Posts Tagged Guardian

Time for a Citizens’ Convention?

Yesterday’s Guardian has more voices in support of a Citizens’ Convention to reform our political processes, kickstarted by the expenses scandal.

Among various luminaries of the reformist left and centre are a number of Lib Dems, including Lib Dem Voice editor Stephen Tall, and Liberal Youth chair Elaine Bagshawe. Their cause is honourable, but there is an air of deckchairs and Titanic in a lineup which features no Tories at all.

Lib Dem blogger and democracy campaigner James Graham argues that pre-election legislation is essential to tie the hands of any incoming government. That’s not terribly democratic – if Labour did that on an issue we loathed (and there are lots of examples from ID cards to Heathrow, nuclear power, Trident renewal or new databases), we’d be the first to complain.

As it is, I can’t see a dying Labour government giving up legislative time to anything other than damage limitation. This will be the palliative care parliament.

The real chance for reform will come from electing MPs with the right mandate. James also points out that MPs of all parties have backed the Convention by signing the EDM (although Emily Thornberry, unsurprisingly, has not). But the only ones from a party committed to electoral reform are Liberal Democrats, which is why maximising the number of Lib Dem MPs is so important.

So yes, let’s keep writing letters. But let’s deliver them in our key seats too!

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April Fools

I admit it, I fell for the Firebox one.

Their latest email arrived in my inbox, advertising their newest gadgets, including satnav trainers. I thought they sounded ridiculous – but genuine – until I spotted the powdered beer alongside.

The Guardian’s announcement it was going to convert entirely to Twitter was brilliant.

Andrew Reeves spotted an intriguing offer from Pizza Hut.

One of my friends surprised us by changing his Facebook status to ‘married’ for a few hours.

The Metro has a round-up of some of the other April Fools here.

And Time Magazine has some fools from around the world (no, not the G20).

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Guardian blog 28 November

My latest Guardian blog, covering the Damian Green case, VAT changes, and our success on the Angel crossing campaign, is now online.

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Guardian blog 21 November

My latest Guardian blog – on recession, RBS and responsibility – is now online.

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Guardian blog 14 November

My latest Guardian blog – with thoughts on Remembrance Sunday and Government climbdowns – is now online.

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Action on car emissions

Back in July, I wrote about the vexed question of biofuels in my Guardian blog – and pointed to possible EU limits on vehicles’ CO2 emissions as a positive alternative.

Well the good news is that the European Parliament’s environment committee has voted through the new rules.

As Greenpeace reports, “In a long-awaited display of responsibility, the European Parliament’s Environment committee has voted through a strong package to reduce emissions from cars. As the committee went into session, it seemed certain that a compromise package riddled with loopholes would be the one to pass. However, the MEPs voted to stick with meaningful legislation, turning their backs on nine months of lobbying by the car industry.”

Among the MEPs leading the campaign for change is UK Lib Dem Fiona Hall, who points out that Liberal Democrat MEPs carried on pushing for tough targets, even when the Socialists chose to work with Tories to try and block the targets and create loopholes.

Proof that who we vote for in next year’s Euro elections does make a difference.

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Guardian blog 22 August

My latest Guardian blog, covering the Olympics, Tory legacies and Equitable Life is now online.

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