Tag Archives: lord avebury

A longer read for the weekend: Tributes to Lord Eric Avebury

Eric Reginald Lubbock, Fourth Baron Avebury, died last month aged 87. The House of Lords held a memorial meeting for Lord Avebury last Tuesday, 22nd March. Here are some recollections of the meeting, and a personal note, from Keith Porteous Wood, who was Lord Avebury’s honorary researcher the last 15 years. For his role over the abolition of the blasphemy law, Eric was co-awarded Secularist of the Year by the National Secular Society of which he was an Honorary Associate, and of which Keith Porteous Wood is Executive Director.

Relatives, parliamentarians, friends and other admirers of Lord Avebury gathered to pay their respects at a meeting led by Baroness Hussein-Ece. The meeting was convened at the request of Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, chairperson of International Imam Hussain Council of which Eric was a patron and trustee. The family will be arranging a memorial meeting on 30 June.

Eric’s eldest son, Lyulph, now the fifth Baron, made clear that he had not followed the family tradition of being a politician. Six of the eight past family members who had been had been parliamentarians were Liberal or LibDem.

John William, Eric’s youngest son, spoke movingly of his Father and gave a spectacularly long list of Eric’s many campaigns, but even this proved incomplete as speaker after speaker added yet another worthy feat.

My strongest impression of the meeting was the number of people who said that Eric had made them feel “really special”. One who said this amused everyone by saying that she had almost felt jealous on discovering how many other people she had to share this with.

Posted in Something for the Weekend | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Lord Avebury’s personal story – why he wants the option of assisted dying

eric aveburyLiberal Democrat peer Eric Avebury, a great friend of this site, has been talking to the Dignity in Dying website about why he feels so strongly that assisted dying should be an option, to help him avoid a “very terrible” death from his blood cancer.

I am committed to campaigning for terminally ill, mentally competent people to have the right to an assisted death. I have an incurable disease, a form of blood cancer called myelofibrosis, where the inside of the bone marrow turns to fibre and it no longer produces blood, so you suffocate. I have been told that it can be very terrible in the last stages.

It is a debate that the public have been engaging in for many years and finally Parliament has decided to catch up. I have had my own conversations with my family. My wife comes to all my consultations and we have discussed assisted dying. She knows that the ideal would be to have a peaceful death at home and for palliative care to deal with any serious pain, but if it doesn’t she would respect my decision to have an assisted death – assuming the Bill is passed by then. I am not keen on the idea of travelling to Switzerland and we haven’t discussed that option. My four children know my views and don’t object to them either.

I obviously have a personal stake in the Bill and the future of the assisted dying campaign. Currently I am not in the latter stages of my illness and I am very hopeful that this year will not be my last.

I am confident that, when this time comes for me, assisted dying for terminally ill people will be a legal right in the UK, and I will be able to plan the death that I want.

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Opinion: Don’t like the exam question? Just cross it out…

The place of religious schools in a secular society is always a subject for debate, but it comes to a head when you discover that some schools are redacting questions in GCSE exam papers because they wouldn’t approve of the answers.

All schools are required to teach the national science curriculum, and are inspected on that basis by Ofsted. We are told that to present creationism as science is not allowed. Yet one school – a Jewish girls’ secondary in this case, but the same question may arise elsewhere – has chosen to cross out questions which offend their sensibilities. …

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Eric Lubbock: From Orpington Man to Buddhist Monk?

For many years Adrian Slade has interviewed prominent Liberal Democrats. To mark his recent decision to make his archive of the interview recordings available to researchers and other interested parties, Lib Dem Voice is running a selection of his write-ups of interviews from over the years. The latest is from 2002 and is with Lord Avebury, formerly Eric Lubbock – victor of the 1962 Orpington by-election, MP for eight years and chair of the parliamentary human right s group from 1976 to 1997.

For a few astonishing days in March 1962, the Liberal Party led the Conservative and Labour parties in the opinion polls, the only time it had ever done so since polls were invented.

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Daily View 2×2: 31 May 09

Welcome to the Sunday outing for our Daily View. As it’s a Sunday, today’s comes with a special examination paper supplement. If you spot anything for future posts, do let us know on [email protected]

2 Big Stories

Opinion polls

It’s been a tale of two polls: a disappointing Populus poll on Saturday followed by a spectacularly good ICM poll in today’s Sunday Telegraph, putting the Liberal Democrats in second place in both general election and European election voting intentions:

The ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph is the worst possible news for the Prime Minister as he enters his most important week since taking

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Evan wins Secularist of the Year 2009

We may be only five weeks into 2009, but Lib Dem MP Evan Harris has already won an award – Secularist of the Year. The BBC reports:

The Liberal Democrat was named joint winner, with Lord Avebury, for their work in abolishing the blasphemy libel law in England and Wales. Dr Harris called the law “ancient, discriminatory and illiberal” as well as not compliant with human rights and against free speech. The offences of blasphemous libel and blasphemy were abolished last summer. …

Dr Harris has also campaigned to separate religion and the state claiming the current system has a number

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  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 22nd Oct - 12:55pm
    After Industry (thank you, Peter Martin), poorly skilled people will have no productive platform anymore to earn a dignified living. Without complementary physical capital, the...
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    Interestingly I recall meetings where Mark Oaten, our then Shadow Home Secretary and later his successor in that role, one Nick Clegg, proposed that those...
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    Reading that very helpful link you included, George, what Phillip Lee was talking about does not seem like what is normally referred to as “forced...
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    Also, it is frankly ludicrous to suggest that, just because the BMA haven't withdrawn a doctor's license to practice over a political stance, the political...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Oct - 12:27pm
    Many thanks George
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 22nd Oct - 12:15pm
    Paul, I think you'll find that my most recent comment was around 5pm yesterday, therefore it is significantly less than 24 hours - and quite...