Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for April 11th, 2017

Liberal International at 70

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 11th April, 2017

Yesterday, at Wadham College, Oxford, the Bureau of Liberal International (LI) gathered, along with several other members of the LI Executive, including myself, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the organisation. We stood for a group photo on the very steps where our predecessors posed for a photograph in 1947. At its inception, LI was largely a European affair, but over the intervening decades, it has grown to take in parties first from Latin America and Asia and more recently from the Middle East and North Africa as well as Africa. There are over 40 member parties in Africa now, as part of the African Liberal Network, based in Cape Town. After the photo opportunity we retired to Harris Manchester College for a working session on the draft Liberal Manifesto, which is due to be adopted at the LI Congress in Andorra next month. This document, put together by Karl-Heinz PaquĆ©, in consultation with member parties,is seen as a spring board for us to campaign on liberal values such as anti-discrimination and human rights in an increasingly illiberal, post-truth environment. In the discussions it was stressed how important it is that we reach out to millennials, who are largely dissatisfied with recent developments (Brexit, Trump, etc), but that means also changing the nature of some of our messaging. Bite-sized chunks of the manifesto will have to be fashioned, some to fit within twitter’s famous 140 character limit. We will also need to set up Facebook groups and other opportunities for discussion where young people are, as the Internet age and social media have radically changed the way political discourse develops.

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