Category Archives: News

UK democracy is a rotten borough – Liberal Democrats must act like it

Results from the largest opinion poll since that slightly odd one in 2016 are in, and what a surprise: Brexit negotiations have not convinced people that the sunny uplands are just over the brow of this particular Everest.

Instead, there is a definite shift in public views: an eight-point majority for Remain in Survation’s 20,000-person poll (54-46). More interesting was the map showing the extent of the change; Leave-loving Wales is now Remain, while ‘Labour Leave’ constituencies in the north of England have also seen the light – or the lights going out.

As is so often the case, there were immediate redoubled calls for a People’s Vote from Remainer politicians.

I am technically in favour of a new vote. I marched for one in London two weeks ago. The last time I marched, it was against the Iraq war; a simple choice. However, this time, I marched not because I thought another referendum was the right policy, but because nothing better is on offer.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 38 Comments

How others see us: “Vince Cable leads the charge to reverse Brexit”

Vince makes Time magazine this week.

In the wake of the 700,000 strong People’s Vote march, he sat down with Time’s Billy Perrigo to discuss all things Brexit.

The article starts at that incredible march where Vince had the line of the day:

London has a reputation for bad weather, but on Oct. 20 at about midday, the sky was a perfect blue. That was good news for Vince Cable, the leader of the U.K.’s centrist Liberal Democrats party. Buoyed by the lack of rain, he and roughly 700,000 others marched on the Houses of Parliament to call for a “People’s Vote,” or second referendum, on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“We’re all here,” Cable told the assembled marchers, “because we can see that Brexit is a potential disaster and because we believe it can be stopped.” Although he spoke alongside politicians like London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Green Party former leader Caroline Lucas, it was his line that drew some of the wildest cheers: “It’s not inevitable.”

And the march itself helped make it more likely:

“Critics of the People’s Vote campaign thought there would be a token march with a few thousand people,” Cable says of the recent 700,000-strong protest. “But it was on a scale that far surpassed any realistic expectations.” That, he thinks, reflects a broader change in Britain — one that could simultaneously reverse Brexit and sweep the Liberal Democrats to relevance once again. It might sound like wishful thinking, but Cable is confident. “It’s very clear that there has been a change in the mood,” he says.

Sometimes it is interesting to see ourselves us others see us. Certainly liberal in a US sense is not quite as progressive as many of us in this party imagine ourselves to be:

Tagged , and | 18 Comments

6 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Tory Minister slammed for accusing police of exaggerating pressures

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has today slammed Policing Minister Nick Hurd for accusing police chiefs of routinely exaggerating the pressures they face.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ed Davey warned “Police chiefs say the pension deficit, if it’s filled, could cost up to 10,000 police officers.” He asked the Minister “Does he agree with them?”

Responding to Ed Davey, the Minister said: “No I don’t. I think the number is exaggerated, which is not unusual for the police.”

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Police chiefs are warning of

Tagged , , , , , and | Leave a comment

5 November 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve allowed myself to be distracted today, and almost forgot to get these up…

Government must end EU citizens rights uncertainty

Today the Liberal Democrats spokespeople for Home Affairs and Brexit, Ed Davey and Tom Brake will stand alongside representatives from the3million, advocating for EU citizens in the UK who fear for their rights in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Conservative Government’s chaotic approach to the Brexit negotiations is making ‘no deal’ more likely by the day. The millions of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living

Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Housing First

Housing First is an approach to homelessness that focuses on housing homeless people immediately, whatever their needs, and giving them direct control over their own support and treatment. The programme works by putting people in touch with housing providers, health workers, social care staff and other services.

While there are about 4,750 rough sleepers in England (many with mental health and addiction problems), there are far larger numbers of homeless families in temporary accommodation. Few homeless families have the high support needs of rough sleepers; most are poor. What these families need first and foremost is an adequate, affordable home.

