Tag Archives: norman baker

WATCH: Norman Baker’s Reform Club’s hard-hitting song “Give War a Chance”

Norman Baker’s band, The Reform Club has a new album, Never Yesterday, out. Today, they release a very professional looking video.

Watch the hard-hitting song Give War a Chance which satirises the activities of a “peace envoy” and is published ahead of the Chilcott Report which we are sure will be published at some point this millennium. Norman plays the role of the envoy to absolute perfection. And there are tanks. Real tanks.

Of the song, Norman says:

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Norman Baker’s Reform Club band plays London

Norman Baker hit the stage in London recently with his band. Buzzfeed, and a whole load of Lib Dems, were there.

“Where are all the Lib Dems?” one bearded fan heckled at him at one point. Baker replied: “He’s over there.” That prompted some wry chuckles from my Lib Dem companions, perhaps tinged with a hint of sadness. Baker didn’t shy away from politics during the gig. “We wrote this one before May 2015 but it’s a good song to play afterwards,” he said, introducing “Never Yesterday”.

“But the road to the past is just another dead end / And so, my friend, think about today, never yesterday,” he sang with feeling. The band also enjoyed belting out “Give War a Chance”, an incredibly unsubtle takedown of Tony Blair. It begins: “I am an envoy for peace / But I’ve got war on my mind.”

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LibLink: Norman Baker – with the LibDems reduced to a “pile of rubble”, we’re in danger of sleepwalking into a one party state

Writing in the Independent, Norman Baker details a number of reasons why we are “sleepwalking into a one-nation state”, concluding as follows:

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Opinion: High Court rules DRIP legislation introduced by Liberal Democrats in government is unlawful

Last year there was widespread criticism from Liberal Democrat members  towards the parliamentary party’s support (with the honourable exception of the four Lib Dem MPs) for emergency DRIP surveillance powers.  A fair number of us warned our parliamentarians that the legislation seemingly did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.  In addition to the warnings that came from those of us within the party there was an open letter from leading UK internet law academic experts  and widespread criticism from civil liberties groups.

Norman Baker who was then a minister of state at the Home Office minster

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Five Liberal Democrat ex-MPs turn down the ermine

Honourable mentions for Messrs Cable, Laws, Alexander, Baker and Hughes who have, according to the Guardian, turned down or said they are not interested in offers of peerages in the dissolution honours:

Four senior Liberal Democrat politicians defeated in the general election, including former business secretary Vince Cable, have turned down offers of a peerage from Nick Clegg in the dissolution honours list. It is understood that David Laws, the former education minister, Simon Hughes, the former justice minister, and former Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander have also decided to reject a chance to sit in the House of Lords.

The Lords is likely to be a battleground for the government since the Conservatives do not have an overall majority in the upper chamber, even though in practice there are strict limits on how far peers can resist central planks of legislation agreed by the Commons. The Liberal Democrats currently have 101 peers, Labour 214, the Conservatives 178 and crossbenchers 224.

Hughes, a former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, who lost his Southwark and Bermondsey seat to Labour, told guests at a recent birthday party: “I don’t believe in an unelected second chamber. When you see the list I will not be on it. I am not going there.”

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Norman Baker’s genius response to David Cameron: David, I need you to stop sending dishonest and patronising letters

Norman Baker by Liberal DemocratsThe Tories don’t seem to have got the hang of excluding the opposition from their target mailings. This may be a good thing as we wouldn’t have had the joy of reading our Norman Baker’s fantastic and hilarious response to a missive he received from David Cameron, in whose government he served until last November.

Here’s the Prime Minister’s letter:

David Cameron Letter

And here, in full, is Norman’s pithy response. Enjoy.

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Norman Baker gets musical to highlight dangers of animal extinction

Norman Baker's Animal CountdownLewes MP Norman Baker has taken to music to warn us all of the dangers facing some animals we take for granted. Lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos are under threat. I spent 99p on it and it’s actually very good. You can find out how to download Norman Baker’s Animal Countdown here and the video, which I can’t embed, can be watched on You Tube here.

Norman wrote an article for Politics Home ahead of his Adjournment Debate last night in which he outlined what needed to be done:

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What Theresa May didn’t want you to see: Norman Baker reveals all on drugs report

Norman Baker has revealed that the report into effective ways of tackling drugs policy commissioned by Liberal Democrats in Governemnt had some of its conclusions removed by Theresa May, presumably for fear of upsetting the Daily Mail.

