Tag Archives: Lib Dems

World v Britain

Market Bulletin from St James Place Wealth Management shows clearly that investors think a stand-alone UK is pants. Read here:

SJP Market Bulletin 20 June 2016

Popular Myth 2: Politicians are Mummy and Daddy

As children, we expect our parents to put us first, to be firm but kind, above all to be right.

And then we grow up.

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen

But we still seem to have unrealistically high expectations of our politicians, and to go into all the bitterness and woe of neglected children when they turn out just to be human.

As members of a democracy, I think we need to trust less to individual saintliness or brilliance in an MP or leader and trust more to the democratic process: politicians will do what’s best for us exactly to the extent that we are prepared to vote for what’s best for us. And that takes some thinking! In fact it might turn out that we are the ones that need to be brilliant and saintly more than they!

Dear old Nick Clegg especially comes in for gunning from media and voters alike because he

– changes his mind  – compromises  – adjusts to reality  – doesn’t know everything  – isn’t scary enough  – isn’t always right  – admits fault  – isn’t omnipotent…

But maybe we are grown up enough to cope with a Liberal leader?

Buy Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, in paperback or kindle format, through Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

Struggling with #depression

@Nick_Sutton22, of the #Liberal Democrat #Mental Health Association, uncovers student mental health issues.

Nick Sutton

Nick Sutton

University, for many, is a liberating, exciting experience. University gives you a chance to be independent for the first time, to get away from home, to meet new people from a range of backgrounds and throw yourself into new experiences in a new place in a different part of the country.

However, for many including myself, it can also be extremely daunting. I still remember seeing all of my belongings sitting in my front room ready to be carted off. Before then, I had been putting it off in my mind that I had to go and had not considered what it would be like to be leaving. I had a happy, settled home life, with a close group of friends, a great girlfriend and a loving family. Suddenly, I had to leave.

I arrived at university and quickly met a vast array of people, all of whom I had assumed seemed to be having a far better time than me. I got through Freshers Week by the seat of my pants but soon I panicked, feeling like I hadn’t settled properly. One thing that there is no warning of before starting university is that, if you are not careful, you can spend a lot of time on your own in your room and the first few months of university for me were incredibly disorientating and isolating. My moods began to change. One minute I felt calm and in control, the next I was in floods of tears. I would often count down the hours to the end of the day until I could go to sleep because when I was asleep I wouldn’t feel so low. I had stopped eating properly and had lost a stone in weight over the course of only a few weeks.

One of the worst things about this time was that I was no longer rational, no longer in charge of my own emotions. I often found myself breaking down and crying but I could not explain why. Sometimes the trigger was very minor, like a misinterpreted text, but most frightening of all was when there was no trigger at all. It felt like a thick black fog was following me. Sometimes it would get smaller and sometimes get bigger but it would never leave. It was only when I visited home and talked with my girlfriend that I finally realised that I was depressed.


Samaritans Tel: 08457 90 90 90

One in three people will suffer with a mental health problem in their lifetime, yet less than half of us will ever get any help with it. It is frankly bizarre when mental health problems are so common and so normal that there is so much stigma that prevents people from seeking help with them. We need to change the way we see mental health. It needs to become normalised in people’s views and when seeking help it should be seen no differently to seeking help with a physical illness. This is a process that has been championed by many, including our own Norman Lamb, Lib Dem MP for North Norfolk.

Depression isn’t just being a ‘bit sad’, it is an illness. Depression is the most common of all mental health problems in the UK, with between 8-12% suffering with it over the course of a year. And like an illness, it cannot always be controlled. It is possible to have good days with depression but this does not mean it leaves. It can be crippling and can stop you from doing anything.

I confided in very few people. My close friends, my family and my girlfriend were all hundreds of miles away. I felt at the time I also could not talk as I did not understand what was happening in my own head, let alone begin to tell someone about it. One very hard thing about suffering with a mental health problem at the start of university is that your anchors are not there. You worry that if you talk to your newly made friends about not being fully settled that they would judge you, that they would feel that you not being settled would somehow be a reflection on them as people. Even worse, I would worry they would get scared and decide not to be friends with me anymore. I only really opened up to my girlfriend, who, despite being hundreds of miles away and also settling at her own university, was brilliantly supportive. Without her help and her understanding I know that things would have been a lot worse.

I came back to university after my trip home and things started to get better. I knew what was making me low and I started to do something about it. I got out of my room more, socialised more, tried to make more friends and forge closer friendships. I stopped constantly worrying whether I was more or less settled than other people and began to enjoy university life for what it was rather than what I thought others thought it should be. Slowly but surely, the black fog began to lift and I started to enjoy my life at university. My moods were under control, I was more sociable and jovial and began to feel like me again.

My advice to anyone who is in the same position as I was is to be open and to talk more. I bottled up my troubles. I was too scared to be open and talk and resisted going to seek help. If I had done that when I had started becoming depressed, my problems would not have become as bad as they did. I do not want people to make the same mistakes that I did.

Having a mental health problem does not make you strange, it does not make you a freak and it does not make you different. You only have to start to scratch the surface to realise how common it is. Do not believe the stigma. There is nothing weird about being depressed and it does not have to be like that forever. You can get help and people will listen. You are not the only one who has been where you are.

Be open and talk. It can be more powerful than you think.

Nick Sutton, President, Exeter University Lib Dems, and an executive member of the Liberal Democrat Mental Health Association


#Tory Myth 3: Life is Tragic

I hope I meet Byl Wringe again some day. Last heard, he was teaching Philosophy in Turkey.

When we were students together he had a moustache he fiddled with. We were Young Fogeys, at the end of Thatcher’s era. Byl said he couldn’t be a Christian because Christians denied Tragedy. But things do go wrong, he said. The centre doesn’t always hold. To deny that fact is to deny also the vulnerability of the world, which is its beauty, its lovability.

Believing in Tragedy is believing that irresistible forces meet immovable objects, that there are problems that can’t be solved. In the tragic world view, Economic Growth is pitted against Environmental Protection; Housing against the Countryside; Employment against Inflation; Human Rights against Human Responsibilities; Security against Peace.

Poster for Sophocles' Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

Poster for Sophocles’ Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

That’s what the Ancient Greek Tragedies did. They took abstract nouns and hurled them at each other. Antigone can’t reconcile Respect for the Dead with Respect for Authority. Electra’s love for her Dad drives her to hate her Mum. Pentheus is torn between sensuality and dignity, in the end literally torn.

What’s the answer to these clashes of opposites?

‘Sacrifice!’ say the Right Wing. ‘One Good has to be sacrificed for another Good!’ (Oddly, it’s often someone else’s Good that has to be sacrificed.)

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

Possibly a transformation of both?

What if transformation were possible? What if reconciliation were possible? What if there were solutions?

‘Love hopes all things.’

What if the tragic outlook missed a trick, turned out to be a little wooden, seeing the murdered tree of the cross, and not the dynamo that was forged?

Byl, are you out there?

Buy Adventures in Tory Land: Politics in Middle England at amazon.com/co.uk or click here:


Popular Myth 1: Politics is Dirty

So is sex, money, birth, death, children, gardening. Best just to watch TV and criticise everyone else. Don’t get involved.

cross titian

Happy Easter!

Click here for extract from Katie’s Adventures in Tory LandThe Mother

Tory Myth 2: There just isn’t the money


#tax breaks, #royal family, #millennium dome, #war on terror – lovely ideas, Tories, but “there just isn’t the money.”

If you look at actions, rather than words, the Conservative Party has little problem with public spending – just so long as it doesn’t lead to redistribution. Militarism, or floating the Queen down the Thames on a barge, is OK, because the poor won’t get richer. Even spending on the NHS is fairly OK. The real threats to social order are welfare, social services, education, prison reform – things that might just empower people. Keeping a gap between the rich and poor is the underlying agenda of the Conservative Party.

According to the UK National Audit Office, the total cost of The Dome (a John Major commission) at the liquidation of the New Millennium Experience Company in 2002 was £789 million, of which £628 million came from National Lottery grants. That’s about 1% of today’s total #budget. See http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/breakdown

@guardian – UK military operations since cold war have cost £34bn, says study: http://gu.com/p/3zjqa/stw

@JohnPilger – We have created a hotbed of extremism in Iraq, inspiring ongoing expenses in a continued ‘war on terror’ which can’t be won until we stop being terrified.

For a lighter account of Tory madness, buy Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England. Go to: http://amzn.to/1N1doeS