Ros Scott President and Dave Hodgson Chair on new ALDC management committee

ALDC is the party’s organisation which supports Councillors and campaigning. We know that if you follow their extensive campaigning guidelines, you are more likely to win. They run the Kickstart training weekends which are intense but give individual support to candidates and campaign teams. There is still time to register for the one in November.

Being part of ALDC gives you access to lots of fantastic resources, so I’d recommend any campaigner joins here.

The organisation has announced the result of its biennial elections. The new Management Committee takes office on 25 November 2018 and serves for two years.

They are as follows:

President: Baroness Ros Scott – Suffolk
Chair: Mayor Dave Hodgson – Bedford
Vice-Chairs (2): Councillor Anita Lower – Newcastle
Councillor Steven Lambert – Aylesbury Vale and Buckinghamshire
Secretary: Councillor Sarah Boad – Warwickshire
Treasurer: Veronica German – Torfaen

English Rep: James Moore – Reading
Welsh Rep: Jonathan Pratt – Bridgend
Scottish Rep: Councillor Ian Yuill – Aberdeen

Committee Members

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Fancy helping the Lib Dems win back the most marginal seat in the country?

One of the most heartbreaking moments of the 2017 election was that moment at about 6am when we realised that we had only just missed out on winning back North East Fife. The SNP MP and his wife were his own majority. Just two votes in it.

That’s one hell of a bar chart.

North East Fife recently selected the wonderful Wendy Chamberlain as PPC and the irrepressible Scottish Party Leader, Willie Rennie is MSP – winning the constituency seat back in 2016.

They’re now advertising for an organiser. Don’t ever tell him I said this, but I worked for Willie when …

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How you can have your say on Vince’s proposals for party reform

Over the next 10 days, there will be a number of opportunities for party members to express their views about Vince’s ideas about party reform.

These are:

To set up a registered supporters’ scheme and give those supporters the right to vote in leadership elections

To allow non MPs to stand for Leader

To allow people to stand for election as soon as they join the party, subject to approval.

There has already been one session in London  and another takes place tomorrow.

Other events take place in Edinburgh, York, Birmingham, Lancaster, Tiverton, Wokingham and Aberystwyth. You can find full details of times and places here.

If you can’t get to any of them, there is a webinar on Wednesday night for which you can register here.

The consultation booklet is available here.  It contains 13 questions and you need to respond by 14th October. Federal Board then meets on 15th and 22nd October to discuss what to do next.

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Vulnerable people are being oppressed on our doorstep – by the British and French Governments

I’ve come back from the greatest emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever dealt with.

I spent three weeks in Northern France volunteering with an educational charity working in the refugee camps surrounding the channel ports.

It’s incredibly hard to believe but in Western Europe, merely a stone’s throw from the British coast, thousands of people are barely managing to survive, deprived of their basic rights, harassed by a supposedly progressive government and all for the crime of fleeing the most harrowing situations on the planet and trying to build a better life. And worse of all we’re paying for it.

Yes, really. British taxpayers’ money is being ploughed into the French riot police, the CRS, all in the name of ‘border security. They are using that money to make life a living hell for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Whilst I was in France, volunteers were witnessing so called evictions on a daily basis.

This meant destruction of the little possessions that the refugees posses, rounding families up and abandoning them miles away from settlements in the middle of nowhere and often involved the use of tear gas against defenceless peaceful people.

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Olly Grender and Alison Suttie to sleep out for World Homelessness Day

It’s World Homelessness Day next Wednesday. To mark the occasion and highlight the plight of young people forced to sleep on the streets, Lib Dem peers Alison Suttie and Olly Grender will be sleeping out overnight. They are raising money for De Paul, a charity which helps young people who are affected by homelessness.

Already they have raised more than £1000 for De Paul. On their Just Giving page, they explain why they are doing this:

This will be our third year of sleeping out just once a year for this charity. Depaul UK is a fantastic youth homelessness charity providing housing and support to 16-25 year olds who do not have a safe place to sleep.

According to government figures, the number of young people sleeping rough in England increased by 28 per cent, between 2016 and 2017. No young person should find themselves sleeping on the streets.

