My Solution for Party HQ Issues – Let ALDC run it

Over the past few days, there have been all sorts of stories leaking out of the Great George Street bunker about the appalling and depressing state of the finances of our Federal Party. All of which begs the question, “Why are we in Great George Street at all?” I have no idea what the rent […]

Over the past few days, there have been all sorts of stories leaking out of the Great George Street bunker about the appalling and depressing state of the finances of our Federal Party.

All of which begs the question, “Why are we in Great George Street at all?” I have no idea what the rent is or the rates are on that building, but I know that it is situated in one of the most expensive areas for real estate in the whole of the UK. I also know that London is the most expensive place for employers in the UK. As you might have guessed my solution to the Party’s finances is to move most of our HQ out of London.

Of, course, some elements of Party HQ need to remain within the Westminster Village. I am sure that we need to keep The President’s and Chief Executive’s office; the press office and research inside or close to the Whitehall bubble. However, for the rest, they could be run from anywhere. Conferences; membership; IT support; campaigns; compliance; finance etc. can be delivered for the Party from anywhere in the UK. Rents would be half (at most) of what is paid in the central London area. Employment would either be cheaper or in relative terms, we could pay our staff more.

This may seem treacherous thinking, but it is not new in our Party. Local Government and publications etc. used to be run from Party HQ, but they have been ‘farmed out’ for more than 25 years. If we are looking at other Parties Labour devolved a lot of their staff to the North East almost 20 years ago.

So, am I suggesting that Liverpool would be the best place for the move? Well, I’d like to, but I have to confess that I think the operation should move to Manchester. Why Manchester? Because, it is where ALDC works from to support councillors campaigning for local governments seats and that is, almost always, the precursor to parliamentary success.

To be more adventurous why not let ALDC run those functions? I do not doubt that ALDC is the most effective part of the Party’s machinery. They get their appeal out to members effectively; run their membership function excellently, and I could well imagine some savings in them running the systems for all these things. There would be a closer liaison between ALDC campaign support staff and the Party allowing even better joined-up services and support to our campaigners who mainly don’t differentiate between parliamentary and local campaigning.

The other advantage is that this would put our policies into action. We are committed devolutionists concerning policy. Wouldn’t it be nice to put our efforts where our mouth is? I believe that our Country would be better run if we broke the power or Whitehall and Westminster. I think that would be true of our Party as well.

There is definitely an air in the Party of metropolitan elitism. Much of this comes from the fact that there is a substantial contingent on the committees of the Party who live within an hour’s journey to central London. That won’t change. Regrettably, London is still the best place for people from all over the Country to meet up. However, our HQ staff mainly coming from outside the bubble would even up the balance a little.

Just some thoughts from someone who has never been considered part of the metropolitan elite (I hope!)

* Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

20 November 2018 – today’s press releases

Another busy day, but I’m pleased to note that a bit more use is being made of our Spokespeople in the Lords. After all, there are rather more of them than in the Commons, and they’re a valuable asset when it comes to holding the Government to account… Cable: Bank of England must conduct honest […]

Another busy day, but I’m pleased to note that a bit more use is being made of our Spokespeople in the Lords. After all, there are rather more of them than in the Commons, and they’re a valuable asset when it comes to holding the Government to account…

  • Cable: Bank of England must conduct honest assessment of Brexit deal
  • Cable: Govt must block Interpol election of Alexander Prokopchuk
  • Tories to blame for missed NHS targets
  • Cable: Our priority is building the momentum for a People’s Vote
  • Vulnerable people put in homes not fit for human habitation
  • The licence fee is not the Government’s to spend

Cable: Bank of England must conduct honest assessment of Brexit deal

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has today urged the Bank of England to conduct “an honest assessment of the Brexit deal and the options” and produce economic analysis of what remaining in the EU will mean for the UK economy.

The calls follow the appearance of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney before the Commons Treasury committee this morning where he said that the Bank of England was “not intending to look at providing additional analysis on the third scenario which is no Brexit at all.”

However, just last night the House of Commons forced the Government to accept an amendment to the Finance Bill which means Ministers must publish assessments comparing the UK’s economic prospects between Theresa May’s deal and remaining in the EU. The Liberal Democrats want the Bank of England to follow suit.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Last week the PM confirmed that ‘No Brexit’ was an option for the UK going forward; it is now going from possible to probable.

The public deserve to see a full and comprehensive assessment of all the options available to us – they should have had it two years ago in all honesty.

