Tag Archive for Lib Dems

Il n’est pas Charlie

Liberté Guidant le Peuple

We stand squarely for free speech and democ­racy”, said David Cameron last Wednes­day at Prime Minister’s Ques­tions, not more than an hour after the attacks on the French mag­a­zine Char­lie Hebdo. This is a rather strange propo­si­tion for the leader of a party who pro­posed to rein­state the ban on “extrem­ists” from appear­ing on tele­vi­sion and have been try­ing for the past few years to rein­tro­duce the “snooper’s char­ter”. Indeed, the Tories have gone rather native in the Home Office, in con­trast to five years ago when we were all crit­i­cis­ing Labour for restrict­ing our civil liberties.

Sev­eral hours later, the House of Com­mons then debated a somewhat–but not sufficiently–diluted Counter Ter­ror­ism and Secu­rity Bill, in which Tory and Labour front­benchers alike praised the bill for being an impor­tant tool in the fight against pae­dophiles and ter­ror­ists: the two words that friends of this blog have pre­vi­ously high­lighted as result­ing in uni­ver­sally awful legislation.

After this brief sojourn into hypocrisy, Cameron took a flight to Paris where he stood side-by-side with the world’s auto­crats and despots in the name of free speech. Whilst there, he lent his name to an agree­ment for more sur­veil­lance pow­ers. One would think that Charb and his seven col­leagues would not want that in their name. But Cameron went one step fur­ther, and pro­posed the worst idea to reg­u­late a spe­cial­ist field since Labour tried to ban cof­fee eigh­teen months ago: a ban on encryp­tion.

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Why Liberal Democrats must oppose any criminalisation of sex workers

This post was orig­i­nally pub­lished on Lib Dem Voice.

On Tues­day, Par­lia­ment will debate the Report Stage of the Mod­ern Slav­ery Bill, and in par­tic­u­lar, an amend­ments that would crim­i­nalise the pur­chase of sex in Eng­land and Wales, sim­i­lar to the one that was passed in North­ern Ire­land just a cou­ple of weeks ago. It’s impor­tant that, as Lib­eral Democ­rats, we oppose those amendments.

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What I said at the Liberal Democrat Conference, Pt. 2: On Trans Equality

As well as mov­ing the sex work motion on Sat­ur­day, I had also writ­ten a speech regard­ing the fed­eral pol­icy paper on equal­ity, which had been writ­ten and drafted by sev­eral peo­ple includ­ing the lovely Cantabrid­gians Zoe O’Connell and Belinda Brooks-Gordon (who had helped with, and sum­mated, on the sex work motion). It’s a really good, and rather rad­i­cal, motion, and I put in a card to speak on the trans aspects of the motion. Most of the debate cen­tred around a Human­ist and Sec­u­lar­ist Lib­eral Democ­rats amend­ment regard­ing faith schools admis­sions, but I was even­tu­ally called… imme­di­ately after Zoe, who had already cov­ered parts of my speech. As pre­vi­ously, the speech is below the cut.

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What I said at the Liberal Democrat Conference, Pt. 1: On Sex Work

I had two oppor­tu­ni­ties to speak at the Lib­eral Democ­rats’ Autumn Con­fer­ence; the first was mov­ing the pol­icy motion Towards Safer Sex Work on Sat­ur­day evening. I had never moved a pol­icy before, so it was rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent to in Spring when I made a sup­port­ing speech to a third-party pol­icy motion. Although I was given seven min­utes, I was called for time after four, hope­fully by error of the chair of the debate, lead­ing me to cut out some of the speech.

We also had to see off an attempt to wreck the motion from Oxford East, which would’ve deleted all lines regard­ing the Nordic model and weaken the pol­icy regard­ing bod­ily auton­omy. Thank­fully, in the attempt, we suc­ceeded, incred­i­bly annoy­ing arch-transphobe Julie Bindel in the process.

Due to devo­lu­tion­ary aspects, the pol­icy only applies to Eng­land and Wales, although sev­eral Scot­tish speak­ers spoke in favour of it, includ­ing a hilar­i­ous rant by Kirkcaldy-based Cal­lum Leslie, which makes me rather happy that the Scot­tish mood is the same and I expect that the Scot­tish party will pass its own pol­icy at their own Con­fer­ence in Dun­fermline next month.

The text of the full speech is below the cut:

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My speech about Clegg at my local Liberal Democrat EGM

So Calderdale was one of the local par­ties who sched­uled an EGM to dis­cuss Clegg’s lead­er­ship under §10.2(f) of the party con­sti­tu­tion, in which an elec­tion for the leader can be trig­gered if 75 local par­ties call for one. If you’re look­ing for the result: sorry, but I’m not going to divulge it myself. This post should be read in con­junc­tion with Sarah Brown’s post about her local party EGM in Cam­bridge, and is pub­lished in con­junc­tion with it. So here’s the speech I wrote for the EGM: I got called for time near the very end, but I was still able to get the points across.

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Appropriating equality

There’s been a flurry of news sto­ries in the past week, most likely to coin­cide with the country’s first same-sex mar­riages start­ing next Sat­ur­day, regard­ing how the bill came to pass. Firstly, we had tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Paul O’Grady describe David Cameron as a “twat” and state the Lib Dems were “as much use as men’s tits”. Then, a few days later, Ben Sum­mer­skill tried (very uncon­vinc­ingly) to attack the Lib Dems for being “oppor­tunis­tic” on same-sex mar­riage. And finally, Tony Blair said that “in hind­sight”, he would’ve pushed for mar­riage equal­ity whilst Prime Min­is­ter. All this leads me to think one thing: both Labour and Stonewall seem to be very keen to take the credit on LGBT equal­ity, espe­cially with a gen­eral elec­tion round the cor­ner. But this credit is per­haps unde­served, espe­cially as they both seem to have done every­thing they could to stall it.

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My speech on digital freedom to the Liberal Democrat Conference

Mak­ing your first speech at a polit­i­cal con­fer­ence is tough, espe­cially when you know that the media are watch­ing you as well as del­e­gates there. That didn’t stop me, as a first-time con­fer­ence attendee, from mak­ing a speech to the Lib Dem Spring Con­fer­ence in York last Sun­day, on the Dig­i­tal Bill of Rights motion. Hav­ing been per­suaded to by Julian Hup­pert and Tim Far­ron to men­tion dig­i­tal free­dom at Con­fer­ence, I decided to make such a speech, which I repro­duce below:

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On owning your history

Peo­ple who have known me for a while, who have read this blog, or have fol­lowed me on twit­ter will know that I’ve not always been the inter­sec­tional anarcha-feminist I try to be these days. I used to be, espe­cially a cou­ple of years ago, an apol­o­gist for the forces of aus­ter­ity. And while I could go down the route of some cam­paign­ers on the Left, pre­tend I never said that, pre­tend I was born on a moun­tain with a dou­ble rain­bow in the sky when the angels sang my her­alds, it’d be duplic­i­tive and untrue. I’m human, and I’m flawed. And I think it would be much more hon­est to own my his­tory as an activist.

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Tom Harris is not a nice man

Peo­ple who know me know that I really don’t like Tom Har­ris, the cur­rent MP for Glas­gow South. Hell, my sec­ond blog post was basi­cally about him being totally awful on the issue of tuition fees (a lie he con­tin­ues to this day), and he rel­ishes in being the tribal kind of Labour MP, espe­cially on Twit­ter. So savvy he is on Twit­ter, that he became Labour’s inter­net adviser.

Until he posted a Down­fall par­ody of Alex Salmond, effec­tively com­par­ing the Scot­tish National Party leader to Adolf Hitler. Yep. After he lost the Scot­tish Labour lead­er­ship elec­tion, he might’ve been a bit angry. Who knows? But he did end up hav­ing to resign the post.

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Those homophobic Lib Dems and those gay-friendly Tories

Homo­pho­bia”, cried Con­ser­v­a­tive Future on Fri­day, the day after the Lib Dems won the Grove Ward by-election in Kingston. “A return to 1983!”, cried the Lib Dem bash­ers around the inter­net (includ­ing famous oppo­nent of equal mar­riage Ben Sum­mer­skill, but that’s for the next post). Why? Because the elec­tion was described as a “straight fight”, when the Tory oppo­nent just so hap­pened to be gay.

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