Bringing back relocation of terror suspects has not been agreed say Lib Dems 0

There has been some confusion, and consternation, amongst Lib Dems about whether the relocation of terrorist suspects has been agreed. The civil liberties questions such measures raise always raise issues in the Lib Dems, and relocation immediately invites comparison with control orders, which the party opposed.

Speaking to senior Lib Dem sources they confirmed that “we have agreed to look at” relocation. They told me that this is being done at the request of David Anderson, who is responsible for monitoring government terror legislation.

However, they al emphasised that at this point, whatever the Prime Minister has said, bringing back relocation has not been agreed. It may be brought in, it may be brought in with conditions, it may continue to be rejected, that is what the discussion will be about. Having the conversation has been agreed, the policy outcome has not.

What is clear though is that the Lib Dems have absolutely not agreed to it now, and still have some concerns about taking people out of their community.


We appear to have forgotten about Rotherham 0

Well that didn’t take long. A flash of anger, an outpouring of regret, and the scandal of Rotherham has quietly slunk out of the limelight.

Our political attention span is so short that nobody can even bothered calling for the head of Shaun Wright anymore.

That Wright and many of his former Labour colleagues still hold public office is beyond belief, but this goes further than that.

Truth and justice do not emerge if people simply get angry then forget. Just ask Andrew Norfolk, the Times journalist who devoted years to exposing the abuse of young girls in Rotherham.

There needs to be a systematic change in how social services respond to cases like Rotherham to ensure that young girls are protected from grooming from predatory men. The claims of girls and their families have to be taken seriously, not just dismissed as if they are ‘asking for it’, and political correctness cannot trump safety.

Public pressure is the only way we will get a culture shift that means the horrors of the Roterham grooming scandal can never happen again. We owe it to the girls of Rotherham not to just jump onto the next story.


Resignations and defections show that Cameron hasn’t modernised our politics at all 0

Today we have the news that not only has another 2010 Tory, Chris Kelly, decided to pack in parliament, but that party veteran Tony Baldry is retiring after 30 years as well.

In total, nine members of the Conservative’s highly rated 2010 intake will not be fighting for re-election:

Add to all that the recent loss of Douglas Carswell to UKIP, and Cameron is starting to look rather careless with his backbenchers.

New Statesman Political Editor George Eaton points out that this drain of the 2010ers shows a lack of confidence in the Tory’s ability to retain marginal seats. I think the problem goes far deeper than even that.

It seems a long time ago that David Cameron swept to the Tory leadership as the great moderniser, but this departure of talent from his own side just shows how badly Cameron has failed to renew his party, and politics more broadly. Indeed, this was one of the major criticisms aimed by Carswell at his former leader.

Even as part of a coalition, even with a digital revolution fully underway, politics in Cameron’s Britain has mostly been business as usual. Many people enter politics and parliament idealistic about what they can achieve in their new position. Clearly these 2010ers have realised that they actually just end up as a combination of super councillors and whip fodder, voting on legislation that often changes very little.

That these bright, (relatively) young things feel so uninspired by politics and the Conservative party is a damning indictment of his failure to renew British politics.


August 2014 highlights 0

Somehow, August became the biggest ever traffic month on this site. Thank you all so much for reading, sharing, and commenting on this blog – it makes it all worthwhile.

Here are some highlights from August:

What Your Lesbian Friend Is Actually Thinking

The most surprising thing about Sayeeda Warsi’s resignation

From Ellen Page to Vicky Beeching – women in the public eye coming out matters

Ward cleared – so what would bring the Lib Dems into disrepute?

Rennard’s readmission shows that the Lib Dems haven’t changed at all

I got nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge….

Rennard kept campaigning whilst under investigation by the Lib Dems



Jim Murphy cancels No Thanks tour after violence and intimidation from Yes campaigners 0

There are only three weeks until the Scottish independence referendum, but Jim Murphy has had to suspend his tour of Scotland in support of the Better Together campaign, after being subject to a campaign of intimidation from Yes supporters.

The Labour MP had planned to do a tour comprising of 100 stops, taking his soapbox around Scotland and making the pro-union case to the public. However, this has ended after Yes campaigners in towns and cities organised online people to go and shout, wave banners, heckle and harass anyone who tried to have a proper conversation with Murphy.

The behaviour includes one incident when a lady who asked not to be filmed approaches Murphy to ask a question, and has a camera shoved in her face by Yes supports.

Another incident sees an English photographer threatened with being punched. Such actions are a total disgrace, and a completely undemocratic stiflingly of debate.

See what happened on Jim Murphy’s tour below. (Watch the whole thing.)


What was missing from Douglas Carswell’s ‘Change’ speech? 0

Douglas Carswell yesterday defected from the Conservatives to UKIP, giving a typically deep-thinking speech as he did so.

Carswell was clearly trying to pitch himself as forward thinker, giving a speech that praised feminism, disability rights, and that “what was once dismissed as “political correctness gone mad”, we recognise as good manners”.

However, he missed out one key bit of progress in his lifetime. He made no mention of LGBT rights. At all.

Change and progress for some, not all.


Carswell’s Clacton by-election is first test for Gove 0

Michael Gove’s move to Government Chief Whip put him at the heart of the Downing Street operation. Today’s announcement from Douglas Carswell, that he is joining UKIP and forcing a by-election, will put Gove’s political nouse to the test for the first time in that role.

It is the Chief Whip who decides when the writ is moved, and the by-election held. While of course Cameron, Osborne and others leading the Conservative campaign will have to decide when the least damaging moment to hold the election is, Gove will be a key part of putting together and implementing the strategy.

No doubt that Gove is also having to sure up some twitchy Tories, and using all his charm to calm down any of his colleagues who who may be tempted to join Carswell and Farage. With little coalition legislation remaining, this is exactly the kind of situation for which Gove was brought in as the pre-election Chief Whip.

While Labour can point to disquiet in the Tory ranks, and hope for a shock victory courtesy of a split vote, the Lib Dems may be in a bit more of a predicament. The seat is totally unwinnable, the money on a by-election campaign far better spent elsewhere, but can the party afford to lose another deposit?


UKIP’s first MP 0


As the news around Douglas Carswell’s defections breaks, there is a bit of debate about who was the first UKIP MP.

Some claim it’s Dr. Bob Spink, who was the MP for Castle Point, and left the Tories in 2008. Spink however was never listed as a UKIP MP as he never paid fees to UKIP. It’s all got the twitterverse in a bit of a tizz though.


One thing is clear, if he wins his by-election Carswell will be the first MP elected under the UKIP banner.


Douglas Carswell defects and forces a byelection 0

Douglas Carswell has today announced that he is joining the UK Independence Party.

The MP for Clacton is also resigning from Parliament and forcing a by-election, which he will fight as a UKIP Candidate.

A double disaster for Cameron.