Love Island Star Anton Danyluk talks about young people’s health

It was a pleasure to welcome Love Island Start Anton to Liverpool today. It is part of his national programme to get young people involved in fitness and health activities. His approach certainly caught the imagination at the King’s Leadership Academy in the Dingle

It was a pleasure today to welcome Love Island star Anton Danyluk to Liverpool today when he went to the King’s Leadership Academy in the Dingle as part of a UK tour as World Merit Ambassador on Health & Fitness.

Anton is using his UK Appearance Tour to drive his long-held mission to promote good health and wellbeing.

For the past three years, Anton – who runs his own health and fitness retreat, “The Ranch” in Airdrie, Scotland – has been on a mission to engage young people in the conversation about Good Health and Wellbeing. By visiting schools, Anton will be  encouraging the younger generation to look after themselves by showing his audiences that “exercising can be fun”, while addressing the importance of both mental and physical health in such a critical moment for young millennials as they face so many challenges. 

That’s certainly what he did today. About 100 young people listened intently to his 21 day challenge to do one healthy thing for 21 days or not do one unhealthy thing for the same period. “Do that”, he said and the likelihood is that you will have acquired a habit for life.”

Anton spoke movingly about his own experiences as an obese 14-year-old who was frequently bullied and whose life changed when his Mum dragged him to the gym. This was his habit which he has kept to ever since.

“I always believed that, when introduced to exercising in a fun and engaging way, kids love it! If they start young, the chances are that they will continue to strive for a healthy lifestyle,” added Anton Danyluk. 

Anton’s focus on joining the Villa in 2019 was always to use the experience as the platform he needed to further what he sees as his life’s mission, his passion then led to World Merit and their UN partners asking him to take on the role which will give him an even bigger platform.  

“Mental health has always been incredibly important to me. If the Love Island experience has taught me one thing, it is that ‘mental health’ is a verb that needs constant working on. So many people are watching our every move and I want to make sure I set a strong example. Talking about and working on your mental health is key in living a healthy life,” said Anton Danyluk. 

Anton had already shown his commitment to helping this younger audience long before anyone knew who he was, back in 2016 he was on YouTube charting his work with schoolchildren who were given opportunities to come and work with him at the Ranch on improving their health and fitness.  This commitment led directly to World Merit approaching him with to work alongside them reaching a global community of young people. 

As well as being United Nations partners, World Merit are known for being a truly global youth movement which empowers millennials around the world to come together, providing them the resources and opportunities to tackle social problems in their communities and providing rewards for their work. 

Partnered with the United Nations in 2015, World Merit became the first global youth movement to promote the Sustainable Development Goals after previously hosting incredible speakers like Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and world leading educationalist Sir Ken Robinson in Liverpool in 2014.   

Our Chief Executive, Marlou Cornellisen says, “We are incredibly excited to have Anton as our Ambassador for UN SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing. I have witnessed the work of hundreds of thousands of changemakers across the globe and they all have something in common; a desire to bring positive change to their communities. We strive to reach as many young people as possible to let them know there is this whole community of support available to them as we facilitate an environment to build their confidence and raise their aspirations.   Anton’s work fits brilliantly with World Merit and the United Nations’ mission to achieve Good Health and Wellbeing across all of the UK and beyond.”

I’m now giving to have further talks with Anton’s management company about how he can work more with World Merit and with councils UK wide to promote health and fitness amongst young people. With 30% of our 11 year olds obese and 3% of 11 year olds morbidly obese we must find new ways of involving them in health activity and lifestyles. Who better to help them on their journey to fitness than Anton who has made that journey himself? As he said today, he didn’t set off to become a celebrity on a TV show. He did it to make himself healthy so that he had the mental and physical strength to take on challenges and pull himself out of a life that was sad and would probably go nowhere.

If you want to sign up to Anton’s 21- day challenge you can find the detail at www.worldmerit.org.uk. You don’t have to be young to do it – you do have to be determined!!

 If you want Anton to address a group of young people in your city please get in touch with World Merit via anton@worldmerit.org.

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Wavertree – I’m in it to win it!

It’s ‘game on’ in Liverpool Wavertree where I will be fighting to retain the seat for the Lib Dems following Luciana Berger’s understandable decision to fight Finchley & Golders Green

The move of the sitting Lib Dem MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger, to stand for Finchley & Golders Green means that I am once again the Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Constituency. We regret that because we wanted to work with her although we did recognise her safety concerns and therefore the need to move. No one should be under any illusion that my Party colleagues and I are fighting not to make up the numbers but to win this seat.

Some might say that I am a bit too old to contemplate starting a new Parliamentary career. I say that I have the experience to deliver what the people of Wavertree so badly need. I’ve lived in the Constituency since 1974 and have 37 years experience of fighting for its needs and the needs of the City as a whole as a member of the Council.

I am fighting to win because I believe that:

  • politics should be conducted in a dignified and thoughtful way
  • politicians should not think themselves to be above the law
  • Brexit will hugely damage the prospects of my children and grandchildren and your children and grandchildren
  • the UK could be a major force for good for the World instead of being a pathetic inward looking nation
  • climate change is not something that should be talked about but needs to be tackled urgently
  • the NHS needs support and a new direction if we are to keep our nation health
  • our education services ned a new direction which encourages people of all ages to want to learn rather than being part of an exams based sausage machine

Those are the national reasons but there are local ones as well:

  • Wavertree Constituency Labour Party is corrupt since Momentum took over
  • Decent people like Cllr Paul Kenyon have resigned in disgust
  • Lord Mayor and Cllr Peter Brennan resigned after circulating a racist video
  • Cllr Dave Cummings has been suspended for sexist behaviour
  • Jewish friends of mine who are 6th generation in the City are beginning to be concerned about their safety
  • Labour control of the Council is threatening our environment with crazy road and investment plans.

Liverpool has been the proverbial two horse race between Liberal and Labour since 1973. The last Tory councillor in Liverpool was elected 25 years ago and is now a Lib Dem member. The Greens are confined to a couple of wards in the Riverside Constituency.

Liverpool Wavertree is a constituency with a 70% remain majority and that is the new dividing line in British politics. Old Party allegiances are being cast aside as people decide whether they are internationalists and outward looking or little Brits and inward looking. On the right we have a Brexit of which the best option, although unacceptable, would be Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

On the left we have the Corbynistas demanding, within three months a peoples Brexit. This is a Unicorn because the basic concepts which they propose, especially abandoning the freedom of movement of labour and capital which is at the heart of the EU. The majority of people in Britain reject both a Brexit or a Lexit.

Our position is absolutely clear. We would like to have a People’s Vote now. If Parliament don’t agree that and we have an early General Election we will campaign to Revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. If we have a majority in the House, we will do just that. If not, we will work, once again, for a People’s Vote.

That I believe is the majority view of people in the Wavertree Constituency and will be at the forefront of my campaign. Liverpool Lib Dems have more members and more activists than we have had for many years. We need more members, more activists and more cash to match the huge funds available to our opponents.

The EU will not be the only policy that we will campaign on but it will be the key one. It is the defining issue between liberal and illiberal. It is the issue which will affect all the policies that we and others put forward

We want to take our message to the people of Wavertree through the letter box and on the knocker as we have traditionally done and use other techniques as well. If you want to know more either become a member of the Party or a registered supporter at http://www.libdems.org.uk//join-local.

But whether or not you will support me that is something that you can do to help the debate. If you are a member of a faith group, a community group, an amenity group think now about holding a hustings meeting so that you can challenge all the candidates in Wavertree about their beliefs. I’ll turn up and, within reason, talk to any group and I would hope that any candidate would do likewise.

Lib Dems in the UK and Liverpool Wavertree are on a roll. Make no mistake that when the General Election comes, “I’ll be in it to win it”.

