Tag Archives: huffington post

LibLink: Tom Brake: Boris and Davis aren’t the only ones suffering from “Delusionitis”

In an article for the Huffington Post, Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson forensically takes apart six arguments made by the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam in a letter to his constituents.

Tom tackled the assertion that the thought of a referendum on the deal would encourage the EU to give us a bad deal.

So far, the negotiations have clearly demonstrated that the EU is in a much stronger negotiating position, with our Government capitulating at every turn. In fact, when asked in December to name a concession that the EU had made, the only thing EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier could think of was that he did not “at this stage insist that the UK should pay the removal costs” for EU agencies. This should come as no surprise as the EU’s GDP is five times larger than ours. In other words, Brexit will damage our economy much more than theirs.

The EU’s position has been clear from the very beginning; The integrity of the Single Market must be protected and is non-negotiable. This does not mean punishing Britain by giving it a bad deal. It simply means that a country that does not accept the four freedoms, the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and contributing to the EU budget, will not enjoy the exact same benefits of the Single Market membership. Neither a Hard Brexit nor a second referendum is going to change the EU’s position. We know what is on offer, and the ball is thus in the Government’s court to decide what type of future relationship with the EU it wants.

He also poured scorn on the idea that the Tories could be trusted to maintain the workers’ rights that the EU currently guarantees:

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Playing hardball on Brexit will only weaken Britain’s position, not strengthen it

From today, Britain becomes an outsider to the EU. We start to negotiate our exit with the other 27 member states. What emerges cannot possibly be as good as we have now. The cost of leaving and its effect on our children’s future is going to be substantial. How much that is remains to be seen. Much will depend on how the Government approaches the negotiations and the Article 50 letter doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. If you want to inspire goodwill, you have to throw some into the mix. Instead, the letter, if you read between the lines, is a bit of an ultimatum on security.

That is not going to go down very well in Brussels and nor should it, really.

Catherine Bearder has written an open letter to the Prime Minister. She knows exactly what she’s talking about because she knows Brussels. Doing the ultimatum stuff and throwing your weight around isn’t going to work.

Prime Minister, please reconsider your hard line – you have failed to answer some of the most pertinent of questions about this process and that fills so many of us with dread.

As one of the UK’s directly elected members of the European Parliament I can tell you that your approach has been met with incredulity by our partners across the Union. My friends and colleagues cannot understand the stance you have taken and your hard-nosed approach before the negotiations have even begun.

They are not only saddened at losing a friend but they are worried about Brexit hitting them and their countries in their pockets, and concerned about nationalist elements in their own countries.

But their main priority is keeping the EU together, stopping the tide of nationalism and preventing Brexit from stealing the next two years on the EU’s agenda.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Scrapping Minister for Refugees shows May’s Govt shrinking from role in solving refugee crisis

Syrian refugees by Syria Freedom Freedom House Flickr CCL 2In an article for the Huffington Post, Tim Farron has slammed Theresa May for scrapping the post of Minister for Refugees, a post which was only established by David Cameron last September to make it look like he was doing something.

The minister, amongst other things, oversaw the implementation of Britain’s commitment to take 20,000 Syrian refugees from the region and an additional 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from the Middle East over the course of this Parliament. This process was already moving at a snail’s pace – by the end of March of this year only 1,602 people had been resettled in the UK. Now, with no one holding the ball on this issue you have to wonder how anyone can remain optimistic that we will hit this target.

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LibLink: There’s no way to deny it, the Lib Dems are on the rise again

Last week’s election results show that, overall, the Liberal Democrats are fighting back argues Tom Brake in an article for the Huffington Post.

Our party made the most gains in the English local elections, increasing our share of seats more than any other party, now having 45 more, passionate Councillors working hard for their communities.

We strengthened our support in the liberal heartlands of Eastleigh and Cheltenham. We dominated the results in Southport, Cumbria and in Watford, where we took control of the council. And we gained seats in cities like Hull, Rochdale and Manchester thanks to my fantastic former colleague John Leech, who will provide the only opposition to Labour there.

