Why I’m backing Layla Moran for Lib Dem Leader

This is Layla’s* vision for a better future for us all. It was published via the Independent 27th May:-

‘Around the world, people are looking to their leaders for guidance. Some people will feel safe and hopeful. Others may feel uneasy and question their nation’s choices. In moments like this, decent leadership can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

For me, the best leadership is calm, measured and purposeful. It is open, transparent and direct. Good leaders spell out what they and their parties stand for, allowing people to grasp the ideas, embrace change and move forward together.

So, as I enter the Liberal Democrat leadership race, I want to make my vision for our country clear. In the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, I want to champion a more compassionate and cooperative United Kingdom that gives every person and our planet a chance to thrive.

Where everyone has access to high-quality education and retraining. Where politicians work together to help the most vulnerable, and key workers are respected and paid a fair wage. Where we cherish nature as the finite resource it is, rather than continue the managed exploitation we have now.

As a former teacher, education is close to my heart. I joined the Lib Dems because their education policies are best placed to ensure every child is world-ready, not just exam-ready. The educational inequalities that existed when I first joined the party more than 12 years ago are still here; in fact, many have become further entrenched.

When I reimagine the education system, I picture more investment in the early years, to reduce inequalities before children get into a classroom. More power for teachers to design a world-class education system, which recognises and supports children with practical skills as well as academic. And, a nationwide adult retraining programme to get people back on their feet and into work.

Our economic approach also needs urgent change. As the country recovers, we mustn’t leave anyone in our society behind. A Universal Basic Income is necessary to support those who fall on hard times. We must invest in education, health, social care and public services, and give all frontline workers the support they deserve. And let’s prioritise our wellbeing and mental health alongside economic growth, because now more than ever, we need to move forward positively and compassionately.

We have an opportunity to steal a march on the environmental crisis, too. In the past months, travel has reduced, and the demand for coal and oil has plummeted. This presents us with a precious opportunity to flatten the climate curve.

I want to see a UK which is not just carbon neutral but carbon negative. Young people, given they will have to carry this burden for us all, should be involved in the decision-making processes for achieving this ambitious goal. We must acknowledge the part that biodiversity catastrophe plays in pandemics, and recognise that to build resilience, we need to talk about habitat as well as carbon.

In areas such as education, economy and environment, the country simply must move forward, rather than look back. This is where I would start as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, along with our ongoing campaigns to reform our political system and challenge threats to human rights in the face of populism and authoritarianism, at home and abroad.

Of course, to make real progress and seriously challenge the Conservatives, the Lib Dems need to move forward as well.

For too long, we’ve become more defined by what we’re against, rather than what we’re for. The party lost trust when many supporters questioned our judgement in entering a coalition government. Subsequent leaders have struggled to move us on from this. We’ve also lost our campaigning edge; we need to rediscover a bold vision and also build the machine to deliver it.

Under new leadership, the Lib Dems must work together at all levels of the party, to rebuild our campaigning strength, listen to voters and restore trust. We need a national brand that complements local council successes, rather than imposing messages that work against local aims. We need to build broad support across the country, and we need to live (and look like) our values of diversity and inclusion.

This approach has worked in my constituency, where building cross-party support, listening to voters, and a strong campaigning effort led to an 8,000-vote increase in my majority in December.

I’ve listened to Lib Dems members and cross-party voters since then, and I’ve included their contributions in my bold forward-vision for our future, with education, economic fairness and the environment at its heart.

The sliver of silver in the clouds of this crisis is the once in a generation opportunity make our country fairer and more liberal. The moment for change exists, and with the right leader and vision, progress is within the Lib Dems’ grasp. We just need to reach out, seize this moment, and move forward as a strong and united party.

That’s why, throughout the leadership contest, I will be asking Lib Dems members to move forward together – and Vote Layla.’

My Views on Social Liberalism, Layla and the late great Charles Kennedy

I’ve spent pretty much all of my adult life to date pressing the case for what I see as Social Liberalism. I’ve been a lifelong trade unionist with very much left of centre views but I have never identified as a socialist as I see socialism as too authoritarian and centralising of power. The Labour Party whilst at face value being of the left is actually a very odd mixture of right, left and centrist politics, always at war with itself via its many sects. I’m a free thinking person, and an environmentalist and I want to embrace good ideas wherever they may come from; UK politics is far too tribal and it’s the reason we are in the mess that we are.

I see Layla as a breath of fresh air who will take on the establishment and fight for the common good but from a radical standpoint. I hope she will both be elected as Lib Dem leader and that she will take the Lib Dems back to the kind of left of centre politics it pursued under the late great Charles Kennedy.

And before the whataboutery starts, of course this initial standpoint does not cover all aspects of policy.

* Layla Moran is the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon and a candidate for Lib Dem Party leadership

Britain’s political system will stay broken without PR


This is an interesting article in the Independent Newspaper which Roy Connell has picked up on – well worth a read.

Must admit Chuka is a little too right wing for my tastes but on this he is right.

Energy market poised for revolution? – What Councils can do and are doing.

The energy market is poised for a revolution as councils and social housing landlords across the country prepare to take on the Big Six providers by supplying their own electricity.

The Independent newspaper says that that local authorities across the UK are working on plans to set themselves up as electricity and gas retailers, with a promise to undercut the traditional suppliers. The paper states that councils are looking to cut at least £100 from the average dual-fuel bill of about £1,300 a year.

Last month, the independent supplier Ovo signed a deal with Plymouth Council that will allow the city to become the first in the UK to provide its residents with energy. It believes that as many as 1m customers could be served in the next few years by councils with the company’s help in setting up as energy providers. By 2020, it hopes that as many as 500 partnerships could be formed across the country.

This sounds interesting and innovative. On Merseyside/Liverpool City Region the joint local authority energy switching scheme, where a large group of energy users come together, can work well. I have used it and got a better deal on our household energy bills. See link below:-


On a smaller scale both Maghull & Lydiate Parish Councils have been doing their bit by installing large numbers of solar panels on the roof of Maghull Town Hall and Lydiate Village Centre respectively to generate power. Both were Lib Dem initiatives.

These are the solar panels that generate an income  and power on Maghull Town Hall roof. Photo March 2012.

These are the solar panels that generate an income and power on Maghull Town Hall roof. Photo March 2012.

Credit unions to offer instant online approvals

The Independent reported recently that credit unions are set to take on payday loans firms by offering instant online approvals from next year. The financial co-operatives currently take up to a week to approve loans for people who might only require a few hundred pounds to make ends meet. The Government believes by speeding up the process it can help people save £1bn in interest charges by encouraging credit unions to help more borrowers.

This is good news indeed. I am a big supporter of Credit Unions and have blogged about them before:-


With thanks to the LGiU for the link to this story.

Empty Homes – A clear part of the solution to the need for more housing

Report identifies 1m unoccupied homes

A new study by the Office for National Statistics has found that the number of unoccupied homes has risen to nearly 1m, at the same time as “people living in poverty are cramming into overcrowded homes”, according to the Independent. The paper says the vast majority of the properties in question are being used as second homes.

Sadly, building on high grade agricultural land and Green Belt, as Sefton Council under its Labour rulers intends to do, remains the Council’s policy!