Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fair deal for the "No" campaign

Huw Pudner, a prime mover of the campaign to get Neath Port Talbot tenants to vote "No" to transfer of the council's housing stock, asked for a list of tenants. His claim was that the council provided its officers with a list so that they could put the council's case.

The council rebuts the suggestion. Officers are neutral. Officers call only to check that tenants have received the official documenation. They say that officers never overstate the benefits of transfer. Nevertheless, Pudner demanded equal treatment.

He was given a list. It had no personal names on it. This was perhaps a sensible precaution. The Data Protection Act has things to say about release of personal data for purposes other than that for which they were gathered. Unfortunately, the list is in alphabetical order of names - not very useful for someone wishing to go door-to-door.

We hold no brief for Huw Pudner's militant socialism. Nor do we take a stand on how the tenants should vote. However, we do think the council should avoid any charges of partiality and provide the "No" campaign with the same format of list as officers have.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Campaigning a century ago!

From the Cambridge Daily News of 1909:

A gramophone meeting was held at Fen Ditton in support of the Government's
budget. Some delay was caused by the gramophone having gone wrong but Mr
S. Mallyon lent his machine. First a musical selection was rendered and
then recordings of speeches by the Prime Minister (H.H. Asquith),
Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lloyd George) and President of the Board of
Trade (Mr Winston Churchill) were heard.

Thanks to Colin Rosenstiel for this example of Liberal high tech.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fresh Start for Britain

The Lib Dem Conference in Bournemouth last week saw the party set out
clear priorities for the country:
  • Build a sustainable economy
  • Make society fairer
  • Reform our broken political system
Key policies agreed by the Lib Dems include:
- Investment in green jobs
The Lib Dems will switch Government spending into environmental projects that will create jobs and build a greener future. This will include investment in public transport infrastructure and major energy efficiency schemes.

- Fairer tax system
The Lib Dems will raise the basic allowance to £10,000 - taking millions of people out of paying tax altogether and saving low and middle income earners £700 a year. This will be paid for by closing many of the tax loopholes which benefit the best off.

- Reform politics
The Lib Dems agreed a range of measures to reform the political system. They want to give voters the right to sack MPs who have been shown to be guilty of fraud. They also want to curb big donations to political parties so that no-one can ‘buy’ our political system.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What has David Cameron been smoking?

That was Matthew Oakeshott's response to the Conservative leader's assertion that you couldn't get a cigarette paper between our policies.

Tony Greaves picked up a Guardian leader on the same subject: "You are right to suggest that David Cameron is a 'false friend' (Editorial, 21 September). His suggestion that the Liberal Democrats should join with the Tories to create a 'national movement' is as ridiculous as it is sinister-sounding. But it's a significant moment, because it suggests the Tories have given up hope of winning lots of Liberal Democrat seats at the general election, and are now frightened they won't win an overall majority." (Guardian letters)

Nothing will change unless:

Adrian Sanders MP supports a Bill of Rights

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vince Cable's speech to conference

Have a look at this page on the Liberal Democrat website.

It is to be hoped that Matthew Oakeshott's contribution to the manifesto debate today will also be put up on the party web-site. His cutting down to size of the Conservative Treasury team had 'em rolling in the aisles.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coverage of Liberal Democrat federal conference

Peter Black's video diary of the first day is here.

There are also views of other Welsh Liberal Democrat representatives at Freedom Central.

Official bulletins are on the main party web-site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last chance in Afghanistan, say Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown

"The crucial question on Afghanistan today is not whether this war is important. It is. It is not whether the consequences of failure are serious. They are. It is a much more brutal question: can we win? And the answer is no. Unless we change both our current policies and our present attitudes, failure is inevitable."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

European Liberals do not want a super state

Reacting to an op-ed in the Wall Street journal, Liberal International (to which UK Liberal Democrats are affiliated) Deputy President Hans van Baalen MEP has defended ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt against accusations of being a “ideological European federalist who wants to impose heavy European taxes on [citizens] and who wants Europe to become a super state”. Van Baalen states that the ALDE group consists of moderate political forces that combine a “passion for the free market and private enterprise with political freedom, human rights and civil liberties.” He continues, “We European Liberals do not want a European super state but a careful balance between what should be done by the member states of the EU and the Union itself.” Mr van Baalen was elected leader of the VVD (Netherlands) group in the European Parliament in 2009 and sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as the Security and Defence Committee.