Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Brunei Gallery’

An International Court for the Environment?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 8th March, 2010

Everyone’s in favour of the environment these days, even the Tories. Yet the planet continues to suffer appalling degradation and biodiversity is being compromised at an alarming rate. Of course, some of this is due to natural causes, but most is the result of the activities of humankind — whatever the climate change deniers say. Yet at present there is no global mechanism to bring many of the worst ecological abusers to book (with certain exceptions such as oil spills), particularly if they are sovereign states. Hence the need for an International Court for the Environment (ICE), whose case was put by Stephen Hockman, QC, at the eighth annual Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen International Law Lecture in the Brunei Gallery lecture theatre at SOAS this evening. The presentation was more of a lawyer’s brief than a stirring piece of rhetoric, but the message was one that appealed to the large numbers present — including many members of the United Nations Association. At present, the ICE is just an idea being floated rather than a concrete proposition and many countries would doubtless be reluctant to sign up to it (as is already the case with the International Court of Justice). But that should not stop the campaign to get one instituted. The environent is screaming out loud for itself about the abuse being inflicted on it, but it needs a human court to bring some of the worst violators to justice.


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Electoral Reform, Democracy and the World

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 23rd November, 2009

This evening, Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS) hosted what they hope will be the first of many annual receptions, in the Brunei Gallery at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). As I was lecturing at SOAS immediately before, the event could not have been more convenient. But far more important that that serendipity was the quality of the people present, including a clutch of Commonwealth High Commissioners, my old BBC World Service colleagues Elizabeth Smith and Mike Wooldridge, Electoral Reform types such as Ken Ritchie, Eric Siddique, Michael Steed et al, and of course our host for the evening. former Tory MP Keith Best, who still holds the flame aloft for fair voting (and humane immigration policies) within the Conservative Party. It was also good to see various people from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD, for whom I have done assignments in various parts of the world, including Ethiopia, where the British Ambassador at the time was Myles Wickstead, now one of the big cheeses in WFD and of course present this evening. I was heavily lobbied by a group of Iraqis who attended and who were urging that the West (including Britain) do more to foster genuine democracy and an end to corruption in that benighted land, which Tony Blair and Co ‘liberated’ only to create a political vacuum. We learn by our mistakes, I suppose — though personally I have long argued that the one thing we learn from history is that leaders learn nothing from history. Anyway, ERIS is doing great work and if it had some more financial backing, could be doing so much more!


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