New issue of Liberator out!

Liberator 407 is out.

You can download it free here, or see this and our back issues for free on:

Alongside Radical Bulletin, Letters, Reviews and Lord Bonkers’ Diary, and an appeal to help our colleague Sarah Green in Chesham and Amersham, Liberator 407 includes:


Chris White draw lessons from the curate’s egg of England’s local elections


None of them can vote, but humans in Scotland got little attention from a misguided Lib Dem leadership obsessed with unionism, says Nigel Lindsay


Peter Black says the Welsh Lib Dem hierarchy should take responsibility for a hopeless and failed Senedd campaign


The electorate is realigning even if politicians have not caught up, and that creates an opening for Liberals to put their case loudly says Roger Hayes


Claire Tyler explains why a House of Lords report on financial inclusion found millions cannot acmes the service stye need, and how this could be improved.


If the Liberal Democrats continue to obsess over paper leaflets while ignoring digital they will stay below 10% in the polls, but there’s a way out suggests Martyn Cattermole


The George Floyd case could help America bring its police under control, says Martha Elliott


It may look like fan power killed the European Super League but football’s ‘slave market ‘and financial woes haven’t gone away, says Howard Cohen


The pandemic has been a tough time for the hospitality sector, but it could have been worse and some of it was doomed anyway, says Nick Winch


Emergency planning was found wanting in the Covid-19 pandemic, hardly surprising given the government’s lack of interest in preparation, says Simon Banks


Government plans for asylum seekers will be cruel and counter-productive but a new campaign will try to stop them. Margaret Lally explains


Shirley Williams

Jonathan Fryer

Trevor Smith 

Read more by .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • We hardly mention the FDP in Germany. They are now apparently hitting 13 – 14%, when was that last recorded, 1985? General election in 3 months, can they hold onto the gains, a year ago were at 6/7%. Seems to have happened with the realisation that Markel is actually going and the Greens have seemingly peaked. One poll has the FDP on 14 level with the SPD, if this prcess continues they would become the third party in the Parliament with over 100 members. Perhaps we need to talk with them and ask how they have done it, we are supposed to be sister parties! Might help Wales and Scotland especially.

  • The article, Chasing the Penguin, Chess Piece and Badger Vote on pp 10/11 by Nigel Lindsay should be read by every Lib Dem (on both sides of the Border).

    Well said, Nigel…

  • Thank you, Martin. Too late. Too late.

    I’m afraid, as Nigel implies (I hope you read his article in detail and note attempts that have been made to improve policy in Scotland), other political parties have taken over part of the mantle of radical liberalism in Scotland….. though what’s left of the Scottish Lib Dem establishment are in denial of this.

    The constituency where I was a Councillor and Cabinet Member until I retired (after a transplant ‘op) in 2012, was a Liberal parliamentary seat for nearly fifty years. It had a Lib Dem vote of 22,230 (45.3%) in 2010. Seven years later, 2017, this was reduced to a fifth place – a mere 2,485 votes (4.7%). The people, (or 90% of them) had spoken.

    Scotland does not like Conservatism. The few that do congregate round the Tories. Most Radicals have gone to the Greens who are alive and kicking with a raft of progressive policies. What’s left of the Lib Dems is a negative mini Unionist party in fifth place. Look at the Airdrie & Shotts by-election result last month.

  • 2021 Westminster By-election: Airdrie and Shotts

    SNP 10,129 46.4% +1.4
    Labour 8,372 38.4% +6.5
    Conservative 2,812 12.9% -4.7
    Lib Dems 220 1.0% -2.6

    Majority 1,757 8.0 -5.1

  • Brad Barrows 2nd Jun '21 - 6:07pm

    Excellent article from Nigel Lindsay. If the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland want to regain any degree of relevance, it will have to change its position regarding a second independence referendum – there is a clear mandate for such a vote and the Liberal Democrats, as ‘democrats’, should be willing to acknowledge this.

    Remember, council elections next year…do the Liberal Democrats have to get another bloody nose before reacting to public opinion?

  • Peter Chambers 2nd Jun '21 - 10:29pm

    Martyn Cattermole has some interesting things to say about digital.
    Like actually having a strategy and some skills might be a good idea.
    Worth a read.

  • @ Martin Nigel forgot to include the hedgehog and the oversized deck chair, neither of which have the vote. Far too subliminal for my tiny mind.

