Tag Archives: featured

Cancel October energy price rise says Ed Davey

Just last Friday I was saying that while we were saying some good things about the cost of living emergency, we needed to come up with something bolder to deal with such a massive economic shock.

I should have been more patient. Ed Davey has stepped up to the mark, calling for October’s energy price rise to be cancelled, with part of the cost covered by a windfall tax on the energy companies. Given that some of them are making quarterly profits larger than the GDP of some companies, that is entirely justifiable.

Under our plans, the 70% increase in the energy price cap expected to be announced by Ofgem later this month would be cancelled, with the Government instead paying the shortfall to energy suppliers so that they can afford to supply customers at the current rates. The party estimates that this would save a typical household an extra £1,400 a year.

This is not cheap, but the party says that the estimated £36 billion cost should be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, and using the Government’s higher-than-expected VAT revenues as a result of soaring inflation.

The party is also calling for more targeted support for vulnerable and low income households. This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300 and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit, while investing in insulating fuel poor homes to bring prices down in the long term as well as reinstating on permanent basis the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift introduced during the pandemic.

Ed said:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Conference: Morgan calls on Lib Dems to stand up for rural communities

One of the Lib Dems’ newest MPs, Helen Morgan has put forward a motion on supporting rural communities to Conference in September. The wide ranging motion, which will be summated by Richard Foord, calls on delegates to agree that rural areas should no longer be taken for granted and that the Liberal Democrats are best placed to help them. It says the government should introduce a price cap on heating oil and other off-grid fuels and expand the rural fuel duty relief scheme to be doubled and to cover more areas. It also calls for ministers to protect rural childcare providers with a package of support and provide emergency funding available to ambulance trusts to reverse or cancel closures of community ambulance stations.

Speaking exclusively to Lib Dem Voice, Helen Morgan said:

Those of us who live in rural areas like Shropshire are all well aware of the poor state of our services – from health to transport to broadband and policing.

The Conservatives have taken us for granted for far too long. My election was proof that people have had enough and want to be represented by a party with their interests at heart.

The UK cannot properly be levelled up without its rural areas being included.

The full motion is below.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Five Policies for a Manifesto: In Case of Snap Election, break glass

There’s been a lot of speculation, before and following the fall of Boris Johnson, that there could be a snap General Election this year – initially that Johnson himself might call one as a final desperate throw of the dice; later that whoever is new Tory leader would see the economic prospects as increasingly dire and go for a personal mandate to give themselves five years to try to ride out the coming Winter of Discontent. 

Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have now ruled out an early election. But they’ve promised a lot of other things they cannot deliver too.

So it would be wise to be thinking about what we want to see in a Liberal Democrat manifesto.

A snap election would be dominated by the cost of living crisis, so I’ve given some thought to how we might address some of the “freedom from poverty, ignorance and conformity” with particular emphasis on the “freedom from poverty”, and looked a little to Maslow’s famous pyramid of needs.

Everyone will come up with their own answers. These are the answers that I thought of. 

1st Food and Water: 

No one should starve in this country. 

We will introduce a national basic income so everyone will have some means to feed themselves. We will include extra allowances based on need for medical equipment. 

We will protect and value our farming and fishing industries, and rebuild our relationship with the EU, our closest and largest market for buying and selling food, to lower barriers and bring down food prices.

We will invest in development of new vertical farming and hydroponics, for a food production and security and to reduce the pressure on intensive farming methods.

Britain is a famously rainy island but embarrassingly short of water.

We will address water-resilience through addressing the issue of losses through leakage, new reserve reservoirs, and de-salination plants. 

We will end the discharge of sewage into our rivers and beaches.

2nd Warmth and Light: 

We will build onshore and offshore wind turbines and tidal lagoons to provide sustainable low-cost electricity for all. We will make energy the new UK cash crop. 

With our mix of wind and tide power, Britain should have more than enough renewable energy supply to provide for the needs of the UK and more.

We will invest in and build new forms of power storage, including pumped water (like Dinorwic) compressed-air under-sea storage, molten salt/sand technologies, and battery storage to create a new National Grid for the 21st century, so that British companies can become the dominant players in what is obviously going to be one of the biggest markets in the world.

