Lib Dem peers challenge “outrageous gerrymander” by Tories

The Government has ignored Electoral Commission advice and brought forward changes to the way we register to vote. Individual electoral registration was brought in during the last Parliament, but electoral registers would have contained existing data until 1 December 2016. They have now moved this forward to 1 December this year.

Liberal Democrat peers didn’t miss this announcement sneaking out as MPs and Peers head off for Summer recess and they have laid down motions in both houses of Parliament to try to defeat it.

Source: Lib Dem Voice Lib Dem peers challenge “outrageous gerrymander” by Tories

Dropping nearly 2 million from the register is rather convenient when you consider the potential impact on fixing parliamentary boundaries, next year’s elections  and with the looming EU referendum. Typical of the Tories! This isn’t the 1st time alert Lib Dems have frustrated their plans to make the electoral system favourable to themselves, and it probably won’t be the last.

Read the Guardian article as well here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/22/outrageous-tory-changes-to-electoral-roll-will-face-challenge-in-lords?CMP=twt_gu

Shropshire Council accused of wasting money – BBC News

A council is accused of wasting money after it was revealed it was renting offices for workers a few miles away from its headquarters.

Liberal Democrat Charlotte Barnes said the staff could work out of Shirehall.

Mrs Barnes said Shirehall had plenty of room for extra staff.

“We are working really hard to make all these savings, cuts people are finding really difficult to bear, and yet we are giving council money away when we have buildings we could house these people in,” she said.

Source: Shropshire Council accused of wasting money – BBC News

Well said Charlotte! It really is absurd to waste hard earned public money on office space when you already have space to accommodate them.

Labour allow £12bn Welfare Cuts Bill to proceed

The government’s bill that will cut spending on welfare by £12 billion has been passed in the House of Commons, with 308 votes to 124.

Liberal Democrat MPs, along with SNP and 48 rebel Labour MPs voted against the Bills 2nd reading. The majority of Labour MPs abstained, allowing the Conservative Cuts Bill to proceed with Labour’s tacit support.

Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, described the Government’s plans were “unfair, unwise and inhuman”.

He said: ” We will vote against this Bill because we know the depth and character of these proposals are unfair, unwise and inhuman. They are anything but economically necessary.”

Tim said: “This Government pledges a living wage which even they know is not one. They want a welfare state that is anything but good for our country’s welfare and it uses the guise of economic necessity to cover up ideologically driven cuts.”

Tim also said: “Cutting tax credits, tightening the benefit cap and ramping up Right to Buy are not just morally wrong they are economically wrong. Widening inequality is not just against British decency it is also economically stupid.”

Before denouncing Labour for giving in to the “narrative that the answer to our country’s needs is to pit the working poor against the temporarily not working poor”.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/welfare-cuts-vote-welfare-bill-that-will-cut-welfare-spending-by-12bn-passed-in-parliament-with-a-majority-of-184-despite-large-labour-revolt-10403340.html

3 council by-election victories

Hot of the heals of the new Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron, being elected, a clutch of new councillors have hansomly gained seats from both Labour & the Conservatives. #libdemfightback continues.

And the Winner is… Tim Farron

Tim Farron has been elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Both Tim Farron and Norman Lamb ran distinctively liberal, strong campaigns that spoke to party members across the UK. At numerous hustings and meetings with members, they spoke of their liberal values, the direction they think we should go, and how to best rebuild the party over the coming months and years.

Here’s the final results:

Tim Farron 56.5%
Norman Lamb 43.5%

Congratulations Tim. Let’s get cracking 🙂

School children subject to illiberal searches?

Earlier this week it was reported in the Telegraph and on the radio that Lord Nash, a Conservative schools Minister, had said schools have the power to search and confiscate junk food from pupil’s school lunches.

Telegraph article: “Teachers can lawfully ‘confiscate, keep or destroy’ unhealthy lunchbox snacks, ministers say

This is totally backwards in a free society. The correct approach should be to educate and support parent and pupils in making healthy food choices. Confiscating food from children only victimizes pupils.

Government should be pushing for 100% free school meals rather than condone policies more at home in a police state than in a school. In the last Government Lib Dems ensured 5-7 years old children had a free hot meal. Indeed in our Manifesto it was our ambition to expand that to every primary school child.

Libdems.org.uk: Get the Facts: Free School Meals

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Recycling Collection – Simple really… isn’t it?

Recycling Collects... Are you satisfied with the way your bins / boxes are left?
Recycling Collections… Are you satisfied with the way your bins / boxes are left after collection?

More Often than not when the Recycling Boxes are collected in Bridgnorth, Boxes that have been dutifully placed at the side of the road for the convenience of the collection team, are discarded willy nilly all over place.

Is it too much to ask to for the boxes to be placed back, tidily, where they were found? Apparently is it too much for the collection team to cope with. All too often boxes are just tossed aside, obstructing the pavement or even left in the road! Dropped Recyclables left scattered about also only makes the situation worse.

What is your experience of the recycling collections? Can they and should they be doing a better job of collecting our recyclables?

Surely Shropshire Council & Veolia can do better??

The Tories shouldn’t pick and choose our human rights

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The Tories shouldn't pick and choose our human rights

David Cameron has shown he cares less about the rights of the British people he does about placating his frothing-at-the-mouth anti-European backbenchers

In Coalition the Tories said they would abolish the Human Rights Act as quickly as possible if they had their own way.
 
They also threatened to walk away from the European Convention on Human Rights, with no guarantee about what would come in its place.
 
The only reason they could not follow through on their plans is because they were blocked time and again by the Liberal Democrats.
 
Now David Cameron – presiding over a wafer-thin majority and held to ransom by the swivel-eyed right wingers on his backbenches – is back on the war path.
 
His first act in Government is not to explain how he plans to rip £12bn out of the welfare budget but a blatant, aggressive and cowardly attack on our human rights.
 
By drawing up plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and laying the groundwork to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the Tories are revealing their true colours.
 
It sends a clear message to the British people: the next five years will be nastier, less liberal and less compassionate that any Government in living memory.
 
But we must fight the Tories every step of the way and stop them from trampling on our hard-fought freedoms and rights.
 
The HRA and ECHR are not some piffling pieces of legislation, dreamt up by bureaucrats in Brussels to tie us in red tape.
 
These are British rights, drafted by British lawyers.
 
They were forged in the aftermath of the atrocities of the Second World War and fought for by Winston Churchill.

They are designed to place public authorities in the UK under a strict, non-negotiable obligation to treat people with fairness, equality and dignity.
 
Frequently they have been all that has stood in the way of injustice, most usually inflicted on the individual by an over-powerful state.
 
Our HRA has already achieved so much.  It’s held the state to account for spying on us, safeguarded our soldiers and supported peaceful protest.
 
It’s helped rape victims, defended domestic violence victims and guarded against slavery.  It’s protected those in care, shielded press freedom and provided answers for grieving families.
 
Take for example, 90-year-olds Richard and Beryl Driscoll. They lived together for more than 65 years until, in 2006, he was moved into a residential care home.
 
He could not walk unaided and she was blind. She relied on her husband as her eyes and he relied on her for his mobility.
 
They wanted to remain together but the council said it wasn’t possible to accommodate them in the same nursing home.
 
But thanks to a campaign that argued their treatment breached their human rights – specifically their right to a family life – the council were forced to back down and they were reunited.
 
It’s difficult to believe that, without the protection afforded to them by the HRA, there would have been a happy ending.
 
The same is true in Europe too. Up until 2004, it was possible for two gay men to be prosecuted for having sex if one was aged 16 or 17, even though it was legal for heterosexual couples.
 
This blatant unfairness was only removed as a result of an ECHR ruling, one the right to a private life, a clause that causes heartless Tories such distress.
 
And, in 2002, a male-to-female transsexual – asked Strasbourg to determine whether there had been a violation of her right to respect and family life.
 
Why? Because Britain did not legally recognise her changed gender and did not let her marry. Her victory was a huge step forward in the battle for trans-equality in this country.
 
Our current human rights legislation has also blocked blanket interception of private messages by the state, protected our right to a fair trial and prevented indiscriminate police stop-and-search.
 
To walk away from the HRA and ECHR would remove at a stroke the moral authority we have when we engage with other countries.
 
What sort of message would the Tories send to brutal dictators across the world if we abandoned our human rights’ obligations?
 
If we pulled out of the ECHR we would join Belarus – hardly a bastion of liberal democracy – as the only other European country not to sign up to it.
 
These are fundamental rights we all have and they define how we treat our citizens and offer our citizens protection from the state.
 
David Cameron has shown he cares less about the rights of the British people he does about placating his frothing-at-the-mouth anti-European backbenchers.
 
Liberal Democrats fought in Government to stop the Tories trashing our human rights laws. We must all come together now to stop them trying it again.