Tag Archives: The Independent Group

LibLink: David Boyle – The Lib Dems should act decisively – and join the Independent Group now

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Over on the Guardian’s Comment is Free, David Boyle uses his first-hand experience of the Liberal party/SDP merger to reflect on the new situation with the Independent Group of MPs:

…this is what I believe Vince Cable should do. As soon as possible, the Lib Dems should join the Independent Group in parliament. I suggest this partly for the good of the independents. Joining the 11 Lib Dems (plus Stephen Lloyd, who resigned the whip recently, but who would surely then follow suit) would double their size and give them momentum. The new group would then be almost two-thirds of the way to becoming the third largest party (currently the SNP with 35 seats), and closer to the public funding attached for policymaking.

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We must learn from the past to reshape the future

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On 25th January 1981 former Labour cabinet ministers Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams issued a statement which became known as the Limehouse Declaration.  This was to herald a new beginning for British Politics and yet here we are 38 years later with a new declaration born out of the same frustrations with the British Political system.

The opportunity to change British Politics for the better is here again, and we can either shout from the side-lines or join the team and play the game, no matter how much that prospect might scare us.

If the coalition has taught us anything it is that we cannot change politics by aligning ourselves with the status quo, the Labour and Conservative parties exist to take turns in holding power and they will do everything they can to ensure that nobody wrests that power from them.  Our job is to make it impossible for any one party to ever govern alone again, and the only way we can achieve that is in common cause with other smaller parties.

In deciding our response to the Independent Group, we must now ask ourselves a very simple question: “Is it our ambition to replace one of the big parties or do we want to change British politics for good?”

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What policy platform can we share with The Independent Group?

The first area of campaigning on a common platform other than fighting Brexit might conceivably be a drive to alleviate child poverty in Britain once and for all.

Our party committed ourselves to that principle in the comprehensive motion Mending the Safety Net, passed at the Brighton Conference of 2016, which prioritised reducing child poverty.

Now Heidi Allen MP, one of the three ex-Tory Independents, who reportedly attacked George Osborne in her Maiden speech in 2015 over his tax cuts to welfare benefits, has lately undertaken an anti-poverty tour of the country with Frank Field MP.

A new urgency is required to tackle child poverty following a report last Wednesday, February 20, from the think-tank the Resolution Foundation, which states that child poverty is projected to rise by a further six percentage points by 2023-24 to a record high. It explains, ‘In our projection, the majority of children who either have a single parent, are in larger families, are in a household where no-one is in work, or live in private or social rented housing  will be in poverty by 2023-24.’ The report’s author, Adam Corlett, demands that the Government reassess the continuation of working-age benefit cuts which contribute to this dire projection, which comes despite the slightly more favourable present economic circumstances of household income.

We may therefore hope that our own Welfare Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP may eagerly pursue along with Heidi Allen an end to the benefit cuts, which are currently expected to last another year from April. However, the priorities of the current twelve Independents beyond stopping Brexit are less clear-cut, so far as they are yet known.

Posted in Op-eds | 27 Comments

20 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Dishonest of PM to say technical education is a priority
  • Extension of no-fly zone will not prevent future drone chaos
  • Radical changes are afoot in UK politics – Cable
  • Davey: Sajid Javid has big questions to answer on Shamima Begum decision
  • Lib Dems indicate hazards for driving abroad after Brexit

Lib Dems: Dishonest of PM to say technical education is a priority

The Association of Colleges has warned that there is a “real risk to the long-term economic prosperity of the UK” if the Government’s flagship ‘T-Level’ policy is not implemented correctly.

T-Levels, which are due to be introduced in September 2020 will be equivalent …

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TIG’s not it

When you are an active member of a political party, the amount of the infrastructure of your life that is embedded in it is colossal. My husband knows that we have a bird of liberty as well as a spaniel determinedly pushing its way between us when we try to grab some time together.

Our lives revolve round election cycles and meetings and protest marches. And this blog.

Most of my best friends are in the Liberal Democrats. To be honest, I think they would still be my best friends wherever our lives took us, but, still, I share stuff with them that if we were in different parties I wouldn’t be able to any more.

Making the decision to leave is difficult and painful and not at all easily taken.

So when I see people leaving the Labour Party when they have finally reached the end of their rope with Jeremy Corbyn, I know how hard it must have been for them. I respect them for having the courage to do so.

I like some of them a lot on a personal level and I have no problem with working with them on the areas where we share common aims.

However, I am underwhelmed by their statement of values on their website. Some of them are fine – just a bit motherhood and apple pie.However, parts of it made me cringe:

…the first duty of government must be to defend its people and do whatever it takes to safeguard Britain’s national security.

It’s a bit hawkish. I get that they are trying to get away from the spectre of Corbyn, but the first thing above all else, when 3 million of our citizens are about to have their rights massively downgraded and people have trouble putting food on the table? Really?

There are also some real deserving/undeserving poor undertones to it – and an echo of that awful phrase “hard working families.”

I think the thing that bothered me most, though, was:

We believe that our parliamentary democracy in which our elected representatives deliberate, decide and provide leadership, held accountable by their whole electorate is the best system of representing the views of the British people.

I get that they are restating the obvious that democracy is a good thing, but you can’t say that politics is broken and then say that our way of doing it is best. How much more powerful would it have been if they had said, as we do, that our political institutions need redesigning and rebuilding so that people get the Parliament that they ask for. If they did, the country would not be in its current disastrous pickle.

I lived through the birth of the SDP 40 years ago and it genuinely felt exciting. They used phrases like “breaking the mould” and talked about pursuing a reforming agenda in every area of life. This doesn’t have that coherent approach. It’s like TIG’s members can agree what they’re against – the various circles of Hell in Corbyn’s Labour – but writing a coherent vision statement has not come easy. In some ways their statement is more cry of pain than beacon lighting our path.

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18 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Amidst the conjecture caused by the launch of The Independent Group this morning, it might have been easy to forget that there’s plenty of other stuff going on…

  • Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed
  • Govt consultations on plastic must be followed by action
  • On short prison sentences, Tories say one thing and do another
  • Cable: Honda decision another hammer blow to the UK economy
  • Lib Dems will work with like-minded MPs – Cable
  • Statement on the death of Paul Flynn

Lib Dems: Rail reform proposals signals change needed

Responding to the release of the report containing the Rail Delivery Group’s proposals to the Williams Rail Review, …

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Is being purist consistent with building majorities for change?

I’ve been vaguely following the debate triggered by today’s launch of The Independent Group, and I have to admit to a tinge of despair. The competing stances of “we look forward to working with them” and “they’re not proper liberals and we shouldn’t touch them with a bargepole” are hardly unexpected, and there are people that I respect on both sides.

But, of course, I’m a bureaucrat, inherently cautious, and I’m older and wiser than I once was. So I find myself wondering, what is it we want, and how can this help us to get it?

Think of it as being …

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    @Peter Martin I am torn Peter. I wonder whether it would be worth taking the deal, (getting one foot out of the door so to...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Mar - 12:30pm
    I don't know if my opinion would be typical of most Leavers but I'd rather remain in the EU than accept May's deal. The UK...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 21st Mar - 12:07pm
    The concept of the "People's Vote" was not just any vote by any people, but a specific vote on the terms of a Brexit Deal....
  • User AvatarDavid-1 21st Mar - 11:56am
    I'm afraid I don't follow the logic of this article. Surely from the point of the EU the more obvious alternative to "a short prolongation"...
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 21st Mar - 11:45am
    For me the second referendum was always about voting on the terms of the deal. It’s a pity it has morphed into a Peoples’ Vote...
  • User AvatarJohn Chandler 21st Mar - 11:26am
    It's okay, I have it on very good authority from Corbyn-worshipping friends that he's still playing the long game and that he will back a...