Tag Archives: 2016 in review

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: Our most read post of 2016 is by…Vince Cable

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

The most read post of the year, and our 6th of all time was written by Sir Vince Cable, just one week after the Referendum. He set out a challenging reality check.

For our party and its supporters in the country the last few years have brought one defeat after another:  local councils, devolved government, national government, AV referendum, now the EU referendum.  There is a limit to the number of times a boxer can climb back up off the floor.  What fortifies me is the adage that winners are losers who never give up.  And perhaps we should think bigger: not as a small party with an 8% core vote but the centre of gravity of a broad movement of 48% of voters who chose Remain.

The first step in responding to defeat has been to look for scapegoats: the people who led a poor and failing campaign.  Cameron has gone and (hopefully) Corbyn and Osborne are going.   But in truth the Remain campaign as a whole failed to grasp the strength of the opposing coalition: not just conservative pensioners who want the past back but the’ left behind ‘who have suffered declining living standards and public services, the Commonwealth voters who felt Europe was at their expense and many who felt this was the best way to give an unpopular and unrepresentative government a good kicking.

That is why we have to approach the result with some humility.  There is nothing to be gained by denial: crying foul. We wuz robbed, ref.  I see petitions demanding a re-run, legal challenges and appeals to parliament to ‘do something’.  Dream on.  Of course the Leave campaign was mendacious; of course the referendum shouldn’t have happened; of course parliament was negligent in not building in thresholds. But the public was clearly told by both sides that the result would be final. And there was a big turnout.  That is it..

Posted in From the LDV Archive | 11 Comments

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #2 How did our constituencies vote in the EU Referendum?

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

The runner-up is Duncan Brack’s analysis of how the seats in which there is most Lib Dem interest voted in the EU Referendum.

It’s obvious from the maps published after the referendum that several former Liberal Democrat seats voted remain – Cambridge, Bath, Cheltenham, Lewes and others. It’s equally obvious that plenty didn’t – all of them in Cornwall and Devon, for example. But because the results were counted and declared by local authority area, we haven’t been able to tell how individual constituencies voted – until now.

Chris Hanretty, Reader in Politics at the University of East Anglia, has tried to estimate how all the 574 Parliamentary seats in England and Wales voted (it’s a reasonable assumption that all or almost all Scottish seats voted remain). He’s taken each council area result and applied demographic factors – average age in the area, the proportion of residents with degrees, average income, etc. – which we know are strongly associated with voting leave or remain to break it down to constituency levels. He can’t be precise, of course, but his model fits reasonably well the results in the 26 local authority areas which are also parliamentary constituencies.

He expresses the result as an estimated leave vote with a prediction interval (i.e. a range of outcomes, since we can’t be precise) on either side. You can see his reasoning, and download the full spreadsheet here.

Based on his calculations, this is how all the seats Liberal Democrats won at the 2010 election break down, in descending order of the remain vote (seats we hold now are in bold):

Posted in From the LDV Archive | 8 Comments

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #3 John Bolton as Trump’s Secretary of State?

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

In 3rd place is a piece from Ciaran McGonagle criticising one of Donald Trump’s potential choices for US Secretary of State. Unfortunately, the guy who did get it, Exxon Mobii’s Rex Tillerson, is arguably even worse.

john-bolton

News that John Bolton is being considered for the role of Secretary of State in President-elect Trump’s administration should give liberals, multi-lateralists, indeed anyone who values human rights and the rule of law, much cause for much concern.

As you may recall, John Bolton served as both Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and, temporarily, as Permanent Representative to the United Nations under the Bush administration. His brief tenure at the United Nations was cut short as the 2006 Democratic mid-term sweep removed any realistic prospect that Bolton’s nomination would be confirmed.

With Republican majorities now in place for at least the next 2 years, it seems unlikely that Trump’s will encounter similar problems with his own appointments.

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Leave a comment

The good things about 2016

How many times this year have you heard people say “I’ve never known a year as awful as 2016.” I have some sympathy with what they are saying. I don’t think I’ve ever known a year when so many friends have lost loved ones – parents and children. It’s not just my age. Some of those friends have been much younger.

