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JESSE HONOURED TO WELCOME NOBEL PRIZEWINNER TO HAY FESTIVAL

Local campaigner, Jesse Norman achieved a long cherished dream last week when he interviewed the Nobel prize-winning economist and philosopher Amartya Sen at the Hay Festival.

Professor Sen gave a fascinating talk on the current economic crisis and the true lessons of the great Adam Smith, a founder of economics and the author of 'The Wealth of Nations' in 1776. Adam Smith had never believed that 'greed is good', he said. This was a modern distortion which had taken root and encouraged a purely selfish, winner-takes-all view of people. Rather, Smith himself emphasized the virtues of generosity, public service and compassion. He particularly stressed the importance of taking an impartial and measured view of economic problems, independent of factional interests or institutional bias.

Jesse's own book on these issues, Compassionate Economics, was recently called 'the most intelligent political tract of 2009, and the best analysis of the credit crunch'. Commenting on the event, he said, 'Amartya Sen is one of the most profound thinkers alive today, and it is a privilege to welcome him to the Festival. Amid the current economic and political crises we badly need a renewed emphasis on public service, and an approach which unites a global perspective with vigorous and effective local action.'


Jesse with Amartya Sen at the Hay Festival.

SARAH SUPPORTS 100 DAY PLAN TO REFORM PARLIAMENT

The Liberal Democrats are calling for radical reforms to restore trust in the political process putting power back in to the hands of the people. Launching a 100 day plan, Party Leader Nick Clegg MP has said that Parliament should not break for its summer recess until the constitutional crisis is resolved.

The plan sets out radical reforms which can be achieved within 100 days including: the ability for constituents to sack their MPs, overhauling MPs' expenses, abolishing the House of Lords and fairer voting with electoral reform.

Commenting on the proposals Hereford and South Herefordshire Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner Sarah Carr said, 'Our whole political system is broken and in need of radical reform to give power back to people and make Britain fairer. The expenses scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Here in Herefordshire and across the UK so many people are disillusioned by politics at Westminster. All too often the House of Commons and Lords appear like some sort of private club with little relevance to people's everyday lives. I strongly support the Liberal Democrat proposals that MPs should be stopped from leaving for their summer holidays until this crisis has been sorted out, and every nook and cranny of our political system reformed. This political crisis is an opportunity to create a different kind of politics, relevant to peoples' lives and must be seized before momentum is lost.'

The Liberal Democrat plan '100 Days to Save Democracy: Changing Politics for Good' can be downloaded from www.takebackpower.org.


Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Nick Cleg MP in Ross-on-Wye last year, with Paul Keetch MP, Mrs. Joyce Thomas MBE and Sarah Carr.

HAY FESTIVAL CROWD CALLS ON CABLE TO BE CHANCELLOR

Over 1000 people packed out the largest auditorium at the Hay Festival on Sunday, 31st May, to hear Vince Cable MP, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, talk about the financial and political crisis. Cable has won widespread respect for his early warnings about the global financial crisis, his calls for increased regulation of banks and reform of Parliament. There were repeated passionate calls from the audience for Cable to be appointed Chancellor immediately.

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Sarah Carr joined the audience and secured a question to Cable on the subject of university tuition fees and impact of young people being in debt. Sarah is passionately opposed to tuition and top up fees as they bar many poorer people from University and saddle them with tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

After the debate Sarah said, 'Vince Cable received a rapturous reception at the Hay Festival. He spoke clearly about how close the British financial system had come to collapse. He spoke about the roots of the crisis citing irresponsible lending, huge levels of personal debt and Conservative government policies dating back to the early 1990s. Vince also spoke about what the government should be doing now to get Britain out of recession. Like so many people in the audience, I want to see Vince Cable appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer - with a Liberal Democrat government.'


Paul Keetch MP, Vince Cable MP 2008 Mayor , Councillor Derek Bedford and Sarah Carr in Ross last year.

COINCIDENTALLY

On the Sunday of the Hay--on-Wye festival, where the above was taking place I happened to be on Hay Bluff, which rises high above the town of Hay-on-Wye. The air was exceptionally hot on the mountain for the time of year, and it is a known fact that hot air rises. I wondered at the time what was causing the remarkable phenomenon.

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