Tag Archives: Liberal International British Group

How much should the Lib Dems focus on UK foreign policy?

I once used the phrase ‘No-one is going to vote Lib Dem because of our policy on Azimstana’. The point is an obvious one; surveys show us that the average British voter is more concerned about domestic issues such as health, education, welfare, employment, immigration and crime. Understandably so.

However, there are three very good reasons why, notwithstanding, we need to invest time in foreign policy, international relations and the global economy.

First, UK foreign policy does from time to time come to the fore in the mind of the voting public and we have to be on top of the issues, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Populism and the French elections

Lord Malcolm Bruce, Marianne Magnin and Dr Sean Hanley

On the evening of 5 April 2017, the Liberal International British Group held our first joint forum with MoDem (Mouvement démocrate), France’s liberal, centrist party.

Given the recent rise in populist parties, the topic for debate was on ‘Populisms in a Post Truth World’.

Chairing the forum was Mathieu Capdevila, President of Northern Europe MoDem who introduced the speakers:

  • Lord Malcolm Bruce, Member of Parliament for Gordon from 1983 to 2015 and the chairman of the International Development Select Committee from 2005 to 2015
  • Dr Sean  Hanley, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Central and East European Politics, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL
  • Marianne Magnin, Board Chair of the Cornelius Arts Foundation and MoDem’s Parliamentary Candidate for Northern Europe.

Lord Bruce began by asking what constituted “populism”.  Citing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, he said that Brutus spoke in prose, but Marc Anthony spoke in poetry. On BREXIT, there were no good reasons why the EU Referendum should have been taken as ‘binding’ as opposed to only ‘advisory’.  However, what we needed to do now was to acknowledge that the electorate had valid reasons for voting against the establishment and to find solutions to manage the economy and the wealth more equitably.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Rock or Island? Disputes in the South China Sea

Whilst researching this subject, I couldn’t help thinking that here were the ingredients ripe for the design of a board game.  It could be something of a cross between “Diplomacy” and “Vendée Globe”?

Each player representing a country of choice could set its mission and collaborate with other players to achieve their desired outcomes.  Chance cards might include whether, say, an international tribunal has decided in their favour.  And tokens could be earned along the way to enable them to reclaim rocks and reefs, build air strips or even patrol the islands with clone submarines?

We are, of course, not speaking of a game but of what is happening in reality, and the countries involved in a potential war game include South East Asian countries (such as Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei) and also greater powers such as China (Taiwan) and the US.  At stake are the rights to valuable resources such as oil and gas, fishing rights and the protection of vital sea routes.

Posted in Op-eds | 17 Comments

Introducing Liberal International British Group

New members have been asking about Lib Dem organisations that they can join.  You are welcome to submit similar items on behalf of other organisations.

liberal-international-british-group-logoLiberal International British Group (LIBG) is the body for Liberal Democrats interested in international issues.

All too often, the pressures of local campaigning mean that there is little room in constituency parties for any discussion of international topics, and few outlets for those members whose political interest stretch beyond the UK.

LIBG holds speaker meetings on the situation in other countries several times a year in London and now also has branches in the north west, the midlands and Scotland, which organise their own activities.

Our recent meetings have included EU migration, the impact of radical Islam, a showing of the film Lakshmi about trafficking of women in India and discussion meetings on Ukraine and Egypt

Posted in Lib Dem organisations | Also tagged | Leave a comment
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    Gordon, as you say "There is a better way – but there are also strong vested interests who would rather go down with the ship...
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    Thank you Geoff for your comment. However there is a real Tom Barney, and I do not claim to be him.
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