3rd Shelter: 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 44 Comments

The beautiful game is coming home but not in politics

Trollies are being wheeled out of supermarkets stacked with booze. The BBQs will tomorrow be lit to sear burgers and sausages to the point of incineration. It’s party time because it’s coming home. And the final is against Germany, our nation’s favourite enemy in what used to be called the beautiful game.

Today’s newspapers are not only full of coverage of the Lionesses, they cover the other contest gripping the nation (or probably not). The battle to become Tory leader and the prime minister of our nation. With the backing on Ben Wallace and Tom Tugendhat, Liz Truss probably thinks it’s all over. It is not over until the final whistle.

I think most of us wish it was over. Why has the Tory party imposed this lengthy torture on us? It’s a huge home goal for the party, which is showing itself in the worst possible light.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Ruth Coleman Taylor’s Funeral Details

It’s two weeks since liberal legend Ruth Coleman-Taylor died.

Ruth was a Council leader, six time parliamentary candidate, mayor and a kind and wise presence at Conference. I am missing her so much.

Her husband Mick Taylor has asked us to let you know her funeral details.

The Quaker Service will take place on Thursday 18th August at 2:30 pm at a venue steeped with Lib Dem history. It’s at the Birchcliffe Centre in Hebden Bridge which many of you will recognise as the home of ALDC until a few years ago.

Mick is asking for donations in Ruth’s memory for a cause close to her heart, the Abortion Support Network. ASN provides accommodation and support for pregnant people travelling from places such as Northern Ireland, Malta, Gibraltar and Poland, where safe, legal abortion is not available.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Sunak and Truss on Grammar Schools

Yesterday Rishi Sunak agreed that he wanted to bring back grammar schools. Earlier Liz Truss had said that she wanted to end the ban on new grammar schools.

I find this profoundly depressing.

No-one should talk about grammar schools in isolation from the rest of the education system. They are one aspect of a selective system which sees all children placed in either a selective grammar school or a non-selective school. Each new grammar school generates, by default, at least two other schools designed for those who don’t attend grammar schools.

Such a system is based on three questionable assumptions.

  1. Bright children are not served well by comprehensive schools. (Odd then that Liz Truss got into Oxford from a comprehensive, even though she now chooses to denigrate her old school.)
  2. A child’s educational potential is fixed and can be identified at the age of 11. (This has been thoroughly debunked.)
  3. Selective systems benefit all children and society at large. (Ah, where do we start?)

I was a product of the selective system – as indeed were many people who are still in positions of influence and power, who believe that Grammar Schools gave them a good start in life. At the time it didn’t feel right to me. I went to a Grammar School where I was expected to take O levels and A levels while some of my friends were channelled into Secondary Modern Schools where they were forced to leave at 15 without any qualifications. I knew that they were being educationally disadvantaged and that it would have an impact across the whole of their lives.

In 1965 just 20% of pupils gained 5 or more O Level passes in England and Wales – and they would have all been studying at Grammar Schools. By 1975 the majority of local authorities had moved to a comprehensive system, and improvements in attainments started appearing in the 1980s. Over the years the percentage of pupils gaining what is now known as a Level 2 qualification (5 or more GCSEs with A* to C grades, or equivalent) has risen steadily.  By 1988 it stood at 30%, but by 2015 it was 86% (although it has dropped back a few points since then).  So no-one can argue that outcomes were better under a selective system – it was comprehensive schools that overwhelmingly delivered these results.

And of course there is plenty of research which shows that selection favoured the middle classes. Indeed my feelings of unease solidified when I spent some months in my gap year working for a renowned team who were researching just that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 32 Comments

Eugh! Lib Dems react to Sunak v Truss debate

The press release from the Lib Dem Press Office just after the BBC debate between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak last night was very short.

Lib Dems respond to BBC Tory leadership debate

Responding to this evening’s BBC Tory leadership debate, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: 

“Eurgh.”

ENDS

While it lacked in words, it summed up the feelings of much of the country, although I still think it was a bit generous.  Neither the participants nor the BBC covered themselves in glory.

Other Lib Dem reaction included:

You wouldn’t expect there to be much for liberals to be pleased about in a Conservative leadership debate, particularly as the participants are pandering to an increasingly right wing membership that would not be out of place in the Republican Party of Donald Trump. Ultra-nationalist, small state, minority bashing, this is what’s left after all the decent, one-nation types left in disgust in 2019.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 39 Comments

More historic footage of Liz Truss

Well, the BBC is really helping us to build up our profile of the young Liz Truss. (See Andy Boddington’s post yesterday and mine on Wednesday, with all your comments.)

