Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Sutton Liberal Democrats’

Ed Davey’s Renewable Energy

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 23rd June, 2012

Keeping warm is not usually a major consideration at a midsummer Garden Party even in England, but conditions were distinctly chilly for once at Sutton Liberal Democrats’ annual event this afternoon. As the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, spoke about insulation, lagging and other matters pertaining to energy conservation and cosy homes not a few of us were thinking we could have done with a bit of personal insulation in the garden. At least the rain kept off. Ed acquired his job when Chris Huhne had to step aside, pending the outcome of legal action, and Ed paid full tribute to Chris’s groundbreaking work in the role. Ed says he now spends a lot of time talking to his counterparts in France and Germany, in particular, as energy supply is increasingly an issue dealt with transnationally. There should be some way of taking greater advantage of the solar potential of southern Europe, he argued, as well as the wind and wave potential of the North, as part of the drive to use more renewable sources of energy. He was particularly pleased to have helped  broker a collective deal for energy consumers who switched suppliers en bloc, thus benifiting from a lower tariff. However he caused unease among some LibDems at the garden party by declaring that nuclear energy cannot be ruled out as a possible component of Britain’s future eneregy strategy, employing a new generation of reactors that create less hazardous waste. The mention of waste inevitably led to a question about the proposed incinerator project at Beddington, which has caused a lot of concern locally. The current landfill site is almost full. Ruth Dombey, who has recenty taken over as Leader of Sutton Council, says she has an open mind on the subject while she studies the implications. But she stressed that recycling would still receive the greatest emphasis from the Council that now has the largest LibDem majority of any in the country.

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Lynne Featherstone on Being a Minister

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 10th July, 2010

Lynne Featherstone, LibDem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and now the Minister of State for Equalities and Criminal Information (sic), was the guest of honour at Sutton Liberal Democrats’ annual garden party this afternoon, in the spacious garden of perennial host Jayanta Chatterjee. In keeping with the Coalition Government’s new age of austerity, she arrived not in a chauffeur-driven limousine, but by train, like me. And from her description of life in the Home Office (up at 5.30am and only to bed at midnight, day after day) her tasks are demanding, despite the assiduousness of her civil servants. Far from being under the kitten heels of Home Secretary Theresa May, Lynne has been doing her best to stamp a LibDem tinge on her department’s policies; bilateral relations with her boss are in fact very cordial. Lynne was suitably prominent in last Saturday’s Gay Pride March — seemingly part of a new girl band, half-dancing alongside London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, Party President Ros Scott and London’s LibDem MEP Sarah Ludford. Lynne said that the only thing that impressed her children about her new status in life was the arrival of the first lead-lined wooden red ministerial box. The civil servants will be making sure those ministerial papers keep coming.

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Charles Kennedy’s Cheerful Descent on Sutton

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 11th July, 2009

Charles Kennedy 3Charles Kennedy flew down from sunny Glasgow today to be the guest speaker at Sutton LibDems’ annual garden party (held as usual in the spacious garden of Jayanta Chaterjee), accompanied by his wife Sarah and their young son Donald. The rain more or less held off and there was plenty to be cheerful about, in particular Gerry Jerome’s win in the recent Nonsuch ward by-election, which I blogged about the other day, and the swing from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in the borough in last month’s Euro-elections. Charles has held his seat in Parliament for 26 years, which is only three years longer than the LibDems have been controlling Sutton Council. The borough is a prime Tory target in next year’s London local elections, as are Sutton’s two parliamentary seats, Sutton & Cheam and Carshalton & Wallington, currently held by Paul Burstow and Tom Brake. However, as Charles said, incumbency is a great asset, especially for hard-working LibDem MPs. Nonetheless, the Conservatives have reportedly been spending three times as much money as the LibDems campaigning in the borough in the hope of unseating both MPs. In this regard, it will be interesting to see how the parliamentary vote on the funding of political parties goes next week, which could lead to the barring of donations from non-domiciles, which may or may not include the Conservative party’s sugar daddy, Lord Ashcroft (up until now, he has refused to disclose his tax status, despite saying that he would move formally to England when he was granted his peerage). And then there is the Cameron factor, at first so dazzling, but now looking a bit lack-lustre. The verdict of the neighbourhood’s local peer, Graham Tope, on David Cameron: ‘a supercilious git.’


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Ming with Zing

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 19th July, 2008

Former party leader Menzies Campbell was in fine fettle at the Sutton Liberal Democrats’ annual garden party at Jayanta Chaterjee’s home this afternoon. Ming spilled few beans about the Henley away-day Nick Clegg convened yesterday, but instead urged us all to give loving support for the wives, partners and families of MPs — a point doubtless appreciated by his two local colleagues, Tom Brake and Paul Burstow, who were standing at his side. It is true that politics is a demanding business that puts terrible strains on relationships. Few voters have any idea how much domestic tranquility politicians often sacrifice for their benefit.

Former mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, also in the full flush of health, told a story whose point I didn’t quite grasp, about Puff the Magic Dragon. Something to do with Ken Livingstone, I think. Anyway, as Brian pulled my ticket out from the raffle, netting me a fine bottle of Rioja, who am I to complain?


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