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The Northern no.

54
October
Democrat
The newsletter for Liberal Democrats in the North of England
2010

Cabinet Members head to


North Lib Dem Conference
TWO Cabinet ministers are to
speak at the North East
Liberal Democrats’ Regional
Conference on Saturday 16th
October.
Northern members are encouraged
to come to the Conference, which will
be held in Gateshead Civic Centre, to
meet the Liberal Democrats at the
heart of Government.
Chris Huhne is Secretary of State
for Energy and Climate Change and is
playing a crucial role in pushing
forward the Coalition’s green agenda.
Michael Moore is the Secretary of
State for Scotland. New MP for
Redcar, Ian Swales, will also be
attending.
zDeputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaking at the Northern Night
“We are delighted to have
reception at the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Conference in Liverpool. For
Government ministers for the first time
a full report on Conference, see pages 5 - 7.
ever attending our regional
conference,” said Regional Chairman Frank Hindle.
The Coalition has set out to become the greenest government ever. Chris Huhne is in the driving seat of this
crucial policy area and he will be addressing the Conference on the Coalition’s energy policy and the North East.
Michael Moore has
considerable experience
of Scottish politics
where for eight years a
Lib Dem/Labour
Coalition ran the
Scottish Government.
He will be talking on the
lessons from Scotland.
A registration form
can be found on page
10. Registration costs
£15. The Conference
starts at 10.30am,
though doors open at
zConference line up for the North - Michael Moore MP, Chris Huhne MP and Ian 10am. Lunch is included
Swales MP in the price.

Produced, printed and promoted by Jonathan Wallace, 7 Laburnum Grove, Sunniside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16 5LY
Northern Democrat October 2010
Contents
Page 2 Labour “won’t find us an easy touch” - David Faulkner
Page 3 By-elections
Page 4 News from our Euro MPs
Page 5 Conference - Nick Clegg’s speech
Page 6 Conference - key Conference decisions
Page 7 Conference photos
Page 8 Labour’s Hubris - Ron Beadle Editorial: please send material for
inclusion to the editor, Jonathan Wallace,
Page 9 National News at jonathanwallace@compuserve.com or
Page 10 Conference registration phone 0191 4883190

Labour “won’t find us an easy touch”


New Leader of Newcastle City Council, David Faulkner, writes
for Northern Democrat
John Shipley will be a hard act to follow and the time ahead for
local government will be very tough. But we have a strong base to
build on and I’m determined that we won’t just be seen to be
managing cuts and decline.
We’ll protect frontline services to the maximum extent possible. We’ll
continue Newcastle’s record as a national exemplar council for tackling
child poverty, homelessness and long-term unemployment, for
sustainability, for community engagement and devolution and for
working with business.
We’ll provide leadership with the new opportunities in health and with
the local enterprise partnerships. With Gateshead, Newcastle drives the
growth of the regional economy and we’re determined that flagship
projects such as Science City take off and create the jobs of the future
in the knowledge economy.
There will be a strong challenge from an emboldened, deficit-denying
Labour Party next May, but they won’t find us an easy touch and
zCllr David Faulkner
we’re determined to keep control of the city council.

Join the Fairer Votes Campaign!


