Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Brixton’

Changing Gear in London

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 2nd January, 2013

fireworks-New YearThe fireworks over the Thames that signalled the New Year in London symbolically coincided with a handover of the chairmanship of London Liberal Democrats, as I ended my three years at the helm and Mike Tuffrey – until last May a leading Member of the London Assembly – took over. My time in office was quite a roller-coaster, from the inflated national euphoria of Cleggmania just before the 2010 general election – when in the event we managed to hold on to seven parliamentary seats, but alas lost Richmond Park – to the frankly dire city-wide vote we received in the London Mayoral and GLA elections last May. At least we managed to return Caroline Pidgeon (rightly recognised in the New Year honours) and Stephen Knight to the Assembly. Of course, the kicking we received from the electorate then – at least some of it a protest at George Osborne’s Budget, as well as unhappiness over Coalition cuts – was not unique to London. Moreover, we have had some excellent local by-election results, which showed that the old mantra “where we work, we win” can still hold true.

Less visible, but significant, has been the way the regional party has become more professional over the past three years, including a move into larger and more flexible office space in Brixton and the appointment of a full-time Campaigns Manager, Chris Butler (backed up by the indefatigable Campaigns Chair Pete Dollimore and his team). Even if the results last May were disappointing, the campaign itself was much slicker than anything we’ve done before and indeed the candidates themselves were impressive and for the first time truly reflected the diverse nature of our capital city.

Team LOndon logoSo what can Mike Tuffrey look forward to? Undoubtedly more needs to be done not just to recruit new members but particularly to retain the ones we have. And given Mike’s particular expertise in London-wide policy-making, honing a credible, attractive and specific London Liberal Democrat narrative is going to be crucial to future success. 2013 is a year with no major scheduled elections in London, though local council by-elections continue to come up thick and fast. But this provides a golden opportunity not only to strengthen the Party further in the capital but to lay the groundwork for the 2014 city-wide borough elections and the Euro-elections, which will almost certainly fall on the same day. That coincidence poses several new challenges not least how to integrate a local campaign in which ruthless targeting is going to be essential with a London-wide European campaign when the Liberal Democrats are likely to be the only party putting out an essentially positive message on Europe – and rightly so. At least the eight London Euro-candidates – who have been in place since 1 December – are already part of the integrated team. Those of us who have not gone abroad for New Year will be joining the first regional action day of the year this Saturday in North Kingston (Richmond Park).

Jonathan Fryer is the immediate past Chair of London Liberal Democrats and is Number 2 on the London Euro-list.  

N.B. This post first appeared as an oped on LibDemVoice:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Victoria Line Misery. Thanks, Bob Crow!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 20th May, 2009

Bob CrowThe Victoria Line, which provides a particularly invaluable service for people living at either end — Wathamstow and Brixton — has been subject to repeated weekend closures over the past couple of years, because of engineering work. But from late this evening (unless long-suffering passengers are given a last-minute reprieve), the line will shut down again — this time because of a strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT). The RMT union’s chief, Bow Crow, has been aptly described by the BBC as the man his critics love to hate and I confess he sets my teeth on edge — with rage. As someone who relies 100 per cent on public transport, I am sick to death of being victimised by trade unionists who say they are defending their members’ rights. Sometimes the strikes are about issues of safety, which in principle is a worthy cause. But such matters should be settled through discussion between unions and management, not by inflicting inconvenience and financial losses on passengers who depend on public transport to get to work.

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to get a leaflet through my door this morning with Bob Crow’s picture on it — as the Number 1 on the list of the ‘No2EU’ group standing in the European elections, on a so-called ‘progressive alliance’ ticket against EU  policies. The leaflet asks whether recipients are concerned that EU economic policies do not benefit ordinary people, to which the obvious response is ‘Mr Crow, are you not concerned that your strikes do not benefit ordinary people?’ I shall carry Mr Crow’s leaflet in my pocket, and if I run into him or any RMT official tomorrow, will tell him where he can stuff it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »