Friday, 2 October 2015

#libdemlegacy Free School Meals still under threat

The government have responded to the petition to keep free school meals (as they have to do within 7 days if it reaches 10,000 signatures - at time of publishing it was at 35,548) in a mealy-mouthed (no pun intended) fashion:

It starts:

"The Government is currently conducting a Spending Review across all its programmes. Therefore, every policy across Whitehall is being reviewed as part of this process and no decisions have yet been taken."

You can see the full response here and please do sign if you haven't already (and pass it on) as if it reaches 100,000 signartures, it is considered for parliamentary debate.

Friday, 8 May 2015

It was the SNP wot won it

Well, the SNP have acheived their twin aims of dominance in Scotland and a Tory government in Westminster (does anyone beleive that wasn't their aim?).

When I got the email from Nick saying he won't deal with the SNP, I was very annoyed as we shouldn't be ruling out anything as Liberals (and also was secretly harbouring a wish for a Lab/Lib minority government with SNP acquiescence). However I thought he must have seen some terrible internal polling to make him have to say that.

When I saw the SNP on the news on eve of poll going on about how they would end austerity and write the budget, I was thinking "shut up, you're not helping"! Of course I'm sure this was deliberate...

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Things I’m wishing Clegg would say tonight (in his opening remarks)

Following on from the post of the same name over at Nik’s Blog, I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts on what I would like to hear in Nick's opening remarks.

I can’t stress how important Nick’s 2-minute introduction is to the air-war. It is likely to be the only LibDem 2-minutes in the entire campaign (before postal votes) that anyone properly listens to. And I include the rest of the debate in this as I can’t believe many normal people will last 2 hours of politics!

I know it’s all about the ground war this time but it needs supporting fire and the air-war is shaping up badly for us this time. The establishment media is going all out for a return to 2 party politics. You wouldn’t know there were other parties or impartiality rules from watching the news.

In some previous General Elections, the party famously had students with stopwatches to tot up the unequal airtime so this evidence could be presented to the public service broadcasters thus forcing them into corrective action. I hope we are doing something similar this time.

In contrast to Nik, I don’t think Nick should attack other parties, define ourselves in terms of others parties or even mention them really. I don’t think he should try and explain our decision 5 years ago, give a reasoned argument for coalition or apologise for decisions made.
This can all be woven into the debate and closing remarks. However people (even the most uninterested civilian) have an opinion on this and will not change it now. They have heard the arguments all before. We need to tell them something they don't already know.

What they wouldn’t have heard or would be new to them is the long list of positive achievements that we can be rightly proud of (and I suspect people assume we just see the coalition as a complete disaster for us - and therefore so should they - and maybe be surprised that we don't - well not completely!).

So my ideal opening speech would have no introduction or opening words but would just go straight into an exhaustive list of achievements:

"Investing 2.5 billion pounds in our schools through the Pupil Premium, to benefit the most disadvantaged kids
Cutting taxes for working people by over 800 pounds a year
Ending exclusivity clause in zero-hour contracts (important to get that one in)

Gay Marriage

Green Bank
Reforming pensions so Women for career breaks are no longer penalised
Free School Meals


These are all Liberal Democrat achievements in government. We did all this as a minority party in a 5-year collation. If you compare our record to that of the last government that was in power for 13-years with stonking majorities which meant they could do what they like and didn’t have to compromise with any other parties, I don’t think it’s too shabby. 

The more Liberal Democrats that are elected, the more Liberal Democrat influence and policies you will get."

If we get this in early and just maybe force the other smaller parties (Conservative and Labour will ignore us in the main I think) to just say “Whilst they may have achieved a few good things, the LibDems are mainly lying treacherous b*rstards” this would be a step forward!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Labour candidate: I asked myself to support myself; I support myself and have supported myself from the outset

The other day on the morning commute, I was handed a leaflet outside the train station for Herts Passenger Power. It had a picture of a big season ticket on the front (Price: £Lots) and a freepost address for one Katherine Chibah. It provided a link to their website and urged people to sign up online.

Reading it through, it had no mention of a political party.

Good! I’m all for a genuine grassroots group that wants to do something about the trains. 

Hang on, what’s this in the small print at the bottom:

“Printed and published by Mark Walker on behalf of Katherine Chibah and the Labour Party”

Hmm, isn’t that a bit ...well.. underhand?

Similarly the website doesn’t say it’s not an independent campaign except for a section all about our Katherine that tells us “Katherine, who is the Labour candidate for Hertford and Stortford, has supported the campaign from the throughout.” (sic)

...and the section for the campaign video (featuring one K. Chibah) tells us “Labour Candidate for Hertford and Stortford, Katherine Chibah, is supporting the campaign”.

In the video itself, she tells us:

"I’m really pleased to have been asked to lead this community campaign"

Ah well, maybe she has just been asked to support this long-standing independent campaign, I’ll have a quick look at who registered the site and when:

Oh, where have I heard of this Mark Walker before?

On her own website, Katherine tells us, in an update published by one "Mark" on 31st December (well there's always a lull between Christmas and New Year):

"It's been great to be asked to support the Hertfordshire Passenger Power campaign"

It just seems rather disingenuous to me (the lack any actual policies to stop the tickets being £lots notwithstanding).

Having said all that, when I animatedly told Mrs. L all this, her reaction was: "meh".