Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrat

Tim Farron Conducts His Last Hymn.

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The string quartet is tuning up on the deck of the good ship Liberal Democrat. They’ll keep playing until all you can hear is bubbles.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

What Exactly Is Theresa May Doing?

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theresa-may-looking-sidewards

Is she totally preoccupied with Brexit – but unable to tell us anything?

Is she fretting about her personal stake in the child abuse inquiry – a total, utter shambles?

Is she powerfully representing Britain to the new US president – or more concerned about losing influence to Nigel Farage?

Is she making decisions on crucial strategic issues like HS2, London airport expansion or our housing crisis?

Is there any realistic strategy for the NHS or for funding social care for an aging population?

In such turbulent times what we need is competence and radical leadership. That’s what we got back in 1979 when we had our last woman prime minister and it transformed our country.  It’s not what we’ve got now.

Theresa May was always a bad choice. Her record at the Home Office was appalling.  The only thing she achieved there was to stay in post for six years. She was a closet Remainer who was too sly to commit herself to either side of the referendum.

If immigration was a key factor behind Brexit then she was the minister who utterly failed to control our borders.  There was chaos at the Passport Office and the Border Force. Some of the injustices and inhumanity around immigration remind me of what we used to read about the USSR.  Her drugs policy has been an unmitigated disaster with the highest ever rate of drug overdose deaths, the explosion of NPS and the cruel, anti-evidence denial of access to medicinal cannabis.  She has also been demonstrated to be corrupt with a deliberate attempt to falsify the Home Office report on ‘International Drug Comparators’, which showed that tougher sentences make no difference to drug use and harms.

For reasons I have already explained, I resigned from the Liberal Democrats and joined the Conservative Party shortly before the referendum.  If there had been a leadership election, I wouldn’t have been entitled to a vote but I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Ms May, Michael Gove would have been my first choice.

How and why did she become prime minister?  I think she appeared to be the safe choice for the Conservative Party.  She was definitely the short term easy choice and she assumed office by acclamation without any vote. That made the whole transition very easy for the country at a very difficult time – and for the Conservative Party

I was impressed with her first few weeks.  She chose the right words, struck the right tone and gave the impression of a powerful leader, something Britain desperately needs. Even I, as someone who has fought against her drugs policy ever since she became Home Secretary, was prepared to give her a chance.  But it’s unravelling already.  She seems to want to do everything behind closed doors.  Her public performances seem more about point scoring than dealing with real issues. The vision she expressed about a country that works for everyone simply isn’t reflected in the reality of what she does.  No, she is no Margaret Thatcher.  She’s not even a poor imitation.

What exactly is she doing and what exactly do we think she will achieve?

 

 

The Miserable Matter Of The Mayor Of Bridport. Prejudice, Lies And Cover Up.

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ros kayes mayor
Ros Kayes is a Liberal Democrat councillor and was made Mayor of Bridport in May 2016.

my FB libDEm resigI resigned from the Liberal Democrats just before the EU referendum because I believed the position the party adopted was a betrayal of fundamental values of liberalism and democracy.  I think it was a perfectly respectable position to take to vote remain and there were questionable tactics on both sides during the campaign. However, the bitter, abusive response to the result by many people, particularly Liberal Democrats, has been quite terrible.

Ros Kayes’ behaviour has been shocking. Even worse, she has been dishonest and has tried to cover up her foolish remarks.

She published this comment on Facebook during 23rd June 2016, the day of the referendum:

ros kayes prejudice

I responded that this was an act of prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, totally against all Liberal Democrat values and was exactly the reason I had resigned.  In return I received these responses:

ros kayes prejudice 2

 

ros kayes prejudice 3

I have written to Ros, politely asking her to clarify what “unsavoury posts in the last few weeks” and what “unpleasant email to a party member”?  I have no idea what she is talking about and I fear she has invented these angry ripostes.

Anyway, I would have let it lie there until I received a phone call from Rachel Stretton a reporter from the Dorset Echo.

Rachel said she was calling me about a lot of complaints the newspaper had received about Ros Kayes’ Facebook posts concerning the referendum.  I told her how shocked I was at what I’d seen and she told me about a post containing bad language which, at the time. I had not seen. We ended the conversation with me confirming that Ros Kayes’ behaviour had been the final straw in my resigning membership of the party.

I then discovered the very foolish, childish use of foul language that Roz Kayes had published.

ros kayes prejudice 4

 

I posted on Facebook about what had happened and there was quite a response.  However, I thought it was probably time to let it go.  A lot of people were very upset by the result of the referendum.  I would have been if it had gone the other way.  I think in such circumstances you do have to allow people some leeway.  Many people had been up all night, most had probably been drinking as well.  A few injudicious remarks are inevitable from tired, emotional and upset human beings!

