Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire Diary – Day 2

I woke yesterday morning to heavy rain. Knowing that the jacket I had bought was not up to the job, I headed to the local charity shops to see if I could find something better.

I had almost given up hope when I found something perfect – for a fiver! I am not an outdoorsy type so I didn’t realise that I had got an absolute bargain until Pete Roberts, who is running the Llandrindod office, pointed it out as he sent me off with some letters to deliver.

Once those were done, I was sent off with a wonderful lady called Margaret from Cheadle to deliver in the gorgeous town of Rhayader. Round every corner and up every hill (and there are a lot of hills), is another view that brings joy, even in the rain.

Margaret told me that this was her first by-election. She joined the party shortly after arriving at Edinburgh University to study medicine sixty years ago. She saw a poster saying “What do Liberals believe?” and thought she might like to find out.

A young man was speaking at the meeting about how we should have more co-operation with our European friends and look after the environment. We are nothing if not consistent. Margaret liked the sound of that and signed up on the spot.

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

A Lib Dem GAIN, three strong Holds, and a leap forward

There have been six by-elections this week, and five have seen fantastic performances from the Lib Dems.

Last night’s big news was a stonking gain in Daventry. Wow, Cllr Jonathan Carter!

In Cardiff in a rare Tuesday by-election, we held a seat in style.  Congratulations to Rob Hopkins and team.

Another good hold in Wiltshire for Carole King

And in East Sheen in Richmond, Julia Cambridge gained almost 13% in a brilliant hold.

And in Ceredigion we took a good chunk out of Plaid’s majority. Michael Chappell did a great job!

Thanks to Adrian Gee-Turner for flying the flag in more difficult circumstances.

All  in all, a …

Posted in News | Tagged | 53 Comments

Caron’s Brecon and Radnorshire diary

Today started at 6 am when I dragged myself out of bed and headed to Edinburgh Airport for the first leg of my journey to Brecon and Radnorshire.

The flight to Cardiff (yes, I know, but train was twice the price and I don’t do it very often) was uneventful. When I realised the airport bus went to Cardiff Bay, I decided to take a wee detour.

 

It’s remarkable to think that this shrine to a fictional character still exists ten years after the events in the chilling Torchwood: Children of Earth.

i decided to take a boat trip back to the centre of Cardiff just so I could say that I had been on plane, train, bus, automobile and boat.

 

 But it was all going too well. When I got to Cardiff Central station I found that my train had been cancelled and the next one would get me to Llandrindod Wells at 8pm.in

However the nice people at Transport for Wales arranged for me to travel to Shrewsbury and then get a taxi with some others who had been similarly delayed.

I got thanks to a very pleasant Shrewsbury taxi driver called Wayne, not much later than planned. After booking into my hotel, which had been chosen for its cheapness alone but turned out to be across the road from the station and 6 minutes walk from HQ, I headed to our office.

 

It transpires  the building where where we are hosting our by-election campaign is replete with Lib Dem lore. Previous MPs  Roger Williams and Richard Livsey had used it as their base. Their photos and that of current AM Kirsty Williams.

Let’s hope that they are soon joined by Jane Dodds.

After some delivery I had the most delicious meal. It was the fish curry on the menu at Nasra and Fabian Veiyra’s restaurant Fabian’s Kitchen that got me through the door. The artwork on the walls is bold and beautiful and there is even a Naughty Corner.

The fish curry was beautiful – aniseedy and coconutty and deep. I didn’t much care for the chut

Posted in News | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Liz Jarvis on gaining the confidence to stand as a parliamentary candidate

This weekend, a group of Lib Dem women will gather in a hotel in Milton Keynes for a weekend which, for some if not all of them, could be life-changing.

The third Future Women MPs weekend in the last year or so takes place. I remember going on a weekend like that back in the 90s and I made friends for life as well as learned valuable skills.

Caroline Voaden, now an MEP, went on one of these events last year along with a load of young Scottish women.

As this takes place, Liz Jarvis, a London writer who joined us last year after a lifetime of supporting Labour, has written for The Parliament Project about her experience in the party and how a Parliament Project initiative helped her develop the confidence to stand:

Through Lib Dem Women I found a mentor from the party’s Campaign for Gender Balance; she was incredibly encouraging and gave me lots of invaluable support and advice for what I needed to do to achieve my goal of becoming an approved parliamentary candidate. She also helped me see that my imagined barriers to standing – my age, the fact I haven’t been a career politician – could actually be turned into positives. I also discovered the Parliament Project via Twitter, and was thrilled when I was accepted on to the 12 week online Peer Support Circles at the start of January.

