Tag Archives: sal brinton

Sal Brinton writes…How the party is addressing members’ concerns over harassment complaints

The Federal Board of the Liberal Democrats has met to discuss the concerns expressed by members of the party over the last few days. We considered what action should be taken to address these concerns, and also to let members know about changes that are in progress already.

I want to start by thanking everybody who has spoken up about harassment and sexual assault over the last few days. I know, from personal experience in the media when I was younger, that it is insidious, pervasive and demeaning and the effects never really leave you. Vince Cable and I remain very clear that there is no place for harassment and sexual assault inside the Liberal Democrats and we must have a zero tolerance approach to it.

That is why the serious allegations made by some members relating to rape and assaults in a case that is currently under investigation are very serious. Because the case is under way at the moment, the party cannot comment. However, we can look at some of the concerns raised by the complainants about where the process may have failed. That is urgent, and the Board recognises this.

Early in 2017 the Federal Board asked Lord Ken Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, to carry out a review of our current disciplinary processes for two reasons. Firstly, following the Morrissey Review the party constantly reviews its processes, but the Board was also  concerned to hear that some cases appeared to take too long, and that some processes were inconsistent. Ken was asked to think radically about a new process that would be seen as independent, fair, faster and accountable. The snap General Election halted the evidence he was taking, but the report is now nearing conclusion and will be presented to the Board in December, published to the party in January and then changes presented formally to Spring Conference.

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Vince’s email to party members: Lib Dems will work across parties to stamp out sexual harassment

As the Sunday papers are published this morning, there are yet more disturbing stories about sexual harassment in Westminster, in Holyrood, and in politics more widely.

Harassment of this kind is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances, and Liberal Democrats will work across parties to stamp it out.

I want to see a political system in which everyone is represented, and political institutions – from Parliament down to every local authority – that reflect the society they serve. It is absolutely crucial to this ambition that everyone feels they are in a safe and professional environment when they get involved, stand for political …

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Question Time is going to be worth watching tonight

Most often these days, I can’t even force myself to watch Question Time and I’m interested in politics. It’s become such an unbalanced, thoughtless shouting match which rarely yields intelligent observation. The liberal viewpoint is rarely represented and the frequent presence of the most unpalatable voices from the right wing tabloids or extreme right wing politics just makes me want to weep.

Tonight, though, we are in for a treat.

Not only are we going to get our amazing Sal Brinton, but also on the panel, fresh from Strictly, is the one and only Reverend Richard Coles. He will no doubt bring a bit of good humour and thoughtfulness to the proceedings.

Lisa Nandy was one of the editors of The Alternative, the book advocating a progressive alliance.

We might see a spat between brexiteers Chris Grayling and Tory Peer and Next CEO Simon Wolfson, too. Wolfson isn’t showing any sign of “bregret” but he has been critical of the Government’s approach to Brexit. 

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Sal Brinton receives apology from Transport for London after being denied access to bus

You would think, by now, that bus drivers would not be so crass as to refuse to ask someone with a buggy to make way for someone in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this is not the case as Party President Sal Brinton found out on Monday.

She later spoke to the Evening Standard about this:

Transport for London has apologised to Baroness Brinton and launched an investigation.

She told the Standard: “The bus was fairly empty, but regardless – if the wheelchair goes in first you can fit both a buggy and a wheelchair in the space… In fact, that’s exactly what happened when I boarded another bus afterwards.

“I couldn’t see the parent, and the driver did not put down the ramp and said they were not prepared to ask the parent to make space so it made it impossible for me and so I had to wait.”

She added: “It made me very angry, and even more so because this is not the first time this has happened… When this happened to me two years ago, I spoke to TfL and they said they would make sure bus companies trained drivers so that this would be avoided. Clearly that was not the case.”

Well done to Sal for highlighting her experience.  She’s previously written about the frankly appalling way she and others have been treated on the railways.

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Nick Harvey appointed as Lib Dems’ interim Chief Executive

Former North Devon Lib Dem MP Nick Harvey has been appointed as the Liberal Democrats’ interim Chief Executive following the departure of Tim Gordon earlier this month.

