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.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Is that a Black Cloud or is it just the Tory Party conference?

Judging from Twitter I can't be the only one who is despondent about the never ending message of 'hit the poor' that comes from the Tories. Yet again, young people are being hit through benefit cuts that will hit children and school leavers. The Tory line of thought is transparent -Why bother with these? They won't vote Tory anyway. Is the Tory party capable of any good ideas apart from 'bash the poor' and welcoming business with 'open arms'? Did these chaps really go to that top school called Eton and graduate from Oxbridge? The right-wing neoliberal ideology that they hold so dear seems to almost put them in a strait jacket of brain activity. How does freezing benefits make Britain 'fairer' when there is huge inequality, the bankers don't face sanctions and the rich pay the same taxes as the poor?

So, who will suffer from these proposals? The following is a Statement from the Childrens Society:

“The majority of those affected would be the children of working parents who would see further real-term cuts to their child benefit and child tax credits.
“This comes just hours after the Government announced a further cap on welfare and a scheme that will bar childless 18 to 21-year-olds from housing benefit.
“Far too many families in this country are already struggling to provide a basic standard of living for their children because of the three-year one per cent annual cap in benefit rises put in place at the start of last year. 
“These further cuts will make it harder for families to put food on the table and pay the rent to keep a roof over their head. http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/node/50089

Other interesting articles:

http://politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/09/29/george-osborne-speech-sketch-pain-poverty-and-the-cold-hard

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/29/seven-other-ways-george-osborne-save-3bn-a-year

Monday, 22 September 2014

A cruel ice bucket challenge against an autistic boy


Ice-bucket-prank-615x345
The classmates of a 15 year old teenager with autism tricked him into participating in an ice bucket challenge in order to raise money for charity. Instead of the bucket being filled with ice cubes it was filled with human waste and cigarette butts.The poor boy's mother found the video on his Smartphone. The cruel teenagers who pulled the evil prank had used the boy's phone to video it. Thankfully, police are questioning the culprits. 

My take on this is that those who did this to a vulnerable teenager need to be publicly named and shamed. What on earth possesses some teenagers to take teen pranks and high jinks into the realm of pure cruelty? Picking on those who are vulnerable is something to be ashamed of. Didn't these teenagers have any inbuilt behavioural traits as to what is right and wrong? I suggest that they be made to perform community service by working with people with disabilities for a year. In this country this act would be classed as a disability hate crime.  Here is a report, published by the University of Leicester, which is well worth a read and shows the amount of hate crime faced by disabled people (and other groups).

People with disabilities are not joke material. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

No Scots in my home but plenty of infighting

My home is split into two camps. Both camps come from countries that were declared independent by the British Empire. One side is absolutely adamant that independence is the only answer to self determination. The other camp thinks independence is a bad idea because of the loss of the monarchy, Union Jack, English tea and scones.

Let me at this point tell you that the link between Scotland and people in my home is as far apart as Ben Nevis from Big Ben. The connection is as follows: two uncles studied medicine in Scotland a decade ago and my aunty is married to a Scot who is not eligible to vote. No one even owns a Scottie dog. But the fighting, that's a whole other story. It began weeks ago. When i say 'fighting', I mean wild gesticulating, fights for the remote control to turn to the channel that is broadcasting the most news on the referendum and one very irritated teenager (me). Plans have been made for an all night viewing of the results. The picture above will give you an idea. I hope you don't hear the noise that will come from this melee when the votes are announced.

Is this a national phenomenon? Is your home under siege from the no-sayers trying to knock out the yes enthusiasts even though no one actually has a vote? This is worse than the notorious family Christmas  meltdown when Aunty Doris wants to watch the Queen's speech and Uncle Jack wants to eat his Turkey and tell the same old jokes that he tells every year.

On a serious note, I am absolutely thrilled to see such a large number of young people engaging in this referendum. Witnessing their sheer depth of knowledge on the politics that affect their lives has been tremendously impressive. Scottish teenagers have shown the world that teenagers do care about politics.
Scottish teenagers, I envy your right to vote. I have been blogging about politics since the age of 10 and I still won't be able to vote at the next election. People underestimate the interest and intellect of young people when it comes to politics and now this has been disproved with the referendum.

