miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
I keep seeing proposals from my fellow Lib Dems for legislation, or amendments thereto, or policies, or whatever, that ask for "half men and half women" or "50/50 male/female representation".

STOP IT. Please, please stop it. Apart from the fact that these people always list men first, which strikes me as indicative; apart from the fact that the population is more than 50% women anyway, by most statistical measures, so these things ought to be majority women even if you do believe in a strict gender binary; the gender binary is bullshit and pretending it isn't erases the very existence of people who do not conform to it. Half men and half women leaves no space for those who identify as neither, or both. Intersex, non-binary and genderqueer folks make up about 0.4% of the population, at a conservative estimate. Now, that might not sound like a lot, but it's about 250,000 people in the UK. Bear in mind also, that that's in a society that rigidly enforces the gender binary, and regularly does not give the option of declaring that you are neither or both. We all know how the proportion of repressed social groups "goes up" the less repression there is, as people stop having to hide their actual selves. I think we can therefore say that there are at least 250,000 people who are neither exclusively "man" nor exclusively "woman" in the UK.

These people are people and deserve to at least have their existence acknowledged. Can we PLEASE stop erasing and automatically excluding them by not even remembering their existence when formulating policy? It's not hard. If you're really wedded to having a numerical target - which I personally am not, but that's a whole 'nother blog post - don't say "50/50 men/women", say "50% women"**. That knocks the women down by 1% to give some wiggle room and leaves the other 50% totally unspecified. Easy, right?

*and yes there are some trans and some cis in all those categories, and that doesn't make a difference to my point
**definition of woman = a human being who identifies as a woman. That's it. Yes, trans women are women. Anyone denying this basic fact in the comments to this blog will be given the shortest of short shrift.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
OMOV is going to come up again at conference, and it's one of those ideas that superficially seductive, and, to be honest, I lean in favour of just from a simplicity point of view. However*, there are some arguments against which I think need to be answered before I'll consider voting for it. I'll outline them below, along with some ideas which could mitigate (although not necessarily solve) each one:

1, Entryism. Yeah, I know, we're the Lib Dems, who's going to bother? But the current system of conference reps does at least mean that someone who comes to conference with a voting pass has at least been given a cursory glance over by their local party. This could be mitigated by having a length of service clause (you can't vote till you've been a member for a given amount of time) but that wouldn't deter really determined entryists, and would mean that the one person you've thought of as a natural lib dem, who your local party has been courting for years, would also be denied a vote when under the current system they aren't. Also people who continually let their memberships lapse due to forgetfulness would be perpetually unable to vote. This could be mitigated by people signing up for direct debits.

2, Geographic concentration. This is already an issue - wherever conference is closest to supplies the majority of voting reps for that conference. I can't see OMOV making this any better, and I can see it potentially getting worse. A lot of policies we vote on have different applications in different regions. This could be mitigated by allowing online voting, but that opens up whole new vistas of cans of worms.

3, Tyranny of the Majority. Y'all just knew I was going to bring up John Stuart Mill at some point, didn't you? Dear old JS. If you have OMOV, and geographic concentration, and entryism, you run the risk of packing of policy votes. Now, arguably, this already happens. We've all** been in the hall for Julian and Evan's traditional "get rid of faith schools" motion/amendment, which it's quite clear the hall is going to vote for, and then the payroll vote come rolling in and vote it down. The payroll vote is smaller now, but that doesn't mean other packing factions won't emerge, and OMOV would make it lots easier for them. Packing of votes necessarily means smaller local parties/AOs/SAOs get less says, and I, for one, am in favour of diversity of opinion. This could be mitigated by retaining the current conference rep system.

4, Single Issue Pressure Groups. People would turn up en masse to vote on one motion. Can you imagine what 38 degrees would do to conference? This could be mitigated by retaining the current voting rep system, or by the long service requirement

5, Doesn't solve the problems it claims to solve. Becoming a conference rep is touted as a major barrier to participation in conference by proponents of OMOV. I have never known of a local party that does not have difficulty filling up all their available conference rep slots, even the ones that believe the emails that come from head office telling you you're entitled to less than you actually are. If turning up to your local party AGM and putting your hand up when the chair says "Who's going to conference, then?" is an insurmountable barrier to participation for a particular individual, I don't think that OMOV will make them more likely to participate. Maybe it will for a few, but not the majority. And yes, there IS a problem with moribund local parties in some areas, but OMOV doesn't suddenly invigorate them. No, the major thing that prevents people participating in conference is that it costs a small fortune, and again, OMOV does not solve this. This could be mitigated by not telling people a system is going to do something it demonstrably isn't and can't? IDK.

Now, I'm not actually dead set against OMOV. As I said at the beginning, it has a beguiling simplicity. But I would like to see genuine solutions to the problems I have with it before I vote for an unknown system over one that I know, and know works.

* up yours, Govey
** for a given definition of all
miss_s_b: (Who: Dalek Pest Control)
Waaaaaaaay back in the mists of time I was very active in Harry Potter fandom. Bear with me, because there is a point to this. The official Harry Potter website forums had a very active mod team and a very restrictive policy on what was suitable for posting on a forum aimed at children*. After some degree of protest about this, a quite large group of us went and set up our own forums. I did most of the building and running of those forums. Some time after that, and after much growth of the site I was running, a group of people decided they didn't like how I was running that website. You know what they did? They went off and set up their own.

Not one of us at any point in any of those processes had their free speech infringed: the WB were perfectly within their rights to decide that babies are not a fit topic for children to possibly stumble on a conversation about**. I was perfectly within my rights to decide the policies for my site, and the people who moved on from it were perfectly within their rights to decide the policies on their site.

You see, the thing is, if a person, or a set of people, have made the effort to build something - be that a house, a blog, a website, or anything else - those people have the right to decide what they will and will not put up with within that place. If you want to build a website or set up a blog where people can come and shout obscenities at you, you can do so, just as if you wanted to let people into your house to shout at you you could do so. In a lot of cases it won't even cost you any money.

The thing is, whatever you decide to do in terms of comments on a website, there is going to be someone who doesn't like it. So you have to decide which people you want to make unhappy. In my view, the vast majority of websites - including lib dem voice - are far too nice to the sort of arseholes who make everybody who just wants a civil discussion unhappy. And that makes the people who just want a civil discussion unhappy, and when they're unhappy they go away. And then the only people you have commenting on your website are the arseholes. There is lots and lots of research out there on this, but even without the research it's perfectly blindingly obvious that websites with incredibly "free" comment policies quickly become cesspits of bile.