From the Guardian:

He said that drugs policy should be based “on evidence, not dogma” and that, although the Conservatives were opposed to liberalisation, they were losing the argument on the issue.

Under pressure from the Lib Dems, the Home Office commissioned a report looking at the international evidence on the impact of legislation on drug use. Theresa May, the home secretary, made no secret of the fact that she had no enthusiasm for the project, and when it was published in October, with Baker taking the lead in publicising it, Conservative ministers signalled that they would ignore it.

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Speaking up for the civil liberties of dogs

HazelAfter the Federal Executive meeting this week where we discussed preparations for the election campaign (heartening to see so many people coming forward to be approved as candidates), arrangements to implement the One Member One Vote decision at Conference (and good to see that Mark Pack and Duncan Brack who proposed the amendment passed are to be invited in to work on that), the implementation of the Morrissey Report (amazing progress made, driven forward by our fabulous Pastoral Care Officer), we headed to the pub.

I was talking about my excitement/slight apprehension about picking up our new puppy the next day. The picture on the right shows little Hazel, who is now happily settled and busily involved in training us to meet her needs.

Anyway, Martin Tod reminded us all that he had once spoken up for the civil liberties of dogs in response to an animal welfare debate at Conference in 2003. He and Mark Pack wondered how it would look if the motion applied to humans. He posted the speech on his blog last year and here’s a snippet:

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Norman Baker – one of the most popular Lib Dem ministers among party members

LibDemVoice has been surveying party members throughout the Coalition to find out how well-rated (or otherwise) Lib Dem ministers are. All these results, together with our regular Coalition tracker series, are available online here.

Here’s how Norman Baker has performed in these surveys in the four-and-a-half years he’s been a minister, first at Transport, latterly at the Home Office. The figures below are the net satisfaction ratings (ie, those very/quite satisfied minus those very/quite dissatisfied):

ldv - norman baker ratings

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Norman’s conquest: Mr Baker ‘will be missed’ – Independent

normanbakerAs he quits mud-wrestling with Theresa May to spend more time with Piccadilly Circus (available in all good music outlets), Norman Baker receives very high praise indeed in an Independent editorial today. “The outgoing minister was more than just a troublemaker in the Home Office”, says the strapline, with the article including this passage:

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++BREAKING: Lynne Featherstone to replace Norman Baker at Home Office, Lindsay Northover to go to DFID

I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with Nick Clegg’s announcement that Lynne Featherstone is going back to the Home Office for the final 6 months of this Government. She spent the first two years there and in that time did all the set-up work for the Same Sex Marriage Bill. Since she’s been at DFID, she’s maintained a good working relationship with the Home Office because she’s been implementing a cross-Government plan to tackle FGM that involves them. I hope that she might also be able to dig her Transgender Action Plan out of the long grass where it’s …

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How – or will – Nick Clegg replace Norman Baker in the home office?

jenny willottNorman Baker’s decision to quit as Lib Dem home office minister — citing significant differences with his boss at the department, the Tories’ Theresa May — means a vacancy has opened up. How will Nick Clegg fill it? We’re unlikely to have long to wait, but here are what I see as his options…

Nick could simply promote a current MP. If he does so, then the obvious choice would be Jenny Willott. She covered Jo Swinson’s maternity leave at the business department, earning good reviews along the way. A promotion …

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++ Norman Baker quits as Home Office minister

Norman BakerNorman Baker, appointed Lib Dem home office minister just over a year ago, is to quit his government post and “launch a stinging attack on Theresa May”, according to the Independent:

Norman Baker, the crime prevention minister, is stepping down after a year of internal battles within the Home Office with his Conservative boss.

In a scathing verdict on Ms May’s leadership, Mr Baker warned that support for “rational evidence-based policy” was in short supply at the top of her department.

The Lib Dem has publicly clashed with Ms May on issues including drugs policy and immigration.

He told The Independent yesterday that the experience of working at the Home Office had been like “walking through mud” as he found his plans thwarted by the Home Secretary and her advisers.