For me, it seems that so many of the key influences on me as I was growing up have gone. I felt the sudden loss of Victoria Wood particularly strongly. I was one of the few never to have had a crush on George Michael but I loved his music and Princess Leia was a great female role model in an otherwise male dominated  genre brought to life so well by Carrie Fisher.

In the party, we have lost wonderful liberals like Eric Avebury, David Rendel, Ed Townsend and Brian Niblett and we will miss their service and contributions.

I can’t write off 2016 totally, though. It has been a stinker, but on a personal level, it will forever be the year my husband got through heart surgery. It contained the scariest moments of my life, with the worst being that awful late night phone call from the Intensive Care charge nurse telling me that they were taking him back into theatre. However much that feeling of petrified helplessness will stay with me, it’s well and truly trumped by the relief I felt just 14 hours later watching him sitting up in bed in ICU scoffing a tub of ice cream. For me, a glance into a room as he works on his music fills me with joy. He brought me a cup of tea the other morning for the first time in three months and I couldn’t stop smiling for  hours.

The Liberal Democrats have had some fantastic times, too. Here are a selection.

Sarah Olney wins Richmond Park

This has to be the mother of them all. Against all the odds, we showed we were back by defeating Zac Goldsmith and replaced a pro Brexit anti Heathrow expansion MP with an anti Brexit anti Heathrow expansion MP. It was wonderful watching everyone’s body language at the count as we waited for the result to come in. Initially our people weren’t very optimistic but things definitely changed.

Look at this and smile:

Alex Cole-Hamilton and Willie Rennie take seats off the SNP

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #4: Liz Truss as you have never seen her before

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

Our 4th most popular post highlights Justice Secretary Liz Truss. Lib Dem peer Martin Thomas found an old LDYS newsletter from Liz’s days as a Lib Dem. A classic, I’m sure you will agree..

If it hadn’t been for one of our peers moving house, we might never have had this wee gem fall into our hands.

We know that new Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss was once a young Liberal Democrat activist before joining the Tories. However, we now have photographic evidence from an LDYS newsletter from the time of one Elizabeth Truss proudly holding up the LDYS banner on a mass trespass at Twyford Down in protest at the Criminal Justice Bill on 2 July 1994. Simon Hughes also took part.

This controversial piece of legislation was introduced by Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard and offended liberals by restricting raves, allowing inferences to be drawn from a suspect exercising a right to silence and strengthening unsupervised stop and search powers. Those latter powers were still being used until the Coalition years, when their use was curbed thanks to the influence of Liberal Democrats in government.
Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 14.34.11

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Leave a comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #5 EU citizenship?

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

For Liberal Democrats, internationalism, democracy and human rights are core values. For that reason, many of us are very upset at the thought of losing our EU citizenship and all that signifies. Stuart Bonar wrote for us last month about an idea to enable those of us who want it to retain that citizenship.

 

Since the vote to leave the European Union back in June, many of my friends have suddenly developed a keen interest in their Irish ancestry. Others have already bagged a German passport, a Cypriot passport, and permanent residency in Belgium. Everywhere, anyone with a parent or grandparent from elsewhere in Europe is clambering aboard a lifeboat out of Brexit Britain. Some of us however aren’t able to contribute to the big, post-referendum spike in applications to become new Danes, Italians and Swedes.

I was giving this a lot of thought last month. Sure, I want to keep my right to live, work, travel, study, retire, even start a business across the EU with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss and bother, but it’s more than that. I am a European. I feel it in my bones. I don’t want my EU citizenship ripped from my hands. I want to keep it.

A thought popped into my head. A solution that would allow those who wanted to leave to do so, whilst allowing those who feel they are EU citizens as much as British citizens to remain.

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Leave a comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #6 Undeclared Conservative election expenses unearthed by Channel 4 News

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

The second half starts off with a report from Channel 4 News about Michael Crick’s investigations into Conservative election expense returns for the 2015 General Election.

Michael Crick, Channel 4 News’s political correspondent, has spent months investigating the Conservative Party’s election expenses from last year’s general election, focussing on the party’s “battle buses”, which moved activists around the country, and the associated costs incurred (e.g. hotels).