Up and down the country we’ve seen the green shoots of liberalism grow up in communities disillusioned with an impotent Labour party dubbed as the worst ever Government opposition, and a heartless Conservative Government imposing ideological cuts to valued public services.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Now the draft plan is on the table, the referendum campaign begins in earnest

Tim Farron has been writing about the announcement of the draft EU settlement over at the Huffington Post. Well, actually, it’s more about the substantive issues of the referendum. His article is exactly the sort of positive voice the campaign needs, giving five reasons for us to remain in the EU:

1. Prosperity: Remaining in works for Britain. Britain is already stronger and better off trading and working with Europe. We are part of the world’s largest single market, allowing British businesses to grow and prosper.

2. Peace: After decades of brutal conflict, European nations came together in cooperation. To this day, neighbours and allies support each other in what remains the world’s most successful project in peace.

3. Opportunity: British people have more opportunities to work, travel and learn than ever before. Staying in Europe gives our children and grandchildren greater prospects, and the best chance to succeed.

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LibLink: Clare Tyler: Why the class gap is holding back state school students

Private schools educate 7% of pupils, but account for 42.5% of Oxford students. This statistic, according to Baroness Clare Tyler, puts the UK behind even Harvard, the most elite US university.

She wrote for the Huffington Post in the wake of a damning report on social mobility in the UK.

At Oxford, the percent of state school students hasn’t budged since 2002. And today, just 14.3% of Oxford’s students come from the bottom half of households by income. Whilst one in five children are on free school meals, this can be said of just one in a 100 Oxbridge graduates.

She argued that universities and government must do more to make sure that people’s circumstances of their birth don’t define their future.

Making our best universities more accessible is only one of the many steps we need to take to create a fairer and more socially mobile society. It’s not that our bright low-income students aren’t working hard–in fact, research shows that state school students in Russell Group universities with the same A level grades are 50% more likely to graduate with a first class degree compared to their independent school peers.

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LibLink: Tim Farron on LGBT rights

 

As ever the Liberal Democrats are ahead of other parties when it comes to LGBT equality.

That is a quote from an article by Tim Farron in the Huffington Post titled The Tories Are Trailing Behind on Transgender Rights. 

In this post Tim argues that we still have some way to go but that public attitudes have noticably shifted in a positive direction. He refers to this poll in which 68% of respondents “say a person who was born male but has transitioned to become female should be housed in a women’s prison”.

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LibLink: Lord Anthony Lester: With human rights under threat, there is a pressing need to celebrate Human Rights Day

For Human Rights Day, Anthony Lester wrote for the Huffington Post. He addressed criticisms of it made in the media:

Last week The Times ran an editorial calling on Parliament to “end the absurdities of the Human Rights Act”. It argued that the Human Rights Act is redundant because “the country of Locke and Blackstone already had an unmatched body of law to protect the truly vulnerable”. That is surprising given the many cases where our law failed to do just that. As a barrister, I have represented newspapers on many occasions using the Human Rights Act and the Convention to

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LibLink: Caroline Pidgeon: It’s time to follow the money on the debate over Heathrow

So, David Cameron is putting off the evil day when he has to make a decision about Heathrow. Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon has reiterated her opposition to a third runway:

Londoners will be angry at delay when the obvious conclusion is that expanding London airports will be too polluting and too disruptive. If the evidence doesn’t support a third runway then the answer must be “No!”
“Sadiq Khan is as flexible on airports as a pair of flip-flops: he used to support Heathrow, now its Gatwick. Who knows how long before he flops back to supporting Heathrow?

Zac Goldsmith is isolated from the Tories on this issue and powerless to intervene. They have saved his blushes today but the Tory plane is landing on a third runway at Heathrow for sure.

