Ed Davey on the Acting Prime Minister podcast

Ed Davey has been interviewed for ITV News on the Acting Prime Minister podcast. If you haven’t seen it before, the interviewee is virtually installed in No 10 for the day and asked what she/he would do.

What personal item would he take into No 10? – the trike belonging to his son, John.

Who would be the first person he would call? – Joe Biden.

What would his first policy change be? – increased support for carers, financially, in their own careers and through respite care.

Where would he go on holiday as Prime Minister? – East Anglia

Downing Street pet? – a cat

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No child should go hungry

Last week I reported that Kirsty Williams had committed to extend free school meals through the holidays and right up to next Easter. Of course, that only applies in Wales where she is the Education Minister.

But this week MPs shamefully voted against a similar programme in England, in spite of the widespread support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign.

Lib Dems, headed by Daisy Cooper, have been calling for action:

There is a petition to sign, in which we call for:

  • Free school meals to every pupil whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
  • Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday and during any period of lockdown
  • Free school meals to pupils from low-income families whose parents or guardians have no recourse to public funds and destitute asylum seekers

I’ve signed it. Will you?

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22 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions
  • Tracing failures shows Hancock needs to overhaul test and trace

Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Chancellor of “making up plans on the hoof” when it comes to financial support for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19. Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Yet again the Chancellor is taken by surprise by events unfolding exactly as predicted months ago. He has utterly failed to address the gravity of the economic crisis, with people and businesses facing devastating pressure across the country.

Beyond tinkering around the edges of the Job Support Scheme and correcting some of its blatant errors, he has offered nothing for those slipping into poverty. 67% of salary is just not enough for people to get by on. The Chancellor is making up plans on the hoof and is failing millions of people.

We need real leadership from Government, not a patchwork of ever-changing measures. It’s clearer than ever that the Government should have kept the furlough scheme in place as the Liberal Democrats called for, yet they are too proud to do the right thing and U-turn.

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Why hygiene, testing and shielding are better than lockdown and furlough

We need the current argument between Westminster and Manchester on the best strategy to tackle coronavirus. The issues involved need wider informed debate than has so far been allowed. Both government and science should accept challenge, and refine policy accordingly.

We are told that policy is science-led and evidence-based. But extensive use continues to be made of blunt lockdown and furlough measures, without scientific evidence of their efficacy. These are both clearly extremely harmful in themselves. Here is an evidence-based case for the superiority of infection control, testing, and shielding.

1. Infection control works

After extensive mortality in March-May, UK care homes have reduced both infection and excess mortality rates to zero.

Source

This has been achieved through rigorous infection control procedures. Note that the initial increased mortality affected all elderly people, not just those in care homes.

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Why registering to vote is good for your wealth and health

You will almost certainly be registered to vote if you are reading Liberal Democrat Voice, as you are a politically engaged individual. But are all your neighbours, friends and family also on the electoral roll?
Feel free to share this article with them, as adapted for your local Council.
If you are not registered to vote, you could be harming your chances of getting credit when you need it, and even your access to a home-delivered COVID-19 test.
You are not automatically registered to vote, (included on the electoral roll), even if you have lived here for many years. You should register to

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20 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police
  • Government face first defeat in the Lords over Internal Market Bill

Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police

Today, Liberal Democrat Peer Paul Scriven has secured a commitment from Health Minister Lord Bethell to publish the agreement between the Government and police chiefs over the decision to share test and trace data.

This follows the Health Secretary’s refusal to make the Memorandum of Understanding public when Liberal Democrat Health and Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson asked him to just yesterday.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said:

An effective test, trace and isolate system to keep people safe will only work if the public have faith in it and this means the Government must be open and honest about how it uses people’s data.

It is absolutely crucial that the Government publishes its Memorandum of Understanding with police chiefs on sharing of Test and Trace data in full, otherwise they risk further undermining public trust in the system and discouraging people from getting tested.

I’m glad to have secured this commitment from the Minister, but he must now make sure the document is published for public scrutiny as soon as possible. The Liberal Democrats are clear that transparency over the use of personal data is essential to build public confidence in Test and Trace.

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A view from a member of the Vice President’s advisory team

The Vice President, Isabelle Parasram, and her advisory team meet on Zoom recently

We all know that there is no better Party in this country than the Liberal Democrats. That is the reason that we all have joined this Party and why we are still here.
And believe me, even the people of this country are aware of this fact.

