Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Rob Blackie’

The London LibDems’ Mayoral Hustings

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 1st November, 2018

Siobhan Benita and Rob BlackieLondon Liberal Democrats took over the NUT headquarters in Camden last night for a hustings with the four short-listed candidates for the Mayoral elections in May 2020, the event chaired by former GLA member, Mike Tuffrey. Like the city itself, the shortlist is gloriously diverse: Siobhan Benita, Rob Blackie, Dinesh Dhamija and Lucy Salek. Several of those names might already resonate beyond the approximately 20,000 London LibDem members. Siobhan was a senior civil servant across a range of government departments and stood as an Independent in the 2012 mayoral election, coming close to the LibDems and Greens; like many in the hall last night, she joined the LibDems because of Brexit. Rob has been active for many years in the Party and works in the field of tech/IT; he made it clear, that Brexit would be at the heart of his campaign. Dinesh is a successful entrepreneur (founding Ebookers, among others) and philanthropist, and a first-generation immigrant. And Lucy has worked mainly in international development and other poverty-related issues; she stood as the LibDem candidate in the Lewisham East by-election in June this year.

Dinesh DhamijaOver a period of two hours, the candidates were put through their paces; after a short speech, each was asked separate written questions from the floor, then there was a panel session where all four were on the podium fielding common questions. These ranged across a wide field, from policing to transport, housing and the environment. I had half made up my mind about who I would vote for, and in which order, because I know all four candidates personally. But the hustings certainly firmed things up for me and I am sure will have been of great use to those less familiar with the individuals. I sent off my electronic ballot paper (for the GLA top-up list members, as well as for the Mayor) when I got home late last night.

You can get a good flavour of it all by watching the video uploaded by my fellow London LibDem Executive member, Alan Muhammed:

Part 1: Candidate statements and  questions: https://www.facebook.com/LondonLibDems/videos/1013778015468784/UzpfSTUwOTE1MjE5OTpWSzoxMDk0NDIxNjEwNzM0OTEy/

Part 2: Panel Q&A: https://www.facebook.com/LondonLibDems/videos/185428402341672/UzpfSTUwOTE1MjE5OTpWSzoxMDk0NjY2NDc3Mzc3MDky/

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London LibDems’ GLA Hustings

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 5th September, 2015

GLA hustings 1GLA hustings 2Last night, at Hamilton House in Camden, London Liberal Democrats held a hustings for shortlisted candidates who had put themselves forward to be selected for the “top-up” list of 11 members of the London Assembly (the other 14 being elected in geographical constituencies). As there were 16 hopefuls and all had to make short presentations as well as answer a few questions it was quite a marathon affair, but aided by the grace and good humour of the Chair, Baroness (Liz) Barker. One candidate, Duwayne Brooks, challenged the worth of asking candidates about elements of policy and walked out half way through, while another, Annabel Mullin, was legitimately absent because of a work commitment abroad, but the others battled on bravely. Housing came across as the biggest single issue of concern in London, with other oft-mentioned subjects including transport and the environment. We currently have just two GLA members (Caroline Pidgeon and Stephen Knight, both of whom are standing for re-election) but in the past we have had as many as five, so it is a realistic goal as part of the LibDem fightback to hope for a minimum of three in 2016, now the Party is not tainted by being in coalition with the Conservatives. Given London’s population profile, it is to be hoped that at least one of our successful candidates should be from an ethnic minority and certainly there was a very diverse choice on offer last night with almost half of the shortlisted candidates not being Anglo-Saxon white. All London LibDems members can vote for the order of the GLA list via a quick and easy electronic link that is already up and running. Caroline Pidgeon is also standing as the Party’s candidate for London Mayor and is unopposed for that.

The full list of candidates is: Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, Annabel Mullin, Ben Mathis, Caroline Pidgeon, Dawn Barnes, Duwayne Brooks, Emily Davey, Marisha Ray, Mark Platt, Merlene Emerson, Pauline Pearce, Rob Blackie, Stephen Knight, Teena Lashmore, Zack Polanski.

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Digital Comms Is Only Part of the Answer

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 1st September, 2015

Rob Blackie LibDems in CommsThere was a very convivial meeting of Liberal Democrats in Communications this evening, hosted by Rob Blackie in the basement of a welcoming upmarket pub in Pimlico. Apart from networking the idea was to hear from two speakers: Richard Morris, a successful advertising executive and author of the popular A View from Ham Common blog, and the journalist and broadcaster Miranda Green (both LibDems themselves). The participants were overwhelmingly young, maybe partly because “taster” publicity for the evening suggested that it might help those who sought a career in Communications or the Media. But even an old hack like me found it interesting. Richard spoke particularly about how he views the applications of people who want to work for his agency; in a nutshell, they have to captivate with their introductory lines so that those hiring think “that person sounds interesting; I’d like to talk to them”. He told the cautionary tale of some poor sod who had the bright idea of writing their CV on the icing of a delicious cake sent to the interviewing penal. Unfortunately, they ate the cake before realising that there was no other copy of the CV or way of knowing who the person was.

Miranda GreenRichard MorrisMiranda — who served in Paddy Ashdown’s office in the days when the LibDem leader was up at 5am and wondering why everyone else was not already busy at work. focused more on the May election campaign , or debacle, as some of us now fondly refer to it. It is not enough to keep pushing dozens of leaflets through people’s doors any more, and while television is still extremely important (especially for older voters) digital media can have a big impact, as Obama’s campaigns in the United States have shown. It was unfortunate, to put it mildly, that having promoted the slogan “stronger economy, fairer society” for four and a half years of the Coalition government the LibDems suddenly switched to “neither left nor right”, leaving many activists, let alone the electors, wondering “Huh?” Obviously a very high digital media presence can have a big effect, especially in motivating younger people, but there is no use smothering Facebook or twitter with posts if there are no clear messages within. LDHQ please note. As Rob Blackie is running a very high profile digital media campaign in his effort to be selected with a chance of winning a seat on the London Assembly it was good of him to devote an evening to this worthwhile venture. One was also pleased to see fellow GLA contenders Merlene Emerson and Mark Platt present.

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