Monday, October 30, 2006

Jack McConnell

The Rt. Hon Jack McConnell MSP visited the British Academy (just off The Mall) in London today. He was mostly talking about the great constitutional changes that have occurred in Scotland over the last few years, the success of those - and how foolish it would be to attempt further constitutional upheavel as desired by the Nationalists (pushing for an independent Scotland) when so much good work is already in progress by the newly empowered Scottish Parliament.

With a focus on the variance Scotland has taken to England on education - and the real successes of those policies - Mr. McConnell emphasised the importance of education as the most significant way to promote social mobility.

Monday, October 16, 2006

President José Manuel Barroso

At the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House, as it likes to be called) in St James's Square today, José Manuel Barroso gave his keynote speech as President of the European Commission.

He outlined that the EU - and more generally Europe - needs a new raison d'etre. Whereas peace was the guiding principle of the original founders - achieved through combining the coal and steel industries of France and Germany to economically prevent war - this needs now supplementing with a new ambitious goal for the 21st century, said Barroso. That goal, simply put, is to enable Europe to prosper in a globalized world.

It was a powerful, timely speech, delivered with more panache than you might expect.

Transcript from 'Hugo Young Lecture - Seeing through the Hallucinations: Britain and Europe in the 21st century' available free at the Liberal Democrat European Group. Other info at the Chatham House website.