And guess who she is leafleting with in this video….

Who else can you spot? It even includes a brief glimpse of Glee Club.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Hasta la vista, baby or auf wiedersehen pet?

There are several parallel realities in politics. But Boris Johnson lives in a bubble of his own making. Having taken a few days off for goodbyes, a flight on a Typhoon and a visit to Farnborough Airshow, along with missing things of no consequence to his future like a Cobra meeting on the heatwave, he trounced out of PMQs today in true theatrical style. “Hasta la vista, baby”. Johnson is ever the performance artist. Ever the man who triumphs style over substance. I am sure he wants to be a movie star.

Boris Johnson has done more to develop the role of prime minister as a cult of personality than his predecessors. He has been gloriously Trumpian, a stranger to truth and to the gritty reality that he has been wrong, wrong and wrong again. And seemingly unaware about being on the wrong side of the law.

As ebullient as he now is irrelevant, Boris Johnson will certainly go down in history. He has become so toxic to the Tories and the country he is unlikely to come back to front line politics. But far from “hasta la vista, baby”, surely this is a case of “auf wiedersehen pet”. Perhaps I say that hopefully. Goodbye pet. Good riddance pet. We can only hope so.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

And then there were two …

So the contest will be between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

The votes for Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt were very close, with only 8 between them.

And now we know that the next Prime Minister is going to be chosen by 160,000+ people who worship the memory of Margaret Thatcher.

Ed Davey used his slot at Prime Minister’s Questions to demand a general election once the leadership election is over.

While Tim Farron commented on Johnson’s final remarks.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Mathew Hulbert describes his mum’s 11 hour ambulance wait

Many of us will have seen on social media that Barwell Lib Dem Councillor Mathew Hulbert lost his mum, Jackie, last week. We were all shocked that she had to wait 11 hours for an ambulance after a fall at her home. The picture, taken by Mathew’s sister,  shows  a happy Mathew and Jackie enjoying a drink earlier this year.

Mathew went on LBC last night to talk to Iain Dale about their ordeal.

A week ago yesterday my mum fell in the early hours. She pressed her buzzer. I got to the house. She said her ribs hurt so we didn’t move her.  We phoned an ambulance and they said that they were telling people it would be 10 hours before one came but not to worry, it would be sooner.

Unfortunately, the hours passed by. Mathew kept kept ringing up and was being told that the ambulance would be there as soon as possible.

It was the indignity of it for my mum, 78, frail, scared wondering when help would come and it didn’t for 11 hours.

It was incredibly difficult. This is someone you love and who brought you up and cared for you.

Eventually, after 11 hours, the paramedics arrived. Mathew said;

They couldn’t have been more caring and compassionate but it was still 11 hours too late.

Jackie was conscious and chatting as they took her off to hospital and at that point, there was no indication that she was in any danger.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Liberal legend Ruth Coleman-Taylor has died

Ruth Coleman-Taylor has been a friend to many generations of Liberals and Liberal Democrats – and to many generations of members of liberal parties across the world.

Many readers of this site will be very sad to hear that Ruth died on Wednesday in hospital in Greece, where she was moving with her husband Mick.

Ruth was one of the kindest, wisest people and I feel very lucky to have known her. I first met her back in 1992 at a Women Liberal Democrats (as it then was) AGM in Bath. Her daughter, Rachel was telling us about her experience at an international young person’s space school.

I loved spending time with her and Mick at every Conference. She gave excellent advice and was incredibly good at disagreeing well. She was a radical liberal and committed internationalist. She was as livid as many of us were about Brexit and its false promises.

She and Mick had the spirit, fearlessness and the drive to head off for a year’s travelling around the world in their 70s. While we missed them when they were away we couldn’t wait to hear about their adventures when they came back.

Ruth was Mayor of Todmorden when it was featured in the Sunday Times list of Best Places to live last year. Her comments to the Halifax Courier summed up the sorts of things she thought were important in a community:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Forced adoption: mothers demand Government apology

A report published today from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights highlights the cruelty of forced adoptions in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Many women who were went through this, both as mothers or as the adopted children, are now calling for an apology from the Government.

