"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and
open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values
of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall
be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tories go wobbly on council tax
Liberal Democrats at Essex County Council have been left baffled following Conservative leader David Cameron's plans to support council tax, as the Conservative group at the council recently supported a Lib Dem motion criticising the tax.
Mr Cameron's proposals for a different capping regime for the tax, announced this week, make it clear that he remains wedded to the council tax. Meanwhile, Essex County Council Conservative leader, Lord Hanningfield, has recently called for council tax to be scrapped - a position that the Liberal Democrats have advocated for some time - and he led his group in agreeing with Liberal Democrats that the tax is unfair. Cllr Tom Smith-Hughes, Lib Dem group leader said:
"I am very confused and disappointed. Just over two weeks ago the Conservatives at County Hall agreed with us that it is inherently unfair to tax people not taking into account ability to pay. Lord Hanningfield, who is also a Conservative Front Bench spokesman in the House of Lords, has on several occasions publicly stated he thinks the tax should be scrapped, and has indicated his party would be reviewing their policy on keeping council tax. That clearly is not true, as proved by the Conservative party leader's endorsement of council tax. This is another example of the Tory party going wobbly and flattering to deceive.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Duff tops Lib Dem team for Europe in the East of England
Sitting MEP Andrew Duff has been re-selected by the Liberal Democrats at the top of the East of England list for the next European Elections in 2009.
Following a ballot of the membership of the East of England Liberal Democrats, Linda Jack from Bedford was selected to be number 2 while Dr Ian Mack from Norfolk was selected to be the number 3. Commenting on the result Andrew Duff MEP said:
"I am pleased to have been so strongly supported by the party in the East of England for a third time. I welcome the selection of a strong team of candidates to promote the values and policies of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament. We look forward to making further advances across the region against our opponents."The Liberal Democrat list for the 2009 European elections in full is:
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Harlow Liberal Democrats elect new President and Vice President
Members of Harlow Liberal Democrats have voted to elect the local party's former agent Peter Mabey as their President - their first since the death in 2003 of previous President Elsa Scammell.
Chartered engineer and Bush Fair resident Mr Mabey moved to STL Harlow in 1970, having worked in the aircraft industry as a structural engineer and at STC as a software engineer. He was involved in running the Harlow branch of the British Computer Society, and then with the West Essex Wine Appreciation Society. He served as agent for Harlow Liberal Democrats in the 2001 and 2005 General Elections, as well as local council elections up to and including this year.
Local party chairman David Wright commemorated Mr Mabey's election as President by presenting him with a bottle of wine, the appropriately-named Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, of the 1988 vintage - the year the Liberal Democrats was founded as a political party.
Meanwhile, Robert Woodthorpe Browne was elected as Harlow Liberal Democrats' Vice President, the first person to hold such a position. Mr Browne was the Liberal parliamentary candidate for Harlow in 1979. He has since contested several parliamentary elections, including the Kensington & Chelsea by-election against Michael Portillo in 1999, and most recently Sedgefield against Tony Blair in 2005; and was also a candidate for the East of England alongside Harlow councillor Lorna Spenceley in the 1999 European elections. A fluent speaker of several European languages, Mr Browne is a reinsurance broker and consultant specialising in Central and Eastern Europe and Third World countries. He is director of Robert Browne & Partners Ltd, and was from 1979 to 1995 a Member of Lloyd's.
At the same meeting, David Wright was re-elected local party Chairman for 2008, and Nick Macy was re-elected Treasurer. Mr Manny Doku is the new local party secretary for the forthcoming year.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Harlow Council inspection result - and it's Good
Liberal Democrat councillors in Harlow are today celebrating the results of Harlow Council's independent Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA). From being judged 'Poor' at its last CPA, the new assessment classifies Harlow as 'Good' - a leap that only two other councils have achieved before.
Commenting on the result of Harlow Council's independent CPA inspection, which sees the council reclassified from 'Poor' to 'Good', Harlow's Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington said:
"It is fantastic to achieve so much. I believe only two other councils have ever managed such a leap. We know that there is still work to do and we need to increase satisfaction levels with our services even further. In the meantime, we would like to thank fellow councillors and staff for their hard work and our many partners and residents within the community that have helped us to achieve this great result."Liberal Democrat deputy group leader Cllr Robert Thurston said:
"Harlow Council's Liberal Democrat group is delighted to have been a key part of this success story. In 2002, we took on a council which had already been condemned as a 'ship of fools', and had been slated in numerous inspections. Five years later, the Audit Commission has reported that the council shows 'strong decision making and effective leadership', has 'clear vision and priorities', 'effective partnership working' and 'improving services that are starting to have a positive impact on the local community'.WHAT THE AUDIT COMMISSION SAID