Tag Archives: jeremy browne

LibLink: Jeremy Browne on why Europe fears Brexit

Jeremy Browne - Some rights reserved by Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeOn City AM, Jeremy Browne has been explaining that Europe fears Brexit because it would unleash forces that could prove impossible to control. He writes:

In Britain, we inevitably focus most on how our departure from the EU would affect the UK. What the other countries in the EU mainly worry about, however, is how it would affect Europe. They are standing back, nervous that any intervention could be open to misinterpretation and be counter-productive, but they watch our referendum with trepidation.

The

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Jeremy Browne to tour Europe ahead of Referendum

I was lucky enough to visit Guildhall in London a couple of months back and spent a very enjoyable afternoon being shown round and hearing about its fascinating history. I had a lovely lunch, too. While in the dining room, I saw Jeremy Browne having a big lunch meeting. It wasn’t long after he’d been appointed as the City of London’s representative to the EU, a role which is right up his street after his stint as a foreign office minister during the Coalition.

Sky News reports that he’s heading off on a tour of EU capitals to showcase the importance of the city of London to the EU.

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IfG interviews former Lib Dem ministers, feat. Browne, Swinson, Hughes, Featherstone, Cable, Huhne

The Institute for Government did a lot of work during the coalition looking at how this (by English standards) unusual arrangement was working, and could work better. Now we have (for now at least) moved beyond coalition, the IfG has been interviewing ministers who served in the last government, seeking their reflections on their time there.

The IfG website has transcripts of a number of interviews with both Conservative and Lib Dem former ministers. The Lib Dems featured are:

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Liberal Reform announces new Advisory Council and housing focus

Liberal Reform advisory councilAs part of the next stage of our development, Liberal Reform has set up an Advisory Council representing a broad group of campaigners and policy experts to advise the elected Board and help ensure our broad Liberal heritage is represented in the party.

I’m delighted that the following prominent Liberal Democrats have agreed to join the Council, with more to follow: Norman Lamb MP, Jeremy Browne, Baroness Jenny Randerson, David Laws, Miranda Green, Julian Astle and Baroness Kishwer Falkner.

Since Liberal Reform was formed a few years ago it has become clear that there is a real appetite in the party for balanced four-cornered Liberalism — personal, political, social and economic — and that all of these elements are needed for us to rebuild the party as a radical, progressive force.

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The Times’ curious use of single quotation marks in headlines

times falconer

Women ‘are not tough enough to lead Labour’

Such was the headline in the Times last Friday, above an article by Lord Falconer. You would be forgiven for tinking that Lord Falconer actually said that women “are not tough enough to lead Labour”. But what he actually wrote was:

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LDVideo: Jeremy Browne MP’s final Commons speech – politics must seize the opportunities of the future, not preserve the past

Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne, who announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election having served in the House of Commons for nearly 10 years, took the opportunity of the debate following last week’s budget to make what was his final speech in the House. He used it to praise the coalition’s “vision” in its determination to solve the country’s weaknesses and to pay tribute to his constituency. He also returned to the theme of his book, Race Plan, calling for a less timid, more ambitious politics in order to prevent the UK becoming ever more irrelevant on the world stage.

You can watch Jeremy’s speech below or on YouTube here, and the Hansard transcript follows.

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Jeremy Browne isn’t going quietly…

Jeremy Browne has used an interview with the Independent to continue his love-in with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The headline says he called Nick Clegg “insipid” but he didn’t use that word directly about the leader. However, he did say something that will probably find some sympathy across the whole party. I’ve often said that we need to be passionate about who we are and not define ourselves by who we are not so that we’re just pushing ourselves as moderating influence on the other parties. I don’t like it when a speech is memorable for its mention of which body parts we share out. I do like it when we say what we are about.

Browne makes a similar point:

We are defining liberalism as the precise mid‑point between conservatism and socialism. Whatever liberalism is, it is not defined by where the other parties choose to pitch themselves or by measuring the distance between them and splitting it in half.

All we offer is a desire to water down their strong views. We offer an insipid moderation. Whichever party is the biggest one, we will stop them implementing a large number of their ideas. It is entirely negative. It is a deeply conservative position. We have become the most small-‘c’ conservative party.

Where I part company with Browne is his assertion is that this makes us more conservative than the two parties who have resolutely junked political reform whether it be electoral, party funding or to the House of Lords, throughout this Parliament. On devolution, it’s our party which has driven more powers for Scotland and Wales. You don’t find a conservative party creating opportunities for disadvantaged kids in school or transforming the way we deal with mental health.