You can download the latest report here: The Violation of Family Life: Adoption of Children of Unmarried Women 1949–1976

As Lib Dem Voice’s resident oldie, I can remember those days. I find it difficult to explain in these more liberal times that negative attitudes towards unmarried mothers ran right across society back then. As it happens, the Chair of the Committee is Harriet Harman, who was a near contemporary of mine at University, so she will also have recollections of life at the time.

The post-war years up until the mid 60s was a period of austerity, as the country recovered both economically and emotionally. Dramas set in that time often project today’s liberal values onto the period setting, assuming that people really were as sexually liberated as they are today but just hid it. I can assure you that was not the case. Not only was there a huge fear of getting pregnant without reliable contraception, but the opportunities for sex were limited for many young people, many of whom lived at home until they married. Couples simply didn’t live together, and girls were expected to be virgins at their weddings. There was huge shame associated with a pregnancy outside marriage.

If a young woman became pregnant she had three options – an illegal abortion, a so-called “shotgun” marriage or birth followed by adoption. Keeping the baby simply was not an option. I knew several girls who chose to have an abortion, got married straight away or whose babies were adopted, but I cannot remember anyone who kept their baby. It would have been impossible to live independently with a baby or young child as there were no benefits available, no jobs and no childcare.

As the report says

The experiences of the mothers and their children are at the centre of this inquiry. They did not, as is often said, give their children away. Unmarried women who found themselves pregnant during this period faced secrecy and shame from the earliest stages. Those who would have seized the chance to keep their sons and daughters with them and brought them up themselves did not have the opportunity to do so. Societal and familial pressures, and the absence of support contributed to thousands of children being taken from loving mothers and placed for adoption.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

And then there were five… Sunak leads but Mordant closes

The results are in and the list of wannabe prime ministers has been whittled down to five MPs:

  • Rishi Sunak: 101 (+13; +14.8%)
  • Penny Mordaunt: 83 (+16; +24%)
  • Liz Truss: 64 (+14; +28%)
  • Kemi Badenoch: 49 (+9; +23%)
  • Tom Tugendhat: 32 (-5;  -14%).

Suella Braverman has been eliminated from the contest with 27 votes (-5; -16%). Earlier she refused to stand aside for Liz Truss or Kemi Badenoch to concentrate support for the right wing of the party.

Penny Mordant has made the biggest gains and looks in reach of matching or overtaking Rishi Sunak. Liz Truss still lags and Tom Tugendhat looks close to elimination in the next round of voting on Monday.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Lib Dems call for working together after child sexual exploitation report

Following yesterday’s publication of a harrowing report into child sexual exploitation in Telford, Shropshire Lib Dem councillors called on the police and local councils must work together to implement the recommendations of an independent inquiry led by Tom Crowther QC.

The report found that child sexual exploitation thrived in Telford despite people working with children, including police officers, youth workers and teachers expressing concern. Those concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously by Telford & Wrekin council or West Mercia Police. The inquiry found that more than a thousand Telford children were exploited over decades and obvious signs of child sexual exploitation ignored. Nervousness about race, the main perpetrators were of Asian background, meant information was not properly shared between agencies and cases were not investigated. Some bodies dismissed child sexual exploitation as child prostitution and even blamed the children instead of the perpetrators. Teachers and youth workers were discouraged from reporting signs of child sexual exploitation.

The leaders of the Lib Dem groups on Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire councils said the report has given the victims a voice. The lessons learnt should never be forgotten and Crowther’s recommendations must be implemented.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

PM blocks Vote of No Confidence

Politics Home is one of the many media platforms covering Boris Johnson’s reaction to the Vote of No Confidence motion proposed by Labour, and supported by the Lib Dems.

It quotes Erskine May:

By established convention, the Government always accedes to the demand from the Leader of the Opposition to allot a day for the discussion of a motion tabled by the official Opposition which, in the Government’s view, would have the effect of testing the confidence of the House.

Instead, the Prime Minister has refused to allow the debate.

Although it was unlikely that the motion would have been passed, it was seen as a marker of the concern felt by many over Boris Johnson’s continued presence in No 10 over the summer.

It seems the refusal to allow the motion is based on a rather legalistic interpretation of the rules. The actual wording of the motion is this:

That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government while the Rt Hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip remains Prime Minister.

