Category Archives: Blogger Interviews

Millennium Elephant-organised blogger interviews with LD folk

Interview: Alistair Carmichael Part 2 – The Life of a Whip

Welcome to the second part of my interview with Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

Most of us who are interested in politics have either read House of Cards or watched it on DVD and think we know how a Chief Whip operates from watching the dastardly Francis Urquhart at work. I said to Alistair that I really didn’t think pushing people off buildings or lacing their heroin with rat poison was quite his style – so what was a typical day in the life of a Chief Whip like?

Caron, that’s one of the nicest things

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Simon Says – So what did our Deputy Leader make of Conference?

Simon Hughes has been walking an oil sodden, slippery, wobbly tightrope since he took on the role of Deputy Leader. I have to say I have been impressed at the way he has managed to rattle equally the right and left wing press while managing the balancing act with aplomb! It is a frighteningly difficult task and one that is crucial to get right. I may not always agree with him but I am hugely grateful and reassured by his being there. I think one of his undoubted attributes is to be able to listen and take back concerns, whether

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Jo Swinson’s video from the UN

Last Saturday at the Bloggers’ Unconference, our final interview of the day was with Jo Swinson MP – which was particularly kind of her, since she’d flown back from New York the day before, and must have been jet-lagged.

Falling at the end of the day, the discussion we had with Jo was one of the most informal of the day, but was all the better for that. Her enthusiasm for finding new ways of communicating really shone through, and she talked to us about creating the video below. In particular, she was really keen to show us her new Flip video camera, which is extremely portable and can be used by just the one person, without needing fancy lights, an off-camera microphone or an extra person working as camera operator.

Jo used her Flip to make a series of mini videos about the work she was doing at the UN, and quite simply to give some basic impressions of what visiting the UN buildings in New York are like. The buildings are iconic, but not particularly fancy. Working in the main office block is like working in any slightly old fashioned tower block. She also takes time out of her schedule to show us a moving statue rescued from the rubble of Hiroshima – on the face, undamaged and intact; on the rear, scraped raw by the heat and debris of the nuclear explosion.

If you follow LDV’s twitter feed, you may also have seen this message promoting a short audio interview with Helen Duffett asking Jo the questions.

Also posted in Online politics | Tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Tavish Scott on devolution, Donald Trump, liberalism and more

At the weekend, the Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Tavish Scott gave an interview to a group of Lib Dem bloggers meeting at the party HQ in Clifton Terrace for an ‘unconference’.

Devolution and independence referendum

I kicked off with one of the main issues in the news at the moment: should there be  a referendum on Scottish independence, and hence should the Liberal Democrats be supporting one?

Tavish was scathing about the idea of a referendum, calling it an SNP trick which the party shouldn’t go along with. His argument was that there is one pro-independence party and there is a vote coming …

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Edinburgh, brace yourself: the first Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference

Just under three weeks to go now – but there’s still time to register for the feast of blogging talent and advice that is the Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference.

I’m pleased to announce that Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has agreed to give a Bloggers’ Interview around lunchtime.

Also joining us: Jo Swinson MP, John Barrett MP, Mike Crockart (newly-selected PPC for Edinburgh West), leading Scottish bloggers, Andrew Reeves (prolific blogger and Deputy Director of Campaigns for Scotland) as well as Lib Dem Blogfather Jonathan Calder and members of the Lib Dem Voice team.

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Nick Clegg’s blogger interviews

This morning a group of 10 bloggers interviewed Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. The questions ranged over a wide area and here are a few selected highlights:

MPs’ expenses: Nick eloquently made the link between safe seats and good behaviour by MPs: “if you want to keep MPs honest, don’t give them safe seats for life … safe seats corrupt public life”. He said his one real regret over how he had handled the issue was not making the point more forcefully that whilst the party was not free of “blemishes”, no Liberal Democrat MP had been involved in the serious …

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The Elephant Interviews… Mr Chris Huhne, Fighting for Freedom

Hello fluffy friends!

I hope that you have had a Happy Easter break and that you all watched new DOCTOR WHO.

But now, it is time for another interview. Short notice, this time, but if you can be in WESTMINSTER next TUESDAY, 21st April, at 5.15pm then this is your chance to put the questions to the Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Mr Chris Huhne.

We have not spoken to Mr Chris since the LEADERSHIP CONTEST, but since very nearly pipping Mr Clogg at the post, he has been working hard on the important Home Office and Civil Liberties brief.

Mr Huhne recently published …

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Video: Vince Cable MP talks to Lib Dem bloggers about… blogging

Vince Cable agreed to be interviewed by a group of Lib Dem bloggers last night at Parliament.

My camcorder and I were there for Lib Dem Voice – and joined by Alix Mortimer, Andy Hinton, Jennie Rigg, Jo Christie-Smith, Mark Valladares, Mary Reid and Millennium Dome, Elephant. Look out for their write-ups too.

