Author Archives: Obhi Chatterjee

Opinion: Could we have a #libdemfightback conference, please?

On 16 May 2010, 10 days after the general election, the Lib Dems organised a special conference to debate the Coalition Agreement. It was put together in four days.

As Duncan Brack, then Chair of the Federal Conference Committee put it “In holding this special conference we are demonstrating again that we are a democratic party which listens to and trusts its members.”  It also gave the impression of a party which is nimble enough to react swiftly to major developments.

On the morning after the general election on 7 May 2015, I woke up to the sad news that we no longer had a Lib Dem MP, the Parliamentary party had been decimated to just 8 and Nick Clegg was announcing his resignation. The perspective that the Conservatives had been given enough MPs to inflict their darkest, illiberal whims on the country for the next five years was even worse.

On Facebook, Mark Pack posted the news that the new Lib Dem leader will be elected by July. Yes, I thought, we do need a new leader to fight this situation urgently.

Posted in News | 13 Comments

Open Rights Group flashmob serves disconnection notice on UK Music #DEBill

DEBill flashmob at UK Music
Filmmaker Obhi Chatterjee, one of the team behind the Lib Dem Spring Conference emergency motion on Freedom, creativity & the internet, describes the experience:

It was while following #DEBill on Twitter on the train that, with just over an hour to go, we discovered where we had to be at 12:15. In front of London’s Dominion Theatre, near Tottenham Court Road. Bring a police helmet and clipboard if poss.

My father had struggled to understand how we could have left home knowing only that we had to be in central London at a certain time. We had aimed for Trafalgar Square.

I recognised Open Rights Group‘s Executive Director, Jim Killock, from his Facebook photo. A few people were distributing imitation police helmets and clipboards. A journalist was asking people why they were there.

The sheet on the clipboard explained what we had to do and where we had to go: the Soho offices of UK Music, a short walk away.

Once there, we were to wander up and down outside the building, looking officious. Perhaps everyone was too good-humoured and smiling a bit too much for that.

Still, there were quite a few photographers and video cameras around to record the event.

Staff heading out of the building for lunch didn’t seem to be very conversational. I can’t imagine they mistook us for MI5 …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , , and | 4 Comments
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