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: Kate Beckett aiming a gun (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.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
2016-03-14 02:27 pm
Entry tags:

Monday: Still a Lib Dem

... but only because so many people I care about made such impassioned pleas (and in some cases told me their own tales of teetering on the edge of leaving).

I'm not the world's happiest bunny right now. But I'm clinging on.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
2016-02-20 08:00 pm

Today I are bin mostly....

... having baronesses soft soap me. I blame [profile] sassyscot for this.

I'm not going to lie. I'm weakening.
miss_s_b: (Britishness: cricket)
2016-02-12 03:52 pm

State of the SB

Item: I'm currently taking a tw'oliday from twitter - there's so much horrific news at the moment, and it's hurting and affecting people I know and love, and it hurts being bombarded by it several times a day, so I'm taking a break. It won't be forever, probably just a couple of weeks. Just to build up my resilience.

Item: I have been incredibly impressed by hp-for-business customer support the last couple of days. Not only did the lady sort out the recalcitrant printer that had proved resistant to both mine and Alisdair's best efforts, but she rang me back today to check that things were still OK and it was still working (it was).

Item: I've taken to instagram like a duck to water. I'm pretty active (user name is jennierigg) and I'm mostly posting pictures of my doggies. The accounts I am following fall into four categories: 1, People I actually know; 2, accounts which post pictures of cute doggies; 3, accounts which post pictures of hot guys with beards; and 4, artists I admire - mostly tattoo and comicbook, but not exclusively. Oh, and there's also the amazing collision of 2 and 3 that is Hot Dudes With Dogs.
If you want to be bombarded with pictures of my doggies, occasional gym updates and photos of food, and comments on your photos do feel free to follow me there.

Item: Mental health has been... Not bad but not great. I have been quite low through the end of January, and the nightmares have been about 3 times a week. However, touch wood, things seem to be picking up. I'm slightly anxious about getting a Case Of The Februaries, but also hoping that the Februaries just came early and I got them out of the way in January. I did write up the nightmare I had the other day, and writing it out helped. I then gave it a cheesy happy ending. If there's demand I might post it.
A thing that's helping mental health a LOT is that I'm getting in a reasonable amount of reading time recently. Current OMG WOW SHE'S AMAZING author is Tananarive Due. Thoroughly recced to all of you.

Item: Physical health is pretty good. I'm not doing much cycling because the canal path is still buggered after the floods in late December - although [personal profile] matgb is on about taking me road cycling soon, despite my nerves - but I'm doing really well at the gym and in the pool, and getting some decent walks in every so often. I've got pretty impressive muscles at the mo.

Item: A week today I am going to go for the first appointment for my next tattoo. I has the excite! This has been ages in gestation; Matt has been sending me rough sketches by email, and it's going to be amazing. He's a genuinely awesome artist too. Really exciting. So that's probably going to go on Instagram; it'll also affect my swimming a little bit, because I'll have to not swim for a week after having it done. Boo. Shall have to do treadmill or something equally dreadful for cardio. :(
Hmm. Maybe rowing machine? Rowing machine is not that dreadful...

Item: Daughter continues fabulous. She's really settled in at the old Alma Mater, and has chosen her GCSE options this month
*pauses to pass smelling salts to those who remember her being born and are now feeling faint with age*
Doggies are also great, and very snuggly. And I'm coping OK with having all my boys under one roof, even if it is a bit crowded and a bit rubbish not having my own room any more.

Item: Job continues pretty good - I honestly think if I'd have still been in my old job I would have had a total breakdown two or three times in the last few months. So yeah, I'm really glad of Job. The work itself is fun, the pay is better than any job I have ever had before, and I'm not overburdened. It's pretty cool. I'm still getting used to not having to scrimp for every penny, and trying not to splurge every payday, which is harder than it looks. But I'm getting there...

Item: LibDemmery... I'm not even going there. Everything is hanging on York at the moment. We'll see.

So, yeah, that got longer than I expected. Um. Sorry. But you're all now updated on everything. I think...

Let me know if you'd like to see my nightmare.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Not London)
2016-02-02 09:16 am
Entry tags:

ATTENTION LONDON TYPES: I need a place to crash

... Anyone got space for a little one Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of this month? I'll bring my own toothpaste...

The nearer to Westminster the better, FYI. Got a lib demmy thing to go to.

(may be a while answering comments as work is concentratey this morning, but don't worry, I will get there)

ETA: now have offer, thanks folks :)
miss_s_b: DCI Gill Murray looking disapprovingly at her phone (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
2015-12-23 01:51 pm
Entry tags:

My Lib Dem Christmas wishes.

