Self-styled presidential ‘climate change candidate’ would wean U.S. off fossil fuels

The Democrat running as the “climate change candidate” in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy in Florida’s Everglades on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crud…

The Democrat running as the "climate change candidate" in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy in Florida's Everglades on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports just as the country is poised to become the world's biggest producer.

Joe Biden says Trump re-election strategy ‘relies on vilifying immigrants’

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, called on Monday to grant citizenship to “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and to invest more in border technolog…

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, called on Monday to grant citizenship to "Dreamer" immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and to invest more in border technology.

Ex-White House aide agrees to testify to House panel about Trump

Another senior ex-White House aide has agreed to provide testimony, initially in writing, to congressional investigators probing possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Monday.

Another senior ex-White House aide has agreed to provide testimony, initially in writing, to congressional investigators probing possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Monday.

Bernie Sanders calls for canceling $1.6 trillion in student loan debt

U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Monday to cancel $1.6 trillion in student loans and pay for it with a tax on Wall Street, elevating the issue in the 2020 debate and going beyond proposals from his Democratic White House ri…

U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Monday to cancel $1.6 trillion in student loans and pay for it with a tax on Wall Street, elevating the issue in the 2020 debate and going beyond proposals from his Democratic White House rivals.

It’s right to protest against the UK rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia. But don’t then invite Houthis to Parliament.

One Labour MP appears to be performing a dedicated Jeremy Corbyn tribute act by mimicking his foreign policy double standards.

Our country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is morally wrong and strategically harmful, as I’ve laid out on this site here and here, and as I argued on Sky News a few days ago:

For those reasons, it seems to me that Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP, was correct when he criticised the UK for hosting a visit of the Saudi Crown Prince last year, and went on to protest against the visit. We shouldn’t play host to people who commit such crimes and promote such poison.

How odd, then, that Russell-Moyle has now invited Ahmed Alshami to Parliament. Alshami is reported to be an international spokesman for the Houthis, the violent and extremist insurgency whom the Saudis are fighting in Yemen.

If you want a snappy insight into where the Houthis are coming from, their slogan is “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”. It’s a bit more of a mouthful than “For the many, not the few” but the message is nonetheless pretty easy to understand. They are backed, predictably, by the mass-murdering tyranny of Iran.

Why on earth is a representative of such a vile and bigoted organisation, which is in turn sponsored by such a vile and bigoted regime, invited to Parliament?

Apparently Russell-Moyle styles himself as some sort of Jeremy Corbyn tribute act. The Houthi spokesman is expected to attend an event organised by ‘Stop the War‘, that predictable apologist organisation for the enemies of this country and its values. The Labour MP even performs one of Corbyn’s most memorable tunes, justifying the invitation on the grounds that “Labour supports all efforts to bring about a peace settlement in Yemen, which means encouraging dialogue with people on all sides, however much we disagree with their views…”

Except that doesn’t seem to be his approach to “people on all sides, however much we disagree with their views”. After all, he rightly opposes and protests against invitations for Saudi representatives to come to this country, and Stop the War have not – so far as we know – invited representatives of the Saudi government to speak at their event. This supposed “dialogue” seems a little one-sided.

Either it is wrong to “roll out the red carpet” or it is not. It’s perfectly possible to treat both reprehensible sides consistently. So why doesn’t he do so?

Biden: Congress should immediately make ‘dreamers’ citizens

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, called on Monday for making “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the United States as children citizens and investing in border technology.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, called on Monday for making "Dreamer" immigrants brought to the United States as children citizens and investing in border technology.

Democratic ‘climate change candidate’ outlines plan to wean U.S. off fossil fuels

The Democrat running as the “climate change candidate” in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports just as th…

The Democrat running as the "climate change candidate" in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports just as the country is poised to become the world's biggest producer.

Lord (Geoff) Tordoff (1928-2019)

Sad news has reached the Liberal Democrat Voice team that Geoff Tordoff, a former President of the Liberal Party, and a retired member of the House of Lords, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning after a short illness. Geoff was elevated to the Lords in 1981, having played a significant part in […]

Sad news has reached the Liberal Democrat Voice team that Geoff Tordoff, a former President of the Liberal Party, and a retired member of the House of Lords, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning after a short illness.

Geoff was elevated to the Lords in 1981, having played a significant part in the rebuilding of the Liberal Party through the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in four years as Chairman of the Party, as well as a term as President during the Alliance years.

