Author Archives: Sara Bedford

Sara joined the LibDems as a student in the 1980s, becoming National Chair of YLD (the predecessor to LDYS and Liberal Youth) between 1990-92. After serving as a member of the Federal Executive and Federal Conference Committee between 1991-95, in 1996 Sara settled down to motherhood and serving as a councillor for Abbots Langley on Three Rivers District Council, which has been majority Lib Dem controlled since 1999. She is also an active member of the core campaigns team for the target seat of Watford. Sara is a well-known councillor and campaigner, not only in Hertfordshire, but also across the country, due to her involvement with by-election campaigns and many party groups. She is a member of the Hearts and Minds group of the party’s Technology Board and continues to blog at Always win when you're singing.

The English Baccalaureate is a Mickey Mouse qualification

Almost two years ago, a fortnight after my daughter confirmed her GCSE choices; Michael Gove announced his latest bright idea for the nation’s schoolchildren. The English Baccalaureate was originally intended to ‘be the equivalent of the old School Leaving Certificate’, but the EBacc, as it became known, has turned into just another of Gove’s personal follys, greeted with less than lukewarm enthusiasm by pupils, teachers, parents and employers.

I’m all for pupils studying a good range of subjects, at a level that reflects their abilities and supports their future studies and career paths. But the EBacc does nothing for pupils or schools, except provide another stick to beat them with, as Gove always intended. The cat has been let permanently out of the DfE bag with the ‘clarification’ that the EBacc is intended as ‘a performance measure’ and ‘not a qualification in its own right’.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Lib Link: How does David Cameron charm the Liberal Democrats?

Over at his day job at MHP Communications, Mark Pack turns his thoughts to how David Cameron should react to , stating that the Prime Minister has ‘two tricky problems to mull over’.

The first, and most talked about, is how to get his party to back some measure of Lords reform else risk seeing Liberal Democrats outside ministerial ranks (and even some inside) see it as open season on future legislation as it goes through Parliament. The sort of effective and tight whipping operations that saw Liberal Democrats in both Houses votes for a range of measures they did

Posted in LibLink and News | Tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

Double wins for Lib Dems in Chelmsford

Chelmsford Liberal Democrats are celebrating two big by-election wins this morning, after double vacancies caused by the death of Tom Smith-Hughes.

Paul Bentham became the new councillor for the Patching Hall ward of Chelmsford City Council, whilst Stephen Robinson was elected in the Chelmsford North division of Essex County Council.

The results were as follows:

PATCHING HALL
Lib Dem 842 (42%)
Con 488 (25%)
Lab 309 (16%)
UKIP 263 (13%)
Green 84 (4%)

CHELMSFORD NORTH
Lib Dem 1614 (42%)
Con 941 (25%)
Lab 711 (19%)
UKIP 435 (11%)
Green 128 (3%)

Posted in Council by-elections and News | Tagged and | 7 Comments

RIP Nikki Thomson

I first met Nikki Thomson at the inaugural party conference of the Social and Liberal Democrats, back in September 1988. You couldn’t miss Nikki: she exuded energy and determination.

A liberal to the core, she had had her misgivings about the merger of the two Alliance parties, but once she had decided to join, she threw herself into the new party with the vigour and passion that was her trademark.

Posted in News and Obituaries | Tagged , and | 14 Comments

Does mislaying your child really make you a bad parent?

As soon as Eric Pickles announced his ‘Back to Basics’ crackdown on ‘troubled’ families, it was odds on that a Conservative minister would oblige by executing his own family faux pas. How many would have placed their bets in the culprit being the Prime Minister himself, who with model mum Samantha appears to have chillaxed a little too much after Sunday lunch at the pub, leaving their daughter Nancy in the Ladies.

The uncomfortable end to Nancy’s comfort break apparently happened ‘a couple of months ago’, according to a Downing Street spokesman, but conveniently surfaced in the press as soon as …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 26 Comments

Labour’s hypocrisy on the ‘Granny Tax’

The response from Labour and the tabloids to yesterday’s Budget have majored on the patronisingly termed ‘Granny Tax’.

However Ed Balls and colleagues must be delighted that so far everyone seems to have missed that the last Government froze the Age Allowance between 2009-11 – or as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves would term it Labour imposed ‘an enormous stealth tax for older people’.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 31 Comments

Senior Labour councillor moves to the Liberal Democrats

Long-time Labour member and councillor Ron Spellen, currently Chairman of Three Rivers District Council, has left the Labour Party and joined the Liberal Democrats. Ron will defend his seat at May’s local elections as a Liberal Democrat.

The former Labour group leader and representative for Northwick ward, South Oxhey for many years, said “Today’s Labour Party is not the party I joined fifty years ago. It is now the Liberal Democrats who represent what I came into local politics to achieve – a determined effort to protect local people, promote their interests and consult with them about local issues. Three Rivers Liberal Democrats have always put the needs and wishes of residents priority over party politics.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments
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