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Random Thoughts for 8th April 2013: A late March catch-up

This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuff that has occurred to me between 19th March 2013 and 8th April 2013. This is a catch up of things from the end of March and the beginning April 2013. Probably appears even more random than usual as I am posting it late and have been erratic in adding links.

Look at the tracks of lost railway lines

On the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report a look at its impact on Bedfordshire.

Why Monty Panesar should be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats

I fully approve of Mark’s inspired idea. Only the best people come from Luton you know!

Early Easter treat for cheetah cubs

Cheetah cubs playing with Easter eggs at Whipsnade Zoo.

A sensible reform to Lib Dem selection rules – giving a warmer welcome to returning lapsed members

Last November Mark Pack was developing some proposals to change the internal rules of the Lib Dems with regard to the rights of lapsed members to vote in selections. Proposals to which I responded.  While his proposals haven’t been adopted, Mark reports that the English Candidates Committee has decided on a sensible reform to relax the rules.

Should Britain let go of London?

An interesting and challenging film from the BBC’s economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, looking at the wider consequences for Britain of the power of London. The essential arguments will be familiar to most Liberal Democrats, but I thought it was an interesting way of looking at the issue.

Yes, George, It’s An Elephant….

A good post on the budget from Gareth Epps. Essentially a plague on all your elephants – but Vince is still the biggest beast.

Who won?

Mark D’Arcy argues that the winner in the debate over the Leveson report was Parliament. I think this is right. Whatever your views on the outcome, we have seen an assertion of the will of Parliament against (at least part of) the Executive and the Press barons. This is partly a function of coalition – but also greater assertiveness and willingness to work across party lines amongst members of both houses of Parliament.

Press regulation: who has won?

Guardian columnist Michael White regularly irritates me, but when he is right he is very good. This is a superb summary of where things stand after the parliamentary manoeuvrings over implementing the Leveson Report. a good antidote to some of the ridiculous hyperbole the issue has generated.

House of Lords blocks ‘shares for rights’ plan

Having Liberal Democrats in Government doesn’t stop all Tory nonsense – but sometimes that is what the House of Lords is for. Here I quote, the excellent, cross-bench peer Lord Pannick:

“Employment rights were created and have been protected by all governments – Conservative and Labour – precisely because of the inequality of bargaining power between employer and employee.”

“To allow these basic employment rights to become a commodity that can be traded by agreement frustrates the very purposes of these entitlements as essential protection of the employee who lacks effective bargaining power.”

Watch Paddy Ashdown’s cracking speech to the Lib Dem spring conference

Paddy nails it.

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