News in Brief: Ming savages Danny, ‘Parenting Matters’, and Don Foster on “rodents with wings”

Former party leader Ming Campbell is apparently furious with fellow Scottish Lib Dem, Danny Alexander, according to the Telegraph.

The two MPs are, it appears, at each others’ metaphorical throats over the handing over to the British army of RAF Leuchars in Fife (Ming’s patch), while RAF Lossiemouth in Moray (Danny’s neighbouring patch) — though it should be noted that RAF Kinloss, also close to Danny’s own consituency, will suffer the same fate as Leuchars.

The Telegraph quotes Ming implying with scarcely veiled fury that Danny’s intervention in the defence review to save Loissiemouth was politically convenient:

“It’s a remarkable coincidence that these decisions should have been thought to assist the political credibility of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, or is it? The result of the closure of Leuchars is that the RAF has been banished to the north of Scotland. The Army’s preferences have been met at the expense of a proper strategic analysis.”

The liberal think-tank Centre Forum has a new publication focusing on early years and social mobility, ‘Parenting matters’.

It commends the Coalition for recognising, most notably through the Lib Dem-inspired ‘pupil premium’, that support in the earliest years of a child’s life make the biggest differences to their later life chances. The report argues that the most important factor influencing a child’s development is the quality of parenting they receive, and that this willingness to engage directly with what is happening in the family sphere is essential to prevent the (deeply illiberal) squandering of individual potential.

You can read the report in full here. It recommends a ‘five-a-day’ plan for child development, including for example playing with your child on the floor for 10 minutes every day. It was cited by the Economist this week:

The point of the CentreForum study is … profound. The five proposals emerge from a report into social mobility and what a child experiences during the early years. It tries to factor out all the things people parents may convince themselves make a difference, and try to work out which ones actually affect a child’s development and which are just a fad. That doesn’t mean it is right. But that is why the advice is less prescriptive and more general than much other parenting guidance—and why on one level it seems very obvious.

Lib Dem MP Don Foster has urged the government to take more seriously the problems posed by urban gulls, says the BBC:

The Bath MP said there were well over 1,000 pairs of breeding gulls in the city and strategies to control the numbers were not working. “The truth is that so far I have failed to persuade the government to take the issue seriously,” he said. “It is a really serious problem for many people in my constituency of Bath and many other places around the country.

“What I’ve argued quite simply is that we don’t have enough research to understand the life cycle of the urban gull so that we can then decide what is the most appropriate action to solve the problem. In front of me I have a series of photographs of gulls sitting by decoy birds, sitting in among spikes, sitting right next to loudspeaker systems that are meant to give distress calls that send seagulls away. All of the methods that are being used largely do not work, they’re costing an absolute fortune and that’s because we’re not doing some basic research to find out how to solve the problem.”

The MP said he had seen pictures of some gulls sitting next to decoy birds “There are all sorts of bird-lovers out there who will think I’m doing horrible things but as far as I’m concerned, these are just rodents with wings.”

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Geoffrey Payne, Ming’s was one of the few Lib Dem safe seats in Scotland, no longer. The closure of Leuchars threatens to rip the heart out of a struggling local economy and will hand that part of the world, once a Lib Dem stronghold, to the SNP or Labour. The Lib Dems are going the way of the Tories and will be unelectable in Scotland, and that will mean the end of the party. You’ll no longer be a national party, but an English party without the numbers to be anything but an irrelevance in Westminster.

  • Mark Pack Nick Thornsby 6th Aug '11 - 7:57pm

    Misleading headline, Stephen. I clicked on this in the hope of seeing Don Foster’s insightful comments about our coalition partners…

    *badum tish*

  • PS, as a wild bird species gulls are protected and you will be prosecuted should you damage their nests, eggs, or kill them.

    Gulls incidentally are declining in numbers in the UK and are in need of protection.

  • Agree with both Geoffrey and g… Also Ming is correct that on his assessment of Leuchers vs. Lossiemouth.

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

  • User AvatarPaul Barker 18th Aug - 8:27am
    I welcome the refreshing honesty of many of the recent comments on this thread which are now much more openly attacks on The Libdems. Of...
  • User AvatarIan Martin 18th Aug - 7:56am
    A Government of National Salvation is needed to prevent a no deal Brexit and the damage to the economy and people's livelihoods. It should seek...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 18th Aug - 7:12am
    Good to hear some mature good sense from Simon Hebditch and Nick Rider...... something the current Liberal Democrat leadership appear to be in need of....
  • User AvatarMichael BG 18th Aug - 2:38am
    Matt, I agree the formation of a Government of National Unity is hugely difficult. The easier solution would be a Labour minority government which Jeremy...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Aug - 12:46am
    The Lib Dems need a crash course in rational bargaining. The Corbynites on the Left, the Tory rebels on the Right, and the Lib Dems...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Dron 18th Aug - 12:24am
    To get a GNU, needs a successful VONC against the current government. Getting even three Tory names to support the motion would be a major...
Sun 18th Aug 2019
Sat 24th Aug 2019
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019