Housing First …

1 Comment

Welcome to my day: 5 November – remember, remember…

Talk about gunpowder, treason and plot. It’s been that sort of weekend, with the exposure of Theresa May’s supposedly secret plot to keep the United Kingdom in the Customs Union, or a Customs Union, or something with the words ‘customs’ and ‘union’ in it.

I do find myself wondering how both Labour and the Liberal Democrats respond to any ‘deal’ which keeps us in the Customs Union. You might reasonably assume that there would be some Conservative rebels, and the DUP might be flaky, so, in order to get such a deal through the Commons, some Labour support might be necessary. …

1 Comment

4 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Naturally, Brexit again dominates the news, but there is at least comment on the increasing problems with HS2…

Best deal for UK is what we already have

Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The deal the PM seems to have secured will leave us rule takers not rule makers.

It is time she conceded that the best deal we will get is the one we already have: in the customs union, in the single market

Tagged , , and | 21 Comments

3 November 2018 – today’s press releases… or not, as the case may be…

Nothing for you today, I’m afraid, but, as I’ve been to see ‘A Star is Born’ this evening, I thought that I’d offer you a little video from the soundtrack…

Leave a comment

WATCH: Christine Jardine rip into the Tory Budget

On Politics Scotland this week, Christine Jardine shredded the entire budget red book with a few carefully chosen words and some gestures which would make a very fine gif if any of you are so inclined.

Tagged , and | 4 Comments

2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related…

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, Tom Brake MP said:

The cost of Brexit is continuing to spiral out of control. The Conservative Government’s plan to turn Kent into a car park, Operation Brock, is now costing the tax payer an additional ten million more than the figure they gave in the

Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Best wishes to Paddy

Paddy Ashdown revealed to Somerset Live today that he is being treated for bladder cancer:

Yes, I’m afraid I can confirm that. I have known for about three weeks that I am suffering from a cancer of the bladder.

I’m being effectively and wonderfully looked after by everyone at Yeovil Hospital, in whom I have complete confidence.

We must see about the outcome, which as always with things like this, is unpredictable.

I’ve fought a lot of battles in my life.

Tagged and | 7 Comments

Selecting our candidates for London

 

If you are a party member in London then a bit of voting is in order.

The Mayor of London governs the Greater London Authority, and s/he is scrutinised and challenged by the 25 members of the London Assembly.

This week voting has opened for our candidates for the London elections in 2020. Most London members have received their online ballot instructions this week by email, while others should get their papers in the post.

When the London elections come around every four years, voters are sometimes a bit bemused to be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different electoral system. This provides plenty of material for happy hours of discussion by the election geeks amongst you …

Tagged and | 7 Comments

1 November 2018 – today’s press releases

We’ve got a veritable torrent of press releases today, starting with an example of the Party being rather more radical than Labour…

Cable: £1.3 billion for higher-rate payers should be used to reverse welfare cuts

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will be voting against the Government’s plans to raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.

The policy – announced in Monday’s budget – will cost an estimated £1.3 billion pounds next year, money which could instead be used to reverse cuts to Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze a year early.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince …

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

31 October 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s Halloween, and the Press teams on either side of Offa’s Dyke are still working away…

Don’t Let Down Welsh Farmers – Welsh Lib Dems

Following the closure of the Welsh Government’s Brexit and Our Land consultation, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to carefully listen to the views of farmers and ensure farmers are not let down as they begin to consider their response.

The Welsh Government’s proposed model for supporting farmers and land managers after Brexit involves removing any aspect of direct support and instead focusing on promoting economic resilience and public goods.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat response to …

Tagged , , , , , , and | Leave a comment

It’s Pumpkin Time….

No Hallowe’en could ever be complete without an Alex Cole-Hamilton pumpkin.

And he let us into some of the secrets of production:

Former Scottish Party Manager Linda Wilson came up with Death Star Pumpkin


Tagged , and | Leave a comment

A sector on its knees, but no one seems to notice

As a nation we are famous for a good number of things, fish and chips on a Friday, being a nation of dog lovers and a legal system that is the envy of civilised nations worldwide. So, the question is, when we talk about government cuts hurting poorest, why is justice never mentioned?