I asked Vince for his thoughts on blogging, and why he doesn’t have a blog of his own.

Vince cited “time” as the main obstacle, and later in the conversation underlined his commitment to keeping in touch with his constituents. The assembled bloggers pointed out that all these things go well together, so Vince agreed to think about it.

I have a very open mind – I say Lynne has been a very good advocate for this, and I have agreed with her that this is a deficiency of mine… If somebody could help me get a push off the ground…”

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The Elephant Interviews… The President

Hello again, fluffy friends!

So a new President has been elected, scoring a stunning victory based on a grass roots campaign and famous badges! Tragically Baroness Ros ISN’T in the White House, but the GOOD NEWS for us is that that means she will be coming to Spring Conference and has made time in her packed diary for a Bloggers’ Interview at 3pm on Saturday 7th March. Yes We Can!

President Ros was elected on a pledge to be a link between the members and the leadership, so this is your opportunity to try that out! Ms Ros also has a strong …

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The Elephant Interviews… Vince Cable: the man who knows

Happy New Year fluffy friends!

As you know, 2009 is going to be a bit of a TRICKY year for the economy. Mr Frown, the Prime Monster, is throwing money at the problem like there is no tomorrow (and who knows, if there’s a General Election, he may be right at least as far as his government is concerned).

Meanwhile, the Conservatory Party under Mr Balloon has drafted one-time Chancellor Mr Ken Clarke, who knows a thing or two about tripling the national debt!

So with that in mind, who better to talk to than Mr Dr Vince Cable, Great Britain’s …

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The Elephant Interviews… at last in Sheffield!

Hello fluffy friends!

Next week, Saturday 1 November, will be the Liberal Democrats’ Yorkshire and Humber Regional Conference, to be held at Sheffield Cathedral Conference Centre, Sheffield Cathedral, Church Street, Sheffield S1 1HA. And I have FINALLY managed to arrange the long-promised, never-forgotten Lib Dem Bloggers Not-in-London Interview with the Leader of the Party, Mr Nick Clegg.

Hooray!

Mr Nick is very kindly going to make time for us in the afternoon for forty-five minutes to an hour between 2pm and 4pm (I shall know more precise details by next week!)

Our interviews tend to be quite informal, as people …

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Your chance to interview Tavish Scott

The new leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, Tavish Scott MSP, has agreed to take part in a bloggers’ interview. This will take place at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Edinburgh on Saturday October 11 between 3.25pm and 4pm.

The interview is open to any Lib Dem blogger. All that is required is that you write up the interview on your blog. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you could write it up on Lib Dem Voice or another site of your choice.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact me by email at [email protected]

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The Elephant Interviews… at Conference!

Hello Fluffy Friends!

Conference is coming and with it lots more opportunities for BLOGGING!

Do not think that it is all standing around at the Blogger of the Year awards, sipping champagne and throwing sticky buns at the other nonimees, oh no! There are lots MORE exciting things to do.

And to add to all the fun, thanks to the efforts of Ms Helen Duffett we are able to bring you more opportunities for BLOGGERS INTERVIEWS.

On Saturday 13th, at 4pm, we will be meeting with Mr Lembit Opik. Mr Lembit is Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Housing, so he’s just the person …

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Bloggers! Would you like to interview Jo Swinson MP?

Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for Dunbartonshire East, has agreed to be interviewed by a bunch of Lib Dem bloggers at Westminster on Monday, 21st July at 7 pm.

Several mature, erudite interviewers (and their cuddly toys) have already signed up, but there are still a couple of free places in the playpen, oops, panel.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a blog of your own – you can always write it up for Lib Dem Voice. Just as long as you blog about it…

Jo is our Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and chairs the Party’s Campaign for …

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The Elephant Interviews: Bloggers 4 Henley

Dear Friends,

Despite Mr Boris still keeping us all wondering whether he will be keeping his promise to step down, Liberal Democrats are FLOCKING to the constituency of Henley, Thame and South Oxfordshire to support Mr Stephen Kearney.

I am sure that you will all understand that Mr Stephen has a VERY busy schedule, but he has very kindly found a time when he can SQUEEZE in an interview with a small number of bloggers! It is this Sunday, 8th of June, at 10am, and we shall be in the campaign headquarters in Thame.