But next thing I received a message from Rachel Stretton backpedalling as fast as she could about what she had asked when she called me.  I was astonished at this! What had spooked the Dorset Echo?  Rachel now said “We have not received any complaints about the behaviour of anyone in the run-up to the referendum. Apologies for any confusion.”

Well hang on a minute, why did she call me in the first place then?  I didn’t even know about use of the ‘F’ word until she told me and she quite definitely approached me about comments related to the referendum.

Rachel then messaged me to say: “I do of course understand if you wish to change any comment you made in light of this. Again for clarification, Ros has made a statement saying her account was hacked and this, private post, was made public inadvertently.”

What?!!  There’s no other way to put this, the Dorset Echo seemed to be involved in helping Ros Kayes to cover up her behaviour. And then I saw the ridiculous article published in the newspaper “Bridport mayor Ros Kayes responds to Facebook post criticism”.

This article is nothing less than insult to the readers of the Dorset Echo and it is a shameful attempt to deceive the electorate.  Not only is Ros Kayes telling lies but the Dorset Echo is assisting her!  This is a stitch up between a local politician and a local newspaper.  There is only one word for it – corruption.  In fact I think the greatest shame is on the newspaper.  So much for a free, independent press.  There are very grave questions to be answered by the editor and I cannot imagine that local businesses will want to be advertising in a paper that is involved in a shabby, corrupt cover-up of a politician’s misdeeds. he story about privacy settings is a story of Ros Kayes own incompetence but the story about her account being hacked is a brazen, bare-faced lie.

Nevertheless, my interest waned again. I was now beginning to learn that Ros Kayes does have an excellent reputation for good work in the community.  I have myself been subject to online attack and trolling which caused me great distress and had a real effect on  my mental health.  There are some very cruel, very spiteful people who use social media to abuse and harass for no reason other than their own perverted self-gratification.  The one comfort I had is that when I was under attack I knew it was all based on lies.  In this instance, Ros Kayes was the one telling porkies, she was responsible for causing the furore and she is tee occupier of a significant public office, one that even comes with official regalia and privileges. There does have to be some accountability.

However, I really didn’t want to take it any further.  This woman obviously does good work and if she’s made one bad mistake, I didn’t want to be vengeful or unkind about it.

Then Ros Kayes responded to my email about her claims of me making “unsavoury posts” and sending an “unpleasant email“.  (She had by now already blocked me on Facebook and Twitter). Oh dear!

My “unsavoury post” (there was only one now apparently) was this one “Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats“.  Judge for yourself whether there is anything unsavoury about it. My “unpleasant email” was an email about my change of address which I had already notified the party of, which I explained and wrote “So I don’t really know what else I could be expected to do!”. Not very unpleasant in my book.

Ros also wrote: “I certainly don’t think all Brexit voters are racist – many had perfectly sensible reasons for making the decision they did. And my post did not say that all Brexit voters were racist, simply raised fears about the ones that were.”.

So, once again I was ready to let it go. Perhaps it was one error and it could be overlooked.  I was now firmly of the opinion that the more serious matter was the Dorset Echo’s corrupt involvement in a cover up.

And then today, I was provided with a copy of a letter Ros Kayes had published in the Bridport News.

ros kayes letter
This is terrible.

“I fear this election [sic] will be won by those who revel in bigotry. I despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but…’ then utter words from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler”

“Please don’t let our country’s future be decided by racist, liars and bigots.”

This is truly terrible. Absolutely unforgivable words from any public figure or politician, particularly one who has the audacity to call  herself a ‘Liberal Democrat’.

Such ignorant generalisations from Ms Kayes are every bit as prejudiced and discriminatory as racism. She is a terrible, terrible hypocrite.

So, despite really trying very hard to pull back from this, in the end I decided that I had to publish this story in full.

I expect Ros Kayes to resign. There seems to be a valid case that perhaps she could stay on as a councillor but her position as Mayor is untenable.

As for the Dorset Echo, this is still the far more serious issue of a corrupt, underhand cover up of a politician’s dishonesty.  It will almost certainly try to bury this story entirely now. Diarmuid Macdonagh, the editor, should do the honourable thing and explain himself.  If he doesn’t, I shall be making a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Tim Farron Has Now Put The Loony back in LibDem.