To be specific about Tony Greaves: a peer of the realm does not have his free speech infringed by being banned from a private website when he has been repeatedly told that his behaviour towards other people on the website is unacceptable and he needs to tone it down. He is perfectly free to be published elsewhere, or even set up his own website, as are any of the rest of us who don't like the way lib dem voice run their comments and/or forum. As, indeed, I don't, and therefore I have.

In my view it would do Lib Dem Voice good to have some competition. I am a Liberal, and I don't like monocultures and overcentralisation. Lib Dem Voice was set up by and is run by volunteers. There is nothing to stop other people doing what they did, and making a success of it. All it would take would be time and effort. Admittedly, quite a lot of time and effort, but the people who run lib dem voice have already put that time and effort in, and therefore it is their site and they can decide what they will accept people doing on it. I personally think that the Liberator Collective are best placed to set up a site in competition to lib dem voice at the moment, and I'd actually quite like to read such a website. Tony Greaves is a member of the Liberator collective regular contributor to Liberator and I'm sure would be welcome to contribute to any website they might build***.

So, liberator people: instead of being whiny entitled idiots and complaining about censorship when someone won't let you abuse them on their own website, how about putting some effort in yourselves and building your own?

* I got banned from it for tlking about being pregnant with my now 12 year old daughter, which I personally think is a little censorious.
** stupid and wrong, but within their rights.
*** corrected after being contacted by someone who IS a member of the Liberator Collective.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
50/50 sounds so seductive, doesn't it? It sounds so fair. But it's not fair, and in fact makes marginalisation worse.

I have a lot of friends who are genderqueer, or intersex, or otherwise outside of the narrow gender binary represented by 50/50 campaigns. You probably have friends who fall outside the gender binary - it's nothing like a rare as we are traditionally led to think. If you follow a 50/50 gender campaign you are reinforcing the false gender binary, and locking out of power anyone who does not adhere to that false gender binary. That's not just illiberal, it's morally wrong, and discriminatory against a group of people whom our society already treats like crap.

Please stop doing it, fellow lib dems. Please? Because every time you do your lack n of consideration for those who do not conform to an extremely narrow view of what humanity is becomes painfully obvious, and I for one thought we were better than that.
miss_s_b: (Default)
... which has remained screened and will continue to remain screened for not sticking to my comments policy. I am going to pull out one point from it, however.

Anonymouse says: It just won't wash to say - or to imply - that you think it's morally wrong for homosexuals to express their love physically, but that you're still a liberal because you support their legal rights.

No, no, no.

That's EXACTLY what liberalism is. Liberalism is legislating for the rights of people to do things that you personally disapprove of, because as long as they aren't harming anybody else it's not within your gift to intervene. If you can't grasp something this basic about Liberalism, then I'm sure everyone else can understand why I'm not unscreening the rest of your comment.

Liberalism isn't about purity of thought, about everyone being in agreement, about Borg-like adherence to conformity. That's the antithesis of liberalism. Liberalism is about defending the rights of people to do things you detest, because even though you detest their actions, they are not hurting anyone else.

I think people who drink mass-produced lager are the scum of the earth and morally reprehensible. Doesn't mean I'm going to do anything to stop them doing it. Doesn't mean I didn't live with one for ten years. I think people who prefer cats to dogs are utterly wrong. I'm deeply in love with one of those people right now, as I type.

And yes, the example you gave in your comment, dear anonymous, was intentionally far more inflammatory than those I give above. I know people who would agree with the view in your example, as well. And yes, I think those people can be liberals, so long as they actively agitate for the rights of people to do the thing they disapprove of.

Now don't get me wrong here, I think the very concept of sin is utter bollocks. I'm not going to defend the view that homosexual sex is a sin, because I don't agree with the concept of sin, and even if I did, I wouldn't think that any number of people of any gender enjoying themselves sexually would be a sin anyway. But I absolutely am going to defend the person who expresses that view from some sort of permissiveness thought-purity test. The question is not what Tim Farron (or anybody else's views) are of morality. I don't care if my leader thinks it's morally indefensible to eat cheese on a Tuesday, so long as he defends my right to eat cheese on a Tuesday.

Tim Farron's voting record is there for all to see, and the fact that the mainstream press are trying to misrepresent it to bash his private religious convictions is something that I, personally, find far more reprehensible than him having religion.

I'll say it again:
I'm an atheist.
I'm bisexual.
I'm polyamorous.
I voted for Tim Farron in the leadership contest, and I do not regret it.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
For devotees and attendees of the regular Not The Leader's Speech event at conference, where we all meet in the pub, download the text of the leader's speech, and work out what point we would have walked out at anyway, I have some bad news:

Of course, if there IS a point where I would walk out of Tim's speech... Well, I'll just have to walk out. From the front row. In front of all those TV cameras... It better be a damn good speech, Tim. That's all I'm saying.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... are many and varied. Perhaps for their knowledge of party systems and what needs to change. Perhaps for their ability to present a compelling case for liberalism to the world. Perhaps for their endurance and stalwartness.

What I don't understand is people passionately declaring their allegiance for one or the other based on a particular policy position. Much as the media would like to believe otherwise, policy is not made at the whim of the leader in our party. Yes, the leader has some advantage in publicising what their policy priorities might be, and yes, the leader can pick and choose from policies voted on at conference to push or to ignore. But the fact remains that policy is voted on by conference in the Lib Dems, not made up on the hoof by the leader.

And even if that were not the case:
  1. Tim and Norman agree with each other on more policies than they disagree and pretending that they are lightyears apart just sets up a false scrap where there is agreement.

  2. Both have been coming out with policy statements - I've not seen ONE of these that isn't either already party policy or aligned with existing policy, and I'm reasonably sure that neither has come out with one that the other would utterly condemn.

  3. It's utterly nonsensical to fervently support one candidate because they believe in a policy position that the other also believes in and has publicly stated they believe in.
So can we please stop with this "I support $candidate because they are in favour of $policy" crap? It buys into a stupid, bullheaded media narrative which sets up a false adversarial tone and does neither candidate any favours. Yes, I'm supporting Tim. But that doesn't mean I'll be wailing and gnashing my teeth if Norman wins. Either candidate will make a fine leader and I'm not going to join in any Punch and Judy bollocks.