Liberal Democrat MPs, led by Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg, have voted in Parliament to give people an
opportunity to throw out the archaic First Past the Post system.
Up and down the country activists are coming together to campaign to replace that system with the Alternative Vote
(AV). This is a fairer system which forces MPs to work harder to earn and keep your support.
Over the months until the referendum on May 5, 2011 the Fairer Votes Campaign from the Liberal Democrats will be
fighting hard for a ‘yes’ vote.
Members are encouraged to be part of this campaign. It will not be easy to win, defeating the voices of conservatism
who want to keep the status quo because it protects them from the will of the masses.
But with your help we can do it. We need you to inspire, enthuse and persuade your friends, family and neighbours
to come out on May 5 and cast their ballot for fairer votes.
To keep up with the campaign, go to http://www.libdems.org.uk/fairervotes.aspx
2
By-elections
September Results
Thursday 2nd September Thursday 23rd September
Castle, Alnwick TC Lobley Hill and Bensham,
Lib Dem Sara Walton 329 Gateshead
Con 238 Labour 1120
Friday 24th September
Lab 94 Lib Dem (Michael Ruddy) 298
Eastfield, Scarborough
LD gain from Con BNP 101
Lib Dem Johan Zegstroo 182
Conservative 97
Lab 159
Thursday 9th September Lab Hold
Con 100
Middlestone, Spenneymoor TC
BNP 27
Lab 358 Saltwell, Gateshead
Green 13
LD Edward Rhodes 202 Labour 793
Lib Dem hold
BNP 47 Lib Dem (Laura Turner) 196
Lab hold Conservative 86
Thursday 30th September
BNP 77
Brandon, Durham CC
Spenneymoor, Spenneymoor TC Lab Hold
Lab 1204
Lib Dem Ben Ord 494 LD Maureen Smith 538
Lab 422 Con 140
BNP 264 Lab hold
Ind 53
LD gain from Lab Battle Hill, North Tyneside
Lab 1334
LD Dorothy Bradley 826
Con 97
Ind 43
Lab hold

Help put Lib Dems on course for win in Leeds


report by Ian MacFadyen
Here in Leeds, we have an important by-election in
Guiseley and Rawdon ward on 14 October. Our candidate
is Cindy Cleasby, who grew up in the area (attending the
local primary school with David Miliband among others).
Many may know her father Cllr Brian Cleasby.
The sitting Tory councillor resigned after some delay
following his election to Parliament. We have a good chance
of winning and winning would put us on the path back to being
the administration on Leeds City Council as the leading party
in a coalition with the Conservatives, which we were until the
elections in May.
Northern Deomcrat readers’ help could make all the
difference. Please come to Leeds and help us win.
There are leaflets to deliver each weekend and canvassing
to do from Cindy’s home (which she shares with her parents),
11 Carr Lane, Rawdon, LS19 6PD, telephone 0113 250 4318.
Enquiries can also be made to the Campaign Organiser,
Rob Jacques on 0113 267 2802. zCindy Cleasby with new MP for Bradford East
David Ward
3
News from our Euro MPs
Deputy PM meets Euro Fiona backs calls
for trains to be
MPs in Brussels built in North
The Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP met Lib Dem MEPs
earlier this month while he was in Brussels for the Asia-Europe Meeting
(ASEM).
Together they discussed the economic recovery, the EU budget and other
key issues on the European agenda.
Commenting after the meeting, Lib Dem Leader in the European Parliament,
Fiona Hall, said:
“Lib Dem MEPs are working closely with the Coalition Government on the
many areas of common interest and involvement. Liberal Democrats are now
involved for the first time on both sides of the co-decision process, as MEPs in
the European Parliament and as government ministers in the Council of
Ministers.
zFiona Hall MEP
“As Deputy Prime Minister, Nick is in close contact with other EU leaders. He
was able to give us a very useful strategic overview on current EU issues. A North East Euro MP has put
“Governments right across Europe are having to batten down the hatches to her weight behind the “Back
get out of the current economic crisis. This is a very tough time. Fortunately the on Track” Campaign trying to
Coalition Government understands that economically Britain is not an island bring train building back to
and that regular engagement with other European governments is vital.” the North East.
The “Back on Track”