But the problem is that we are almost too good. We don’t lie. Our leaders don’t believe in false promises. We strongly believe in human rights. We believe that each and every citizen of this country, no matter what colour or background they are from, deserves the best life possible. And that is the problem. We think that, because we are good and our policies and manifesto are outstanding, people will vote for us.

But it does not matter how much you like someone, or care about them – you must approach them and express your feelings if you want them to know that. And that is what we Lib Dems need to do.

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Reaching zero carbon with an ambitious approach to housebuilding in York

Plans have been submitted by City of York Council for the first stage of what the Guardian recently has called “arguably the UK’s most ambitious council-led housing programme in a generation”.

As a Liberal Democrat led council we are embarking on our biggest housebuilding programme since the 1970s. Work is already under way to deliver more than 600 new homes across the city, including at least 250 affordable homes, each designed to have a net carbon emissions figure of zero.

This plan is just one element of our work to deliver more housing and tackle the climate emergency. Our target of reaching zero carbon by 2030 requires a bold and holistic approach to tackling the climate crisis.

Currently, we are leading the way nationally by introducing ambitious plans across the city to improve York’s air quality – from the largest zero emission Park&Ride fleet in the country and the first voluntary Clean Air Zone in the UK, with ambitions to become the first all-electric bus city.

This is on top of major investment in refurbishing and improving council housing, using the very latest low carbon technologies in construction, maximising the generation and storage of renewable electricity on council land and buildings, and planting 50,000 trees in 3 years as part of the Northern Forest initiative.

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Reflections from a Liberal in Azerbaijan

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Around eight months ago, I, along with a dozen or so colleagues from young liberal organisations from across Europe, were selected to be observers in the snap general election in Azerbaijan. I was honoured to be the UK/Liberal Democrat representative with the European Liberal Youth Network (LYMEC) Mission. I have felt for some time that I ought to tell the party what I found on its behalf. So now, with some trepidation, I will.

For those who don’t know (as I didn’t), a brief explainer on the situation in Azerbaijan: Ilham Əliev, the son of the first president of independent Azerbaijan Heydar, leads a deeply illiberal regime tainted with corruption and an entrenched hatred of their neighbour Armenia. The make-up of the government, to all intents and purposes, has not changed since they were relinquished from Soviet control in 1991. This is the situation into which we were dropped; a group of young, relatively inexperienced young liberals from wealthy, by-and-large politically stable, European nations, preparing to tell an Azeri quasi-despot his psephological fortune. Goodness me.

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Yes – in my back yard: The Lib Dems need to TRULY be the party of housebuilding

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To NIMBY or not to NIMBY, that is the question that has plagued local parties since time immemorial. But to be a progressive party today, we need to embrace a radical house-building agenda. That means supporting development projects locally across the country, and gritting our teeth and taking a constructive stance towards the Governments planning reform.

Nationally, the Liberal Democrats talk the good talk. Our manifesto includes ambitious housebuilding plans that seek to tackle the huge supply deficit in the housing market. Locally, it’s a different story altogether. It’s a faustian pact that most local politicians have to make regardless of party: the reason is that homeowners vote, and opposing more development, that will bring the value of their houses down, will win them over.

This is the unspoken reason many local parties oppose development in their area. They’ll couch it in terms of “inappropriate development” or “lack of infrastructure”, but the truth is they don’t want to see development at all. They’re caving in to parochial local homeowner pressure and it’s deeply regressive. We need to support homeownership, not homeowners. The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t be a NIMBY and progressive at the same time.

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An interview with Vince Cable

Former Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has just written a thought-provoking new book about China. So what motivated him to do so, and how does he think the West should respond to the emergence of this Far Eastern superpower? We spoke to him to hear his thoughts…

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Liberals must not defend the discriminatory status quo when supporting John Sentamu

Constitutional reform is a longstanding golden thread running through liberal political philosophy. We don’t believe the current system of government is fit for purpose. Liberals have long wanted to replace the House of Lords with an elected upper chamber accountable to voters. And liberals have long called for the disestablishment of the church and equality for people of all faiths and none. That’s because our values tell us that in a multi-faith society, handing law-making powers to a small number of people from a single faith tradition is discriminatory and illiberal.

