Category Archives: Op-eds

Some interesting features of Lib Dem ad targeting

I have not had one single ad on Facebook encouraging me to vote for the Liberal Democrats. Not one.

But, when you think about it, what a waste of money it would be if I had.

Let’s face it, my vote for the party was never in doubt, and this one will be the proudest I have ever cast for the Liberal Democrats. Not only are we right on the biggest issue of our time, I’ve learned over 15 years’ acquaintance that Jo Swinson is ideally suited to be our Prime Minister. 

Yesterday the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones offered an insight into how we were targeting our ads in individual seats:

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Election Diary No 2: The third week

It would be accurate to say that this mid-point is destined to be the hardest part of the election campaign for the Liberal Democrats. After being blocked off the head-to-head leaders’ debates, they have seen the avaricious spending pledges of the two main parties taking much of the headlines. Labour are trying to capitalise on the issues of the NHS, and the Tories on how much money they plan to spend. It leaves Jo Swinson in a difficult position, before the crucial issues of Brexit, on which the party is strong, and the image of a brighter future, come to the fore in the days before December 12th. Or, at least that is what many will hope for. 

A recent poll suggested that voters like Swinson less as they see her in this campaign. This is extremely puzzling. On the one hand there are the extreme figures of Corbyn and Johnson, who have both spent their careers cosying up to shadowy, racist, and crooked figures, and are both highly establishment figures. On the other hand Swinson shows a new vision that is energetic and radical. Of course, any poll at election time should be taken with a large barrel of salt, but it is worrying news all the same. 

This leaves the party with a challenging question: how to cut through to voters angered at the disastrous policies of the right and left. When ‘Cleggmania’ erupted in 2010, it was the offer of an alternative to the two-party system that made the most traction, but the popular support did not transform into more seats in Parliament. Research has suggested that this time around Lib Dem support is more concentrated, and that offers hope that the archaic electoral system won’t hinder the real political gains possible.

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Observations of an ex pat: Egos

Say what you like about Tricky Dicky Nixon. And you can say a lot. He was an egotistical, toilet-mouthed politician who abused the office of the presidency for his own personal political gain. He was also one smart cookie when it came to foreign policy.

His major saving grace, however, was that when faced with the inevitability of defeat, he resigned. For most of his five and a half years in office Nixon acted as if his personal interest and the national interest were one in the same. But in the end, he came to realise that the US constitution, the …

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US trade deal will mean higher drugs bills for NHS

President Trump is apparently to be told by Boris Johnson that the NHS is “off the table” in any negotiations with the UK Government over trade, but there are other ways in which a trade deal can be exploited by the USA, which will inevitably result in a higher drugs bill for the NHS.  

In February 2019, the USA published its specific negotiating objectives for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.  They include the following: “Seek provisions governing intellectual property rights that reflect a standard of protection similar to that found in U.S. law”.  Intellectual property rights were then the subject of the US-UK trade discussions on 25th July 2019 (which are the subject of redacted documents produced after a freedom of information request to the DTI).  In the context of medicines, the USA will therefore no doubt be asking the UK to implement a link (in law) between pharmaceutical patents and the drug regulatory approval process (“patent linkage”), such as the Americans have.  

The US experience shows that patent linkage can seriously delay the time at which cheaper generic drugs enter the market, whilst any patent disputes are resolved.  It is not supported in the European Union and we currently have no such system in the UK.  Bear in mind that a generic drug may be priced at a small fraction of the price of the same drug before generic entry and one gets an approximate flavour of the millions currently saved by the NHS through its use of generic pharmaceuticals.  

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A defence of liberalism

“Socialism is the only ideology fit for the working class”

These were the words I was told the day after the 2017 General Election- and to an extent, they were true. For as far as the eye could see across South and West Yorkshire, the only real option voters had was to vote for Labour. ‘My patch’ was nothing more than a patchwork quilt of safe red seats, Trotskyist CLPs, and statist, unambitious, complacent Labour-run councils. As you may have imagined, I rejected this dogma. I saw nothing optimistic about Corbyn’s left-populism and his commitment to the growth of the state, whilst the arrogance of which my local Labour Party machinery had governed these one-party states had instilled in me a great suspicion of their supposed attachment to progressive politics.

