When we debate party policy, strategy or election tactics, questions about what might attract or put off voters often - and rightly - come up. But there's one sure-fire, 100% guaranteed, rock-solid way of repelling voters from us, and it's one we use far too often. It's not having a Liberal Democrat on the ballot paper. Zero votes for the party guaranteed.
In our new film, Ed Davey sets out a vision for a fair deal for future generations.
Boris Johnson's failure to defend children's education meant that his Government spent the same amount in one month on Eat Out To Help Out as in a whole year for our children's school catch-up.
We're offering a new bulk-buy deal for England on digital advertising to show the film to voters in your area and encourage them to join the campaign to help kids catch up.
Boris Johnson's failure to defend our children's education meant that his Government spent the same amount in one month on Eat Out To Help Out as in a whole year for our children's school catch-up.
Imagine a future where our children's education is a priority. Where schools raise their mental well-being and their maths grades. Where they can excel at English and find their talent for music or sport. Where they grow into happy, healthy, adults.
The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 15th January to start its work on the final agenda for Spring 2022 Conference, which will be taking place virtually via the Hopin platform.
If you haven't yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.
We've had a few departures from the FCC in the last few months and welcomed two new members. Jennie Rigg ceased being the English Party's Representative to the FCC and Jenni Lang stepped down as the Scottish Party Representative after becoming the Convenor of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. I would like to place on record our thanks for their service to the FCC, they will be missed, and we would like to wish them all the very best for the future. We welcomed Matt McLaren as our new English Party Rep and Paul McGarry as our new Scottish Party Rep to the committee.
The headline "two new MPs so far in this Parliament" is a welcome one. Winning, especially winning with record swings, is what we all want.
Underneath the headline is a lot of hard work, plenty of tough decisions, and a drive to improve. We should all be thankful to our activists, staff and supporters.
Democracy depends on 'we the people' being able to trust the integrity of those we elect to
formulate our laws, collect our taxes, and protect our population. Any politician at any level who
undermines that trust damages the very foundations of our democracy.
Despite the self-congratulatory tone of those who would defend Mr Johnson, we have suffered the
greatest number of COVID cases of ANY country in Europe, and the greatest number of COVID
deaths of any country in Europe except Russia. Our testing rate is one third that of Denmark and less
than half that of Austria. Our vaccination rate is below our European neighbours in France, Italy and
Portugal. At the time of writing hospitalisations are back at levels last seen nearly a year ago and are
currently the fourth highest in the world. We need honesty, not complacency.
Over the past two years every single one of us has made enormous sacrifices. Most of us sadly know
someone who has died from COVID and whose passing could not be marked appropriately. We all
know people who have suffered infection. For decades to come, many will bear the wounds of the
psychological damage done by lockdown, the consequences of interrupted education, or the
People across the country have seen their working lives disrupted. We all acknowledge the
enormous strains placed on NHS, care staff and teachers but it is much wider than that. Emergency
services, transport staff, shop staff, in fact anyone with public-facing jobs have accepted extra risk,
and extra work to cover additional duties or missing colleagues.
During all of this nearly all of us have respected the enormous constraints on our freedom. Nearly.
I have just proudly marked the 30th anniversary of my election to the County Council by the
wonderful people of Battle and neighbouring villages. Throughout that time there have been
occasions when I have been disappointed, frustrated, or even annoyed. Never before have I felt
angry as I do now. Mr Johnson's insistence, first that there was no party, and then that it was a valid
morale booster, is insulting. Apparently Downing Street staff, unlike the rest of us, were working
jolly hard and deserved a break. Then we find out it's not just an isolated case but a regular feature.
It is an insult to everyone outside his privileged circle. Few of them, for instance, will be needing to
choose between heating and eating like so many 'ordinary folk' even before being hit by the full
impact of increased taxes and higher food and energy costs.
It has been disheartening to hear many of the public on news programmes saying they are not
surprised by Mr Johnson's actions, and that all politicians are as bad as each other anyway. That
attitude simply results in fewer good people being prepared to put themselves in the firing line by
standing for election. I can honestly say that the vast majority of Councillors I have encountered over
30 years, whether at County or at Rother, and largely regardless of political colour, have worked
hard for their communities without any expectation of lucrative consultancies or crony contracts.
Meanwhile we have legislation being pushed through Parliament to limit our right to protest; we
have blatant attempts to muzzle the BBC if they continue to 'speak truth to power'; we have 'oven
ready' Brexit falling apart and proving as disastrous as we had always warned; the very concept of
'Global Britain' looks increasingly untenable when politicians around the world can see our leader
cannot be trusted.
It is high time principled Conservative MPs put country before party and stand up to be counted. He
has to go, no matter how deeply unattractive the alternatives.
You may remember, last November, taking part in a survey on members' views on Brexit and the party's campaigning on the future of UK-EU relations. Thanks to everyone who participated - 6,500 members, more than any previous survey of this type - and thanks to Greg Foster and Dan Schmeising at party HQ who organised it on behalf of the Federal Policy Committee. This article gives you the results.
After the disappointment and failure of the 2019 general election, an independent post-mortem was carried out into what went wrong. The findings of the Thornhill Review set a broad and challenging reform agenda for the party, which we've made good progress on implementing so far.
On the role of the Federal Board itself, the Thornhill Review found that:
FPC members started the year bright and early with our first meeting last week. We cancelled our December meeting so we could all focus on North Shropshire, so this was our first meeting since November.
Big areas of focus for FPC this year will be further work on our messages and key policies to support them, leading up eventually to the Manifesto for the next General Election; and our substantial programme of working groups developing policies in politically useful areas, to bring to autumn conference.