Depaul UK believe that every young person deserves a home and a stake in their community, which is why they work tirelessly to provide the stability and support young people need to progress beyond homelessness.

In 2017, they supported 3,763 young people empowering them to lead better, more independent lives.

This year, to raise vital funds for the emergency and preventative services they provide nationally, Alison and I will team up again and will be sleeping out at the Kia Oval on Wednesday 10th October. That evening before the sleep out we will hear from Depaul staff about the great work they’ve been doing. We will then buy some cardboard from Depaul and bed down for the night.

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LibLink: Jo Swinson: Like me, Jacinda Ardern took her baby to work and was met with ignorance

Last week Jacinda Ardern proved that when you are a mother, people will criticise you whatever you do. The moral of that story is that you should make the decisions that suit your family.

Jo Swinson wrote for the Guardian about her and Jacinda’s experiences and how they show we still have a long way to go to deal with discrimination in the workplace.

She highlighted the chorus of disapproval that she and Jacinda had been put through:

Yet along with the warm headlines came the inevitable snarky comments from the political world, and the constant judgment by others that is a hallmark of motherhood. Ardern was criticised for the cost of plane tickets after she made a special one-day trip to the Pacific Islands Forum in order to accommodate breastfeeding her baby, then 11 weeks old. Her daughter had to stay at home because she was too young for the necessary vaccinations, so her options were to either not go at all, or go for only a short time. Ardern summed it up perfectly: “If I didn’t go, I imagine there would have been equal criticism. Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t.”

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Observations of an ex pat: Cold War Memory Lane

Cold War Memory Lane is being resurfaced with a fresh alphabet soup of nuclear weapons, treaty breaches, renewed bellicosity, cyber attacks and even assassination.

Putin’s Russia has been branded a “pariah state” by British defence Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Washington’s Permanent Representative to NATO has threatened to “take out” the latest generation of Russian intermediate-range nuclear weapons.

Of course, we are not back in 1945.Then a prostrate Western Europe was in danger of being overrun by a Soviet war machine whose authoritarian government made no secret of its aim of overthrowing capitalism and the democratic structures that supported it.

The political and economic collapse of the Soviet Union pushed the frontline between the West and Russia right up against the Russian border. Europe is now an economic powerhouse, although it remains a stunted midget in military terms.  It continues to need American protection as much as America needs European markets and political support which is why NATO remains relevant.

The initial American reaction to Soviet aggression in the Cold War was to deploy troops and nuclear capable aircraft in Western Europe as a counter to superior Soviet conventional forces. The message was clear: Attack Western Europe and you will be delayed by conventional forces long enough for atomic bombs to wipe out your cities a la Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Then the Soviets developed their own atomic/nuclear weapons and the starting pistol for the arms race was fired. In an atmosphere of mutual paranoia and distrust, both sides developed a frightening array of nuclear weapons that could be delivered by aircraft, fired from ships and submarines or mobile land launchers or fixed missile siloes.  Both sides refused to slow their pace until they came within sight of the finishing line and saw the terrifying prospect of a nuclear wasteland beyond.

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A very sweet Lib Dem GAIN in Chesterfield

Back in 1994 or thereabouts, we failed to gain a labour seat in a by-election by a handful of votes. 17 stuck in my mind, but Paul Holmes tells me it’s 34. 17 extra voters.

Tonight, we won that Moor ward seat by a few more votes – a gain from Labour.

That is THE legendary Tony Rogers, becoming …

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WATCH: “I feel as though the media portrays us like we’re not human beings”

In many newspapers, on many radio and tv programmes at the moment, transgender people are attacked and marginalised. So called “gender critical feminists” take to the biggest media outlets in the land to complain that “debate” is being shut down and their “legitimate concerns” are not being listened to.

The thing is, these actions are not consequence free. A report earlier this year by Stonewall found that 41% of transgender people had experienced a hate crime in the last year. That is not far off being half.

I often hear parents of transgender children say that there are two things that scare them most when their children come out to them. The first is the hate crime figures. The second is the suicide rate. Another Stonewall report found that over a quarter of young trans people have attempted suicide and almost nine out of ten had contemplated it. In a climate where over 4 in 5 young trans people experience verbal assault and 3 in 10 are actually physically assaulted, you might say that this is hardly surprising.

