Save the date

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We are running a bit behind with date for our AGM, but it will be held on Monday 13th January 2014. Venue to be arranged. Members of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats should watch out for further details via email.

Is the Westminster Coalition helping or hindering recovery in N. Ireland?

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20131205-002519.jpgLater today, there is a political debate hosted by the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group entitled

Is the Westminster Coalition helping or hindering Northern Ireland’s recovery?

Prominent Lib Dem blogger, Nick Thornsby is set to take part, and I—as a Northern Ireland Lib Dem party officer will be there to welcome him to the Province.

The debate is being held between 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ building in Corporation Square, Belfast. I hope to post more later today. Perhaps Nick would write a piece for us himself.

Hello LibDem HQ, Northern Ireland is over here!

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Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
Okay, if you have been with this blog for a while you will have read me moan that the Federal Party of the Liberal Democrats keeps appearing to ignore or possibly forget those of us who are in the Northern Ireland local party.

Well, I thought after meeting with a senior Parliamentarian (Lord Alderdice) earlier in the year, our problems may soon be over. Sadly, this evening, I have discovered that those in the graphics department in HQ have forgotten a few simple things.

The European Union is made up of nation states. One of these is the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is sometimes abbreviated to ‘Britain’ but it could properly be abbreviated to ‘UK’ (much shorter). But those who are behind the Lib Dems are the Party of In Europe have managed to muck up the image used. The accompanying text to the picture on Facebook says,

Liberal Democrats are the only major party campaigning for Britain to remain IN Europe.

New figures show how many jobs would be lost if Britain left the EU.

The Lib Dems are the party of “in Europe” but could they remember about Northern Ireland being in the United Kingdom please?

The Lib Dems are the party of “in Europe” but could they remember about Northern Ireland being in the United Kingdom please?

But the picture doesn’t show Britain, it shows Great Britain and the Isle of Man (which is not in the EU!) but it leaves off one part of that nation state which is in the EU – Northern Ireland.

How hard can it be to realise that the UK is in Europe? To understand that Northern Ireland is in the UK? I mean, is it that hard? 

Could our party please start saying ‘the UK’ whenever tempted to say ‘Britain’?

A million jobs… and counting.

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Since 2010, more than one million jobs have been created in the private sector. We are proud of the role that the Liberal Democrats have played in directing UK government investment into job creation and training.

We are now focusing our efforts on improving this record and delivering a million more new jobs as we continue to build a stronger economy for the future.

Jobs for Young People

The coalition government has already delivered 1.2 million apprenticeships for young people since 2010. The Liberal Democrats are now campaigning to double the number of apprenticeships being offered.

Jobs in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is the key to a sustainable economic recovery in Britain. Under Vince Cable at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we have directed an extra investment of over £5.5 billion into high-tech manufacturing, science and renewable energy.

Jobs across the UK

Liberal Democrats have long argued that we need to rebalance the economy away from our reliance on London and South East England. That is why we have also set up the £2.6 billion Regional Growth Fund initiative, to help create businesses, jobs and economic recovery in every part of the country.

Jobs in Northern Ireland

Jobs in Belfast

Lib Dems in Government are giving £10,502,000 to the Institute of Health Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast to help create 400 jobs. The funding forms part of a £32 million partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, The Atlantic Philanthropies, a Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Award, The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and the Insight Trust for the Visually Impaired to deliver the next phase of the Institute of Health Sciences. The Centre for Experimental Medicine will bring researchers working on vision sciences onto the campus alongside new research programmes in diabetes and genomics.

Lib Dems in Government have secured a share of a £23,000,000 grant for local business Shorts Brothers. The grant will help deliver a programme to accelerate innovation in the aerospace supply chain to a rate that competes globally. The project aims to improve skills, increase finance and develop the supply chain.

Lib Dems in Government have allocated £13,700,000 to make Belfast a Super-Connected City by rolling out ultra-fast broadband, creating jobs and growth.

Jobs in Derry/Londonderry

Lib Dems in Government have allocated £3,050,000 to make Derry/Londonderry a Super-Connected City by rolling out ultra-fast broadband, creating jobs and growth

Jobs Building Britain

The coalition is using £15.3 billion of investment into our infrastructure to build a stronger economy for the future and to create thousands of jobs in construction right now.
For more information on the Liberal Democrats’ record in creating one million new jobs, and to find out how many new jobs are being created near you, visit the Million Jobs website: http://www.amillionjobs.org

originally published on Michael Carchrie Campbell: Lib Dem Campaigner in Belfast City

LibDems for 25 years

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The Liberal Democrats celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary this year. Watch the film and see some glimpses from our history.

