Tag Archives: graham watson

The race for the ALDE Presidency – and why it might matter

Four years of an ALDE Party led by Sir Graham Watson is nearly at an end and, following his announcement in Oslo in May that he would not be seeking a third term, one might not be surprised to hear that the campaign started almost before he sat down. I for one was lobbied by a potential candidate at the reception that followed and, since then, two candidates have emerged to contest the succession. So, who will the Liberal Democrat delegation, which represents 12% of the votes to be cast, have to decide between?

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

This week in Europe: 11-15 November – it’s all getting a bit tense out there…

Following a complaint by the UK Government to the European Commission over the imposition of strict border controls by Spain at its border with Gibraltar, the Commission have, somewhat unexpectedly, concluded that the checks did not break EU laws. It has written to both the UK and Spain with recommendations to avoid future delays at the border.

In response, Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, said;

“It sounds to me as if Spanish officials have succeeded in nobbling this report. As the editor of Private Eye once said, if that’s justice then I’m a banana.”
“I am …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson apologises for ‘insensitive’ tweet

A swift retraction by Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson of this tweet, reacting to the news David Cameron has cancelled his landmark speech on Europe as a result of the hostage crisis in Algeria:

graham watson tweet

Immediately condemned as ‘clearly sick and offensive’ by Nick Clegg’s spokesman, Graham has now issued this apology:

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A Christmas message from the President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe

It is that time of year when Christmas messages start appearing, and here at Liberal Democrat Voice, we are no exception. And so, for your delight, here is a message from Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West, and President of ALDE…

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Three cheers for the unsung heroes of Brussels

A new survey by European news portal Euractiv has ranked Sharon Bowles MEP as the most influential Brit in EU policy-making, eight places ahead of David Cameron and thirty-three above Nigel Farage. The UK40 survey also features Lib Dem MEPs Andrew Duff and Sir Graham Watson in the top sixteen. National politicians such as Cameron, William Hague and Nick Clegg make the top twenty, but often lose out in the ranking to less well known Brits in the EU institutions.

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This week in Europe… 11-14 September

Of course, it’s not just the Commons that is back this week, as the European Parliament has returned from its summer break. And, thanks to the ever helpful Angelika Schneider in the ALDE office, Liberal Democrat Voice is able to keep up to date with the efforts of Liberal Democrat MEPs.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted the first European-wide law on the protection of crime victims, to improve support for them. The new EU law sets minimum standards for all 27 countries, such as free access to medical and specialist …

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European Parliament’s 2050 low-carbon roadmap backs an interconnected European supergrid

The European Parliament will today debate and vote on its report on the Commission’s Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050. The report establishes a policy framework for the EU to achieve a 80-95% reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2050, and it is expected that MEPs will endorse it by a large majority.

Sir Graham Watson MEP, who is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, as well as a Liberal Democrat MEP …

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Graham Watson’s New Year message

Of course, we now have two British Liberal leaders, one here, and one in Europe. And, for your delectation and delight, Liberal Democrat Voice presents, courtesy of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR), the New Year message of Graham Watson, recently elected as its President…

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New ELDR President Sir Graham Watson: ready for the challenge

At last week’s Congress of the European Liberal Democrats, the umbrella grouping of liberal parties across the continent, Graham Watson, our list MEP in South West England (and Gibraltar), was elected to the position of President. Here are his thoughts on the task ahead…

Last week I had the honour of being elected the new President of ELDR, the European political party federation to which the Liberal Democrats belong, at its annual congress in sunny Palermo, Italy.

I was unopposed as a candidate, so the result was not quite the surprise as it might otherwise have been. I’m not sure whether the …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 3 Comments

ELDR Congress: that’s another fine Mezzogiorno, they’ve gotten us into…

Liberals from across Europe and, according to one vocal member of our delegation, beyond, gathered last week in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, under rather tighter security than usual, to discuss the gathering Euro crisis and the future of the European Union budget. As Liberal Democrats, we’ve grown used to meeting with rather depressing levels of security but, for a change, this wasn’t intended for us. Our hosts, Italia dei Valori, included the former Mayor of Palermo and current ELDR Vice-President, Leoluca Orlando, whose anti-mafia campaigning probably still makes him a potential target.