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Norman Baker: “The Lib Dems want to restore the public’s trust in the police”

Norman BakerToday’s London Evening Standard front page splashes on the news that the Lib Dems intend to tighten the laws on stop and search, and require some police officers to wear body cameras when they stop someone:

Armed police, riot squads and officers carrying out some stop-and-search in London would have to wear body cameras under Liberal Democrat proposals unveiled today.

The law and order reform, which will be in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto, will also require police to get a judge’s approval to carry out controversial Section 60 stop-and-searches. The existing law lets a senior officer authorise the stopping and searching of individuals in a certain area without suspicion of wrongdoing if he or she believes violence is about to erupt or that people are carrying weapons without good reason.

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The Independent View: Norman Baker’s move to cutting edge science will benefit Britain

Norman Baker’s calls for an end to animal testing were dismissed as “short sighted” in Alasdair Hill’s Lib Dem Voice article (‘Why a ban on animal testing is short-sighted and bad for our knowledge-based economy’).

But the comments made by the Liberal Democrats’ Home Office Minister are welcomed by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) which has long championed moves towards modern science, benefiting humans and animals alike. However, progress away from animal tests will falter while researchers are working within an outdated system that hinders scientific progress and keeps animal experiments hidden from public scrutiny.

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Norman Baker: in profile

normanbakerThe latest Total Politics magazine has a profile of Lib Dem health home office minister Norman Baker. Here’s a snippet:

at the Home Office, Baker’s relationship with his boss Theresa May has developed into one of mutual respect. (May apparently told Baker early on that she didn’t know where the “spitting tacks” comment had come from.) According to one fellow MP: “He probably likes her because she stands up to Number 10. For her part, Theresa May doesn’t suffer fools gladly. It would’ve leaked out if she was unhappy with him.”

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Opinion: Why a ban on animal testing is short-sighted and bad for our knowledge-based economy

University of the West of England, laboratory, science. Some rights reserved by JiscLast week the BBC reported on a piece of potential Lib Dem policy that was picked up by Lib Dem Voice yesterday; Norman Baker’s desire to ban all animal testing. Now the spurious use of animals with scant regard for animal welfare is of course wrong but an outright ban on this practise shows a lack of understanding of the use of animals in the first place.

Medical research needs animal testing. Norman Baker MP is absolutely correct in that we should be using alternative techniques where they exist and develop them so they can be used in the future. However when testing new drugs there is no way round testing the toxicity and efficacy in animals. Cell-based techniques cannot be used as a complete substitute because we need to see the effects of medicine against a whole organism; the success and dangers of drugs depends on a whole suite of systems and complex biological relationships that can only be seen using whole-organism models. I certainly wouldn’t want to give an experimental drug to human volunteers before it has been tested in animals.

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LibLink: Norman Baker – I want to see the end of all animal testing

Norman BakerIt is, perhaps, unusual for a minister to declare that he or she would like to see the end of part, or all, of their job. But then, Norman Baker isn’t necessarily your average minister. It is ironic that, given his record as an anti-vivisection campaigner, he was given responsibility for the regulation of animal experimentation. In an interview with BBC News, he said that he wants to see an end to such testing, although he understands that it “would not happen tomorrow”.

Unexpectedly perhaps, the number of experiments using …

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Norman Baker MP writes…Why the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill is compatible with human rights

Data CenterAs a party we care deeply about human rights. Left to their own devices, the Conservatives would have pulled us out of the European Convention. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, we have stopped that from happening.

So I am concerned by some suggestions that the emergency legislation we published on Thursday isn’t compliant with the ECHR. This is simply not true.

As many of you will know, in April this year the European Court of Justice overturned the EU Data Retention Directive. They did so on the basis that this …

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LibLink: Norman Baker: Security and freedom in the internet age

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Norman Baker wrote an article for the party website which I thought you might find useful because it deals with some of the points raised in the questions to my mammoth post yesterday.  I must warn you, though, that there are some examples of apostrophe abuse in it, so steel yourselves.