The sessions were every fortnight, which was manageable, and I loved ‘meeting’ the other women and sharing our political journeys, as well as the assignments we were given, which were fun and challenging. Each session felt as though we were making progress and exchanging ideas and experiences was incredibly rewarding.

And it’s helped her on her journey in the Lib Dems:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Beatrice Wishart will fight Shetland by-election for the Scottish Lib Dems


The Scottish Liberal Democrats have today announced Cllr Beatrice Wishart has been selected as the parliamentary candidate for Shetland.

I am absolutely delighted at this news. As Alistair Carmichael’s caseworker and as a local councillor, Beatrice knows exactly what she needs to do to improve people’s lives in Shetland. I’ve known her for the better part of 20 years and think she would be a fantastic MSP.

Beatrice is the Depute Convener of Shetland Islands Council,  a trustee of Women’s Aid in Shetland and an active campaigner for the State Pension rights of women born in the 1950s.

Beatrice said:

I am thrilled to be standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in Shetland. I’ve lived and worked in Shetland most of my life and I’m keenly aware of the issues that need to be addressed.

Islanders want to see fair funding for our ferries, more NHS services provided at home in Shetland, swift improvements to broadband coverage and all nurseries being given the resources and support they need to increase the amount of childcare available in our communities.

I will be a tireless champion for Shetland. It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to stand to represent my home.

She was endorsed by outgoing MSP Tavish Scott:

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Biscuits in Brecon….

This weekend, Liberal Democrats have been flocking to help Jane Dodds win Brecon and Radnorshire for the Liberal Democrats.

This time next week, I’ll be there. I am so excited because I have never been out of Cardiff before and I’m so looking forward to seeing more of Wales.

Here are just some of the people who have been helping.

Cambridge PPC Rod Cantrill said:

Great to be back again in Brecon with two car loads of activists from Cambridge door knocking for Jane Dodds on the Brecon Ro(a)d trip!

Alex Cole-Hamilton’s wife Gill may well be annoyed that they decided a long time ago to go to Wales for their Summer holiday. Alex made his second trip today and found two more Lib Dem parliamentarians to play with:

And he revealed that he has some family history in the area.

Amid reports of copious supplies of cake, Lib Dem Friends of Biscuits hit back in style:

And Dominic Buxton gives us a glimpse of how gorgeous it is there:

I don’t see any canvassing going on here…

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Response to Nick Harvey “inside leg” comment shows Party has made some progress

Last Sunday morning, I almost choked on my tea when I read something Nick Harvey had written in an article remembering Paddy Ashdown in the party’s Ad Lib members’ magazine. Nick had included an anecdote that was undeniably sexist. Nobody needed to know about his inside leg measurement at all, let alone who had measured ti. The rest of the article had some lovely memories of the Paddy we all know and love, but this was beyond the pale.

So I wrote Nick an email that, when I read it back later, was much ruder than I intended.

I was not the only one who sent him similar messages.

Even three or four years ago, anyone complaining about that sort of thing would have been basically told that they should grow a sense of humour.

What actually happened is that Nick emailed back a few minutes later very sincerely acknowledging his mistake. The offending anecdote was pretty quickly removed from the online edition of Ad Lib and an apology from Nick put in its place.

This story has now made its way into today’s Times (£).

It is also really encouraging that both leadership candidates gave quotes to the Times which were unequivocal in saying that this shouldn’t have been published and committing to making a more inclusive party.

Jo said:

These comments are totally unacceptable and it is right that Nick has apologised for them. We need to build an inclusive culture in the party to show that we can represent modern Britain, and comments like this make it harder to show we are a welcoming party.

And Ed said that the remarks were inappropriate:

Sir Ed Davey, the other candidate in the race to be party leader, said that the remarks were highly inappropriate. Sexism was a scourge on society that too many women still faced daily, he said, and those in leadership positions had to be held to the “highest standards”.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Grey areas: Norman Lamb describes the nightmare ordeal of a family over Mum’s death

This weekend we are publishing the speeches of Lib Dem MPs in the recent debate on assisted dying.

Norman Lamb described at length the nightmare a family went through as doctors and police reacted to their terminally ill mother’s attempt at suicide.

