Tag Archives: olly grender

Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards 2011 – nominations now open

The Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards, run by Lib Dem Voice, are back for their sixth year. As usual, they’ll be awarded in a budget lavish ceremony at the party’s autumn conference in Birmingham.

Click on the following links to see last year’s Shortlist and the Winners.

This year’s awards are as follows:

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Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Andrew Reeves

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 Andrew Reeves, who blogs at http://andrewrunning.blogspot.com.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
In 1984 Ken Clarke gave me an award at a thank you party for delivering leaflets for him. In front of the 200+ people there he also asked me if I wanted to join the party – and in front of them all I said no! I was pleased he’d won but said that the more I had got to know the party I realised why I couldn’t. He was somewhat embarrassed!

2. When did you start blogging?
Tuesday 15 May 2007.

3. Why did you start blogging?
I worked for Lynne Featherstone from just after the 2005 general election until the end of 2006, before becoming one of the two London Campaigns Officers. I was amazed Lynne found time to write her own blog posts so this was my initial inspiration. I also signed up to run the Great North Run in 2007 and so wanted to use it for a training diary.

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
I cheated here, I asked some friends for their five words – here is a selection: friendly, personal, prolific, timely, political, caring, liberal, sharp, punchy, researched, readable, passionate and straight-talking.

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?
I’m a social liberal democrat.

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?
I enjoyed writing this, not because I was suspended from Twitter, because to be honest that was a nightmare, but thanks to the support shown by the online community, inside and outside the Liberal Democrats:
Andrew Reeves is still suspended on Twitter – but the support is awesome

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?
I love reading Caron’s writing, because unlike my shoot from the hip and rant style, Caron is more methodical and this shows in her writing. In this post Caron highlights the hypocricy of the Labour party while still maintaining decorum – perfect:
Labour didn’t love NHS Direct

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?
I don’t particularly bother with YouTube, but this was my favourite ever:

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

What will the impact be of Thursday?

The House Magazine has a new feature out looking at the likely political fallout from Thursday’s elections and referendum. It looks at both a Yes or a No vote, including this from me on future Lib Dem / Labour relations:

At the launch of the Yes2AV campaign, a tantalising glimpse into the future was offered for those who dream of a unification of the progressive left. On the stage at Methodist Central Hall sat Labour leader Ed Miliband, Green leader Caroline Lucas, and Liberal Democrat stalwarts Charles Kennedy and Shirley Williams. And Tim Farron, Lib Dem party president and a likely future leadership contender, was there too. However, Mark Pack, co-editor of Lib Dem Voice, warns against reading too much into the apparent bonhomie. “Coalitions are driven by parliamentary arithmetic far more than by politicians’ own preferences,” Pack says. “So the answer really depends on the public rather than how relations between politicians are affected by the referendum.

It also quotes Olly Grender on the possible policy implications of a No vote:

If the referendum is lost, then disgruntled Lib Dem backbenchers will be keen to contribute to a ‘shopping list’ for Nick Clegg to take to David Cameron. Insiders say the plans to reform the NHS will become a priority, while proposals for reform of the Upper House will be published at the end of the month. Olly Grender, former communications chief for the Lib Dems, sets out the desired gains from the NHS and Social Care Bill:

“There should be clear safeguards regarding the issue of competition and the private sector, and funding should be secured on the understanding that reform and reduction are impossible to achieve together,” Grender argues. “There should also be a change of pace regarding the introduction of GP consortia.” Further goals, says Grender, should include “a faster drive towards the increased threshold of £10,000 helping people on lowest incomes during the toughest times”, while greater safeguards of critical public services – “whilst continuing to try to pay down the deficit” – should, she says, be put in place. On top of House of Lords reform, Grender argues, climate change and social mobility need greater emphasis.

I’ve talked in more detail about what to watch out for in Thursday’s results in this YouTube clip:

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Let Clegg be Clegg (just not toooo much)

If, like me, you’re an admirer of Nick Clegg — his grit, honesty and openness — there will have been plenty to admire this week. If, like me, you occasionally despair of Nick Clegg — the frankness can turn into a gaffe — there will have been plenty to make you despair this week.

First of all, the Best of Clegg…

As Nicholas Watt notes in the Guardian, Nick has been ‘finding his feet’, and ‘starting to show in public what he has always claimed in private – that he stands up to Cameron’. This has been clear from the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

LibLink: Olly Grender – Who Da Man ……….. Date

Over on her New Statesman blog, Olly Grender, former Lib Dem Communications Director, tackles the tricky topic of mandates. It has become a familiar refrain that the current government has no mandate to implement this or that reform, despite the fact that it is one of the few in recent history which is made up of parties which received more than 50% of the (combined) vote at the last election.

