The Queen's Speech includes plans to reform the Official Secrets Acts. The last of these was passed in 1989, before the dawn of the internet; the first in 1911 – most of the carrier pigeons that served in the First World War had not even been born. The acts are antiquated and the Counter-State Threats Bill is intended to drag the way we tackle hostile activity from states and new types of actor kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There will be plenty in this bill to keep Liberal Democrats busy in the coming months, not least what Number ...

Posted by Mark Leftly on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Wed 12th

Whoniversaries 12 May

i) births and deaths 12 May 1968: birth of Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble in New Who from 2006 to 2010. 12 May 2001: death of Norman Kay, who composed the incidental music for An Unearthly Child (1963), The Keys of Marinus (1964) and The Sensorites (1964). ii) broadcast anniversaries 12 May 1973: broadcast of sixth episode of Planet of the Daleks. The Doctor, Jo and the Thals trap the Daleks in the ice volcano. 12 May 1996: first broadcast of Doctor Who: The Movie on a local cable channel in Edmonton, Canada. Canonical release date is 14 May ...

Dundee City Council currently has on loan a demonstration model of a new pothole repair system "JCB Road Mender" and yesterday, along with some council colleagues I attended a demo of the system in action, repairing potholes in Newhall Gardens. I was very impressed with both the speed and quality of repair - the quality can be seen in the second photo below. There's obviously a significant cost in purchasing new plant like this but the quality of repair is very good indeed and certainly worthy of consideration within the council's capital programme.

It is going to cost over £1 million to run a new election for the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) due to the Conservative candidate winning the most votes but also being disqualified from holding the post. Despite the nomination paperwork making clear the responsibility on candidates to check that they are not disqualified from being an elected PCC, the winning Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed, is disqualified as he has a conviction. Returning officer Terence Herbert is now seeking legal advice and will set out the process for a fresh election... Mr Herbert said "Given this unprecedented situation and ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

I'm teaming up with Cllr John Potter of the Lib Dem Pod for another live event this Friday. We'll be looking at electoral reform with Wendy Chamberlain MP and Lord Paul Tyler.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Tue 11th

420 days of plague

Glad to say that Belgian numbers continue to go in the right direction. Even gladder to say that I have now got appointments for both my vaccinations, on on 21 May - Friday week - and one five weeks later on 25 June, another Friday. So there's a real feeling of transition. Belgian restaurants and cafes opened outdoor service on Saturday, but we have not yet sampled our new freedom, mainly because Anne anf F are both a bit oppressed by their academic work at the moment. I plan to attend a drinks event in Brussels tomorrow evening. We had ...

A PREDICTABLE DISASTER With Jane Dodds election on the regional list, Welsh liberalism isn't quite dead yet. But the result in Wales is still nothing to be proud of. It's true that the pandemic has dominated the news agenda above all else over the past year and has also meant we've been unable to doContinue reading "THE WELSH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS IN 2021: TIME TO 'PUT RECOVERY FIRST'"

Posted by democracycoma on Democracy Coma | Mute

In the Independent today, Daisy Cooper MP says: The Tory Blue Wall has started crumbling in this election as the Liberal Democrats move forward in Tory former heartlands. From Cheltenham to Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire to Woking, nowhere is safe for the Tories in their Blue Wall. The age of no-go areas for the Liberal Democrats in traditionally Tory southern cities towns and villages is over. * Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Layla Moran has put this very well: Today it's still the law for rough sleepers to be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of not being able to afford a roof over their head. It's a moral outrage that a Victorian-era law continues to punish those who desperately need help. The clock is ticking for this Government. We urgently need a more compassionate and holistic approach to ending homelessness in this country. There is significant cross-party support for the Vagrancy Act to be repealed as a first step - why doesn't Robert Jenrick act? We're urging the Government to include ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

As this was my first election as a Leader of Three Rivers District Council in beautiful South-West Hertfordshire, I'm thrilled that the wonderful team have increased our majority by one. We went in to the election with a council of 22 Liberal Democrats, 11 Conservatives, 3 Labour and 3 Independents and now we have 23, having taken back a seat from Independent. And in Three Rivers the PCC candidate polled an excellent 45.6% after second preference votes, great progress from the third position last time. To achieve that result in such a complicated campaign, with a third of District seats ...