It brings home the reality of the issues people face.

Should we really be putting grieving relatives through police interrogations? As Norman says, this family’s experience shows the need for a change in the law.

It was a pleasure to join the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles) in applying for this debate. I want to use my time to tell the stories of two constituents. The first is Vonnie Daykin, who has come to Parliament today to hear the debate. She has talked about how she witnessed her uncle and her father die of Parkinson’s and her mother die of motor neurone disease. She says that her mother went through living hell, but ultimately had no choice and was forced to suffer “until the bitter end”.

I also want to spend a little time quoting my constituent, Zoe Marley. Her words deserve to be heard in Parliament, so if I may, I will quote from an email that she sent me. She says:

“In January 2018 my mum Judith Marley was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer…She had nursed her own mother with cancer and had seen numerous ‘bad’ deaths. From the outset, she announced that she would not let the cancer do its worst, but would formulate a plan to escape the terror. No matter how marvellous the palliative care, she didn’t want it.”

That is her right, incidentally.

“She was a very private person; her death should have been a private affair instead of the circus that it became. On a warm July afternoon in 2018, she took a framed picture of her mum, a bottle of Drambuie and approximately 70 sleeping pills into the garden and in this most cherished place, she proceeded to attempt to take her life.”

After some considerable time, her daughter found her there; she had not died and then started to come round. Zoe was then placed into an impossibly invidious position, not knowing whether to call an ambulance. Her mother had already given her lasting power of attorney and did not want resuscitation—her legal right. Ultimately, however, because of the impossible situation that her daughter was in, she had to call an ambulance. Zoe says:

“Her wishes to stay at home and not be admitted to hospital were my priority as her LPA. But was I technically assisting her suicide? My lack of action could be considered supporting a suicide. I was terrified of the consequences of my inactivity. We waited but no change, the day was cooling down and I wanted her to be comfortable.”

In the end, an ambulance was called, and a doctor also attended.

Zoe writes:

“The doctor was unsympathetic. He said he had spoken to an on-call psychiatrist and that he was within his rights to call the police so they could take her to hospital. He was threatening and arrogant, telling me if Mum died there would be a police investigation and she would have a full autopsy. It all made me sick to my stomach. All this time my beautiful Mum laid outside while my ​daughter held her hand. I had somehow found myself embroiled with a medical team that had no understanding of how to interpret the law. The doctor called the police and three officers arrived. I have never had the police come to my door. It was demeaning and frightening. Once again I showed them my Mum’s paperwork and begged them to bring her inside. They seemed unsure of what to do, the expression ‘grey area’ was used a lot.”

To answer the point of the hon. Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers), grey areas cause enormous distress, as in this case. Zoe continues:

“After much confusion they insisted they take Mum to hospital. I was now indignant and focused on what Mum wanted. I made it very clear I would obstruct them. I felt everyone was ‘trying to cover their backs’ which meant disregarding my Mum’s wishes.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Ed and Jo talk to the Electoral Reform Society

The Electoral Reform Society has been talking to both our leadership candidates about their plans for constitutional and political reform.

We are delighted to publish their interviews with their permission.

Here’s Ed’s

The transcript is available here. 

And Jo’s

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Amazing Lib Dem GAIN in Bridlington

News to make you smile a lot! Incredible Lib Dem gain in Bridlington North tonight.

Lib Dem Mike Heslop-Mullens 1308

Cons 815

Yorkshire Party 349

Ind 259

UKIP 196

Lab 135

 

Change from 2 May

Lib Dem +43%

Cons -44%

Lab -25%

This is an incredible result in an area that voted very strongly to leave the EU.

Hearty congratulations to Mike and the East Riding team.

There was a bit of a Lib Dem surge in the only other council by-election, too.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Ed Davey goes to Brecon to campaign for Jane Dodds

It was Ed Davey’s turn to head for Brecon and Radnorshire today.

He met Jane Dodds in what looks like a gorgeous town, Crickhowell.

And he visited a zero waste shop:

And encouraged us all to do the same:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Jo Swinson’s tour of Brecon and Radnorshire’s by-election HQ

Jo Swinson headed to Brecon again today to help Jane Dodds campaign.

Here’s her whistle stop tour of the busy looking by-election HQ. As you would expect, there are lots of leaflets and cake.

And someone on his very first Lib Dem by-election campaign. And that someone looks incredibly comfortable and on message.

