Jan - Apr 2020 Newsletter


Welcome to our first newsletter of 2020 - a quick round-up of recent happenings and upcoming opportunities especially for our members outside Europe.



Chair’s Letter

Dear Lib Dems Overseas, it saddens me to address you when many of you are at home, locked down. However we are using the issue of the coronavirus to reignite the issue of unfreezing your pension with the UK Government. The executive is now also offering duty of care to our members worldwide. Please see our new 2020 strategy of what we intend to do for you this year.

See full letter here.



Lib Dems Overseas 2020 Strategy launched

Our three main aims in 2020 are to champion the needs of UK citizens living overseas; increase the profile, membership, services and activities for our members; and contribute to promoting liberalism worldwide, alongside Liberal International. We shall be raising funds to support our various overseas and lobbying initiatives which will be communicated to you in due course and look forward to your ongoing support.

See strategy summary here.

Baroness Sal Brinton continues as LDO Honorary President

Sal Brinton has kindly accepted to continue being our Honorary President. She was Lib Dem Party President 2016-2019 and worked with current Lib Dems Overseas Chair George Cunningham in establishing Lib Dems Abroad with its currently three component local parties - Lib Dems in Europe, Lib Dems in France and Lib Dems Overseas. She has always been a fantastic supporter of what we are doing.


Unfreezing Pensions I

Jonathan Fryer, Chair of the Lib Dems International Relations Committee wrote this article on his blog jonathanfryer.wordpress.com on 22 March as part of the Lib Dems Overseas campaign to unfreeze pensions. He has asked Lib Dem co-Leader Ed Davey on our behalf to take the matter up urgently with the government in London. Baroness Sal Brinton has also been active in the House of Lords on overseas pensioners’ behalf.



Unfreezing Pensions II

"It may be warm in Bali, but our UK pensions are still frozen!"

The UK is taking action at home to protect pensioners and other vulnerable citizens from the deadly Covid-19 threat. But spare a thought for those pensioners abroad where UK state pensions are frozen. Already suffering hardships, many face life-threatening consequences. The case for unfreezing pensions right now is clear-cut.


General Pensions Reform in the UK

There are many other aspects of pensions that deserve attention. Governments around the world for instance are pleading for retired doctors and nurses to come back to work. Some thoughts on the way we treat pensioners and how they could continue to contribute fully to society.

Liberal International fights Fake News

Lib Dems Overseas organised a visit for (photo L-R) Liberal International Secretary-General Gordon MacKay, Kevin Charbel and William Townsend in March to meet with the European External Action Service’s “EU Versus Disinfo” Task Forces. Liberal International has since then launched its COVID-19 communications strategy which has begun to focus its full might on fighting COVID-19 fake news under #FreedomFightsFake

Lib Dems in North America meet together for first time

The first North America Network meeting was held by skype in March with 12 participants from across the length and breadth of the US (including LA, Wyoming, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington DC, New York) and Canada (Toronto and Cambridge, Ontario). COVID-19 in North America; an introduction to Lib Dems Overseas and a vision for the North American Network were discussed. Please reach out to Victoria Bateman if you would like to participate.


Lib Dems in Singapore

There are almost fifty members and supporters of Lib Dems Overseas based in Singapore. Some of our members there had a get-together in January. Nick, Ashley and Merlene would love to hear from the rest of you in Singapore on what you would like us to organise for you. It could even be a virtual event!


Lib Dems attend Democrats Abroad Primary in Thailand

Ian Martin of Lib Dems Overseas attended Democrats Abroad Thailand Primary at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok on Tuesday 3 March and Tuesday 10 March. The club was decked out with colourful bunting and desks set up for Americans to join the Democrats and vote in the Global Presidential Primary. We can certainly learn a lot from this organisation.

2020 Calendar

The Coronavirus pandemic is impacting significantly on the international 2020 liberal calendar:

    • UK Lib Dem Spring Conference, York in March was cancelled.
    • ALDE Council, Bratislava, Slovakia in May is postponed.
    • Liberal International Congress, Sofia, Bulgaria, postponed until undetermined date in November, 2020.
    • UK Lib Dems Autumn Conference, Brighton, 26-29 September.
    • ALDE Congress, Stockholm, Sweden, 26-28 November.

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Published and promoted by John Shardlow on behalf of the Lib Dems Overseas