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  PC20: Resignation of Harold Saxon
Posted by: Redgrave - 09-19-2020, 08:49 AM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (18)

What do you think about this latest chapter of Tory drama?

Closes 23:59pm GMT on 22nd September

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  PC19: IRA Surveillance and NI Policy
Posted by: Redgrave - 09-19-2020, 08:41 AM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (15)

Guess who's back? Back again? The IRA's back! Bug your friends!

Closes 23:59pm UK on 22nd September

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  MS15 - Increased Economic Sanctions on South Africa
Posted by: Isaac Westcott - 09-17-2020, 09:58 PM - Forum: Ministerial Statements - Replies (2)

Mr Speaker,

I rise in the house today to highlight a decision that was recently implemented by Her Majesty’s Government to ratchet up the sanctions on the Republic of South Africa. 

As the members of this esteemed House know, it has been the position of this Government that certain changes need to be made with respect to our relationship with the Republic of South Africa. I think there is general agreement in this House that the system of apartheid- a system of discrimination that is enshrined in law- needs to be swept away. This Government also has the goal of seeing a former leader of the Conservative Party returned to face true justice, to show that no one is above the law.

Despite the efforts of our Foreign Office and indeed that of the world, the system of apartheid is still in place, and there is not yet a path forward for eliminating a system of broad discrimination that affects millions of people in every aspect of life. 

This House is aware that the Government had put in place sanctions on the leadership of the Republic of South Africa and that we have been consistent in our position that such sanctions shall remain in place unless and until we see changes. Not promises. Not pledges. Not meetings. But meaningful, lasting change which this Government and, judging from statements elsewhere, support and want to see.  

Those sanctions targeted the State President of the Republic of South Africa, members of the cabinet of the Republic of South Africa, any known and identified individuals who work for or with the intelligence apparatuses of the Republic of South Africa, and their immediate families. These were the leaders of a regime whose time had come, in a way, to become more open, more fair, and more moral. These sanctions included the following:

  • Financial assets held by these individuals in the United Kingdom and any territories under its jurisdiction were and still are frozen. 
  • No UK citizen was allowed, and still is not allowed, to participate in trade of goods, services, including financial, or technology with these individuals. 
  • No goods produced in the UK were allowed to, and still are not allowed to be exported to firms under the control or ownership of these individuals. No goods produced by firms under the control or ownership of these individuals were allowed to, and still are not allowed to be exported to the UK.
Our new sanctions now expand these rules to apply to all elected members of the ruling National Party- which has the ability and the responsibility to enact change. They apply to all businesses that are headquartered or otherwise led from South Africa, their owners, and their board of directors. And to ensure that there’s no skirting of our sanctions, they apply to family members of these individuals as well. 

Consistent with the sanctions that we have announced and enacted previously, these individuals and businesses are having their assets held in the UK or by UK financial institutions frozen immediately. We have taken this action prior to notifying this House to ensure that there were no movements out of these institutions to avoid sanctions. Doing business with these individuals or organisations is likewise, consistent with our previous moves, prohibited. 

I will report on the impact to the United Kingdom to this House in due course, and I am sure my colleague the Foreign Secretary will report on the impact in South Africa. 

I commend this statement to the House.

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  Dylan Macmillan Leadership Launch
Posted by: Dylan Macmillan - 09-17-2020, 09:11 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming.

The Prime Minister’s illness has taken us all by surprise and I once again send my thoughts and prayers to him and his family. Mr Myerscroft is a tough nut to crack and he was a very strong Prime Minister and Party Leader, and as he heads into early retirement he will be sorely missed by both our party and our nation.

The country is faced with a crossroads, there are no two ways about it. On the left it is faced with a Labour Party beholden to the hard left, in the vicious and unrelenting grip of the Socialist Campaign Group and Militant Tendency. I am from Liverpool, I have seen the damage the hard left can do first hand in passing ridiculous and, at the time, illegal budgets that served no purpose beyond narrow sectional and ideological interests. On the right, the only realistic prospect standing against this new-leftism is the Conservative Party, the party I am officially launching my campaign to lead.

The Conservative Party is at its best when it provides a principled stand on the issues of the day, I humbly submit that there are five principles which we should hold sacred above all others.

  1. The Conservative Party are the party of law and order
  2. The Conservative Party are the party of aspiration, opportunity and upward mobility
  3. The Conservative Party are the party of defence and the armed forces
  4. The Conservative Party are the party of faith, flag, and family, and
  5. The Conservative Party are the party of internationalism and British leadership in the World
We are the party of law and order, of this there is no doubt about it in my mind. The Conservative Party has a strong history from just this last parliament whether it be our no-nonsense attitude to drug offenders or our decision to hire 2000 more police officers in the last budget to help fight crime and increase visibility we are committed to the rule of law. My commitment is to continue this proud tradition by hiring a minimum of 2000 police officers every year that a Conservative Party led by me is in office, I will have the Home Secretary draw up legislation to make the assault or murder of a member of the emergency services a specific offence rather than an aggravating factor, and I will keep our streets safe with new legislation targeting dangerous and reckless driving.

