Sat 24th
Ryan Cullen

Dear bloggers,

it's that time of the month again when the hosting meter needs a few more pounds to keep the site ticking. Ideally we need £5 before the end of the month, otherwise it has to come out of my pocket. With over 50 blogs listed, if each author donated just two pounds a year the site would stay alive. Why not make this month the month you help out?


Many thanks
Ryan Cullen

'Left behind' is a relatively new term to describe communities in the UK who have, economically speaking, fallen behind the more prosperous parts of the country. The reasons for this socio-economic phenomenon are varied, but amongst them are: de-industrialisation; the effects of globalisation; and power that is over-centralised to Westminster. As Liberals, why should we care about the left behind? Some may argue it is because there were large numbers of voters in these communities, generally speaking, who voted to leave the EU (though whether it was anything to do with the EU is arguable). Therefore, getting them 'on side' ...

Posted by Helen Flynn on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Embed from Getty Images One of my favourite extracts from the minutes of a Liberal Democrat or predecessor party meeting is this gem from a 1983 branch meeting: Campaign Strategy: After a long discussion, it was agreed that we organise ourselves, and have a separate meeting for this subject. For more up-to-date advice, I can of course recommend this.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

The Guardian story around the supposed "dark arts" performed by the company Cambridge Analytica is still going strong. It has apparently caused a massive dip in Facebook's share price amongst other things. I've reflected a lot on the story and read every article I can find about it, both in Britain and in the American press. I've also read Dominic Cummings blog post from yesterday, which is an important addition to the story, if you really want to understand it all as objectively as humanly possible. I find several things disturbing about the whole CA tale, aside from the stuff ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

A blogged yesterday about some reasonably good news (extra trains) on the Ormskirk – Preston Line, now the other side of the coin on the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line where services are in effect being cut back! Departure board at Southport Station. Southport to Manchester Airport trains withdrawn The current service [from Southport to Manchester] is dreadful with consistently poor punctuality, many cancellations, short forming of trains [too few carriages] and disruption of services for overrunning 'improvement works' (sic) and as feared the plan is to withdraw the Southport - Airport service for it to be replaced with ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

The former Maghull Police Station in Westway, Maghull. My letter to the Champion newspaper in response to all the cheering about the Town's new Police Station Dear Sir, So Maghull has a brand new police station within Maghull Town Hall, but please forgive me if I don't join in the cheering of Maghull Town Council and the local MP. You see the Town lost a youth facility and a CAB help point to make way for the police to move into the Town Hall from Maghull Square. Sorry I don't see Maghull and district's policing benefiting except that they will ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Responding to reports that Gove will end the diesel scrappage scheme, Tim Farron said: "This is typical of Tory management. The environment has never been a priority, and promises of environmental protection and regulations have been abandoned behind closed doors. "It is bad for the environment and for the consumer, who bought diesel cars in good faith, and simply want to switch vehicles fairly. "Gove must think again, or at least explain to parliament why he has chosen this embarrassing U-turn."

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats | Mute
Sat 24th

Dementia Drop-In


With Monday 2nd April being a holiday ( it's Easter Monday ) bin collections are put back a day that week So if your usual bin collection day is Tuesday, it will be collected on Wednesday ( 4th April ) It's a "Blue Bin week" , ie Dry Recyclables Any questions on bin collections, contact Northumberland County Council

Posted by Alisdair Gibbs-Barton on Alisdair Gibbs-Barton | Mute
Fri 23rd

Six of the Best 777

Caron Lindsay reviews Towards a Liberal Future by David Howarth and Bernard Greaves: "It's a great read, and so fizzing with ideas that you might find it gives you the hiccups if you devour it too quickly." "The problem is that when these league tables are published, people have a very reductionist view of what they mean. And there's no doubt that they have spurred a lot of internal strategies in this country and others which are dedicated almost exclusively to improving ranking on these scales." Kenneth Robinson is interviewed about his new book You, Your Child and School. Alexander ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

This man is supposed to be the Mayor of Liverpool. He behaves much more like the Clown Prince! There comes a time in most political cycles when you can feel the change coming. It's a bit like a storm. It ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think? | Mute

Second paragraph of third story ("Cold", by Mark Gatiss): Then the dream was gone, Anna, and it was morning. Outside, the snow howled like an animal. And like an animal it beat and tore and hammered at the walls of the Hut. I opened one eye just a little - a thin, pink line - and then shut it tight again. I didn't want to move. Ten authors listed here, all of them men; no women among the artists either. It's a straightforward book of short stories featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna (apart from the last two, in which ...

Yesterday evening was the last full council meeting of Wokingham Borough Council before the local elections. I submitted a motion about Elms Field and the town centre regeneration, criticising the Conservatives for the destruction of so many trees, and asking for them to involve residents in discussions about how the regeneration should continue from now on. So, you will be thinking, what happened when we discussed the motion? We didn't discuss it. Instead we had to sit through a very long series of speeches by Conservatives on earlier items on the agenda. A very very long series of speeches. I ...

Posted by Prue Bray on Prue Bray | Mute

Nick Clegg has been in Ireland this week talking about Brexit with fellow Remainers Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis. In his iPaper column, he talks about the massive problems Brexit will cause. We also share responsibility for a precious peace in Northern Ireland. But too many ministers, including the Prime Minister, have treated these obligations as inconvenient obstacles on the way to the hardest of Brexits. It was the same situation during the referendum, when leading Brexiteers were quick to dismiss any concerns about the Irish border. But there is no avoiding the obvious consequences of the British government's determination ...

Posted by NewsHound on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

I refer to my previous post on the failures of the England cricket set up. England's latest embarrassment has that sinking feeling of predictability about it. The only consistent thing about England's batting is its magnificent inconsistency. I would not bet against them scoring either 50 or 500 in their second innings, if the weather lets the game get that far. I have given up being frustrated by England's performances. I remain frustrated, however, by the level of analysis of what goes wrong when it goes wrong. I have named Jonathan Agnew, which is unfair to him, excellent commentator that ...

Posted by Rob Parsons on A comfortable place | Mute

While most of the political world is engaged in the culture war around Brexit, I like to have fun thinking of all the possible constitutional and other assorted crises it might throw up. I thought of one last night that has to do with a possible second referendum scenario. Whatever anyone tells you, Theresa May seems to be aiming for the softest possible Brexit imaginable. Whatever big talk there is from her and the Brexity end of the cabinet every once in a while, this has been signified with every step of the negotiations. The idea that the Commission is ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

No doubt to the government's continued relief the alleged attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter allegedly by or with the connivance of the Russian state continues to hog the headlines. The otherwise beleaguered Theresa May has even gained some kudos by garnering support from most of the EU members, though some of it is qualified. The tabloids and Tory supporting press have poured scorn on the more measured response of Jeremy Corbyn, who, quite reasonably in my view, has pointed out that it would be wiser not to jump to conclusions before we have firmer evidence ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal | Mute

In his conference speech, Vince Cable talked about having a party "fizzing with ideas." But to be able to present a liberal vision with liberal ideas, you have to have a clear understanding of liberal values and of how they should be applied in every area of our lives. In Towards a Liberal Future, David Howarth and Bernard Greaves set out their view of what liberalism is all about. They look at how the party has failed to practice and communicate its core values and set out how we can fix this. I'm very excited to say that they have ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Fri 23rd

My tweets

Thu, 12:24: RT @VoteWatchEurope: .@POLITICOEurope got it wrong on @GrosseteteF #EP record which it attributes to us: Her 99.... Thu, 12:44: RT @aoifewhite101: Brussels roads to be paralyzed by anti-Uber taxi protest on March 27. Great, as if regular public transport strikes and... Thu, 12:56: Molenbeek was Loubna Lafquiri's home, too Brave testimony two years on. Thu, 15:29: RT @EuropeElects: EU28: Vote share for Liberals (ALDE) 10 years ago vs. today shows increased support in Spain and France while decrease in... Thu, 15:29: RT @EuropeElects: EU28: Vote share for G/EFA-parties 10 years ago vs. today shows bigger support ...

"I don't mind delivering leaflets, but I wouldn't want to do canvassing." My thoughts exactly, a few months ago. I joined the Lib Dems in the aftermath of the EU referendum, determined to do something to demonstrate my frustration at the direction the Tory Government was leading us. Delivering leaflets was a positive activity and in the excitement of the 2017 General Election, I felt I was doing my bit. But over time, it has become clear that the task to influence public opinion and make the Government take notice of the 48% is huge. The leaflets were great, but ...

