Tag Archives: security

Securing a liberal Britain in hard times

Getting elected locally, becoming a citizen and living in freedom or security should be tackled in the right order. I just did the opposite. Arriving from Australia as an immigrant in 2016 (pre Brexit), getting elected a Councillor last May and becoming an UK citizen last month was a journey that made me think: how do I as a LibDem contribute to the safety, security and sustainability of our country? There are no easy answers but some clear pointers to what we might need: progressive, practical and patriotic steps to make Britain its liberal best.

I wrote back in March 2022 on LibDem Voice (Defence and Security: at the heart of liberal societies) about a growing think tank based at the National Liberal Club that reaches hundreds across the UK and the world by hybrid talks and expert discussions. I am also an Armed Forces Champion of my Council (shared with a colleague) with responsibility to the whole community. Veterans, serving members, cadets and their families expect all local governments to keep the covenant between community and those who serve.

But that is the smaller arena and the local or narrow pathway.

We as LibDems are at the heart of many national debates on matters of significance: the war in Ukraine, the risk of further Russian aggression, the role of China as a strategic competitor to our internationalist and liberal values for starters. Times have never been harder since the 1980s.

We also remain the voice of many who are deeply disgusted by this shabby Conservative government and are unconvinced by the rising Labour Opposition. Data and polling may suggest that our voters and supporters are well informed, educated and engaged on the big issues – the environment, education, cost of living crisis economics and social justice. But we are also the proud custodians of traditions of liberalism, social democracy and dissenting progressive values that reflect on the defence of the realm, the international order and our broader obligations to allies, partners and neighbours.

The emergence of an associated organisation “LibDem Friends of the Armed Forces” is no surprise. The upcoming debate at York Conference in less than three weeks on an enhanced/evolved defence policy fit for purpose and electorally sound for the times we face is another natural step.

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29 January 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: PM must not ignore defence concerns about Huawei deal
  • Liberal Democrats: Sacking Northern is just the first step

Liberal Democrats: PM must not ignore defence concerns about Huawei deal

Responding to reports that Boris Johnson has defied his Defence Secretary by allowing Huawei to help to build Britain’s 5G network, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone MP said:

Boris Johnson must not ignore the Defence Secretary’s concerns. There are legitimate human rights and security issues associated with this move.

Three of our Five Eyes allies, the US, Australia and New Zealand, have already blocked the Chinese firm in full or in part

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31 December 2018 – 6 January 2019 – the week’s press releases

Right, the holiday season is over, and it’s back to something resembling normalcy tomorrow, what with Parliament resuming and all. So, here’s the press releases that you missed…

  • Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal
  • Javid comments on asylum seekers ‘completely unacceptable’
  • Corbyn cosies up to the Conservatives on Brexit
  • All Gove is offering farmers is uncertainty
  • Cable: PM’s publicity campaign is scaremongering
  • Cable: Govt must end brinkmanship over security in Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dems: Govt must follow airports and invest in drone protection

Govt must provide answers over forced marriage scandal

Liberal Democrats today condemned reports that the Government is charging victims of illegal forced marriages to …

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21-30 December 2018 – press release catch-up

You’d been wondering where I’d gotten to, hadn’t you? Well, following some consideration of how this regular feature works, I’ve decided to change it a bit. From now on, I’ll publish on Monday to Thursday inclusive, and on Sunday evening. My thinking is that politics goes a bit quiet when Parliament isn’t sitting, and one can develop a false expectation as to the flow of press releases from that.

And now, a catch up of press releases you’ve probably missed…

  • Lib Dem call to scrap Vagrancy Act gets Labour backing
  • Cable: Corbyn offers no real alternative
  • Govt must take no deal off the table

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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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LibLink: Brian Paddick: If we value our national security, we will avoid a hard Brexit

A couple of days before Theresa May’s ill-judged ultimatum in her Article 50 letter over trade and security, Brian Paddick wrote for the Guardian about how hard Brexit could damage our security. That’s right. If Theresa May gets her way, we will be less safe.

He started off by talking about last week’s attack at Westminster in which 4 people, PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes and Kurt Cochran were murdered. How do we balance the need to keep Parliament accessible with the safety of those in and around it?

That security must be balanced with an obligation to keep parliament open to the people. We shouldn’t turn Westminster into Fort Knox, even if such a thing were possible. But we can improve security, for politicians, staff and, crucially, police on the frontline.

Those officers are not armed. Armed support is a distance away. No one wants an ostentatious display of force, which would only increase that sense of alienation many feel about “Westminster”. But this attack shows, alas, that armed officers should be directly behind that frontline. Otherwise lives will be lost that could be saved. In this attack, I gather, it was only because a minister’s armed close protection officer happened to be close by that the assailant was stopped.

While millions are spent on surveillance powers and the security services, over the past six years £1bn has been cut from the Metropolitan police budget. That’s huge.

He went on to talk about how a hard Brexit could compromise our security effort both in cost and co-operation. 

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Julian Huppert MP writes…Nick Clegg has put Liberal Democrats far ahead of other parties on security and privacy

This morning was a good day for Liberal Democrats. I and many others went to RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute to hear Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of our party, deliver a speech on security and privacy in the internet age.

He sent out a clear and strong message: the legal framework for the UK’s intelligence agencies and intelligence oversight structure is in desperate need of an overhaul, and this must start with an independent review, which he has commissioned.

His wider ambitions are set out in a piece for the Guardian today. The Tories are blocking changes …

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Huppert warns against “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”

huppert_caption compIt’s become a truth universally acknowledged in the Liberal Democrats that wherever there is a threat to our freedoms, Julian Huppert will be there trying to thwart it, whether that’s convenient for the party leadership or not.  Most of the time, it has to be said, it is convenient for the leadership, but it’s worth remembering that if it hadn’t been for the combination of him and some angry bloggers, we might be in a world where the Communications Data Act of 2012 had been passed.

And so it was on …

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Gossip from Gateshead #1

This is a brief foray into the lighter side of Liberal Democrat Conference in Gateshead. There may well be more issues before the weekend is out but that depends on the amount and quality of the information I receive.

The most pressing matter, of course, is the mystery of the missing chocolate. Yesterday, I put a box of Celebrations and a bag of Minstrels in the Liberal Democrat Voice office. By the time Mark Pack arrived here at the crack of dawn this morning, it had disappeared. What could possibly have happened?  I’m sure that we could run to a small …

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