What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Human Rights

The afternoon after the trans motion passed unanimously, I was back on the Conference podium speaking in favour of human rights. This was to propose Calderdale’s amendment to the human rights motion putting party policy in favour of ratifying the Protocols to the European Convention of Human Rights that the UK hasn’t already.

The amendment originally called for the UK to also opt in to the applicability to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, until the party’s justice spokesman, Lord Jonathan Marks, told me that such a step would not be necessary to the Charter’s functioning in the country. Personally, I would also opt-in to many of the treaties the UK has opted out to – Schengen included – but that’s for another Conference. Find, below the cut, more porcine puns to appreciate:

Continue reading “What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Human Rights”

What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Trans Health

The second of four times I spoke at Lib Dem Conference last September was on the issue of the transgender and intersex health charter. As this motion debate happened the morning after news of the Prime Minister’s schoolboy antics regarding porcine necrophilia was broken, everyone in the Conference was dying to make jokes about it. Thankfully, this was the first motion of the day, so I was able to speak first on an uncontentious debate.
Continue reading “What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Trans Health”

What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Agenda 2020

Hopefully, after this weekend, I’ll be more punctual in uploading these.

At the Liberal Democrat conference last September in Bournemouth, I was rather busy in the Conference Hall, moving one motion, one amendment, and one procedural motion; more on those later. But, before all that, I had the chance to make a contribution to the first of the party’s Agenda 2020 consultation sessions. I took such the option to speak on double discrimination and forging an intersectional approach.

Continue reading “What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Agenda 2020”

A Labour leopard doesn’t change its spots

This post was originally published on Lib Dem Voice.

Don’t tell anyone, but George Osborne probably let out a sigh of relief when Baroness Manzoor’s fatal motion failed last night.

Of course, it was inevitable that Labour peers would rather bravely abstain on the cuts to tax credits, as their elected counterparts did in July. And Jeremy Corbyn is probably skating on thin ice, given that the scandal of Labour abstaining in July put him where he is today.

Continue reading “A Labour leopard doesn’t change its spots”

What I said at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, Pt. 2: On Green Transport

Apologies for the massive delay in this post; I made a second speech at the Lib Dem conference in March, this time on the five green laws that formed one of the key planks of the manifesto. In particular, I spoke about the need for green transport. The speech is, as always, below the cut.

Continue reading “What I said at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, Pt. 2: On Green Transport”

Breaking the Establishment

This post originally appeared on Lib Dem Voice.

“We stand up for the outsider instead of the establishment.”, Tim Farron said during the leadership rally last week. For party members who were rather discouraged by our missteps in coalition, that line gives us hope.

Our failings in the Coalition can be traced to one key fault: after speaking out against the establishment, we were seen to be now a part of it. There are so many bills that we extracted key concessions on, but we were not able to communicate that. How could we, after all? We were bound by Cabinet collective responsibility. But it was never designed to operate the way it did in coalition.

Continue reading “Breaking the Establishment”

Ending the Northern Powercut

This post originally appeared on Lib Dem Voice.

On Thursday, Patrick McLoughlin announced what many of us had feared but were hoping would never happen: electrification of the train line between Manchester and Leeds was to be postponed, and possibly cancelled. The lynchpin of the Northern Powerhouse was pulled out and the plan predictably fell apart at the seams.

Three months ago, the Conservatives promised that £38 bn would be invested in the national rail network, mostly into electrifying the old diesel lines. This was so important to the Tories, we were told, that it was at the top of the manifesto. On page 11, the Tories outlined their plans for £13 bn for the North alone, going towards new trains, new lines, and new wires. And in one speech today, McLoughlin snuffed out the flame of hope in such a way on the Tories can.

Continue reading “Ending the Northern Powercut”

A longer statement regarding the “kill all men” controversy

For the past few weeks, I and my party have been receiving complaints regarding a comment I made at NUS Women’s Conference: after voting to remove the word “men” from a motion regarding VAT-free products and the tampon tax – as all razors are VAT-free – I made a joke from the podium that we should remove men from society.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll also know that delegates to the Conference were subject to a massive amount of harassment, primarily from men. It is in this context that the joke was made.

Clearly, the reaction to the joke shows how the egregious double standard that is often engaged in. Some people will spend ages engaging in misogynist reaction when their patriarchal status quo is being challenged, yet these insecure sexists cannot take a joke that’s aimed at them.

Knowing what women go through every day, especially LBT and/or BAME women, it is frankly insulting that jokes about men are apparently as bad as the institutionalised rape, assault, and murder of our sisters, mothers, and daughters across the world. Real fights against sexism should be focused on making a world worth living in for women, not chasing misogynist flights of fancy.

Young activists are the lifeblood of any political moment and their radicalism should not be constrained, but instead welcomed. It is through radical ideas that any meaningful change can be effected.

Of course, I understand that the comments, whilst understandable given the weight of misogyny that every woman must shoulder, are possibly unwise to say on a public forum dominated by misogyny. The harassment I have received over the past few weeks are proof of this.

Ultimately, I apologise if you were offended by those comments. However, the harassment I have received can not possibly be condoned, and I shall be examining my options at a later point. I would like to give my thanks to those in the party who have conducted their investigation into this issue both fairly and promptly.

“Grand Coalition”: A Liberal Glee Club song about the inevitable.

If you don’t already know, the “Glee Club” is a Liberal tradition where Party members, on the last night of Conference, get wicked drunk and sing songs satirising all aspects of politics,  including yourself. 

The below is one such song, to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”, by Andrew “Banjo” Paterson, itself already repurposed for the classic Liberal song “Losing Deposits”:

Continue reading ““Grand Coalition”: A Liberal Glee Club song about the inevitable.”

What I said at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, Pt. 1: On Conversion Therapy

During the Spring 2015 Liberal Democrat Conference, the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats moved an amendment aimed towards extending the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy—which effectively prohibits the use of sexual orientation conversion therapy on the NHS—to transgender people. Originally, the amendment was a much larger policy motion, but after it fell at the Federal Conference Committee due to time concerns, the motion was repurposed into an amendment. The original mover of the amendment was LGBT+ Chair Dave Page, who switched with Sarah (Elizabeth) Brown to allow her to move the amendment, with the summation waived by Dave to me. The amendment passed without opposition, and my speech is, as always, below the cut.

Continue reading “What I said at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, Pt. 1: On Conversion Therapy”