Only the Liberal Democrats are firmly opposed to airport expansion. There is underused runway capacity around London that we should exploit by improving train connectivity and speed to central London.

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LibLink: Cllr Peter Thornton: Harold Macmillan built our house

Peter Thornton is the Liberal Democrat leader of South Lakeland Council. Their area includes Tim Farron’s Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency. Housing has long been one of the priorities of the Liberal Democrat administration. Peter writes for the Huffington Post comparing the current Conservative thinking on housing to that of their predecessors in the 1950s and 1960s. Harold Macmillan built his family home, he said, on the instructions of Winston Churchill:

This was a generation who knew that setting targets and making speeches was not enough to make things happen. Production, supply lines, labour forces, these were also needed to win wars and also to build the homes that we needed.

Macmillan made sure brickworks were at full production, he organised supplies of softwood from abroad and he divided the country into ten regions, each with it’s own targets. He realised that public housing, Council Houses as we all knew them, was the most efficient way to build homes quickly for the people who needed them.

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LibLink: Zahida Manzoor: The Government’s changes to tax credits will have a severe impact on the lives of millions

In the Huffington Post this week, Lib Dem Work and Pensions spokesperson Zahida Manzoor wrote of the party’s opposition to the Government’s severe cuts to tax credits for the lowest paid.

The Tax Credit system is hugely complicated, made up of various different ‘payment thresholds’ and so-called ‘disregards’. But ultimately the key aspect of the system is the ‘taper rate’ – that means how much is taken away in Tax Credits for every additional pound you earn.

This taper rate is important, because when someone is making the decision about whether to take on more hours, particularly if they have children, then money matters. If it turns out you’re only going to keep a few pence in the pound by taking on the extra work it may not be worthwhile, particularly if you need to pay for expensive additional childcare in order to cover the increased time spent away from home.

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: It would be easy for our party to shelter in our comfort zone but it would be very, very wrong

Norman Lamb has been writing for the Huffington Post about his vision for the future of the Liberal Democrats.

The next few years can’t just be about making ourselves feel better; we must be far more ambitious than that.

That means broadening our policy and political thinking, daring – once again – to be radical and challenging. It is why I am proposing a renaissance in our approach to political action and debate, reaching out to include the many – particularly young people – who share our values and instincts but are put off by closed party structures and, even worse, by tribalistic political thinking.

Our task now is not just to devise short-term tactics or louder opposition. We will succeed when we have a long-term, coherent and persuasive set of strategic ideas for Britain.

The good news is that Liberalism fits our age. Britain has become less collective, citizens and consumers feel more empowered and many individual rights – through equal marriage for instance – are better recognised.

What are his key issues?

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Leadership LibLink: Norman Lamb: It’s time to halve the prison population

Earlier this week, Norman Lamb wrote for the Huffington Post outlining a strong, liberal case for putting fewer people in prison. It’s powerful stuff:

There can be no other area of public policy, with the exception of the related issue of drugs reform, where establishment politicians so readily bang the drum for the exact opposite of any evidence-based solution. Our prisons clearly fail to rehabilitate: half of those released reoffend within a year, including six in ten of those on sentences of less than twelve months.

Liberal Democrats must lead the call for drastic and urgent action to reduce crime, protect victims more effectively, help criminals turn their lives around and protect taxpayers money: we must push for a Ministry of Justice target to halve the prison population by 2025.

Maybe we should look at the reasons people commit crime and tackle them, says Norman:

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Leadership News: Support for both Farron and Lamb in Huffington Post

Two recent articles from the Huffington Post speak out in favour  of each candidate for the Liberal Democrats.

First, Jack Davies tells why he is supporting Tim Farron:

It was a cold afternoon in November when, huddled before my computer screen, I typed out a message to Tim Farron, the then party president of the Liberal Democrats.

The message was a call for help. I was hoping to stand for election as the Liberal Democrat PPC in New Forest West and I needed assistance in applying.