I am SORRY that that means a VERY …

Also posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged | 2 Comments

An audience with Nick Clegg

“Good evening Mr Haw!” I said cheerily as I wandered past the assorted tents and placards still disfiguring the east side of Parliament Square; but the legendary peace campaigner studiously ignored my outstretched hand. I thought this just a touch rude, but reasoned afterwards that he must have taken me for a member of the ruling classes. An easy mistake to make – I was, after all, most finely tailored from head to toe for the latest in a series of blogger interviews, most kindly organised by the Millennium Elephant, this time with the leader of the Liberal Democrats himself, Nick Clegg! Here’s all I remember of the evening:

Jo Christie-Smith asked Nick about our much-heralded “narrative” and, on a related theme, Helen Duffett questioned Nick regarding our media profile, or rather lack of it. To reinforce the point, Helen produced a pair of “media goggles” with a red lens on one side, and blue on the other – the point being that the media tend to view politics in terms of a straight divide between Labour and Conservative, thus marginalising the Liberal Democrats. Nick acknowledged the problem and assured us that we have people on the case in Cowley Street, but I was heartened to learn that he is not obsessing over the media. Nick says he doesn’t even read the newspapers every day, and tends to think that their influence is on the wane.

Somewhere along the line, Nick and I got into a mild disagreement over David Cameron. I quite like Cameron, seeing the deeply reactionary forces on his backbenches as being more of the problem as far as the Conservatives are concerned. But Nick is not remotely impressed with Cameron, whom he regards as superficial and deeply conservative, notwithstanding some obvious movement towards a place of sanity which has taken place under his watch. I will naturally bow to Nick’s better judgement, but a brief survey of some voting figures from last week serve to highlight the point I was trying to make:

The evening before we saw Nick, David Howarth and Evan Harris were busy seeing off the oppressive, defunct, and frankly embarrassing crime of “blasphemy” in the House of Commons. The division was never in doubt; nevertheless 57 MPs voted in a desperate attempt to retain blasphemy legislation in the 21st century – virtually all of them Conservatives. So while both Cameron and Clegg were among the Ayes that evening, it would appear that at least a quarter of the Conservative parliamentary party are completely mad! In short, there is a rich seam to be mined here, if only Liberal Democrats could be persuaded to openly embrace a more radical secular agenda. But I digress!

Paul Walter wanted to know whether, what with Labour steadily losing confidence by the hour, there might be any scope for applying pressure on electoral reform for Westminster. Nick was adamant that he has no intention of flirting with Labour on this, or indeed any other issue. But Jo wanted to know why we are so bad at fighting PR elections (echoing a point made recently by Jonathan Calder). The sad truth is that proportional representation in Scotland, Wales, or London has not thus far led to a dramatic change in Liberal Democrats fortunes. The reasons may be various, but some aspects of the recent mayoral elections might give us pause for thought:

For example, Helen may want to get away from the red and blue “media goggles,” but how are we to prevent the media from asking the obvious (and entirely legitimate) question as to where one is intending to cast one’s second preference vote? Brian Paddick resisted this up to a point, but was unable to avoid letting out a few hints along the way, before eventually “declaring” for the Left List after the close of poll (the less said about that the better).

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Your Chance to Get Involved in The Elephant Interviews… 100 Days of Mr Clogg!

Hello Fluffy Friends!

I hope that everyone who went had a SUPER TIME at Spring Conference and that everyone who couldn’t make it enjoyed the total coverage here on Liberal Democrat Voice!

But now, straight back to work: very soon it will be the 100 day anniversary of new Liberal Party Leader, Mr Nick Clogg. So here is your OPEN INVITATION to join the panel for another bloggers’ interview!

All you need to do is promise to write about it. You can use your own diary or write up what is said for Lib Dem Voice. It couldn’t be easier.

I have already promised …

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The Elephant Interviews… Ed Davey

Hello fluffy friends,

I must start with a big fluffy THANK YOU to the MPs of the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet who have responded with great generosity and openness to being asked for an interview by a soft toy and ordinary party member.

We had a jolly good interview with Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Mr Ed Davey last week. Not only was he generous with his time but he even bought the drinks to go with our doughnuts!

He had a lot to say about that infamous walkout from the House of Commons – that it wasn’t at all planned and that …

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Your chance to Get Involved: interview Ed Davey, the Lib Dems’ Shadow Foreign Secretary

Dear friends,

Mr Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, has bravely and generously agreed to offer us bloggers some of his time for an interview to cover the wide range of Liberal Democrat Foreign Policy!

This is a particularly busy and exciting time for the foreign affairs team, with the European Reform Treaty that is passing through the House of Commons causing a lot of interest, but also the elections in America and Pakistan, the Olympics in China, the situation in Darfur and the ongoing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I know that lots of you will be interested, and so, in …

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The Elephant Interviews…

Hello, fluffy friends.

So… who wants to interview the Leader of the Liberal Democrats with me?

Such a lot has happened since last I wrote to you.

Sir Mr the Merciless has taken the LONG WALK; Mr Frown has shot himself in BOTH FEET; and Mr Balloon is still RUBBISH.

The Liberal Democrats will soon have a NEW Party Leader, either Mr Chris or Mr Nick, and you may have already read that I (OK, and some other people) went along to INTERVIEW both of them. I think that the interviews went RATHER WELL, and certainly showed both candidates at their …

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