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Vote Liberal Democrat

by Andrew Hickey     March 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

From Hagley Road to Ladywood’s pre-election series.

A lot of people don’t get the Liberal Democrats.

I think this is to do with the fact that we’re portrayed in the media (and, indeed, used to portray ourselves) as centrists, which given that the parties of the ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the UK are both right-wing authoritarian corporatist parties with little but brand names to distinguish them, leads people to dismiss us without really bothering to investigate what we stand for.

The fact is, the Liberal Democrats are a fundamentally different kind of party to Labour and the Conservatives. Not because of our policies – though these do differ substantially from those parties – but because of our philosophy. I don’t have much space, so I’ll give two examples.

The first is this, from our constitution, printed on the membership card of every member:

“the Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”.

Is this something you can really imagine ‘New’ Labour or the Tories saying? continue reading… »

Top Stories and Blog Review Thursday April 30th

by Andrew Hickey     April 30, 2009 at 11:21 am


Brown defeated on Lib Dem Gurkha Motion
Consumer poll boosts hopes for recovery
Swine flu and hype – a media illness
Tory wannabes push party to the right

Obama ‘gravely concerned’ about Pakistan
Hunger striker ‘critical’ as Tamil crisis grows
Scientists spot oldest object in universe
N. Korea demands apology, threatens tests

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Charlotte Gore wonders at Brown’s motives for wanting to keep the Gurkhas out, and also notes ‘Brown’s finest moments are when disaster strikes. Nick’s finest moment has been celebrating something really good.’

Andy Worthington/CiF on how the use of secret evidence against terror suspects makes a mockery of our justice system.

Mark Steel on the 50p tax rate – ‘One tiddly little tax rise and they’re like spoilt toddlers, screaming “Baby want tax cut, don’t WANT pay 50 pence, not FAIR, baby not pay.”‘

Septicisle on how to tackle the BNP.

Darrell at Moments of Clarity has more on the Gurkhas, and on Labour MP Tom Harris’ reaction.

Menzies Campbell has also written about the Gurkhas.

Lib Dem Voice has the text of a motion brought in by Frank Field and Vince Cable, urging the government to tackle UK borrowing.

Rupert Read has the Greens’ ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’.

And finally, for the grammarians among you, two links – Apostrophe Abuse and the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks (both via Eddie Campbell). Or you can browse through previous Netcasts


by Andrew Hickey     April 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm


Opposition label Budget ‘fantasy’
MPs expenses plan rejected by Tories and Lib Dems
Ministers to announce CO2 plans
Campaigners call for regulation of Facebook racists

Hundreds of Sri Lankans killed in no-fire zone
Financier at centre of US mortgage crisis found hanged
ANC take lead in election count
Bush aides approved torture, says report

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Mark Steel on institutionalised violence in the police.

Several people have posted about the Budget, including Darrel at the Social Liberal Forum who sees ‘Labour’s swansong’ as an opportunity for the Liberal Democrats, Charlotte Gore who considers it “tough on wealth, tough on the causes of wealth”, and Anton Vowl who has a budget-day drinking game.

Costigan Quist, on the ‘terror suspects’ who were uncharged but deported anyway.

On the same subject Septicisle thinks the Government, not the people, should be in terror.

Dorian at postmodernbarney on the conflict between wanting to denounce homophobia in the media and wanting to see good-looking men on TV.

And I have some very strong opinions about recent posts on this site.

And finally Basic Instructions tells us how to save the Earth, or browse through previous Netcasts

(ps. Apologies for the lateness of this netcast – I’ve been away from the internets. Aaron)

Top Stories & Blog Review – Thursday 16th April

by Andrew Hickey     April 16, 2009 at 11:23 am


£5,000 sweetener to launch electric car revolution
Housing overcrowding ‘will soar’
MP attacks ‘SAS-style’ tactics used by police
What could be in the 2009 Budget

World’s biggest democratic poll begins
Women protesting at ‘pro-rape’ law attacked by men
Deals help China expands in Latin America
Iran says it plans new Nuclear offer

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Chris at Stumbling And Mumbling talks about a new paper on confirmation bias which shows that sometimes it can be rational to behave stupidly, and shows how this behaviour contributed to the current economic problems.

Chris Applegate at qwghlm talks about the similarities between the Hillsborough disaster and the Ian Tomlinson case, and what both say about policing.

Sarah Ismail has a post on recent comments by the NASUWT about special needs schooling.

Alix at Liberal Democrat Voice talks about how while people are making a load of fuss about trivial nonsense involving bloggers, 114 people were arrested for the ‘crime’ of planning a protest. Alix’s other post yesterday, on Clegg and Huhne is also worth a read.

Charlotte Gore is furious at the people who want the government to keep house prices up, thus reinflating the bubble that just burst.

Septicisle finds the claims about planned terror attacks that prompted the raids last week deeply unconvincing.

The Daily Quail looks at press reaction to police brutality.

And finally PostModern Barney has a list of uncomfortable plot summaries – my favourites: “GREEN LANTERN: Policeman beats up his girlfriend” and “BATMAN: Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill”.Or browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories & Blog Review Thursday April 9th

by Andrew Hickey     April 9, 2009 at 10:53 am


How police tried to manage a death
G20 death: Met police officer breaks cover
Women in City paid 60% less than men
Care for elderly exposed as shameful

U.S. joins Iran in talks over nuclear program
U.S. plays down hopes at climate talks
Sri Lankans sounds last warning to Tigers
Bogota’s displaced youth turn to street arts

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Think you’ve spotted a blog we should be linking to? EmailtipsATlcDOTorg and let us know!

People have remained up in arms about Ian Tomlinson, understandably. Pickwick among others thinks that the recent ‘terrorist’ arrests are an attempt to distract people from Tomlinson’s death. I’m unconvinced myself, but it’s a possibility.

Jim Jay has video which appears to show the police obstructing the ambulance that was arriving for Mr Tomlinson.

Moments Of Clarity is unimpressed with the Conservatives’ ‘right to move’ policy.

Mark at Lib Dem Voice looks at a LabourList post which claims quotes from TheyWorkForYou are ‘blatant lies’.

Debi posted several great posts yesterday, but this one on the differences between LiveJournal and other blogging platforms may be of use to people following links to LJ from this site.

Qwghlm has the best spoof anti-terror poster yet.

If you want even more links, Jonathan From Liberal England is hosting the 88th Carnival Of The Liberals, or browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories and Blog Review Thursday 2nd April

by Andrew Hickey     April 2, 2009 at 11:43 am


Pictures: G20 protests in London
More G20 summit protests expected
‘MPs’ expenses need immediate review’
Parents ‘impose countryside ban’

Russia and US pledge to slash nuclear stockpiles
Israel’s new minister dismisses two-state solution
European demands threaten to wreck deal
Taliban shift policy on beards and burqas

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Think you’ve spotted a blog we should be linking to? EmailtipsATlcDOTorg and let us know!

Mark Steel talks about the arrogance of expense-fiddling politicians.

Jim Jay has the most comprehensive roundup of G20 protest reports I’ve seen.

Mark Pack at Lib Dem Voice asks “What is it about London Conservatives and expenses?”.

Today is World Autism Awareness Day and Scientific Blogging has news that Asperger’s Syndrome could be linked to the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol.

More depressingly The Weekly Carboholic has the latest news on the climate front. It’s not pretty.

SepticIsle makes a good point with regard to the protests – “Fundamentally, demonstrations are for sending these messages; putting “messages” into law, as both main parties in this country are intent on doing, is not so laudable.”

Amnesty report on the plight of Maryam Kallis, a British woman being detained in secret by the Syrian government, and ask for help.

And finally Justin at Chicken Yoghurt livetwittered yesterday’s protests in a way that was entirely suitable for April 1. Or browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories and Blog Review Wednesday 25th March

by Andrew Hickey     March 25, 2009 at 10:06 am


Now ‘Big Brother’ database targets Facebook
Blears continues standoff with Muslim body over anti-terror
US Taser death prompts call for UK rethink
Pupils get morning-after pill by text service

Dozens hurt after march by Israel extremists
US weighs Sharif as possible partner in Pakistan
Obama cites complexities of Mideast peace effort
The end of the Global War on Terror

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Think you’ve spotted a blog we should be linking to? EmailtipsATlcDOTorg and let us know!

Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging about women in technology. There were many, many excellent posts made, all of which can be found here, but some that jumped out were Debi‘s post on Adria Richards and two posts about women on the borderline between music and technology who are heroes of mine – Bird of Paradox on Wendy Carlos the transwoman whose Switched On Bach is a masterpiece of baroque Moog, and Rain Rainycat on Delia Derbyshire, the creator of the original Doctor Who theme.

Costigan Quist writes about the diabetes ‘epidemic’ and what is actually happening.

Geoffrey Payne at Lib Dem Voice on ‘economic liberals’.

Fred Clark on ‘just war’ doctrine and the recent reversal of the ban on photographing coffins of US servicepeople.

Leonard Pierce on why the destruction of the US (and world) economy is not ‘a crime too big to punish’.

James Graham asks why he doesn’t know the names of more women in technology.

The Honourable Lady Mark writes about the Tories figuring out only twenty years after everyone else that there are downsides to the ‘right to buy’.

And finally The Prestigious Internet advises on the US tax-deductibility of kidnapped children, or browse through previous Netcasts

Top Stories and Blog Review Wednesday 18th March

by Andrew Hickey     March 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

jack straw

MPs condemn Barclays gag on Guardian
Poll: Economic recovery could save Brown
Study: Girls do better without boys
Government bids to allay fears over GM food

Fury as Shell cuts back on renewable energy
Outcry in Washington over A.I.G. bonuses
The iPhone is gaining some editing skills
Pope’s attack on condoms sickens campaigners

DAILY BLOG REVIEW / by Andrew Hickey

Think you’ve spotted a blog we should be linking to? Email tipsATlcDOTorg and let us know!

Sarah Ismail writes about disability and sexuality.

Andy Worthington has more on the disgusting way accused terrorists are being denied proper justice.

On my own blog I have a post on the necessity of checking facts before starting a campaign.

Stephen at Lib Dem Voice looks at the newspapers’ ideas about what would happen in a hung parliament, and compares them to reality.

Anton Vowl talks about how the Daily Mail doesn’t like migrants being barred from entering. Well, some migrants…

Amnesty have started a campaign to stop the mass executions of 128 people in Iraq.

In US politics Eli at Firedoglake wonders if Obama will ever have the guts for real change.

And finally John Scalzi on what not to call your TV channel, or you can browse through previous Netcasts

Why I am not a Libertarian

by Andrew Hickey     December 26, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Recently, there appears to have been an influx into the Liberal Democrats of Libertarians. This is typified by the members of ‘Liberal Vision‘, which is in turn part of a Tory organisation called ‘progressive voice’ (essentially a bunch of Objectivists).

Now, in many ways I agree with libertarians on many subjects – which is, of course, why we can be in the same party – I am all for more personal freedom, for a lack of government interference in people’s lives, for the restoration of recently-lost civil liberties and so on. But libertarians seem, to me, to have two big holes in their thinking, both of which are summed up by some recent comments by Nick in this thread on Liberal Conspiracy (scroll down).

‘Nick’ is following the libertarian ‘party line’ almost exactly: the government should not interfere with the workings of the market when companies are failing. Not only should they not spend any money bailing out the companies (a reasonable, debatable position) or on retraining the workers so they can get jobs elsewhere (a much less reasonable position in my view) – they should not even pay unemployment benefit to the people who lose their jobs, because the money would be better allocated by the market.

Now, there are two distinct errors here.
continue reading… »

Liberals should be fighting Tories, not Labour

by Andrew Hickey     July 1, 2008 at 8:19 am

I am going to make a prediction – the Liberal Democrats are going to lose the next election.

Now, this may not strike you as one of the great feats of prognostication. The Liberal Democrats have never won an election and the Liberals last won an election before the first world war. Even though in the council elections and the Henley by-election we came in second place, I don’t think there’s a single person in the country who actually believes we’re going to win a General Election in the near future.

But I don’t mean we’re not going to gain the majority of seats; I mean we’re actively working against our own interests. The decisions being made are going to actively damage the party – and, more importantly, damage the chances of getting some of our principles put into practice.
continue reading… »

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