Tag Archives: mathews musings

Mathew’s Musings 22 September 2017

I’ve been to the vast majority of both spring and autumn party conferences since I joined the Lib Dems back in March 2010 and I can honestly say I enjoyed the one that ended in Bournemouth, on Tuesday, the best.

I think I’m finally starting to work out the ebbs and flows of conference; when best to put in a speaker’s card with a chance of actually being called; when to take time out with friends and not fill your whole rota with yet another fringe meeting (as good as they almost always are); how to network with like-minded fellow travellers to push a cause/campaign, and so on.

Like many of us, when I first went to Conference (Birmingham, Autumn 2011) I was overawed by seeing MPs (we had more of them then) and Ministers (yes, we had them too) I’d only previously seen on TV…and you could actually go up and talk to them (and the nicer ones would even reply.)

I was pleased, in Bournemouth, to grab a few words with Tim Farron in the Conference bar on one of the evenings.

I told him how sorry I was that he’s no longer our leader and that he’s a good man with much more to contribute to our cause.

His ex-leader’s platform speech reminded me (though I didn’t need to be) just what a talented orator he is

And, yes, as ever with a Tim Farron speech, I shed some tears whilst in the hall listening to it.

Tim has the ability, when speaking, to touch people’s hearts…that talent must continue to be put to the good of the party.

Vince Cable’s speech didn’t make me cry, but it was statesmanlike, full of vision and direction, but also with a clear economic message which-unique among our current Commons team-Vince is perfectly placed to provide.

There is always a danger, especially for us, that our Conference sees us talking to ourselves but getting little to no coverage beyond the Conference walls.

I hope Vince’s speech, at least, got and gets a wide airing.

It is a message that will inspire liberals and social democrats across party lines and those with, currently, no party affiliation.

The road back, for us, is a long one…but, with Vince at the wheel, we have steady hands and a sensible head to take us along the next part of the journey.

And, the bad news…<

After such a great party conference, it was disappointing to see our latest Party Political Broadcast.

I know some members like it…and it may play well in hipster London, but in vast swathes of the country, I venture, people will be left untouched

The whole appeal of Vince Cable is that he’s a serious man for serious times.

We should be redoubling on that message at every opportunity, not seeking ways to ‘promote’ what he’s not.

He’s not (particularly) hip or ‘down with the kids.’

He’s serious, he’s statesmanlike, he’s an ideas man.

I’m all for ensuring voters know about the rounded personality of leaders…such as Vince enjoying dancing and skiing, but basing a whole PPB around the hat that Vince wears, I personally think is just a bit naff.

That we (I assume) spend not inconsiderable amounts of money for ‘professionals’ to  come up with such guff, really does make you wonder.

The new PPB is like a clique which most people don’t belong to and end up just feeling alienated against.

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Mathew’s Musings: Commentary on this week’s news

Who speaks for the poor?

Of all of the words spoken, written and broadcast in our public discourse this week, a fifty minute oration stands head and shoulders above the rest.

It was a speech made by the anchor of ITN’s Channel 4 News, Jon Snow; who I certainly believe is probably the best journalist active in the UK media today.

He was in Edinburgh to give the 2017 MacTaggart Lecture at the city’s annual Television Festival.

Mr Snow’s theme was that a media elite…just like elites in politics, the law and so on, but arguably more important due to just how influential the media is today…is disconnected from large swathes of those it broadcasts and publishes to, especially the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.

His address, to a hall of media professionals, is the most powerful I’ve heard in years.

Time and again he spoke truth to power…even when that truth asked serious questions of him and his profession.

Clips from it, rightly, did the rounds on social media but the speech in its entirety deserves a wide viewing/reading.

It really is worth 50 minutes of your time:

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

Mathew’s musings…Commentary on this week’s news

A climate of denial

It was good to see former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in the UK yesterday, for the British debut of his new film ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ and he was touring the broadcast media studios to promote it.

Mr Gore is one of the most knowledgeable and trustworthy non-scientist voices on the impending doom that is man-made climate change and the urgent changes we need to make to stop it.

He’s dedicated his post-political life to raising this worldwide issue and using his significant platform and very high profile to encourage today’s political leaders to ensure it remains at the top-or very near it-of the agenda.

Sadly, due to Brexit and the ‘election’ of Donald Trump, this most important issue we all face-impending and potentially life-threatening catastrophic global warming-has increasingly been an also-ran in our political debate and news agenda.

That’s why this latest film from Gore and his team-a follow-up to his 2006 documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’-couldn’t be timelier or more needed.

In an interview with the excellent LBC mid-morning presenter James O’Brien yesterday Gore alleged that the BBC are ‘Climate Change deniers’ due to them embracing a ‘false equivalency’ between experienced and knowledgeable experts on the subject-such as himself-and those he alleges (and it’s hard to disagree with him) of being deniers…such as former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Nigel Lawson.

The ‘Today’ programme team, on BBC Radio 4, put Lawson up against Gore yesterday morning…as if they are both of equal standing on the issue when they quite clearly are not.

As I pointed out in a recent piece in The New European newspaper, by seeking ‘balance’ BBC News (and, to be fair, other broadcasters) often actually give greater weight to one side/point of view than its merits deserves.

They skew true debate.

This is one such case.

95-plus per cent of climate scientists agree that the global warming we’re experiencing is down to the actions and gross irresponsibility of human beings.

How dare the BBC give equal weight, respectability and air-time to echo-chambers of the tiny minority who try and argue that climate change isn’t man-made?

I’m all for the representations of minorities, usually, but, in this case, the BBC is deeply irresponsible for creating an equivalency which demonstrably doesn’t exist.

Do I think the BBC is institutionally climate change denying? No, I don’t.

But do I think they need to look seriously and urgently at their version of ‘balance’? Yes, I very much do.

Climate change is real. It is, overwhelmingly, caused by the actions of human beings. We, all of us and especially political leaders and governments, must do all in our power to stop it.

Before it’s too late.

Doing sweet FA

Last weekend I watched an excellent-but soul-destroying documentary on BBC Two (I love the BBC, by the way, I just get annoyed when it lets itself down…re my commentary above.)

It saw the former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas, a hero of mine who I was fortunate to meet a number of years ago, one of the first UK professional sportsmen to come out as gay, exploring homophobia in football and what, if anything is being done to stop it.

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

Mathew’s Musings -commentary on this week’s news

Fifty years on

As many (if not all) of you will know, this week marks fifty years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality.

As an out and proud gay man, it is humbling to remember the efforts of so many people…most of whom didn’t live to feel the joy of (near) equality but who nonetheless kept up the fight and the campaigning in the hope that future generations of gay and bi men and women would.

I shed a few tears this week thinking of all the people who were demonized, criminalized, abused, and died, just because of who they they were and who they loved.

There’s still much more to do, of course, from doing more to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, to further acceptance in institutions such as the Church, recognition and rights for non-binary individuals, and further rights and equality for Transgender people.

Posted in Op-eds | 4 Comments

Mathew’s Musings -commentary on this week’s news

Our new leader

I wish Vince all the luck in the world, in what is one of the most demanding jobs in politics today…ensuring we get enough coverage to break through and continue the Lib Dem Fightback which Tim Farron made a such a good start on during his time in the top job.

There’s no doubt that Vince has pretty good name recognition among the general public (for a politician, anyway) and is clearly a trusted voice on the economy, something which hasn’t always been the case for our leaders.

As the star of a past Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing, we can but hope that Strong and Cable Vince will glide across the political scene and ensure that liberalism and social democracy not only survive but thrive in the form of the Liberal Democrats in the years ahead.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

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