Diana visits the South Campaign urges the


Government to award a £7.5bn
contract for the next generation

Humber Gateway of high-speed trains to Hitachi,


which have indicated they would
assemble the trains at Newton
Yorkshire and Humberside’s Diana Wallis has become the first Euro MP to
Aycliffe, in County Durham,
visit the South Humber Gateway, a key development priority for the North
creating up to 800 direct jobs
Lincs and North East Lincs councils and a major gateway to the rest of the
and a possible 7,000 more in the
UK and Europe.
supply chain.
Diana visited the area on Friday and was given a presentation of the potential
Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona
of the South Humber Gateway before being taken on a tour of the site.
Hall said, “It would be great to
The South Humber Gateway hosts almost 1,000 hectares of development see the next generation of trains
land, spanning North and North East Lincolnshire. being built in the North East, the
It is the last remaining strategic development site that fronts a deep-water birthplace of railways.
estuary in the UK and the largest employment land allocation in Yorkshire and “I hope that Hitachi will firm up
Humber with the potential to create thousands of jobs. its commitment to the North
East.”unprecedented levels of
The South Humber Gateway is attracting significant global interest and is experiencing
inward investment with an estimated £3-billion plus of investment over the next 10 years.
One such investment has come from Able UK, a major North-East company and land-owner which has £400m
plans for a 1,630 metre quay at the South Humber Gateway. The quay will be one of the largest in the UK and will
make the Humber the centre of the UK’s offshore wind industry.
“The site has enormous economic potential for the whole sub-region and beyond,” said Diana. “What remains a
key stumbling block in my opinion though is the mobility of the workforce.
“We will see a huge development with very many jobs being created right across the estuary from Hull but I can
foresee a continuation of the current situation where such jobs in practice are out of reach for those living on the north
bank because of the existence of the toll bridge.
“The report commissioned by the four Humber unitary authorities identified the economic synergy across both
banks of the Humber would be increased hugely if the tolls were abolished or at least drastically reduced. I think the
South Humber Gateway project with its massive jobs boost could be the opportunity to finally call time on the
4 exorbitant bridge tolls. I will be taking up the issue with the responsible Cabinet Ministers.”
Conference report - Delivering for Britain
It was the biggest Lib Dem Conference ever!
Liverpool played host to the annual autumn
gathering of the party. Members came away in great
spirits. And for the first time ever, Liberal Democrat
ministers addressed Conference.

Nick’s Conference Speech


In his main speech to Conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nick
Clegg outlined the achievements of the Liberal Democrats in
government. He presented a long list of Lib Dem policies
adopted by the Coalition:
z We’ve ended the injustice of the richest paying less tax on
investments than the poorest do on their wages.
z We’ve guaranteed older people a decent increase in their
pension.
z In November, we will publish a Freedom Bill to roll back a
generation of illiberal and intrusive legislation.
z By Christmas, Identity Card laws will be consigned to the
history books.
z From New Year’s Day, the banks will pay a new levy that will
help fill the black hole they helped create.
z On 1 April, 900,000 low earners will stop paying income tax
altogether.
z In May, the people of Britain will get to choose their own voting zDeputy Prime Minister and Liberal
system. Democrat Leader Nick Clegg addresses
z And this time next year, there will be a pupil premium so the Conference.
children who need the most help, get the most help.
“We’ve always been the face of change. We are now the agents of change,” Nick told the packed audience in the
Conference hall.
But he warned, “Our first job, however, is a difficult one. Balancing the budget. I did not come into politics to make
spending cuts. But it is the only choice if we want to steer Britain out of the economic mess Labour made.
“The only choice if we want to bring back hope and optimism to our nation. We are gripped by a crisis, and it’s the
worst kind: it’s invisible.
“You can’t see the debts mounting up. We could have decided to go more slowly but it would have worsened not
eased the pain. Because every day you ignore a deficit, it gets harder to fix. The debts mount up and you have to pay
interest on them.
“Already we are spending £44bn a year on interest alone. Under Labour’s plans, that would have risen to nearly
£70bn. A criminal waste of money that shouldn’t be lining the pockets of bond traders. It should be paying for police,
care workers, hospitals and schools.
“That’s why this government’s aim is that by the time
of the next election, our debt problems will be solved;
our debts falling as a proportion of national income. We
will have wiped the slate clean for a new generation.”
And Nick concluded, “Britain in 2010 is anxious,
unsure about the future, but Britain in 2015 will be a
different country.
“Strong, fair, free and full of hope again. A country we
can be proud to hand on to our children. That is the goal
we must keep firmly fixed in our minds. That is the prize.
“The years ahead will not be easy but they will make
the difference our country needs. Stick with us while we
rebuild the economy. Stick with us while we restore our
civil liberties, protect our environment, nurture our
children and repair our broken politics. Stick with us and
together we will change Britain for good.” 5
Conference report - Delivering for Britain
Key Conference decisions
‹Backed plans for all service veterans to be awarded a National Defence Medal.
‹Called for greater transparency in Government, better scrutiny of public
servants and potential conflicts of interest, and the creation of a statutory register
of lobbyists.
‹Called for reform to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) which should be
made independent of serving editors and to have greater disciplinary powers but
also called on the Government to affirm its opposition to a privacy law that would
restrict press freedom in Britain.
‹Welcomed the judge-led inquiry into allegations of UK complicity in the
improper treatment of detainees in counter-terrorism operations. Conference
also called for the remit of the inquiry to be clarified.
‹Called on the Government to shift the tax burden to polluters to meet radical
and ambitious goals to make Britain’s economy green and sustainable. In
particular, members voted for:
z the reform of the Climate Change levy to shift the tax burden to the polluter
to promote energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy
z ensuring that changes to the price of carbon emissions do not result in
windfall profits for nuclear energy providers
z the rapid implementation of the Government’s air travel taxation reforms
‹Called for power to be devolved to local people and for the Government to be
ambitious in its plans for decentralisation by the strengthening of local authorities
to give local people more power in their communities; freeing up of local
administration by ending detailed central control and giving local government
financial autonomy and more revenue-raising powers.
‹Reiterated that despite cuts to tackle the deficit, we will use our position in
Government to promote and implement policies that will protect, assist and
empower the most vulnerable. Education and the continual development for
every child and adult, particularly the most disadvantaged in society, and creating
a fairer tax system with new jobs, wealth and opportunities spread to every
region of the UK will be our priorities.
‹Called for the Government to legislate for equal marriage, open to all, including
same-sex couples.
‹Agreed to draw up plans for greater diversity in the selection of candidates.