So while I understand the motives of Liberal Democrats getting exercised about the government’s decision not to award John Sentamu a continuity peerage, I disagree with their arguments. The former Archbishop of York has a long and admirable history of campaigning for positive social change. That is not up for debate, though many will remember with some pain his opposition to equal marriage. If we had an elected upper chamber, I’m sure he’s exactly the sort of person who might belong in it.

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20 October 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: Government inaction failing survivors of sexual violence
  • Reversing Liberal Democrat Immigration Bill amendments risks “new Windrush-style Scandal”

Liberal Democrats: Government inaction failing survivors of sexual violence

Responding to the Victims Commissioner’s report on rape survivors and the criminal justice system, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

Survivors deserve justice. They must be properly supported to come forward and be listened to when they do.

However, as this report shows, far too many survivors are put off reporting the crime for fear of being disbelieved, and far too many who do come forward find the whole process traumatic. Government inaction is failing survivors of sexual violence and allowing too many criminals to walk free.

It is incomprehensible that the Government’s review of rape cases is doing so little to engage with survivors – especially given the clear evidence that the system simply isn’t working for them.

Ministers must listen to survivors, complete the review as soon as possible, and urgently make improvements across the whole justice system. Survivors mustn’t be left waiting any longer for the justice they need.

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19 October 2020 – today’s press release

Liberal Democrats: PM must get a grip of coronavirus spread in the North

Today, Liberal Democrats from across the North of England, including four council leaders, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, and Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords Dick Newby, have written to the Prime Minister stating that the North has been “overlooked by a London-centric government”.

The letter calls for a raft measures to be implemented urgently to help stop the spread of the virus across vast swathes of the country.

Some of the measures include:

  • Rapidly funding local authorities to enable a local scale-up of the failing test, trace and isolate system
  • Increasing

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Tales from a Small Parish: welcome to Dibley?…

For those of you who live in urban conurbations, your concept of a Parish Council is possibly associated with the TV series “The Vicar of Dibley”. Funny really, because the Vicar usually works with a Parochial Church Council, a very different animal indeed. But 30% of England’s population is covered by Parish Councils which, for the most part, operate under the radar of political activists…

I moved out of London more than a decade ago but hadn’t been here for very long before a vacancy arose on the Parish Council and, well, …

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Reminder: What does it mean to be black in Britain in 2020?

Our Vice President Isabelle Parasram invites you to join her for a free event “What does it mean to be black in Britain in 2020?” on Thursday 22nd October from 7pm-8.30pm.

Christopher Jackson, Professor of Geology at Imperial College and soon to be the first black scientist to jointly present the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, will be speaking and answering your questions. He will be joined by Former CEO of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Co-Founder of The Centre for Inclusive Leadership, Paul Anderson-Walsh, as we ask about their experiences and insights during this Black History Month event.

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Getting back onto the doorstep, getting back on the campaign trail…

I wanted to let you know about my experience door knocking over the last couple of weeks. Over the last fortnight, I’ve spent two evenings a week knocking on doors in Portsmouth, where I’m the Lib Dem Leader of the Council.

The feedback from voters here in Portsmouth has been brilliant, they were very pleased to see us.

I’ve been out in small groups, each of us in masks, keeping 2 meters from anyone. If people weren’t in, we posted leaflets through letterboxes to let them know we’d been.

It was great to be back talking to residents, as …

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Interpreting confusion

Can people insist on being confused? I am no behavioural scientist but I have been struck by the way many people in the UK respond to the rules/advice for combatting Covid-19 with “I am confused” or “I don’t understand”. These may be British/English euphemisms for “I disagree” or even “I don’t trust you”. The latter is particularly important because in a representative democracy the deal is that politicians are given decision-making powers and have time and resources to exercise them that are largely unavailable to most people. So if trust goes then there is a high risk of non-compliance. The blurring of the lines between law and guidance has probably been a genuine source of confusion.

Meanwhile the very notion of different rules applying in different areas is difficult for people to get their heads round in this highly centralised state. We have been brought up to see disproportionate power for central government as part of the natural order of things – something Liberals have fought against for many decades. Even in the non-English nations of the UK devolution has proceeded very slowly and current schemes for devolution in England look more like an enhanced rate support grant than a serious shift of power to the regions. Thus in our political culture closing the Welsh border for legitimate reasons seems truly shocking. So whatever slogans the Government comes up with (reflecting the Prime Minister’s own confusion between fighting an election and running the country) people will continue to say that they don’t understand.