Nick has wide-ranging experience in PR, human resources, management and delivering change.

He comes from a City background, having been an account director at Dewe Rogerson, and worked at Profile PR and Westminster Consortium. He will take up his new role next week on the back of recent experience at Global Partners, where he was an adviser on Egypt and Jordan. He has also been seeking to widen access to the law as chair of Lawthority, while also chairing the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (a role he will step back from while serving as interim chief executive).

He was a campaigning and dedicated constituency MP for North Devon for 22 years. During this time (1992-2015) he served on the House of Commons Commission where he drove through reforms to modernise how parliament works. He was chair of campaigns for the Liberal Democrats in the late 1990s, including for the breakthrough 1997 election.

Nick said on his appointment:

I am greatly looking forward to supporting Vince Cable as our new Leader, and hope that working closely together we can further revive Lib Dem fortunes. The party has shown great resilience. Now we have a real opportunity to begin the process of moving forwards again.

British politics has never been in greater need of the Liberal Democrats. There is a major gap which only we can fill, not least on Brexit. This could have a dramatic impact on people’s jobs, the health and care system they depend on, and the schools and colleges which enable everyone to succeed in life.

We must boldly promote our liberal values, at home but also with partners abroad – not fighting them, but working to find international solutions to global security and environmental challenges.

The party has many talented, experienced and innovative people, as well as legions of new members. Together we can get things going again.

Vince Cable said:

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Housing fire safety a civil emergency – Brinton

Sal Brinton, who sits on the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group has said that the Government should declare a civil emergency over fire safety in tower blocks and compensate those who had been evacuated. During the flooding damage in 2015, the Government extended a Council Tax discount to help those who had been badly affected. Sal said that those evacuated should have their Council Tax suspended:

This is a civil emergency. The government must guarantee funding for local councils to do everything necessary to keep people safe and compensate those who have had their lives disrupted.

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Sal Brinton and Rebecca Hanson meet health workers in Copeland

Party President Sal Brinton has been to Copeland to campaign with our by-election candidate Rebecca Hanson. They met with local health workers to hear about their concerns.

From the News and Star:

Mrs Hanson said that the meeting – held at Keswick’s Quaker Meeting House – also allowed the health leaders to truthfully express their own opinions on the situation in Copeland.

They don’t get heard on any of this because they’re suffocated with people from elsewhere trying to impose structural change on them that won’t work and won’t make any sense in any way,” she added. “I’d created sessions specifically because I know this spirit and I know it could emerge and it was just lovely to see.

“They were going into some really technical detail about the kind of schemes they’re trying to get approval for that would improve and lead to better training for multi-skilled consultants.

She knew some of the people and bodies that they’re working with, so she was able to make a connection and will be talking to those people, including Norman Lamb.”

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4000 new Lib Dem members in a month

The Liberal Democrat figures for January are out and they are impressive – 4000 members in the month, 2000 of them  in the last 10 days and 1000 since Tim Farron led the opposition to Trump’s travel ban and called for the offer of the state visit to be withdrawn.

Party President Sal Brinton said:

Reaching 82,000 members is the highest membership in over two decades. With more than 4,000 new members having joined us in January and more than 1,000 joining since Trump’s Executive Order on Friday, people are responding to the politics of hatred by joining the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government and it is great to welcome so many new members.

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Liberal Democrat membership tops 80,000

Sal Brinton, the Lib Dem President, has announced that party membership has topped 80,000, with 1000 people joining the Liberal Democrats since Theresa May’s speech announcing that the Tories are going for the most extreme, hard Brexit that they can. 500 people have joined in the last 24 hours since Jeremy Corbyn signalled a 3-line whip for Labour MPs to vote for the triggering of Article 50.

Sal said:

The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government and it is great to welcome so many new members.

For those who oppose Theresa May’s plans to rip Britain out of

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Victory for Liberal Democrats in fight to strengthen Victims’ Code

The Government has agreed to back Sal Brinton’s calls for a strengthened Victims’ Code following a hard fought campaign by our Party President.

