From fishing lights to hat boxes

Here at LDV Towers we do get some very odd requests. Many of them are designed for search engine optimisation – using a well visited blog like ours to sneak in links to their own sites in order to push them up the Google rankings. But some are just bizarre marketing.

From China:

This is XXX from XXX LED Limited proudly introduce a new underwater fishing LED light. This is the most successful fish lure attraction ever invented.

Features:
1. Guarantee to catch fish faster and easier due to it’s attractive LED light.
2. Capable to function to the depth of  150 meter (492 feet).
3. Proven to catch Squid, Red snapper, Salmon, Plaice, and etc…
4. No more messy baits and smelly hand.

Please contact me for more details.  Thank you for your time!

Posted in Humour | 4 Comments
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You should stand for Police & Crime Commissioner

 

Next May, the entire United Kingdom will vote. It will be the first national election since the General Election and will be seen as a test of all parties one year into the new parliament.

Police & Crime Commissioner elections will take place in England & Wales, on the same day as devolved elections.

If you care about human rights, as Liberal Democrats do, policing is where human rights come into sharp focus. No other civilian agency in entrusted with powers so affecting liberty and so at risk of political demands based on popular misunderstanding. Policing needs checks and balances from a liberal point of view, and strategy founded on evidence.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged and | 5 Comments

“An Engaged and Constructive” policy for Europe

 

Austin Rathe has launched a consultation of Lib Dem members on our views regarding the European Union and the forth-coming referendum. I was quick to reply.  As a long term supporter of the European Union and its aims and having played an active role in the European election campaign last year I have definite views.

The referendum is not simply about what we like and don’t like about the EU, but more fundamentally about what sort of country we want to be and what role we seek to play in world affairs. A recent study rated Britain as the world’s leader in “soft power”, a result that supports the view that Britain is the most influential country in the world.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments

An open letter to Nick Clegg

 

Dear Nick

I delayed writing this letter until the leadership election was past, so it didn’t get lost in that campaign, but want to write to thank you for your rich contribution to the Liberal Democrats.

We owe you a great deal, not least for the wisdom, statesmanship and tenacity you have shown. It is a tribute to you and the colleagues who you led that you stepped into ministerial roles with a naturalness and fluency that belied the fact that we had not formed a majority government in living memory. It is a tribute to you personally that you withstood so many brickbats from so many quarters with such dignity.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 36 Comments

Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #425

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 425th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (26 July – 1 August, 2015), together with a hand-picked quintet, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

Posted in Best of the blogs | 1 Comment

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14.200 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Why I went from being Rugby Green party’s General Election candidate to a revived Liberal Democrat activist (60 comments) by Terry Green

Leaving UKIP for the Liberal Democrats (45 comments) by Jakob Whiten

++Tim Farron announces diverse spokesperson team (56 comments) by Newshound

Posted in Best of the blogs and Site news | Leave a comment

Rennie tackles Justice Secretary on allegations that Police Scotland spied illegally on journalists

Today’s Sunday Herald reports that Police Scotland has illegally spied on journalists to try to identify their sources, citing the Interception of Communication Commissioner’s Office:

However, IOCCO last month revealed that two unnamed forces had breached the revised Code since March 25.

It said: “Two police forces have acquired communications data to identify the interactions between journalists and their sources in two investigations without obtaining judicial approval.

“These breaches were identified during our inspections. In these cases the normal RIPA process was used and the data was approved by a designated person.”

In one of the cases, a force acquired the data of a newspaper’s suspected source and of a former police employee believed to be acting as an intermediary.

Willie Rennie has been quick to seek answers from the Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson. He wrote:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

An essential part of any committee room

I saw a discussion elsewhere on social media about this and thought it was worth mentioning here.

If you are running a committee room on polling day, or in fact any election HQ, bear in mind that you are likely to have people there who have periods. It is also very probable that they will be there for many hours working very hard.