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Our party must do more to tackle the digital divide

Whether it’s canvassing apps like MiniVAN or our fully-fledged – and fully functioning – virtual conference, Liberal Democrats have never shied away from digital innovation. Our current platform champions the roll-out of technologies like gigabit broadband and 5G, whilst also highlighting the frustrations of those in rural areas with limited access. By no means are we wrong to support these policies.

However, they do little to help those who don’t have the digital skills necessary to make the most of the internet. And what good is gigabit to you if you can’t even afford basic broadband? There are millions of people who are ‘digitally excluded’ in this country, and we need to do more to support them.

According to Lloyds, there are 9 million people in the UK who are unable to use the internet independently, and millions more who only use the internet for limited purposes, like social media. Meanwhile, roughly 23% of children in the poorest families do not have access to a desktop, laptop, or tablet. This had drastic impacts on children’s learning throughout lockdown and will likely have long-lasting consequences.

I was encouraged to hear Alistair Carmichael raising this very issue in Parliament on Monday. Children’s access to technology is paramount to ensure they aren’t left behind. Even when schools are open, access to tech at home helps children learn new skills and excel in the classroom.

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Remembering the News Chronicle

Sixty years ago today the great Liberal-supporting newspaper the News Chronicle disappeared despite boasting a circulation of more than a million – considerably more than some of today’s nationals.

On the morning of October 17 1960 – “Black Monday” as it would become known – the News Chron appeared as normal. Staff turning up at the newspaper’s offices in London were sent out on assignment as usual while the newsroom tape machines clattered out the day’s happenings.

But when darkness fell it was announced that the paper had been “merged” with mid-market rival the Daily Mail in a move that sent shock waves through Fleet Street. Work stopped on the paper shortly after 5pm and the editorial staff adjourned to the nearest pub to drown their sorrows.

Laurence Cadbury, proprietor of the News Chronicle expressed “deep regret” at the passing of the paper but said “mounting costs and continued losses” had made it “impossible” for the Chronicle to continue as “a separate entity”.

Just about every national newspaper carried an obituary. The Guardian said: “To write dispassionately about the death of friends is not easy”, while the Daily Herald was also fulsome in its praise, observing: “The News Chronicle was unique. Nothing can replace it.” Even the Conservative- supporting Daily Express was magnanimous, declaring: “Last night a fine newspaper died. Families grew up with the paper: it was their voice. Now that voice is stilled.”

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Wendy Chamberlain reminds Boris about the Scottish border

Wendy Chamberlain got to question the Prime Minister this week. She asked him to sort out the issue that means that she and other Scots travelling between Scotland and England, and everyone living in the Borders, who may cross from Scotland to England several times a day, to sort out a problem with the respective English and Scottish test and trace apps.

Anyone crossing the border has to manually switch between apps. It doesn’t happen automatically. So you might think that your app is working, but it isn’t if you haven’t made the change between them.

See Wendy in action here:

Boris Johnson sounded pretty clueless in response, as you would expect. He did say he’d sort it, though.

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16 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM’s no deal comments further reveal his incompetence
  • Davey: PM must bring back a deal that protects jobs and livelihoods

PM’s no deal comments further reveal his incompetence

Responding to reports that the Prime Minister has said it’s time to ‘get ready’ for no deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous and these reckless comments are just further evidence of the Prime Minister’s incompetence. It has been more than four years since the referendum and yet here we are with a potential no deal and less than three months until the transition period ends.

At a time when the UK is already facing the biggest crisis in generations as a result of coronavirus, we cannot afford to crash out of the EU without a deal in place or to accept a rushed, bad deal. The Government cannot allow people’s livelihoods to be put further at risk, when so many are already struggling to get by.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Conservative Government to account as Ministers fail to deliver what they promised, and try and ensure we get the best deal available.

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Observations of an expat: Brexit – a fishy tale

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The Brexit deadline came, went, came again and went again. Both sides look foolish. Which means that if nothing, else, both sides desperately want an agreement and neither side wants to be the one that walks away from the table.

Fish appear to be the biggest sticking point.  And the two countries at loggerheads are traditional foes Britain and France.

