Author Archives: Graham Colley

Mr Jones – a film about a Liberal fighting for liberal values in 1930s Soviet Union


If you were told about a researcher for Lloyd George, who had links with George Orwell, who became a journalist and flew with Hitler and then discovered a famine in Ukraine, which Stalin wish to keep secret, you would have believed it was the plot for a film. It is, but it is also based on fact.

The film “Mr Jones” is on General Release from 7th February. It shows how a young Welshman (and a Liberal), Gareth Jones, who had worked for Lloyd George, in 1933 gained a visa to visit Moscow to seek to obtain an interview with Stalin for an explanation of his five-year plan. Whilst, as a journalist, he was officially confined to Moscow, he evaded Soviet security to travel to Hughesovka (Donetsk) and discovered the Holodomor; the deliberate starvation of between five and 10 million Ukrainians by the Soviet regime. On leaving the Soviet Union, he seeks to expose the truth in a story taken up by many newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Evening Post.

Posted in Liberal History and TV and film | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Joyce Arram 1935-2018: Piecing together a Jigsaw of a Life devoted to Liberalism

Many will already have heard of the passing of Joyce Arram on 11 November 2018.

Joyce was the Deputy President of Lib Dem Lawyers. I had known Joyce since my days as the membership secretary of Liberal Lawyers in the early 1980s, when Bernard Budd QC was the Chair and Tim Clement Jones the organising secretary. Joyce subsequently became secretary of the Association for many years and was a lifelong Liberal.

Her devotion to the Liberal Party was shown by the many times she was a local government and parliamentary candidate as well as an attender at every party conference, where she would could invariably be found on the LibDem lawyers stand in the exhibition area.

Joyce is remembered as being part of seven female Liberal Candidates (the others were Christina Baron, Sarah Curtis, Penny Jessel, Margaret Snow, Delia Venables and Nesta Wyn Ellis) who protested in 1976 outside the National Liberal Club about the fact that women were not until then admitted to full membership following the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Her commitment to Liberal Democrat friends of Israel was shown in an obituary prepared by Lord (Monroe) Palmer LibDem.
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At the age of six, Joyce was evacuated to Wales during World War II and was devoted to her cottage in Carmarthenshire. Although from London, Joyce was always very supportive of Welsh culture, giving readings at the National Liberal club St David’s Day dinners. Joyce was a regular attender of the annual Lloyd George Society weekends in Llandrindod Wells. The Lord George society are holding a Joyce Arram Memorial lecture at the National Liberal Club on Monday, 25 November 2019 at 7 PM to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, to consider the role played by David Lloyd George at the Paris Peace Conference and the consequences of the treaties. The speaker will be critical historian Alistair Cooke OBE, (Baron Lexden), and will be chaired by Baroness Sarah Ludford.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Lewisham East – more news from the frontline

Every by-election has a tipping point. You either have the momentum, or you do not. I know I was closely involved in the Bermondsey by-election, where we proved that one of Labour’s fiefdoms could be demolished by Liberal activism. I must tell you that this weekend the Leegate Centre had the buzz of a Party whose Liberal philosophy, which fights against Labour state control or Tory neoliberalism, is unstoppable.

Liberal Democrat activists were dedicated and inspired.

I spent Saturday afternoon on the doorstep in a former Conservative ward. I can tell you that most began as undecided but were happy to listen …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Tagged | 4 Comments

Lib Dem Lawyers on Judicial Review

House of Commons at NightThe Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is returning to the Commons today after being ‘batted’ back in ping-pong proceedings between Lords and Commons.

Lib Dem peers working with the crossbenchers are refusing to approve two measures:

1) The Government’s Secure College plans for under 15s.
The Lib Dem Lawyers Association are not the experts in this field, but are concerned that MPs should consider all the risks and issues raised by leading experts. The Lords amendment would exclude under 15s from the Secure College until such time as Parliament agrees that it is safe to send them there.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments
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