Tag Archives: mark thompson

Former BBC Director General: Liberal Democrats secured better settlement for BBC

Former BBC Director General Mark Thompson has told how the Liberal Democrats in coalition government secured a “different and better” settlement for the BBC. Now that the Conservatives are unmoderated, things are not so good for what many feel is the highest quality public service broadcaster in the world.

The Guardian reports:

Giving his his first interview about the BBC since he left in 2012, after eight years at the helm, Thompson said the broadcaster was having to pay for government policy. “It’s welfare … It’s totally inappropriate to use BBC to support social transfer in this country.”

When George Osborne tried to impose the same cost on the BBC during negotiations in 2010, Thompson started writing his resignation letter, along with several BBC Trustees. This July the current director general, Tony Hall, agreed to shoulder the burden in return for relief from other costs.

“In 2015 the political circumstances are very different and it is much tougher for the BBC. In 2010 it was the coalition government and the Liberal Democrats … played a very big part in securing a different and better settlement. That recourse has not been available to the BBC this year.”

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

House of Comments podcast: Mark Thompson, Scotland, Camibland and Lib Dem prospects

House of CommentsOn Saturday afternoon, I joined Mark Thompson on his recently rejuvenated House of Comments podcast. He’s doing it in a new format with just one guest. We spent around 45 minutes chatting about the week’s events.

We kind of had to talk about the Camibland debate. I mentioned the imbalance between the questions the two men got. Kay Burley actually asked Cameron if he’d ever eaten three shredded wheat. In the same segment, Ed was asked if he had done a better job than his brother could have done. All …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Mark Thompson quits Lib Dems. Is this the death of party politics? Not so fast!

Mark Thompson, winner of Lib Dem Blog of the Year 2012, has announced he’s leaving the party. You might be thinking, “Ah, another one who’s so annoyed with what the party’s doing in coalition that he can’t face renewing his membership.”

But you’d be wrong. As the title of Mark’s piece makes clear – Why I am leaving the Lib Dems – AKA This is not a Flounce – it is not the party he is disillusioned with but party politics:

The impetus for me to leave is really because politics is broken. The Westminster Village is obsessed with who

Posted in News | 24 Comments

Lindsay vs Thornsby – House of Comments podcast comes to Conference

On Sunday morning, Nick Thornsby and Caron Lindsay joined Mark Thompson in the Liberal Democrat Voice broom cupboard in Glasgow and recorded a special edition of his House of Comments podcast.

Have a listen and see whether our crystal balls were right as we predicted how Conference would go and discussed everything from  Trident, nuclear power, fracking, online pornography and Nick Clegg’s position as leader. Deficit hawk Thornsby and old fashioned tax and spender Lindsay put forward their relative positions on the economy in entirely civilised fashion.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

House of Comments podcast: with added Caron Lindsay

caron lindsayLibDemVoice Co-Editor Caron Lindsay guests on the latest House of Comments, the weekly podcast presented by Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson and Labour’s Emma Burnell.

So if you’re interested in any or all of the following topics — the state of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg’s position, your favourite minister and MP, gender balance, immigration, Mark’s “I won’t campaign for anyone who voted for secret courts” pledge, drugs policy, and much, much more — then you robably want to give it a listen.

Here’s the magic link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/house-of-comments-podcast/id579577529.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Lib Dem MPs to abstain on Tories’ EU in/out referendum bill?

EU flag - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentOn 5th July, Tory MP James Wharton’s private member’s bill — laying out Conservative plans for an in-out referendum on the EU in 2017 — will get its second reading.

