Author Archives: Kelly-Marie Blundell

My Guildford campaign photo diary

As the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford, I get to do a range of things, some of them quite remarkable.

Being a candidate is an amazing opportunity, and I’m incredibly grateful to the huge team I have behind me in Guildford; including our Executive and Campaign team, our Councillors, our organiser and a myriad of volunteers.

But there’s some things you just can’t prepare for when you look at standing in a General Election. I doubt any other voluntary role (except maybe a UN ambassador) affords anyone as much fun, strange experiences or feelings of fulfilment.

Here’s some of my campaigning highlights;

Last year, I got to wash a bus. Not just for the photo, although that was useful, I actually found it really fascinating. Who knew washing a bus would be so complicated?

Here I am with Antony Hook (MEP Candidate for South East) and Councillor Julia McShane as we put forward our best brush strokes at  Safeguard’s 40th Anniversary Gala

14.03.29 Bus washing Antony Hook, Kelly-Marie Blundell and Julia McShane

 

The advent of smartphones means there are a range of campaigning experiences caught on camera that just weren’t in 2010 and earlier. In particular, I like the interesting  and beautiful things one finds in the gardens and homes of people you canvass. Here’s a few things, no identification of homes though!

Guildford-20150208-00576

 

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On the campaign trail… Guildford

kmb-nickbelfitt2This weekend, I introduced two new, keen politics students to the art of door-to-door canvassing in Guildford.

I wanted to make it clear that most people are pleased to see us on the doorstep, and are polite even if when they’re not supportive. In nine years, I’ve only had two people swear at me. The worst you’ll get is generally polite ‘not interested’.

Posted in Campaign Corner | 14 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats must stand up for the Welfare State

Welfare reform is an incredibly important discussion and one that we, as Liberal Democrats, must keep re-visiting to ensure we’re upholding those core principles we hold closest to our hearts. The Liberal Democrats are the only party that offered a home to champion the values of promoting a level playing field and protecting the most vulnerable, ensuring they fulfil their potential through equality of opportunities. After all, these are central tenets of a civilised society fit for the 21st Century.

I am proud that our party has largely blunted the blade with which the Tories had brandished to slice our safety net, the treasured welfare state, right in half. But we  must go further. We must ensure that our manifesto comprehensively deals with the issue of welfare. We must be certain the most vulnerable in society are not enslaved by poverty.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 18 Comments

Social Liberal Forum welcomes change of tack on “Bedroom Tax”

Social Liberal ForumFollowing yesterday’s press release from Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander regarding the underoccupancy charge (known colloquially as “Bedroom Tax”) we’re delighted at the Social Liberal Forum.

The policy was introduced as a follow up to Labour’s introduction of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ for private tenants, and has left people with little housing options being penalised for being unable to move. Far from saving money, it simply created hostility in the social housing sector and brutally discriminated against those in poverty.

Members in the party have …

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Opinion: My resignation from Federal Conference Committee

Dear Lib Dem Members,

I would like to write to you all and express my regret that Spring Conference this weekend in York has been my last Spring Conference as a member of the Federal Conference Committee.

It was a great honour to be  elected to represent the party back in September 2012. And in that time I have had the privilege to see through several conferences in an historic time, when the Liberal Democrats are part of the Government.

In that time, I’ve learned how to plan a debate, as well as the finer detail of and responses to standing orders that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Food poverty is real and we need to address it

There is some merit in the argument presented by the Archbishop of Westminster that cuts, and indeed caps, to welfare are removing a safety net for those worst off in society.

We see in the Independent that one in six GPs have been asked to refer people to food banks, and while unemployment may be dropping, people are still struggling with stagnant wages and rising costs.

I’ve long argued against the benefits cap, stating that the cost of living varies so broadly across the country that such a cap can only lead to people in so-called affluent areas being disadvantaged. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 20 Comments

Opinion: Benefits cap – right or wrong?

There’s a lot in the news about the Benefits Cap following yesterday’s dismissal of the case where three single mothers took forward a legal challenge to the cap on their benefits.  They lost, but perhaps we as Liberal Democrats should question the logic behind the benefits cap.

Now, on one hand, when you look at it, £500 per week seems like a lot of money. Even for a family of three. With this in mind, it seems completely legitimate to cap the amount of support families receive to £26,000 per year. With the average earnings in the UK resting at …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 57 Comments

How accessible is Federal Conference?

