Monthly Archives: Dec 2016

LibDem victory in Richmond by-election: more significant than the Brexiters will admit


As a Liberal Democrat who went down to Richmond Park and North Kingston on a number of occasions to help Sarah Olney’s campaign to unseat Zac Goldsmith, I am of course delighted that she became the constituency’s new MP on Thursday. 
First is first, kudos to the Greens and the Women’s Equality Party for not standing candidates and for supporting the LibDem campaign. Also a big thank you to all the non-partisan pro-European activists who came to Richmond to help. 
The idea that this was merely a strong Remain voting constituency having a chance to reiterate their 23 June vote is a simplistic and somewhat lazy interpretation.
Britain’s relationship with the EU wasn’t the only issue the LibDem campaign highlighted. The Libdem very long term (over 20 years) opposition to a third runway at Heathrow airport and our criticism of Tory underfunding of the NHS also featured heavily.
And while the LibDem campaign deliberately chose not to mention it at all, Mr Goldsmith’s horrid divisive London mayoral campaign against Sadiq Khan didn’t do him any favours. Some voters did raise it on the doorstep and it was never in a positive light.
I would imagine that the nasty anti-foreigner rhetoric coming out of the Tory party recently e.g. naming and shaming companies that employ non Brits etc will have been similarly received in Richmond as Mr Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign. Perhaps the UKIP-isation of the Tory party will lose more moderate Tory voters than it will gain rabid Brexiters back from UKIP? And you can guess where I think those moderate Tory voters will head. 
Even on the issue of Brexit, it isn’t as clear cut as the anti-Europeans would have you believe. Liberal Democrat canvassing shows that some Tory Leave supporters voted for Sarah Olney on Thursday. If you live in a very pro-Remain area like Richmond and you voted Leave, then you must have been pretty convinced about it. Yet less than 6 months later, some of those people decided to vote for an unashamedly pro-European Liberal Democrat?
The Brexit tide is turning, albeit very slowly….

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Un Budget 2017 tourné vers la jeunesse et la croissance

Un Budget 2017 tourné vers la jeunesse et la croissance
Le Parlement européen, réuni en session plénière à Bruxelles, a adopté un budget 2017 qui reflète les principales priorités du Parlement et de l’ADLE, en particulier les programmes en faveur de la jeunesse et des PME.

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Congo: “Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. Kabila, realise your mandate is over.”

Congo: “Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. Kabila, realise your mandate is over.”
MEPs deplored today, in a resolution adopted in plenary, the loss of lives in Congo, during the demonstrations over the last few months and urged the EU to adopt targeted sanctions, including a visa ban and asset freeze, against those responsible for the violent repression of street protests. The attempts of President Kabila to stay in power despite the constitutionally mandated two terms limit, generated unrest throughout the country.
ALDE MEP Hilde Vautmans (Open VLD, Belgium), who negotiated the resolution on behalf of our Group, said:”Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. » “Kabila, realise your mandate is over.” These are the chants that can be heard in Congo during the big sport events. We ask the Congolese government to release the political prisoners and journalists and to bring back the rule of law. The killing of Congolese citizens has to stop.”Following an agreement between Congolese President Kabila and a section of the opposition, the presidential elections were postponed until April 2018, allowing him to stay in office.

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Conflicts of interest: high time to increase transparency and accountability

Conflicts of interest: high time to increase transparency and accountability
Today, Members of the European Parliament gave their green light to a first step towards a reform of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. The report calls on the Commission to thoroughly revise the Code of Conduct, which dates back to 2011, in order to verify the absence of a conflict of interest for Commissioners not only when they take up their duties but also during their term. Moreover, the transition period of former Commissioners should be extended from 18 months to three years. Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament stress the importance of today’s vote, since an increased transparency and accountability is essential in order to regain the trust of European citizens in the EU institutions.

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Liberals and Democrats concerned about loopholes in EU-US data protection Umbrella Agreement

The ALDE Group in the European Parliament has question marks about the compatibility of the EU-US data protection agreement with the EU treaties. This is the reason why European liberals and democrats proposed the European Parliament seek…

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