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  Letter to Oxford Times - Extreme inequalities of wealth
Posted by: ReadingLib - 05-10-2017, 07:33 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - Replies (1)

Subject: Extreme inequalities of unearned inherited wealth in the next generation

In the week after the publication of the Sunday Times Rich List, what are the political parties going to say and do about extreme inequalities of unearned inherited wealth in the next generation of our so-called Opportunity Society.  Do they think it is right that some will inherit billions free of tax thanks to exemptions and reliefs for land and businesses while others inherit no capital at all?
 
All parties should determine to introduce and gradually increase over the years a UK Citizen’s Universal Inheritance for all 25 year old UK citizens with a UK citizen parent, at a politically appropriate level, financed and clawed back from the more fortunate by a progressive tax on cumulative lifetime receipt of capital gifts and inheritance. This would encourage the wider spread of giving, on which the rate of the so-called ‘Inheritance Tax’, retained for cross-referral, could be dropped from 40% to 10% for giving to UK tax payers, without the current absurdly unlimited exemptions and reliefs for land and businesses.
 
This is the policy of the continuing UK Liberal Party, whose traditional constitution calls for liberty, property and security for all.

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  Letter to local Media - Universal Inheritance
Posted by: ReadingLib - 05-08-2017, 06:47 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - No Replies

I note that in the opening rounds of this June’s snap general election, the Conservative Party is already publically mulling over the long-term prospects for income tax and VAT increases.


For a party which talks about acknowledging and helping the 'Squeezed Middle' and the 'Just Managing' it continues to look to squeeze yet more tax from the proverbial stone, rather than look at alternative sources of revenue to create a more equitable society.

For instance last year the charity Oxfam released a briefing note entitled How to Close Great Britain's Great Divide: The Business of Tacking Inequality.

The report makes reference to a reputable banking report which suggests that the wealthiest 10% of the UK population now holds almost 54% of the nation wealth. When I joined the Liberal Party 6 years ago it was still about 40%, rising to 44%, and now seemingly represents over half.

Much of this acquired wealth was not earned, but instead inherited via an opaque inheritance regime which simply moves wealth from generation to generation within a limited clique.

To tackle this, the Liberal policy of Universal Inheritance seeks to bring about a gradually increasing positive redistribution of inherited wealth in a genuine Liberal Opportunity Society, financed by taxes on the transfer of capital from each 
generation to the next. It would provide every qualifying young UK citizen at the age of 25 with a lump sum Citizens Inheritance, initially modest but increasing by a similar amount year on year up to a significant level.

The scheme is cost neutral as it is paid for by a reformed, exemption free, inheritance tax. Although such a scheme does not directly address the issues of the national budget deficit, it does make for a fairer, more equitable society.

No longer would some inherit billions free of tax while others inherit no capital at all.

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  Local Elections 2017
Posted by: Stone de Croze - 05-07-2017, 06:00 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - No Replies

I believe all those that stood in the recent local elections need an enormous pat on the back.
Standing for any smaller party at present is not easy in the current political world. Despite what appears to be the demise of UKIP it seems politics is leaning towards the right with a severe lack of coherent progressive messages to counter this. But countering the messages of division on which the right wing of British politics thrive is a necessity, as is providing a credible alternative message.

If we look at the winners and losers of the recent elections we see massive gains for the Tories, small gains for the Greens, massive losses for Labour and UKIP and the Lib Dems basically treading water. It's pretty clear the UKIP vote has gone back to the Tories, and many Labour voters have either staid at home or voted Tory as a punishment for Corbyn being leader. A few have obviously switched to the Greens.

Brexit is being touted as a major reason for Conservative gains, along with the Corbyn factor damaging Labour. I do not think local issues really played a major part in the majority of councils. Regarding Brexit, given a period of time, the  damage the Tories 'Hard Brexit' philosophy will become apparent. The public (albeit by a very small margin) voted to Leave but even some Remain voters were not fanatical about the EU in the way the Lib Dems, some in Labour and how the Green leadership now appear to be. I expect the majority in both camps wanted a different relationship with Europe - something the Liberal Party's Commonwealth of Europe policy would offer. Perhaps it's worth the Party looking at this, which as I mentioned when I subscribed to the mailing list, could be a USP.

Brexit will not always be a decisive reason for voting, and Labour will one day have a more capable leader. But a cohesive, alternative message now will provide a record on the Liberal position. I have attached a poster which may be of use to get the 'alternative' message across.

I have probably focussed too much on the impact of Brexit and Corbyn on the results. But it would be interesting to see people's thoughts on the Liberal performances in these elections. With the Lib Dems offering nothing different, Labour in dissaray and the Greens addling up to some very hard left forces in some areas Britain needs a liberal alternative. I hope those who stood for the party will do so again and those who lost their seats will fight to regain them at the earliest opportunity.



Attached Files
.png   Liberal Europe poster 2.png (Size: 90.11 KB / Downloads: 7)
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  NEC Statement - EU Citizens in the UK
Posted by: ReadingLib - 05-04-2017, 06:46 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - Replies (1)

The Liberal Party notes the recent comments of the European Council President Donald Tusk on the future status of EU citizens in the UK in relation to the commencement of talks on BREXIT.


The party fully supports the rights of EU citizens to continue living and working in this country and believes making such an undertaking does not prejudice future negotiations with the EU if made in good faith.

The party believes in a fair settlement with the European Union as part of our disengagement from Europe but remains concerned that any excessively large demand for financial compensation as part of the final settlement.

The EU should respect that the UK proportionally  pays more for the defence of the Europe through NATO  than the EU countries do themselves and this disparity should be off set in any negotiations.

There remains a real possibility that a punitive sum will push the UK towards an unfavourable exit which is not in the long-term interests of either the UK or mainland Europe.

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  Freedom of Movement v Freedom of Residence
Posted by: Stone de Croze - 04-29-2017, 11:54 AM - Forum: Party Policy Discussion - No Replies

Discussions on Brexit are complex, and discussions over migration from the EU post-Brexit is something which throws up many scenarios. Indeed, on this forum I have even raised a couple of ideas. As I have written elsewhere, I do not think people should be bargaining chips or some form of economic human shield - as the Tories seem to be attempting. At the same time I think public opinion is opposed to 'freedom of movement', for varying reasons. My own concerns on freedom of movement are based on ecological and sustainability reasons, which is why I beleive there is a difference between 'freedom of movement' and 'freedom of residence'.

I strongly believe EU nationals that have resided in this country for 5 or more years, and who have been law abiding citizens, should be offered nationality and full entitlement to benefits, access to services and the right to vote. But I believe future migration should be dictated by the employment market:
This is why I suggest the following measures.

  • Future migrants being offered freedom to enter the UK for a period limited to 3 months. They should  have the means to support themselves for that 3 month period as there would be no access to in-work benefits available within that 3 month period, and have adequate health insurance cover.
  • If EU nationals find regular employment, they would be offered 'Right to Residency', subject to them retaining their 'employed' status.
  • After a period of 12 months they would have entitlement to in-work based benefits and free NHS care.
  • After 5 years they may then apply for nationality.
Clearly this is simply a framework and the inner workings need to be added. Also a 'minimum rate of pay per job/trade' needs to be set to prevent undercutting of wages. Unfortunately this does occur which unscrupulous employers, and not migrant workers, are responsible for. But I believe this system represents a migration policy which is liberal (fitting nicely with current Party policy) and humane. It allows the needs of the economy to decide the level of migration required.

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  General Election 2017
Posted by: Stone de Croze - 04-25-2017, 07:31 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (4)

So what is the view of the Party on Theresa May calling a General Election and will the Party be fielding any candidates?

My thoughts:

  1. It's costly especially with the local elections. 
  2. The biggest enemy is the Tories and their so called 'Hard Brexit' proposals which are completely illiberal. 
  3. Ousting the Tories would offer a better opportunity of delivering PR and increasing Liberal Party representation.

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  NEC Statement - Syrian civil War
Posted by: ReadingLib - 04-08-2017, 07:52 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party deplores the rapid escalation of violence in Syria depicted by further use of chemical warfare agents in Northern Syria and the subsequent punitive military action on Syria by U.S. government forces.
 
The country's civil war has now dragged on for 6 years, interspersed with civilian atrocities and widespread destruction on the ground, displacing an estimated 3.8 million civilians and leading to approximately 100,000 deaths.
 
The increased direct involvement of the Russian government, and attempts by Western powers to back a disparate array of opposition groups has led to a chaotic situation where civilians are seemingly targeted at will. It has also added to regional instability and allowed Islamic militant groups to exploit the breakdown in order to further their own extremist agendas.
 
The Liberal Party urgently calls for: 
- the warring factions to resume direct talks immediately, under the auspices of the United Nations, to end the un-necessary suffering of the regions people who simply wish to live their lives free from violence and suffering.
- the creation of safe zones so that innocent civilians can move away from the danger of the armed conflict which has on occasions led to genocide against the largely Sunni opposition population.

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  Youth of the Party!
Posted by: JackHorn - 04-01-2017, 02:16 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (1)

Hello Guys, this is my first post on here! My Names Jack Horn. I'm the point of contact for Northamptonshire, Youth lead and I'm currently setting up the branch for my constituency. I run the Liberal Party youth facebook page, I'm wondering if there's any young members who would be able to help out ? Thank you guys. 

Here's some links for you
Youth page: https://www.facebook.com/Liberal-Party-U...325354828/
https://jackhorn1999.wixsite.com/jackhorn
My website:

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  Policy Development - Cyber Security
Posted by: ReadingLib - 03-24-2017, 07:37 PM - Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion - No Replies

The phenomenon of Internet crime is one that has only appeared in the last 30 odd years.


The subject itself covers the whole spectrum of issues from insecure internet sites, the hacking and theft of corporate and personal data, to denial of service attack’s for financial or political gain.

Cybercrime is now seeing a greater visibility, but much of this is pre-occupied with state sponsor cyber warfare, industrial espionage and organiser crime.

Police forces, their resources already spread thin are ill equipped to tackle Internet crime and national initiatives have focused on high level issues such as Islamic extremism, and not local threats.

Child protection and the investigation of alleged child exploitation now take up a disproportionate amount of time and resources for law enforcement agencies.

An emphasis on community policing and boots on the ground lead to the loss of 1500 fraud prevention offices from the national police force in previous decades, further undermining policing.

With arbitrary thresh holds set on the value of fraud needed to trigger an investigation, it is likely that a whole generation of low value internet fraudsters has emerged, unlikely to ever be discovered or prosecuted as long as they pursue a low profile career in crime.

Early December saw a denial of service attack on the home routers of a number of home broadband supplier’s most noticeable customers of Deutsche Telekom , the UK Post Office and TalkTalk.

Un-identified hackers had exploited a known deficiency in the software in certain models of home broadband wireless routers to swamp the routers with white noise generated by a piece of malware or malicious software which infected the router itself.

Home routers are bought in bulk from the manufactures and supplied to the customer with a company logo on it, but seemingly with no attempt to patch know software bugs or change widely known default administration passwords.

Many internet providers are competing on price not service, not least because of a high customer churn rate, and any additional customisation is an incurred cost to be avoided.

Computer operating system vulnerabilities remain a strong issue. With the Microsoft Windows operating systems almost total domination of the computer market, it represents a potential single point of failure.

Microsoft has attempted to avoid a repeat of the security issues with the Windows XP operating system, by designing a mechanism to in effect coerce users to upgrade to Windows 10 by persistent and intrusive alert boxes and arguably miss-leading inducements know as dark patterns.

Although this will gradual reduce the volume of laptops open to exploitation, significant reservoir of Windows XP machine remain alive, often infected with malicious software, and unlikely to be retired or replaced for years to come.

The use of Windows Update to force people to upgrade though does have one serious drawback. Its arbitrary nature and the disruption it causes has meant many people simply turn the feature off as being inconvenient, and therefore never receive important updates.

With Windows XP these included periodic updates to the Malicious Software Removal tool which was used to quietly dis-infect afflicted machine, although a body of opinion believed the running of the software and its automatic modification of system files in itself breached privacy laws.

Many of these compromised machines, both private and commercial, are, grouped together into networks of  remotely controlled computers called botnets, and used to co-ordinate denial of service attacks, swamping chosen website with fake network traffic to slow or disable them.

As society moved towards the nebulous phenomenon of the Internet of things, in which every one of your home appliances is connected to the Internet, from home heating to fridges, a more encompassing approach to internet security needs to emerge.

Hijacking of webcams is already a known issue, with victims blackmailed or exploited, as is the issue with user’s disc drivers being maliciously encrypted to force payment in Bitcoins, to have them unlocked.

A policy of better education, better provision of safe guards, and better policing all contribute to a safer computer environment. The government’s flagship initiative the National Cyber Security Centre is a positive step and should be applauded for bringing the subject into the public domain.

Software and hardware vendors, along with broadband suppliers need to take steps to offer more robust security.

It has been said that it will take several more generations before the general populous are wholly computer literate, but people continue to be defrauded due to a combination of gullibility and a lack of basic IT security education.

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  NEC Statement - Terror attack in London
Posted by: ReadingLib - 03-23-2017, 07:36 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party UK is deeply saddened by the loss of life in what is being treated as an act of terror in London. Our sympathy goes out to victims of the attack and to their families and loved ones. 

Whilst it is too early to understand what motivated this attack, we condemn a recourse to violence and terror as a means to promote any cause.

The Liberal Party supports initiatives, both government and community based, that seek to address social and political issue which draw otherwise law abiding citizens towards senseless acts of violence within our democratic society.

Engaging with those elements of British society who are likely to be led astray by extremist views requires a proactive and multi-agency approach. This should be aimed at bringing together community leaders, politicians, the police and the intelligence services, to guide such individuals back into the mainstream political process.

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