Tag Archives: jonathan calder

Lib Dems’ Moore praises Gove apology as schools building programme axe triggers coalition tensions

The blunder in the education department which led to the publication of a list of axed school building schemes containing 25 errors continues to rumble on. Conservative education secretary Michael Gove has apologised and taken the rap for his officials’ mistakes.

The Lib Dems’ Michael Moore was sympathetic to Mr Gove’s plight on the BBC’s Question Time last night, commending the quick and full apology:

I think he did that with grace. I think he did it appropriately and he’s determined that that doesn’t happen again. Nobody would wish that had happened. It was a major mistake, it has been

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Did you know that two-thirds of people don’t pay income tax?

No, I didn’t either.

But that’s what Polly Toynbee says:

… it does nothing for the 62% of adults who earn too little to pay tax.

Oh hang on, what’s this Lord Bonkers is saying?

It’s not that 62 per cent of people don’t pay tax, it’s that 62 per cent do pay tax.

How out of touch with the lives of ordinary people do you have to be to make a mistake like that and not spot it? It hardly encourages you to have faith in Toynbee’s judgement as a columnist.

You think someone at the Guardian would have spotted it though.

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LibLink: Richard Grayson – Lib Dems must dare to be different over prisoners’ voting rights

Over at The Guardian, Richard Grayson, a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and former director of policy for the party, argues that the Council of Europe ruling against the UK ban on prisoners voting offers the Lib Dems a chance to seize the initiative. Here’s an excerpt:

While Liberal Democrats have consistently made it clear that they understand the need to punish crimes (despite the way the party has been characterised as “soft on crime” by both Labour and the Conservatives), the party is generally most interested in stopping crime in the first place. One way to do that is to transform

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Daily View 2×2: 25 May 2010

Don’t panic! Today is Towel Day.

Seventy years ago today, the Battle of Dunkirk began. On this day in 1967, Celtic FC became the first British team to win the European Cup, beating Inter Milan 2–1 in Lisbon.

Perfect Housewife Anthea Turner is 50 today, joining birthday boys Julian Clary (51) and Paul Weller (52) in a sixth decade.

2 big news stories

Poll shows broad support for coalition
The Guardian reports its ICM poll,  which shows broad support for the coalition government.

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Daily View 2×2: 23 March 2010

Diagram of wings of early planeIn history, March 23rd was the day in 1903 the Wright Brothers applied for a patent on one of the earliest aeroplanes – and the day in 1933 Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany.

It’s birthday to Joan Crawford, Wernher von Braun, José Manuel Barroso, Marti Pellow and Russell Howard.

Today in history, two people who underwent pioneering surgical procedures died: Britain’s youngest ever liver transplant patient died, aged three, and in 1982, the recipient of the first ever artificial heart died, aged 61.

2 Big Stories

All yesterday, two huge political stories raged through the online world: the farce of a Tory attempt to use social media, #cashgordon, and foreshadowing of last night’s Dispatches, which showed three Labour former cabinet ministers in a very bad light.

The newspapers catch up with the latter, but don’t seem to be covering the former.

Byers, Hewitt and Hoon suspended over lobbying allegations

The Telegraph reports:

Three former Cabinet ministers, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, have been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations they tried to sway policy decisions by lobbying the Government.

The Lib Dem party line on this horrid mess which embarrasses Parliament?

Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House, David Heath said, “MPs should not be using their positions to further their own interests over those of the people they should be representing. Liberal Democrats brought forward measures to restrict the influence of lobbyists in Parliament. Sadly, Labour voted them down while the Tories failed to show up. Labour and the Tories claim they want to clean up politics but the reality proves different.”

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Daily View 2×2: 4 March 2010

Good morning and welcome to Thursday’s Daily View.

There’s a huge chunk of exciting things that happened today in history, so it’s an auspicious day to welcome a baby Cullen. Our technical editor Ryan has been tweeting progress, and as I write this there’s a lot of pushing going on. Best wishes from all at LDV to the Cullen family – I’m sure LDV Towers will soon get used to night feeds. I’m dusting off my copy of Gina Ford as I type.

