Author Archives: Tom Smith

Opinion: Keep Free Schools, but make them better

Mark Pack’s question on the future of Lib Dem education policy in light of Free Schools is very timely.

We should rightly be proud of the implementation of the pupil premium; a distinctively liberal policy that will go some way to correcting the inequities of the education system. Our education manifesto for 2015 can’t rely just on advocating a bigger and better pupil premium.

In the medium term it seems likely …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 31 Comments

Opinion: Let’s talk about Corruption

The latest cash for access scandal may well have highlighted yet again the murky world of party financing and lobbying but overall the UK can pride itself on not being corrupt; Transparency International places it in the least 20 corrupt nations in the World.  How does this tally with opinion polls showing that almost three quarters of the British public think corruption is a serious problem in the UK that many consider has got worse in recent years?

Whether the public perception is wrong, there is a profound gap between public and expert definitions of corruption or if there really …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: Let’s Have John Lewis Public Services

One of the themes in the loosely constructed narrative the Liberal Democrats have deployed in recent months has been industrial democracy – in catchphrase terms the promotion of the John Lewis economy.

This presents a radical, if embryonic, approach to the private sphere and a unique contribution to the debate on how to rescue capitalism. Looking at how to adopt the themes of this approach to the public sector should be the next logical step. First, though, we have to resolve the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments

Liberal Insight: new think tank launched

Today we are announcing the launch of Liberal Insight, the new liberal think tank. Liberal Insight will contribute radical, progressive and innovative ideas to a vision of liberal society.  Our advisory board is being chaired by Party President Tim Farron MP.

Liberalism has seen a resurgence in Britain in recent years, culminating in almost 7 million voters at the last election for the Liberal Democrats, a place in the Coalition Government and a long-awaited opportunity to implement distinctly liberal policies.

This rise in electoral success has come against a trend of the liberal gains of the last century being eroded by the deliberate actions …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 11 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrat, not Yes Minister, values must prevail on Risk Register

Back in 2010 we campaigned on a vision of open government and “new politics”. The debacle over the NHS Strategic Risk Register shows how far we have strayed from this policy objective and also how hit and miss the Coalition’s political management has become.

The Risk Register issue is just one in a very long line of political blunders in the life of the Health and Social Care Bill. This time the Government is still trying to oppose public opinion, the Information Commissioner and now a Labour motion in the Commons, causing far more political upheaval than necessary. Whatever the actual …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: The grammar school debate – an opportunity for distinctiveness?

Alongside the news that the UK could soon see the establishment of ‘new’ grammar schools in Kent, Devon and elsewhere, and that Labour will be urging the Liberal Democrats to support them in blocking these plans, the Lib Dems should examine the implications – and adopt a distinctive stance – on this disagreement.

The debate has gone over the usual arguments. On one hand, the pro-grammar Telegraph columnists imagine swathes of potential Nobel Laureates and curers of cancer who will irrevocably have their talents and spirits crushed if compelled to attend a comprehensive school.

On the other hand, the anti-side quite rightly …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Opinion: Seize the opportunities in the NHS reforms

The Health and Social Care Bill looks like it will have a bumpy ride through the Commons when Parliament returns this week. There are furious complaints from 38 degrees and others that the reforms will introduce privatisation by the back door, open up the NHS to being subject to competition law and allow the Secretary of State to wash his hands of the NHS altogether. Whatever the merits of these arguments, they somewhat miss the point.

The argument over the inclusion or otherwise of the Secretary of State’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive service in the Bill is …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 29 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Jun - 6:27am
    @ Alex, I do remember the Lib Dems being enthusiastic about the Mansion tax at one time. According to wiki, a motion in support at...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 6th Jun - 12:04am
    @Peter Martin: The practice among Labour hard lefties of constantly digging up the increasinly distant past in priority to attacking the current government is not...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jun - 11:48pm
    @ Alex, It's your point not mine. You're right in saying "with a post-Coalition leader we can move on from it because the leader would...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 5th Jun - 11:37pm
    As the above comments amply demonstrate, no good can come from endless re-examination of the Lib Dems’ record in the 2010-15 Coalition Government - or...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 5th Jun - 10:45pm
    Ed Davey became the MP for Kingston in 1997. Paddy Ashdown tasked him with the job of the party's spokesman on Treasury Affairs, adding the...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 5th Jun - 10:39pm
    @David Raw 'My memory of American Presidents goes way back to Harry.S. Truman' I too hope that D Trump will get his comeuppance in November....