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  Party Policy: Moving Forwards
Posted by: coton boy - 11-03-2015, 08:24 PM - Forum: Party Policy Discussion - Replies (2)

As 2015 draws towards a close, how do we think policy in the Liberal Party should develop, and how can we promote said policy to the wider public?

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  Europe..in out or shake it all about
Posted by: colinfrance1969 - 11-02-2015, 08:34 PM - Forum: European Talk - Replies (2)

I will be brave and start the thread on this subject, are we better IN! or OUT! ? I believe Britain is better being part of the union but it must be reformed, so what do people think, what should Britain's relationship be with Europe, closer with Britain leading the way or do we sit on the edge and let Europe tell us? Undecided

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  Immigration policy
Posted by: ReadingLib - 11-02-2015, 07:26 PM - Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion - No Replies

I was recently asked about our policy on immigration, but had to admit free movement of labour has been rejected by the general public.

One issue to bear in mind in this discussion is this country is employing well in excess of 100000 foreign workers in the NHS, including perhaps 89000 nurses and 37000 doctors. How would changes in our immigration policies affect the provision of a qualified and skilled workforce without compromising the day to day workings of the NHS?

The first issue is a revamp of our education system. Despite arguably the 6th best education system in the world, too many school leavers lack basic skills or qualifications and too many employees deplore the lack of similar skills in recent graduates.

Apprenticeships are lacking, and training needs to be made a life-long journey. A better qualified domestic work force will certainly displace the need for foreign born labour in the first instance.

As one example nursing is now a degree vocation. Until recently there was no vocational route into nursing, and the one now being touted by the NHS and Royal Colleague of Nursing is by their own admission simply a feeder route for degree courses. It appears geared to training people to a level no higher than a nursing auxiliary or care worker.

As the same time funding for domestic nurse training has been cut back, further aggravating the issue and further increasing the pressure for foreign recruitment.

As much as we’d like to have the best qualified nursing work force, we have set a standard which can only be filled long-term by foreign employees. Can we not supply these numbers domestically?

Once people are trained in any vocation, there may also be a need to relocate people from areas of high unemployment to areas of high vacancies. Nobody wants to leave their home town, but according to studies the vast majority of people move no more than 20 miles from their place of birth.

Such an initiative needs to include a properly thought out and funded relocation program, with affordable housing and efficient transport links at their destination.

Studies have shown that immigrants make informed decision when choosing countries to move to. A country with a low wage employment environment, such as the UK, will encourage immigration, as people know there is work to be found.
Conversely they will have nothing to offer to a high tech, high wage economy, unless they have the skills to match.

Secondly is reform of the visa or work permit system, perhaps using a point’s based system as in Canada or the US. The current system in our country appears driven by a desire to limit numbers, rather than attract applications or fill skills gaps.

The US certainly has an identical issue, artificially restricting the number of green cards, whilst business is crying out for skilled workers the domestic economy cannot supply.

The UKs revised scheme has also discouraged large numbers of foreign students, who were paying to study in this country, and then staying on to work and develop business, both to the benefit of this country, and ultimately their home country when they return home.

The final strand is a workable border controls, and the detention and deportation for those illegally entering and working in this country.

Our country has an unenviable reputation for porous borders and lax controls. Throwing up barbed wire fences and prefabricated walls at the channel tunnel is very much a case of closing the stable door after the house has bolted.

People need to know that if they have not followed an approved entry route, they will be deterred from entering the country by tighter controls, and if they do so, they will be detected and sent back to their country of origin.

I fell this document is somewhat laboured, no pun intended, and perhaps illiberal in some respects, but it is a pragmatic compromise between the need to take action on key points, and the need to have answer for the general public.

As ever I welcome any comments


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  Optimum Population
Posted by: ReadingLib - 11-02-2015, 07:24 PM - Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion - Replies (1)

The issue of optimum population for our island nation has received  increased media attention in recent years, almost always in relation to population size and immigration. However its correct application is environmental and not economic sustainability.

In the late 1980's when I was involved in conservation work in East Anglia, one of our local group was a former senior member of the Green Party, who has been forced to step down due to mental illness.

