Author Archives: Dinti Batstone

Have YOU joined Liberal Democrat Women?

Liberal Democrat Women will formally come into being on 8 June, the culmination of 18 months’ work bringing together the party’s existing women’s organisations: Campaign for Gender Balance and Women Liberal Democrats. In launching Liberal Democrat Women we want to create a more powerful platform for all Liberal Democrats – male and female – who want to see gender equality in Westminster and beyond.

Liberal Democrat Women will focus on 4 core areas of activity: policy, campaigns, women’s representation and networking. It will do everything its predecessor organisations did, and hopefully much more.

To realise this bold ambition we need YOUR help. We need new talent for the first Liberal Democrat Women Executive, which will …

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Opinion: Job share MPs – an idea whose time has come

As regular LDV readers may know, I’ve long advocated the idea of allowing candidates to put themselves forward for election on a job-share basis (letting constituents decide whether they want to elect job-share MPs). Today a Bill making this possible will be presented to the House of Commons.

The Representation of the People (Members’ Job Share) Bill will be introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Labour MP John McDonnell. It will be interesting to see how much cross-party support the Bill gets. Individual Lib Dems have certainly been sympathetic to its aims. Mark Williams MP tabled an Early Day Motion …

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Final Call – Applications For Campaign for Gender Balance’s “Future Women MPs” Weekend

This has already been widely publicised through CGB’s mailing lists and at joint WLD/ CGB events in Brighton, but, for any LDV readers who may have missed it, here are details again. Please note the deadline for applications was today but has now been extended until Monday 22 October.

FUTURE WOMEN MPs WEEKEND

23rd – 25th November 2012

London

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Conference: Calm and determined in the face of headwinds

The atmosphere in Brighton was stormy. Not, as journalists would have you believe, inside the hall but on the Brighton seafront.

It had started well. On Saturday, with temperatures soaring into the 20s, delegates debated early years, schools and House of Lords reform – all solid Lib Dem territory. Excellent speeches from a succession of mothers and grandmothers highlighted how childcare costs skew the economics of working, and delegates overwhelmingly backed investment in free early years education when finances allow. Debating Lords reform, Conference endorsed Nick Clegg’s withdrawal of support for constituency boundary changes, and Lord Tyler put forward a popular …

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Why stand for Federal Policy Committee?

Here is the third article about the work of party committees, written by current members. Each provides insight into how a specific committee functions. We hope these articles will encourage party members to consider putting themselves forward for election.

Why did more people put themselves forward for election to the Federal Policy Committee than any other federal committee in 2010? Because with Liberal Democrats now in Government our policies matter more than ever before – as this new booklet  makes clear.

So what exactly does the Federal Policy Committee do? While the party Constitution enshrines Conference as the Liberal Democrats’ sovereign policy-making …

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Opinion: Cross-Party Support for Job-Sharing

What do Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, the Conservatives’ Peter Bottomley and our own Jenny Willott have in common? They’ve all signed up to this Early Day Motion tabled by Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion, Mark Williams.

Mark’s motion welcomes a recent report, Job-Sharing at Senior Level: Making It Work, highlighting that job-sharing can stem the ‘female brain drain’ by enabling more women to progress into senior roles while combining work with family. It notes a striking finding that 80% of highly qualified women wish to work part-time and calls on the Government to consider the implications of this in the context of …

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Opinion: “I don’t like them, you don’t like them… We have to have them”

This Saturday, Conference has the opportunity to show that Liberal Democrats are genuinely committed to achieving gender balance in our own distinctively liberal and democratic way.

Conference will debate an amendment which Jo Shaw and I have put forward to Mark Pack and Paul Tyler’s Lords reform motion. Our amendment builds on the approach taken by our party in the late 1990s, when one-off zipping was used to deliver a gender-balanced cohort of Lib Dem MEPs in the first PR elections to the European Parliament.

In an ideal world we wouldn’t need these kinds of measures. But with just 12% women …

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Dinti Batstone writes… If not now, when?

Notice anything about this 5-minute BBC report on House of Lords reform? While it talks of ‘revolution in the air’, every interviewee is a white middle aged man.

Yet House of Lords reform could – if the Coalition chooses to make it so – prove a game-changing opportunity to promote the cause of gender balance at Westminster.