It is therefore essential that you make some provision for them. It’s really quite simple. This post will tell you what you need to do and why. It’s very simple. A packet of basic sanitary pads (which I wouldn’t bother hiding away) and a little bin with a lid  which you can buy incredibly cheaply from most supermarkets can make a very big difference to people. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Farron calls on Cameron to act to end “immeasurable suffering” of migrants

Tim Farron has written to David Cameron to urge him to ensure that the UK takes its fair share of those poor, desperate, vulnerable people we’ve all seen on our tv screens. He wrote:

I am writing to you about the current humanitarian crisis in Calais and its impact here in the UK.

I am sure you agree that it is heartbreaking to see hundreds of desperate people subsisting in makeshift camps night after night, willing to risk life and limb in the hope of a better future while many in Kent and across the country see their daily lives hugely disrupted through no fault of their own.

I welcome your commitment yesterday to providing France with the resources needed to deal with the situation and am writing to seek assurances that alongside the necessary security measures, support will also be given to humanely process those seeking asylum, return those who have no right to remain, and ensure that, in line with international obligations, standards of welfare and accommodation are urgently improved.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 34 Comments

Bournemouth Conference Agenda: 5 days, 15 policy motions, 8 keynote speeches and some very important consultation sessions

2015 Outline AgendaThe outline agenda for the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Bournemouth has been published and in it there is a great deal to interest and excite the members both old and new who will be heading to the seaside town. I am really looking forward to it because I have never been to Bourmemouth before.

We don’t yet have the text of the motions, or the directory of fringe meetings, but we do know when all the key debates and speeches are taking place.

The most controversial motion on the agenda is the one to oppose the renewal of Trident which takes place at 3:25 on Monday afternoon. Other policy motions include:

Housing

Human rights

Air quality

Safe routes for refugees

Posted in News | Tagged and | 10 Comments

What we can learn from Corbyn and Boris….and Sanders and Trump

We’ve all noticed that Jeremy Corbyn has jumped dramatically from rank outsider to Labour leadership  favourite. An old school leftie, in sandals and a beard (bear with me Liberals, I’m not against sandals and beards!) seems set to tap into a Labour rank and file zeitgeist not many thought was there a few weeks ago. Whilst the Boris star may have been dampened a little with water canon etc since he arrived in Westminster, he still electrifies any campaign he’s involved in.  And a mop-haired loon with a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and a track record of scandalous romantic dalliances, is more of a campaign weapon for the Tories than almost any Saville Row suited safe choice braying about elimination of the fiscal deficit and family values.

Across the pond, maverick Independent Bernie Sanders is giving the establishment candidate for the Democratic nomination a run for her money (yes, a woman can be the safe establishment choice too). On the Republican side “The Donald”, with his mirth-inducing hair piece and boundless self belief in his eccentric world view, is posing a headache for the more mainstream Bush, Cruz etc.

What binds these politicians together apart from the fact that they’re enjoying surprisingly good poll ratings? It’s all about authenticity, stupid. Electorates have switched off from the usual platitudes. They want character. There’s a real yearning for authenticity, for voices and views we can identify with.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 34 Comments

Dear Labour…

Labour,

You can stop the Tories from ever having a majority again. Your party is caught in a tussle between its beliefs and its electability. The main weapon your right wing has against the front runner is the threat that your party will remain powerless: Corbyn supporters reply, “but this is what we believe in”.

If your party exists not to represent the kind of people who support Jeremy Corbyn but to be a socially conscious alternative to the Tories, then to win your party is always going to be wearing a Tony Blair mask. You’ll beat the Conservatives through state compensation for continuing Tory policies: will it really be worth it, or will victory always have the sour odour of spin?