Equally not rocket science is the evidence that where trans people are supprted and called by their chosen name, they do a lot better.

So irresponsible media coverage actively harms trans people by fuelling hostility towards them. Stop Funding Hate, an organisation which aims to encourage suppliers not to advertise in newspapers which exacerbate hatred towards particular groups of people has done something to try to counteract this hostile environment for trans people.

Working with Mermaids, an award winning charity which supports transgender young people and their families, Stop Funding Hate has produced this video which illustrates the harm that media coverage can do.

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A Basis for a National Health and Well-Being Policy?

The Frome Model of Enhanced Care is a GP focussed, community serving and using way of creating, assessing and delivering comprehensive health and well-being skills, services and attitudes, in, with and for a community, at a low to negative net cost. Its administration is remarkably inclusive, heterarchical or flat.

It is so attractive that it merits awareness, analysis, adoption and adaption to spread its remarkable and measured attributes.

It has delivered 5 years of medical care with social cohesion. It saves money and is more enjoyable! Somerset CCG reckons some £2 …

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Mobile phones: do parents need to turn them off as much as their children?

Today whilst sitting in a local café I saw something vaguely disturbing – which I seem to see almost every day now. This may be rather an unusual subject for a blog, but I just had to sit down and write this piece. A parent had obviously just picked up his daughter from school – she was maybe five or six year’s old – and taken her out for a well-meaning treat. But after five minutes or so, I noticed her just staring out of the window. The father was on his mobile phone for almost the entire length of the time that I was there – at least twenty minutes, if not longer.

The child would intermittently try to get her father’s attention, saying look at this or that, but he would glance across at her with a quick smile and then carry on scrolling – and scrolling, not taking any meaningful interest in what she was saying. They were in my line of sight so I could not escape the whole thing. The little girl was trying so hard to engage with her father, but his attention was elsewhere. In the end I think she just gave up. Maybe he had something very important to sort out, it is not for me to judge, but I have seen this pattern of behaviour repeated many times – especially on train journeys. It is strange how we so often criticise children and adolescents for spending too much time on their phones, when their parents can be at least as culpable. Sometimes there are also safety implications; I have seen the parents of small children using their phones whilst crossing the road, with their young charges walking ahead unsupervised.

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WATCH: Hina Bokhari describes the reality of Islamophobic abuse

Cllr Hina Bokhari is a newly elected councillor from Merton. She wrote about her first 100 days as a councillor for us here. I met her at Conference and was blown away by her commitment to diversity.

“Saying hello is not difficult.” she said in an article on the party website for National Inclusion Week as she described how she engaged with the Tamil community in the run up to the election in May. In fact, she put a lot of effort into learning and listening.

It wasn’t long before I learnt key phrases, important festivals and some

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Celebrating yet another win in my campaign for greater transparency on parental leave and pay

I am absolutely delighted that earlier this week the Government announced it would be consulting on the Bill I introduced in Parliament back in June, which would require organisations with more than 250 staff to publish their parental leave and pay policies.

Campaigning does work! The numbers in Parliament and the Government’s inability to focus on anything but Brexit mean that more and more MPs want to work across party lines to make things happen. In fact, my Bill received support from Conservative, Labour, SNP and Green MPs, as well as of course from my Lib Dem colleagues. It’s great to …

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The need for us to work better together

One of the things that often pains me in this party, in my eight years of membership, is the way we seem more obsessed with fighting each other than we are getting out there fighting for liberal ideas and candidates.

Far too often our party becomes personality-centric, you either love someone or hate them. We define our relationships and views of people based upon one or two key things we either agree or disagree with them on, this is not constructive and doesn’t help us work together as a party. You can have grievances with someone, you can incredibly dislike them, but do we have to turn everything into a war of “I don’t like this person; therefore, I’m going to oppose everything they do and try to lock them out of things”?

