Tag Archives: richard flowers

Brexit shambles descends into debate farce

You really couldn’t make up the state of British politics at the moment. The monstrous shambles that is Brexit is bad enough. A governing party riven by toxic split. An opposition that should be 20 points ahead in the polls but is excelling itself only in being more useless than the Government.

In recent days there has been talk of a tv debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn but even that can’t be sorted out. At the time of writing, Theresa May’s going to be on the BBC while Corbyn is cosying up to ITV, saying he wants it all over for the I’m a Celebrity final. I mean, really, the biggest substantive difference between the two is over which channel hosts the debate.

Certainly, if it ends up on the BBC, the trajectory of the evening will be markedly downward from Doctor Who to Strictly to the My Brexit’s bigger than Your Brexit despairathon.

It looks as though David Attenborough’s Dynasties will be booted to a later date. In a quiet but lovely corner of the internet, the wonderful Richard Flowers imagined the debate with an Attenborough voiceover:

Here… in the bleak midwinter… we see the skeletal remains of a Prime Minister being picked over by the vultures from her own Party, whilest a lst sheep in a loose collection of flappy organic rags bleats incoherant mantras about a Jobs First Bexit… And all about them, the country dies…

Vince, Nicola Sturgeon and the People’s Vote campaign are all rightly narked that they are being left out. I mean, after all, why wouldn’t they want to show an alternative opinion that might bring in more viewers?

This evening, Sal Brinton and Nick Harvey have written to BBC Chairman Lord Hall to suggest that the debate as currently planned might breach Ofcom rules. I’m not sure about that, because there’s no actual election, but the party is seeing legal advice. Here’s the text of their letter. 

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A candidate’s tale: Part 2

Today Richard continues his account of his campaign in Macclesfield in the General Election. You can read Part 1 here.

We planned a campaign to make maximum use of social media – the leafleting of the 21st Century. (Don’t worry. We had plenty of leaflets too!)

Having practiced our high-visibility public-facing events – canvassing and hustings – we captured them in photos and posted through Facebook and Twitter, so people could see we were out there talking to the voters, taking the campaign seriously. A weekend’s events could be spread …

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A candidate’s tale: Part 1

I was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Macclesfield in Cheshire at the June General Election.

Six weeks earlier, after Theresa May’s as-it-turned-out vainglorious decision to go to the country, Macclesfield Liberal Democrats had found themselves in need of a candidate. And I answered the call.

The last time Macclesfield elected a Liberal was William Brocklehurst (junior) in 1910, and for the last 100 years they have returned only Conservatives (or Unionists) to Westminster. Alas, I was not able to celebrate William’s centenary by retaking the seat.

But I did hold on to the lion share of our vote from two years ago, and held on to our deposit, in the face of a fierce squeeze from Labour backed up by the tactical voting sites and some pretty underhand use of questionable numbers.

And, in spite of being in safe Tory territory, I never felt it was a no-hope seat.

In fact, I remain convinced that a seat like Macclesfield is winnable by a Liberal candidate. Maybe more in five to ten years than five to ten weeks. Where the Tory MP gets 53% of the vote this time, same as last time, Labour’s surge mopping up UKIP votes isn’t ever going to be enough. To reach into that 53%, you need to put together a coalition that picks up not just the moderate Labour voters, but the centrist, Remain-inclined Conservatives too along with the core Liberal vote. And only a Lib Dem is going to do that.

I was incredibly lucky to have a local party who were full of enthusiasm, fired up to resist Brexit, absolutely certain that our message was the right one for Macclesfield – which it is. On top of that, we had a team full of the talents we needed: organising people; organising logistics; designing literature; running social media. No one expected us to be much more than a paper candidacy, but we were determined to be as much more than that as we could manage.

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Nick Clegg replies to Coalition for Marriage with pithy tweet

 

And here’s a reminder of two very happy young men who were definitely not forced to get married…

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Two grateful men, one scarf, an angry Baroness and an LGBT organisation that can’t read what’s in the Lib Dem manifesto

Stonewall dropped a huge clanger yesterday by issuing a graphic on its Facebook page that gave Labour a tick for all the policies it had featured and gave only two to the Liberal Democrats. Thing is, anyone who had read the Liberal Democrat manifesto would know that all these things were in fact there.