During ping-pong of the Policing and Crime Bill the Government made concessions on the principles of Sal Brinton’s amendments which put the discretionary Victims’ Code on to a statutory footing. The current situation sees thousands of victims let down every day because of inconsistent and unenforced practice by those in the criminal justice system.

The Government has now agreed to a review of support for victims reporting back within six months, including consultation with victims groups and others. It also agreed to strengthen, through legislation, anything necessary for the agencies dealing with victims to ensure they fulfil their duties, are appropriately trained and monitored in the delivery of their support for victims.

Sal Brinton said:

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LISTEN: To Sal Brinton on Any Questions

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13At last, there was a Liberal Democrat on a political programme panel on the BBC last night. It was such a welcome relief after the recent rightwash on all of these programmes.  Sal Brinton did us all proud.

I lost count of the times she was cheered rapturously by the audience. This was not just polite applause, but real, vocal agreement as she gave great, clear answers on all the questions. The best, I thought, was on the daft idea of private schools wanting money to offer bursaries. Excellent comprehensive education is the answer, she said loud cheers.  She said that all the evidence suggested that the most disadvantaged families wouldn’t apply for these sorts of schemes because they thought it wasn’t for them. The bit I found most moving was when she talked about her friends being separated at the age of 11, something which “really mattered to them.”

This took place in Norfolk, a place that voted Leave in massive numbers, yet the most popular person on the panel was the Remain supporter who offered a say on the final Brexit deal.

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How Brexit will harm our NHS and social care

So, I’m drifting back to LDV slowly and gradually. My husband is now recovering from his heart surgery at home. It’s still quite incredible to think that only 10 weeks ago, he was enjoying his best health in years. All that changed with what we thought was Flu but turned out to be an infection in his heart which damaged one of his heart valves – a pretty complex one, too. My gratitude to the surgical team who sorted this out is unrivalled.

I have been more scared during this time than I have ever been in my life. That late-night phone call from Intensive Care when they said they needed to take him back into theatre was the point that I thought I really was going to crumble. The election of Donald Trump, terrifying as it is, 24 hours later was far from the most stressful thing I had to face that week.

The frenetic running about to and from the hospital and the intrinsic terror of the situation have now been replaced with a much less stressful but still very busy routine of drugging people, feeding people, cleaning, washing and other elements of domesticity which are a bit of a learning curve for me. My slovenly ways have been replaced by scrubbing everything in sight with anti-bacterial potions.

I tell Bob that I am basing my nursing style on Kathy Bates in Misery. He wasn’t really meant to agree that I was doing that well, but never mind.  Yesterday was a bit of a milestone when he had his first wee walk outside in 9 weeks.

I’m clearly going to be pre-occupied with looking after him for a while yet. The likelihood is that I’m still going to be a bit slow to get back to people  and not really engaged full time in the site until the New Year, so please continue to be patient with me.

My thanks go to the team who have had to do well more than they ever signed up for over the last nine weeks. Without them, there would have been no LDV at all. They have been absolutely brilliant.

I’ve observed much about our NHS and the stresses at its frontline. Bob had the most excellent care in hospital, but it was very clear to us how hard everyone was working and how there was so little give in the system. It’s a theme I will return to. For today, though, I want to think about the effects of Brexit on the NHS. The Leave Campaign’s jolly assertion that leaving the EU would mean £350 million a week extra for the NHS was consigned to history almost before the votes had been counted.

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++Lib Dems select Sarah Olney to be our candidate at the Richmond Park by-election



Sarah Olney has been selected to contest the Richmond Park and North Kingston December 1st by-election for the Liberal Democrats.

An opinion poll has shown it is a two-horse race between local woman Sarah and Zac Goldsmith, the out-going Conservative Brexit MP whose resignation triggered the by-election. Sarah, an accountant and married mother of two, was selected at a meeting of the local party in Richmond today.

Sarah Olney said:

This by-election is a chance for people to have their say on Brexit, the NHS and Heathrow. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will make a stand against Heathrow and Brexit, not to mention the scandalous underfunding of the NHS.

