Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #470

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 470th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (19-25 February, 2017), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

1. Who will win in Copeland and Stoke Central? A final prediction by Nick Tyrone on
Was Nick’s crystal ball in sparkling form or did it go wonky?

2. Why aren’t the Lib Dems doing better in the national polls? A possible answer by Nick Tyrone on
Are we back to being the “none of the above” choice?

3. Britain Elects foresees Lib Dem gains in May’s local elections by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England.
The Lib Dem fightback is on…

4. Some thoughts on Stoke and Copeland by Andrew Page on A Scottish Liberal.
Andrew analyses the by-elections.

5. And the first by-election result of the week is…by Mark Pack on Mark Pack.
An unusual Tuesday by-election.

And now to the seven blog-posts that come highly recommended, regardless of the number of Aggregator click-throughs they attracted. To nominate a Lib Dem blog article published in the past seven days – your own, or someone else’s, all you have to do is drop a line to [email protected]. You can also contact us via Twitter, where we’re @libdemvoice

6. An unreasonable Brexit could be fatal for the UK by Cicero on Cicero’s Songs.
May’s position is the most damaging British act of policy since the 1930s.

7. Immigration – who’s really in control? by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal.
We are. And we pretty much always have been. Why Peter thinks that political cowardice over decades led to Leave vote.

8. The slowest bus tour in the world by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy.
Mark tours Santiago.

9. Throwback Thursday: And now for something completely different by Ben Lille on Lib Dem Newbies .
A reminder of that John Cleese PPB.

10. The oldest swinger in town by Jonathan Wallace on Jonathan Wallace.
Optimism at the by-election win thank you party.

11. Labour: They’re dead but they won’t lie down by Richard Kemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?
Labour are devoid of principles and holding on to a past that no longer exists. What principles could bind people together, though?

12. Is the USA becoming a land of censorship, prejudice and paranoia? by Peter Black on Peter Black.
What will be left of the land of the free for Trump’s successor?

And that’s it for another week. Happy blogging ‘n’ reading ‘n’ nominating.

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* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Best of the blogs.


  • Eddie Sammon 26th Feb '17 - 9:27pm

    Hi Caron, we really need something about the deportations the UK Home Office is currently undertaking. Irene Clennell, a carer to her sick British husband, has been deported after 30 years in the UK.

    Shiromini Satkunarajah, who came to the UK as a child, is trying to fight her deportation on Tuesday, three months before her university degree finishes.

    The spousal income rule, which was a coalition policy, seems to be getting used in a way that it wasn’t intended: to deport people already here if their income drops. Some EU migrants are living in fear that one day this rule will be used against them after brexit.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Feb '17 - 11:24pm


    If you ever again say you are not one of the best mannered on here when I defend you, and if a certain lordly type ever criticises you again I shall defend you again as as fine an example of Liberal Democrat values we have n the site! Your information herein opens my eyes to individual cases that confirm what classical as well as social Liberalism and social democracy have to offer,freedom from the state as much a to live a better life, I am as disgusted in the organs of government as I have ever been by the cases of deportation you reveal. This proves that so called public servants are often nothing of the sort. Governments are a disgrace, but laws are to be interpreted, these show incompetence , invasion of civil liberties and this country , like the US , going to the dogs !

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Feb '17 - 12:24am

    Thanks Lorenzo. On this particular issue I have a family member worried about getting deported who has educated me a bit on the topic. At first I didn’t understand why she was so worried but now I see that people who came here legally seem to be getting deported for silly things such as spending too much time out of the UK or their income reducing, even if it is to undertake caring responsibilities.

    Something has gone wrong with the Home Office and we need to scrutinise it. We can’t allow these people to feel abandoned. It is not trying to reduce net-migration that is the problem, but the cruel way the Home Office and the Conservatives led by Theresa May are going about it.

  • Mrs Clennel was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after her marriage.
    But periods spent back in Singapore caring for her elderly parents appear to have invalidated her residential status.
    When a friend of mine from Singapore got married many years ago to a British man she was made to give up her Singapore ID card. In those days upon marriage the foreign spouse was given a British passport, so Mrs Clennel appears to have retained her Singapore citizenship.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Feb '17 - 2:28am


    You say it as it must be said. Do say more about the income problems, are these deportations or threats to people who are more recent and who fall rather foul of the awful policy of the coalition, a continuation of similar measures, New Labour in it’s later period started on family member incomes or savings.

    A reason I have been lukewarm at best on a rigid or extensive freedom of movement in the EU, is the lack of scope it gives to immigration of people with a definite connection to our country.

    I would like an EU freedom to apply for a job, from a member country, and , when secured , the right to settle for it.

    I think the spouse and any under age children that spouse has custody of , should have the automatic right of settlement , here in the country of the British citizen.

    If this had not been the case in the latter 1960s I would be Italian ! They, because my father was from there, periodically invite me to claim dual citizenship.

    I am born and bred British, and patriotic more than most.

    I love this country enough to want to improve it and make it better than it is becoming !

  • Lorenzo
    I remember going to the British Embassy Bangkok during the 1990s and seeing a very angry Northern Irish man whose Thai wife had been denied a visa on the grounds she was dependent i.e. no funds or evidence that she could obtain paid employment.
    My wife got a visitors visa stamped with no recourse to public funds.

  • Daniel Walker 27th Feb '17 - 6:57am

    @Lorenzo “I would like an EU freedom to apply for a job, from a member country, and , when secured , the right to settle for it.”

    That, broadly speaking, is the rule, we just do not enforce it here. (see Free Movement of Persons, Section 2a.)

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '17 - 9:09am

    Daniel Walker – ‘That, broadly speaking, is the rule, we just do not enforce it here.’

    Sorry, what rule is it that we don’t enforce? That link you put up doesn’t seem to say anything. If you mean that the EU is about free movement of labour only then that most certainly is NOT the rule.

    It is worth adding here that other EU countries have strongly enforced registration systems. My friend is in Italy at the moment and I’m told their registration system is very important to free movement. Obviously liberals tend not to like registration schemes, but they do have the side-effect of making EU free movement rights far more straightforward than is the case in the UK.

  • It’s decisions like the ones Eddie mentions that are putting people completely against politicians. The current rules on spousal income were introduced by the coalition – strongly supported by Clegg – but it could just have easily been the Labour party. Why are politicians happy to stop wives and husbands of British citizens from living in the UK but seem content to see millions of europeans with no connection to the UK moving here? Is it any wonder many people are giving up on the main stream political parties and media. Imagine the out cry if President Trump had introduced a policy like that in America, the media would have been shouting fascist and racist from the roof tops.

  • Daniel Walker 27th Feb '17 - 12:59pm

    @Little Jackie Paper I mean, we don’t enforce “For stays of over three months: the right of residence is subject to certain conditions. EU citizens and their family members — if not working — must have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay”

    which is Section B2a, not 2a as I stated. Apologies. As you say, other countries enforce the registration aspects which we do not, but it was the requirement to be self-supporting after the 3 month period that I meant.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '17 - 1:40pm

    Daniel Walker – That is not my understanding.

    see p26 in particular.

    Being in the UK on the basis of an EU passport or an EEA family permit is NOT the same thing as being in the UK on the basis of a visa. It is not possible to be an ‘overstayer.’ So you are not obligated to leave the UK, but you will not be able to claim rights e.g to benefits, residency papers etc if you are not ‘qualified.’ Most recently the Dano case in the ECJ discussed this matter in the context of social security.

    I have to admit that I’m very surprised by how many people in the UK on the back of free movement rights do not appear to understand the EU rules about ‘qualifying activity.’ These are not new, nor are they secret.(

    Hence the number of recent newspaper articles about people who seem to think that having a pulse and an EU passport entitles them to permanent residency papers. EU law has (as I understand it) always obligated individuals to demonstrate their eligibility for EU-law derived rights. If you can’t demonstrate it, you have no EU rights. EU rights rest on a set of factual circumstances, not a visa. The facts have to be in place. So you don’t have to demonstrate that you are a, ‘qualified person,’ but if you do not do so you will have to demonstrate it to access anything.

    Or at least that’s my understanding – happy to be corrected.

    As I said earlier I do think some liberals are far too squeamish about registration schemes, but I’m in the minority. I know that Italy has a strongly enforced registration scheme and I believe at second hand that Denmark does too – so obviously it’s not at all unusual in the EU context.

    Suffice it here to say that my Portuguese friend really wishes she’d taken my advice and sent her qualified person evidence in a few years ago.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '17 - 2:06pm

    Eddie Sammon – I don’t understand this.

    ‘At first I didn’t understand why she was so worried but now I see that people who came here legally seem to be getting deported for silly things such as spending too much time out of the UK or their income reducing, even if it is to undertake caring responsibilities. ‘

    You don’t get ‘deported’ for spending too much time out of the UK. Do you mean eligibility for other things like future residency papers is affected? On the income reducing part, are you talking about an EU person here? If so that doesn’t make much sense.

    I would point out that the rules were the same for my wife when we went through immigration some years ago, so that rule is certainly nothing new, albeit we went through the UK system, not the EU one.

    On the face of it I would strongly suggest that your friend takes some advice because if what you say is her true understanding of her situation it doesn’t make much sense on the face of it.

    I’d also add that if this is an EU person then more likely than not the rules she is talking about are EU rules, not UK rules.

  • Little Jack Piper
    So much for the human right to a family life.
    So much for the governing party’s family values.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Feb '17 - 5:11pm

    Hi Lorenzo, I don’t know exactly what is going on but a lot of people, EU residents and non, seem to be worried about this spousal income rule. It’s stopping people from getting permanent residence.

    Hi Little Jackie Paper, people are getting deported for these reasons. I know it is hard to believe, but read the cases. Why this affects EU residents is because many are trying to apply for permanent residency considering Theresa May won’t guarantee their right to remain.

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