Category Archives: London

Why has nobody been held accountable for the Garden Bridge scandal?

Yesterday on LBC, Sadiq Khan acknowledged that the taxpayer is unlikely to see anything for the £50 million which has been spent on the Garden Bridge.

The Daily Express did its best to portray Khan, rather than Boris Johnson, as the guilty party here. Following James O’Brien’s show, they wrote a piece which totally failed to recognize the fact that it was Khan who had been the one who had instigated the enquiry which Margaret Hodge produced. A report which made it clear that no more public money should be invested in this project.

It is clear that there were …

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Impressive free public access to our Supreme Court

The main courtroom at the Supreme Court, from the perspective of the Presiding Judge.
This week I wanted to visit a court in London, to get a feel for the proceedings. I didn’t fancy the Old Bailey – its case list is a series of stabbings basically. Not nice. I was about to make the journey to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand when I remembered the more recently opened Supreme Court.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court resides just opposite Parliament in an impressive building previously occupied by Middlesex County Council and the Middlesex Courts.

When I visited, there were only a few people milling around inside. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I was whisked through the security scanner and then the receptionist explained what I could do in the building. The public are able to wonder around the three court rooms (when there are no cases ongoing) and take photographs. Then there is an interesting exhibition area about the history of the building, the Supreme Court, the Magna Carta and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That latter entity is the final court of judgment for a number of territories overseas.

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Under Hitler, Europeans were killing each other; now they are arguing over Eurovision

 

Tim Farron has strongly condemned Boris Johnson’s extraordinary comparison of the EU with Hitler.

Tim said:

Under Hitler, Europeans were killing each other, now they are arguing over Eurovision.

The European Union is what happens when countries seek to learn from the past and work together. Boris Johnson’s latest intervention is what happens when people refuse to learn the lessons of the past and seek to spread discord by inventing conspiracies.

The EU has helped secure peace; Hitler destroyed peace and killed millions of innocent people. It is extraordinary that anyone even needs to point this out to him.

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Emails go out to start voting on our Greater London Authority candidates

The ever-energetic and helpful Dr Mark Pack, formerly of this parish, has published a very informative update this morning on the subject of the election of our Greater London Authority candidates:

Emails with online voting links have been landing in London Lib Dem members’ inboxes over the last day.

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Got some spare time? Can you help out in Kingston today?

There’s a whole crop of by-elections today across the country. ALDC have the details here over three pages. Have a look for details of one near you and do what you can to help your local campaign.

However, there is only one Liberal Democrat defence, in Edward Davey’s Kingston constituency, so here at the Voice we are asking Liberal Democrat supporters reading this to concentrate their efforts there.

Lesley Heap is our candidate in Beverley ward. She’s a former NHS worker who’s now a swimming coach. She’s lived in the ward for 12 years.  And she needs you to ring her supporters …

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A flagship borough: 25 years of a Liberal Democrat Sutton Council

Look round the room at the next Liberal Democrat event you attend and ask yourself how many people in the room will have their names recorded in places that future political historians can find. A few, certainly, especially if they have been elected to public office.

For most, however, their contribution to a political party slips away through the cracks of the historical record, disappearing as the direct personal memories people have of them fade and then end with death.

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Success for Caroline Pidgeon’s cycling safety campaign as new lights to be tested

As the Evening Standard reports there’s good news for one of the issues London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has been campaigning for with others:

Traffic lights for cyclists are to be brought in under plans to improve safety on the capital’s streets.

Transport for London has pledged to test the Dutch-style lights, which will be at eye-level and could be staggered to give bikes a head start…

TfL chiefs are holding talks with the Department for Transport about installing the equipment as it would require a law change. But managing director for surface transport Leon Daniels suggested that TfL would press ahead with a trial regardless.

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Opinion: Nothing to fear but fear itself

Mike Tuffrey seeks inspiration from Roosevelt in advocating a four point plan for a sustainable economic recovery.

