Tag Archives: family

Vince Cable talks about his mother’s mental illness, his father’s racism and overcoming prejudice in a moving and candid interview

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You probably don’t know that Vince Cable was on Radio 5 Live as the birthday guest on Sunday night because it’s not really been reported anywhere. It’s worth catching up on it though because it’s one of the most open, personal  and moving interviews I’ve heard him give. He’s mentioned the racism he and his first wife Olympia faced as a mixed race couple before but in this

Vince was 75 last week but he said that he was both physically and mentally fit – he was introduced as a dancer and black run skier. His age isn’t an issue, he says. He says he’s well received amongst audiences of young people and derided by older people.

He said there was a period in politics when it was important to be youthful, citing Kennedy, Blair and Cameron but talks about a blend of youthful innovation and experience is necessary.

Growing up in York to ambitious working class parents, he learned about aspiration and ambition. He says he was a bit lonely when his brother arrived at 11. HIs mother suffered post natal depression and spent some time in hospital as a result. He has talked before of the role of adult education in helping her recover from that. His brother was fostered for a while and his father had to look after him.  He said people were quite cruel about it and taunted him about is mother going to the “loony bin.” He says we’ve made some progress with that sort of attitude.

The idea of women working when he was growing up was frowned upon. He sees this as adding to his mother’s loneliness. His father was a very traditional person who had campaigned to stop women teaching and who believed in a hierarchy of races.

He talked of forming a “little liberal cell” in his house with his mum, who defied the instructions to vote Conservative she received from her husband.

It was playing Macbeth in the school play which helped him overcome his awkwardness as a teenager and he spoke of how his involvement in a drama group led to his first relationship – with Lady Macbeth.

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Good news for Mums and Dads

“Liberal Democrats will allow parents to share the allocation of maternity and paternity leave between them in whatever way suits them best.” That’s what the party’s 2010 manifesto said would happen – and this week it actually did happen. Here’s what Nick Clegg had to say about the party’s policy success…

libdem letter from nick clegg

A short one this week: just to say a huge well done to all Liberal Democrats. We’ve finally landed our flagship policy on shared parental leave.

Help us share the news about our shared parental leave!

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The Independent View: Is the Coalition is doing enough to help Britain’s couple families?

The Chancellor looks set to announce a new tax break for married couples in next month’s Autumn Statement, while universal credit continues its slow and increasingly painful roll out. Both are heralded by the Coalition as flagship policies to support families by raising incomes, helping more parents into work and promoting stable family life. In practice, neither will provide the help that Britain’s couple families need to cope with the growing pressures of time and money that push too many into poverty and put enormous strain on relationships.

A tax break for married couples has long been a core demand of …

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3 to see: Lib Dem #GE2010 campaign coverage (11/4/10)

Pushed for time, but want to keep up-to-date with how the campaign’s going? Here are today’s must-reads ….

As the Tories launched their tax-war on widows, working couples and jilted wives, Nick Clegg was spelling out his priority: “We will cut taxes for all working families on low and middle incomes, not just a select few.” Launching the party’s policies for families – focusing on fair taxes, high-quality child-care, flexible working, care for older people, and affordable homes – Nick commented:

Modern families come in all shapes and sizes. One-size fits all policies

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Cameron: he was against paternity pay before he was in favour of it. What will his view be next month?

‘Dads will be able to take up to six months’ paternity leave while their child’s mother returns to work, under government plans announced today,’ reports The Guardian.

The Lib Dems’ shadow children, schools and families secretary, David Laws, is deeply unimpressed with Labour’s approach:

The Government fails to understand that all families are different and need far more flexibility when it comes to parental leave. Labour seems to think it knows best when it comes to how families should arrange their lives.
 
“Instead of more rigid and complex reforms, the Liberal Democrats would introduce fully flexible parental leave which

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Clegg on families: Tories want to “turn back the clock”, Labour “minimise importance of couples in family life”

Later this afternoon Nick Clegg will deliver the third annual Relate Institute lecture, warning about the impact the recession is having on families and relationships, and stressing the important role relationships and commitment play in our society. He will also criticise Tory leader David Cameron for focussing obsessively on the legal institution of marriage. Here’s a section which crystallises Nick’s views:

… approach attaches real value to relationships, to commitment and to love, but does not seek to limit or prescribe what makes for a strong relationship.

I would not hesitate to say that relationships are important, that two parents will find life much easier than one, and that divorce and family breakdown hurt everyone involved, and can lead to many wider social problems from educational failure through to mental illness.

But I also believe gay and lesbian couples can be as good parents as heterosexual couples. I believe you don’t have to be married to be committed to your partner and that marriage is not a substitute for love, commitment and respect. And I believe a well-managed divorce can be far better than a miserable, angry or violent marriage.

None of this seems like rocket science. In many ways, I find it peculiar that the debate has been so polarised in recent years, when so much of this seems like common sense. There is a middle ground that recognises the reality of modern Britain without pretending that today’s complex families aren’t hard work. Tolerant of individual choices, but mindful of their consequences. Dealing with relationships as they really are, tailor-making support to fit with people’s circumstances.

These are the principles that will govern the Liberal Democrat approach to family and relationships policy. We believe the state’s job is to relieve the pressure on people at difficult times, offering a helping hand when it’s needed.

You can read the full text of Nick’s speech below:

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Did you have children in 2002?

If you had children under sixteen living with you in the tax year starting April 2002, then you may be owed some money – but you only have until the end of January to claim it. You are entitled to more if a child was born that period.

Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Prof Steve Webb MP has all the details, if you need more information.

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Nick on paternity leave, Lib Dem poll ratings, and Lembit and Brian

There’s an in-depth interview with Nick Clegg in today’s Telegraph – here’s a few highlights:

On his imminent fatherhood and paternity leave

Evangelical about the importance of parental leave, Mr Clegg and his party recently adopted a radical child care policy which would allow new fathers as much as nine months or more off work.

He himself plans to spend every minute of the current official entitlement away from the political vortex when the time comes … Wouldn’t an election spell the end of his plans to take proper paternity leave: the full two weeks off “wiping and cooing” as he puts it?

“Proper?” he splutters. “It’s only two weeks. It should be more. … We’re all agreed that one of the great crises in this country for children, particularly for boys, is a lack or absence of positive male role models. And we’ve got legislation that says you can take two weeks off when the baby’s barely aware of your existence. That’s not good enough.” Lib Dem policy is for parents to be given up to 19 months leave, split between the mother and the father; but could the leader of a political party really take months and months off?

“No, it would be really difficult for me,” Mr Clegg says, “But the problem is that no one feels entitled.

“I’m not going to be sanctimonious about this; people should make their own decisions. “I just feel that if dads don’t get involved with their kids early on in a meaningful way often they don’t remain engaged afterwards. I personally think two weeks is a pathetic amount of parenting.”

On the Lib Dems’ popularity

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 24th May - 6:47am
    I agree with David. In fact I wasn’t really quite sure what he was trying to infer. Was it an example of irony or sarcasm?
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