Wednesday, 22 September 2010


What an absurd comment from the Director General of the CBI, who said of Vince's criticism of corporate behaviour that he looked forward to hearing Vince's proposals for an alternative to capitalism.

Well, listen up, Mr Lambert, (he always reads my blog, natch...) because capitalism has always been moderated by a healthy dose of common sense ever since companies started riding roughshod over the interests of individuals and communities. Indeed, that is the mark of a civilised society developed over centuries and while few of us would question the value of free markets, equally few of us outside a Mercedes or a hideous mock-Georgian pile in Surrey would demur from the obvious notion that some degree of moderation is needed in any system.

Capitalism is great but so is civilisation and a fair society, equality, international law and the right to privacy - so viciously attacked in this country almost daily by the champions of capitalism in the press. It rather puts you in mind of the old saw about democracy - that it is the worst system of government, apart from all the others.

Grow up and get a sense of historical perspective. Robert Peston has.

Friday, 17 September 2010


I hope you will read this appeal for support for a Lib Dem council candidate and his agent who were the victims of an unpleasant libel claim by a Tory opponent which they eventually won but which cost them dearly.

They were left out of pocket to the tune of many thousands despite winning the case and being awarded full costs. It seems that in the arcane world of English law, 'full costs' does not mean what it says. The two Lib Dems were even helped by a Conservative lawyer who recognised the action as a serious attack on democracy.

Henley Constituency members Robin Peirce and his agent, David Cooper, were sued unsuccessfully in the High Court for malicious falsehood and breaches of the Data Protection Act by a candidate who lost his seat to Robin. The complaint made was over a number of statements in an election leaflet in 2007. All the grounds for the action were comprehensively rejected by the Judge and Robin & David were awarded full costs.

The 'full costs' in question can be subjected to many challenges about what is “necessary” and usually successful defendants only get around 70% of their costs back. Robin and David received 76% of the funds they had to find to defend themselves, despite having run a cut-price defence with help from many people, including some Conservatives affronted by the injustice of the case. David and Robin eventually ended up out of pocket to the tune of around £26,000

If they had lost, it would have had profound implications for the way the local party could campaign in future but despite this, they had no financial help from the National Party, although they did get some helpful legal advice and contacts which greatly helped them to win.

Robin and David are guilty of being committed Lib Dems who fought an election on local issues and won. They found themselves hauled before a court and they are now having to pay for the privilege of being proven right.

This is where you come in, dear reader. If you can help towards these huge personal costs it would be a tremendous help to our hard-working party members and it would reassure other activists, candidates and councillors around the country that they would get the support of their colleagues in the event of such an unpleasant occurrence in their local campaigns.

If you can help, you can be reassured that all money donated is controlled by two independent and respected residents, Karen Woolley and Frances Cork, and it will be used solely for paying the costs of this case.

If you would like to donate, you can send me a message at to find out more or send a cheque, payable to “Woodcote Libel Defence Fund”, to the local party chairman, Philip Allison, at Baltic House, 9 Thameside, HENLEY-ON-THAMES RG9 1BQ.

If you have read this far, thank you. If you can help Robin and David, even greater thanks. If you donate through my blog, please let me know and I will add your name to a 'roll of honour' at the top of this website.