Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for August, 2010

Dorothy Thornhill in Tower Hamlets

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 5th August, 2010

Watford’s Liberal Democrat Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, was the guest speaker at a Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrat social event this evening at the Pride of Asia restaurant in Stepney Green. On the same day as the general and local elections three months ago, the voters of Tower Hamlets voted ‘yes’ in a referendum about whether to have a directly elected Mayor in the borough. Nationally, the LibDems have been lukewarm at best to the idea of directly-elected mayors and indeed the Tower Hamlets local party was pretty divided on the issue. However, once the electorate had decided that was what it wanted then the party obviously had to move ahead with selecting a candidate and organising a campaign. The timetable is short, as the first Tower Hamlets mayoral election has been scheduled for 21 October. The Conservatives already have their candidate in place, but Labour is having real problems about agreeing who should stand for them. It still remains a mystery as to what Respect may or may not do; it is by no means sure that George Galloway would be in the running. The LibDem selection process is currently underway, and this will culminate in a hustings of local party members on 21 August, out of which a victorious candidate should emerge. Dorothy Thornhill had excellent advice about how to run the local campaign, and indeed the sort of person who might be suitable for the job. As she has been successfully elected three times in Watford (despite campaigning for a ‘no’ vote in their referendum) she had much wisdom to share. The fact that she is such a forceful personality — though not in an overbearing way — has undoubtedly helped her reach a situation in which not only almost three quarters of Watford’s residents know who their Mayor is (which Council leader could claim the same?) but she is to Watford’s local residents simply ‘Mayor Dorothy’ as she goes out and about on her rounds as someone very much in her community.

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Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 2nd August, 2010

About an hour’s drive west out of Algiers is the coastal town of Tipasa, best known for its extensive Roman ruins and seafood restaurants. Algerois tend to make a day-trip out there to get a taste of both, though I was sad that the best restaurant — the Romana — seemed to be out of action for the time being. The ruins are nothing like as spectacular as Leptis Magna or Sabratha in Libya, yet nonetheless remain evocative, especially the (comparatively small) round amphitheatre and the olive oil presses, whose produce was channeled straight to waiting ships. Most of the site was deserted this morning, though there was a pack of tiny wolf cubs in yellow T-shirts being shephearded round by older scouts whose tenue and demeanour reflected the way that scouting has largely been taken over by Islamists in this country. Rather than chanting dib-dib-dib, or whetever Baden Powell’s young British followers do these days, the little boys were all singing a song about Allah as they sat in a straight line on a low Roman wall as a sea-mist rolled in up from the rocks below.

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