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farron lecturing
I resigned my membership shortly before the referendum because I think the LibDem position was a betrayal of values of liberalism and democracy.

ros kayes prejudice

The final straw was my local LibDem leader, Ros Kayes, Mayor of Bridport, saying “Shameful to see the ignorance and racism in the UK population”. I have seen far too much disgusting, prejudicial, discriminatory abuse from LibDem members who have forgotten what the party stands for.

Farron’s response to the referendum result, not as direct as Ros Kayes’, implies that everyone who voted leave is ‘intolerant, closed-hearted, pessimistic and inward looking’.  His strategy is a disgusting, hate-filled attempt to subvert democracy.

If the LibDems have one talent above all others it is self-destruction. This time it may well be suicide.

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 26, 2016 at 10:54 am

This Is Why The Liberal Democrats Are In Terminal Decline.

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farron angry

Tim Farron has led the Liberal Democrats in the opposite direction from liberalism and democracy. This man and many members of the party are angry, resentful and bitter. Why?  This is democracy!

libdem we are the 48Farron’s words are an outrageous, hate-filled, prejudicial, discriminatory slur on 17 million voters who chose leave.

We are not all ‘intolerant, closed-hearted, pessimistic and inward looking’!

Many of us chose leave for fundamental principles of self-determination and democracy. These should be core Liberal Democrat values but it seems no longer. Instead the leadership wanted us to subsume to an unelected, unaccountable superstate run by a privileged oligarchy.

Farron is a huge liability to this party. We need a new leader who knows what being a Liberal Democrat means and who doesn’t sound off with abusive rants because he doesn’t get his own way.

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats.

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I am a liberal and a democrat.  That makes it absolutely impossible for me to vote to remain part of the illiberal and undemocratic EU.

jean monnet quoteI think it is an abomination that my party has betrayed all its principles and sold out for the illusory belief that any reform will take place within the EU.  On the contrary, as clearly set out by the EU’s founding father Jean Monnet, it will inevitably move towards more and more integration until our nation is subsumed into a Greater Franco-German Empire.

To my fellow members – you’ve been conned, cheated and mugged. This suits the party leadership because like most UK politicians they are entirely self-serving.  The EU guarantees them jobs for life, endless taxpayer-funded junkets and expenses.  When like Neil Kinnock or Peter Mandelson, they lose the support of voters they will go to the EU as commissioners with a fabulous lifestyle of excess and extravagance at our expense.

The EU is corrupt from beginning to end. Frankly, even if we vote to leave on 23rd June there will be another referendum, just like in Ireland, until the oligarchy gets the result it wants.

top 7 euGet ready to pay homage to your new masters.  This photograph will shortly be replacing HM The Queen in all UK government offices.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Politics

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Talking Cannabis In Parliament.

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Norman Lamb MP, Peter Reynolds

Norman Lamb MP, Peter Reynolds

Today, 8th February 2016, Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR, met with Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, for an update on the cannabis campaign.

Independent Panel of Experts on Cannabis Regulation.

The Liberal Democrats have set up an independent panel of experts to establish how a legalised market for cannabis could work in the United Kingdom. Norman Lamb wants the panel to look at evidence from Colorado, Washington State and Uruguay, where cannabis has been legalised and to make recommendations for the party to consider in the spring.

As a contribution to the panel’s work, CLEAR has provided the independent study it commissioned in 2011, ‘Taxing the UK Cannabis Market’ which establishes the most comprehensive database on the reality of cannabis in the UK.  In addition, The CLEAR Plan, ‘How To Regulate Cannabis in Britain’, builds on this data to propose detailed regulations for exactly how the market could work and contribute a £6.7 billion net gain to the UK exchequer.

Imminent Launch of New Medicinal Cannabis Campaign.

Within the next few days, CLEAR, along with other cannabis law reform groups, will co-operate in the launch of probably the largest campaign for access to medicinal cannabis ever seen in the UK.  The time has come when people who are suffering must be given the opportunity to stop their pain with a safe, non-toxic, proven alternative to expensive and debilitating pharmaceutical products.  The intransigence of successive UK governments must be overcome and this time a strategy is in place which will work.

The CLEAR publication ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’ has received international acclaim and is the most comprehensive and up to date review of the scientific evidence supporting the use of cannabis.

Further Development of Liberal Democrat Drugs Policy.

In 1971, when the Misuse of Drugs Act came into force there were approximately 3,000 problematic drug users in the UK.  Today, 45 years on, that figure has risen to around 350,000. Norman Lamb describes this as “one of the greatest public policy disasters of all time”.  Today, in a speech about the prison service, David Cameron talked of the need to tackle the most difficult social problems facing Britain. Drug crime and drug addiction is probably the single biggest factor in our prison problems and the consequences of 45 years of failed drugs policy pervades our society.  As the Liberal Democrats consider this difficult issue, tackling reform of cannabis policy is the first step.

