Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Macdonald’

Macdonald’s and Politics

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 24th March, 2011

Islington Liberal Democrats have established a reputation for hosting the most stylish Pizza and Politics in London, especially when these are hosted in the spacious surroundings of Julie Horton’s home. They also get an impressive range of speakers, the latest, last night, being Lord (Ken) Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions and now a LibDem peer. He asked to speak according to Chatham House rules, so unfortunately I can’t report what he said, but there was a lively discussion about gains for civil liberties since the Coalition government was formed, many of these thanks to the tenacity of Liberal Democrats. I stressed my belief that the Party really needs to highlight these ‘wins’ (which are in sharp contrast to the assault on civil liberties that occurred under New Labour) especially in the run-up to next year’s London elections. Labour is too often getting away with painting the government as ‘Tory led’, as if the LibDems have no influence at all, and in places like Islington there are many current or potential Labour voters who care deeply about civil liberties and need to know what has actually been achieved by Liberal Democrats since May 2010.


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The LibDems’ 9 New Peers

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 28th May, 2010

The traditional British Dissolution Honours and new working peers’ list were announced today, with nine new peerages for the Liberal Democrats in toto, including three former MPs: Richard Allan, Matthew Taylor and Phil Willis.  The best-known name on the working peers’ list is Floella Benjamin, the Trinidadian-born author and TV presenter and Chancellor of the University of Exeter. She has been a star performer at recent LibDem conferences and events, as well as having a deep involvement with a number of charities, notably relating to children. She will be the LibDems’ frst black (as opposed to Asian) peer. Another ‘first’ is the Turkish-speaker Meral Ece, a former Islington councillor who is currently Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats. The LibDems have been making great inroads into the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot communities in London and elsewhere recently, so her appointment will be particularly welcome there.

Sir Ken (now Lord) Macdonald was Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales from 2003 to 2006. He was an alumnus of my old college, St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and writes regularly for The Times. As a practising barrister, he works alongside Cherie Booth (aka Cherie  Blair) at Matrix, which hasn’t stopped him criticising Tony Blair’s ‘sycophancy towards power’. 

The other three new LibDem peers are all well-known in party circles. Mike German was leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and one-time Deputy First Minister of Wales, while John Shipley has been a party stalwart in the North East of England, as a Councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne. Kate Parminter, former Chief Executive of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, also used to be a Councillor, in Horsham in West Sussex, and is currently a member of the LibDems’ Federal Executive.

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