Following news of an independent councillor joining the party in Mendip, there is news of another. This time it is Councillor Sean MacLeod, who was originally elected for the Greens before joining the independent group on the council. He has now switched* to the Liberal Democrats. Sean MacLeod said: I have decided to join the Lib Dems for a number of reasons, my passion is around mental health and I think the Lib Dems policy around this far outweighs any set out by other parties. I like the fact they are looking at a New Zealand approach focusing on the ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Govt spending £120m on Festival for Brexit instead of free school meals over the summer PM's decision to scrap DFID shows Govt turning its back on most in need Govt must act to address disproportionate impact of pandemic on BAME communities Govt must go beyond u-turn on free school meals to give every child best start PM must think again on DFID in face of COVID-19 global health emergency Govt spending £120m on Festival for Brexit instead of free school meals over the summer The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of being "callous and heartless" for spending £120m on ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

In the second of his Hidden Histories videos Jim Butler shows us that Leicester was an important town - a tribal capital and cultural hub - long before a the Romans conquered Britain, He explores Iron Age Leicester and the surrounding county to understand why it was such an important target for the Roman invaders.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Tue 16th

Downgrading DFID Is Daft

Boris Johnson's Conservative government has announced its intention to subsume the Department for International Development (DFID) within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). This is a seriously bad idea, not least at a time when much of the developing world is struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic. Even former Prime Minister David Cameron has criticised the [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer
Tue 16th

Kitten Kong

A little bit of inspired insanity from the Goodies, first broadcast 12 November 1971.

Responding to Public Health England's report on the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups, which highlighted the adverse effects of the Government's Hostile Environment policy and 'No Recourse to Public Funds' rule, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said: "The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented threat, leaving the most vulnerable in society at risk. We must ensure that BAME communities are not left behind by the Government's response to this crisis. "The Government must act urgently to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on BAME communities, and to solve the deep-seated inequalities and injustices they face. "It is ...

Posted by Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats

Layla Moran has called on Boris Johnson to establish a cultural protection fund to secure the future of music venues threatened by the economic impact of Covid-19, reports the New Musical Express. The NME says more than 400 grassroots music venues in the UK are at imminent risk of closing for good as a consequence of the ongoing health crisis. This is despite a campaign from the Music Venue Trust which has saved cultural 140 spaces so far. Layla told the NME: "We need to have recognition that arts in this country is one of our most important exports, it ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Responding to the Prime Minister's decision to merge the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Development Wendy Chamberlain said: "Not content with depriving disadvantaged kids of their free school meals, the Prime Minister is now choosing to abolish the department whose job is to support the most vulnerable people around the world. "UK aid prevents suffering. The Liberal Democrats have always made absolutely clear our unequivocal support for Britain's role as a world leader in providing aid to those most in need. By working internationally we can achieve so much more than we can ...

Posted by Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats

Last week I wrote about the joys of living near a zoo. Over 30 years ago it was transformed in a theme park, Chessington World of Adventures, and became part of The Tussauds Group of tourist attractions (now Merlin Entertainments). The name of the area where I live is now synonymous with thrill rides, an animal park and above all, with clogged roads in the summer. In 2018 it attracted 1.67 million visitors. Although the park is only a mile or so from the M25, the access roads, whichever route is taken, pass through residential areas. In the summer months ...

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 16th

Statues that work

No-one could call Eastleigh Town Centre a pretty place. But something that Eastleigh gets exactly right is its statues. There is the generic son of industrial toil: the Railwayman, tribute to the town's railway heritage. Then there is Charlotte Yonge, a Victorian novelist who named the town. Charlotte is very unusual in England - a female statue who isn't Queen Victoria, a minor nineteenth century royal or a mythical angel type figure on a war memorial (though Eastleigh has one of those too). Here they both are (above), Charlotte and the Railwayman, decorated for Pride last year. * Ruth Bright ...

Posted by Ruth Bright on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 16th

Six of the Best 935

A podcast from Matthew d'Ancona reveals how Boris Johnson's brush with death exposed a lethal amateurism at the heart of government. "There is a long tradition of 'crowd psychology', Professor Reicher said, which 'sees the group as problematic', as something that "undermines us at a cognitive and moral level." Times Higher Education talks to Stephen Reicher, who says psychology can help policymakers tap wisdom of crowds during times of crisis. And where does this fear of the mob come from? David Boyle suggests it has its roots in classical education. Emily Marchant, Charlotte Todd and Sinead Brophy ask why outdoor ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

South Glos Council would like your feedback on their new Council Plan (2020-2024).The draft plan sets out key priorities and commitments for the next four years and beyond. You can view it and have your say on the council's consultation website until 26th July.The council say:"We find ourselves in truly unprecedented circumstances internationally and the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak are being felt across South Gloucestershire. Through a collective effort headed up by the NHS; the public sector, the voluntary sector, our businesses and our residents have come together to tackle the crisis and in taking this opportunity to ...

