Our Children’s future and the Liberal Democrats - A Personal View by Jim Murcott

I am lucky because I and my family have been extremely fortunate to have been born in the twentieth century, to have been born in western Europe, and to have been able to enjoy the economic and other benefits of living in the European Union.

My hope, for most of my life, has been for Europe, North America and like-minded countries to work together for the benefit of the human race and to lead the world in maintaining liberal and democratic standards. The results have not been perfect, but there have been wonderful benefits during the last 40 years - no wars between EU states, increased security by co-operation and shared funding, huge improvements in living standards, free-movement of staff, Erasmus support for students, etc. Now, after the last minute and incomplete Brexit trade deal, it will need a huge effort by the British people to maintain the quality of life provided by our ancestors.

Millions of Europeans (along with many others across the world) died during two world wars and more millions suffered great hardship during the following years. Those of us who were born during the last century benefitted hugely from the magnificent sacrifices of our ancestors and the efforts of those who inspired and built the EU. Surely, we have a moral duty to pass those benefits onto future generations. They should not be frittered away by a selfish and/or incompetent group of politicians. They were elected to serve the people - not just themselves and their outdated beliefs.

We need to elect parliamentarians who have practical experience of managing or developing scientific research, construction, teaching, medical care, engineering, national health, businesses, economics, data science, technical education, finance, exporting and other essential skills. We need a Government Cabinet which is not dominated by incompetent journalists, traditionalists and career politicians who owe their positions to egoistical leaders. Government is much more than the manipulation of words and the wasteful use of taxpayers’ money.  It should not expect that it will be rescued by the General Public and the workers and managers of organisations which generate the wealth of the UK and provide the essential services. (Dealing with the effects of a major Trade Deal with only a few days notice of essential actions over Christmas and New Year, or completely re-organising schooling with 24 hours notice, or operating a complex business when necessary decisions have been delayed or reversed).

The residents of the UK are facing many challenges - such as care for an ageing population, education for those who have suffered this century, the possible break-up of the UK, the departure of skilled and essential immigrant and non-immigrant workers, the maintenance of a wonderful health service, etc. However, four massive challenges have to be overcome in order for the others to be dealt with. They are the Coronavirus Pandemic, Brexit & the Economy, Climate Change & Education.

In trying to tackle these challenges the UK electorate will soon see that they have been misled by the members of an incompetent and indecisive government who believe that they have been appointed so that they will be remembered for posterity. They are more likely to be despised because they followed false dogma and caused our country to become a laughingstock. Any Cabinet leading us at this time must include people who have real experience of making responsible and rational decisions. The government repeatedly say that they are “following the science”.  Yes, they are - but many weeks after they should have acted to save lives and jobs.

We can see the ongoing self-destruction of the Labour Party and the current destruction of the Conservative Party by Johnson ‘The Ditherer’. This destruction is already in progress according to a new poll which is the first detailed survey of the public’s perception of Johnson’s handling of the recently concluded Brexit talks and the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 22,000 people were surveyed in the Focaldata poll in December and results published by the Sunday Times. The poll found the ruling Conservatives would lose 81 seats, wiping out their 80-seat majority. The Scottish National Party was also predicted to win 57 of the 59 seats in Scotland. Installing Liberal Democrat MPs instead, would bring a responsible stabilising influence in any future government.

Our forebears protected us and cared for us during two World Wars and in the aftermath. We must do the same for our children and future generations. Liberal Democrats can provide the leadership which is lacking elsewhere.

Source information from:

  • Imperial College
  • The Economist
  • BBC
  • London School of Economics
  • The Guardian

No-deal Brexit + Covid-19 = Economic Horror for UK? - Update

There has been lot of talk since I wrote my original article in October - but not a lot which will be much help to those of us who live in the UK. Perhaps the loss of Dominic Cummings and the approval of a Covid-19 vaccine will be a benefit. However, the lack of progress with the “oven-ready” Brexit trade deal, the ongoing problems with “Track and Trace”, the absence of capacity to use the promised vaccines, the lack of post 31 December information to enable businesses to plan for 2021 together with the departure of several of Boris Johnson’s advisers could be disastrous for ordinary people in the UK.

