Kicking off the weekend

Welcome to the first proper weekend of the Summer holidays,  in England at least. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, we’re about half way through.

Powys Lib Dems help low-income families during Summer holidays

For many of us, it’s a chance to relax and unwind with our families. For others, it can be an incredibly stressful time. For parents on low incomes, the Summer holidays can be a nightmare. In Powys, Liberal Democrats have helped a bit with that, as we reported earlier in the week, by finding the money to continue the vouchers for families entitled to free school meals in their area. It was shocking that the Welsh Government scrapped the scheme introduced by our Kirsty Williams when she was Education Minister.

Labour is doing its best to kick struggling low income families in the teeth with Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour would not get rid of the two child limit on benefit claims. He’s got himself in hot water with his own party. I have to say that if I had been a single mother with 3 kids in Uxbridge,  struggling to pay the bills, I’d not have been inclined to go out and vote Labour on Thursday. They can blame ULEZ all they like for their narrow defeat, but could they have won if they had had anything hopeful to say to people living in poverty?

Somerton and Frome shout-outs

Of course, it’s always great to wake up on the Saturday after a glorious by-election win. The heroes of the campaign have, I hope, managed to get some sleep. A huge shout out to Paul Trollope, whose arrival in Somerset within 24 hours of the by-election being a reality got the short campaign off to a flying start. Ruth Younger, match fit from 3 by-elections already helped deliver Sarah Dyke’s victory yesterday.

I suspect all of the staff involved had plans for the Summer which probably involved getting some r and r before the build up to a General Election year. For the fourth time in two years, they mobilised and delivered a cracking campaign so well done to all of them.

And to everyone who travelled there, including the fair few who went from Scotland, a massive thank you.

One group of people who don’t often get thanked are the volunteers who host the Maraphones. Richard Huzzey, Jacquie Gammon, Stephanie Ouzman and Hannah Perkin have been running these events at least 4 days a week since June. On polling day, they were joined by Federal Conference Committee Chair Nick Da Costa who just popped in to make calls but ended up pulling a 12 hour shift as a host to help with the many people who joined in the event. Thousands of calls were made during the maraphones, to voters and to members to encourage them to go, which is crucial in the early days of the campaign to build momentum.

Successful by-election campaigns are usually built on a solid foundation of local campaigning so a big shout out to local activists who work all year round, as Lib Dems do, to win local elections and ultimately regain the seat.

The work is not over for the team, though. This weekend there is clearing out of the by-election hq, and taking down the hundreds of stakeboards that have lit up the towns and villages. Thanks to everyone involved in this work.

And spare a thought for Sarah Dyke herself. What a brilliant candidate she is! She can’t be sworn in until September,  but at least things have moved  on from the days owhen Summer recess MPs  couldn’t take on any staff or set up their office until Parliament had returned . And she’ll have a mountain of by-election casework to deal with. She will, I’m sure, have great support, not just from the Federal Party but from her fellow MPs and Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain,

Am I really watching football?

I am more than slightly amused at how my feminism has been trumping my natural antipathy towards football. The last time I watched a football match was when I went to see Inverness Caledonian Thistle play Aberdeen in their beautiful stadium next to the Moray Firth in about 2008. Yet, here I am watching the Lionesses playing Haiti in the Women’s World Cup as I write this.

I’m quite excited about Haiti making their first appearance at a World Cup. While I obviously want the Lionesses to win, I am going to savour the whole atmosphere of the tournament.

Normally I groan and wail about football devouring the tv schedules, but I am really pleased to see women’s football getting the attention it deserves. Now the fight to get the players paid equally….

Good luck, Jo

Good luck to Jo Swinson who took to Instagram to share a photo of some raspberry leaf tea and a herbal infusion called “The Final Push” with a comment:

“Mood. #41weekspregnant”

I hope Raspberry leaf tea tastes nicer than it did 24 years ago…

Don’t forget…

To get your tickets for Ed Davey’s appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, talking to Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith on their For the Many Live show on Saturday 12 August at 4 pm.

And, for that matter, Vince Cable’s session with Iain Dale on the previous Wednesday, 9th, at 1pm.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • I recall Sarah Olney having problems because she won her election just as the Christmas recess started, and was unable to even start on a lot of the admin until after the Christmas break ended. Something the disgruntled local Conservatives used to make mischief.

    I accept limiting some opportunities for new MPs until after they are sworn in, and if it’s a short recess then most things can wait, but there should be the opportunity to get some things in place in this time. Perhaps with a written statement of intent to do the swearing in to ease the concerns of those worried some may abuse it.

    The way MPs are expected to set up their own office discriminates against new MPs from smaller parties, and was designed with no thought for constituents that have in many cases already experienced a period without representation.

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