Scottish Teenagers, this opportunity will not come again for a long time. Exercise your vote. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Justice for abused children goes beyond race


As a mixed race child I am well aware of how race and ethnicity can be explosive issues. Race is often politicised for political gain but it appalls me that horrific child abuse predators were tolerated because of a fear that it would ignite racial tension in Rotherham. This country should learn to say it as it is, no more, no less. The problem in Rotherham did concern the attitudes of Asian men towards white girls, this is not to say that all child abuse is carried out only by Asian men. However, there is a problem with the attitudes of the Asian community. Women are treated as second class citizens and it is seen as shameful to have a female baby. The boys are brought up with a sense of entitlement and girls are taught that obedience is a virtue, this is evident with the sheer number of honor killings.

 Any girl who wasn't seen by these Asian men as conforming to their norm was seen as easy pickings. There is a tendency amongst the Asian community to brand Western culture as a corrupt culture. I write these things with trepidation because I do not want to raise the level of racism against the Asian community and I completely condemn any form of racism but race relations cannot be improved if the facts aren't confronted.

A huge problem is that children are not being believed and seem to have to overcome a very high barrier to be taken seriously. The girls and boys weren't believed because they were 'troubled and vulnerable.' This misogyny that is prevalent within institutions in authority is a tremendous barrier to justice for abused children. The distinction between 'good' and 'bad' children is a frightening discriminatory attitude and has no place in the world of children. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Pro-Palestine and on the Side of David Ward

Why is it so controversial to question Israel's actions? This is a country whose bombs have killed 600 Palestinians, 150 of whom are children. I cannot bear to see the images of dead and severely injured children. There are many of these on Twitter. The UN has said that Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza and has voted to launch an international inquiry. So, excuse me while I question why the aggressor always wins?

David Ward, a Lib Dem MP, posted a tweet  which empathizes with the people of Gaza. Is it not normal to put yourself in other people's shoes and think about what they are experiencing? If you see images day after day of suffering and death is it not human to question what you would do in those circumstances? People are dying needlessly in Gaza and the Western world, until recently, has not intervened. Instead the US is against a UN international inquiry. The Conservative's 'Friends of Israel' group is a very powerful lobby group.  Aid agencies say a child has been killed every hour, on average, in the past two days. Why is it then controversial to support or understand Gaza's sufferings?

I do not condone the actions of Hamas but I do not equate Palestinians with the political aims of Hamas. Gideon Levy, the famous Jewish journalist, has questioned whether Israel wants peace at all. Israel has whipped up war mongering talk ever since three Jewish teens were found murdered. There is still no evidence that Hamas did it. Yet, the ordinary children of Gaza have paid the price. I felt very sad over the deaths of the Jewish teens but their deaths cannot be used to justify the needless slaughter of hundreds in Palestine.

I fear for the young of Palestine and Israel because they are being brought up with a culture of hatred for the other side. As a teenage girl I was shocked by the hatred that pre-army teens were tweeting. The fact that they believed it was normal to put these racist thoughts onto a social networking site that is open to the world reflects the hatred towards Palestine that they have been brought up with. On the other side there were a lot anti-semitic and pro-Hitler tweets which are absolutely wrong. How is there ever going to be a two state solution now or in the future? 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

This is why Israel will find it hard to win the war of sympathy




View image on Twitter
Sderot cinema. Israelis bringing chairs 2 hilltop in sderot 2 watch latest from Gaza. Clapping when blasts are heard.


View this content on Al Jazeera English's website

An injured boy kisses his mother's hand. Both of them were injured by an Israeli airstrike on
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RT children impacted by psychological distress and fear, like this girl in

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

IAgreeWithNick vs Libdems4change

I joined the Lib Dems at the age of 10, I am now 14, and never have I questioned my belief in the party until now. In these four years I have seen the party go from having no chance of being in power, to being in Government and reverting back to having no chance again. Being the youngest party member (I haven’t been challenged on this so far) I feel that some balanced analysis is called for because I want to grow up in a party that governs for the sake of the people. I don’t think i am being young and idealistic in wanting this.

After such massive losses in two elections any political party should question the leadership and the direction of the party otherwise the party is a cult of followers for the leadership or it becomes a single interest group. I know the coalition was meant to be a compromise of Tory and Lib Dem ideologies but even I now struggle to know what our values and red lines are.  Compromise has become ‘give way’.  We are an immature party if we can’t be challenged or criticised? What is the tipping point for when the leadership can be challenged? I think two drastically failed elections qualify. 