The point, really, is to persuade people to go.
I remember how much it meant to us in Dunfermline in the middle of Winter back in 2006 when what seemed like the entire party turned up to put in a shift or several. We were able to deliver that winning campaign because we had the help.
Jane Dodds is an incredibly talented and experienced MP. We need someone with her background on our benches. I’m going there a week on Thursday for 3 days because I want to see her in the House of Commons.
Posted in News | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Ed and Jo answer Lib Dem Immigrants’ questions

As the hostile environment continues to ruin lives, Lib Dem Immigrants posed questions to the leadership  candidates.

Here are their answers.

Q1:  If Brexit happens, what should the voting eligibility of resident (non-Commonwealth, non-Irish) EU citizens be? What about resident citizens of other (non-Commonwealth) countries?

Jo:I believe that it makes no sense to withhold voting rights from people who live, work, and have settled in the United Kingdom. We saw in the Euro elections this May the impact of having a double standard of voting eligibility – councils unable to administer the system and people unaware that they weren’t going to be able to vote. To add insult to injury, the idea that people born outside the Commonwealth don’t have a vote simply because they weren’t once taken over by Britain as part of the Empire, is outdated and completely unfair. Put simply – I believe that if you’re living in this country long term, you should be able to vote.

Ed:
• the voting eligibility of resident EU citizens (I presume you mean people who have permanent residency rights) should be full, i.e., all elections.
• to widen the franchise to give voting rights to non-EU, non-Commonwealth citizens, would be a major departure. Nonetheless, I would be very keen to do it for local elections, but would want to consult widely before giving voting rights for national elections.


Q2: The party is committed to reducing visa fees to the cost of administration. What other steps could we take to stop visa regulations tormenting immigrants? For example, how could we make work visas less of a barrier to career progression?
Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Lib Dems say Bollocks to Homophobia and Transphobia at London Pride

The first time I came across Pride in London was in 1992 and I was thoroughly captivated by the joyful and bright display.

Yesterday, Liberal Democrats gathered to celebrate the LGBT+ movement 50 years after the Stonewall riot. We were part of a huge and diverse march.

Brian Paddiick won the brilliant t-shirt competition

And new MEP Luisa Porritt had the best hat.

Both leadership candidates were there and very much in the spirit of things:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Chuka calls out Ann Widdecombe’s slavery comments

When I was 8 years old, I watched the tv series Roots. I was horrified at its depiction of slavery and it sparked in me a lifelong commitment to human rights, fairness, freedom and equality. The principle of one human being owning another was bad enough, but the brutality with which the slaves were treated shocked me to the core.

So when Ann Widdecombe came out with her nonsense comparing Brexit to slaves attaining their freedom, I was angry. How dare she attack an institution that is so committed to peace, democracy and human rights?

Chuka Umunna took her to task:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 13 Comments

WATCH: Martin Horwood’s speech to the European Parliament: Brexit is not inevitable

Lib Dem MEP Martin Horwood was cheered in the European Parliament today as he gave his maiden speech, saying that Brexit was not inevitable and asking that the EU continue its policy of patience with our Government which, he waist, was acting like it was in Mr Bean or Monty Python.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Lib Dem MEPs say Bollocks to Brexit

How amazing has it been to see the joyous, determined bunch of Lib Dem MEPs taking their seats in Strasbourg today? I will love Barbara Gibson forever for having hers on the right way round.

Their t-shirts had such attitude that the BBC’s Adam Fleming was trying really hard not to laugh when he said that they had a word on the back that he couldn’t possibly say on the lunchtime news. I’ll be watching the Ten to see if they manage it then…

And if anyone is thinking of saying that we were as bad as the Brexit Party, well, you’re wrong.

The Awkward Squad made clear that there was a better t-shirt supplier in town – one that funds Lib Dem Pride presence. And who would have done them a Stop Brexit version if they had asked nicely, I’m sure.

South East MEP and LDV Alumnus Antony Hook posted this video.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 15 Comments

SOS – how to summon help using your smartphone

On Sunday afternoon, I was out walking my dog when I was threatened by a man on a path about 15 minutes’ walk from my house.

I’ll spare you the details but the five or so minutes until I was able to get away from him felt like a great deal longer and it is not an exaggeration to say that I feared for my life.

It was the second most terrifying experience of my life – the first being when my husband was rushed back into theatre in the middle of the night following his open heart surgery.

