Tag Archives: new member

First Time at Conference – York

As a new member, my first experience of a Liberal Democrat conference was by and large a positive one. I loved York, and the place I stayed was beautiful and, thanks to the Lib Dems, not at all costly. I am not at all well, having had recent serious health problems, but I hoped to get a few clues as to what the Lib Dems are about, and I did.

What I noticed most about my first experience was the under-representation of the country’s poorest and neediest and the abundance of the middle/upper middle classes. I wasn’t at all surprised – it’s a problem politics seems to have across the board. The people who should be making their voices heard the loudest, shouting and crying about deprivation and poverty, were not. They’re not anywhere, not present in the public discourse, not present on TV or only in passing. Its a deafening absence.

It`s an absence that’s been hitting me particularly hard since I started watching all Charlie Chaplin`s films. The tramp character he portrays represents the current state of the working classes better than any public figure in or out of politics. With his ragged clothes, tiredness, hunger and constant way of searching all his pockets for money in hope rather than expectation.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Courage Calls…

A few weeks ago I was invited by Christine Jardine MP to visit Westminster as her #AskHerToStand delegate. The event was to commemorate the centenary of the Qualification of Women Act, a defining moment in British politics when women were allowed to stand for parliament for the first time.

As Christine’s delegate, I think I won the Golden Ticket. Where some guests were only able to spend five minutes with their MP, I was welcomed for the entire day. Christine and her assistant, David Evans, were generous with their time and insight despite having to navigate an ever-changing diary. Filing copy for the Corstorphine Grapevine was sandwiched between an emergency debate on Yemen and PMQ’s. Christine joined me in the audience at an #AskHerToStand event, but quickly realised that there wasn’t a Lib Dem MP on the panel. She nipped out to get us a drink and when I looked up she’d joined the stage! She never misses a beat in representing her constituents or the Lib Dems.

My trip to London was exactly one year after I made the decision to join the party. It was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time, but for many people joining a political party is a scary thing and I was one of them. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 22nd Mar - 1:03pm
    Should have added that one of the most intelligent, shrewd (and humorous) persons I ever knew left school at twelve and went down the pit...
  • User Avatarmatt 22nd Mar - 12:49pm
    @Catherine Jane Crosland You mustn't point out contradictions in what LD's say when the situation suits. That does not go down very well on these...
  • User AvatarIan Martin 22nd Mar - 12:49pm
    Three million !
  • User Avatarmatt 22nd Mar - 12:37pm
    @Glenn I tend to agree. I just find it irksome that some seem to believe that the petition has democratic legitimacy because a couple of...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 22nd Mar - 12:36pm
    Matt, I'm sure you are right. During the recent discussion over whether registered supporters should be allowed to vote for Lib Dem leader, it was...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 22nd Mar - 12:34pm
    @ David Evershed "We should not confuse being better educated and well spoken with being well off – some are poor." We shouldn't confuse being...