Category Archives: LibLink

For highlighting articles by Lib Dems that have appeared elsewhere in the media.

Layla on Palestine

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran has been writing for Politics Home on Palestine. The first MP of Palestinian descent, she has special insight into the troubles experienced and what the solutions might be. You can find the full article here, but to get you started here is an excerpt.

Working with our EU partners, now more valuable than ever before, the UK Government must meet the expectations on its special responsibilities and influence in the Middle East. The US has left the field, UK Government Ministers cannot hide away. And we

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Jo debates abortion

There was a lively debate between Jo Swinson and Jacob Rees-Mogg concerning abortion on Tuesday’s Daily Politics. Here is a link if you’d like to have a look.

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On the effects of social media on young people

Moral hazard or moral panic? Is social media warping the fragile minds of our children or is it the end of the atomised individual and the rediscovery of community? Is it a bit of both, and what might be done to improve the mix?

Baroness Floella Benjamin writes of her work on these questions through the APPG on a fit and health childhood, and Norman Lamb MP explains how the Science and Technology select committee is also looking at this.

This interest is perhaps to be feared and welcomed in equal measure. Feared, because the knee jerk response to moral …

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Paddy Ashdown on Windrush and Hong Kong

Over at Politics Home, Paddy Ashdown compares the Windrush scandal to Britain’s treatment of British subjects in Hong Kong at the point of our handover of their country to a tyrannical foreign power.

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LibLink: Ed Davey: New Data Law could lead to more Windrush scandals

There’s a nasty little clause in the Data Protection Bill soon to be finalised by Parliament which means that the Home Office is under no obligation to tell people why they’ve made their decisions.

The Home Office has a fairly consistent record of showing that it needs much more accountability rather than less.

In an article for Politics Home, Ed Davey sets out the issues:

This “immigration exemption” clause would allow the Home Office to cover up its mistakes – indeed, not even find out when it had made a mistake. Because the applicant to the Home Office – or more likely their lawyer – wouldn’t be able to get access to their file, the very information used to make a decision on their future.

So, if the Home Office acts incorrectly, as they have done with Windrush documents, an individual wouldn’t be able to challenge the decision – because they won’t be allowed to know the reasons why they are being thrown out of the country. By using the new law to block the “Subject Access Requests” lawyers use to check the Home Office has got the right information on their client – and even the right person – the Home Office will become party to huge injustices. This could lead to hundreds of deportations of people who have the right to be here – people who are British citizens.

MPs who work week in, week out, know the sheer scale of the mistakes the Home Office make, every day. Latest figures from the Law Society revealed how the Home Office lose 50% of cases on appeal. And specialist lawyers have provided MPs with plenty of examples of gross Home Office errors, where the Home Office gets the wrong identity, reads their own files incorrectly and doesn’t even acknowledge the decisions it previously made about an individual.

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LibLink: Derek Laud on the Windrush debacle

The investigative work of Amelia Gentleman in the Guardian has uncovered the implications of Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’, and let us not kid ourselves with talk of Amber Rudd’s resignation, responsibility for this falls squarely upon the head of our Prime Minister.

Former Conservative speechwriter, and now a member of the Liberal Democrats, Derek Laud wrote for the Guardian over the weekend. In his powerful piece, he highlights that the impact of Government policy on Windrush pensioners is not an isolated error;

It cannot be incidental that some of the most important issues facing us today are about matters of freedom,

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Elected representatives will do the right thing on Brexit


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In the Financial Times (registration needed), Nick Clegg writes very realistically about the prognosis for Brexit:

Public opinion has shifted a little in favour of the Remain camp, and a lot towards wider concern about the impact of Brexit on the NHS and the economy. But it remains firmly enveloped in an indifference towards the details of the negotiations, and a sullen belief that politicians should just “get on with it”. Advertising campaigns by anti-Brexit groups will not, on their own, shift opinion in a big way.

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LibLink: Robin Teverson: It is the fuel poor who are destined to feel the post Brexit chill

There are many ways in which Brexit will harm the poorest people in our society. The cost of heating their homes is one which Lib Dem Peer Robin Teverson highlighted in a article for Politics Home this week:

The good news is that excepting a major failure in replacing the Euratom regime that regulates our nuclear power sector, and if we manage to replicate Euratom’s nuclear cooperation agreements with our overseas nuclear equipment and fuel suppliers, Brexit blackouts are not the threat.

