Doing – not saying!

When I got the news last night that I was appointed Under Secretary of State for Equalities (Home Office Minister) it didn’t really sink in as to what that really meant.

This morning – lying in the bath thinking about the portfolio – I realised that this is a huge opp0rtunity to change things for the better. I will be able to do – not just to say. For two years as Shadow Equalities spokesperson – through the Equality Bill, through countless speeches to groups , through our conference policy papers on Women and Youth – it has always been about what LibDems would do about equality if we were in government. Blimey – we are! 

Now I can deliver it – well some of it. Equalities was not in that first tier agreement released by Liberal Democrats and Conservatives prior to coalition – but it will be part of the second tier agreement I believe.

So – today will find out the lie of the land – but the chance to deliver Liberal Democrat equality policy is phenomenal. Will I get our whole agenda agreed – well I might – but there are a few things I can see causing ructions – but I am optimistic about most of it.


0 thoughts on “Doing – not saying!

  1. It is more than a little reassuring to have someone as superb as yourself keeping an eye on equalities issues in Government. I know you will do us proud! Congratulations and good luck!!

  2. Congratulations on your new post.

    I voted for you again last week as a positive vote for your work since the previous election, ignoring any “vote LD, get Cameron” appeals. I expected a Tory majority, so, for me, the coalition is an improvement on that. I didn’t think that a Lab/LD/Uncle Tom Cobley coalition was ever really a serious runner owing to the parliamentary arithmetic.

    The jury’s out on the coalition and I’m a little sceptical about it lasting five years. I keep thinking of that line from the old song, “There may be trouble ahead…..”, but for the moment, I think you should face the music and dance.

    Good luck ! I feel that you may need it !

  3. Lynne,

    I’m delighted. Good luck with the work ahead. I have no doubt that you will do a superb job.

  4. Congratulations. I look forward to you and your colleagues implementing the Lib Dem manifesto on faith schools: “We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for religious instruction.”

  5. Congratulations, Lynne!

    I’m thrilled that you have this well-deserved post. I’ve been following appointments for days, hoping that you would have such an opportunity in the coalition government, and am sure that you’ll do a wonderful job. No doubt there will be challenges, but you have a lot of people rooting for you!

  6. Government will not allow you the latitude to do what you said in opposition. Has it ever? And the type of government you are in makes it less likely that you will be able to pursue your commitments to any great extent. I fear your sharp critique might be blunted and your voice lowered throug circumstance rather than intent

  7. Congrats and best of lucks! The home office is the spearhead of some nasty tory plans (on immigration, equal rights, etc). I hope your voice is heard!

  8. In your comments over the past few days you have strongly hinted that you would have preferred to work with Labour – but now you have jumped at the chance to work for the Tories. What happened to integrity in the LibDem party over the past week?

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  10. Congratulations! I must admit to being a bit concerned about Equalities, given May’s voting record, but knowing that you’ll be there as a driving force is really exciting.

  11. I am sorry Lynne, but you’ve lost my vote forever now for jumping into bed with Tories. The Lib Dem’s greed at wanting power and willingness to let go of so many policies shows them up in an extremely bad light, in fact it could not be worse. The coalition, I am afraid, is a betrayal.
    I sincerely hope you can do some good with your new job and wish you well. Do not forget local issues.

  12. Congratualations, I hope the irony’s not lost on your blog’s header ‘Doing not saying’ !
    I therefore await with interest to see if you do as you said you would do on the points you campaigned under on the run up to the election.
    The new Home Office’s agenda is the most right wing since 1983….
    We’ll see.

  13. Presumably you’ll be trying to get your new boss to see sense! Theresa May voted against equalising the age of consent, against the repeal of Section 28, and against gay couples jointly adopting children. Same old nasty Tories, now propped up by the Lib Dems, specifically you!

    Sorry to be the doom merchant, but it’s just incredibly depressing – I know that many of my neighbours feel the same way, and the easiest way you could’ve deflected any criticism would’ve been not to take a government job working for the Tories. There’s a limit to this ‘for the good of the country’ argument, why couldn’t you have done the honourable thing and not take the job!?

  14. Hi Lynne. Thank goodness for this!

    I was sorely dissappointed by the socio-demographic make-up of the cabinet and also by the appointement of Teresa May as Equalities Sec as she doesn’t seem to be very into equality at all, esp to gay rights.

    This reassures me and I think you will do a fab job. xxx

  15. Your new boss, Theresa May’s, track record on equality issues is shocking.
    Good luck!

  16. It would be great if you could get Page 3 banned as you pledged at the Fawcett event. There will be a lot of people behind you on that one! Go Lynne!!

