miss_s_b: (Default)
Lots of people have already written about special conference, so I'm not going to rehash everything that's already been said. I do want to thank [personal profile] po8crg for being such a lovely chauffeur, and buying me breakfast. It was lovely to see so many of the Lib Dem Massive, even if there were a lot of white heterosexual blokes in suits called David (some of them far sexier than others - my my, doesn't [personal profile] djm4 scrub up well?). There were loads of people not called David* too, and I lost count of all the hugs and kisses I got from people who I really do consider to be part of my family these days.

Ros chaired with her usual grace and humour. Evan moved a brilliant amendment (which I signed! :)) complete with Woddy Allen reference, as did the gravelly-voiced sex pot and Dave Page, the world's most activist activist. But my wildest cheers were reserved for [personal profile] djm4 and [personal profile] lizw's amendment on the Digital Economy Act, Daddy Alex's fabulous and witty intervention, and everyone's favourite eMP Lynne Featherstone, who did an absolutely barnstorming speech about working on the Equalities brief. I'm afraid I giggled through Simon Hughes's speech because he sounded more and more like Davros as he carried on, and the fact that the person next to me (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) saying ... and with this coalition, I SHALL HAVE THAT POWER!!!! in Davrosian tones did not help stifle my giggles.

Anyway, I came away from the conference feeling pretty euphoric, despite being ripped from the bosom of my family by an impending shift at work. We're not in any danger of losing our identity, or being subsumed by the Tories. We've not lost our radicalism, our integrity, or our sense of humour. We're a vibrant, diverse party with a determination to do good that I have never seen in any other organisation. I think the guys at the naughtily-named Nick Clegg fan blog said it best:



Whatever the eventual result of this coalition, I'm proud that we've taken the risk to get our policies implemented, I'm proud to be a part of this family, and I'm proud to have voted in favour of the main motion and all of the amendments to it. We're doing the right thing, and it feels good.



* aside from all those mentioned above, shouts going out to El Presidente and Lady Mark; Sian, Emma and Manny; Adrian, Jason, Romer, Crofty and the rest of the stewarding crew; Mummy Helen, Daddies Richard and Alex, and Millennium; Tessa Munt, Lynne Featherstone and Linda Jack; Susan Gasczack (one day I shall learn to spell your name) Jon Ball, Ian and the rest of the FCC and FE gangs; Ali G, Dazmondo from Bracknell Blog, Mark Reckons, Lloyd Harris, Andy Strange, James Blanchard and Gareth Epps; and most importantly of all the smallest conference delegate, Steph Ashley's daughter Alex, who is AMAZING and very cool, and I want to introduce her to Holly as soon as possible, because I think they would get on like a maison en flambé.

A Cabinet of Curiosities.

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 09:23 pm
miss_s_b: (Default)
So, I promised you my views on the cabinet, and here they are. I'm not going to censor myself here, either. We're in coalition with the Tories, but I'm still a Liberal, and I'm going to say what I think. If any Tories have a problem with that... well... Tough. I stand by what I said that who gets what job is not as important as the policy agreements, but it is still important. I've C&Ped the list from the BBC website, here.

PRIME MINISTER - DAVID CAMERON

Slimy, horrible, lightweight posh boy. Don't like him, don't trust him, but am stuck with him.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER - NICK CLEGG

Have come to respect him a lot more since he's been leader, even though I supported Huhne in the leadership contest. Having met him and spoken to him, I trust and believe in his Liberalism. He's not faking it, he's the genuine article. I look forward to seeing how he does at PMQs when Cam is away.

FOREIGN SECRETARY - WILLIAM HAGUE

I have a grudging respect for Hague. I think the position suits him, and I think he'll do well at it. He has the intellect and the diplomatic skills to carry it off.

CHANCELLOR - GEORGE OSBORNE

I said before the election that I wouldn't trust George Osborne to run a bath, never mind the finances of the country, and I stand by that. He's a canny political operator when it comes to soundbites, but he has the substance and gravitas of a fogbank. Hopefully Laws and Cable will be able to give him some pointers.

HOME SECRETARY AND MINISTER FOR WOMEN AND EQUALITY - THERESA MAY

I like Theresa May, and not just for her taste in shoes. I think she'll be good at being home sec, and is certainly a better option than some of the other names that were floating around, but I worry that it will be the poisoned chalice it has turned out to be for so many other politicians. I don't want to see her scuppered by the job, I think she deserves better.

On the equalities side, I think she's less suited, but she does carry the faith of the right wing of the Tory party, so can probably do a lot more liberalising than a Lib Dem would be able to get away with before they start kicking up a fuss. Hope she'll have Lynne Featherstone and/or Jo Swinson as juniors in the equalities brief; they've both done sterling work there in the Lib Dems.

DEFENCE SECRETARY - DR LIAM FOX

Should have been Paddy. Can't stand Liam Fox.

