Tag Archives: menzies campbell

20 years on: Menzies Campbell’s speech in 9/11 recall

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the recall of Parliament in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the USA.

We posted Charles Kennedy’s speech earlier. In a subsequent debate on international terrorism, Menzies Campbell, then our foreign affairs spokesperson, spoke. He made some unfailingly liberal points, about how important it was to focus on justice rather than retaliation, to make sure any response is based on decent intelligence and international co-operation and, importantly, that we should note that the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda and the Srebrenica massacre were not met hunted down with international military action. We mustn’t, he said, give the impression that the lives of those in the richest countries are worth more than those in the poorest.

Here is his speech in full, taken from Commons Hansard.

Back then, he and Paddy Ashdown were go-to people for the media on foreign affairs. They had huge credibility and were well known.

Not for the first time this week, I reflect on the fact that no matter how rich or diverse the English language it is inadequate to convey the sense of horror and frustration that so many of us feel about the events that have taken place across the Atlantic. Expressions such as “defining moment” have been thrown about—there are many of my generation for whom the defining moment appeared to be the assassination of John F. Kennedy—but I suspect that the life of the most powerful city in the most powerful country in the world will never be the same. I refer not just to the irritation of increased airline security, but to the realisation that no country, however powerful, can guarantee absolute safety for its citizens.

After the emotions of shock, sorrow and anger has come, as the Prime Minister rightly expressed, our admiration for the people of the United States. The United States is a great country with enormous economic resources, but this week we have seen that it has great resources of character as well. How else can one explain the extraordinary unified response to these events: immediate bipartisanship in the Congress, the quite extraordinary valour of the emergency services and, in towns and villages throughout the United States, public protests of determination that the people will not be intimidated?

In our occasionally patronising way, we on this side of the Atlantic sometimes raise our eyebrows at the United States’ style of public affirmation of nationhood—the pledge of allegiance and the public support for the flag. The truth is that this week has demonstrated that, in time of crisis, that public expression of unity is priceless in promoting a common purpose and a determination to triumph over adversity. The collective response of the people of the United States has rightly earned the admiration of us all.

When the roll call of nations that have lost citizens is set down, it will tell us that the nations of the whole world were the indiscriminate targets of the zealots whose barbarity has brought sadness and grief to so many families. For me, and perhaps for others, the close proximity of the headquarters of the United Nations has more than symbolic significance. We know that the heaviest burden will be borne by the people of the United States. Out of the collective sorrow that they suffer, and that we share, there must surely come a resolve that through collective action the perpetrators will be brought to justice and terrorism will be met in all circumstances by a robust defence of democratic values.

Let me try to put to rest the canard that somehow United States’ policy in the middle east was the cause of these events. I have not always agreed with United States’ policy in the middle east, and indeed I have said so in the House on many occasions, but the cause of these events was a deliberate and calculated decision to take the lives of as many as possible, allied to the willingness of desperate men to implement that decision at the cost of their own lives. The Prime Minister was correct to tell us that we must not suffer any ambiguity in our analysis of terrorism, but we should also remind ourselves that terrorism often flourishes where real or perceived injustice prevails. Communities which have an unresolved or unrecognised sense of grievance are driven sometimes to assume that terrorism is the only way of seeking resolution or recognition.

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2-3 February 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Cavity appearing in NHS dental workforce
  • Product safety symbol another Brexit hit for businesses
  • Nuclear treaty withdrawal risks global instability
  • Cable: Nissan decision symbolises the loss of confidence in the UK

Cavity appearing in NHS dental workforce

Responding to the reports that 1 in 4 new patients not currently on the books with an NHS dentist have tried and failed to secure an appointment due to recruitment problems, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

This statistic is appalling and should be to Matt Hancock and those in the Conservative Government. As we see more and more dentists leave the NHS, it is clear that it

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5 November 2018 – today’s press releases

I’ve allowed myself to be distracted today, and almost forgot to get these up…

Government must end EU citizens rights uncertainty

Today the Liberal Democrats spokespeople for Home Affairs and Brexit, Ed Davey and Tom Brake will stand alongside representatives from the3million, advocating for EU citizens in the UK who fear for their rights in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Conservative Government’s chaotic approach to the Brexit negotiations is making ‘no deal’ more likely by the day. The millions of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living

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25 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Yesterday, we received a lot of press releases with an embargo upon them until after midnight, so it’s a bumper bunch today…

Leading figures from opposition parties will meet Michel Barnier in Brussels today to say the UK must remain within the Single Market and the Customs Union.

The campaign to resolve Brexit through a People’s Vote will also be discussed. The Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have all said they would support the public to have the final say on any Brexit deal in a vote in the House of Commons.

Last weekend saw …

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Campbell: May’s speech shows that staying in the EU is best for Britain’s security

Lord Menzies Campbell gave the Lib Dem reaction to Theresa May’s speech on post-Brexit security:

Everything Theresa May said in this speech illustrated that being in the EU is the best way of securing our security objectives.

This was an opportunity for her to show some pragmatism. She could have shown willingness to compromise on the European Court of Justice so as to break the logjam on the European Arrest Warrant and to make sure we have access to Europol’s information.

The problem she has is that to decide is to divide – Conservative Brexiteers inside and outside her Cabinet will be up

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Campbell: Every time Trump opens his mouth, the world becomes a less safe place

Back in the day when he was leader, he was referred to as Ming. Now he’s in the Lords and newly appointed Defence Spokesperson, he’s back to being Menzies.

Anyway, our new Defence spokesperson had this to say about Donald Trump’s latest destabilising shenanigans over Iran:

This is yet another example of Trump’s boneheaded belligerence.

