Discrimination by any other name…

•August 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

On the Andrew Marr how today, Harriet Harman made some controversial comments about the position of women in her country. She called for either the Deputy Leader or Leader of her party to always be a woman, citing as a reason that “men can’t be left to run things themselves.

This has caused a flurry of blogging, and I have to say, I found myself agreeing with John Prescott. Horrible I know.

Elections should be won on merit, not on gender. I understand that politics is dominated by men, but this should be overcome by encouraging young women to enter politics, not by discriminating in their favour. You’d end up with a whole lot more “female window dressing”…

I don’t know what else needs to be said, except positive discrimination is STILL discrimination. My views on sexism in some levels of elections have been well documented. In Kirkcaldy, we elected two female MSYPs, and many other constituencies did the same. Should we therefore have stipulated that their must be a 50/50 gender balance? No, of course not. Why devalue our politics but not electing the best possible candidates?


Activate 2009!

•July 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well, what a weekend I’ve had! Liberal Youth finally resurrected Activate, its long lost training weekend. Activate 2009 was held in the beautiful village of Great Hucklow

It started at 6:20am on Friday, when I had to drag my sorry self out of bed to get a bus to Glasgow, the first leg of the journey. There, I met James Harrison, ands we took the three and a half hour train ride to Manchester, which was actually quite entertaining. James is someone I’ve never really spent a lot of time with, so it was good to get a chance to get to know him, and some quite good debates were had!

At Manchester, we met up with Ben Vickers, and went in search of some lunch. After a visit to the local Wetherspoons and a trip to Tescos to stock up for the weekend ahead, we caught our train to Doveholes, and managed to encounter a couple of other people heading to Activate – though it turned out there were many more on the train we didn’t meet till we got to Dove Holes!

Anyway, enough of the boring travel stories! Once we got there, we met our trainers – Sarah Green PPC, Cllr Ben Rawlings, Naomi Smith PPC and Candy Piercy, who were all inceredibly talented and enthusiastic. As I was deputising for Ruaraidh, I peeled off with the Exec group, and we indulged in some team building with Candy, who taught us a lot about working as a team and effective communication. We also made dinner for the group, which was made a lot more entertaining by Joe’s vodka and coke…

After the evening’s training, we got into relaxation mode, but our comfort was quickly dispelled by Elaine’s suggestion of “I Have Never”, a dangerous (read DANGEROUS) drinking game for young liberals! Very quickly we were all enjoying ourselves, some of the Exec not even going to bed until 8am, or not at all! I myself turned in at 4, so was able to get a few hours sleep before Saturday’s training.

Throughout the weekend we learned a lot about handling the media, how to behave in an interview, how to write leaflets, and many other vital skills for young campaigners. However, perhaps the most useful part of the weekend was to get to know like minded young people. I went to the weekend knowing only 3 people, and have come away with at least a dozen good friends. Seeing the press conference exercise was very encouraging – not only did the exec handle tough questioning competently, but the non-exec members performed very well as well. It is wonderful to see the depth of talent in our party, talent of which CF and Labour Students must jealous!

The new Exec seem to have a renewed vision, and seem really determined to do the best for their membership. After last year’s horror story, it seems all involved have learned valuable lessons, and the new members have brought a new perspective and enthusiasm to the table.

I have never been more proud to be in Liberal Youth!

The Torys are Pathetic: Volume 1 (& the BNP)

•June 23, 2009 • 3 Comments

Yesterday the Commons elected a new speaker, John Bercow. Now personally I would have preferred Beith or Dhanda, but I think of he front-runners, he is probably the best option. Even if he did decide to name one of his children Jemima…

Today he gave his first interview, and spoke of the great responsibility etc. Strangely he also promised not to claim any second home allowances while in office – I should think not, seen as the Speaker gets a free house!

But anyway, to the point.

Tory Bear had a bit of a go at Bercow (it was more of a rant than a blog post), and he isn’t the only Tory to do so. They’re all crying about how it was just political maneouvering by the Labour party to elect someone they didn’t like. Hmm…or MAYBE, just maybe, they liked him better than George Young, who is classic old Tory, ie. is never going to win Labour votes!

Anyway, my point is this – what is the point in crying over spilt milk? He’s speaker now, get on with it. After all, he has no party allegiance now, he’s not Michael Martin…

Story number 2, the BNP.

Not much to say on this really. Black people aren’t allowed to join the party, but Nick Griffin thinks that’s perfectly legal. A*se. Of course it’s illegal, you tosser. His argument for them being excempt is essentially that the BNP are a pressure group on behalf of “the white minority”, not exactly the “don’t mention the racism” strategy employed in the run up to June the 4th.

More tomorrow, if I bother.


Recession? What Recession…

•June 18, 2009 • 2 Comments

Right, Stephen bullied me into blogging again, so here it is, happy!?

I’ve watched with horror the way football has showed that it truly has forgotten it’s roots.

This story on the BBC today finally showed me I wasn’t alone in thinking so. Bobby Charlton, arguably England’s greatest ever player, branded the fee paid for Ronaldo as ‘vulgar’. I couldn’t agree more.

Football used to be the most universal of sports, anyone could play, and anyone could be a fan. But in recent years, it’s lost its way. Ticket prices are through the roof, punishing the most loyal of supporters, which almost seems ridiculous, and now these ridiculous transfer fees, disconnecting the clubs involved from their key fans. I mean, £80m is probably more than my parents and all their friends will ever see in their lives. Add that to £59m for Kaka, supposedly £60m for Ribery(who, incidentally, is butt ugly, not that it matters…) and apparently £80m for Ibrahimavich.  That would mean four transfers in a very short space of time which exceed the previous transfer record – £44m for Zidane, in 2001.

Add to that my experience last night. A new Argos Extra is opening here, and the Job Centre hosted a recruitment night last night. At a guess I would say this shop will employ 30 people, though I don’t know for sure. There were near on 200 people queing up the road to get in just to get an application form! I was genuinely shocked to see so many people so desperate to work in Argos that they’ll cue for up to two hours.

I gave up on Argos, as I would have felt too guilty had I got a job. Im still at school, and could only do the job for a year before going to uni – many of those people need that job to get themselves out of poverty.

Anyway, hopefully more tomorrow.

That good enough Stephen? 😉

What I’ve been up to recently..

•May 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oh dear, it has been too long hasn’t it???

Thought it was about time I updated this.

I’ve been slightly wary of blogging again since the whole Scottish Youth Parliament fiasco, but I think I shall dip my toe once more, albeit fairly tamely.

As my exams get ever closer, my expectations continue to shift. After a great result in the english second prelim, I now might even manage an A, but on the flip side I genuinely think I might fail chemistry. Oh well, as long as I get what I need to get into university, I don’t really mind. AABB, or AAAB preferrably, would do very nicely thank you!

By the way, what’s up with all these second prelims??? I can’t be bothered with them, especially chemistry, which is on Thursday.

Away from school I’ve been busy campaigning for LYS Vice-President, all the details are on the Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65585236175 ballots should be out soon, so a couple of weeks from now I may or may not be LYS Vice-President. Good luck to Ailsa and James as well, it’s going to be a tight race.

My phone contract expires this month, and I’m thinking this may be my best option:http://threestore.three.co.uk/dealsummary.aspx?id=1201&offercode=18UT20D090 A grown up phone, wow!

Anyway I think that’ll do, need to revise for Modern Studies tomorrow.

The politics of football..

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

By now, most of you who are sports literate will have been aware of the situation with Allan McGregor and Barry Ferguson. After Saturday’s loss to Holland, the two stayed up later running up a £1500 bar bill getting very very trolleyed indeed. They were subsequently dropped to the bench for the crucial game against Iceland, and Scotland went on to win 2-1. That should have been the end of the matter, but oh no. The two didn’t stop there.

The two were seen during the game to be making V-signs and sticking the middle finger up, while on camera. This was a petulant display of defience, and the two idiots probably thought it was all a bit of a laugh. But that’s not how others have seen it.

Today it’s been announced that neither player will play for Scotland again. In my opinion, good riddance. Playing for Scotland is an honour, and when you pull on that jersey, you’re a representative of your country. When you do things like they did on Wednesday night, you make a mockery of the team, the sport and the country.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Good luck to Stephen McManus, who will likely continue as Scotland captain, and David Weir, who will be the man to lead Rangers to 2nd place, after Ferguson was stripped of the Rangers captaincy today.

Liberal Youth Scotland elections

•March 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

At the AGM on April 25th, Liberal Youth Scotland will elect new office bearers. After a hugely successful conference, in which we put ourselves back on the map and got both of our motions passed, we are now planning ahead with how to take the organisation forward.

The following positions will be up for election:

President – The leader of LYS, and the person who takes the major decisions that shape the organisation.
Vice-President (Campaigns) – Has authority over the direction LYS campaigns take, and their content.
Vice-President (Communications) – Helps us communicate our intentions to members and the outside world effectively.
Secretary – Takes minutes of committee meetings, draws up agendas.
Treasurer – Takes charge of LYS’s finances.
5 Ordinary Members – Have no fixed portfolio, but hold the executive to account.

I have already announced my nomination for Vice President for Communications, and the following have also announced nominations:

Ruaraidh Dobson – President – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=151674600563

Me – VP(Communications) – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65585236175

James Harrison – VP(Communications) – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=80684800629

Kristian Chapman – VP(Campaigns) – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=64938801540

Kieran Leach – VP(Campaigns) – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=61129788259


There are others rumoured to be nomination but until I have confirmed with the persons themselves these are public, I won’t post anything here. I will post links to all Facebook groups, including those of my opponents.

I think all of the candidates will be determined to ensure that these elections are carried out in good spirit, and that we never lose sight of the salient point – we are all on the same team.