... I'm doing a Canute again, aren't I? :/
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
Tone policing is when someone says "you would have a good point, if only you would sound less angry and more reasonable when you say it". It is generally used as a tactic to shut up people who are talking about how they are being oppressed or exploited by various systems, by those who support and benefit from those systems. Sometimes those who are (or claim to be) on the side of those who are oppressed and exploited by a system will use tone policing because they genuinely think that if only everyone was nice then the oppressors would listen.

Such is the case with Iain Roberts' recent article about "demonising the rich" on Lib Dem Voice. I've met Iain, several times, & he's a genuinely nice, well-meaning, conscientious Councillor. And yet in that article, and more so in the comments to it, he comes across as a smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, patronising arsehole. I am dead set certain that he isn't any of those things, and also that this is not the tone he was going for when he complains about the tone of people on the left, but it's an inherent problem when you tone police people who already feel like you are not on their side.

His article has a germ of a point: in order to stem the rising tide of inequality "the rich", however you define them, need to be brought onside. Where I differ from Iain is that I don't think if we all just ask nicely it'll magically happen. History shows that asking nicely is all well and good, but a big legislative stick is the only thing that actually works.

So to those who say "you may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you were less angry" I say this:

You may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you sounded less like an apologist for oppression.

How about maybe we ALL think about our tone when speaking? I'll try to be less angry and sweary if you stop using a tone that's guaranteed to MAKE me angry and sweary?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Ryan Coetzee has written an article in the Grauniad in which he details why he thinks we did so badly in the elections. Perhaps unsurprisingly his answer isn't "hanging on the every word of an overpaid soothsayer who sold us a pup of a slogan". You will be likewise be unsurprised I have some disagreements with his conclusions.
About four weeks from election day it became clear that The Fear was hurting us. We tried everything we could to counter it: fear of a Tory minority government in hock to its own right wing, Ukip and the DUP; fear of Tory cuts to welfare, schools and other unprotected departments; ruling out participation in any government that relied on SNP support; offering ourselves as the only guarantors of a stable coalition. All of it was trumped by The Fear, and on a scale we didn’t see coming.
Yes, we tried every other form of fear we could think of. But we didn't try hope.
We made a coherent, liberal case to the voters...
No we bloody didn't because you told us not to. We were the rizla trying to slip between the tories and labour, and those who wanted the "tory" value of strong economy voted tory, and those who wanted the "labour" value of fair society voted labour.
...offering both a strong economy and a fair society.
SEFS is and always was a total bag of arse. It fails the standard test (who would campaign for a weaker economy and a less fair society?) and it's meaningless bollocks. Ask the average voter what they thought of it and they'll shrug and go "it's all right". It's not distinctively liberal. It's Rizla-slipping in slogan form.
My tentative conclusion is that it is probably not possible to succeed electorally in coalition government under first-past-the-post while remaining equidistant from the two big parties. If we can’t win the fight for proportional representation, it may be that we have either to stay in opposition or pick a side.
We are NEVER going to succeed by aligning ourselves ANYWHERE on the left right axis because it's already crowded. We need to persuade people that the axis that matters is the Liberal authortarian axis because we bloody own it.
There are three options for the party now: remain in opposition unless we can change the electoral system, even if a coalition opportunity presents itself again, allowing us to be whichever version of our liberal selves we like; seek once more to reunite the left by merging or aligning with Labour, thereby creating a path to power for liberal ideas; or rebuild, take the next chance to be in government, and do it differently in the hope of a different outcome.
Does it have to be us that changes the electoral system? I don't care who does it, as long as it gets done, and there's a LOT of pressure for it now. And once that happens, all bets are off.

Look, clearly Ryan wins the argument from authority here, because the party pays him an awful lot of money to do what he does, and the party doesn't pay me anything anymore because I got made redundant, there being no funding left for my job now we have been massacred. So you can dismiss this as bitterness if you like. But I think people will vote Liberal Democrat if we give people a reason to vote FOR US. And "we're a bit less profligate than Labour, and a bit less heartless than the tories" isn't a reason to vote for us, it's entirely negative. Until some overpaid soothsayer comes up with something the voters can latch onto that's distinctly us, we're screwed.

Of course, up until 2010 we had "you can trust them to do what they say", and look how well THAT'S going now...
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
- he's a gut liberal. More than that: he's a heart and soul liberal.
- he's a passionate and inspirational speaker, and we need passion and inspiration right now.
- he recognises his fallibility and owns his mistakes.
- he seeks advice on subjects he is not expert in rather than bluffing.
- I have seen him change and learn; every time I have seen this happen he has been consistently, instinctively Liberal about how he applies new information.
- he knows how the party works both structurally and culturally, and his time as president shows how well he connects with the wider membership.
- he upsets the Daily Express.
- he supports a Yorkshire parliament (as does Norman to be fair).

At the beginning of all this I was determined to stay neutral, and weigh things up as the campaign went on, and give each candidate a fair hearing... I like Norman Lamb, I really do. His work on mental health in particular has real personal value to me. BUT he doesn't have some of the qualities that I think our leader needs right now. Don't get me wrong, whoever wins we will have a capable leader whom I will support; but right now I think it's Time For Tim.
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
I received a DM from a friend on twitter today, which read:
Probably a really stupid question but err… would a filthy leftie treehugger be welcome in the LDs?
to which my response was
Well they made ME chair.
You don't have to like everything the party has ever done (or proposes to do now) to join. We're a democratic party. While obviously you need to have some areas of overlap just to fit in, if you don't like party policy, you can work to change it. I know, I've done it and succeeded.

I'm not saying it's easy, and you've got to put evidence in front of people and persuade them, but at least it's possible which is more than I can say for either of the labservative parties. You join them, you fork over your money, and you do as you're told. You join the Lib Dems and we want you to contribute - yes money, although not very much; but also ideas and arguments. We thrive on arguments.

If that sounds like the sort of thing you could join in with, you know what to do.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
The Liberal Democrats have a lot of internal organisations that revolve around an identity or an interest. They are normally referred to as (S)AOs, or (specified) associated organisations, even though those terms don't apply to them all. An SAO is slightly more powerful than an AO in that it can submit motions to conference in its own right, but some of the AOs have enormous membership. Some unofficial groupings are treated in the same way as (S)AOs for all practical purposes. Add to that the fact that many of them have an acronymtastic name, and it can all get a bit confusing. This is my rough and extremely biased guide to the ones you really need to know about, but for a list of all the official ones you can check out the main party website here and here. Certainly some of the ones listed in the second half of this are going to be very offended by my views on them; I'm damn straight certain this post isn't going to be republished on Lib Dem Voice.

Firstly, the ones I know through either myself or a partner being a member:

LGBT+ LibDems (SAO) Affectionately known as Plus, the artist formerly known as DELGA is the group within the lib dems that campaigns for the rights of the entire alphabet soup of gender and sexuality minorities. The reason we are not DELGA anymore is that we felt the need to represent all of the alphabet soup was more pressing than retaining the words "Gay Action" in our name*. You do not have to be a gender or sexuality minority person to join, just in favour of fighting for our rights.

HSLD (AO) Humanist and Secularist Lib Dems are comprised of people of all religions and none. We fight to prevent the intrusion of religion (any religion) into places where religion should not be going. We reckon that if one religion intrudes, that is bad for both non-religious people and people who believe in other religions than the one intruding. HSLD are definitely high speed low drag.

Lib Dem History Group (unofficial) I don't actually contribute to Lib Dem History Group, but I devour the Journal of Liberal History, which you get delivered to your door by being a member.

ALDC (SAO) The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors is absolutely stuffed full of experts on effective campaign techniques, and they run amazing training events. They also run election alerts, so that everyone knows when a by election is going to happen. They are the engine of the famous LD by election juggernaut. Despite the name you do not have to be a local Councillor to join - I never have been - and in fact they have recently started referring to themselves as the association of LD councillors and campaigners, but they haven't added an extra C yet...

Secondly, the groups who cause waves within the party:

The SLF (unofficial). They're justified, and they're ancient and they drive an ice cream van. No, sorry, that's the KLF. The SLF are a huge grouping of people who label themselves social liberals. There are very few people within the party who wouldn't call themselves social liberals, and of those who wouldn't it's because the term social liberal has come to refer to the left of the party, rather than a set of beliefs. Therefore the SLF tends to lean left merely by virtue of the people who are prepared to join it. I lean a lot further left than most of the SLF, but I have never joined because I see them as a pointless splinter group, in the same way that the People's Front of Judea look upon the Judean People's Front**. The numbers of people who HAVE joined show that I am in something of a minority in that opinion; I'm OK with that. Most likely to be found claiming to both represent the left of the party and to represent the entirety of party opinion at the same time.

Liberal Reform (unofficial) If the K, sorry, SLF are the left-leaning splinter group, Liberal Reform are the right leaning ones. Most likely to be found containing people who disdain "identity politics" (while adopting the identity of a Liberal Reform member) and who blithely refer to themselves as Classical Liberals despite having never read Mill and being unaware that he referred to himself as a socialist. If the SLF are the Judean People's Front, these guys are the Popular Front, sitting down the front looking grumpy and flipping the bird at everyone else. The SLF are their deadly rivals. You can tell this by the frequency with which members of both say things like "I don't know why people think we're enemies, we should totally be working together!". Liberal Reform are most likely to be found spouting managementspeak bollocks, and failing to understand that actually, being poor is quite hard.

The Carbohydrate Groupings (extremely unofficial and urine-extracting) The Carbohydrate Groupings were mostly specifically formed to take the piss out of the SLF and Liberal Reform. Lib Dem Biscuits are a young and thrusting group of new people who want to make sure we all have something to dunk in our tea. Lib Dem Friends of Cake disapprove of what they call "the biscuity entryists". Lib Dem Tarts and Lib Dem Friends of Pie disdain both cake AND biscuits and fight with each other as to whether pastry cases should have lids or not, and who is the best at outrageous innuendo. Paddy Ashdown famously endorsed Lib Dem Friends of Cake on national television. IMHO all four of them are more useful to Liberalism and more fun than the SLF or Liberal Reform. Your mileage may vary.

Green Lib Dems (AO). I'm not going to take the piss out of this lot because they do a lot of good work, and I honestly keep meaning to get around to joining them.

Lib Dem Women (SAO). I was a member of one of the two groups that merged to form this, and I left at merger. I was happy as a member of the Campaign For Gender Balance, because they didn't specify any genders to balance, and thus were not exclusionary. Lib Dem Women have a tendency to believe in the gender binary, and as I am implacably opposed to the gender binary we're just never going to get along. I have a lot of admiration for many of their members though.

Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (AO) - mostly to be found piling in to the hall at conference to defeat any motion or amendment which restricts faith schools.

EMLD (SAO) Ethnic Minority Lib Dems campaign for the rights of BAME people. Like Green Lib Dems, these are people who do huge amounts of great work, and I'm not going to take the piss.

There are lots more groupings within the lib dems, of varying degrees of power and influence, and this list is only the ones I have noticed having an impact. Ones I would like to see having more impact on policy include ALDES, if only because they have the best logo, and LDMHA. Inevitably, i will get comments recommending different groups, or arguing with what I've put here. That's fine, we're all Liberals :)

* I am still sad that we don't have Gay Action in our name any more, but I feel, as a bi person, that the sacrifice was worth it.

miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
As well as my own post on this matter, lots of other people have written long and/or interesting posts on this, not least on Lib Dem Voice. As much for myself as for you, gentle reader, I'm going to collect the links to my favourite ones here.
  • Nick Barlow is a proper political scientist, and you can tell this reading his article which is logically structured and argued, and contains a lot of clear and understandable points, most of which I thoroughly agree with.

  • Anders Hanson, former chair of the Yorkshire and Humber regional Liberal Democrats, has a very long, thoughtful, considered piece here. I think he's particularly right about the need to own a policy area or several.

  • The fabulous Mortimer posted her five* ideas quite quickly, but I think they are all good ones. Plus, she's even swearier than me.

  • Andy Hinton, in the midst of linking to lots of other people, points out that perhaps the problem last week was that we hadn't given the voters anything to vote FOR. His whole piece is worth reading, though, not least for the fact that he admits he's just setting out thoughts as they occur to him.

  • I've ummed and ahhed about linking to David Howarth's piece on the SLF because I think the very first point is absolutely dead wrong and couldn't be wrongerer. But the rest of it is very good indeed.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
So, apparently, there are well over seven thousand of you guys now. Welcome! In order to help you acclimatise to the culture of the party there's a couple of things you ought to be reading.
  1. The back of your membership card* is the first and most important thing for you to read as a new Lib Dem. The front will have some sort of pretty picture on it, and your name, and your membership number. The back will say on it:
    The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
    which is an extract from our Constitution and is something that is graven on most of our hearts. Regardless of the fact that I have recently called for a constitutional convention, and I genuinely think that we should rebuild from the ground up (hopefully with your help), the idea that the words "no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity" won't be a part of that is unconscionable.

  2. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. You can read this online, but my favourite version** is this 1912 edition which also contains two more of Mill's essays - on running the government and on feminism - and an Introduction by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. You might be a bit put off the idea of reading a dry work of Victorian philosophy, but I promise you, it's worth it.***

  3. The Liberator Songbook. You can buy a copy here and there are some extracts online here, for example, or here. You don't have to attend Glee Club at conference - and indeed, many Lib Dems look upon it with total embarrassment - but a read of the songbook will give you an idea of the culture of the party. We like to extract the urine. We extract the urine out of ourselves, each other, other political parties, the political system, and ourselves all over again.

  4. The Electoral Reform Society's Guide to Voting Systems. The one thing everybody knows about the Lib Dems is that we are in favour of "PR". Most people don't know what PR is. Most people think we had a referendum on PR in the last parliament. We didn't, we had a referendum on AV, which is not a proportional system. You, as a new Lib Dem, are going to get asked about "PR" a lot. Familiarising yourself with the various voting systems is probably a plan. The favoured system of the Electoral Reform Society, The Liberal Democrats, and myself is Single Transferrable Vote, which is known everywhere else in the world as The British Proportional System, because we invented it. We like it because it gives the most power to voters. We use STV for all internal elections, and it's in use in various parts of the UK, but not yet for general elections. If you are pushing for proportional representation, please specify that we want STV, not nebulous "PR".

There are lots and lots of other things you can read as a Lib Dem. An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell is one I would fully recommend, I am very fond of The Journal of Liberal History, many people would recommend the free back issues of Liberator magazine, and I'm sure the people in the comments will have many many more recommendations; but I would say the four listed above are the absolute essentials.

* when it arrives, which will probably take a while because there are a lot to produce and the new ones are actually quite fancy
** I like this edition so much that I keep giving it to people as a present ;)
*** The bit most often cited by Lib Dems is The Harm Principle: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant." - we often discuss the implications and applications of it, but few of us don't think it is a guiding principle.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Obviously we're a bit close to (and a bit bruised by) the drubbing we got on Thursday, and so we're probably not in the best state to come up with sensible suggestions. However, everyone ELSE is writing one of these articles, sooooo...
  1. We already have autumn conference booked and ready to roll. By the time we get there we will have had lots of time to argue about what went wrong and why everyone hates us, and will have come to some conclusions and ideas for solutions. Also, our party constituion is well overdue for a refresh. We should use Bournemouth as an opportunity for a constitutional convention. We should totally redesign the party constituion from the ground up, and by the time autumn rolls around we will have some idea of how we want to go about that.

  2. Our brand has become somewhat toxic. A rebrand is necessary. We should not rush into this. Preferably it should be done after the constitutional convention. We can't, for example, just rename ourselves "the Liberals" because the continuity Liberals would get cross. However, one thing I would suggest is that having seen Sal Brinton's article on Lib Dem Voice, I think turning Libby into a phoenix might be a plan. I like the idea of us putting in our logo that no matter how many times you burn us we will always rise from the ashes.

  3. Things I would like to see us do as a party:
    • Can we get rid of the stupid managerial centrism and go back to being actual liberals and democrats now, please? I've been saying for AGES that applying to be the Rizla you can't slip between the Labservative parties is not going to inspire anyone...

    • The entire system of distributing information to people needs to be completely redesigned. Information should NOT be hoarded but distributed. Foot soldiers cannot fight properly if they do not know what is going on where, and there is a tendency at the top of both the federal and the regional parties to jealously hoard information like gold; information is not gold, it is oxygen, and we die when it is withheld from us.

    • Stipulate that SpAds should be diverse in age and experience as well as race and gender. While new graduates have a place in telling old warhorses the new ways of doing things and the new research that has just come out, they cannot and should not entirely replace old warhorses - but nor should old warhorses entirely replace and ignore young people, because quite a lot of the time the newfangled ways of doing things ARE better. In Calderdale we have young people like James Baker, and more people should listen to him about how to campaign because he's incredibly well versed and keeps himself up to date. But we also have veterans like Pauline Nash, who have buckets of experience of politics and life. BOTH of them are people I turn to in times of crisis. The national leadership could do with similar diversity.

    • The Wheelhouse - aka the Leadership Echo Chamber - should be disbanded and there should be something written in the new constitution of the party that such a horrific method of bypassing the democratic structures of the party to keep power and information for the few and away from the membership can never be formed again.

    • Get rid of the money sink that is nationbuilder - there are free alternatives that people in our party know how to use. Why are we paying for an expensive thing instead of using the free alternative? It's not like we have money to burn now.

    • Related to the above - use the expertise we have within the party, instead of ignoring the experts we have who are already members in favour of horrifically overpaid shiny new experts from abroad.

    These are just a few of the ideas I have at the moment. Obviously some of them are ideas I have had for some time. You, gentle reader, might entirely disagree with some or all of them: lets discuss it? Lets discuss it lots.

I am actually, unexpectedly, feeling pretty upbeat and enthused about Lib Demmery today. A lot of members have joined up in the last 24 hours. We went to the pub yesterday and laughed and cried and sang Losing Deposits* and let all the raw emotion out, and now I, for one, am ready to start the rebuild. I know other people are too - check out the Team Cockroach** hashtag on twitter - so lets get to it, people.

* which some of the other patrons found a bit disturbing - but there ain't no Gallows Humour like Lib Dem Gallows Humour.
** when Tim Farron was party president he said that we are like cockroaches after a nuclear war - we are made of stern stuff and we survive. It led to a lot of sneering news comment. It also led to lots of people proudly claiming the name of cockroach, probably because there ain't no gallows humour like lib dem gallows humour. A lot of the electorate probably think we are as low and bothersome as roaches right now, so it seems apt. And our exoskeletons are strong, and we WILL spring back when the labservatives stamp on us.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
The guardian website/tomorrow's print observer has a somewhat hysterical article about how we could face long coalition negotiations after the election. I'm not going to pick holes in their prediction for the most likely outcome of the election, although it doesn't chime with mine*, I'm just going to pick out one paragraph to pick holes in:
While the Lib Dem rule book gives the party’s MPs the main say on whether to approve a new coalition, there will be a special conference of senior party officials that will vote on the deal. Although the decision of the conference is not binding, according to the rules, senior figures say if the conference votes the deal down, Clegg will have to accept defeat.
To take the wrong bits in order:

1, "While the Lib Dem rule book gives the party’s MPs the main say on whether to approve a new coalition" - errr, no. Caron wrote a very good article about this a week ago. The MPs get the first vote after the negotiating team has negotiated in consultation with the reference group. The MAIN say, the decision as to whether it goes ahead or not, is taken by special conference.

2, "there will be a special conference of senior party officials that will vote on the deal" - voting reps are not in the sense of the words most people will understand "senior party officials" - not unless you think the vast majority of the active membership are senior. There's THOUSANDS of us. Most local parties don't even fill their quota of voting reps because there aren't enough people who want to go vote on things at conferences, and the only reason special conference is not one member one vote is the almighty cock up FE made of trying to introduce OMOV at Glasgow.

3, "Although the decision of the conference is not binding, according to the rules" - yes it is. This is just a plain factual error. It wasn't binding in 2010, but we changed the rules in 2012.

4, "senior figures say if the conference votes the deal down, Clegg will have to accept defeat." - well yes he will, because the decision is binding. And not only is the decision binding but to agree to a coalition (OR confidence and supply) special conference has to vote in favour by a 2/3 majority or more.

It really is going to be quite difficult to persuade 2/3 of lib dem members to vote in favour of ANY coalition deal with ANY party after the amount of stuff that was in the agreement this time around that the tories reneged on. We voted in favour of an agreement which gave us a good chance of electoral reform and supposedly guaranteed lords reform; neither of those things happened. Without cast iron guarantees of those things, and no shilly-shallying about referendums or anything, there's no way on earth you'd get a bare majority, never mind a 2/3 majority.

Similarly, the idea that any coalition involving UKIP or the DUP would get a 2/3 majority of members voting for it is just laughable in the extreme. I'd be amazed if you could herd the cats long enough to get a 2/3 majority for either of the Labservative parties on their own, to be honest.

I'm reasonably certain that this is why our Cleggy is drawing so many red lines this time around, by the way. He knows he'll not get an agreement past special conference, so he's scuppering it before it gets to that point, then he can spread his hands wide and say "well we TRIED to form a stable coalition but the other parties just wouldn't budge enough".

* I still say we're going to get a minority Labour government that'll collapse in acrimony and infighting within 6 months, and then we'll get another election.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
One of the joyous things about liberalism is how broad the swathe of people it attracts. Because the fundamental basis of liberalism is that you can do anything you like as long as you don't hurt anybody else*, there is no such thing as a liberal who agrees completely with another liberal. For instance, when you apply to become a candidate for the party locally, one of the questions on the form is "Is there any Lib Dem policy, locally or nationally, with which you disagree?". I suspect the reason for that question being there is partially to get the prospective candidate to think about whether or not (s)he is really standing for the right party, but I must admit to feeling suspicious of people who put "no" or "none".

One of the big disagreements with the party line that is being publicly played out at the moment is Alex Carlile, in the Lords, doggedly pursuing the securocrat agenda and trying to ressurect the snoopers' charter, because TERRORISTS and PAEDOS mean the whole class has to stay inside over lunch country gets no privacy. I think his position on this is utterly illiberal, and even though I respect his work in other areas**, I have reluctantly come to the position that this repeated pushing of the snoopers' charter is enough to withdraw the whip***.

However, Alex Carlile is not the only Liberal who disagrees with a plank of party policy which most of the rest of the party considers to be fundamental; this is one of the things that makes me reluctant about calling for the whip to be withdrawn. For instance: m'colleague Aremay is in favour of renewing Trident. He's totally a liberal, he just happens to like nuclear weapons. I myself think an elected House of Lords is a bloody stupid idea****. To many people in the party, this is a statement which is enough to induce pearl-clutching horror.

So, my fellow Lib Dems, this is your chance. Which bit of party dogma that EVERYONE else seems to think is fundamental to being a Lib Dem do YOU disagree with? Perhaps you think that One Member One Vote for conference is ridiculous. Perhaps you feel that we should be supporting flat taxes? Maybe even (whisper it gently) you think that Paddy Ashdown's Joke is a bit rubbish?

This is your chance. I promise I won't judge, or call for you to be kicked out of the party. Tell me, anonymously if you like*****: which party policy that everyone else loves do you hate?

*note: you're free to hurt YOURSELF as much as you like. Just not other people.
**especially legal aid and access to justice, which is something I think is incredibly important and the party in parliament haven't taken anywhere near a strong enough stand on when bloody Grayling is dismantling it.
***note: not kick him out of the party, because I AM a liberal.
****I think the Lords needs reform, I just don't think election is the way to go. I favour a jury-type system of appointment, for a fixed term. I also suspect that now I have put that, most of the comments to this post will be taken up with arguments about Lords reform...
*****although DO bear in mind my comments policy
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Look at this post on Lib Dem Voice. Look at it. It makes me want to weep.

Loook! Look at all the lovely lovely power we get! And it only comes with the TINY strings of a total lack of democratic accountability - the mayor that Manchester didn't want, and voted against, will be elected, but it's OK because (s)he'll be totally hamstrung by the appointed committee (s)he's serving on!

It's not another tier of government! The combined authority you were paying for anyway is just being dragged into the light, rather than being abolished and turned into an elected assembly as actual democrats might be expected to want.

No mention that the billion pounds of spending will actually involve cuts, of course, because it's less than would have been spent on those areas anyway by central government.

If the Stockport Lib Dems are this easy to buy off with mention of a few baubles of power then frankly, we deserve all the "would sell their grannies for a sniff of power" crap that the media and the other parties have been throwing at us for the past four and a half years.

Grargh. Really angry now.
miss_s_b: (Default)
I'm still undecided. I really want to have a candidate with the best bits of all three.

