Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Quilliam Foundation’

Maajid Nawaz and a Hampstead Liberal New Year

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 8th January, 2015

Burgh HouseEvery New Year for quite a while now Andreas Utermann, the Belgian Global CIO at Allianz Global Investors, who has a house in Hampstead, has generously sponsored a New Year reception for Hampstead Liberal Democrats; often it was in the magical Heath Library in Keats Grove, but tonight for the first time it was at Burgh House, the early 18th Century gem in North End Square. The timing was unusually pertinent, as the LibDem PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn, Maajid Nawaz — who, as Director of the Quilliam Foundation, has been running from one media interview to another in the wake of yesterday’s repulsive attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris — was able to speak on the hot topic of the day. Maajid himself came under considerable fire from some parts of the UK’s Muslim community a year ago (even receiving death threats) for retweeting earlier cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed, but this evening he restated his Liberal principles in stressing how important it is to defend free speech in the UK. I believe that there is a delicate balance between respecting that and not intentionally offending people, but it is good that the local party has a candidate who can debate such issues with a good grounding both in British culture and in Islam. This evening we also had the benefit of comments from the Honorary President of Hampstead and Kilburn Liberal Democrats, Baroness (Sue) Garden, who gave an insight into her work as one of eight Coalition Government Whips. I’m sure I was not alone in being astonished to learn that while her five Conservative colleagues get Ministerial salaries, none of the three Liberal Democrats do.

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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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