Economically speaking, neither country’s fishing industry makes much of a contribution to the respective GDPs, although the French industry is almost three times the size of the British. But they both have well-organised community-based political lobbies, backed up by history, tradition and an overwhelming sense of injustice.

Up until the 1950s Britain had the world’s largest fishing industry, and its dominant position stretched centuries into the past.  William Pitt the Elder called cod “British Gold” and Victorian Grimsby was the world’s biggest fishing port. Overfishing, the loss of the Icelandic waters, the extension of exclusive economic zones and finally, the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), reduced the industry from whale to sprat. There are now 24,000 people employed in the British fishing business compared to 65,000 in the French.

The CFP was – is – a bad deal for British fishermen. This is mainly because it was negotiated on the basis of historic fish catches in the 1970s when the industry was still based on a distant water fleet and the British waters were left to a large degree to French, Belgian and Dutch fishermen.

British fishermen don’t expect a return to the glory days but they want the lion’s share of fish in the resource-rich British waters. Of the roughly 6.4 million tonnes of fish caught in EU waters in 2018, 7000,000 came from UK waters. The French want to hang on to what they’ve got.

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An united Ireland v a shared Island – how the messaging is changing

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For anyone following Irish politics, Budget 2021 was announced on Tuesday. In it, something very interesting occurred – €500m was allocated to the ‘Shared Island’ initiative intended to support cross-border co-operation, joint infrastructure projects and all-Ireland education, health, tourism and climate action projects. This came on the back of the creation of a ‘Shared Island Unit’ established by the new Government which will be managed within the Taoiseach’s Department (the Irish equivalent to Downing Street). It is not the investment that’s of interest, it’s that over the last few months, the language has moved from ‘An United Ireland’ to a ‘Shared Island’ very quickly.

For us political nerds, it is a fascinating example of how framing the message can create shuttle shifts in tones and outcomes. A Shared Island appreciates that there are different communities living on the island with different identities and values. It’s a practical approach allowing these communities to work together. It’s not a constitutional issue.

Covid has significantly highlighted the need for the island to work together. The virus does not recognize borders. With NI political leaders looking across the Irish Sea for its public health guidance rather than agreeing a coordinated plan with the Irish authorities, the virus has mocked the border. There are similarities made between the island of Ireland and New Zealand frequently but it is impossible to deliver the same results while two jurisdictions work independently from each other. The opportunity to take advantage of being an island lost.

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Kirsty Williams leads the way

I have been very heartened by the news from Wales, and not just because a bit of my heart always lives there. Unlike her English counterparts Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem Education Minister for Wales, hasn’t had to be challenged by celebrity footballers to remember those children whose needs are greater than others – she had already worked up schemes to support them.

In the very early days of lockdown, Wales was the first country in the UK to announce that children eligible for free school meals would continue to get them through the Easter and summer school holidays, supported by substantial funding.

Kirsty has now taken a further ambitious step by announcing an £11million fund to provide free school meals during term-time and holidays right up to Easter 2021. Special arrangements are in place for children who are quarantining or shielding at home.

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Party Awards: Cllr Anood Al-Samerai: Embodying liberalism, fighting tenaciously with kindness

We conclude our series celebrating this year’s party award winners with Southwark’s Anood Al-Samerai who won the Patsy Calton Award, set up by Liberal Democrat Women to recognise exceptional women. You can watch the video of the whole party awards segment here and the submission made by Anood’s nominees is under the cut.

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No, Sir Edward, we are not going bankrupt!

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“We are going bankrupt as a nation — there will not be the money to pay for the NHS or pensions.” This was the impassioned cry from Sir Edward Leigh (Con, Gainsborough) in Tuesday’s Commons debate on public health restrictions. He referred in particular to the closing of pubs at 10pm and more generally to what he saw as a need to let businesses “get on and do business”.

Fortunately he was wrong. We won’t go bankrupt as a nation. This is because we create our own money. He no doubt thinks that business activity is always needed, through taxation, to pay for public services such as the NHS. This is not the case. The state is at liberty to create whatever money is needed to pay for public services. Taxation is needed to remove money from circulation to prevent inflation, not to pay for public services.

