Author Archives: Charley Hasted

Pride in the Lib Dems

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of London Pride and Liberal Democrats were right there marching with all the pride we could muster -both as Liberal Democrats and throughout the parade Liberal Democrats were marching with other groups and organisations from the Armed forces to NHS trusts to Sports Groups. It was amazing to be part of this piece of history with 1.5 million people involved! Thanks to every Lib Dem who came yesterday, whether you were marching with the group or elsewhere or supporting from the crowd – and many thanks to our fabulous GLA Assembly Members – Caroline, Hina and Luisa for sharing the day with us.


Thanks to Luisa, Caroline, Hina and all the other Lib Dems
who helped give us an amazing presence yesterday.

Pride has always meant a lot to me – it’s the first place I felt I could be unashamed of myself when I was 16 and had just come out as bi. I’ve seen some of the best moments of solidarity there – adults taking it upon themselves to hide hateful banners from teenagers going past, cis people passionately defending trans people, thousands of people screaming support for LGBT+ refugee groups to give a very few examples I’ve seen over the years.

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When catching up means losing out

Children and young people have spent the last two years trying to learn how to cope with isolation, loss and a world turned upside down. Why do we now need to harass them into making sure they’re at the same academic level as a hypothetical young person who hasn’t spent the last 2 years living through a pandemic when that child doesn’t exist anywhere on earth? We have to ask who are we trying to catch them up to and why?

This cohort of students has faced challenges to their education most of us will never experience and we have the ability as a society to decide we’re going to cut them some slack and let them adapt to yet another change in circumstances. That we are going to expect less of them in terms of pure academic knowledge and instead focus on promoting their mental and emotional well being. As long as children have the basics covered and older young people have the functional academic skills they need to function day to day let’s take anything else as a bonus, let them take fewer qualifications and use some of that time to make sure they have the coping strategies to become emotionally healthy adults. Education can happen at any time of life but the longer maladaptive coping strategies are left in place the longer it takes to recover from them.

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A big thank you to Ed and Jo for championing Trans rights

As the dust begins to settle after the Leadership Election (and many congratulations to Jo and commiserations to Ed) there will, as usual, be time for some self-evaluation and reflection for the party, even if the other leadership election that’s happened means there might be a bit less of it than normal!

With that in mind I only have one thing to add to everything else that will be going on in the coming days and that’s a note of thanks to Jo and Ed for their unwavering support for trans people during the Leadership election. You both stood by us, unswervingly, even when it led to you getting so much abuse for that stance. It would have been so easy to step back and dial it down. To make vague equivocal noises about supporting equality. To throw us under the bus as we have been so many times before. Thank you for not doing the easy thing.

Both Jo and Ed showed yet again that the real essence of liberalism is doing the right thing and not the easy thing. Giving trans people a place to feel welcomed and at home at a time when we are so under attack in the media and everywhere we go was definitely not the easy thing for either of you to do. It has meant so much to the trans people I know in the party (and even quite a few outside it) to see you both prove that you will stand with us against those attacks, which frankly makes us unique as a party, and show conclusively that there is no place for bigotry and transphobia in the Liberal Democrats.

At a time when every other party has been backing down in the face of those attacks, you both stepped forward. Thank you for proving beyond a doubt that whatever your differences and whatever the future brings we have had a choice between two true liberals.

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Patchwork Foundation’s Party Conference programme now open for applications!

The Patchwork Foundation was founded in 2013 to encourage Young people from marginalised and minority backgrounds to get involved in public life and make politics more accessible. Over the years it has grown from strength to strength and is something I am incredibly proud to be a part of. 

Patchwork runs the Masterclass Programme, the MP of the Year Awards and the #GetInvolved programme as well as other events and sessions throughout the year. As part of the #GetInvolved programme we take groups of young people aged from 18-30 to the three main party conferences every Autumn and this is now open for applications.

Participants receive a free pass to Labour, Conservative or (most importantly!) Liberal Democrat Federal conference. We provide briefing before the conference and special events for participants during the conference, last year we had an excellent masterclass with Baroness Barker and (nearly) front row seats for the leader’s speech at the Lib Dem conference. But past Liberal Democrat Conference programmes have had sessions with Jo Swinson MP, Nick Clegg and Caroline Pidgeon AM among others.

For many of our participants it’s their first experience of how political parties work on the inside and even people who are already members of political parties tell us how much they gain from the experience. We’re also really proud of the fact it opens politics up to people who otherwise might not be able to come to conference at all and many of our conference participants go on to get more involved in the Patchwork Foundation’s Masterclass Programme and #GetInvolved campaigning and training sessions which have seen us take young people all over the place to campaign for candidates in several elections.

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