A Government spokesperson claims that it isn’t valid “because the Prime Minister has already resigned”. Well, we all know that, but clearly the motion is referring to the interim arrangements – the two whole months between his resignation and the installation of a new Prime Minister. This transition period can work smoothly in the hands of a person of integrity, and I include many former Prime Ministers in that, but is a dangerous period for democracy in the hands of someone shown to lack any moral compass. No wonder he has been compared with Trump – which is exactly what Ed Davey said in response:

This sounds more like Donald Trump than a serious British Government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Moran calls for reversal of international aid cuts and focus on poverty

On Wednesday, amid the mass resignation of ministers, Layla Moran spoke passionately in the House of Commons on the government’s strategy and funding for international development. Anticipating that Boris Johnson’s time in office was limited, she called on the new administration to restore international aid to 0.7% of GDP. She criticised the new strategy for international development for being more concerned with promoting British trade than it is with alleviating poverty.

Moran spoke of her experiences as a child in Ethiopia, meeting children of her age who were emaciated, did not have clean water and were not able to go to school. “It is a success story of aid that many of those children down the line, and their children, would have had better prospects than perhaps the young children I met.” The aid budget in Ethiopia has been slashed from £325 million in 2020-21 to £30 million in 2024-25.

She said the crisis in Ukraine will lead to people dying and to further instability.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Support grows for a no confidence vote in Parliament

Last month, around the time of the Tories’ own internal no confidence vote, Ed Davey called tabled a no confidence motion in Parliament. At that stage it had no hope of succeeding, but was clearly stating the Lib Dem position on Boris Johnson as PM.

Today Angela Rayner is publicly voicing support for the idea.  She says Labour will call for a no confidence vote if Boris Johnson is still in post on Monday. Ed Davey has said he will back it.

Of course, the motion will only succeed if it some disgruntled Tories vote for it – but there are quite a few of them at present.

All this is designed to put pressure on the Tories to do the decent thing and make sure Johnson exits No 10 at the earliest opportunity. Here is Ed speaking this morning on Sky News.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

The whole bus cheered but where do we go from here?

It’s a long and winding bus journey from Ludlow to Shrewsbury and like many of the passengers this morning I was beginning to doze. Then. “He’s gone!” a man at the front of the bus shouted. Everyone cheered. Brian, the bus driver turned on the radio. People startled into awakedness stared earnestly at their smart phones. The bus briefly buzzed with chatter.

The excitement faded as I caught a second bus to Shirehall with a sobering thought: how do we get out of this mess? I think that was the thought on the mind of the forty odd Conservatives who had assembled in Shirehall who were for the most part unusually subdued, though not of course humbled.

The debate over Boris Johnson’s survival as prime minister has dominated political thinking for many weeks. Sapping political energy that is desperately needed to tackle the cost of living crisis and the creaking NHS.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Davey: He has shredded the public’s trust in politics

Ed Davey has been writing on the Guardian website. He lashes out at Boris Johnson but reserves his main criticism for the Tory MPs who have kept Johnson at the helm for far too long:

He broke the law. He lied. He has failed disastrously to tackle the cost of living emergency or the crisis in our NHS. He has shredded the public’s trust in the government and in politics.

But Johnson didn’t act alone. For three years, he has been backed to the hilt by more than 350 co-conspirators on the Conservative benches. They nodded along to every shameful lie. They gladly went on TV to defend the indefensible and excuse the inexcusable. They willingly trooped through the voting lobby in support of every disastrous policy.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Richard Foord’s maiden speech in full (video and text)

You may be forgiven for not noticing that Richard Foord, our newest MP, made his maiden speech yesterday. But that’s exactly what he did at 5.20pm, when the rest of us were watching which Cabinet members were making their way into No 10.

Richard was speaking in the debate on the spending of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the strategy for international development.

Richard Foord paid tribute to two of his predecessors, Neill Parish and Lord Palmerston. He cited Parish’s campaigning for schools and opposition to importing food produced to lower animal health standards. Foord promised to fight for school provision and the mid-Devon farming community.

Turning to Lord Palmerston, Foord noted he started out a Conservative but later became a Liberal.

I honestly think that is what we are hearing across the country: a groundswell of opinion from people who feel taken for granted.

On Ukraine, Foord said we should defend the country, not least because it voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons. He said Britain should show similar solidarity to our European neighbours.

Liberal democracy must be defended and preserved, regardless of who Palmerston’s latest successor might be.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

One wheel on my wagon and I’m still rolling along…

The government spent Thursday stuck in quicksand. The prime minister was in sand up to his neck. But he still blundered and blustered on regardless through PMQs and a parliamentary committee most people had not heard of. More than forty members of the government have resigned, some from the top table, some the servers who usually bow and scrape. Michael Gove was sacked.

I write this article in the early hours of Thursday before heading off for a lengthy day battling in a Tory dominated council. Will Boris Johnson still be prime minister when I leave the council chamber? Will there be more resignations as dawn breaks?

Boris Johnson has always been in denial of reality. He has always lived in a fantasy world. His world is centred around himself. He is stuck in Slogan Land. Sound Bite Land. Anything but Resigning Land.

When watching Johnson perform at PMQs yesterday, a song from my youth randomly popped into my head. “Three wheels on my wagon, and I’m still rolling along…” The song was nonsense and hasn’t aged well. The same might be said of Johnson. For all the sense he made yesterday, he might have been chanting the New Christy Minstrels’ chorus: “I’m singing a higgity, haggity, hoggety, high. Pioneers, they never say die.”

That’s Johnson. Never say die. Never say resign.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Another day of chaos

A Twitter round up, including a great question to the PM from Munira Wilson and a punchy interview with Christine Jardine.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

What Lib Dems are saying about the resignations

What a night. Boris Johnson apologised for appointing Chris Pincher demonstrating not for the first time his distance from the real world most of us live in. But then a man who doesn’t know when a party is a party is unlikely to have a grasp on when a grope is a grope. The resignations of the chancellor and health secretary, followed by a slew of junior resignations would have left most prime ministers considering their position. But it seems that all Johnson cares about is his own survival.

After Health Secretary Sajid Javid and ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak quit within ten minutes of each other, Conservative vice-chair Bim Afolami, trade envoy Andrew Murrison, parliamentary private secretaries Saqib Bhatti, Jonathan Gullis, Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie, and solicitor-general Alex Chalk followed.

Overnight Lib Dems have been reacting to the unfolding events. Here is a selection of comments.

 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Pride in the Lib Dems

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of London Pride and Liberal Democrats were right there marching with all the pride we could muster -both as Liberal Democrats and throughout the parade Liberal Democrats were marching with other groups and organisations from the Armed forces to NHS trusts to Sports Groups. It was amazing to be part of this piece of history with 1.5 million people involved! Thanks to every Lib Dem who came yesterday, whether you were marching with the group or elsewhere or supporting from the crowd – and many thanks to our fabulous GLA Assembly Members – Caroline, Hina and Luisa for sharing the day with us.


Thanks to Luisa, Caroline, Hina and all the other Lib Dems
who helped give us an amazing presence yesterday.

Pride has always meant a lot to me – it’s the first place I felt I could be unashamed of myself when I was 16 and had just come out as bi. I’ve seen some of the best moments of solidarity there – adults taking it upon themselves to hide hateful banners from teenagers going past, cis people passionately defending trans people, thousands of people screaming support for LGBT+ refugee groups to give a very few examples I’ve seen over the years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Reviewing how we campaign

Liberal Democrat campaigns are well known for their strong community focus, their mountains of leaflets and their incessant door knocking. This strategy has shown some success from Chesham and Amersham to Tiverton and Honiton, to our great local election results.

However, to say that this is the only way to win elections would be short sighted. We’ve seen right wing forces like Trump and the Brexit campaign effectively harness digital technologies and micro targeting to win against the odds. But is this something that we should be doing?

Some academics have looked to answer these questions, showing how digital techniques have grown in importance. However, these studies have often overlooked local elections and their key role in our politics. I want to change this.

I’m studying Public and Political Communications at the University of Sheffield and am researching how Liberal Democrats campaign, and most importantly, what campaigning methods work. This interest has come from several years of working as a Lib Dem local organiser and for ALDC.

This study will look at the 2022 local elections and seek to determine, based on statistical analysis, which campaigning methods contributed most to our impressive victories. Is canvassing more important than direct mail? Is Facebook more important than Instagram?

But, to do this I need your help.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Why I will vote No in a referendum

Back in 2013, I wrote an article for the Scotsman newspaper outlining what issues were important to me in deciding what way to vote in the then upcoming Independence referendum.

In the end I decided to vote Yes, as at that time I believed the risks involved were worth taking. Nearly ten years on, the circumstances are now quite different and if, as proposed yesterday by Nicola Sturgeon, there is another referendum next year, I would now vote No.