I didn’t expect Tim to reply, but to my surprise, he did.

His reply was polite and helpful. He offered to read my application script and pointed me in the right direction with tips on what to say. I was taken aback by the response and even more astounded that so much care was afforded to it.

It is moments like these that inspire people to enter the world of politics, to aspire them to be as good as the politician who has taken the time to talk to them. It certainly inspired me into getting more involved and I set up New Forest Liberal Youth to encourage more young people in the New Forest to become involved.

Editor of The Secularist Conversation Stefan Rollnick explains his support for Norman Lamb:

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LibLink: Tim Farron: The best argument for the Liberal Democrats? A Tory Queen’s Speech

Over at the Huffington Post, leadership hopeful Tim Farron has been writing about the Queen’s Speech and why it shows that a strong liberal voice is needed.

On Europe, the referendum on our membership of the EU is an issue already threatening to turn into a parody. Cameron has just barred two groups from voting – 16 and 17-year olds, who engaged fantastically with the Scottish referendum; and most EU citizens resident in the UK, who can already vote in local government elections. Probably two of the groups most likely to vote to stay in the EU! There is also the fact that Britain will take over the rotating EU presidency in July 2017. That Britain could be in charge of the EU while simultaneously campaigning to leave it is a just a bizarre scenario. Will we see the referendum brought forward? Regardless, this is going to plunge many businesses into huge uncertainty and put many of their investment plans on hold.

Closer to home, we see the Snooper’s Charter back on the agenda. This is going to make internet service providers collect and store vast amounts of data – such as what websites you’ve been on, who you’ve been emailing, when, from where – and make this data available to government on request. Big Brother is well and truly here. Tories often complain that the Liberal Democrats blocked them from implementing the Snooper’s Charter – and I’m dead proud that we did. The one question we must all ask Theresa May, and Tory MPs who will support her Snooper’s Charter, is: how do you protect our freedoms by destroying them?

We also see more ‘tough talk’ from David Cameron on immigration. Wages of some illegal migrants will fall under the scope of the Proceeds of Crime Act and will be confiscated. This could hit the genuinely vulnerable and exploited migrant worker who earns £23.60 after doing a 60-hour shift. If this makes no sense to you, it doesn’t make sense to me either. This is, yet again, the politics of gimmickry and division.

He ends with an invitation:

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LibLink: Jo Swinson: Shared Parental Leave is an important step to the wider cultural change that they need

Jo Swinson has been writing for the Huffington Post about what the Liberal Democrats have done on child care and parental leave.

 Liberal Democrats in the coalition government have taken important steps to support parents with childcare costs despite the challenging economic situation. We extended free early years education to 15 hours a week for three and four year olds, and introduced 15 free hours for four in 10 two-year-olds – those from the most hard-pressed homes. We are also introducing Tax Free Childcare to save working families up to £2,000 per child per year from September.

But there’s more to come. Not only a tripling of paternity leave, but extra help with childcare costs.

We also want to extend free early years education to all two year olds. We know that pressure to budget for childcare costs doesn’t just start when a child is two years old, and that the costs can prevent parents from returning to work. We are committed to bridging that gap so that free childcare is available for working parents from the end of paid parental leave. On average, this will save working parents the equivalent of £2,670 a year.

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Nick Clegg says: Employers must be equally supportive of workers with mental and physical health problems

I wrote the other day of my annoyance at the dreadfully stigmatising headlines about mental health in the wake of the Germanwings plane crash.

It’s good to see that Nick Clegg has given quite a detailed interview reported on the Huffington Post while on the battle bus about this issue in which he said that there shouldn’t be a blanket ban of people with mental ill health doing any job. Employers had to look at people’s individual circumstances and be as accepting of people with mental ill health as with physical.

I think it’s very important that we don’t, however understandable in this context, allow what is said about one individual to shape or colour the way in which we regard people who go through episodes of mental health problems.

