Tag Archive for Lib Dems

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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It’s one of those things that every Lib Dem was dread­ing to hear: that, even with months of cam­paign­ing, their can­di­date had lost to the Labour can­di­date. Not more was the hurt felt in Head­in­g­ley two weeks ago. We — as in Leeds Lib­eral Youth — had been cam­paign­ing hard since last Sep­tem­ber to ensure that the then-incumbent coun­cil­lor, Jamie Matthews, was re-elected. Jamie was a superb coun­cil­lor, and was a bet­ter pick to rep­re­sent stu­dents than the Labour can­di­date. Even after tuition fees. When thou­sands of stu­dents had prob­lems with their inter­net con­nec­tion, Labour, with a major­ity on the coun­cil, were nowhere to be seen. But Jamie carved out the niche of the “coun­cil­lor who took on Vir­gin Media”.

I use the past tense, because he lost. By 32 votes. » Read more..

Liberal Youth Spring Conference 2012

The Spring Con­fer­ence of Lib­eral Youth was held in the lovely city of Leeds, thanks to a suc­cess­ful bid sub­mit­ted by our branch, Leeds Lib­eral Youth. I have to admit, I was a Con­fer­ence vir­gin, hav­ing not been to either a Lib­eral Youth nor a Fed­eral Con­fer­ence before (rather stu­pidly elect­ing not to go to the 2011 Con­fer­ence in Sheffield). But, with a Con­fer­ence tak­ing place in my prover­bial back yard, I felt I was oblig­ated to go. That, and I was part of the host. » Read more..

Lords reform and constitutionality

Some amus­ing news from the ermine cham­ber this week: 76% of peers, includ­ing 54% Lib Dem peers, would see reform of the House of Lords uncon­sti­tu­tional. The first thing is that the num­ber of Lib Dem objec­tors, includ­ing Lord Steel, is depress­ingly too high: Lords reform has been Lib­eral and Lib­eral Demo­c­ra­tic party pol­icy since before pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion was added. The sec­ond thing is that this is com­plete bollocks.

My friend over at Legal Fic­tion has posted, from a legal stand­point, why this is not the case: most impor­tantly, the use of the Par­lia­ment Acts 1911 and 1949 to over­ride the Lords with the Hunt­ing with Dogs Act (2004) was seen as con­sti­tu­tional by the Law Lords. That, and Par­lia­ment has the right to pass nearly any­thing it wishes (with the excep­tion of laws that vio­late treaty agree­ments). But there is a soci­etal aspect too. » Read more..

What next for the coalition?

Well, Thurs­day was an absolute dis­as­ter. Los­ing a third of our coun­cil­lors and the AV ref­er­en­dum 62–38. So where did we go so wrong?

The melt­down was inevitable. It’s pretty much a “midterm effect”: after a realign­ing elec­tion, the new gov­ern­ment sud­denly becomes a lot more unpop­u­lar because they can’t sweep away the cob­webs they said they’d get rid of. This hap­pened to the Amer­i­can Demo­c­ra­tic Party in 1994 and 2010, but not to the Repub­li­cans in 2002: because 2000 was a steady hand-over instead of the land­slides of ’92 and ’08. A new lib­eral force in pol­i­tics was bound to be unpop­u­lar once it started to gov­ern: some promises have to be bro­ken, after all, if you need to gov­ern prop­erly. » Read more..

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