Tag Archives: a postcard from

A liberal postcard from South Africa…

ALN-GA-300x161Dear Liberal Friends,

It is a great privilege to introduce myself to you all as the new Coordinator for the Africa Liberal Network (ALN). The ALN is the largest network of political parties in Africa and has been strongly supported by the Liberal Democrats, through the work of the International Office, since its inception in 2001.

I have recently taken up the position and the Secretariat remains based here at the Federal Head Office of the Democratic Alliance in Cape Town, South Africa.

I am originally from Nelspruit (Mpumalanga), South Africa, but grew up and lived majority of my life in Cape Town. I began my interest in politics as an activist and volunteer. This passion was then pursued during my undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch and the University of South Africa, where I graduated with a degree in Politics and Communication Science.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Postcard from China (2): The Pearl of the Orient

alex payton british consulate hong kongShould the Head of State be elected? Who should be allowed to be a candidate, and who should be allowed to vote?

Hong Kong currently faces these questions in its quest for universal suffrage and a democratic future, and was the recurrent theme during the second part of the trip to China organised by the British Chinese Project, in which I and three other Lib Dem delegates – Merlene Emerson, Sarah Yong and Steven Cheung – took part along with representatives from the other two main …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

A postcard from… China: a fly on the Great Wall

Great Wall of ChinaIt was not my first visit to China (in fact my third time climbing the great wall) but certainly the most intense: ten days from 22nd October to 1st November.  Along with 26 other Overseas Chinese delegates involved in politics from eight nations in Europe and Africa, I was on a study visit at the invitation of the Chinese Government on the eve of the 18th Peoples’ Congress.

Amongst our number were an MP from South Africa, an ex-Minister from Mauritius, a special advisor to the Mayor of Cologne, Germany (twinned with Beijing), Councillors from the Netherlands and France, as well as representatives from all 3 major parties in the UK. Other Liberal Democrats included Councillor Sam Li from Lewes, Jerry Cheung from Sheffield and Anna Lo from our sister Alliance party in Northern Ireland.

Posted in Europe / International, News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

A postcard from… Australia

The coalition continues to hold relatively fast, despite the predicted fall out from June’s vote on the Jeremy Hunt affair. Down Under however, a more dubious coalition is not looking so chipper, and the Lib Dems would be wise to note the similarities, and differences, from the Australian experience.

Much has been said about the pros and cons of political coalitions. In Australia, the centre-right Liberal and rural-based National Party have been in coalition since 1922. Both parties hold similar conservative values and have historically …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 7 Comments

A postcard from… Yerevan

The decision of the ELDR Bureau to hold the Spring Council meeting in Armenia sparked a good deal of debate as to how far the borders of Europe extend. No such ambivalence could be seen in the hundreds of predominantly young people we saw at an outdoor celebration of Europe Day.

This small country, a shadow of its historic past, manages to be on good terms with near neighbours Russia, Iran and Georgia. The relationship with Turkey to its east have been hostile since the deaths of more than a …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

A postcard from… Brussels

The capital of Europe is not exactly what a visitor from an alien civilisation would expect. There is little in the way of grand boulevards, monumental buildings, overblown statuary. Indeed, it all seems a little down at heel. I’ve always suspected that Belgians don’t waste money maintaining facades on the basis that, soon enough, someone will invade and do it for them.

In Howard Blake’s ‘New National Songbook’, he writes, “”Good heavens, look at that Empire!”, we thought. Most of us were thinking about trees and birds all the while.”. …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 3 Comments

A postcard from… Oulu

Oulu, Finland’s 7th largest city, lies on the same latitude as Iceland, the southern tip of Greenland and Fairbanks, Alaska. It is however in central Finland and there’s an awfully long way you can travel north.

Students across the country are celebrating penkkarit marking their graduation from school with processions through the towns involving music, playing tricks on your old school and the throwing of sweets to the watching crowds. This ceremony is about a hundred years old and goes back to the time when the few students who …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment
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