by thousands of volunteers and the German authorities, most of the asylum seekers have found shelter.

What does it and will it mean for Germany? And for the smaller towns and villages spread throughout the country? I live in a small town just to the East of Munich. It’s on the main railway line between Salzburg and Munich and the past week has seen both local trains and InterCity trains coming through the station packed with refugees.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @Graham Jeffs - yes, I am fortunate to be living in a target seat, although I was campaigning for about 20 years before we won it. It's a long game. My point...
  • Alex Macfie
    The mistake made by Clegg & co wasn't going into coalition, it was the way they did it, going in too quickly and conducting it as a "love-in" rather than a ...
  • Mark
    I wouldn't normally encourage people to spend time reading Conservative Home website, but this article is well worth a read: https://conservativehome.com/2024/...
  • David Garlick
    Given in his speech his dismissal of action of climate change, so appropriate that the climate chose to give him a good soaking. A drip being dripped on....
  • Peter Martin
    @ Steve, "Might it help.if our party were to assertively oppose Neoliberal socio-economics...." Of course it would. It's unlikely any establishm...