It will be some time before I can easily walk those paths again.

However, one good thing that has come out of this is that I discovered, courtesy of Jennie and my son’s friend, that there is likely a feature on your smartphone that enables you to summon help. I was frantically fumbling with my phone trying to get it to call anyone. Heaven knows, it makes enough pocket calls, but the one time I actually needed it to…..

On an iPhone, you hold down the lock button and the volume button until the SOS screen appears. It’s slightly more complicated as you have to then use the slider which may be difficult if it’s in your pocket. But if you can work the sliding button thingy, it will automatically call the Police and text two of your contacts with your location.

On an Android phone, you search SOS and you can set it up from there. This article explains a bit more about what it can do.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Stonewall 50 years on

“The first Pride was a riot.”

So said many signs at Pride, Edinburgh last Saturday.

It’s 50 years today that a community, after much discrimination and harassment, finally said it had had enough. Yet another Police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, pushed its customers over the edge, with trans women of colour leading the fightback.

Pink News has the story of how Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera threw things at the Police, sparking 3 nights of rioting and the birth of a movement that has won rights for the LGBT community. Back then, you could be sacked for being gay, you couldn’t marry and you had no rights if your partner died or took ill. Imagine what it must have been like to have your partner dying in hospital but his or her family won’t let you anywhere near them and you have no power to stop them. That was the reality for far too many people.

If Stonewall happened today, it would be all over Twitter in seconds. There would be rolling news coverage. 28th June 1969 was my husband’s 18th birthday.  I asked him if he was aware of what was happening and he said it was years later, through music, that he first became aware of Stonewall.

The Stonewall riots led to the joyous, colourful Pride celebrations we have today when the LGBT community celebrates and looks to advance its rights. At the moment, it’s trying hard not to see rights rolled back as the toxic atmosphere over Gender Recognition Act reform frightens legislators.

It is hardly surprising, then, that the BBC reported this week about the surge in hate crimes against transgender people. And when I say surge, I’m talking an 81% rise. We can’t stand by and see that happen.

Both our leadership candidates have been very vocal in calling out transphobia and supporting Gender Recognition Act Reform and you get the feeling from both of them that this is important to them.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

An island by-election as Tavish Scott steps down for job at Scottish Rugby

Former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has announced that he is leaving the Scottish Parliament to take up a job as head of External Affairs with Scottish Rugby.  He’s one of a handful of MSPs remaining who were first elected in 1999. Anyone want to have a go at naming the rest?

Tavish led the Scottish Party from 2008-2011 and had three ministerial posts in the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalitions. In 2001, he resigned as a Minister for Parliament after refusing to support the Executive in a vote on fishing because of the impact on his constituents.

He came back into Government in 2003 and served as Deputy Minister for Finance, entering the Cabinet as Minister for Transport after Jim Wallace’s resignation as Deputy First Minister in 2005.

Tavish said:

Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

I want to thank people the length and breadth of the islands for their support over the years. The bread and butter of representing people is helping solve problems and making their case to government, organisations and businesses. I have always enjoyed the challenge of serving Shetland and it is the part of the job that I will, without doubt, miss the most.

There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything. I leave the Liberal Democrats at an exciting time in the party’s development. There have been excellent recent results in the recent European elections, improved poll ratings and there is genuine optimism about the future for the party.

So on this, the 20th anniversary week of the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, it is the right time for me to change direction.

I am absolutely delighted to be joining Scottish Rugby at this incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland and across the world.  To have the opportunity to work for Scottish Rugby is a huge challenge and one that I cannot wait to begin. I will miss the cut and thrust of politics and the people I have met and represented for 20 years, but there can be no better new beginning than working for Scottish Rugby.

Willie Rennie paid tribute to his decades of service:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

So what happens next in Brecon and Radnorshire?

Now that Conservative MP Chris Davies has been recalled and there will be a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire, you might be wondering what happens next. Well, this evening he has been selected by the local Conservatives to fight the seat in the by-election despite having been convicted of submitting a fraudulent invoice and almost one in five of his constituents signing a petition to get him sacked.

The message from the Welsh Liberal Democrats is clear – people in Brecon deserve better:

Over 10,000 people signed the recall petition and decisively rejected Chris Davies because they had enough of an MP putting Brecon and Radnorshire on the map for all the wrong reasons.

By adopting Chris Davies again the Conservatives have demonstrated they can offer nothing more than an MP embroiled in controversy. People deserve better.

This by-election is a clear choice between the same old broken politics from the Conservatives, or a chance to demand better for our communities with Jane Dodds and the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

I’ve seen various people saying that it its he Speaker that calls the election and it will definitely be on 25th July.

That is not the case.

This is like any other by-election. It is up to the party who won the seat at the last election to decide when it will take place by moving the writ in the Commons. From the House of Commons website:

If the 10% threshold is reached the petitions officer informs the Speaker of the House of Commons that the recall petition has been successful. On the giving of that notice the seat becomes vacant. A by-election is then required and the recalled may stand as a candidate. The timing of a UK Parliamentary by-election is determined by custom of the House of Commons: the party that previously held the seat will usually decide when to trigger the by-election.

And what is the timescale?

A new Writ is usually issued within three months of the vacancy. There have been a few times when seats remained vacant longer than six months. Seats will be left vacant towards the end of a Parliament. They are then filled at the general election.

If there are many vacant seats by-elections can take place on the same day.

The by-election timetable is between 21 and 27 working days from the issuing of the writ.

If they do that tomorrow, then the by-election will likely take place on 25th July  but they could leave it till after the Summer recess if they wanted.

We shall just have to wait and see.

But whenever it happens, you do need to go if you possibly can. A by-election campaign at full pelt is a sight to behold. You get to see the pinnacle of best practice in our campaigns, you get to enjoy the fantastically busy atmosphere and, in this case, there will be gorgeous scenery.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

Lib Dem Councillor Julia Ogiehor speaks out after being racially abused on the Tube

Haringey Lib Dem Councillor Julia Ogiehor has described, in a very disturbing Twitter thread, how she suffered disgusting racial abuse on the tube earlier this week:

She also spoke to the Guardian about her ordeal:

According to Ogiehor, the two white men said they were from Liverpool after a fellow commuter intervened and sat next to her, before the men accused her of being “ashamed” of where she was from.

“One of them called me uneducated, and looked like I didn’t go to university,” Ogiehor said. “I had my hands up saying I do not want to speak to you any more, then one of the guys tried to pull my hands down and demanded I get out of his sight.

“I recoiled and said please do not touch me, as he kept saying I had no common sense and that I was uneducated at the top of his voice. I was the only black person in the carriage and he seemed to expect everyone would be on their side. They seemed to be a little taken aback when that was not the case.”

She added: “They had such a sense of entitlement and sounded offended that I refused to go into my heritage and did indeed come from London.”

And Julie talked about the importance of showing solidarity when you see others under attack:

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Lib Dems oppose SNP plans to delay Gender Recognition Act Reform

The SNP Government announced yesterday that it was kicking the can down the road on gender recognition act reforms.

While acknowledging the need for reform, Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville told the Scottish Parliament:

I am a feminist, and I am deeply—and rightly—proud that this Government has taken such clear and concerted action to protect women’s rights and to promote gender equality. I have stated before, as has the First Minister, that I do not feel a conflict between my support for women’s rights and my support for trans rights. However, I know and I understand that many people do. It is important that we listen to and address those concerns.

This is a very disappointing decision not least because the government is pandering to scaremongering and misinformation. Trans people are suffering every day from abuse and discrimination. Ministers should look at evidence not media hyperbole.

Every day in the media, we see yet another attack on trans people and the organisations that support them. And every time these have been scrutinised – such as when the charity Mermaids was subjected to a review for funding which they eventually got – they have been found to be completely without foundation.

All GRA Reform does is make it easier for trans people to change their birth certificate. Scotland’s feminist organisations are all in favour of reform. Last year at Conference, Lib Dem Voice hosted a meeting at which Emma Ritch from Engender and James Morton from the Scottish Transgender Alliance explained how their organisations in Scotland had worked together for equal rights for all.

Christine Burns, who was at the forefront of campaigning for the law to be changed to protect transgender people from discrimination back in the 80s and 90s, highlighted the dangers of the Scottish Government’s approach:

Women are women. And trying to draw divisions between cis and trans over who gets women’s rights is exactly the divide and conquer tactics used by the people who want to diminish *all* women’s rights and all human rights.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

The Merton Machine smashes it – another Lib Dem GAIN

What a fantastic result to wake up to! Honestly, I tried to stay awake, but I just couldn’t.

We got 8% last time!