Taking them in alphabetical order:

Sal Brinton is an extremely capable and experienced campaigner. She's au fait with the LGBT+ stuff and lots of the other internal party groupings, which is a big thing for me. She's got contacts - actually not just contacts, friends - at the highest levels of the party. The main criticism I hear from other people of her is that she might not be physically capable of the job, which I think is ableist - I think we should let Sal judge for herself whether she's physically capable, and she clearly thinks she is or she wouldn't be standing.

My two major problems with Sal are:
1, She's another parliamentarian, but more than that, she is very much the establishment's choice, and she trumpets in her leaflet how much of the establishment want her in there. The president is meant to present the voice of the members to the establishment, not the voice of the establishment to the members.
2, Her religion bleeds into her politics too much for my taste, especially in matters of education policy, and I worry that it would inform her in matters more directly under the purview of the president.

Daisy Cooper is absolutely brimming with fantastic ideas about modernising party institutions - not all of which I agree with, but most of which I do - and has the energy of a Farron. She has shown herself very capable of learning fast and adapting faster, and she has immense amounts of experience both within the party and outside - those who say she hasn't are looking merely at her age and not her CV, which is incredibly impressive; and ageism is as bad as ableism in my view.

My two major worries with Daisy :
1, She still has a day job and doesn't have financial independence. The party presidency costs the incumbent a bloody fortune. You get £5,000 a year expenses and no salary for doing it. I have heard from one of the candidates that she has spent more than that already just on travelling round the country to campaign for the presidency...
2, She doesn't have as many high level contacts in the party or the the media as the other two.

Liz Lynne has the financial independence and the broadcast media contacts, across all the channels of TV and radio. She also has one of those voices that makes me want to straighten my posture and salute, so brimming with authority is it. She has a reputation for competence and she also has time: where Daisy has a day job and Sal has the Lords, Liz can devote all her time to the presidency.

My two issues with Liz:
1, I have heard from more than one source that she can be difficult to work with. Also, while the president needs to have authority, I think it needs to be soft power as Lady Mark says, and while Liz has the politician's skill of immediately identifying which person in a room is important and talking to them, that's not necessarily a good thing in a person who has to represent the members to the leadership - the members who need representing the most are the ones who DON'T radiate "I'm important", and those people will get upset with a president who scoots past them to talk to their chair (or whomever). These two things both add up to putting noses out of joint, and while I am very talented at putting noses out of joint myself (and suspect, in fact, that I am doing it with this very post) it's not something I look for in a president.
2, The Rochdale thing. While I give absolutely no credence whatsoever to snide insinuations that Liz had something to do with the alleged crimes of Cyril Smith, or the alleged covering up of them, the print media are going to crucify her with it if she doesn't follow their agenda, and she won't follow their agenda, because she's not the type to kowtow to media barons (again, like me). It's not fair, it's not right, but it's what the print media are like.


I'd like a president with Liz's time, broadcast media contacts and experience, and voice; Sal's high-level contacts within the party and SAOs, and level of respect among the leadership; and Daisy's enthusiasm, ideas, and energy.

If I was going to vote for the one whose personality reminds me most of myself, it'd be Liz, hands down, no contest.
If I was going to vote for the one who I think will engage best with the wider membership, it'd be Daisy.
If I was going to vote for the one who will deal best with the internal structures of the party, or I was using "has worked on Doctor Who" as a tie-breaker Sal would get my first preference.

I still genuinely do not know what to do.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Grateful)
So last night's dreams involved rescuing Brian May from badger cullers and hiding him in the space under the sofa (leading to Dream!SarahBrownCambridge asking me if I still had a guitarist in my sofa at one point)... ANYWAY. One thing one would obviously do if one had Brian in the sofa house would be to filk Queen songs. Allow me to present Dreamer's Poll:

Oh I used to be your MP
Used to be your pride and joy
I used to represent you
Just like any other boy
But now you've found another candidate
And left me like a broken toy

Oh it's someone else you're meeting
Someone else you're votin' for
Honey though it's fleeting
Know just what I have to do
If you don't like me when you're wakin'
I'll go to sleep and dream that you do

Oh take me take me take me
To the dreamer's poll
I'll be right on time
And I'll dress so fine
You're gonna vote for me when you see me
I won't have to worry
Take me take me
Promise not to wake me till it's morning
It's all been true


Anyhoo, I have an action day to get to. Laters!
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
So, in case you're wondering what we got up to in Glasgow, here's us speaking from the stage.

Firstly, our lovely PPC for Calder Valley, Alisdair Calder McGregor spoke several times... )

Todmorden's own Ruth Coleman-Taylor spoke twice ) and also filled a good half of the first Today at Conference )

My lovely treasurer Dr Mick Taylor also spoke twice )

Sarah Noble spoke twice too )

Oh yeah... And I spoke agin gender quotas )
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
Like shoring up your support if you're a tory leader.
Like legitimising the demonisation of muslims that you've been insidiously supporting for ages.
Like dropping bombs on people who can't fight back and you'll never have to meet.

I'm sorry.

I recognise that there IS such a thing as a just war, and that the ISIS (or whatever they're called this week) probably is as near to a just war as we're going to get. But I don't think any of our politicians are doing this for just reasons* and I have too many family and friends in the forces to EVER celebrate going to war. Ever.

So if you're going to do gung ho cheering for this, do me a favour? Don't do it in front of me, or I will find it very difficult to remain civil.

*and I include the leadership of the Lib Dems in this. We appear to have found yet another untapped reserve of people who were clinging on to supporting us to piss off. YAY!
miss_s_b: (Default)
Firstly, Calderdale Local Party has it's policy working group meeting to consider amendments to motions this Saturday. If you have an amendment to a motion that you need support for, email it through to me or Alisdair and we'll put it in front of PWG for consideration for our support.

The other thing that will happen at PWG is that we will consider our OWN amendments. There are several motions that I have an eye on for some minor tweaking (and probably some of the things I am thinking of will be accepted as drafting amendments by the submitters of the motion) but there is ONE motion in particular that I think has the potential to be as controversial as Floella Benjamin's motion on censoring the internet protecting children was.

Heartbreakingly, that is the Crime motion which has had Julian Huppert's name applied to it. After the farrago over DRIP I am less surprised than I might have been, but it's still depressing to see him put his name to something so chock full of sneaky legalese, hidden authoritarianism, and puritanical attitudes. My problems with this motion are so many and varied that I am actually considering doing a full speech against it, rather than trying to amend it. But what do YOU guys think I should do?

