Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Lembit Opik, Ridvan and the Baha’i

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2009

abdul-baha2lembit-opikLembit Opik MP hosted the annual All Party Group for the Baha’i’s reception on the terrace of the House of Commons this evening, timed to coincide with the Baha’i festival of Ridvan. If the celebrations were somewhat subdued for many people present, it was because seven leading Baha’i figures who were arrested in Iran last year are still in prison. The faith, which is monotheistic and teaches that all religions come from God, was founded in the 19th Century in Iran, though its most famous contemporary religious centre is in Haifa, Israel. It has suffered systematic persecution in Iran since shortly after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Bill Rammell, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, gave a speech of welcome and there were written greetings from a  curious trinity: the Archbishop of Canterbury, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. In his capacity as Chairman of the All Party Group, Lembit quipped that he was too wicked to become a Baha’i himself. Wicked? Surely not, Lembit. Just naughty.

Link: www.bahai.org.uk

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Learning from European Best Practice

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2009

one-hour-bus-ticket-campaignEarly this morning I was at Vauxhall bus station in the London borough of Lambeth, alongside Caroline Pidgeon (Member of the Greater London Assembly), Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington) and the target parliamentary seat LibDem PPCs, Chris Nicholson (Streatham) and Bridget Fox (Islington South). We were launching a campaign to introduce cheap one-hour bus tickets in London, which would enable bus passengers to transfer from one route to another within the space of 60 minutes, without having to buy a separate ticket for each section of their journey. Such timed transfer-type tickets are common in several continental cities and it’s amazing that this still isn’t the case in a cosmopolitan metropolis like London. But it is never too late to learn from our EU’s partners’ best practice!

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