Today the Liberal Democrats are working for a stronger economy in a fairer society enabling every person to get on in life – if you would like to join us in this task, please join today.

Why We Need a Fully-Elected Second Chamber

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I am not a fan of the House of Lords in its current form. My main objection is because it is an unelected body that has real power.

Up until fairly recently, I didn’t pay much attention to it, but over the past few months I have been doing so. This was started when I had a conversation with a member of the House of Lords, and I was appalled at his level of ignorance. As the House of Lords has debated equal marriage my opposition to the House has grown, entirely due to the nastiness of some of its members.

I’m sure that the House of Commons has just as many unpleasant members, but there is a fundamental difference between the two houses: if I really don’t like someone in the Commons, I can work against him or her getting re-elected. In extreme circumstances I could even stand against them. If they get re-elected, then that is democracy in action. The electorate has chosen someone I really don’t like. This happens all the time, and it is a good thing, and a fundamental part of democracy.

But if I don’t like someone in the House of Lords, what can I do? I can sit around doing nothing while they use their prejudices to create law, or I can protest. They might listen. They might not. They don’t have to. I can’t support a campaign that would lead to someone else getting their seat, and I can’t decide to stand for the Lords myself.

An elected upper house could end up with just as many, if not more unpleasant members than the unelected version. The important thing is we, the people who make up the United Kingdom, could act to remove them if that is what we chose, or we could act to add more unpleasant members to, if that is what we chose.

I am a Liberal Democrat. In the 2010 Lib Dem manifesto, the party said it would “replace the House of Lords with a fully elected second chamber” (p 88). I fully agree with this stance.

See also

 

Concern about the future of Causeway Hospital

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Causeway Hospital - geograph.org.uk - 1154840
The Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats have received expressions of concern from a number of stakeholder parties at uncertainties over the future of Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, currently under review by the Department of Health at Stormont as an aspect of the Transforming Your Care programme.

The difficulties at Causeway are acknowledged by all, and constitute a major impediment to the delivery of healthcare to North Antrim and the North Coast. These stem principally from an inability to recruit and retain senior Medical and Surgical professionals at Causeway, especially in the areas of Emergency Medicine and Maternity.

Causeway Hospital currently operates within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, and as such, it shares many services, including the services of many Consultants and an entire spectrum of less-visible activities such as nursing, supply, Biomedical Science services, etc with other institutions of the Northern HSC Trust including Antrim Hospital. One possible “solution” mooted for the senior staffing difficulties is the transfer of Causeway from the Northern HSC Trust to the Western HSC Trust. The principal motivation being suggested for such change is the potential for new multi-centre working arrangements between Causeway and Altnagelvin Hospitals.

We are seriously concerned that such a proposal does not adequately acknowledge the existing multicentre arrangements from which Causeway benefits in the Northern Trust. Many of these arrangements have been put in place at considerable cost in recent years following the merger of the former United Hospitals, Homefirst and Causeway Trusts.

It should be pointed out also that within the current fourfive-Trust [thanks @Alanlaw] structure in Northern Ireland, community and acute services reside within the same Trusts. Thus, any transfer of Causeway would have to be accompanied by a transfer of community medical, mental health and social care provision in North Antrim and on the North Coast. We suggest that this depth of change to healthcare in the Causeway area is an unnecessarily disruptive answer to the difficulties at hand.

Again, we do not seek to deny the seriousness of the shortfalls at Causeway, or the difficulties faced by the Department of Health in trying to put them right. We acknowledge that provision here has been overly territorial and insufficiently collaborative as many within healthcare in Northern Ireland will admit. However, that surely points to a possible alternative pathway — The further development of Causeway Hospital need not be a zero-sum process. — Even at a time of comparative scarcity in the NHS, we feel that there is potential within both Trusts for the Department to find, even perhaps to pioneer, better networking arrangements which enable Causeway’s existing strengths and relationships to continue as new capabilities are created for the benefit of all in North Antrim and on the North Coast.