Corbyn Finally Cracks.

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corbyn shoot to kill

I welcome the breath of fresh air that Jeremy Corbyn has brought to British politics.  I was never going to vote for him in a million years but the subversion of our corrupt political and media establishment has been a tonic long overdue.

Eventually though his loony tendencies have got the better of him.  His weak and cowardly failure to support the use of lethal force against terrorist violence means he is done for.  He will go no further and that is a pity because he has now blown his chance of having any further serious influence because of one simply idiotic but unforgivable mistake.

I believe he has now rendered himself unfit for any high office.  We cannot have a leader of the opposition who equivocates about defending our nation and innocent people against violent attack.

There can be no question about this.  Any member of the police, army or security services who is authorised to carry a weapon and sees life threatened must shoot and shoot to kill.

There are two important principles here.  The first will be clear to anyone who has had any firearms training. If the threshold has passed where you are entitled to open fire then you must stop the target.  That means you aim for the centre and you tap twice or three times.  Misty-eyed ideas about wounding or disabling are for Hollywood.  Anything less than a certain stop is a failure of duty and/or skill.

The second principle is a legal one.  If lethal force is justified then anything less means it wasn’t.  When that moment arrives you have to take the decision and the shot in sure and certain knowledge that you are justified and that you can rely on full support for your actions.

Corbyn has now changed his position and recognised the self-evident truth.  It is too late though.  Such a failure in leadership, decisiveness or the ability properly to communicate what he meant is beyond redemption. I am sorry to see him go.

Now, Britain desperately needs someone to challenge the Tory oligarchy.  All those who failed to vote Liberal Democrat when they had the chance are to blame.  We had an excellent, sincere, honest and able set of experienced politicians who we threw on the scrapheap and gifted our country to tyrants.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm

I Have Had The Most Terrible Post-Election Nightmare.

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Libdem leaders

Julian Huppert, Norman Baker, Lynne Featherstone

Our principal allies on the Liberal Democrat benches have all lost their seats.

Quickly now, the government will be formed.  No surprise that Theresa May has already been reappointed Home Secretary but who will the junior Home Office ministers be?

Brokenshire may leave for another department.  He’s probably due for a promotion.  It would be very good to see the back of him.  Who will the Crime Prevention Minister be?  Within that portfolio rests responsibility for drugs.

This is when the nightmare struck.  Key candidates for Home Office ministers will be backbenchers who have sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee.  I hardly dare write his name in case it puts ideas in Cameron’s mind – Michael Ellis.

Michael Ellis

Michael Ellis

Ellis is a hard line prohibitionist, anti-drugs, anti-liberty, anti-science, criminal barrister with a particular record of boorish behaviour during PMQs.  He’s a junior barrister working out of chambers in Northampton and he thinks that his experience with a few scumbag dealers qualifies him to know all about drugs policy.

The idea is a nightmare.  Cameron will see his increased number of seats as vindication of all past policies so he may well go further to the right.  I hope I’m wrong. Perhaps we will get some young MP with a brain in his head and an eye for the free market economy that is blossoming in Colorado and elsewhere.  Let’s hope so.

There’s also the new members of the Home Affairs Select Committee.  Who will they be?  We need to get to know them and present our case.

We must re-design, re-target, re-focus and refine our campaign for our new audience – Tory ministers are our most important targets.

Our messages must be developed for Tory eyes. More focus on the free market, profit opportunities, public expenditure savings.  And our tactics must work with Tories as well.  There is even less room now for the self-defeating tactics of protest, civil disobedience and flaunting alternative lifestyles in a way that distracts from our very powerful arguments.  Such tactics might cause a right-wing backlash now.

Instead of being self-obsessed, as so much of the cannabis campaign is, if we want to be effective we must see things through the eyes of our target audiences, look outward not in, recognise that preaching to the choir achieves little.  It is people who don’t agree with our cause that we must talk to and it is to their standards that we must dress and behave if we want to influence them.

Now, more than ever before, we need to be smart about the way we campaign for cannabis law reform.  We do have allies in the Tory party and the worldwide momentum continues to build.

A few adjustments on the tiller are necessary but we remain on course.  Let’s just be sure we adjust our sails and our technique for the new weather.

Why I Have Joined the Liberal Democrats.

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Coalition first 100 days

In my view the only rational choice for the next UK government is another Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.