We are the party of aspiration, opportunity, and upward mobility, of this there is no doubt in my mind. The last thirteen years have seen unprecedented tax cuts provide strong and consistent economic growth until slowed down by international factors in this global recession. My headline tax policy is simple, I will institute a double lock on the personal allowance for Income Tax. Not only will I never decrease it and push people into tax that way, I will ensure that it always increases by at least inflation or earnings, whichever is higher, to ensure that the spending power of the least well off is not hurt by clumsy, overbearing Government. Further to that I will legislate to ensure that further privatisations, should they come, will include far greater opportunities for workers to  buy shares. Lady Thatcher had her property owning democracy with the Right to Buy your home, I want to build the share owning democracy with the Right to Buy your public sector funded state company. Shares will be available at reasonable rates and in high percentages so that workers can profit from the success of their privatised enterprises should they so wish. Finally I shall encourage business startups with a new British Startup Bank to provide lower interest loans for entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their own small business. Small businesses, taxed by Labour under their plans at an inflated rate of 40%, are the backbone and lifeblood of our economy and under my leadership the Conservative Party will continue to back them to the hilt.

We are the party of Defence and the Armed Forces, of that there is no doubt in my mind. Our soldiers sacrifice a lot for us and while Labour want to hand out redundancy notices I want to hand out pay rises for those who put their lives on the line to defend us in our hours of need. For our armed forces I offer up a similar Double Lock to the Income Tax scheme, however the Armed Forces shall receive a pay rise every year of 2% higher than inflation or earnings which this year would have been 7.8%, a damn sight better than 10,000 more to the unemployment lines. Furthermore I shall use Britain’s national prestige and international leadership, rebuilt painstakingly over the last thirteen years, to advocate for a stronger commitment from our NATO partners on matters of national defence. A budget floor of 3% of GDP being spent on defence will ensure that we do not unfairly burden the US with the defence of Europe against potential Soviet aggression and means that we all play an equitable role in the defence of our continent.

We are the party of faith, flag, and family, of that there is no doubt in my mind. Aubyn’s family hubs and national service scheme are excellent examples of this which I wish to build upon. I would further help our nation’s children by creating Child Trust Funds, tax free savings mechanisms where the Government provides £500 when a child is born, this would increase up to £2500 for the lowest income children which would equate to a 5% deposit on the average property in current prices in the UK. With the interest gained on this account that would provide a tranche of funding for young adults just emerging into the World and allowing for the least well off to have a chance at climbing up the social and economic ladders. Furthermore I will continue to expand the league table system for schools, giving parents choice and knowledge when it comes to selecting schools for their children and I would provide grant funding to provide after school care for children whose parents both work so that nobody has to choose between career and family should they not wish to.

Finally we are the party of internationalism and British leadership in the World, of this there is no doubt in my mind. We have negotiated a good deal for Britain in the Maastricht Treaty, we have led the way in Iraq, and we have taken a decisively tough line on those that break international law such as South Africa and the Soviet Union. My vision for the United Kingdom is of a United Kingdom that leads, whether that be locally, continentally, or globally we should continue in our efforts to reform and rebuild where we can. In Europe the Maastricht Treaty is not the end for British leadership, it is the beginning, once the dust is settled on the referendum on the Single Currency we can return to Brussels and work constructively with our friends, allies, and partners to build an even better European Union. In Iraq we will stay firmly put until the job is done, handing over power to the locals and assisting in the keeping of the peace until the Iraqi people are satisfied that we are no longer needed. And in South Africa we will continue to tighten the screws until our fugitive from justice is returned to us and the dreaded apartheid is ended. The United Kingdom is a great force for good in the World if we stand up and roar like the Britannic lion we are, we have the finest military and the best diplomats in the World and we can be a real force for good if we utilise these assets.

That my friends is my vision for the Conservative Party under my leadership, a Conservative Party that stands up for five core principles that will guide our hand and shape our decision making. A strong respect for law and order, a healthy belief in individual prosperity, aspiration, and opportunity, a strong national defence, putting the family unit at the heart of everything we do, and leadership in the World. That is my pitch to my fellow MPs, but it is also my pitch to the country because win or lose this is what I believe in, and I believe it is what our party believes in.

Thank you, I will now take questions from the floor.

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  Liberal Democrats launch “Shop Local, Buy British” campaign
Posted by: Alex Cardigan MP - 09-17-2020, 07:22 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Today, in three different key locations across the country, the Liberal Democrats launched a new campaign: Shop Local, Buy British. Alex Cardigan had touched on this before as a key policy going into the next election, but this time wanted to bring in more local Liberal Democrat MPs and demonstrate the National Food Council policy. Journalists had been told to head to Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, Bath in Somerset, and Wick in Caithness.

[i][Image: YyG3Tt8z-v7Sg1SK2LmHWdnM7RsM5x7CeBQHw-Zm...y3ApttwLwg]

Above: Alex Cardigan on a street in Hereford earlier in the day, before visiting Ross-on-Wye.
[/i]
The first of three events with press during the day was held in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, with Alex Cardigan leading the billing outside a cattle farm on the outskirts of the town. The audience of this was an assortment of journalists, rural press, and a wide range of invitees from farmers’ unions, who by now were used to efforts by Cardigan to woo them.

“Good morning all, how are we all doing? I’ve got to say, I drove down early this morning from Montgomery, and gosh, isn’t it stunning? Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire, all great British rural counties. All with some of our country’s finest hills and walks. I’ve always felt that walking keeps one sane - it’s been very pleasant to use this morning’s visit as a way of having a ramble out to Bailey Lane End. More pleasant than that, though, has been chatting to some of the hardest working folks I’ve ever met, and learning about the day-to-day of cattle farming here in Herefordshire. Make your jokes about Wales all you want, but I must admit, my expertise was in my constituency’s sheep hill farming, so this has been really enlightening.

“The reason I’m here today, though, is not just as a social - though one can be forgiven for enjoying Herefordshire so much. It’s also not just to support our fantastic local candidate here, Christopher Green, who only lost by 2.5% of the vote last time in a tight two-horse race. It’s because as a man of the countryside, I wanted to demonstrate how new Liberal Democrat policy - to create a National Food Council, expressly with an interest in buying British - is part of our wider vision. And how it’ll help counties like this, which have been abandoned by Conservatives who take people’s votes for granted in the countryside.

“Our plan to make farming a profession which people, especially young people, go into, is not one-dimensional. That is why I want to start a Shop Local, Buy British campaign, and I want the next Government to be its biggest champion. Because, as we’ve seen with the flaws of the CAP, simply subsidising food production isn’t enough. We need to get good local consumption habits back on the agenda, and we need to show the benefits of British food and drink. It’s not fashionable, but it should be. And this country is coming on leaps and bounds in cuisine, in making alcohol - I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy British wine, but my constituency now has two vineyards - and in taking pride in our produce. 

“Now, I’ve announced our ambitious plans to reform CAP, set up a National Food Council, and improve access to allotments and gardening, but I want to expand, and I want a wide-ranging policy. Farmers know that we have a plan for the day-to-day, and the NFU have been terrific to work with on developing policy, but farms don’t exist in isolation - they are part of our wider economic system, and need buyers and consumers. That is why today, I want to commit my party to supporting the abolition of the regressive new style of “business rates” introduced by the Tories in 1988, for smaller businesses, and for the first five years, for businesses set up in rural towns. No rates at all. And we want to replace the lost local funding by giving a full central grant.

“Rates penalise those on our high street, they penalise local producers, and they’ve led to local small enterprises having to totally unnecessarily lose good local staff. We need an agricultural economic policy that doesn’t just acknowledge farmers in isolation, but that thinks about our high streets, our buyers, and consumers. Our Shop Local campaign’s key point will be based on this - get rid of rates for small businesses altogether, and get rid of them those who’ve taken the brave decision - not in line with sixth form politics views on the free market - to set up in rural areas for the first five years. These are people who the Tories will never understand and who Labour don’t care about - we do, and this policy would reinvigorate high streets like the one here in Ross-on-Wye. We’ve got a plan for farmers and a way to encourage consumers, but I don’t want it to stop here. That’s why the second policy announcement from the party today will be coming from a bit deeper into the West Country, Bath, from our newest MP. I urge you all to look at it later! But otherwise, I think knocking some doors with Christopher Green, who will be a fantastic MP here in Hereford, is on the cards!”

The second event of the day was held by Euphemia Fournier-Macleod MP, at a butcher’s off Bath High Street. Euphemia had been chatting happily to the butcher all morning, and with a gaggle of press around her, was here to demonstrate how the Shop Local, Buy British campaign works for cities and the country alike.

“Hi all, thanks for coming here. I’ve been chatting all morning to Jacob and Martha here, who run this lovely little butcher’s shop. It’s been really quite fascinating looking into the business of a place like this, and especially in Bath, both a metropolitan city and surrounded by Somerset countryside, and farmers. The case for the policies that Alex announced this morning is enormous in a place like this. We’ve got a butcher’s here which these two run brilliant well, but where the simple business incentive at the moment is not to buy and sell beef and lamb from up the road, in Somerset, Herefordshire, Dorset or Devon, but to import from across Europe. How can that be sensible or good for the planet? It’d be great for local producers and local shops like this if we should Shop Local and Buy British, and lead to tastier cheaper food on the table at home for local people. It’s great for Somerset and great for cities like Bath and Bristol too - the same would go for Kent and Essex’s producers and London, or just about anywhere.

