Posts Tagged “Op-eds”

Nick Clegg’s speech on immigration: baby steps in a liberal direction

by Stephen Tall on August 6, 2014

When I read Nick Clegg’s immigration speech yesterday I breathed a sigh of relief. It’s sensible and mostly liberal. Which means it’s a stark contrast to his March 2013 attempt: that was probably the most dire speech I’ve ever heard from a Lib Dem leader. Back then, Nick took credit for net migration having fallen […]

Incumbency and the sophomore surge: why these two effects will matter for the Lib Dems in 2015

by Stephen Tall on August 4, 2014

With the Lib Dem vote at least halved in the polls since the last general election, there’s been much focus within the party on what’s known as the ‘incumbency effect’ – the personal vote that benefits Lib Dem MPs. This typically boosts Lib Dems by 8%, compared to 1-2% for Tories and 1.5-2.5% for Labour […]

Ed Miliband’s speech: tricky message, poor timing

by Stephen Tall on July 26, 2014

I’ve quite a lot of time for Ed Miliband. Politics needs intelligent, thoughtful folk with their hearts in the right place. I respect, for example, that he held out last year against the superficially attractive urge to call for an in/out EU referendum advocated by more opportunistic Labour colleagues who relished the idea of stirring […]

Good news: Voters places themselves and the Lib Dems in the centre. Bad news: that doesn’t mean they’re liberals

by Stephen Tall on July 24, 2014

“There’s no future for the Lib Dems as a party of the centre,” goes the cry from radicals on both wings of our party. So I was interested to see this polling data from YouGov (hat-tip Adam Corlett) looking at where voters place themselves on the left-right axis and where they place the parties and […]

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 […]



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