miss_s_b: (Default)
I've got the support of one local party and a bunch of signatories already, but if anybody else wants to join in you've got about an hour. I have been assured by both former and current members of FCC that publishing it on my blog is not a problem, so the text is below the cut )
I realise that the wording is a bit techy, but I think it's necessary to root it in the terms of the court ruling, rather than just attacking DRIP per se.

If you want to add your name, email me your full name, party membership number and the name of your local party in the next hour or so.

Update Motion submitted and acknowledged recieved by FCC. Fingers crossed they accept it :)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I GET that DRIP is significantly less awful with the Lib Dem input than it would have been otherwise. I GET that Lib Dems in government fought hard to get the measly concessions we have got in a horrifically authoritarian bill that will give future secretaries of state for the home office carte blanche to introduce all the powers of the snoopers' charter without parliamentary oversight. I GET that we are the junior partners in a coalition and we can't have everything all our own way. I get that compromise is the only way anything would ever get done under this government, and I voted for the coalition at special conference in full and total knowledge that I was almost certainly signing the electoral death warrant for my party.

You know what?

There are some things that absolutely should be red lines. And when the name of your party is the Liberal Democrats you do NOT shill for a bill which is so profoundly illiberal and undemocratic on the basis that we made it a bit better by inserting a sunset clause (which the next majority govt of EITHER of the the other two big parties will gleefully repeal, even if it DOES take primary legislation to do so) and some bits of safeguard which AREN'T EVEN IN THE BILL but are to be put into a statutory instrument at some point maybe.

No. Fuck that shit.

What next? Greg Mulholland is going to try to tell me that pubcos are OK really and it could be worse?
Adrian Sanders is going to say that it's OK to torture animals if you don't kill them?
Lynne Featherstone will tell me that cutting is fine if you only take off ONE of the labia and not both?

Enough. Enough of this right now.

I want my party back, and I want the people in it that I looked up to and respected to start behaving like they did when I looked up to them and respected them, not like shills for the bloody authoritarian tories.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Calderdale Liberal Democrats' Policy Working Group met on Saturday night and we've written a motion for conference expressing our dismay at DRIP and what we feel the party's policy response should be. We do realise that DRIP will be pushed through before conference, but the motions deadline is Wednesday (when DRIP will be in the Lords) and we think this is the best way of getting the parliamentary party who are selling our principles down the river (for not even 30 pieces of silver or anything) to take notice.

I'm not going to publish the text of the motion here because conference office might take a dim view of that, but if you're interested in putting your name rank and serial number to it, message me in some way to let me know. It so far has the support of Calderdale local party and a few individuals, but the more the merrier.

My email is jennieDOTriggATgmailDOTcom if you want to contact me.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
So [personal profile] matgb and I were listening to Radio 4 over breakfast, as we do in this household, and some Tory politician said something, and Mat got this look on his face that was somewhere between wounded and confused and said "when did the Tories get so incompetent?"

I shrugged, intending to express the thought that as far as I was concerned they always had been, but he elaborated:
No, seriously, you used to know where you were! Lefties were well-meaning but incompetent; right-wingers were evil but capable*. Now both of them are evil AND incompetent! How are we supposed to cope with THAT?
While I initially thought this was just an expression of Adams' Law**, and he was merely demonstrating his elderliness, I do think Mat's little outburst is an illustration of how many people who are far less politically engaged than Mat and I feel about politics.

People used to know, broadly, what the main parties stood for:
  • Labour are for the workers, and for redistribution of wealth on fairer grounds.
  • Conservatives are for fiscal responsibility and low taxes.
  • Liberals are for maximising freedom - both from and to - within the constraints of the harm principle.
  • Greens want to save the planet via environmental campaigning.
  • UKIP want to take us back to some mythical 1950s paradise that never actually existed.
  • The Loonies are for taking the piss.
et cetera, et cetera, et bloody cetera. The thing is, each of the parties - certainly each of the top four - has, in either local or national government or both, betrayed those core principles often enough that voters don't actually believe a word any of us say any more.

And yes, at the moment it's worse for the Lib Dems than it is for any of the others. But it was Labour before us, and the Tories before that, and each time one of the parties has a crisis of trust with the electorate that party goes down in trustworthiness, but none of the others come back up again. Nobody thinks Labour are better now than they were towards the end of the Blair years, it's just that we Lib Dems are EVEN WORSE. And whichever party it is who has the shit thrown at them next time will be even worse than us; we won't be rehabilitated in the eyes of the public, it's just that there will be somebody even LESS trustworthy.

And thus the spiral continues. Voter turnout at each election gets steadily lower and lower as the layers of natural support for each party give up and stay home. The politicians*** turn to ever more cynical methods of getting their remaining supporters to turn out, and that just exacerbates the problem.

So how do we fix it?

Well, I can't be the one who tells the Tories and Labour and the Greens and everyone else what to do, but for the Lib Dems? It's very simple. We are Liberals. Lets behave like Liberals. We believe in open justice, so no more backing secret courts. We believe in freedom from poverty, so no more turning a blind eye to the tories on their systematic screwing of the poor and disabled via the benefits system, and no more unjustified attacks on Oxfam either. We believe in the freedom to communicate ideas, so no letting Teresa May resurrect the Snooper's Charter. This list could go on forever; there are myriad ways in which this party in government has failed miserably to live up to our core principles, and to articulate clearly where and why compromise has been reached when it has.

It needs to stop. It needs to stop now.

Sadly, I don't think it will. The one man with the power to put an end to all the ridiculous infighting we're having at the moment, so we have the opportunity to rebuild and build better, has shown absolutely no inclination to do so. Our parliamentarians appear to be happy to sacrifice themselves**** on his altar. It's entirely possible we're going to go back to being just an asterisk, for "no discernable level of support".

Now I don't think my party is going to die. I, for one, am not prepared to let it. Liberalism is a way of life, not just a tickybox on a ballot paper. But things carrying on as they are means we are just going to get more and more damaged and debilitated, and it will take longer and longer to come back once we do start to rebuild. And if those parliamentarians who are clinging on to Cleggy and supporting him through this are doing so because they think they are going to be the ones to do the rebuilding when it all comes crashing down? Oh dear. They really don't know what we're like, do they?



* Aside from the fact that conflating lefties and Labour (or Tories and Rightwing) gives me the heebiejeebies, this is basically another way of stating my belief that Lib Dems are closer to Labour on aims but closer to tories on means of achieving aims.
** Adams' Law states that anything that is in the world when you are born is normal and ordinary and just part of the way the world exists and works. Rule 2, anything that is invented between when you are 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and world changing, and you can probably get a career in it. Anything that is invented after you are 35 is against the natural order of things.
*** and, for the avoidance of doubt, I include myself in this
**** and the remaining councillors and MEP
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)

My government’s legislative programme will continue to deliver on its long-term plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society. My government will introduce a Bill to enable the eating of brains and the gnawing of limbs by undead politicians. Undead yes, unperson no.
... I may not have been paying the fullest of attention to dear old Lizzy. I'm glad that she's a Lib Dem though, because only a Lib Dem would have put SEFS in the very first sentence of a speech but forgot to include the "enabling everyone to get on in life" bit </petpeeve>

In brief, my thoughts on some of the announcements:
  • Small business, enterprise and employment bill: could be interesting, especially the pubs bit.
  • Infrastructure bill: is a mixed bag I can see leading to a LOT of disputes unless VERY carefully drafted.
  • Social action, responsibility and heroism bill: I bet this will be used for farmers who shoot people in the back a lot more than it will be used for ACTUAL have-a-go heroes. Not that I'm cynical.
  • Recall of members of parliament bill: seems to provide powers so narrow they will never actually be used, and thus be utterly pointless.
So... could be worse. And certainly not like a Labour Queen's Speech announcing more legistlation than you can shake a stick at (thankfully). But it could be a damn sight better as well, and the married couple's tax allowance thing really sticks in my craw.

For a more nuanced reaction, Caron's post on LDV is worth a read.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
I wasn't going to blog about the whole leadership thing, because what good would it do? I am desperately, desperately sad that the party's response to our disastrous showing in the recent elections has been to turn inwards and fight each other, but it's not like I can't recognise the symptoms of self-harm, and I realise that trying to tell a self-harmer to stop doesn't make a lick of difference if you can't do something to stop the pain that self-harm is a response to.

So why did I decide to blog about it after all? Because Matthew Oakeshott has fallen on his sword, and the mainstream media* have leapt to the conclusion that the leadership crisis is now over.

There's a few inconvenient facts that fly in the face of that conclusion:
  1. Oakeshott going does not stop the various local parties who have already scheduled EGMs under 10.2(f) from having those meetings. I am aware of nine, so far**. That's nine local parties who have actually scheduled EGMs. I have heard rumours of many, many more who might be doing so. This is way more serious than some bloke who nobody took seriously anyway wasting money on some polling.

  2. LDs4Change may have views coincidental with Oakeshott's - and they may have gone about things in a similarly half-arsed, stupid, and unconstitutional way to the methods he uses - but that does not mean that they are, or were, run by him; or that because he is gone, they are gone. As Nick Barlow said on twitter: LDs do not need an agent provocateur to be angry with the leadership***.

  3. Oakeshott going does not solve the quite legitimate concerns that many have about Clegg's leadership. If anything, it makes Clegg feel vindicated, makes him dig his heels in, and thus makes change from his various problematic positions less likely.

If the party is to survive this without being seriously damaged, this boil needs lancing, and it needs lancing NOW before things get even more pus-filled and manky. And I can only see one way for that to happen. Clegg needs to call a leadership election himself, and then stand in it. Do the John Major option. Tell the party to back him or sack him. If the recent poll for Lib Dem Voice is accurate then the party will back him and all this will go away. If the poll's not accurate then all this, and Clegg, will go away.

Either way, we cannot afford to let this fester for much longer. The poison is seeping into all sorts of places, and I, for one, do not wish to see people I love tearing each other apart any longer.



* and several of Clegg's more ardent supporters...
** although only Cambridge have announced it publicly.
*** and lets face it, even those who agree with Oakeshott think he's a prize arse who nobody listens to, and who is the kiss of death for any campaign he gets involved in.
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Mood: And another thing)
I like cake. I like biscuits too. I also like pies and flans and muffins and buns and tarts (especially tarts). I like them shop bought and home made. I like them hot from the oven and cold from the fridge. See, I'm a liberal, and a poly one at that, and I think we are best served by variety and diversity.

Just because one is fond of cake does not mean it is reasonable or healthy to only ever eat cake, or to condemn others for liking pie or biscuits. There's room in a healthy diet for all manner of baked goods, or even an unhealthy diet.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
So, I went to the Euro election count last night. So did a lot of other local political types. Our MP, Craig Whittaker, was there, along with our new councillor for Brighouse. Labour's PPC JoshFG - in fact loads of Labourites. Some Greens. Myself, and a small hardy band of masochistic Lib Dems.

You know who wasn't there?

Not a single Kipper. Not one. You know why? Because they treated the election count the same way they will treat the positions they have been elected to - with an utter breathtaking arrogance. One of the ones who has been elected to replace the lovely, hard-working, intelligent Edward McMillan-Scott has already declared that he's not going to go to any debates*:I have woken up in a dystopian nightmare where people who think that all politicians are corrupt, lazy, lying bastards have voted for the most corrupt, lazy, lying bastards of them all because at least they are honest about being corrupt, lazy, lying bastards. Oh yeah, and immigrants. Evil evil immigrants, coming over here, taking our [insert precious thing here]. As the joke** goes:
A car mechanic, an Immigrant and a banker are in a room with ten biscuits. The banker eats nine biscuits, and UKIP says to the car mechanic: watch out for that immigrant, she's after your biscuit
.
People from several different parties have asked me to defect to them in the last couple of days. I can understand why they have done so. Things were not great at the ballot box for the Lib Dems, and several other parties see me as a way to massively increase their diversity quotient in one go. It's not going to happen, though. I am not going to join Labour or the Tories and the inevitable Dutch auction of barely-veiled racism that started before the Euro count had even begun. When my child(ren) ask What did you do, mummy, when the fascists were rising and people were falling for their bullshit? I want to be able to hold my head up and say I fought them, and their poisonous ideology, and their vile insidious racism, and I couldn't do that if I joined Labour or the Tories with their appeasement policies***.

I'm not going to go Green because, while they are bang on with a lot of the social issues I care about, their grasp of fiscal matters is even shakier than mine, and I want to be in a party that has at least SOME people who understand economics in it. And I'm not going to go Pirate because, lovely as they are, they've got even less chance of getting anywhere than we have at this point.

So no, Liberal I am and Liberal I remain. As the lovely Jonathan Calder reminds us, from the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success - as long, of course, as there are still gardeners.

So who's going to pick up a trowel and join me?



* although the point was well-made by WhoCat on twitter that with UKIP's views, we're probably better off if they DON'T turn up to any debates
** not a very funny joke, I admit.
*** apart, of course, from all the OTHER reasons for a dyed-in-the-wool Millian Liberal feminist not to join either of those two equally repulsive parties - but this post is not about THOSE reasons.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Somewhat like "hard-working families" I am starting to have an instinctive "ugh" reaction to the use of this phrase. "Where we work we win" implies that all one had to do is deliver more leaflets, make more phone calls, knock on more doors, and the election is in the bag. While those things certainly help, other things are necessary too. It also implies that all those people who DIDN'T win on Thursday only have themselves to blame for not working hard enough; while this is undoubtedly true in some cases it's a horrific insult in others. So yeah, if I never see that phrase issuing from head office again I won't mourn.

Other things:

1, if you want to get rid of the leader, there are several methods outlined in the party constitution. Anonymous willy-waving is not one of them. I suspect that all LibDems4Change have achieved is to annoy people who might have been on their side had they been approached reasonably, and made it less likely Clegg will go.

2, Calderdale council has a fantastic new councillor in Marilyn Greenwood, but it will be massively the poorer for the loss of several of the other councillors/candidates we had standing. However, you have to deal with things as they are, not how you would wish they might be.

3, Election counts are, for the most part, like the Christmas day football match in the trenches; whatever Flag we are there under most of us are capable of civility. I spent a lot of Friday having pleasant friendly chat with people from all parties and none. But there's always one, isn't there? I'm not going to name names but I was very amused by one particular person's hamfisted attempts to patronise me, and his purple face of rage when he didn't win the seat he felt entitled to ALMOST made the rest of the pain worthwhile.

4, When life gives you lemons, bugger lemonade, slice them up and put them in a gin and tonic. And then have another gin and tonic. And then another. But before you do all that, make sure you have someone lovely there who will fry you pig-based things and give you hugs the morning after. Those people are worth more than any electoral news.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
... Today is polling day in the European and lots of local elections.

Y'all know I want you to vote Lib Dem. I'd be really happy if you went out and voted Lib Dem. But I recognise that not all of my readership is of that persuasion, and I respect your democratic right to make up your own mind. If you're not going to vote Lib Dem, though, please do go and put some sort of mark on your ballot; even if you hate all politicians. If you spoil your ballot that sends a much more effective message than just staying at home. Also it'll give me something fun to look at when it comes to the count :)

You don't need your polling card to vote, and polling stations are open till 10 o'clock tonight.

Thanks guys.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... has been mostly spent knocking on people's doors and talking to them, or shoving leaflets through people's doors, all in the name of Lib Demmery. I shall be singing Letterboxes with more than the usual amount of fervour at the next Glee Club, especially given my injuries*.

Today I alone I have knocked on doors in five different wards, and travelled through a further three on my way between the various canvass sessions. This chairing lark is not all just signing stuff and telling people to shut up in meetings, you know. And the thing I love most about it? Apart from the stunning landscape I get to look at pretty much everywhere in this borough, the people are so lovely. Even those against us (and such strange people do apparently exist) are uniformly lovely about it. One of the antis called me "flower" and wished me luck today; you don't GET that in many places.

Props to all those from m'team who have been out doorknocking with me, especially Mick who has been doing it every day like a one-man canvassing machine, and our MEP Rebecca Taylor who has been in the area too. Also Abid and Chris, and Ruth and Margareta, and Janet and Mike, and Mat; and last but by no means least, my lovely Calder Valley PPC Alisdair who has been to NEARLY as many sessions as me.

So yeah, I'm knackered, but happy, having basically spent my entire "holiday" working. If you'd have told me ten years ago that this is what I'd be doing now? I'd have laughed in your face.



*I actually found myself mumbling lines from it, especially from the "should be subject to regu-la-a-ations" verse - e.g. as I knelt down to push something through a low one muttering "all at waist height" etc.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Sometimes something happens which reminds me how broad a church our party is. Not talking about the left-right axis here; everyone knows we cover the full range of that and have the factions to prove it. I'm looking at the vertical axis.

There are people in the Lib Dems who are liberals. Then there are Liberals. Then there are LIBERAL!!!!1!eleventy!!'s*. Then there are people who joined up because they thought we were cuddly and nice and want to compromise on everything; or because they wanted something equidistant from labour and the tories on the left-right axis and hadn't considered the vertical axis at all.

I don't think those in that last group and I will EVER fully understand each other.



*For the avoidance of doubt, I'm definitely in the multiple-exclamation-mark cadre.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
So this lunchtime I had an interesting conversation with a Green on Twitter. I have a lot of time for Greens; I agree with a lot (if not all) of their aims and I think there are many areas in which Greens and LDs could work together. But I'm not, and never will be a Green.

If you're a Green your main aim is saving the planet. This is a laudable aim, and not in my view one that any sensible person could oppose. But it's not the be-all and end-all of my politics. The Green I was talking to told me that a good third of his personal politics were staunch Liberalism, and expressed surprise when I said 100% of mine were. Where Greens want to save the planet full stop, I want to save the planet because that will enhance and increase personal freedom.

All the policy aims I support, I support because they will enhance and increase personal freedom.
  • I support the educational policies I support because they will enable people to make informed decisions and thus increase personal freedom.

  • I support the reduction of poverty and wealth inequality because you can't be free if you can't afford to eat.

  • I support a lot of green aims because you can't be free if you don't have a safe planet to be free ON.

  • I support freedom of movement within the EU because you can't be free if you're restricted as to where you can travel.
I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now I may disagree with other Liberals on the best way to achieve any or all of these aims, or even whether these aims would increase personal freedom. But that's OK. I'm a Liberal, and am happy to have discussions, or even stand-up rows, in the cause of freedom. I'm also willing to look at evidence and change my mind if necessary, that one or other of my aims might not increase personal freedom. But at the end of the day, it all goes back to that.

What matters is that we should all be as free as humanly possible*. That's why I'm a Liberal. If you're one too, do join up. You'd be welcome.



* within the strictures of The Harm Principle, obvs. You can't be free if someone else is restricting you by harming you physically or mentally, after all ;)
miss_s_b: (Self: Tattoo)
A lot of people have been retweeting their first tweet the last couple of days. I didn't bother with mine (mostly because it was the incredibly dull "signing up for twitter"), but I have been dragged into another exercise in nostalgia today. I'm writing a thing which involves me knowing when I did something, so inevitably, to find out, I trawled through my blog archives and found lots of stuff from back when I was a proper blogger and used to write actual posts on a regular basis...

So here, for your delectation, is a slew of landmarks in my personal journey of Lib Demmery:
It's vaguely worrying that I have been a Lib Dem for more than seven years now; if you'd have said to me (say) seven years and one month ago that by now my identity would be so wrapped up with the party* I'd have been completely disbelieving.

Any of you lot want to share any exciting landmarks - whether Lib Dem or not - with me?



*Day job is working for the party, volunteer time is taken up by chairing and doing various other things for the party, my three regular partners and various irregular ones are ALL members of the party... It really is quite scary -_-"
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
As usual conference was BUSY and I am now knackered. In no particular order here are some of the things I did:
  • Voted in lots of debates. LOTS of debates.

  • Spread the news about my workplace among various party people, which will hopefully get us lots more work coming in.

  • Was very proud of various members of my local party who submitted questions and amendments, and spoke from the stage. Special props to my lovely candidate for Calder Valley, who was not only speaking lots, but spoken about (described by Joe Otten as "the next MP for Calder Valley, Alisdair Calder McGregor, talk about nominative determinism" LOL); my treasurer Dr Taylor, who moved our amendment to the Power to the People motion; and my regional exec rep Sarah, who made her first speech at her first conference on the Digital Bill of Rights. It got to the stage where there was a tangible sense of affectionate weariness in the voice of some of the people chairing the debates when they said "...and now I call X person from Calderdale" LOL.

  • Raised something in the region of £300 for wearing a dress to the posh candidates' reception, which prompted a raised eyebrow from Our Glorious Leader and an accusation of "looking girly" from Farron. Pictorial evidence here and here.

  • Did productive networking with various MPs and MEPs and other folks, including the usual "nice suit Brian!" "nice hair Jennie!" *cheek-kisses* interaction with Brian Paddick, a promise to hunt out my old "Munt not Manure" stickers for supreme BAMF Tessa Munt, a good long chat with presidential hopeful Pauline Pearce the Hackney Heroine, and admiring Jeremy Browne's new beard.

  • Rocked Ilkley Moor at Glee.

  • Reconnected with various fellow members of the Awkward Squad and promised to make t-shirts for autumn (I am SO on this). The only problem being, as Gadsden pointed out, that EVERYBODY is going to want one...

  • As usual, ran into lots of old friends and new, but missed others. Was v pleased to see (albeit briefly) such people as Helen Duffett, Daddies Richard and Alex, Susan Gasczack, Bobbi White, Tim Oliver, etc.etc. And I met the AWESOME Maelo Manning's mum! Was sad to miss Stackee (though she was there) and various people who didn't make it (Jenkins!).