Male swans from Matthew Bourne's Swan LakeSo, today in history: the US Congress met for the first time in 1789. In 1790, France was divvied into départements. In 1797, John Adams succeeded George Washington, the first ever peaceful transfer of power between elected leaders in modern times. Chicago was founded in 1837; Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake premiered in Moscow in 1877 and in 1882, East London saw Britain’s first electric trams. The first Daimler car was unveiled and in 1933, the first woman joined the US Cabinet.

March 4th birthdays include Vivaldi, in 1678, Sir Patrick Moore, and Nottingham novellist Alan Sillitoe (I was at the meeting of Nottingham City Council that made him an honorary freeman of the city, incidentally)

2 Big Stories

Evil Gays update

Civil partnerships – gay marriages – could soon be registered in places of worship – something currently expressly banned by statute, which is particularly unfair on those faiths which don’t have a problem with gay relationships, including Quakers and Reform Judaism. The Times has one version of the information; the Telegraph on the other hand manages to paint a far more bleak version of the havoc that could be wrought by litigious homos.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has averred that his party’s tax breaks, maternity and paternity rights planned for married couples will also be available to their civilly partnershipped brethren. Not quite sure how this tallies with last month’s pronouncement that would be no new gay rights under the Tories.

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Daily View 2×2: 5 February 2010

Happy birthday to Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire!

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Biometric data
  • How many people have had theirs taken under the Terrorism Act 2000, and how successful have they been at getting the samples destroyed? Lord Eric Avebury has put down a Parliamentary Question.

  • Will libertarian bloggers ever grow up?
  • Jonathan Calder wants libertarian bloggers to widen their repertoire beyond “Get out of my room Mom!”

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Liberal Democrat MEP celebrates French equality win

Since August 2007, French couples in a Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PAC) have enjoyed the same rights in relation to tax and inheritance laws which had previously only applied to married couples. However, due to a legal anomaly, British civil partnerships were not recognised under French law, meaning couples living in France were liable for a 60% inheritance tax and were treated like any other unmarried couple.

Graham Watson pointed out the ridiculous situation that many people faced: “Up until now, the practicality of French law has meant that British civil partners living in France would have to dissolve their partnership and enter into a PAC in order to secure the same rights as French couples. This violated the idea of European citizenship and equality, and something had to be done.”

Watson asked the European Commission to press the French Government on the issue.
Ministers have now announced that British civil partnerships are recognised as equal to PACs, and reimbursements will be made to individuals who have made undue tax payments since August 2007.

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Daily View 2×2: 21 January 2010

1920s woman in silk kimono smoking using a cigarette holderGood morning and welcome to Daily View. If you submit a tax return, there are hardly any days left to get on with it.

On this day in 1908, New York City voted to ban women from smoking in public. Two years ago, Black Monday did a number on the world’s stock markets.

In birthdays, we sing a song to Commander in Chief star Geena Davis and Christian Dior, who were born today.

And in deaths, we remember George Orwell – and use him as an excuse to pimp this link – a cartoon that fears that when it comes to dystopias, it was Aldous Huxley who nailed it, rather than George Orwell.

2 Big Stories

Stop the presses!

Men are wearing shorts in the snow in New York.

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Daily View 2×2: 4 January 2010

Morning all, and welcome to LDV’s ‘Back-to-Work’* edition of the Daily View, on the day in 1642 King Charles I sent soldiers to arrest members of Parliament, and Rose Heilbron became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, in 1972. And a very happy birthday to Sir Isaac Newton, born 367 years ago today, and chef Rick Stein, 62 today.

* For those of us with cushy office-based jobs.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

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NEW POLL: will the TV debates make any difference to the Lib Dems?

We now know the UK will see its first ever televised debates between the leaders of the three major UK-wide parties in the run-up to the 2010 general election. The consenus is there have been two winners: Sky News, which, with brilliant audacity, put the issue front and centre, and by so doing ensured that (i) the debates will happen, and (ii) it muscled in on the act, instead of being excluded by the BBC and ITV. (There’s a lesson there for Channel 4, which had been comprehensively outmanoeuvred).

