Jo Swinson’s SNP rival has row with Lib Dem on Twitter – then complains to their employer

So, you have a row with someone on Twitter. Most of us would just shrug it off and get on with our lives. Not John Nicolson, the SNP candidate up against Jo Swinson.

After a Twitter exchange with Federal Policy Committee member Belinda Brooks-Gordon, he blocked her and then took the unusual step of writing to her employer.

The Daily Record has the story:

East Dunbartonshire hopeful John Nicolson sent a bizarre email to the master of Birbeck College in London after the fiery Twitter exchange with Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon.

The lecturer in forensic psychology is standing for the Lib Dems in the Cities of London and Westminster seat and had voiced her support for Nicolson’s opponent Jo Swinson.

Brooks-Gordon had referred to former BBC journalist Nicolson’s property portfolio in London and suggested he could return to the city and questioned his credentials as a local candidate.

Nicolson joined the Twitter exchange to rubbish the claim.

But he did not let the matter rest there and decided to send off an email to Brooks-Gordon’s boss at the college, which is part of the University of London.

Belinda made a very good point, asking what he would do if a constituent disagreed with him or criticised him. Would he be complaining to their boss, too?

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The best UK government of my lifetime

I kicked off the campaign with this post and I thought I’d re-run it the night before we head to the polls. I wrote a book chapter about the coalition in the shadow of a rollercoaster. That’s how the last five years have felt. There have been moments when I’ve winced and moments when I have been immensely proud of our ministers. All in all, though, Britain is in a much better place than it would have been without us. All that horrible stuff you see in the Tory manifesto about banning non-specified non violent extremism, all the stuff about taking all benefits from young people, all the illiberal, immigrant-bashing, poor-demonising, rich-enriching nonsense wouldn’t in their manifesto. They would already be law. I hope that the government elected tomorrow is a force for economic fairness and stability, transformational political change and has an open and internationalist approach. If there are Liberal Democrats in it, it will tick all of these boxes. Anyway, here are my thoughts from five weeks ago. 

This post will be open to new and infrequent commenters. 

I’m not going to lie, when we went into coalition with the Tories, I did not feel comfortable with it. Working with the party who had destroyed the country I grew up during the 80s  in was never going to be easy. It’s not about comfort or ease, though. It’s about doing good and enacting liberal values. We’ve made mistakes – howlers, even. Who hasn’t? Can you say that you’ve got through the last five years error free? We have much to show for it. For every child who hasn’t had to spend months in Yarl’s Wood, for every disadvantaged child who has new opportunities at school, for those who benefit from reforms to mental health, for those who have workplace pensions, for pensioners benefitting from the triple lock, for those people across the world who benefit from our aid. for those who are now free to marry the people they love, it’s been worth it. Despite all the constraints on us having only 8% of the MPs and a fifth of the government, we have made a very strong, liberal mark.

Despite everything, this coalition has been the best UK government of my lifetime. That’s quite a long time, however much I like to pretend that I’m a young person. Certainly the likes of Blair, Thatcher and Callaghan didn’t set the bar very high, but we’ve achieved a lot. It’s been a roller coaster and I’m far from satisfied with everything it’s done, but I am incredibly proud of Lib Dem ministers, among them:

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The final Liberal Democrat party election broadcast – all 3 versions: It’s decision time between self-interest and grievance or Lib Dem fairness, tolerance and decency

Here’s the party’s final party election broadcast, It’s decision time now for all the people we’ve met in the series. The film argues that Liberal Democrats have brought compassion and fairness, built on consensus and co-operation, to Britain.

Your vote will be the difference between a government of self-interest and grievance or a coalition of tolerance and decency.

Here’s the Scottish version and listen to who is voicing it. There’s more emphasis on what we stopped the Tories doing.

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Manatee needs your help!

Look at this beautiful manatee! Isn’t he adorable?

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Paul Halliday leads the Lib Dem injury list

Poor Newport East candidate Paul Halliday. Like many valiant activists before him, he found a dog on the other end of his finger when delivering leaflets and had to make an unscheduled dash to A & E.

The South Wales Argus has the story:

The Newport East candidate for Thursday’s General Election was making his way down Trostrey Street just off Caerleon Road near Maindee when he met with the hostile reception.