  • And, inevitably, found a good pub which does GREAT food. I think the poor Mason's Arms got a bit overwhelemed by the influx of Lib Dems by the end of Sunday afternoon, but they really were very good. Saturday lunchtime there were just a few of us Awkward Squad types in there; Saturday evening there were a reasonable number more. Sunday lunchtime it was RAMMED with lib Dems. So this is me 1, thanking them for being a great pub and putting up with us all, and 2, recommending them to anyone who is in York in the Castle area.
Today is likely to involve a degree of unpacking and recovery. And answering emails. And then back to work tomorrow...
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: Sarah Jane Smith)
1, Policy Working Group

You may or may not have seen ACMcG's call for submissions to this on Lib Dem Voice. We meet tonight, under cover of darkness but in a definitely non-smoking room (boo) to discuss the various amendments that people have asked us to support/oppose for Lib Dem Federal Conference. If anybody has any last minute submissions, email them to me in the next couple of hours because I'm going to be printing off copies to hand round the meeting very soon.

And if you're a Calderdale Lib Dem type person, do feel free to come along (and email me for directions if you need them).

2, Dress

Goddamn you people, we're pretty much half way to McGregor's target now. Largely due to one completely insane person donating fifty quid. So if the rest of you want to get in on the act, the paypal link and explanation of what the hell I'm talking about is here.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
So, Spring Conference is coming up. One of the events thereat is an exclusive invite-only candidates' reception with Our Glorious Leader Cleggy and party president Tim Farron. My lovely PPC has wangled me an invite as his plus-one*. But there's a catch. He wants me to wear a dress.

I pointed out that the last time I wore a dress it raised £75 for his campaign fund, and if he wants me to do that again he'd better be damn sure to beat that amount by a long way. I gave him a target of £250. Sadly, people have already started pledging money**.

So here's the deal: you lot donate money to McGregor's election campaign, and I will tart up.


If my paypal account goes over £250 before this time next week I will wear a dress to the Candidates' Reception on Saturday night. And, you know, might as well do a proper job of it: dress, high heels, make-up, nail varnish, the works. There will, of course, be pictures. So if you see pictures of me in my Doc Martens and stuff, you'll know that not enough money was donated.

The question uppermost in my mind is this: which will be worse? McGregor's smugness if I do end up in a dress, or his sadface if I don't... I guess that's the decision you guys have to make.

ETA: It's just struck me. Glee Club is immediately after the Exclusive Reception thingy. This means I may have to do Glee CLub in a dress... Oh God.



* mainly so I can tease Farron in person, rather than over Twitter as is my usual method.
** yes, Belinda Brooks-Gordon, I'm looking at YOU *severe face*
miss_s_b: (Mood: Bravo George)
It's not often you'll see me post to my blog officially in my capacity as chair of the local Lib Dems - mostly because I know it's not something that most of my readership is interested in - but today I'm making an exception to that.

First, a little background. Calderdale council is currently run under a cabinet system by a minority Labour administration. There has been frustration among all the OTHER councillors (Lib Dem, Tory and Independent alike) about the levels of secrecy and lack of transparency this entails for some time. This has recently come to a head over the proposed council budget, agreed by Labour councillors in secret among themselves without any consultation whatsoever with the rest of the councillors.

Now the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted the phrase "minority administration" in that previous paragraph. You see, the thing is, if everyone else bands together, there's more of us than there are of Labour. Which has led to this: http://calderdalelibdems.focusteam.org/2014/02/19/agreement-reached-on-budget-changes/

My Council Group is a diverse bunch of people, all of whom are fierce intellects and Liberals. As you might expect, sometimes this leads to debate, and even disagreement. But with this? With this there has been mature and rational discussion, negotiation, fact-finding, costing, checking and double-checking, and ultimately a proposal reached which both we and the Tories can agree to. There were some initial proposals which we made that the Tories didn't like, and some that they made which we didn't like. But both groups sat down like reasonable human beings and worked something out.

This is how things are MEANT to work, and I am immensely proud that my team have achieved this. Well done guys and girls, and especially my negiotiation team headed by our group leader Janet Battye. Really well done.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
Yesterday on Twitter (today, if you don't do twitter but do read my linkspams) I linked to a post called Why Marketers Fear the Female Geek. If you read my blog for libdemmery or Doctor Who you might not have bothered clicking the link, but I urge you to do so. It's the clearest explanation of how marketing works I have ever read. Go ahead, do it now, I'll wait.

The more astute among you will have already realised how this applies to British politics. Especially if you were listening to the news this morning. Both Labour and Tories have announced things today which are desperately chasing a small and shrinking proportion of the population, actively at the expense of everyone else (in Labour's case it's racists, in the Tories' case it's pensioners). Why are they doing this? Well, because they are marketing men. David Cameron worked in PR, for pity's sake. They've identified a demographic they can appeal to and they are appealing for all they are worth, trying to squeeze every last vote out.

The problem is, the longer this goes on, the more people are left out in the cold. Politicians whine all the time about decreased turnout at elections, but then they only ever try to appeal to a subset of those who already vote, which leaves everybody else angry and feeling disenfranchised.

Politics desperately needs a Disruptive Innovator. And it really, REALLY should be the Lib Dems. We made a half-arsed attempt at it in 2010 with the Tuition Fees + No More Broken Promises schtick, and we ALL know how that went; if anything that has made things worse because we didn't follow through on our marketing. But we can, and should, do better. We have LOTS of disruptive and innovative policies, we just need to get them taken seriously by the electorate. Well, I say, just... After last time there is going to be a once bitten, twice shy effect.

I think we're doing better with the Euro campaign for this year. We're the only party not doing the racist dog whistle race to the bottom of saying IMMIGRUNTS BAD all the time. We're pointing out actual facts and things about how being in Europe and free movement of peoples across Europe actually makes us richer, both economically and socially. In a country that's reading a lot of Daily Mail, that's bold, radical, disruptive innovation right there.

We need to be thinking about how we're going to do this for the general. And we need to be thinking about it now, if not sooner.



ETA: it has been pointed out to me that perhaps I could have worded one of the sentences in this better. Pensioners are, as a group, growing as a proportion of the population. But if you are appealing to voters you are appealing to individuals within a group, not the whole group, and individual pensioners get old and die. If you craft a message that appeals to post-war generation pensioners but ignores the baby boomers (like my parents) who have VERY different views, the group you are appealing to is shrinking and you are putting off their replacements.
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
Lib Dem Voice have been being very very naughty. It all started with James Shaddock's Opinion: As Liberals, we must stand up For sex workers. Not to be outdone, my lovely candidate Alisdair* went for the seemingly innocuous Opinion: Teresa May’s Right Hand doesn’t know what her Hard Right hand is doing - which is, of course, the Porn Star Teresa May, not the Home Secretary Theresa May, with bonus mention of hardness. And then, bless him, he's such a trier, he had another go with Porn blocking comes in… and blocks the LGBT+LD website as porn. Which clearly encouraged the lovely Lady Mark to go for This week’s by-elections: a come from behind upset in Lincolnshire brightens an otherwise grim scene*.

So which one made you snigger most?
Poll #14747 Innuendo-laden Headlines
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 11

What was the most Innuendo-laden Headline on Lib Dem Voice This Week?

Standing up for Sex Workers
0 (0.0%)

Teresa May's Hard Right Hand
5 (45.5%)

Porn Block Comes In
0 (0.0%)

The Come From Behind Upset
6 (54.5%)





*possibly with some slight encouragement from me
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Fuck the centre ground. Seriously, fuck it with a ten foot barge pole. I have no issue with the Lib Dems being equidistant between left and right; that's as it should be, given that even within my own local party there are people who range from extreme socialist to somewhere right of Attila the Hun. You know why that doesn't mean we are on the centre ground?

BECAUSE WE'RE FUCKING LIBERALS. No matter how far left or right each of us is on the economic axis, we are ALL anti-authoritarian, some of us extremely so. And for pretty much all of us, where we are on the Liberal/Authoritarian axis is WAY more important than where we are on the left/right axis.

Every single time I see some shite about us being on the centre ground, or even worse "laying claim to the centre ground" like we BELONG there, like we OUGHT to be there, I want to scream FOR FUCK'S SAKE PEOPLE YOU ARE SELLING OUT OUR USP FOR AN OLD SPITTING IMAGE SKETCH. I'm sure those of us of a certain age remember the whole "neither one thing nore the other but somewhere in between" thing. And now the party's marketers think that's a GOOD marketing technique? Wishywashy pointless bollocks that it is.