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The tale of Taylor Swift, Twitter and the Liberal Democrat MP

 

This has to be the strangest Twitter conversation involving a Liberal Democrat MP this year.

Lib Dem conference rally and party political broadcast superstar Kavya Kaushik asked Jeremy Browne on Twitter:

Hi @JeremyBrowneMP do you like Taylor Swift? Do you like Libertarian Fans of Taylor Swift on Facebook? Did you create the movement?

His reply:

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Flashback: Did any MP colleagues attack Jeremy B when he talked about veils?

Jeremy Browne photo by Policy ExchangeYesterday, my colleague Caron Lindsay wrote about Jo Swinson’s remarks about gender stereotyping and toys, followed by Jeremy Browne’s tweets on the matter: Jo Swinson slams gender stereo-typing and is attacked by Jeremy Browne. A Liberal Democrat minister makes remarks, and a Liberal Democrat MP replies on Twitter, rumbling on about state interference in parents’ business:

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Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats select Rachel Gilmour

Rachel GilmourFrom the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat website:

Rachel Gilmour was selected at the members’ hustings on 6 Dec 2014 in Taunton by a full turnout of Members as their prospective Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.  She succeeds Jeremy Browne , MP,  who will stand down when parliament is dissolved in March 2015.

 

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Five vie to succeed Jeremy Browne as Lib Dem candidate for Taunton Deane

There’s a short-list of five to take over from Jeremy Browne as the Lib Dem candidate for Taunton Deane, according to the BBC:

The successful candidate will be defending a majority of 3,993 over the Conservatives.

Posted in Selection news | Also tagged | 4 Comments

How – or will – Nick Clegg replace Norman Baker in the home office?

jenny willottNorman Baker’s decision to quit as Lib Dem home office minister — citing significant differences with his boss at the department, the Tories’ Theresa May — means a vacancy has opened up. How will Nick Clegg fill it? We’re unlikely to have long to wait, but here are what I see as his options…

Nick could simply promote a current MP. If he does so, then the obvious choice would be Jenny Willott. She covered Jo Swinson’s maternity leave at the business department, earning good reviews along the way. A promotion …

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10 Years on from The Orange Book: What should authentic liberalism look like?

Orange_Book“10 Years on from The Orange Book: what should authentic liberalism look like?” That was the title of a Lib Dem conference fringe meeting in Glasgow, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), at which I was speaking alongside MPs Tim Farron and Jeremy Browne, Orange Book co-editor Paul Marshall, the IEA’s Ryan Bourne and ComRes pollster Tom Mludzinski. Here’s what I said…

I often describe myself as an Orange Booker. Like most labels it’s a short-hand. To me it simply means I’m a Lib Dem at ease with the role of a competitive market and who believes also in social justice. To many others in our party, though, Orange Booker is a term of abuse – Orange Bookers are thrusting, smart-suited, neoliberal Thatcherities, never happier than when mixing with red-blooded free-marketeers like the IEA.

What I want to do briefly is make a pitch for something that’s become quite unpopular among the party ranks: I’m going to make a pitch that the Lib Dems should be a party that’s unabashedly of the liberal centre.

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Jeremy Browne to stand down as MP: what Lib Dem bloggers have made of his decision

Jeremy Browne with beard AD LIBJeremy Browne’s decision to stand down as MP for Taunton Deane at the next election surprised many in the party. Ed Fordham wrote a tribute to Jeremy’s long service for the party on LDV here today — and the Lib Dem blogosphere has also had plenty to say. Here’s a selection…

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Opinion: Jeremy Browne deserves our thanks

Jeremy BrowneSo my good friend Jeremy Browne has announced he is standing down as the Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane. This announcement by him has achieved a lot of opprobrium and gnashing of teeth: ‘too late’, ‘too soon’ – what has been little reflected upon is the burden we place on our candidates and MP’s.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeremy since 1990, when we met at the University of Nottingham: the long haired, railway-signalman’s cap-wearing, President of the Les Dawson Appreciation Society was a larger than life …

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Jeremy Browne’s ‘Why Vote Liberal Democrat 2015’ published

Jeremy Browne bookBiteback, the political publishing company, has just published a series of short books by figures from each of the four main parties making their case for voting for their party in next year’s general election. Dan Jarvis has written the Labour edition, Nick Herbert the Tory edition and Suzanne Evans the Ukip one (a new edition since 2010!).

The Lib Dem version is written by Jeremy Browne, MP for Taunton Deane, former home and foreign office minister and, of course, earlier this year the author of Race Plan.