We are a party which prides itself on freedom from conformity, the rights of the individual and the tolerance. We need to accept people can be different, hold different views and have a different set of values from us and still be members of the same party. We need to move past this hyper-personal atmosphere and change the party culture towards one which fosters ideas, involves & engages members from all walks of life and builds a genuine movement for change.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 16 Comments

Train Delays

I must have done something wrong in my previous life because for the last 15 years or, so I have been (it feels like I have been condemned) to travel to work by train. Firstly, it was from Solihull and now from Wokingham to London. My local train from Earley (which comes from Waterloo) to Reading arrives on time no more than 8 to 9 times a year. Approximately 60 per cent of the trains to London are late getting into Reading. However, coming home the trains do leave Paddington on time and get to Reading more or less on time – I can’t complain about my journey back.

I live about 30 miles from London. My trains going to work are invariably late, I often don’t get a seat, and the cost for the national rail ticket is more than £4000. I will no doubt start dreaming “We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to your journey!!”.

Nearly one in three trains across Britain are late, and delays on some routes affect more than half of journeys.  So why are trains delayed? The reasons seem to be because the infrastructure like track, signals, tunnels, overhead lines, trains etc., have been poorly invested in and that has resulted in worn out trains running on crumbling infrastructure. Although the rail companies are modernising and buying some new trains it doesn’t seem to be well managed and often results in further delays.

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Workhouse to Westminster

The chances are that you haven’t heard of Trevor Smith, or to be more precise, Professor Lord Smith of Clifton.  He was the prime financial and intellectual force behind the surge for democracy in the 1990s when Charter 88 was rampant under Anthony Barnett, and the Blair governments were legislating for a spate of constitutional reforms.

Smith is a man of singular entrepreneurial vision and remarkable political energy who most unusually followed through his many ideas in action.  He was a political scientist of distinction when he took on the chair of the Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust in 1987 and transformed it into the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust with a strong democratic direction.  You should know that he became a close friend and colleague of mine.

His autobiography, Workhouse to Westminster, is published this month and gives a nice rollicking account of his family background – his father spent time as a boy with his family in a workhouse, polishing the stone floor – as well as his proactive chairing of the Trust for 12 years, his ‘Lucky Jim” years as an academic, his time as a reforming Vice Chancellor of Ulster University and as a Lib Dem activist and Lib Dem peer in the House of Lords (where he campaigned vigorously for its abolition and his place in it).

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Layla Moran going sober for October to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer

If the rumours at Conference were even a tiny bit true, Layla Moran is partial to the occasional cocktail.

So, as she admits herself, giving up booze for a month is going to be a challenge, but she’s doing the annual Macmillan Go Sober for October challenge.

She’s not the first Lib Dem MP …

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Lib Dems welcome mixed sex civil partnerships news

News that  the Government will legislate for mixed sex civil partnerships in England and Wales was welcomed by various Liberal Democrats. It makes sense that people should have the choice of what form of ceremony to have.

Our Lynne Featherstone was the Minister who instigated same sex marriage in England.

She welcomed the news on Twitter.

Lynne has always acknowledged the support of Theresa May, who, as Home Secretary, gave her Bill crucial backing. However, the Tories would never allow Lynne to introduce mixed sex civil partnerships. Even now they haven’t done it entirely voluntarily. They were forced to either scrap civil partnerships for same sex couples or introduce them for everyone.

It was therefore sad that the Prime Minister didn’t acknowledge Lynne’s role.

LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Jennie Rigg welcomed the move and said that this was just one of the things that needs to happen to achieve proper partnership equality. I did love the very on message inclusion of “demand better.”

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William Wallace writes…We need to challenge Conservatives on Tax cuts

Right-wing Conservatives like Boris Johnson and Priti Patel are calling again for tax cuts to ‘free’ the economy.  It’s always popular to call for tax cuts, so long as you don’t link them to spending cuts; so it’s a priority for Liberal Democrats to link the two, and point out that the Brexiteers’ agenda is also one that shrinks the state further, and enforces continuing cuts in the NHS, social care, children’s services – the entire welfare state – education, bus services, even police and prisons.

