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  Revitalising Rural Britain: The Liberal Democrat plan for our Countryside
Posted by: Alex Cardigan MP - 07-02-2020, 04:15 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Revitalising Rural Britain: The Liberal Democrat plan for our Countryside

Presented by Alex Cardigan, MP for Montgomery, Leader of the Liberal Democrats. 

Speaking in a barn with a large audience, just outside of St Ives, Cornwall, at an event hosted by the Countryside Movement and Countryside Business Group.

Britain has some of the world’s most wonderful countryside. I know that this is not the typical way for one to start a think-tank speech, but having had the honour of travelling the world with a British institution, the BBC, I hope I can make that claim with some authority. We do not quite know how lucky we are; more pertinently, Government after Government has not understood how to represent the countryside, and do good for our rural areas.

Representing one of the most rural constituencies, I understand how disconnected residents are from national politics. Elections are fought in two key places, at the moment. Firstly, in Westminster, where most MPs are most at home. Secondly, in key urban battlegrounds, an inevitable reality of our electoral system, where seats with both a strong Labour trade-union tradition and affluent Conservative areas become the national focus. Seats like my own are too often ignored - as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, I want to do all I can to stop this from happening.

That is why I am proud to today announce a new set of proposals: Revitalising Rural Britain: The Liberal Democrat plan for our Countryside. 

Whether you live at the foot of the Stiperstones in Shropshire, the Lakes in Cumbria, off Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor, or anywhere rural across our fine isles, you will be facing different problems to the urban majority. Why is it that for us, bus services are a luxury? Why is it that NHS provision must be so much more distant and inconvenient? Why is it that farmers are seeing such a reduction in profits, and such feckless governance? Labour have never even tried to represent the countryside; worse than this, the Conservatives have betrayed those they do represent. It is time for a real alternative.

I am proposing, and promising, should the Democrats be in a real position to influence Government policy after the next election, a set of pledges to rural Britain. These can be summed up as part of our five point plan for the countryside:


  1. Reversing key Beeching Axe cuts to rural railway station numbers, creating a Rural Railways Commission aimed at finding 50 stations to re-open in the first wave.
  2. Supporting fundamental reform to the Common Agricultural Policy, and implementing domestic policies aimed at refocusing on direct support, especially for family farms and crofts.
  3. Developing a British Rural Development Agency, with £1 billion in funding, tasked with investing in key infrastructure and transport (especially bus services), as well as backing businesses set up in the countryside.
  4. Drawing up a new Countryside Code, including a right-to-roam, encouraging rural tourism and rambling, as well as making our natural beauty accessible for all.
  5. Protecting Post Offices, community centres, local pubs, and other essential rural institutions, which form the bedrock of our communities.
We cannot go on being ignored like this. I am fiercely proud to live in the countryside, and represent a rural constituency. Too many of my colleagues in the House of Commons are simply content to represent the countryside as it has provided an easy route into Parliament, and a safe-seat that allows them their own personal fiefdoms. I am committed to making the Liberal Democrats the party of the countryside, and our five-point plan to revitalise rural Britain is the first step to doing so.

By re-opening 50 railway stations axed under Beeching, we will reconnect communities into the national mainframe. That will be a radical difference to the status quo alone. In working with the NFU and our friends in Europe to reform the CAP, we will be spearheading change that across the continent, it is agreed is necessary - but that our Government has been too distracted and disinterested in recent years to have worked on fixing properly.

Committing £1 billion to a Rural Development Agency is not a party-political pledge. It is offering serious money to the communities that have been deprived of investment for years and years. Conservatives have been complacent about their bedrock of support in the countryside, and as a result, offer little; Labour have never tried. I am arguing for serious money and serious investment, if we want a change to the current state of decline that many rural areas - sadly, I am afraid to say, including my own - find themselves in.

A new Countryside Code with a right-to-roam is a policy which the Ramblers’ Association have championed for years. I have walked across much of the world, and we are quite unique in having a system whereby the countryside is so inaccessible. Working to improve rural tourism as well as real awareness of how one is to act in the country is a way of improving rural economies, getting people in the countryside back into work, and making our beautiful areas more accessible for all. That is a huge set of wins, in my eyes, especially at a time when unemployment is such a pressing issue.

Lastly, I want to champion real rural community institutions. Village halls, Post Offices, local pubs, cricket pavilions… to many, especially in Westminster, these are provincial, outdated, silly sounding concepts. I could not disagree more. These are the roots from which our communities grow, and the bedrock of rural Britain. I am fiercely proud to be part of such a strong community, based in these simple British institutions. I want a Government which takes note, and understands rural Britain, and not one that simply takes us for granted.