He tried to push some Lib Dem literature through a letterbox but said: “Unbeknown to me there was a dog on the other side which decided to chomp down.

“It was large and didn’t make a sound until it grabbed my finger and started to do a deep growl. I wasn’t sure I was going to get my hand out.”

Speaking to the Argus while waiting at the Royal Gwent Hospital, he said: “It’s quite painful. I’m hoping I won’t be here too long because I want to get back out delivering and campaigning.”

He was bravely back out at a hustings later:

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LibLink: Stephen Tall: Two signs which show the Tories think they will fail (again)

Stephen Tall has been writing for the Times’ Red Box blog. He reckons that it’s been clear all along that the Tories have known perfectly well they won’t get a majority, for two reasons:

The first piece of evidence is the Conservative manifesto itself, an unfunded wish-list which vows to turn the budget deficit into a surplus, while simultaneously promising tax-cuts for everyone, more money for the NHS, freezing rail fares — all to be paid for by unspecified welfare cuts and, fingers crossed, economic growth. How else to explain this unsquareable circle other than as a bartering tactic for future coalition negotiations?

And the endorsement of the Tory press for us? It’s not a coincidence:

The second piece of evidence is the endorsement of the Lib Dems by usually Conservative-leaning newspapers in their traditional “If we had a vote” leader columns. Given the battering meted out to the party by the press these past five years, most of us had written off these write-ups. Instead, The TimesThe Sunday Times, the FT, the Economist, and, yes, even The Sun, have all called on their readers to consider voting tactically for the Lib Dems where the party’s fighting Labour.

It’d be naïve to think they’ve been won over by our policy “red lines” or Clegg’s distinctly upbeat campaign – they’re making nice because they think it’s the most likely route to the continuation of some form of Conservative-led government.

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Election night on LDV

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Opinion: What have the Liberal Democrats done for us and can we afford to put our trust in them again?

Like so many past Liberal Democrat voters, I have found this election campaign frustrating and demoralising. At the last election our party managed to get into a seat of power but didn’t they just throw it all away when they broke their pledge on tuition fees? What is the point in voting if our wishes are cast aside at the first hurdle?

But the right to vote has been hard fought and is a fundamental responsibility for all citizens. I have been seriously contemplating writing ‘none of the above’ on my voting slip. But no, voting is such an important responsibility. A choice needs to be made.

Watching the televised broadcasts and following the campaign on the radio and television has not been helpful. Politics is so muddied with spin. I needed to cut the crap and ditch the spin. We all know how the Liberal Democrats have failed us but I decided to research the Liberal Democrat Manifesto from 2010 to see what they have actually succeeded in achieving…

Increase the income tax threshold to £10,000. This is huge! It is a much better way of boosting the economy and supporting lower income families than having a higher minimum wage or putting up benefits.

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The Independent View: Benefit the nation and the voters

If the Liberal Democrats get about half UKIP’s votes (8% against 14%) but about 10 times as many MPs 20 – 30 against 2 – 3), will the Liberal Democrats stand by their principals and demand electoral reform?  In particular, will they insist on the Single Transferable Vote (STV), which they have always recognized as the best voting system for voters?

The Liberal Democrats have had five years now to learn the hard way what some of us warned in 2010, based on our observations of continental Europe where coalitions are normal; the senior partner takes the credit for popular decisions and blames the junior partner for unpopular ones.

If the Liberal Democrats had got STV for this election as a condition of entering into coalition in 2010, they could now be looking at winning about 52 seats for about 8% of the vote.  Admittedly, UKIP might be expecting about 91 seats but, if that is what voters want, so be it.

The real point of electoral reform is not to benefit this or that party but to benefit the nation and the voters.

With electoral reform for this election, the SNP could expect about half the Scottish seats (30) for about half the Scottish votes instead of all the seats (59) for half the votes and not be in pole position now to hold the UK to ransom.  Please see David Green’s excellent exposition on for more on this.

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Labour minority government – or coalition with the Lib Dems – would not actually need the SNP’s support

Professor Colin Talbot of Manchester University has written an interesting blog which reinforces many of the points made here by Tony Greaves.

He mentions that much of the talk of “Confidence and supply” deals, Queens Speech votes and second 2015 elections ignores the reality of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, which is kind to minority governments.

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Former OxWAb Green candidate backs Lib Dem Layla Moran

Good news for the Lib Dem’s Layla Moran in Oxford West and Abingdon. The Green candidate from 2010 has endorsed her. The Cherwell has the story. 

Chris Goodall, who ran as the Green candidate for the area in the 2010 General Election, has written to residents urging them to vote for Layla Moran of the Liberal Democrats, rather than the Greens’ Larry Sanders.

In the letter, he explained, “If the UK had proportional representation, I’d have no hesitation giving Green candidate Larry Sanders my vote this time. But we don’t.”

He went on to call the seat “ultra-marginal”, saying that no one except that Conservatives and the Lib Dems “stands the remotest chance of winning”.

He continued, “Those of us who want to see a fairer, more tolerant and more equal society have to vote for Layla even if it is against our party loyalties.”

Despite the tactical nature of his endorsement, however, he also had high praise for Moran herself, calling her “a thoughtful and energetic individual”, and opining, “Parliament needs far more people like her with a background in science. And her experience of living in different countries would help reduce the extraordinary insularity we often see in the House of Commons.”

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SPONSORED: Gatwick provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to solve the airport capacity issue

A decision on where Britain’s next runway should be built is expected this summer and, even after years of debate, Gatwick’s expansion plan remains the best and most deliverable solution to the need for extra capacity.

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For the first time, Gatwick has been allowed to stake its claim for expansion. Heathrow’s plan would blight the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and reinforce a high-cost monopoly provider at the expense of passengers – but now, finally, there is an alternative.

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Nick Clegg wants to turn Britain into a cycling nation – and earns praise from Chris Boardman

I found out about this not because it came in in a Google alert but because a family member, who has nothing to do with politics, shared it on Facebook. That family member lives in a  key Liberal Democrat seat so I hope he’s going to do the right thing and vote for Danny on Thursday. It’s the only thing to do in Inverness if you really don’t want an SNP MP as I know he doesn’t.

This family member is a really hardcore cyclist. Ten days ago he took part in the Mallorca 312. That’s where people cycle all the way round the island of Mallorca. The first thing they encounter is a flipping great mountain range that goes down almost the entire west coast. He did the whole thing in under 14 hors, too, which was incredible, especially when you think he’s even more middle aged (by 2 months and 13 days) than I am.

Anyway, suffice to say he was impressed with Nick’s plans as revealed in Cycling Weekly and praised by none other than Chris Boardman:

The network asked parties to allocate five per cent of Britain’s transport budget to cycling and set a target for cycling to account for 10 per cent of all trips.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to nail their colours to the mast and pledge to implement everything the network is asking for,” said Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor after Clegg confirmed he is ‘very keen’ to implement the recommendations.

It’s encouraging to hear that Nick Clegg is passionate about Britain becoming a cycling nation to rival our European neighbours.

The difference is that he is actually bold enough to put some numbers and targets against this aim with measures that could have a colossal impact on how people get around.

If the Liberal Democrats form part of a new coalition we will certainly be pressing them to ensure that these ambitions form a central part of the government’s transport strategy.”

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As if Scottish Labour weren’t in enough trouble….

This is what popped into my inbox at 13:34 this afternoon:

Labour 72 hours email

 

72 hours? That’s Friday! A bit late for those few Labour voters who remain to get to the polls. 

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Watch: Paddy’s Team Talk for the final few days: Where we need to win, we’re winning and what’s more the Tories know it…

As activists all over the country pull up their hoods to protect them from the torrential rain, Paddy pops up to say thanks, to remind us to keep going till 1o pm on Thursday and reminds us why we are doing it – for stability, decency and unity in our country.

He also reminds us that the Tories know that we are winning where we need to be and points out that at this stage in the last election they said they only had to win 14 seats, this time they are saying it’s 23 but we know it’s more.

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There’s a manatee loose on the internet – and it will encourage voters towards the Liberal Democrats

I knew there was something weird going on with my Facebook feed. There are plenty Liberal Democrat related items in it all the time, but I’ve noticed adverts for things I’ve been interested in. I’ve also noticed that the UK Liberal Democrat website now seems to tell me lots of things about the very excellent Mike Crockart. I suspected technical wizardry of some description and wondered what was coming next given the way that Austin Rathe and his colleagues seem to be able to get into my head.