“If we got rid of business rates for the first five years for rural businesses, and got rid of them altogether for small businesses, then those thin margins would be a lot wider. And it’d incentivise buying locally, and buying from rural producers - after all, producers pay rates too, and it cuts their costs. I’ve been a Conservative MP for years, during which I have combated with my own government on various issues, including the first Conservative MP calling for Thatcher’s resignation. We have been too overzealous with our policies, too focused on one set of people and ignored the rest, don’t get me wrong I still believe that free markets is the right path for our country but I also recognise that we need some balance and frankly our approach had became too unresponsive, look at Poll Tax and everything else. I might have represented an urban constituency but I have deep ties to rural areas as my family comes from rural Scotland, I still have deep ties to the place and I listen to people there, they are not talking about Westminster politics, they talk about Poll Tax, business rates and how even the small amount of gains in sales or reduction in taxes can make or break them. The Conservative Party has stopped being the party of the rural areas, the countryside and the cities surrounding it and has turned into this weird mess that almost exclusively aims their policies based on their donors. Big businesses have got off the hook whilst the rural economy and businesses like Jacob & Martha’s butchers here have been let down. We’ve got to change policy and Democrat plans make sense for farmers and consumers alike. Buy British, Shop Local - it makes sense, doesn’t it!”

The final announcement of the day came from Robert Maclennan, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness and Sutherland, in the Highlands. Maclennan was at the Pulteney Whisky Distillery, Wick, Caithness. He had a small set of mostly Scottish journalists and industry folks around him.

“Wick used to be the herring capital of not just Britain, but all of Europe. I remember them well, but I’m afraid to say, those days are behind our town. We have a bright future all the same, though, I think - and part of why is due to the fantastic cornerstone of highlands heritage that is whisky production, and how every year, it is getting more popular. There is nothing to be ashamed of about liking a dram, and the impact on our local economy is enormously positive. Highland towns and villages like Wick do enormously well out of the industry, as a local employer, and as a tourist destination. That is why it is absolutely ludicrous to me that the Conservatives have put tax on whisky up year on year, as well as made pints of British ale and cider more expensive.

“Last month in Parliament, Alex was chatting to me about this, and how we feel it is a real inequity. Alcohol is a demon for some, and that needs its own resolution, but for most, it is a civilised part of the day-to-day. The local employment benefits, the integral role that local pubs play in rural communities, and the night-life in our bigger cities is all worth an awful lot, if you ask me. So when I come to distilleries in my constituency like this, I really do feel that the tax man is robbing us of something that is quintessentially ours. The tax on a bottle of whisky is nearly £5 a litre now, and going up by the year, yet this is something that has been done for generations by family businesses and enterprising young men of the Highlands alike. It can’t go on like this. It’s why I’m glad to announce that we’ll be supporting a cut to this puritanical sin taxation, and allowing an industry that is quintessentially Scottish to thrive, just as we want that great English tradition of ale and cider production to continue, for Welsh Penderyn to grow into itself, and for the new vineyards popping up along southern England and Mid Wales to flourish.”

“We also want to ringfence alcohol taxation so that it doesn’t simply go into Treasury pockets, never to be seen again. We want it ringfenced for our NHS, and with a focus on help for addicts of all sorts, especially alcoholics. To get technical, though, we’re proposing cutting levies by a fifth across the board. British cider production in the West Country, whisky production in the Highlands, ale production in the midlands, gin in our south, and a budding set of vineyards shouldn’t be discouraged, the should be embraced. As Alex says - it’s time we adopted a national policy of Shop Local, Buy British!”

Notes - this policy would see business rates abolished for smaller businesses, employing under 10 people, for the first five years for businesses setting up in settlements of under 20,000, and see (British-produced) beer duty cut to 16p, wine duty to 65p, and spirits to £3.74.

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  PC18: Conservative Leadership Contest - 1992
Posted by: Redgrave - 09-16-2020, 06:51 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (19)

What do you think about all this intrigue?

Closes 23:59pm GMT on 19th September

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  Fournier-Macleod Speech: Future
Posted by: Ege - 09-14-2020, 01:36 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Good morning everyone, 


 A couple of days ago, I was outed by the Sun and I thought my political career was over because being out and being a Conservative MP is just not possible, you can see it from comments of supposed wets like Dylan Macmillan to party grandees like Teddy Taylor. When my party failed to stand up to me and made it clear that I have no future, I thought this was it and I’d fight for my values, for free markets, for internationalism as outside of the parliament because I was a Conservative and that was it for me. My grandfather was a cabinet minister in Balfour ministry, my father was the Conservative MP for Chelsea and is still serving under the Tory whip in the Lords, my whole life I was raised under the Tory mantra, one that I am proud of but I will not lie these past couple of years I have had some doubts which was obvious with my rebellions against Thatcher government and that reflected on my hesitation to join Drummond-Macbeath cabinet, I have only joined it after assurances and after rejecting it the first time. I am proud of my work as Education Secretary and First Secretary of State, I am proud of my signature work, Family Hubs and I believed in Aubyn Myerscough, I still believe Aubyn is a decent man with good values but when I was outed and abandoned my own party for who I am and extremely intimate details of my marriage, I was utterly disappointed. I do not need approval of anyone about what happens in my marriage nor I demand acceptance for what happens within my marriage, I am entitled to pursue my marriage as I am pleased to and people have a right to not like it but my party chose to apply a double standard over what happened inside my marriage and what happened in other cases, just as Labour decided to place more pressure on me because I was bisexual, I have not cheated on my husband and I have not betrayed our vows to be together, yet I have been viciously attacked by prominent Labour members with way more viciousness than any other non-Labour politician who has had their private lives invaded by tabloids.


