Author Archives: Will Wilshere

Watford Action Weekend

Watford march action day

After many months up in Hull, where I’m currently at University, I jumped at the chance to get back to my home turf of Watford for an action weekend, and what a weekend it was.

First things first, much of the credit has to go to Nassar who managed to get such a great turn out, including a large number of fellow Liberal Youth members, as well as an appearance by Mike Thornton, Jo Swinson, Duncan Hames and Norman Lamb. It was a fantastic weekend and if I heard correctly we managed to knock on over 5000 doors on Saturday alone! We all know what a challenge it is to organise Lib-Dems.

Secondly a massive thanks to the wonderful Richmonds who put up their home as our base of operations; to stand having 20+ Liberal Youth in your home is a feat that would make Hercules himself sweat with fear.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Be careful with home education registration

The media reporting of the tragic death of Dylan Seabridge, blaming the fact that he was home educated, is bringing back bad memories of 2009. Then Ed Balls commissioned the “Badman Review” into whether Home Education could be used to hide child abuse. Whilst the review found no evidence to link the two, it felt very much like Labour was out to get us, like the government was looking for a reason to attack home education in an illiberal way as only Labour could. More often than not, home education is seen as the problem, not the local authority’s failure to act with the powers they already had, or the parents’ failure to seek help. These cases, whilst tragic, are very much the exception and do not reflect the reality of home education.

I was home educated between the ages of 11 – 17 and remember this being discussed by both students and parents. The approach felt like a witch hunt, with the government demanding access to your homes to privately question children. People were worried that the questions would be leading, and due to the number of children who were young or special needs the gut feeling was they wouldn’t realise the severity of the questions being asked.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favour of registration, but it would need to be done in a way that didn’t feel like an attack on home education.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 35 Comments

Pizza, Politics and Alistair Carmichael

Watford pizza and politicsWith a move to Hull University looming I’m one of the many who reluctantly had to miss out on Conference this year. However some solace was found in Watford Liberal Democrats organising a “Politics and Pizza” evening, with Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael as a special guest.

Politics and pizza is a fantastic combination of two of my biggest interests and it seemed very popular with the rest of the local party as well. The venue was nearly filled and what a lovely venue it was! It’s the finest mix of library and bar you’ve ever seen. The only downside was having to spot the door to the venue tucked between two larger and far more “shiny” shops. Big thanks to Cllr Peter Taylor playing “Spot the Liberal Democrat” at the door and helping me and a few others who nearly managed to walk past.

As the pizza arrived, people merrily chatted with each other between bites and I was lucky enough to be offered a seat at Alistair’s table. After a brief discussion amongst ourselves at the table where Alistair asked about ourselves – all but one of us at the table were new or at least younger members – it was time for the main event to begin. After a brief introduction from Peter, who had worked for Alistair in the past,  Alistair stood up to talk to us.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here

refugees welcome

So on Saturday I and a couple of hundred other Liberal Democrats made an appearance in London to take part in the refugee solidarity march taking place there, as well as countless other cities around the UK and Europe. Credit should go to Zack Polanski for organising the event and for Kelly-Marie Blundell for doing the hard task of organising a couple of hundred Lib-Dems throughout the event. In fact credit to all those who helped out whose names I’ve either forgotten or never learnt that helped keep us all together and organised; I once heard it said that herding cats was easier than organising Lib Dems, so full credit to them.

Posted in News | Tagged | 11 Comments

Vlogging to victory

It may not have done Labour much good, but Ed Miliband’s biggest achievement of the whole election in my mind came when he managed to secure an endorsement from Russell Brand. Not that I’m saying having Russell Brand back you is that great, but it’s an achievement. Why? Because he is a figure that many young people look up to and pay attention to and – regardless of whether we think that’s a good idea or not – we have to respect that.

The BBC news website reported the other day that vloggers (Video Bloggers) had been given advertising guidelines. This increase is due to the fact that “YouTube celebrities” are now effectively plain old “celebrities”, with figures such as the writer and one half of the vlogging duo “Vlogbrothers” John Green celebrating the release of the film “Paper Towns”, one of his own novels. As the article states “Nearly a quarter of 11 to 19-year-old girls (24%) view well-known fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella as a role model”, hardly a small audience.

This is a realm of influence as yet mostly untapped by the other parties. I remember a few years ago the vlogger/comedian Humza Arshad made a video endorsing Ken Livingston for the Mayoral election, again I hear you say it may not have changed much but the influence is there. Humza now works with police to counter extremism in young people further demonstrating the influence these YouTube have with younger audiences. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 16 Comments

A positive light on the Labour leadership election

In case anyone hasn’t noticed Labour is in a spot of bother over its leadership election. Jeremy Corbyn looks relatively comfortable in his position as favourite to win and the other candidates seem to be busy bickering over who is best to challenge him for the position of Labour leader.  I’ve seen it thrown around that if Corbyn wins there’ll be a mass migration from Labour, or even that no matter who they elect they’ve got themselves into a flat spin and aren’t likely to recover.

I’ve also seen it thrown around that if that happens we’ll be the ones they’ll likely turn to, partly thanks to our new leader and partly due to the fact we’re seen as being nearest to Labour politically. I’d like to think that this is true; I’ve often thought that a large number of people who identify as Labour voters would happily support us if they were more aware of what we stood for as a party.

Firstly we need to remember that it’s almost certain now that the next general election will be in 2020 instead of the relative uncertainty of the past. Labour is still the second party in the UK parliament, even if their vote collapses like it did in Scotland they’re not going to lose their position in the Commons just yet. Arguably this is the best time for Labour to have this happen, early enough into the new government that it’s not impossible for whoever becomes leader to try and fix things. Five years is a long time, especially in politics, anything could happen and we can’t count on a weakened Labour. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 79 Comments

Operation Phoenix

phoenixIt’s been a few days now and hopefully most of the hurt is over, though for some it’ll take a long time. Jobs have been lost and decades of work finished overnight. The country lost some of its best MP’s, and we lost some of the best of our own.

I’ve heard a lot of people saying that we’re dead. We’re wiped out in politics. Insignificant. Clearly the 6000 people who have joined us didn’t get that particular memo. And it’s lit a fire in me personally and I’m sure many more people feel similarly invigorated.

Posted in News | Tagged | 12 Comments

Opinion: Letterbox v doorstep

 

I’ve been volunteering in my seat of Watford for Dorothy Thornhill since February, offering my assistance whenever I can. I’ve done my fair share of both deliveries and canvassing since then, and whilst I was doing some deliveries I got thinking.

Which way is the best way to attract voters and win people over?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Becket 20th Nov - 10:49pm
    @RossMcL. I would agree, it is full of ideas we can sell
  • User AvatarRossMcL 20th Nov - 10:30pm
    It's a really good manifesto. Lots of great ideas that we can go out and sell on the doorstep. I'm sure the usual gloom-mongers will...
  • User AvatarMichael Sammon 20th Nov - 9:47pm
    Thanks for saying this Chris. I hope the British public realise that a liberal democracy can't be taken for granted and we'll all be sorry...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Nov - 9:11pm
    @ Mick Taylor "A grand coalition, as suggested above, whilst logical in terms of Brexit is something that has never happened outside of wartime and...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 20th Nov - 8:38pm
    Martin is right to remind us that any deal, whether a formal coalition or confidence and supply or even allowing a government to be formed...
  • User AvatarMartin 20th Nov - 8:23pm
    Sandra Hammett: In the end you have to ask the membership, no formal arrangement can take place without a formal members' vote. In the circumstances...