Inflation occurs when the economy is working at full capacity and the money in circulation creates effective demand beyond what the real economy can meet. The pandemic reduces both supply and effective demand. The supply of hospitality services is reduced by measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Effective demand for hospitality services, and for other services and goods, is reduced by the loss of income suffered by many businesses and employees whose work is affected by the COVID restrictions.

Most money circulating in the economy is normally created by private banks when they make loans. Money is destroyed when loans are repaid or written off, such as through bankruptcies, and when taxes are paid. Investment in several areas of the economy – such as hospitality, the arts and aviation – is likely to be depressed at the moment, which means that private money creation will be below normal.  It is not at all clear that the money being put into circulation through business support schemes, additional social security payments and health expenditure needs to be balanced by increased taxation. In any case, increased business activity could create its own need for taxation by stimulating an increase in the money created by private banks.

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15 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: London lockdown further evidence Govt have lost control
  • Liberal Democrats vote against “dangerous” Government crimes Bill

Liberal Democrats: London lockdown further evidence Govt have lost control

Responding to reports that London will face Tier 2 Covid restrictions from Saturday, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Government have completely lost control of coronavirus across vast swathes of the country, and the situation in London is looking very difficult.

In the north of England, and now in London, the sacrifices of millions of people have been squandered by this Government. Because of Boris Johnson’s failure to ensure our test, trace and isolate system worked, millions of people will have to make those sacrifices again.

We need to understand the science behind the tier system immediately, otherwise there will be fears that this fresh wave of restrictions will do very little to help stop the spread of the virus. We need a circuit-breaker introduced now, on the condition that government overhaul the failing test and trace system – otherwise restrictions will need to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The government must do much more to protect jobs and livelihoods and keep people safe.

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Vince’s New Book – China: Engage! Avoid the New Cold War

He has done it again.  Sir Vince Cable has seemingly effortlessly published yet another book. This is at least his 6th, following Globalisation and Global Governance (2000), The Storm (2009), Free Radical (2010),  After the Storm (2015) and the novel Open Arms (2018). Despite its shorter length at around 99 pages, it is packed full with well researched facts and figures, insightful analysis, and is reflective of the mind of an ex economist and academic.

The title China: Engage! Avoid the New Cold War, makes clear his dovish view where it concerns the cold (and possible hot) war involving China. This stance is not ideologically driven but grounded on global evidence seen through the eyes of a senior statesmen and former Business Secretary in the UK Government (2010-2015).

The chapters are constructed in digestible chunks covering China’s economic rise, reasons for deteriorating relations with the US, alignment of the other nations and the more serious tech war.  I say serious as we all know that now in our 4th industrial revolution whoever comes out on top in the IT/AI race will be the one that rules the waves.

I write this serving my 14 day quarantine in a designated facility in Singapore and if not for access to wifi, I would be climbing the walls.  But instead I have just been watching Irina von Wiese speak on Brexit at the European Liberal Forum and am about to log into the Covid19 Anti Racism webinar hosted by the Chinese Welfare Trust charity.  Sadly anti-China sentiment has resulted in a sharp rise in hate crime against the Chinese diaspora communities in the UK and around the world.

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What does it mean to be black in Britain in 2020?

I’m so excited to announce the launch of my Share, Plan, Act programme.

Through it, I plan to link community/faith/charity groups and key influencers with the Liberal Democrats to catalyse positive social change via the media, lobbying, education and micro action.

It will co-ordinate with Ed’s National Listening Programme to enable us, as a Party, to reach communities and individuals who might not have interacted much with us before. And – crucially – will help us to listen to what voters want, so we can better serve them.

I’ve been working hard with my phenomenal team over the past few months in figuring out the practicalities, gauging interest from non-Lib Dems and building up networks external to the Party. Having gained support in many ways, we are now ready to go.

It’s Black History Month this October and we’re so pleased to be launching our first event entitled: “What Does it Mean to be Black in Britain in 2020?” on Thursday 22nd October, 2020 from 7pm-8:30pm.

Our guest speakers will be:

  • Professor Christopher Jackson – the first black scientist to be giving the Royal Institution Christmas lectures, Equinor Professor of Basin Analysis, Imperial College and winner of the 2016 Geological Society of America Thompson Distinguished Lecturer Award
  • Paul Anderson-Walsh – the former CEO of The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, co-founder of The Centre for Inclusive Leadership, ITN Productions resident leadership expert, BBC contributor and show host on Premier Radio.
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