Posts Tagged “Op-eds”

Michael Gove: The Case for the Defence. And also the Case for the Prosecution.

by Stephen Tall on July 16, 2014

Unlike most Lib Dems, I am not a Gove-hater. But nor do I share the adulation those one on the Right bestow upon him. The man we must now call the former Education secretary was more complex than his critics allowed and more flawed than his fans admitted. No-one should doubt Michael Gove’s passion for […]

A longer read for the weekend… Edward Lucas on the threat posed to peace by Russia and what the West should do about it

by Stephen Tall on July 13, 2014

Edward Lucas worked for Paddy Ashdown, has helped at by-elections, and was active in the National League of Young Liberals (NLYL) and the Union of Liberal Students (ULS). He’s better known, though, for being a senior editor at The Economist and an expert on energy, cyber-security, espionage, Russian foreign and security policy and the politics […]

The security bill: why I think dirty hands are better than empty hands

by Stephen Tall on July 10, 2014

Today saw the surprise springing of emergency new surveillance legislation, announced by David Cameron and Nick Clegg and agreed with Ed Miliband. The Lib Dems have been quick to assert this isn’t the Snoopers’ Charter Revisited – torpedoed by Clegg after a Lib Dem grassroots’ revolt in April 2012 – but any attempt by the […]

Why 40% is the magic number in the Scottish referendum

by Stephen Tall on July 6, 2014

For some reason, 40% is a figure which has long exerted political significance. That devolution for Scotland wasn’t introduced in 1979 wasn’t because a majority of those who voted didn’t want it: by 52% to 48% the Scottish voted in favour of establishing a Scottish parliament. However, a Labour MP, George Cunningham, introduced an amendment […]

5 things Nick Clegg could do next

by Stephen Tall on July 4, 2014

My last piece of advice to Nick Clegg was to stand down as Lib Dem leader. He didn’t, and it’s pretty clear now that Nick will lead us into the next general election. Two problems remain, though, and we need to find ways of addressing them. First, morale in the party has dipped since the […]

For-profit schools: some evidence of why I’m far from convinced

by Stephen Tall on June 29, 2014

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, this week called on Michael Gove to rule out profit-making schools, arguing “Beyond 2015, whether it admits it or not, the Conservative Party intends to introduce the profit motive into English education”. The Tories have sidestepped the issue and instead invited Labour to turn its fire on the Lib […]

To OBR or not to OBR? That’s the manifesto audit question

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2014

Ed Balls wants it. Danny Alexander seems pretty keen on it, too. What is ‘it’? Asking the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to audit the manifestos of political parties. On the face of it, that’s a good idea. Transparency’s a good thing and surely the public deserve to know as much as possible before […]

Principle and Realpolitik: why the Lib Dems should back an EU in/out referendum

by Stephen Tall on June 18, 2014

My co-editor Caron Lindsay has asked the following question, amid reports senior Lib Dems want the party to commit to an in/out EU referendum in the next parliament: “What do you think? Stay as we are or shift our position?” My own view is the party has nothing to lose by offering a referendum in the 2015 […]

“What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?” – What I told Policy Exchange…

by Stephen Tall on June 11, 2014

I was one of the speakers at this weekend’s Policy Exchange conference which posed the question, ‘What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?’ Though I work in the education sector, I was there in a personal capacity to offer a Lib Dem perspective; very kindly Policy Exchange had invited Michael Gove and […]

In praise of 5-year fixed-term parliaments

by Stephen Tall on June 5, 2014

Conventional wisdom is that one area where the Lib Dem influence in Coalition has been weakest is political reform. The party’s “four step” manifesto plan to “hardwire fairness into British society” included the pledge “to clean up politics”. Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister famously promised the “biggest shake-up of our democracy” since 1832. That […]



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