With all the depressing news about the economy, I can recommend a re-reading of the inaugural address of newly-elected President Franklin D Roosevelt, given in the depths of the Depression on March 4, 1933. Aside from his well-known call to arms against fear itself, he did a nice (and topical) line in banker-bashing too: “Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men”.

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No rest for London Liberal Democrats

Here in London, we’ve already started working towards the local and European elections in 2014.

Last weekend it was great to see 52 activists attend a Regional Action Day in Sarah Teather’s constituency in Brent, so soon after a disappointing set of results in the capital in May.

Aside from giving a boost to our fantastic hard-working teams across the capital, Regional Action Days are designed to give activists the chance to exchange ideas and learn new skills.

In Brent last weekend, Sarah Teather MP, Baroness Sue Garden and our newest London Assembly Member, Stephen Knight, were joined by a large range of …

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Lib Dem Patrick Streeter to stand for City of London election uncontested for 100 years

Just a few weeks after the fierce battle for the London mayoralty concluded, a very different election is due to take place — an election which hasn’t even been contested for more than a century. But now London Lib Dem member Patrick Streeter is standing for the post of City Auditor, and promising to ask some tough questions, according to an email received by the Voice this week:

Patrick Streeter of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats is contesting an interesting election on June 25. Each year the City of London Corporation elects its auditors, although the position has not been contested

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Opinion: Learning lessons from London – two and half quick reflections

Let’s start with the facts….

  • Overall turnout was down to 38%, from 45% last time.
  • Two Liberal Democrat Assembly members elected, compared to three in 2008 and five in 2004.
  • Mayoral vote was 92,000 (4.2% – and deposit lost), compared to 236,752 (9.8%) in 2008.
  • Our Assembly list vote was 150,447 (6.8% – just over the threshold), against 275,272 (11.4%) in 2008.
  • The Greens “pushed the Lib Dems into fourth place”: actually their Assembly vote flat-lined at 8.5%, although their Mayoral vote was up a bit, from 3.2% to 4.5%.

First off, a big thank you to Brian Paddick, his brilliant deputy Caroline Pidgeon, and the …

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London elections results open thread

The count for the Mayor of London and the members of the London Assembly is now underway in Olympia, ExCel and Alexandra Palace.

Once again, the electorate have had to cope with not one but three different voting systems.

Mayor of London

There are seven candidates for the Mayor of London, with Brian Paddick standing for the Liberal Democrats.

Voters had the opportunity to mark a first and a second preference candidate on the ballot paper. If one candidate achieves more than 50% of the first preference votes then that person is elected. If, as is more likely, no candidate passes the 50% ...

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The local elections results open thread

The polls have closed, so where are we?

England

Elections have been held for 128 councils. In most cases one third of the seats were being contested. Altogether 6706 seats were up for election, of which 1170 were held by Liberal Democrats.

Ten English cities have been holding referendums on whether to have a directly elected mayor. They are Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Doncaster was voting on whether to abolish its directly elected mayor.

Three cities – London, Salford and Liverpool – have been electing a mayor.

  • London: 7 candidates, with Brian Paddick waving the Lib Dem flag.
  • Salford: 10 candidates, including

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Vote for change in London – Ashdown, Steel and Williams

Tomorrow those of you in London have the chance to make your voice heard by voting in the mayoral and assembly elections. It is vital that you do. We have an opportunity to do something to bring real change to London.

Throughout the campaign it has been clear that huge numbers of Londoners are undecided and unenthusiastic about voting for either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone. And the more they have seen and heard Brian Paddick the more they like him and believe he will bring real change. It is only now that election day is upon us that most of …

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Poll shows Labour’s vote up but Livingstone’s vote down

When phone polling was first introduced in the UK it attracted flak over its accuracy (least remembered about those ASL polls the better), but also gained popularity through both its lower costs compared to the then dominant face to face polling and also its greater flexibility. The same pattern has been seen again with the spread of internet polling the UK. Just as face to face polling used to be the gold standard and phone polling the upstarts, now phone polling is the gold standard and internet polling the upstarts.