The Tories are on a three-line whip to support it (very unusual for a private member’s bill). Labour has confirmed they’ll shun the vote, branding the bill “a gimmick, a political stunt”. The Lib Dem parliamentary party will decide its position in a couple of weeks’ time, but is likely to abstain with …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

A personal guide to the 13 most essential political podcasts

podcastsCommuting is a major part of my daily life, so I find podcasts are an essential way to make use of time I’d otherwise spend staring vacantly out the window or idly refreshing and re-refreshing Twitter. Here, in order of where they appear in my iTunes directory, are the podcasts I listen to most frequently…

The Economist’s podcasts – a good mix of audio recordings of selected articles from the print edition together with brief discussions involving the Economist’s expert correspondents. Slightly irritatingly the sound can vary between recordings, so you …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Are you a man?

menAre you a man? Have you been or might you be on a fringe meeting panel at Liberal Democrat conference? If the answer to both is yes, I’d like your help…

At the Spring conference just gone in Brighton, I nearly ended up being a speaker on an all-male panel – and one taking place on International Women’s Day no less. The subject – technology and politics – is one where there are a good few female experts in the party, and it was only Olly Grender’s last minute addition which saved my blushes from Mark Thompson’s quite reasonable intention to turn up and put us all on the spot about what was an all-male panel.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Blog of the Year Awards 2012: The Winners #LDBOTY

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2012 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Brighton’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

Posted in Best of the blogs and Conference | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

What Liberal Democrat Bloggers are saying about the Budget – Part 2

The Liberal Democrat blogosphere is continuing to talk about the Budget, so here are some of the latest offerings.

Sandy Walkington thinks that the Budget is a dish best observed cold.

I tend to aim off from all instant, hyperbolic reactions to the Budget.  When I worked as a press officer in the oil industry, Budget Day was a time for synthetic outrage at the latest iniquity heaped on the long suffering motorist or on the plucky explorers of the North Sea.  And then the sun continued to rise and set.

In the current global economic circumstances which only compound the reckless public

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 10 Comments

Lib Dem MPs win concessions ahead of benefits cap vote

Lib Dem MPs, including the party’s deputy leader Simon Hughes, look set to obtain concessions from Iain Duncan Smith to win their support for the Coalition’s controversial welfare bill, which will introduce a benefit cap of a maximum of £26,000. Here’s how The Guardian reports the news:

The government is expected to make a series of concessions in the coming days on it controversial £26,000 household benefits cap to win over wavering Liberal Democrat MPs. Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is expected to agree that a discretionary fund should be established to ease the burden on families

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

The past, the present, the future: what Liberal Democrats told WinkBall

In the run-up to the Liberal Democrat autumn federal conference, WinkBall is carrying out a series of short video interviews with different Liberal Democrats about the past year, the current political situation and what the future holds.

There are three video interviews up so far:

Mark Thompson

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 3 Comments

The News of the World and giving readers what they want

No, not a trailer for your super soaraway Lib Dem Voice on Sunday, but a quick quirk-alert on reader figures at our site this week.

It’s one of my jobs at Lib Dem Voice to keep an eye on the stats, including visitor numbers, popular posts, search terms and lots of other data.

These give us blogging ideas, help us to plan (and sometimes crow), and are another strand of audience feedback – alongside the comments threads, survey responses, emails and phonecalls, and of course the articles themselves that people submit.

So I thought I’d briefly share a surprising finding from …

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

How complicated is the Alternative Vote?

This graphic is from Anthony Smith via Mark Thompson:

Voting flowchart

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Daisy Benson

Welcome to the latest in our series giving the human face behind some of the blogs you can find on the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator.

Today it is Daisy Benson who blogs at www.daisyscampaigndiary.blogspot.com.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
The morning after the 1992 election – remembering my parents’ disappointment that Labour hadn’t won (again) and the pervading sense of gloom of another Tory government.

I also remember one election in the 80s when my parents displayed an SDP and a Labour poster in the same window!

2. When did you start blogging?

3. Why did you start blogging?
I started because I wanted to communicate to my constituents what I did as a councillor on their behalf.

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?
It’s the post I wrote about the budget-making process in Reading Council. I felt proud to have played a role in delivering one of the most difficult budgets in Reading Council’s history whilst protecting key services, and I wanted to contrast our approach with that taken by Labour opposition which I thought was totally lacking, obviously.

