Tag Archives: independent

LibLink: Chuka Umunna: London’s young people know how to stop the knife crime epidemic – here’s what they told me

Chuka Umunna used his Independent column to talk about knife crime. He described how he visited at least one school in his constituency every week and discussed the issue with young people.

They identify a huge variety of things that need to happen in order to tackle a problem that is ruining so many lives:

Unsurprisingly, one of the boys told me his mum wanted his family to move as they did not feel safe on his estate – many parents come to my constituency surgery asking for help to do just that. Another described how he had found drugs and what he thought were bullets in the field where he and his mates play football. A little girl told me how she fears for the welfare of her teenage half-brother.

These children have had to witness things no one should have to see as an adult, never mind as a young person. Their understanding of why it is happening and what should be done about the violence is sophisticated and well thought through. They told me that they supported stop and search and believed it certainly helped reduce the numbers carrying knives but that it was important the power was used appropriately and sensitively by the police and not used to discriminate. They wanted to see tougher sanctions for possession and for those who stab others, with far more police on our streets to enforce our laws, but did not believe that would solve the issue.

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Liz Jarvis explains why she joined Lib Dems from Labour

I’ve been talking to Liz Jarvis, who joined the Lib Dems from Labour in the Summer a bit on Twitter. Remarkably, out of 700,000 people, we found each other to have a brief conversation at the People’s Vote march in October. She’s written for the Independent Voices website about why she joined us.

She was pretty involved in the Labour Party as a student and voted Labour throughout her adult life. When the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories, any positive feelings she had towards our party evaporated and she continued to vote Labour. But along came Jeremy Corbyn:

I might have remained “soft” Labour but for the perfect storm of Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit. The latter is quite simply anathema to me, not just because I’m the granddaughter of immigrants, but because I believe so strongly in freedom of movement, and that the evidence backs up the overwhelming truth that we are better off in the EU than we can possibly be out of it.

The Momentum-propelled adulation of Jeremy Corbyn left me cold. I was also increasingly uneasy about the accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and for the first time in my voting life I started to feel politically homeless.

Last summer I explained how I was feeling to a friend who had joined the Lib Dems, and he asked me why I was still supporting Labour. After a heated debate, the conclusion was tribalism. I had been clinging on to my political heritage and the promise of what might have been, had Blair not led Britain to war in Iraq, had Corbyn not become leader, had David Miliband stuck around or Ed not eaten that bacon sandwich.

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Tom Brake reveals staff exodus from Brexit Department

Tom Brake got some good coverage in the Independent today – the digital equivalent of a front page splash.

He  revealed that 357 members of staff at the Government’s Brexit Department, equivalent to around half of the current staff detail, have left since July 2016

He observed that the new figures revealed the “deep instability right at the heart of the Conservative Government’s failing Brexit operation.”

Figures uncovered by our intrepid Lib Dem Freedom of Information team reveal that as of June 2018 that 357 staff have left the department in the last two years which is pretty incredible given that they only employ at maximum 665 people.

Why does this matter? Well, when you are trying to pull together the most complex piece of work attempted by a government in living memory, surely you want to have some consistency in the people doing it. 

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Soft Brexit preferred choice of Britons as poll shows willingness to compromise on immigration

The Independent reports:

A majority of people would rather the UK have a soft Brexit, which sees the country give concessions on EU immigration in return for access to the single market, a poll has found.

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Lamb calls for inquiry into political interference with NHS Medical Director

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesman Norman Lamb, has called for a Cabinet Office inquiry into reports that the Department of Health toughened up the language in a letter from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh to the BMA.

According to the Independent:

We now know that there was, indeed, collusion between Sir Bruce and the Department of Health during the drafting of the letter, from a series of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information request. In one, addressed to Sir Bruce, an unidentified civil servant wrote: “I have woven the points from my email earlier this morning into your letter.”

Norman said that the revelation raises serious concerns about potential political interference with the independent Medical Director of NHS England:

In cases like this it is crucial to establish who had involvement in something that risks further damaging the Government’s relationship with junior doctors. This cannot be done by the Department and I am calling for Sir Jeremy Heywood to set up a suitable inquiry that will command respect to look into this.

The Government has to urgently resolve the dispute with junior doctors and must also set up an cross party commission to confront the looming crisis facing the NHS and social care services so we can secure their future.

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LibLink: David Laws: George Osborne needs to prove his cuts won’t stall improvement in education

As Schools Minister, David Laws introduced the Pupil Premium, extra money for disadvantaged kids in school to help close the attainment gap.

He has written for the Independent to say that the Government needs to do more to ensure that people have a route out of poverty:

The Government also needs a new drive to raise educational standards, and to keep the focus on improving attainment for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds – those who are much more likely to end up in poverty and on benefits. We are not going to address poverty and create opportunity while 60 per cent of young people from poor households fail even to achieve the old and unambitious target to secure five GCSEs at C grade or higher, including English and Maths. This figure is a national disgrace.

The last Government had a strong record on education – with the introduction of the Pupil Premium, swift action to tackle failing schools, and the clean- up of English’s discredited qualifications system. But there is nothing at all to be complacent about. If the country’s main anti-poverty and pro-opportunity strategy is now to rely on education and work, then we have got to do an awful lot more and more intelligently

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LibLink: Simon Hughes: A message to Tim Farron: Unite, inspire and enthuse

Simon Hughes was one of the first people to endorse Tim Farron for leader. He’s written an article for today’s Independent in which he outlines what he thinks Tim should do next:

The new leader knows what to do. He must and will unite, inspire, and enthuse the party, involving supporters of both candidates in one big campaign for liberalism, determined to rebuild – and quickly. The clarion calls dreadfully muffled in the last year must be heard in all our communities: freedom, democracy, respect for our planet, a decent quality of life for all, and much greater equality in our still horribly unequal country. We must turn our policy and philosophy into practice where we govern and into campaigns where we do not. We need a massive housing programme of council, social rent, and other affordable housing, and help for the mentally ill. We must champion political reform to restore the link between voters’ views and election results. We must be the party of internationalism and of Europe, and a movement which values those who have chosen to live here.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Does George Osborne really want to derail the future of our planet?

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionTim Farron was on punchy form when taking on George Osborne’s lack of ambition on climate change in an article in the Independent this week. He did not mince his words:

Osborne’s destructive rationale for overspending on our planned carbon budget is this: without a new strategy agreed, the UK would be ahead of its planned share of emissions cuts within the EU. It can therefore weaken its ambitions and still meet the old targets – there is nothing holding us to the necessary action to tackle

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Why people vote for Liberal Democrat Councillors

Cllr Phil Knowles and winning teamFollowing on from yesterday’s launch of the Liberal Democrat campaign for the local government elections, I thought I’d offer a few reflections on why people vote for Liberal Democrat councillors. Why is it that in places like Three Rivers in Hertfordshire and Oadby and Wigston that the Liberal Democrats have been in power for years on end?

Big hearts and hard work

Our councillors are embedded in their communities. They know what’s going on, they keep themselves in touch with what people are thinking and they  listen to …

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Which member of the LDV team gets a mention in today’s national press?

Step forward…..

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 11.24.30

If you follow our Nick on Twitter, you’ll know he loves interesting use of language, whether it be puns, silly signs or malapropisms.

Some time ago, he suggested to John Rentoul that it would be a good idea to do a feature on the Top Ten Malapropisms. And so, here in today’s Independent on Sunday, it came to pass. “This one is Nick Thornsby’s idea.” says the first sentence.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to stand up for Britain’s place in Europe.

Nick Clegg has been writing over at the Independent to mark 100 days before the European elections.

He has a simple and clear message – you can only trust the Liberal Democrats to stand up for Britain’s interests, and therefore safeguard jobs, in Europe. He says that the Euros don’t usually “set the heart racing”, but this time, there’s a lot to lose:

Ukip has been coming up on the rails in British politics for years and it sees this May as its breakthrough moment. Mainstream politicians have made the mistake in the past of not taking UKIP, or the people who

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Also tagged , and | 68 Comments

Jane Merrick: “How we can all stop worrying and learn to love the Lib Dems..”