Last night’s programme featured another report, this time looking at the use of the buses in the South-West, where the Conservatives successfully targeted every one of the 14 seats held by the Lib Dems:

Posted in From the LDV Archive | 1 Comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #7 Unwelcome behaviour at Conference

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

In this post a long time attendee at Liberal Democrat Conference points out some behaviour they experienced at Conference which indicates that the culture of the party needs to change.

As a long time conference attendee, I adore the opportunity to meet Lib Dems, old and new, and engage and enthuse with like-minded people. But sometimes behaviour boundaries are pushed and we need to make a note of them to remind ourselves to challenge insidious sexist behaviour.

On the morning of Saturday 17th September, Lib Dems received a message from the Conference office entitled ‘Conference Guidelines’ which sets out details of what is unwanted behaviour.

Contemplating this, I thought it might be interesting to relate some unwelcome behaviour I encountered. I want to do this anonymously, but am aware others have noticed similar issues and feel it’s important we stand up to and challenge incidents like this when they occur.

On one day I attended the motion on Social Security. Now, it was a strong debate, with lots of opposing views. But when making those views, it should be noted it’s unacceptable to refer to a female speaker as “darlin’”, no matter how well you might know that individual. The language is sexist and patronising. While I believe the comment was made in an attempt at friendliness, it is still derrogatory and quite simply, should be wiped out. It’s on a par to David Cameron’s “calm down dear” episode at PMQs, and where we wouldn’t take the insult from the former Prime Minister, neither should we take it from friends or acquaintances. 

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Leave a comment

On losing so many heroines and heroes in 2016 – and telegraph poles

First of all, I would like to express my deep sympathy to everyone who has lost close ones this year. Particularly at this festive period, I am conscious of the hell of grief many people are going through.

I’m not saying anything new here. But we seem to have lost one heck of a lot of famous icons, heroines and heroes in 2016.

The Mirror has a theory on why this is:

Between 1946 and 1964, there was a massive growth in population.
This means people in their 50s, 60s and 70s now make up a much larger percentage of the population than they did four or five decades ago.
And as a result, more of them are famous, the BBC notes.
These people, dubbed ‘baby boomers’, are reaching an age where they are more likely to develop life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #8 Mockery of Diane Abbott shows why our political culture needs to change

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

In our 8th most read post, Caron Lindsay argues that the social media mockery of Diane Abbott by various right wing types is not a sign of a healthy political culture.

Labour MP Diane Abbott is being roundly mocked in various parts of the internet because of a question she asked as Shadow International Development Secretary, a position she held until last week when she was promoted to Shadow Health Secretary.

She asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to assist people in the Indonesian province of Province of Davao del Norte affected by the drought in that province.

The reply was crushing:

There is no province called Davao del Norte in Indonesia.

Actually, there is a place called Davao del Norte suffering droughts. In the Philippines. So a staffer in Diane Abbott’s office made a mistake. We all do it. Why make a fuss?

The Guido Fawkes blog has been one of those poking fun at Abbott. It’s not surprising behaviour from a right wing sensationalist site.

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Leave a comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #9 +++Breaking News THREE, no, actually FOUR Lib Dem by-election gains

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

At number 9 is the sort of post we have run a great deal this year. Late on a Thursday night, the local government by-election results start to come in. Quite often the headline changes several times as the gains flood in – and this one was just like that – a night of four spectacular gains.

Good news from different parts of the country – three very strong by-election gains tonight so far. One in Cornwall, from UKIP, and another with a huge swing from the Tories in Norfolk, and the third from Independent in Wiltshire.

And how nice it is to have to edit the post to add in one more – also in Cornwall where we won from Independent by a LONG way. Figures to follow.

And here they are:

Here are the details of the earlier three:

New Councillor Chris Auckland is a relatively new member of the Lib Dems, too. Yet another newbie making a very important mark on the party.

And Norfolk

Posted in News | Leave a comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #10 Tonight’s Question Time is going to be interesting

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

This one was a preview of that Question Time in July where Sal Brinton and Ian Hislop took on George Galloway a couple of weeks after the EU Referendum. It’s still available on iPlayer. 