LORD CHANCELLOR AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE - KEN CLARKE

Ken Clarke is one of my favourite Tories and I think he'll do well here. He's from the Liberal wing of the party, and that's what we need at justice after the excesses of Judge Jack Straw.

HEALTH SECRETARY - ANDREW LANSLEY

Not unexpected, and not awful.

EDUCATION SECRETARY - MICHAEL GOVE

Should have been Laws.

BUSINESS SECRETARY - VINCE CABLE

Should have been chancellor, but will do very well in this job.

WORK AND PENSIONS - IAIN DUNCAN SMITH

Will quickly become known as the minister for eating the poor. Osborne as chancellor is bad, but he's just incompetent. IDS is dangerous because he's smart, but wrong-headed. This is the one that worries me most.

ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE - CHRIS HUHNE

Huhne will be great at environment, but I do worry about some of the illiberal instincts he has shown of late. We'll see.

CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY - DAVID LAWS

This is a big promotion for Laws and he'll rise to it with aplomb. An excellent negotiator, and has experience in investment banking, so will know when the bankers are trying to pull a fast one.

SCOTTISH SECRETARY - DANNY ALEXANDER

Still have the urge to sing his name to the tune of Donald Where's Yer Troosers.

CHIEF WHIP - PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN

Don't know much about him, but a Tory ex-miner? Could be interesting.

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY - ERIC PICKLES

* shudder *
Bradfordians know Eric Pickles. Putting him in charge of communities is... interesting. Still, he DID run Bradford council, so he has some experience of local government. Let's just hope he has learnt from his bravura performance on Question Time...

ATTORNEY GENERAL - DOMINIC GRIEVE

Another slimy Tory I'm not keen on.

CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT - JEREMY HUNT

Don't know much about him either, but he's got to be better than "scrap free museum entry" Hugo Swire.

CONSERVATIVE CHAIRMAN - BARONESS WARSI

I respect her straight-talking Yorkshireness, but have total antipathy towards her views. This could be interesting too.

From the rag-tag of others, the only one I really care about is David Willetts as Universities, Science and Skills Minister. The geeks will be watching you, Mr Willetts. And we watch hard.

There aren't many women, are there? And it's all very white and public school. It could have been better, but, rather like the coalition agreement, it could have been so, so, SO much worse. I'm sticking with cautious optimism. One thing that is worrying me, is that the beeb now have an excuse to leave us off Question Time/Any Questions even more than they do already. They can invite a Tory on and no Lib Dem and when we complain, they can say "but we've GOT someone from the government already..." Hey ho. We shall see what transpires.
miss_s_b: (Default)
Analytics makes interesting reading this morning... Hello to all my blog's new readers! It feels very strange being part of a party of government. It's not something I thought I would have to get used to anything soon. I think I have an inkling of what Lady Mark's feeling's were when he said I've always been anti-establishment, and now I'm married to it! I mean... I have TOUCHED the Deputy Prime Minister! I wonder if I am now immune from Scrofula...

Having slept on it, my feelings on the policy breakdown pretty much chime with Debi's (also YAY SHE JOINED UP!!!). Cautious optimism is the watchword. I don't trust the Tories, and I worry that science/museums/other stuff I care about will be cut. I'm also worried about welfare reform. But really, to say that we came third in the election, to see so much of our manifesto adopted is amazing.

I've managed to get a shift swap for Sunday (thank you [livejournal.com profile] burlesque_bunny, you are awesome and I totally owe you one), so hopefully I will be able to attend the special conference. Still waiting on the full details of the coalition agreement, and the details of who has got what job, but I think that's actually less important than the policy. As long as the people in cabinet are competent, that's what matters. Somebody tweeted last night that Vince Cable is going to be Blackadder to Osbourne's Prince Regent, and I think that's aposite (if anyone can remember who, I'd be grateful for a crediting link in the comments, btw) but Huhne in environment, and Clegg as DPM... This is good. Could do with more roles for our women - whither Lynne Featherstone, Jo Swinson and Sarah Teather? - but again, mustn't expect too much.

All in all though?

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life... and I'm feelin' good.
miss_s_b: (Default)
I should say up front that none of this is confirmed, but this list agrees with what was read out on the BBC. From the Graun's Live Blog comes this list of policy agreements of the coalition:

• £6b in year cuts in non frontline services subject to the advice from the treasury and the bank of england (Tory)
- I think this one was inevitable

• Scrapping of national insurance rises (Tory)
- agreed with this one anyway

• A substantial increase in the personal tax allowance from April 2011 with a focus on low and middle income earners, with a "long term goal" of a £10,000 personal tax allowance. There is no a timetable for this, but there is a promise to make further real term steps each year towards this objective. This is described as a "funded increase". It will be funded by taking the money the Tories had planned to use to increase the employee threshold for national insurance, and by an increase in capital gains tax for non business assets to bring it closer to the level of income tax.
- sad that this is not going to be immediate, but glad it's been adopted.

