Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘NLC’

Nick Clegg Engages with London LibDems

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 10th August, 2011

There was standing room only at the National Liberal Club this lunchtime when Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg spoke at a question and answer session with local party members — one of a series he is doing around the country. He thrives on the rigorous debate that such ‘internal’ events engender, so was able to respond head-on to challenges such as why it always seems to be LibDem Government Ministers who get to front the bad news, and whether we ought to be seen to be so chummy with the Tories. This gave him the opportunity to explain  a little how the Coalition government works,as well as to agree with the questioner who said that all the media seemed to be stacked against us, and to clarify several of the ‘wins’ that there have been because LibDems are now in government. He reminded people that for all of Labour’s shrieking about cuts, under Alistair Darling’s (Labour) plans, seven out of eight pounds being cut by this government would have been cut by a returned Labour administration, had Gordon Brown not lost the election. Nick defended the British armed forces’ involvement in Libya, describing himself as a Liberal Interationalist as well as a Liberal Interventionist, but he assured one lady that British troops will be out of Afghanistan before the 2015 election, as a result of LibDem pressure.


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Russell Johnston Remembered at the NLC

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 2nd March, 2009

russell-johnston-presentation-1   Simon Hughes, MP, presented a framed photograph of the late Lord Russell-Johnston to Rev Paul Hunt, Chairman of the National Liberal Club, this evening, on behalf of Liberal International British Group (LIBG). The portrait will hang near the offices of Liberal International, which are on the ground floor of the NLC building. The original wake and reminiscences planned by LIBG for 2 February in memory of Russell were thwarted by snow. A replacement commemorative event will be scheduled for June, after the European elections, but in the meantime it would have been a shame to deprive Russell of his due place among the gallerty of Liberal greats for another three months. He was a magnificent internationalist, a magnificent European and above all, a magnificent Liberal, who served in the Westminister parliament for many over 30 years as MP for Inverness, before finding his true vocation as President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. He is much missed and fondly remembered.

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The Kettner Lunch

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 22nd August, 2008

Yesterday I attended the AGM of the Kettner Lunch (of which I am a Vice-Chairman), at the National Liberal Club on the Embankment. This venerable lunchtime institution, as its name suggests, used to meet at Kettner’s Restaurant in Soho — which had been the scene of many of Oscar Wilde’s intimate suppers with his dangerous ‘panthers’, but was relaunched in the late 20th century by the Pizza Express and Peterborough magnate Peter Boizot (a generous donor to the Liberal Party and its successor). The luncheon club (what a deliciously outmoded yet splendidly ongoing concept) transferred to the NLC after another Peter, Peter Whyte took over — and it has flourished ever since. Even in 2008, there are not only ‘ladies who lunch’ but gentlemen too. Lord (Alan) Watson of Richmond has agreed to be its new President.

I think a major reason for the ongoing success of the group has been Peter Whyte’s decision to move outside the box of Liberal Democrat speakers to include a wide range of prominent people in public life and service. This has provided eclectic entertainment and indeed instruction — which is why it will be entirely appropriate if the Kettner’s Lunch now transmogirifies itself into a charitable enterpise, as is intended. Events to look forward to in the autumn include talks by Susan Kramer, LibDem MP for Richmond Park, and General Nick Parker.

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