Not content with senseless responses to every provocation of Kim Jong Un, he is determinedly undermining a treaty which has proved to be an important influence on nuclear non-proliferation.

Every time Trump opens his mouth, the world becomes a less safe place.

Surely, by implication, every time he reaches for …

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Paddy: Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia “a far greater danger” than ISIL

Paddy Ashdown has told the Independent that the growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the wake of the Saudi executions carried out over the weekend is “a far greater danger” than ISIL. He said that the UK Government should be robust about calling the Saudis out for their actions:

Lord Ashdown said Saudi Arabia’s sudden mass execution of prisoners – including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and a number of young political protesters – may have been intended to derail the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Vienna.

These executions are deeply, deeply destabilising to the very delicate situation that exists in the Middle East and the danger of a wider Sunni and Shia conflict. The West, including the UK government, is only just realising the danger of this and its implications for long term peace in the region. It poses a far greater danger in the long term than, for example, Isil,” the former Lib Dem leader added.

The UK Government should be making it explicitly clear that it regards this act as extremely destabilising. These executions are shocking in human rights terms and reveal the real nature of the people with whom we are dealing. The UK’s stance underlines its deeply illogical position of ignoring the funding of jihadist groups, including Isil, which is coming from within Saudi Arabia.

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Five party leaders at the funeral of Jeremy Thorpe

Paddy Ashdown, Nick Clegg, David Steel, Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell attend the funeral of former Liberal Party party leader Jeremy Thorpe at Saint Margaret’s Church on December 17, 2014 in Westminster. The eagle-eyed will also spot Tim Farron on the right.

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Do you support British involvement in air strikes against Islamic State?

It looks as though Parliament will be recalled this Friday to discuss British involvement in air strikes against Islamic State. I thought it might be a good idea to see what you, our readers, thought about this.

I don’t often approve of military action, but I might be open to the possibility on humanitarian grounds alone. I certainly was ok with the airstrikes on Libya in 2011. On IS, we cannot have these people being allowed to chase whole communities up mountains and leave them to starve. We can’t have people being summarily executed for refusing to convert to a particular religion. Standing by and doing nothing while that is going on is not an option. However, we can’t just go wading in there. Air strikes alone will do little more than contain IS. We need a long term solution.

Legality is important and international law professor  Philippe Sands has said that strikes on Syria may not comply with international law. It’s less problematic in Iraq because their government are likely to formally request our help.

Of course any military action is likely to lead to more murders of hostages. We don’t know how many British hostages they have, although Newsweek reports that they have potentially thousands of hostages from across the region including 186 Kurdish schoolgirls taken around the same time as the Boko Haram kidnappings of 20o girls in Nigeria.

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The Independent View: Scotland, vote no and let’s all move towards a Federal UK

Brazil v Scotland 22As an outsider, analysis about September’s Scottish Independence Referendum is something of a minefield. There is space to constructively critique the SNP’s proposals, but needs to recognise that I don’t have a vote, and that Lord Robertson-style hyperbole about a Scottish “cataclysm” is not just offensive – and for unionists, counterproductive – it is inaccurate, too.

So let me begin by making clear that in my CentreForum paper analysing Scottish independence published today, I believe that Scotland is perfectly capable of becoming an …

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Menzies Campbell MP on Salmond’s “disturbing lack of judgement” over Putin

Alex Salmond - License Some rights reserved by Ewan McIntoshYou would think that politicians would have more sense than to express any sort of admiration for Vladimir Putin. Alex Salmond has followed in the footsteps of Nigel Farage. He told Alistair Campbell for GQ:

Obviously, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin’s more effective than the press he gets, I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.

He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a

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Alistair Carmichael on Sir Menzies Campbell

Menzies CampbellAlistair Carmichael, the newly promoted Secretary of State for Scotland, added his thoughts about the retirement of his colleague Sir Menzies Campbell to those posted yesterday.

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Willie Rennie and Iain Smith praise Sir Menzies Campbell

mingWe told you earlier that Sir Menzies Campbell had announced that he’s retiring as MP for North East Fife in 2015.  Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and fellow Fife Parliamentarian Willie Rennie had this to say:

Menzies Campbell’s wise and intelligent counsel has guided our nation through some of its most testing dilemmas.  From Yugoslavia to Iraq to Syria he has been insightful and calm but never feared standing out from the crowd.

For over thirty five years Ming has dedicated himself to his constituency of North East Fife and in return local people have put their trust in him.  He converted a healthy Conservative majority into a healthy Liberal Democrat one.

Ming Campbell excelled in life – from Olympic sprinter to Advocate to political statesman.  To have excelled at one would be remarkable but to have excelled at all three is truly astonishing.

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No, Nicola, a vote against independence is not a vote for Trident

Writing blog posts based on the tail end of a radio interview you have caught  is fraught with danger. However, I want to take issue with something Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

She had been asked about today’s Guardian story which suggests that the Trident base at Faslane could be designated UK territory in a way similar to the sovereign military bases in Cyprus for a temporary period post independence.

She said that if the UK Government wanted to keep weapons of mass destruction, it could do so, but Scotland would just have voted against Trident, for independence.

On the ballot …

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Congratulations to Sir Andrew, Alison, Flick, Kirsty and Sir Menzies

The Queen’s Birthday Honours have been announced and so far we are aware of four Liberal Democrats who feature. There may well be more and we will update you as the day goes on.

The first Voice congratulations go to Sir Andrew Stunell who receives a knighthood for public and political service. Andrew has served this party in many capacities. I first knew him back in the 90s when he worked for ALDC and I’m glad to see his service at all levels of Government being recognised.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams becomes a CBE. She has led the …

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