Tag Archives: jenny marr

#GirlsSupportingGirls

When I first took charge of Scottish Liberal Democrat Women earlier this year, my mission was simple: I was going to save the women.

In Scotland, we are fortunate to have the brilliant MPs Jo Swinson and Christine Jardine, but the proportion of women elected at all levels simply isn’t good enough. We are running an almighty campaign to get the brilliant Beatrice Wishart in the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in Shetland later this month but even when we get her elected, she will be the only one of 5 Lib Dem MSPs who is a woman. Luckily, our elected men couldn’t be better allies – I have personally witnessed Willie Rennie putting in real effort to push through new rules on all women shortlists, and encouraging many women to consider their futures with the party.

As to how to save the women, this was the subject of many a conversation amongst my network of Lib Dem Ladies, a WhatsApp group which has become somewhat infamous at Scottish conferences full of women who inspire me every day. There are a few more ideas in the pipeline but the one we’ve been working hard on for the last few months is #GirlsSupportingGirls.

We know that there are many, many women in our party who would make brilliant MPs, MSPs and local councillors, and we want to make sure that they achieve their goals. That is why for the last few months, we’ve been gathering SLDW members and sending them to support female candidates of all sorts. We started with the brilliant Jenny Marr, PPC for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and have been travelling across the UK since, even road tripping to Brecon and Radnorshire to help out our brand new MP Jane Dodds. 

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Googling guide dogs in your lunch hour: Jenny Marr on the constant anxiety of living with Diabetes

You think you know someone and have some understanding of what they are dealing with.

And then they write something that makes you realise that you have no idea.

Jenny Marr is one of the most wisest, most competent people I know. She’s a great leader and team builder and one day she’s going to represent the Borders in Parliament. She has the sort of drive that reminds me of our very best campaigners.

I always knew Jen has Type 1 Diabetes and I will never forget the early morning phone call during the 2017 election when I learned she was in hospital because of it. Thankfully, she was home in a couple of days and all was well, but it did bring home how the line between good health and crisis was more finely balanced than I’d appreciated.

The theme of this year’s Diabetes Awareness Week is “seeing Diabetes differently.” Jenny has written a piece for the Scottish Lib Dems website which, as she puts it, aims to help  us “see Diabetes in its entirety.”

If you read nothing else today, read and understand this. 

As she says, there’s a lot more to living with the condition than not being able to binge-eat chocolate:

We’re more at risk than others of losing our sight. Translation: if you get something in your eye, you wonder if it’s the beginning of the end. On bad days you’re googling guide dogs on your lunch break.

Wake up with pins and needles. Translation: have I got it so wrong, my circulation is starting to fail? Could I get around in wheelchair? You assess all your usual haunts and whether you could continue as normal.

I’m in a meeting and I’m tired. Translation: is my blood sugar too low? I’m too anxious to leave, too anxious to check my blood in front of people. Do I just eat something and risk making the wrong decision? There is only anxiety.

On the worst of days I have sat at my desk gripped by fear and unable to work because I think I’ve taken too much insulin.

Paralysed for hours, the only work completed is the Oscar nominated performance of “normal girl in office” I have to play so everyone thinks I’m fine.

And then there’s the constant working out that balance between food and activity and the effect it might have. Imagine the mental energy that takes up:

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Aiming high: Scottish Liberal Democrats launch “Stop Brexit” manifesto

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are the only party in Scotland who want to keep Scotland in the UK and the EU.

You would not expect a Willie Rennie manifesto launch to be boring. Sadly, there were no farm animals, but he and Alex Cole-Hamilton had a race up a climbing wall in Ratho, near Edinburgh.

It’s a great picture!

The prospects for the Scottish Lib Dems have not looked this good in years. The field work from the ComRes poll at the weekend had us in joint second with the Brexit Party, which gives us a real chance of getting party legend Sheila sent to Brussels.

There is clearly everything to play for in the next 9 days. There are record numbers of doors being knocked the length of the country. My spies tell me that Borders candidate Jenny Marr’s local party is vying for the top spot in terms of doors knocked along with the Edinburgh West and East Dunbartonshire.

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Don’t leave it to someone else

At the end of last year, the local party in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk chose Jenny Marr to fight the seat at the next General Election.

She’s written about the importance of getting involved in the political process by voting and beyond for the Scot Women Stand website.

It’s another thing to add to the to do list, isn’t it?

And of course first you have to register to do it.

Then there’s the wading through of manifestos, trying to understand policies, which are not exactly the work of Shakespeare. Then there’s the appeal of Love Island or similar which are just too all-consuming to consider anything else.

Been there, got the t-shirt. Trust me, I understand.

But what is the alternative? Be left out? Let your voice go unheard?

I know its certainly true that many politicians need to be better at keeping in touch. But don’t allow the laziness of some to block your participation.

Your voice is worth so much more than that.

Women have the right to tell their story, and have fought for that right – some are still fighting. And part of that is through putting a cross on a ballot paper in the privacy of the polling booth.

It’s your school, it’s your health centre, it’s your money. And it goes deeper than that. It’s your grandma who can’t get her flu jab this year, it’s your child whose classroom is too small, or their resources too few. It’s your hard-earned taxes.

Don’t exclude yourself from the narrative. Don’t overthink it. Don’t leave it to someone else.

Sometimes someone in your life is a bigger influence than they were ever able to know.

My Grandad, who died when I was just eight, was a Cllr in the North of England.

He was an advocate for, and passionate defender of, local democracy and local government.

He believed in “parish pump politics”, of chewing the fat in the Market Square and fixing problems as a community. Before local government was reorganised, and Councils became much bigger, he said “We have our grumbles and grouses, but at least the system had a soul.”

More than that, the community had a voice, and used it.

They used it by voting.

Politicians are like everyone else. They have their strengths and weaknesses and certainly none of them are perfect.

And if you want to make sure the right ones are hired and fired coming polling day, you can.

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In Pictures: Malcolm Bruce’s 30th anniversary dinner

On Sunday we brought you news of the dinner in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, to celebrate Malcolm Bruce’s 30th anniversary as MP for Gordon.

Malcolm  Bruce dinnerWe can now bring you a photograph of the assembled company taken on the night.

VIPs included every leader that there has ever been of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Malcolm, Jim Wallace, Nicol Stephen, Tavish Scott and Willie Rennie, David Steel and Navnit Dholakia, our Deputy Whip in the Lords and our Commons Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael. You can also just about see the top of LDV …

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