But even here there is little room for complacency. Our home-grown replacement for Euratom – the beefed-up Office for Nuclear

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Liblink: Christine Jardine: My shock at Islamophobia wrapped up in Union flag

Twice recently, Christine Jardine has visited a Mosque in her constituency.

When she’s posted the pictures on social media, the nasty, racist comments started to flow. She wrote about that experience in the Scotsman this week:

I was brought up in Glasgow where sectarianism is almost commonplace. But I had never experienced anything like this. After removing a string of offensive and abusive comments from my page, I posted another comment asking people to be more respectful. That was a waste of time. It seems my offence was to cover my head, something my Church of Scotland-going grandmother long ago taught me

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Alex speaks out on assisted dying

Alex Cole-Hamilton, our Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh Western, wrote an article for the Edinburgh Evening News on Tuesday, giving his personal views on assisted dying.

It opens

We lost my father-in-law shortly before Easter. He passed in the comfort of his home surrounded by love and light and in the arms of his family. It was an end to aspire to. Such a passing is not afforded to everyone, however, and I grieve for those families who have seen their loved ones struggle in pain, indignity and distress for protracted periods before the end. Public policy change around end of life care remains one of the hottest political potatoes out there and to my mind we’re still not getting it right.

Alex feels passionately that

If we reach the limit of human endurance, if the pain goes beyond the grasp of palliative care; we should have the human right to say: “this far and no further” and be assisted, with proper safeguards to take such steps as necessary to quit this life in dignity.

He goes on to say

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Brexiters wanted to take back control but we risk losing control of Ireland

Nick Clegg has been in Ireland this week talking about Brexit with fellow Remainers Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis.

In his iPaper column, he talks about the massive problems Brexit will cause.

We also share responsibility for a precious peace in Northern Ireland. But too many ministers, including the Prime Minister, have treated these obligations as inconvenient obstacles on the way to the hardest of Brexits. It was the same situation during the referendum, when leading Brexiteers were quick to dismiss any concerns about the Irish border. But there is no avoiding the obvious consequences of the British government’s determination to interpret the 2016 referendum result as a mandate to take the UK out of the Single Market and the Customs Union. Doing so will see a land border created between the EU and the UK for the first time, and if the tariffs, standards and regulations adopted by the UK diverge from that of the EU, then a working border, with customs checks, will be unavoidable.

So how do we get out of it? Parliament, Nick says, can vote it down, but some people just shouldn’t bother turning up because they just won’t help:

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LibLink: Vince picks out Shirley Williams as the female parliamentarian that he most admires from the last 100 years


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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the UK, House magazine have done an article where prominent MPs pay tribute to the female parliamentarian they most admire from the last 100 years.

They have the Speaker, John Bercow, paying tribute to Eleanor Rathbone. Andrea Ledsom writes about Nancy Astor. Cheryl Gillan and Emma Little-Pengelly talk of Margaret Thatcher. Baroness Smith and Angela Raynor pay tribute to Ellen Wilkinson, while Kirsty Blackman extols Winnie Ewing and Lord Fowler describes Baroness Swanborough (Stella Isaacs – the first female member of the House of Lords).

Vince Cable writes eloquently in tribute to Shirley Williams:

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LibLink: Tom Brake: Boris and Davis aren’t the only ones suffering from “Delusionitis”

In an article for the Huffington Post, Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson forensically takes apart six arguments made by the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam in a letter to his constituents.

Tom tackled the assertion that the thought of a referendum on the deal would encourage the EU to give us a bad deal.

So far, the negotiations have clearly demonstrated that the EU is in a much stronger negotiating position, with our Government capitulating at every turn. In fact, when asked in December to name a concession that the EU had made, the only thing EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier could think of was that he did not “at this stage insist that the UK should pay the removal costs” for EU agencies. This should come as no surprise as the EU’s GDP is five times larger than ours. In other words, Brexit will damage our economy much more than theirs.

The EU’s position has been clear from the very beginning; The integrity of the Single Market must be protected and is non-negotiable. This does not mean punishing Britain by giving it a bad deal. It simply means that a country that does not accept the four freedoms, the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and contributing to the EU budget, will not enjoy the exact same benefits of the Single Market membership. Neither a Hard Brexit nor a second referendum is going to change the EU’s position. We know what is on offer, and the ball is thus in the Government’s court to decide what type of future relationship with the EU it wants.