Vince battles against


boardroom excesses
I have managed to infuriate the bank bosses; acquire a fatwa from the
revolutionary guards of the trades union movement; frighten the Daily
Telegraph with a progressive graduate payment; and upset very rich people
who are trying to dodge British taxes. I must be doing something right.
(Vince Cable speaking to Conference)
Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, announced he was planning to “shine a harsh light into the murky
world of corporate behaviour.” In a widely reported speech, Vince took on many of the vested interests and the City
“spivs and gamblers” who came close to wrecking the British economy during the credit crisis.
Vince told the Conference, “The biggest test of our party’s contribution to the Coalition is whether we can ensure
fairness more widely. It will be said that, in a world of internationally mobile capital and people, it is counterproductive
to tax personal income and corporate profit to uncompetitive levels. That is right. But a progressive alternative is to
6 shift the tax base to property and land which cannot run away and represent, in Britain, an extreme concentration of
wealth.”
Conference report - Delivering for Britain
Alexander announces
tax evasion crackdown
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander,
used his Conference speech to announce a
crackdown on tax cheats.
An extra £900m would be spent to attack tax
avoidance and evasion. The additional investment is
expected to raise an extra £7bn each year by 2014/15
from those who currently evade the taxman.

Baker announces local


transport fund
Transport Minister, Norman Baker announced
plans for a new local transport fund to cut down zAbove - members from the region back the “Yes”
on short car journeys and encourage greener and campaign in the referendum for fairer votes.
healthier travel schemes. zBelow - Newcastle City Leader David Faulkner and
These could include encouraging cycle lanes, traffic Lord Shipley visit the PTEG stand.
management schemes and signposting for safe
walking routes.

Call for Trident to go


into Strategic Review
Liberal Democrats voted to include the like-for-like
replacement of Trident submarines in the Strategic
Defence Review.
The call was backed by Armed Forces Minister Nick
Harvey even though the Conservative Secretary of
State for Defence opposes inclusion and wants a full
replacement to go ahead.

zAbove - Cabinet ministers Michael Moore, Vince


Cable, Chris Huhne and Danny Alexander at the Q&A
chaired by Lorely Burt MP

zAbove - Councillors Nigel Martin and Own Temple,


from Co. Durham, are interviewed by BBC North East.
zLeft - Members from Teeside join Ian Swales MP and
Fiona Hall MEP to call for an end to “legal loan sharks”.