It is very unlikely that the Supreme Court will confirm legality on the new proposals, as it is clear to even the SNP, that without the consent of Westminster the Scottish Parliament will not be able to hold a lawful referendum and as the SNP have already declared that they will then make the next Westminster election a single issue campaign on independence, there is time to consider what is the best way forward. We have seen before how splitting the vote on any single issue can let a party with a minority of the votes win first past the post elections on that issue.

Firstly, we need to understand why the SNP will never give up on their demands for a referendum on independence. It is similar to Liberals wanting a fair voting system and losing a referendum on it. A fair electoral system is at the heart of our beliefs, and regardless of how little support other parties, or the public give electoral reform, we will never give up our call for a system where those elected fairly represent the way people have voted. The SNP have a similar core belief, but they depend on the lack of a fair electoral system to deliver it for them.

There will also be support from those who oppose independence, for a referendum, as the best way to give the public their say and to deal with the question which has dominated Scottish politics for many years. It is a debate that will not go away by refusing to have it.

Since 2014 much has changed, not least the fact of Brexit.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Moran: Northern Ireland Bill feels like a bad sequel

Yesterday evening, the Commons passed the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill 295 by votes to 221. Lib Dem spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Development, Layla Moran accused the government of reopening old wounds to save its own political skin rather than dealing with the issues facing the country now.

She said the bill will only increase barriers against imports and exports causing prices to rise even further, the last thing that farmers, fishermen and families up and down the country want.

Despots across the world will be delighted. How on earth can we hold others to account when we are tying ourselves up in knots, trying to find loopholes to get out of the agreements that we sign? This is how banana republics act, not Great Britain.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Johnson: Imperious, impervious and delusional

Our prime minister is beleaguered, only he doesn’t know it. He told the press pack in Rwanda that he intended to remain as prime minister until the mid-2030s. With members of his cabinet scheming against him and negative approval ratings in opinion polls, that looks unlikely.

Both Johnson and some Conservative MPs are in denial about the message sent by the government by the public in Thursday’s twin by-election defeats. At least two of Tory MPs have blamed the Tiverton and Honiton defeat on the “girls” (MPs to you and me) that shopped Neil Parish for his tractor porn antics in the chamber. Another said they didn’t see the defeat coming because “people were lying on the doorsteps”. How out of touch can the Tories be?

Other MPs recognised that the bond of trust has been broken between the prime minister, the Conservative party and the voters: “People think he’s a liar and a shady bugger.”

As Richard Foord said on Thursday: “It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.” The departure of the “shady bugger” is long overdue.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Roe vs Wade struck out as illiberal forces gain ground

There was no surprise about yesterday’s decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the historic Roe vs Wade decision. The ruling, which ended half a century of constitutional protection for abortion, had been leaked the beginning of May. The ruling, from which three Democrat judges dissented, is expected to further divide the nation ahead of November’s midterm elections.

The verdict does not make abortion illegal in the USA but it does allow individual states to pass their own laws restricting abortion to the earliest weeks of pregnancy or situations such as rape.

The ruling is likely to stoke further tensions in a country that is increasingly polarised. It could also presage the overturning of other rights such as same sex marriage and access to contraception.

The Roe vs Wade decision dates to 1973, six years after Liberal MP David Steel introduced the Abortion Act as a private members bill in the House of Commons. Lord Steel has since argued for further liberation of the law. But abortion remains controversial in the UK with regular protests outside abortion clinics.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Alex Macfie
    "…it was the convention that MPs appointed to the Cabinet resign their eat and stand for re-election before their appointment was confirmed." It was also the...
  • expats
    David Evans 9th Aug '22 - 5:20am........... David, you mention EDF....On 6 July 2022, French prime minister Elisabeth Borne announced that "the French govern...
  • Tristan Ward
    Everyone knows energy produced from hydrocarbons needs to be expensive to help discourage its use and associated CO2 production and dependence on the srab State...
  • Nonconformistradical
    @Chris Platts 8th Aug '22 - 10:07pm Are you trying to dictate the content of a proper written constitution before we've had a proper debate about what should b...
  • Andrew Tampion
    Michael BG "I would expect the energy producers to sell their energy in the UK at the capped price and they would be free to sell their energy on the world mar...