We haven’t seen many nice things written about Liberal Democrats in the last couple of weeks. However, in today’s Independent, Jane Merrick outlines reasons that we can be cheerful.

First she describes what a Liberal Democrat MP overheard on a train from two people talking about the party:

The MP (who was relieved to be unrecognised by his fellow commuters) listened as these two seasoned observers took apart the Lib Dems. One of the men said: “They’re always in trouble, aren’t they?” “Yeah, there was that bloke with the dog,” the other chipped in. “Who was that one who, you know

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So who has been briefing against Tim Farron, then?

Tim Farron MP. Photo credit: Some rights reserved by David SpenderThe Liberal Democrats’ spell in government has been characterised by very little hostility and disunity on a personal level. Whatever arguments there may have been behind the scenes have not spilled over into the pages of the press very often. That’s actually quite remarkable given the pressure we are under as a party. Sure, we’ve had our disagreements on policy, with more to come, but we’ve kept it civil.

Politicians have been secretly briefing the press about what goes on behind the scenes as long as there has been politics. I remember being shocked when, as a very young and naive political activist, I overheard a very senior figure doing just that. This stuff fills newspaper columns, but when it gets personal, and toxic, it becomes a massive problem.

There have been two recent examples of unpleasant, personal unattributed attacks, and both have come from the establishment side of the party. First of all, we saw the clumsy, inept and inaccurate hatchet job done on Vince which apparently sparked an enquiry in leader’s office. Now, the Independent tells us, “one figure very high up in the party” has crossed a big line with a pretty vicious personal attack on Tim Farron:

Which bit of the sanctimonious, god-bothering, treacherous little shit is there not to like?

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown spent years doing that sort of stuff about each other. So did John Major’s “bastards”. That ended well, didn’t it?

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Jo Swinson launches size 16 mannequins

Jo Swinson today went along to Debenhams to welcome their size 16 mannequins which have been brought in to reflect the average women. It has been intensely annoying to hear these discussed across various media, including the BBC and the Independent, as “plus size” mannequins. If your view of what a woman should look like comes from airbrushed magazines and porn rather than opening your eyes and looking at the real women around you, then, yes, you might think that size 16 was plus, but you would be wrong.

Women come in all shapes and sizes and girls should be …

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Independent says “Lib Dems go beyond meaning well”

Today’s Independent editorial has some heartening words about the approach of Liberal Democrats within the Government and our ongoing policy making process.

The background to the motion on childcare is explored:

Hence the party’s plan to extend free childcare to all one- and two-year-olds, which we report on today, is no well-meaning wishlist, but a battle-hardened piece of legislation-ready policy.

The plan emerges from the struggle between the coalition partners over the last spending round, which was announced by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in June. Nick Clegg pushed for a better childcare deal, but eventually had to concede that NHS, schools and

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The most important factor for Liberal Democrats in any 2015 Coalition negotiations

The Silly Season continues with yet more speculation on what happens after the 2015 election. Monday’s Independent carried the loaded headline:

Lib Dem Supporters spell it out: we won’t be fooled by Nick Clegg again over support for a coalition

That Liberal Democrats will be wary about any future coalition, with anybody, should come as no surprise. The deductive reasoning powers of the average goldfish could have worked that out.

The article quotes people like Martin Tod, Gareth Epps and Cllr Richard Kemp, all of whom are saying quite reasonable things, none of them suggesting that Nick Clegg fooled us in 2010, …

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Schools for profit? Not on my watch, says Nick Clegg

From today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg vowed today to veto any move by the Conservatives to allow academies and free schools to become profit-making businesses.

The Deputy Prime Minister intervened after The Independent revealed that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is considering plans to redraw the rules to allow the schools to use hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money.

The Liberal Democrats will block any moves to change the rules before the 2015 general election.  During the election campaign, Mr Clegg’s party will claim that they acted as a brake on the Tories inside the Coalition.  “We will say we stopped

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LibLink…Robin McGhee: Can UKIP handle the trials of local government?

