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Archives

Gordon Smith: an obituary

Born in Lancashire (a devoted supporter of Bury Football Club all his life) Gordon played a pivotal role in the growth of Liberalism and Liberal Democracy in his adopted city of Chester. He represented Hoole on the city council for over two decades and represented the city as Sherriff and later Lord Mayor. He was a hard working local councillor and many residents of Hoole have stopped me to express their sadness at this time and to share memories of the many causes and personal support he gave to individuals and the community of Hoole. He will be sadly missed.

It is right at this time to grieve his passing but I think too we should celebrate the man. There is a photograph of Gordon in the Town Hall, taken in his prime dressed in the Lord Mayors regalia. It is a good photograph and captures Gordon well: Proud to be Lord Mayor, a handsome face smiles down, a  welcoming face, someone you would enjoy talking to, someone who is genuinely interested in you and your concerns, a kind face. That was the Gordon I knew, a proud husband and father, a doughty fighter for those who had not been dealt the best of life’s cards, someone who stood up for his community. But also he enjoyed life, he  laughed readily and infectiously, had bags of common sense and had a wealth of tales of past campaigns and doorstep conversations whilst electioneering.

I mourn his passing but celebrate his life and achievements.

BOB THOMPSON

Former Liberal Democrat Hoole Councillor

Coffee Mornings

Not one but two coffee mornings lined up – one in a little under two weeks, the other in six weeks!

Come along for a cup of coffee, a friendly welcome and chat with local Lib Dems and friends.

Saturday 25 March  10am – 12noon

David & Jean ,

26 Alpraham Crescent,

Upton

CH2 1QU

Tel: 01244 377200

Saturday 29 April   10am – 12 noon

Bob & Rose ,

5 Ashwood Court,

Hoole Lane 

CH2 3FD

Tel: 01244 342920

If you can spare something that would make a good raffle prize, that would be most welcome.
Would you would like to hold a coffee morning?  If so, please get in touch with Annie Mead,  Tel: 01244 342808    anniemeadkilmorey@gmail.com

February Liberal Democrat Coffee Morning

Lib Dem members and friends met for another great coffee morning on Saturday 15 February at David & Jacqui Hull’s house.  We thank them for their warm welcome and lovely home made cakes and coffee.  Annie says this is a good way to meet up informally to get to know each other and talk about current issues.

Watch this space for the date of the next coffee morning.

An Englishman in Germany–why I joined the Liberal Democrats

A few weeks ago I joined the Liberal Democrats.  Why would someone who has always been Conservative decide to move away – have things really changed that much?  Quite simply, yes.

I was born in Chester but have grown up in various places across the globe. I currently live and work in Germany but come home to Chester on a regular basis and indeed have a house there.  Wherever I have lived, I have always considered Chester home.

Last year saw the most important vote for the UK in generations. A vote which would, as a UK citizen living and working in Germany, have an enormous impact on my future.  One could argue that it had a greater impact on those of us living in other EU nations than those at home. With this in mind, it seems astonishing that I, like many of the 1.3 million British nationals scattered around the EU, was not allowed to vote.

Since the referendum the UK has become a divided nation – the only real unity appears to be on the political front – between the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour, none of whom seem to care about our position within Europe. The unelected Theresa May has taken it upon herself to decide what she alone thinks is best for the nation. Anybody with even the most basic grasp of economics (and yes, I studied European business) can see that membership of the European Union is vital to the economy.  Of course, like all major institutions, the EU is not without its faults, but how anyone can believe that it is better to leave our largest trading partner and go cap in hand to tyrants such as Trump and Erdogan, both of whom are well known for their protectionist views to trade, in the hope of obtaining beneficial trading agreements?  EU membership not only gives the UK barrier-free access to the European single market but also to trade agreements with 53 other countries and trading blocs around the world.  Free from this “burden” and without the might of the EU behind us, we are now in a much weaker negotiating position, and our future partners are well aware of that.

Many people complain that British companies are forced to abide by EU regulations. This is true, and many of these regulations make products safer and more customer-friendly, however, British companies will still have to adhere to these regulations in order to sell products within the EU – the only difference is that in future Britain will have no say in establishing them. Another lose-lose situation.

Living and working in another EU country I see the situation with different eyes.  Although I work in communications I was appalled at the British media in the run-up to the referendum.  People told me that Turkey was on the verge of joining the EU, that throughout the EU bananas are not allowed to be sold in bunches and other bizarre “facts” they had read.  Amusing but also very serious indeed that people actually believe things like this and let it influence their vote.  Most UKIP voters had no idea that Nigel Farage, and his German wife / secretary have been financed by the EU for years.  It is very rare indeed that the British media actually explain the benefits of EU membership rather than concentrate on “alternative facts” (as they have now become known).  I am convinced that many people were not completely aware of the true implications of leaving the EU and that as prices start to rise and the true impact begins to show they may begin to regret their decision.

The only party which seems to care about our future within Europe, and indeed the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals throughout the EU, is the Liberal Democrats.  The Conservatives are essentially turning into UKIP and Labour is a party in complete disarray.  Tim Farron speaks with a passion about refugees, whilst others sweep such issues under the carpet. Someone who slept rough to highlight the issue of homelessness, who visited refugee camps to witness first hand what is happening.  In a world of increasing nationalism it is a breath of fresh air to see a party leader who is dedicated to cooperation and integration rather than building walls and risking conflict.

A number of friends have recently joined the party and I am happy that membership of the Liberal Democrats is increasing throughout the country.  I urge you all to give those of us British nationals who depend on the EU, and who appear to have been forgotten by the government the voice we were not given last year.  I genuinely fear for the future of the UK and believe that this is the only party which represents my views.

Chester Voted Remain

IMG_9089Chester voted remain

Chester voted to remain in the European Union at last year’s referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

According to the widely respected projections from Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia, the people of the City of Chester constituency voted 57.3% remain and 42.7% leave.

Theresa May has shown she is willing to risk Britain’s economic security by seeking to leave the single market.  The impact a hard Brexit will have on jobs in Chester, many of which are in the financial sector, is unknown but potentially serious.  Chester Liberal Democrats are calling on the Prime Minister to protect Chester jobs as part of any new deal.

The Liberal Democrats believe no one voted to make Britain poorer and given the huge risk of doing so, it is essential that people are given the democratic opportunity to express their view on the final deal.