As regular readers will have noticed, I love the Shropshire hills. Yet for all their beauty, there is something dark and cruel about them. For instance, the last fair of the year at Church Stretton was known as 'Deadman's Fair' because of the risk to people making their way home afterwards. The latest support for this view comes from the Shropshire Star, where an article reveals that there were 19 air crashes on the Clee Hills between 1937 and 1975 with the loss of 43 lives. This article is occasioned by the publication of Bernard O'Connor's book Air Crashes on ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Support for Scottish independence is growing off the back of Boris Johnson's handling of Brexit and Covid. Liberals have been pro-devolution but anti-independence for fairly Liberal reasons to date, but has Brexit changed all of that? Is Scottish independence now more Liberal than British unionism?

Posted on justLiberals

Cross posted from the Scottish Lib Dems website A few years ago, I took a trip to London with some young people. They had the choice of any West End musical we could get cheap tickets for on the Saturday night. They chose instead to go to a vigil remembering victims of hate crimes . So, instead of being in a warm theatre, we spent several hours in rain and freezing cold. It was an incredibly moving event. The most sombre part was when the names of people who had lost their lives was read out. Each one of these ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

Second paragraph of third chapter:That song had been silent ever since, silent until Caryl brought it back, and I bitterly regretted telling Dr. Davis about her. After a year spent following orders and eating institutional food, a dose of reality was exactly the last thing I needed.I got this back in 2017 when it was a Nebula finalist, but only now got around to reading it. As with the October Daye books by Seanan McGuire, I completely bounced off the core concept of a Celtic otherworld conveniently located on the US West Coast, with no visible representation from other less ...

I find the implications of this entry terrifying. The question of why there are so many orphans in Rutland has been raised before, notably by one of the orphans himself, and I do receive letters (a fair number of them in green ink, it has to be said) alleging all sorts of things against Lord Bonkers. Never, however, have I heard it suggested that he engineered the sinking of the Titanic to cover up a scandal here in Rutland. Come to think of it, he has in the past written about that sinking in rather offhand terms. I suppose the ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Outsourcing and privatisation died at 1518 on Wednesday 4 November 2020. Or thereabouts. That was of course a misquotation of the great architectural critic Charles Jencks. It was also when the Guardian published the news that Randox, the company involved in a testing failure during the summer had just been handed another government contract worth £347m. Though it could perfectly well refer to the bankruptcy of Carillion on 15 January 2018. It is strange when you think about it, but the more they have held on to life, the more that privatised utilities and outsourcers have become a byword for ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog

Ethiopian Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed is planning—hoping with fingers and toes crossed—for a speedy and decisive end to his dispute with the rebel province of Tigray. If his hopes are unrealised than it will have severe and widespread repercussions in the second most populous county in Africa, the strategic Horn of Africa and beyond. Prime Minister Abiy and the leadership of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) have been at loggerheads since he took over the premiership two years ago. Up until then the TPLF had held the reins of power in Addis Ababa. Corruption, human rights abuses ...

Posted by Tom Arms on Liberal Democrat Voice
Fri 20th

Peter Taylor RIP

Peter Taylor worked for Maghull Town Council for many years firstly as a maintenance engineer and then as head of its parks and gardens maintenance arm. He was one of those people full of innovative engineering ideas that could come up with solutions to many problems but he was modest of nature and did not seek praise or recognition; a true behind the scenes man. However, give him some steel or wood and the appropriate tools and he could make virtually anything and he'd most likely enjoy every minute of the work too. Here are a couple of postings of ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus

Liberator's second online only issue is out and available for free download at: What's inside? Alongside Radical Bulletin, Letters, Reviews and Lord Bonkers' Diary, Liberator 404 includes: Conflict, uncertainty and being wrong: welcome to 'the science' Science isn't about boffins imparting hard facts - it involves a lot of disagreement and uncertainty. Acknowledging this could improve both how politicians use science and public trust in them, says Christy Lawrance. Dazed and confused Constantly chasing regulations, the failure of 'track and trace' and local political incompetence have combined to make Covid-19's second wave worse in northern England, says Jackie Pearcey. ...

Posted by The Liberator Collective on Liberal Democrat Voice
Fri 20th

Citizens of Everywhere

At the Conservative Party conference in October 2016, in the wake of the EU Referendum, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, spoke derisively of "citizens of nowhere" — people who had unpatriotically abandoned their native attachment to Britain in favour of a European or even global identity. It is one of the few phrases for [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

Well what a dreadful few months we have seen in the UK! At least we can say until January 20th that we don't have the worst Government in the Western World. But even that tiny fig leaf (I'm not being ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?
Fri 20th

Priti Patel must go

I'm not generally one to call for political resignations or sackings. Neither do I take much delight in them when they happen. However, as a former civil servant who was personally involved in high-level discussions to eradicate workplace bullying, I have a strong view on the government's decision to express "full confidence" in Home Secretary Priti Patel following the enquiry into bullying instigated after the resignation of Sir Philip Putman. That she should continue in office having been found to have breached the ministerial code is in itself unacceptable. Even more worrying is that Conservative MPs are not only defending ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal

"Priti Patel has broken the Ministerial Code. Boris Johnson should have sacked her" - Ed Davey.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Here we go again! Boris Johnson announces a 'world-beating' programme to make Britain the environmental envy of the world. The usual suspects line up to say it's too little too late, and the whole thing blows over in a couple of days, at least as a news story. But dig a little deeper and it's not hard to identify what needs to happen to make Boris's bluster into a plan that can really make a difference. Let's focus on the headline announcement: the intention to withdraw all new petrol and diesel cars from sale in the UK from 2030. Yes, ...

Posted by Chris Bowers on Liberal Democrat Voice

Another week, another solitary Scottish council by-election, though this time a Conservative rather than an SNP defence. Clackmannanshire East, Clackmannanshire Originally due in March, this contest has been rescheduled due to coronavirus. The Liberal Democrat candidate was Jim Hay. Clackmannanshire East (Clackmannanshire) by-election, first preference result: CON: 51.2% (+9.7) SNP: 32.0% (+1.8) LAB: 8.1% (-12.1) GRN: 5.8% (+2.0) LDEM: 2.9% (-1.4) Conservative HOLD. — Britain Elects (@BritainElects) November 20, 2020

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Fri 20th

My tweets

Thu, 12:43: RT @APCOBXLInsider: Episode 2 of the #BackOnTheAgenda podcast is here - this month @Lily_Reisser speaks to @AleksEngel @dtordrup and @gzoub... Thu, 12:56: Emmanuel Macron, think-tanker-in-chief Much talk, little substance? Thu, 13:41: RT @tconnellyRTE: Here's my latest on the Brexit negotiations... There's a lot of talk about time pressure +who that benefits. The EU ha... Thu, 13:41: RT @JohnGPeet: As so often, the consensus today is that we will get a Brexit trade deal, probably during next week. But I have my doubts.(T... Thu, 14:48: Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link Tales of "kitchen sink" magical realism, set ...

Fri 20th

No consequences?

The news that a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations of bullying by Priti Patel has found evidence that she broke the ministerial code is a damning indictment of the culture that pervades at the Home Office. These are serious allegations and need a serious response. However, all the indications are the Prime Minister is not proposing to move against her, leaving the ministerial code, which is meant to have zero tolerance of bullying, in tatters. The Home Secretary was accused of bullying her department's most senior civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam back in February, shortly before he resigned. Sir Philip ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

This week FPC met with an unusually light-looking agenda but we still managed to talk for two and half hours! We received an excellent presentation from Mimi Turner, Director of Strategy, Messaging and Research. Mimi talked us through the scale of the task ahead of us in terms of understanding how the Party fares when voters are asked whether we share their values; whether we'll do what we say; whether we're perceived as wanting to help ordinary people get on in life; and whether they see us as competent and capable. Mimi explained that by segmenting voters and targeting certain ...

Posted by Sally Burnell on Liberal Democrat Voice

i) births and deaths 20 November 1930: birth of Bernard Horsfall, who played Gulliver in The Mind Robber (Second Doctor, 1968), a Time Lord in The War Games (Second Doctor, 1969), Taron in Planet of the Daleks (Third Doctor, 1973) and Chancellor Goth in The Deadly Assassin (Fourth Doctor, 1976). 20 November 1984: death of Peter Welch, who played Sergeant Klegg in The Highlanders (Second Doctor, 1966-67) and Morgan the pub landlord in The Android Invasion (Fourth Doctor, 1975). 20 November 1994: death of John Lucarotti, writer of the stories we now call Marco Polo (First Doctor, 1964), The Aztecs ...

From Dundee Art Society : Dundee Art Society is holding their Winter Art Exhibition at Roseangle Gallery, 17 Roseangle. Although Covid rules are in place, so no preview with refreshments and a wee glass of wine can happen, but at least we are allowed to open this exhibition for a week. It starts on Saturday 21st November and runs every day till Saturday 28th November, open daily from 11am to 5pm.


The Liberal Democrats have demanded a timetable for an inquiry into the Government's handling of the pandemic following the publication of an NAO report which revealed that Ministers agreed £18bn worth of supplies and services which bypassed usual standards for procurement. Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said: "It is utterly galling the Government has sidestepped accountability and transparency rules. In no world is it fair that bids with a direct line to Ministers were ten times more successful. "The Tories have left themselves wide open to serious and legitimate allegations that they have chosen to line the pockets of ...

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

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Prime Minister calling for the Cabinet Office's investigation into the conduct of the Home Secretary to be published "in full and without further delay", as reports suggest that it has concluded she broke the ministerial code. Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said: "The allegations against the Home Secretary are extremely serious. Bullying is a destructive force with devastating consequences. We must not tolerate it anywhere in our society - and certainly not at the highest levels of Government. "The findings of the Cabinet Office investigation must be published in full ...

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