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Boris Johnson and the ‘Rule of Law’

Lady Hale. Today’s pin up girl for defending us against an all-powerful executive and preserving the rule of law

There were a number of spurious claims made during and since the EU referendum of which one of the most bonkers that we were no longer an independent sovereign country. “We want British Laws made in the UK Parliament decided upon by British Judges”, we were told. But now we have seen how hollow that argument is.

Firstly, the UK Parliament has passed by a large majority a LAW that says there shall be no ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The response from Johnson and his Government to that was to try and find a way around the law. He prorogued Parliament to reduce the rights of Parliament to scrutinise what he was up to and force him to obey the law. In short, he acted like a World War 2 spiv wanting to sell nylons around the back of the pub!

Secondly, The UK Supreme Court has declared that methodology to be unlawful. In truth the Government did little to defend its position. They put up one document from a senior civil servant and the Prime Minister refused to make his own statement to the Court where he could have tried to justify his actions. How could they do otherwise when it was apparent to all that the decision to prorogue was not in accordance with constitutional practice but a blatant attempt to bypass a hostile parliament. Now the Government say that the way UK judges have interpreted UK law was wrong. They will again attempt to find ways to get around the Court decision.

There have been howls of anger about the decision from the great unwashed in the Tory and Brexit Parties. There are two key responses.

No, the Supreme Court has not made a political decision. They made no comment on the rights and wrongs of Brexit. They decided, unanimously as it happens, on a constitutional matter where from their side the question of Brexit was an irrelevance. It was a process at fault and not a policy.

No, the Supreme Court members are not self-outed Remainers. This decision gives us no clue as to their own beliefs of BREXIT. They are charged and indeed take an oath on the impartiality of their decision making. As they rose to the Supreme Court, they will have made many judgements which they regretted but they made them because their interpreting a UK law not expressing a personal opinion. In this Country unlike the USA appointments to the Supreme Court are not politically made but subject to an impartial none-political process.

In fact, many UK laws are eventually tied up by Judges. Law making is often imprecise and for a law to be fully enacted there is often a wealth of case law which gives substance to methods for carrying out laws. This has been our way for centuries and I can recall no clamour against the process in the many years I have been politically active.

So, there are detailed implications of this case but there is a wider one which goes to the whole referendum debate. We are a sovereign nation with a sovereign parliament with a sovereign judiciary. Sometimes our Parliament chooses to pool that sovereignty with other governments because that makes us stronger. Sometimes we choose not to accept some EU laws which we feel are incompatible with our needs. On many, many occasions we simply make our own laws because that is what our Parliament exists to do.

We support not only a European Judiciary in some areas of law because it is in our interest to do so as our concerns about actions in other Countries cannot be dealt with in a national Court. But for most things it is our courts and our judiciary who undertake the interpretation and administration of UK laws and justice.

We also accept the befits of other aspects of law making and defence of the realm. We enforce and ask other countries to enforce European Arrest warrants so that we can bring criminals back to justice. We share policing knowledge and actions because that is the only way to attack international crime gangs.

Today my pride in my country has been reinforced by the decision of the Supreme Court. I have seen that the independence of the judiciary has been maintained and that our Parliament responded democratically to that decision by reconvening tomorrow.

I am proud of my Country but I am not a little Brit or a little Englander. I’m a big Brit or a Big Englander. I believe that if we had spent half the time that we have spent over the past 40+ years whinging about the EU on trying to improve it the EU would be a much better institution and our European wide commerce and industry would be far stronger.

Yes, the EU needs improvement just as we can see that our own Country needs improvement but the way to do it is to get stuck in and not locked out.

I am tired of my Country being laughed at by the rest of the World. In just 3 years we have descended from being one of the most respected Countries in the World to being one of the most laughed. Perhaps today might represent the start of the upturn for our Country when the rest of the World can see that battered though they might be our institutions are fighting fit and capable of defending the liberties of all of us against an over-powerful cabal in Downing Street.

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Politicians working in Partnership

Wavertree High Street closed today to celebrate ‘car free day’ and to enable people from around Wavertree to get together. Well done Labour Cllr Clare McIntyre for kicking the whole thing off.

I’ve taken some stick lately for cooperating on a number of issues with the Mayor of Liverpool. The criticism has come because at the last two standard council meetings there has only been one motion moved at each. On both occasions the Mayor proposed them and I seconded them. The motions dealt with two issues which I believe should transcend party politics within our City.

The first was about climate change. There is an existential threat to the planet caused by the way that humankind is behaving. To change what people do needs the changing of cultures and attitudes. Surely this will be better done if we settle our differences and work together?

The second was about the finances of the Council. The mayor and I exchanged some views about the causes of our ‘black hole’ but then got on with the job of looking together at what can be done about the problem in both the long and short terms.

Interestingly the criticism for me doing this has not come from Lib Dems but from some members of the Labour Party who disagree with me agreeing with their Leader. Some criticism has come from members of the public who believe that because I have opposed some of the things that Labour have done in the City, I should oppose everything they do.

The motions that were agreed unanimously by Council were not exactly what either the Mayor or I would have moved if we were just acting party politically. To reach an accommodation relatively minor changes were made to a draft which would then get behind.

This does not mean that we will agree on all solutions and actions to deal with these problems. There are times when we will vote differently on some issues. Lib Dems are very worried about the City Centre movement staragy for example. We believe that this will increase car use and therefore affect air quality. What we will do however is minimise our differences and be careful of the way that we oppose each other.

This need to work together was reinforced to me at an event I have just come back from on Wavertree High Street. The High Street was closed off for a few hours and the Street was reclaimed by residents, businesses and organisations. There were people selling local services and local produce; local organisations such as sports teams and churches showing what they do within their community; dancing from local dance troupes; good music and NO party politics at all. There were some people trying to play politics but well away from most people who were treating them with contempt.

This event was brought together by Labour Cllr Claire McIntyre who gathered together a group of people, mostly women, who pitched in and brought ideas and energy to bear on a problem and indeed problems which affect everyone in Wavertree. The High Street itself is a sad reflection of what it was 10 years ago. There are a lot of empty shops and it seems to have become just a through route to other places rather than a destination in its own right.

Clearly there are social problems in the area too. This is not the poorest part of Liverpool but neither is it the wealthiest. Despite the valiant efforts of a few people parts of Wavertree have drifted and it needs a huge effort to bring them back to the thriving community that everyone wants to live in.

This is, of course, partly about money. Wavertree needs better housing and more and better paid jobs. But money is not the be all and end all. Money does not create communities and community spirit. It doesn’t assist people making the human contact with each other which is so important for our mental and physical health. That’s what today was all about. Treating the High Street in its traditional sense as a place where people mingled; got to know each other and did local business.

The event itself was not the end of attempts to regenerate the community but the starting point. People have begun to realise what is possible and who is around to do things. Organisations have come out of their silos to work together to deal with the bigger picture.

The role of councillors in this is vital. We have access to small amounts of funding but also have the ability to use our influence on behalf of the communities that we represent. Some people and organisations will come to initial meetings because they think they ought to if a Councillor is involved. Then the Councillors can step back and join a team. Some councillors politicise everything good councillors minimise the politics.

Next week I am having initial discussions with councillors from other wards about doing something similar in the Liverpool 18 area. I’m hoping that we recognise the strength of the ‘Beatles Homeland Quarter’ to pull together the community in a similar way to Wavertree but perhaps also to make some money for the community out of the 10s of thousands of tourists who come to the area every year.

So, city wide and ward wide we can and should work together across the political divide. We can work together for 11 months of the year and fight each other for the election month. Who knows it might just catch on! Wouldn’t Parliament be better if it also behaved in this manner?