Posted by Claire Turner on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Vince Cable met with ALDE leaders yesterday Yesterday afternoon the Lib Dem press team put out a statement making quite a claim. The media release stated that "Liberal Prime Ministers from eight EU countries have publicly backed the Liberal Democrats' call for the British public to have a vote on the final Brexit deal." The statement the Prime Ministers supposedly signed reads: "We regret Brexit, but acknowledge the choice made by British voters for the UK Government to negotiate withdrawal. We further acknowledge and support the Liberal Democrats' call for the British people to have the final say on the ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal | Mute

Rimrose Valley Country Park Rimrose Valley Friends have the latest information on their web site – see links above

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Over at the New European, there is a report of the latest embarrassing episode for UKIP in Wales. They report that Welsh UKIP leader and disgraced former Tory Minister, Neil Hamilton has complained to the BBC over a light-hearted segment on Radio 4's World At One in which children were asked for their views on Brexit: "The segment was completely biased and absurd," fumed Mr Hamilton, who once danced in a perspex box on TV while Johnny Vegas poured fish on his head. "Every child who featured on the programme was anti-Brexit and the segment lacked any form of political ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

Facebook's stated mission is "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." It also has an unstated mission: To make a shedload of money. It is incredibly successful at both. There are 2.2 billion active Facebook users. Mark Zuckerberg is worth $67.7 billion. But the rest of society is discovering that there is a price to be paid in invasion of privacy and erosion of political liberties. The problem is that the posted holiday snaps, political opinions and declarations of love don't belong to you. They belong to Facebook who run the data through ...

Posted by Tom Arms on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Did you have a cell phone prior to your thirties? Yeah, I had one at uni in 1999. Did they exist? Mobile phone networks have existed since 1981. So anyone born before 1951 (and thus age 67 or younger) had mobile phones around in their 30s. Did you have cable when you were a little kid? No. There were a few people with Sky (satellite) but we weren't one of those families. I got cable in 1999 when we moved to Nottingham for my postgrad, but we got it for the internet, not for the telly. We'd had Kingston Communications ...

There has been a great deal of media speculation about the prospect of a new centre party in the UK. Meanwhile in many countries in Europe, new insurgent parties have been spectacularly successful for example in Spain, France, Greece and Italy. We are publishing a series of blogs (on Fridays) describing the experience from other [...] The post Getting the political back: the Podemos experience appeared first on Radix.

Posted by Antonia Casellas on Opinion - Radix | Mute

Ormskirk Station – The train in the foreground is Preston bound. The one behind it is Liverpool bound. On 21st March Northern announced the services and timetables it has agreed with Network Rail that should come into effect in May. Although the two organisations have agreed this position it transpires they are still finalising details so nothing is absolutely certain until the timetables are published online some time from April 7th. Preston – Ormskirk An hourly service Monday - Saturday will be introduced with these timings: First service from Preston will depart at 06.25 Trains will then depart at 26 ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Our coveted Headline of the Day Award goes to the Evening Standard.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Good news from Aylesbury where new Cllr Waheed Raja gained the Central and Walton ward from the Conservatives. Central & Walton (Aylesbury Valey) result: LDEM: 40.9% (+18.1) CON: 31.5% (-1.1) LAB: 19.8% (+0.9) GRN: 4.5% (-4.0) IND: 3.3% (+3.3) Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative. No UKIP (-17.2) as prev. — Britain Elects (@britainelects) March 23, 2018 The real drama of the night came in a seat without a Lib Dem candidates, in Thurrock, where it was a dead heat between Labour and the Tories. UKIP had held the seat but they weren't standing. It was the Conservatives who won the ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Eight Thursday council by-elections this week. Plus a ninth slipped in earlier in the week: Last night's council by-election: Bishopsgate (City of London Corp.) result: IND (Joshi): 41.6% IND (Streeter): 32.9% IND (Abeyie): 13.9% LAB: 11.6% Independent GAIN from Independent. Turnout: 17.9% Previously uncontested. — Britain Elects (@britainelects) March 21, 2018

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute


Fri 23rd

Delivering in Dunston

Our latest Focus is hot off the press in Gateshead and I was out in Dunston delivering it this morning. I did a patch of 180 before going to council. It leads on Labour's neglect of Dunston. The old Dunston Hill Primary School building has been left by Labour run Gateshead Council to stand unused and derelict for ten years. And people are understandably getting fed up.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute