Iraq War – LibDems were right

Commenting (6 July) on the Chilcot report LibDem Leader Tim Farron says:

Today’s Chilcot report is a damning indictment of the decision to go to war in Iraq.

The report clearly shows that Tony Blair was fixated in joining Bush in going to war in Iraq regardless of the evidence, the legality or the serious potential consequences.

That fateful decision cost hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives as well as the lives 179 members of the British Armed Forces.

Chilcot lays bare the complete lack of planning for the aftermath of the invasion. That failure caused many more years of bloodshed and instability in the Middle East and led to the rise of Daesh.

Chilcot is also a clear vindication of Charles Kennedy’s judgement and leadership on the Iraq War – and our party’s position.

I hope those in the Labour and Conservative parties who were so forceful in their criticism of him and the Liberal Democrats at the time are equally forceful in their acknowledgements today that he was right.

I am determined to ensure that the right lessons are learnt from the Iraq War.

That is why today I have called on the British government to pledge that we will never again go to war unless it is clear the action is legal under international law, without a clear exit plan, and without clear, unbiased intelligence.”

Watch the late Charles Kennedy’s speech at the 2003 Iraq War Rally in Hyde Park – click on the image of Charles:
C_Kennedy1

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Another petition – Restore truthful politics

Former LibDem MP for Eastbourne Stephen Loyd has drawn attention to a petition “Restore truthful politics- create an independent office to monitor political campaigns” saying:

“Now is the time for cool, experienced, sensible heads. Now is the time for proposals that bring us all together rather than continue to pour paraffin on the fire. Proposals which actually ‘improve’ our political process going forward, and not make it worse!

And I think I’ve found something that could, something productive to enhance our political discourse, decisions, trust and even outcomes for the future.

It’s another petition but I think a practical one which may actually work, and can be supported by all fair-minded people of any or no political persuasion.

Let us demand that future national campaigns, elections etc are at least based on accurate facts. True, verifiable facts which stand up under scrutiny so that we can at least ensure our decisions are properly informed and based on ‘facts’ rather than spin or even, at times, outright lies. ”

The petition was started by Josh Babarinde who was a parliamentary assistant to Stephen. Josh says

“We have a body, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that monitors truth in corporate campaigns. It’s about time we had one for politics as well.

“I would like to see UK party leaders and the Electoral Commission working with advice from groups such as the ASA to establish an independent Office of Electoral Integrity (OEI) to factually verify the truthfulness of claims made during political campaigns.

“The OEI should hold campaigns to account, with powers to issue fines and factual clarifications.

“There’s a precedent for a body like this – a body in Australia monitors political claims and ensures people have their facts straight. Why don’t we get something similar here?”

Please Sign the Truthful Politics Petition

Posted in Democracy, EU, Europe, Stephen Lloyd | Comments Off on Another petition – Restore truthful politics

Lib Dems – the voice of those seeing a positive future in Europe

In an article in the Independent (27 June) LibDem Leader Tim Farron writes:

“The look of wide-eyed, guilty panic in the eyes of Boris Johnston and Michael Gove on Friday morning hinted at what was later confirmed: the Brexiteers who had schemed for this moment all their political lives had absolutely no plan for life after Thursday.

“But those of us who argued passionately that Britain should remain in Europe should also concede that there is little consensus among progressives now Britain has voted “out” – either how we will improve the lives of those who felt so left behind that they voted to Leave, or to build a winning coalition to rescue disadvantaged people from the clutches of right-wing escapism.

The Conservative Party has just crashed the economy, left Britain more alone than at any point I can ever remember, and betrayed the hopes of a generation – and while the national emergency grows, our governing party is pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job. Yet progressives must recognise that the reason we could face an early general election is because the Tories still think they can win one, despite putting a bomb under their much-vaunted reputation for economic competence.

“And the basis for that frankly sickening Tory confidence is clear. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man, but he never even enjoyed the confidence of Labour MPs to lose.”

Join the LibDems Tim goes on to say:

“I fought a positive campaign, working with others, setting out an optimistic, open vision of Britain. But sometimes Labour seemed keener to give a bloody nose to David Cameron than to keep us in Europe, even though membership of the European Union is way more important.

“I am an internationalist, who believes we must work across borders to face the great challenges such as the world’s largest ever movement of people, climate change, the rising power of multi-nationals and terrorism, along with the arrival in the international labour market of a billion Chinese workers which has depressed wages across the western world. A progressive political settlement needs international co-operation, and it has been the EU that has guaranteed worker rights, consumer protection and environmental safeguards.

“But if you are a progressive, pro-European who recognises that you need a successful economy to deliver social justice, I just don’t see a future for you in Labour. Even if Labour MPs achieve their “Jexit”, might not Labour members simply elect someone equally extreme – leaving the path clear for a Tory Party to beat up on the poor?

“And this makes me furious. The Institute for Public Policy Research has shown that the poorest will be hit twice as hard as the richest by new inflation caused by sterling’s slide. The pound is at its lowest in 30 years. There is now a £900bn hole in the pension funds.

Low-paid workers are worried sick today about their jobs, with Tata Steel now at risk. Some leftists might enjoy seeing trading in banks being temporarily suspended, but the reduction in the value of the state’s share in RBS has already cost taxpayers £7.3bn. And as with the last recession, it will be the poorest who pay.

“But there is a rallying point for progressives who refuse to settle for a future of glowering across the White Cliffs of Dover. That rallying point is the Liberal Democrats. Since I announced that we would go into the next election as the only party calling for Britain to remain in the EU, thousands have joined our party, at the rate of one a minute.

“By yesterday, almost 7,000 had joined, and the number’s rising.

We must be the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe. Young people – 73 per cent of whom voted to Remain – are determined to keep opportunities to travel, work and study abroad. More than that, these new members want to demonstrate that Britain remains an internationalist, open and optimistic country.

“But as a progressive I am just as concerned about the 52 per cent who voted to leave. Many, understandably, feel marginalised, with stagnating wages, insufficient training to gain better jobs, a housing shortage and struggling NHS. Ironically, the vote was less a rejection of Europe as a rejection of a Westminster that seems disinterested in the problems of people it purports to represent.

It is the disadvantaged whose modest living standards face a further assault thanks to “Brex-trick”.

My number one priority has always been to transform education and training, better housing and healthcare to give real life chances. The British are naturally welcoming, and many concerns that have been attributed to immigration are actually about the disgraceful lack of opportunity to move into better jobs, to get a house, or a school space for your child. These are challenges that I am determined to fight for.

Liberalism is about championing the individual against the powerful. That means standing firm for our Human Rights Act, against internet surveillance and illiberal extremism orders. But it’s also about protecting individuals from those giant evils that rob people of their freedom: poverty, poor housing and inequality. This is my pitch – to centrist and centre-left voters.

“I believe in four core principles. Freedom – the right of people to live as they see fit; the second is democracy – a state that supports freedom has to be democratic, with power dispersed, which is why we fought to democratise Europe.

“Our third core value is fairness, whether it be how police deal with young people on the streets or the way jobcentres treat benefits claimants. Fairness is not only right in itself, it leads to people working better together.

“Our fourth core value is environmentalism. Climate change, pollution and the degradation of the natural world pose one of the biggest threats. We have to act at home and internationally to promote green technologies, producing clean energy and transport, stopping the waste of natural resources and energy and protecting nature.

“If you are a green voter, a labour voter or a moderate Tory my appeal to you is this: these are causes that should speak to anyone who calls themselves progressive.

“But amazingly, it is only the Liberal Democrats fighting for them. Britain, and its most vulnerable people, need you to join me in the fightback.
Join the LibDems

Posted in Economy, Environment, EU, Europe, International, Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, Young people | Comments Off on Lib Dems – the voice of those seeing a positive future in Europe

UPDATE – Black Friday – please sign the petition

UPDATE – Confirmation that the petition calling for a second EU Referendum WILL be debated in the House of Commons on Monday 5 September.

Wealden LibDems Chair Alan Whittaker says:

Friday 24th June produced one of the bleakest early mornings that most of us have had to face. The result of the unnecessary referendum foisted on the nation resulted in “Little England winning over Great Britain”, as Italy’s Corriera della Serra put it.

There is no disguising the fact that the Brexiters’ win was sad, stunning, disappointing and disastrous for the United Kingdom and particularly for teenagers and twenty somethings – the generations that will suffer longest the effects of the exit decision by their elders.

