Author Archives: Shirley Williams

We built the EU for our children

Our country has a long and great tradition of leadership. Increasingly, we recognise that it has to be not only national leadership but our global leadership, where we are a part of a larger group of human beings seeking a better world and a better life, which makes the greatest difference to our lives. It would be a tragedy if this country gave up that kind of leadership because it is essential in the modern world, in which countries are totally interconnected with one another.

We have warred for generations over land, resources and ideas, spilling the blood of our children so that one small corner of the continent can put its flag in another small corner of the continent. In the last century we called this to an end. We agreed that we had finally had enough of the bloodshed and instead collaborated to build a stronger, more peaceful Europe.

It is not just violence we are protecting against. In building the European Union we have built the single biggest trading block in the world, the largest source of overseas investment in the world and an organisation which has the capacity to have a major impact in its negotiations in the World Trade Organisation and elsewhere.

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

Baroness Shirley Williams writes… Trident review is a remarkable accomplishment for the Liberal Democrats

The Trident Alternatives Review is a highly informed and detailed study of the effectiveness, sustainability and cost of this country’s nuclear deterrent. Trident has been based on a rota of four submarines which between them ensure that there is always one nuclear-armed submarine at sea every hour of the day and every day of the year, a deterrent that is undoubtedly expensive but also, as the Review points out, ”as close as each system can get to an assured second strike capacity”.  Trident was developed in close co-operation with the United States and in that sense is not, unlike the …

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Baroness Shirley Williams writes… Making sense of the Health Bill amendments

If you are trying to explain to Liberal Democrat members and interested potential voters how the Lib Dem peers changed the health bill, much the best source of information is the House of Common’s library standard note, which is non-partisan and available online at the Parliament website.

In my view, no local Lib Dem group should be without it! It describes all the more significant amendments, from Lib Dems and also from Cross-Benchers and Labour peers, in a way that most of us can understand.

It brings out the changes to the powers of the Secretary of State; the removal …

Posted in Parliament | Tagged , and | 19 Comments

Baroness Shirley Williams writes… I am fed up with lies about Lib Dems and the Health Bill

Last March, I spoke at the Sheffield Conference in support of the motion that led to radical changes in the Health and Social Care Bill. By the Summer, much of the Bill had been changed and I was able to write that the Bill was much improved.

I felt that we should be proud as Liberal Democrats for thwarting the initial plans.

My colleagues in the House of Lords have made more very important changes to the original plans. On Tuesday I told the House that, “I believe that that culmination of changes will enable us to bring about an …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 50 Comments

Shirley Williams writes… Why Vote Yes – So that voters aren’t taken for granted

Let me start by stating an undisputable truth; we live in a pluralistic society. Governments have recognised this in delivering our public services and in fostering multiculturalism. However, when it comes to how we vote for our politicians, we have been stuck with first past the post, and left with the patronisingly simple option of submitting a single cross.

Experts of voting behaviour in the past would have explained voting outcomes through ‘class’. Nearly everybody voted either Labour or Conservative. For example, during every election of the 1950s, at least 90% voted for the two main parties. Now barely two-thirds do. …

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