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Corbyn will never be Prime Minister

When Luciana Berger and other MPs joined our Party they received a torrent abuse from cult followers on the left and right. Luciana was singing with joy though last night at the Lib Dem Glee Club

Over the past few weeks I have seen a torrent of half-witted abuse being thrown at the Lib Dems and MPs who have defected to us. “Good riddance”, “You’re Tory-lite”, “You’ll take anyone”. These are the ones that are fit to print – there were many that weren’t!” It’s because of attitudes like these that I know Labour will never form a Government under its current leader.

It seems to me that looking at both polls and local and national by-election results the Country is diving into three camps:

30 -35% of people who are moderately hard to hard right.

25 – 30% of people who are moderately hard to hard left

45 – 35% of people are moderately left, right or centre.

In some ways I suspect that has always been the case but we couldn’t see it because the leadership, policies and principles of the Labour and Tory Parties were in the centre of their own spectrum and people of the right or left could feel comfortable within broad church parties.

Brexit and the election of Johnson and Corbyn as Leaders have changed all that. They are both extremists within their own Parties. They have moved their Parties out to the extreme flanks within their spectrum and have brought into their Party more people from even further out on the spectrum.

In the case of the Tories it is Brexiters/UKIP people. In the case of Labour, it is the updated version of Militant the Momentum grouping. Both sets of people being given room in a Parties where previous leaders would have had no truck with them.

That leaves democratic socialists and one nation Tories an unhappy minority in policy terms within their own Parties. The divide, however is then deepened by behavioural difficulties. Listen to our new MPs talking of the nasty shouty meetings they have had to ensure from their own sides. As one told me yesterday you wouldn’t even expect such language from your opponents but to get it from your own lot was unbelievable.

Contrast that with how they feel about their new Party and you could feel the relief. As Chukka put it, “for years we dreaded coming to Party Conference but we really looked forward to coming to this one!” To see our own MP, Luciana Berger, being able to walk around without a Police escort and be able to talk freely with anyone and everyone brought her joy and me joy too as I remember the pain and problems that she had to endure.

In the last 30 years only one person has been able to produce a strong majority government and that was Tony Blair who did it three times. He did that by building a broad consensus firstly within his own Party but then moved outside the ‘tribe’ to engage with the centre ground which, if you accept my figures above, is the only way to get a majority within Parliament.

The only thing that can vary that at present is our first Past the Post system which is more likely to provide a strong majority in a two split with a smaller third Party than with a situation like now which has four Parties with poll ratings in a fairly tight band.

Perhaps one of the things that surprises me most is the way that Tony Blair is reviled now by many in his former Party with many of his personal adherents having left. I didn’t like everything that Blair did or did not do. I especially appalled that he went to war based on a dodgy dossier. What cannot be denied though is the fact that he did a lot of good and led this Country well in some directions by introducing some good policies and moving investment into key areas like the NHS and education.

But if you are in or lead a cult it is absolutely purity in your beliefs that matters. People either agree with you on everything or you are the devil incarnate. Tony Blair has grown horns and aa tail!!

Corbyn cannot win because there are nowhere near enough purists around to vote for him. Unpalatable though Johnson and the Tories are centrist voters look at Corbyn and see Johnson’s alter ego. They will not vote for him. How can he be the most unpopular opposition Leader in the 40+ years that polls have been undertaken on the subject? To make it worse for him a recent poll asking who of Johnson, Corbyn or Swinson would make the best PM he was beaten into third place by Jo Swinson! This does matter. Although we work a constituency system, we run Presidential races! If people have no confidence in the Leader every candidate in their Party suffers and vice versa.

The young people who flocked to Corbyn last time are now in the Lib Dem camp. Moderates and Remainers from all traditions are now in the Lib Dem camp. We want a General Election as soon as possible and practicable and we are certainly looking forward to advance when only the most naïve in the Labour Parties see any likelihood of anything other than a decline.

Cue Labour trolls dashing in to defend the Cult!!

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Health and the EU take centre stage on day 2 of the Lib Dem Conference

Chukka has been in fine form over the past couple of days and made a great speech to conference yesterday on the EU and business

Day 2 was fortunately not quite as frenetic as Day 1. Not a single MP defected to us yesterday! However, those that did were in highly visible activities throughout the day. Especially visible was the normally demure Chukka! However, all the new MPs were doing this in the meeting and conference hall. It was great to see how relaxed they were and how much at home int heir new Lib Dem family.

This particularly applies to our own MP Luciana Berger who last year needed a police escort at the Labour Party Conference but who yesterday wandered round the exhibition with Tim Farron as her sole bodyguard!!

The drama shifted to the main hall for the big conference debates. The one which has caught the most attention is, of course, the motion which was heavily passed which calls for a manifesto commitment to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU. It is an absolutely clear position should we win the next General Election. We will then have been given an electoral mandate in 2019 which must take priority over a mandate given in 2016. If we don’t win, we will work with other Parties to secure a second referendum.

Before the General Election we will again work with other Parties to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Much was made of the fact that Johnson is contemplating breaking the law passed by parliament and not asking the EU for a further extension. The rule of law should be upheld by everyone but especially by the Prime Minister

A major debate was held on the Health Service with a huge move from curing illness to the prevention of them. The role of local government both in its official Public Health and in its control of the social determinants of health such as parks, libraries, housing and the environment was repeatedly emphasised both within the motion and within the full 10,000 work paper which lay behind it.

The only elements of controversy came when a group tried to reduce our commitment to the sugar tax and minimum prices for alcohol. There were defeated but with surprisingly high numbers in support of the amendment. When 30% of our 11-year olds are obese and 3% are mobility obese in a way that is life threatening action must be taken. When 43,000 children under 16 have to have extractions of teeth so severe that they need to be done in hospital and the reason for that can be traced to excessive consumption of carbonated drinks.

Taxation policies do not work to deal with issues by themselves but as part of a suite of actions. In fact, they work best when they don’t raise much money with the sugar tax bringing in much less cash than expected as drinks manufacturers reduced astoundingly high levels of sugar to more acceptable ones.

Another favourite topic of mine discussed yesterday was a motion about education through life. This is so important not just for individuals but for our economy. In times gone by you became a joiner or a metal worker or an accountant and you took exams at the start of your career which would last for life. Today everything changes rapidly and yesterday’s skills become redundant and new ones need to be acquired. This means that we all have to want to learn and be prepared to reskill if we want to stay active on the jobs market.

Education, as was emphasised yesterday, is not just about work but about pleasure and leisure. The joys of learning a new subject or how to take up something new are so important for our physical and mental health. The whole of system needs to be rebalanced so that people want to learn and can learn farther than being placed into an examination-based sausage machine.

Prevention rather than cure will also be the subject of a debate on Crime today. I spoke a few days ago to a senior police officer in Merseyside and we agreed that just catching crooks was not a viable policy. As with health prevention crime prevention is the only real way forward. We need to look at the reasons crimes, especially violent crimes, are increasing. We need to deal with the issues that push youngsters into criminal activity inside their families and communities. We need to prevent gang culture not just contain it.

As always part of the pleasure in these events is the ‘family reunion’ element of them. I had dinner last night with relatively new friends like Cllr Kris Brown and Cllr Alana Tormey but also long term friends of more than 40 years like Alderman Paul Clark and Chris Davies MEP.

Being a Lib Dem has never been the easiest path to follow. It was never a great career choice but I am glad that it is a path that I took when I was just 14. My bank balance would have been considerably bigger but my life experiences would have been considerably smaller had I not done so!

So, if you have any doubts about joining the Liberal Democrats contact me and talk about it. Over the past two days 55 people have joined the Liverpool Party – a huge number of new recruits. You can join them to at www.libdems.org.uk//join-local.

