Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

ELDR and Demographic Change

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 15th October, 2010

The ELDR Congress that has been taking place in Helsinki since Wednesday is the largest ever and is indubitably one of the best. The high turnout reflects not only the growing number of member parties across Europe — the Liberal Party of Moldova and the Solidarity and Freedom Party of Slovakia were admitted into full membership at the ELDR Council today — but also the fact that so many member parties are now in government, including in the host country, Finland, and of course Britain. Given the very high level of the delegations from many countries, it is embarassing that the large UK contingent does not include a single MP, let alone a Minister — though there is a trio of MEPs: Catherine Bearder, Andrew Duff and Graham Watson (the last-mentioned standing for a Vice-Presidential post this year, with an eye for a possible Presidency in the future). I had hoped that when the party got a former MEP (Nick Clegg) as leader, it would take ELDR events more seriously, but alas no. It’s doubly a pity, as the theme of this year’s Congress — Demographic Change — is both pertinent amd urgent. At least we have had Gordon Lishman, a former head of Age Concern, playing a major role in the drafting of the theme resolution.


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