I hesitate to follow Gove’s reference to Nazis, but Hitler and Goebbels  infamously made use of the Big Lie –  if a lie is big enough and is repeated loudly enough then it will be believed.

Johnson’s £350 million slogan was untrue. But it was believed. Interestingly, now the poll is over Farage is distancing himself from it – despite evidence to the contrary from BBC Question Time.

The prime minister fought strongly and I think sincerely to Remain, unlike Corbyn, but it must be remembered it was his decision to call a totally unnecessary referendum. It was a political party decision. Cameron hoped to tame his Euro sceptic right wing. Party was put before nation.

As a result of the Leave win the home nations have been split from one another and within their borders, and educational, social, political, and inter-generational fissures cover the face of our Union. The future truly is bleak.

The Tories are still the nasty party and Johnson, the buffoon who is content to live with a lie, is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Cameron. Forget immigrants: watch the emigration queue.

Italy’s leading newspaper is right.

Meanwhile for those unhappy with the result – there is a petition on the Government Petitions website calling for a second referendum. At the time of writing the number of signatures is over 2.9 million – far in excess of the number signing any other petition on the site to this date.

I urge all those unhappy with the referendum result toSign the Petition

In sorrow at the result and in anger at the system that produced it

Alan

PS – Thanks again for fighting for sanity

Posted in Alan Whittaker, Democracy, EU, Europe, International | Comments Off on UPDATE – Black Friday – please sign the petition

Referendum result Wealden DC

Our former Referendum agent in Wealden, Paul Meakin, reports the result of the referendum count across the Wealden Distrrict Council area was as follows:-

Remain: – 44,084 45.5%
Leave: – 52,808 54.5%
Spoiled: – 52
Total: – 96,944
Posted in EU, Europe, International, Wealden | Comments Off on Referendum result Wealden DC

Thursday 23 June – REFERENDUM DAY

VOTE ON THURSDAY FOR

  • A liberal, outward-looking, compassionate Britain

  • A richer Britain (only fools back away from the largest and richest market in the world – the EU)

  • A safer Britain (peace in the EU for 70 years)

  • A healthier environment (pollution knows no frontiers)

  • A Britain with a seat at all the top tables, instead of an isolated off shore island with a declining economy

  • A Britain that cares about the future of its children and grandchildren, and looks forward to the future, not backwards

VOTE REMAIN ON THE 23rd . YOU KNOW IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO

Sussex IN Europe Twitter_logo_blue Facebook_f

Posted in Democracy, Economy, Environment, EU, Europe, Health, International, Security, Young people | Comments Off on Thursday 23 June – REFERENDUM DAY

Raj talks about what being in Europe means for young people…

A young student from Forest Row talks about the referendum.

Raj from Forest Row in video

Posted in EU, Europe, International, Young people | Comments Off on Raj talks about what being in Europe means for young people…

Jo Cox

We in Wealden Liberal Democrats wish to join in expressing our shock at the senseless murder of Jo Cox MP on Thursday. The murder of an elected representative has made Thursday 16 June 2016 a terrible day for the country, irrespective of one’s political viewpoint.

We wish to express our condolences to Jo’s husband and her children. A statement by Jo’s husband Brendan is available to read here.

National campaigning for the EU Referendum has been suspended until Sunday 19 June by agreement among all parties across both the Remain and Leave campaigns – in some areas door to door leafleting may continue during the national suspension of campaigning.

Posted in Jo Cox | Comments Off on Jo Cox

10 Facts about the EU

It’s time to restore sanity to the debate.

See the top ten facts about the European Union.

Check out the #1 Fact below. Click on the image below and wait – to see and share all 10 facts in turn.

Posted in EU, Europe, International | Comments Off on 10 Facts about the EU

Tory MP swaps from Leave to REMAIN

Conservative MP and former GP Sarah Wollaston has abandoned support for the Leave campaign after being reported earlier as refusing to hand out NHS leaflets published by Vote Leave, describing them as “deliberately misleading”.

Dr Wollaston told the BBC

“For someone like me who has long campaigned for open and honest data in public life I could not have set foot on a battle bus that has at the heart of its campaign a figure that I know to be untrue.

“If you’re in a position where you can’t hand out a Vote Leave leaflet, you can’t be campaigning for that organisation.”

Posted in EU, Europe, Health, NHS | Comments Off on Tory MP swaps from Leave to REMAIN