  17. Congratulations Lynne. You are now a full blown Tory. Their views extend to:

    getting out of that nasty Europe;
    affiliating with far right groups whilst we are still in the EU;
    tax breaks for people who get married (postponed temporarily);
    paying lip service to gay rights covering up a high level of homophobia. See any of the stuff Dave did pretending to be gay friendly pre-election at all?;
    caps on immigration. If they could stop those horrid east europeans “flocking”in they would;
    increasing national insurance for employees but not employers;
    and on and on and on.

    Yep they are doing not saying.

  18. “the easiest way you could’ve deflected any criticism would’ve been not to take a government job working for the Tories.”

    I’m curious as to why you seem to think Lynne is guilty of some kind of betrayal for accepting a job where she felt she could help make a difference, rather than shouting from the sidelines in order to “deflect criticism” from herself.

    Surely nobody can seriously argue that the Equalities Office won’t be a better place for having Lynne in it. Working with the world as it is, rather than as you’d like it to be, and trying to make it better is what politics is all about.

    Best of luck Lynne, was really pleased to hear the news. I only hope you’ll be able to retain enough independence to speak out against any regressive rubbish that comes from above – but I reckon if anyone can be trusted to walk that line it’s you!


  19. Theresa May’s voting record on equality issues is indeed shocking, it is therefore vital that we have an individual like Lynne who is truely passionate and knowledgable about these subject, in office, fighting to keep equality issues at the forefront of the agenda and effecting change. Of course she could had turned down this position, but then in whose hands would the equality agenda lie?

  20. You and your party have let millions of people down.

    I will never vote Lib Dem again.

    Hope you enjoy the new politics – 23 millionaires in the cabinet. The Afghan cabinet now has more women than ours.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  21. Congratulations Lynne!

    Take no notice of some doom mongering posters above. (Behaving like two years old because we can’t get ALL our own way is unworthy of our great party.)

    I believe we have to work with the hand the electorate has dealt us; but then I just happen to be a “Democrat” as well as a “Liberal”.

    I know you will be an assett to our party and our country. All the best for your future work in the government and as a constituency MP.

  22. “The Afghan cabinet now has more women than ours.”

    And so did Gordon Brown’s last cabinet.


  23. The argument that it’s “better to be in there making a difference, rather than shouting from the sidelines” only goes so far.
    It’s also true that you will be in there having to publicly support decisions you don’t agree with.
    How will you deal with that? And when it comes to the next election, how will we know what you really stand on some of these issues, when you’ve had to support non-progressive policies, or at the very least, been unable to speak out against them?

  24. Will you be making friends with Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman – remember him? He’s the one who called you a dizzy airhead. As you say, strange bedfellows….

  25. the daily mail won’t like your appointment. the guardianistas don’t like the fact that you’re working with the tories.
    you must be doing something right!
    good luck, you’ll probably need it, but what a relief to see some truly liberal people in government to hopefully right some of labour’s shocking wrongs.

  26. It’s true what Mark Whitehead says.
    A trawl through the archives on this web site shows that you’ve done plenty of shouting from the sidelines over the years- and needless to say, it’s been on these principles/opinions/ethical standpoints that people have voted for you and shown much support for you.
    People now expect you to show action and will be hugely disappointed with absolute compromise.
    Like many, I truly believe there was a stronger alternative stance you could have taken which would have kept your credibility -and that of the whole party- intact.
    I’d like to remain optimistic, but I don’t have my head in the clouds.
    Where will you be when it all implodes? (i give it 8 months max.)

    In response to Judith Brookbank and the bloke yesterday who got simliarly excitable dismissing as ‘childish’, people who’ve challenged Lynne’s new stance, it’s funny how you use the word ‘democrat in the next sentence!
    I voted Libdem (although certainly never again), was also hugely impressed by what Lynne had to say on the hustings and therefore have a right to reply if I interpret this whole sorry state of affairs as a fudge of fundamental principles not least a sell-out to those who were aligned to her pre-May 6th policies.

  27. Judith

    The hand the electorate dealt you was a distant third place. The hand that the electorate will next deal you is utter and complete devastation at the ballot box.

    i do wish that people would stop pretending this is all for the good of the nation. Absolutely no one believes it.

    It is not behaving like a two year to condemn (oops sorry for that) a supposedly progressive party for making the most cynical decision seen in British politics in most of our lifetimes simply and ONLY to gain power. It will soon become apparent that it is the worst decision the party ever took.