 The more I think about it the angrier I get and frankly I was planning to use that anger to fight for change in our country outside of the parliament because there was no other choice for me and I would have been a distraction if I chose to fight within the Conservative Party for a parliamentary seat, a distraction against internationalism, free markets and Labour’s reckless economic vandalism so I chose retirement, not because I wanted to but because I was forced to and as I said the other day no individual is more important that future of this country and I would have been fine with that, a bit bitter but for the good of my country I would have done that. When I was having the press conference, Andrew Neil asked me about that and I said I did not believe this was the moment for being gay, lesbian or bisexual and be a member of parliament with liberal conservative values, because I knew Tories would never have me and I thought that was it, this was what I was going to do until Liberal Democrats chose to extend me an invitation, they made it clear that their party is fully accepting of who I am and my right to pursue my marriage as I please with my husband and not with the rest of the country. Alex is a lifelong Methodist, he told me his values of compassion, kindness and his belief in the principle of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. As a committed Christian, a lifelong liberal and a happily married man Alex made it very clear that under his leadership his party is a party of compassion, kindness and acceptance. That his party is about making people’s lives better and not cast judgment on them and that Liberal Democrats in their core believe in “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” and assured me that I will be getting a fair treatment and a fighting chance to defend my principles and fight for my core beliefs. 


These core beliefs I am talking about are simple, I am a liberal small-c conservative, I believe in free markets, I believe in internationalism and cooperation, I believe in freedom, I was a Conservative and now I will be a Liberal Democrat. Emphasis on my values and beliefs were on the second part of my liberal conservatism and now it will be on the first part. 


Now I do believe many have a question in their mind, one that I also had in my mind and one that I thought carefully about. Liberal Democrats opposed many of the decisions I have supported. Can I be in this party without being a hypocrite, can I actually be myself or just hide another part of me. Well I have talked with Alex about it and I have thought about it. I supported some of these decisions because I genuinely believed it would do good for the country and I still believe they are good, and others I supported because being in a party, in a government is about compromise and that sometimes meaning to agree to stuff that I do not particularly like. In my new party I do not believe this balance will not change, I still will support decisions we will take, many of them because I believe that they will be good for the country and others to compromise and to ensure that we have sensible and long lasting policy. In fact Alex pointed it out and made it very clear over and over again that what I have done in my party regarding decision making is similar to values he is trying to espouse; moderation, pragmatism, compromise. Now in my new party I will support the decision we will be taking together, our guiding light will be our values and our desire to enact long lasting policies enacted with moderation and pragmatism in mind and I will be happy to provide extra experience be it in governing experience or policy making. 


Thank you.


I forgot to add but Charles Kennedy and David Steel are in attendance

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  SP: Labour's alternative treaty
Posted by: Ruth Murphy - 09-12-2020, 04:21 PM - Forum: Marked - Replies (1)

Ruth Murphy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, attended a conference on European issues hosted at Mansion House. There, she presented a speech about Labour's alternative vision for Maastricht. Before and after the speech, she engaged in two of her favourite activities: bantering with the press and eating food that will undoubtedly cut her lifespan in half. 

[Image: 47605d65a01d97c7b1943500c8b8c9f8.jpg]
Murphy above, wearing a dress and donning a hairdo that cost more than her parents' annual incomes combined. Politics has really gotten her to high places. 

"Good evening,

I’m grateful to the Lord Mayor and his team for hosting this conference. It is important we as a country come together to discuss vital European issues and to have honest conversations about our role in Europe and the future of Europe. We all need to do our part in ensuring these discussions are had not just in Westminster and in the City of London, but that those conversations are had up and down the country.

There are good, decent and hardworking Britons who fall on all sides of this debate: Britons who believe our future lies within Europe, people who are entirely sceptical of the project and what I believe are the silent majority who have a much more nuanced view. As Shadow Foreign Secretary, I want to make it clear to that majority: I am with you. In a debate dominated by polarising voices who want to spin our membership of the European Community as either the very destruction of this country or the only way it can survive, Labour wants to offer that sensible middle ground.

And it is Labour that understands that whatever view we have on Europe, we are all united by Britishness and a desire to see Britain thrive. That should be our fundamental position as we go forward - to find a reasonable compromise for Britain so that we can move forwards.