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Liz Leffman’s Witney campaign hits the ground running

Sal Brinton Liz Leffman Paul Walter Charlie dog at Witney by-election 24th Sep 2016

(R-L) Party President Sal Brinton, Witney candidate Liz Leffman and Paul Walter with veteran Focus delivery dog Charlie at the Witney by-election campaign HQ today

The Lib Dem Witney by-election HQ was abuzz with activity when I visited to help today. I was astonished by the busy team all set to work so early in the campaign. It was great weather for delivering leaflets. I enjoyed doing my very large bundle in Carterton, with the sound of the aircraft at Brize Norton in the background.

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Sal Brinton on Jeremy Corbyn

 

Over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn said he would not be prepared to overturn Brexit. He said:

I think we’ve had a referendum, a decision has been made, you have to respect the decision people made. We were given the choice, we after all supported holding a referendum so we must abide by the decision.

In comparison Owen Smith has committed himself to offering a second referendum if elected as Labour Leader.

Sal Brinton, President of the Liberal Democrats, has has responded to Corbyn’s comments:

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Tonight’s Question Time is going to be worth watching!

Sal has been brilliant on Question Time every time she’s been on. Just after she became President, she was on with the annoying David Starkey. Then earlier this year, she took UKIP to task for their horribly racist broadcast about Turkey.

Tonight’s programme should be brilliant with Sal and Hislop having a good go at Falconer and Galloway.

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Sal Brinton slams Farage sex-attacks comments

So, Nigel Farage has brought out his dog whistle again. Quelle surprise. He told the Sunday Telegraph:

The nuclear bomb this time would be about Cologne,” he told the Telegraph. Women may be at a particular risk from the “cultural” differences between British society and migrants, after gangs of migrant men allegedly launched a mass sexual attack against hundreds of women in Germany last New Year’s Eve.

It’s not as if he and his party have any sort of record of being in favour even of gender equality. Remember Godfrey Bloom and his comments about women not cleaning behind the fridge? Farage himself thinks that women who take maternity leave are of less value to employers, and of course his party took money from someone who thought that women were being hostile for the simple act of wearing trousers . The same guy thinks women can’t be raped by their husbands. The vast majority of sexual assaults and attacks happen in the home by someone known to the victim, so the UKIPpers have some way to go to understanding the reality of the situation.

You can take any claim of concern for women with a pinch of salt. All Farage is trying to do is to stoke up fear and division.

Sal Brinton was deeply unimpressed, saying:

Nigel Farage’s comments are disgraceful. He has sunk to new depths in his scaremongering with these remarks which are completely unacceptable. The debate about whether Britain is better off in Europe is hugely important and should be based on the facts, not shameful attempts to stir up hatred and fear with smears like this.

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Sal Brinton takes part in Christian EU debate

Women’s voices have been sadly lacking in the EU referendum debate so far. Even the BBC debate on Thursday night had but one female panellist. What’s particularly annoying about that is that Diane James’ comment that she didn’t know if we’d need visas to go to France is being much lampooned and Liam Fox’s that he didn’t really know what would happen to the economy if we left the EU (but he’s willing to give it a go anyway) is being largely ignored.

Anyway, Thursday’s debate was perfectly gender balanced and was conducted with the theme of #disagreewell. This is all about leaving the bluff and bluster at the door and having a grown up conversation. It sounds good, but would the reality reflect that. Well, with a priest and a diplomat making up half the panel, along with our Sal, you would think so. It seems to have been relatively good-humoured.

One point that came up in the Scottish referendum was made here. In Scotland, it was “we might be poor, but at least we’ll be free” and a very similar argument was made by Rev Giles Fraser, arguing for Brexit. I find it incredible that supporters of Leave are happy to take an economic hit which by its nature will impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in all sorts of ways.

Sal was able to neutralise the idea that we’d somehow “get our democracy back” pointing out that our democracy is far from perfect and essentially gave Ann Widdecombe a job for life. Frankly, I’d much rather the EU was there to act as a check on a power-hungry Tory government which is trying to stitch the system in its favour on not much more than a third of the popular vote.

Here’s a flavour of what went on:

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New #3000children website launched during Lib Dem members’ webinar on refugees

Last night, Sal Brinton hosted an online meeting for party members on the subject of refugees. Also taking part were Baroness Shas Sheehan and Bradley Hillier-Smith, who have been on several visits to the refugee camps and Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary’s Suzanne Fletcher who, among many other things, has campaigned successfully to end the appalling “red doors” for asylum seekers  policy. Suzanne was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from ALDE.

I consider myself reasonably well informed on the Refugee Crisis, but I found that I learned things during the webinar. The panel outlined a series of things that we can do to help the refugees, from making the case by writing to the local papers to donating money and equipment to the camps.

Brad described the conditions in the camps in France – appalling and unsanitary. None of the big charities are allowed to work there so the relief effort is carried out only by teams of volunteers.

Sal also told us that Syrian refugees still in the massive camps in the region are locked in. They can’t go anywhere else. This is the case in all the countries except the Lebanon. Our sister party there has ensured that they can get out, mindful of the experience of the Lebanese refugees during their civil war 30 years ago.

Shas has another trip to the camps planned for next week and will be putting out another appeal for supplies. She is also trying to organise a co-ordinated Liberal Democrat volunteer event for the end of July.

During the webinar, the part launched a new campaign site devoted to the issue of child refugees. There’s a timeline of all the issues and a link to Alf Dubs’ petition.

If you missed the webinar, you will get a chance to hear the recording. A link will be emailed either later today or tomorrow if you are a party member. 

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Register for the Lib Dem Summer webinar series – refugees, EU campaign briefing and same sex marriage

The Lib Dems are holding a series of monthly webinars. Last month saw the first, on the election campaigns. On Wednesday, the second, on the refugee crisis, takes place at 6:30 pm.

If you are a party member, you will have had an email from Sal Brinton on 26th April which will have all the links to register at the entire Summer series. Those links are unique to you.

Next month’s, on Wednesday 8th June, is a briefing as we head into the last fortnight of the referendum campaign.

And on July 27th, we celebrate 3 years since we introduced same …

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Sal Brinton writes…My speech to the Demo for Democracy

Sal Brinton at Demo for DemocracyToday’s excellent Make Votes Matter demo outside parliament was both well attended and fun. A range of bodies, such as Unlock Democracy and the ERS joined with the Make Votes Matter group to urge us into action to make sure that the politicians don’t forget we still need PR for Westminster as well as for local government in England and Wales. All the major parties were represented – even the Conservatives – but neither the Tories nor Labour have signed up as parties.  We, of course, have, as well as the Greens, UKIP, SNP and Plaid Cymru. Paul Tyler is our representative at the cross party discussions.

Make Votes Matter is led by Owen Winter, an extraordinary young campaigner from Cornwall, who speaks with passion and enthusiasm about electoral reform. The event started with election lottery, where people picked out a card with one party on it, and then had a second, most of which didn’t match.

I was invited to speak on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, and I started by reminding people that we as liberals have been pushing for PR for over 150 years. It was John Stuart Mill in 1861 who wrote in his essay Considerations on Representative Government:

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Sal Brinton: Come and help Katy Gordon – people want to see the back of the SNP

Sal Brinton has travelled thousands of miles as our party President. She puts so much effort into supporting local party events and campaigns the length and breadth of the UK. At the moment, she’s spending a few days in Scotland, for which we are very grateful. I think I will just miss her. I head to the Highlands on Saturday for a week as she heads from there to Aberdeen.

This is far from Sal’s first visit to Scotland. She has been multiple times, including spending a few days campaigning for us during the referendum. She’s listened closely to the Scottish Party and has attended our Executive twice and our conference in the last year.

Yesterday she was out and about with the equally indefatigable Katy Gordon, our number one list candidate in the West of Scotland. After an afternoon’s campaigning, she recorded this video.

Party President Sal Brinton was out with the team in Giffnock today. Here’s what she had to say.Want to join the team? westscotlibdems.org.uk/volunteer

Posted by Katy Gordon on Wednesday, 30 March 2016

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Deadline for responses to second consultation on the governance review

You should have received an email from Sal Brinton last week inviting you to give your views on the consultation paper on the governance review. The deadline is TODAY!! So if the weather is keeping you at home you could do worse than spend a few minutes reading the consultation document and sending in your views on it.

You do need to click on the button on the email that you received, so we can’t direct you to the survey from here.

The feedback at this, the second stage of consultation, will help to determine the proposals which will be put to …

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Sal Brinton on the change of attitude needed so that disabled people can start to live their lives

Sal Brinton was part of the House of Lords Committee which produced today’s report which reviewed the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people. Its conclusions were pretty damning. It’s worth setting out in full the five major themes that they identified:

First, in planning services and buildings, despite the fact that for twenty years the law has required anticipatory reasonable adjustment, the needs of disabled people still tend to be an afterthought. It is time to reverse this. We are all living longer, and medical advances are keeping us alive where in earlier years it would have failed to do so, but not necessarily in good health. We should from the outset plan for the inevitability of disability in everyone as they get older, as well as for those who suffer accidents and for all those other disabled people who are the subject of our inquiry.

Our second theme, closely related to the first, is the need to be proactive, rather than reactive or process driven. Many of those involved—Government departments, local authorities, the NHS, schools, courts, businesses, all of us—wait for problems to arise before, at best, attempting to remedy them. We should be planning so that disabled people can as far as possible avoid facing the problems in the first place.

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The Party President, the Federal Conference Committee Chair and a new member discuss Conference

This is the audio feed of a pre-Conference webinar held on Monday night where Party President Sal Brinton, new member Emily Barrass and Federal Conference Committee Chair Andrew Wiseman discuss Conference. Hear them talk about their funniest Conference memories (Mr Wiseman’s is particularly tame. He’s going to have to do better over the weekend, so he’d better have a good story lined up), the Glee Club, and speaking at Conference (Sal has some really good tips on that). Emily came to Conference in Bournemouth and has seriously caught the bug.

They strongly recommended chatting to anyone you meet. All our VIPs are incredibly approachable. If you have a question, just go up and ask them.

Mary, Joe and I will be there from LDV. Please come and say hello.

Enjoy the video.

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Watford Action Weekend

Watford march action day

After many months up in Hull, where I’m currently at University, I jumped at the chance to get back to my home turf of Watford for an action weekend, and what a weekend it was.

First things first, much of the credit has to go to Nassar who managed to get such a great turn out, including a large number of fellow Liberal Youth members, as well as an appearance by Mike Thornton, Jo Swinson, Duncan Hames and Norman Lamb. It was a fantastic weekend and if I heard correctly we managed to knock on over 5000 doors on Saturday alone! We all know what a challenge it is to organise Lib-Dems.

Secondly a massive thanks to the wonderful Richmonds who put up their home as our base of operations; to stand having 20+ Liberal Youth in your home is a feat that would make Hercules himself sweat with fear.

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Those anonymous Lib Dem sources are at it again

Since she became Party President 14 months ago, Sal Brinton has clocked up thousands of miles travelling around the country going to various Liberal Democrat events and helping our candidates in election. I’ve been amazed at the number of times she’s been in Scotland – at our conference, to our Executive twice, campaigning during the General Election. In fact, in the short campaign last Spring, she covered 4000 miles in just 6 weeks. In the aftermath, she had to comfort a shocked party and play a high profile role as de facto leader for two months.

She’s also been involved in two massive pieces of work – the General Election and Governance Reviews – which have taken up huge amounts of time.  She’s doing her best to improve internal communications within the party, doing reports about what the Federal Executive’s work and blogging and setting up monthly webinars for party members.

She’s a great voice in the media for us. Last month she took apart UKIP’s Paul Nuttall on Question Time in great style. I look forward to her appearances on these things the same way I look forward to Shirley Williams’. 

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Sal Brinton on Question Time tonight – will she confront Farage over UKIP’s awful broadcast?

So much for my early night tonight. I have to get up before the Cool Kids have gone to bed to get a flight to Cardiff to go to Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference. I can’t miss Sal Brinton on Question Time (BBC1, 10:45pm), though. Especially as there may be a bit of an awkward moment for Nigel Farage. He’s on the programme yet again on the day that Tim Farron and Meral Ece have complained to the BBC and Ofcom about UKIPs Party Political Broadcast last night. They say that it incited religious and racial hatred.