Instead, I turned to liberalism. Ambitious, confident liberalism- an ideology that can enrich and empower the lives of all citizens. I’d be lying if I said I could remember the single event that tipped me into this decision, but the quiet dignity and humility of Nick Clegg’s concession speech ensured that days later, I was a signed-up member of the Liberal Democrats. By rejecting Labour’s state-socialism, I was committing myself to the fundamental values of freedom, liberty and democracy which can only ever be found in the Liberal Democrats. I was supporting a party that would stand up for individual rights and freedoms; that would radically transform our unfair, broken politics; that believed in free markets and free trade as a force for good; and that recognised the state can be used as a tool to ensure opportunity for all. Instinctively internationalist and green to its roots, the Liberal Democrats remain the true radicals of British politics, and the only credible alternative to the statism and small ‘c’ conservatism of Labour and the Tories.

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Jo’s ITV interview – the highlights

Here are the higlights of Jo’s ITV interview:

On uniting the country by tacking the issues that made Leave voters feel so dissatisfied in the first place:

And on tackling the climate emergency and how the EU helps us:

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Jo’s take on the #itvdebate

Jo Swinson has taken to Twitter to make her points in the Leaders’ debate from which she has been excluded. A shout out to the people who so quickly cut together excerpts from the debate and clips of Jo putting the alternative view for people to share on social media.

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You need to eat lunch and make mistakes

One of the lessons I try to convey to junior doctors (or in my case and after nearly a decade, more junior junior doctors) is the importance of getting lunch. If it’s 11am, the ward round has finished and you don’t have urgent jobs to do, I don’t care if it’s the morning – go and have your lunch. 

The nature of a hospital is that you never know what is round the corner. If you don’t eat now, you might not eat again until you leave and if it’s busy, that might not be until 7pm. That is bad for you and bad for your patients. It is a dereliction of your duty of care to them. 

It is just over 3 weeks until polling day. You need to ensure you, your candidate, your staff, your volunteers and everybody involved is healthy and not going hungry. It is bad for you and your campaign if you do not eat when you get the chance. It is a dereliction of your duty of care to it.

Imagine turning to current or former healthcare workers, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, members of the armed services, or members of the security services and saying “this is an emergency and lunch can’t wait”, about whatever it is you think can’t wait and imagine their reaction. I have told people their loved ones are not going to leave hospital, attended so many cardiac arrests that I have forgotten most of them, and have had adults and children literally die in my hands. Imagine telling me what you’re about to do is an emergency.

This doesn’t mean the committee room on polling day should turn into a place to have a conversation. It isn’t – go stand outside if you want to just have a chat and stop asking the people who are putting the data in “how’s it going?” (even if you’re the candidate). Let staff and volunteers do their work.

But if you’re a person with authority in the party, your volunteers and staff are going to make mistakes. Perhaps you think the best way to get things done is by shouting at people. Perhaps you don’t think people should be making mistakes. Perhaps you’re working full-time and nobody who works for you has admitted a mistake to you so far. If any of these are true, resign – you are incompetent and have no place in professional politics.

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Election fun: Campaign Trail companions

Meet Tigger. He is helping Edinburgh North and Leith’s Elaine Ford write blue envelopes.

A cold, dark Winter election has its bright spots and many of them involve animals.

Alex Cole-Hamilton made a friend while out canvassing too..

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Many British Kurds will be voting for the Liberal Democrats on 12th December.

In recent years British Kurds have been increasingly interested in and attracted to the Liberal Democrat vision for a liberal, tolerant and open society. This trend continues to grow with many reaching out with questions on party policy and how they can help elect a liberal government.

The UK 2011 national census revealed that approximately 48,000 British people had identified themselves as Kurdish under the ethnicity self designation question, although the number of British Kurds is thought to be considerably higher today. Kurds constitute a significant diaspora in the United Kingdom and across the rest of Europe, Kurdish homelands are located in south eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, eastern Iran and northern Syria.

British Kurds have historically been politically active but often through necessity rather than choice, periodically taking to the streets of Europe’s capitals whenever Kurdish lives or rights  were perceived to be under threat in the Middle East. Recent examples include rallies in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris in opposition to the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish administered area Rojava in Syria.

A pivotal factor in garnering support is our clear Lib Dem stance on foreign policy issues, formulated in part by members of Federal International Relations Committee, and the active support of legitimate Kurdish rights by prominent party leaders including the late Lord Ashdown who in 2014 called the UK to “Support the Kurds by all means we can”, and Liberal Democrat MEP Irina Von Wiese who worked on getting a strong EU response to Turkey’s incursion in 2019. This record has been and will continue to be key in winning votes, especially in London where the 2011 census informs us that over 20,000 Kurds reside.

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Meet your new Federal committee members – internal election results declared

Last night, after a long day of hard work by brilliant LDHQ staff, the Federal Committee results were declared.

Party members had been voting for 3 weeks to choose members of the Federal Board, Federal Policy Committee, Federal Conference Committee, Federal International Relations Committee and ALDE Council delegations. Principal councillor reps to Federal Board and Federal Policy Committee, the English rep to the Federal Board and Scottish reps to both Committees were also chosen.

You can see the full results including all the STV tables here.

Those elected were:

Federal Board

Alice Thomas
April Preston
Candy Piercy
Caron Lindsay
Elaine Bagshaw
Gerald Vernon-Jackson
James Gurling
Jo Hayes
Joyce Onstad
Kishan Devani*
Luke Cawley-Harrison
Neil Fawcett
Roisin Miller
Ruby Chow
Simon McGrath

* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to gender diversity requirements.

English Rep to Federal Board

Lisa-Maria Bornemann

Scottish Rep to Federal Board

Cllr Kevin Lang

Principal Councillor rep to Federal Board

Cllr Chris White

Federal Policy Committee

Alisdair Calder-McGregor
Alyssa Gilbert
Aria Babu
Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Catherine Royce
Christine Cheng
Duncan Brack
Elizabeth Jewkes
Helen Cross
Jeremy Hargreaves
Mohsin Khan
Richard Cole
Robert Harrison*
Sally Burnell
Tara Copeland
* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to gender diversity requirements.

Scottish Rep to Federal Policy Committee

Elinor Anderson

Principal Councillor reps to Federal Policy Committee

Cllr Peter Thornton
Cllr Susan Juned

Federal Conference Committee

Bex Scott
Cara Jenkinson
Chris Adams
Chris Maines
Geoff Payne
Liz Lynne
Joe Otten
John Bridges
Jon Ball
Joe Toovey*
Nick da Costa
Rachelle Shepherd-Dubey
* Note: This candidate was promoted into the list of elected candidates due to ability diversity requirements.

Federal International Relations Committee

Doreen Huddart
Hannah Bettsworth
Jonathan Fryer
Phillipa Leslie-Jones
Phil Bennion
Ruth Coleman Taylor

ALDE Council

Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Hannah Bettsworth
Jonathan Fryer
Joyce Onstad
Merlene Emmerson
Phillip Bennion

Congratulations to everyone who was elected and commiserations to those who missed out this time.

Some quick observations on the results.

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Luciana: EU staff critical to our NHS

Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Luciana Berger has spoken out about how Brexit would harm our NHS, emphasising how reliant we are on EU doctors and nurses. Analysis done by the Labour Party highlights that NHS staff work a million hours of unpaid overtime every week.

That doesn’t surprise me. When my husband was seriously ill three years ago, in the 51 nights he was in hospital, only once did I see one member of staff actually leave at the end of their shift. And the situation has got much worse since then as we lose thousands of EU nurses every year.

Luciana criticised Labour’s approach to Brexit:

A key reason NHS staff are working overtime is because of the serious shortages in the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS. Part of that shortage is due to the net loss of 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years alone.

Only yesterday, Labour failed yet again to confirm their position on freedom of movement. With the NHS reliant on 10,000 EU doctors and 20,000 EU nurses, Labour’s support for Brexit is baffling as it will be so damaging for our NHS and hardworking staff.

In the past week we have learnt about the Conservative plan to impose a Nurse Tax on any new EU health professional coming to treat NHS patients. The stakes could not be higher. Labour and the Conservatives must stop being so irresponsible with our NHS.

The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS. We will build a brighter future by investing an extra £35 billion in our NHS by adding a penny on income tax. In addition we will implement a national recruitment strategy to ensure we never again suffer shortages of nurses, doctors and other health professionals.

If Labour are bad, the Tories are terrible. They would charge nurses who come to this country to use the NHS they work for. This would cost their families thousands of pounds.

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Is it time to exhume equidistance?

Anyone who was involved in Liberal Democrat politics in the early 1990s will remember what was then the controversial word ‘equidistance’.

It was excised from the party’s playlist in 1993 on the grounds that, only when the Labour Party is electable that Tory voters will feel safe enough to switch to the Lib Dems. We will see whether Paddy Ashdown was right about that next month.

But then, it may be that the situation is different these days. Equidistance between right and left could make a comeback when both Labour and Conservative parties are suddenly equally extreme.

But then, as far as the Lib Dems are concerned, there are three different kinds of equidistance.

#1. Political equidistance. This was the concept that Ashdown banned a generation ago. And you can see why. If, for example, Corbyn goes left, then the centre would move with him. This kind of equidistance arguably hands over your centrist positioning to the extremes.

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Observations of an ex pat: Losing face

t is meant to be a Chinese thing. Face is very important. A western synonym might be a combination of pride and credibility. At any rate, it is important that a person not be seen to lose face; that they are not made to look foolish or stupid.

In addition, the person who is right has to be careful not to look too superior. They are all too conscious of the Western proverb: “There but by the grace of God…”

The West, on the other hand is an “I told you so society”. It loves to rub the noses of its politicians in their mistakes and failed promises. It positively drools at the prospects of adopting an air of righteous superiority.

Asian politicians will often give their opponents a way out—an honourable exit. Their Western counterparts, will hound, pester and plague their rivals to the bitter end.  Their aim is to strengthen their position with an adversarial political system that allows nothing less than the total humiliation of their foe.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. The retention of face is more of a long game. It recognises that today’s enemy could be tomorrow’s ally. Forcing a loss of face is more a winner takes us all scenario.

The prize in the West is higher. But so is the price paid the loser, which is why they fight so hard to win, and if they can’t win they fight hard not to lose. When caught in a lie—or a mistake– they double down, fabricate, invent,  cover-up, issue counter-accusations, rant, rave… almost anything and everything short of an admission of  error or wrongdoing.

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Ed Davey: Lib Dems to spend £100bn to tackle climate emergency

In a keynote speech in Leeds tomorrow, Ed Davey will announce that the Lib Dems will be putting our money where our mouth is about the climate emergency. We’ll spend £100 billion on measures to tackle it:

A Liberal Democrat Government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency: I can announce today that across a 5 year Parliament, Liberal Democrats would spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation.

“This includes a new £10 billion Renewable Power Fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment. This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore wind, but also the global number one in tidal power too.  And we will invest £15 billion more to make every building in the country greener, with an emergency ten-year programme to save energy, end fuel poverty and cut heating bills.

But we’ll have that £50 billion Remain bonus:

Brexit is already costing the economy £1 billion a week. And the future cost to Britain in lower economic growth could be even higher, if Brexit were actually to happen.

That’s why the election debate on the economy and public spending has Brexit at its heart. For the plain fact is, no party’s economic plan is remotely credible unless it starts with stopping Brexit.  With stopping Brexit as our number one economic policy, Liberal Democrats won’t just grow the economy faster, but we’ll generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus – to pay for our huge extra investment in schools and our policies to tackle inequality.

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Mark Pack writes…Thank you, candidates and agents

As you read this, the final rounds of nomination papers are going in for Liberal Democrat candidates around the country. Between candidates and agents, that is well over a thousand people who have volunteered to add even more burdens, strain and work to the next few weeks above and beyond even what all the rest of us are going to go through.

Even in the most fantastic election result for the Liberal Democrats, at the end of it many hundreds of them will not have a victory to show for it. The party, and our cause, will however, thanks to them, have much to show for it. 

Losing campaigns can still be the step to winning next time – whether that is more victories in the next local government elections, more victories in the Scottish, Welsh and London elections or even moving on to win in the general election after this one. Those campaigns too help spread our message, grow our party and increase our political relevance.

So thank you, those who are leading the political and organisational charge to help achieve that. Especially as you will see, and I am sure understand, so much of the party’s attention, resources and assistance be diverted increasingly tightly to those who are in with a chance of winning.

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Whatever the issue around asylum seekers and refugees, the Lib Dems have a policy

Obviously issues around refugees and asylum seekers are not top of the agenda in this election, but the issues often get raised at hustings, particularly those in places of worship, and those asking are the sort of people who vote, and tell others.

Lib Dems for Seekers of Sanctuary have done a “mini manifesto” based on Lib Dem policies on these issues that is handy to have for quick reference. It is on our website here

Also we have detailed briefings on issues in more detail. For instance on detention, right to work, decision making, Family Reunion, and LGBT+ issues affecting asylum seekers. Also on Refugees, including unaccompanied children. They are in our “documents” section of our website, here.

We are happy to send word documents or PDFs of any of these.  If issues come up in the campaign, or you are asked questions, please do get in touch at [email protected] and we will do what we can to help.

A huge amount of time and effort has gone into making these policies, and condensing into handy formats.  They are there to use. For very many years Lord Roger Roberts has been campaigning for the right of asylum seekers to work.  We made our policy on ending indefinite detention for immigration purposes, along with many other issues, in 2014.  These were expanded and new one’s added in 2018. With policies on “Safe Routes for Refugees” and “Communicating in English” being added in between.  Our policies reflect our Liberal Democrat values too.  Details may change, our values don’t.

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Why Lib Dems should not stand aside in favour of Labour Remainers

Last night, Liberal Democrat PPC for Canterbury Tim Walker announced he was stepping aside in favour of Rosie Duffield, the sitting Labour MP. 

There is no doubt that Rosie Duffield is a good person who supports remaining in the EU. She holds values that are compatible with ours and, should she ever choose to join the Liberal Democrats, she would be warmly welcomed. However, she represents a party that is not committed to Remain. To stand aside for her would send the wrong message to the millions of people who are relying on Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit.

Liberal Democrats have already stood aside in 20 seats, 17 as part of the Unite to Remain initiative and 3 against prominent independent remainers. Our willingness to work with others to achieve a remain objective is not in doubt.

There is one thing in common with the people we have stood down for. They represent parties who wholeheartedly support remain or are running as independents. We are the strongest voice of remain and in no circumstances should we stand aside for a representative of a party which is not committed to Remain.

Let’s go through that Labour policy again. They would go back to the EU, negotiate another deal, put that to their conference to work out whether they support the deal or remain, and then have a People’s Vote. Would they really negotiate a deal and campaign against their own efforts? I doubt it. Labour would deliver Brexit and any Brexit damages the country.

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The UK’s responses to global economic changes

High on the list of public priorities in the General Election is a sustainably improving economy. Even avid supporters of Brexit balance their new-found acceptance of economic damage from leaving the EU, with tall tales of an eventual post-Brexit boom for ‘Global Britain’.

Brexiter MPs have at different times blamed economic contraction and lower growth on ‘Remainers’ blocking Brexit and causing uncertainty, an idea which hasn’t gained much traction. Slower UK growth has also been falsely blamed on weaker global and European economic growth.

The latter claim is at least is an acknowledgement by Brexiter MPs that the UK economy is integrated …

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Thoughts on the tragedy of the 39 killed in the lorry

All reading this will have read about the tragedy of those who died in the lorry on the way to the UK.  These deaths have made the headlines because so many people died, all at once.  But there are deaths connected with trafficking every day that we don’t hear about.

This report from “Missing Migrants” shows the figures from around the world.   It gives the facts about the tragedies of desperate people trying to reach Europe bringing the total this year to 1090 deaths, out of 2063 worldwide this year.

There are also those who are trafficked here, and are victims of slavery.  Paul Vallely, writing in the Church Times, says “What if the 39 migrants had survived?”  A big question that isn’t being addressed.  There is no doubt that the outpouring of sympathy would not have been the same.  If they had been intercepted by the authorities they would have been treated badly, and probably detained, and “sent back to where they came from”.  They certainly would not have been able to work here.  Had the smugglers been successful, the migrants would have been subjected to being treated as human slaves here.  No rights; no documentation; no employment legislation; no decent housing.  

There are many examples, from the many recently reported, of how victims of trafficking have been badly treated in the UK after arriving here. It is criminal for our Government to send those who have been trafficked (and proved to be so) back to where they are so vulnerable to be trafficked again. Every possible effort must be made to stop the smugglers and their agents, who profit from trading human beings.

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Lest we forget… a lesson from history…

140,000 patriotic Chinese volunteered to go to the Western Front in World War 1 to help the British and the French dig trenches and perform other manual work. This was because they thought that Western democracies would appreciate their sacrifices and reward China justly after the war for her contribution.

China had been the richest and most powerful nation on earth for many centuries. However, by the time of the later Qing Dynasty China had lost two Opium wars against the British, leading to a downhill slide into semi-colonialism for the country. This period saw China being carved up like a …

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Tory and Labour fiscal promises: Fantasy economics or Fantasy League?

This chart from the IMF shows the UK has been at the bottom of the G7 growth rates (remains true today in 2019). Remain is the best pathway to sustainable growth and resumption of “fiscal space” for both a rise in current expenditure (wages & salaries) and capital expenditure.

2. The UK’s economy is approx. £2.5 trillion (£2500 bn). A clear REMAIN decision or revocation of Article 50 would have the following macroeconomic effects:

  • A fall in country risk for the UK, even cheaper borrowing costs and a stronger pound
  • Higher GDP both

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WATCH: Jo and Layla at the Rally for the Future – We have to do better for the next generation

On Saturday, the first big Lib Dem election rally took place. The main subject was our policy of providing free childcare to children from 9 months of age – which will make life so much easier for families. What was really good is that this event was family friendly. Babies, toddlers, teenagers were in the audience including Jo’s own two sons.

The speeches were punctuated with toddler babble. It was a joy.

Jo and Layla spoke.

Watch here:

Layla remarked that she had never known such a friendly reaction on the doorstep.

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Luciana Berger: Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive

When I saw Luciana Berger at Conference  in September, she looked happy and relaxed as she toured the stalls in the exhibition. She said then that she felt very welcome in the Liberal Democrats.

Many of us hoped for a long time that she would come across to us.

In an interview with the Independent, she contrasted her new life in the Lib Dems with the appalling, horrible abuse she suffered in when she was in the Labour Party:

Being in the Liberal Democrats is so refreshing and so positive. I can have disagreements with people and we do so in an adult way where people don’t shout and scream at you and hurl abuse in your direction.

Her last meeting in the Labour Party was very different:

I attended my last Labour Party meeting in October last year and vowed never to go back because it was so unpleasant – it was so toxic, there was no humanity in the room.

The attitude was very much that she should be more loyal:

She says the abuse was regularly dismissed by Labour members in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency, who responded to her recollections by sitting stony-faced and suggesting that she should be more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.

The instances of anti semitic abuse from the far right, far left and Brexiteers made her physically ill at one point this Summer. You would think that anyone hearing the sorts of things outlined in the interview would react with compassion and empathy.

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Christine Jardine: Brexit is sucking the life out of our politics

Christine Jardine was on Sophy Ridge this morning talking (among other things) about how Brexit was sucking the life out of everyone meaning that we couldn’t concentrate on the huge issues of the day like Brexit and the NHS.

