Building a progressive alliance on the basis of the past, and now looking to the future – Politics Article

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP giving the Beveridge lecture to Liberal Democrats last week, admitted that some of his party believe that ‘labourism’ is the only progressive future. Certainly Lib Dems have to accept that Socialists who believe that Liberals will always defend capitalism against the workers will never accept us as a progressive party, and will consider any alliance as a mere tactical ploy. In a mirror image, there are plenty of Liberals who believe that Labour cannot shake…

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can we form a progressive alliance? – Politics Article

Last Thursday Clive Lewis a Labour MP was the first non-Liberal Democrat to give the Social Liberal Forum’s Beveridge lecture (you can access it HERE ) entitled ’21st-century progressive alliances & political re-alignment’. Clive Lewis called for ‘a progressive alliance of the mind’, involving individuals, campaigns and movements. After outlining the great challenges facing us all today, he said that there is a crisis of democracy in our country, with people turning to the wrong solutions such as Brexit and…

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Action and Visibility – what the Lib Dems can do for you – Politics Article

Here in the North West, my experience as a Liberal Democrat will be like many members’: cold, wet days knocking on doors, delivering Focus leaflets and reporting that same damn pothole again week after week. For me, this is the pinnacle of local, community focused campaigning. What you’re trying to achieve is betterment of a small area and rather more cynically, get/retain Liberal Democrat seats on your local Councils. Yet, this method of hard work, starting early if years before…

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Littleborough and Saddleworth – 25 years on – Politics Article

Shocking as t may seem, this week saw the 25th anniversary of a great 1990s Lib Dem triumph – when we won the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election. It was the first big by-election I had ever been to and I loved it. I wrote here about meeting by-election legend Pat Wainwright there. She greeted us with smiles and very clear instructions about what work we were to do. She wasn’t afraid to tear a strip of me for doing something…

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What is in a name?  – Politics Article

Lib Dem run Watford Borough Council this week voted unanimously to pass a motion in favour of reviewing our town’s street names with links to slave and colonial history. The Black Lives Matter Campaign and others have rightly highlighted the harm slavery, indentured labour and exploitation inflicted on individuals and whole societies during the cruel period of slavery – the legacy of which continues to this day. It is important to remember that sickness and destitution were rife amongst slaves,…

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On cancel culture – Politics Article

Embed from Getty Images A tenet of the liberal standpoint is freedom of speech and ideas – that debate with reasoned arguments is essential to progress and democratic participation. This seems to be a view that is being tested with what many call the “culture wars” of the moment, centred around racism (historic and current), as well as trans rights. The charge is that activists on various sides look to deny people with opposing views the opportunity to express them.…

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Who gains from Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Statement? – Politics Article

It is easy to criticise Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Statement for not doing enough. The Chancellor had a difficult task to assess what size of economic stimulus would be effective. His main aim was apparently to create jobs for those who had lost them or will be losing them soon. But the Statement.is very disappointing because it doesn’t deal with the realities of the situation for lots of businesses. Social distancing is very likely still to be in place after…

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Four ways Lib Dem MPs stood up for those with no income – Politics Article

MPs’ inboxes at the moment are flooded with the millions of people who are getting no support at all during the Coronavirus pandemic. Imagine what that must feel like? It’s people like self-employed hairdressers, physiotherapists, cleaners, decorators, people who own self-catering holiday homes who have been left with nothing. Often their income from self employment was not that high anyway so they don’t have any sort of cushion. After almost 4 months of this, many are at breaking point. Liberal…

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Coalition – Politics Article

Friends, Lib Dems, countryfolk, lend me your ears. I come to bury the coalition, not to praise it. But I’m not here to damn it either. I just want to move on. Same-sex marriage. The Green Investment Bank. The tripling of our renewable energy usage. All Lib Dem policies that we should be fiercely proud of. But, if we’re going to celebrate them, we need to acknowledge that they came at a human cost – and that we voted for…

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Ditchley Lecture – Saturday, June 27th – Politics Article

Democracies can die. We’re witnessing authoritarian governments elsewhere in Europe undermining judicial independence, manipulating media, limiting parliamentary scrutiny of government actions and hobbling opposition activities. It couldn’t happen in Britain, could it? Are you sure? Commitment to open society, toleration of diverse opinions and opposition, and effective checks and balances on government, are core elements in political liberalism. Constitutional and limited government was also a core element in Edmund Burke’s concept of Conservatism. Constitutional Clubs in English towns institutionalised the…

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Democracy, digital technologies and trust – Politics Article

A new report from the House of Lords has shone a searchlight on the effect of online activity on the health of our democracy. Over the past year Paul Scriven and myself have been members of a Select Committee taking evidence, investigating the level of harm, and developing proposals for tackling this critical issue. As Liberals we see technology can be a tool to help spread power, and improve democracy. But that can only happen with the correct framework around…

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Sharing a birthday with Alan Turing – Politics Article

A photo of this sculpture hangs in my study Alan Turing was born on 23rd June 1912. I wasn’t aware that I shared a birthday with one of my heroes until the 1990s, long after his untimely death. In fact, the world knew very little about him until government papers were released in the 1970s under the 30 year rule. And yet he is now going to be memorialised on the next £50 note. Actually I did become aware of…

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Seizure of power and strong leadership – Politics Article

If I get the 10 pm bus out of town on a Wednesday night (usually after a session with the Campaign for Real Ale), I can look forward to a decent political discussion on the way home if Michael gets on. That’s actually his real name but in political and folk-singing circles he is better known by a pseudonym which I shall not reveal here. Michael is happy to have me as one of his councillors but we have no…

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After the statues – what next ? A Liberal way forward – Politics Article

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, I have been sharing my experiences as a black Briton with my white friends. It has shown me that we need to educate our country on our past. We must develop our history curriculum and widen the outlook of our galleries and museums. While it took a century to move from landowners voting to universal suffrage, in our digital age, change should be much swifter. We are an evolutionary not a revolutionary country.…

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Green Liberal Democrats conference is happening online – Politics Article

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute On the official party website: Conference homeWatch Live on BBC Parliament Green Liberal Democrats As the pandemic rolls on, the climate and nature crisis lurk in the background. The air is cleaner in cities. The birdsong appears clearer. We appreciate the outdoors more than ever. Moreover, commuters are discovering the joy of cycling for the first time. Meanwhile, the price of oil has plummeted, and, the UK is running without coal…

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Bring back the Access to Elected Office Fund – Politics Article

By Mary Reid | Sat 28th December 2019 – 10:29 am Many of our readers will remember speeches given at Conference by David Buxton. They were notable because they were given in British Sign Language. On each occasion a member of the wonderful BSL interpreting team switched roles and gave the spoken interpretation. At the end we all showed our appreciation with jazz hands instead of the usual clapping. David was our Parliamentary candidate in East Hampshire, where he increased…

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