New Year, New Hope

Welcome to 2022 and congratulations on surviving 2021. It is time to cast off the gloom, to count our blessings and raise a cheer to the New Year.

Spot the year

So firstly, congratulations on your survival, whether from the raging virus or from privations brought on so many by an incompetent and uncaring Government..

And let’s reflect that the year ended with a brilliant test of the public determination to fight back – leastways in North Shropshire.

The Covid-induced upsurge in local neighbourliness, heightened awareness of climate challenges, the revulsion at exposure of past poor sewage management, the growth of foodbanks and charity work to protect those struggling to survive Tory capitalist visions, and concerns for their further privatisation of healthcare services – all these add up to a determination to re-evaluate the contribution of local councillors.

And, the really good news?

2022 brings no shortage of opportunities to change the way we care for local people, their wellbeing, their work, and their environment.  Liberal Democrats are not for giving in to  bullies – we demand better, we urge kindness.  Your contribution to the effort will be appreciated.

Justice, too, has a health crisis

While fighting Covid is essential to our physical survival, there are threats to our democratic traditions which we ignore at our peril.

Recent proposals by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab threaten to put the Government above the rule of law, says Graham Colley, President of Rights-Liberties-Justice, the Liberal Lawyers Association .

Graham Colley writes: “I was trying to remember when we last had a government that was committed to Human Rights, Civil Liberties and Access to Justice.

True, the Blair Government did introduce the Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information legislation, but also undermined civil liberties with the expansion of police powers, introduction of new offences, and tougher penalties and longer custodial sentences – accompanied by a weakening of the safeguards in the criminal justice process.

“Legal Aid was under relentless attack starting in the Thatcher era to the extent that it is, now, all, but non-existent .

“I regret that after some thought, research and with some exceptions, I cannot find a time, at least since when Roy Jenkins was Home Secretary, when overall Rights, Liberties and Justice have not been eroded by Neoliberalist/Libertarian thought in government.

“The sustained attack on the principles for which Rights-Liberties-Justice stands , has now culminated with the Premiership of Mr Johnson and his Justice Secretary, Mr Raab. The latter has suggested he would:

legislate to “correct” court judgements on human rights cases that go against the government

and would ” 

overhaul the Human Rights Act with the aim of putting the government above the reach of the law”.

“So, in 2022, Rights-Liberties-Justice/LDLA have will have to work as we have never done before to stop erosion of the principles of Liberalism we hold dear. Fortunately, we have allies in the Good Law Project , Unlock Democracy Best for Britain, Open Democracy and others.

  • Find out more about Rights-Liberties-Justice from the Links menu.

Christmas cheer and a spring in our step

The stunning Lib Dem win in North Shropshire is a ray of light to lighten the darkest days.

We may not have the weather for dancing in the streets, but today the nation breathes a collective sigh of relief. The outstanding result in was far more than optimists and wishful thinkers might have expected.  It was, at last, some small restoration of trust in the good sense of ordinary people – even those who had in 2016 believed in the lies and mis-directions of Brexit. In the darkest days of yet another dark and depressing year, Helen Morgan’s election is an early Christmas present. 

Helen Morgan MP

The responsibility thrust upon North Shropshire voters was not simply to respond to the errors and misdemeanours of their own disgraced MP, nor to express disquiet over the prevailing ruling arrogance .

It was to reflect the needs of an entire nation crying out for competent government, a restoration of trust in democracy and in the rule of law. And those voters resoundingly met that wish.

But not all Christmas wish lists will be satisfied.  Not all family Christmas gatherings will be so jolly.  The realities cut deep and the roads to recovery will not be straight forward.  But today’s ray of good-sense light will fuel and renew our determination to reach for better futures.  The electoral odds may seem impossible but, even here in Fareham, we will be able to face future tests with a spring in our step.

Competent leadership and honest government is worth fighting for.  Thanks, then, to the voters of North Shropshire for reminding us.

And here are some figures to ponder:

December 2019 election, share of the vote:

North Shropshire:

Tory: 63%; Labour 22%; Lib Dem 10%; Green and other 5%

Fareham:

Tory 64%; Labour 18%; Lib Dem 14%; Green 4%