Author Archives: Stephen Phillips

Opinion: Refugees are people too

I recently watched a television programme in which Ross Kemp looks at the situation in Calais, where thousands of refugees are seeking to gain access to the UK in the most dangerous manner.

I have no special knowledge of the situation there, nor from what they are fleeing – who can? But I do know that seeing the programme has made me deeply ashamed of being European. Not being a citizen of the European Union, but being a member of a large community that has not yet addressed the issue of how we can help people in such dire straits.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: A good reason to vote LibDem in May

This post is reserved for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having post less than five comments in the last month.

Following the start of the 100+ day election campaign, I cannot help wondering what it is the Lib Dems need to do to recover what appears to be a significant dip in popular support. The problem is that we do not appear to be benefitting in the opinion polls from our many achievements in government. This is a shame, because there are so many of them; despite some comments on Lib Dem Voice, which could easily have been written by our political opponents in an attempt to demoralise supporters.

Posted in For new & infrequent commenters, News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Opinion: could we have a better leader?

Some people will take this question to mean that we really should find a better leader, others that we have a good one already.

Perhaps unlike some of those who contribute to this website, I do not know Nick Clegg personally and can therefore only judge him from his television appearances, writings and what is written about him in the press.

He appears to come in for considerable criticism largely, as far as I can see, for being in coalition with the Conservatives, although some threads on this website also seem to have other reservations about his leadership.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 58 Comments

Opinion: 120 days to save the country

Like most voters. I dislike negative electioneering. It does nothing but give the impression that politicians behave more like little children who cannot share their toys than like the people in whose hands we should be placing the safety and economic wellbeing of the country.

That said, we can be confident that there will be plenty of negativity about, particularly as the Conservatives try to distance themselves from the steadying effect that the LibDems have had within the coalition. So I wonder if we should take this opportunity to get negativity out of the way now, before we get on with what really needs to be said in the election campaign proper.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

Opinion: The power of the media for good or ill

The existence of a free press is one of the hard-won aspects of our society, that makes it what it is. Added to this is the existence of a free broadcasting system and the internet, some of which features other countries are lucky enough to share.

Of course, there are problems associated with a free media, including the issue that it is largely profit-driven and can therefore occasionally overstep the mark of what many ‘ordinary’ people consider to be acceptable behaviour. Delving too deeply into the private lives of those who are not in a position to defend themselves is one example of what can go wrong. On the other hand, revealing the depths of corruption in various public bodies is something for which we should thank them.

It is therefore with a degree of diffidence that I wonder whether some of the 24 hour a day coverage we see is actually a bad thing. Take for example, recent events in Sydney, Australia.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Is this the end of conviction politics?

Are we witnessing the end of ‘conviction politics’ in the UK: that is the willingness of politicians to lead, rather than follow, public opinion, taking it in a direction that they believe to be right, rather than one that will get them re-elected. Of course, politicians want to be returned to power; even the very best can only achieve anything good in society provided they are in a position to influence events.

The danger is, however, that in the rush to get elected politicians sometimes allow the media to set the agenda, and then pander to the ‘lowest common denominator’ of public opinion.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 31 Comments

Opinion: Is the centre ground disappearing from British politics?

Ballot boxIs it just me, or has something recently changed in British politics? In fact, this apparent move towards what some might see as extremism may also be a characteristic of the political scene in Europe and further afield, too. It is almost akin to the frenzy that seems to hit societies at the end of each century, but manifesting itself a decade and a half late.

What the opinion polls appear to show is that the centre ground, represented primarily by the Liberal Democrats, has lost ground in favour of a …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 96 Comments

Opinion: Council tax reform is better than the Mansion Tax

The November 2014 AdLib makes interesting reading. Amongst other issues, it set me thinking about the Mansion Tax. It is axiomatic of any decent society that those most able to pay should contribute the greatest amount towards the cost of maintaining it; especially in respect of social costs.

This seems to be an unpopular concept with many on the right of politics, who would presumably see themselves as paying more; while those on the left may be tempted to adopt it as an unthinking mantra, without considering the practical implications. Nevertheless, we must find fair ways of making the better off pay their fair share.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments
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