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?
I really enjoy Mark Thomposon’s posts as they are always intelligent and thought-provoking. I enjoyed this post as I thought it was a point that need making about Labour.

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Role reversal for the Liberal Democrats

Hopi Sen has blogged thoughtfully several times recently about the risk to Labour of slipping into focusing on the tactics without getting the strategy right. In Labour’s case that means, for example, an undue focus on how to next best shout – “those cuts are awful!” rather than working out how to deal with the public mostly blaming Labour for the need to cut in the first place. Tactical triumphs at PMQs only gets you so far; rebuilding a reputation for economic competence is what is needed to win – as William Hague found in his time as Conservative …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

“Loathe this government if you will…” – 4 points following on from Julian Glover’s must-read Guardian article

Julian Glover, writing for The Guardian’s Comment Is Free, puts forward a trenchantly pro-Coalition, pro-Clegg line — one that’s guaranteed to attract the ire both of Guardianistas, and of some Voice readers, too. This excerpt offers the substnance of his argument:

Loathe this government if you will, but at least acknowledge that neither side in it got all it wanted at the election and that neither has sold out all of its principles. The strangeness of co-operation exposes its component parts to the easiest of attacks: of promising one thing before an election and doing another after it. But as

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 100 Comments

Can the surge last? Lib Dem bloggers give their views …

Lib Dems leading the election race, and polling above 30% – that’s not a line (m)any of us expected to be able to type with a straight face. But it’s the present reality. The questions is: can the Lib Dem surge last? Here’s what a handful of Lib Dem bloggers think …

James Graham

Anyone who claims to know what will happen electorally next month simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. But there are a number of reasons to suggest that the Liberal Democrats’ poll leap over the weekend might last.

Firstly, polls tend to be mutually reinforcing. This is why some countries ban them during election time. The same factor which has reinforced the Lib Dems’ image as no-hopers in the past might well work in our favour now, especially since it is such a dramatic development.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 49 Comments

Tory VAT tax rises and Michael Caine … the spoof posters collection

On the day that the Lib Dems tried to smoke out the Tories’ true position on whether they’ll jack-up VAT by 3% – annual cost to the average household, £389 – to pay for their unfunded tax-cuts, David Cameron was joined by a man worth £45m who rather likes the Tories’ promise to cut taxes for the wealthiest at the expense of everyone else.

Full marks to Lib Dem HQ who were smartly on the case to splice the two stories memorably together:

Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson had his own pithy take on it:

Posted in General Election and Humour | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 26 March 2010

Time flies – Friday already! And is it really 29 years to the day that the Gang of Four launched a new political party: the Social Democrats?

Roy Jenkins said at the launch:

We want to get away from the politics of our dated dogmatism and class confrontation. We want to release the energies of people who are fed up with the old slanging match.

Watch the video of the launch here.

2 Big Stories

Digital economy bill to be pushed through parliament next month

The controversial digital economy bill will be pushed through in the “wash-up” leading up to an election, after the government confirmed that it will receive its second reading in the Commons on 6 April – the same day that Gordon Brown is expected to seek Parliament’s dissolution.

Harriet Harman, the leader of the house, said today that the bill will get its second reading. But when questioned by Labour MPs Neil Gerrard and Tom Watson about the lack of time given to debate over controversial issues in the bill, she said only that “ministers are aware” of the strong feelings that the proposed legislation has engendered.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

In the spotlight: Anna Arrowsmith and Paul Walter

For the delectation of LDV’s readers, you might be interested in clicking on the following two links:

1. Mark Thompson interviews Anna Arrowsmith

The Mark Reckons blog carries an interview with the Lib Dems’ candidate for Gravesham in Kent, Anna Arrowsmith, who shot to prominence last week owing to her successful career as the UK’s first female director of pronography.