He also poured scorn on the idea that the Tories could be trusted to maintain the workers’ rights that the EU currently guarantees:

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LibLink: Jenny Randerson: The drone market is a bit like the Wild West. It needs some rules to make it safe

Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has written for Politics Home about the need for regulation of drones for safety reasons.

So why are they a problem? Apart from the obvious terrorism and defence related issues, there are some more ordinary dangers:

In 2016 the police dealt with 3,456 incidents involving drones; that was 12 times the number of incidents logged in 2014, so the problems – like drone ownership – are growing rapidly.

Possibly the greatest risk is to aircraft. Drones can smash the windscreen or break the rotor blades in the case of helicopters, which would bring the aircraft down. Research

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LibLink : Floella Benjamin : Ministers should seize the baton and get serious on child obesity

As noted this morning, Floella Benjamin had an Oral Question in the House of Lords today on the subject of childhood obesity. On a day when Simon Jenkins is suggesting that obesity is a greater threat for millennials than cannabis (add your own comment there, I suggest), the question of the health of our children is a live one.

In a piece for The House Magazine, Floella, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood, notes;

From day one, we’ve said that if we are to defeat the obesity

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LibLink: Dick Taverne: The MP who beat Eurosceptics to hang on to his seat

A passionately pro European MP faces deselection by an anti-European local party. What happens then?

You could imagine this scenario unfolding for a fair few MPs today, but one person actually had this happen to him  and he survived. In 1972, Dick Taverne’s local Labour Party in Lincoln deselected him or voting for us to join the then Common Market.

It wasn’t the end of the world for him. He resigned as an MP and fought the subsequent by-election as an Independent and won.

He writes about his experience in this week’s New European to give moral support to any MPs in a similar situation today.

What also swayed a lot of votes was my appeal that politicians should put country first, constituency second and party third.

Burke proved popular. Indeed Roy Jenkins, not a natural populist, temporarily became a popular hero and told me that taxi drivers would wind down their windows if they passed him and shout: “You stick to your guns, mate.”

Are circumstances less favourable for a deselected dissident today? They are probably more favourable. At that time, party loyalties were much stronger than now. When I announced I would stand as an independent, the general view in the media was that I had committed political suicide.

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No love lost on the road to Brexit

Vince’s Valentine’s Day column for Times Red Box contrasted the consistency of the Liberal Democrats on Brexit with the split Labour and Conservative parties. He said that our party was “open to refugees.”

For some MPs, I do anticipate that the myopia of the Labour and Conservative parties could drive them away from their folds. Liberal Democrats, unsurprisingly, have a liberal policy on refugees and will welcome with open arms and an open mind anyone from a different political tradition who wants to join our party. However, many aghast rebels will retain old tribal loyalties but nonetheless choose to vote with the Liberal Democrats on Brexit issues. I welcome that too.

Beyond Westminster, we need an effort in the country to mobilise public opinion on three key points: firstly, that Brexit is not inevitable; secondly, that the best and only democratic way to stop Brexit is through a vote on the final deal; and finally, that the Government’s deal will not be better than staying in the EU. It is in this respect that Liberal Democrats are critical. None of the many groupings springing up to take on the pro-European mantle have what we can bring to the table: a young, enthused membership of 100,000 troops to campaign on the ground.

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Liblink: Shas Sheehan on Oxfam

Baroness Sheehan, Liberal Democrat international development spokesperson, writes for Politics Home that the UK must lead the fight against institutionalised abuse wherever we find it.

The revelations emerging about the behaviour of some staff in Oxfam, and other aid organisations, are shocking. People who were sent to rebuild communities and get people back on their feet in the wake of a major natural disaster have betrayed those very people they were sent to help.

Those senior staff in Haiti who abused young women whilst they should have been helping to rebuild shattered lives after the 2010 earthquake, have rightfully shaken the public’s trust in respected household names and high street brands such as Oxfam and Save the Children.

And it appears that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – British cross-border supply chains will be strangled by hard Brexit red tape

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Writing in the i newspaper, Nick Clegg says that any chance of Soft Brexit has been killed off by Theresa May. Instead, MPs will be faced with the choice of a hard Brexit or no Brexit.

Nick Clegg hits the nail on the head when he describes how modern cross-border supply chains will be destroyed by a hard Brexit:

It cannot be said enough: the Brexit this Government is determined to impose on this country cannot under any circumstances avoid the introduction of extensive new barriers, costs and frictions to trade with our largest trading partners.

