Author Archives: Tad Jones

More carrot, less stick in improving diversity

I’m generally supportive of the diversity motion introducing all women shortlists (AWS) at the next federal conference in York, (this argument is particularly persuasive), but will AWS permanently solve the problem of our party being too male and pale? If the proposals are passed and are successful, we might look in the Westminster bubble like we have addressed the gender disparity, however, as a party that relies on its local activists and councillors we ought to embed this cultural change more broadly. As Mark Pack has pointed out, we don’t have enough women councillors, council candidates and local party officers (all about a third of total). And, as noted in one of the reports to conference, the percentage of female approved candidates is 27%.

The motion doesn’t address this except to say-

Conference acknowledges that: 

d) Proposals will be coming forward on wider party diversity, including in party structures and local government, as part of the Federal Executive-led Governance Review to the Autumn Federal Conference

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 83 Comments

Opinion: A lack of leadership on public R&D spending


Analysis from the Science is Vital campaign has been released with the worrying news that UK public sector spending on research and development has dropped to less than 0.5% of GDP.

Not only does the decline in investment put us at the bottom of the G8 group of countries, but it’s less than any G8 country has invested in R&D in the last 20 years.”

This is also less than the EU average, and the OECD average for public R&D spending. Science is Vital argue that this is a result of a flat cash settlement in 2010, cuts in capital expenditure, and significant reductions in departmental spending on research. The campaign for science and engineering (CaSE) have echoed this with an estimate that “The cumulative erosion of the ringfenced science budget will be over £1.1bn from the beginning of 2010 spending review period up to 2015/16.”

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: A step forward in reforming the UN

United Nations complexWe Liberal Democrats do like a challenge. From taking on Labour/Conservatives in entrenched local authorities to being the smaller party in an austerity coalition, we’ve fought the good fight for liberal values and policies.

Whatever the difficulties in national and local politics, international issues are often more intractable. Conflicts and disputes, whether frozen, like Northern Cyprus, or persistently violent, like Israel/Palestine, linger on for decades. These different problems require different solutions, but I do think that better global governance would help things along.

The UN security council is still dominated by …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments

Opinion: Drugs – Evidence based policy, liberalism and some Uruguayan political courage

drugsAre we seeing some change in the way societies view drugs?

Last December Uruguay legalised cannabis, and in the US, the states of Colorado and Washington legalised cannabis for personal use in 2012. The Netherlands has, for some time, allowed cannabis use in specialist coffeeshops. Of course, none of these examples have opted for free and unfettered access for all, but rather a regulated system where the authorities can exert control. The Uruguayan plan includes a user registry, a tax, and quality control, with the aim of reducing profits for organised crime, and reducing drug related violence.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

Consultation on the link between the Co-op and Labour

My other half and I are lucky enough to live a couple of minutes walk from a decent sized Co-op store. It’s convenient, has some fairtrade, and we get a few vouchers through being members. The downside is that we seem to be supporting the Labour party when we have no wish to. The Co-op supports Labour candidates to the tune of £800,000 a year apparently. The Conservative MP Jesse Norman claimed that the Co-operative group has in the last ten years “given £6,187,788 to the Co-operative Party, and a further £355,857 to the Labour Party”.

It’s a …

Posted in News | 18 Comments

Opinion: Building a stronger economy by supporting Research and Development

As slogans go, ‘Stronger economy. Fairer society’, is a pretty good one. But I can’t help thinking that we have a bit of an imbalance in favour of the latter. Pupil premium, raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, pension triple lock – great policies for a fairer society. What are the equivalent policies for a stronger economy? You might be able to think of a few, but they’re certainly not as prominent, and some positions, reducing the deficit for example, are not exactly unique to the Liberal Democrats.

Perhaps that’s alright though, there are probably many in the party more …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Recent Comments

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    Sadly Kyle, I think your post is based on inexperience rather than any objective analysis of the situation. While in most general elections there are a few ou...
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    Paul is absolutely right in his last too posts. While some local parties did not grow in that period, a much larger number grew steadily and became a real thri...
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    matt - so sorry to hear this, thank you for sharing this with us...
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