Just as it is no secret the country has a diverse range of views on Europe, so too is it no secret the Labour Party does. Some have wanted to paint stories of Labour division. I am not going to pretend there aren’t pro Europeans nor eurosceptics in Shadow Cabinets, let alone on the backbenches. But what I can assure the public that the backbenches are resolutely united in believing Britain and Europe have been charted on the wrong course, and the frontbench are united behind the plan I will be presenting tonight.

The hostile briefings that have come from the Cabinet against the Foreign Secretary, which he has had to rebuff publicly, have weakened Britain’s ability to lead within Europe. Labour will be proud to present a vision that is focused on uniting the country. Only then do we have the ability to claim to lead.

We’ll be clear that there should be no more division, no more self-destruction, but a self-confident Britain ready to unite the country and lead in Europe and the world.

The gist of our position is already clear: that we do not believe a single currency would be the right course for Britain and would oppose it, but that we would support a referendum just as we do for Maastricht. As I said earlier, it is good we are having discussions about Europe here, but we need to bring that debate out into the country and deliver a result we can unite behind, ensuring that powers are not transferred without the approval of the British public. We have also made clear we do not support the Maastricht Treaty as negotiated by the Foreign Secretary.

I have spoken at length about why the Labour Party is sceptical of this treaty before, and I do not want to bore you all with the specific details. We feel it is a treaty that does very little to steer Britain away from the course of a Federal Europe, that restricts Britain’s economic powers and that does nothing for neglected communities and for fishing communities across the country.

What is important is that the Labour Party is able to lay out our alternative. An alternative that offers further cooperation with Europe and embraced Britain’s future in Europe, an alternative that protects our sovereignty and assures Britons who fear a Federal Europe but most crucially ensure we craft a Europe that doesn’t just work for the most powerful, but that offers something to the British people and tangibly improves their lives. Should Maastricht not pass, a Labour government will ensure this would be the alternative. Should it pass, Labour will push for a renegotiation.

This renegotiation will not exist to destroy the Maastricht Treaty from the ground up. There are many aspects of the Treaty we will ensure are preserved as they work well for Britain if not in practice, then at least in principle. We will not aim to undermine any of the pillars of the treaty, nor will we barter away any of the brakes to a Federal Europe that the Foreign Secretary has negotiated. We will support the referendum for a euro within the treaty, so that this question can be put to the people.

But that brings me onto my first point: the Foreign Secretary has negotiated brakes on the journey to a Federal Europe, when the British people need assurances that Britain also has its hands on the steering wheel to establish our own destiny within Europe without the threat of being subsumed by it. In any negotiation, we will establish an opt out for Britain from an ‘ever closer union’ so that Britain truly has the opportunity to lead from within Europe and ensure Europe does not simply sleepwalk into a Federal Europe that would not work for us just as it would not work for our European allies.

But we will go further, and we will fight to ensure national Parliaments are recognised within Europe. Instead of giving just the European Parliament more power to scrutinise legislation, we will ensure the British Parliament and other national Parliaments across the continent are granted at least some of the same privileges. Whatever our political identity, we in Britain can be proud that we are the country that possesses the mother of all Parliaments that is accountable to the British people – we cannot let its status or its primacy be threatened. In doing this, we will reject blind support for the European project.

But we will ensure we work with Europe and forge closer connections where it benefits the British people. Where Europe has the ability to lift standards for workers and consumers, we will be happy to use that power to do so. In any Maastricht negotiation we will seek full participation in the Social Charter, removing our opt out on wage regulations and collective bargaining so we can strengthen standards and pay for workers.

But we won’t just look to do that – we will also seek to strengthen that Social Charter, ensuring Europeans work together to ensure health and safety regulations, regulations on holidays and parental leave, consumer regulations and environmental protections are strengthened. In cooperating in this way, we can ensure that Europe is not used to support austerity and inequality, but that it is done to make a Europe that is more prosperous, healthy and beautiful. In doing this, we will reject blind opposition for the European project.

We will show a willingness to compromise with the European Community, ensuring that fiscal rules are kept so that the harmony of Europe's economies are maintained, but ensuring Britain is able to act in its own economic interests when it needs to the most. Instead of just hoping the Germans accept our ‘exceptional circumstances’, we will fight for a suspension of the European’s dogmatic fiscal rules for a length of five years should a member state experience a recession. This will ensure our hands are not tied and we are able to save businesses across Europe from collapse, workers across Europe from unemployment and public services across Europe from austerity.

And we will fight for real reform to CAP and to the Common Fisheries Policy, to ensure that the European Community works better for British fishing and farming communities across the United Kingdom. Maastricht gave us an opportunity to fight for those communities, and that was missed.

The Common Fisheries Policy has virtually been untouched since its inception despite the devastation it has unleashed on communities across Britain, with fish wasted and restrictive quotas destroying opportunity for fishing businesses. Whilst we accept the need to effectively regulate and harmonise fishing across Europe, it is crucial we do so in a way that works better for fishing communities in Britain and doesn’t see the needless waste and disposal of edible fish.