7
Northern Democrat comment: Labour’s Hubris
Many of my Labour friends are rubbing their hands in glee. In their
view, the history of the next few years has already been written.
The deepest cuts in modern history render the government the most
unpopular since the War, the Coalition crumbles as Liberal Democrat MPs
cease to countenance the cuts and Labour return to power at the next
election merely by turning up.
Such is the destruction of the Liberal Democrats and the recriminations
in the Tory Party that Labour retain power for a generation.
In the meantime Labour can get away with anything because no one will
hold them to account.
They will oppose every cut – whilst ignoring the £40billion of cuts to
which they were committed at the last election; they will oppose the
extension of academies – whilst ignoring the fact that academies were a
Labour invention; they will condemn every attempt to reform welfare whilst
forgetting the growth of welfare budgets during their time in office; they will
support public sector workers’ opposition to the pay freezes that they zRon Beadle
themselves introduced. Their faith in the electorate’s forgetfulness is
“September saw the extent of absolute.
Labour’s audacious hypocrisy. Don’t take my word for it. September saw the extent of Labour’s
Just five months ago Labour audacious hypocrisy. Just five months ago Labour campaigned on a
campaigned on a manifesto manifesto commitment to introduce a referendum on the Alternative
commitment to introduce a Vote. But when Parliament resumed in early September before the
referendum on the Alternative conference season started, Labour voted against it.
Vote. But when Parliament Genuine reformers well recall that Labour’s commitment to a
referendum on Proportional Representation at the 1997 General
resumed in early September Election was forgotten during their thirteen years in power. So having
before the conference season advocated a referendum on the Alternative Vote for just 20 weeks,
started, Labour voted against it.” Labour’s renewed hostility to reform is hardly surprising.
What is surprising – and surprisingly revealing of the party’s optimistic state of mind, is the argument they provide
to support their latest volte-face. It is this. The ‘Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill’ combines
proposals to reduce the number of MP’s (shock – horror) and to make the sizes of constituencies more equal.
It is against these two provisions that Labour bases their objection to the Bill. In fact the Bill proposes a modest
reduction from 650 MPs to 600. This is a reduction of less than 10% and leaves the number of parliamentarians
substantially higher than those of other democracies, the United States for example, whose lower house seems to
get along just fine with 435.
Labour argue that MPs workloads have ‘grown exponentially’ (poor dears) and that we need more MPs because
the size of the population has risen. At the same time they argue that it’s perfectly fine for one constituency to
represent 25% more electors than another - compare Banbury’s 83,000 electors to Newcastle Central’s 60,000 for
example.
The sheer self-interest exhibited in regarding arguments for maintaining a large parliament and disproportionately
weighting it to inner-city Labour constituencies is brazen. That Labour goes on to argue that these are matters of
principle which allow them to reverse a manifesto commitment illustrates their current state of arrogance. Labour
believes it can get away with this nonsense because the Coalition’s unpopularity will propel it back to power
regardless of what it does in the meantime.
In this context it was somewhat surprising to find that Tony Blair doesn’t share their confidence. Blair said last
month that “If Labour simply defaults to a “Tory cutters, Lib Dem collaborators” mantra, it may well benefit in the
short term; however, it will lose any possibility of being an alternative government. Instead, it has to stand up for its
record in the many areas it can do so, but also explain where the criticism of the 13 years [of Labour rule] is valid. It
should criticise the composition but not the thrust of the deficit reductions”. If Blair is correct then the future that so
many Labour people anticipate may not be so easy after all.
Whilst the more salacious and personal elements of Blair’s autobiography attracted most media attention, this
was his most important comment because it addresses what Labour should do now. It therefore goes to the heart of
the Labour leadership contest even if the contenders distanced themselves from Blair as quickly as their faith in the
electorate’s forgetfulness allowed them.
I have previously written about the strange political times we live in. I now find myself ending this column taking
refuge in the wisdom of Tony Blair. Strange days indeed.
8 Ron Beadle is a Councillor in Gateshead and was Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Newcastle North
Northern Democrat - national news
“Wicked and Malicious” - Blears
blasts Labour as the Nasty Party
Former Labour Cabinet minister Hazel Blears has caused a stir by describing Labour in government as
“wicked and malicious”.
Speaking at the Labour Conference on 27th September, she attacked the “wicked and malicious stuff that’s gone
on in our party” during the previous 13 years in office.
Blears is an arch Blairite and was a key player in the personality battles that plagued the premiership of Gordon
Brown. Her comments are being taken by some as a sideswipe at the Brownites who helped ensure former adviser
to Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, won the leadership of the Labour Party against his Blairite brother.
Rumour has it that the description of Labour by Blears is already appearing in Liberal Democrat literature!