The Labour Party is simply a joke.  Miliband is an out-of-touch, Hampstead-socialist buffoon who was part of the team whose reckless borrowing meant that the banking crisis destroyed this country’s economy.  It is ludicrous that we should even consider giving the same people another chance.

Cameron is an oily, two-faced oaf who has transformed the Conservative Party into the Bullingdon Club Party, dominated by out-of-touch posh boys with quasi-fascists like Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling as their attack dogs.

The only redeeming factor about the Tories is a basic competence in managing the economy. Osborne knows what he is doing but left unrestrained he would devastate our society: trashing the benefits system, care for the disabled and access to justice.

We must have the decent, fair, rational and conscientious Liberal Democrats in government with the Tories. Crucially they must hold out for a much tougher coalition agreement which will see the disgusting policies of Duncan Smith and Grayling reversed.  I think it’s too much to hope that we will see the back of Theresa May but definitely, in my area of special interest, the Liberal Democrats will insist on drugs policy reform.  The evidence-free, prejudice-based, self-defeating and cruel drugs policies of the past must be overturned. They have caused too much harm, suffering and promoted the interests of organised crime and the alcohol industry over common sense and the national interest.

So, in February I joined the Liberal Democrats. I was free to do so because that month the CLEAR Executive Committee resolved that we would no longer be a political party. An explanation of that decision is here.

My decision had a lot to do with drugs policy but, as I have explained above, was considered across the wider issues.  I think it reflects the fact that the LibDems are less ideologically-driven, more rational, evidence-based and fair in their policies.  All my life I have been a Tory voter for the crucial values of individual liberty, regulated free markets and opposed to the cloying, repressive ideas of socialism and the overbearing state – but the Tories have lost their way, their moral compass and their integrity.  I will never, ever vote Tory again.

CLEAR has worked closely with the LibDems since I first led a delegation of medicinal cannabis users to meet Norman Baker, then drugs minister, in July 2014.  Just a few weeks later he publicly called for a change in policy on medicinal cannabis, the most significant breakthrough in the UK cannabis campaign for nearly 50 years.  This year we have worked closely with Nick Clegg’s team and the LibDem manifesto incorporated CLEAR’s policy on medicinal cannabis word for word.  I had the privilege of personally briefing him on medicinal cannabis just a few weeks ago.  Julian Huppert, Norman Lamb and Lynne Featherstone, also LibDems, have been of great help to the CLEAR campaign and demonstrated outstanding sincerity, honesty and commitment, uncommon qualities amongst politicians.  Personally, I also greatly admire the courage of LibDem David Ward in standing against Israeli war crimes and in support of Palestine.

On the narrow issue of drugs policy, once again, Labour is a joke.  It doesn’t have one.  With a few honourable exceptions, such as Paul Flynn, David Winnick and Bob Ainsworth, the party is stuck in reefer madness, terrorised by tabloid editors and prefers prejudice and scare stories to science and evidence.  The Tories have more individuals who support reform but the party as a whole is in a corrupt relationship with the alcohol industry and also terrorised by the tabloid press.

As far as the Greens are concerned, yes they have a sensible drugs policy (originally drafted, in fact, by Derek Williams, my colleague on the CLEAR Executive Committee) but they have no chance of any influence in the new government.  Caroline Lucas did a good job on getting the drugs debate in Parliament last year but I cannot support her party’s bizarre behaviour in the illiberal ‘No More Page 3’ censorship and fracking campaigns.  The Green’s attitude to fracking is as evidence-free and based on prejudice as is Labour’s attitude to cannabis.  Also, CLEAR gave the Greens an opportunity to present their drugs policy to our supporters but despite repeated efforts they couldn’t get it together.  By contrast, the LibDems welcomed us enthusiastically and at the highest level.

I am a Eurosceptic LibDem, which is unusual.  In fact, I voted for UKIP in the last European elections and although the party itself is confused on the issue, I have talked with Nigel Farage in person at length on drugs policy and he is progressive, intelligent and pragmatic on the subject.

CISTA, the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party?  Well, I know a number of the candidates personally and I would recommend voting for them in constituencies where the LibDems stand no chance. Overall though the party is a waste of Paul Birch’s money and I can say that with the experience of CLEAR’s 16 years as a political party.  It’s great that they are bringing some attention to the campaign but it’s a futile strategy and Birch has spurned all efforts at support and assistance from CLEAR.  Had he even returned our calls we would have endorsed and promoted CISTA candidates in some constituencies.

So in conclusion, for drugs policy reform, particularly for access to medicinal cannabis, but also for a fairer society where policy is based on evidence and compassion rather than prejudice and vested interests, vote Liberal Democrat!