This article appeared a few weeks ago, but we’ve held it back because its author was standing in the Liberal Youth elections. It is worth sharing, though, because it illustrates accurately the dilemma that UKIP now faces. How does it build a local government base when its councillors are inexperienced, anti politics types who don’t really know who their supporters are.

Robin McGhee is an organiser for the party in Norfolk. He describes the UKIP representatives at the count in Cromer:

Perhaps nine in ten were men, nearly all (very) elderly, and with the same expression of stubborn bafflement as a tortoise

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Nick Clegg: “No Liberal Democrat Council will close a single library this year”

The Independent reports on Nick Clegg’s appearance on BBC Breakfast yesterday in which he talked about the local elections and the national situation. The Liberal Democrat leader contrasted the difference in approach between Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour councillors with respect to Council budgets:

The deputy prime minister criticised “extravagant” spending on the “wrong thing” by Labour and Conservative councils.

“Above all, what you shouldn’t do when money is scarce, is waste money on extravagant or unnecessary expenditure – so the Conservative leader of the Leicestershire county council who spent over £200,000 on a chauffeur, or the Cotswold conservatives who spent

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LibLink… Sharon Bowles MEP: Calls for restraint have been ignored for too long – this bonus culture has to end

Sharon Bowles MEP writes about bankers’ bonuses in the Independent. She tackles the arguments against EU proposals to limit bonuses to a years’s salary. Will banks relocate overseas? Sharon says not:

Firstly, the threat of bankers relocating to avoid the cap has been grossly exaggerated.  The cap will only apply to a small number of so-called high-risk traders, around 5000 out of the estimated 750,000 people employed in London’s financial sector. Moreover, the bonus cap will also cover all key staff who work for European banks across the world, no matter whether they operate in London or Singapore. And with Switzerland

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Independent’s spin on Nick Clegg and The Thick of It

LDV readers will no doubt be delighted that The Thick of It will be back on our screens this Autumn. The political satire has been greatly missed over the past two years and it will be interesting to see how they interpret the dynamics of Coalition Government.

If today’s Independent is to be believed, the script writers had a bit of help. The headline suggests a co-ordinated strategy – “How Nick Clegg’s aides tried to put him in the thick of it”. Sadly, the actual story doesn’t really stack up. “Nick Clegg may wish to interrogate his private office,” says …

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Would you be happy with a payout to put up with aircraft noise?

The role of the Liberal Democrats in ensuring that this Government does not agree to the expansion of Heathrow airport is emphasised by an article in yesterday’s Independent.

It says that a group of right wing Tories with links to the Chancellor are drawing up plans to offer compensation to local residents who would be affected by increased noise from a third runway at Heathrow.

The Coalition agreement has ruled out giving approval to a third runway during this parliament and the Conservatives opposed the move at the last election. But some senior party figures, including the Chancellor, George Osborne, are pressing

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Liberal Democrats block David Cameron’s plans to erode workers’ rights

Another glimpse into what a Tory Britain would look like comes in today’s Independent which reports that the Liberal Democrats in the shape of Business Secretary Vince Cable have fended off an attempt by the Prime Minister to erode the rights of employees. Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist who has donated almost £600,000 to the Conservative Party, produced a report last year which has so far not been published, which is believed to include proposals to allow employers to fire unproductive workers and cut entitlement to maternity leave.

The Tories, says the Independent, from David Cameron down, wanted to implement this …

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  • User AvatarMichael Berridge 23rd Aug - 1:02pm
    "The leavers will have lost nothing, except the chance to squeeze through a flawed and massively unpopular decision by undemocratic means." That makes perfect sense...
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    I like the cabinet. Everyone gets a go
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    The idea of revoking while committing to launch a second referendum sounds superficially attractive. However, the ruling that the UK would be free to revoke...
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    Richard I do not see we miss the point, we can surely discuss our new leader and her position, it is about Brexit also Jo...
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    TCO - all those Continental European countries with free tuition university have lower inequality and more robust economy than Britain. You haven't showed us the...
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    @David Raw/IanAnderson(RM3) - do pack in the superciliousness, though, as you are clearly omniscient, you'll no doubt be able to provide us with an exposition...
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