Paddy Ashdown, whom I admire greatly and always have a chat with at conference, has called Libdems4change the 'silliest idea’ he had ever heard but given how long Paddy has been in politics I would have thought that he would have engaged with members calling for change rather than seeking to delegitimize them. Annette Brooke’s email was an utter fiasco.  It’s not about the messaging. I was not able to campaign because of my exams but I really don’t think that any more leaflets would have made a difference. A Councillor lost his seat after 40 years.

Many young Lib Dem members have pledged unquestioning devotion to the leadership forgetting completely that the reason some members are disappointed and angry is because there is a long history of struggles among people who have been in the party far longer than us to get the numbers of MPs and MEPs up.  What’s a party if it is not molded and created by change and history? Character assassinations of those who question the party’s future is ineffective.

Nick Clegg has some really worthy policies- 3,200,000 of the poorest no longer have to pay tax on their income, pupil premium, shared parental leave and preventing child detention. How will the party ever move on from the tuition fees fiasco if members refuse to acknowledge the damage this caused?  There were loads of students in 2010 stuffing envelopes etc in my home. I despair at the level of debt that students now graduate with because of the higher fees. There is no point saying that they will only repay the debt if their salary reaches a certain level because they all want high wages after incurring a debt.

  A Save the Children report states that five million children could be “sentenced to a life of poverty” by 2020 because of welfare reforms.  A “triple whammy” has been caused by benefit cuts, the rising cost of living and years of stagnant wages. As a child this breaks my heart and it is made even worse by the fact that my own party are in power doing this. The rise of Zero hours contracts and the royal mail fiasco show that we aren't a centre left party anymore. Being centre left is about social equality and equal opportunities.

Removing the party as a ‘protest party’ has left us with no centre left position. People are increasingly engaging with protest movements. It’s a new form of democracy and these people need representation in Westminster.  It is not immature to respect protest politics.

The party cannot carry on as it is. It’s not about messaging. it’s not about winning where you are strongest. It’s about making a real difference in people’s lives. A mature political party is not a personal fiefdom. Acting like a sacrificial lamb for ‘the good of the of the country’ rings hollow. Please change strategy. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

So, A Vote for UKIP means...

Let me get this straight. A vote for UKIP on Thursday which results in a UKIP MEP being elected means that the United Kingdom is sending representatives to sit in the European Parliament who will work their socks off to JEOPARDISE the UK's interests in Brussels. That's about it- right? 

The election on Thursday is NOT an 'in-out referendum' as to whether the UK remains or leaves the European Union. Yet, people are treating it as if it is. Let me present you with what I think is an illogical argument. Growth and the economy has been the daily mantra. 'Hard working' people who had to find alternative ways of getting into work during the London tube strikes recently criticised the RMT union for making their lives harder. Businesses berated the RMT for the large sums of money that they lost. So, any means that helps people earn money and make a living must be a good thing to cling on to, right? Wrong. 

According to the CBI being part of the European Union contributes to 4-5% of annual output in the UK. There are a whole lot more statistics and information on being in Europe. Yet, UKIP goes on and on about Romanians - living next door, being on the train with you, eating your food (I made the last one up but I am sure that will be next). So, macho isolationalism is the key part of UKIP's politics. When UKIP blames Romanians for everything that is wrong with this country UKIP shows an utter ignorance of the powers of globalisation, the competition state and the post-industrialism theories. Their politics is just the politics of scaremongering and fear. 

There are some wonderful MEPs who are working their socks off to make British life better for all. Don't waste your vote on a UKIP candidate. If you do all it will result in is a UKIP MEP earning a large salary and expenses while doing little to make your life better. That's not growth for the country. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

UKIP is a party of 'Clowns'


 


UKIP made the headlines again for spouting discriminatory comments. This time a UKIP election candidate, William Henwood,  has called on Lenny Henry the comedian to emigrate to a 'black country' because 'he does not have to live with Whites'. Lenny Henry is a British comedian who has given us many laughs over the years. UKIP are a bunch of 'Clowns' of the Stephen King variety from the novel/film called 'It',  they certainly do not qualify as clowns of the circus variety who always make both kids and adults laugh.

Every time a UKIP candidate makes a derogatory comment their supporters need to seriously reconsider their allegiance to this party which is full of discrimination, no matter that the figurehead of UKIP is a smiley man with a pint in his hand.