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The first day of the Lib Dem Conference 2019 was the best I’ve been to in 50+ years

Our Party is being joined from all sides by bright young MPs like Luciana Berger from Labour and Sam Gyimah from the Tories. Every day we get bigger and stronger

I was trying to work out yesterday how many main Spring and Autumn Federal Lib Dem Conferences I have been to. I gave up because it’s a hell of a lot! In 52 years, I have been to most of them although missing a few when I worked abroad. Even then I helped out at the first national convention of the DMP, the Turkish Liberal Party, so I suppose I can count that!

There have been highs and lows. One of the best highs until recently was the famous conference where David Steel told is to, “Go back to your Constituencies and prepare to Govern”. The undoubted low was the 2015 conference when all the commercial stands just cancelled. The media teams weren’t there and the exhibition area looked as if it was covered in metaphorical tumbleweed!

But I don’t think that any of them those days I have spent in seaside towns could match yesterday at conference. The whole conference centre was fizzing with energy. If you could have connected us to the National Grid we would have supplied all the power needs of Bournemouth!

The Members are here in huge numbers. More than 5,000 have registered for all or part of the Conference. The press are back with the media vans parked outside and 900 media passes issued. The diplomats are back as they realise the leading role that Jo Swinson will take in the next Parliament.

Some of the motions we looked at are extremely radical compared to the pallid and old-fashioned policies of Labour and the Tories. Both of those Parties are looking back and fighting the political battles of the 1970’s whilst we are looking forward to creating a liberal society for the next 30 years.

What a united Party we are. 120,000+ (more are joining every day) people working behind our Leader to bring about a new society. No splits, no factions, no rancour. Some honest disagreements, yes of course. Without disagreement policy and ideas do not develop. But all disagreements are being conducted in a positive and courteous way.

And look at the calibre of the people joining us! Tonight, the Liverpool crew will be having a drink with one of our new recruits, Luciana Berger MP. She is looking forward to her first Lib Dem Conference when she arrives today. This theme was picked up by Chukka Umunna at a meeting I was at yesterday when he said that it was the first time for years when he and his team had not dreaded going to their Party Conference and left as soon as they possibly could!

The people who joined us from other Parties either as MPs or as ‘ordinary members’ are the pick of the crop. Dedicated activists in their Party who just could not stomach their Party any longer as they lurched to left or right. It is no coincidence that both our candidates in the 2 Liverpool Council by-elections are people who until recently were Labour Party members.

The quality of those leaving as recognised by Alistair Burt MP when he commented in a Tweet after Sam Gyimah joined said his Party (the Tories) need people like Sam. Too late Alistair, the Rubicon has been crossed!

Sam Gyimah told our Rally last night that centrists were being “cast out of both main parties”. The East Surrey MP called on them to unite and fight back against the drift to the extremes.

“I listen to ministers undermining the courts,” he said. “Ministers questioning experts because their views are inconvenient for what the government is saying about no deal. You have a government that says law enforcement is the centrepiece of its platform, and yet says in another breath that it will pick and choose what laws it chooses to respect”.

Absolutely correct but politics is not and should not be just about Brexit. Brexit is defining us now because of the effects it will have on the quality of our lives for decades ahead. There will not be a small blip on the road if we leave the EU. Our economy, which has already lost 400,000 jobs, will decline. This will affect our ability to fund new developments for health, social care, education, transport, the environment, indeed everything that the people of the UK think need improving.

We say, “Bring on the next General Election” because we know that our Party will leap forward in it. Almost every poll predicts a Parliament where there is no overall control which is why every vote and every MP gained will increase Jo Swinson’s ability to force change in a system which is basically corrupt. Given the unpredictable nature of the First Past the Post system where there are four Parties in contention it is not impossible that the shots will really be called by Jo as the Prime Minister.

The next few weeks are crucial ones for our Country. The Lib Dems approach them larger than ever before, united, self-confident and gaining the support of centrists from both left and right. The bright sunny uplands are before us and the Lib Dems will leave Bournemouth full of vim and vigour and ready to take advantage of any opportunities which come our way to increase our presence and make our Country the great one that it used to be.

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