 

Costings for Brexit Trade Deals and the Economic Cost of a No-Deal Brexit

The Governor of the Bank of England has estimated that the pandemic will cause persistent scarring over the long term, with total economic output about 1.75% lower than would otherwise have been the case by the end of 2023. No-deal Brexit would not cause as much short-term damage as inflicted by the pandemic earlier this year. However, the LSE modelling has estimated a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU. On the Andrew Marr Show, George Eustace (a Cabinet Minister) said that modelling organisations have estimated that Brexit could increase costs by about 2%. He also said that positive benefits would be available, but he failed to provide any specific details of what these could be. The Government does not appear to have published any useful forecasting data, but an unknown person has leaked a Cabinet Office briefing on the possible impacts of the last stage of Brexit. It details “reasonable ‘worst case’ scenarios” across 20 different areas of national life from oil and healthcare to travel & policing and depicts a country struggling to overcome difficulties posed by one crisis, yet bracing for a second, as all departments are told to prepare for a 'no deal’ departure.

 

  1. Global & British food supply chains will be disrupted by “circumstances occurring concurrently at the end of the year’, the paper warns. Stockpiles built up at the end of 2019 were diminished during the pandemic and cannot easily be replenished.
  2. There will not be overall food shortages, but problems could reduce availability of some fresh supplies and push up prices.
  3. Low-income groups will be most at risk of food insecurity if there is a no-deal Brexit, including single parents, children in large families and those with disabilities.
  4. It warns that economic chaos could raise the risks of a breakdown in public order and a national mental health crisis, while reducing the “financial levers” available for the government to respond to other risks.
  5. There may also be an increase in “community tensions” &public disorder. The briefing notes that police tracked increases in Brexit-related hate crime in March 2019 and the end of that year – two other periods of intensive political & public focus on leaving the EU.

 

The fallout during Spring 2020 from Covid-19 took Britain’s economy into the deepest recession on record, with a 20% drop in gross domestic product in the second quarter. The Bank of England estimates that the pandemic will cause the total economic output to be about 1.75% lower than would otherwise have been the case by the end of 2023. No-deal Brexit would not cause as much damage in the short-term as inflicted by the pandemic earlier this year. Rishi Sunak said that Covid-19 posed a much greater threat to the economy than a no-deal scenario and that a deal was preferable but that the UK would prosper in any eventuality. He also said that, in 2021, unemployment would be greater than 7% (2.6 million people). However, the LSE modelling estimated a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU. My expectation is still that the combined long-term effect on GDP is likely to be nearly 10% (i.e., 8% for a no deal Brexit and 1.7% for Covid-19). That would result in millions of people being unemployed and a massive drop in living standards especially for the poorer members of society.

 

Johnson is steadily losing his top advisers. Several senior government roles have been taken by people who have had limited recent and little relevant experience. Following the departure of Dominic Cummings in November 2020, Edward Lister has been acting as the temporary Chief of Staff. Dan Rosenfield will become the new permanent Chief of Staff from January 2021. Following the departure of Mark Sedwill as Cabinet Secretary, Head of the Civil Service and National Security Adviser, Simon Case became Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service on 09 September. David Frost’s appointment as National Security Adviser was announced in June as well as continuing as Chief Brexit Negotiator. As well as Dominic Cummings and Mark Sedwill, he got rid of Lee Cain during November and Edward Lister is leaving in January. His cabinet meetings are known to lack worthwhile discussions and he lacks useful “hands-on” management experience to make best use of the skills that are available. This leads to decisions being made according to his “whack-a-mole” strategy. Johnson could invite a few experienced scientists, medical experts, engineers, IT specialists and managers of small and large businesses to join the Cabinet but would any of them agree to work for him given his history.

Source information from:
          Imperial College
          The Economist
          BBC
          London School of Economics
          The Guardian
 
 

I hope Loughborough voters have long memories!

I hope Loughborough voters have long memories!
A Message form Ian Sharpe, Loughborough Liberal Democrat Candidate December 2019 General Election:
On the 8th of November 2019 the notices for that year’s general election were issued, an election which resulted in the current Johnson government.
I stood in that election and took part in election hustings with the Tory candidate who went on to win. During those hustings the Tory candidate’s promise was “ I will be Loughborough’s representative in Westminster, not Westminster’s representative in Loughborough”, a clear promise to put the people before her own political advantage.
So how has the Government performed and how has our MP stood up for Loughborough?
These are some of the actions of the Johnson government:
  1. Introduced a "Go without to help out" policy to stop poor children receiving meal vouchers during school holidays.
  2. Ignored SAGE's recommendation for a two week "circuit breaker", resulting in at least a 1 month lockdown.
  3. Negotiated, with great fanfare, an international agreement, won a General Election on the strength it and after a few months decided to breach international law by reneging on the deal.
  4. Prevented a free trade deal with the EU, by putting the interests of the miniscule industry fishing industry ahead of the manufacturing and agriculture industries.
  5. Over ruled attempts to protect British food standards.
  6. Put the City of London at risk by not even trying to get an agreement with the EU.
  7. Appointed two unqualified candidates to vital public roles, because they are wives of Tory MPs.
  8. Appointed the son of a KGB officer, as well as his own brother, to the House of Lords.
  9. Allegedly awarded huge PPE contracts to shell companies owned by Tory associates, advisers and donors.
  10. Allowed a head Special Advisor (SPAD) to break planning and lock down laws, with impunity.
It is no wonder Boris's government is called a Chumocracy, where the rules only apply to the little people.
So how did our Tory MP live up to her promise, to put Loughborough before party loyalty? 
She supported Boris in every vote! Against meal vouchers for Loughborough needy children, against Loughborough farmers and against the interests of her constituents.
Loughborough Constituents deserve better.