Jeremy has split the book into the following chapters:

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Full steam ahead on infrastructure

Tim Farron Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterOne thing that struck me about Tim Farron’s Beveridge lecture last Saturday was the scale of his ambition for investment in infrastructure.

Conservatives have often talked about their admiration of Victorian values – if only they really did admire those values, because Victorian values included ambition to build an infrastructure, to create a transport, communications and logistics backbone to our economy, to make a difference, to see a problem and not worry about whether fixing it would fit with your ideology, but to just get on and fix it.

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For-profit schools: some evidence of why I’m far from convinced

student_ipad_school - 175Labour’s shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, this week called on Michael Gove to rule out profit-making schools, arguing “Beyond 2015, whether it admits it or not, the Conservative Party intends to introduce the profit motive into English education”.

The Tories have sidestepped the issue and instead invited Labour to turn its fire on the Lib Dems: they claim that Nick Clegg’s advisers Julian Astle and Richard Reeves were behind-the-scenes cheerleaders for profit-making schools. The mercurial Dominic Cummings, Gove’s former special adviser, has made the same allegation. This may very …

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The Orange Book, 10 years on: 5 thoughts on its legacy

Orange_BookToday saw what its co-editor Paul Marshall called the belated launch party for The Orange Book – such was the controversy surrounding its publication 10 years ago that the original event was cancelled. I was only able to attend one of the sessions (on public service reform) so here are five more general observations on its legacy…

1) The Orange Book remains much misunderstood, sometimes deliberately by those who enjoy internal warring, more often by those who’ve not read it (whisper it, some sections are pretty turgid) but know its reputation and assume it’s a right-wing, Thatcherite manual for destroying this country’s social contract. As Paul Marshall re-affirmed today, the aim of The Orange Book was to show how socially liberal aims could best be achieved through economically liberal means, recognising that in the real world both markets and governments fail. Two of its leading contributors are currently the most popular Lib Dem ministers in government: Vince Cable and Steve Webb. That said, it was (for both Marshall and David Laws at any rate) also a very deliberate statement of intent in 2004 that the Lib Dems needed to do more than simply out-Labour Labour by proposing new money and extra staff in every area of public service and argue that was liberalism (which is largely what the party’s 2005 manifesto did).

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LibLink: Jeremy Browne – The Lib Dems must define themselves more clearly

Jeremy Browne - Minister for Crime PreventionFormer Lib Dem minister, Jeremy Browne, fresh from publishing a book calling for the party to return to ‘authentic liberalism’, has issued a further plea in The Spectator for Lib Dems to get distinctive ahead of the 2015 election. Here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats will struggle to command support in this marketplace without having a sharp definition. The appeal of cautious centrism is limited. …

Where is the demand for a tepid Milibandism or a watered-down Cameronism? Why buy the low calorie version when the full-flavour

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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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What Lib Dem members think about top-rate tax: 53% back 50p (or higher) BUT only if it raises more revenue

Project 365 114 - MoneyLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

53% support 50p (or higher) top-rate of tax; 31% say stick at 45p; 13% back 40p (or lower)

Currently the top rate of income tax is 45p in the pound for earnings over £150,000. Which rate do you support this top rate being set

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Jeremy Browne MP responds to LDV debates about his book

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 08.06.08 Liberal Democrats LibbyThank you to everyone on Lib Dem Voice who has taken the trouble to comment on my book ‘Race Plan’. It is healthy to have an active debate about how our liberalism can be applied to address the big political events of our time. I am appreciative of the favourable comments; I also thought it might be of interest (and good manners) to respond to some of the main criticisms and themes that emerged on LDV.

Timing of publication

The timing was determined by the …

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Jeremy Browne, South Korea and ‘Race Plan’

jeremy browne_Reform_Race_plan_coverIs Jeremy Browne really a secret lover of state intervention and a sceptic of free markets, believing in big state spending, government economic planning and regular intervention in the market? For all of the veneer of free marketeering in his book Race Plan, not to mention his choice of Reform as the publisher, it’s a question that comes to mind because in-between praising specific free market, small state policies, Browne regularly praises the results of governments such as the Chinese and the South Koreans, who are anything but.

It’s his praise of South Korea that is the most intriguing, for China can simply be put to one side as dramatic but its own unique case (though, as Stephen Tall has said, it is still an odd example for Jeremy Browne to trumpet).

South Korea is, as Browne rightly points out, seen by many developing countries as the one to emulate, transforming itself from a poor dictatorship to a wealthy democracy with globally successful industries in less than half of one person’s life time.

