Tag Archives: mark littlewood

And the winner of our Liberal Voice of the Year award is… Mark Littlewood

It’s a fortnight since we launched our search for the Liberal Voice of the Year with the aim of finding the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is LibDemVoice’s fifth such annual award, and as is our tradition, we looked beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the liberal who’s most impressed our readers and is not a member of our party.

We unveiled the shortlist here on New Year’s Day. In total, 903 readers cast a vote in the past two weeks. Here are the results …

Posted in LDV Awards and News | Also tagged and | 67 Comments

NEW POLL: Who is your Liberal Voice of the Year?

Today’s the day we launch our search for the Liberal Voice of 2011 to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is the fifth annual award, and as is our tradition, we’re looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s not a member of our party.

The list of nine nominees appears below. These were sought from Lib Dem members via our most recent survey; 233 nominations were submitted, and each of those short-listed needed to clear a threshold of five.

Posted in LDV Awards and News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 25 Comments

LDVideo: David Laws interviewed by Mark Littlewood

Last week, the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood, spent an hour talking to David Laws at the IEA’s Westminster headquarters. Before a packed room, Mark and David touched on a whole range of issues – taxation, Europe, the formation of the coalition, just exactly how liberal the Liberal Democrats are, and many more.

The hour-long exchange, which you can see below, is well worth a watch:

Posted in News and YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Will Hutton and his killer fact – the questions that need an answer

We are all experts when we blog. So, let me break with convention and start by admitting I am no economist. What’s more, I really hope I am wrong.

If you read the discussion in the Observer on the future of the economy you might have been struck, like me, by what seemed to be a killer point from Will Hutton. Challenging the notion that government borrowing is unsustainable he pointed out that when he was a child in the 1950s the level of borrowing was even higher as a proportion of national income than it is now. Doesn’t that …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

One point that underpins much of the tax debate

Over on the IEA blog, Mark Littlewood recently repeated a very commonly made point by those of a more low tax persuasion:

It’s worth noting that the relatively affluent in Britain pay a very high proportion of the overall tax take. In terms of income tax, the highest earning 1% contribute nearly a quarter of all receipts and the top 10% account for well over half.

There’s no prizes for guessing what conclusion Mark drew from this, but turn the point on its head and it serves just as well for the opposite political perspective.

It’s worth noting that the very affluent

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

Mark Littlewood resigns Lib Dem membership for IEA Director job

Mark Littlewood, the party’s former Head of Media and director the libertarian Liberal Vision group, has been appointed Director General of the “free-market think tank” IEA (Institute for Economic Affairs). The press release relating his appointment states that Mark has resigned from the Liberal Democrats in order to maintain the IEA’s non-partisan stance.

Posted in News | 179 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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Opinion: We’re a diverse party, get over it already

You do have to wonder who writes the Liberator Magazine Editorial sometimes. In February’s issue, the Collective launch into a fabulously splenetic rant (even by this shy retiring organ’s own standards) against the “blues under the bed” who they demand “should accept (their) defeat and clear off”.

That the majority of Liberator’s editorial board dislike the classical-liberal or economic-liberal or (shudder) right-wing of the party has never been in doubt, but you do wonder if there will be a point, after over 30 years of publication, where this Hamas-like Commentariat will proclaim an acceptance of the rights of the other side to exist, even if they do not always agree with them.

I should note that away from the left-wing sermon that is their editorial and Radical Bulletin they do print a variety of articles and even tolerate token eco-lib Jonathan Calder on their committee; but he is funny and occasionally pretends to be a post-centennial peer, so presumably fulfills some exclusive acceptability criteria of being ‘a bit right’ but Bonkers, and thus in need of some kind of compassionate care in their community.

There has always been a ‘left’ and ‘right’ to this liberal party, and even if the centre of gravity has shifted in response to events, what unites them, internationalism, tolerance, a belief in human rights, the importance of caring for each other and the environment etc., has always been greater than what divides… more often than not tax, spending, and other economic policies.

It is surely evident though, even to Liberator’s most bilious wordsmiths, that their perennial hate figures… Nick Clegg, David Laws, Gavin Grant, Mark Littlewood et. al. have more in common with them than Norman Tebbit and George Galloway?

Their clinching ‘evidence’ to demand for a schism though is the bizarre argument that:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 40 Comments

Opinion on Nick Clegg’s first anniversary: Mark Littlewood – A number of clouds, but some silver linings

Clegg’s first year: Clegg on Clegg | Tall on Clegg | Land on Clegg | Littlewood on Clegg | Clegg on YouTube

As Nick Clegg reaches his first anniversary as Liberal Democrat leader there is much for him to reflect on, but not – at least yet – a great deal for him to celebrate.

Let’s start with the bad stuff. Then look at some areas of success. And end with some grounds for genuine optimism.

The principal bad news is the state of the party in the opinion polls. It’s as simple as that. There are, of course, staging posts of “real votes in real ballot boxes” between General Elections, but the best guide to the performance of a party – and its leader – remains the plethora of national opinion polls pumped out on a weekly basis.

There has been no obvious “Clegg effect” in the first year of his leadership. In fact, if anything, the party may have slipped backwards slightly over 2008. In broad terms, we are running at an average of around 15 – 16%, suggesting about a third of our supporters have deserted us since the last election. Some polls suggest we may have lost half our support. No poll I can find suggests we have increased it.

These are poor numbers. Not necessarily catastrophic, but definitely bad. Whatever the public “spin”, the party’s inner circle must not kid themselves that these figures are anything better than that.