If a Labour-SNP coalition remains a frightening prospect to England then the possibility of a Labour fightback is slim. The SNP are going to be hard to shift, based as they are on dying your clothes tartan: unless the SNP proves it won’t hold you over a barrel for their own ends England won’t vote Labour.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 53 Comments

When the Divine Ms Duffett met Mr Farron

Watch what happened when Helen sat down with Tim. Find out what VDV means:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

A positive light on the Labour leadership election

In case anyone hasn’t noticed Labour is in a spot of bother over its leadership election. Jeremy Corbyn looks relatively comfortable in his position as favourite to win and the other candidates seem to be busy bickering over who is best to challenge him for the position of Labour leader.  I’ve seen it thrown around that if Corbyn wins there’ll be a mass migration from Labour, or even that no matter who they elect they’ve got themselves into a flat spin and aren’t likely to recover.

I’ve also seen it thrown around that if that happens we’ll be the ones they’ll likely turn to, partly thanks to our new leader and partly due to the fact we’re seen as being nearest to Labour politically. I’d like to think that this is true; I’ve often thought that a large number of people who identify as Labour voters would happily support us if they were more aware of what we stood for as a party.

Firstly we need to remember that it’s almost certain now that the next general election will be in 2020 instead of the relative uncertainty of the past. Labour is still the second party in the UK parliament, even if their vote collapses like it did in Scotland they’re not going to lose their position in the Commons just yet. Arguably this is the best time for Labour to have this happen, early enough into the new government that it’s not impossible for whoever becomes leader to try and fix things. Five years is a long time, especially in politics, anything could happen and we can’t count on a weakened Labour. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 58 Comments

The next housing crash

It’s not only the Tory crackdown on tax credits for families that will hit the working poor: it’s the Conservatives’ multiple mistakes on social housing that will do the most damage to our society. The problem is, these are less well-understood. Yet added together, they are set to cause a social housing sector crash almost comparable to the banking crash.

This is probably unintended – not least because there’s not one single policy that’s driving this. It’s the combination of a series of separate decisions that are coming together to fatally undermine the finances of many social housing providers, especially housing associations. More cuts in tax credits and benefits of course cause problems to the social housing sector by themselves – because they are certain to lead to greater rent arrears. But it’s only when you add in other changes, like the way benefits will be paid in the future, imposed cuts to housing association rents and the ideologically driven extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Associations, that the full disaster facing us becomes clearer.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 17 Comments

How to enter the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League 2015/16

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALLThe English Premier League kicks off a week today, on Saturday 8th August, and LibDemVoice has revived its Fantasy Football League to mark the occasion.

So if you fancy pitting your soccer selection skills against fellow party members — and try and knock the 2014/15 champion George Murray off his perch — then here’s your chance.

To enter all you have to do is click on this link. Simply register your details, pick your team, and away you go. If you need the joining code at any point, it’s 271576-231936.

And for those who don’t feel they have the insider knowledge to compete, you can always choose the ‘auto-complete’ option so your team is picked for you – just imagine how smug you’ll then feel when you beat those of us who’ve slaved over our choices…

Good luck to all those who take part.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Why Lib Dems should support this SNP pioneer

Ruth Bright and childA few weeks ago an SNP MP did something very brave but ridiculously ordinary. Did she:

  1. Eat chips on the terrace of the Commons
  2. Clap instead of saying “Hear, hear”
  3. Say the UK parliament should relocate out of London

No, none of the above. What Alison Thewliss did was tweet a photo of herself breastfeeding her toddler. Ask almost any breastfeeding mother and she will tell you that many people will tolerate cute young babies breastfeeding in public but breastfeed an older child and the reaction is very different. 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

A site housekeeping note and how you can help Liberal Democrat Voice

After an Liberal Democrat Voice conclave, an appropriately coloured smoke signal has arisen from the chimney at LDV Towers, indicating that we will no longer put the word “Opinion” before contributions from readers to our site. We think it is obvious that what people write is their opinion (not necessarily shared by the LDV team) and the label was starting to look a bit “clunky”. We will still flag up such posts as being in our “Op-Ed” category.