Liberalism is NOT about carefully positioning ourselves on the ever-shifting centre ground between the Tories and Labour; it's about getting as far away from both of the scary authoritarian fuckers as we possibly can up the other axis. PLEASE can we stop defining ourselves in relation to the other two parties and start defining ourselves for ourselves?
miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
Just a quick entry today: Very pleased to see that the lovely Julian Huppert has won the parliamentary beard of the year vote even though I voted Thurso.I note that this was despite the desperate, misspelled, last ditch efforts of the Labour candidate for Calder Valley. As our own, dear, beardy candidate ACMcG said:Julian's defeated opponent was much more gracious:Anyway, props to Julian for winning, AND for coming up with that hilarious punning hashtag; commiserations to King Beard Thurso for only managing third despite my vote, and may there be more beards of all parties in parliament come 2015.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
One of the more disturbing things to come out of the Calderdale Council cabinet meeting on Monday night was that they are apprently planning to sell off the Pellon Network Centre. So while money can be found for pay rises for council officers, and for iPads for councillors, and for the long-debated strip of land hubwards of Sto Kerrig Halifax library plans, there's no money left to keep open a much needed community resource in a deprived area of the borough.

Now I could use this for political point-scoring. I could say "see, this is how Labour prioritise things! I bet they try to blame it on ConDem cuts!" and other such things. But frankly that would be cheap, and would miss the point. The point is that the centre is well-used*, has had a bucketload of public and private cash poured into it**, and is a valuable community asset which it would be senseless to flog off for short term gain.

James Baker, councillor for the ward in which the centre is situated, has set up a website with a petition which I'd be grateful if you would sign. This is a Lib Dem campaign because James is a Lib Dem, but I'd like to think it's more important than what colour your rosette is.





*Youth services operate out of the centre, it is also home to a jobs club, a computer club, an art club and a Saturday morning club with fun activities for parents and children.
**Action Halifax allocated £112k of European money and some more from the Single Regeneration Budget, the Council added another £70k as match funding, private money came in from Pennine Housing, the Community Foundation (£10k of Jennifer Pearson's money via the Stephen Pearson Memorial Fund) and others. Total costs came to about £250k of public and private money.
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (ot3))
So the date has been set for the first same sex marriages in England and Wales.



Caron has had a fantastic idea:I have to say, I get really cross when people give a long list of people who are "responsible" for same sex marriage, from Cameron down, and leave Lynne off it. It wouldn't have happened at all without her. SO I am BANG alongside Caron's suggestion.

Who's with me?

ETA: I shouldn't be as amused as I am that 29th March is also Norman Tebbit's birthday, should I? *cackle*
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (S.P.C./Eyebrow))
Those of you who have been to conference know what I'm talking about. You'll be sat having a quiet pint in the bar, and in walks Lord Ashdown. There is an instant change in the atmosphere. The sexual tension in the room goes through the roof. All the people-who-fancy-men sigh wistfully, and all the people-who-don't-fancy-men try to look that bit more impressive, while knowing it's futile.

It's hard to believe for someone who hasn't seen it happen; you don't get much of a sense of it from seeing the man on the telly or anything like that. I know this because I have been trying to convince a recent recruit to the party of the power of the Paddy Effect. She thinks she is going to be immune to it. She thinks I'm joking about how potent and irresistible it is. She thinks she'll be the one sat in the bar at Spring conf wondering what the hell is going on while everybody else has a minor meltdown.

I think she's wrong. Hence the poll:

Poll #14678 The Paddy Effect
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


Have you ever met anybody who is immune to the Paddy Effect?

View Answers

What?
5 (38.5%)

Don't Be Stupid
3 (23.1%)

Such a Thing Is Not Possible
6 (46.2%)

I wish to lie and say "yes" but I know I'm lying
2 (15.4%)

ticky box
9 (69.2%)

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






Flattr this

Ebuzzing - Top Blogs Ebuzzing - Top Blogs - Politics





==================
Charities I support:

The Survivors' Trust - donate here
DogsTrust - donate here
CAB - donate here

==================


Creative Commons License
Miss SB by Jennie Rigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at miss-s-b.dreamwidth.org.

Please note that any and all opinions expressed in this blog are subject to random change at whim my own, and not necessarily representative of my party, or any of the constituent parts thereof (except myself, obviously).

Printed by Dreamwidth Studios, Maryland USA. Promoted by Jennie Rigg, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Subscribe

RSS Atom

July 2014

M T W T F S S
 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
2122 23 24252627
28293031   

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Style Credit

Page generated Friday, July 25th, 2014 03:38 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios