miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2017-04-19 06:15 pm

On coalitions and the Lib Dems

Lots and lots of partisan people who would probably be unlikely to vote Lib Dem anyway are saying things like I couldn't ever vote Lib Dem; they won't rule out coalition with Labour/the Tories.

You all know me.
You all know I am not backwards in coming forwards, and will happily call a spade a spade.

I, personally, will not rule out voting for a coalition with either the Tories or Labour.

That's right. Even now, even in this poisoned, febrile atmosphere, I would do a deal with either the red devil or the deep blue sea.

To agree to a coalition with either of them, they would have to agree to the following three things, for me:
  1. No brexit. At all. It's completely stopped.

  2. STV for all elections from this day forth, no exceptions, no referendums, just implemented.

  3. Useless waste of space of a leader to be replaced.
Without all three of those conditions being met as an absolute minimum, I, personally, would not vote for coalition with either Labour or Tories. I'd also quite like there to be a lot of stuff about guaranteeing the rights of immigrants and disabled people, and stopping the shafting of the poor, but those three things are the absolute minimum of the contents of an agreement I would consider. And for a coalition to happen, we have to call a special conference and two thirds of the attendees have to vote in favour of the deal offered. I'm not the most typical Lib Dem, but I'm not so far from the mainstream that I think that more than two thirds of the party would opt for a lesser deal than that.

We have learned from the coalition deal we voted through in all innocence last time, and I suspect that quite a lot of the party is a lot more cautious than it was.

So yeah, I'm not ruling out a coalition... but equally, I don't think it's very likely. Do you?
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (ot3))
2017-04-19 08:07 am

An open letter on the subject of Tim Farron's "homophobia" from the acting chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems

Dear media people,

I see that, thanks to Cathy Newman's interview last night, the thorny theological topic of Sin has raised its ugly head once more.

Let me get this right out in the beginning: I don't give a fig what Tim Farron's religious beliefs are. You know why? Because I am a Liberal. He could believe the sky is made from Puff the Magic Dragon's bumfluff, and I wouldn't care one jot, whit or iota. What I do care about, and care deeply about, is
  1. How Tim Farron votes in parliament

  2. How he treats people - LGBT+ people in particular - in everyday life
So lets do a little list of things which illustrate how Tim Farron views LGBT people:
  1. With one exception, Tim Farron voted fully in favour of same sex marriage. The one time he abstained? That was because he was trying to get an amendment passed on the Spousal Veto, a really nasty little clause which shafts trans people. Yep, that's right, even the time he abstained was because he was fighting for LGBT+ rights, not against them.

  2. He was the first party leader to issue a statement on the gay concentration camps in Chechenya. He condemned them in the strongest terms. And while the Greens have since joined in, none of the Tories, Labour, or UKIP have.

  3. He campaigned against section 28 from its inception, and thinks that refusing people service for their sexuality (like bakeries not baking cakes for gay marriages) is unchristian.

  4. He spoke out on the blood donation ban (I'm still banned from giving blood, by the way - because I have had sexual relations with bisexual men).

  5. He has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of trans women in prisons, and trans issues in general. When we had a trans rights motion before conference, he was there at 9.30am in the front row to vote for it. Not because of the cameras - there were no cameras - but because he is enthusiastic about LGBT+ rights, and not just G rights with a smattering of L like many politicians.

  6. When Lib Dem conference brought in an accreditation scheme that inadvertently discriminated against LGBT+ people, he listened to us at LGBT+LDs, and then he went to head office and batted for us till the scheme was changed, and eventually dropped.

  7. He has said to me personally that when poly marriage is made legal he wants to be the first on the invite list to our wedding.
Look, I could go on for hours here, but it is as plain as the nose on my face that Tim Farron is no homophobe. So why do the media keep treating him like he is? Well, in the past, he has made some missteps - accepting that intern from the gay cure people, for example. But if you actually look at what happened in that case? The second he confirmed those people were campaigners for a gay cure, he backed away, apologised fulsomely, and campaigned hard against the concept of curing gay people. Me, personally? I value a leader who will listen and change his mind when someone points out he's wrong - Cthulhu alone knows Cleggy never did.

The other reason is possibly a conflation of the word "sin" with the concept of "bad thing for which I am judging you" in general parlance.

Reverend Lovejoy delineates what sin is

I'm an atheist. Yes, I have A-level RE, but I do not know Christianity from the inside. However, even I have heard of the Christian concept of "judge not lest ye be judged". As Tom King says at some length in this twitter thread, the Christian belief means that you explicitly do not condemn people who sin, because we are all sinners and judging people is God's job. Whether or not Tim Farron believes that homosexual sex (or heterosexual sex, or wanking, or eating beef on Fridays, or anything) is sinful, this has no bearing on his actions because it is not his place to judge.

I don't pretend to understand that belief system. But I accept it, just as I accept Islam, and paganism, and the church of the flying spaghetti monster. I accept it because to not accept that people can differ in their beliefs from you and yet still be worthwhile people is fundamentally illiberal. I'll tell you something that is liberal, though. If a person believes in their heart of hearts that something is wrong, and yet still campaigns for the right of other people to do it because it's other people's right to make their own moral choices?

That, my friends, that is liberalism.

I await your forensic questioning of the Prime Minister on her voting record with regard to LGBT+ rights with interest.

Lots of love

Jennie
Acting chair LGBT+ Lib Dems, bisexual polyamorist, and person who voted for Tim Farron to be her party leader and is happy that she did.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
2017-04-18 09:42 pm
Entry tags:

Note to Self:

Having a big angry rant on twitter when you're literally drooping from tiredness after a long day's lib demmery including a branch meeting is not the most sensible thing to do...

Off to bed now, peeps. Laters.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2017-04-18 11:58 am

Why has May called a General Election now?

I'm not convinced that it's to do with brexit, despite her speech. Labour have rubber-stamped or abstained on every single vote. She was getting brexit through with no trouble whatsoever, aside from noisy shouting from us and the SNP. Yes, she is gambling that Corbyn's crapness will give her a big majority. But it is a gamble; there's no certainties in politics.

There is one thing that's standing out to me, though... up to 20 tory MPs are under threat of prosecution. TMay has a working majority of 17. If even half of those look like successful prosecutions, that's potentially majority wiped out. TMay is going to know whether or not these MPs are guilty.

Calling an election now means that they won't be MPs by the time prosecutions go through. They'll quietly retire, and the news media will not pay as much attention to prosecutions of ex-MPs. The polls have the tories on a stonking lead. I think she's calculated it's worth the gamble. I'll say this for her: she's got massive brass balls. Whether that's enough... I hope it isn't.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-14 11:17 am
Entry tags:

FFC report from the 11th April Meeting

Sorry this is a bit late, folks, have had a bunch of stuff to do since arriving home (inc local party exec and various other things) which have meant a lack of laptop time.

ANYway...

This meeting was the debrief after conference - going through all the feedback and working out what we can do better next time, what was good, etc. I don't propose to go through everything, but I'm going to pull out some of the bits that interested me.

I'm also going to put it behind a cut for the non-LDs among you who probably don't want to exercise your scrolling finger this hard ;) )
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-12 09:05 am

Quick Update

- FCC report coming soon. Am currently sitting on m'friend Mary's spare bed in Surbiton having stopped over here after the meeting yesterday, tapping away on my new-to-me laptop, which I'm thinking of calling Ken (because it's very very red).

- Prior to the FCC meeting yesterday I had a somewhat more informal meeting with one of the Shadowy Gay Men Who Secretly Rule The World, which was lots of fun (because he's lovely) and very useful (because we had some interesting exchanges of information now I've become Acting Chair of LGBT+ LDs). I now have pages and pages of Stuff To Do, though...