• Marriage tax allowance. The liberal democrats have agreed to abstain on this, which gives the Tories a "real chance" of getting that through.
- furious about this. Commitment to equality is on the back of the membership card, FFS. We should not be making judgements on relationships.

• Tax relief for higher rate pensioners will not be pursued
• Mansion tax dropped
- sad about these two, but again, see them as inevitable if agreement to be reached with tories.

• Raising the threshold on inheritance tax dropped, described as "unlikely to be achieved in this parliament".
- Hurrah!

• Referendum to bring in some form of alternative vote system. Coalition members will be subject to three-line whip to force the legislation for a referendum through, but they will be free to campaign against the reforms before referendum.
- "some form of alternative vote system"? So STV COULD be inserted. This is better than I was hoping for.

• New pupil premium to be introduced, steering more funding to schools for every child they take from poor homes. Both parties back this policy, but the Lib Dem version attaches more money to it.
- this is amazing.

• Reducing the tax burden on low earners. This could go some way towards the Lib Dem aim of lifting tax threshold to £10,000.
- I hope it does.

• A wholly or mainly elected house of Lords.
- Hmmm. I was always outside of the majority of my party on this anyway. Would rather see fixed term appointments myself.

• More equal constituency sizes
- YAY!

• Fixed term parliaments, including this one. The next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Legislation will mean such agreements can only be broken by an enhanced majority of the House of Commons.
- YAY!

• A cap on immigration and an end to child detention immigration controls (the latter was a Lib Dem proposal).
- first half bad, second half good.

• Tory Welfare reform programme to be implemented in full.
- THIS is worrying.

• School reform programme providing all schools are held accountable.
- This also worrying.

• A commitment to maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent. Renewal of Trident will be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will be free to continue the case for alternatives.
* shrug *

• A referendum lock will ensure that any proposal to transfer new powers to the EU must by law be put to a referendum.
- unsurprising, and I agree with this. Anything that big should go to a referendum.

• A great repeal or freedom bill to scrap the ID card scheme and the national identity register and the next generation of biometric passports
- YES YES YES! YES!

• Extending the scope of the Freedom of Information bill to provide greater transparency
- Yes!

* Adopt protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database
- Voted for this myself at conference.

• Protecting trial by jury
- Oh Cthulhu, thank you for this. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Judge Jack Straw.

• Reviewing libel laws to protect freedom of speech
- YES!!!! I hope that Simon Singh et all have seen this bit.

• Further regulation of CCTV and other items
- YES!

• Measures to boost economy in key areas such as low-carbon industries and investment in infrastructure. A green investment bank, a smart grid, retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping home information packs.
- This, also, is good.

• Lib Dems will be free to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to put forward the national planning statement for ratification by parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.
- Fair enough

Banking reform

• A banking levy will be introduced.
• Bonuses will be tackled.
• A "more competitive banking industry".
• More credit to flow to businesses. The proposals of the respective parties will be looked at before deciding which is the better one.
• An independent commission will be set up to consider Lib Dem proposals to separate retail and investment banking and the Tories' proposals for a quasi separation. An interim report will be published within a year.
• The Bank of England could be given control of macro prudential regulation and oversight of micro prudential regulation under proposals to be put forward.

- All sounds good to me.

I can see why the MPs and Fed Exec were overwhelmingly in favour if this is all true. I would - will, if I can get my shift covered at work on Sunday - vote for this. It's not my dream, but it's close enough. I have spent my life fighting the Tories and what they stand for, and am suspicious that they will deliver on some of the aspects of this, but it's good, grown-up politics, and it's a damn sight better than the last government. Freedom Bill! Libel Reform! Referendum on Voting Reform!

I have more hope now than I did when Cam announced the coalition.

So, it's Official

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 08:45 pm
miss_s_b: (Default)
Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice



Cameron has announced full coalition. While we wait for the details of the agreement, I shall just list a few things that will and won't happen.

Things that will happen:

  • The media will continue to speculate furiously, and will probably not read the agreement properly and will need to have their mistakes pointed out by bloggers.

  • Tories shackled in government by a coalition with the Lib Dems will be orders of magnitude better than Tories in government unfettered and running amok.

  • Nick Robinson will continue frotting Dave until Dave can stand it no more.

  • We will lose members, supporters and voters who don't understand how we can coalesce with the Tories and put tribalism over making things work.

  • The Murdochised press are not going to be fair to us - but we're used to that.

Things that will not happen:

  • Lib Dems will not suddenly start being lovely to Tories; we will be keeping a close eye on what they do because it now affects us too.

  • I am not not going to start paying attention to any Tory blogs that I am not already reading. Unreasonable people do not suddenly become reasonable just because our parties are in coalition.

  • The world will not end just because that smug twat is occupying #10 Downing Street.
This is not ideal. Not by any means. But it's better than it could have been. Lets wait for the details to emerge, and then we can do what we Lib Dems do best: disect them and point out the flaws :D

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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