Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Jill Fraser’

London Liberal Democrats’ Spring Conference

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 1st April, 2012

With just over a month to go to the London Mayoral and GLA elections, London Liberal Democrats had their minds firmly focussed on campaigning when we gathered in the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf yesterday, chaired by (Baroness) Susan Kramer. The mayoral candidate Brian Paddick alongside Caroline Pidgeon, head of the GLA list, presented a summary of their manifesto, which had largely been drawn up my outgoing GLA member Mike Tuffrey, who also gave a presentation on housing. There were several innovations at the conference, including a speech on Extremism by Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation and some stunning unaccompanied singing by Pauline Pearce, the “heroine of Hackney” who is the Party’s candidate in the Hackney Central council by-election that will take place on the same day as the main London poll, 3 May. There was also a “trialogue” question time which I chaired with a panel comprising London MEP (Baroness) Sarah Ludford, (Baroness) Sally Hamwee and Caroline Pidgeon. Ed Davey, the Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change, spoke about his role in government and MPs Tom Brake and Simon Hughes shared their views on the current state of play. A central message was that Liberal Democrats should be proud of what we have achieved as the junior partner in Government but we will be campaigning in these elections on a purely Liberal Democrat platform, even if that sometimes diverges from Coalition policy. At the drinks reception at the end of the busy day several participants said it was the best London Liberal Democrat ever, for which thanks must go to Conference Committee Chair Jill Fraser and her team, including Pete Dollimore, who facilitated the training sessions going on in parallel with the plenary.

(photo by Merlene Emerson)

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Camden: The LibDem Fight-Back

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 26th May, 2010

The recent general election was a bitter disappointment for the Liberal Democrats in the London borough of Camden. The party’s Ed Fordham didn’t seize the parliamentary seat of Hampstead & Kilburn as had been widely expected, let alone Jo Shaw in Holborn & St Pancras, which looked like an outside chance when opinion polls were suggesting a great ‘Clegg surge’. Moreover, far from taking outright control of Camden Council — which the party had run in coalition with the Conservatives since 2006 — the LibDems lost a significant number of seats in the local elections that took place on the same day. Higher turnout resulted in some of the local party’s most prominent figures being ousted from the Town Hall, though actually the LibDems’ overall share of the vote was much higher than one might think from the results delivered under the first-past-the-post electoral system. Three Council seats were not contested on 6 May, however, as one of the LibDem Councillors in Haverstock ward, Syed Hoque, who had earlier defected from Labour, died after nominations closed, so the election was postponed until yesterday. The result declared late last night was three magnificent LibDem holds for Jill Fraser, Matt Sanders and newcomer Rahel Bokth. This means that the LibDems now become the official opposition. Labour reportedly had over one hundred people helping yesterday to get their vote out, but the result showed that on a ‘normal’ local election turnout, the LibDems still can win in Camden and that their fightback in the borough is well and truly on.

Link: www.camdenlibdems.org.uk/haverstock

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John Kampfner Launches CamdenJo

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 12th April, 2010

The young lawyer Jo Shaw was formally adopted as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Holborn and St Pancras in North London this evening at a packed event addressed by former New Statesman editor, John Kampfner. Mr Kampfner — who is now CEO of Index on Censorship — came out as a Liberal Democrat at a press conference with Nick Clegg recently, having finally given up all hope of New Labour abandoning its authoritarianism (though he had already voted LibDem in the 2005 general election, because of the Iraq War). His verdict on the Labour Party today was that it is ‘tribal, brutish and ideologically bankrupt’, which Jo Shaw said reminded of her of a particular Camden Labour councillor, who had better remain nameless. The LibDems have high hopes of taking outright control of Camden Council on 6 May (currently running it in an arrangement with the much smaller Conservative group), and although Hampstead & Kilburn is a top target seat for the party (with a notional Labour majority of only 474, based on redrawn constituency boundaries), a shock result in Holborn & St Pancras can’t be ruled out. As the 2005 general election candidate, Cllr Jill Fraser, reminded people, the swing that catapulted her into second place on that occasion was so large that the TV thought there must have been a computer error.

Link: www.shaw2win.org.uk

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