The Conservative Party is facing unprecedented carnage at the moment. They are not standing up for rural Britain, they are not standing up for anyone but their own insular interests - and they’re not even doing a good job of that. Under the Tories, we have seen a clear decrease in rural investment, a clear decrease in the availability of rural services from buses to GPs, and a clear fecklessness. We need stronger representation.

Over the next months and years, expect a call from your local Liberal Democrats. Expect us to be at the centre of your community. Expect more Councillors and more MPs who actually care about their local area, about the countryside, and are committed to these five radical changes. We need to undo the damage that has been done by years of neglect by our wider, urban-centric political system. I am immensely proud to have drawn up these plans by consultation with the National Farmers’ Union and Ramblers’ Association, and I hope they form the bedrock of future policy debate.

Finally, if I may, I want a simple message to every MP who lives in London, represents a rural seat they rarely visit, and feels they will be elected for life - look out. The most British of all rebellions is coming your way - in local pubs, thatched cottages, Post Offices, abandoned railway stations, and from the tip of the Cornish coast to the crofts of the Highlands, there is discontent. I hope that our policy announcement today provides some hope, and leads to change for good.

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  PM: Downing Street Address
Posted by: Aubyn Myerscough - 07-01-2020, 06:51 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Aubyn Myserscough, the Prime Minister, gave a short statement on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street.*

Ladies and gentleman,

Yesterday, Her Majesty invited me to form a government and I accepted. I have just completed the formation of a new Cabinet, bringing together a diverse range of opinions and approaches within the Conservative Party.  

My Cabinet comes together at an extremely difficult and fraught time for the United Kingdom. Riots here at home, armed conflict abroad, and serious allegations of criminal activity against members of the previous administration.

There can be no doubt that we are in a worse position now than we were just a few months ago. We have failed to sufficiently grapple with the challenges facing our economy, we let new threats to our society emerge including a breakdown of trust in politicians, and we potentially struck a blow against our international standing – and relationships with other nations. And rather than tackling this, members of this Government were more focused on leaking and backbiting than serving our nation.

On behalf of the Conservative Party and this new Cabinet, I want to apologise. I am sorry for the role we have played in the emerging crisis facing our nation. We cannot forget our failure has deep and broad implications for so many of our families, businesses, and communities across the country. I have taken a number of decisions over the past few days as part of recognising the changes that need to be made.

But let me make it clear right now: the events of the past few weeks end right now. This is a fresh start. I have taken a number of decisions over the past few days to recognise the scale of the changes that need to be made. The events of the past few weeks may mean that you do not trust me or my new Government. I understand that, and I get it. But I am committed to spending the next few years rebuilding your trust in us; I will work every day to rebuild trust in the government and the political system. In 1987, the nation elected a Parliament with a majority composed of Conservative MPs. You gave us a job to do: make the changes for five years. I intend to deliver on what you tasked us to do.

My premiership is not a return to the government of the 1980s, or the chaos of the late 1970s. In the 1990s, with a few short years to go until the 21st Century, we cannot look backwards. We need a fresh start to prepare for the new century. Let me briefly set out what that means:

An economy where everyone who wants to make a living can get a job or set up a small business.

A society that prioritises families, helps them get on and puts their interests first.

An education system that is world-beating from the early years to university, giving every child the chance to succeed and opportunity to thrive.

A community health approach, with our fantastic NHS at its heart, that lifts up the health and well-being of all its citizens.

A strong and tough approach to law and order, with justice for the victims at its heart, so that every community feels safe. 

A government that is open and transparent, ready to do the right thing and committed to the public, not personal, interest. 

With sensible investment, smart government, and the commitment of the British public, we can deliver a country fit for the next century. 

I also want to pay tribute to our Armed Forces who are currently fighting on behalf of freedom and the international rule of law. I am proud of the role we are playing in standing up against armed aggression and human rights abuses. We must never forget the deep debt, obligation, and thanks we owe them for their service. As Prime Minister, I will never forget it.

I have been given enormous responsibility to steer our nation through some tough times and prepare us for a radically different century. I hope I serve this nation well, and are able to rebuild the sacred trust you place in Government. A fresh start begins now.

Thank you.

