The Swinson Twinterview: pubs, post offices, payday lenders, and the brilliance of Christine Jardine.

Following on from the stunning success of the Carmichael Twinterview , I recently caught up with Jo Swinson for a bit of 140 character Q and A. Here is our chat, pretty much in full.

CL: First up: Have you recovered from your anaphylaxis incident? What should people know about how to help if someone has an attack?

JS: Yes thanks, all better! Talk to family/friends with allergies so you know their triggers to avoid, and if you have an EpiPen, carry it!

CL: Good. How are you enjoying being a minister?

JS: Loving it! To be able to deliver Lib Dem priorities like shared parental leave & extending flexible working is both exciting & rewarding

CL: What are you proudest of in your first 8 months?

JS: Introducing the legislation on shared parental leave is top of the list. Also extractives transparency so we know about govt payments from oil/gas industry.

CL: And many members will be interested to know about your work on pubs..

JS: We’ve launched a consultation on creating an Adjudicator.

CL: What will the Adjudicator do? How will that benefit landlords and customers?

JS: The idea is to ensure that the Code of Practice is adhered to so there is greater fairness: we’re keen to hear people’s views on this

CL: You’ve been talking to postmasters recently. What did you say to them?

JS: I enjoyed the postmaster conference. It’s tough in retail just now, including POs, but we’re investing & have strong plans for future.

CL: Post offices are safer now than they’ve been for a while, aren’t they?

JS: Yes, no closure programmes under this govt, £1.34billion investment instead! We do need to modernise the network & mutualise it too I hope.

CL: And you are tackling payday lenders, too..

JS: Yes – I recently announced tough action.  OFT clamping down & FCA gets stronger enforcement powers from April.

CL: How do you reckon Willie’s done in his first two years as leader? What should he do next?

JS: Brilliantly – #thankswillie! Continue taking the fight to Salmond & ensuring the Scottish Lib Dems punch well above our weight in Holyrood.

CL:  Are you heading up to Donside to help our candidate Christine Jardine in the by-election?

JS: Yes, I’ve been rejigging my diary so that I can make a couple of visits. Christine is a fantastic candidate!

CL: Tell us something we don’t know about her.

JS: She used to teach journalism at Strathclyde University and one of her students was my good friend & bridesmaid, Hilary.

CL: Small world! Why would she be a good MSP?

JS: She has a wealth of experience: as a broadcaster, writer, activist, and a mum. Just the kind of passionate, determined voice Donside needs.

CL: How’s the Campaign for Body Confidence going?

JS: From strength to strength! I’m continuing Lynne’s great govt work on this – with new workstreams on role of fathers & health visitors.

CL: That sounds really interesting. I  read something about airbrushing practices changing.

JS: Boots said that acceptability of airbrushing in adverts has changed and ASA changed guidance too in 2011.

CL: Any advice for aspiring women candidates who might be inspired to follow in your footsteps?

JS: Stand for election: you can help indviduals & your community, develop new skills & it can be good fun! Lots of help & advice available

CL: What are your hopes for the new Lib Dem Women organisation?

JS: Lib Dem Women will be a formidable force! I wish the new organisation the best of luck – we need a strong voice for women in the party.

CL: And, finally – Mr Carmichael told us his panda obsession helps to relieve stress. How do you relax?

JS: I find running relaxing and I love the way my mind wanders when out for a run. East Dunbartonshire has lots of gorgeous routes.

CL: Alistair also shared his favourite You Tube video. What’s yours?

JS:  I do love Isabel Fay’s take on internet trolls. Warning: contains examples of offensive posts.

This is not one for people who are offended by bad language, but it certainly resonated with me, especially after my encounter with a UKIP supporting commenter on here the other week. Posted at 5am one Sunday morning, this charmer told me that I was a fat old hag – but maybe I wasn’t a woman because the broad set of my cheek bones made it hard to tell. He concluded, in fact, that I was a 1 tonne fresian cows and said that he’d fetch a pretty penny for me at market. You don’t often see men getting this sort of personal stuff thrown at them.  So, enjoy the song written for him and others like him. 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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