And the Brexiteers have a problem.  They promised, of course, that they could spend £350m a week more on the NHS – a promise given by a campaign master-minded by Matthew Elliott, founder and first director of the Taxpayers Alliance, a lobby/think-tank dedicated to cutting state tax and spending.  He had used the same cynical ploy in leading the campaign against the Alternative Vote, arguing that the cost of the referendum and the new system could better have been spent on the NHS: knowing that this would appeal to hesitant voters, but not intending that any more money should be spent.  

Their problem is that the narrow majority that voted for Brexit were, and remain, deeply divided on public spending.  One of Lord Ashcroft’s latest polls, intended to inform the Conservative Party conference, warns that roughly half of those who still support Brexit support further cuts in spending and tax, while half – the less well-off, the ‘left behind’ and the ‘just about managing’ – want an end to austerity.  Pushing through Brexit, with a resulting fall in tax revenue on top of the corporate tax reductions right-wing think tanks are calling for, would force yet another squeeze on public services of all types – and would lose the Conservatives the working class support they think they have won.

Boris Johnson’s Conservative conference speech relied on the ‘Laffer Curve’ to square the circle: the assertion that cutting corporate taxes will increase revenue, as companies and their owners are freed to increase investment, create more jobs, and spur faster economic growth.  The record of successive Republican Administrations in the USA has shown that this does not work.  The second Bush Administration cut taxes without managing parallel cuts in spending, leaving the Clinton Administration to struggle with the accumulated deficit it inherited.

Behind this commitment to continuing cuts lies a deep antagonism to the public sector and to those who work in it, and an insistence that private provision always works better than public.  Teachers, they argue, are overpaid and underworked, civil self-interested and intrinsically inefficient bureaucrats.  But never a word from the libertarian lobby about rent-seeking executives in the private sector, or examples of corporate failure or corruption in the provision of services.  And it’s corporate taxes they want to cut deeply, more than personal taxation.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine WASPI women stung as the social contract breaks down

We know that one of the issues Christine Jardine has really got the fire in her belly about is the injustice suffered by women born in the 1950s over their State Pension. Some have to wait as much as six extra years for their State Pension and only found out about it at the last minute.

She’s written for the Scotsman about how this is another example of the social contract breaking down.

Ironically one woman who’s affected is Theresa May but she’s shown no signs of wanting to help her fellow 1950s women:

She was born in the 1950s, she’s female, and she’s just past what would have been her expected retirement age.

But the Prime Minister is in a rather privileged situation, and unlike 6 thousand WASPI women in Edinburgh West, she doesn’t need to worry about when she’ll receive her state pension.

Which for many of us makes it all the more surprising, and frustrating that she is not part of the campaign to get justice for those who have been affected by the shambles caused when the state pension age was equalised for men and women.

Many of the women affected were only months from being 60 when they discovered they would have to wait up to six years longer for their state pension.

Their retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.

One of the first people to visit me when I became an MP was one of these so called WASPI women – named after the inspirational group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI)  which is campaigning for “fair transitional state pension arrangements.”

That woman – let’s call her Helen – had been 18 months from retirement when she took redundancy from the bank she worked in, thinking that her settlement would see her through to her retirement and her pension.

Then she learned she would have to wait almost a decade to get access to the pot she had been paying into all her working life.

Now she has two part time cleaning jobs and crippling arthritis in her knees.

It’s for women like her that myself and other MPs from all parties, are taking on Theresa May’s Government.

Each time I see her in the commons I have to resist the urge to point out to the Prime Minister: “That could have been you.”

She looks at how the Government could help the women who have been affected:

For example the WASPI group favours a ‘bridging pension’ paid from age 60 to the state retirement age. This would compensate those at risk of losing up to around £45,000.

But it’s not the only possible solution. I have also signed a Private Member’s Bill calling for a review of the best way of finding some sort of justice and compensation.

But Ministers refuse to budge.

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2018 ALDC Campaigner Awards – the results!

Our annual campaigner awards, which were sponsored by Election Workshop and presented by Willie Rennie MSP, were revealed during our AGM at Autumn Conference in Brighton.

The results were…

BEST LOCAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN

We were looking for local parties that have fought effective and strong 2018 local election campaigns.

