Author Archives: Jonathan Fryer

We must take Oldham seriously

The Obelisk on Alderman's HillBy-elections caused by the death of the incumbent are always an occasion for sadness, so our first reaction to the passing of Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, must be a sincere expression of sympathy to his family and friends. However, politics is politics, as Michael would have said himself, and therefore we have to face the fact that there will be a by-election before too long. Even if we should not campaign until after the funeral, that does not mean we should avoid thinking about the challenge ahead.

During the Coalition government the Liberal Democrat powers that be took what I believed to be a misguided decision to virtually ignore northern parliamentary by-elections, with predictably disastrous results. In a couple of cases there was, however, a tremendous surge towards UKIP, almost causing shock Labour defeats. We lost our deposits spectacularly, despite the hard efforts of by-election candidates and mainly local party support. The impression given to the wider public, however, was that in the North of England the LibDems are rubbish, even irrelevant. We must not allow that to happen again.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 54 Comments

Opinion: Syria – We still have a responsibility to protect

Several speakers inThursday’s House of Commons debate on possible intervention in Syria referred to the developing concept within International Law of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Basically that means that when a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own people from humanitarian disaster then the international community has an obligation to intervene. Since R2P’s endorsement at the UN in 2005, it has generally been assumed that any such international intervention should have the backing of a UN Security Council resolution, which in Syria’s case would have been impossible, given that Russia and maybe also China would have vetoed …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 54 Comments

Opinion: Changing Gear in London

fireworksThe fireworks over the Thames that signalled the New Year in London symbolically coincided with a handover of the chairmanship of London Liberal Democrats, as I ended my three years at the helm and Mike Tuffrey – until last May a leading Member of the London Assembly – took over.

My time in office was quite a roller-coaster, from the inflated national euphoria of Cleggmania just before the 2010 general election – when in the event we managed to hold on to seven parliamentary seats, but alas lost Richmond Park – to the frankly dire city-wide vote we received in the London Mayoral and GLA elections last May. At least we managed to return Caroline Pidgeon (rightly recognised in the New Year honours) and Stephen Knight to the Assembly.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Greece – a victory for all Europe?

Hardly had the first exit polls in Greece’s latest general election appeared last night than the euro rose on currency markets and shares in Asia rallied. As far as financiers around the world were concerned, Greek voters had got it right. The conservative New Democracy party had come out in front, albeit by a narrow margin. And the threat of a Greek exit from the eurozone, with possibly dire consequences for the world economy, had been averted, at least for the time being.

Posted in News | Tagged | 20 Comments

Life after Kim Jong-Il

The sudden demise of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il at the weekend removed one of the world’s most bizarre and reclusive rulers. Though there were televised scenes of schoolchildren, soldiers and workers crying in the streets of the capital, Pyongyang, when the news was announced on Monday, the mourning was considerably less hysterical than when his father Kim Il-Sung expired in 1994. Kim Il-Sung remains the sun in the sky as far as North Korean ideologues are concerned. Kim Jong-Il was merely the son here on earth. He had moreover taken the precaution two years ago of naming one …

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged | 3 Comments

Opinion: What Cameron should be doing in Brussels

When David Cameron arrived in Brussels last night for the pre-Summit dinner of EU leaders, he may have sensed a certain frisson in the room. He missed out on the earlier gathering of most EU Heads of Government, who are members of the EPP (Christian Democrat) Euro-parliamentary group and held their own important caucus. Until Cameron became Tory Leader, the British Conservatives were members of the EPP, but in a blatant ploy to get backing from Euro-sceptics among Tory backbenchers, he pledged that he would withdraw from the group, which he duly did, marginalising not just his party but Britain …

Posted in Op-eds | 59 Comments

Team London: selections open

Applications are now invited from potential LibDem Mayoral and Assembly (GLA) list candidates for London, which will hold its next round of city-wide elections in 2012. Interested individuals can request an application pack from the Returning Office, Patrick Mitchell, at [email protected] or 6 Palfrey Place, London SW8 1PA. Completed applications must be received by 24 September.

London has benefited from a big influx of new members over recent months – by far the biggest growth of any UK region. Moreover, London Liberal Democrats have moved campaigning and capacity up several notches with the launch of Team London, a new approach to …

Posted in London and Selection news | 15 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 7th May - 1:13am
    Congratulations to Caroline Pidgeon on her election to the Assembly.Well deserved,and commiserations to the other candidates.The campaign was definitely positive and friendly , that our...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 7th May - 1:02am
    In keeping with colleagues, tribute must be paid to real service on the part of Kirsty Williams .If personal desire to pause from the hustle...
  • User AvatarAndy Hinton 7th May - 12:44am
    Well that's frustrating. Caroline beat UKIP on the mayoral vote, but not on the list vote, where it really matters. Still, 121,051 people voted for...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 7th May - 12:11am
    Congrats to everyone who stood for election and helped out. It would be interesting to hear from the local party why they think such a...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 7th May - 12:07am
    @Simon Shaw (congratulations by the way) Sorry I missed SILVIO's parallel post where he/she name-checked Liverpool & Sheffield. "– In 2014 won two and and...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 6th May - 11:44pm
    "Actually people resent their choices at elections being reversed by outsiders"Not necessarily. What voters don't like is unnecessary elections, and they tend to punish the...
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