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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

National News

  • Palace of Westminster.
    Article: Apr 24, 2018

    In the face of further defeats on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and following further pressure from Peers across the House of Lords, the government has brought forward amendments to ensure that the UK still has the ability to refer to and apply EU guidance for legal matters in our courts going forwards.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: Apr 20, 2018

    He criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon - comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past - and suggested ways they could be broken up.

    "Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

    Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

    National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

    There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses - one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

    What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world - the European Commission - is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

    Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

  • Theresa May.
    Article: Apr 18, 2018

    The Windrush scandal has exposed the brutality of the Home Office and the Conservatives more clearly than a multitude of other immigration and asylum scandals.

    The reason?

    The Windrush Generation are British citizens. People who've lived here for decades - working, raising families, part of Britain.

    Even the Daily Mail has been forced to back their case.

  • Vince Cable
    Article: Apr 12, 2018

    I am certain that many Britons are as appalled as I am about the horrific scenes coming out of Syria.

    The use of chemical weapons is barbaric. It is a crime against humanity and it is a clear violation of international law.

    The Liberal Democrats are an internationalist, outward-looking party - and part of that is being willing to play our part in upholding international law.

  • Mark Pack
    Article: Apr 11, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election in Liberal Democrat Newswire
    The first Thursday in May sees a big round of local elections across England (along with a few extra by-elections scheduled for that day). Most of the seats up for election were last fought four years ago, which means there will be rich pickings for anyone wanting to talk up or talk down any party. That's because you can legitimately argue over whether the best comparisons are with last year (the last big round of locals) or with four years ago (the last time most of these seats were fought). Add to that the massive decline in Ukip over the last four years, giving scope for all parties to hope to gain votes or seats from them, and it's even possible every major party will be able to talk about being a winner.

    What will count as success for the Liberal Democrats? One benchmark is votes. Here we can make comparisons across the years because each year an 'equivalent national vote share' is calculated for each party. This takes the actual vote totals from each year and adjusts them to take into account the differences in seats fought so that you get figures which can be compared across the years. In fact, two different teams do this - Thrasher and Rallings and the BBC. Both tell a similar picture although their exact numbers for each party often vary a little.

    The story of local elections during the coalition years (2011-15 inclusive) was of low and falling Lib Dem vote shares: 16% falling to 10%, with an average of 13% for Thrasher and Rallings (16% to 11%, 14% average for BBC). 2016 saw a small recovery - back up to 14% (15% BBC) - with a bigger recovery in 2017, taking the party up to 18% (also 18% BBC). In all the other electoral headlines last year, the fact and size of that Lib Dem vote share recovery were mostly missed (unless, ahem, you were a Lib Dem Newswire reader).

    So what counts for success in 2018?
    • Under 13% (under 14% BBC): awful - back down to coalition years vote shares, and worse even than the average in those years.
    • 13%-18% (14-18% BBC) would be disappointing as that would mean slipping back on last year yet a result in this range would still be up on the coalition years to varying degrees. The Lib Dem vote share in 2014, it is worth noting, was 11% (13% BBC) so it could slip on last year and still be up on four years ago. That would have to count as disappointing - a bullet dodged, perhaps, and maybe only mildly disappointing depending on the figures. But you can't call vote share going down on last year great.
    • 19% and 22% (19-23% BBC) would be good - vote share up again although not yet back to pre-coalition levels.
    • Over 22% (over 23% BBC) would be amazing - not only a big increase in the Lib Dem vote but also back up to where the party was at a couple of times in the pre-coalition Parliament.
    When it comes to seats, the starting point is to bear in mind that the party has gained seats only once in the last nine years (stretching back to include pre-coalition contests too, note - the problem with the party's slipping strength pre-dates coalition). Simply being up this year would be a good break in that trend.

    If the party is down and it is a two digit fall, then when you factor in by-election gains and the gains in May 2016 it'll mean that overall the party has been flat since coalition. Worse than that and it starts to get into much more troubling territory for the party.

    Thinking about the other parties, the factor that most strikes me is one people haven't been mentioning. Since 2014 there has been a swing from Labour to the Conservatives (yes, away from Labour and to the Conservatives) in the national polls. The Conservative boost at the expense of Ukip* has more than outweighed the Corbyn revival of last spring for Labour. For example, in March 2014 Labour was averaging a four-point lead over the Conservatives. In March this year, it was a half-point Conservative lead.

    So could the Conservatives pull off seat gains from Labour, helped too by the fact that Labour hasn't actually managed to close the turnout gap on the Conservatives? Could the headlines be about Conservative triumph? It seems unlikely, especially given all the signs of serious Conservative meltdown in London and the shortage of Ukip seats for the Conservatives to win compared with their likely loses in some areas. And yet... at the very least, expect plenty of variation in the pattern of results around the country.