The theme for the Congress was the 2014-2020 EU …

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Can’t host the Olympics? Host Liberal Youth Conference instead!

It’s an exciting time for political activists. The Eurozone is melting down, the economy is stagnating and people are getting angry about pensions. Well, that last one perhaps doesn’t affect Liberal Youth members as much, but Liberal Youth Conference is a chance for young people to meet up, discuss policy and (perhaps most importantly) have fun along the way!

Hosting Liberal Youth Conference is a great opportunity for your local party: 30, or even more, willing young activists to get out there and help you on a delivery round (at the last Liberal Youth Conference in Colchester, delegates delivered 2000 …

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ELDR Congress – let’s hope it isn’t a lemon…

It’s a long way from Creeting St Peter to Palermo, which partly explains why this piece comes to you from Linate Airport in Milan. But if my eight hour journey feels arduous, it is as nothing compared to the journey back to stability that is the mission of the Eurozone’s finance ministers.

In the midst of this crisis, ELDR (the European Liberal Democrats) delegates from across Europe (and I’m beginning to appreciate just how far that might be) are gathering in Sicily’s capital to discuss the European Union’s budget for 2014-2020. I’m here because you sent me (or at …

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Graham Watson runs for the Presidency of the European Liberal Democrats

Next week sees the annual Congress of ELDR, the European Liberal Democrats, which takes place in the Sicilian city of Palermo from 23-25 November.

Apart from the debates on the current economic crisis and the 2014-20 EU budget, there will be elections for the President and four Vice-Presidents. At the time of writing, there is only one declared candidate to succeed Annemie Neyts, whose three terms as President have seen ELDR grow and flourish — Sir Graham Watson, MEP for South West England and Gibraltar. You can read his manifesto here.

Graham has been a Member of the European Parliament …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Join the Liberal Youth invasion

After a very successful Federal Conference earlier this month, Liberal Youth will hold its Autumn Conference on 22nd & 23rd October. It’s in the Roman town of Colchester* (home to the UK’s oldest market on record).

Conference, as all Liberal Democrats know, is a fantastic opportunity for party members to shape policies and hold elected officers to account – and Liberal Youth is no different.

Along with all the usual reports from officers (and the odd constitutional amendment), there will be policy debates on the Arab Spring, MMR jabs, Women’s Rights & Bank Shares. As we have seen from this year’s conference with the Employment and Support Allowance motion, Liberal Youth policy can become federal policy – and might now even become Government policy. This is a brilliant opportunity for young Liberal Democrats to get involved with policy making and gain experience in public speaking!

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Liberal Democrats receive Queen’s Birthday Honours

Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011.

He’s listed under Knights Bachelor – Knighthoods:

Graham Robert WATSON, MEP. For public and political services.

Congratulations, Sir Graham!


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Opinion: dark Tory reasons surround Clegg for Commission idea

The Sunday Times(£) has played echo for anonymous “Downing Street sources” briefing that “if it looks like he will lose his Sheffield Hallam seat, there will be an emergency exit strategy which could see him land one the big jobs in Brussels” namely becoming a Member of the Commission.

The “Downing Street source” behind this must not have Nick Clegg’s or the Liberal Democrats’ interests at heart. It feeds the narrative of “Nick Clegg under siege” of which “Nick Clegg may lose his seat” is the hyperbolic epitome.

Nick Clegg would be extremely well qualified for the Commission, although …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

How Euro-sceptic journalism works

A relatively inexpensive (£1.1 million) project kicked off in 2007.  The idea was for local authorities on each side of the English Channel to work together for mutual benefit in some specific and limited areas.

