This article was due to appear in September when I asked for a second referendum, but I delayed it as I thought at the time that it would appear as purely academic. Political reflection has evolved since then. The Prime Minister repeats endlessly her political mantra that Brexit will bring a brighter future and happy tomorrows. The student of history knows how costly any secession or independence can be, with usually an array of sweat, tears and too often blood, even with the best plans. This was precisely the sense of my question to FM Nicola Sturgeon at the RSA ...

Posted by Christian de Vartavan on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Fri 14th

My tweets

Thu, 13:47: Read the comments. Thu, 20:26: RT @sianushka: Toby Young, the man who tweeted about an MP's cleavage, the attractiveness of a film director's daughter, the breasts of var... Thu, 20:45: Thu, 21:06: RT @Dublin2019: Don't wait until New Year's eve; if you want to nominate in @TheHugoAwards, you need to sign up for membership before the e... Thu, 23:48: Father Ted writer Graham Linehan compares the trans movement to Nazism - - Folks, if you ar... Fri, 00:21: RT @pmdfoster: So @theresa_may got a an absolute kicking tonight. She made her pitch to the ...

We seem to be in an age of populists - from Brexiteers in the UK to authoritarian voices in parts of Europe and beyond, to Donald Trump in the US. Wherever there is a problem, there's someone to blame, and it's usually minority groups and the vulnerable – those with the quietest voices – that get blamed. This development has potentially dangerous consequences - populist leaders fomenting an atmosphere of distrust, resentment, and hatred. At home politicians and newspapers see "traitors", "saboteurs", "enemies of the people" and little green men hiding under the bed. We all know where this can ...

Posted by Andrew Toye on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Possibly the most shocking outcome of the Theresa May no confidence vote was the reinstatement of the whip to two Conservative MPs accused of sexual misconduct. Although this act of arbitrary forgiveness was entirely predictable in the circumstances, that does not make it any more excusable nor does it help the Tories in their wooing of voters in the #MeToo era. Personally, I agree entirely with Jess Phillips who, as the Guardian reports, raised the matter in Parliament yesterday. She questioned why the Conservative party told Andrew Griffiths and Charlie Elphicke they were allowed to participate in the vote of ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

The good ship Europa is without a helmsman, rudderless, and drifting aimlessly through the stormy seas, dangerous shoals and shark-infested waters of Brexit, immigration, a stagnating economy, Russian aggression, Chinese perfidy, American tariffs and Donald Trump's unilateralism. Ship Europa is in desperate need of a captain who can repair the damage and set the ship back on a course which its bickering crew can agree upon. Traditionally, the role has fallen to the one of the two continental giants—France or Germany—and sometimes, during calm and sunny periods—the former rivals together. Italy and Britain have played roles as first officers, providing ...

Posted by Tom Arms on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

This posting picks up on a most bizarre and appalling trend in vandalism – attacking/vandalising ambulances of all things! The vast majority of folks will look upon an attack on an ambulance, or indeed ambulance staff, with utter disbelief yet such attacks are happening and far too often. The link below to the BBC website illustrates the problem:- With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, was in the spotlight on Monday, in sunny Marrakech. Delegations had arrived from more than 150 countries to endorse a non-binding but highly symbolic text: the United Nations Global Compact on Migration. It aims to build co-operation among nations to organize "safe, orderly and regular migration". The idea was for [...] The post The UN and their fine words on migration appeared first on Radix.

Posted by Renaud Girard on Radix | Mute

As residents will be aware, Xplore Dundee has unfortunately now confirmed it will press ahead from Sunday 13th January re-routing Service 5 up Glamis Road and Dickson Avenue and away from Perth Road west of Glamis Road. I will continue to press Xplore to think again over this change as it disadvantages a large community in the western end of Perth Road. However, in better news, the Stagecoach Service X54 is now stopping on Perth Road at Millbay Terrace and Clayhills Grove, meaning that - at last - there is a stopping bus service on Perth Road west of Ninewells ...

Shropshire Council held an unusually good-tempered meeting today in Shirehall. It was a lengthy session with more than four hours in the chamber (we had a break for mince pies and carols). As the meeting neared its end, councillors turned their attention to climate change. A cross-party motion proposed by Green Party councillor Julian Dean, and supported by me along with several other councillors, called for the council to increase its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. An amended version of the motion was passed unanimously. I am very pleased with this. It is important that all of us contribute ...

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington | Mute

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has written to the Leader of the House demanding Parliament doesn't rise for Christmas unless MPs get a vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal.The call follows the publication today of the business in the House of Commons for next week. The business confirms the Conservative Government has no intention of moving a vote on the Brexit deal before Christmas. Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said: "At a time of so much uncertainty caused by this Brexit mess, it is an insult to the British people that Theresa May is happy for MPs to go ...

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats | Mute

In Brussels today, Vince Cable met with leaders from other liberal parties across Europe, including prime ministers, where he led a briefing on Brexit.Updating them on the changing political mood in the UK, the growing support for a people's vote, and the Government's failure to bring forward a meaningful vote in parliament on her deal.Commenting on the meeting in Brussels, leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:"From meeting with liberal leaders and prime ministers today it is clear Theresa May needs to change course."Substantial changes are not going to be on the table and she is running scared of ...

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats | Mute

Responding to the English Local Government Finance Settlement announced in parliament today, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: "This settlement does nothing to address the growing inequalities across our country. The highly regressive council tax system means that, as the Conservative Government continue to underfund local government, subsequent council tax rises hit poorer communities the hardest. "There must be a reform of council tax to prevent the places with the highest demand for services for vulnerable people, struggling the most to fund it. "Liberal Democrats demand better than the sticking plaster that has been presented today. The Tories ...

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats | Mute

Elizabeth Payne stood for the Liberal Democrats and scored a big swing from Labour in the West Green ward by-election in Haringey, London.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

You'd think that putting the day's piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I'm including them with today's batch. Enjoy... Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems PM must now change course and offer people the final say Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis Lib Dems demand MPs holidays ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Here she is, as acted by Monica Dolan and written by Russell T. Davies, in A Very English Scandal: "Jeremy, I'm not a fool. I practically grew up with Benjamin Britten. I've seen something of the world. I fled from Hitler, for God's sake. My own son married a hippie in a yurt. And I've toured with orchestras—I couldn't begin to tell you the things I've seen. So there's no need to protect me."The award is made by Alex Ross.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Thu 13th

Six of the Best 836

"What is clear is that Theresa May's deal is dead. What is not clear is whether any deal exists that can pass through parliament." Martin Veart on the latest Brexit developments. Janette Martin says the collections held at the University of Manchester Library deepen our understanding of Peterloo and its cultural impact on the city of Manchester. Stephen Kotkin revisits Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: "On this centenary of his birth, and tenth anniversary of his passing, we can see that Solzhenitsyn was dead-on about the soul-crushing Soviet system, from a moral and not just a political point of view, and to a ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Just published - eFocus email newsletter from the Whickham area Lib Dem Focus Team. Key stories in this edition are the granting of planning permission for executive homes on Whickham Highway, Woodmans pub in line for award, Whickham School turf cutting ceremony, Sunniside Methodist fair, Christmas lights switch on and consultation on fire service cuts. You can see edition 110 on this link.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

A European conservative group co-founded by the Tories and led by Brexit campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan has been asked to repay more than half a million euros of EU funds... The group will be denied a further €187,245, which had been withheld pending investigation. [The Guardian] Following in the steps of Ukip, who also had to repay big sums after breaking Euro-rules, the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe had Dan Hannan as its Secretary General until December last year. The problems come from claims that money was spent on events that have little relevance to the European ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Thu 13th

What is your leverage?

Yesterday's phoney war over the leadership of the Conservative Party has got me thinking. The hardline Brexiters (confusing referred to in the media as just 'Brexiteers') sought to remove Theresa May over the desirability of the Brexit deal she has achieved with the European Union. This is not their Brexit; they are betrayed; they must show how angry they are. But I still wonder if there was any more substance than that. Could a hardline PM have got a better deal? They claim they could, but how? The EU has made little if any concession to the UK, and their ...

Posted by Joe Otten on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Now here's a thing: A European conservative group co-founded by the Tories and led by Brexit campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan has been asked to repay more than half a million euros of EU funds following an investigation into their spending, the Guardian has learned. ... Hannan, who has championed Brexit for more than a quarter of a century and was ACRE's secretary-general until December 2017, is told that there are grounds to suspect a conflict of interest on his part, in leaked documents seen by the Guardian. Hannan called that conclusion "absurd" and accused investigators of making false insinuations ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Thu 13th

If you were PM....

An interesting quiz popped into my inbox from those nice people at Unlock Democracy. You have to imagine that you are PM – after all, that job may well be up for grabs in the near future. You are presented with a series of policy dilemmas – would you rather do x or y? Actually, in some cases, I was a bit "NEITHER" or "NOT QUITE LIKE THAT" or "BOTH" but that is part of the fun. It has a serious point: Every day decisions affecting millions are made by a handful of ministers, while the rest of us struggle ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Thu 13th

Blue - on - Blue Brexit

There are some cheerleaders, such as Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 who is using his show to call the public to get behind Theresa May and her deal. The same deal that on Monday the 10th of December the Prime Minister decided to pull rather than face defeat in the Commons. That analysis of defeat was accurate when, following the motion of no-confidence in the PM from within her own party, it transpires that 117 of her own MPs failed to back her. This may seem a small number when compared to the 200 that did but, this exact ...

Posted by Martin Veart on Martin's View | Mute
Thu 13th

What is a movement?

In the discussion - and sales talk - around the party reform proposals, people often talk of creating a movement, sometimes equated to a supporter scheme. Sometimes, as in that video, it's presented as an alternative to a political party. There is a danger of positive language being repeated till people stop asking what it means. So what is a movement and how's it different from a political party? "Movement" suggests moving - towards some shared goal. Parties can do that, but you can't have a movement for not changing things much. Movements require mass participation. Any party can call ...

Posted by Simon Banks on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Thu 13th

The Bastards thwarted

(The impolite word in the title is not mine, but is borrowed from John Major) So, Mrs May has survived a vote of no confidence among Troy MPs by 200 votes to 117. Last night I caught leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg on television explaining that in his view this was a very narrow majority. I make it 63% to 37%. Yet Rees-Mogg regards the 52/48% vote in favour of leaving the EU as the sacred "will of the people" which it is almost blasphemous to question (even though the 52% represents only 37% of those entitled to vote.) Is there ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal | Mute

This follows on from my post on November 29th. The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously that President Sirisena acted illegally when he dissolved Parliament and called early elections. The Supreme Court confirmed the constitutional position, which is that the President can only call elections four and a half years after the last ones, or with the support of a two-thirds majority of Parliament. In late October, President Sirisena also dismissed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, Parliament twice passed motions of no confidence in Rajapaksa. For good measure, yesterday they passed a motion ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Yesterday, in between delivering Focuses and attending a meeting of the Whickham Library volunteers, I turned my hand to predictions about the Theresa May confidence vote, knowing that my political projections of the past couple of years have been rather wide of the mark. I suggested she would be fine if she had less than 70 MPs voting against her, she was in a grey zone with 70-100 voting

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute
Thu 13th

Love, actually

A message to Theresa May & all Britons on Brexit Here is a video column from the D66 (Dutch Social-Liberal, pro-European sister party), featuring Kees Verhoeven, our MP for European Affairs. Hope you enjoy! #makelovedontBrexit * Bernard Aris is a Dutch historian (university of Leiden), and Documentation assistant to the D66 parliamentary Party. He is a member of the Brussels/EU branch of the LibDems.

Posted by Bernard Aris on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Thu 13th

Watergate delivery

While the Conservatives were tearing themselves apart yesterday I headed out to the Watergate Estate in Whickham to deliver 370 Focuses. The newsletter is currently going out across the Whickham area of the three Whickham wards. I have lots more to deliver in my own ward! The lead story is Labour's decision to build hundreds of executive homes on Whickham Highway. Other stories include news

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute
Thu 13th

Goodbye Andrew

On Tuesday I attended the funeral of Andrew Friend at Durham Crematorium. Andrew had been a presenter at Tyne Tees TV, a constituent of mine (before boundary changes) and a friend. He and his then partner Jonathan had experienced one of our self-sufficient dinners at our house. I last saw Andrew in March when I took Richard to an appointment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We had a quick chat

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

As predicted by most, May won the no confidence vote last night comfortably, 200-117. Rees-Mogg was in there almost instantly trying to paint it as a loss for the prime minister, but it wasn't. There is some talk about her authority being weakened: it was dealt a massive blow with the 2017 general election result and was finished last week when she had to pull a vote on something she has spent her entire premiership working on because she was facing a triple-digit loss. She can't have less authority than she did pre-confidence vote because it was already at a ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

The world has changed a lot over the past 30 years, becoming both more open and democratic and more prosperous. Well-being indicators of those most in need, especially in terms of health and education, have improved dramatically. But we still confront tremendous challenges, ranging from climate change to growing inequalities, especially within countries, and from conflict and fragility to migration. In addition, a profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy and perceptions about the way it works has set in, not only in the developing world but also in countries that have traditionally been considered the cradles of democracy. So despite the ...

Posted by Alina Rocha Menocal on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

As Theresa May announced that she would no longer be asking the House of Commons to vote on her Brexit deal, the course of action open to the official Labour opposition seemed to be clear. The Tory party was split and in chaos, the DUP wanted shot of May and the other opposition parties were clamouring to join them in a vote of no confidence. However, Jeremy Corbyn hesitated and his moment was lost. Instead the European Research Group gambled on using their own party procedures in an attempt to defenestrate May as Tory leader, and lost. May secured 63% ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute
Thu 13th

Distracted by Christmas

Tomorrow - Friday 14th December - and on Saturday : Distracted by Christmas - at Platform Arts, Riverside Drive. An original comedy with the highs and lows of Christmas - the lists, the shopping, the baking, the cooking, the decorating, the expectations ... the distractions that can overwhelm and overtake the real meaning of Christmas. Come prepared to laugh! It starts at 8pm and is free of charge but reservations recommended by emailing

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced that an agreement has been reached between Education Secretary Kirsty Williams and new First Minister Mark Drakeford. The agreement affirms both parties' commitment to the 2016 Progressive Agreement and its shared priorities. Alongside noting the significant progress made since Kirsty Williams became Education Secretary, the agreement also unveils new education policies and reforms that will be implemented over the coming years. The agreement recognises the distinct identities and policies of each party, while allowing each party to on occasion express different positions on reserved matters. For more detail, go to

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats | Mute