    In particular, watch out for how the Conservatives fare against the Liberal Democrats across southern England including - though not only - in heavily Remain voting areas. This has been particularly fruitful territory for Lib Dem progress in council by-elections.

    Yet for all the very real progress in by-elections - as one Conservative Cabinet minister told BuzzFeed, "They're definitely doing better than we've seen for a while" - as last year showed, promise in council by-elections is no guarantee of progress in the May contests. To help make that promise real, you can of course donate to the Lib Dems.

    * Yes, the churn within the figures makes it rather more complicated than that. The overall pattern though is Conservatives up, Ukip down.
  • Article: Apr 9, 2018
    By Paul Chandler

    There are rumours in the press of a new 'centre' party being formed by a collection of well-meaning people prepared to bankroll the party to the tune of £50m. Inevitably parallels are drawn with Emmanuel Macron and 'En Marche' in France.

    LibDems get understandably worked up about this kind of talk. 'There is already a perfectly good centre party', we say, 'it already exists, and it's called The Liberal Democrats!'

  • Bill Police Station Jan 2018
    Article: Apr 9, 2018

    The Home Secretary has denied cuts to police funding are to blame for a rise in crime as the latest violence in London pushes the murder rate to over 50 for the year so far.

    Liberal Democrats have consistently argued for a broad range of measures, with a much greater focus on crime prevention and investment in communities and young people.

  • Belfast City Hall
    Article: Mar 30, 2018
    By Carrie Hynds

    Last week, I watched a documentary about the Funeral Murders that took place in Belfast 30 years ago. It was a well-made piece of film but incredibly difficult to watch.

    I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and my earliest memories are marked by The Troubles. Bomb scares were common, empty vehicles with their engines running were cause for alarm, and at the army checkpoints I would be asked to get off my booster seat so that a man with a rifle could check whether it had been hollowed out to conceal weapons or drugs. You arrived at the airport two and a half hours ahead of your flight because each item of luggage would be individually unpacked and searched. You were constantly aware of the possibility of being in the wrong place in the wrong time, and it was tiring, tiring, tiring.

  • Computer screen showing lines of code.
    Article: Mar 26, 2018

    Vote Leave got away with lying about money for the NHS, visas for Commonwealth citizens and much more, but now the truth about the Brexit deal is emerging, they won't be able to lie anymore.

    Astonishing claims have emerged today that suggests Leave campaigns worked together overspend during the European Referendum. If true, this could be illegal.

  • Facebook
    Article: Mar 23, 2018

    The European Commission has announced it intends to put an interim 3% levy on digital sales revenue of the biggest technology firms, such as Apple, Facebook and Google.

    Many large digital businesses have been accused of avoiding tax by shifting profits through complex structures, including via tax havens where they have little or no physical presence. EU officials reportedly think they will raise £4.3bn a year for member states from around 150 firms.

  • Vince Cable
    Article: Mar 13, 2018
    By Vince Cable

    The Spring Statement was a non-event.

    The OECD gave us the clearer picture - that the economy is bumping along the bottom of the G20, well behind the likes of Australia, Canada and the Euro area.

    The OBR's fresh forecasts are still a long way behind the figures estimated in March 2016 before the EU referendum.

  • Article: Mar 12, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    Rounding off the Southport conference which saw the party adopt a new strategy, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable took a swing at Jeremy Corbyn (a life-long Eurosceptic) for talking about workers but supporting a Brexit which will hit workers:

    Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the very people he claims to defend because:

  • Theresa May
    Article: Mar 7, 2018

    Responding to Theresa May's housing speech, Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Communities Spokesperson, said:

    "Even with her back against the wall the Prime Minister has once again failed to deliver.

    "The Conservatives cannot rely on the private sector to provide affordable housing. Housing developers will always act in the best interests of their shareholders, which means keeping house prices high. The Liberal Democrats are calling for tens of billions of real investment in new housing.

  • Your vote matters
    Article: Feb 28, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    EU citizens in the UK are able to vote in local elections though not general elections. That means this the by-elections in Stamford their first chance to cast a verdict on Theresa May's Hard Brexit plans in the Conservative general election manifesto. It's a group of people the Liberal Democrats are putting particular effort into reaching, including with HQ running an online advertising campaign aimed at them which local Lib Dem campaigners can buy into for their area.

  • Jeremy Corbyn.
    Article: Feb 26, 2018
    By Liberal Democrats

    "Corbyn started his speech claiming that Labour's position on Brexit has been consistent, by which he must mean consistently vague. And today was no different.

    "His slight movement on the Customs Union and some EU agencies might be one step on the road to rationality, but there is still a long way to go before the rhetoric meets reality. The Labour leader spoke of putting the British people first, but made no guarantees on making sure they are the ones who have a final say on the Brexit deal.

    "The reality is there is no Brexit that is good for workers unless we stay as integrated as possible. Until Corbyn guarantees that we will stay in the Customs Union and Single Market, and gives people a chance to decide their own future, he continues to be Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, walking hand in hand with Theresa May towards a destructive Brexit that risks jobs, the economy, and the Union."

  • Eight schoolchildren working at a table supervised by a teacher.
    Article: Feb 20, 2018

    In interviews with The Sunday Times and Andrew Marr, new Education Secretary Damian Hinds signalled he would encourage restrictions on pupils' rights to sex education.

    In the former interview, he is reported to have acknowledged he was reversing the policy of his predecessor, Justine Greening.

    Hinds also failed to commit to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds as part of a review of the university system.

    The sexual harassment and intimidation scandals - and the resulting need for the #metoo movement - and the shocking rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks are just some of the reasons why compulsory sex education is vital.

    The new Education Secretary should be pushing for all children to have age-appropriate sex education, not trying to encourage the use of opt-outs that could result in young people struggling to understand the sexual rights of themselves and others.

  • A pile of Liberal Democrat posters. Window posters mind. Not the really good ones.
    Article: Feb 16, 2018

    Last night, in a bumper crop of by-elections the Liberal Democrats made a hat-trick of gains and huge increases in the vote in a brace of others:

  • Article: Feb 15, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    If this speech was supposed to offer an olive branch to Remainers, Boris must have picked up the other version.

    A clear majority of Remain and Leave voters oppose the damaging hard Brexit Boris so vigorously advocates.

    They do not want job cuts triggered by tougher trading conditions with our largest export market or life-threatening uncertainty at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Boris's antipathy towards the common rules and standards which apply within the EU, and to trade within the EU, is in stark contrast to Brexiters head-long rush to adopt common standards with the US which would require the UK to accept chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-fed beef, GMO products and potentially open up the NHS to US private health companies.

    If Boris is seeking to establish himself as the standard bearer of liberalism, he should dump plans to come out of the Single Market and Customs Union and campaign to stay in the world's largest free trade area.

  • Liberal Democrat's Logo
    Article: Feb 12, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    A very welcome move from not-quite-still-new Liberal Democrat Chief Executive, Nick Harvey:

    The Liberal Democrats are seeking a superbly organised project manager to undertake initial planning, detailed development, and ultimately to manage the delivery and execution of, our overarching operational plan for the party's General Election campaign - whenever it might be called.

  • Article: Feb 7, 2018

    In the last 100 years there have obviously been massive changes for the role of women in society. We are more equal, we are treated more fairly, and we face fewer obstacles in our lives. But the job is not yet done. As women we are not yet truly equal, we are not yet treated fairly, and we still face obstacles in our lives.

  • VInce Cable
    Article: Feb 6, 2018
    By Vince Cable

    Vince Cable has written to Jeremy Corbyn to ask him to put the Labour party in line with its own supporters and support a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

    Here is the text in full:

    Jeremy Corbyn
    Leader of HM Opposition
    House of Commons
    London, SW1A 0AA

    2nd February 2018

    Dear Jeremy,

    I am writing to you about Brexit, because I was dismayed by your interview with Andrew Marr last Sunday, when you reiterated your personal objection to letting the British people have their say on the Conservatives' Brexit deal.

  • Southport
    Article: Feb 3, 2018
    By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

    What is Lib Dem conference?

    The Liberal Democrats hold two federal (i.e. UK-wide) party conferences a year, a weekend in the spring and a week in the autumn. All party members can attend and vote Liberal Democrat conference, subject to paying the registration fee.

    The conferences are a mix of set-piece speeches, policy debates, fringe meetings, training events and more, and are organised by the Federal Conference Committee (FCC).

  • A sign pointing to passport control, with people climbing a flight of stairs in the background.
    Article: Feb 2, 2018

    Leaked government Brexit analysis reveals that the cost to the British economy of cutting migration from the EU would be significantly greater than the benefits brought by a US trade deal.

    The negative impact of a stricter immigration policy would be far bigger than the 0.2% boost to economic growth that a US trade deal is calculated to bring.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Feb 1, 2018

    With a Prime Minister pandering to the extremists on the right of her party; delivering up the most divisive, extreme version of Brexit imaginable and Corbyn's Labour Party sitting on its hands, letting the bumbling Tories off the hook - we are needed more than ever.

    The Liberal Democrats are the only political party in the UK offering a different, brighter future when it comes to our relationship with Europe.

  • Bills
    Article: Jan 30, 2018

    A hard Brexit that would see Britain no longer trade energy in the Internal Energy Market is likely to increase British energy bills, the House of Lords' EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee is expected to say on Monday.

    Britain could also face energy supply shortages, while the lack of access to EU labour is a threat to the construction of a new generation of civil nuclear sites.