Liberal Democrat Euro candidate for South East England
Local campaigner - experienced European
News from the Lib Dems in Government
Published on Sunday 1st December 2013
This week I was in London for the 2013 ALDE (European Liberals) Congress, hosted by the Liberal Democrats. The Congress is the big annual get together for liberals from around Europe, where all the parties from the liberal family come together to meet, debate and discuss.
I attended as a voting delegate for the Liberal Democrats and this year we had particularly important business: to vote on and adopt the ALDE Party manifesto for next year's European elections, including over 190 amendments submitted by different member parties!
It was great that the event was hosted, with around 1000 liberals taking part, in the UK this year, and the event was officially opened by Deputy PM Nick Clegg. Speaking very personally about his own European heritage, Nick gave a rallying call for Lib Dems to campaign as the clear pro-European choice in the next European elections.
I had a second role at the Congress, as the initiator of a new European liberal network for LGBT rights, and I also organised a fringe event (taking place in the main plenary hall!) to launch the new network, tentatively named Liberals 4 Equality, where I gave the opening speech - my first at ALDE Congress.
The event was a big success, thanks to some inspiring speakers and the warm support we received for the initiative.
Published on Wednesday 27th November 2013
Last month, the Sunday Telegraph ran a scurrilous story claiming there were ‘600,000 unemployed EU migrants living in Britain’. On closer inspection, it turned out that the real number of (non-British) EU citizens claiming jobseeker’s allowance was just 38,000, according to DWP estimates. But the story had in the meantime been replicated by the usual suspects (the Sun, Mail and Express), leading me to write a piece to correct some of the most common myths about EU free movement.
I’m pleased to report that in a minor victory for journalistic standards, the Sun recently published a small correction, appearing in the bottom left-hand corner of page 2 in the edition published on 31 October. Though tiny, the correction was pretty damning, admitting that the ‘benefit tourists’ claim was ‘not accurate’ and had ‘no evidence’.
Doubting that many of the Sun’s readers (or others who subsequently picked up the story) would have actually spotted the correction, I tweeted the piece (thanks to a photo by my friend Stuart Bonar).
Published on Wednesday 6th November 2013
Writing for PinkNews.uk, prospective Liberal Democrat candidate for the European Parliament Giles Goodall assesses whether Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel could soon become Europe’s second openly gay prime minister.
Calm, wealthy and well-organised, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg does not usually grab international headlines. Its politics are similarly stable, with continuity tending to triumph over change. Until this month, Jean-Claude Juncker looked like a dead cert to continue as prime minister for a fifth successive term, cementing his position as the EU’s longest serving leader.
Published on Wednesday 23rd October 2013
The Sunday Telegraph’s disingenuous claim last weekend that “600,000 unemployed EU migrants are living in Britain at a cost of £1.5 billion to the NHS” sparked a chorus of protests about so-called ‘benefit tourism’ from the Mail, Sun and Express. Conservatives and Ukippers gleefully joined the feeding frenzy, with hard-right Tory MP Douglas Carswell upping the rhetorical ante from “waves of migrants” to a “tsunami of economic refugees”.
Fortunately, the European Commission, the NIESR and others were on hand to point out some facts. The Sunday Telegraph wrongly included students, retired people, parents on leave and some schoolchildren in its definition of unemployed. In fact, the Department of Work & Pensions’ own estimates state that fewer than 38,000 people from the other 27 EU countries claim jobseekers allowance in the UK.