Tag Archives: steve webb

LDVideo: A fairer, more democratic, greener, liberal country

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

The political thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945: book review

Kevin Hickson’s volume, The political thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945, may be a short volume from an academic publisher with an academic book price tag to boot (look out for cheaper second-hand copies) but its contributors include many political practitioners. With Vince Cable, Steve Webb, David Howarth , Richard Grayson and Duncan Brack amongst them, this book has a very strong representation of people at the coalface of policy making rather than simply those who know of it only in theory.

As Hickson points out in the book’s introduction, the policies of the Liberal Democrats – even more so than other aspects of the history of the party and its predecessors since 1945 – have had very little coverage in books, an omission which this volume sets out to remedy and which political fortunes in the year after the book’s publication has made all the more useful a task to tackle.

Posted in Books, Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Promising news on welfare spending as major reforms set for go-ahead

On Friday I mentioned how the old Liberal Democrat policy of integrating and simplifying the tax and benefits systems is getting a revival courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith. The former Conservative leader turned Work and Pensions Secretary has been arguing hard for the funds to introduce a simplified universal benefit that also is more generous than current rules to people in low-paid jobs. This would mean that people who currently find that taking a job makes them worse off, or only marginally better off, than being unemployed thanks to loss of benefits would lose less of their benefits and so …

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The Independent View: Child poverty

In 1999, the government announced that it meant to end child poverty by 2020. Making progress towards that objective is now the responsibility of the Coalition; how well is it likely to do?

Tony Blair’s pronouncement, made out of the blue at a meeting in Toynbee Hall, was a typical coup de théâtre, and it even surprised his own cabinet. It illustrated Mr Blair’s strengths – reassuring supporters who worried that new Labour had lost touch with their Party’s traditional values and at the same time neutralising critics from the other end of the spectrum. For a generation, inegalitarians had …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

The coalition agreement: jobs & welfare and justice

Welcome to the thirteenth in a series of posts going through the full coalition agreement section by section. You can read the full coalition document here.

The jobs and welfare section of the coalition agreement is one of the least important – not because the policy area doesn’t matter (it certainly does) but because it says very little beyond, “we want to make the welfare system better”. Quite what better means and whether it can really be done is all down to how Iain Duncan Smith in particular does his job, the choices he makes and the degree to which pensions …

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LibLink: Steve Webb – Indy readers ask the questions

Over at The Independent, Lib Dem spokesman on Work and Pensions Steve Webb answers questions from the paper’s readers, such as ‘Aren’t you having it both ways on the deficit?’ and ‘Isn’t Clegg really a Tory?’ Here are 3 of the Q&As …

Why haven’t British politicians learned the lesson of welfare reform in Wisconsin? Cut benefits, create jobs, and end a dependency culture. Christopher Rope, Ipswich

There are plenty of people who receive benefits through no fault of their own, so how is cutting benefits across the board morally defensible? The phrase “dependency culture” is insulting to those who have poor health or family responsibilities or other perfectly good reasons for relying on what I still think of “social security”, many of whom would love to be able to get out and work. Wisconsin-style measures cut the “welfare rolls” but what happens to those people and their children then?

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LibLink: Steve Webb – There has been no rightward shift by the Liberal Democrats

At Comment is Free today, Steve Webb MP reiterates the Liberal Democrats’ focus on redistributive policies and fairness.

He’s replying to Tim Horton’s suggestion that the Liberal Democrats have seen a “rightward shift” under Nick Clegg, at the expense of the party’s progressive credentials.

Webb responds with the £10,000 tax allowance, smarter public spending (including introducing the pupil premium and scrapping ID cards) and the Lib Dems’ fairness in politics agenda:

We have argued for an effective cap on political donations, so that no political party in Britain can be bought by sectional interests: the two old parties have, not surprisingly,

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Daily View 2×2: 1 March 2010

It’s Monday morning. It’s the 1st March, and the question everyone’s asking is, “Where the hell did January and February go?”. For our Welsh readers, meanwhile, may we wish you a very happy St David’s Day. On with the day’s main news …

Result of LDV poll on Tories’ evaporating lead

Yesterday LDV ran an insta-poll asking our Twitter followers and site readers what you thought was the main reason why the Tories’ opinion poll lead has shrunk so fast. Here’s what the 147 of you who voted told us:

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What the papers say…

Over at the Daily Mail, is the shine coming off Brand Cameron, or, is this just a kick up the pants? First comes the big slap…then the boot, with a stiletto heel.

