Tonight we published the latest edition of our eFocus email newsletter to residents. It is the fifth since the lockdown began. In this edition we report on: bulk waste collection and grass cutting restart; huge fire as Dunston Staiths damage by arsonists again; theft wrecks plans for restored loco at Tanfield Railway; derelict club decision expected on Wednesday; Whinnies Community Garden

Posted by Jonathan Wallace on Jonathan Wallace

Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff Lib Dems lead cross party push to keep pubs in business People deserve an upfront answer from Powys MPs Govt must increase testing capacity to maintain credibility Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff The Liberal Democrats are today calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff to ensure "world-class" support for those tackling the virus head on. Highlighting the "deep scar" coronavirus will leave on health and care staff, the party ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Blue Pullman trains were a Sixties precursor of British Rail's High Speed Train. This video tells their story.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Blogging about the government's scrapping of safeguards for children in care has sent me back to the death of 12-year-old Dennis O'Neill in 1945. Dennis and his younger brother Terry had been boarded out on a Shropshire farm and Dennis died there from abuse and neglect. In the process I have come across this award-winning radio documentary from 2011 in which Terry tells their story. I blogged about its connection with The Mousetrap myself in 2007. This programme comes with a heavy trigger warning: it is a dreadful story of abuse. For some reason I have been far more affected ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

To revive their fortunes the Liberal Democrats need to focus on issues like health, education and housing, argues George Kendall. The authors of the 2019 election review have done an excellent job, courageously speaking uncomfortable truths. Their most important point is that talking about what we like to talk about "has come at the expense of constantly thinking about what 'normal' people care about and building everything we do around trying to help." The party's Social Democrat Group has issued a statement to welcome this review. In it the group says: To reconnect with many of the voters we have ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Mon 18th

The Japan Affair

It has often been said that there are certain similarities between Britain and Japan, as island nations off the coast of a major continent, despite the self-evident differences. Relations certainly reached a nadir during the Second World War, but at other times the two countries have felt a degree of affinity, if only in being [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

Lost your Liberal Democrat membership card? Damaged it when making it double up as a cake knife? Got it stuck in a machine when you confused it with a train ticket? No problem. You can order a replacement membership card online, including choosing from a range of different designs, at: (And if you're interested enough in the party to want a replacement membership card, can I also suggest the audio history of the party from the Liberal Democrat History Group?)

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

It is marvellously calming to pick up a hitherto unread piece by Keynes at a time like this. For some reason, a number of the epoch-making economists of the past were also wonderful writers - I am thinking Smith, Keynes, Friedman and Hayek, whether you agree with them or not - and it is niceContinue reading "Keynes on how to pay for the War, and what to worry about most"

Posted by freethinkingeconomist on Freethinking Economist

After a period of closure, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin household recycling centres reopened for domestic waste two weeks ago. But vans, even those with household permits, were barred. From tomorrow morning, Tuesday 19 May, vans with household permits can take non-commercial waste to Craven Arms and the other recycling centres across Shropshire. But not from Shropshire into Telford and Wrekin. But the good news is that if you have that knackered mattress from a bed you have just refurbished (guilty as charged) or if you need to dump the plaster that has just fallen from your living room wall ...

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington
Mon 18th

June 2006 books

The big family event of June 2006 was my great-aunt's 90th birthday. Here she is with her four children (the four on the left, with her sister-in-law) and her eight nieces and nephews, including my mother (whose face is unfortunately obscured). Three of the people in the picture are sadly no longer with us, but my great-aunt is still going strong and expects to turn 104 next month. (Picture taken by my sister.) Two of the pictures from my own camera show the guest of honour and the youngest guest, young F, and me with my siblings. [IMG: Fergal and ...


We have been working through boxes and filing cabinets full of old documents – some going back 50 years or more – and shredding them. Do we really need life insurance reminders from 1988, or pay slips from 1971? Years ago we bought the cheapest shredder we could find, but we spent more time detangling it than actually shredding paper. We replaced it by a larger one, until that caught fire. Finally we purchased our current more robust shredder, which works for about 10 minutes before the red light comes on. During lockdown it has taken up permanent residence in ...

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice
Mon 18th

Garden in May...

During the coronavirus lockdown, I have been posting a series of photos each day taken while strolling around our garden. I've posted these on Facebook and Twitter and, for me, they seem to be a moment of quiet and calm amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic...Today, I'm posting up a series of short videos which I hope will give a feel for what's in the garden now.

Posted by Trisha xx on ripplestone review

Councillor Liz Makinson, the Liberal Democrats Children's Services Spokesperson in Liverpool has suggested 6 ways in which schools can respond to a new way following the pandemic. Key amongst these is the provision of a different type of school for ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?

Confused about the new rules? The simple advice is - if in doubt, don't. If you're confused about what you can and can't do following the changes to the Covid-19 restrictions announced on Sunday night, you might find the answer to your questions in the FAQ published by the Government.Don't forget there are different rules in place in the other nations of the UK. So although you can now travel longer distances in England for exercise (without staying away overnight), you cannot nip over to Wales to exercise there.The Government is now also advising people to wear face coverings in ...

Whilst the overwhelming majority of media attention is being given to the coronavirus pandemic and the attempts of leading ministers to pretend that the government is making a good job of controlling it, others are, in the background, quietly implementing their tired and failed neocon policies. One is to squeeze the life out of and transfer any blame to local government. In an article in yesterday's Observer Andy Burnham, directly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, reveals that, although the Westminster government promised to bear the cost of measures to take the homeless off the streets during the crisis, they have ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

Who are our target voters that will increase our core vote? What are the challenges they face? What are their hopes and fears? What are the three biggest, most fundamental, most enduring issues they care about enough to vote or change their vote? How do we know we have got beyond face value of what they say to what really influences what they do, in the voting booth? What is our clear message to them on each issue, based on our values and expressed through our policies? How is that message different to the other parties? Is the message simple ...

Posted by Freddie Jewitt on Liberal Democrat Voice
Mon 18th

The Dawn of Webinars

Whilst we have been physically isolating due to Covid19, the virtual world has turned into a global village. Not a day passes without seeing news of another virtual conference or webinar. A less propitious phenomenon, however, has been the alarming rise in hate crime towards British Chinese and other East Asian communities due to the pandemic. This has exposed deep seated racism against those who look Chinese in our society. Meanwhile misinformation in the media, whether deliberate or unintentional, has heightened fears and bigotry, leading to harassment, abuse and in some cases physical attacks. To better understand the history of ...

Posted by Merlene Emerson on Liberal Democrat Voice
Mon 18th

My tweets

Sun, 12:56: 'The past six weeks have been unlike anything I've known': a GP on how the pandemic has changed his work... Sun, 13:37: RT @nwbrux: Everyone, ignore the Mail on Sunday. I know it makes you angry. But channel your energy into something better. All you are doin... Sun, 14:48: RT @kleine_m: This is messed up BBC. Germany makes defiling of foreign flags punishable (after an Israeli flag was burned), and this is the... Sun, 15:17: The Godfather: film and novel Sun, 16:05: The COVID-19 Crisis: Lessons for a New World Order Robert Dussey @rdussey, who ...

Mon 18th

The HS2 conundrum

In my experience of road and rail capital projects they often veer off-course, are subject to delay and overrun budgets. It seems that the bigger the project the worse this becomes. It is little surprise therefore to find that HS2 is suffering in this way or that serious questions are being asked about its future as a consequence. The all party public accounts committee has had enough. They have accused the Department for Transport of hiding information about cost overruns and delays from MPs, in a way that has undermined confidence in the entire scheme. As the Guardian reports they ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

I've always included the party's Weekly Whip round-up of news from the Westminster Parliament. But I've now broken it out into an email of its own that you can sign-up to here.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Over the weekend, I have been thoroughly reading, and inwardly digesting, the 61 page panel report on the 2019 elections. I started making notes of passages which would make good quotes for this article. But my list was soon very long. Pulling out pithy quotes turned out to be like shooting fish in a barrel. From the reference on the first page to "our massive disappointment as a party", with the addition that "it was obvious you were gutted and angry" – it was clear that this is a report written in down-to-earth terms with searing candidness. "Gutted" is not ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff to ensure "world-class" support for those tackling the virus head-on.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Lib Dems: Govt must step up provision for vulnerable children The IFS have today published a report revealing that children from better-off households are spending 30% more time each day on educational activities than are children from the poorest fifth of households. Responding to the widening disadvantage gap between children during the coronavirus crisis, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: The Liberal Democrats have been clear that we cannot fix the disadvantage gap without also addressing the looming crisis amongst our vulnerable children. The Government must set up an emergency taskforce to coordinate its response, and for out-of-work supply ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

BBC – 'Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said different approaches across the four UK nations to tackling coronavirus are not going to "help us out of this crisis".' and 'Sir Keir said it reinforced his call for "radical federalism" across the UK.' I have a measure of sympathy with the first statement (although I feel that the island of Ireland should have a united/consistent approach) but is it not completely at odds with the second? And what on earth is 'radical federalism' anyway? A definition of federalism – it's a type of government in which power is divided between ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus

On 14 May was Bury's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. The overview and scrutiny role involves reviewing and scrutinising any matters relating to the planning provision and operation of health services in the area of the Council, scrutinising organisations external to the Council and holding the Leader / Cabinet Members to account. Councillor Cristina Tegolo reports: Bury Health and Overview and Scrutiny Committee met remotely and questions were invited from members of the public in advance of the meeting. Geoff Little, Chief Executive Bury Council provided an update on the work that the Health & Care system in Bury ...

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

2 big stories Are right-wing political campaigners not only using Russian attack lines, but using the same tactics to discredit their opponents? Here's a story from the United States, see what you think... Test, track, trace and isolate is allegedly the Government's strategy to deal with the coronavirus. That requires a network of contact tracers, 18,000 of whom were supposed to be in place and operating imminently. It's a pity that they've not been recruited yet... 2 social media posts Today, two differing views of the Party's Internal Review into the 2019 General Election campaign. Nick Tyrone is rather more ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

Further update - for Monday 18th May - from Councillor Fraser Macpherson (West End) and Councillor Craig Duncan (Broughty Ferry) : GOING OUT ADVICE CHANGEAs residents will now know, people in Scotland can now go outside more than once a day to exercise. This activity should continue to be undertaken close to home. Those going out to exercise should either go alone or with members of their household. The change does not allow people to mix with people from different households, to gather in groups, or to go out to relax outdoors. The changed advice is based on evidence from ...