The amusing thing is that this clip is both being promoted by the party on its social media channels and trashed on Guido Fawkes.

Guido reckons that Christine is saying that Brexit is more important than the union. Which is a cheek given that Brexit as proposed by the Conservatives is more of a threat to the union than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

If we stop Brexit, we strengthen the union.

Sophy Ridge asked Christine about the leaders’ debates.

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New issue of Liberator out

Issue 398 of Liberator will soon be on its way to subscribers and the free sample articles for this issue Liberalism After Brexit, by Bernard Greaves, and Another Capitalism is Possible, by Paul Hindley, are available here.

And for those facing the rigours of a winter general election, here is the front cover illustration.

Other articles in this issue are:

Answering To A Higher Authority – Tim Farron chose to join a notably hardline Christian group, and then wondered why his views were wildly incompatible with being Lib Dem leader. Liz Barker seeks answers in his new book

Army Dreamers – The west’s counter-insurgency strategy sees the UK and its allies are pouring money into the questionably effective armed forces of repressive governments, says Rebecca Tinsley

Ukraine’s Comedian is No Comic – As America’s impeachment hearings centre on President Trump’s relations with Ukraine’s comedian president, Kiron Reid looks at how the latter got elected

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Sunday poetry

Boris is playing mind games

Cummings is showing him how

The chaos theory of conquest

Is up and running now

 

We’re now aware of their tactics 

We must band together to fight

Demonstrate the strength of the British 

Backing all MPs doing right

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Remembrance Sunday reflections

Charles Homer Bosworth was my great grandfather. In his face, I can see my Dad, my Uncle Bob, my Uncle Peter. My Dad was called after him. Known as Homer, he lived in Codford in Wiltshire. Born in 1888, he served in the First World War and gets a mention in the Codford Roll of Honour:

Charles Homer Bosworth served in the British Army during World War 1 and spent time in Russia as part of his service.

Until last year, that was as much as my sister and I and our cousins knew about his first World War Service. Then we got in touch with our Dad’s cousin in the US and he was able to tell us some more details. Apparently, Homer’s time in Russia involved being captured by the Bolsheviks and held in a cattle train car. Thankfully, he and his colleagues managed to escape, otherwise I would not be here today.

Homer continued to serve this country, joining the RAF. By the time World War 2 broke out, he was 51 years old and could have retired. Just two weeks in, he was one of 519 people killed after HMS Courageous was torpedoed off the course of Ireland.

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My favourite election moment of the week

It’s a toss up between Jo Swinson and arriving at a visit in Auchtermuchty and Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton being, well, themselves.

Yesterday, Jo visited North East Fife

The typo in this, from a Courier reporter, is very amusing, but I just loved the exuberance of it.

The baby is Daphne Grint, 5 month old daughter of Scottish Lib Dem environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell.

And it’s Willie himself who provides the other iconic moment along with Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton. And there wasn’t a farm animal in sight.

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A quick canter through some Taxpayers’ Alliance polling

I’ve spent the last two days being less than warm towards the Taxpayers’ Alliance, but even where I doubt the sincerity of their aims in the generality, the data they produce is nonetheless in that it tells you much about the voters you are trying to convince. And yes, whether or not you can come up with a persuasive argument to reflect their wishes, or if you even want to, you still need to understand their motivation. So, here are some of my personal highlights…

Reducing the basic rate of corporation tax from 19% to 12.5%, the same level as Ireland

Those …

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    Chris Moore, "In the event that the Tories fall short, the tactic of offering to abstain on the withdrawal bill, in return for a People’s...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 22nd Nov - 2:14pm
    If we are going to show the voters we are a growing party and a force to be reckoned with in the future we should...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 22nd Nov - 1:58pm
    If you really believe all that, why do you not do the one thing that might, even at this late stage show a willingness to...
  • User AvatarCharles Pragnell 22nd Nov - 1:32pm
    Over night, I was reflecting on revocation, and one thing not mentioned on these threads, is the fact that 6.1 million signed the petition to...