Sal has been brilliant on Question Time every time she’s been on. Just after she became President, she was on with the annoying David Starkey. Then earlier this year, she took UKIP to task for their horribly racist broadcast about Turkey.

Tonight’s programme should be brilliant with Sal and Hislop having a good go at Falconer and Galloway.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #11: Some questions for More United

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

At number 11, we have a post from July asking some questions of the newly formed More United. Kudos to Paddy for replying the next day. 

In a blaze on social media. the More United project, supported by Paddy Ashdown, launches this morning.

It’s certainly ambitious:

MoreUnited.uk is a new movement setting out to change British politics. We’re going to transform the way politics is funded, giving a voice to the millions of open and tolerant people in Britain who feel the political system no longer works for them.

It has a Facebook page here and you can follow it on Twitter here.

They intend to fund candidates who subscribe to a series of pretty broad principles:

A fair, modern, efficient market based economy that closes the gap between rich and poor and supports strong public services

A modern democracy that empowers citizens, rather than politicians

A green economy that protects the environment and works to reverse climate change

An open and tolerant society where diversity is celebrated in all its forms

A United Kingdom that welcomes immigration, international co-operation and a close relationship with the EU

There some example policies to flesh this stuff out.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

LDV’s Top Twelve of 2016: #12: A message from Tim Farron

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our twelve most read posts of 2016. Many thanks to the 533,000 people who have visited the site over the past tumultuous 12 months. 

We kick off with our 12th most popular post, a message from Tim Farron in the aftermath of the EU Referendum vote:

Tim Farron has sent this message to members this evening:

Liberal Democrats have always believed that Britain should be outward facing, collaborating with other countries to tackle global challenges. Our membership of the European Union allows us to do that.

Britain has now voted to leave. The margin of victory was small and risks dividing our country. We must respect the outcome of the referendum in how we talk about moving forward.

We also have to understand that for many people this was not just a vote about Europe. It was also a howl of anger at politicians and institutions who they feel are out of touch and have let them down.  Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove won this campaign by deliberately deceiving voters. They offered cheap slogans and easy answers that they knew they could never keep. Their hollow pledge of £350 million for the NHS has already unravelled and people will be right to feel angry that they have been let down again.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A good year for journalists

It has been a good year for journalists. I have never known better.

There has been an endless march of, upsets, twists, turns, worries, cheers, jeers, doom, gloom and unadulterated surprised joy.

Half the world is sunk into a slough of despond deeper than the Marianas Trench and the other half is waving their anti-globalist flags from the top of Everest.

The Western world is the most divided it has been since World War Two.  Divided within countries and divided between countries.

The authoritarian East is a different story. They are  watching the democratic West self-destruct  and going about their business and rattling their sabres to let the rest of the world know that they are prepared to move into the yawning  political vacuum.

Russia is well-placed to pick up the pieces from America’s failed Middle East policy. The victory in Aleppo has established the military supremacy of Vladimir Putin’s buddy Bashar Al-Assad—the dictator everyone loves to hate.  They hate him almost as much as they do Russia and Syria’s other regional ally—theocratic Iran. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael Kitching 22nd Feb - 4:42pm
    It's not really a vision, an argument or a strategy though is it. It's just a statement of various platitudes that could and in one...
  • User AvatarMalc Poll 22nd Feb - 3:50pm
    EXCELLENT and well timed posting . I am writing such article atm ... But it wont be pretty , possibly brutal, but HONEST ! Thanks...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 22nd Feb - 3:07pm
    I notice (not reported here) that two seats were lost on Ely Council yesterday, when two Lib Dem Councillors (one long standing, one elected last...
  • User AvatarMalc Poll 22nd Feb - 12:41pm
    Do you mean me tim ? If so name me so I can respond. Malc Poll
  • User AvatarPeter Chambers 22nd Feb - 12:16pm
    Good to see this business-like work. * long term spending based on long term income * fairness to staff - foundational * members and supporters...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 22nd Feb - 11:52am
    Despite some rather silly comments by others, bearing in mind the political history of the Ward, this is a good result for us. Not brilliant,...