Liberal Democrats October 31, 2007
Right, now it’s starting to get interesting!
According to the Guardian Nick Clegg has declared that if we do all end up being required to carry ID cards around with us, he will personally break the law and refuse to do so.
He compared it to the civil disobedience campaigns against the poll tax and other things - and of course it also is very reminiscent of the person he keeps talking about: Clarence Willcock, who ended Britain’s ID cards regime in the 1950s by refusing to carry one, with the words to the policeman “I don’t believe in that sort of thing - I’m a Liberal”
Lib Dems are against ID Cards, of course we all know that.
But I’m sure I’m not the only party member who has found myself having conversations with other small ‘l’ liberal friends who agree with us on this and much else but don’t vote for us - because they say they think we need to go much harder on this kind of issue, and really make the overweening approach to the state of Labour, much more of an issue. “Less bleating, more hard action” seems to be their message - and of course capturing these liberals actually to vote Liberal Democrat is a key task for us if we are to break through.
Well here is one of our leading members - and hopefully our next Leader - doing just that!
It’s moments like this, when one of our leading members finds a punchy and genuinely meaningful way of putting one of our core beliefs, that really makes me feel optimistic about the future of our party!
Education October 31, 2007
Last night the governing body of Highbury Grove secondary school (of which I am a member) gave its formal agreement to the building of completely new premises for the school, under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The school’s existing 1960s buildings are very much in need of replacement, and this means that by 2010 Highbury Grove’s pupils will have some amazing new facilities.
The school has made a huge amount of progress academically in recent years (earlier this year being judged ‘good’ by Ofsted, a remarkable turnaround) - and it’s great that its facilities will be catching up and giving pupils the best opportunities in future.
Getting governing body agreement is hardly the end of this process - with a huge construction programme to come over the next two years. But it’s great to know that it will now definitely be happening!
Liberal Democrats October 30, 2007
After a slow start the Clegg campaign have now got a good website up and running. It allows ordinary party members not only to pledge their support for him, but also to post up a short statement of why they are doing so. These show well that Nick’s support includes grassroots party members from around the country - and some of their statements make interesting reading: if there’s one theme that comes across to me from them, it is the ambition for the party that shines through from these people, and that they firmly believe he is the man to lead us towards that success.
The new website also includes the text of the speech he made in Swansea yesterday launching his campaign in Wales - in both English and Welsh. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Chatham House’s annual one-day autumn conference, and spent a truly fascinating day listening to a very wide range of speakers. I attended the first of these now-annual events about five years ago and it was impressive to see how it has developed over that time. Although the first conference in 2002 was good and interesting, this year they put on a truly impressive range of very high-calibre speakers. This was reflected too in the quality of the audience, with a strong presence of well-known journalists and former diplomats and politicians, as well as academics and others - I found myself sitting all day, for instance, between a professor of international relations and the Swedish Ambassador. It was only a shame that as usual I found myself very much indeed on the younger end of the age spectrum!
Obviously through the day there were a very wide range of issues covered, and I may come back again to comment on some of them, but if there was one theme running through the day which interested me most of all, it was the number of speakers, from different perspectives, who commented on the whole notion of the development of a rules-based approach to global governance.
Read the rest of this entry »
Liberal Democrats October 28, 2007
Today I did something I don’t often do, and for reasons I won’t bore you with, bought the Daily Telegraph. And flicking through it searching for what I was looking for, I was delighted to find a large photograph and interview with Mr Clegg taking up most of one of its pages.
It’s generally a positive interview and the journalist, Rachel Sylvester, runs through with Nick his views on quite a wide range of major policy issues, from tax levels to drugs reclassification and employment rights. Personally I was particularly pleased to see him going strong again on what for me is the central liberal theme of putting people in control of their own lives, as well as, strikingly, going particularly heavily on the importance of giving local councils real power to act, including to tax.
But the greater significance of the interview, it seems to me, is that the Telegraph ran it at all. Read the rest of this entry »
Internet October 27, 2007
So here’s the problem: several political discussion sites, like Lib Dem Voice, have a problem with anonymous postings by people who are not in fact who they claim to be. Agents provocateurs from other parties, for example, can and do use either an ‘anonymous’ label or a pseudonym to kick debates off in a particular direction for their own purposes.
Whenever the debate gets particularly bad, a moderator of the site will threaten to reveal the IP addresses of those who have posted - effectively removing their anonymity, by revealing the unique address of the computer which posted the comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Liberal Democrats October 23, 2007
One of the reasons that I’m backing Nick for leader is his enthusiastic and wide-ranging interest in policy ideas - and this afternoon in a major (not to say fairly lengthy!) speech, he set out what he stands for, as a potential Leader of our party.
He identified five major challenges for defining what his vision for Liberal Britain means, across a whole range of policy ideas:
”¢ how to tackle what he called ”˜the epidemic of powerlessness’;
”¢ how to create real social mobility;
”¢ where to strike the balance between national security and individual liberty;
”¢ how actually to engage the public and business in real action to tackle global warming;
”¢ and how to make sense of globalisation.
So nothing if not a daunting agenda!
I hope the full speech will become available (Update: it is now here) so I’m certainly not going to run through all six closely-typed pages of it here, but a few things that particularly struck me were these.
Read the rest of this entry »
Miscellaneous October 23, 2007
So I was just flicking idly through a routine briefing from the party, when I found myself reading the following sentence:
”¢ A report by the government’s Chief Scientist, Sir David King, is calling for a cull of badgers in some areas affected by Bovine Tony Blair.
I didn’t immediately clock at it first, but something didn’t sound quite right in the sentence so I looked at it again more carefully.
“Bovine Tony Blair”? That sounded pretty abusive for an internal party document so what did it mean? Our former Prime Minister wandering the nation behaving in a cow-like fashion?
A minute’s reflection gave the answer. Presumably the story is in fact about tuberculosis in cattle, or “Bovine TB” - and someone still has a shortcut programmed into their computer to expand automatically from the abbreviation of the former Prime Minister’s initials…
He may be gone but it’s good to know he is still…being blamed for attacking badgers!