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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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|Sir Graham Watson MEP|
|President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party|
25 November 2011
|Preceded by||Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck|
|Leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
13 July 2004 – 1 July 2009
|Preceded by||group formed|
|Succeeded by||Guy Verhofstadt|
|Member of the European Parliament
for South West England
20 July 1999
|Preceded by||new constituency|
|Leader of the Group of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party|
6 January 2002 – 13 July 2004
|Preceded by||Pat Cox|
|Succeeded by||group dissolved|
|Member of the European Parliament
for Somerset and North Devon
18 July 1994 – 20 July 1999
|Preceded by||new constituency|
|Succeeded by||constituency abolished|
23 March 1956 |
Rothesay, United Kingdom
|Political party||Liberal Democrats / ELDR|
|Children||1 daughter and 1 son|
|Residence||Langport, United Kingdom|
|Alma mater||Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh|
|Profession||Interpreter, Banker, Politician|
Sir Graham Robert Watson (born 23 March 1956) is a European politician from the United Kingdom. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament for South West England since 1994 and was the leader of the Group of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party 2002–2004 and the first leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe 2004–2009. Since 2011, he is the President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
Graham Watson was born in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute (Scotland, United Kingdom). His father was an officer in the Royal Navy and his mother a teacher. Watson was educated at the City of Bath Boys' School, where he played violin in the school orchestra. He later returned to Scotland to attend Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh where he graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in modern languages. This allowed him to work as an interpreter between 1979 and 1980, he now speaks four European languages. After 1980 he worked as an administrator at Paisley College until 1983.
Watson had begun his political activity in the Young Liberals in 1972. As international officer of the Scottish Young Liberals he became involved in the International Federation of Liberal Youth, becoming a vice-president (1977) then General Secretary (1979) of the organisation. He was a founder of the European Communities' Youth Forum. He served as a council member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party between 1983 and 1993. Between 1983 and 1987 he also served as head of the private office of then leader of the British Liberal Party, Sir David Steel.
In 1988 he began work for the bank HSBC in London and Hong Kong. His work there included three months with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and gave him an interest in the Far East. He is now an adviser to the Asia Pacific Public Affairs Forum and is learning Mandarin Chinese.
In the 1994 European Parliamentary election he was elected for Somerset and North Devon with a majority of over 22,500. Watson, was the first Liberal Democrat returned from a British constituency to serve in the European Parliament. Watson and Robin Teverson, elected later the same night, sat with the Group of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR). During this term, Watson served on two committees; the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Committee on Budgets, and acted as whip for the ELDR group until 1996.
In 1999 the introduction of proportional representation in the UK for European elections meant Watson's constituency was abolished in favour of a larger multi-member constituency encompassing South West England. The South West constituency would later also include Gibraltar in 2004. Watson was re-elected in this constituency as the sole Liberal Democrat member at the 1999 European Parliamentary election. He had gained 171,398 votes, 15.7% of the total behind both Labour and the Conservatives (1 and 4 seats respectively). During this term he led the British Liberal Democrats in the parliament and between 1999 to 2002 he held the chair of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.
During this parliamentary term the ELDR Group were in coalition with the European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP–ED). As per a usual agreement between the majority alliance, the term of President of the European Parliament is split between the two parties, giving the then-leader of the ELDR Group, Pat Cox MEP, the Presidency from 2002. When he took up the post, Watson was elected to succeed him as leader of the ELDR Group.
Watson was re-elected once more at the 2004 European Parliamentary election with 265,619 votes (18.3%) behind the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) with 326,784 votes (22.6% giving two seats) and the Conservatives with 457,371 votes (31.6% giving three seats). Labour had fallen behind the Liberals to 209,908 votes (14.5%) but still retained one seat.
Following the election, Watson led the ELDR Group into an alliance with the newly formed European Democratic Party to form the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. The ALDE group replaced the ELDR group (though ELDR and EDP exist as separate parties outside the Parliament) and Watson was elected leader of the new ALDE group which was the largest group ever established in the Parliament outside of the European People's Party and Party of European Socialists.
In 2007 Watson addressed the ELDR congress stating he wished to break the current left-right grand coalition. He had previously been critical of this and welcomed the centre-right alliance his group had formed for the fifth term. Watson liked the Socialists to poodles of the People's Party in their alliance. He cited in contrast the strength of the ALDE group in the Parliament and the Commission and that after 2009, the liberals would have strong candidates for the Commission. He also stated that the party would be moving towards Europe-wide campaigning rather than separate national campaigns.
Watson was elected to a fourth term as an MEP for the South West in the European Parliament elections of June 2009, with 266,253 votes (17.07%). The Conservatives gained 468,742 votes (30.05%), winning three seats; the United Kingdom Independence Party gained 341,845 votes (21.92%), winning two seats; The Green Party gained 144,179 votes (9.24%), winning no seats; The Labour Party gained 118,716 votes (7.61%), winning no seats; 11 other parties and one independent gained 219,973 votes (14.10%), winning no seats. Following the election, Watson stood down from the leadership of the ALDE Group. He now sits on the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee and is Chairman of Parliament's Delegation for relations with India. He recently co-signed the Spinelli Group Manifesto for more European integration.
Watson lives in Langport, Somerset, with his wife and two children. His wife, Rita, is from Italy and their children, one daughter called Frederica and one son called Gregory, were born in 1992 and 1995 respectively. Watson enjoys sailing and jazz music. From 1999 he was editor of "The Parliament Magazine", a role now filled by Catherine Stihler.
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