As the Espace Manche Development Initiative website explains:

Identification of the challenges in the Channel area and publication of a document defining the strategic orientations for the horizon 2007 – 2013;

Deployment of tangible initiatives structured around five themes:

* Tourism: creation of a common database on target tourist populations.
* Fishing and fish resources: constitution of a consultative regional council for fishing in the Channel area.
* Integrated coastal

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 5 February 2010

Happy birthday to Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire!

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Biometric data
  • How many people have had theirs taken under the Terrorism Act 2000, and how successful have they been at getting the samples destroyed? Lord Eric Avebury has put down a Parliamentary Question.

  • Will libertarian bloggers ever grow up?
  • Jonathan Calder wants libertarian bloggers to widen their repertoire beyond “Get out of my room Mom!”

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Liberal Democrat MEP celebrates French equality win

Since August 2007, French couples in a Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PAC) have enjoyed the same rights in relation to tax and inheritance laws which had previously only applied to married couples. However, due to a legal anomaly, British civil partnerships were not recognised under French law, meaning couples living in France were liable for a 60% inheritance tax and were treated like any other unmarried couple.

Graham Watson pointed out the ridiculous situation that many people faced: “Up until now, the practicality of French law has meant that British civil partners living in France would have to dissolve their partnership and enter into a PAC in order to secure the same rights as French couples. This violated the idea of European citizenship and equality, and something had to be done.”

Watson asked the European Commission to press the French Government on the issue.
Ministers have now announced that British civil partnerships are recognised as equal to PACs, and reimbursements will be made to individuals who have made undue tax payments since August 2007.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem Graham Watson drops bid to become EU president

The Press Association reports:

A British MEP has withdrawn from the race to become the next president of the European Parliament “to save the European Union”. Liberal Democrat Graham Watson said he is joining a cross-party cabal which will see the job carved up between the Parliament’s mainstream centre-right and centre-left parties for the next five years.

When the newly-elected European Parliament meets for the first time next week, it now looks as if former Polish prime minister Jerzy Buzek, a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), will get the job. In return, the three main parties in the

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Graham Watson: what sort of President does the European Parliament need?

We live in a world of armchair experts: amateur psychologists, sofa-based football players, and in the (slightly nerdish) world of politics, would-be Leaders. Here in the European Parliament, there is a range of figures to criticise, including party leaders, group leaders, and the President of Parliament himself. That post becomes vacant after the European Parliament elections in June. On the basis that it’s not quite cricket to carp from the back that “I could do better” I’ve taken the plunge and announced that I will be a candidate for the job.

It won’t be an easy ride. …

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Graham Watson running to be President of the European Parliament

Graham Watson, one of the South West’s Euro-MPs, has written on Comment is Free:

Everybody wants to get a first in something: a race, a university degree, a newspaper scoop. This week I launched my campaign for president of the European parliament knowing that I am not the first British candidate, but I am the first – of any nationality – to run a public campaign, and that is already something to be just a little bit proud of.

The chattering classes love to have a pop at the behind-closed-doors culture that we are told thrives in Brussels. Europe’s reputation for secrecy

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What will you be reading at Christmas?

The party’s published on www.libdems.org.uk what a selection of leading Liberal Democrats will be reading over Christmas, including Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Ros Scott and Graham Watson.

If you’ve got any good reading tips, the comments box awaits you … and don’t forget, the party has an Amazon deal so purchases made through this link will raise money for the party, without you being charged anything extra.

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London Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference – still time to register

It’s London Region’s turn to have their Autumn Conference and AGM.

Come to: Haverstock School, 24 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 2BQ (Nearest tube: Chalk Farm)

On: Saturday 15 November, from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

There’s a packed agenda, useful training and fringe events, and guest speakers – including Chris Huhne MP, Graham Watson MEP, Tom Brake MP and Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP.
Members of the London Assembly and London Regional Executive will also be there.