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LibLink: Layla Moran: There are no winners from Brexit’s nuclear option

Layla Moran has been writing for the New European on the problems that exiting Euratom, the organisation founded in 1957 to create a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe.

She said:

The government has said it wants a “close association” with the Euratom Research and Training Programme and will seek open trade arrangements for nuclear goods. Both laudable ambitions – but this could all be best resolved by remaining in Euratom instead of creating uncertainty and seeking to negotiate what will certainly be a second rate option. In the meantime, the brilliant nuclear scientists from the EU, working together with their UK colleagues at places like Culham in Oxfordshire, on vital nuclear fusion research, are left in limbo. Some of these people, taking their precious skills with them, have already begun to drift away from the UK.

Then there is the issue of medical radioisotopes. As Mike Galsworthy explained in theNew European last week, these nuclear materials are used in cancer treatments and have very short half-lives, so any delays at borders would diminish the number of doses available. Those in the medical industry are deeply concerned.

What could be more pressing than making sure cancer patients still get treated? Well, it seems that, once again, keeping the fractious Tory party together through insistence on delivering a hard Brexit trumps the national interest.

The Government is keen to play this down, and accuses those who raise it as scaremongers, but the industry needs more than just assurances from the Government that a ‘close relationship’ will be achievable. Industry experts suggest it could take up to seven years to negotiate a treaty as wide-ranging as Euratom so I fail to see how we are going to get this finished in time.

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Our NHS needs money!

Vince has been talking about how we can properly fund the NHS in England and Wales.

 

The full LIb Dem plan is here. It includes five steps for rescuing health and social care services, with the long-term goal being to integrate health and social care into one seamless service with pooled budgets.

  1. An immediate 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax to raise £6 billion additional revenue which would be ringfenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services.
  2. Direct this additional investment to the

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LibDem Jobwatch

Fancy working as a Political Assistant?

Haringey Lib Dem council group are keen to find an assistant on a fixed-term basis until the end of the May, with the possibility the role could be renewed for a further 4 years pending election results, performance etc. The post is an official council role and is politically restricted.

Obviously Haringey Council is an interesting place to work!

Applications close on the 18th January. Further details here.

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LibLink: Stephen Lloyd MP on Univeral Credit and homelessness

Stephen Lloyd writes on Politics Home today warning that without provision direct payments to landlords of the housing element of Universal Credit, there will be rising evictions and private sector landlords will be less willing to take on UC tenants.

On Universal Credit however, payments continue to be paid directly to claimants until they have built up hefty rent arrears, arrears which recent evidence shows will inevitably lead to a rise in Section 21 evictions, and yet another rise in homelessness (in the last 12 months, the RLA reports that 1 in 3 landlords have attempted to evict

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LibLink: Vince Cable What can be done to help street sleepers?

Some people were concerned that when Vince became leader, the high priority given to housing and homelessness during Tim Farron’s tenure in the top job might be lost.

Tim famously got involved in politics after watching Cathy Come Home.

However, those concerns were allayed at Christmas when helping homeless people was the focus of his Christmas Message and he has written further about those experiences in his regular column for his local paper, the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

He wrote about the various circumstances that had forced people he had met to sleep on the streets.

One man I talked to, who had lived for ten years under the arches of Waterloo Bridge, had never recovered from violence he experienced at home as a child from an alcoholic mother; he survives by selling “The Big Issue”.

But others have been forced onto the streets by the vagaries of unstable employment, expensive rents and inadequate or unavailable benefits.

I met a young man sleeping out in Covent Garden who was a chef, looking for work, who couldn’t afford the rent until his next job. Another had fallen through the cracks of Universal Credit, forced out of his home by lack of cash for the landlord.

He highlighted the aspects of welfare reform which caused so many problems.

So what can be done?

We need more emergency hostels – currently facing funding cuts which will hit provision by the Salvation Army and the YMCA.

There has to be a rethink of some of the brutal welfare cuts. The warm words about building affordable housing have to be supported by government action.

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Vince’s Christmas Message 2017

In his Christmas message this year, Vince is asking you to support a charity that works with the homeless near to you. Watch the video to find out more.

 

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LibLink: Norman Lamb on the Government’s Industrial Strategy

Following the Government’s publication of its industrial strategy, Norman Lamb, who chairs the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, has let his feelings be known.

In a balanced and thoughtful piece, Norman places the proposals within the context of risks due to Brexit, and a potential funding gap whilst the economy recovers. He also notes that the investment has to be spread around the co7ntry more evenly;

We also need to make sure that this investment is dispersed around the country, promoting excellence in research in lower-income regions. Research in science and

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LibLink: Tim Farron – What Kind of Liberal Society Do We Want?


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Theos is an organisation which, in its own words: “stimulates the debate about the place of religion in society, challenging and changing ideas through research, commentary and events.”

This week, Tim Farron gave the Theos Annual 2017 Lecture.

It is an extremely thoughtful, nuanced and quite complex speech.

You can read it in full here on the Theos website.

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LibLink: Jo Swinson on “Sexual harassment: a chance for change”

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Jo Swinson has published an article on Medium titled “Sexual harassment: a chance for change“. She writes:

Many people have been shocked by recent revelations about the extent of sexual harassment in politics. Sadly to many of us it does not come as a shock, but we have welcomed the focus on a persistent problem that has too often been trivialised or ignored. Some sections of the media have — without any sense of irony — provided illustrative answers to the endless questions about why victims hesitate to come forward to tell their story. While it is depressing still to be having these conversations in 2017, it is also an opportunity — let’s welcome this scrutiny and turn it into a positive force for change.

A cross-party working group in Parliament to create an independent grievance procedure and provide better advice and support for those who experience bullying and harassment met for the first time this week. As the Liberal Democrat MP on that group, I am determined that the outcome should be sufficiently broad to protect people in constituencies and in Parliament, as well as ordinary members of the public.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: MPs deserve a vote on the final Brexit plan not a vague sketch

Nick Clegg’s latest iNews column casts a depressing eye over the debate over the EU Withdrawal Bill this week.

First of all, he looks at the ridiculous date of exit issue:

Putting the Brexit date – March 29th 2019 – into legislation is a particularly specious gesture. It may act as catnip to the increasingly agitated Brexiteers, but to our European partners the sight of the British government shutting down the possibility of extending the Brexit talks must look absurd. As they know, and as I do from my time working in the EU, deadlines can be, and are, frequently missed. And the suggestion from the Government that if MPs have the temerity to reject the Brexit deal they will be responsible for the chaos of no deal is as thuggish as it is misleading – if MPs were to reject a bad deal, the EU would pause the Article 50 timetable rather than push us over the edge of the Brexit cliff.

The whole idea of a meaningful vote on a deal is also ridiculous as we won’t have a deal about our future relationship with the EU before we formally leave. As Nick puts it:

So there is now a high likelihood that MPs will be asked to give their consent to Britain’s departure from the EU before knowing the detail of our future relationship with the EU. It will be like buying a house on the basis of a few grainy photos from a dodgy estate agent who won’t allow you to visit the inside. ‘Members of Parliament must hold firm and reject the government’s tactics’ On a recent trip to Brussels, it was made quite clear to me that the two negotiating teams are aiming for no more than a “heads of agreement” deal by the time Britain reaches its Article 50 deadline. This means that David Davis will return with little more than an outline of detail-free pledges on areas like security and combating terrorism, and a vague promise to strike a Canada-style free trade agreement

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London could be the green finance capital of the world

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has been writing about his green vision for finance, with London at the centre.

This is a welcome this initiative. The more we can green all aspects of our policy, the better. We have a good record from setting up the Green Investment Bank in coalition, and funding renewables. Vince begins,

The prospect of Brexit threatens to cause serious damage to the UK’s financial services industry.

Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin and even Luxembourg are circling like hungry jackals waiting to pick off the weakest members of the herd.

London

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndy Hinton 25th May - 2:45am
    I'm a little confused by theakes and David Evans's comments. Would they rather we just didn't have well written policy? I'm as interested in us...
  • User AvatarJoeB 25th May - 1:25am
    Peter, The UK had similar oil reserves in the North Sea to that of Norway in the 1970s. Norway invested their windfall. In 1974, Oslo...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 25th May - 1:03am
    @ Peter Martin While our position has not always been clear, it is that there should be a referendum on accepting the deal or staying...
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 24th May - 11:40pm
    Mick, do your arguments on the effect of AWS stand up to scrutiny? Jo Swinson was selected to fight and win her Target seat in...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 24th May - 11:24pm
    "They want another referendum, on the proposed deal with the EU." If we vote to reject it then what? We leave with no deal? You...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 24th May - 11:11pm
    I think the shortest answer to that, Little Jackie, is read Jo's book. The evidence is there in every way from statistical to anecdotal.