Runner-up: Southwark

Following sobering 2017 results, it was decided that the local party needed to make changes to how it campaigned. Over the past decade or more much of Southwark has undergone significant changes in demographics, with an increasingly large number of young professionals that have few …

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Why a liberal response to taking back control matters

When Vote Leave chose their slogan they broke the mould of British politics. It stood in stark contrast to the established formula of successful general election narratives. New. Better. Ambition. Difference. Forward. Fairness. Future.

Vote Leave initially intended to go down the same route. Vote Leave, Get Change. But a last minute change from campaign director Dominic Cummings left the campaign as Vote Leave, Take Back Control. Cummings, fascinated by psychometric voter profiles, intended the slogan to act as a direct channel to voters with authoritarian tendencies. It worked. Campaigners hammered in the message at every opportunity and Leave won …

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Welcome to my day: 1 October 2018 – a bit like being at the scene of a car crash that hasn’t happened yet…

Good morning, and welcome to another week here at Liberal Democrat Voice.

Something is happening out there, with Liberal Democrat polling numbers consistently edging up into double figures. Is it the start of the long march to credibility, or is it a reflection that, compared to Labour and the Conservatives, our stance on Brexit is beginning to cut through?

Last week, Labour decided that, rather than take a view on Brexit, or on a People’s Vote, they would offer several. Unfortunately, whilst Sir Kier Starmer was enthusiastically received for suggested that a new referendum would include the option of remaining inside the …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #530

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 530th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (23-29 September, 2018), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Lib Dems mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month

It’s just a few short month since Jo Swinson lost her dad, Peter, to Blood Cancer. I met Peter many times while helping out with Jo’s campaigns over the years. He was such a lovely, kind man who was clearly so proud of her. Both he and her Mum Annette put so much effort into supporting Jo and having their home taken over by all sorts of random Lib Dems over the years. They were always so friendly and welcoming to us.

Jo ran the London Marathon and raised thousands of pounds for Bloodwise back in 2011. This just shows Jo’s indefatigability. Looking back on it, I’ve just realised that this was a few a few weeks before the 2011 Holyrood election and a few more weeks before her wedding.

What she chose not to share publicly at that point is that Peter had been diagnosed with Blood Cancer in 2008. He kept in reasonably good health until 2015 but then had to undergo several gruelling rounds of treatment.

Yesterday, Jo took over the Bloodwise Twitter account to tell her family’s story.

She talked about the impact of the initial diagnosis:

More spells of chemo and new diagnoses followed, but he saw a happy occasion earlier this year:

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Michael Palin’s superb documentary on North Korea

Embed from Getty Images
Channel 5 have surpassed themselves in presenting Michael Palin’s two-episode programme on his travels in North Korea.

It is a surprise to find the great Python on Channel Five, but the show reminds one of his enormous skill at presenting charming and informed pictures of foreign places.

Palin makes clear, up front, that he and his crew went where they were allowed and an “entourage” of five or six North Korean government officials accompanied them, supervising their filming and every word said on camera.

Posted in TV and film | Tagged | 3 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson Parental pay transparency would do wonders for workplace equality – but the government need to take action

This week, Jo Swinson has persuaded 10 major firms to share their parental leave policies as a key element in the fight against maternity discrimination. Jo, who introduced shared parental leave as a Business Minister, now wants companies to go further to encourage employees and attract more people to work for them:

She wrote for the Independent about why this was so important:

A new mother forced to resign after being bombarded with texts and emails telling her she “obviously can’t work with two kids”. Another one who returns to work to find herself reapplying for her job after a company restructure.

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Universal Inheritance: A Big Radical Liberal Idea

Now more than ever the Liberal Democrats need new imaginative radical policies. Big idea politics is back with a vengeance as both Labour and the Conservatives indulge in increasingly extreme visions for the country.

If we as a party are to successfully challenge both Labour’s socialism and Tory Brexit nationalism, then we need to engage in the ‘battle of ideas’ and develop our own clear alternative. Liberalism has a long radical heritage stretching back more than three centuries. Throughout the history of liberal political thought, liberals have consistently championed ways of spreading power, wealth, opportunity and ownership to individuals.