Let’s hear it for the amazing Merton Machine and Cllr Jennifer Gould. Super Six now becomes Magnificent Seven!

And we had another amazing step forward in Furzedown ward in Wandsworth – up 18% for goodness sake.

Nice work from Jon Irwin and his team.

And another super increase in vote share from Julie Burridge in the Isle of Wight.

Thanks to Frank Little in Wales for flying the Lib Dem flag and giving people the chance to vote for us.

Posted in News | Tagged | 24 Comments

Tory leadership contest already degenerating into online abuse.

One of the reasons there is a lot of solidarity among women in politics is that we all have to put up with a lot of the same crap.

We have to deal with people thinking that they have the right to say things to us about our appearance, our behaviour and our beliefs than they would ever dare to say to another man.

So when I saw Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach tweet a horrible message (which she has since deleted) she’d had from a male Tory MP, my first thought was sympathy for her.

At the tail end of the coalition, I actually felt I was going to completely go under at one point with all the abuse I was getting. And the worst was from fellow Lib Dems telling me what a disgrace I was. The pro-coalition people didn’t think I was loyal enough to Nick Clegg. The anti-coalition people thought I was too slavishly loyal to Nick Clegg.  And I got it at full pelt from both sides.

A year or so later, I wrote about the experience, and this seems to be a good time to reprise that here:

The internet is a pretty torrid place at the best of times. Some users delight in throwing rage, bile and abuse around the place. If you are a woman the abuse can be particularly graphic, sexualised and incredibly unpleasant.

In a feature for Radio 5 live, 3 politicians, including our former minister Jo Swinson, talk about their experiences of online abuse and how it affected them. Also taking part are my SNP MP Hannah Bardell and Labour’s Diane Abbott, who gets a whole load of racist bile thrown in just for good measure.

This is fairly routine for any woman who commits the “offence” of going on the internet in possession of an opinion. I’ve come in for it myself and it does wear you down. There was a time a couple of years ago where it really started to affect me badly and reduced me to tears on several occasions. The European elections disaster and the independence referendum combined to create what seemed to be a never-ending spiral of abuse. The most hurtful came from commenters on this site, members of the party, some of whom I actually know in real life, who said some pretty unpleasant personal stuff, but they were just part of it. It felt that wherever I turned, there was nastiness.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

And the winner of the Channel 4 Tory leader debate is…..

…. Well, Krishan Guru-Murthy, obviously.

He wasn’t leaving any of the candidates any wiggle room, especially on the question about their weaknesses. You know how we are all told to say something like “impatience” or :”I work too hard.” Well, Michael Gove tried to get away with the former and Guru-Murthy unleashed a charge of hypocrisy on his head. How could he  support severe consequences for people on drugs charges and get away with it himself?

No wonder Boris didn’t show up He would have been eviscerated on live tv by a competent anchor. He would not have lasted five minutes. There was no incentive for him to show up. Presumably he thinks he’ll get an easier ride on the BBC on Tuesday.

Frankly, the thought of any of the Tory hopefuls as PM brings me out in hives.

Caroline Voaden, our new MEP n the South East, sees little  hope.

Out of all of them, Rory Stewart comes across as a proper human being. But I still wouldn’t want this Brexiteer as Prime Minister.

However the bar is so low that you have to slither on your belly to get under it.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments

A good reason to check your emails

If you are a party member and you don’t know about the leadership hustings taking place between Ed Davey and Jo Swinson tomorrow night, you might want to check your emails as you will have an invitation to them.

You will need to RSVP in order to be sent the link to the proceedings.

It’s taking place tomorrow night at 7pm. If you can’t make it then, it will be uploaded to the party website after the event.g

Here’s the two in action at the London hustings to whet your appetite:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

Googling guide dogs in your lunch hour: Jenny Marr on the constant anxiety of living with Diabetes

You think you know someone and have some understanding of what they are dealing with.

And then they write something that makes you realise that you have no idea.

Jenny Marr is one of the most wisest, most competent people I know. She’s a great leader and team builder and one day she’s going to represent the Borders in Parliament. She has the sort of drive that reminds me of our very best campaigners.

I always knew Jen has Type 1 Diabetes and I will never forget the early morning phone call during the 2017 election when I learned she was in hospital because of it. Thankfully, she was home in a couple of days and all was well, but it did bring home how the line between good health and crisis was more finely balanced than I’d appreciated.

