Author Archives: Christine Jardine MP

Christine Jardine MP writes….Let’s invite people in who want to help us build a movement

It was when Charles Kennedy was standing to be leader that I found it most frustrating not to be a member.

I had supported the Liberal Democrats since I was old enough to vote.

Here was a man whose political ideals epitomised what I believed in and I desperately wanted him to leader.

But I couldn’t do anything to help him, or support the party.

I was a journalist. I worked for the BBC, often covered politics and, throughout my career, my impartiality had to be transparent.

When I was eventually able to join the party it was at a point in my career where I had moved away from reporting.

It still took some time to persuade my husband that there would be a professional life after joining and, significantly, that it would not damage his career or reflect on him.

If only there had been a supporters scheme then I could have been involved, voted for the leader and done my bit to help without jeopardising my livelihood.

And I was not alone in that.

I remember losing an active, and effective campaigner, in the highlands because he was promoted and his new role was politically restricted.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Christine Jardine MP writes…We are simply the temporary guardians of their future

‘No taxation without representation’ was the call to arms which shook Westminster to its very core, and drove the American Revolution.

And yet nearly 250 years later here we are again. In this country today 16 and 17 year olds can pay tax and national insurance, and yet they have no say, no representation in how that money they contribute to the public purse is spent.

They can also get married and join the armed forces, but they cannot vote and have no say in our society’s decisions on their future. Yet, nobody has provided a reasonable explanation as to why. There have been plenty of excuses but no explanations.

It frustrates me because I have witnessed first-hand what a difference it makes to our politics, and what a contrast there is when sixteen and seventeen year olds join the debate.

On the eve of the European elections in May 2014, I spent the evening with a group of my daughter’s friends.

It was her 16th birthday. They knew I was involved in both the European elections and the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum campaign and wanted to chat.

The conversations I had that night were some of the most enlightened, challenging and informed of the entire European or Independence referendum campaigns.

At one point, I noticed that even though there was a constant stream of questions a few of the people were also all on their phones.

I was on the brink of being disappointed, when I discovered that they were actually texting other friends who were sending back their own questions to ask.

Imagine that? Young people so desperately keen to understand and be involved in the democratic process.

All of them engaged, all of them informed, all of them keen to make a positive difference and yet none of them entitled to vote the next day.

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

A little part of who I am is struggling to survive

 

I feel as if a little part of who I am is struggling to survive. A little part that has been nurtured and has grown since, as a teenager, I marvelled at the liberal values and writings of Robert Kennedy and Dr Martin Luther King.

It’s the part that grew up regarding US history as testament that a people can use lessons of a divided past to create a society that offers opportunity for all.

And it’s the same part of me that’s always been so proud that I have family amongst those tired and huddled masses who were welcomed with open arms to a nation founded on that simple, yet beautiful, declaration:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

That’s the promise of the United States. A promise to which so many have trusted their futures, and their dreams. But it’s a promise that today seems under threat.

Perhaps not all are equally welcome.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

It’s about Hillary – not Michelle

voice_hillary-clinton

I was in the room normally used for phone banking when I heard the speech drifting in from the TV screen next door.

This was the Virginia Democrats office and I was listening to Michelle Obama.

The First Lady was laying out a clear argument for putting her friend Hillary in the White House.

To some extent I knew arguments already. I had watched the TV debates, listened to the commentators, heard Hillary surrogates tear apart Trump’s ‘locker room banter’ nonsense and soaked up every detail of the policies a Clinton Presidency would pursue.

But this was different.

Something in Michelle Obama’s message reminded me of why I got involved in politics in the first place.

Every word spoke to my convictions, my hopes, the dreams I fear my generation will fail to deliver for our children.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 23 Comments

What Corbyn winning means to me

I was at Inverurie Farmers’ Market when it happened. A stall holder crossed the market to tell me it was official.
Jeremy Corbyn had won.

I’m not sure what that Aberdeenshire farmer thought my reaction was, but I’m sure if he’d known what was actually going on in my head he would have been more than a little surprised.

It was ‘Thank Goodness. Thank Goodness for politics in this country, Thank Goodness for Liberal Democrats and Thank Goodness for all of us.’

Posted in Op-eds | 31 Comments

Opinion: You can allow airport expansion and protect the environment

Airport expansion equals controversy.

It sparks inevitable tensions between the demand for larger airports to fuel our economic growth, and concerns about the impact on the environment.

For those living closest to our major airports, especially Heathrow, those fears can be particularly acute as they endure current noise levels and view the prospect of increased traffic with dread.

And for Liberal Democrats it can often feel that our drive to create a stronger economy is being placed in direct opposition to our desire to protect our environment for future generations.

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