We will negotiate for fishing quotas to be set at a regional level over a European one. This won’t just be good for Britain, but it will be good for fishing communities across Europe as they operate under conditions that work for them whilst still ensuring sustainability. But to promote the sustainability of fishing, we must also ensure there is a complete ban on the discarding of edible fish – a policy that is completely illogical and has no good justification except to enforce European dogmatism. These are small tweaks, but ones that will be massively beneficial to fishing communities up and down the United Kingdom.

And we will ensure we reform CAP to put an end to wasteful rivers of wine and mountains of cheese, whilst working for small reforms that ensure small businesses and farmers, not the wealthiest, benefit. But we must go further and promote any efficiencies made from reforms to CAP to be put into the European Regional Development Fund, as well as ensuring the ERDF receives the lion’s share of any significant expansion of the European budget. 

With these reforms we’ll ensure Europe doesn’t just benefit the City, Paris and Frankfurt – but Grimsby, Wales and Cornwall. The European project should ensure that it assists the poorest Europeans. They are fundamentally Labour values and that is what this Labour Party will work towards. 

And finally, we will look for clarifications and reforms to state aid rules to state aid. Whilst we appreciate the diversity of views on the issue of nationalisation, we believe that the European Community should not be able to totally restrict Britain’s ability to act in the interest of its own industries. And we know the Germans, who spend more than double we do on state aid, agree. Whilst we accept and appreciate the integrity of the single market, we believe it must be absolutely clear what action and the extent of that action Britain can take to protect and regrow its industries and public sector.

This is our vision. Not pro-European, not Eurosceptic, not ‘for’ or ‘against’ Europe, but a vision that is cooperative and internationalist. A vision that will improve the lives of individuals and communities up and down Britain and Europe. A vision that puts people, not ideology, first. And a vision that I crucially believe can unite this country.

Thank you.

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  James Gallagher
Posted by: James Gallagher - 09-08-2020, 09:34 PM - Forum: New Players & Character Creation - No Replies

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Name: James Seamus Gallagher
Age: December 14th 1954 - 38.
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White
Sexuality: Heterosexual
Avatar: Joe Kennedy III
Discord Username: Blakesley

Family:      Samantha Kate Gallagher (nee O'Reilly), wife (b. 1955)
                  Conor Seamus Gallagher, son (b. 1982)
                  Ryan Sean Gallagher, son (b. 1982)
                   Rachel Kate Gallagher, daughter (b. 1985)

Education: Belvedere College, Dublin
                  MA (Oxon), Jurisprudence, Pembroke College, University of Oxford (1972-1975).
                   M.A., Government, Harvard University, 1977-1979. 
                  LL.M., Harvard Law School, 1977-1979.
Career:      Assistant Legal Counsel, Department of Political and Security Council Affairs, United Nations (1975-1977). 
                   Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs (1979-1981).
                  Assistant Legal Officer, International Court of Justice (1981-1982).
                  Barrister, Essex Court Chambers (1982-1987).
Politics:     MP for Edinburgh Leith (1987-present).

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  Cardigan speaks to NUT - “We’re your party, we’re on your side”
Posted by: Alex Cardigan MP - 09-01-2020, 07:50 PM - Forum: Marked - Replies (1)

At this year’s National Union of Teachers Conference in Blackpool, a surprise speaker on the headlines of the schedule was seeing Alex Cardigan, the Liberal Democrat leader, appearing. He had pledged to make a bold pitch to teachers and pupils alike, at a conference considered a bastion of Labour Party support, with a President who once stood for Labour. Press had been briefed that Cardigan wanted to outline his plans to "close the attainment gap and create opportunities for all".

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Taking to the stage, the Liberal Democrat leader smiled warmly, despite a marginally less warm atmosphere from the hall. 

“Earlier this month, I spoke to a headmaster of a school in my constituency. Alex, he said to me. I know you’ve worked hard for us, and all, and I appreciate it, but I’m just at the end of my tether. I was a bit surprised by this. In the time I’ve known him, he has been nothing but cheerful, and nothing but resilient, despite how difficult the last years have been, much like many of you in this hall. He continued on - I just don’t know if I can keep doing this. I feel helpless - with the funding we have, and the catchment area we’re in, it’s impossible to have disadvantaged pupils come close to the level of success of the wealthier kids. What an indictment on our current system, eh? And yet I suspect, too familiar a story for teachers up and down the country.”

“I understand the frustration that teachers across Britain feel, when it comes to trying to create a level playing field for their pupils, and trying to ensure that all students can thrive. The political class of Thatcher have gutted our education system from the inside, and left much of it in tatters. An entire generation has missed out on opportunities as a result of the past decade of Conservative rule. I have had to fight tooth and nail against local school closures over the last few years, despite the fact that populations have done nothing but rise where I live.There is real pain that has been caused, and opportunities, hopes, dreams, missed. This can’t possibly be right, fair, or just, can it?”