2. Total Politics interviews Paul Walter

The Lib Dem blogosphere’s very own Burbler-in-Chief Paul Walter is profiled here by Total Politics magazine. Find out Paul’s least favourite blogger, his political idol, and what would be the one thing above …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Welcome to Lib Dem TV

Liberal Democrat blogger Mark Thompson has launched a new site, Lib Dem TV:

On it I intend to put up any interviews or other sorts of footage involving Lib Dem members and candidates that I can generate. I am also happy to post any relevant footage from other Lib Dem activists that might be of interest more widely.

You can see Lib Dem TV here.

Posted in Online politics | 8 Comments

Opinion: The BBC – Snog, Marry or Avoid?

It has been open season on the BBC of late.

We all have our reasons for criticism: the incompetent decision to close 6 Music, the failure to manage budgets, the excessive salaries of performers and especially of senior managers create a climate of anger which serves only to underline the perhaps more important failures to deliver quality public service broadcasting.

I have long been a critic of the ‘Today’ programme, which is overlong, too pleased with itself and too inclined to slide into its comfort zone of two party politics. Andrew Neil’s political vehicle ‘This Week’, a weekly genuflection before the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 9 March 2010

On this day in 1956, the British authorities ordered the deportation of the Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios, in the hope of restoring law and order to the island.

Thirty seven years ago today, the people of Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the United Kingdom. In a referendum on the future of the province, 591,280 people (57%) of the electorate voted to retain links with the UK. A poll boycott by the nationalist population meant that only 6,463 voted in favour of a united Ireland.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Two more gains in local by-elections… and some post-match blogging

The Liberal Democrats gained two seats in by-elections held on 25 February.

In Eastwood South (Broxtowe District Council) the Lib Dems surged ahead of Labour:
LD Keith Longdon 985 (53.1; +34.0)
Lab 484 (26.1; -12.1)
Con 387 (20.9; -0.4)

In Fenstanton ward, Huntingdonshire District Council, the Lib Dems gained a seat from the Tories:
LD Colin Saunderson 391 (51.1; +4.2)
Con 337 (44.1; -4.1)
Lab 37 (4.8; -0.1)

For this week’s full results, commentary and fantastic victory photo see the ALDC website.

Mark “Reckons” Thompson was the candidate in the Owlsmoor by-elections and has blogged about it in My experiences as a

Posted in Council by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 23 February 2010

Today the people of Guyana celebrate the country becoming a Republic in 1970. Mashramani, often abbreviated to  ‘Mash’, is an annual festival that celebrates the nation and people of Guyana with a carnival parade, music, games and food.

On this day in 1945, the Stars and Stripes was raised over the Japanese-held volcanic island of Iwo Jima, rather than the flag of a trade union.

This morning the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable is in Canary Wharf, delivering a keynote speech, which will outline the Liberal Democrats plan for the banking and financial services industries.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Clegg blasts Tory MP Sir Nicholas Winterton: “Sadly some MPs still just don’t get it …”

Nick Clegg has just tweeted his reaction to Sir Nicholas Winterton’s railing against moves to reduce first-class train travel by MPs – the Tory MP said he needed “peace and quiet” while travelling, and that standard class carriages are occupied by “a totally different type of people.”

The Lib Dem leader’s having none of it, slamming Sir Nicholas’s plea with an exasperated one-liner:

“Sadly some MPs still just don’t get it …”

Well quite. The Tories have been quick to disown Sir Nicholas, acidly dismissing “the out-of-touch views of a soon-to-retire backbench MP”.

The trouble is the Tory party does have a bit of form. As Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson reminds us, the Tory chairman Eric Pickles hardly covered himself in glory on the BBC’s Question Time last year when he defended his second home on the more-than-dubious grounds that as an MP he has to be in work on time. Let’s remind ourselves once again of that perfect moment of car-crash telly:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 18 February 2010

Welcome to my second Daily View of the week, as Alex continues his Caledonian cultural capers.

