Author Archives: Tom King

UK democracy is a rotten borough – Liberal Democrats must act like it

Results from the largest opinion poll since that slightly odd one in 2016 are in, and what a surprise: Brexit negotiations have not convinced people that the sunny uplands are just over the brow of this particular Everest.

Instead, there is a definite shift in public views: an eight-point majority for Remain in Survation’s 20,000-person poll (54-46). More interesting was the map showing the extent of the change; Leave-loving Wales is now Remain, while ‘Labour Leave’ constituencies in the north of England have also seen the light – or the lights going out.

As is so often the case, there were immediate redoubled calls for a People’s Vote from Remainer politicians.

I am technically in favour of a new vote. I marched for one in London two weeks ago. The last time I marched, it was against the Iraq war; a simple choice. However, this time, I marched not because I thought another referendum was the right policy, but because nothing better is on offer.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 38 Comments

Opinion: Bloody but unbowed, we must pick our battles quickly

The pain of Thursday night and Friday morning will take a long time to heal. But politics, like time, is an ever-rolling stream, and while our party’s dreams may have died long before the opening day, there is never the luxury of standing still or turning inwards.

Already, and encouragingly, this already seems to have been reflected in a groundswell of renewed support from more than 2000 party members. I myself, as a formerly rather passive Liberal Democrat, feel deeply ashamed of my lack of active campaigning when it was needed most. We absolutely need to turn those feelings of guilt and anger into action.

The question will be where to focus our efforts. I want to argue that picking our battles deliberately and quickly is vital.

Twitter and Facebook might be full of people pointing out the unfairnesses of First Past the Post; people might even be actively questioning the legitimacy of the Conservatives’ majority. But that is irrelevant. The reality is that we have a Tory government, and probably for most of the next five years – unless they try to repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act they claimed as a major achievement in their manifesto.

Posted in News | 21 Comments

Why I can’t defend Tim Farron, the ASA, Healing on the Streets… or the terms of this debate

Tim Farron must be wondering when he became quite such a powerful man. Becoming President of the Lib Dems was one thing, but the mere act of appending his name to a letter has, I hope briefly, let slip the dogs of war within the party. Lib Dems everywhere seemed to decide Tim had made a catastrophic Faith Heal Turn. As I am both a member of the party and an evangelical Christian, I thought I would attempt to set out why the terms of this debate, in my view, are misguided.

I have great respect for Tim. I find his …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Opinion: we must become the fair tax party

Nick Clegg has been all over the airwaves this week, promoting one of the Liberal Democrats’ flagship policies: raising the income tax threshold to £10,000. This is something that everyone interested in social justice should naturally be inclined to support. If implemented in the forthcoming budget, it would reduce the burden on low- and middle-income earners, putting money back in their pockets at a time when many are finding the cupboard bare.

The policy also leads naturally to what some are already calling ‘Phase 2’ – tying the threshold directly to the current minimum …

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Opinion: The Liberal Democrats should contest Police Commissioner elections

Ask many people what they think of the Lib Dems’ approach to law and order, and you’ll be told – erroneously – that we’re a soft touch. Our approach, traditionally evidence-based and less punitive than the populist authoritarian policies of Labour and the Tories, takes longer to explain. When we fail to do so, we risk being seen as the party that panders to criminals.

Of course, that isn’t the case. We believe in policy that actually works to reduce crime and recidivism, using all possible means to rehabilitate those who resort to illegality, while reiterating the importance of the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: End unpaid internships with MPs? Sure – just show us the money

There has been no little discussion in recent days about the cosy world of unpaid internships. Nick Clegg has rightly drawn attention to their increasingly powerful status as a barrier to social mobility. Of course, organisations such as Intern Aware and Interns Anonymous have long been making the same point.

But the almost universal response to this truth – that unpaid internships are wrong, and should be ended forthwith – actually raises more questions than it answers. What people really mean when they say internships should ‘end’ is that interns should be ‘paid’. This is because everyone recognises …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: cuts in welfare are the hallmark of a selfish society

During the Conservative Party Conference, George Osborne announced a simple change to child benefit. He took a difficult and historic decision to remove payments to households with at least one higher rate taxpayer, saving an estimated £1 billion of public money from going directly to the highest paid 12% in our society.

In what turned out to be my last blog post, I railed – somewhat hysterically – against the reaction to this modest cut. It was clear that the right wing press would oppose such a move. But what was less clear, and more galling, was the way the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 44 Comments

Opinion: A useful analogy?

Watery sunlight creeps through the gap between the plush curtains as you groggily open your eyes. A cappuccino rests on the bedside table, next to the designer spectacles which have become your trademark. Wearily, you begin to sit up, turning on the DAB radio as you sip the smoking tide. But in the dulcet tones of Evan Davis you begin to discern a disturbing development.

“In a shock move, the Football Association last night voted to open the selection of England’s final World Cup squad to the public through an instant referendum. Votes are likely to divide sharply down club lines

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 20th Aug - 1:54am
    The Liberal Democrat party used to have a policy to join the Euro currency and have interest rates set by the European Central Bank. No...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 20th Aug - 1:19am
    Thank you David Allen for the link, from there I have found the text of the letter from Sir Mark Sedwill (https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1165830/Brexit-news-Jeremy-Corbyn-Sir-Mark-Sedwill-letter-Boris-Johnson-no-deal-EU-labour ) and the...
  • User AvatarRob Cannon 19th Aug - 11:46pm
    I understand from newspaper that PC Harper died when he was hit by a police car. It's very tragic. However, this is probably one of...
  • User AvatarSuzanne Fletcher 19th Aug - 11:30pm
    Oh dear. an article that raises very many valid and interesting points I want to get a feel of what people are thinking but lost...
  • User AvatarRichard O'Neill 19th Aug - 11:03pm
    Agree with John Marriott on this. A second referendum still doesn't fill me with confidence remain will win. Looking at the Guardian and the Independent...
  • User AvatarRob Cannon 19th Aug - 10:48pm
    I imagine that this is a non-issue for many of those posting here but it is a live issue for millions of British citizens. Have...
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