The second winner, according to the commentariat, is Nick Clegg. Here’s Andrew …

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Daily View 2×2: 24 December 2009

Good morning, and thank you for trudging through the snow and ice to Daily View. It’s Christmas Eve, and the staff at LDV Towers are expecting a half-day holiday if they get through all their work.

Across Europe, it’s today (rather than tomorrow) that many continental children receive their visit from Santa. Is that enough date-related trivia? Hell no! Carol Vorderman, Caroline Aherne and Barry Chuckle were all Christmas babies and are celebrating birthdays today.

Literary giants Harold Pinter and William Makepeace Thackery both died on Christmas eve, albeit 145 years apart.

And in events on Christmas eve: in 1946, the French Fourth Republic was founded; and in 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 were the first humans to escape the Earth’s gravity, and the first to broadcast the bible from space.

An eventful day! But click on to find what’s happening today.

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Lib Dem Bloggers Christmas stocking fillers … Part II

If you could choose up to three items for your Christmas stocking, what would they be? That was the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with all their choices added to the Amazon carousel widget featured on our home-page, referral fees from which will help support Lib Dem Voice: so get clicking and ordering. You can read Part I here. In part two, four more bloggers – Jonathan Calder, James Graham, Alix Mortimer and Paul Walter – give us the low-down on their Xmas faves.

Jonathan

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

Daily View 2×2: 10 December 2009

Good morning and welcome to Daily View. 10th December is the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death and the first awards of the Nobel Prize in 1901. Today we also sing happy birthday to Emily Dickinson and Ada Lovelace.

The numerical elements of this post break down a little, as you’ll see.

Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are some posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

OnePlace to rule them all

As we reported yesterday, the Audit Commission launched One Place, a website listing government inspection results of all local authorities. And reviews of their own councils have been exercising some Lib Dem bloggers since the site came back up yesterday afternoon:

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Daily View 2×2: 30 November 2009

Welcome to a new week, and the anniversary of the end of the invasion of Iraq … first time round, that is – Operation Desert Storm officially finished in 1995. And happy birthday to David Mamet, Billy Idol, Lorraine Kelly and Gary Lineker and Gael García Bernal. On with the day …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Richmond Park: Lib Dem Hold (Jonathan Calder)

… some will ask how extraordinary personal wealth can be squared with [his’ talk in an

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Edinburgh, brace yourself: the first Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference

Just under three weeks to go now – but there’s still time to register for the feast of blogging talent and advice that is the Lib Dem Bloggers’ Unconference.

I’m pleased to announce that Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has agreed to give a Bloggers’ Interview around lunchtime.

Also joining us: Jo Swinson MP, John Barrett MP, Mike Crockart (newly-selected PPC for Edinburgh West), leading Scottish bloggers, Andrew Reeves (prolific blogger and Deputy Director of Campaigns for Scotland) as well as Lib Dem Blogfather Jonathan Calder and members of the Lib Dem Voice team.

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Daily View 2×2: 29 October 2009

Good morning and welcome to October 29th. Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the birthday of Boswell, the biographer of Samuel L Jackson, and the anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh (he was executed – I didn’t know that.)

It’s also the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which first set up a Constitution for Europe.

2 Big Stories

The postal strike is on
Read all about it on the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian:

Both sides blamed each other after three days of talks mediated by the TUC collapsed without a deal being reached. As late as evening there had still been some hope that this week’s strike action could be called off to relieve the pressure on Royal Mail.

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An introduction to political blogging

Welcome to the first part of a new weekly series on political blogging which we’ll be running here on The Voice between now and Christmas. It’s designed primarily to be an introduction for anyone thinking of starting a political blog, but packed full of enough information to be useful for existing bloggers too.