In the 20th century, Liberals campaigned under the slogan of ‘Ownership for All’. This was a radical social liberal vision of a more egalitarian capitalist society; where citizens would have the right to own capital and have democracy in their workplaces. This led to the Liberal Party supporting worker cooperatives, profit-sharing and corporate power-sharing models between bosses and workers. The Oxford University academic, Stuart White, refers to this tradition as alternative liberalism.

One central aspect of the radical liberal ownership agenda is the establishment of a citizens’ wealth fund (also called a sovereign wealth fund). This is a publicly-owned fund made up of national wealth, taxed wealth and national investments in shares, land and natural assets. Such funds work successfully from Norway to Alaska. Vince Cable and Liberal Democrat party members gave their overwhelming backing to a citizens’ wealth fund at this year’s party conference in Brighton. 

But how should the wealth amassed in a citizens’ wealth fund best be used? One answer is to deliver a universal inheritance as outlined in a recent report for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). Universal inheritance is the idea of having a one-off universal capital grant paid to citizens when they turn 25 years of age. The IPPR envisions that a citizens’ wealth fund could eventually pay out a universal inheritance of £10,000 to every 25-year-old. The basic rationale for the policy is that asset-poor young people should share in the nation’s wealth at the start of their adult lives, when many are starting their careers.

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LibLink: Alex Cole-Hamilton: There is no such thing as “justifiable assault”

In his regular column for Edinburgh’s Evening News, Alex Cole-Hamilton outlines why he has sponsored a Bill to ban physical punishment of children:

People talk about it being a ban on smacking, but all it really seeks to do is to extend the same protections to children that adults currently enjoy – the fundamental right to live a life without fear of violence. There is no law in Scotland which states you have the right to hit your child, but parents are enabled to do through the legal defence of ‘justifiable assault’. People hit their kids and the law isn’t interested, only because they could claim the assault was justified on the grounds of punishment.

Seems ok? Not when I tell you that a similar defence used to apply to the hitting of women and of servants but we happily repealed those eons ago. This all boils down to the fact that children are now the only sentient creature in Scottish society you can strike in anger with legal impunity. That puts us out of kilter with international human rights treaties. We’re signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which demands we protect children from physical punishment, and as such in every examination by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, it’s a big red cross on our report card.

And he looks at some of the arguments used by opponents:

“This is nanny state gone mad and will see legions of decent parents marched through the courts.” This isn’t about criminalising parents, it’s about culture change. There has been no detectable uptick in prosecutions of parents in the countries where this is operating already, parents just make different decisions as to how to discipline their kids.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Brian Paddick’s tells of death of former boyfriend in heartbreaking and personal interview

Lib Dem peer and Home Affairs spokesperson has talked to Buzzfeed about the death of his former boyfriend from an accidental overdose of the drug GHB.

In an emotional and candid interview, he described how he and Michael had been in a relationship, which, after they split up, became a very close and enduring friendship.

In 2013, Brian received a call from Michael’s brother with the horrific news that Michael was on life support. He rushed to the Intensive Care Unit to say goodbye.

At the inquest into Michael’s death, the Coroner pointed out the key sign that he had been in …

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  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 22nd Oct - 1:54am
    Would very much agree with friends here who say this is all in good fun, and really worry when some who are known for their...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Oct - 10:03pm
    I understand Facebook made 1.3 billion pounds profit in the UK last year and paid just over 15 million pounds in tax. I remember Mr...
  • User AvatarTeejay 21st Oct - 9:42pm
    "Your generation is being betrayed by mine. By those who look to the past, who see Britain as a museum." If there were to be...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 21st Oct - 9:36pm
    Jayne Mansfield: Satire is a legitimate part of campaigning politics. Your apparent failure to get this suggests you are the kind of person who tends...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 21st Oct - 8:57pm
    @ Alex Macfie, Sorry Alex, I think that as a party you need to decide whether Brexit is a serious matter and in order to...
  • User AvatarAdam Bernard 21st Oct - 8:50pm
    Harrow local party last week issued a statement on this - relevant part: "We believe that a special conference is an egregious waste of money,...