Saturday, June 27, 2009

PPCs, Bloggers and the Lib Dem constitution :-)

Today is set aside for me to write my application for the job of my dreams (tho success would mean my sharp exit from politics), to sort out my paper work, try and find a mortgage to avoid yet another threatened eviction, write a motion on detention of children and resubmit my petition for divorce (in one week's time it will be incontestable). But, as ever, I have to confess to having been distracted by my fellow bloggers!

Charlotte Gore started the debate, do candidacy and blogging mix? Swiftly followed by Stephen Glenn and Darrell Goodliffe, both of whom I agree with. Charlotte, we may be opposite ends of the Lib Dem political spectrum, but my response would be go girl! Whatever comments you have made you have made seriously, they are your views, they demonstrate your political commitment, if you have made them I have no doubt you can robustly defend them - why then worry about having to do that if you are a PPC? And, I have to wonder, is this one of our bugbears as women, would our male counterparts have similar worries? Seriously, it worries me that as Lib Dems, with a constitution that among other things asserts that "no one should be enslaved by conformity" it ill behoves us to condemn those who don't conform to every jot and tittle!

In the current political climate people are looking for politicians with real integrity, who are motivated by a belief that society could be different, who will not conform simply to advance their careers and who have thought through where they stand and why. When Nick Clegg was elected his mantra was "risky and radical". Oh that we would truly embrace that!

A few years ago I attended a media course for PPCs - which I have mentioned before, being as I was the only woman. During the course our tutor cautioned us about the dangers of blogs. All eyes turned towards response..........what makes you think I'm not careful?! OK, I sometimes blast off about this or that that has wound me up - but, to quote my favourite book "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks"....! :-) I cannot and will not water down my views so as not to frighten the horses. I will only alter my views if someone presents me with a logical argument, or presents me with new evidence to demonstrate that I am wrong. And, at the risk of falling into "I told you so" smugness, I have been proved right on for example raising the tax threshold rather than the 4p reduction, on Trident, on my lonely stand on troops out of Iraq (thanks to the 6 people who backed me in that debate!). I also think my support for Nick Clegg has been well and truly vindicated over the past few weeks. And in the future I expect to be proved right on my stand on privatisation of Royal Mail, Afghanistan..........amongst other things!

So to all you fellow bloggers out there who may think being a candidate or MP and blogging don't mix - take your lead from those such as Lynne Featherstone who have made an art of it. I certainly don't recall her ever pulling her punches on issues she felt strongly about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nick hero!

Well. For those of us who campaigned hard against Trident, today's news is just the best! The frustration so many of us had about the debate, the resultant motion and the fudge we ended up with, has now been replaced with pride and relief. Throughout his leadership bit Nick often made reference to our need as a party to be "risky and radical" something that on FPC I take every opportunity to remind him, here is a demonstration, if one were needed, of his preparedness to do that.

However, I do trust we will have a motion to conference, however happy I am with Nick's decision, the fact remains that our official party policy is made by conference and I can hardly bleat about other policy being made on the hoof and not expect that Nick ensures he has the backing of the party. It is one of our USPs that our membership still has the final say on party policy - long may it remain!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lib Dems...............we're not racist but.........

............have you ever heard us say that as a party? NO. For one good reason. The only parties who preface what they have to say with "We're not racist but............." are the racists! They know that what they are peddling is racism dressed up in an excuse for democracy, they know that when anyone hears what they have to say they are likely to think it is they try that simple device. If you are not racist, why on earth would you need to tell anyone? Its like me saying "I'm not tall but............." If its true its stating the flippin obvious! We don't need to say we're not racist because we don't say anything that any sane person could mistake for racism.

In this election two parties have been claiming they are not racist. UKIP (whose rhetoric in one of the hustings I attended differed little from the BNP) and the BNP. Ah is not racist to warn people about being swamped by foreigners, especially if they are Turkish. Ah is not racist to refuse to allow non whites to join your party. It is not racist to talk about forbidding "mixed" marriages. It is not racist to blame non whites for all our ills. what exactly would they regard as racist I wonder?

What happened last night was deeply shocking, but we all have to take some responsibility for it. Today I heard that when someone was asked why they had voted BNP the response was that it was because they listened. Listening means engaging, engaging means more than bombarding folk with paper. Let's listen carefully to what the electorate said last night, let's fight everything the racists stand for, but let's more importantly, start really listening to what those who are most marginalised are saying to us.

We maybe have the luxury to bang our drum about civil liberties, human rights, equality, the environment and all the other things we rightly consider hugely important, but if we do so without acknowledging that some of our fellow citizens are more concerned about whether they will have a roof over their head, a job, or food on the table tomorrow........we will totally miss the boat and betray one of our declared aims..........that no one should be enslaved by poverty. At the moment the BNP and UKIP are saying what people want to hear, they are affecting to feel their pain, they are offering, albeit, dishonest and simplistic explanations and solutions, they are stealing a march and we ignore that at our peril.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hazel're havin a laugh!

Hazel Blears beaming - victorious? Wearing a "brooch" that says "rocking the boat" with a cat and dog in it. Allegedly when you push the boat it starts rocking and the dog starts laughing. Is there no end to this woman's ingenuity???????

I am sorry. As a similarly vertically challenged, erstwhile auburnhaired, middle aged woman, I do have something in common with the woman - but I sincerely hope that is where it ends. She comes across as a self indulgent, self congratulatory, self obsessed excuse for a politician. She has the nerve to chat about connecting with the electorate - tho how that is possible from an ivory tower beats me. If she honestly thought paying back her capital gain was going to wash with anyone she merely demonstrates her palpable LACK of connection with her electorate - and I have no doubt they will show her just how disconnected she is at the next election.

Sorry Haze...........but the Cheshire grin is as ethereal as it ever was. You are toast girl and trying to take down your leader with you, however discredited he may be, only makes you look more pathetic.

As I listen to the palpable anger on the doorstep about totally dishonourable members - it is you who sits near the top of the list of those I blame. Sorry Ms B - you have not only lost connection with those you affect to represent, you have also sullied the good name of your own activists who put you there, but more disturbingly, the thousands of activists from all parties who have had to endure 3 weeks of insult and disdain, through no fault of their own.

A few months ago I heard the story of a 17 year old young woman, having left care and living on her own in a flat on £40 a week, £20 in food vouchers. She had begged to have just £10 in food vouchers and £30 in cash since she would "rather be hungry than cold". THAT is why I do what I do, THAT is why I am disgusted that this Labour government has presided over a rise in child poverty, THAT is why I see all we have had is another 12 years of Tory government.

Did George Orwell have any conception of how prophetic he was? Oh yes - the pigs are having a high old time - while the Boxers of our society are left to be driven to the knackers yard.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cleggites Vindication

I can't begin to imagine the pressure on a party leader over the last three weeks. Rather like being the hapless 3 coconuts on a coconut shy - the challenge is to be the last man (and of course they are all men!) standing! So, what kind of coconuts do we have? We have the old, beleaguered specimen - slightly calcified, attempting to appear heavyweight to avoid attack - Mr Brown. Then we have the fresher looking specimen - untouched, perky, but lightweight - the fact that the inner coconut "water" has dried up or has never even been there, invisible to the human eye - ah yes - Mr Cameron - clearly incredibly easy to unbalance, if anyone is willing to take a shot. Then we have the third "coconut" also under fire - but more resilient. Smaller yes, but heavier. Full of the "water" of values and convictions that the others either have lost or never had in the first place - Mr Clegg.

OK - I am drifting off into sycophancy again (!) but I am SO impressed with Nick. This crisis is a huge test for anyone, but he has totally kept his nerve, continued to challenge and remind everyone that it is our party that has consistently pressed for the reform now so desperately required.

When we elected our leader 18 months ago our considerations were around policy and who could best lead us into the next general election. None of us had any notion of the political maelstrom our chosen leader would be required to navigate - I for one feel totally vindicated that we chose the right man.