Many, if not most, people are concerned about the rush to get this legislation through in just two days. Norman gives his explanation of why he thinks it’s necessary:

No government introduces fast track legislation lightly, but the challenge

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76% of Lib Dem members oppose Government plans to render foreign-born terror suspects ‘stateless’

Lib Dem stickersLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Three-quarters oppose Theresa May’s plans to render foreign-born terror suspects ‘stateless’

The Government has proposed in its Immigration Bill that the Home Secretary should have the power to revoke the British nationality of those whose presence in the UK are deemed ‘not conducive to the public

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Norman Baker in election leaflet typo – but he has the last word

Norman BakerTwenty years ago, I spent about 4 solid days, and nights, in a small flat in Chesterfield with a doggedly industrious group of Liberal Democrats. There had been a mistake with the imprint on the North Nottinghamshire and Chesterfield. This had not been noticed before the 250.000 leaflets had been printed. We had to stamp over the mistake and sort them. Oh, and for good measure, agent Paul Holmes, never one to underestimate anyone’s capacity for work, had procured 40,000 envelopes for us to stuff for a by-election in Bradford.

We …

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Reports of domestic violence rise, but convictions drop

Norman BakerThe Guardian reveals that the proportion of domestic violence cases that are being referred by the police to prosecutors has dropped from 12.1% in 2009/2010 to 10.5% in 2012/2013, even though the number of cases reported to the police had risen.

According to the House of Commons Library, more than 838,000 reports of domestic violence were made to police forces across England and Wales in 2012/2013, but only 6.3% resulted in a conviction, compared to 7.1% in 2009/2010.

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What the media say about the York Conference, part 2

The Observer carries two major stories about the conference today.  They comment on the key messages in Nick Clegg’s Q&A yesterday afternoon under the headline: Lib Dem conference: stuck in the middle – but with whom?:

It is really quite difficult being a Lib Dem these days. In pre-government times, when they were merely the protest party, they could say almost anything that would get them votes. Now, after several years of enjoying power and wanting more, it is all about positioning between two polar opposites while trying at the same time not to lose the party’s own identity.

But in an article headed Northern Lib Dems rebel over cuts the Observer reports that a group of eight Northern Lib Dem MPs, including Tim Farron,  have handed Nick Clegg a document titled ‘Grim up North?’

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Opinion: the politics of the reshuffle

Lynne featherstone by paul walterNorman BakerThere has been a consistent thread running through Nick Clegg’s most recent government reshuffles: get good campaigners into posts where they can run successful high profile campaigns, implementing liberal policies and winning Liberal Democrat votes.

Put like that, it sounds uncontroversial, but when it has involved the departure of Jeremy Browne from government and swapping out from posts in the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, it has been rather more controversial.

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Two developments in Lynne Featherstone’s fight to stop Female Genital Mutilation

Last week, there were two important developments in the fight to stop the abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation. This is a key priority for Lynne Featherstone as international development minister.

First of all, the Sunday Times (£) reported that teachers are to be given training to help them identify girls who may be at risk of being subjected to FGM. Teachers will be requested to report any mention, for example, of ceremonies to become a woman. I was quite surprised that only one school in the country has a policy on preventing FGM and that so many teachers had no …

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Telegraph: Clegg and Cameron have to intervene in “daily” Coalition rows

The Telegraph has a story today that is rather perplexingly filed under “news” but seems like a summary of what we knew already.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg spend a “disproportionate” amount of their time attempting to resolve rows in the Home Office and Department for Education, in particular, sources said.

Disagreements have also affected policy-making inside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, while rows between Lib Dem and Tory ministers from different departments are a frequent feature of government life, sources said.

The difference in tone between the two sources quoted is interesting. The Tory source is snarky as anything:

It’s

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Norman Baker writes… “We’re not turning into authoritarians!”

Today the Independent published a story about the Coalition Government’s plans to reform anti-social behaviour legislation.  I know that many Lib Dems may well be concerned by the story. Indeed, if it were true I would be worried! But it is not. It is utter nonsense to suggest we are targeting skateboarders, ramblers, youngsters playing in their local park, or anyone else going about their daily lives perfectly reasonably.

In reality the new anti-social behaviour powers are designed to protect such activities. Rather, the power is designed to stop problem drinking, aggressive begging, dog fouling – any behaviour that spoils the …

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Opinion: Being tough on drugs means being pro-reform

The Sunday Times is claiming to have knowledge of the results of Jeremy Browne’s drug policy “grand tour”. In an article today, Put that in your pipe, Mrs May, the paper describes many conclusions expected to feature in the final report which will bring great cheer to the ordinary Liberal Democrat member:

“A review ordered by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and due to be published before Christmas, is expected to suggest Britain could benefit from emulating two American states where the use of recreational cannabis is legal. The Home Office report is also expected to call for

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