Tag Archives: the standard

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Beware the brash bluff and bluster of the Brexit sharks

Nick Clegg has taken prominent Leave campaigners to task over their recent pronouncements in his latest Standard column:

He draws an analogy from the iconic tv programme Happy Days:

As the writers of the TV show Happy Days approached their fifth season they were running out of ideas for storylines. So, in the season premiere, they sent the Fonz to Los Angeles where, in a bid to prove his bravery, he put on a pair of water skis and jumped over a shark.

That moment spawned a phrase — “jumping the shark” — which is used to describe the moment when something is taken too far, loses all credibility and makes everyone involved look silly.

In recent weeks, the Brexit campaign has jumped the shark.

He then looks at the wilder pronouncements of Boris, Farage and Penny Mordaunt before turning on an old adversary of his, Dominic Cummings. Nick and Cummings have some pretty serious history. I doubt that they are on each others’ Christmas card lists.

Dominic Cummings, a senior figure in Vote Leave, has suggested that those who believe we should remain in the EU are like the appeasers of the 1930s. Wearing the slightly crazed look of someone who jumps sharks for a living, Cummings told the Commons Treasury Committee that the “conventional wisdom” of today is as misguided as it was then. The fixation with the Nazis among Brexiteers is as historically illiterate as it is revolting.

Cummings has asserted that the Cabinet Secretary, Jeremy Heywood, is running an intimidation scam out of the Cabinet Office, threatening people to toe a pro-European line. I saw the Cabinet Office at work for five years. It is a slightly herbivorous part of the government machine. The notion that it is the Whitehall equivalent of the Sopranos is laughable.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: The Tories should leave the BBC alone. We all have a stake in it

The BBC is the subject of Nick Clegg’s regular Standard column this week. He argues strongly against the sort of intervention outlined in the Government’s White Paper and lists the ways in which the Tories have picked fight with the institutions we hold dear.

In the absence of a clear plan, and unchallenged by any meaningful opposition, they have indulged their own prejudices: picking fights with the BBC, junior doctors, headteachers, refugees, low-paid workers, housing association tenants and each other on Europe. No wonder they bounce from one ill-judged initiative to the next. As each announcement disintegrates on contact with political daylight, they are forced into a series of humiliating U-turns, from enforced academisation of schools to disability benefit cuts. So nursing their own bias against the BBC is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the underlying problem: unchallenged power without a sense of purpose.

The BBC isn’t perfect, he argues, but it’s still one of this country’s proudest achievements:

Some argue that the Tories are simply echoing the views of their backers in the Murdoch press and the Daily Mail. Others say many Conservatives seem to view the BBC as a political enemy, run by a cabal of Guardian-reading academics and latte-sipping metropolitan Lefties with an axe to grind.

I have no idea whether these allegations are true — though the idea that the BBC is biased against the Conservatives is patently ludicrous. In fact, if unwittingly, the BBC provided a huge boost to the Conservatives last year by obsessing about the prospect of a Labour-minority Government, so amplifying the Conservatives’ central campaign message. Given that every political party at some point seems to think the BBC is against them — from red-faced SNP supporters during the Scottish independence referendum to the revolting sexist bilge directed at political editor Laura Kuenssberg by angry Corbynistas last week — it suggests that it is probably in the right place. God knows I have had my own grumbles about Lib-Dem representation, or lack of it, on BBC programmes in the past

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

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Give doctors the right to prescribe Cannabis for those in real pain

Nick Clegg’s Standard column this week tackled the issue of Cannabis prescription:

He tells some real-life stories of people whose lives have been transformed by being able to use Cannabis:

Faye, a corporate PA for a big company who was diagnosed four years ago with rheumatoid arthritis, is about as far away from the cliché of the layabout pothead as you can possibly imagine. An ambitious, outgoing and highly able young woman, the pain threatened to derail the career she had been building since the age of 16. She tried a number of prescription medicines but they came with a range of nasty side effects, from hair loss to constant nausea, that often left her too ill to work.

Four years later, her career is back on track. She makes her own cannabis-based skin cream that she can use at work, which has no psychoactive qualities and can easily be disguised so that no one knows she is using cannabis. To her colleagues, it looks like she simply keeps a small jar of normal hand cream on her desk. As a result, she told me that she can “live my life as I used to four years ago”. But she does so at great expense and at the risk of a criminal record. She is also forced to put herself into potentially difficult situations in order to obtain the cannabis she needs.

Nick makes the point that not one of these people wants to be criminals:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: George Osborne’s Living Wage is a trick and workers have been betrayed

Very, very strong words from Nick Clegg this lunchtime in an article on the Standard. He talks about how the Liberal Democrats’ carefully constructed initiatives to help people into work and eliminate the poverty trap have been swept away by George Osborne.

He starts by outlining why he thinks work is so important:

Work is not just an economic necessity. It brings identity and self-reliance. It is a spur to ingenuity and a catalyst for growth. Work demands the learning of new skills. It sustains communities and nourishes families. Without work, society crumbles.

He goes on to say what the Liberal Democrats did to help people into work:

That is why seven years ago — shortly after I became leader of the Liberal Democrats — the party started arguing in favour of lifting the income tax personal allowance. It seemed a little technical at the time — harder to explain than headline-grabbing reductions in tax rates — but the aim was simple enough: working taxpayers, especially those on low pay, should keep more of the money they earn as an incentive to work.

It seemed indefensible at the time that the taxman was taking money off you the moment you earned £6,035. The rest, as they say, is history: the aim of lifting the tax allowance to £10,000 and beyond became the principal tax reform of the Coalition. It took millions of people on low pay out of paying income tax and proved to be so popular that the Conservatives now claim it was their idea all along.

He said he thought that that legacy of the coalition years would be safe, but was horrified at the budget:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 28 Comments

Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez on faking it, elites and inspiring girls

Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez by Liberal DemocratsThere’s a great interview in the Standard with Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez. It irks me slightly that Charlotte Edwardes doesn’t even get 20 words into her article before she mentions what Miriam is wearing. At least she got “top corporate lawyer” in there first, so I guess that counts as progress.

All the papers have picked up on what Miriam said to a group of young women – telling them that women have been faking things for years so they should fake self confidence. It’s  about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Littler 20th Aug - 5:29pm
    Well observed Frank Little
  • User AvatarP.J. 20th Aug - 5:20pm
    @David Allen Just as an Idea. It could repeal the Fixed Term Parliament act.
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 20th Aug - 4:40pm
    P.J. "IMO the GNU is fraught with problems ... Priority has to be to find a parliamentary way of stopping ‘no deal’ " The problem...
  • User Avatartheakes 20th Aug - 4:38pm
    Paul did not mean you said "murder", it was the media. Someone may have been charged with oiffence A, does not mean that he will...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 20th Aug - 4:37pm
    Another good article on foreign affairs following on from Hong Kong and Kashmir. Why does our Party still not have a Foreign Affairs Spokesperson in...
  • User AvatarThomas 20th Aug - 4:28pm
    TCO - as I said, the Conservatives are "the party of the uneducated", with policies that aim to keep the mass uneducated so that they...
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