*Permission from Nathan (Her Maj)

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  Urgent Question Request: Foreign Secretary
Posted by: Griff Rhys Morrison - 06-30-2020, 10:11 PM - Forum: Speaker's Office - No Replies

Mr Speaker,

I rise to make an application under Standing Order 24 to ask the Foreign Secretary to come before the House and make a statement updating members on this country's current relationship with the USSR. Mr Speaker, I believe there is well-documented evidence on why this matter is urgent including; allegations of conspiracy involving the USSR, dismissal of high ranking officials, recalling of our Ambassador, the arrest of the former Home Secretary which has been linked to the USSR, the very public allegations made by the former Prime Minister of further such intrigue, the arrest of Mr Gorbachev and the military movement in Moscow.

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  James Alexander MacBeath
Posted by: James MacBeath - 06-30-2020, 06:58 PM - Forum: New Players & Character Creation - No Replies

Name: James Alexander MacBeath
Age:  January 25th 1928 (62)

Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White British
Religion: Roman Catholic

Sexuality: Heterosexual 
Religion: Roman Catholic
Marital Status:
Married, 2 children

Avatar: Stephen Dillane
Discord Username: CDW

Education: Ardvreck School (1933-1941) Eton College (1941-1946), Oxford University – BA in History and Politics (1946-1949)
Career: Recruited by Foreign Office (1949), Consular Attaché - British Embassy Berlin (1951-1954), British Embassy Washington D.C. (1954-1957/1972-1976), Foreign Office London (1957-1960/1966-1968), British Embassy Moscow (1960-1963/1968-1972/1976-1979), British Embassy Vienna (1963-1966), 

Party: Conservative Party
Constituency: Windsor and Maidenhead
Faction: Bow Group
Parliamentary Career: Elected 1979, Foreign Affairs Select committee chairman (1987-Present)

 
 
Born in 1928 James Alexander MacBeath was the second son of Charles MacBeath and his wife Isabel in Perthshire, Scotland. His older brother also named Charles was the father of the former Prime Minister, Marcus Drummond-MacBeath.
 
James was educated at the local prep school Ardvreck, a feeder school for Eton College where James and older brother Charles would go on to be educated. James went up to Oxford University in 1946 following the end of the Second World War. Here he studied History and Politics, and in his final year he was recruited into the Foreign Office. He spent a number of years in Eastern and Central Europe at the height of the Cold War. During his time there he is said to have held several important posts in the British embassies but he had a very backroom orientated role.
 
He resigned from the Foreign Office to stand for parliament in 1979. He was initially very sceptical of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership but nonetheless he became very loyal to her and supportive of many of her policies.  In 1987 he was elected chairman of the Foreign Affairs select committee. He has been very vocal in supporting Britain’s interests including supporting the protection of British overseas territories and called the Sino-British joint declaration “a great betrayal”.

He is a staunch Roman Catholic. He now resides in his constituency of Windsor with a second family home in his native Perthshire.
 
He was very supportive of his nephew’s leadership bid despite their disagreements over social issues and often advised him after his victory in private. Like his nephew he is very anti-European integration, perhaps even more so.

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  Harry Saxon (Con)
Posted by: Patricia Carmichael - 06-29-2020, 06:30 PM - Forum: New Players & Character Creation - No Replies

Name:  Harry Saxon
Age: 48 (b. 4th October 1942)
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White British
Sexuality: Straight
Avatar: Andrew Scott
Discord Username: Danpoluk

Education: Oxford, International Relations
Career: Barrister

Party: Conservative
Constituency: Buckingham
Faction: No Turning Back
Parlimentary Career: Supported Margaret Thatcher until her resignation. Backed MDM as PM until recent events where he called for a change in leadership. 

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  David George
Posted by: David George - 06-29-2020, 12:45 AM - Forum: New Players & Character Creation - Replies (3)

Name: David George
Age: 39 (14/02/1951)
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Black British
Sexuality: Heterosexual
Avatar: Paul Boateng
Discord Username: David George#7421

Education: LLB Law, London School of Economics (1969-1972)
Career: Solicitor, Crown Prosecution Service (1972-1973); Senior Solicitor, Hackney Law Centre (1973-1980); Legal Officer, National Council for Civil Liberties (1980-1986).

Party: Labour
Constituency: Brent South
Faction: Tribune Group
Parliamentary Career: MP, Brent South (1987-Present); Member, Home Affairs Select Committee (1988-Present)

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  Myerscough SP: A Fresh Start
Posted by: Aubyn Myerscough - 06-28-2020, 05:42 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

Aubyn Myerscough, MP for Lewisham East, spoke to the Bow Group for his leadership campaign.*

[Image: methode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2F382...2063%2C475]

Ladies and gentleman, 

It is a great pleasure to address the Bow Group for the first time. As Britain’s oldest conservative think tank, you have been home to radical thinking about Britain’s problems and the solutions required. Looking towards the next millennium, we need the policy verve and spirit you have and which comes from being the intellectual home of conservatives in the UK.

