Tag Archives: shas sheehan

Shas Sheehan: The unimaginable horror of climate change for marginalised communities

Yesterday, the Office of National Statistics held an event to discuss the social impact on climate change. Lib Dem Peer Shas Sheehan spoke at the event, comparing the Extinction Rebellion protesters to the Suffragettes.

She spoke about how the impact of climate change would be felt most acutely by the most marginalised. Here is her speech in full:

In 1989 I cut short my career in advertising to do a masters in Environmental Technology, at Imperial College.

I wanted to get back to my science roots and study for myself the evidence for environmental degradation. Climate change wasn’t a big thing then. What was exercising environmentalists then included depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain, species loss and of course the radioactive cloud that was the legacy of Chernobyl.

Governments took action on the ozone layer and acid rain, because the evidence that both were caused by man was there before our eyes.

We could see the ozone hole from space, we could see the dying forests and the lakes devoid of life.

Visuals that are quantifiable are important when it comes to carrying public opinion.

So, the cover of the Economist a few weeks ago will have a powerful and lasting effect.

It shows a stripey red, white and blue flag, which colour codes the average temperature for each year starting from the mid 1800s to the present day, as measured against the average temperature from 1971 to 2000.  Colours range from darkest blue to deep crimson.

It is, quite frankly, frightening to see the cumulative effect. Since the 2000s we have been in red territory. And two out of the last three years have been deep crimson.

No wonder people have taken to the streets. They, like the suffragettes a century ago, have right on their side.

Back in 1989 Gro Harlem Brundtland’s Report, “Our Common Future” was a sort of bible for everyone who wanted to make the world a better place.

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Lib Link: Shas Sheehan Government must defend DFID’s autonomy and expertise

Enshrining the 0.7% GDP for international aid provision in law was a brilliant Lib Dem achievement brought about by former Lib Dem Secretary of State Mike Moore.

Now it is coming under threat by Tories who have always opposed it. In an article for Politics Home, Lib Dem peer Shas Sheehan writes a blistering defence of it.

Enshrining in law the UK’s aid commitment was a hugely progressive step. But it has been haunted by years of attack from Conservative MPs such as former and current DFID Secretaries Priti Patel and Penny Mordaunt. The latest person to take aim at this life-saving budget is Boris Johnson.

Boris’ backing of the paper Global Britain: A Blueprint for the 21st Century is shameful. The paper calls for a severe, multi-billion-pound cut to UK’s Overseas Aid budget and closure of DFID. It shrugs off the fact that this budget has played a major role in the fight to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development across the world. It dismisses the fact that it has helped to transform people’s lives and lift many out of inhumane conditions.

Far from positioning post-Brexit Britain as a global player regaining its place on the world stage, slashing the UK aid budget and threatening our place in the OECD’s forum of major international donors instead paints the UK as an inward-looking island no longer in step with the realities of the contemporary world. As Save the Children have said, the UK is an International Development superpower but these suggestions risk that. Brexit is already threatening our seat at the top table, we must not allow Conservative whims to threaten it further.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Shas Sheehan: Boris’s sunny uplands quote is a shameless parody

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future.

As you would expect from Shas, who has done so much to speak up for and help refugees, she mentioned the border with France and asked what happens to the Le Toucquet agreement. She also pointed out the irony of Boris Johnson’s comments that Brexit would be like sunlit uplands. When Churchill used that phrase, he was talking about a united Europe.  

My Lords, as a signatory to the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, I would like to draw attention to the impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade, aid and security policies relating to developing and post-conflict countries. Aid to developing countries is under attack almost daily by elements of the press. Just this Sunday there was a report in the Sunday Times about using Brexit as an excuse to divert aid to eastern European countries to buy their good will. Will the Minister give an assurance that Brexit will not be used to divert the 0.7% of GNI devoted to development aid and that only countries on the DAC list are eligible for ODA? The fact is that development aid fulfils an essential task: not only is it right to help the poorest in the world but it is essential if we are to reduce the factors that push people out of their own countries and, in desperation, lead them to seek shelter with us.

It is a pity that on leaving the EU we will not be able to influence its attempt to manage the largest mass movement of people we have seen since the Second World War. The Calais camp on our doorstep may have been demolished but the problem has not gone away, and refugees are returning to the region because they have nowhere else to go. Can the Minister say, now that we have declared ourselves to be on the road to a hard Brexit, what consideration the Government have given to the Le Touquet agreement between ourselves and the French, whereby they police our border on their soil and vice versa? Can the Government guarantee the border will not move to Dover?

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Lib Dems donate aid and volunteer in Calais

Drop stitches not bombsDespite not being as high on the news agenda the refugee crisis is still ongoing, with thousands of people seeking safety arriving on Europe’s shores every week.

The Lib Dems have been proud to stand up for refugees and campaign for the UK to offer help and safety. Tim Farron was the first party leader to visit Calais, Lesvos and Idomeni. He has led the campaign for the UK to take in 3000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe. Our peers in the House of Lords have worked tirelessly to pressure the government to take in more refugees. On the ground Lib Dem volunteers have raised vanloads of essential items donations to be sent to aid refugees in the camps across Europe.

There are serious concerns that Brexit and rising anti-migrant rhetoric could be a backwards step in our campaigns to take in more refugees. The political developments following the leave vote could also take attention away from the ongoing plights of refugees. However we as Lib Dems refuse to let brexit mean that we forget our moral obligations to help refugees. 