On this day five years ago, the ban on hunting with dogs came into force. As a long-term campaigner against blood sports, I don’t think it’s been the most successful piece of legislation ever. Today is also the anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s u-turn of 1981, when she withdrew plans to close 23 pits and agreed to reduce coal imports from eight million to five-and-a-half million tonnes over the next year. As we know, it was only a short reprieve.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 15 February 2010

Happy Monday morning! And as it’s the fifth anniversary of YouTube, find out why Paddy chose to appear with a couple of puppets back in 1997. But first, the news and blogs.

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:

  • The difference between Lord Ashcroft and Lord Paul on Rob Parsons‘ A comfortable place blog:

    These episodes demonstrate the character of the Conservative Party – people who make all sorts of promises in order to get what they want with the firm intention of weaselling out of them.

  • Who will be the next Labour PM? on Mark Thompson‘s Mark Reckons blog.

    … don’t be surprised if the next Labour PM is someone that you won’t have heard of even several years from now.

Have you donated yet?

Lib Dem Voice is asking our readers to consider making a donation to help five candidates in the imminent general election. The first to be featured is Willie Rennie, victor in the 2006 Dunfermline by-election. Click here to read more. Click here to donate to Willie’s campaign.

2 Lib Dem Stories

David Laws on Tory ‘free school’ plans: “deeply flawed”

David Laws has criticised the Tories’ plans to set up Swedish-style ‘free schools’, saying:

The Tories’ schools plans are deeply flawed both in terms of money and on the curriculum. Michael Gove’s plan to cut the education budget means his ability to establish new schools will inevitably depend on raiding the budgets of existing schools.

“On the curriculum, Conservative plans are in even more of an incoherent muddle. Michael Gove plans to impose an absurdly detailed curriculum on most state-funded schools, while allowing free schools to adopt a pick-and-mix curriculum – even if this means dropping core subjects such as British history and modern languages.

“It is impossible to justify in any logical way a system which imposes such centralized uniformity on 23,500 schools while allowing a small minority to teach whatever they like at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Lib Dem voters more likely to have a sex toy

Well, according to a poll quoted in The Sun anyway:

Lib Dem voters are more likely to have a sex toy than Labour or Tory supporters, a poll reveals. Thirty per cent own one, compared to 24 per cent for Labour and 22 per cent of Tories.

The party that gives you good vibrations. Hmmm, I admit the slogan needs some work, but, hey, it might just work.

Celebrating 5 years of YouTube

Because 5 years ago, clips like the below were just forgotten bits of old news archive seen by no-one:

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Annoyed by BBC Question Time panel selection? Then you know what to do.

A couple of years back, I was moved to write to the BBC complaining about Question Time’s pro-Tory bias, regularly featuring Tory-supporting journalists alongside Tory MPs.

Well, that’ll learn me to be careful what you wish for. Because what do we have to look forward to on tonight’s QT panel? The following: an official Labour representative (Lord Falconer), and two former Labour MPs (Clare Short and George Galloway); and, for balance, an official Tory representative (Theresa May), and professional right-wing agitpropette (Melanie Phillips). Deep joy.

As Love and Liberty’s Alex Wilcock acerbically notes:

It’s not as if the Liberal Democrats have

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 21 Comments

Recent Comments

  • David Goble
    @ Richard Church. Tax break for pensioners; why not for all? Increase the tax-free allowances for all in line with inflation. There is much talk these days abou...
  • Mark
    The state retirement age has already gone up and is set to increase further. From the current 66 years of age to 68 years from 2044....
  • Peter Watson
    Yes, there are less affluent parts of constituencies up and down the country, but which ones are Lib Dems targeting? Which byelections did the party machine get...
  • Richard Church
    And the next day they promise a tax break for pensioners. Reward the elderly while making the young pick up the pieces of our broken public services....
  • Mark Frankel
    How does this translate into concrete policies? One might be to re-join the EU, to reduce fruitless, emissions-generating frictions such as the new fingerprint...