The secret is out now. It’s called Operation Manatee. A manatee, as Wikipedia will tell you,  is a quite peaceful looking sea cow type thing that, interestingly, has prehensile lips. The left and right sides of the upper lip can move independently of each other. This clearly is not any sort of parallel to the Liberal Democrats. Manatee is based on the Obama campaign’s similarly marine-named 2012 Project Narwhal.  This enabled Obama’s campaign to send very specifically targeted emails on controversial subjects to those voters who would be sympathetic.

Manatee works in a similar way, using Facebook and YouTube. This video gives more details.

Over 2 million social media adverts to be placed in the final phase of the campaign, right up till close of poll on Thursday night.

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Norman Baker’s genius response to David Cameron: David, I need you to stop sending dishonest and patronising letters

Norman Baker by Liberal DemocratsThe Tories don’t seem to have got the hang of excluding the opposition from their target mailings. This may be a good thing as we wouldn’t have had the joy of reading our Norman Baker’s fantastic and hilarious response to a missive he received from David Cameron, in whose government he served until last November.

Here’s the Prime Minister’s letter:

David Cameron Letter

And here, in full, is Norman’s pithy response. Enjoy.

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Video: The Liberal Democrat Women’s Manifesto

When I saw this yesterday, my blood was boiling for a bit. You have to stick with it, because it does actually get better.

There are a couple of things I’d have done differently. There was no need for body parts to come into the conversation at all. We need to think about all sorts of inclusion, here.

Secondly, I’d have liked a recognition that women face particular barriers and Liberal Democrats want to tackle those – but the way to do that is for us all to do that together. Gender discrimination is bad for everybody.

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Opinion: Why I would be wary of another coalition with the Conservatives

As the speculation continues on the make-up of the next government, I have been thinking a lot about the prospect of another Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

We went into coalition in 2010 for three main reasons 1) because the country needed a strong, stable government to sort out the economy which was in crisis 2) to stop the Tories from doing nasty, right-wing things, and 3) to get our own great policies, such as pupil premium implemented.

So where are we in 2015? We do not have the same level of economic difficulty as we did in 2010. The deficit is halved, our GDP growth is the highest amongst developed countries and we have record employment. Whilst it’s true that we cannot take the economic recovery for granted, we are not in crisis.

As to being able to stop the Tories’ right wing agenda in 2015, I doubt that we will be able to do that as effectively. It is likely that any Conservative/Lib Dem/DUP coalition will have the smallest of majorities. This will give those ‘swivel-eyed’ right wing conservatives a lot of power. In this parliament, the Coalition had a decent majority and the more extreme Tories could be safely ignored – that won’t be the case this time. And just to get a flavour of some of the policies on offer in the Tory 2015 manifesto – 500 more free schools, removing JSA for 18-21 year olds, requiring 40% turnout for strike action, ending any subsidy for onshore wind,  lowering the benefit cap, capping skilled migration, scrapping the Human Rights Act and introducing the snoopers charter – nice!

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Manifesto snippets in BSL Part 7: Crime, freedom and equality and political reform

The Liberal Democrats have produced a series of 20 videos giving snippets of our manifesto in BSL. We are the first major party to do so. The full list is here.

We’ll also put them up on here in batches over the next wee while. If you want to see all our posts, just click on the bsl tag at the bottom of this post.

In this post, you will find crime, freedom and equality and political reform.

Crime

Freedom and equality

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Independent leader article argues for another Lib-Con coalition

Today’s leader article in the Independent praises Nick Clegg:

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ICM poll says Nick Clegg is safe in Sheffield Hallam

The Guardian reports:

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Good news about Tim and Samantha

Can you predict how someone will vote from their first name?

YouGov has been busy analysing the political preferences of people with 130 different first names. And it seems that if you are called Tim then you are most likely to vote Lib Dem, if you are called Nick you don’t like Labour, and if you are Nigel you are least likely to vote Labour but prefer UKIP.

So far so good. But what about Samantha ? It seems she is very unlikely to vote Conservative and has switched to the Lib Dems.

names

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Lib Dem Manifesto snippets in BSL Part 6: Europe, International and Defence

The Liberal Democrats have produced a series of 20 videos giving snippets of our manifesto in BSL. We are the first major party to do so. The full list is here.

We’ll also put them up on here in batches over the next wee while. If you want to see all our posts, just click on the bsl tag at the bottom of this post.

In this post, you will find Europe, and International and Defence.

Europe

International and Defence

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The real problem with #EdStone is that Miliband cannot be sure he will be able to deliver

We are all sneering – myself included – at Ed Milliband’s decision to inscribe a monolith with 6 election pledges. Even the Labour-supporting Guardian has likened it to Neil Kinnock’s Sheffield Rally.

Preposterous as this seems, I suspect that the intended message – that they are really serious about these pledges – may nonetheless seep through, while politicians and reporters clutch their aching sides, to the wider public.

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments

Opinion: Labour isn’t Keynesian – that’s why Liberal Democrats had to be

 

When Labour bailed out the financial system, it misapplied Keynesian economics. Keynes writes that stimulus should be used to stimulate a depressed economy that isn’t at full employment: what Labour did was use the stimulus money to stabilise a system that was falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions.

The instant they did that, it committed the UK to paying back the money it had borrowed: it transferred the debt that would have been wiped out by private sector bankruptcy to the state.

While this reduced the loss of value in the economy (public sector debt has prevented private sector bankruptcy to accumulate a negative multiplier effect: the cost of propping up one domino has prevented the others from falling), it means that regardless of who is in charge we need to reduce the deficit to maintain the creditability of the state by which the rest of our economy is guarantored.

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Election night LIVE on Liberal Democrat Voice

We’ll be covering election night live here on Liberal Democrat Voice on Thursday night through to Friday morning.

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Six red lines

Over the last week Nick Clegg has been drip-feeding his negotiating red lines. And here they are:

key_NHS-red-line (1)

key_education-red-line

key_Public-sector-workers-red-line (1)

key_tax-red-line (1)

key_economic red line

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Tales from the campaign

election

 

I spotted these two handwritten notes side by side when I was out delivering last week. In case you can’t see this too clearly on your device, they say:

“I will vote for the party who doesn’t waste paper. Give me a leaflet and you’re off the list ..”

“I am undecided. Keep the leaflets coming …”

Ah – a dilemma indeed.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Humour | 4 Comments

There is no need for Clegg to make an EU Referendum a red line. This does not signify agreement to it

I have seen some consternation amongst Lib Dems today, both in real life and online, about Nick Clegg’s remarks about an EU referendum not being  a red line for us. Many party members feel very strongly that we should not agree to something which could be very unsettling and destabilising. Having come through three years of the Scottish referendum, I am more in that camp than in the other group of activists who think we should agree to it or we’ll be seen as anti-democratic.

Before we rush to judgment, let’s have a look at what Nick actually said. From the Guardian:

I am happy to insist on my red lines – they are the ones the Liberal Democratshave put on the front page of our manifesto which are much more important than some of the other red lines other parties have chosen.”

He said he disagreed with the Tory position on the EU and said he was still committed to the act of parliament passed by the coalition which would trigger a referendum if further UK sovereignty was ceded to Brussels. But he declined to rule out rejecting Cameron’s demand for a referendum.

“It’s not my responsibility to try and stare into a crystal ball. The way this works is I set out my priorities, David Cameron sets out his, Ed Miliband sets out his. People then choose. How those red lines are or are not compatible with each other is in part dependent on the mandate that the British people give each of those parties.”

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTCO 7th May - 12:02am
    @Matt (Bristol) a gurt Bristol party is a roit good ideal.
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 7th May - 12:01am
    James, I think I would.
  • User AvatarWildColonialBoy 6th May - 11:54pm
    @John Tilley You say you are appalled by BBC experts talking about an election by Christmas. The only person I've seen talking about that is...
  • User AvatarJames Graham 6th May - 11:46pm
    Hmmmm.... Presumably you'd condemn this just as much if a Lib Dem politician were to do the same thing?
  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 6th May - 11:39pm
    Firstly, I am sick to the back teeth of the assumption every-blessed-where that a Tory-LibDem coalition is the natural order of things now and we...
  • User AvatarIain 6th May - 11:37pm
    The Scottish results tomorrow are going to be a different level of depressing :/