It’s very important that employers in all walks of life are as accepting of people who are recovering from mental health problems just as much as they would be people who recover from physical health problems.

He warned of the dangers of shutting people with mental ill health out of work:

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LibLink: Sarah Teather: It’s clear our system of immigration detention isn’t working

Sarah Teather has been writing for the Huffington Post in the wake of the report on immigration detention released the other day. She started with a shocking story:

One such occasion took place last July. I was sat in a committee room in the House of Commons, chairing the first evidence session of an inquiry into immigration detention. We were talking, via a phone link, to a young man who was being held in one of the giant detention centres next door to Heathrow.

He told us about how he had ended up in the UK. At the age of 16, he had been trafficked from his home on the Nigeria/Cameroon border to Hungary. He told us how he was “put in a basement, beaten, raped and tortured”. He managed to escape and then found himself in London, a stranger. Then he was detained.

I asked him how long he had been in detention. His answer caused those in the room to gasp.

“Three years”.

Three years he had been in detention, locked up not because he had broken the law but for immigration purposes. A young man who had been the victim of some horrendous abuse had arrived in the UK and instead of being given support and treatment, was locked away indefinitely.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Ending the silence

Tim Farron has written an article for the Huffington Post about his new report on youth mental health services.

He describes why and how his volunteer team produced the 127 page documents, motivated by the young people who came to his surgeries in desperate need of help:

There are then events that have a particularly profound and lasting effect on me – the deaths of young people who have struggled with mental health conditions. These tragic events and the circumstances surrounding them have brought to light serious flaws in the way in which we support our young people and the need for

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Why politicians need to get tech savvy – or get left behind

web snoopers charterWe know that Tim Farron is an early adopter of new technologies. Just look at him on Twitter.  He’s written for the Huffington Post about how important it is that policy makers keep up with technological changes. He also outed himself as doing something we’d not really expect of him:

So while catching up with the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, my ears pricked up during a talk by Joanna Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister. We live in a world where a three year old can be more

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LibLink: Tim Farron: European Parliament makes it easier for you to know what’s in the medicines you are taking

European Parliament chamber, StrasbourgRoughly a third of people take part in the European elections. That turnout reflects that people don’t necessarily feel engaged with the European Parliament. Yet this body, whether it be on e-cigarettes, abolishing (with Liberal Democrat support) mobile phone roaming charges or even the medicines your doctor prescribes, makes laws that affect our daily lives. Tim Farron has been highlighting its important work in this medical field in an article over at the Huffington Post.

First of all, he outlines the problem:

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: More action needed on reproductive rights for all

Lynne FeatherstoneThis week, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone is attending the UN Commission on Population and Development. She has written for the Huffington Post about how crucial it is to make sure that women have the choice about when to have children by having access to contraception, potentially saving 800 lives every day:

Globally there are 222million women who wish to space or delay the timing of births, but do not have access to modern forms of contraception. This has real and devastating consequences on their lives. In 2010, 800 women a day died from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth and in 2008 an estimated 8.7million young women aged 15 to 24 in developing countries resorted to unsafe abortions. All of this was preventable.

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Maybe stick to the day job, Lorely?

From the Huffington Post:

A Liberal Democrat MP wore a Nigel Farage mask at the party’s conference as she mocked the Ukip leader’s penchant for beer.

Just before Nick Clegg’s appearance, Lorely Burt also mocked a former-Ukip councillor’s claim that this winter’s floods had been brought on by the introduction of gay marriage.

This was not, shall we say, the funniest thing we have ever seen. It wouldn’t, to be honest, have been funny even at the traditional end of Conference late night sing-a-long the Glee Club.