    Can’t remember the last time I’ve been ‘implored’, Martin, but I’ll try to oblige. Given I’m a tad older than John Marriott, three weeks younger than my late friend Tony Greaves and five months younger than my other late friend David Shutt, it’s a moot point whether I’ll be around to see “what you would wish for Scotland in 5 or 10 years time? ”

    For starters not to live under a Tory Government ever again.

    a) Dominion status for Scotland. Full powers to a PR elected Holyrood.
    b) Scotland back in the EU (or EFTA) on terms to avoid austerity.
    c) A national care service
    d) Enhanced provision for mental health/drug care/ welfare benefits as if people mattered.
    e) Restoration of 0.7% Overseas aid.
    f) More power to local government and Community Councils. A Council House building programme.
    g) Enhanced funding for Education and maintaining existing student funding.
    h) No nuclear weapons in Scotland
    i) Adoption of the Scottish Green Party’s Environmental & Transport, policies
    j) Abolition of ‘Empire’ style Honours, knighthoods etc., and no second chamber. I won’t bother Royalty if they don’t bother or cost me.
    k) Tax multinationals and enhance employee’s rights.
    l) No discrimination on grounds of race, creed, age, gender or sex.
    m) Anything else I’ve forgotten including no admission of Trump to Scotland.

    Summary : to implement E.F. Schumacher’s book, “Small is Beautiful – Economics as if people mattered”, something of what Radical Liberalism could and ought to be.

    Stand back for the barrage from the Right Orangeist wing of the Lib Dem Party, but since I’m off to see the grand kids for the first time in months I won’t be here to read it.

  • Laurence Cox 3rd Jun '21 - 11:44am

    A thoroughly depressing read, which is why every Lib Dem member needs to download and read it. Not only do we have exposés of the failings in England, Wales and Scotland, but I was amazed to learn that we actually outspent the Labour and Co-operative parties together in the 2019 General Election! Never has so much money been spent to so little effect.

    But not only do the Federal and State Parties have questions to answer, so do Regional Parties like London; Luisa Porritt’s 4.4% share of the mayoral vote was only just over twice that of Niko Omilana’s (2.0%) who himself got more votes than Laurence Fox (1.9%), despite the latter’s high media profile. Niko who? you may say; he is a YouTube influencer based in Barnet with no party behind him and did not even have a page in the booklet sent out to all electors (they paid £10k each for this). This just illustrates the importance of the Party having a digital campaigning strategy as Martyn Cattermole emphasises.

  • Paul Holmes 3rd Jun '21 - 10:18pm

    I don’t think that a purely social media campaign gaining 2% of the vote makes a very convincing case for switching all campaigning into social media.

    Some commentators seem to assume that Lib Dem campaigns don’t use social media yet I seem to recall that we spent very similar amounts to Con and Labour in this regard in the 2019 General Election.

  • Laurence Cox 4th Jun '21 - 1:03pm

    @Paul Holmes

    Have you seen the Lib Dem YouTube channel – it is dire! Typically a few videos/month and only 10k subscribers; at least 90% of our members don’t even watch videos on it. A little professionalism like Niko showed and we should have at least as many subscribers as our membership. I used to watch it during Federal Conferences before they went online because it was the only way for me to keep up with what was going on there; I still don’t know what happens in London Region, because that never appears.

  • Peter Chambers 4th Jun '21 - 1:23pm

    @Paul Holmes
    > I seem to recall that we spent very similar amounts to Con and Labour in this regard in the 2019 General Election (on social media)
    This is comparing input not output. Given that Thornhill found the party 97% dysfunctional (other numbers are available), then our output is likely to lack impact. Liberator 407 makes this starkly clear. It is of little comfort that Labour are said to be as bad.
    I do not know what the answer is, but my thinking is that since local lib-dems here do not have much money perhaps starting with a phone and zero ad-budget might turn out to be very cost effective.
    If anyone with real experience can contradict me, I would be very happy to listen.

  • Paul Holmes 4th Jun '21 - 1:28pm

    @Laurence Cox. No I have not. The limited amount of You Tube viewing I seek out tends to be music videos and history material, I don’t watch silly cat videos either and use Ad blocking software to avoid as much intrusive and unwanted ‘crap’ as possible!

    But you are now making a different point -not that the LD’s don’t have a digital strategy but that what they do have (and according to the stats in fact spend a lot of money on) is not very good. I have no idea about that -although I do think the national website is awful.

    Either way it is still the case that a social media influencer gaining 2% of the vote in an election is hardly a convincing case for a campaign that relies entirely on social media being a model we should adopt.

  • Paul Holmes 4th Jun '21 - 1:47pm

    @ Peter Chambers. I think you might be agreeing with me?

    The question is what are the most effective ways of campaigning? The Liberator article referred to suggests that literature is not effective and whatever money is available should instead go to online campaigning. A comment in the thread above added to that by admiringly referring to an online influencer who had gained just 2% of the votes in an election.