Posted by Sarah Nelmes on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Plans by the government to suppress voter turnout by forcing electors to bring ID to the polling station are based on just six cases of ballot fraud at the last election, a government minister has admitted. The Independent reports that today's Queen's Speech will include a Bill to introduce the requirement at polling stations - despite warnings that large numbers of poorer and ethnic minority voters will be turned away: Quizzed on that criticism - and on the tiny number of fraud cases at the last election - Mr Hancock replied: "Well, I think that's six cases too many." On ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute
Tue 11th

My tweets

Mon, 12:56: RT @pmdfoster: 🚨🚨🇬🇧🇪🇺🚛🚛🚛🚛🚛🚛 🇪🇺🇬🇧🚨🚨🚨 Exodus of EU truckers leaves UK hauliers facing acute driver shortages - it's a story of #COVID19 #Bre... Mon, 14:26: RT @tvrain: На «Дне памяти» в Узбекистане военные не смогли определиться с тем, как выразить дань уважения гимну страны — отдать честь или... Mon, 16:05: RT @peterdonaghy: Her role will be to press the Duchy from the left hand side Mon, 18:43: The Orphans of Raspay, by Lois McMaster Bujold Tue, 09:30: Whoniversaries 11 May Tue, 10:45: Two medieval-age logboats discovered in River Boyne Nice. Tue, 11:58: I can't really ...

So, time to take a wider view of events in Suffolk... Beyond the boundaries of Mid Suffolk, we entered the elections holding County Divisions in Woodbridge, St Margaret's and Westgate (Ipswich) and Peninsula (think the triangle of land between the Stour and Orwell estuaries). We'd lost Peninsula before we started, as the sitting Liberal Democrat and former Group Leader, David Wood, had retired, and the seat wasn't even defended - it went to the Greens. Woodbridge stayed resolutely Liberal Democrat, with Caroline Page scoring 63.5% in a two-horse race against the Conservatives, leaving St Margaret's and Westgate as a potential ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

By-elections are funny old things. In a by-election, the focus on the candidate is huge. Every utterance is monitored and liable to blow up a minefield. I remember David Rendel, returning to the 1993 Newbury by-election HQ after a long evening's canvassing. Just outside the entrance he was approached by, ostensibly, a member of the public who wanted to express their support for him. It turned out that they had a microphone stuck up the back of their jacket and were trying to catch David off-guard. Their plan failed. Apart from anything else, David on-the-record was just like David off-the-record! ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Tue 11th

Whoniversaries 11 May

i) births and deaths 11 May 2001: death of Douglas Adams, writer of The Pirate Planet (1978) and Shada (unbroadcast but would have been 1980), co-author of City of Death (1979) and script editor for Season 17 (1979-80); best known, of course, for other things ii) broadcast anniversaries 11 May 1968: broadcast of third episode of The Wheel in Space. Cybermats have infiltrated the Wheel, and the Cybermen have laid a trap in their spaceship. 11 May 1974: broadcast of second episode of Planet of the Spiders, the one with the interminable chase sequence. 11 May 2013: broadcast of Nightmare ...

Residents may recall that recently I advised that a local resident recently reported as follows to me : "We went to visit play park in Victoria Park this afternoon. Wanted to use baby swing. I obviously had a young child with me and my adult daughter who is a power chair user. We were unable to access the play park as no designated access path. Grass very wet, not pram or wheelchair friendly." I had taken this issue up with the City Council's environment management and a senior service manager agreed to take this matter up.

Thanks to a nomination from a Liberal England reader, the Powys County Times wins our Headline of the Day Award.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute