Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Madrid’

ALDE Congress in Madrid

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 10th November, 2018

DD89ADA8-523D-4525-8A5D-316420AD1B73For the latter half of this week I have been in Madrid for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Congress. Our hosts were Cuidadanos, the still relatively new kid on the block in Spanish politics, yet according to an opinion poll published today, they are level-pegging with the conservative Partido Popular (PP), on 22%. Only a fortnight ago, ALDE had to hold an emergency Council meeting in Brussels, to refuse membership to a Catalan party, PdeCAT, for reasons too complicated to go into here, but surprisingly there was no fallout from that at the Congress. This was mainly because the central focus of the Madrid gathering was the ALDE manifesto* for next May’s European elections, which was duly passed this lunchtime. But there was a plethora of other issues discussed over the three days of the Congress. I successfully moved, on behalf of the UK Liberal Democrats, an emergency motion on Saudi Arabia, which I will post on this blog on Monday, when I shall return to London and have access to a desktop computer.

9291698F-7F08-4996-8D94-E3006FA5A636There were fringe sessions on various aspects of campaigning, including social media, and it was good to have one panel that brought together not only MEPs from several EU member states but also senior executives from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The UK Liberal Democrat Leader, Sir Vince Cable,  came over for the day yesterday, to reinforce the message that Brexit is not a “done deal” and that the LibDems are at the forefront of the campaign for a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal, with an option to remain. The resignation of Orpington MP Jo Johnson from his junior ministerial position over this very issue could not have been better timed. For the first time, the LibDems, Fianna Fáil from Ireland and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland worked as a coherent bloc in the Congress, which should be a good model to follow in future. Brexit, of course, hung like a big black cloud over the whole event, but at least we Brits left our continental colleagues in no doubt that we are doing everything we can to encourage the British people to stop it,

*The manifesto can be found on the ALDE website: https://alde.eu

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Is There Any Global Narrative to Protests?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 2nd October, 2011

This evening I took part in a TV curent affairs show in which the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were the main focus of attention. I was interested by the argument of two other participants in the discussion — far to the left of me — who declared that what was happening in New York and a growing number of cities across the US is all part of the global awakening and realisation of the wickedness of banks and the capitalist economy that has spread across North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and now North America. I remain unconvinced. I can see that there are links between the protests of people who are unemployed or worried about cuts or their pension prospects, whether they are taking place in Athens, Madrid or San Francisco. But that trend is not the same as the cry for freedom and democracy that has gone up from Tunisia to Syria. Besides, the call from some of the American marchers — and my fellow pundits who are so sympathetic towards them — was to bring down the banks. Ruin them. I am as unhappy as the next person about the obscene riches some of the top bankers have earned and the way casino banking jeopardised the world economy. But bringing down the banks is the last thing we need just at present. It would send us straight back into an even deeper recession.

 

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