Jonathan Fryer

Graham Watson’s Letters from Europe

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 10th November, 2012

Every week the Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England, Sir Graham Watson, sends out an email newsletter to constituents and other interested subscribers telling them what he has been doing over the previous seven days. It’s deliberately short and written in accessible language, making it lively and user-friendly. Today, at a lunchtime fringe at the ELDR Congress in Dublin, Graham launched a book of his collected newsletters from the past few years, illustrated also with photographs. He admitted that some of his ephemeral pronouncements were proved incorrect later — for example just how easily (or not) the European Commission President Barroso would get his fellow Commissioners approved by the European Parliament. But he urged those of us who are involved in politics to record what we do and say as others can learn from our mistakes as well as from our example. Graham deliberately gave the book the title “Letters from Europe” to underline the fact that in contrast to his childhood, when people talked about the British Isles as being part of Europe along with the Continent, these days the national narrative has shifted, so that the British usually talk about going to or coming from Europe, as if the UK has somehow been cut adrift. As Graham pointed out in his brief remarkls at the launch, Sir Winston Churchill had a much better grasp of the concept of a wider patriotism than most Little Englanders today. The book is edited by Graham’s research assistant Andrew Burgess and is published by Bagehot Publishing, price €10.

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