The Conservative Party is currently engaging in its second leadership contest in a year. It could not come at a worse time: conflict abroad, rising tensions here at home, and a stuttering economy. Yet our ability to charter a safe course through this has been constrained. Trust in government is declining as Ministers fell out and leaked, as former Home Secretaries get arrested, and as allegations of violations of international law abound. It has been a deeply shameful few weeks. 

We have to do better than this; we must do better than this. It is time for a fresh start.  

I believe I am the candidate that can offer the Government needs and the country what it needs. I never wanted to run for leadership of my party; I’m not a Great Office holder – or even a Government Minister. I’ve loyally served my constituents since I was first elected. And that is what I expected to do, until they told me otherwise. However, there are times when we are called on by circumstances to do things we did not expect. And this is one of them: I am running to be Prime Minister, not because I want a promotion from my current position, but because I want to serve my country and help it move forward. 

I believe the country is crying out for a Conservative Government committed to healing and unifying: 
  • We have families frightened of the Poll Tax riots on our streets, but also frightened that they won’t be able to pay the Poll Tax bill.
  • We have families injured by breakdown, divorce, and parental conflict, but also injured by a struggling economy, high unemployment, and poverty. 
  • We have families who want to fulfil their duties and make a contribution to their community, but also see their leaders failing to do similar as each one tries to enrich themselves politically or financially.  
Helping these families requires us to be honest where we have got things wrong, and be committed to building on the things we have got right. I’ve never shied away from that as a backbencher, and I wouldn’t shy away from it as Prime Minister. 

I have been clear throughout my entire political life: we need to rebuild our institutions, to rebuild our commitments to one another, and to rebuild strong moral, unifying values. That is how we offer healing to our nation, hope to our people, and a brighter future to our children. It is the conservative way; it is the British way.

But for too long, the Conservative Government has failed to do this. Instead of rebuilding, we tore down. Instead of commitment to one another, we offered a shattering of the ties that bind. Instead of strong unifying moral values, we offered a ‘me, me, me’ approach to politics. 

Much of what we have delivered from 1979 has been necessary. The stultifying socialist embrace of the state risked destroying society, family, and values of responsibility and duty. By shattering that, we removed the threat. But rather than strengthening society, family, and moral values, we then proceeded to undermine them. The loyal protector became the most dangerous threat.     

So we accepted high unemployment – we should not have done. So we accepted severe instability in our economy – we should not have done. So we accepted rising single parent families – we should not have done. 

In trying to repair our country, as was required after years of socialist failure, we went too far. With our fresh start, we will put values and institutions that matter at the heart of our approach. What matters to the British public – family, love, community, security, employment – will matter to us. Charity, responsibility, faith, and voluntary endeavour are at the core of my vision of the fresh start for Britain.

It isn’t difficult; it isn’t complex. It is just about creating a common endeavour for all of us, with duty and commitment and responsibility at its heart. It is about the bond between spouses, the bond between family members, and the bond between each of us: the things that make life special for so many of us

I’ve spoken recently about how we must restore our nation’s belief in family, in marriage, and in good parenting. This is something I firmly believe must be a priority for the next Prime Minister, even if it isn’t me. As I said only a few weeks ago: “if we are serious about meritocracy and opportunity, as Mrs Thatcher was, then we should be pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-good parenting”.

So as Prime Minister, I will ensure that marriage and family is supported by every policy we implement, every tax cut we introduce, and every statement we make. We should focus on:
  • A higher marriage tax allowance for hard pressed families before tax cuts to rich singletons or businesses. 
  • A Home Care Allowance to allow parents to stay at home to look after their young children rather than being forced into work. 
  • A new service, largely provided by the voluntary and charity sector, to help families be well together and give their child the best start in life.  
And we should reform the economy, with the clarity and conviction of Mrs Thatcher, to make it work for families first. But let’s be clear: we can only do this because of the work past Conservatives did. The foundations have been set by Conservatives, and now the house will be built by Conservatives. Had we listened to the Labour Party – and continued with increased spending, increased bureaucracy, increased control – we wouldn’t be able to implement a radical pro-family, pro-parent, and pro-marriage agenda.  

