Author Archives: Steve Spear

The pointless question is….

No not the quiz programme.  I am asking about the Liberal Democrats – a minor, centrist political party in the United Kingdom.  A Party that for 86 years has espoused a fairer and more representative voting system but for some inexplicable reason in 2017 it lost all enthusiasm for coalition government.

Our current leader said during the last election campaign “I would be astonished if he (Tim Farron) countenanced any kind of coalition with Labour or the Conservatives.”  So here is the very big SO – why bother voting for us, after all there was no chance that we would be forming a Government.  If we weren’t going to countenance a coalition with either of the two main parties how were we going to bring our influence to bear in securing a second referendum, for instance.

This was a denial of our long standing, honourable and rational argument for a fairer voting system that more reflects the diverse views of the electorate.  An argument first made by the Liberal Party in their 1931 General Election manifesto.

The conditions of the present Election are one more proof of the imperative need of a reform in the electoral system if the real wishes of the voters are to be truly expressed at the polls.

The purpose being that

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 30 Comments

The Right to Buy – A Solution to Funding Care of Older People?

What do people who need to enter residential care fear most? Losing the home they have worked for the best part of their lives? Separation from their spouse they have shared a bed with for decades? Going to a place where they know they are going to die?

At a time when a person is at their most vulnerable we force them away from their families and potentially destroy their treasured legacy for their children and grandchildren. So let’s be clear, caring for the elderly and keeping them safe as they become …

Posted in News | 18 Comments

Devolution to get excited about…Part 1

Whatever happens after the Brexit negotiations the problem of ordinary folk not having a voice in the ever expanding global village will remain.  Leaving the EU will not make a jot of difference to isolated Stoke or distant Newcastle.  I firmly believe that the only way to give people a meaningful  voice over their day to day living is through devolution.

As a Liberal Democrat I am excited by devolution.

Devolution is about bringing power, influence and decision making closer to those it affects. It is meant to mean “Power to the People!” So where is the enthusiasm? Where is the excitement? When did you last talk about it down at the pub or around your dinner table?

The truth is that the devolution conversation is limited to politicians who in their clunky, British, evolutionary way discuss, and agree, things like Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships. One step at a time! This hasn’t stirred the local populous and I don’t see many people manning the barricades. We need a singular vision, focus and leadership to thrill people, to show them that there is an exciting future for where they live. A future rooted in their quality of life both at work and at play. This, and only this, will generate the clamour for change.

To develop a coherent and exciting picture for  devolution we have to cover a lot of ground including the areas of life we want to devolve alongside the actual power we are transferring from national government.  For me permission to spend national taxes under the watchful eye of Westminster is not devolution.  Hence I have called this first article Part 1 and rightly or wrongly I am going to start with the geography of devolution.

Like all good presentations I will start with a joke:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments
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