Several years out from working in hospitality/retail I am starting to recover from my primal loathing of Christmas, such that this year I am prepared to indulge in some Christmas wishes. These are specific to the party, and not connected with my general and ongoing wishes for world peace, vast amounts of cash, and unlimited gin and brandy. I think those three can pretty much be taken as read.

This year I wish:
  • That the media would pay less attention to Labour tearing itself apart and more to the horrible things the government is doing, so that people realise just how much the government need opposing.

  • That our leader carries on mostly the way he is. AFAICS he has only made one misstep; that's not bad in over six months, and certainly better than the last one managed for any six month period of his leadership. It's still weird having a leader I voted for, and I'm still not sure I like it when I'm so used to being a member of the awkward squad, but it's growing on me.

  • That more of the members of the Liberal Democrat Group in the House of Lords are awesome like Liz Barker, Kath Pinnock, Ros Scott, Brian Paddick, and many others; and less of them are awful like the triumvirate of horror that is Carlile, Greaves and Rennard. Signs are good for this wish to come true, from everything I'm seeing of late.

  • That my fellow bloggers, tweeters, and commenters on Lib Dem Voice start to give each other a bit of a break. You don't NEED to leap in all guns blazing and straw men a-gogo every single time someone says something that slightly bothers you. Sometimes it's better for all concerned just to let a thing slide. Also, if you're writing an otherwise excellent article about how people should be more reasonable, it's probably not reasonable to include a long aside about how all straw men are fuckwits.

  • Linked to that last, I have several wishes to do with the Epps/Liberal Youth ongoing soap opera of awfulness
    1. That the various members of Liberal Youth whom I love would stop being horrible about my dear friend Gareth Epps
    2. That my dear friend Gareth Epps would stop giving lots of members of Liberal Youth reason to be horrible to him, and ammunition for so doing
    3. That none of those mentioned above will descend into "but HE/THEY started it!" as a justification for continually being horrible to each other
    4. That all of them will learn to just walk away, and not leave nasty messages in public about this ongoing childish spat which only prolongs the problem on all sides of this "debate"
    Honestly, genuinely, I love people on both sides, and if they would all stop screeching "splitters!" at each other and fight the Romans instead we'd be in a much better position. Apart from anything else it's excruciatingly embarrassing to watch.
Now, lets all have a nice chorus of Wouldn't It Be Nice If Everyone Was Nice. It'd certainly make my life less stressful...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
2015-12-02 12:52 am

So, Syria. I'm not really decided what the BEST thing to do is, but from the lib dem partisan POV...

... I think we've just done the worst.

I remain to be convinced that airstrikes will help to defeat Daesh, because you can't blow up an idea. I remain to be convinced that NOT blowing up bit of Syria would help either. I'm in a paralysis of indecision about the whole thing. One thing I am sure of, though, is that from the point of view of gaining an electoral advantage we've just done the worst possible thing.

- Our glorious leader announces, after much handwringing, that we're going to whip our 8 MPs to support airstrikes, pissing off a good 40% of our activists just before a by election;
- Cameron, intentionally or not, pisses of half his Labour sycophants by talking about terrorist sympathisers so he now has much weaker support from the red team;
- The foreign affairs select committee, despite the best efforts of Uncle Crispin, announce that they think airstrikes are a really bad idea;
- we now look like the rump that's left of us is still supporting the tories even though we don't have to, and even though nobody else thinks it's a good idea.

Still, on the plus side it's taken a good five and a half months for our new leader to make such a monumental tactical fuckup, and further on the plus side so few people are paying attention to us these days nobody is going to notice or care, and if they do they'll just shrug because supporting the tories needlessly is what we're for, right?

I think the time has come for me to see if I can find Dave Page's Patented Desk made of human hands so that I can headdesk and facepalm at the same time.

UPDATE: quote from my twitter feed: "sad but unsurprising to see the rump lib dems being lickspittles"

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

UPDATE 2: and another, as pointed out by Andrew in the comments below: "It's easier to have contempt for the Lib Dems than Tories in the same way it's easier to have contempt for Grima Wormtongue than Saruman."

Several people I really respect are considering their party membership this morning, including one who has been a member for 20+ years and served on a lot of Federal committees. I am just really really depressed.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
2015-11-24 05:00 pm

When you look at the older generation and are counting the years till you turn into them

Me: "Just think: in thirty years I'm going to be Shutty."
Him: "Nahhhhh... in thirty years you'll be Mick Taylor. Ten years after THAT you'll be Shutty*."
This little snippet of conversation I had recently with a LibDem activist from a neighbouring local party has been preying on my mind today, along with the maxim "all it takes to go from Liberal to Conservative is thirty years without changing a single opinion".

