Libdem Child's (mainly) weekly thoughts




You're probably wondering whether this is really a teenager's blog or not. Well it is. I believe in the Liberal principles of fairness, equality and community. I may only be fourteen but I can hold a good debate on politics. Honest, I can.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Lib Dem Manifesto Policy on young adults

For those who want to know what the Lib Dem manifesto has to say about young people

Improving support for young adults

We want young people to face the future with optimism and confidence. The education leaving age has now risen to 18, but as children grow, their independence grows too, and the support that education and youth services provide to them and their families needs to adapt. Whether it is supporting people with the costs of travel to college or apprenticeships, or promoting positive images of young people by celebrating their successes: Liberal Democrats are on the side of the next generation.

We will:
·        Work to introduce a new Young Person’s Discount Card, for young people aged 16–21, giving a 2/3rds discount on bus travel, as resources allow. This will assist all bus users by helping
maintain the viability of existing bus routes and making it easier to open new ones.  
·         Enable government departments, local Councils and private businesses to add discount offers to the Young Person’s Discount Card.
·         Review access to transport for students and apprentices in rural areas where no scheduled services may be available.
·         Develop an NHS ‘student guarantee’, making it easier for students to get care and support while at university, particularly those with long-term health conditions or caring responsibilities.
·        Promote social action and volunteering at school, college and university and work to raise the status of youth work and youth workers.
·         Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in mentoring schemes and programmes that seek to raise aspiration like Speakers for Schools and Inspiring The Future. In particular, we will seek to inspire more children and young people to follow technical and scientific careers through partnership with relevant businesses.

A world class university sector, open to all
Liberal Democrats have ensured that no undergraduate student in England has to pay a penny up front of their tuition fees. Students in England do not have to pay anything until they are earning over £21,000 per year – a figure which will increase in line with earnings – and over that income, monthly repayments are linked to earnings. This means only high-earning graduates pay their tuition fees in full. We now have the highest university application rates ever, including from disadvantaged students. But we need to ensure higher education is accessible to all those who can benefit, including at postgraduate level. Liberal Democrats in government secured the first ever income-contingent loans scheme for graduate degrees, which we will protect and seek to extend.

We will:
·        Ensure that all universities work to widen participation across the sector, prioritising early intervention in schools and colleges. This will include running summer schools and setting up mentoring programmes between students or alumni and school pupils.
·        Require universities to be transparent about their selection criteria.
·         Work with university ‘mission groups’ to develop a comprehensive credit accumulation and transfer framework to help students transfer between and within institutions, enable more part-time learning, and help more people to complete qualifications.
·         Improve the Key Information Set and explore the option of a standardised student contract. We will legislate to reform regulation of the higher education sector, improving student protection.
·         Establish a review of higher education finance within the next Parliament to consider any necessary reforms, in the light of the latest evidence of the impact of the existing financing system on access, participation (including of low-income groups) and quality. The review will cover undergraduate and postgraduate courses, with an emphasis on support for living costs for students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.

An opportunity society | world class education for all
Expanding and improving apprenticeships and further education More people have started an apprenticeship in this Parliament than ever before. As we grow our economy, we must protect and enhance adult skills training and our further education colleges. We need to grow our skill base, especially in the technologies and industries that are most important to our economic future. We want it to become the norm for businesses to take on and train up young people as apprentices in every sector of our economy, and for higher level apprenticeships to be understood as a respected alternative to university education.

We will:
·        Increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality, extending the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers for the remainder of the next Parliament, delivering 200,000 grants to employers and expanding the number of degree-equivalent Higher Apprenticeships.
·         Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by extending them to new sectors of our economy, like creative and digital industries.
·         Develop National Colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors, like renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that businesses need.
·         Establish a cross-party commission to secure a long-term settlement for the public funding of reskilling and lifelong learning.
·         Set up a review into the VAT treatment of Sixth Form Colleges and FE Colleges to ensure fair treatment in relation to the schools sector.
·         Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors, and encourage underrepresented groups to apply.
·         Identify and seek to solve skills gaps like the lack of advanced technicians by expanding higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships.



