Category Archives: News

Are you wearing odd socks today?

Today is World Down Syndrome Day and this year across the world people are wearing odd socks to celebrate difference. So if you got dressed this morning before you realised, then maybe you can change one of those socks when you get home? #lotsofsocks, #WDSD18.

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Wera Hobhouse’s bill could see 2 year prison sentence for upskirting

Wera Hobhouse has revealed further details of her bill to outlaw upskirting. Offenders could end up with 2 years in prison.

From the Evening Standard:

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who tabled the Bill, said changing the current law to make it easier to prosecute would allow the law to “catch up with technology”.

It could also mean that members of the paparazzi would be prosecuted for taking shots of celebrities where their underwear is deliberately shown

The move comes after data published by the Press Association last month revealed girls as young as ten among the alleged victims who have been targeted in public locations such as restaurants and festivals….

 …Ms Hobhouse said: “It is, on the face of it, a vile, discriminating and outrageous practice. I personally have not – fortunately – had this unpleasant experience, but it is just outrageous, it is humiliating for anybody who has that happen to them and it has a deep impact on them.”It is so obviously in your face a wrong thing and yet our law has not kept up with this practice.”

Wera is asking supporters to contact their MP to ask them to support her Bill:

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The Democratic primary for New York Governor just got interesting

The collision of two of my favourite worlds will keep me well occupied until June 26th when the Democrats choose their candidate for New York Governor.  Yesterday, Cynthia Nixon, who played my favourite character in Sex and the City, Miranda Hobbes, announced her candidacy with a  very effective video.

The Democrats already hold the seat, of course. Andrew Cuomo seeks his third term and won in 2014 with 54% of the vote in the General Election. He is the obvious frontrunner to fight again for the Democrats with, at the moment, a fairly massive lead over all-comers. From the New York Times:

Ms. Nixon, 51, has never before run for elected office and has chosen a huge undertaking for her first bid: seeking to unseat a two-term incumbent (and son of a three-term governor) who is sitting atop more than $30 million in campaign cash. “Our leaders are letting us down,” she says in a video posted on Twitter, talking about the inequities in New York spliced between images of her walking on the streets of New York City and taking the subways. “Something has to change,” she says in the ad. “We want our government to work again, on health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”

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Brexit: concessions to the left of us, concessions to the right of us…

So, a big announcement, with the outline of a transitional deal. The highlights;

  • The transition period will end on 31 December 2020, three months earlier than sought
  • EU citizens arriving during the transition period will have the same rights as those already in the U.K. at 29 March 2019
  • No veto on new EU legislation during the transition period – the “vassal state” clause
  • Gibraltar excluded unless Spain can be persuaded to reach an agreement
  • No repatriation of control over fishing quotas

So, what does this mean for the Conservatives or for the United Kingdom? Good deal, bad …

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Thinking the unthinkable is fun and might just lead us somewhere interesting

Have you ever wondered if there’s a policy the Lib Dems could be promoting that simply isn’t part of the political landscape? One that doesn’t fall under economics, health, education, environment or any of the traditional categories of modern-day politics?

This question was raised during the ‘Radical Liberalism’ fringe meeting held in Southport last weekend, which was part of the Social Liberal Forum’s fringe programme and which I chaired. The meeting itself was very unlike most fringe meetings which focus on a speaker or two from the top table – this was more of a brainstorming session, and I threw in a number of questions at various intervals to guide the debate. The result was that most of the 80 or so people who packed out the room contributed to the discussion.

About half-way through, I asked whether there were any policies that people might like to throw into the mix which weren’t currently on the political map, even if they may seem a bit off-the-wall. I said they might well not be viable, but sometimes thinking the unthinkable leads to ideas that might not otherwise emerge.

The first suggestion was that we might advocate moving the capital from London to somewhere more central. The person suggesting it wasn’t just arguing for geographical fairness, but saying it doesn’t help us to have the country’s administrative and democratic centre in the primary financial hub, and that London should be allowed to become like Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Zürich which are major cities but don’t host national parliaments and governments.

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Welcome to my day: 19 March 2018 – the chilly breeze of reality…

Another difficult weekend of cold weather over, it’s time for me to return to my editorial duties for another week, on the 739th anniversary of the Mongolian victory at the naval Battle of Yamen, which ended the Song Dynasty in China. Also, on this day in 1628, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted land for settlement.

Admittedly, this isn’t quite as much of a challenge as it might be, because the stocks of submitted articles are close to non-existent. However, we do have a report from Chris Bowers on the “Reclaiming Liberalism” fringe at last weekend’s Federal Conference, challenging you all …

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Tim Farron: How would you want your family to be treated if they were fleeing war?

On Friday, MPs kept alive a Bill proposed by the SNP’s Angus MacNeil aimed at reuniting refugee families. The debate was one of those which makes you proud of MPs from all parties. The Bill had support from Conservative, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Ed Davey, Alistair Carmichael and Layla Moran all made interventions.

Tim Farron made a really powerful speech. His leadership was marked by his constant and passionate pressure on the Government to do more to help refugees and it’s something that he still continues to pursue. Here’s his speech in full.

I will try to be brief, Mr Deputy Speaker, because the most important thing today is that this Bill proceeds. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Angus Brendan MacNeil), and to all hon. Members who, unusually, are here on a Friday. This is my fourth debate on a Friday in 13 years, because this Bill matters. It is a chance and a test. It is a test of our support for the people who need it most; it is a test of our ability to act with compassion and common sense. It is not a hard test, because this is a modest and tightly defined common sense Bill.

Let us be clear what the changes in the Bill would mean for the refugee children who are already here in the United Kingdom. These are children who have experienced unimaginable things. Nevertheless, I want Members to try to imagine. What horrific set of circumstances might have to happen to a family that would mean that the danger and misery of fleeing across land and sea, as well as the risk of separation, is preferable to staying put? Imagine how you would want your children and your family to be treated at the end of your journey. Imagine that sanctuary, and the kindness that goes with it, and be very clear that that must be the model for how we treat families today.

Separated refugee children in the United Kingdom have already overcome threats and danger in their own communities. They have been split from their families in their rush to find somewhere—anywhere—safe and have then been forced through a terrifying journey by sea and land to Europe, journeys that we know have claimed hundreds of children’s lives. These refugee children are here right now living in our communities alongside us, asking us today to step up and reunite them with their families. The Bill will allow them a future with their families instead of being separated from them. It will mean children growing up with their parents where they should be, at their side, rather than living with the constant worry about the fate of their families, stranded and out of reach. The Bill simply makes that possible.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Mar - 2:11pm
    @ Jennie sorry, Jennie lass.
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Mar - 2:11pm
    It seems anything goes as long as we leave the eu, thus fulfilling the will of the people. The government have got themselves in a...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Mar - 2:05pm
    Oh, dear. here we go again. John Marriott is completely right. The post from Mr Morrison is flawed from the start by including a statutory...
  • User AvatarLiberal 21st Mar - 1:43pm
    @Lorenzo The idea would be to streamline the system so we'd no longer be electing 2 sets of MPs - 1 for the Assembly and...
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 21st Mar - 1:41pm
    Bill le Breton I resigned my party membership when Charles Kennedy was forced to resign. I didn't agree with the direction the party was heading...
  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 21st Mar - 1:13pm
    We already have two sets of MPs from Scotland and Wales, the idea that what the country needs is yet another layer of overpaid politicians...