The Bank of England need to do the responsible thing, and provide an analysis of the benefits of remaining in the EU, the emergence of information such as this is a game changer, and shows more than ever why we need to take this decision back to the people with a final say on May’s deal.

Cable: Govt must block Interpol election of Alexander Prokopchuk

Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable will today demand that the Conservative Government vote to block the election of Alexander Prokopchuk to the position of President of Interpol.

Vince Cable will raise the issue in an Urgent Question in the House of Commons later today.

Speaking ahead of the exchange, Vince Cable said:

It is completely unacceptable that the Conservative Government are considering voting to elect Prokopchuk. It is particularly mind-blowing that this is at a time when the UK has Interpol Red Notices out for the arrest of Russian suspects involved in the Salisbury attack and at a time when the EU is moving to a vote on sanctions against Russia.

Prokopchuk has been the head of Russia’s National Central Bureau since 2011, which means that he has had direct responsibility for Russia’s abuse of Interpol, including the inappropriate use of Red Notices to arrest individuals. His election would be an insult to the Salisbury victims and those who have been unjustly targeted by Russia’s red notices. It is making Interpol look like gangsters.

It’s time the Conservative Government stood up for human rights and the rule of law. The Conservative Government must demonstrate that they are taking Russia’s abuse of Interpol and the Salisbury attack seriously. They must vote against Prokopchuk’s election.

Tories to blame for missed NHS targets

Responding to the reports that nearly one in five local hospital services are failing to hit any of their key waiting-time targets, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

News that waiting times are consistently being missed across the NHS is shameful, but sadly not surprising.

The Conservative Government are to blame for these missed targets. By not respecting doctors, cutting nursing bursaries and creating a hostile environment for the EU doctors and nurses working in the NHS, the Tories have created a staffing crisis in our hospitals.

Patients deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better of Theresa May and the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have consistently been the only major party demanding better for our NHS workforce by campaigning for a People’s Vote, with an option to remain.

Cable: Our priority is building the momentum for a People’s Vote

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable today met with opposition parties where he set out his priority to “build the momentum for a People’s Vote”.

The meeting of opposition parties in Westminster today was attended by Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable and Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Caroline Lucas for the Greens and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Roberts.

Following the meeting, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

I made it explicitly clear to the SNP and others that the priority must be stepping up efforts to build the momentum for a People’s Vote. That has been the priority for the Liberal Democrats for over two years, and it remains so.

I am glad the other opposition parties were today able to agree to work together to achieve a ‘People’s Vote’, including the option to remain in the EU.

Meanwhile, Labour is missing in action. They claim to want a General Election before a People’s Vote, but are making no moves to get one. Jeremy Corbyn cannot continue to court both sides of this debate: it is time to decide.

We know that any Brexit will hit the pockets of hard-working people he claims to represent. As the Conservative Government falters, the prospect of no Brexit is going from possible to probable.

Vulnerable people put in homes not fit for human habitation

Responding to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on the Home Office’s management of asylum accommodation, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

This is a report that should shame the Government. It reveals that they are housing some of the most vulnerable people – including pregnant women and people who have suffered torture and domestic abuse – in rooms infested by rats, bed bugs and mould.

Instead of facing up to this evidence, the Independent Chief Inspector accuses the Home Office of underplaying it. This is yet another example of the Home Office’s toxic culture preventing people from living with dignity.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Asylum seekers should have their cases handled more quickly and fairly by a new, non-political unit, instead of the discredited Home Office. And asylum seekers should be given the right to work while their claims are decided, so that they are not trapped in sub-standard accommodation.

The licence fee is not the Government’s to spend

Responding to the launch of the BBC consultation period to decide how licence fees for over-75s should be paid for, Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson Baroness Bonham-Carter said:

I welcome the BBC’s public consultation into the TV licence fee concession for older people.

The underhand way in which the Tories made the BBC take on the costs of funding free TV licenses for the over-75s was reprehensible. This was something the Liberal Democrats successfully blocked during the Coalition Government.

The licence fee is not Government’s to spend. It is not public money, but the public’s money which should be used to invest in BBC content.

Vince: Don’t let older generations impose their prejudices on young people

Vince did an interview last week that I expect he enjoyed more than most. The interviewer wasn’t Eddie Mair, or Andrew Neil, but his grandson Ayrton. As an ambassador for the I Will campaign , which aims to engage young people in social action, he took the chance to interview his Grandad. Vince has always […]

Vince did an interview last week that I expect he enjoyed more than most. The interviewer wasn’t Eddie Mair, or Andrew Neil, but his grandson Ayrton. As an ambassador for the I Will campaign , which aims to engage young people in social action, he took the chance to interview his Grandad.

