Tag Archives: brussels

Jo Cox Square Opening in Brussels

September 27th 2018, the sun is out and it’s warm once again after days of cold and rain in central Brussels. Rainbows splatter walls, murals, and road crossings along Ancienne Belgique, the large Concert hall that sits upon Brussell’s LGBTQ District. A large crowd gathered to remember and praise Jo Cox on this vibrant Belgian square which the City of Brussels is naming after the late British MP for Batley on Spen.

Jo Cox lived and breathed the streets of Brussels for six years, first as political assistant to Glenys Kinnock MEP and later as a lobbyist for Oxfam. Cox later went on to defend the European Project during the long political battle that was the 2016 EU Referendum. Two years ago, Cox sailed along the Thames with her family proudly flying an “IN” flag up against the pro-Brexit Flotilla. This was one of the more jovial and surreal moments of the referendum campaign. The next day Jo was assassinated by a Neo-Nazi terrorist, set on sowing hate.

Do you remember where you were when you found out Jo Cox had been murdered? I was at the University of York, where I was due to be in the audience on BBC Question Time. “The show is cancelled I’m afraid,” said the producer, “An MP has been shot”.

The political toxicity that led to Jo Cox’s assassination had not been seen in the United Kingdom since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. ‘A lot of people hoped that the violent assassination… on the streets where she grew up would have a profound impact on the political discourse. however two years on I’m sadly not at all sure this is the case’ said Kim Leadbeater, sister of Jo Cox in front of the large crowd. The vindicated far-right have been emboldened by the Conservatives and Labour’s growing acceptance of their worldview. Jo Cox, conversely, ensured the political establishment called out extremist violence during her time as MP.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Tim Farron in Brussels: “Britain is better in Europe, and Europe is better with Britain in it”

 

Tim Farron has been over to Brussels today, meeting our partners in the European Parliament. He discussed Britain’s place in Europe with them and with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

A postcard from… Brussels

The capital of Europe is not exactly what a visitor from an alien civilisation would expect. There is little in the way of grand boulevards, monumental buildings, overblown statuary. Indeed, it all seems a little down at heel. I’ve always suspected that Belgians don’t waste money maintaining facades on the basis that, soon enough, someone will invade and do it for them.

In Howard Blake’s ‘New National Songbook’, he writes, “”Good heavens, look at that Empire!”, we thought. Most of us were thinking about trees and birds all the while.”. …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Where next for Lib Dem Bloggers’ Internetty Meetup Thing?

John Barrett MP at Lib Dem Bloggers' Unconference

Just two weekends ago, we helped run a moderately successful Bloggers’ Unconference in Edinburgh, the guests of the Scottish Liberal Democrats at their HQ in Clifton Terrace. The Scottish Lib Dems were generous with their facilities and their time, giving us a room for a day, feeding us, and making sure lots of interesting senior Scottish Lib Dems came to talk to us. In the end four English bloggers made the …

Posted in Events and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Cast-iron Conservatism – brittle promises obtained from a flexible friend

On 26th September 2007 David Cameron gave what he called a cast-iron guarantee. The guarantee appeared in a piece published under his name in Mr Murdoch’s Sun. Liberal Democrats, who set some store by their own political education and haven’t read the piece, really should take the opportunity to read it in its entirety.

The aspiring party leader explains that it is an article of faith for him that: “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.” And, because of that, he promises, any Conservative government led by him will “hold a referendum on any EU treaty.”

Mr Cameron explains, in the same piece, that his determination to hold a referendum isn’t simply a reflection of his deepest political beliefs but a practical matter too. It is integral to Conservative economic policy making. Why should that be? The explanation seems straightforward. It is vital because: “One of the great challenges rolling back the tide of bureaucracy.” And, Mr Cameron continues, “you can’t do that without targeting one of the main sources of this bureaucracy – Brussels.”

Without the referendum he’d promised Mr Cameron makes it clear it will not be possible to free UK businesses from red tape; the kind of European regulation which makes it impossible for the UK economy to succeed. Of course what most of us call regulation – and Mr Cameron calls red tape – isn’t quite the easy target that it once was. And Mr Cameron’s cast-iron guarantee has almost completely rusted away.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments
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