The merits or otherwise of YouGov have been much debated elsewhere …

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LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – I understand why many voters on the progressive wing of politics are struggling with voting for Ken Livingstone

Writing in the Evening Standard, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown says:

I understand why many voters on the progressive wing of politics are struggling with voting for Ken Livingstone. His campaign has been sad, desperate and divisive. He has just one big idea — a seven per cent cut in Tube fares. It’s a perfectly decent policy at a time when fares have risen for years on end but the problem is he can’t do it and he knows it.

Transport for London knows it too, having worked

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The Independent View: how London Mayoral candidates shape up on cycling and transport

The way that we travel and the places we live in have a massive impact on our lives, going well beyond what’s traditionally considered transport policy. Increased car use is driving up levels of obesity, polluting our cities and leading to more accidents. As London’s population grows, the demands on our transport system make it an ever tougher nut to crack.

Sustrans wants to see a London, and a country, where everyone is able to get around, to work, school, shops and leisure facilities. Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle for our short …

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LibLink: Mark Pack – Which London Mayor candidates are saying the right things?

Over on his work blog, Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack has been looking at the manifesto mailing for the London Mayor elections:

For all the value of the detail of the booklet, the reality is that most voters only glance briefly through such a publication. The initial, quick impression each candidate gives matters far more than the detail of what they say in third paragraph, fourth sentence. Those sentences only make it into wider prominence if an embarrassing typo makes them into diary column fodder or if policy naivety means a small detail can be turned into a tabloid front page

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Local liberal heroes: Duwayne Brooks

A while back, I penned a series of posts profiling forgotten liberal heroes (to which a couple of other people also kindly contributed), looking at some of those who achieved great things for liberalism in their time but have been unjustly forgotten – such as Margaret Wintringham, the very first female Liberal MP.

There is also another group of people who I think are often unjustly obscure – those local campaigners who are often at the heart of their local community and local party, delivering liberalism and helping others, but as their stage is a local one they are often unacknowledged

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The weekend debate: Should Boris Johnson get his way on London’s tax take?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Incumbent Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson has developed plans for Londoners to keep more of the tax revenue generated in the city to spend on better public services. Boris said the capital should be getting a greater return from the tax it contributes to the exchequer.

According to the Evening Standard the equivalent of £2,500 for every Londoner goes to other parts of the UK rather than being spent on public services in the capital.

Boris Johnson said that London should no longer be …

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Did Ken Livingstone break tax rules over Labour donation?

The Evening Standard has reported:

Ken Livingstone was under fresh pressure over his alleged tax avoidance after he was forced to admit using his private company to make a sizable political donation.

Mr Livingstone had previously claimed to have personally made a donation to the Labour Party of £19,202 in December for “staff costs” during his election campaign.

But he has now confirmed to the electoral commission that the donation came from his private company Silveta Ltd, through which he allegedly avoided at least £50,000 in tax by benefiting from corporation tax at 20 or 21 per cent rather than paying income tax

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Opinion: We need Homes for London

London faces a severe housing crisis. This problem will only get worse as our population continues to grow. One million more people are expected to be living in London by 2030.

Everywhere I go, people tell me they are concerned about housing – whether it is the long housing waiting lists, unaffordably high private rents or rogue landlords who rip you off. We have young people unable to make their first steps on the property ladder; or under threat from unscrupulous landlords and too many families living in overcrowded housing. For the average Londoner it will take 13 years …

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Boost for Brian as Lib Dem London fundraising hits £400k

The media may be focusing on the Boris v Ken show for London mayor, but Brian Paddick’s Lib Dem campaign is making some noise. His hard-hitting campaign posters focusing on crime — an issue the former police commander in the Metropolitan police knows first-hand how to tackle — abound in London.