Vince has always been pretty robust about how the older generation has shafted young people. He talked about how important it is for young people to get involved, engaged and to get out and vote.

Watch the video here:

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

An open letter to Stephen Lloyd MP

Dear Mr Lloyd I, along with many other of your fellow Liberal Democrats, have noted with considerable alarm, your intention to vote with the government on the issue of Brexit. Not only is this totally at variance with the party and the manifesto on which you fought the last General Election, but it flies in […]

Dear Mr Lloyd

I, along with many other of your fellow Liberal Democrats, have noted with considerable alarm, your intention to vote with the government on the issue of Brexit. Not only is this totally at variance with the party and the manifesto on which you fought the last General Election, but it flies in the face of your duty as an MP to vote in the best interests of your constituency and the country.

It is worth remembering the letter written by Edmund Burke MP to his constituents in which he examines the whole question of what an MP’s duty to his constituents is. Whilst it is well worth reading the whole letter the most salient point is:-

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

(Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol, 3 Nov. 1774)

I well understand your belief that you ought to keep a pledge made in the heat of an election campaign. (Though perhaps the experience of a pledge that bedevilled the party in coalition should have given you pause before making it).  However, the Brexit with which you promised to keep faith no longer exists. Instead there is an exit agreement that keeps almost none of the promises made by Brexiteers and in fact breaks one of the key promises, namely to get away from regulation by the EU. The reality is that the agreement that Mrs May wishes you to support leaves the UK having to obey all the EU rules, but having no say in their creation.

It would be perfectly respectable to say that in your judgement the agreement you are being asked to support does NOT keep faith with the result of the referendum and that you cannot support it precisely for that reason. You should also be arguing that as the representative for Eastbourne you cannot vote for a measure that will impoverish many of your constituents and the UK as a whole.

However, there is another consideration. The vote on this measure may well be close. Perhaps only a handful of votes will decide it. How would you feel if it was your vote that ensured that this government proposal went through and that you could have prevented the UK taking this disastrous step and did not? I do not believe you would be forgiven either by your electors or the party.

So, I ask you to think again. You are not a delegate for Eastbourne, bound to do as instructed, but a representative sent to Parliament to exercise your judgement after listening to the debate. I am confident that your judgement would be to remain in the EU. You should exercise that judgement and accept the consequences.

Yours sincerely

Dr Michael Taylor

(Party member for 54 years, 5 times parliamentary candidate, 22 years’ service as a district councillor)

* Dr Michael Taylor has been a party member since 1964. He is currently active in the Calderdale Party.

19 November 2018 – today’s press releases

No music today, I’m afraid, for we have another clutch of press releases, including one which some of our readers might vaguely recognise as an overdue recycling of an old theme… PM must come clean on immigration plans Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’ FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of […]

No music today, I’m afraid, for we have another clutch of press releases, including one which some of our readers might vaguely recognise as an overdue recycling of an old theme…

  • PM must come clean on immigration plans
  • Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’
  • FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of industry on vulnerable people
  • It’s time Fox was given his P45
  • Tories can no longer bury Brexit truth

PM must come clean on immigration plans

Responding to Theresa May’s speech to the CBI conference this morning, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Theresa May is desperately trying to win over the Brexit hardliners on the Tory benches by promising tough new immigration controls. But she still refuses to publish any details of her plans, more than a year after the white paper was originally due.

The PM is trying to hide the truth: that her plans would either fail to end free movement as she claims, or place a huge new bureaucratic burden on employers while damaging our economy and undermining public services. Either way, that’s hardly ‘taking back control’.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. Theresa May must finally come clean and publish her immigration white paper now, so MPs can scrutinise the proposals before voting on her Brexit deal.

Lib Dems: Only alternative to Brexit is a ‘People’s Vote’

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has today warned the “only alternative to Brexit is a People’s Vote” ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the CBI on his alternative Brexit plan.

Mr Brake said:

Any Brexit will hit the pockets of hard-working people right across the UK. The public deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

It is beyond time Jeremy Corbyn got his head out of the clouds. If he truly stood up for the many, he would listen to people’s worries and stand against this Brexit mess.

The only alternative to Brexit is a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU. Labour should join the Liberal Democrats in that campaign. It’s what their members voted for, so what’s stopping them?

FOBT change finally ending cruel grip of industry on vulnerable people

Ahead of this afternoon’s amendment to the Finance Bill which will see the Government accept that the £2 maximum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals must be introduced within six months, rather than the year initially planned, Liberal Democrat Culture Spokesperson in the Commons Christine Jardine said:

This day should have come far earlier, but it is better late than never. I am glad that the Government have curbed to pressure to reduce the stakes on FOBT’s to £2.

People across the country, from all walks of life, have found themselves in the cruel grip of an industry relentlessly extorting money from vulnerable individuals.

This change in law should have taken place many years ago, and the Liberal Democrats pushed for it whilst in Government, but it took one of their own to walk out of DCMS, for the Tories to sit up and listen.

It’s time Fox was given his P45

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has tabled a Presentation Bill in the House of Commons to disband the Department for International Trade with immediate effect.

The Prime Minister has negotiated a deal with the EU that leaves the department with no powers to create its own trade agreements.

Axing the DIT would provide the Government with an estimated saving of £258.6m and relieve the ineffective Secretary of State Liam Fox, of his ‘responsibilities’.

Commenting ahead of the Bill’s reading, Tom Brake said:

The only good thing to come out of the PM’s Brexit deal is the constructive dismissal of Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

That is why I am calling for the department to be disbanded – and the Civil Servants re-deployed to departments where their work might actually be implemented.

The DIT have not produced any new trade deals since their inception and May’s deal means they won’t in future – it’s time Fox was given his P45.

Tories can no longer bury Brexit truth

Speaking after the House of Commons tonight forced the Government to accept an amendment to the Finance Bill which means Ministers must publish assessments comparing the UK’s economic prospects between Theresa May’s deal and remaining in the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The public deserve no less than the full facts and figures on the cost of Brexit. The Tories have been all too keen to bury the truth, but thankfully Parliament has now forced their hand.

The Conservatives can now no longer hide from the mess they have made of Brexit. The simple reality is that no form of Brexit is better than what we have in the EU.

When published, MPs from across the chamber must look at these economic assessments and ask themselves if their constituents deserve better. There is still time to escape this mess and back the Liberal Democrat campaign for a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.

18 November 2018 – today’s absence of press releases

It’s another Sunday, and whilst much has been said, no press releases have been received. So, instead, here’s another musical interlude for you. My former next door neighbour introduced to me to the wonders of sixteenth and early seventeenth century lu…

It’s another Sunday, and whilst much has been said, no press releases have been received. So, instead, here’s another musical interlude for you. My former next door neighbour introduced to me to the wonders of sixteenth and early seventeenth century lute music, and here’s an example, courtesy of the Swedish lutenist, Jakob Lindberg…

Sunday morning interviews open thread

This morning, politicians are lining up to talk to the Sunday political programmes – but those in favour of a People’s Vote don’t seem to have been invited to the party. There is no serious non Conservative psychodrama opposition to the PM’s deal and nobody saying that there is an alternative – we can be […]

This morning, politicians are lining up to talk to the Sunday political programmes – but those in favour of a People’s Vote don’t seem to have been invited to the party.

There is no serious non Conservative psychodrama opposition to the PM’s deal and nobody saying that there is an alternative – we can be given the chance to accept or reject the deal so that the Government isn’t marking its own homework.

You would have thought that the Leader of the Opposition would have something important to say. Unfortunately, he poured cold water on the idea of a People’s Vote and said that he he didn’t know how he would vote in it. At the risk of sounding a bit too on message, we really do ned to demand better.

I may be annoyed with our Vince on various internal matters at the moment, but he is very clear that Liberal Democrats want a People’s Vote as a means of securing an Exit from Brexit. He knows that staying in the EU is in the national interest.  He should be invited on to make that case. I have no doubt that our people will have done all they can to get him on. You have to ask why he isn’t.

I am disappointed that Sophy Ridge is not pointing out to May that her Deal is effectively a Blind Brexit that pushes a lot of the important stuff, like our future trading relationship, into the very long grass, after we have left. This is why we need the option to stay in so that we can make a choice between continuing the trading relationship we have that has brought us prosperity, or whether we take a leap in the dark.

The CBI has been brought out to support the deal on the grounds of certainty for business. If we go for this deal, we don’t know what terms business will face in two years time. If we have a People’s Vote, and choose to stay in, we have as much certainty as it is possible to have about continuity of current arrangements within 6 months.

The sensible opposition to the Brexit deal is not being given an airing.

Tom Brake commented on Corbyn’s dismal performance:

People can see what a mess the Brexit Deal is and it beggars belief that the Labour leadership continue to not want to give people a say on it.