“So, I tottered along to Parliament and brought up educational inequality, and brought up what that headmaster in my constituency said to me. And the Education Secretary, with a sympathetic, if slightly defeated tone, merely expressed an empty platitude about existing government policy on “attempting to ensure state education has more money”. I don’t think it’s good enough for the policy of the Government and the Minister to be to attempt - the buck stops with them, and years of cuts won’t be forgotten overnight. And it is not acceptable for the Government’s policy to merely gesture in the direction of the Treasury, with a shrug - “not me, guv” is not a good way to run a chip shop, let alone running the country’s education system.”

“It isn’t good enough to just criticise, though. That is really why I’m here today. The easiest thing in the world to do in politics is to oppose. It’s why I have done my best to announce a varied policy platform over these past months, and to tour the country, listening to people from all sorts of backgrounds, and on all sorts of issues. It’s harder to build than it is to destroy, but it’s worth making the effort. To be truthful, though, I think Labour have had a real ideas deficit this term. Being in Opposition for so long has meant there is an air of complacency about the need to propose solutions, and make the case for solid policy ideas. They have announced just one policy on schools this term - to build more of them. That is so inoffensive that even the Tories have come around to the ideas as of late. The Liberal Democrats are the alternative here - and we have a plan to close the attainment gap, and create opportunities for all.

“I want to be a bit more thorough than the other parties. My party has always stood up for those who want an economy and society rooted in fairness, and the creation of real opportunities for all, especially our most disadvantaged. And I want our politics to be a bit kinder, and more evidence-based, so I want these ideas to be ones that all main parties could commit to after the next election. There is a very good chance the Liberal Democrats will have an influence on the next Government - at least, if we gain a good number of MPs. And for me, a top priority, a red line in working with the other parties next term would be a real commitment to close the attainment gap.That’s why I want to make the centrepiece of the next Liberal Democrat manifesto a commitment to a Pupil Premium of over £1,000, for every disadvantaged pupil a school takes in.”

“The days of playing the game with the catchment area postcode lottery have to end. We cannot continue to have this level of difference in achievement between students just based on their backgrounds. It isn’t fair, it isn’t right, and it isn’t befitting of a just society. The Bible says that it is our duty to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. A group who need us to speak up for them are children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are not getting the support they need from our current system. It is a national scandal that there is such a stark divide in fortunes. I want to introduce the Pupil Premium as the first step to cutting that gap, and I want part of the funding for it to come from introducing VAT on fees for public schools, unless they agree to open up their facilities to the wider community.”

“Reducing class sizes is another essential policy that the Liberal Democrats want to put front and centre. At public schools, children are put into small classes, with more personalised teaching, giving huge advantages. Why should pupils at state schools lose out on the opportunity to have a great education with that style of teaching too? I am a realist. To reduce the average number even below 30 is going to take a lot of work, and a lot of investment in teacher training. But we’re going to commit to it, and keep our promises, as people know we do. Within one term, I want to see the average class size below 30. By the year 2000, I want to see it below 25. We need to be radical and avoid mission creep in our ambitions here. When we are talking about something as essential, as vital, as the education and skills our next generation will get, we cannot pitch things as just a cost, we should see this as an investment. The Liberal Democrats will fight tooth and nail to get class sizes down, and our ambitious targeting, backed up by a background commitment to invest in teacher training and continue building more schools, is a way to make this happen. However, we are realists, as I say, and we know that we’re going to have to pay for it. It is an investment worth making, though - we’re going to commit to raise Income Tax by 1p, to raise over £2.5 billion, just to invest in our schools, with cutting class sizes being a huge part of that.

“One final idea I want to pitch to you all today is very simple. Well, actually, it’s not really my idea I want to put out there - it’s your ideas I want to hear. Transparency is essential, and Westminster departments like Education feel very detached from the reality of what running a school looks like. League tables and targets are detached from children’s welfare, and the real value of education. This detachment is systematic within our education system. Bureaucrats make life more difficult for teachers and pupils alike, and the insane instability of Government policy often makes life even worse. So I want to hear from you. I want to launch a National Teachers’ Survey at the end of every year, with forms handed in anonymously, just with the name of the school, giving real feedback and publicly-published ratings of how teachers feel the department is doing, and how it could improve. Politics shouldn’t be about lecturing, though I hope the ideas I’ve put forward today are ones that we can all get behind. Politics should be about listening - and I want to do all I can to listen to you all later on today, where I’ll be answering any and all questions, unvetted. The Liberal Democrats will always listen and learn where we can, and I hope propose solutions and a real alternative where we can, too. We’re your party, we’re on your side, and I hope that I can win your support - you've got my support either way. Thank you.”

Cardigan left the stage to a far warmer response than when he had started speaking, eager to speak to as many people as possible, and give soundbites to the assembled press. 

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