Barnardos give qualified support to Tories unhappy


ending child benefit for wealth families at concessions
Children’s charity Banrardos have given their backing to the decision to
remove child benefit from higher rate taxpayers though they oppose other
to Lib Dems
ideas for reducing the payment that is currently univeresal. A survey of Tory grassroots
The plan to end child benefit payments to families where at least one adult members, published to coincide
pays the 40% tax rate was announced by the Chancellor on 4th October. The with the start of their
change comes into effect in 2013 and will save £1 billion a year. Conference, has shown that
most believe that David
Barnardos Chief Executive Martin Narey said, “Child benefit is wonderful and
Cameron has made too many
we wish it was safe, we bitterly regret that it is going to be reduced, but it costs
concessions to the Liberal
£11 billion. The government can’t ignore that expenditure.”
Democrats so that the Coalition
He then went on to explain, “If child benefit has to be cut, and we regret that holds together.
it has to be, it should be done on the basis of income. People who earn more
The survey of 1,727 Tory
money should lose child benefit.” members found:
z 64% say it is not acceptable
IMF backs Coalition over deficit to water down their party’s
plans to reform the Human
It used to be one of Labour’s favourite spin stories when they were in Rights Act;
office - Labour leading the world on the economy, Labour saving the
world, Labour showing all those silly foreigners how to run an economy. z 51% oppose the Justice
Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s
The reality was a country massively in debt both publicly and privately, a plans to make less use of
government that had borrowed more than all the governments of the previous prison for offenders who
300 years put together and a deficit running at 11% of GDP. are punished in the
In the spring international confidence in the UK economy and the pound was community instead, a Lib
weakening and without action to address the deficit, Britain would have hit the Dem policy;
rocks in the same way as Ireland and Greece. z 43 per cent object to the
The emergency budget in June showed the Coalition was determined to decision to delay Tory plans
tackle the biggest issue of the day. The result is that long term interests have to reward marriage in the
remained low and there is a degree of international confidence in the UK tax system;
economy and the Government’s measures which was lacking before the z 40 per cent oppose the
election. shelving of inheritance tax
Proof of this can be seen with the International Monetary Fund who have cuts.
backed the plans to tackle the deficit. In its annual health check on the UK Right-wing Tory MPs were
economy, the IMF said the economy and public finances were on the mend. heard at their Conference in
“The plan greatly reduces the risk of a costly loss of confidence in public Birmingham expressing the view
finances and supports a balanced recovery,” the IMF report, known as an that the “Lib Dem tail is wagging
Article IV consultation, said. the Tory dog”.
“Fiscal tightening will dampen short-term growth but not stop it as other 35 major policy commitments
sectors of the economy emerge as drivers of recovery, supported by continued from the Liberal Democrats’
monetary stimulus.” manifesto were included in the 9
Coalition Agreement.
NORTH EAST LIBERAL DEMOCRA
EAST TS
DEMOCRAT

Saturday 16th October 2010CIVIC CENTRE, GATESHEAD


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