Tag Archives: christine jardine

WATCH: Liberal Democrat MPs slam Government’s contemptuous approach to Parliament

This afternoon, Alistair Carmichael led an emergency debate, which he had secured, to raise the many ways in which the Government is marginalising Parliament. From ignoring Opposition Day debates to curtailing debate on legislation to the Henry VIII powers.

His speech introducing the debate was excellent. Watch it here.

My favourite bits are this:

The best Governments—and if ever there was a time in our country’s history when we needed the best possible Government, this is surely it—are those that are tested by Parliament, by the Opposition parties and by their own Back Benchers. Time and again, our system fails when the Government and the Opposition agree and arguments remain untested. How different might the debates on the case for going to war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003 have been if the then Opposition had been prepared to take a more questioning approach to Tony Blair’s case? I am sad to say that this Government, however, do not welcome scrutiny by Parliament, but rather seek to avoid it.

and the bit where he challenged MPs to get assertive:

In one sense, the Government have done us a favour by bringing this issue to a head, because it forces us as a House to decide what our role in the future of this country is going to be. Is it to be an active participant, with a strong voice and a decisive say, or is it to be a supine bystander as the Government continue to do as they wish, regardless of their lack of a mandate and, as is increasingly obvious, their lack of authority.

I have been a member of many debating societies over the years. They have all been fine organisations that provided entertainment and mental stimulation in equal measure. I mean them therefore no disrespect when I say that I stood for Parliament believing I was doing something more significant than signing up for a debating society. The difference is that in Parliament—in this House—we can actually effect change. Whether we choose to do so is in our own hands.

I loved the fact that the Tories responded by slagging off the Liberal Democrats in the most immature way as they clearly had no defence.

Christine Jardine said that MPs were there to serve the electorate, not to play games. She talked about seeing Parliament as others see it and the impression it gives to people outside who were not involved in politics.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Liberal Democrats mark World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.

For me it’s a day to reflect on how far we have come since I started to suffer from mental ill health as a child. Forty years ago, nobody understood the desperate, isolating, all-engulfing Depression that I couldn’t shake off, that took every ounce of my energy just to get through the day. I remember trying to talk about it to a friend once, and she scared the living daylights out of me, telling me I’d be locked up in a hospital if anyone found out.

There was the exhausting anxiety which punctuated every day – not helped by the fact that round every corner there might be another bully lurking to shout “Yak” at me. That’s what they called me at school. I just wish I’d had Google then to reassure me that, whatever my tormentors meant, these beasts were actually kind of cute.

My teens were a struggle and because I didn’t get the help I needed, I either didn’t cope very well or developed some fairly unhelpful strategies to deal with it. Comfort eating for one.

We can perhaps be a little bit proud of ourselves as a society that four decades on, we are at least attempting to tackle the stigma around mental health, so that no young person need fear that they are going to be locked up.

However, we should also be ashamed that this new openness has not been accompanied by the provision of sufficient support services for people with mental ill health.

There is one area I want to focus on – the transition from child to adult mental health services. Once you get into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, you can actually get some pretty reasonable support. It’s arranged in a fairly logical way with consultants, psychologists and nurses working together to support young people. Unfortunately not every young person who needs help can get it at all, and most have to wait far too long.  It is not uncommon to wait for more than a year to even see a specialist.

Mental health issues generally aren’t resolved overnight, so you have a year of turmoil while you are waiting to be seen and, maybe another couple of years of reasonably intensive support – and then you turn 18. All the effort put into helping you is now at risk as you are put into the virtually non-existent twilight world of adult mental health services which are disparate, insufficient and as suitable for the scale of the problem as  trying to surf the Atlantic on a My Little Pony lilo.

This country is being robbed of the talents of some wonderful individuals simply because it does not invest in the services they need to stay well.

Even the most cruel and heartless government should surely recognise that the cost of not supporting these people is enormous to both our economy and our society.

I’m incredibly proud that Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb have done so much to improve mental health services and tackle the stigma around mental health. One of the most horrible things about the run-up to the 2015 election was the almost certain knowledge that Norman wouldn’t be mental health minister any more.

Today, Liberal Democrats have been marking Mental Health Day in a variety of ways:

Kirsty Williams made this video highlighting mental ill health in the workplace:

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Christine Jardine wants your WASPI stories

We know that women born in the 1950s are facing real struggles because of a steep rise in the age at which they become entitled to their state pension. They were not properly informed of decisions taken years ago and so have not had time to prepare.

If we think that this is unfair, the most important thing that we can do is to gather evidence about the real impact of this on women’s lives.

Women are more likely to be in lower paid jobs and so will have less entitlement to occupational pensions. This means that many women will find themselves suffering poverty and hardship as they approach retirement.

One of the first things that Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West Christine Jardine did in Parliament was to join the All Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality. She is the co-sponsor of a Bill aimed at reviewing the impact on women.

She wants to find women to tell their stories about what the delay in their entitlement means to them.

I want to make sure that we have as much evidence as possible of just how much hardship has been caused by the way these changes were made.

It’s heartbreaking to hear what women who have worked all their lives and planned for their retirement have been put through simply because they weren’t warned about what was about to happen.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

WATCH: Christine Jardine on the challenges facing Generation Y

BBC Scotland tonight held an online debate to end a week of special features on Generation Y. The theme was to discuss why millennials were likely to be poorer than their parents.

Subjects such as education, employment, housing and life after Brexit were covered.

I was particularly moved by Charlotte’s experience in the workplace – being made to work a trial shift with no training and no pay. It’s all too common in retail and hospitality these days and should be outlawed.

Our Christine Jardine MP was on the panel. The audience overwhelmingly agreed with a point she made – that the Government had failed to get the balance right on education. She added that university was not the only route to success and nor was leaving school and going to uni the only way you could get a degree.

She highlighted her dislike of the phrase “affordable housing,” saying that all housing should be affordable.

On employment, she emphasised that people need to be guaranteed a certain number of hours of work because they have financial commitments to meet. Watch the whole thing here. It’s pretty disgraceful that neither the Scottish nor the UK governments sent anyone along. Enjoy.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 4 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine: The country cannot afford a Summer of Brexit discontent

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has set out some thoughts on our strategy as we respond to the total mess that the Tories are making of the Brexit negotiations.

In an article for the Times Red Box (£), she sets the scene:

The internal squabbling of our chancellor, foreign secretary, and Brexit secretary — to name just a few of the clowns at play — is making the chances of a poor deal for the UK, or a catastrophic failure to get a deal at all, all the more likely.

Instead of knuckling down and approaching negotiations with a seriousness befitting the task, Davis has so far shown up to a photo-op without even pretending to have the necessary papers and briefings, then taking the first Eurostar home. No doubt heading straight back to the journalists to criticise his leader. It rather undermines the negotiation of critical issues like EU citizens’ rights, a solution for Northern Ireland and the UK’s debt to the EU when your so-called chief negotiator would rather be at home leaking cabinet papers.

But this is all part of a hard hearted strategy. She thinks that they are trying to create such a bad atmosphere that in a year’s time, they walk way blaming the EU for the failure.

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Willie, Christine and Jo celebrate Scottish Lib Dem wins

I could cheerfully have swung for Willie Rennie on Friday afternoon when he suggested an event on Sunday morning to celebrate our 4 Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs. I mean, it’s the first Sunday morning in 7 weeks most  of us could have had a lie-in. I thought nobody would want to go and it would be a disaster.

I was wrong. It was well-attended, there were broadcast and print journalists there and the atmosphere was great. There are, however,  two very important lessons to learn from the event, but more of that later. A huge crowd of people turned up at Jo Swinson’s campaign office in Milngavie. One person brought his two gorgeous and friendly  dogs, Caleb and Bella, who looked resplendent in their Jo Swinson rosettes.

Christine Jardine and Alex Cole-Hamilton came across from Edinburgh to join in the celebrations. Christine used to live in Bearsden and told how it was Jo who had inspired her to get involved in politics and stand for Parliament.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

The day Tim Farron cooked my breakfast

Eighteen years ago today, at around 5:30 in the morning, I was being wheeled back to the ward with my new baby. Try as I might, I couldn’t sleep because I was too besotted to take my eyes off the gorgeous bundle in the little hospital cot.

At that time this morning, I was hitting the M8 to drive into Edinburgh. What could I possibly be doing at a cafe in Corstorphine at 6 am with Edinburgh Western MP Alex Cole-Hamilton and Edinburgh West Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine?

The answer duly emerged – after a slight detour for this vehicle. There are, apparently, two establishments called Cafe Vigo in Edinburgh and, you guessed it, they went to the wrong one.

Tim was kicking off a tour of key seats in Edinburgh West, one of the best prospects for a gain on Thursday. He later went to another – East Dunbartonshire.

They disappeared into the kitchen surrounded by a gaggle of hungry journalists.

Tim made fried egg rolls, Christine made bacon rolls. And they were good, too. I had a fried egg one. Normally, I like them with a softer yolk, but it was just as well this one a tad over-cooked to avoid mess.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments
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