Author Archives: Rebecca Plenderleith

Casual sexism undermines the drive for gender balance

“Bright, intelligent and brave” those are the words that Willie Rennie used to describe me in his speech to Conference. My direct messages on twitter were somewhat different. I had to disable the function to receive messages from anyone but my followers – but that didn’t stop those who already followed me. One man even suggested I’d made up the story for the attention. Because that’s all women’s experiences are to some men. Nothing but a ploy to get attention from men in any form of power.

The same people cry out “We need more women in politics but in a fair way and we need a meritocracy” and “We don’t need positive action, we need to encourage more women to put themselves forward”.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 54 Comments

Why I became (and remain) a Lib Dem


Recently there’s been a lot of talk of people defecting to other parties – namely the Conservatives and Labour – and their exits have been felt very strongly within the Lib Dem community and have caused a ripple effect. Whilst I respect 100% someone’s political opinion and their reasons for defecting, I felt the need to say why I became a Lib Dem and why I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

Being involved with the BBC’s Generation 2015 panel surrounding the 2015 General Election opened up my eyes to something I’d never considered doing before, being a member of a political party. I sat there on the casting day and listened to people speak passionately about their party and that they’d been members since they were 14 and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It came time for me to speak and I was asked my political affiliation and I went “Uh… I dunno? I’ve voted Liberal Democrat in every election I’ve been eligible to vote in but I’m not sure what my political affiliation would be.” It was met with laughter and calls of “tuition fees” and someone else saying “I hope you don’t make that mistake again.” But I did, and I don’t believe it to be a mistake.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

I am not my gender


I’ve written about this on the Lib Dem Voice before so I apologise if I’m repeating myself but once again we’re discussing the idea that we need to get more women into politics as parliamentarians. Once again I’ll repeat myself in saying that this is not something I disagree with. But to have Willie Rennie say “I know many in the party instinctively do not favour positive action but I need to be frank with you. Nothing else has worked.” is actually incredibly concerning for me.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 26 Comments

The Glass Ceiling Is Higher, Not Broken

The idea that we need to encourage more women in politics is not an uncommon one and it’s certainly not one I disagree with. As a woman interested in politics myself there are very few women in politics whom I can look up to. This is not because there’s a lack of talented women, it’s that for some reason they’re turned off to the idea. However, all-woman shortlists are – in my opinion – not the way to solve this issue. It’s said that since Labour implemented all-woman shortlists that a female candidate has never won against a male candidate on an open shortlist. If true, that really does not sound like a progressive and liberal way forward for the Liberal Democrats. That’s why it’s concerning to me that Willie Rennie has backed the idea of gender quotas and all-woman shortlists.

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments

Opinion: Ending mental health inequality

I joined the Liberal Democrats partially due to the importance that has constantly been put on mental health issues by the party. I have suffered from extreme depression and have ended up in A&E due to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. A couple of weeks ago I was officially discharged from psychiatry and I’m using my voice – as it’s a loud one – for those who are suffering and have lost their voice due to mental health concerns.

Over a month ago I wrote to the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, about her apparent lack of understanding when it comes to mental health concerns. On a radio show involving young voters she claimed that Scotland did not have the same issues as England when it came to mental health parity because in Scotland they already had the same legal status. She even went as far to say to one voter on the panel:

If you don’t think we’re doing enough then I have to convince you we are doing enough.

This could not be further from the truth. That’s why I wrote to her. I wrote that the CAMHS targets are not being met. They say that no child should wait longer than 18 weeks for a referral. Only 78.9% are being seen within that time frame. If you up the limit to 26 weeks only 7% more are being seen. That means that of those who are needing referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services 14% are not being seen within half a year! I’ve included the link to these statistics at the end of the post for those interested. I’ll just copy and paste the response I was given:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Opinion: This is our #LibDemFightBack

Fightback54kAs a long-time supporter of the Liberal Democrats I decided to join the party about two weeks before polling day. I was a member of the BBC project “Generation 2015” which was giving young people aged 18 – 24 the chance to get their voices heard and put across what matters to them when it comes time to cast their – or should I say our – votes and I came across so many passionate people my age and some a lot younger than me who were members of the parties they supported. Even though those who had the most influence on me were members of the Conservatives and the Labour party their support was one of the main reasons I wanted to join my party and make a difference.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 13 Comments

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