Good news from the Mendip Liberal Democrat council group with the decision to join it by independent Shepton councillor, Edric Hobbs. On joining the party, Cllr Hobbs said: I am really pleased to be joining the local Liberal Democrat party and the other Lib Dem Councillors at Mendip. I have supported the change this administration has sought to bring about from the day I was elected - my priorities, my values and what I want to do for Shepton haven't changed. One year in, and with a good understanding of what Mendip can get done, I felt that now is ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Over the past few days, a lot of my time has been spent dealing with absurdities about Penny Lane and Gladstone Hall in which both Liverpool University and the International Slavery Museum have descended into a mumbo-jumbo of ill thought ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?
Tue 16th

Weaker for Scotland!

In 2015 while an election agent in my hometown of Inverclyde, I watched while Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP swept the board with one clear simple mantra: Stronger for Scotland. Five years on from that election and thirteen years into SNP government that's simply untrue. The SNP have been weak, ineffective and downright scandalous in it's handling of affairs in Scotland. I've sat by and watched while Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government receive praise from their supporters for it's handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. The reality is it's been an absolute disaster and this slopey shouldered, pass-the-buck attitude of ...

Posted by David McKenzie on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 16th

Deja vu all over again.

Thankfully the weekend's demonstrations evolved to the advantage of the Black Lives Matter and anti-racist causes and against the pro status quo far right. In the previous post I expressed fears that there might be more statue toppling*, which would give the government the excuse to switch the debate from slavery and racism to law and order. In the event it was the other way round. The BLM supporters behaved very sensibly, called off many of their demonstrations and where they were held they passed off peacefully and without anything that could be described as vandalism. It was the far-right ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to commit to resettling 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years, following the closure of the Dubs scheme last month. Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine warned child refugees who have been "forced to flee their homes and separated from their families" and is urging the Government to "do all we can to protect them." In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, over 40 Liberal Democrat parliamentarians call on the Government to reverse its position in the Brexit negotiations not to ...

Posted by Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats

We were surprised by the response of Young Liberals (YL) to a recent article by "Anonymous Young Liberal". While much of the reaction was measured and accepting, we felt responses to the article along the lines of 'it's too difficult' were inappropriate. We were both broadly sympathetic with the article and now is the time to think about what YL can do to better stimulate branches. Damayanti: I have been South Central YL Chair for over a year now. I started the role planning improvements that would make the job easier for both me and my successors. Chief amongst these ...

Posted by Damayanti and Gabriel Chatterjee and Barton-Singer on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 16th

My tweets

Mon, 12:56: A Rainy Night in Georgia Sad and worrying. Mon, 16:05: From Private Lives to Public Memory Very interesting on the 1918 flu pandemic. Mon, 17:11: Bad News is Good News good news is no news, and no news is bad news. Mon, 18:16: RT @_jamesmeek: Me and this book have travelled far together. Thank you, Marcus Wheeler, and farewell to a kind, wise man. Mon, 18:21: Ninety days on from lockdown #horeca Mon, 20:23: RT @steve_vladeck: #BREAKING: First (and not last) merits decision from #SCOTUS this morning is in #LGBT/Title VII case. Court ...

I have felt numb over the past few weeks, shocked that police could act in the way they did in the United States, but then worried as the Black Lives Matter debate took hold in the United Kingdom. Not worried about the protests – it is our democratic right to protest and question, even during a pandemic. But I was worried about what this would mean for the wider equality debate. I am an openly homosexual white man, I state that because I am well aware of my privilege, my social scorecard only reducing when people realise that I am ...

Posted by Simon Lepori on Liberal Democrat Voice

On a scale of one to ten in which ten is utterly surprising and one is so predictable that it is difficult to work up a yawn over it, the decision by Boris Johnson to ignore the recommendations of three reputable inquiries into racism and equality, and kick the issue into the long grass by setting up his own commission under the auspices of a No 10 adviser, Munira Mirza who has cast doubt on the existence of institutional racism and condemned previous inquiries for fostering a "culture of grievance", must rate as minus 20. As the Guardian reports, the ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

I recently guested on the excellent Politics of Sound podcast with Iain Carnegie. We talked about coping with lockdown, what made me a Liberal Democrat, ordering cheese toasties on the internet, the song I'd pick to be the Lib Dem anthem and more. Though I did embarrassingly in the chocolate quiz... See if you can do better than me by taking a listen here. Interested in political campaigning? Sign-up for a free 10-week course by email.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Tue 16th

Daily View: 16 June 2020

I've been writing this feature for nearly three months now, and hope that you've enjoyed it. Today, I'm going to change the style a little, to make it a little less formulaic. Bear with me... We've got a leadership contest underway, if the wave of press releases from the various campaign teams is any guide. By the way, we won't be publishing them here at Liberal Democrat Voice in line with our policy of neutrality in internal elections. But I would like to see a contest of ideas, especially as I am a genuine floating voter this time. I can't ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

Further update - for Tuesday 16th June - from Councillor Fraser Macpherson (West End) and Councillor Craig Duncan (Broughty Ferry) : EASING THE LOCKDOWN - POSSIBLE DATESYou will know the Scottish Government is easing the lockdown at a different pace from England. On 28th May, Scotland entered phase one which included: visits to meet one other household; exercising travel limit of five miles; opening of garden centres, recycling centres and golf courses; construction site preparation; childminding and preparations for school Construction is now moving to the next steps of its industry plan. Workers are allowed to return to sites ...