He was highly respected in the Lords, and rose to become Chairman of Committees for a time not long after the Millennium. A patient, kindly man, he tended to avoid hyperbole and could be relied upon to manage the business of the House with tact and courtesy.

Geoff retired from the Lords in 2016, and will be sorely missed by his friends and former colleagues. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Democratic candidate outlines plan to end to U.S. fossil fuels

The Democrat running as the “climate change candidate” in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports just as th…

The Democrat running as the "climate change candidate" in the 2020 presidential election laid out a strategy on Monday for weaning the United States off fossil fuels that includes banning drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports just as the country is poised to become the world's biggest producer.

Why we should support the United Nations

Mass migration was a concern for many who voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. There are three reasons for mass migration: 1) poverty, 2) conflict, and 3) natural disasters. Each of these causes of mass migration is being tackled under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to ‘prevent […]

Mass migration was a concern for many who voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. There are three reasons for mass migration: 1) poverty, 2) conflict, and 3) natural disasters. Each of these causes of mass migration is being tackled under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs aim to ‘prevent conflict and maintain peace and security by ending poverty and ensuring access for all to basic services and human rights’. They were agreed in 2015 under the 2030 Agenda to improve on the progress made by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They take a more holistic approach to achieving sustainable development which encompasses economic, social and environmental factors.

So how does Sustainable Development hope to eliminate poverty and improve human rights for all? The MDGs made significant progress in reducing poverty and eradicating diseases such as TB, malaria and HIV. They enabled more children in developing countries to go to school, especially girls. Poverty, health and education are among the social goals in the seventeen SDGs.

In order to achieve sustainable development worldwide, the onus is on governments to bring all those involved in development together – entrepreneurs, investors, big and small business, and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are so important in fragile states (where governments are not supplying basic services and human rights). When governments bring everyone to the table, starting at the local level, to help their nations achieve sustainable economic growth, they help their communities to become self-sufficient. And, if people can provide for their families at home, they will be less likely to become economic migrants.

Conflict is one of the drivers of mass migration. What drives conflict? Ethnic divisions coupled with poverty and injustice – the lack of basic services and human rights. In addition to responding to natural disasters and providing support to those fleeing conflict, the United Nations is working around the world to bring ethnic communities together as part of the SDGs. For example, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is working to establish sustainable food supply systems. Their food-for-work activity in Kyrgyzstan brought together multi-ethnic residents working to produce food on small farms. WFP helps smallholders and their communities to build roads and irrigation systems. Farmers can also access programmes like R4 Rural Resilience (a joint project with Oxfam) which helps them pay for weather-based crop insurance with labour or cash.

The third cause of mass migration is natural disasters such as drought, floods, earthquakes. Crucial environmental SDGs aim to protect the natural environment and ecosystems (land and marine) as well as mitigating the effects of climate change. These are the most pressing problems for our planet. As highlighted by students who recently skipped school to protest the lack of progress in mitigating the effects of climate change, anyone who takes the trouble to learn about global warming and what we are destined to experience is scared, really scared. The world has a decade to take drastic action to contain global warming at a 2°C increase. Anything above that rise leads to unthinkable catastrophe.

With the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), governments are encouraged to focus on the goals that will set their country on the path to sustainable development, beginning with help gathering data on their current status and monitoring progress towards achieving each goal. The UNDP helps countries set up financial partnerships with public, private and philanthropic resources to support the SDGs. The 190 countries who signed up for the 2030 Agenda are all, including the UK, intent on achieving sustainable development – tackling poverty, conflict, inequality, the environment, global warming and the projected imminent worldwide devastation. But, as our young people have pointed out, progress needs to be made much faster.

The SDGs are not just about the developing countries. All countries need to work on the environmental goals. We in the UK also need to tackle poverty and inequality, as well as promoting responsible consumption and production. We need to acknowledge the importance of the work of the United Nations in helping nations achieve these goals. What goes around comes around.

Britain’s United Nations Association (UNA-UK) has produced a report which highlights progress made and the need for action. You can download the UNA-UK report (Sustainable Development Goals Delivering Change 2018), their CLIMATE 2020 Degrees of Devastation report, and find out more about their work from their website.

* Denise Watkins is a member of North Cornwall Liberal Democrats and of the United Nations Association - UK.