If the series is a success, we will turn it into a pdf e-book afterwards, putting all the advice together in one convenient document. There will be a chance to revise the posts before collating them, so you’re even more welcome than usual to post comments to the …

Posted in Blogging guide | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 9 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Widely questioned as being rather premature, and merited more by vision than achievements so far, President Obama’s award is making the headlines this morning:
Barack Obama wins 2009 Nobel peace prize (Telegraph)

Less than a year after taking office, Mr Obama won the prestigious award after calling for worldwide disarmament.

He had also worked to restart the stalled Middle East peace process since taking office in January.

In an announcement in Oslo, he was honoured “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland said.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as (Mr) Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said.

“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

The committee said it attached special importance to Mr Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Royal Mail strike – Christmas come early?
And not in a good way…

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Nick Clegg’s The Liberal Moment: your blogosphere reader

Today saw the publication of Nick Clegg’s Demos pamphlet, The Liberal Moment, outlining his thoughts on progressive politics over the past century, moving forward to the future.

The party’s media office made the trusting (and canny) move to give a group of Lib Dem bloggers advance sight of the document, which means there’s already been a vigorous response around the blogosphere. In chronological order, here are the posts to date (we’ll add others as they appear):

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Daily View 2×2: Thursday 3 September

Good morning, on this fine morning – Charlie Sheen’s birthday, and one of Nottingham Lib Dem’s “delivery days.” Here’s hoping for no rain for me and for Charlie.

Top stories

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, the Tories have carried out a coup:

Tories claim: we have seized control of Scotland Yard

The Conservatives have wrested control of Scotland Yard from the Home Office and now have its top officers working to their agenda, a senior aide to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has told the Guardian.

Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor for policing, has declared that he and Johnson “have our

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Clegg: Turner’s bank tax is “unworkable”

The BBC tells us:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has queried the “workability” of a suggested tax on banks to curb excessive bonuses. Lord Turner, head of the UK’s finance watchdog, has suggested taxing banks’ financial transactions. The Treasury has urged restraint on bonuses but stressed taxation was a matter for the chancellor. Mr Clegg said the idea had practical pitfalls but agreed with Lord Turner’s “sentiments” and said that some banks needed to be broken up. …

Mr Clegg said there were real questions marks about the “workability” of a UK-only bank tax, given that most banks operated across

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Public in dislike of petty partisan politicking shock!

Nick Bye, the third-placed Tory candidate in their Totnes ‘open primary’, writes a cheerily self-deprecating account of his experiences in today’s Times, A popular raspberry against yah-boo politics:

Matthew Parris chaired the big hustings meeting, which I reckoned would be a walkover for me — it was very much my home territory. I’m a mayor and used to traditional, on-the-stump speeches. But this is where the open primary system really worked for Dr Wollaston. She had the good sense to appreciate that party political point-scoring was just not what this audience wanted to hear.

I, however, made the mistake of using one of of my favourite lines of attack. “The biggest myth in British politics is that Liberal Democrats are such nice people” went down a storm in front of the party executive. But in front of a wider audience, it fell as flat as a pancake.

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

Daily View 2×2: 31 July 2009

Welcome to this, the final summer edition of LDV’s Daily View – the feature will return again at the beginning of September, as will the various members of the LDV editorial collective.

2 Big Stories

Treasury select committee slams Government’s “largely cosmetic” banking reform plans

Here’s what the BBC has to say:

The government’s plans for reforming the regulation of banks are “largely cosmetic” and “lack clarity”, MPs in the Treasury Select Committee say.

In its report on the banking crisis, the committee says that responsibility for strategic decisions and action remains “a muddle”. The report also says that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) “failed spectacularly” in supervising banks.

More importantly, here’s what Vince has to say:

This report rightly underlines the need for high quality and transparent regulation if we are to create a stable financial system. We must not create a regulatory system that just deals with the current crisis but one which is fit for all the challenges ahead.

“The cross party report also exposes the sheer folly of George Osborne’s proposal to hand all power back to the Bank of England. While it is true that breaking up the banks will be complex, it is also necessary. A bank which is too big to fail is simply too big.

