Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Iain Dale’

All in a Lather over Teather

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 8th September, 2013

Sarah TeatherThe UK political twittersphere has been in overdrive over the past 24 hours regarding the announced departure from the House of Commons of the Brent Central MP Sarah Teather (LibDem) at the next General Election. I waited until I had the opportunity to read and ponder upon the interview-based article that was the lead story in today’s Observer before putting fingers to keyboard here. Sarah’s frustration has been obvious for some time, not only since she was effectively sacked as a junior Minister for Education. As a devout Catholic, she has strong moral views, some of which concur with mainstream Liberal thinking (for example on immigration), some of which don’t (most notably on equal marriage). On the latter, she would have been well-advised to abstain, rather than vote against; one could understand why she could not support something which was in conflict with religious teaching she holds to be true, but to vote to prevent a significant proportion of her electorate, and even more of her fellow LibDem members, the right to sanctify or formalise (however one might wish to describe it) their union was foolish, even cruel. Some of the flak she has received over this was also cruel; this cannot have helped her feeling of well-being, nor can the comments of Tory blogger Iain Dale and others mocking her unpreparedness for government. I have known Sarah for many years, long before she set foot in Brent and won that extraordinary by-election victory in Brent East. But of course, she did not do it alone. Many hundreds of LibDem activists, including myself, piled in while Tony Blair’s Labour government floundered around. It was interesting, but also sad, that a few weeks ago, when there was a London Liberal Democrats regional action day in Brent, the turnout was much lower than at similar events across the capital. I have no doubt that Sarah’s vote on equal marriage contributed to that. And what now? She obviously needs some time to think about what she can and should do with her life after May 2015. But she mustn’t be surprised if some of the people who did flog their guts out to get her elected 10 years ago feel aggrieved, particularly given the timing of her announcement just one week before the Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Glasgow . She has served the diverse community of Brent well on most things over the past decade. And if she had renewed her commitment to be a voice for social justice within Parliament, rather than throwing in the towel and implying that the Party had lost its principles (rather than facing up to the realities of Coalition government) she would have been better regarded. In any event, I sincerely wish her well.

Advertisements

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sod the Lot!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 11th April, 2010

Tory blogger Iain Dale has given his readers a sneak preview of UKIP’s election poster, which, one has to admit, cheekily captures the mood of disenchantment with politicians that can be found amongst voters (and non voters) of every social stratum in Britain. It also has the merit of being funny, which most political propaganda doesn’t. However, Sod the Lot’s appeal is superficial and hides UKIP’s less attractive reality, most eloquently displayed by the party’s leader, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who has been issuing dire warnings about how, over the next five years, the ‘Brussels octopus’ will tighten its tentacles round Britain and suck us all into its bowels. Does an octopus have bowels, I wonder?  But let’s not digress. UKIP represents the worst form of Little Englanderism, at times bordering on hooliganism. The behaviour of some of UKIP’s MEPs (including Barbara Cartland’s grandson, the Earl of Dartmouth) when (Baroness) Cathy Ashton appeared before the European Parliament recently was nothing short of disgraceful. Moreover, last year UKIP wrongly benefited during the European elections from public anger over MPs’ expenses — despite the fact that a couple of its own MEPs had been the suject of criminal charges. The party’s most high-profile figure — and former leader — Nigel Farage has abandoned his duties as an MEP to try to oust the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, in Buckingham at the forthcoming general election. People who are tempted to vote UKIP bcause of its apparent anti-establishment nature should examine the nature of its policies and the behaviour of its representatives carefully, then maybe they will decide that they should ‘sod’ UKIP even more than the rest!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Norman Lamb in Frognal

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 13th January, 2010

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Norman Lamb, MP, was guest of honour at this evening’s Hampstead Liberal Democrats’ New Year Party at the home of Andreas and Claudia Utermann in Frognal. The man who easily saw off a challenge from Tory blogger and parliamentary hopeful Iain Dale in North Norfolk at the last election had a sobering message about the levels of savings that will have to be made in the National Health Service if it is to avoid bankruptcy. Some of the fat that could painlessly go would be a proportion of the many thousands of people employed in health quangos of various kinds, he argued. Norman was introduced by Councillor Linda Chung who won Hampstead Town ward in a by-election in September 2008, shaking the local Conservatives to the core. And the new parliamentary seat of Hampstead and Kilburn is a top LibDem target in the forthcoming general election. Candidate Ed Fordham could not be at the social event this evening, as he is on a fact-finding mission to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. But he did send a video message to us all from a rooftop in the Old City of Jerusalem. How smart is that?

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

Total Politics for Anoraks

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 22nd June, 2008

MPs and councillors will find a new publication landing on their desks soon: a magazine called ‘Total Politics’, which is being launched by the Tory blogger Iain Dale. The enterprise is backed by (Lord) Michael Ashcroft, which is a bit disconcerting, as he is the man who has been pouring tens of thousands of pounds into parliamentary constituencies the Conservatives are hoping to snatch at the next election. But Iain Dale is insistent that it will cover the whole political spectrum, so there will be something for everyone. The cover story of the first issue (July) is an interview with Gordon Brown, who looks marginally less zombie-like than he has on television recently. Polly Toynbee is there, as is one of those questionnaire-thingies with Mark Oaten, MP, who reveals that his favourite view is crossing into Manhattan from JFK airport, and that he gets up to dance to Sister Sledge. Sigh. But there is some meatier stuff.

Unelected political anoraks, including former politicos like Ken Livingstone who are suffering withdrawal symptoms, can purchase the new mag from newsagents and certain bookshops. Or take a look online:

www.totalpolitics.com

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