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New #3000children website launched during Lib Dem members’ webinar on refugees

Last night, Sal Brinton hosted an online meeting for party members on the subject of refugees. Also taking part were Baroness Shas Sheehan and Bradley Hillier-Smith, who have been on several visits to the refugee camps and Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary’s Suzanne Fletcher who, among many other things, has campaigned successfully to end the appalling “red doors” for asylum seekers  policy. Suzanne was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from ALDE.

I consider myself reasonably well informed on the Refugee Crisis, but I found that I learned things during the webinar. The panel outlined a series of things that we can do to help the refugees, from making the case by writing to the local papers to donating money and equipment to the camps.

Brad described the conditions in the camps in France – appalling and unsanitary. None of the big charities are allowed to work there so the relief effort is carried out only by teams of volunteers.

Sal also told us that Syrian refugees still in the massive camps in the region are locked in. They can’t go anywhere else. This is the case in all the countries except the Lebanon. Our sister party there has ensured that they can get out, mindful of the experience of the Lebanese refugees during their civil war 30 years ago.

Shas has another trip to the camps planned for next week and will be putting out another appeal for supplies. She is also trying to organise a co-ordinated Liberal Democrat volunteer event for the end of July.

During the webinar, the part launched a new campaign site devoted to the issue of child refugees. There’s a timeline of all the issues and a link to Alf Dubs’ petition.

If you missed the webinar, you will get a chance to hear the recording. A link will be emailed either later today or tomorrow if you are a party member. 

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Shas Sheehan talks to the heroes of Calais and Dunkirk

Baroness Shas Sheehan went to Calais and Dunkirk with some supplies a few weeks ago. She is going again this week and invites you to help her get supplies together.

On her last visit, she spoke to some of those heroic volunteers who have given up months of their time to help the refugees survive the Winter. Here’s the video she made.

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Lib Dems deliver vital aid to Dunkirk Refugee Camp

Brad HS Dunkirk 1Throughout last week Baroness Shas Sheehan and I have been collecting vital items needed in the camp in Dunkirk. From a list of items approved by volunteers on the ground we asked Lib Dems and local residents to come together and purchase what they could. The list included brand new sleeping bags, tents, blankets, food, gas, warm and waterproof clothes as well as sturdy, waterproof shoes. We were overwhelmed with the response and managed to fill a van to the brim with these essential donations.

On Sunday, we drove the van across to northern France to the camp in Dunkirk. The conditions in Dunkirk are in many ways worse than in Calais. The mud is particularly problematic for the 2,500 mainly Kurdish refugees living there. Local authorities are disallowing any construction of more sturdy wooden shelters so most people live in tents. This does not offer much protection and makes the weather a real problem with high winds, cold temperatures and large rainfall, especially in the last few days. It is also the case that there are more families and children in this camp.

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Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches: Shas Sheehan on the dangers of climate change

We’re catching up this week on Lib Dem Lords’ maiden speeches. Here is Shas Sheehan speaking in the debate after the conclusion of the Paris climate talks.

My Lords, it is indeed a great honour and privilege to be asked to serve in your Lordships’ House. It is a task that I do not undertake lightly and is one that I intend to fulfil with diligence to the best of my ability. Special thanks are due to my noble friends Lady Barker and Lady Kramer for their welcome support on the day of my introduction to this place. Perhaps I may also take this opportunity to thank noble Lords from all sides for their kind words of welcome.

As a young university student, I and some friends worked and travelled our way across America. One night in Chicago, we lost the car. To this day, I do not believe that my husband appreciates the importance of his unerring sense of direction to our enduring relationship. So, as one who can lose her way in a one-way street, noble Lords will appreciate the sincerity in my words of thanks to all the staff of your Lordships’ House, the clerks, doorkeepers, restaurant and security staff, who have all been so unfailingly kind in redirecting me on numerous occasions.

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Brian Paddick: It is vital that we maximise our vote for the London Assembly

The fantastic Sage conference hall was the venue for Brian Paddick’s speech to the Liberal Democrat spring conference.

Or rather, his co-speech. Because for the purposes of the London 2012 campaign, Brian Paddick is no more. Instead he has been merged into Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon.

It is one of the lessons from previous London campaigns that the party needs to be far better at turning profile for a Mayor candidate into votes for the London Assembly list, the best prospect for the party to gain new seats.

This then was not Brian Paddick’s speaking slot. It was the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon speaking slot, preceded by the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon …

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Result: GLA Londonwide list selection

London Liberal Democrats have today announced their team of candidates for the London Assembly top-up list in 2012. Caroline Pidgeon AM topped the poll of London Liberal Democrat members to lead the London Assembly campaign in 2012.

The list is as follows:

  1. Caroline Pidgeon
  2. Stephen Knight
  3. Bridget Fox
  4. Shas Sheehan
  5. Jeremy Ambache
  6. Merlene Emerson
  7. Emily Davey
  8. Steve Bradley
  9. Marisha Ray
  10. Nick Russell
  11. Ajmal Masroor

Turnout was 55.6%.

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington and London Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Liberal Democrats have a proud record on the London Assembly of holding the Mayor to account. Our Assembly members have led the fight for better value for money from City Hall, better transport services

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