The theme of this year’s Diabetes Awareness Week is “seeing Diabetes differently.” Jenny has written a piece for the Scottish Lib Dems website which, as she puts it, aims to help  us “see Diabetes in its entirety.”

If you read nothing else today, read and understand this. 

As she says, there’s a lot more to living with the condition than not being able to binge-eat chocolate:

We’re more at risk than others of losing our sight. Translation: if you get something in your eye, you wonder if it’s the beginning of the end. On bad days you’re googling guide dogs on your lunch break.

Wake up with pins and needles. Translation: have I got it so wrong, my circulation is starting to fail? Could I get around in wheelchair? You assess all your usual haunts and whether you could continue as normal.

I’m in a meeting and I’m tired. Translation: is my blood sugar too low? I’m too anxious to leave, too anxious to check my blood in front of people. Do I just eat something and risk making the wrong decision? There is only anxiety.

On the worst of days I have sat at my desk gripped by fear and unable to work because I think I’ve taken too much insulin.

Paralysed for hours, the only work completed is the Oscar nominated performance of “normal girl in office” I have to play so everyone thinks I’m fine.

And then there’s the constant working out that balance between food and activity and the effect it might have. Imagine the mental energy that takes up:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Save the date – October 12th for a massive People’s Vote march in London

The People’s Vote campaign have announced a Summer of campaigning which will take in many towns around the country, Labour and Conservative conferences and another big march in London on October 12th.

I travelled down from Scotland for the march last October. I was gutted that I couldn’t go when a million took to the streets in March.

The campaign set out their plans:

These protests will mobilise all those who feel their voice is being ignored by politicians hell-bent on imposing the hardest possible form of Brexit on the country without the public being given final say.

This will be the most intense and sustained programme of campaigning activity undertaken yet by a campaign that earlier this year organised a march that brought 1 million people on to the streets of London. Now a series of rallies and actions, including at the party conferences, will reach every corner of the country before a vast march and rally in London on October 12.

The “Let Us Be Heard” campaign is designed to generate relentless popular political pressure ahead of the crunch decision on Brexit that will decide our country’s future. At its heart is the recognition it is vital our voice is heard first in the towns and cities of Britain, including areas that voted Leave in 2016, before being taken back to Westminster in the autumn.

The protests will begin with a huge rally in Leeds on June 22 – three years almost to the day since the last referendum – before moving to 15 towns and cities including Sunderland, Luton, Newport and Glasgow. The campaign will then head to the Labour and Conservative Party conferences in Manchester and Brighton, before reaching a climax with our fourth People’s Vote march in London on October 12.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Ed and Jo on Chuka joining the Lib Dems

Both the leadership candidates have warmly welcomed Chuka Umunna to the Lib Dems:

Ed said:

Stopping Brexit is my number one priority and I welcome Chuka to our benches as a key player in this fight. He has shown huge courage, and will make a major contribution to the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats are back in the game, and the only viable force for pro-Europeans across the UK. Join us.

Jo said:

I have said all along that growing a liberal movement means reaching out to bring more people into our party, and I am delighted that Chuka has decided to join the Liberal Democrats.

I have worked with Chuka on the People’s Vote campaign, and I know the passion, intellect, and energy he will bring to our party, and our campaign to stop Brexit.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jul - 4:37pm
    Well said, John. Like my old friend I'd love to know what experience Mr Pugh and Michael 1 have of being candidates, of fighting and...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Jul - 4:27pm
    Michael BG, Why do you ask such extremely loaded questions? David and John are talking about local government by-elections where no leaflets and little effort...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Jul - 4:13pm
    Laurence Cox, Bearing in mind that equality is one of our three fundamental values, I can't understand why you are suggesting a version of local...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 21st Jul - 3:59pm
    John Marriott, I am surprised that in North Kestevan it was possible to get someone elected for us without putting out any leaflets. In 1994...
  • User AvatarRob Bird 21st Jul - 3:56pm
    Brecon and Radnorshire is a beautiful area with lots of friendly people. I hope lots more Lib Dem’s will come down to help get Jane...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 21st Jul - 3:55pm
    Some people have the timing the wrong way round, our date of the 23rd was announced Months ago, The Tories then announced that there's would...
Sun 21st Jul 2019
Sun 28th Jul 2019
Thu 1st Aug 2019
Sun 4th Aug 2019
Sun 18th Aug 2019