- Next few trips to London are:
  • June 3rd (FCC) - for which I have a place to stay lined up
  • June 17th (LD English Council) - for which I could do with a place to crash on Friday the 16th
  • July 8th (FCC and Pride) - for which I'm thinking possibly make a weekend of it with [personal profile] matgb and daughter
  • July 23rd (Women's Krikkit World Cup Final)
If any of you Londonny types wish to arrange any meetings for any of those trips, do let me know :)

- Like [personal profile] solarbird I am now getting f-list slide when reading! Woo! I know it's harsh for those who have recently moved to DW from LJ, but it's almost gleeful for me. It's like LJ used to be in days of yore! Like, I might actually join some comms! Or revitalise ones I'm already in! It all feels very hopeful.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-09 09:00 am
Entry tags:

Today I am going to Manchester...

... Because now our little by election is over, we have to go and help lovely Jackie with hers.

Jackie will make a fabulous MP. She's fiercely intelligent (she's a nuclear physicist by background) but incredibly down-to-earth. Cthulhu alone knows parliament needs more science-literate people (especially since the sad loss of Huppmeister J to our parliament at the last election). She's local to and embedded in the area she's standing in and the electorate knows her because of her work on the council for them.

But most importantly for her election, she's a Liberal in her instincts, her blood and her bones. So even though I am snotridden and grumpy, I'm going to haul my arse over the Pennines and do my bit.

Maybe see some of you there?

ETA: obvs this means internetting will be intermittent at best today, so if I don't respond quickly that's why :)
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-04-07 11:05 am

So, we had a By Election in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe

... Due to the sad passing of Graham Hall, who was a Tory of the reasonable stripe (as opposed to the headbanging loon climate-change-denier Trump-supporting stripe they seem to be breeding these days).

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe is a pretty safe Tory ward, and voted leave, and we haven't done much there for about ten years, but we threw a few leaflets at it to see what stuck.

Results:
  1. Tories: 1483
  2. Lib Dem 420
  3. Labour: 407
  4. Green: 150
  5. Spoilt: 3
All parties lost raw vote number and vote share except us, we went up in both numbers and share. Bearing in mind decreased turnout, this is pretty good.
The Tories actually had to put a campaign in, instead of taking it for granted as they normally do.
We beat Labour into second.

All in all, not a bad evening.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2017-03-22 09:36 pm
Entry tags:

Sorry, I'm Doing all the bloggings today, but another small update...

... Because of various travails within LGBT+LDs we lost our chair.

This evening I was elected Acting Chair, and will be so until the AGM at autumn conference in Bournemouth.

No flowers ;)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
2017-03-22 12:11 pm
Entry tags:

What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part three, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

You may have noticed that the previous two posts were somewhat light on my usual "we debated this motion, and I voted this way on it" details. That's mostly because after I had done the reporting-back-from-FCC bits (which I pledged to do upon my candidacy for FCC - I keep my promises, me. Mostly...) the posts were already stupidly long, but also in part because my lovely friend Andrew has done an excellent summary of the salient points here, and given that I am his evil twin (or he is mine - honestly, basically the only difference between us is that I really like beards and he merely has one) I don't feel the need to reiterate his points.

For the avoidance of doubt, though, here is how I voted:
  • Emergency Motions Ballot: can't actually remember, except that I put the second Scottish referendum motion bottom (we can't mandate our MPs how to vote so it was utterly pointless, AND it's not up to English MPs to tell Scotland what to do anyway IMHO) and the Trump one next to bottom (he's not coming till October. Put a (better drafted) motion in for Autumn conference, when it will be a live and salient issue). The others I was happy to see a debate on.

  • A Rational Approach to Harm Reduction (aka the Sex Work Motion): I voted against the (mildly wrecking) amendment and for the unamended motion

  • Tackling Overcrowding in the Prison System: I voted for the amendment and the motion.

  • Britain in the EU: I went for lunch during this motion as hell would freeze over before anyone voted against it, and during the scheduled lunch break I would be prepping to aide in the health and social care debate.

  • Crisis in health and social care: I voted for the amendment, and then for the motion as amended, from my shiny shiny "seat reserved for FCC Hall Aide" seat.

  • The Biennial Trident Fudge: I Paired with Alisdair and went to the pub since we would have voted exactly oppositely on both the motion and amendment and thus cancelled each other out. The England/Ireland match was nailbiting.

  • Emergency motion: Unaccompanied Child Asylum Seekers: I voted in favour of us taking in more of them.

  • Faith Schools: We had to vote between three options, then for the amendment, then for the motion as amended or not with whichever option we voted for. I'm going to use Andrew's characterisations here: I voted against "YAY faith schools" & for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them". Then I voted for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" and against the horrible and nonsensical fudge which tried to split the difference between the first two. Then I voted for the "ban all faith schools" amendment, but not enough other people did, so it fell. Then I voted for the motion unamended with the option "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" being the winning option. And I am not ashamed to admit to shedding a tear during Sarah Brown (Cambridge)'s very moving speech. I am glad Julian and Zoe were there to give her hugs when she had finished.

    As you can tell, this was quite a complicated vote. Small FCC note: I am glad Geoff Payne was chairing it. Although I have had my disagreements with him, he has just the right sort of forensic, nitpicky, legal mind for this kind of thing, and is a very clear and non-waffly chair. He's one of only about four people I would trust with such a contentious debate with so many options, and two of them are no longer on FCC.

  • Associated Membership of the EU: I voted in favour.
I think that covers everything. So... after three long posts... Any questions?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2017-03-22 09:30 am
Entry tags:

What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

Following on from my previous post on York conference, I thought people might be interested in how we plan the debates and how cards get chosen and things like that.

I also recognise that many of you will NOT be interested in this in the slightest, so am putting it behind a cut )



And then of course, we had Not The Leader's Speech. The tradition of Not The Leader's Speech started when Cleggy was Our Glorious Leader. I went to a couple of his leader's speeches and found them excruciating. In the pub after, a Bad Influence who must perforce remain nameless asked me why I hadn't just walked out and gone to the pub, because that's what he had done. The next conference, I walked out (after 7 minutes, as I recall) and found this same person in the pub. The conference after that... well, we just cut out the middle man and went straight to the pub, downloaded the text of the speech, and worked out at which point we would have walked out had we bothered to go in. At the height of coalition the record occurred: we both agreed we would have walked out in the second sentence of the speech. By that point, though, word had got around somewhat and there were a reasonable number of us in the pub for Not The Leader's Speech.

When Farron was first elected Glorious Leader he was fully aware that this had become a tradition. I made him a personal promise that I'd go to his first leader's speech, but with the proviso that if there was anything I didn't like I would walk out. There wasn't, and I didn't. In fact it was a really really good speech. The thing is, I still don't like leader's speeches (or for that matter, The Rally, which I always feel has a silent Nuremburg in between The and Rally). I don't like sitting there being spoonfed and not participating. I don't like the enforced conformity of the expectation to applaud in the right places (and in some cases standingly ovate). IMHO it's Just Not Liberal. So the only one of Farron's leader's speeches I have been to, and probably ever will go to, remains his first. I no longer feel the need to read the text and work out at which point I would have walked out, because I don't have that sort of fractious relationship with his leadership, but it's still nice to find a good pub, claim a room in it, and have beer and food instead of listening and clapping.

The problem this time was that the group of people going to Not The Leader's Speech has grown to more than 30. And we hadn't booked. Admittedly there were only six of us queueing outside the door waiting for the pub to open, but the rest had DMed or texted me asking for a venue and turned up in short order after. As a former barmaid, I felt really bad about doing this to the pub. I think that next time I will have to at least warn the selected pub in advance... And as Zoe said in the comments to the previous entry, now I am on FCC this is in danger of becoming an officially unofficial event... If it gets any bigger it may have to be in the Fringe guide... You can tell how uncomfortable I am with that idea by the number of ellipsis LOL.