Tory’s plan to reduce Democracy – ‘Devolution’ White Paper proposes a reduction in representation

Tory’s plan to reduce Democracy – ‘Devolution’ White Paper proposes a reduction in representation.  The Leicestershire Unitary proposal would:

  1. Abolish the County elections of May 2021
  2. Abolish all District and Borough Councils
  3. Elect massive and remote County wide Unitary Authorities of up to a million people in May 2023.

Liberal Democrats believe that these proposals are fundamentally wrong in every respect. They would mean that all the Councils involved would spend the next two and a half years arguing over and concentrating on, the expensive business of large-scale closure, merger, defining and reapplying for jobs, redundancy and closing down sites. This is the last thing we need when tackling COVID-19 and its economic fall-out should be the number one priority.

The UK already has the lowest ratio of Councils and Cllrs per head of population of any Western European country. Abolishing all District and Borough Councils would make this democratic deficit even worse. Far from representing ‘Devolution’ these plans represent a huge centralising of roles and local responsibilities. District and Borough Councils are rooted in and represent the interests of their local communities in a way which large (in population and geographic area) Unitary Authorities cannot remotely do. Most recently this has been clearly shown during the Covid outbreak when the flexible, local knowledge and expertise of District and Borough Councils has provided the cutting edge of distributing local business support grants, delivering food parcels to the local Shielded population, advising their local retail businesses on social distancing strategies and much else.

Unitary Authorities in compact, geographically small areas with a clear community identity make good sense, as seen in our Cities and in a very small County like Rutland. Huge Unitary Authorities of up to a million people spread across a wide geographic area do not. Smaller Unitary Authorities that reflect actual communities work well across Europe and the USA but the UK Government has so far ruled this out. The financial problems of Local Government have been caused because the Government has cut 40% of their funding. The massive problems of Adult Social Care are a result of successive Governments failing to deal with the problem. The increasing expense and complexity of parts of Local Government is due to the Governments imposition of new and costly tiers, with Police and Crime Commissioners and Directly Elected Mayors.

We call upon the Government to reverse the cuts to the funding of Local Government, withdraw their so- called Devolution plans and consult on an effective form of community based Local Government. Devolution should mean moving power downwards not moving it up to large and remote bodies.


Save the old Western Park Golf course - Sign the petition

The Old Western golf course Is under threat of development by Leicester City Council. The proposal includes housing, industrial units and traveller pitches. The old golf course is a fantastic green space of around 129 acres of grassland, ponds and even ancient trees and host to all sorts of wildlife including badgers, buzzards, lots of other birds and even great created newts.

Tree

It is well used by city and county residents for walking, cycling, jogging, dog walking, as well as footpaths through to local areas and for children to play. During the pandemic footfall has increased and this are has been a great asset for the local communities to use and enjoy the fresh air and wildlife on the edge of the city without having to drive out to the countryside.  Many of whom have said it has helped their mental well-being during the lockdown period to be able to get out into open green space.

We want to try and save this green space and protect it for all the communities to enjoy and generations to come. Please help us to do this by signing the petition and objecting at www.consultations.leicester.gov.uk/


No-deal Brexit + Covid-19 = Economic Horror for UK?

For more than two years I have been trying to find reliable answers to various questions about the actions and decisions of our government. I have tried to get answers from my MP without success. I am not sure if that is because he cannot or will not respond. Therefore I have had done my own research using academic sources and reputable parts of the media. In particular I have researched the following question:
What is the probable damage to the UK economy by a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and a No deal Brexit?

The results of my research are as follows.

