Community Groups during the coronavirus self-isolation

The Liberal Party notes the increasing emphasis being placed on self-isolation to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Firstly, the party would like to emphasise how community groups can safely support older people and other vulnerable groups during these difficult times.

Self-isolation restricts many groups from activities such as shopping, exercise and the social contacts which allow their wellbeing to be checked-on and delays prompt assistance.

We would ask people to be aware of those in their local community who may need a courteous check and to offer what assistance we can without compromising the isolation regime which is in place.

The current pandemic is expected to have a protracted impact on our daily life and community action can act as a stabilising factor.

MP’s need to compromise on EU Deal

The very MP’s protesting that the current deal placed before Parliament is more adverse than the deal offered by Mrs May’s are the same MPs who blocked the current deal from being progressed, because of insufficient time to read the report.

The unwillingness of the majority of MP’s to accept the outcome of the referendum, which they agreed to hold, and subsequently opposed any reasonable compromise, beggars belief.

Trade Unionists and Management sitting around a negotiation table would never behave in such an obstructive and irresponsible fashion.

The Liberal Party believes it is realistic to disengage from the EU as an initial stage, with further negotiations and agreements as the relationships change and evolve.

We give our utmost respect to those Labour MPs who have defied the party whip and threats of deselection, to put the national interest above party politics.

No Evidence for Voter ID Fraud

During the Queens Speech the government announced plans to introduce compulsory photo ID for voters. This is despite reliable sources suggest 3.5 million voters do not have such ID 

We have to ask what is the evidence that there is a problem that ID cards are needed to resolve.

According to the Electoral Commission report for 2018 .

“There is no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud relating to the 2018 local election.

Of the 266 cases that were investigated by the police, one led to a conviction and two suspects were given police cautions.

Outcomes of cases where the suspect was either convicted or accepted a police caution.

At the local elections in 2018, a Peterborough Green Party candidate pleaded guilty to forging all signatures on his nomination form so that he could stand in the election.

At the local elections in 2018, a Labour Party candidate seeking re-election registered to vote at two different addresses in Rochdale.

He applied to vote by post at both addresses and voted twice in the Rochdale council elections.

It is an offence to vote more than once in the same local election area.

West Yorkshire police received a report that a postal vote cast in the 2018 local elections appeared to have been completed and returned by someone who had died.

Police interviewed the deceased elector’s widow. She had been his sole carer and often did his paperwork. It appeared to be a genuine mistake in the midst of grief.

Of the three actual serous cases not a single case would have been prevented by the introduction of Voter ID card checks.

Therefore one can only conclude the legislation is a deliberate and calculated obstruction to prevent 3.5 million voters having the right and carrying out their civic duty to vote.

Failure of Thomas Cook as it enters Administration

The Liberal Party notes with anguish the collapse of the Thomas Cook group leaving hundreds of thousands of customers awaiting repatriation from holiday destinations and thousands of staff made redundant.

After a span of 178 years the company had been forced into administration by a perfect storm of changing holiday booking habits, unsustainable debt, and an uncertain business outlook due to political instability in key holiday destinations and subdued domestic demand.

Although the party accepts the arguments for not extending a taxpayer funded bailout to prolong the company’s existence, serious question still needs to be asked about its failure.

These include why the company continued to trade whilst accumulating further debt, the part played by its banker in it’s abortive re-financing and the accountability of its management in its final failure.

The sustainability of a traditional bricks and mortar business in the face of new technology should not translate into administration and closure.

Labour Attack on Freedom

The Labour Party has taken a very alarming new turn on the question of education.

The state seeking to  monopolise education is the first step taken by every authortarian dictator across the world.

If private schools are abolished, what next, the right of parents to send children to faith schools abolished?

This policy actually shows Labour has given up on driving higher standards of educational achievement in state schools.

What is the immediate consequence of any such policy, without doubt parents and private schools and staff will exodus abroad and the money and skills lost to this country.

The diversity of private schools has often meant experiments in different forms and styles of education has been trialed and then extended to the state sector if successful.

It is dangerous path to go down and a clear expression Labour has become the party of state control with contempt for freedom of choice.

The Liberal Party acknowledges the benefit private education can provide to overall education standards, however, we are critical that financial bias is afforded to the private sector by charitable status and evasion of VAT.

Old Swan By-election

The Liberal Party doubled its share of the vote in the Old Swan By-election, Liverpool.

Labour 1153 minus 17%
Mick Coyne Liberal Party 293 plus 7%
Greens 130
Lb Dems 272
OSATC 138
Conservatives 96

This is a seat where 3 Lib Dems represented not so long ago and the Lib Dems mounted an extensive 7 leaflet campaign and endorsement by Luciana Berger.

They were devastated at the count and we moved into second place.

Drugs Policy should be changed from a punitive approach to one of a Harm Reduction

The Liberal Party notes that a majority of Conservative party leadership contestants have admitted to historic casual drugs use, and as such we welcome their honesty and hope that this gives rise to public debate.

The party advocates replacing the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and ancillary legislation with a replacement which provides for an effective strategy of legalisation, regulation and control.

We call for the establishment of an independent multi-agency co-ordinating body to oversee policy development and implementation in relation to the supply and control of drugs.

We support the taxation of drugs and redirection of criminal justice expenditure to education and treatment services and the dissemination of accurate and truthful information to minimise substance-related harm to individuals and communities.

Criminalisation of those afflicted with drugs dependency can have a detrimental impact, alienating people from contributing to society.

We believe that these measures will eliminate the criminal marketplace and cause a reduction in drugs related crime and violence whilst aiding those most in need of rehabilitation.

Reduce income Tax for Low Paid not VAT – A Liberal response to Michael Gove

Can we make a constructive alternative to Michael Gove’s call to reduce VAT to boost the economy post Brexit?

Setting aside this contradicts all his measures as a Minister to support austerity on the basis we needed to reduce the public spending requirement

The best way to boost the economy, pound for pound, would be a significant rise in tax thresholds.

By putting more disposable income in the hands of the low paid it would be cost effective than reducing VAT.

It would help boost the incentive to work for low paid and those on flexible hours.

It would help those regions like the South West, Wales, Scotland and Merseyside and other areas of relatively low earnings.

Regardless it does show that endless austerity is counterproductive and holding back the economy.

Cllr Steve Radford
President of The Liberal Party