Lib Dem manifesto on apprenticeships

For those who want to know what the Lib Dems are saying about apprenticeships and Further Education:


Expanding and improving apprenticeships and further education

More people have started an apprenticeship in this Parliament than ever before. As we grow our economy, we must protect and enhance adult skills training and our further education colleges. We need to grow our skill base, especially in the technologies and industries that are most important to our economic future. We want it to become the norm for businesses to take on and train up young people as apprentices in every sector of our economy, and for higher level apprenticeships to be understood as a respected alternative to university education.

We will:
·        Increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality, extending the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers for the remainder of the next Parliament, delivering 200,000 grants
to employers and expanding the number of degree-equivalent Higher Apprenticeships.
·        Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by extending them to new sectors of our economy, like creative and digital industries.  
·        Develop National Colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors, like renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that businesses need.
·        Establish a cross-party commission to secure a long-term settlement for the public funding of reskilling and lifelong learning.
·        Set up a review into the VAT treatment of Sixth Form Colleges and FE Colleges to ensure fair treatment in relation to the schools sector.
·         Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors, and encourage underrepresented groups to apply.
·         Identify and seek to solve skills gaps like the lack of advanced technicians by expanding higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships.



Monday, 13 April 2015

Man with Ukelele Sings a Swear Song at Cameron




This must be the funniest video of the campaign trail so far. Watch at 0.25 seconds and you could be forgiven for thinking that the Russian mafia are 'protecting' Cameron. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sheffield GP (My Aunt) Racially Harassed in Austrian Skiing Resort

When racism hits home it is an extremely upsetting and sad experience. It has brought home to me the irony of of watching race in the guise of immigration being high on the agenda of the election and across Europe (Charlie Hebdo, Pergida, Marine Le Pen) and then, suddenly, finding out that a member of your close family has become a victim of this racial charge across Europe. My Asian family are often mistaken for being Muslims. They, like me, are Anglican Christians but should that matter at all? How widespread is racism across Europe and how do Asian people cope with it all I wonder?

My Asian aunt who is a GP in Sheffield went on a skiing trip with my cousin who has Down's Syndrome. They were sitting on benches in a cafe in Mittelstation, Zell Am See, for a few moments before going into the cafe to order food and drink. The owner came out and shouted at my Aunty and told her that it may be alright in her country to sit around and not buy anything but in 'my country' we don't do things like that. The division between his country and her country was obviously based on the colour of her skin. My cousin was unsettled and was rubbing her mother's arm. You can read the rest of the story in the review below left on Tripadvisor. 


My wife was approached by the owner who told her she could not "sit here all day" when she had been sitting for only a few minutes without buying a drink (she was with our disabled daughter and had to settle her before deciding to go in and get a drink). It was the start of the ski day and the place was not busy- a few other people were sitting watching their kids ski, but were not similarly approached by the owner. My wife is Indian and she felt the owner was targeting her specifically due to that. When she went to speak to him to enquire why he had not asked other people to move he became aggressive saying this was "his country"! Oh dear- definitely not what one expects to hear in a modern European tourist resort. The food which we were later forced to eat that day (we took a packed lunch after that) was over-priced, fast food and we couldn't get a seat as it is packed at lunchtime! What a shame as it is in a lovely sunny spot by the kinder ski school area, but racism does spoil the appetite.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Isn't this a Lib Dem Policy being Put Out by the Tories?

Today is a big day for hardworking taxpayers - because from today, you will keep more of your hard-earned money.
When we came to office, you could only earn £6,475 tax-free. But from today, you can now earn £10,600 before you pay any income tax.
That's a tax cut for over 26 million people - and it means we've taken over 3 million people out of income tax altogether.
Lower taxes are making our country a better and fairer place to live - where those who put in, get out; where hard work is rewarded; and where people are trusted with their own money.
And if we win the next election, we will raise the personal tax-free allowance to £12,500 - cutting tax for 30 million people and taking another million out of tax - and make sure no-one earning below £50,000 pays the 40p rate of tax.
The gulf between us and Labour on this couldn't be any wider. They opposed all our tax cuts in this Parliament - and will raise taxes by £3,028 for every working family if they win the next election.
The choice is clearer than ever. Tax cuts with the Conservatives; tax rises with Ed Miliband and Labour. Work rewarded with us; work punished with them.
Thank you,
David Cameron

http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-cuteness-of-the-lambs-45355.html

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Why Couldn't the Tories have given Hague a cake on a platter instead of Bercow's head?

The Tory's attempt to oust the House's Speaker,John Bercow, was an absolute farce in itself but was made worse by the fact that Tory MPs were told by the whips to vote in favour of toppling him as a gift to William Hague for his birthday. Couldn't they have done a whip around instead?

There was no need for Hague to call a surprise vote that would have lead to a secret ballot being held in May on whether to bring in a new speaker in an underhanded way. As a young person I am sick of the way that Parliament and the Democratic process is used by politicians to play tactical games. Every Wednesday PMQ resembles a zoo where the animals are underfed and are constantly baying for blood.

John Bercow has my support because of the reforms he has tried to make to Parliament. He is a person who recognises the failings of the system but constantly is undermined  by macho politicians who prefer to abide by the laws of the jungle. Vince Cable was one of a few Lib Dem MPs who stood up for Bercow by thanking him for providing 'impartial oversight'. I do not understand why the other Lib Dems supported this nonsense, do we really need to stand by the Tories on the last days of Parliament?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32061097


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Is Another Demand Side Housing Policy Really Needed?

George Osborne, in the budget, announced the 'Help To Buy' ISA which comes on top of  other 'Help' policies for people wanting to buy homes. This is my conundrum- why does George keep pushing up the demand side for housing when it is well known that a huge uplift in demand side housing leads to a housing bubble that will eventually burst?

There is a huge gap in the supply side of housing, especially affordable housing, but the concentration is on private ownership. Is this a way of keeping Thatcher's neoliberal agenda alive whereby private ownership of property is seen as a way of buying votes, sorry I mean a cornerstone of their neoliberalism ideology? At conference last weekend I spoke about the shortage of affordable housing for young people and after today's announcement I wonder if this is a bubble dream that will be deflated not before long?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/budget-2015--housing-help-to-buy-isa-threatens-further-house-price-rises-10118037.html


Friday, 13 March 2015

'Rent to own' provides help for young people

The policy announcement of 'rent to own' will offer tremendous hope to young people who cannot currently afford to buy a home or sometimes even to rent one. I for one, am extremely proud of this policy which recognises how hard it is for young people to get on the property ladder and provides a solution without burdening young people with having to save up for a deposit. I am putting in a speaker's card at conference to speak about housing and the Lib Dem's success in this area under Vince Cable. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

This 60:40 Lib Dem policy is confusing me

Phew, I thought I was the only one struggling to understand the 60:40 split. I have spent quite a lot of time looking for information. I am not the only one. Liberal Reform are featured in the Guardian and they speak about how members of the Lib Dems have not yet been informed of the economic plans of the party. The only economic policy that has really come to light has been the 60:40 plan where by cuts and taxes are split in the ratio of 60:40. The Lib Dems have always been a party that has pursued the rights of those who are less well off but this new plan sounds as though it will hit the poorest the hardest again. Health services, police services, those on benefits and the disabled have already taken the brunt of the austerity cuts and I believe that it would be unjust for the lib Dems to further this. I worry the most about child poverty especially since many are already living below the breadline.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I enjoy watching Cameron being Defeated at PMQ


 After a really long Wednesday at school there is nothing like coming home, turning on the TV and watching Cameron being picked apart at PMQ and then waffling on to avoid the question in order to cover his tracks. Watch for the best parts at 2:30 and onwards.