Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Hargreaves’

Previewing the LibDems’ Spring Conference

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 5th March, 2012

Islington Liberal Democrats have a tradition of letting members chew over what upcoming federal conferences are going to discuss and this evening those of us who attended a Pizza and Politics in Barnsbury had the opportunity to talk through the agenda with the Chair of Federal Conference Committee, Andrew Wiseman, who now lives in the borough. There is no motion at conference about the controversial NHS Reforms (though that doesn’t mean someone won’t dream up a credible emergency motion, and the subject is bound to be hotly debated on the fringe). But the very first item on Andrew’s list of conference topics sparked maybe more emotions than he had imagined: the government’s proposed ‘mansion tax’ of an annual levy of 1% on properties worth over £2million pounds. This was an idea originally launched by Vince Cable (though at the £1million level), but many people in London were quick to point out that this would be a form of taxation that would essentially clobber the residents of central London and parts of the South East, many of whom may well not enjoy the sort of income necessary to pay the mansion tax. I have certainly never been persuaded by the idea, especially if, as some Tories argue, it would be introduced at the same time as reducing the 50p top rate of tax. Anyway, that was not the only issue discussed in Islington this evening. Our host Jeremy Hargreaves has originated a motion on Islinton’s behalf (and with the backing of the Liberal Democrat European Group — LDEG — and some MEPs) which would essentially reaffirm the Party’s belief in the necessity for Britain to be at the heart of the EU, even if that institution required certain reforms. As I commented, I feel the Liberal Democrats now have a golden opportunity to prove our credentials as the pro-European party in Britain, with the Tories seemingly ever more hostile and Labour being ambiguous in a most opportunistic fashion — as Labour is about so much these days, of course.


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Previewing the Bournemouth Conference

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 16th September, 2009

Ruth PollingThis evening I attended Islington Liberal Democrats’ traditional pre-Conference Pizza and Politics, at which local party members get the chance to discuss what will be coming up on the agenda (at Bournemouth, from this Saturday, in this instance). Islington South PC Bridget Fox chaired the event, at which presentations were made by Ruth Polling (of the Federal Conference Committee) and Jeremy Hargreaves (the latter hotfoot from chairing a meeting of the Federal Policy Committee). How much hotter off the press can you get? Moreover, this year we had the bonus that the emergency motions had already been discussed by Conference Committe well in advance, rather than being left up until the last minute, so now we know that there will be one on Afghanistan (thank God, as there is precious little else relating to foreign affairs); the others will be balloted on. The main item for debate will be the pre-manifesto for the general election. I would have preferred some of its language to be punchier, but the contant is sound and there is an acknowledgement that no-one can know exactly what the economic situation will be in six or nine months time.

Jeremy HargeavesIslington LibDms, in contrast to many other London local parties seem to have an unending supply of generous hosts with beautiful houses (and a willingness to throw them open to a horde of enthusiastic activists gesticulating while holding glasses of wine and plates of pizza). These evenings are a good fund-raising tool and give ordinary party members the chance to have some input into the Conference itself, even if they are not going to attend it in person. Does either the Labour or Conservative Party do the same? No prizes for guessing the correct answer to that.


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