For those who are regular attendees at Federal Conference, you will know that over the last few years, the venues have changed significantly. Being in Government, we’ve seen a shift from open door policy to armed police.

And with this added security, many of us with access needs have found problems. Walking distances have increased, check points have increased and venues seemingly expand every year in colour, size and choice of experience.

When you suffer from a long term condition, it’s often overlooked by those who don’t that such needs can have an impact on your ability to enjoy and make the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Socks, Sandals and Party Democracy-or Why Spring Conference Is so Important

Paddy Ashdown talks on "The global power shift" in Brussels March 1st 2012 -  Some rights reserved by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE Do you remember your first conference? I certainly remember mine.

It was in Birmingham several years ago; stewards had a quick look through my bag inside the conference centre, and then I started queueing for a coffee. I suddenly realised that the man in front of me was the great Paddy Ashdown. I was so starstruck, I had to leave!

Once my overwhelming awe had dissipated, I got lost in a whirlwind of speeches, debates and policy-making; and that was just a coffee shop. Sadly I’d forgotten my sandals, I have to confess I didn’t see as many as the right-wing media would have us believe.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Why I stayed off Twitter on Sunday (despite Doctor Who)

Lots of discussion was had about “#twittersilence” this weekend.

The premise is clear. Following the diabolical harassment of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, threats included the most heinous debasement, the threat of rape; feminists around the world pledged to go silent on Twitter for National Friendship Day.

As a feminist and social media user myself, as well as being an aspiring politician, I’ve experienced my fair share of offensive behaviour, comments and abuse. Indeed the downside of social media in society seems to be that it creates a form of mask through which people can hide in order to persecute and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Conference has invigorated the party!

Liberal Democrats at grassroots level across the country had been suffering since our landslide defeat in local elections and the defeat of the Alternative Vote referendum in May 2011. This has led, I believe, to a reduction in political engagement across the party at a local and national level.

That is why the autumn conference was both an opportunity to look to the future, and to celebrate Liberal Democratic core values and successes within the Coalition. Phoenixes of a feather flocked together in Birmingham last week, and immediately campaigners felt more at ease and more positive.

Despite valid concerns about levels

Posted in Conference | 10 Comments

Opinion: Putting the Localism Bill in a Social Liberal context

In embracing principles of The Big Society and Localism, have the Liberal Democrats being railroaded into an erosion of the public state, seemingly by accident?

The initial premise of the Localism Bill appeals greatly to Liberal Democrat in the Conservative-led Coalition. What is there about bringing power to local communities that is not to be liked?

It could be argued that the principles of the Localism Bill were in fact first proposed within the Coalition Agreement, where Page 11 states;

We will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Cameron is wrong on AV and dog-tired governments

Cameron launched a paternalistic attack on potential Yes to AV Voters in The Evening Standard this week. I would have commented earlier but I was incredulous that such arguments could be put across to persuade people against voting for AV in the forthcoming referendum.

The strongest reason Cameron dictated was that FPTP allowed the public to kick out “dog-tired” governments. The irony therein is that the Coalition has created fixed term parliaments.

As a result, a “dog-tired” government can only be removed with a motion of no confidence outside of this period. The last Motion of No Confidence was

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Lib Dem Coalition IRL

Since the election it has seemed to me that the Liberal Democrats have been somewhat flagging. The exhaustion of the general election and Clegg Mania, the immediate return of Labour Squeeze in mainstream media and the relentless coalition debate have collectively reduced the Lib Dem enthusiasts.

However, there is nothing like a good Conference to cheer us all up.

This was the first conference I attended alone, but with much awaited enthusiasm due to growing Twitter feeds and Facebook friends.

The conference alone is a daunting and tremendous undertaking to the uninitiated. You are catapulted into fleeting and incredibly intimate friendships with people you may never contact again. Collecting business cards, advising, persuading, debating and challenging on every level.

Flipping from policy motion to speech, from fringe to training, it is a whirlwind of faces you may or may not recognise from those squares of modernity who tweet or chat or debate with alarming ease.

Posted in Conference | 3 Comments
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    JohnTilley 2012 http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/careers/graduate-salaries-and-the-professional-premium/graduate-starting-salary/ Top Ten dentistry, chemical engineering, medicine, general engineering, mechanical engineering, economics, vet/medicine, aeronautical engineering, materials technology, physics and astronomy, 2014 http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/careers/what-do-graduates-do/what-do-graduates-earn/ The...
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