The Voice is only a success because of the interest and support from our readers. For many people just lurking and reading the site is all they want to do – and that’s fine, we’re grateful for people taking the time to read the site.

You can though help us continue to produce interesting content for a growing audience. Here are four simple ways:

Posted in Site news | 11 Comments

Where next in the campaign for electoral reform?

Sometimes election results are indecisive but in the 2011 AV vote, the country gave a resounding no in the referendum.

What we’re not entirely sure of though is what the country were saying no to. Since the vote, the Conservative party in the main have claimed that people are happy with the First Past the Post system.

Progressives would argue that the result was simply a no to the Alternative Vote system – and people did state at the time they only wanted a change that would be proportional. In their opinion, AV didn’t go far enough. And they were right. The problem with AV was almost no one truly supported it without reservation. It was described at the time as a ‘miserable little compromise.’ It was the only system that Labour had advocated for in their 2010 manifesto but largely for what seems like short sighted political reasons, they didn’t support it fully when it came to the actual vote.

Last weekend, the Voting Reform Coalition, held a gathering opposite Parliament on College Green. Party activists, MPs and independents all gathered to support Electoral Reform. Incredibly heartening and hopefully a sign of consensus to come, there was a coalition of both the usual suspects such as the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, with UKIP also joining in smaller numbers. The really great surprise being that we even had activists from Labour and the Conservatives. The two parties both traditionally opposed to voting reform or at least opposed whilst they were in power. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 52 Comments

EU “No” campaign: It’s all about Nigel

Yesterday was a good opportunity for someone leading the EU referendum “No” campaign to make a mark. You know the sort of thing, a bit of EU bashing and announcing a countrywide campaign. A bit of “no brainer”.

Incredibly, Nigel Farage decided to take a really peculiar tack on Today and other outlets:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Turkey, the Kurds & Syria – an Opportunity for Diplomacy?

'Syrians demonstrate for protection outside the US Embassy'. by Jonathan Brown

Syrians demonstrate for protection outside the US Embassy, London – photo by Jonathan Brown

Although the relentless misery in Syria rarely makes the headlines these days, I wonder if we now have another brief window of opportunity to do something positive.

“Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border … … a plan to drive the Islamic State out of a 68-mile-long area west of the Euphrates River and reaching into the province of Aleppo that would then come under the control of the Syrian opposition.”

The context is a major escalation of violence against Turkey by ISIS and the PKK, and by Turkey against both ISIS and Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq. A concerted diplomatic push now could reap real benefits, but if we miss this chance too, we could be looking at yet another moment at which the conflict intensifies and spreads further.

Posted in Op-eds | 17 Comments

Doctors versus Jeremy Hunt – a liberal cause we should all champion

Ever since Jeremy Hunt spoke to the King’s Fund and Radio 4, when he stated doctors had a “Monday to Friday mentality” and needed “to return to a sense of vocation”, there has been an all-out war between doctors and the health secretary being played out on social media.

His point was that doctors were a roadblock to his plan of 7-day services and they needed to be dealt with; this would save 6000 lives.

The backlash began with #iminworkjeremy campaign, where people took selfies of themselves proving to the health secretary that they were already at work.

This has been followed up by a petition of over 200000 people calling for a vote of no confidence in him, and a follow up campaign #weneedtotalkaboutjeremy which has received little attention.

Posted in News | 34 Comments

Solution to Calais crisis lies in international development

All the unpleasantness of the last few days’ reaction to the ongoing Calais crisis is perhaps just a taste of the difficult challenge it will be for Liberals to uphold decency in the coming years. In my view, the best way to form a powerfully Liberal stance on this issue is to reinforce to the public that the solution to this crisis, as well as others (Islamic extremism, the environment etc.) lies in a field of policy often neglected by mainstream debate: International Development. But for us to form that policy, we must face some difficult home truths.