Advance Registration (before noon on Thurs 13th November) is £20 waged, £10 concessions (on the door £25 waged, £12 concessions). Call Flick Rea …

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Jonathan Fryer’s Diary of a Euro-candidate


On the tube over to West London, I wonder how Ukraine and Slovakia have managed to have their national celebrations on the same day, and both at lunchtime. Fortunately the two embassies are close to each other, and predictably there is a lot of toing-and-froing between. I decide to do Ukraine first, having recently been in the country itself and I am not surprised to find the mood somewhat sombre. After the Russian intervention in Georgia, there are rumblings in the Crimea again and the government in Kiev is falling apart. I have earnest discussions with the diplomats there, …

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‘Influential’ list continues

Iain Dale’s list continues in the Telegraph, and the Voice team, variously drunk, hungover and sleep deprived have reacted most waspishly to nos 11-20:

“Former Lib Dem MP? Don’t they mean ‘Lib Dem Peer’?”

“Norman Baker is more influential than Ed Davey?!”

“Graham Watson is no longer the Leader of the Lib Dem MEPs – he’s leader of ALDE. Andrew Duff is leader of the Lib Dem MEPs and he was in yesterday!”

“Lembit, only 18?”

Still, I suppose it’s got us talking, which is rather the point.

Interestingly, it seems the Telegraph, like many other delegates, have been caught out by this …

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Conference: Make It Happen debate… the live-blog

Yes, it’s the day of the Big Debate on Make It Happen, the party’s policy and consultation document, and there’s keen anticipation here in the conference hall. Over 100 members have applied to speak so far, so we can expect some fiery views on both sides of the should-we-cut-the-tax-burden debate.

The party’s manifesto chief Danny Alexander has introduced Make It Happen – plenty of warm applause, including for the line that tax cuts for ordinary people are very much part of a social justice agenda. He urges conference to vote down Paul Holmes’ and Evan Harris’s amendment, arguing it will …

Posted in Conference and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 143 Comments

Leader article: United in Europe

Across Europe we have entered the age of drawbridge politics. What do I mean by this? That the dividing line between left and right, which for years divided those favouring a free market economy (generally on the right) from those favouring a planned or social market economy (generally on the left) – and which estranged economic liberals from social liberals though they belong together – is disappearing fast.

Most of the left has now recognised the need for a globally competitive economy and a less costly welfare state, as evidenced in the manifesto of the Party of European Socialists adopted in Oporto in Dec 2006 (though a few have joined the ‘stop the world I wanna get off’ camp). In an almost conciliatory gesture, many on the right now discuss the impact of massive shifts in investment and jobs on desirable and necessary levels of social cohesion. If we are sacrificing some social cohesion for economic dynamism, what happens to what we used to call ‘the common good’? A new social contract, capable of reconciling the competing demands of flexibility and fairness in te post-industrial age, is actively sought.

Their is a new dividing line in politics, however, no less clear than the old left-right division over the management of the economy. It reflects our response to the challenges of globalisation.

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Elected Lib Dem Bloggers: The List

There’s still time to vote in the 2007 Lib Dem Blog of the Year contest, to nominate blogs for our expert panel. Find out more here.

But who, you may struggle to recall, is a publicly-elected Lib Dem blogger from amongst the many you’ve read? How many bloggers we read are secretly councillors? How many elected parliamentarians blog? How many blogs are actually eligible for the category?

I asked Mark Pack f he held such a list. He didn’t. I have therefore set out to compile one, despite my better judgement that this will be a boring and thankless task; but such a list probably ought to exist. It combines well with reading aroundly widely for the purposes of composing the Golden Dozen, at least!

This is an unofficial long list of everything which strikes me as eligible for the elected representative category, but not being one of the judges my opinion is clearly not final. They’re listed as ordered on Lib Dem blogs.

Posted in Best of the blogs | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

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