Author Archives: Rosina Robson

Bitter sweet: ALDE Congress in Amsterdam

I have mixed feelings as I come back from my third ALDE Congress (Alliance of Liberal and Democratic parties across Europe), this time in Amsterdam, one of the most liberal cities in the world. It’s energising to spend time with liberals from across Europe, and the largest Congress yet of 1500 people, knowing that we share values of openness, internationalism and environmentalism. Some countries are so liberal like the Netherlands and Finland, that they even have two liberal parties!

There was sad news that the UK representative on the ALDE party bureau, Baroness Ros Scott was not reelected to her position as Vice Chair. Colleagues from other parties like the FDP (Free Democratic Party) in Germany commiserated and said ALDE should look for ways to continue to collaborate with the UK. This is wise considering a sizeable proportion of the resolutions for voting and discussion by the congress were well-informed and well-drafted by the UK delegation on a range of issues from Iran and Myanmar to LGBT rights, and the Balfour Declaration.

The reoccurring theme in the conference debates focused on how we, as liberals, can combat populism and illiberal voices. Xavier Bettel, PM of Luxembourg (one of 5 liberal PMs in the EU and my favourite) said that we need to fight for our values every day. We should speak to the majority, engage with people who hold different views from us, talking about real issues that matter to people and think in dreams not fear.

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

ALDE Congress in Warsaw: A Europe for everyone

Hotfoot from the Richmond Park by-election, I arrived at ALDE Congress in Warsaw on Friday. This was my second trip to this annual event, which sees the Alliance of Liberal and Democratic parties across Europe get together to discuss the hot topics of the day. I was part of a 40-strong Lib Dem UK delegation. I wondered how welcome the UK delegation would be in light of Brexit – but I was pleased to find a buzz around our recent by-election win.

The annual meeting showed the obvious benefits in the current climate of sharing campaign ideas and tactics on countering the rise of far right parties – a prevalent theme across Europe. Some good practice and tips included the need to have a positive vision (the Remain campaign struggled with this), to communicate in primary colours, and tap into feelings and identities which matter to the electorate.

A reoccurring topic for debate was the rise of technology and the associated rise in unemployment, an issue that Trump took advantage of, without putting forward any obvious solutions. Technology does not have a neutral impact, so how do we encourage politicians to debate and influence so that there are more winners than losers in the future? The same applies to distributing the benefits of free movement and markets more fairly. The response is in part a continual skills revolution, ensuring that young people are skilled as they move from education into employment, and that experienced workers have access to lifelong learning.

Posted in News | Tagged | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 20th Nov - 2:41pm
    You can ‘hire’ 20,000 new teachers; but will they stay? Not if we don’t do something about workload and discipline in particular. Then it’s what...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Nov - 2:36pm
    The UK is home is home to GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, two of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies. Foreign drug companies with a major presence and...
  • User AvatarSandra Hammett 20th Nov - 2:27pm
    For clarity: Is the current strategy that in the event of a hung parliament that we would attempt to form a government with the assistance...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 20th Nov - 1:10pm
    When the NI Assembly was last in session, with DUP and Sinn Féin sharing power, our sister party, the Alliance Party, formed the Official Opposition...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Nov - 1:07pm
    Layla should press for a resurrection of 'Sure Start', which was hammered during the Coalition years and after. The charity Action for Children estimates that...
  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 20th Nov - 12:57pm
    One of the lessons I try to convey to junior doctors (or in my case and after nearly a decade, more junior junior doctors) is...