To be fair, though, after an inauspicious start, Lorely went on to make a serious speech, …

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Lorely Burt: Liberal Democrats offer best of both worlds

Lorely Burt has given an interview to the Huffington Post. The lengthy report is dominated with discussion of the Liberal Democrats’ attitude towards women in the wake of her defeat by Malcolm Bruce in the Deputy Leadership election. She said that the party was desperately trying toe how that it was welcoming to women:

At the last general election we had women in 40% of our most winnable seats,” Burt explains. “We just didn’t win them.” Which is a bit of a problem. “At the next election there are eight Lib Dems who are standing down, of those six selections have

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LibLink: Mark Pack: Less legislation? Yes please

Over at the Huffington Post, Mark Pack has been waging a war on “Initiativeitis”:

Initiativeitis – an ugly word for a regrettable phenomena. It is an often-criticised habit of government ministers of all parties always to be touting a new initiative backed up by a new piece of legislation in order to look like they are working hard and making a difference.

Yet speak to those who work in the frontline in public services, and complaints about too many new initiatives coming down from on high are widespread – again, regardless of which party is in government.

While political commentators may criticise a …

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LibLink: Tim Farron: European Arrest Warrant is a vital weapon in the fight against crime

Farron the Ubiquitous (he is, but that’s not a complaint) has been writing for the Huffington Post again, this time, as befits the man in charge of the European Election campaign, on the European Arrest Warrant.

First, he reminds us of the high profile cases where the warrant has brought British criminals back to justice.

Hussain Osman fled to Italy after the failed 21 July 2005 London bombings, during which he placed an explosive at Shepherd’s Bush tube station. Just one week later, he was tracked down and arrested by Italian police on a euro-warrant issued by a British court before

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LibLink: Tim Farron: European fisheries vote shows that EU can be reformed

Tim Farron has been writing in the Huffington Post about a crucial vote in the EU to reform the way in which fish are caught. This might seem tedious to many of us, but this has positive, practical implications for anyone who catches fish and anyone who likes to eat it.

Tim first set out the issues with the current situation:

The situation right now is drastic. Job losses within the UK fishing sector continue to rise as fish stocks fall, and it tends to be the small-scale fishermen who are hardest hit. The total amount of fish caught in the EU

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Free school meals for infants – the controversy over Nick Clegg’s pledge rumbles on

Clegg WatfordI wrote yesterday about Sir Nick Harvey’s forecast that the next election is Labour’s to lose. But there was another issue he focused on in his Huffngton Post interview – Nick Clegg’s conference pledge that all 5-7 year-olds should have free school meals, regardless of their family’s income status.

“It was absolutely astonishing. It came from nowhere,” he exclaims. “It seemed to be part of some coalition deal where it was meant to make the Lib Dems feel better about allowing the Tories to progress their wretched married

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LibLink… Lynne Featherstone: UK will help tackle the Great Neglect of disability

Lynne Featherstone, in New York for the UN General Assembly, has written for the Huffington Post about what the UK is doing to help those with disabilities in developing countries.

First she outlined why this is necessary:

More than one billion people worldwide live with disability and suffer huge discrimination as a result. They face unequal access to education, employment, healthcare, social support and the justice system. Consequently, they are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world – part of an unseen great neglect.

The internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have done a great deal to address

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LibLink… Jo Swinson: Our children shouldn’t grow up thinking looks are the most important thing in life

I remember the genuine distress suffered by a teenage friend of ours. Her hair straighteners had broken and we don’t possess such implements. She was actually frightened and anxious at the thought of leaving the house and being seen by her peers with unstraightened, but perfectly tidy, hair. I had to source another set of straighteners before I could get her to school.

That, sadly, is the tip of the iceberg. The pressure on particularly girls to conform to a very narrow standard of beauty, dictated by the likes of Heat magazine and the pornography industry, is excruciating and can lead …

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    John - are you saying that Doctors are routinely carrying out abortions without following the provisions of the 1967 Act? If so aren't you under...
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    Ironically came across this just after reading (belatedly) about Harvey Milk day, who once said, "“If you want to change the world, start in your...
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    We should debate Liberalism, not liberalism.
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