Daily Mail, leader-column, 12.12.09:

“At a time like this, it’s madness to ring-fence any budget at the expense of the rest. Even sacred cows can be hugely overweight.  Since 1977, billions have been poured into health and education, without the improvements in standards we’d expect.

“How can Mr. Darling claim there’s no scope for cuts in the NHS, on the day we learn it is spending £1 …

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Peter Tyzack selected for Lib Dems in Filton and Bradley Stoke

South Gloucestershire councillor Peter Tyzack has been selected as the Liberal Democrats’ Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the new constituency of Filton and Bradley Stoke.

From the South Gloucestershire Gazette:

At the next General Election, to be held in the spring, the existing Northavon constituency is to be divided into two new constituencies, Filton and Bradley Stoke, and Thornbury and Yate.

Cllr Tyzack said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by the party to represent the people in this new constituency for the next General Election. I would like to say thank you for the support that I have

Posted in Selection news | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 23 November 2009

It’s the 23rd November – which means great celebrations in (parts of) the Lib Dem blogosphere at the 46th anniversary since the first broadcast of Doctor Who. And it’s happy birthday, too, to Zoë Ball and Kirsty Young.

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

Why we should not be afraid of a hung parliament (Mark Thompson)

A hung parliament is the sort of scenario that the Lib Dems been waiting for for years. It would finally give us a chance to wield some real power and exert our influence on policy and politics in a way that had been denied to us previously.


Cagoules, Coat Hangers and Cake – A taster of the Bloggers’ Unconference (Caron Lindsay)

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Unemployment: Lib Dems on the bleak national picture

Three separate Lib Dem press releases ping into the Voice’s inbox, each of them them telling a depressing story about the human impact of the recession.

First up, Lib Dem shadow work and pensions secretary Steve Webb on the doubling of long-term unemployment in the last year alone:

Ministers try to spin the slower rise in headline figures as progress, but long-term unemployment has doubled in a year and if it is not tackled now it will be a devastating legacy of this recession.

Posted in Scotland and Wales | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Osborne’s pensions plan would leave women in the lurch – Webb

Lib Dem Work and Pensions spokesman Steve Webb was quick to share his thoughts about George Osbourne’s plan to raise the retirement age with Lib Dem Voice readers yesterday.

Today he has issued a stinging rebuke of the implications of the Tory scheme for women:

Women have been a total afterthought to this announcement. It is simply impossible for the Tories to save £13bn a year by raising the state pension age for men alone.

George Osborne’s plans would require the pension age for women to increase each year until 2016. The Tories must come clean or risk leaving every

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Cameron tested by the choppy waters of welfare, Lisbon and Marr

At the start of his party’s conference in Manchester, Tory leader David Cameron has announced plans “to get Britain working again” – but his comments have drawn a sharp response from the Lib Dems’ shadow work and pensions secretary Steve Webb:

This is yet more Tory posturing. Much of what David Cameron is proposing – such as reviewing people on incapacity benefit – is happening already.

“But the central assumption – that unemployment is simply about the workshy not applying for jobs – is ridiculous in the middle of a global recession. There are parts of the country now where there are already 100 people applying for every vacancy. So forcing more single parents and people with health problems to apply for the same jobs is far more about posturing than about tackling unemployment.”

Mr Cameron is having a tough 24 hours. First, he is having to defend his party’s precarious position on Europe, refusing to say what the party’s policy will be when the Lisbon treaty is ratified (other than he “will not let matters rest”, whatever that means).

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Where is the British Obama?

Earlier this month Lynne Featherstone gave the Heather Larkin Annual Lecture in Yate:

I am really pleased to be here tonight – yes it is a long trek here and back but worth it to pay tribute to Steve Webb. Steve is a great MP, a great campaigner, a great innovator on the internet – and a great intellectual force. The fact that we often agree on policy may have something to do with that!