This conference we were biefly joined by a not-Lib-Dem friend and segued off into a discussion about cricket for a while, which was lovely I don't think we terrified her too much.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my officially unofficial reports from conference: next FCC news will probably be from the Shadowy General Purposes And Resources Sub Committee, which I suspect will be quite vague and heavily redacted, so I apologise for that in advance. I will, obviously, explain exactly why I'm having to be vauge and heavily redacted if and when I am.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
2017-03-22 07:58 am
Entry tags:

What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part one, by Jennie Rigg Aged 39 and a quarter

The short version of What I Did At Lib Dem Conference is:

Attended lots of FCC meetings and training; co-hosted Glee for the second time; hall-aided my first debate as a member of FCC; "organised" Not The Leader's Speech.

click here for more detail on the first three )

Coming soon: What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two: structuring an actual debate: this time it's personal PLUS Not The Leader's Speech.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Not London)
2017-02-03 06:21 pm
Entry tags:

Londonny Types! Who wants to offer me a Spare Oom or Sofa For Friday 17th Feb?

UPDATE: I have been offered a room. YAY!

I've got a full day's Lib Demmery at HQ on the Saturday, and a place to kip would be most excellent!

*ingratiating smile*

(in case you're wondering why I keep asking this, it's because while the party's expenses structure WILL allow me to get a bed in London, the cap is so absurdly low, the only central London place I could actually kip in is one of those 12-tiny-beds-to-a-room dormitory places, and I'm not overly comfortable with the idea of that. So, you know, pathetic gratitude usually ensues for people who take me in)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
2017-02-02 11:32 am
Entry tags:

A Present for my Lovely Friends on Lib Dem Voice

I know that sometimes people wish to complain about having their comments moderated on Lib Dem Voice, because they feel they are being treated unfairly. I also know that moderating comments is a tough job, and you can never please everybody, no matter how hard you try. So! I thought I would devise a nice form letter for people who have had their comments moderated to fill in, to make their complaints easier for all sides to deal with.
To:
LDHQ
Gt George St
London

From:
(type your name and address here, for example:
IB Whiny
Twatt
Orkney)

Date:________________

Dear Person In Charge of Internet Lib Demmery,

I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about my treatment at the hands of your minions who moderate the comments on the Lib Dem Voice Website. This is because (please tick all that apply):
◻ I wanted to call the person who wrote the article names and they wouldn't let me.
◻ I wanted to call other commentors names and they wouldn't let me.
◻ I wanted to call the maintainers of the site names and they wouldn't let me.
◻ I was trying to drag the thread off into a discussion of my pet topic, rather than the topic the thread was on, which I find frankly boring. My pet topic is much better.
◻ I was pretending to be Nick Clegg for a laugh. They just can't handle hilarious banter!
◻ I hate the Lib Dems and I should be able to say so repeatedly on a Lib Dem website because that's what liberalism means!
◻ While I have no problem with most of the people who run Lib Dem Voice I have this weird aversion to Caron and Mary; I can't explain it. I'm definitely not a misogynist though!
◻ While I have no problem with most of the people who run Lib Dem Voice I have this weird aversion to Mark; I can't explain it. I'm definitely not a racist though!
◻ I don't understand the concept of a privately-owned unofficial website, and actually believe there IS a person in charge of all Internet Lib Demmery who can crack down on people
◻ Frankly I am just butthurt about somebody not catering to my every entitled whim.
I hope that you will give this matter your fullest attention, and if I have not heard back from you within 24 hours of me sending this letter, I reserve the right to piss and moan all over twitter and/or facebook.

yours sincerely,

IB Whiny
As a special extra service, I shall even include a form reply for whichever poor bugger at head office gets to open these letters
To:
IB Whiny
Twatt
Orkney

From:
LDHQ
Gt George St
London

Date:________________

Dear IB Whiny,

I refer you to the answer given in the case of Arkell vs Pressdram;

love from

The Person In Charge of Internet Lib Demmery

... And I think we can all now see why I do not get involved with modding on LDV.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2016-06-24 02:06 pm

On Post EURef Anger and where it should be directed.

The electorate were misled. Don't get angry at them; persuade them to get angry at the lying arseholes that sold them this crock of shit and told them it was shinola.

The shittiness of the crock of shit is already becoming apparent, but there's no use screaming I told you so at people who already feel crap because they were duped. Telling people they were wrong when they know they were wrong only leads to them doubling down and blaming immigrants, "benefit scroungers", women and LGBT+ folk even harder.

Don't tell them they were wrong, tell them they were tricked. Tricked by the same Bullingdon Boys they thought they were sticking two fingers up to. And then tell them what they can do about it, if they want to.

Show them that there are some politicians who will tell them the truth.
Show them that there is a better way.
Show them liberalism.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2016-05-06 06:03 pm

So, the fallout from from #LE2016 in Calderdale and Beyond

We won Warley. Not only did we win Warley, but we won it with a stonking majority.
We held Elland. Not only did we hold Elland, but Pat's majority is something to warm the cockles of any lib dem heart.
We held G&S, despite the tories throwing everything they had at it, and despite the much beloved sitting lib dem councillor standing down.

We lost Calder. We lost Janet. We lost Janet at least partly due to blatant lies from a Labour candidate I had previously believed to be honourable - no more.

But: where we work we win... well, where we work more than any reasonable person can be expected to, and for several years, we win three times out of four.

We have Ashley on the council, and he is a man who knows his policy onions. We have Pat Allen still, and she is a lady who has more principles than you can shake a stick at. And we have a new mover and shaker in Paul Bellenger, who has the enthusiasm of ten men. We'll miss Janet, the hardest working councillor the Calder Ward has ever seen, but we'll survive, despite mourning her loss.

Outside of Calderdale: Wales is very depressing. Scotland is actually quite cheery. Rotherham is legitimately terrifying. Eastleigh is glorious. Watford? Oh Watford. I love you so much. And London? London has rejected the blatant racism of Lynton Crosby as passed through the prism of Zac Goldsmith and has elected its first muslim mayor. I don't approve of everything Sadiq Khan stands for, but he's at least competent, and London has a muslim mayor. I'll accept that. I'll accept that because it will make the racist arseholes REALLY ANGRY, and we're going to be seeing a lot of racist arseholes given the Labour>UKIP shifts.

My party hasn't made Justin Trudeau gains, but it's made gains, and it's made gains in council seats (albeit from a low base) for the first time since I joined the party. The tories are up for electoral fraud in a whole lot of tory/Lib Dem marginals, and I am ITCHING for the bye elections...

For the first time in a long time, it feels GOOD to be a lib dem. There's a lot of reasons for that; some of it is regression to the mean and some of it is us not being in coalition any more, but I actually credit a lot of it to having a steady, yet reliably liberal, hand on the tiller. So thank you to Our Glorious Leader, Timothy of Farron. And thank you to all the footsoldiers who pounded the streets for little thanks: I thank you all here, every last one of you. You're awesome.

Onwards and upwards, my fellow lib dems. And, despite the sad blight of the loss of Janet Battye (which will hurt the people of the Calder Ward more than they yet realise), it genuinely does feel like we've turned a corner.

Team Cockroach FTW.
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
2016-04-18 03:10 pm

State of the SB Update

I just noticed I haven't posted an actual post for ages and it's all been linkspammy, probably because I've been spending most of my Expressing Myself spoons on drawing things and putting them on instagram, so I thought you'd all appreciate a little update
  • Item: I am standing in the council elections. Again. The last 2 years I got exactly 103 votes. I am hoping for a modest increase to 104 this year, because Alisdair will be able to vote for me, living in my ward as he does now.

  • Item: Mental and physical health things are more-or-less under control at the moment (she says, hoping not to jinx things).
    Mentally, I've had less than the usual hiding-under-the-duvet days since surviving The Februaries, and I'm managing to mostly stick to my exercise-away-the-mentals schedule. These things may or may not be related. I am now at the level of fitness where it is almost impossible for me to consume the number of calories I am burning, so the weight has started dropping off again. I may be able to fit into nice clothes by autumn conference, which will help with self esteem and things. We shall see.
    Physically I'm still having some debilitating pain days, but not so many, and managing to at least swim, even when I can't manage the weights because of a pain day. I am lucky that if necessary I can work from home, so it doesn't actually impact work. Speaking of which...

  • Item: Job continues to be good, and interesting. Every day is a different thing. I approve of this. A lot of what I get to do is research things so that the boss can spend 5 minutes reading my summary email, rather than three hours googling. I now know lots about various things I never even considered knowing about before. Yay learnings!

  • Item: Daughter appears to have developed some bits of executive function; she's by no means perfect, but is getting into the routine of wake - shower - breakfast -brush hair and teeth - get dressed - go to school in a morning, and come to mummy's office - do homework - go home - get changed - eat tea in an afternoon. It's only taken nearly two years...
    (Seriously, given how awful I can be with executive function, I am incredibly proud of her. At this point in my career at the same school I already had the school detention record under my belt; she's doing WAY better, and it's not entirely due to having a diagnosis).

  • Item: Doggies continue adorable. As do boys. Mum and Dad are both good...
I think that's about it, really... Hope you lot are all good. I do try to remember birthdays and stuff but I'm pretty rubbish at that.

*big hugs for everybody*

(especially you, Duffett, I know you're out there)
miss_s_b: (Feminist Heroes: Kate Beckett)
2016-03-18 02:19 pm

On Sexual Harrassment: a post too sweary for LDV

I suspect that in certain quarters this is not going to win me any friends. I don't rightly care. Those of you of a nervous disposition might want to scroll on past right now...


Hello those who are still here. You may or may not have noticed that sexual harrassment is something of a hot button topic in the lib dems, and indeed politics in general, at the moment. This is because, despite years and years of being told over and over again, some people (mainly, but not exclusively, men) refuse to get it. I am therefore going to put this in very simple terms.

The worst thing about sexual harrassment is the absolute, wearying, relentless inevitability of it. If you present as female, wherever you go there will be some arsehole, normally a man, and I'm afraid the rest of this post is going to be entirely in gendered terms because that's my experience*, who views you as nothing more than a receptacle for his knob and treats you accordingly.

And yes, #NotAllMen. But enough men. Enough men for it to be a hazard in every single public place. Enough men that other, nicer, men don't stop from sexually harrassing because they don't even notice it happening, or if they do notice they brush it off, dismiss it, or even think it's funny.

And yes, women don't always tell such men that their advances are unwanted. Because we know what happens if we do.

I can hear the cry building up right now:
But waaaaaaaaah what is a man who wants a shag and fancies a woman supposed to do! We're not even allowed to talk to women any more! It's so unfair! Our entitlement to consequence-free sex is being taken away! etc. etc et bloody cetera.
You know how I know that cry is building up from the men who view women as nothing more than pieces of meat? Because on every single fucking article some poor woman writes about this, that's what the comment section looks like. Waaaaah not allowed to be friendly. Waaaaaah not allowed to give people a hug. Waaaaaaaah not allowed to flirt. Waaaaaaaaaaaaah not allowed to grope somebody and then pretend it was just an affectionate gesture. The species will die out if we can't conduct mating rituals without paying any attention to one party's feelings on whether or not mating should occur!

Boys, when you say shit like that, you are fooling nobody. Right out of your own mouth comes the evidence that you think of women as sperm receptacles first and human beings second, because you know what? Nobody who wasn't worried they are a sexual harrasser would talk such utter bollocks. You are not entitled to a shag just because you want one, go and have a wank just like everybody else does when they fancy someone who doesn't fancy them back, and stop bloody whining like Kevin the teenager because you can't get your end away.

You are absolutely allowed to talk to women. I speak to men all the time. I spoke to several only this morning. Quite a lot of the men I spoke to, we were both in a state of undress (I went to the gym and swimming). Only one man sexually harrassed me today (today was a quiet day for entitled arseholes, I guess). Most of them were lovely. But that one man is enough to make me keep my distance a little bit more from all men, because who knows if any of them is Scroedinger's Rapist. So if you want women to feel safer and easier talking to you? You, as a man, need to notice, call out, and stop sexual harrassment.