In doing so, we can deliver the economic security that so many people want but feel they lack. Whereas Labour claims economic security can only come through big spending, big state, big regulation, we know that economic security comes through a vibrant private sector, strong community ties, and the family. That is how we tackle unemployment, that is how we tackle poverty and that is how we tackle the growing divides in our economy. 

If we focus on this, we can win a new hearing with the British public. By being open and honest, by focusing on their concerns, by being competent. It’s time for a fresh start, and I hope you will join me to deliver it. 
*Permission given by Blakesley 

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  PC7 - Russia / Resignations / Scandal
Posted by: Steve - 06-27-2020, 10:57 PM - Forum: Marked - Replies (11)

Closes 30 June 23:59

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  Macmillan Address to the UN General Assembly
Posted by: Dylan Macmillan - 06-27-2020, 07:21 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people. Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations. Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge."

Mr President, Mr General Secretary, fellow delegate, those are some of the most critical words ever proclaimed by this institution and the nations assembled, found in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This institution was founded in the wake of one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind; the rise of Fascism, the execution of the Second World War, and the wholesale slaughter encapsulated in the Holocaust showed us all as human beings that we had to be better and that we had to do better. Today for the first time in my career I have been left speechless and despairing by the failure of the United Nations’ own Security Council to act against a tyrant who has committed egregious violations of common decency, horrific crimes against humanity, and now to add to his charges some very serious war crimes. I call upon this body to act where the Security Council could not to uphold peace and security for the people of Iraq against an inhuman dictator in Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein’s history of human rights violations is as long as it is infamous, since the beginning of the Iraq/Iran War we have managed to identify numerous affronts to human decency and many many crimes against humanity. Let us first consider the persecution of the Feyli Kurds, an ongoing crime which draws many unfavourable comparisons with a genocide. The Kurdish people are being forced from their homes, imprisoned, relocated in ghetto-esque areas, and executed en-masse. At the height of the war there was the Halabja poison gas attack, a chemical weapon attack on a Kurdish town which killed thousands of unarmed civilians, not the first time he used chemical weapons, and sadly not the last. There is Al-Anfal Campaign, a campaign of brutal violence begun in 1988 which has killed tens of thousands such is its brutality. He has in these attacks deliberately targeted women, children, and the elderly leaving mountains of bodies, hundreds of mass graves, and unknown numbers of political prisoners and refugees. Then there are the even more shocking reports of as many as a million Iraqi Kurds being murdered in other attacks, a concentrated and prolonged genocide against a people whom he clearly hates with a passion. Finally we have the events of only a few days ago, the unprovoked use of a chemical weapon of mass destruction on a civilian population. This attack really was outrageous and if it were not for many many mitigating factors it could have proven to be far far more deadly than it turned out to be eventually. Combine that with the deliberate targeting of the British Embassy in Tel-Aviv, a clear breach of international law in its own right, and we clearly have a regime that is not just hell bent on ignoring international rights and norms but is actively seeking to undermine them.

The use of Weapons of Mass Destruction is a terrible but every occasionally necessary evil, using them unprovoked as a first strike is a great, objective, and unsupportable worse, however using them unprovoked as a first strike against a civilian target is barbaric and inhuman. It is an affront to peace, humanity, and security for the whole world but especially the Middle East. Mr President, Mr Secretary General, fellow delegates, this body has a great lineage of peace processes and upholding international law through negotiation, but in words often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, if you want peace, prepare for war. In the last thirteen years Saddam Hussein has invaded two nations, occupied one, and spent less than 20% of his time at peace with his immediate neighbours. He is a danger to the entire region, to his own civilians, and indeed to the civilians of other nations, he has proven himself capable of and willing to engage in the use of weapons of mass destruction, he has proven himself to be little more than a genocidal warlord, he must be removed from power. I therefore call upon this body to pass a Uniting for Peace resolution so that we may act where the Security Council refuses to.

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  Application under Standing Order 24 for Urgent Questions
Posted by: Brown - 06-27-2020, 05:25 PM - Forum: Speaker's Office - No Replies

Mr. Speaker,

Under the provisions of Standing Order 24, I hereby ask you to call the Prime Minister to the dispatch box to answer urgent questions of this House concerning the arrest of the former Home Secretary. Given the sensitive nature of the post that the member for Aylesbury held in this Government, I believe it is vital for the House to learn more about the circumstances surrounding this arrest, as well as to get assurances that National Security has not been compromised in any way. I believe the nature of these circumstances warrant urgent questions and an urgent statement from the Prime Minister concerning these events. I thank you for your consideration of my motion under Standing Order 24.

Signed,

John Brown
MP for The Wrekin

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