Every ideology has an extremist form. Every tool that can construct a better world can be used as a weapon to make a darker, crueller one. In the field of international development, it is time for Liberals like ourselves to recognise that we are not exempt from this fact. It is time for our party to develop a stance on development that differentiates us from the major parties and their blind stance to the free market fundamentalism of the current key institutions, the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation, so that Britain can play its part in reforming them when we return to government.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Ditch the pigeon? – from our archive

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderLiberal Democrat Voice has a fantastic archive of posts going back to our establishment in 2006. Here’s an interesting article from our founding editor, Rob Fenwick, which was published in September 2006. You can read the post in its original form, with comments, here:

Iain Dale has seen the Tory logo future, and it’s… scribbled.

Some months ago I was sat in a pub in Bath, with a friend who was hovering on the brink of becoming a Liberal Democrat party member.

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Tagged | 26 Comments

A great holiday read from the cheeky chappie of politics

alan johnson bookPlease Mister Postman by Alan Johnson is a great book to take on holiday with you, if you haven’t already read it. It’s now available in paperback, published by Corgi Books for a cover price of £8.99, although you can get it for less.

There are two types of memoirs by politicians: boring self-justification and interesting, good reads. Johnson’s writings are firmly in the second category, along there with Alan Clark, Chris Mullin and Paddy Ashdown (“A Fortunate Life”). Very often the early days of a politician are the most interesting – as was the case with John Major’s auto-biography.

Posted in Books | Tagged | 6 Comments

Inside story of the coalition to come in book form from David Laws

Biteback publishing have announced that David Laws will be writing a book for them on the inside story of the coalition:

Iain Dale, MD of Biteback Publishing, has acquired world rights to Coalition, the inside story of the Cameron-Clegg Coalition by David Laws, the former senior Liberal Democrat MP, and author of the bestselling 22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition (Biteback, 2010).

Posted in Books and News | 26 Comments

Liberal heroes in pop culture Part 1: Jon Snow from Game of Thrones

This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of light-hearted pieces that we will publish over the summer. Please do nominate further entries in the comments.

It is fair to say that the brutal, feudal polity of Westeros, featured in Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R. R. Martin, beset as it is by civil war, turmoil and hardship, is not generally a hotbed of liberal thought and action. In fact, it’s hard to think of a less likely environment in which the tradition of Mill, Gladstone and Beveridge could bloom. However, like a flower growing out of the ice, there is one man in the Seven Kingdoms who could be said to be a consistent, striving liberal, in spirit and in deed. I refer to the brooding 998th Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow.

Jon Snow shows us how a character with a liberal spirit deals with immigration, reform of institutions, and issues of larger social integration. Despite many stresses and temptations, he fails to fall back on easy pettiness and fear, which has prolonged the conflict between both sides of humanity for millennia. Instead, he uses his personal admiration and compassion for both sides to break down barriers, to marshall and combine disparate forces, and to prepare his people for the inevitably-encroaching tide of White Walkers. For White Walkers, essentially insert Climate Change, world hunger, nuclear proliferation, or any existential threat to us you care to imagine. He is also one of the few characters in Westeros elected to his position, and his awareness of this responsibility is part of his virtue.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

The real reason why Mark Williams MP isn’t in Tim Farron’s front bench team, announced today *

Mark Williams MP by LIberal Democrats
…Wait for it…

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Photos: Tim Farron meeting our two sensational Kingston and Richmond by-election victors today

290715 1
Here’s a couple of photos of Tim Farron today meeting Geraldine Locke and Jon Tolley at Banquet Records in Kingston upon Thames.

Both Geraldine and Jon have scored sensational by-election victories since the general election in May.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Today – Tim meets two new councillors in Kingston and urges members to get involved in by-elections

Today Lib Dem leader Tim Farron visited Kingston to meet two councillors who won their seats since the General Election as the party’s fightback gathers pace.

Tim stressed the importance of members getting involved and campaigning at every by-election.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment
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