Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Alistair Darling’

Nick Clegg Engages with London LibDems

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 10th August, 2011

There was standing room only at the National Liberal Club this lunchtime when Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg spoke at a question and answer session with local party members — one of a series he is doing around the country. He thrives on the rigorous debate that such ‘internal’ events engender, so was able to respond head-on to challenges such as why it always seems to be LibDem Government Ministers who get to front the bad news, and whether we ought to be seen to be so chummy with the Tories. This gave him the opportunity to explain  a little how the Coalition government works,as well as to agree with the questioner who said that all the media seemed to be stacked against us, and to clarify several of the ‘wins’ that there have been because LibDems are now in government. He reminded people that for all of Labour’s shrieking about cuts, under Alistair Darling’s (Labour) plans, seven out of eight pounds being cut by this government would have been cut by a returned Labour administration, had Gordon Brown not lost the election. Nick defended the British armed forces’ involvement in Libya, describing himself as a Liberal Interationalist as well as a Liberal Interventionist, but he assured one lady that British troops will be out of Afghanistan before the 2015 election, as a result of LibDem pressure.


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Vince for PM?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 26th November, 2008

Claire Rayner, the veteran agony aunt and LibDem supporter, has a letter in today’s Guardian arguing that what Britain needs at this time of economic woe is Vince Cable as Prime Minister — now! This is, of course, something one hears increasingly regularly from ordinary voters who believe it is time to ‘Move over, Darling’ and to send George Osborne off to university to do a post-graduate degree in economics, while Vince is the unchallenged star of Newsnight et al. But the logical conclusion is that Vince should be Chancellor of the Exchequer, not Prime Minister. And if the Labour and Conservative parties are as close at the time of the next general election as the opinion polls suggest that they are now, that is a distinct possibility.

There are some LibDems who lament that Vince is not party leader, but if he were, the onerous associated duties would prevent him doing what he is doing so brilliantly now. Moreover, with Nick Clegg as leader and Chris Huhne on Home Affairs, no-one can these days accuse the Liberal Democrats of being a one-man band, as was sometimes the public perception in the past. Three men in a boat, perhaps? Yes, a lifeboat for Britain!

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The Credit Crunch and Europe

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 11th November, 2008

New Year’s Day 2009 will see the tenth anniversary of the eurozone and it might be an appropriate moment for Britain to reopen the debate on adopting the euro, according to the distinguished economist Graham Bishop, who was the guest speaker at a lunch event put on by the London Europe Society in the London offices of the European Parliament today. Graham painted a pretty damning picture of the way Gordon ‘the prudent’ Brown has handled the economy along with his Chancellor Alistair Darling, the criticism made all the more stinging because of Graham’s gentle manner of exposition.

Quoting extensively from economic reports and forecasts produced by the European Commission, Graham showed how much worse Britain has been doing than the eurozone. The current account deficit is particularly worrying. Meanwhile, the pound has collapsed by nearly 25 per cent against the US dollar, making sterling look far less mighty than the British government has often proclamied.

On a different but equally concerning matter, Graham said he believed that the new US President, Barack Obama, might refuse to abide by any agreement George W Bush comes to with allied nations over the putative G20 proposals for a new Bretton Woods.

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Yes Darling, We Are Pissed off with You

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 30th August, 2008

 I suspect that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, is already regretting the candour of his interview in today’s Weekend magazine of the Guardian. But as Vince Cable — who was able to get in a pertinent reaction in time for last night’s ‘Newsnight’, showing yet once again how on the ball he is — said, Darling is correct: Britain’s economy is in far worse a state than Gordon Brown and his many spinmeisters have been prepared to admit, and that is not surprising considering how important the financial sector is here.

The Chancellor is also spot on when he laments that the British public are pissed off with Labour — his words, not mine. Indeed, even if we may be nearly two years away from a general election, it seems hard to imagine a Labour recovery vigorous enough to save them from defeat then. They have only been in power for 11 years — as opposed to their Tory predecessors’ 18 — yet the government is looking tired to the point of exhaustion. In fact, both Brown and Darling both look like walking dead meat. Interestingly, they and Jack Straw are the only three people left from the original 1997 Cabinet. I wonder if Darling will still be there next week?

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