Poll #15928 F13 Conference motion on Crime
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 10

In response to the bloody awful Crime motion, Jennie should:

Speak against the motion at conference
7 (70.0%)

try to get lots of amendments submitted
7 (70.0%)

do a line-by-line fisking of the thing on her blog
7 (70.0%)

despair at the damn thing being accepted in it's current form
3 (30.0%)

none of the above
0 (0.0%)

ETA: I should say that I am not against SOME of the proposals in this motion, and that's what makes it so frustrating. I'd really love to vote for some of them. But there's not enough there for me to want to support the motion as a whole.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
I can't help but notice, these days, that many people do not have an understanding of what Liberalism is. Others often have their understanding altered by the USian usage of the word, which is more akin to what we in the UK would call socialism. So I asked on twitter this morning whether people would welcome a series of blog posts on the very basic tenets... And was met with a resounding yes.

Because this is me, these pieces are going to be conversational rather than academic in tone, and posted sporadically rather than to a schedule; hopefully that won't put off too many people. It's also, obviously, going to be just my take on it. Your mileage may vary. Other people may have equally valid viewpoints. And all the other stuff one puts in the standard Liberal disclaimer.

In the beginning was the word, and the word was John Stuart Mill*

I have deliberately chosen a religious form of words for that heading, because that what it felt like to me. I was in my second year of university, having studied various philosophers from the age of 15**, when I took a module called State, Self and Society. It had one set text, and that set text was this.

At the time, all I knew of JS Mill was that he had a line in the Drunken Philosophers Song***. I was at the time rather fond of Kant, but knew that a lot of philosophy could be rather dry****, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading On Liberty. And then I read it.

It was - still is - the closest thing to a religious experience I have ever had.

Now, for those of you who don't have the time or the inclination to read Mill and Taylor's beautifully constructed, logical and passionate prose, and want a Cliff's Notes version... Well, I feel sad for you, but I can understand. If you do get the time, sit down and read the whole thing, it's not long and it is gorgeous. But the bit we are going to concentrate on today is...

The Harm Principle

The Harm Principle, exactly as stated in On Liberty, goes like this:
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
Now, rather like SEFS*****, people will quite often quote the first clause of this without bearing in mind the most important bit. In my view the pivotal part is His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant - pivotal because it leads onto the bit about the opinions of others. Many people read the first part of the harm prinicple and think that it means you can't do anything that might upset other people because you would be harming them by upsetting them; this is why the second, emphasising, sentence is so important. If you are upsetting someone else by harming yourself, they still do not have the right to force you to stop******.

This is the bedrock of Liberalism, as far as I am concerned

You should be able to do what you want, as long as you're not hurting anyone else. Nobody should be able to force you to stop doing something because they disapprove of it, or because they find it distasteful. The only reason you should be stopped from performing any action is to prevent you from harming somebody else.

There are, of course, other principles which Liberals hold dear, and which apply in many or most situations, but for me the Harm Principle is the absolute basic test that everything must pass. Thus, I am in favour of the legalisation of all drugs. I have no problem with any person having whatever relationship structures they wish to have, so long as everyone involved is fully informed and consenting. I am in favour of assisted dying, because anyone denying you your right to die at a time and place of your choosing is doing you far more harm than you are doing them by asking them to help you*******.

...And I am looking forward to having spirited discussions about those three, and any other examples people wish to come up with in the comments, because I'm a Liberal and we love to debate :)

Coming Soon (not necessarily in this order):

  • Free Speech: what it is and what it isn't
  • The Liberal approach to Education, and why Education is fundamental to Liberalism
  • Non-Conformity, and why celebrating it rather than just tolerating it matters to Liberals
  • Why Liberalism is Intrinsically feminist, anti-racist, pro-LGBT+-rights, etc.
  • The Liberal Approach to the Elimination of Poverty********
  • The Rule of Law, or why Liberalism is not Anarchism
  • Bodily Autonomy and Consent: not just about sex.
  • Weatherwaxian Liberalism: "Treating People As Things" as a Root of Social Evil
  • Solving The UNIT Dating Controversy: or why Liberalism Appeals to Geeks and Why Most of Us Are Obsessed With Scifi

* And, of course, Harriet Taylor, but to go too deeply into her contributions in this post would be to go off on one tangent too many, even for me. Lets put it this way: there is a pretty solid and compelling view that Harriet did as much of the stuff Mill is credited with as he did, and was only not credited herself due to overwhelming patriarchy, patriarchy which Mill himself abhorred.
** thank you Mr Rushton for including the Ethical Theory and Practical Ethics modules in A-level RE :)
*** Clearly dear old JS was only poorly after half a pint of shandy because they'd watered his beer down with nasty lemonade.
**** especially philosophy written by English lawyers and politicians, having tried and failed many times to get through more than a page of HLA Hart's The Concept of Law without falling asleep.
***** Stronger economy, Fairer Society ENABLING EVERYONE TO GET ON IN LIFE
****** Mill and Taylor do, of course, make some exceptions for those not capable of self-determination due to mental incapacity or youth, but even then, argue that these people should be allowed to self-determine in so far as is possible within the limits of safety.
******* although of course, you only have the right to ask; the person you are asking absolutely has the right to say no, particularly under the current law where helping someone to die could result in you going to prison for murder, which is a pretty serious potential harm to yourself.
******** NB: this is different from Vlad the Impaler's approach to the elimination of poverty, which was to put all the poor people in a barn, lock the doors, and set fire to it.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Tough)
The party's headless chicken response to this whole farrago has been utterly disappointing, and Rennard's utter inability to see what damage he is doing to the party he claims to love due to his own massive entitlement complex is sickening in the extreme. We have already lost enough people over this - many of them, Susan G especially, worth ten of an over-rated & out-dated campaigns strategist - so I won't be leaving the party.

It is true that Lord Rennard has not been found guilty of any crime in a court of law. He should not be subject to any legal sanction for his alleged actions. He is free to associate with whomever he wishes to associate, so long as they wish to associate with him.

HOWEVER I am not a court of law, and just like Lord Rennard I am free to associate with whomever I choose. Therefore I will say now, and publicly, that any room into which Lord (allegedly) Grabbyhands walks, I will walk out of. It will be safer for both of us that way, I think.

About This Blog

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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.

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