Our Commons party consists of just 12% women and the Commons as a whole barely 22%. The reasons for this are complex and different in each party, but electoral volatility and a leaky pipeline of female candidates are two major factors for the Liberal …

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Dinti Batstone writes: diversity opportunity at #ldconf

This weekend in Sheffield, Liberal Democrats will be debating important internal steps to ensure that by 2015 our parliamentary party in the House of Commons better reflects the diversity of modern Britain.

In the coming months, with the Draft Bill on House of Lords reform, Liberal Democrats will also have a key external opportunity to kickstart culture change at Westminster.

Here’s why we need to grasp that opportunity:

§ Diversity is part of the solution to our broken politics. Diversity is good not just for under-represented groups and parties who want their …

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Dinti Batstone writes: Cheap shots at multiculturalism generate more heat than light

Last Thursday, generations of Chinese in Soho welcomed the Year of the Rabbit in time-honoured traditional ways. Yet we didn’t hear David Cameron demonise Chinatown as a ‘segregated community’ living ‘apart from the mainstream’. On the contrary, the annual lion dance spectacle has become an essential fixture in London’s calendar, enjoyed by people from many different cultures.

The Oxford dictionary defines multicultural(ism) as “of or relating to or constituting several cultural or ethnic groups within a society”. Note the word “within”. Yet there’s a growing tendency to rubbish multiculturalism, treating it as synonymous with the failed Labour policies referred …

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Have your say – diversity opportunities in political reform

In the wider debate around BAME issues in Liverpool, one aspect of the Diversity Motion seems to have slipped through largely unnoticed. The motion, as amended, called for the Federal Executive to commission a review into “structural” barriers to participation in politics faced by under-represented groups.

As the drafter of this part of the motion, my thinking was simple. With Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of political reform, Liberal Democrats have a once in a generation opportunity to change the way we do politics- and widen the political talent pool.

Because the case for diversity is not just about equality …

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Opinion: a brief history of MP job-shares… and why we need them

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So when I heard Caroline Lucas trumpet MP job-shares on Friday morning, part of me was delighted. But the suggestion that political job-shares are a radical new idea from the Greens had me spluttering into my Lady Grey.

For the record, here’s a brief history of Liberal Democrats advocating MP job-shares:

Nick Clegg on Mumsnet in January

Baronesses Ros Scott and Kate Parminter in a Lords debate on 21 July

…and yours truly in a speech to party Conference 2009, on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour in February, on Lib

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Political Reform: the dragons’ den

Come and pitch your idea for political reform to our “dragons’ den” style panelists, Lynne Featherstone MP, Baroness Ros Scott and Alice Delemare (Electoral Reform Society), moderated by Katie Razzall from Channel 4 News.

This fringe event is at 1-2pm on Wednesday, 22nd September at ACC Liverpool , Hall 11C.

In the coming year we have a once in a generation opportunity to change politics for good: getting rid of the first past the post system and reforming the House of Lords. With Nick Clegg in charge of political reform, Liberal Democrats have a unique opportunity to shape the reform …

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Opinion: Make politics fit women’s lives, not vice-versa

For today’s women “motherhood, not sexism, is the issue”. So says The Economist (“We Did It”, 30 December 2009), noting that “women who prosper in high-pressure companies in their 20s drop out in dramatic numbers in their 30s and then find it almost impossible to regain earlier momentum”.

Could the same be true in politics?

Nearly 80% of current male Lib Dem MPs first entered Parliament in their 30s and 40s. Yet our female MPs were overwhelmingly elected in their 20s or 50s, and not one was first elected while raising young children. Achieving the same age spread as the men could …

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Opinion: Mind the Gender Gap!

Surprisingly, fewer women (18%) than men (21%) support the LibDems, while for both Labour and the Tories the opposite is true.

Why?

Perhaps an explanation lies in Ming’s remark in Brighton last week that “we can’t represent a country if we’re not representative of it”.

School-gate mums and working parents are an important demographic, but not one of our parliamentarians is a mother of young children. It’s hard to show we empathise with family issues when women juggling politics and family life are all but invisible in the Lib Dems.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments



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    My only point of disagreement with this very good article by Mike Green is that I think that we in the West (ideally NATO) should...
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