Author Archives: Harriet Ainscough

Opinion: After the reshuffle: how can we still claim internationalism?

The reshuffle: the talking point of the last few days. I’m sure we all feel a bit angry and flustered after the Tory side was announced – Hunt at health, Miller as equalities. It really could not have been much less liberal. Our side, though, may at first appear entirely less interesting, and far more acceptable. There were some great moves in the reshuffle, sure. Jo Swinson as an Undersecretary of State. David Laws is back. This reshuffle, though, has cut out something essential to the Liberal Democrats: our internationalism. Lib Dems gone from FCO. No Lib Dems in the MOD. One minister, Lynne Featherstone, in DFID. And Lynne’s briefing (at the time of writing) has still not been an announced. This reshuffle represents an almost complete retreat from international affairs.

Internationalism is one of the things the Lib Dems pride ourselves on: our attitude to the European Union is really quite distinctive amongst mainstream politics, we work closely with our sister parties, and our opposition to the Iraq war was certainly amongst the most vocal. Foreign Affairs is not a fairly ‘non-partisan’ area, as I had it put to me. There are huge divergences in Liberal Democrat and Conservative policy here, and now we have absolutely no one fighting our corner, it seems. Even Lynne in DFID isn’t really going to have much of a say: when behind-closed-door discussion takes place on the European Union, the Eurozone crisis, our involvement in NATO, renewal of Trident, and our relationship with the US, particularly with the upcoming Presidential elections, and other big issues at the moment, DFID are hardly the most involved.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Postcards to Political Prisoners and the disturbing case of Mikael Nabil

On 14th December, the decision of Egyptian student and pro-democracy activist Mikael Nabil’s retrial was announced; his sentence was reduced from three years to two. The result of this retrial, leaving little room for further appeal, shows a serious miscarriage of justice, particularly when considering that despite being a civilian, Mikael was sentenced by military tribunal.

Even before the Arab Spring began, Mikael was taking an active role in promoting democracy in Egypt. He was part of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) delegation to the 2009 Liberal International congress in Cairo. Since 2006, Mikael has used his blog to …

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



Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Michael BG, but you haven't really thought through the question I asked. How much of 'their energy' would you expect them to sell in the UK and on what basis w...
  • Merlene Emerson
    Thanks Jo for making an important point about the need for sanctions on Myanmar's oil and gas industry. The military junta is looting over $1b each year in gas ...
  • Michael BG
    Once the policy motion supporting the policy paper is passed by Conference that policy working group’s job is completed. (Katharine is not on the manifesto wo...
  • Michael BG
    Joe Bourke, You have repeated yourself but not clearly stated how your version of a Minimum Income Guarantee is different from a UBI. I assume the costs of y...
  • Joe Bourke
    Ed Davey has called for a cancellation of the increase in the energy price cap ...