He revealed that the great unpublicised debate within the Green party in the 1980's had been optimum population size for the UK. This was the level at which the population was in balance with the natural environment. They had settled on a figure of 45 million, about 10 million less than the countries then population, and perhaps 19 million less that today.

By another widely quoted figure the UK is estimated to being consuming 3.5 times this nations natural resources. This would imply the natural population level was a mere 18 million.

In fact this nations population increase comes from a combination of immigration, and greater life expectancy. Basic economic and industry activity continue to expand, demanding further labour. As we are unable to supply this domestically, this leads to immigration.

At the same time an ageing population, needing more long term care, and a lack of suitably qualified and experienced UK citizens to work in care related industries, adds to the issues of immigration.

As Liberals we value our freedom of choice, but tinged with responsibility for our actions when planning a family.
However the  current birth rate in this country is still below the natural replacement rate of 2.1 children per couple. It is also now heavily slanted towards births from foreign born mothers.

This means that long-term there are not the number of young people born in this country to sustain industry and the increasing demand for care for the elderly in the future.

It is not simply a case of replacing 1.5 million foreign born works, and their families to reduce the nationals foot print.
We simply can't ask millions of people to leave this island, when our country is for ever dependent on foreign labour to maintain economic activity and industry in the absence of sustained numbers of skilled home grown workers.

What  we really need to do address the labour market short comings which mean millions are drip fed benefits, when with the proper support they could be actively working and contributing.

Any comments on this draft are always welcome.


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  what is important to you?
Posted by: colinfrance1969 - 10-31-2015, 08:42 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (3)

I want people to discuss what is important to them? So please take this opportunity to say what is, don't wait until one of the major parties finally stumbles on the issues that are important....and then tell you what is going to happen... lets get these issues out in the open and lets debate them! Colin France

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Posted by: Glenfunnyman - 10-29-2015, 02:00 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (3)

I would like to know other party members thoughts on E-Cigarettes. A good or a bad thing? I personally think a good thing in comparison to cigarettes. So why the sudden demonisation? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

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Posted by: Glenfunnyman - 10-29-2015, 01:57 PM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (3)

Are Labour right about their fear for the British Steel industry? What should the Liberal Party position be?

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  Welcome To Liberal 21
Posted by: NigelGB - 10-26-2015, 11:32 AM - Forum: General Discussion - News and Views - Replies (4)

Liberal 21 is a group of Liberal Party members who are not affiliated to a local party organisation.  The aim of the group is to provide the type of support and discussion that liberal members would have in a local party association but using 21st Century digital communications to allow us to communicate and interact.  Hence the name.

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  Regional Devolution - more than an English Issue
Posted by: NigelGB - 10-22-2015, 10:07 AM - Forum: Regional Devolution - Replies (11)

There seems to be a consensus of opinion that the question of devolution in Scotland and Wales is finished - though with the possible question of when will Scotland go for full independence.  I would submit in fact that this is far from the case.  If we are to argue for the devolution of powers to the regions of England we must in all fairness also support the devolution of powers to the regions of then other nations inside the United Kingdom.  It is all too easy to take Scotland and Wales as single national entities without internal regions.  They are not, and we need to support devolution for the regions within within all the nations of the United Kingdom.

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  Fundamental Law - Nature and Purpose
Posted by: NigelGB - 10-22-2015, 10:00 AM - Forum: Constitutional Reform - Replies (1)

A Fundamental Law is a law that requires more than a decision by the legislative body to change.  Usually some form of vote in favour of change by the citizenship.  Although, but its nature, a Fundamental Law becomes part of the constitutional law of the country it applies to, it is not in itself a constitution.  Though by definition any written constitution must be a fundamental law.

The important thing about a Fundamental Law is that it puts limits on the ability of the Executive and the Legislature to make changes to the way in which the Executive and Legislature of the country operate.  As things stand at present in the United Kingdom Parliament is supreme.  There is no authority over it and it cannot be bound by any action taken by a previous parliament.  So if the government of the day decides that it wants to change the period in which it can be in office to nine hundred and ninety nine years and if it can get the required support in both houses to pass the legislation, it could do so.  A Fundamental Law would stop this.

That is why I am proposing a Fundamental Law at this years Liberal Party Assembly.

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