Liberals in the news: Protests and the right to protest ...plus Spring Conference
By justLiberals | Tue Mar 23 2021
Liberals are in the news every week. Here we try to highlight the... highlights.
- Clapham Common & women's freedoms
- Protest crackdown bill & the freedom to protest
- Lib Dem Spring conference
Clapham Common & the rights of women
The week started with horrific scenes of women being manhandled by police officers on Clapham Common as the women attempted a peaceful vigil in memory of Sarah Everard who was abducted and murdered the week before (allegedly by a police officer.)
Ed Davey took the hardest line, calling for the MET police chief to resign. Vigils had happened around the country without incident, like in Nottingham and Bath. The Liberal leader said the police chief had lost the confidence of women, a phrase that was repeated by Reclaim These Streets organisers, but the police chief refused to go.
As the week continued, Christine Jardine gave a personal account of how she wished for a safer world for her daughter and the failings of a society that still keeps women in fear 100 years after granting them the vote.
Wendy Chamberlain had been pressing the government to make misogyny a hate crime and this week it was announced that they would run an 'experimental' approach that wouldn't change the law but would allow misogynistic crimes to be recorded as hate crimes.
Protest crackdown bill & the freedom to protest
Liberal member of the House of Lords, Brian Paddick, who is also former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said, "If you ban a vigil like [Clapham Common], you are going to attract more people."
Liberal lords and MPs joined others including Big Brother Watch and Liberty in demanding an end to protest bans as part of lockdown restrictions.
At the same time, the illiberal Conservative government was attempting to pass a law to make it easier to disband and prosecute protests and demonstrations at any time - clearly inspired by Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests earlier in the year.
The Bill passed its second reading thanks to the government's 80-seat majority but public resistance to the draconian crackdown led to more protests in Bristol to 'kill the bill' which ultimately ended in violence.
See also: James Belchamber, When the Tories ban peaceful protest...
Lib Dem Spring Conference
It's conference season again and Liberals were in the news as usual with the coverage afforded each party when its their turn.
Here's the hit list:
- Ed Davey accused the government of 'trying to hide' from a Covid inquiry. Davey is a 'key figure in the push for an inquiry' and, in fact, was the one who finally got Boris Johnson to agree to an inquiry back in July 2020. See also, Davey says inquiry will show Johnson's "appalling" record.
- Layla Moran explains that Liberals still want a future within the European Union and will now begin to work towards getting there. The Party voted in favour of a motion to commission a 'roadmap' to rejoining key EU programs like the Single Market and Customs Union.
- Ed Davey calls for £9 billion 'windfall' from the auction of offshore windfarms to finance insulation for every home in the country. He said this could be part of a 'sovereign green wealth fund,' making renewable infrastucture that produces wealth 'for the British people.' See also, "Britain can not only recover but become the world's first green powerhouse."
- And Liberals want to overhaul the UK's immigration system to make it better for those seeking sanctuary
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