  • The government has produced no public estimates for future economic output this year and the next planned Budget has been cancelled. The government forecast in 2018 that the GDP would fall by 7.6% after a no deal Brexit (or £2,400 per person). Perhaps the lack of an update is because the government has seen a draft update and is frightened of the reaction if it publishes an even greater loss.
  • The Bank of England has forecast that Covid-19 will reduce the GDP by 1.7% (or £600 per person) up to 2022. The likely effects of a no deal Brexit as predicted and published by reliable sources can be summarised as follows:
    • The economic cost of a no-deal Brexit could be several times as bad as the impact of Covid-19 and it would last for many years. It could significantly reduce the UK economic output for more than 20 years. The long term damages are because of delays at ports, restrictions on travel and tourism, the loss of clients and skilled staff, and curbs on immigration as well as the imposition of tariffs.
    • The combined long term effect on GDP is likely to be nearly 10% (ie. 8% for a no deal Brexit and 1.7% for Covid-19). That would result in millions of people being unemployed
      and a massive drop in living standards especially for the poorer members of society The effect may be even worse if the government breaks international law by implementing certain items in the recent Internal Market Bill. The Prime Minister appears to have signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement without understanding the implications and now wishes to change the
      agreement illegally. Perhaps he lacked competent advisers? More likely he was desperate to keep his promise to “Get Brexit done” regardless of the effect on the UK s reputation and citizens in Northern Ireland Now he is desperately trying to avoid upsetting Tory Brexiteers, the Republic of Ireland and the legislators in the USA. As a result, he is destroying the international reputation of the UK giving a terrible example to law abiding people in the U K and jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland.
  • The economic damage could have been limited, and pandemic management improved if the Brexit transition period had been extended so that more resources could have been used to handle the pandemic.
  • Source Information from:
    -Imperial College
    -The Economist
    -BBC
    -London School of Economics
    -The Guardian

Breaking International Law


The Internal markets Bill breaches an International Treaty and puts the Good Friday agreement in jeopardy. Many MPs and ministers interviewed recently seem unconcerned about the serious implications if this Government elects to break International Law. This is astonishing and worrying. This action would not only reduce trust in the UK and any of its negotiations for years to come, but would undermine respect for the Law by many citizens in the UK, at a time when compliance with the law is crucial to taking control of Covid-19. The bill could also pave the way for more conflict in northern Ireland as a hard border between the North and the South would need to be established.

The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill  has passed through its second stage in The  House of Commons recently, and the Committee stage is now being considered. In the light of a likely defeat associated with this particular issue in the Commons, the Government have made a deal with Conservative backbenchers to propose an amendment to the bill so that implementation of this particular legislation would require approval of Parliament.  The proposed law has been slammed by five former Prime Ministers and several government legal staff have resigned. Considerable opposition is expected when the bill goes to the Lords. The Loughborough and Charnwood Liberal Democrats oppose this legislation and call on all law abiding parliamentarians to oppose it. 


All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus

A new all-party parliamentary group has been set up with regards to the current coronavirus pandemic.

This has been set up to ensure that lessons are learned from the UK's handling of the coronavirus outbreak so that the UK's response and preparedness may be improved in future.

This cross-party group has Layla Moran MP as the Chair, March for Change as the group's secretariat and Clive Lewis MP as Vice-Chair. It will be taking evidence immediately. It is calling for evidence to be submitted to inform its recommendations to the UK Government If you have any relevant information the Group will be pleased to hear from you. It will hold meetings throughout the summer, regularly make evidence publicly available, and produce a summary report by the end of summer. You can find further details at https://appgcoronavirus.marchforchange.uk


John Storer House Food Bank

We have now made a total of £565 in donations to the Food Bank at John Storer House.

This includes money from local party funds and the balance collected from members either directly or via the wine tasting fund raiser. A huge thank you to everyone who has helped raise this magnificent sum. We thought it was something to shout about so look out for a press release coming out in the Loughborough Echo.


Welcome!

Welcome, members and visitors new and old, to the new Loughborough and Charnwood Liberal Democrats website.

As the times are changing so are the demands of the political landscape, hence a website upgrade is needed. We have a new host and new address but the same friendly team behind it! This has been a key goal of mine, to heavily improve and modernise the website, since I became the Party's Web Admin and I am incredibly proud of the steps we have been able to take, all thanks to the work of our various teams as well as the incredible donations made by our members and supporters to us.

As things start to return to normal I hope for this to become a centre of local news, issues and ways of helping people, written by myself, our team and our members. With this new update comes new campaigns as well. We currently have an 'I am a Lib Dem' campaign running over on our Instagram (@lborolibdems), on our Facebook (@LoughboroughCharnwoodLibDems) and on our Twitter (@lborolibdems), showing the reasons our team and members are with us and believe in our party being the future of our country. We welcome any submissions for the 'I am a Lib Dem' campaign as well as any articles for the website. Submit by emailing us at info@lclibdems.org.uk with a quote and picture for the 'I am a Lib Dem' campaign or an article for the website


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