  28. Well done and all the best with your new post! You will definitely make a difference!

  29. Many Congratulations Lynne
    and good luck.
    I hope you will be able to very tightly rein in Theresa May when she starts veering off to the ‘right’ as surely she will do given her previous attitude to equalities and in particular, gay rights.

  30. Extremely bizarre to see some of the comments here from people who recognise Lynne’s excellent work and personal integrity but who have allowed the inevitable coalition deal to heighten their partisan hackles.

    It seems fairly clear that many people here would have preferred a Labour-Liberal coalition, and of course had Labour delivered an appropriate election result this would have been a possibility. As it is, neither did Labour deliver such a thing nor did they seem to have any desire to negotiate with the Liberals, and hence the opportunity which has been grasped now arose.

    It is a much easier thing to sit outside of the ‘system’ making criticisms than it is to risk reputation by having a go at reform and making a difference. It is sad that a number of individuals here fail to understand this basic truth, instead opting for populist tirades over the unpalatable but ultimately workable reality. I know who I’d like to see working to balance the many blind spots and past mistakes of a Conservative government. Walter Wink warns against living our lives ‘with clean hands but dirty hearts’.

    Lynne, I wish it were not as it is but I believe in your integrity, your record and of course I warn against losing your way. However, congratulations on claiming the post you have been given, I can’t think of a politician I’d sooner have doing it.

  31. Glad to hear you have this brief, Lynne. I have rather more faith in you in this area than some of your new Tory colleagues. All the best with it.

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  33. I voted Lib Dem for the first time at this election largely because Labour appeared to have run out of steam, ideas and even tolerance. Their continual erosion of civil liberties was horrific, so too the almost slavish pandering to the right wing press, especially in my area of criminal justice. I wasn’t convinced that the Tories had moved sufficiently (and genuinely) away from their nasty party routes. I have though been impressed by cameron’s willingness to be open to a deal…I assume partly on the basis that it provides shelter for him to reign in the loony right (as well as, I know spreading the political cost of the cuts to come). I’m optimistic that the very capable Liberal presence within the government will provide a moderating influence; having made so much of the concept of ‘open’ coalition, Cameron will need to be able to demonstrate that he was serious and a decent balance sheet showing the liberal impact will be key in showing that he is genuine and what he says can be trusted. So on balance I think coalition is right choice for Lib Dems – hope Lynne can ensure equalities is on that balance sheet! I’m sure she will. As a sign of Cameron’s seriousness I guess we can look at Chris Grayling…Shadow Home Sec now the no-where man working for the quiet man at DWP.

  34. Lynne!

    So proud/happy for you. Well done! Max says Hi and thinks that you to, are a goon. 🙂

    Amy, Nick and Max

  35. Doing – Not saying!
    Doing what the Tory’s want – Not Saying a thing!

    Better headline!

  36. “Will I ever join with the conservative party? No. I refuse to be merely an annex of another government.” – Nick Clegg, 2008

  37. Congratulations and good luck, Lynne. I know we can’t expect you to comment on the intentions of your departmental boss, but I do hope you get the opportunity to do all the good I know you hope and dream to. I look forward to seeing the difference you can make.

  38. it would be unkind not to hope you do well or to refrain from wishing you well. I hope you do very well and wish you all the best. You have pressed many right buttons in the past. I doubt if you are being evaluated here on the basis of your own integrity but rather your position is being assessed in a historical context rather than an ahistorical one. The patterns from the deep past right through to the present are there for all to see and that is probably why there are so many raised eyebrows above. It seems to be almost an iron rule that the tail does not wag the dog. People who go into government and then do all manner of u-turns (a la Blunkett) and abandon – on the grounds of ‘political maturity’ and dealing with the world as ‘is’ rather than the world as ‘ought’ just delegitimise opposition and alternative voices. The Baby Peters need your voice and can never afford to have it silenced as some sort of trade off in order to stay in government. It is not the choice of coalition partner that is the problem but the need to be in coalition at all. Labour would be no better. In fact, given how you tore them to pieces over the Baby Peter case, going into coalition with them might have seemed worse. There is now a very real possibility that, like the Irish Greens, the Lib Dems will be punished at future polls and their chances of forcing electoral reform pushed off the radar for a long time.

  39. How about the equality between married people and single people?

    I know you mean well, Lynne, but I challenge you to address this or accept that you have been neutered by your coaltion agreement.

    Here is your first opportunity to retain my support.