Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Portcullis House’

Telgraf’s 5th Anniversary

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 24th May, 2011

The Turkish and Kurdish communities together form one of the UK’s largest ethnic minority groups — some 400,000 people, by some counts, a high percentage of them concentrated in North London boroughs such as Enfield, Hackney and Haringey. For the past five years, they have had a free bilingual Turkish/Kurdish newspaper ‘Telgraf’ to serve them, covering both UK and international news and encouraging Turks and Kurds to get more involved in British society. In particular, Telgraf has urged British Turks and Kurds to engage in the UK democratic procwess, registering for elections, voting and even standing for public office themselves, as well as promoting positive community actions such as recycling. The key person behind much of this is Ibrahm Dogus, an indefatigable young restaurateur, entrepreneur and community activist, who attracted a good crowd to Telgraf’s 5th anniversary celebrations this evening at Portcullis House, Westminster. There was a galaxy of MPs and Peers from all three main UK political parties — including, of course, the country’s first Turkish-speaking parliamentarian, (Baroness) Meral Ece — as well as the Labour and Green London Mayoral candidates, Ken Livingstone and Jenny Jones. We can be sure that in the run-up to the 2012 London elections, this is a community that will be making its voice heard.


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Jeremy Thorpe Unveiled

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 15th July, 2009

Avril Vellacott and Jeremy Thorpe's bustThe great, the good and the sometimes naughty of the old Liberal Party were out en masse in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House at Westminster this evening, for the unveiling of a portrait bust of former party leader Jeremy Thorpe, as well as a preview of the three latest (and final) acquisitions of busts of 20th century Prime Ministers intended for the Commons lobby: Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Andrew Bonar Law and Neville Chamberlain (the most stunning portrayal being that of Neville Chamberlain, apparently only on loan from Birmingham, but hey). The evening was introduced by Hugo Swire, MP, Chairman of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art. Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader — barely old enough to remember Jeremy’s halcyon days as a politician — gave an amusing and  nicely-balanced speech,  while his predecessors Ming Campbell, Charles Kennedy and David Steel brushed shoulders with various Grimonds and Bonham-Carters. The Thorpe bust will be displayed in the Grimond Room in Parliament.

John Bercow, the new Mr Speaker, was both gracious and genuinely enthusiastic in his lauding of JT as one of the political stars of the 1960s and 1970s. Mr Bercow unveiled the bust — a cast from an original by sculptor and Twickenham Rugby Club enthusiast, Avril Vellacott, which she made shortly before JT’s first marriage to Caroline Allpass (who was tragically killed in a car accident) and which still graces the Thorpe home in Orme Square — by pulling on one tassled cord while Jeremy, in a wheelchair, tugged gently on another. Jeremy, despite long years of crippling Parkinson’s disease, then astonished everyone by giving a 10-minute speech, via a lapel mike. He paid particular tribute to his second wife and loyal companion, Marion (who was sitting slightly tearfully in another wheelchair beside him) and declared firmly that he intended to campaign vigorously for the LibDems in the run-up to the forthcoming general election. Indomitable, or what?

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