Attack on Alliance office is attack on society. #notinmyname

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Reacting to the news that the constituency office of Trevor Lunn MLA, of the Alliance Party was attacked this morning in Lisburn, John O’Neill, Chair of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats said:

“As Northern Ireland looks forward to one of its most busy festive periods, the attack on Trevor Lunn’s office reminds us that there are still people who want to inflict their evil on the rest of society who are preparing for the warmth of the season.

“We, as Liberal Democrats, stand for the rights of all to be heard, but violence is not the way forward. The ordinary people of Northern Ireland will not tolerate any attempt to take us back to the dark days of the troubles. The attacks are not in my name.

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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’?

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

 

Nick Clegg’s letter from the Leader: ‘Keep winning’

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The latest in Nick’s Letter from the Leader pinged into our emails yesterday just as his speech finished in Brighton. [Well done LibDem HQ!]libdem-ltr-from-nick-clegg

I’ve just had a wonderful three days with Liberal Democrat members at Conference in Brighton.

Until today, I have spent nearly three years asking you to hold firm. Three years urging you to remain steady under fire. And you have.

But in my speech today, I gave you a different message: Win.

Get back out there. Tell our side of the story. And we will win again – on the doorstep, in town halls, in Government. Keep fighting for what we believe in. Keep winning. Building a stronger economy, a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg

Do you know someone who would like to get Nick’s weekly email? Forward this message and they can sign up here:
http://www.libdememails.co.uk/nick

Of course, here in Northern Ireland, we Liberal Democrats don’t stand [currently] despite Nick’s telling us that we (LibDems) would be standing everywhere in the UK at the next general election at conference a couple of years ago. But we get his message from yesterday about what is being achieved by the Parliamentary Party in Westminster. [Not of all it is really liberal of course, but that’s another story.]

 

Come on Tim… come on HQ… remember we’re here too

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Stephen Glenn speaking at Lib Dem Federal Conference

Stephen Glenn, local membership development officer for the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats,has just sent an email to Lib Dem HQ and the Party President Tim Farron MP, following the members’ survey highlighted yesterday:

Hi all,

Much as many of the Northern Ireland local party members (Branch 900 for your info) would love to take part in your recent survey on survey monkey you have neglected to include us as an option for location.

We do not fit into any of the English regions, nor are we Scottish or Welsh. We must certainly are part of the UK and not outside the UK, despite some of your team sending us information as if we were in recent months on how we can keep our Westminster votes (something we do in fact have with 18 MPs).

Can you please remember us in future. It is hard enough trying to keep our members here without Great George Street sending out all member mailings that neglect this fact.

Thank you.

Stephen Glenn

As you can see from the above picture, Stephen has spoken [many times!—Ed.] at Federal Party conference, and most recently he has spoken as a Northern Ireland party member. Has the Party forgotten this?

NI is abroad now… @libdems ?

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Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats

Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest issue in a long-running saga with the Federal Party of the Liberal Democrats has raised its head today.

At least one of our Northern Ireland members received an email today regarding the selection of candidates for election to the European Parliament.

Jonathan Davies, Senior Returning Officer writes, (with my comments in RED appended)

This autumn we will be selecting our candidates for the next European elections, which take place in 2014. (Oh good, that’ll help us all be able to campaign effectively.) I know these are elections in which many members living outside the UK have a special interest, (I’m sure that members who live outside the UK do have such an interest) so I am pleased to be able to tell you how you can take part in the selection. But to participate, you need to take action now.

All Liberal Democrat members living outside the UK who are registered to vote in UK elections can vote in the selection. (Northern Ireland is not outside the UK.) If you are not already registered, click here to find out more.

To take part in this autumn’s selection of European Parliamentary candidates, you must register with Party HQ not later than 31st August. Please click here and complete your details to register. You will then be able to vote for the selection of the Euro candidates for the Region where you are registered to vote. (Except that in our region (in the UK) does not field candidates.) Ballot papers will be sent out at the beginning of November.

It seems that the Federal Party has failed to recognise a few key things:

  1. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.
  2. The Northern Ireland local party of the Liberal Democrats is not in any region.
  3. At present the Liberal Democrats do not select candidates for the European Election in Northern Ireland.

So, as at least one member is asking,

What about those of us who live in the UK and aren’t allowed to vote for a Lib Dem candidate !

When is the Federal Party going to wake up to our existence – and truly integrate us into the Party. Understanding us is not difficult. And there are many local Lib Dems who have told me that they want to be able to field candidates in Elections, and furthermore, there are voters who have told me that they would like to be able to vote for the Liberal Democrats. So please, could someone from Lib Dem HQ please get back to us. Simon Hughes told us that he would sort out getting a meeting with the Chief Executive well over a year ago. Still nothing.

I’m getting really fed up now.

Federal Conference registration open – but do we really want to apply

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Logo Liberal Democrats UK

Image via Wikipedia

Normally I would support information from the Federal Party getting out – so even though I have major concerns, which I seem to share with Stephen Glenn and Caron Lindsay, about the security arrangements for our Federal Party conference in September, here is the information on how to register.

Registration for the upcoming Autumn Federal Conference in Birmingham is now open.

Whether you are a first timer or a long-standing conference attendee, voting or non-voting member, Lib Dem Federal Party conference has something for everyone.

Five days’ worth of lively policy debate – all the more important as we seek to keep the Parliamentary Party in check.

Fantastic networking opportunities – where else do you get to meet so many movers and shakers within our Party?

Wide Variety of fringe events, including the ever-popular Glee Club.

Registration is possible for the full week, just the weekend, or even just for a single day (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday).

The quickest, easiest and most secure way to register is
online at www.libdems.org.uk/conference.

If you register early, there is a saving – so do think about it. The first ‘Early Bird’ cut off is June 10.

Key Information:

Date: 17–21 September, Birmingham
Conference Centre: The ICC, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA
Conference Hotel: Hyatt Regency Birmingham – opposite ICC
Fringe & Training: Jurys Inn Birmingham, Broad Street