Daily View: 16 June 2020

I’ve been writing this feature for nearly three months now, and hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Today, I’m going to change the style a little, to make it a little less formulaic. Bear with me…

We’ve got a leadership contest underway, if the wave of press releases from the various campaign teams is any guide. By the way, we won’t be publishing them here at Liberal Democrat Voice in line with our policy of neutrality in internal elections. But I would like to see a contest of ideas, especially as I am a genuine floating voter this time. I can’t help but feel that this leadership election in particular offers an opportunity for a meaningful debate on our direction going forward.

What sort of party are we to become, how will we express, and campaign on, liberal principles, what are our core priorities for the nation?

There is an almost delicious irony that an attempt to derail the Civil Rights Act in the United States in the 1960s has led to the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of key rights of employment protection for LGBT+ employees, and that the majority opinion has been drafted by one of Donald Trump’s appointees to the Court. At a time when LGBT+ rights are coming under pressure in too many places, including here, it is a small consolation that a victory has been won.

As liberals, we oppose the pressure to conform, and it should be a basic freedom for people to live and love as they choose. I genuinely believe that this country is less intolerant than it used to be, but there is still a long way to go, as the events of the past fortnight or so have demonstrated.

Admittedly, the Home Office yesterday demonstrated that it is about thirty years behind the times, which might explain a great deal…

The House of Lords went properly virtual yesterday, with voting taking place remotely. Sally Hamwee’s amendment to the Extradition Bill, won with a sizeable majority, gives Parliament the opportunity to resist extradition treaties with countries with poor records of criminal justice or state brutality, and that strikes me as a good way to mark this innovation.

Admittedly, my colleague got rather excited about events in the Lords. I can’t for the life of me imagine what set his mind wandering like that…

And, finally, why in the love of all that is holy is the Government resisting Marcus Rashford’s campaign to persuade them to provide meals to children living in poverty during the school holidays? How much would it cost, compared to what has been spent on protecting jobs and household incomes during the Covid-19 crisis?

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  • Nigel Hunter 16th Jun '20 - 10:01am

    Marcus Rashord ,the Govnt not rushing to oblige? Could that be cos children do not produce for the economy? The are not ‘US’ but ‘THEM’?. Or could it be that Clegg in the 2015 campaign wanted free school meals for 7 to 11 year old’s . It would not do to give the LibDems credit!? Is it cos he has an 80 seat majority so he can do what he wants? If he wishes to be popular it would be wise for him to agree with Marcus.
    Yugoslavia etc now defunct, It does seem that Johnson’s Tory supporters want to put back the clock ,drag us back to days before the EU and ,of course, keep their money in offshore havens and thus not have tax system reforms.

  • Free school meals was the partys main achievement of the coalition so we should be bouncing of the ceiling with anger at its proposed abolition. Instead we are doing and saying nothing yet again. Sir Ed please pull your finger out.

  • Peter Watson 16th Jun '20 - 10:37pm

    @tim rogers “free school meals was the partys main achievement of the coalition so we should be bouncing of the ceiling with anger at its proposed abolition”
    But universal free school meals (trialled under Labour when Ed Balls was Education Secretary) was something that Lib Dems had opposed before Nick Clegg surprised the party at a conference by announcing it.

  • Tony Greaves 17th Jun '20 - 11:03pm

    Just to be accurate the Lords has from the start of last week gone “properly hybrid”. There is a full procedure in the Chamber (with much reduced numbers) but people can join in and make speeches remotely. The votes are all done electronically but they are far from “virtual”. They are real votes by real people in real divisions! So far, five votes, five Government defeats, on record high turnouts. The hybrid House is not all ideal but it’s well thought out, well executed, and better than nowt.

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