Both of the names mentioned above are people I would class as proper, dyed-in-the-wool Liberals. I also think it's fair to say that both of them have never stopped engaging with the world around them, with both younger and older people, and people from cultures not their own. They don't fit with the maxim because neither Mick not Shutty has ever stopped learning, growing, and changing. Neither of them has ever stopped paying attention. I'm not saying I agree with either of them on All Things, part of the point of this is that I don't**, but I know that any opinion either of them advances has been reached by deliberation, not a jerking knee.

There are people in the party, though, who aren't like that***. They only ever listen to people from their own cohort, and when they talk to people of different cohorts they talk at them not to them, and they start to become like the person in the maxim. They sit in their own little echo chamber, and if any person who doesn't agree with them in any way happens to come to their attention, they get very confused, scared and angry.
  • They start telling people that they aren't proper Liberals because they aren't doing as they are told****
  • They tell people who don't agree with their outdated views on x or y thing that they aren't proper Liberals.
  • Their war cry is "shut up and go deliver some leaflets"***** because people not of their cohort shouldn't contribute ideas, they should just be cannon fodder.
It's desperately, desperately sad. It drives people away from the party, and it hampers our campaigning ability, and it doesn't make anyone any happier, least of all the people who are confused, scared and angry and screaming about how nobody these days is a proper Liberal like wot they are.

So I hope that in thirty years I do turn into Mick, and then possibly after that Shutty, because the alternative is too awful and depressing to contemplate. But given my hatred of false binaries I'm hoping there's a middle way: when I grow up I think I'd like to be Pauline Nash. Or maybe Jeanette Sunderland.



* Shutty being Lord Shutt of Greetland, who has the most encyclopaedic knowledge of what has happened in Calderdale and it's predecessor areas in the Lib Dems and Liberals for the last fifty years. Mick Taylor being slightly younger and slightly more firebrandy.
** I've had political disagreements with both Mick and Shutty. Mostly, it was fun having a discussion with a person who genuinely wanted to actually discuss things and get to the truth of a matter, rather than shout down an opponent. Sometimes one of us will persuade the other, sometimes we'll agree to disagree. We always listen to each other, though.
*** thankfully not in Calderdale
**** which half a second's rational thought would tell them is a contradiction in terms
***** delivering leaflets, not canvassing, because we wouldn't want the people not of the echo chamber to actually talk to voters.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
2015-11-12 11:11 am
Entry tags:

PSA: I emailed @salbrinton and @timfarron about Lord Grabbyhands

This is what I said:
You're probably drowning under a tsunami of emails about this, so I'll keep it short. I'm not going to trawl through the ins and outs and the rights and wrongs because that's been done ad nauseam, and is probably being done elsewhere in the tsunami. However, I am going to point out a political reality: somebody needs to tell Lord Rennard that if he loves the party as much as he professes to do he needs to stop trying his damnedest to destroy it, and the tiny amount of remaining credibility it has. I think that message could possibly do with being hammered home to the forty unelected fools who thought they were being clever by voting him onto FE too.

That is as much as I can say while remaining civil. I really am incredibly angry about this.

I hope others manage to remain civil too.
I am posting this publicly because I am a liberal, and I believe in openness and transparency. I am dead set certain there are people reading this who will disagree with my stance on this matter and think that Lord Grabbyhands deserves to be allowed full privileges because of what Webster said. I haven't seen him comply with Webster's conclusions* and so I don't think that he can be said to have done everything required of him to make amends. I'm broadly sympathetic to the idea that he should be allowed full privileges IF he apologises and commits to changing his ways. I see no evidence whatsoever that this has happened, or is likely to in the future.

But honestly, Lib Dem Lords, we have a big by election to fight. We're trying to recover from a rout at the general election. What on Cthulhu's green earth made you think that slashing open this festering wound was a remotely good idea? Idiots.



* not only that he should apologise - as opposed to giving a half-arsed mealy-mouthed faupology - but that he should commit to changing his ways.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
2015-10-27 12:53 pm
Entry tags:

My submitted answers to the Lib Dems policy process review

You'll be pleased to hear that my answers to this aren't quite as long as those to the governance review, because there were not as many questions to answer as the review doesn't cover as broad an area.

that said, I'm still putting them under a cut )