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Welcome to the latest edition of Letter of the Lords the weekly newsletter aimed at shining a light into the

e work the partys peers are doing in the second chamber. Why not let us know what you think? Email the newsletter onlordsmedia@libdems.org.uk. And thats also the address to give to friends, colleagues and loved ones to sign up too. Plus dont forget to keep up to date with the blog at libdemlords.org.uk and follow us on Twitter at@LibDemLords.


Factors such as character and resilience are absolutely viral in improving individuals prospects and boosting social mobility, Baroness Tyler of Enfieldtold the Lords this week as she led a debate on the topic. Baroness Tyler, who is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Ability, drew peers attention to its recent report, 7 Key Truths about Social Mobility, which set out the main issues on which policy should focus. They included the importance of the early years in the home, the critical importance of education and the pivotal role of access to universities. But she chose to focus on the final one character and resilience which the group had seen, she said, as the missing link in the chain. She said: Character and resilience are somewhat amorphous terms which some might choose to dismiss as fluffy or cosmetic soft skills. In fact, the very term soft skills strikes me as being something as a misnomer. Far from being fluffy, developing character and resilience is about developing the fundamental drive, tenacity and perseverance needed to make the most of opportunities and to succeed in life, whatever the obstacles. It is about self-esteem, aspiration and expectation. In everyday language, it is about believing you can achieve, understanding the relationship between effort and reward, sticking with the task at hand and bouncing back from the knocks that life inevitably involves.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK I think all noble Lords in this Chamber regard marriage as the crowning of our relationships. As a man who has been married for 41 years, I certainly do, as do many gay people who are religious, or

not religious but who regard marriage as the highest status they can aspire to. Therefore if you call it something less, such as civil partnership or civil union, it has a lesser status not just a different status, but a lesser one. Lord Lester of Herne Hill hits the nail on the head as peers debate the equal marriage bill at committee stage.

TWEET OF THE WEEK Now we know exactly what the Tories would be doing to us if the Lib Dems weren't there to stop them. Amazing: bit.ly/17pQUTJ Lord Strasburger (@LordStras) muses on the 42 Private Members Bills put down by Conservative backbench MPs including bringing back the death penalty, privatising the BBC and banning the burkha.

Baroness Benjamin asked the Government what plans it had to protect children from easily accessing pornography and other adult material online. Unfortunately there are many vulnerable children without parents, so no amount of awareness education will do anything for these kids, she said. Many are already re-enacting pornographic behaviour on other children, as highlighted by the NSPCC. Schools Minister Lord Nash said the Government had asked internet service providers to encourage parental controls if there were children in the household.

Baroness Brinton led a debate on bullying, moving that this House takes note of the very difficult problems facing severely bullied children, particularly of how they are able to learn and to get help with any mental health issues they face as they recover. Saying too many thought too much fuss was made about bullying, she said she was not talking about minor tiffs but the children who are so severely bullied that it is having a catastrophic effect on their lives to the extent that some children kill themselves.

The resilience of a democracy is tested through how it responds to internal dissent, Baroness Falkner of Margravine said as she asked the Government for its assessment of the political situation in Turkey. She told peers: The clampdown in the past three weeks on not just protestors but also on medics, hoteliers and simple bystanders who were only helping the wounded as well as on the media demonstrates an authoritarian strand. It assisted those who argued against Turkeys entry into the EU, she added.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames used a question on violence against women to point out the clear link between domestic violence and sexual abuse and womens offending, with between 50% and 80% of women in prison being victims. Is this not a sound reason for devoting more government resources... to education and to campaigning in the community to help to bring an end to this dreadful scourge?, he said. Responding for the Government, Baroness Northover said the Ministry of Justice had set up an advisory board on women offenders.

And Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government what action it was taking with other EU members to tackle youth unemployment. With nearly a quarter of under-25s in the EU unemployed, the only way the problem could be solved was on a European-wide level, he told peers. To tackle this crisis, should not [Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud] not join Lib Dem MEPs and others who have called for the UK to make the most of the 6bn euro EU youth guarantee scheme, which ensures that all under-25s receive continued education, a job, apprenticeship or traineeship?, he said.


This week on the Lib Dem Lords blog, Baroness Kramer welcomed moves to give families of missing people new powers to handle legal and money problems, Lord Roberts of Llandudno called

for Europe to speak with one voice on tackling youth unemployment and Baroness Tyler of Enfield wrote about the role of character in improving social mobility.

WHATS COMING UP MONDAY Peers continue to examine the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at committee stage. TUESDAY Lord Sharkey asks the Government for its assessment of the success of initiatives to increase funding to small and medium-sized enterprises. THURSDAY Baroness Brinton leads a debate on the importance of sustainable jobs to the British economy. Lord Loomba leads a debate on the challenges faced by women across the globe, particularly those in developing countries. Lord Clement-Jones leads a debate on the progress and impact of the Public Health Responsibility Deal. For more detailed information on whats coming up in the Lords, click here.

Only my three year old watches the TV. Can you take it out of the child benefit payments that I receive for him? He watches it, so he should pay. one of the many recently-revealed excuses given by homeowners for not paying their licence fee

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