In the budget on Monday, there were new “efficiency savings” announced for government departments, including a further 300 million cut to the Ministry of Justice but people don’t seem to care that Conservative maladministration has brought an industry to its knees.

We can all find ourselves at the mercy of the English justice system, whether that be as a victim of a crime or being in rent arrears with your landlord and at risk of being evicted yet there is no help available because legal aid has disappeared.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

WATCH: Christine Jardine’s response to the budget

On Monday night, Christine Jardine gave the Lib Dem response to the Budget in the House of Commons. Traditionally the leader does it, but it makes sense to have Vince going round the broadcast media rather than sitting in the chamber for hours on end waiting to be called.

Christine talked about the pain caused by Universal Credit, and mentioned the unfairness suffered by the WASPI women. You can watch her whole speech here and read it below:

Now we have heard it from the Chancellor and the Prime Minister: austerity is over. It is a nice thought, but it will be down to our constituents and those outwith this place to decide whether they have achieved it. Every week, I meet people whose lives have been and are still being damaged by austerity. Today, like us, they have been told exactly what this Government mean when they tell us that it is over. Right now, people up and down the country will be working out the impact of this Budget on their income, their food bills and whether it means that they have reached the light at the end of the dark tunnel that began with the financial crash more than a decade ago in 2008.

I suspect that they will be as disappointed as we are to be promised growth at less than 2% for five years. With Brexit weighing down the economy and the big issues that have not been tackled, today’s Budget does not fulfil even the minimum definition of ending austerity as laid out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. That would cost £19 billion a year on top of the Government’s NHS commitment. Instead of that, we got more for potholes than for schools, nothing for women born in ​the 1950s and facing pension inequality, and a pathetic, inadequate sticking plaster for universal credit. So much more should, and could, be possible but for Brexit. Just think of the £500 million that the Chancellor added on today to the £3 billion that has previously been allocated for no-deal preparations—what could that have done for our public services?

What we needed today was vision, renewal and a way to reboot not just our beleaguered economy, but our damaged society. Instead, we got that sticking plaster. By March, if some of the Chancellor’s Brexiteer buddies have their way, this plan may have to be torn up and a fresh fag packet found to write a new one on.

Tagged and | 12 Comments

30 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems fight expansion of Snoopers Charter

Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”.

Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he raised in a Grand Committee debate last week.

The regulations would amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”, to give police the power to access communications data when investigating any crime “which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a …

Tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

Jane Dodds writes…Loneliness in Wales

The Welsh Government has just announced a consultation on a Strategy to address loneliness in Wales. We know that 17% of the population in Wales are lonely, with 54% saying they have experienced loneliness at some time in their life. Research shows that loneliness is harmful to our health, and increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%. 

Loneliness affects many parts of the population; single parents, those suffering from depression and anxiety, the homeless, young people and the elderly. Studies have found that loneliness peaks in the experiences of young people and then again in older people. For young people, we have seen severe cuts to youth services in local authorities in Wales, and loss of grants to Young Farmers Clubs.  For older people, cuts to services such as day centres, and the Third Sector results in further isolation.  .

Loneliness should be treated as a health issue, and integrated with our approaches to healthy living. For the Strategy in Wales, I would like to see funding targeted to ensure public transport is subsidised, if not free, to target groups, and that rural transport, particularly bus services, are not cut.  This element should work in parallel with an integrated transport plan for Wales.  We need to embed long term funding of community services, particularly from the Third Sector, and ensure that there are befriending services to young people and the elderly.  Finally, Wales needs a new approach to staff and personnel working in this field. It is a  scandal that those who look after our young people, elderly and vulnerable are treated so appallingly. For too long, the care and social sector has been seen as a ”twilight” service with zero hours contracts, poor working conditions and the minimum wage being paid. We need to see this valued group of workers having a more significant profile in our communities. 

Tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Stay with EU – a gorgeous pro EU song

One of the delights of editing this site is that I can be having a really crap day and then all of a sudden a wee gem lands in my inbox.

And so it was last night, when composer Amy Collins sent me this brilliant animated video of her song, Stay with EU. Her words have been brought to life by the BAFTA nominated animators Brothers McLeod.

I love it. I hope you enjoy it as much.

Tagged , and | 12 Comments

29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part two)

As promised, part two of today’s output from the Party’s Press Team…

Fiscal Phil’s sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event.

With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of

Tagged , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

29 October 2018 – today’s press releases (part one)

Budget Day always generates a lot of press coverage, and this year is no exception, but there have been plenty of other issues worthy of comment. Indeed, there has been so much that I’ve been forced to do this in two parts…

Welsh Lib Dems – Budget a Golden Opportunity

Ahead of the UK Government’s budget, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged Chancellor Phillip Hammond to seize the opportunity the budget presents to end austerity and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system, fund public services …

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | Leave a comment

The bit that annoys me most about the Budget…..

It’s not that there’s more for potholes than schools.

It really isn’t that I’m going to have to pay more for my wine.

It’s something that isn’t really being picked up in the responses I’ve heard so far.

Better off people, higher rate tax payers, are getting a much bigger tax cut than those on low incomes.

That’s right. If you are  a basic rate tax payer, your tax threshold rises from £11,850 to £12,500. And while we’re on the subject, this is the annual “Tories take credit for Lib Dem idea” day. Remember how David Cameron told Nick Clegg the idea wasn’t affordable? Every year during the coalition, the Tories used to whinge like anything about having to implement this Lib Dem tax cut for the poorest. Now they just take credit for it like we never happened.

If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you won’t start paying the 40% rate until you are earning £50k, up from £46,350.That is proportionately a significantly higher tax cut than those on low incomes are getting. Sp much for fairness and helping the Just About Managing.

This, of course, is not the case in Scotland where higher rate taxpayers didn’t get last year’s rise and we’ll have to wait and see if Finance Secretary Derek Mackay repeats that this year. The Tories will create merry hell if he doesn’t as they continue with their agenda of grievance. I’d actually rather the SNP sorted public services out, to be honest.

I don’t live in a terribly affluent household, but, even so, a budget that gives us £20 or so extra a month while people are really struggling to find even the most basic housing, or to put food on the table, has got its priorities well and truly wrong.

Tagged , and | 11 Comments

The Budget – Lib Dems react

Senior Lib Dems have attacked the Budget as insufficient to end austerity. In a post on the party website, Vince set out what Lib Dems want to see in a “People’s Budget”:

We would:

  • Secure the future of our NHS, focusing on social care and mental health with an extra £6bn per year, funded through a penny in the pound on income tax.
  • Improve living standards for 9.6m parents and children, by reversing George Osborne’s cuts to the “work allowance” under Universal Credit, costing £3bn.
  • Invest an extra £2.8bn in to the schools budget, by reversing the Government’s proposed cuts to school funding.
  • Scrap business rates – replacing them with a tax on land values known as the Commercial Landowner Levy.  The reformed system would increase incentives to invest in new equipment and renovations, and cut taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.
  • Reverse Conservative cuts to Corporations Tax – still leaving the UK with the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7.
  • Work with the EU to crack down on tax avoidance by the tech titans, and working to secure agreement on taxing multi-nationals’ profits.
  • Reform wealth taxation – bringing capital gains and dividend taxes into line with income taxes, removing the most generous pension tax reliefs from the highest earners, and replacing the inheritance tax system with a fairer lifetime transfer tax.

Vince has been doing the media round, telling LBC:

And here he is on the BBC:

Tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

ALDE Party expel Catalan member party

At an Extraordinary Council Meeting, held in Brussels, the ALDE Party announced the expulsion of its Catalan member party, PDeCAT, issuing the following press release;

Delegates from more than one third of the ALDE Party full members convened in Brussels on 27 October 2018 for an extraordinary Council Meeting.