I don’t normally go out of my way to watch UKIP broadcasts. Life is just too short. However, I steeled myself to look at this one and, sure enough, my skin was soon crawling. It was basically a brash and ugly attempt to create division and distrust and gives a very false impression of Turkey and its people. It made me feel very uncomfortable. The premise was that Turkey was just about to join the European Union and this was a bad thing. It’s not as if that’s likely to happen any time soon, but they made it sound like it was going to take place next week.

UKIP are using exactly the same tactics as they did in 2013 over Romanians and Bulgarians. It’s truly horrible. I remember people in Eastleigh telling me on the phone that 40 million Romanians and Bulgarians were going to come to Britain – a massive proportion of the populations of those two countries – because UKIP leaflets were full of it. In fact, this time last year, there were 172,000. Those figures estimated that there were 1.9 people here from other European countries. There are 2 million British people elsewhere in the EU. Freedom of movement works both ways.

Tim explained why they had reported the ad to OFCOM:

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Sal Brinton’s Federal Executive report

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13Just before Christmas the Federal Executive (FE) met for an awayday to receive and consider your responses to the governance review consultation.

Two of the concerns that you told us about were the lack of diversity of our MPs, and how you felt that all the party committees and structures were hard to understand, and often out of touch.

We will be bringing back the next stage of the governance consultation to you in February, and will run a consultation session at the York Federal Conference in March, with some draft proposals and seeking your views on some of the key issues. Following your comments over the summer we will develop proposals, a new constitution and structures, which will then come back to the Autumn Conference in Brighton for your debate and voting. This would mean that the next round of Federal Elections (which will take place after Conference, ready to start at the beginning of 2017) would be run under the new arrangements.

In the meantime, FE wants to report back regularly to members: in addition to the report on the members’ part of the party website, we will let you know as soon as we can after a meeting what is discussed at our meetings. We will ensure that there is a report on Lib Dem Voice and in addition we want to encourage the cascading down through representatives on FE of important information. Clearly, some matters are (and must be) confidential, and others are seriously uninteresting, but we will do our best to let you know what is happening.

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So why exactly did Alex Salmond miss Any Questions?

A bit of intrigue never goes amiss on a Saturday afternoon.

Last night, Alex Salmond missed Any Questions because, according to Jonathan Dimbleby at 1 minute 50 in: “apparently been held up in Scotland by the floods.” Certainly his Gordon constituency has been badly affected by some awful flooding in the north east of Scotland. In fact, Lib Dem MSP for North East Scotland Alison McInnes has been scathing about the SNP Government’s slow response, saying:

Here in the north-east local agencies have faced a prolonged battle against the rising water and staff and residents are exhausted. I do worry we haven’t seen the last of the bad weather but everyone has rallied together to support one another and the examples of community spirit have been heartening to see at such a difficult time.

Lessons need to be learnt on what’s happened in Scotland since the start of 2016 because I still think this response took place at a snail’s pace. The Scottish Government cannot keep forgetting that its responsibility is to the whole of Scotland, not just the central belt.

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  • User AvatarTom Arms 15th Dec - 5:11am
    Hywel: Let me make it clear: I do not propose that the libel laws apply to the social media companies. I propose that they apply...
  • User AvatarTom Arms 15th Dec - 5:10am
    Martin: Other politicians have lied. There is, for instance, the case of Anthony Eden. Said that, your you cannot have a law which applies to...
  • User AvatarMichael Sammon 15th Dec - 3:14am
    Good luck squaring that circle between liberals, centrists and socialists. It's a non starter. This isn't American politics and nor should it become so. All...
  • User AvatarMichael Sammon 15th Dec - 3:11am
    We never got into government when we were more left wing and Labours shift to the left was always going to squeeze us in that...
  • User AvatarDj Pocock 15th Dec - 3:06am
    Tories win an election by appealing to northern working class. Lib Dems want to go into the next one by appealing to a university elite....
Tue 7th Jan 2020