You are absolutely allowed to be friendly to women. "Being friendly" and "trying to get into the pants of" are not synonyms though. I have lots of friends that I don't have sex with.

You are absolutely allowed to hug or have other affectionate contact with women if they are your friends, and you know for a damn straight fact they are enthusiastically consenting. If you've just met someone in a bar, putting your arm around them marks you out as a creeper, guys. And just because nobody has said anything does not mean you are not being marked as a creeper. You put your arm around someone and they immediately tense up? You take your arm away. Not rocket science.

You are absolutely allowed to flirt with women. The trick to this is: is she flirting back? If she's got a genuine, open smile, if she's responding to you in kind, then flirt away! If she's backing away, answering in monosyllables, looking at the door, giving you a glassy smile rather than a genuine one... You need to back the fuck off and shut the fuck up because she is not interested in you. She may not outright say "Look, mate, I'm not interested", because as the links above show, that can get you beaten, raped, or killed. Learn to read body language, and you will be fine. Guys who master this skill are way more attractive to women, because when a guy treats us with respect we feel such relief that he's not One of Them...

Ah yes, Them.

You see, the thing is, the research shows that actually, pretty much all men understand this. But the sexual harrassers, assaulters and rapists are the ones who trot out the shit about grey areas and being confused by it because that's how they get away with it. So I'm sorry to break it to you, boys, but every time I see one of you coming out with some of these gems, I think to myself "that dude is an uncaught rapist". Quite a lot of you are, you know. Many of you will cheerfully admit to it, so long as nobody uses the 'r' word.

And as long as nice men, normal men, men who aren't sexual harrassers, assaulters and rapists, keep letting this shit get trotted out again and again by their mates because "Simon** wouldn't do that, he's a good guy" or "David***'s such a gentleman, though" then this situation is going to continue.

And we're going to keep having the "but whyyyyyyy don't more women want to join our club?" discussion for years and years to come. Frankly, AWS isn't even a sticking plaster on this.



*I know sexual assault, harrassment, and rape happens to men too. I know survivors of male rape have it extra difficult in terms of not being believed, and not getting justice. I rage about that too, just not in this post. OK?
**Not all Simons
***Not all Davids
I just picked those names randomly. Sorry.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2016-03-17 09:24 am
Entry tags:

Those members of Calderdale Liberal Democrats who enjoyed our guest speaker at our AGM...

... may be interested to know that she is writing a book based partially on the speech and Q&A she gave us. If you would like a copy you can back the kickstarter here.

The amount being asked for the Kickstarter is symbolic — £1,008 is the fee for UK citizenship *after* you’ve already passed the so-called citizenship test and paid thousands in visas, which Holly has. I've gone for the signed copy, myself.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Sympathy)
2016-03-15 07:32 pm
Entry tags:

Lib Dem Friends of Cuddles

I think after the last few days there are a few of us who need hugs, but also a few of us who are feeling like we've had our space invaded once too often, so I thought I'd draw up terms of reference for the AO I jokingly coined on twitter this evening:

1, lib dem friends of cuddles exists to further the idea of comforting contact between sentient beings. Cuddles, hugs and cwtching are all within our remit.
2, a cuddle without consent is not a cuddle, it is assault. Asking for consent does not need to be verbal but it needs to happen. Opening your arms and inclining your head so the other person can lap into your arms is fine. Grabbing them is not*.
3, lib dem friends of cuddles are absolutely encouraged to proselytise the cause of cuddles within and without the party, but must never pressure or guilt trip anyone for not wanting cuddles.
4, We are happy to work with sister AOs in the cause of furthering happiness within the party, especially Lib Dem Friends of Gin, and also LDFO Cake, pie, biscuits & tarts.



*actually one of my favourite moments of lib dem conference was when I was having a weepy moment and someone said "is it OK if I pat your knee". This does not "ruin the moment" or take away spontenaity, you guys. It was really sweet and thoughtful and nice.