    Having been involved in actually running and standing in elections for the largest part of 4 decades, often with quite a bit of success, I need rather more convincing evidence that I should abandon tried and tested methods in favour of such rather weakly supported assertions. Which is not say that online methods are not of growing importance, especially in very large scale elections where intensive localised campaigning cannot be replicated across the whole of an area such as in a PCC or Mayoral election.

    In your given circumstance of a Local Party with little money then as you say spending that money on expensive online ads may well not be the best route -personally I would say it defintely is not the best route. I would though note that whilst phoning is useful knocking on doors and talking face to face is even better -especially if you spend your limited money on some quite low cost calling leaflets that you can leave at every house you call on.

  • Dominion status was a transitionary term to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. With the dissolution of the British Empire after World War II and the formation of the Commonwealth of Nations, use of the term was formally abandoned at the 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference and replaced with “member of the Commonwealth” to recognize the full autonomy of members.
    The Act of Union 1707 combined the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament to form a single Parliament of Great Britain.
    Scotland kept its independence with respect to its legal and religious systems, but coinage, taxation, sovereignty, trade, parliament and flag became one.
    For Scotland to regain devolved powers over currency, taxation and trade sufficient to become an independent member of the EU or EFTA it will need to secede from the Union and erect a customs border with England. It could remain within the commonwealth and retain the Monarch as its head of state as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many of the West Indies Island, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands do.

  • Martin,

    N. Ireland is not an independent member of the EU or EFTA with devolved powers over currency, taxation and trade.
    I think what you are referring to is a Scottish devolution settlement short of this level of autonomy.

  • Peter Martin 4th Jun '21 - 10:18pm

    @ Martin @ Joe,

    The Northern Ireland Protocol is a fudge, which is probably the best anyone could manage, to enable the conflicting requirements of an open Irish border and the desire of the rest of the UK leave the EU to be met. We’ll have to wait and see if it holds up over the years. It’s an exercise that neither the EU nor the UK will want repeated in Scotland. There is little prospect of it being allowed by either side to set any kind of precedent.

    Therefore Joe is quite right to say that Scotland will need to secede from one Union to be able to join another Union and re-establish the relationship with the single EU market. There will also be those in the EU who won’t want the prospect of another potentially porous border between the EU and the UK (or what is left of it). The Scots may well find that they won’t be given quite the warm welcome from the EU that they might hope for.

  • Peter Martin 4th Jun ’21 – 10:18pm:
    The Northern Ireland Protocol is a fudge,…

    Many use other names. The Northern Ireland protocol would seem to be illegal under the Act of Union 1800, in breach of the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement, and inconsistent with the EU Referendum decision for the whole of the UK to leave the EU. It’s currently the subject of a Judicial Review…

    ‘Northern Ireland protocol likened to Vichy regime during court challenge’ [May 2021]:

    “The purpose of this Judicial Review challenge is to undo the great wrong which was done in the imposition, without consent, of arrangements which leave Northern Ireland as a rule taker of foreign laws – over which we have no control, the United Kingdom partitioned down the Irish Sea and trade fettered disastrously with our biggest market.

    “All this we believe infringes our constitutional and economic entitlements under the Acts of Union and the assurances of the Belfast Agreement, as well as our basic democratic entitlement to be governed only by laws made by those we elect.

    ‘David Trimble: Tear up the Northern Ireland protocol to save the Belfast Agreement’ [February 2021]:

    The protocol lists 70 pages of EU laws to which Northern Ireland must adhere. This amounts to tens of thousands of separate regulations. In addition, all future EU laws on which no one in the UK or Northern Ireland is able even to discuss – let alone vote on – will apply to Northern Ireland. Moreover, they will be enforceable by the European Court of Justice. This amounts to a seismic and undemocratic change in the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and runs contrary to the most fundamental premise in the Belfast Agreement.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Jeremy, Please can you give the dates of the next three FPC meetings after 9th June? When you write, “This discussion then very helpfully informed an ea...
  • Marco
    I didn’t think that 2019 was as disastrous as many people thought. The result is a solid base to build on. Although the revoke policy was mistaken I am concer...
  • Marco
    I do despair of Lib Dems who claim Labour “aren’t progressive”. It was Labour governments who legalised divorce, abortion and same sex relations, abolis...
  • Andrew McCaig
    John, it is not having unitary councils that I object to (I am quite used to the unitary Kirklees Council), but to restricting local elections to once every fou...
  • Marco
    Congratulations to Sarah Green and everyone who campaigned and achieved a fantastic result. This result shows that the party is broadly on the right track. Y...