Tag Archives: Jane Bonham Carter

Jane Bonham Carter reviews biography of Marie Colvin

I always liked reading Marie Colvin’s reports from war zones. She brought the stories of people whose lives were constrained or ruined by war to our breakfast tables. She made you understand the dilemmas and dangers people faced just to get through the day.

Colvin died in Syria in 2012. Her friend, Lib Dem Peer Jane Bonham-Carter, reviewed a new biography of her written by Channel 4’s Lindsey Hillsum in this week’s Sunday Times.

She was extraordinarily brave. The stories of Marie’s courage are legion, but the one that stands out for me was East Timor. There, holed up in 1999 in a UN compound with 1,500 women and children, she and two other heroic female reporters, Minka Nijhuis and Irena Cristalis, refused to go when an evacuation of international and national staff and the press was announced. She stayed, reported on the plight of those left trapped via her satellite phone, and after four tense days was able to leave for safety. Not an outcome she expected — her sister Cat remembers her calling “to say goodbye as she was likely to be killed”. Marie later wrote that “staying in the East Timor compound was one of the moments in my life of which I am most proud”.

As Hilsum notes, Marie was hopeless with technology, frequently erasing stories by accident and needing help to send copy from her computer. But, as I saw countless times, she had an extraordinary ability to get people to open up to her. What she wanted to do was tell people’s stories, and relay their words to the outside world.

Despite her apparent addiction to danger, she did not court death. She loved life, absolutely loved it — loved young people, too, and was loved in return by them. But she had her own horrors to deal with, in particular in Sri Lanka in 2001, where, despite clearly identifying herself as a journalist, yelling it, in fact, she was fired on by a government soldier.

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Lib Dems slam Tories’ approach to online safety

Liberal Democrat peer Jane Bonham Carter has  slammed the Tories’ plans to enforce age limits for pornographic websites as “a sledgehammer to crack a nut.” She said:

In a free, democratic society the answer is not just to ban everything. This risks being another example of the Government using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The Government are jumping on poorly thought through proposals. Popular websites could easily fall foul of new rules when it is hard to define what should be blocked and even harder to technically do it.

The Tories should look at their own track record in this area. When they introduced internet filters many LGBT websites were blocked too, cutting people off from vital information and advice.

Rather than developing a banned-by-default approach we should be investing more in sex and relationship education at school to ensure that teenagers and young adults have a healthy understanding of relationships and sex to empower them to make good decisions.

The Government’splans have already been dismissed as ineffective by industry experts.

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A longer watch for the weekend: Mothers of Liberty

I blogged last month about the new pamphlet from the Liberal Democrat History Group, Mothers of Liberty: Women who built British Liberalism, a series of biographies of famous women liberals, which details the contribution of women to Liberal politics from the eighteenth century to the present day.

That was launched at a conference fringe meeting, chaired by Lynne Featherstone and featuring three excellent speakers:

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Parliamentary pillow fight as peers face all-night sittings

Members of the House of Lords are bedding down for the first ermine sleepover in recent Parliamentary history as peers debate the government’s plans to hold a referendum on electoral reform.

After eight days of the Bill at Committee Stage, there are still 165 amendments of the original 275 remaining for consideration.

From the Financial Times:

Labour peers are braced for the prospect of all-night sittings in the coming days in what the government has condemned as unprecedented “filibustering” by the opposition party.

Officials were setting out camp beds in several rooms in the House of Lords on Monday night for

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The results of the other Lib Dem Parliamentary contest – Lords Dholakia and Alderdice elected

Simon Hughes was not the only Deputy Leader elected last night

While Simon was elected deputy of the parliamentary party in the House of Commons (though in reality he’ll be known as the deputy leader of the party), Lord (Navnit) Dholakia was re-elected unopposed as deputy leader of the parliamentary party in the House of Lords.

Lord Dholakia, who will continue to support Lord (Tom) McNally in his role as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, commented:

There was an overwhelming turnout in support of the new structure for the Liberal Democrat Paliamentary

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The other Lib Dem Parliamentary contest

Note: the following post has been substantially updated as a combination of circumstances meant the original had various inaccuracies. Apologies for that.

It’s not only Liberal Democrat MPs who are gearing up to vote next week. So too are their colleagues in the upper house where the leader of the Lib Dem peers Tom McNally now in government at the Ministry of Justice. Navnit Dholakia is unopposed for deputy leader but a new ‘backbench forum’ is also being created and that will see some contests.

Joan Walmsley and John Alderdice are standing for convenor and Kishwer Falkner and Jane Bonham Carter are contesting the role …

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Clegg to clamp down on Lib Dem Lords’ allowances

Mea culpa, gentle reader, this is definitely not breaking news… After a bank holiday of back-breaking gardening and a Tuesday of work-fuelled meetings (my colleagues can add their own excuses), LDV failed to bring you news of Nick Clegg’s plans to clamp down on allowances claimed by members of the House of Lords – an issue of more-than-passing-interest to Lib Dems following the resignation of party chief executive Lord (Chris) Rennard amid allegations that he had profited personally from the scheme by designating his Eastbourne flat (rather than his London house) as his main residence.

This from Sunday night’s

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