November AD LIB Review: Burt on manufacturing, Paddick on social justice, new Shirley biography and a gaffe

Ad Lib November 2013November’s AD LIB magazine hit inboxes and doorsteps this morning. I read it online almost all the time now, mainly because I can zoom in and make the text bigger. That’s what middle age is all about. It is good to have the choice, though.

This is the twelfth issue of the successor to Liberal Democrat News. In its first year, it’s produced some illuminating articles. There have been some issues with variety of photos and it sometimes looks a bit too male, but it’s generally been a good read, with some superb interviews and features. There have been few major mistakes. The lobster recipe in May was about as close as you get to a gaffe until now.

Today, in the Members’ Comment feature, campaigner Elizabeth Adams, who wrote the domestic violence motion passed at last month’s conference was asked the following question:

You’re a mum to two young daughters. How do you balance your active campaigning with being a parent?

If men were asked this sort of question a routine basis, it would be fine. But they aren’t. Just the other day, I wrote in the article on All Women Shortlists about how female candidates are often asked by members during selections about their childcare plans, even if their children have left home. Even when a male candidate in the selection has children the same age, it’s the woman who gets all the highly inappropriate questioning that you would not be allowed to ask at a job interview. And now we have our party magazine reinforcing the same old prejudices by asking this question of a woman.

In their defence, they said on Twitter:


First of all, they really don’t owe men an apology, particularly when all the letters bar one this month are from men, as are all the tweets featured. Secondly, I get the role model thing – but just asking those questions to women is only going to reinforce existing stereotypes.

Inside Paddy’s wheelhouse

Olly Grender gives us a sneak peak inside Paddy Ashdown’s “Wheelhouse” general election group and its members. One thing I found lacking was anyone from local government. Surely you would want someone who would be able to advise and encourage integrated campaigning.

Elsewhere, Lorely Burt talks with great passion about running your own business and her constituency’s manufacturing base. She talks about her first job as an assistant governor in a women’s prison and how that helped shape her politics. Similarly, Brian Paddick discusses how his experiences in the police have made him determined to speak up in the Lords on social justice and civil liberties. We hear of by-election triumphs in Aylesbury and despair at the lack of Liberal Democrat candidates in other contests. Young council candidate Tahmid Chowdhury gives an insight into the issues he’s dealing with and there’s a review of a new biography of Shirley Williams. Julian Huppert and Shas Sheehan debate whether the niqab should be banned in certain circumstances.

As always, it’s a good read. You can subscribe here. I hope in months to come there’s a much greater focus on what our councillors are doing, particularly in areas where we have elections. Similarly, our MEPs need to show us what good they are bringing to people’s daily lives.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tony Dawson 29th Oct '13 - 7:02pm

    ” it’s the woman who gets all the highly inappropriate questioning that you would not be allowed to ask at a job interview”

    If a male campaigner has kids and a female partner, the question is not asked as the (awful but often true) assumption is that the partner will do more than her share. If a woman campaigner has kids, the question is asked. But with a male campaigner with kids but no partner the question is unfortunately not even asked because few people even think about it. There is the real proof of the unfortunate sexist stereotype!

  • Paul Holmes 29th Oct '13 - 9:44pm

    Caron, you say that male candidates are not asked child care questions.

    But I certainly was when I ran for selection in Chesterfield prior to the 2001 election. Long standing Lib Dem friends and colleagues had known all 3 of my children since birth and some did indeed ask such questions.

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Oct '13 - 10:06pm

    The reason why men aren’t asked such questions as often as women is because there are more full time mums than dads. We can encourage shared parenting, but we don’t need to start reality denying. I don’t think it is sexist to discuss the present day reality.

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Oct '13 - 10:39pm

    I was going to say “should”, rather than “can” encourage shared parenting, but I don’t feel comfortable telling other people how to live their life. I think the important thing is that women or men aren’t pressured to do anything they don’t want to, whether it be quit a career, have a baby, go part time or whatever.

  • peter tyzack 30th Oct '13 - 12:04pm

    the biggest ‘gaffe’ of all was replacing LibDem News with this miserable little supermarket mag. OK so LDN had its faults, but it was far more relevant to what the party in the country should be about. There are plenty of other magazines if you want a ‘good read’.

  • Grace Goodlad 30th Oct '13 - 12:30pm

    I too miss LDN. I do not want recipes and soft-focus “at home with our MP pieces”. The ghastly sixth form debate article is usually patronising and simplistic to the point of insult. When I am engaging in Libdemmery I want to be a LibDem and am not concerned about 6 top tips on stain removal or 3 new things to do with a courgette. Mind you I could suggest a few things to do with a courgette to whoever’s brainchild this abomination is.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Oct '13 - 1:32pm

    I didn’t bother subscribing after LDN went. From Peter Tyzack and Grace Goodlad’s comments, it looks like I made the right decision.

  • Second article I’ve clicked through to today in which I entirely and whole heartedly agree… with Grace’s comment

  • Roger Roberts 30th Oct '13 - 5:41pm

    Absolutely agree “Liberal Democrat News” was relevant and newsey, not perfect but we looked forward to it. AD LIB, although well meaning is a disappointment Bring back” Lib Dem News” or we will have nothing when AD LIB goes under !

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