Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Elephant and Castle’

The Sound of London Liberal Democrats

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 8th February, 2012

The Ministry of Sound is used to revving people up at its base in London’s Elephant and Castle, but this evening the throbbing crowd was somewhat different than usual in that it was made up of Liberal Democrat activists, in party mode. The event was the launch of the LibDems’ London2012 election campaign, compered by local MP and Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes. Party President Tim Farron gave an upbeat speech, underlining how seriously the Federal Party is taking the London elections this time, in contrast to previous occasions. Both the mayoral candidate, Brian Paddick, and the leader of the GLA team, Caroline Pidgeon, gave sterling performances, against the backdrop line-up of the impressive and diverse phalanx of GLA list and constituency candidates. The point was made — as it will be repeatedly to the electorate over the next 12 weeks — that last time the LibDems were just pipped at the post for the final seat on the proportional represnetation list by the BNP. This time, we will be fighting hard to get that fourth seat back, and who better to achieve that than Shas Sheehan, a Muslim woman who has already proved her worth as a former Richmond Councillor and parliamentary candidate for Wimbledon at the 2010 General Election. In 2000, we got five London Assembly members, which must be a target we can aim for this year. If successful that would also see Merlene Emerson, Chair of Chinese Liberal Democrats, catapulted into City Hall. When I took over as Chairman of London Liberal Democrats in January 2010, I was determined to up our game, to help make the organisation more professional and to build the sense of London-wide identity for local parties and activists. This evening’s event at the Ministry of Sound (courtesy of James Paulmbo) was yet another step upwards in that journey. And I am happy that in Brian Paddick we have a mayoral candidate who is an impressive figurehead, with particular expertise on policing matters, moreover one who is determined — as he said tonight — to lead a ‘radical and risky’ Liberal Democrat campaign — in the best sense of both those adjectives!

Link:  and    Video:

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The Last Furlong

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 31st May, 2009

LibDem vote on 4 JuneThis lunchtime I addressed about a thousand Spanish-speaking Latin Americans at the Fusion leisure centre in Elephant and Castle in South London, alongside Jean Lambert (the current Green MEP) and a Filipino independent. Interesting how both the Tories and Labour seem to have given up on the European elections. This is the fourth hustings in a row at which the Tories have failed to field a candidate, and the third at which there has been a Labour no-show. What are they afraid of?

Meanwhile, it was good to see The Observer coming out clearly in an editorial today, advising people to vote LibDem on 4 June. That recommendation is both because the party has the only credible agenda for real engagement with our partners in the European Union, but also because Nick Clegg has set out a plausible schema for the sort of radical reform that the British political system needs. Politics in this country is indeed broken, as Nick has been arguing for ages, long before all the expenses sleaze stuff oozed out. Roy Jenkins must be chuckling in his grave now that the public realises that it really is time to break the mould.


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Brian and Boris Woo the Latinos

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 27th April, 2008

Several hundred members of South London’s large Latin American community filled the main hall at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre this afternoon, to hear Brian Paddick and Boris Johnson make their mayoral pitch. Brian went down well with his observation that he left the Metropolitan Police because of his unhappiness over the handling of the Jean-Charles de Menezes affair. And his commitment to work to overcome the gap between rich and poor that has grown even wider since Labour have been in power, both in Downing Street and at City Hall, got a warm reception. Brian niftily batted a question from a Christian gentleman who asked whether he would drop mayoral support for Gay Pride by replying that London celebrates its diversity and he would be happy to see some support for religious festivals too.

Boris Johnson followed, the television and still cameramen almost falling over each other as he loped to the stage with the air of some crazed Icelandic nobleman. He banged on about putting more policemen on buses, and made quite a good joke about hoping that in future kebabs would be the most dangerous things in Peckham High Street. They say Central Office is keeping him on a short leash during the final stages of the campaign, but he still seemed pretty bonkers to me. Goodness knows who will actually run the Mayor’s Office at City Hall if Londoners are conned into voting for him.

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