July meeting of Liberal International in London

You might have been so be-dazzled by the London Pride parade back in July that you missed the 202nd Liberal International Executive Committee meeting which took place on the same day at the National Liberal Club (and which incidentally gave perfect grandstand viewing of the parade in the streets below) .

I’ve only recently started going to these international political meetings (since I retired and now have the time!) but the dynamic is quite different from UK political meetings and very energising. There are many younger participants and many, many more women to offset the usual pale, older males, and where else could I sit next to the Foreign Minister of Somalia? -and very interesting he was too.

We Lib Dems are fortunate to belong to a strong and powerful Liberal International movement which stretches much further than ALDE/Renew Europe. New members may not have appreciated there are currently 8 Liberal governments amongst the 28 EU member states and that Macron’s En Marche joined us last summer and will sit with us in the European parliament, and that further afield Liberalism is alive and well in some surprising places, even if not thriving everywhere.

On the agenda at this meeting were three topics;
-the future of the rules-based multilateral system-Europe better in than out
-defending the democratic space
-climate refugee or climate migrant

On this last topic Ed Davey spoke eloquently of the need for governments to develop policies which will address the adaptations needed to take account of the climate crisis (and picked up this weekend by G7) whilst the Bangladesh High Commissioner, H.E. Ms Saida Muna Taasneem took the opposing view; – the need for governments to acknowledge their role in creating the crisis and compensate those most – affected countries, like Bangladesh. This was a very interesting debate.

Further highlights included the launch of the LI Inclusivity Barometer, a tool to assist liberal parties to assess their progress in promoting participation of women in politics, (I wonder how we shall score on that) and the election of a new LI human rights committee.

So if any or all of this interests you, visit the LIBG (Liberal International British Group) stall at Conference and come to our fringe meeting on refugees.

We hold regular meetings (unfortunately all in London) on single issue topics with invited expert speakers; recent topics have included the South China Sea, American Foreign Policy and Bonsanaro’s Brazil.

* Catherine Royce was reviously PPC for Uxbridge (2001) and Romsey (2017) as well as being on the Liberal Democrat Women executive. She is currently a member of the Federal Policy Committee and the Liberal International British Group Executive.

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3 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Aug '19 - 11:41am

    The writer of this article reveals in her picture , she is white, in the description , that she is retired.

    Why does she add, as if a denigrating, “the usual pale, older, males.”

    The great Bing Crosby sang ” You’ve gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, but don’t mess with Mr. in between!”

    It’s possible to welcome and work for a diverse and representative society without being offputting to others and alienating them.

  • Bobby Copper 27th Aug '19 - 12:53pm

    What Lorenzo said

    How old was the Foreign Minister of Somalia? I presume he wasn’t pale so would it be OK to describe him as coffee coloured?

  • Catherine Royce 28th Aug '19 - 8:11am

    I was merely reporting a statement of fact. I think we all know the demographic of most political meetings is not optimal, nor reflects all aspects of wider society. It has been a recurring theme in LD meetings I have attended over the years, and I don’t think anyone disagrees we need to improve. The next Liberal International meeting will be in Fez, Morocco in November.

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