Tag Archives: governance

Mistakes, trust and power

A long time ago, students on my English Language and Literature course were invited by the Language professor to come to the next lecture with a new word that had been coined in the previous year. I knew exactly when mine had appeared and who invented it. A certain Jo Grimond had said we needed an Ombudswoman. I shan’t go into the gender politics here, but my example had a short shelf life. Others had more clue about new words which would last.

However the crucial aim was getting us to recognise the fluidity and development of the English language which has been going on since Chaucer’s version of English triumphed over a number of other regional varieties. Grammar and syntax can change but at a much slower pace. Even slower are changes in spelling.

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

8 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach

Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government’s decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

The Johnson Government and democracy

Today’s Conservatives have a very crude idea of democracy, and no concept of local democracy at all. Those who watched the government’s daily press conference on June 11th will have heard Matt Hancock appeal to British citizens to do their ‘civic duty’ by observing their government’s latest revision of the rules for social distancing. He then went on to welcome the new test and tracing system, and thank Serco and Sitel for the part they had played in setting it up.

I had watched successive scientists commenting on the days before about the unavoidably local basis of …

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 21 May 2020

2 big stories

One of the interesting aspects of the Coronavirus crisis is how government, and in particular the Civil Service, has coped with the disruption and the demands placed upon it. At the centre of that is HM Revenue & Customs, who have, from a standing start, have processed one million applications under the Job Retention Scheme, protecting approximately 7.5 million jobs, and more than two million applications under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with well north of £10 billion claimed. And all that with the majority of their staff working from home.

Its American counterpart, the Internal Revenue Service, is …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Over-centralisation and the response to Covid-19

England would have managed its response to the Covid-19 epidemic better if our local government had been stronger, and encouraged to play a larger role. Liberal Democrats should now be arguing, even more vigorously than usual, that over-centralization leads to failure on the ground.

The first wave of testing centres was outsourced by the government, through a non-competitive contracting process, to one of our largest consultancy firms. The consultants’ understanding of regional and local geography was evidently limited, and their assumption that all health workers would have their own cars and would be willing to drive long distances for several …

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

“To govern is to choose”

One of the first aphorisms I learned when studying history and politics was: ‘To govern is to choose’. It was Pierre Mendes-France’s maxim when Premier of France in 1954-5, cutting through the morass of postponed decisions left by weak coalition governments and negotiating the withdrawal of French troops form Indo-China. Good government means taking decisions, even when they are hard decisions.

Which underlines how appallingly incompetent Britain’s current government is. It has raised the art of postponing decisions to an art form. If it could postpone presenting Parliament with a clear choice on Brexit until the afternoon of March 29th, it …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • Martin Tod
    Very sorry to hear this. John and Liz also lived for a while in Winchester - and were much appreciated and active supporters of the party here too....
  • Andrew Tampion
    Rob Kinnon-Brettle. "Brexit is a narrow-minded “Little Englander” policy that is the antithesis of internationalism" If that is true how do you explain th...
  • James Fowler
    @Alex Macfie: Your argument remains interesting but relates to procedures rather than first principles. There is no point citing the mere existence of rules ...
  • Lorenzo Cherin
    Andy Boddington The best I have read on this, thanks for it!!!...
  • James Fowler
    Good article from Max....