Here’s Olly’s take on the subject:

When I hear the regular accusation about lack of a mandate, I have some sympathy. No, really — I do. But that begs several questions. How

Posted in LibLink | 6 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Nancy Seear

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

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Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Olly Grender

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 Olly Grender, who blogs at http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/olly-grender.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
A toss up between my Mum voting in favour of joining Europe in the referendum and my Dad feeling agitated about and improving workers rights in industry.

2. When did you start blogging?
In January, so please be gentle with me! (though all constructive feedback from fellow LibDems welcome).

3. Why did you start blogging?
Have been thinking of doing it for some time, as occasionally you need a few more words than Twitter or broadcasting allows – plus the New Statesman asked me!

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
Politics, liberalism, media, coalition, punditry.

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?
Liberal – that is all.

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?
As a total novice there is little to choose from. However I enjoyed having a pop at the Daily Telegraph in this one about Nick Clegg’s Red Box.

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?
I thought this was the most astounding blog of 2010. It’s by Peter Watt, former General Secretary to the Labour Party, and it summed up in so many ways why working with Labour right now would be such a challenge because, as Peter describes, they currently have an inability to listen and struggle to believe that others in politics wish to do good.

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?
God would love to do something political but I LOVE this Virgin Atlantic ad soooooooooo beautifully done I could watch it over and over. Enjoy!

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An old Liberal Democrat policy rides again courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith (UPDATED)

Unusual political times indeed courtesy of the front page of today’s Times. For a long time a central part of Liberal Democrat welfare policy was to integrate and simplify the tax and benefits system. The policy faded away from the party’s priorities, partly because the details were never that straightforward; for example, how do you integrate a system based on weekly payments and assessments (benefits) with another one based on monthly and annual payments and assessments (tax, particularly income tax and PAYE)?

A large chunk of that policy is now very much back on the political agenda, as ConservativeHome reports:


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Opinion: I always love Conference

I always love conference, in fact I love all three Party conferences. Because inspite of the fact that I am most comfortable with my LibDem tribe I am on the whole comfortable with people with a genuine interest in politics. Let’s face it all of us are such a small proportion of the population.

As I walked through Liverpool in the evening I strongly suspect that those girls dressed up to the nines, well kind of in nothing actually, had no idea they were hosting a party of Government in their hometown.

That is what is so great about conference, …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Olly Grender – Should the Lib Dems battle to be distinctive?

Over at the New Statesman, former Lib Dem director of communciations, Olly Grender, ponders the real question dominating the Liverpool conference. Not ‘Do you support the Coalition?’ (the vast majority of members do), but rather the key dilemma: “How much do we celebrate our separateness in government versus how much do we argue that this is a fully integrated team?”

Here’s her conclusion:

So what is the correct answer? Celebrate the differences? Or talk about the team? I suspect that the holy Grail of “being distinctive” at a national rather than local level is far less realisable than people think. In

Posted in LibLink | 1 Comment

Kennedy defection rumours – another reason journalists are losing the public’s trust

So today, at last, the news media is finally reporting the pretty unsurprising news that Charles Kennedy, leader of the Lib Dems from 1999 to 2006, is not leaving the Lib Dems in 2010.

Now it is of course the silly season, and we can easily write off this journalistic confection as mere desperation to fill some column inches / dead air-time. But actually I think it’s a symptom of a wider malaise in political journalism, its ‘tabloidisation’.

How an unsourced rumour went viral

Let’s go back to Friday afternoon, when the Kennedy defection rumours started circulating, and work out how …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 54 Comments

Recent Comments

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    Many in the party have been crying out for years for the Liberal Democrats to stand up for the substantial Radical Centre that is unrepresentative by either sid...
  • Chris Bowers
    There's an element about this initiative that is quite important that wasn't in the letter. Of course we need to focus efforts in our target seats, but the more...
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    "Wake up and smell the coffee", said Ed Davey three year ago. When will he heed his own advice?...
  • Eleanor Rylance
    I was very happy to be able to sign this letter. We are a smaller party in a system that favours two huge behemoths- we cannot afford to be shy about our radica...
  • Alex Davies
    Thanks Caron. On the airwaves – where most voters consume election campaigns – there is no ‘two horse race’ with the Conservatives. Rather Ed Davey ...