But one of the highlights of Parliament is listening to thoughtful and powerful speeches from which you learn and which help shape your own views. Steve’s speeches …

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Leadership v. Activists – a personal reflection on Bournemouth ’09 #ldconf

I’m not, by any means, a party conference veteran – Bournemouth ’09 was in fact only my fourth. But it has been distinctive for one thing in particular: it’s been the first year when the media coverage of conference has genuinely reflected what folk (at least those I’ve met) have been talking about at conference.

In previous years, we have been continually told that Lib Dem delegates were chattering about the fate of our leaders – when actually we were quite contentedly chewing the fat of meaty policy issues. This year, there has, as ever at a Lib Dem conference, been plenty of meaty policy debate, but there’s also been more than a little discussion, and not a little grumbling, about the style of the party leadership, both Nick and Vince. And it seems to me – as I blogged here yesterday – that these grumblings are fair.

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

Steve Webb over-rules Nick on universal child benefits

Evening Standard blogger Paul Waugh has the story:

Work and Pensions spokesman Steve Webb has indeed put his foot down to kill off Nick Clegg’s suggestion (floated in the Guardian on Saturday) that the party could means-test child benefit.

Webb made plain his feelings at a Fabian fringe event.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Blog of the Year Awards 2009: The Shortlists

Nominations for the Liberal Democrats’ Blog of the Year Awards 2009 closed on 4 September. Since then, the judges (Tom Brake MP, Ryan Cullen, me, Meral Ece OBE, Lynne Featherstone MP, Alix Mortimer, Stephen Tall, Cat Turner and Paul Waugh) have been poring over the entries for the six categories.

It’s been a big task, and a fun one, to distil so many excellent examples of Lib Dem blogging and e-campaigning into lists of the five best.

Congratulations if you’ve been shortlisted, but if you haven’t: remember that the shortlists are based on the judges’ subjective opinions. The awards are intended to be a fun way to celebrate the talent in the Lib Dem blogosphere, whilst introducing you to some blogs you might not have read before.

First, a reminder that the winner of the Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog category will be decided by a public vote here on Liberal Democrat Voice, so please have a read of the nominated blogs and then head on over to the sidebar to cast your vote.

Next, a plug for the awards ceremony itself. If you’re coming to party conference in Bournemouth, do head along to Old Harry’s Bar in the Marriott Highcliff Hotel from 9.45pm on Sunday 20th September.

Now, without further ado, here are the shortlists: (Drumroll, please)

Blank

Posted in Best of the blogs and Conference | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 20 Comments

Labour teaches kids the new 3 Rs: Remand, Raw, and Recession

Three stories today – see if you can spot the blatant connection.

First up, the first R: Remand. Lib Dem research today revealed that over a million kids have been convicted of a criminal offence over the last decade, with a further million cautioned since Labour came to power in 1997. Here’s the breakdown of figures as revealed in an answer to a Lib Dem parliamentary question:

* 1,033,454 children aged between 10 and 17 have been convicted of a criminal offence since 1997. This includes almost 30,000 10 to 12 year olds.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

MPs on Facebook: leading the way or forgetting to change the defaults?

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

A new studyof MPs on Facebook shows widespread use of the social network by Parliamentarians, but also a range of curious choices about how to use the medium which may in part reflect a failure to change default settings.

The study, carried out by Woodnewton Associates and based on evidence gathered in May this year, found that:

  • 26% of MPs have a Facebook presence (a page or profile).
  • Liberal Democrat MPs lead the way in Facebook usage, with 65% being on Facebook. 25% of Labour MPs and 21% of Conservative MPs are on Facebook.

Whilst a static presence in …

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Top MP blogs published

TotalPolitics (in association with Iain Dale) now have published their list of top MP blogs, as voted for by over 1500 readers.

In the top 30 are Lynne Featherstone, Willie Rennie, John Hemming, Steve Webb, and John Barrett.

Only one party leader features in the list, and that’s Nick Clegg.

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dems force government climbdown on MPs’ pension increases

As the BBC reports:

Plans to raise taxpayers’ contributions to MPs’ pensions have been dropped, ahead of a Commons debate. A planned increase had been accepted by all parties in March but the government now says it will accept a Lib Dem plan to freeze the amount from public funds.

The proposal would have seen MPs’ own contributions rise by £60 a month, but the Lib Dems said taxpayers would have paid £750,000 more than last year. All party leaders have indicated that MPs’ final salary schemes must end.

The cost to the Treasury of MPs’ pensions has risen from

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Which party’s winning on the web?

PR Week has a piece comparing the online strategies of the UK’s three main political parties. With a nod or two towards Obama’s use of social media, the article presents a report card on each party, compiled by their panel of experts.

Each party is examined on its approach, key players, leader and the involvement of MPs and grassroots.

The Conservatives are found to have “attracted the most plaudits so far,” while Labour’s “command and control mentality” is said to be hampering their efforts.

The verdict on the Liberal Democrats is that our “overall understanding of social media is impressive” but that …

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 27 May 2009

2 big stories

Much of today’s coverage is summed up perfectly by the Independent’s headline Brown v Cameron v Clegg, under which all three leaders set out their visions for the rebuilding of Britain’s broken politics. They are due to take party in cross-party talks according to the Guardian, talks to be led by that famed bastion of reform, Jack Straw. Perhaps that’s who Nick Clegg was thinking of when he said (to the Times): “There are prominent people in government who recognise that the game’s up.” Our friends in the Lords are

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: ‘Chris Ward likes this…’

Guildford Lib Dem Councillor and software developer Chris Ward explains why the ‘like’ button may could help win elections.

In 2007 I ran for local council. I vividly recall conveying to the campaigns meeting this incredible new craze called Facebook. Much like many online innovations, Lib Dem activists tend to proceed with caution. Today, many of those people are on Facebook themselves, justifying my initial worship for the networking site.

Back then I made a bit of a mistake. I believed that Facebook was enough in itself to get a substantial number of votes. I know …

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Steve Webb MP in “Facebook surgery” first

Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon, held a “drop in surgery” with a difference this morning – on social networking website Facebook.

He’d advertised the time in advance, to his 3,867 Facebook friends: “Steve will be online on Facebook Chat tomorrow (Thursday) between 11 and 11.30am. Log on and chat if you want to raise anything with me.”

This morning around 200 of them – a mixture of constituents, party members and others – were online for the chat session. Steve likened the experience to “one of those plate-spinning acts that you see on variety shows on the TV”. (Fortunately, he types fast!)

Shortly afterwards, I spoke to Steve, who declared the experiment a success. I asked him why he chose Facebook’s live chat facility.

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

Did you have children in 2002?

If you had children under sixteen living with you in the tax year starting April 2002, then you may be owed some money – but you only have until the end of January to claim it. You are entitled to more if a child was born that period.

Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Prof Steve Webb MP has all the details, if you need more information.

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Where drinking meets thinking…

The Liberal Democrats have recently kickstarted the process for its next general election manifesto – which might be needed at any time between June 2009 and May 2010. Chaired by Danny Alexander MP, the process kicks off formally this weekend with a one day conference taking place at the London School of Economics.

2009 marks the centenary of the People’s Budget and the 101st anniversary of the Pensions Act (effectively the birth of the welfare state). With this in mind, the team behind Reinventing the State, a series of essays published in 2007  are keen …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Nick Clegg’s reshuffle: how did the press pack do?

Nick Clegg has “demoted” Steve Webb (The Independent) although he also “promoted” him (Daily Mail). Meanwhile, Chris Huhne was “stripped of some front-bench duties” (Daily Telegraph), although in fact giving those duties to David Howarth was actually just “rubber-stamping” the existing position (Daily Mail). For bonus points, whilst Lynne Featherstone is still Youth and Equalities spokesperson, that’s not the Daily Telegraph world where she has been “moved”.

Promoted, demoted; stripped, not stripped; moved, not moved. It’s all the same isn’t it?

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LDV Awards 2008: Lib Dem Politician of the Year & By-election Performance of the Year

Many thanks to the 200+ LDV readers who took part in our end-of-year awards, which ran between 23rd and 28th December. Voting was conducted via Liberty Research using the alternative vote method of ranking the nominees for each of the eight categories. We’ll be revealing the eight winners over the next four days. (Not that we’re tying to pad things out over the holiday season; no, of course not).

First, let’s unveil the winner of LDV’s first ever Politician of the Year award. Let’s face it, though, there’s zero sense of anticipation as we all knew full darn well …

Posted in LDV Awards | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments
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