Posts Tagged ‘David Laws’

Labour needs to make common cause with left-wing Lib Dem supporters to win in 2015

29/07/2014, 02:46:20 PM

by Robin Thorpe

Politics, especially party politics, requires compromise. Political parties are necessarily a broad church, so it is little wonder than history is littered with tales of disagreements, splits and reunions. The latest twist in the tale that began with the Gang of Four leaving the Labour Party may this time help rather than hinder a Labour election campaign.

Recent speeches by David Laws and Tim Farron highlight the wide disparity in ideological approach present within the Liberal Democrats. The internal debates within the Liberal Democrat party may not be of huge concern to the Labour supporters, particularly as they are likely to haemorrhage seats at the next election. But they currently represent a significant caucus of the population, the support of whom Labour will need to ensure a majority next year.

The David Laws speech was given at the Orange Book 10 year conference on the 24th June 2014 and considers the question “where next for the liberal agenda?”  He rather predictably revels in his own self-importance but also goes onto present ideas that could have been said by almost all of the coalition front bench. He argues  that

“A liberal state must continue to invest in first class education and health services, even as it seeks to contain the share of GDP consumed by the state…the level of tax rates likely peaked over the last 30 years, and liberals will want both to decline further over time…state spending at 40% of GDP should not be necessary or desirable over the medium and longer term as we reform welfare, raise employment rates, reduce crime and are able to shrink the share of GDP committed to defence and – eventually as developing countries develop – overseas development assistance.”


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Under Cameron, it’s easier to become a teacher than to get a job in a burger bar

01/11/2013, 02:01:32 PM

by Kevin Brennan

At the end of what has been a busy week for Labour’s shadow education team, today exam regulator Ofqual has announced its planned changes to GCSEs. It is welcome that Ofqual want to strengthen the rigour and integrity of qualifications – but it is odd that David Cameron is doing the exact opposite when it comes to teaching standards. David Cameron’s policy of allowing unqualified teachers in our schools is damaging education standards in our classrooms- as we have seen from the case of Michael Gove’s Al-Madinah free school in Derby.

Labour would bring an end to the watering down of standards and guarantee that all teachers in state funded schools would have to become qualified. That is what this week has been about.

On Wednesday afternoon, in a fashion of which we have unfortunately come to expect from them, the Liberal Democrats performed a remarkable feat of political contortion.

Nick Clegg had surprised his own schools minister by declaring “we should have qualified teachers in all our schools.”

It was a relief to hear Clegg agree with Labour policy on this issue. We have long warned of the dangers of the Government’s policy which allows unqualified teachers to teach in Free Schools and academies, and the inevitable watering down of teacher standards that it will lead to.

All this was a tad inconvenient for the Lib Dem schools minister, David Laws who just a few days earlier had passionately defended the policy of allowing unqualified teachers.

In an education select committee hearing last Wednesday, Laws was questioned about his party’s policy on this issue. Laws claimed that he supported a resolution at the Liberal Democrat conference which stated that “every child deserves to be taught by an excellent teacher and appropriately-qualified teacher, or a dedicated professional who is working towards such a qualification.” Then when closing up the debate that took place on Wednesday this week on the subject, he again indicated that he agreed with his party’s position.

It was a rapid volte face but surely welcome as it would mean that the House of Commons could pass a motion supporting having qualified teachers with Lib Dem support.


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Politics – at least it keeps the weirdos off the streets

18/10/2011, 07:30:13 AM

by Tom Harris

As with many previous political scandals, it was my wife who offered a sane perspective.

“When you were a minister, you went on foreign trips, didn’t you”?

“A couple, yes”.

“Well, if you’d told me that you were taking our best man with you on one of them, I would have thought that was nice. But if you’d taken him on 14 of them, I would have asked if I could come instead on at least one of them”.

Which pretty much sums up how odd “Foxgate” (do we really have to call it that)? actually is. And how odd its main protagonist is.