And one of the reasons Brian is able to achieve this exposure is the success of the London Lib Dem fundraising effort. I understand that the total raised has, or is about to, pass the £400,000 …

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Brian Paddick: It is vital that we maximise our vote for the London Assembly

The fantastic Sage conference hall was the venue for Brian Paddick’s speech to the Liberal Democrat spring conference.

Or rather, his co-speech. Because for the purposes of the London 2012 campaign, Brian Paddick is no more. Instead he has been merged into Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon.

It is one of the lessons from previous London campaigns that the party needs to be far better at turning profile for a Mayor candidate into votes for the London Assembly list, the best prospect for the party to gain new seats.

This then was not Brian Paddick’s speaking slot. It was the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon speaking slot, preceded by the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon …

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Boris Johnston breaks promise on free Olympics tickets for school children in London

Last November the Mayor of London announced that 125,000 schoolchildren in London would be given free tickets for the Olympic or Paralympic Games. That would have been enough to provide tickets for one in eight London children aged 10 to 18.

But, as reported in the Evening Standard, Lib Dem London Assembly member, Dee Doocey, has asked the Mayor how many tickets were actually allocated to children.  The answer came back: just 95,761 tickets. The remaining 30,000 or so tickets have been given to teachers to accompany them. 

That raises at least two questions:

Why did the Mayor overlook the fact that

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You break it, you fix it – Brian Paddick’s new campaign poster

Appearing on 176 poster sites around London from today:

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LibLink: Paddick – we are putting forward an innovative, radical Liberal Democrat agenda for Londoners

The Lib Dems’ London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick was interviewed in The Guardian yesterday. It’s a revealing and candid piece in which Brian makes his pitch for the post the paper describes “an office whose holder enjoys the largest personal mandate in Europe – bar the French president”. Here are some highlights:

On the Lib Dems’ London campaign

“It’s quite obvious where I’m positioning myself and it’s to the left of the coalition,” he says in an interview with the Guardian. “What we are saying to Londoners is this has got nothing to do with national politics. We are putting forward an

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Paddick: some Met detectives adopt a “she wants it really” attitude to women alleging rape

The Lib Dems’ London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick is interviewed in today’s Guardian, and has some strong words for his former employers, the Metropolitan police:

Paddick warns that some detectives adopt a “she wants it really” attitude to women alleging rape and sometimes refuse to acknowledge that some types of men, such as licensed cab drivers, can be rapists.

The former deputy assistant commissioner is placing the Met’s mixed performance on dealing with rape at the heart of his campaign as the Liberal Democrat candidate in May’s London mayoral election. Paddick, who told the Leveson inquiry this week that he toned

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Paddick accuses Met of leaking confidential witness information

Yesterday former policeman Brian Paddick gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, including these claims about the Met Police:

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Sometimes a bus is just a bus

When Boris Johnson promised that if elected Mayor of London he would introduce a new Routemaster bus, I don’t think many expected him to interpret that quite as literally as he has.

For by the end of his term in office, there won’t be hoardes of new Routemaster buses on London’s roads. Not even scores or dozens. But there will be a new Routemaster bus. One bus. Just the single bus.

As London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon puts it:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 20th Jul - 11:16pm
    "we had the best [local election results] overall for us in fifteen years." Well not if you scratch the surface. Net losses in the north...
  • User AvatarCallum Robertson 20th Jul - 11:15pm
    In response to PJ, in your opinion isn’t actually a quantitative test. Can you point me towards any data that backs your point?
  • User AvatarMichael 1 20th Jul - 10:54pm
    @David Raw Thanks for your kind words. If the Bury result was by your reckoning bad for us then it was horrendous for Labour. We...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 20th Jul - 10:38pm
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Jul - 10:16pm
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  • User AvatarAndrew Hickey 20th Jul - 10:13pm
    "Vince has ruled out coalitions" He has also repeatedly called for a government of national unity and talked about working with Labour and Tory centrists....