Pink News has a wonderfully sarcastic quote from LGBT+ Chair Dave Page:

It is surprising that an organisation with Stonewall’s resources, if it seeks to appear nonpartisan, did not seem to have taken the time to quickly search through the Liberal Democrats’ main party manifesto (rather than the separate documents published by some other parties).

If they had, they would have found the commitment to tackle hate crime in section 9.3: ‘Change sentencing guidelines to increase sentences available for hate crimes.’

They would have also found the following on overseas aid in section 11.6: ‘Liberal Democrats believe British foreign policy and international aid should seek to advance human rights and democracy throughout the world. We believe all people – regardless of ethnicity, disability, age, belief, gender or sexual orientation – deserve a freer, fairer and more prosperous world.’

Under Ruth Hunt’s excellent leadership, Stonewall have done a lot of work to build bridges and listen to a wider array of voices.

We hope that the days of Lib Dem MPs having to lobby Stonewall to support equality rather than the opposite are behind us all. Unfortunately their rush to issue this ill-researched graphic undermines their reputation for being even-handed advocates of equality.

Lib Dem Peer Liz Barker also took Stonewall to task on Twitter. In a series of tweets parodying Stonewall’s “Some people are gay/trans, get over it” phrase, she outlined the Liberal Democrat record on LGBT rights:

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It’s the Liberal Democrat Blogosphere Wedding of the Year – congratulations to Richard and Alex

I had planned to be in Stockport this afternoon. A bit of a health scare for my poor husband means that I can’t make it but my heart is there with my friends Alex Wilcock and Richard Flowers. It’s twenty years today since they first got together and they are celebrating by getting married. It’s the Wedding of the Year for the Liberal Democrat Blogosphere

Both have been star Liberal Democrat bloggers for some time. Richard won our Blog of the Year in 2010 for his Very Fluffy Diary of Millennium Dome, Elephant. Alex is constantly challenging us to be better at articulating our liberal values on Love and Liberty. Both of these blogs are proper food for the Liberal Democrat soul.

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Lessons of Coalition (15): what do the Lib Dems need to learn from the first 3 years?

ldv coalition lessonsLibDemVoice is running a daily feature, ‘Lessons of Coalition’, to assess the major do’s and don’ts learned from our experience of the first 3 years in government. Reader contributions are welcome, either as comments or posts. The word limit is no more than 450 words, and please focus on just one lesson you think the party needs to learn. Simply email your submission to [email protected] Today Richard Flowers shares his thoughts.

The Economy (it’s too soon to say)

Three years into a five-year fixed Parliament, with the economy showing tremulous signs …

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Lib Dem Bloggers’ Christmas stocking fillers… Part III

What presents are you looking forward to giving or receiving this year? That’s the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with link-throughs to Amazon for your shopping convenience (and ‘cos the referral fees help support LibDemVoice: so get clicking and ordering). Part I is available here, and Part II here. In part three, our third trio of bloggers – Paul Walter, Jennie Rigg, and Richard Flowers – give us the low-down on their Xmas faves…

Paul Walter

iPad 2 (or any other tablet)
It allows a

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Liberal Democrats Conference round-up and preview: Tuesday/Wednesday

What happened on Tuesday in Birmingham at Liberal Democrat conference and what to watch out for today, Wednesday:

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

BOTY 2
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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The Saturday Debate: Local government is to the Lib Dems what the unions are to Labour and big business is to the Tories

Here’s your starter for ten in our Saturday slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

I was struck by this recent article by the Economist’s political columnist Bagehot, headlined When progressive actually means misanthropic, reflecting on the Lib Dem conference, and specifically the debate on free schools.

Highlighting that, while the party may have lacked power at Westminster, the Lib Dems have for decades now been a major player in local government, it observes that:

… local government occupies much of the mental space taken up by national politics in the Labour and Conservative parties. … more

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Blog of the Year Awards: The movie

The BOTYs were quite simply the glitteringest event of the whole Liberal Democrat conference last week, and Lib Dem councillor and blogger Jonathan Wallace was there to film them.

If you look carefully, you might just spot the tail feathers of the last flamingo, as it was startled away by popping flashbulbs. Alas, the heat of said flashbulbs also melted the ice sculptures before Jonathan could film those too, but the video’s well worth watching for the great speeches from winners and presenters alike:

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Blog of the Year Awards 2010: The Winners

What’s loosely termed the awards “ceremony” for the 2010 Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards has just drawn to a glittering close. As the last firework fades in Liverpool’s night sky, I’m delighted to announce the winners:

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