Not that Liam Fox is any weirder than your average high-flying minister, because there’s something of the oddball in anyone who reckons that a career in politics is an acceptable way for a grown up to earn a living. (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

12/01/2011, 06:55:40 AM

Labour turns up the heat over bonuses

Labour today stepped up the pressure on the government over City bonuses as the new chief executive of Barclays, Bob Diamond, stood firm against demands that he give up his potential £8m payout for 2010. Forcing George Osborne to the House of Commons dispatch box to defend his attempts to crack down on bankers’ bonuses, the shadow chancellor, Alan Johnson, said the coalition had gone “from the scent of rose garden to the stench of broken promises” since the election. The chancellor, who says we are all in this together, bows to the rich and powerful whilst bearing down on everyone else. His sneering arrogance will not get him out of this one,” Johnson said. – Guardian

George Osborne warned of stiff penalties yesterday unless banks cut bonuses and increase lending. The Chancellor said “nothing is off the table” if they do not comply. His emergency Commons statement to a packed chamber came after reports that the Government had given up trying to curb banks’ estimated £7BILLION bonuses. It was sparked by Barclays chief Bob Diamond, believed to be in line for an £8million payout, telling MPs that neither the Chancellor nor PM had asked him to limit his bonus. The Government appeared to be in disarray as officials refused to say what limits it would allow on bonuses. Mr Osborne said the Treasury is talking to banks about smaller bonuses, greater transparency and a fairer deal to customers. He added: “If the banks cannot commit to that I’ve made it very clear to them that nothing is off the table.” Mr Osborne was forced into his statement by Labour shadow Alan Johnson, who accused him of breaking a coalition vow to bring forward “robust” banking legislation. – The Sun

The coalition was in disarray over bank bonuses last night after Nick Clegg publicly demanded that the Treasury do more to slash sky-high payouts. Chancellor George Osborne responded by reviving a threat to hit the banks with new taxes unless they raise lending by £20billion this year and open their books to publish more details of bonuses. He told MPs ‘nothing is off the table’ if the banks are not more ‘responsible’. Mr Osborne intervened in an apparent attempt to placate Liberal Democrats furious at suggestions that the Government has abandoned hope of slashing the £7billion bonus pot to be paid by the big banks this year. Senior Lib Dems accused Downing Street of ‘waving the white flag’ over bonuses after months of tough talk. – Daily Mail

By-election number two

The Labour MP admitted dishonestly claiming more than £14,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses after being exposed by The Daily Telegraph. He is now expected to become the second MP to be sent to prison when he is sentenced until next month. The MP faces spending up to seven years in prison. However, Illsley will not automatically be banned from the House of Commons unless he is imprisoned for more than 12 months. There was growing pressure for the MP to resign his seat or for the Speaker to intervene to force him out of Parliament. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, called on the MP to step aside. Illsley was suspended from the Labour Party when he was charged but still sits in Parliament as an independent MP representing Barnsley Central. Mr Miliband said: “Eric Illsley has been found guilty of a very serious charge. He is no longer a Labour MP and I think he should now do the right thing and resign as an MP. I do not think he can be a credible voice for his constituents having pleaded guilty to such a serious offence.” – Daily Telegraph (more…)

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Secret Lib Dem “Operation Detach” is a council of despair

05/01/2011, 07:00:29 AM

by Tom Watson

David Laws is keeping himself useful by masterminding the Lib Dems’ 2015 general election campaign. Every month, he meets Nick Clegg to discuss the latest market research and share results of message-testing. Back in the summer, they jokingly called the meetings “Operation Detach”. The phrase has stuck and is used by special advisers to impress their friends that they are in the know.

“Operation Detach” is about the Lib Dems trying to carve out a distinct identity in time for 2015. Back in the balmy days of the coalition’s summer, “Detach” meetings were jovial, good natured and full of enthusiasm. But it’s been the longest winter for Nick Clegg. Laws is apparently toning down the results of the research, so as not to further depress his leader. These days, Clegg’s responses are monosyllabic as Laws delivers him the not-as-bleak-as-he-knows news.

Laws’ research confirms what the whole nation thinks: the Liberal Democrats have been brutalised by the Conservatives inside the government. The internal polls show Lib Dem supporters in despair as they complain that Nick Clegg has lain down and been trampled by the Tories. (more…)

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