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Opinion: Liberalism – it’s not a set of policies, it’s a state of mind

8-5-10: They didA couple of things have struck me in the wake of the publication of Race Plan, Jeremy Browne’s personal liberal manifesto.

Don’t worry – this isn’t an article about the book itself. We’ve had enough of those over the last few days (as I write this, the top 5 most read articles on LDV are about it!) – I’d wager there have been more angry comments about the book on LibDemVoice than there are people who have actually read the thing.

Rather, this article concerns the nature of Liberalism.

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Jeremy Browne’s ‘Race Plan’. I’ve read it, so here’s my review…

Jeremy Browne bookThree points to make right from the start about Jeremy Browne’s new book, Race Plan.

First, it’s a wholly Good Thing that a Lib Dem MP is choosing to think aloud, to set out clearly his views. Nick Clegg having decided that he did, after all, like one of the Beecroft recommendations and decided to fire-at-will his home office minister, Jeremy could have slunk away, tail between his legs, to nurse his bitterness. He’s chosen a rather more constructive outlet for his disappointment. By which I mean this book, rather than his short-lived, C.19th-throwback, gap year beard.

Secondly, there is a fundamental problem with the central conceit of this book: that Britain is in a global race, and that if we don’t get fitter, we’ll be overtaken by or competitors in the coming Asian Century, fall behind, and become poorer.

Posted in Books, News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 59 Comments

Jeremy Browne responds on Twitter to Times’s ‘pointless’ front page headline

Three weeks ago, Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne joined Twitter. He’s been putting it to use this morning to refute The Times’s front page headline that claims he said the Lib Dems are ‘pointless’:

As for those imagining that he’s about jump ships, Jeremy couldn’t be clearer:

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What Jeremy Browne did – and DIDN’T – tell The Times about the Lib Dems

the times browne pointlessLib Dems ‘are pointless’ – that’s today’s Times front page lead, reporting an interview it carries with Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne.

You might imagine, therefore, that Jeremy Browne had at some point in his interview said the Lib Dems “are pointless”. But if you read the article you’ll be disappointed. He doesn’t say it. That a newspaper with the reputation of The Times should put in quotation marks made-up quotes is quite something.

However, the headline isn’t based on nothing, even if one of the words attributed to …

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Jeremy Browne and his plan for the privileged

Eton college sign. Photo by Paul WalterOver the last couple of days, discussion of Jeremy Browne’s new book has caused, it’s fair to say, a bit of controversy on this site. Race Plan, contains ideas which make some liberals dance with joy and others wince. We previewed it yesterday and Nick Thornsby has produced an extremely well written review. You might well disagree with it, but he presents his arguments knowledgeably and respectfully.

I have not read this book. I probably will, but it’ll take a wee while before it gets anywhere near the top of my “must read” list. I do, however, feel that I know enough of its contents from Jeremy’s Daily Politics video, various press articles and, of course,  Nick’s review.

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Book review: Jeremy Browne’s ‘Race Plan’

Jeremy Browne - Some rights reserved by Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeJeremy Browne spent just over three years as a government minister following the formation of the coalition in 2010, first in the Foreign Office, where his responsibilities included Britain’s relations with countries in Pacific Asia and Latin America, and latterly in the Home Office. However, reading his new book, Race Plan: An authentic liberal plan to get Britain fit for ‘The Global Race’, it does not take long to discover which of these offices had the biggest influence on his political outlook.

Because while the detail of the book focusses primarily on domestic policy, the theme that pulls it together, which provides its context, is Britain’s role in a rapidly-changing, globalising world.

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  • User AvatarJoeB 17th Oct - 12:41am
    I never failed to be impressed by the sheer energy of Merlene and hats off for taking a crack at breaching the edifice that is...
  • User AvatarJoeB 17th Oct - 12:09am
    A wag once commented "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." In 1798 Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would bring famine...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 16th Oct - 10:10pm
    Democracy needs more consultation and representation of mainstream opinion.
  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 16th Oct - 10:08pm
    Well yes, Mark, but I was thinking of all the work one person had to do as well. radical idea - post them all on...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 16th Oct - 9:54pm
    Suzanne, I entirely see your point, but can see an advantage to having them all in one place, especially for non-Liberal Democrat readers and those...
  • User Avatarsuzanne Fletcher 16th Oct - 8:53pm
    Dear Mark, but if the press office sent to people who asked for them ( and I presume someone at HQ is clever enough to...