Lib Dems "delighted" by move to increase protection for abuse survivors in family courts Cross-party group urge Govt to agree to increased aid scrutiny in wake of DfID axe Lib Dems: Jenrick must resign or be sacked Irresponsible for Govt to change social distancing at schools Govt must guarantee NHS Test & Trace fully functional before lockdown eases Lib Dems "delighted" by move to increase protection for abuse survivors in family courts The Government has confirmed it will strengthen protections in courts for survivors of domestic abuse through an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill, following calls from campaigning organisations ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

The House of Lords is an odd place sometimes. When confronted with something that doesn't perhaps fit neatly into the procedures, the procedures are applied in unexpected ways. And so it was, three weeks ago, that Ros made what was described as a Written Ministerial Statement. Don't worry, Ros hasn't gone over to the dark side - I'm sure that she'd tell me if she had done - but, in accordance with Clause 17.2 of the Parliamentary Relationship Agreement between the Corporate Officers of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Board, the ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy

I have argued previously for some at least of Gateshead's meetings should be held online so during this lockdown crisis, I'm pleased to see that the council have indeed held meetings online. Yesterday was the first cabinet meeting to be conducted this way. I hope that this new way of meeting continues after the lockdown is gone. Before the pandemic, it was not unusual to spend more time

Posted by Jonathan Wallace on Jonathan Wallace

Last week I was handed, at one hours' notice, a 5-page summary of a 180 page submission to the Government asking for cash for shovel ready projects. Interestingly, it had already been submitted to the Government the previous Monday. I ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?
Thu 25th

Recent eFocuses

We have published a number of eFocuses in the last couple of weeks in Gateshead. You can view them on the links below: Low Fell edition 63. Low Fell edition 62. Pelaw and Heworth 17. Whickham 135. Birtley 7. These editions continue to focus mainly on the impact of the pandemic lockdown on local services. Next editions are currently being written.

Posted by Jonathan Wallace on Jonathan Wallace

The following is a critique of the defence policy outlined in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto published for the 2019 General Election and presumably still extant at time of writing (June 2020). Manifesto commitments are reproduced verbatim followed by my commentary. Page 91: A Secure Defence in the 21st Century The Armed Forces play a vital role in the defence of the nation: government should have a deep sense of duty to properly support service personnel and veterans. Neither the Conservatives nor Labour have shown a commitment to this: the Conservative government in particular has spread chronic low morale, misspent money ...

Posted by Stuart Crawford on Liberal Democrat Voice

In this edition of the Lib Dem Podcast Leicestershire's own Michael Mullaney talks about the new group Lib Dems for the Heart of England. It has been set up to revive the party's fortunes in the Midlands. You can read more from Michael on the group and the battle to revive the party beyond the South of England in his guest post on this blog.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Not sure how much longer I will keep up this series of posts every ten days. The numbers of hospitalisations, deaths, etc in Belgium are now back to where they were before lockdown, which basically means that it's barely distinguishable from background noise in the statistics. The government has announced further relaxation of the restrictions from 1 July (ie next Wednesday) including reopening cinemas and theatres, and allowing events of up to 200 people indoors and 400 outdoors, to double in August all being well. And I'm inclined to think that all probably will be well. I have a slightly ...

Thu 25th

Thursday reading

Current The Complete Secret Army: An Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Classic TV Drama Series by Andy Priestner Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton The Wicked + The Divine vol 6: Imperial Phase Part 2, by Kieron Gillen etc De dag waarop ze haar vlucht nam, by Beka, Marko, and Maëla Cosson Last books finished The Wicked + The Divine vol 4: Rising Action, by Kieron Gillen etc De dag waarop de bus zonder haar vertrok, by Beka, Marko, and ...

On a hot day like today, the one thing you would love to see is a photo of naked cyclists, right? I had been trying to find this photo amongst the many thousands of pictures on my laptop, but I couldn't remember when it was taken. Then yesterday it popped up on Facebook under the 'See your memories' feature. It was taken nine years ago in Bristol. We were driving down to visit our son and his family and were stopped at the end of the M32 by around 100 cyclists circling the roundabout. And none of them had any ...

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice

Universal Basic Income (UBI) has many attractions as a policy. It is radical, an easy concept to explain and - depending how it is implemented - may be progressive. Both our leadership candidates are backing it. Neither has been as specific as they could and should be about what they are proposing. There is enough economic analysis available for it to be perfectly feasible for them both to be more specific. The fundamental question is whether we can afford a level of UBI which is worth having and does not create lots of losers, particularly at the bottom end of ...

Posted by Kevin Langford on Liberal Democrat Voice
Thu 25th

Just visiting

Not every interaction with someone has to be about something specific. Sometimes it can just be about things in general. Continue reading →

Posted by Simon Perks on Simon Perks

Joss Bay Broadstairs 31 May 2020 Joss Bay Broadstairs 24 June 2020 On Monday the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, happily announced a tranche of relaxations of England's lockdown restrictions, to be timed for 4 July. The public weren't going to wait, flocking to the country's beaches to take advantage of a few days of sunshine. ... Continue reading The two worlds of post-lockdown Britain

Posted by Matthew on thinking liberal

On a lunchtime edition for Radio 4 Professor Peter Hennessy, the well-known historian of contemporary British history, recommended taking up the ideas of the Liberal Sir William Beveridge. In 1942 Beveridge wrote of 'five giant evils' that must be combatted through the reforms he sought which resulted after the Second World War in the Modern Welfare State and the National Health Service. There are five evils in our society today that need fighting, said Professor Hennessy, listing what he believes they are, to make the changes necessary after the current health crisis. His ideas were then discussed in the programme, ...

Posted by Katharine Pindar on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Government has confirmed it will strengthen protections in courts for survivors of domestic abuse through an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill, following calls from campaigning organisations and the Liberal Democrats. During Committee Stage of the Bill, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine tabled an amendment calling for the introduction of special measures in family courts during Committee Stage of the Bill.The Government has today announced that it will bring in these changes in their own version of the amendment.Following the Government announcement Christine Jardine said: "These latest recommendations to protect Domestic Abuse survivors in family courts are ...

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

Responding to [Department for Business junior minister] Nadhim Zahawi's comments today suggesting that voters should consider attending Conservative Party fundraisers in their local area if they want access to MPs and local authorities, Liberal Democrat Housing, Communities and Local Government Spokesperson Tim Farron said: "The 'defence' of Robert Jenrick is in reality little more than an admission of cash for access. It seems the Tory Party's commitment to the 'levelling up' agenda amounts to sleaze and corruption. "Every new, scandalous detail that emerges about Jenrick's decision to railroad through a housing deal to help out a Tory donor demonstrates that ...

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

Coming soon – My new children's book with really lovely illustrations by Alice Jowitt

Posted by markblackburn on Escape From The Country?
Thu 25th

My tweets

Wed, 12:07: RT @RossalynWarren: When the most senior BAME and Muslim officer for the Met police found a swastika drawn on the wall of her workplace, sh... Wed, 12:36: RT @caoilfhionnanna: 24 June 1993, 27 years ago: legislation passed finally decriminalising homosexuality in Ireland, following David Norri... Wed, 12:56: Hey, big spender! EU prepares to splash the cash The geography of the budget debate has shifted, decisively. Wed, 16:05: The World Expected More of America - @TomMcTague A European ambassador told me Trump himsel... Wed, 16:39: Sad news. Lovely man, a good friend of my parents. Encouraged ...

The Guardian reports that the new boss of Waitrose has joined farmers and food campaigners in urging the government to protect food standards in post-Brexit trade deals. They say that James Bailey, who joined Waitrose from Sainsbury's in April, said any regression from current high standards in the UK would be an unacceptable backwards step and pledged that Waitrose would not sell any products that did not meet its own standards: "It would be simply wrong to maintain high standards at home yet import food from overseas that has been produced to lower standards. We would be closing our eyes ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

So, Layla versus Ed, unless something very unexpected happens. And you're expecting me to have an opinion on which of them I believe will lead the Liberal Democrats into government at the next election. My answer? Neither of them, to be honest. Going from eleven seats to government, even as a junior partner, is pretty unlikely, if you ask me. We can safely rule out forming a majority government - that sort of thing doesn't happen in fairy tales, and it certainly doesn't happen in British politics. Even the Labour Party don't believe that they can increase the number of ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy

We have seen how the government has acted too slow to implement a lockdown and not given councils enough resources to be able to help people locally. Coronavirus has also shown us how the Tory government believes it is best to deal with the Coronavirus centrally rather than making more use of local government. As a Liberal Democrat I believe strongly in localism – one of the party's founding principles. In Ealing, despite the Council being run by the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats have managed to take a more active role than many opposition parties. Liberal Democrats in Ealing ...

Posted by Gary Malcolm on Liberal Democrat Voice

Having found these two videos – see links below – on You Tube about Southport, it's history and how it was promoted in the 1970's (both uploaded by Michael Dawson) I had to share them:- And how the seaside resort is presently promoted in Covid 19 times:- What's interesting is that clearly in the days of the former Southport Borough Council and indeed into the early days of Sefton Borough Council there was significant promotion of the famous seaside resort by or at least organised by the council. That this lead in the promotion of Southport has ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus

PM must show global leadership in tackling the climate emergency Responding to the publication of the Climate Change Committee's annual report to Parliament, Liberal Democrat Climate Emergency Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: The climate crisis is doing irreversible damage to our planet. As this report shows, we need greater Climate Action Now so we can protect our planet for future generations. Since the Conservatives adopted a net-zero target last year, we have seen agonisingly little progress. This Government are all talk and no action when it comes to the climate emergency . With the UK taking a leading role at COP26, ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Take Pride in your city newsletter gives an update on the great work undertaken by Dundee's environmental and horticultural groups. The June 2020 newsletter includes updates about the Gate Church Carbon Saving Project, the Bonnie Dundee Group and Ninewells Community Garden. You can read the newsletter here.