Liberal Democrats have led the campaign for a vote on the deal since the referendum and will keep up the fight for an Exit from Brexit, but it is now time for Corbyn and the Labour frontbench to stop playing games and back a People’s Vote.

And now we have Marr with Tom Newton Dunn, Kwasi Kwarteng and Polly Toynbee reviewing the papers.

 

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

ERG publish Your Right To Know – the case against the Government’s Brexit deal

Four days after the release of the 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement for the UK’s exit from the European Union, the European Research Group (ERG) of eurosceptic Conservative MPs today publishes a concise guide making the case against the putative deal. In Your Right to Know, the group – chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg – seeks to put […]

The post ERG publish Your Right To Know – the case against the Government’s Brexit deal appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Four days after the release of the 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement for the UK’s exit from the European Union, the European Research Group (ERG) of eurosceptic Conservative MPs today publishes a concise guide making the case against the putative deal.

In Your Right to Know, the group – chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg – seeks to put the case against what Theresa May has agreed with the EU in plain English – and BrexitCentral is exclusively publishing the full text of the 7-page document.

The publication identifies five key areas of concern over the draft Agreement:

  1. The UK would hand over £39 billion of taxpayers’ money with nothing guaranteed in return
  2. The UK would remain a ‘rule taker’ over large areas of EU law
  3. It would lock us in a Customs Union without the ability to leave
  4. It would creates internal borders within the UK, undermining the integrity of the Union
  5. The European Court of Justice would remain in control of the agreement and large areas of EU law directly effective in the UK

The ERG conclude:

“The combination of these measures means the United Kingdom will have not left the European Union but will instead be ‘half in and half out’. This will mean that we will become a ‘vassal state’ many of whose laws will have been created abroad and over which we have no influence. This is completely against the spirit of the 2017 referendum in which 17.4 million UK citizens voted to leave the European Union.”

You can read the document for yourself below or by clicking here to read it as a pdf.

Your-Right-to-Know

The post ERG publish Your Right To Know – the case against the Government’s Brexit deal appeared first on BrexitCentral.

New issue of Liberator out

Issue 393 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers. Our first free sample article for this issue is by Sarah Green deploring the diversion of money and time caused by the way Vince Cable’s reform proposals were handled. In the other free article, Liverpool group leader Richard Kemp explains why he for one is […]

Issue 393 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers.

Our first free sample article for this issue is by Sarah Green deploring the diversion of money and time caused by the way Vince Cable’s reform proposals were handled.

In the other free article, Liverpool group leader Richard Kemp explains why he for one is not a ‘moderate’.

Both are on: www.liberatormagazine.org.uk 

Also in this issue:

Reverse Double – The Immigration debate at Brighton showed the party both morally and politically wrong, says Natasha Chapman 

Damned From the Start –The Liberal Democrats’ new foreign policy paper is riddled with flaws, hardly surprising when the whole policy process has become unworkable and prey to special interests, says Paul Reynolds 

Still Out of the Government’s Mind – Despite recent funding increases mental health services remain shamefully inadequate, especially for the young, says Claire Tyler 

Churchill Would Have Voted Remain –The wartime leader’s own speeches may it clear he was no eurosceptic, says Graham Bishop 

An Arranged Marriage, Contemporary-Style –Trevor Smith sees Nick Clegg as a natural fit at Facebook 

Taking Back the Empties – Ample empty and under used property exist to solve the housing crisis without concreting green belts, says Kiron Reid

Also, news and gossip in Radical Bulletin, including some light thrown on what the Federal Board did to the Cable reforms, and the establishment’s machinations before the immigration debate.

Back issues of Liberator from 2001 onwards are available free, together with subscription details (£25 a year) on our website.  See: www.liberatormagazine.org.uk

17 November 2018 – today’s press release

Davis’ self appointment ‘farcical’ – Brake Responding to reports that David Davis has spent several days in Washington speaking to US Trade Officials about a free trade deal with the UK, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: Having failed to negotiate properly with the EU, the idea that David Davis is now touting himself […]

Davis’ self appointment ‘farcical’ – Brake

Responding to reports that David Davis has spent several days in Washington speaking to US Trade Officials about a free trade deal with the UK, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Having failed to negotiate properly with the EU, the idea that David Davis is now touting himself as Britain’s self-appointed ‘man in Washington’ is farcical. The Prime Minister must confirm he has not been acting in any official capacity or with her blessing.

David Davis and his Brexiter colleagues have got us into a huge mess, with Britain now facing a damaging and disorderly Brexit deal, the people must be given the right to reject the deal and remain in the European Union, through a people’s vote.