“The secrecy in which the White Paper was created shows the extent of the deteriorating relations between the Bank of England and the Government and does not bode well for the future.”

Gary MaKinnon loses US extradition court battle

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Daily View 2×2: 27 July 2009

2 Big Stories

MPs urge rail franchise reforms
A report by MPs has pronounced the rail franchise system a “muddle” and has called for its reform, including the nationalisation of East Coast trains.
From the BBC:

The Commons transport committee said operators were making profits in good times but forcing the government to step in when revenues fall.

And they charged “unacceptable” fare rises of up to 11% above inflation.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said four-fifths of passengers bought discounted tickets.

The MPs urged the government to run East Coast trains itself.

They said nationalisation could be a way of comparing

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Lib Dem bloggers’ summer reading (Part II)

To read Part I, published yesterday, click HERE.

For me, it’s the most difficult decision of the year – which books to take with me on holiday. So, I thought, what could be better than to pick the brains of my fellow Lib Dem bloggers, and ask them to select just two: one should be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other should be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old). Here’s what they said:

Posted in Books | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 3 July 2009

2 Big Stories

Is homphobia still rife on the Tory benches?

That’s the allegation from Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw:

Ben Bradshaw has said “a deep strain of homophobia still exists on the Conservative benches”. Mr Bradshaw, one of three gay men currently in the cabinet, made the comments as a new poll suggested more gay people were turning to the Tories. Chris Bryant, another gay minister, said: “If gays vote Tory they will rue the day very soon.”

For what it’s worth I suspect that equality for gay people is the one area where the Tories have genuinely changed over the years …

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[email protected]: Jonathan Calder – Messy but meaningful

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Liberal England’s Jonathan Calder argues ‘of course policy on faith schools is a compromise – that’s how social institutions are most often made to work’. Here’s an excerpt:

… if, in a surge of Jacobin purity, the party had voted for an outright ban on faith schools, it would have been only a gesture. Few Liberal Democrats would have campaigned on a policy that threatened to alienate every church and disrupt a third of the schools in the country.

Besides, it’s not faith schools that are the problem: it is the conventional state schools.

Posted in LibLink | 9 Comments

NEW POLL: was the BBC right to ban Carol Thatcher from The One Show?

I’ve avoided for as long as possible the uber-hyped ‘nowtrage’ over Carol Thatcher’s off-air-but-in-the-studio comment that a still-to-be-identified tennis player looks like a ‘golliwog’.

It does of course pose lots of interesting questions for liberals: the conflict between freedom of speech, and the offence that may cause; to what extent unbroadcast behind-the-scenes remarks should be regarded as private; whether remarks that cause offence are best dealt with by individuals at the time, rather than by being referred to an ombudsmanperson.

The Lib Dem blogosphere has wrestled with many of these issues and more, and given more time to …

Posted in Voice polls | Also tagged , , , , and | 15 Comments

In today’s Vince Cable news…

Today’s Times has an in-depth interview with the Lib Dem shadow chancellor and deputy leader Vince Cable today. Lots of good stuff, as you might expect:

While Gordon Brown was declaring the end of boom and bust and David Cameron was sledging with huskies, Dr Cable, a former chief economist at Shell, was foretelling dark times. For years he was ridiculed for suggesting that property prices were too high, that household debt was out of control and that the banking system was fundamentally flawed. But now everyone wants to hear his prophecy for 2009. … Dr Cable supports a fiscal stimulus

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Is the ‘Curse of Lembit’ back?

A month ago it was announced that the Daily Sport had hired Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik to be the newspaper’s political columnist; today The Guardian notes under the headline, Daily Sport publisher in financial difficulties:

Daily Sport publisher Sport Media Group’s share price plummeted 40% in early trading today after the company revealed it had broken one of its banking covenants. SMG’s share price had fallen by 3.75p, almost 42%, to 5.25p at 11.30am today, a 52-week low.

The company, which is releasing both a trading update and preliminary results for the year to the end of July tomorrow,

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