With a majority of 2/3 of the votes cast, the Council took the decision to expel PDeCAT (Parti Democratica, Catalonia) from ALDE Party membership, effective immediately.

This decision does not imply any position of the ALDE Party on internal Spanish political affairs.

The ALDE Party keeps its door open to any new liberal and democratic

Also posted in Europe / International | Tagged and | 9 Comments

From our Lords Correspondent: 22-26 October – explaining how things work…

Welcome to the review of a rather longer week in the Lords…

Our review starts, where else, with Monday, which was opened, after prayers, by Meral Ece, who wanted to know what steps the Government are taking to reduce youth crime in London. The answer, unsurprisingly, was that the Government are giving funds to support various small-scale projects. The decline in police numbers due to the loss of central support, not so prominent.

The debate on the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill has already been covered in these pages, and the other legislation …

Also posted in Parliament | Tagged | 1 Comment

All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture calls for urgent action on housing crisis

Tacking the housing crisis requires a concerted cross-party effort at all levels of government from Downing Street to the parish council.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report Capturing Land Value for the Public Benefit to be published on 31st October 2018 says:

There needs to be greater devolution of Land Value Capture mechanisms to mayoral and local authorities. Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of the government’s intention to remove the cap on local authority borrowing, consideration should be given to a netting of land assets from existing prudential borrowing limits; reform of the 1961 Land Compensation Act, to provide

Tagged and | 8 Comments

Welcome to my day: 29 October 2018 – after killing Jason off, and countless screaming Argonauts…

Yes, it’s another week and, with just fifty-seven days until Christmas one hundred and fifty-one days until the cliff edge of Brexit, it’s beginning to get slightly scary, just in time for Halloween.

The Russians have formally objected to Government proposals to the World Trade Organisation, the Moldovans have objected to our participation in the global Government procurement grouping, so it’s all going swimmingly. That is, as swimmingly as it would be if your flotation device was leaking and the water was full of sharks. It’s all going terribly well, right, Dominic? Right?

Oh and yes, the EFTA option was, this …

Leave a comment

28 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Government infrastructure plans lack future proofing

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has urged the Government to invest in “rail, low emission buses and electric charging points” as reports indicate the Government is set to announce new investment for roads in the Budget.

Jenny Randerson said:

While it is welcome news that the Government will finally set aside much needed investment for our roads, their infrastructure plan lacks any future proofing.

With climate change an ever greater threat, Liberal Democrats demand better. Ministers should be focusing on a model shift away from car use to public transport. That means investment in rail, low

Tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dems could double Holyrood seats according to new poll

Well, this looks interesting…

I know, I know, it’s only a poll, but an almost doubling of support for us should encourage Scottish Lib Dems to get campaigning.

The Survation poll for the Daily Record shows what could be on offer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats and should give the party confidence. The findings echo what people are finding on the doorsteps.

For a few fraught years, …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 8 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarfrankie 16th Nov - 8:55pm
    While many Lib Dem MP's did tag along with the Tories not all did. Some retain a moral compass On the day of his funeral,...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Nov - 8:10pm
    @P.J. Yes you're right. R is for research rather than reform. But maybe reform would be a more worthy aim? Whether the £2k should be...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Nov - 8:06pm
    "put on great fights in Dursley (Stroud) and thanks goes for their hard work campaigning and representing the party across the country." From 24.1% down...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Nov - 7:49pm
    Well I'm sorry, Joe, it wont wash. "Making work pay" is more than doubtful - and the impact of UC is punitive in method and...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 16th Nov - 6:51pm
    Sorting out Universal Credit falls to Amber Rudd now. The new Work and Pensions Secretary said she had seen Universal Credit - "do some fantastic...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 16th Nov - 5:48pm
    A group of Academics at University College London have just published ther estimate of how long it would take to organise a Legal Referendum, they...