The electoral problem is, of course, exacerbated by Britain’s insane electoral system. If we do lose a third of our vote, we will probably lose many more than a third of our seats. If we lose half of it, we will lose more than half of our MPs. The line between a fairly good outcome in Parliamentary seats and a disastrous one is a very thin line indeed. It feels like we are walking that line.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 47 Comments

Opinion: A Truly Liberal Vision for the Liberal Democrats

Can the Lib Dems put forward radical, exciting, truly liberal policies and still attract substantial and growing levels of electoral support? According to Liberal Vision, which I helped set up last month, the answer is a definitive “yes”. In fact, adopting the former could well be the best way of achieving the latter.

Liberal Vision wants to see the party adopt a consistent approach to lowering taxes, reducing the size of government and extending personal freedom. At present, the party’s approach in these areas is patchy.

Whilst, the new tax package adopted at Bournemouth represents a dramatic step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go. I would like to see tax cuts even for those on relatively sizeable incomes, but am delighted that the party now at least believes the total tax burden should be cut, rather than increased.

Posted in Op-eds | 148 Comments

Conference: Liberal Vision and the Free Society

Tuesday lunchtime in Old Harry’s Bar was packed to the rafters with delegates promised something better than food: a list. Don’t we just love lists? Not this time the 10 most influential fluffy bloggers, but a ranking of how liberal the 63 Liberal Democrat MPs are on the basis of Parliamentary votes and Early Day Motion (EDM) support, on issues relating to personal liberty – i.e. drinking and smoking, rather than tax and CCTV. Nobody really believes the methodology behind the list to be sound, but, hey, it’s just a bit of fun, isn’t it?

I was quite pleased to observe …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Conference: it’s the Conservatives, stupid

New think-tank-stroke-consultancy Liberal Vision launched their first report at a fringe meeting yesterday lunchtime. Julian H, of Orange by Name was there…

12:55pm on Monday and liberals, lots of them, streamed into the subterranean Harry’s Bar in the Highcliff Hotel, drawn by the brilliant orange fliers around Conference that asked:


Which man? Harry? No! David “Dave” Cameron, of course. He is dangerous. And I don’t like him.

Posted in Conference | 9 Comments

That Adrian Sanders / Mark Littlewood contretemps

Well, it’s been in all the newspapers by now: but Julian H’s Orange By Name blog has the exclusive eye-witness account.

Posted in Conference | 7 Comments

Not had your fill of Henley analysis yet?

Then why not seek out former Lib Dem media chief Mark Littlewood’s analysis in today’s Telegraph? I don’t agree with it all, but here’s a thought-provoking extract to chew on:

The truth is that the Liberal Democrats have yet to develop a compelling narrative to deal with the threat posed by Cameron – and with many Liberal MPs defending small majorities over the Tories in the south of England, the threat is very real indeed. Many may now conclude that a record of being a hardworking constituency MP and championing local causes will not be enough to save them in

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 45 Comments

Lib Dem membership: who will reverse the decline?

Mark Littlewood’s latest ‘diary’ for the BBC’s Politics Show highlights one of the less welcome stats exposed by the current leadership contest:

The number of ballot papers issued – less than 65,000 – shows the party has lost more than 10% of its members since Ming Campbell was elected last Spring and now has less than 100 members per Parliamentary constituency.

Protestations from the Liberal Democrats that all political parties are witnessing declining membership and that last year’s total was artificially boosted – because it came so soon after a General Election – are not wholly convincing.

Back in 1999,

Posted in Leadership Election | Also tagged | 37 Comments

Razzall and Littlewood on Ming’s future

The Guardian reports on today’s BBC World at One interviews with former Lib Dem campaign manager, Lord Tim Razzall, and former head of communications, Mark Littlewood, here. Both suggest Ming Campbell’s future would come under the spotlight if the party were to under-perform in the Ealing Southall and Sedgefield by-elections this Thursday.

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

ACPO PR Director hired to replace Mark Littlewood as Head of Media

(I appear somehow to have botched up the publishing of this story yesterday, so it didn’t appear – apologies)

Association of Chief Police Officers’ Director of Communications, Hannah Gardiner, has been appointed as Head of Media for the Liberal Democrats. Gardiner will head up the Liberal Democrats’ Press Office and is expected to take up her post in July.

Hannah Gardiner will play a key role in the Party’s strategic communications team working hand in hand with Director of Policy and Communications, Jon Oates, Head of Policy, Greg Simpson, Leader’s Senior Spokesperson, Mark Webster and Press Secretary, Puja Darbari.

Chief …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

>> Mark Littlewood, Liberal Democrat head of media, resigns

More to follow later – at the moment I don’t have access to the statement that was released to the media, and I’m, er, off to the theatre. But it has been confirmed, and a statement has been released.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jonathan Davies for posting the statement in the comments. The Independent has a story on the resignation which says:

The row was potentially damaging for Sir Menzies, who has insisted that voting reform is a top priority. He will attempt to limit the fall-out from the row today, using a speech to the party’s Welsh conference to declare that

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Paul Barker
    Thanks for a very useful article. Something like a quarter of 2024 conservative Voters are likely to die before the next General Election - that shift on its ...
  • David Le Grice
    Why the hell do we only get two questions? We got more than half the seats and votes that the Tories got, if they get a whopping six then we should get at least...
  • Peter Davies
    @Paul Yes. Most organised areas do tallying....
  • Peter Davies
    "even in London we have no councillors (and so no councillor tithes) in 19 of the 32 Boroughs" it's not really 'even'. London Boroughs have the highest proporti...
  • Paul Culloty
    Is there much tradition of "tallying" in UK constituencies - generally, when an Irish GE or local election occurs, the boxes in the constituency (each one accou...