As well as the Balmoral show which I mentioned below, Belfast has also been hosting the 55th conference of Liberal International. Alliance party luminaries have been meeting assorted Liberal leaders including Morgan Tsvangirai for whom it is to be his last stop before going back to Zimbabwe to contest the run off of the presidential election against Robert Mugabe where incidentally the new $500 million bank note worth 2 US dollars (today, probably rather less tomorrow) has just been issued.David Ford had this to say on the Alliance Party website:
“Getting the chance to host this Congress is a massive boost for Belfast. It provides a great opportunity to show influential politicians from around the world that Northern Ireland is thriving.
“This is the first time that Northern Ireland has ever hosted the prestigious Liberal International Congress. This gives us the chance of a lifetime to showcase Northern Ireland to powerbrokers from across the globe. The Alliance Party’s global links within Liberal International are extremely important, and I only wish all other parties in Northern Ireland took such a broad world-view.
“The timing of this event is perfect as former Alliance Leader Lord Alderdice is currently President of the group.”
Whilst Lord Alderdice had this to say:
“I am delighted that Liberal International is coming to Belfast for this Congress. Liberal International is a substantial global network of about 100 political parties from all around the world. Its recent meetings have been in Taipei, Marrakech, Sofia, Manila, Cancun, Dakar, Budapest, Ottawa and Brussels, so you can see that the choice to come to Belfast means that our capital city now figures with some big names on the global conference circuit.
“There will be the whole range of motions on issues of concern from across the world, but we will focus on three main areas – dealing with violent political conflict, movement of people (migration, asylum and human trafficking) and the environment. There will be special sessions and papers on all three issues.”
I presume this conference is why Charles Kennedy was in town for Lets Talk last night.