Libdem Child's (mainly) weekly thoughts




I believe in the Liberal principles of fairness, equality and community.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A leave vote would be selfish and doesn't consider young people like me

I can't vote in the EU referendum because of my age but I have been hugely affected by this whole campaign and desperately urge voters to choose to stay in the EU today. I constantly hear arguments from the out campaign who speak about the referendum in terms of how it would affect their children but I  feel that only the in campaign truly assesses the ramifications of an out vote on future generations. As a member of this group of 'children' and 'the future generation' I am furious that I cannot directly be involved in the outcome of the referendum and even more angry when I hear the argument that my generation would be better off out of the EU when this would close so many doors for us politically, socially and economically.

One of the main ideas that I hear being parroted again and again by the out campaign is that the EU threatens British sovereignty and pride and that future generations could make Britain a 'great' and independent power . This is a warped idea of sovereignty which fails to recognize that Britain's sovereignty is only enhanced by the EU as our economy and diplomatic international ties are strengthened. Isolation and the threat of losing 3 million jobs which are tied to the EU are a bigger threat to our sovereignty than being involved with an organisation that benefits us and allows to act on an international stage.

I also find this whole notion too reminiscent of Donald Trump's 'make America great again campaign' and I fear that voters have been too easily seduced by this seemingly easy idea of greatness and British pride rather than assessing the full benefits that the EU brings for us.

Leaving the EU would lead to a fall in migration and whilst I think that this in itself would be a mistake I am also concerned about the affect that this would have on the attitudes of those in the UK towards existing migrants. My mother is from Asia and she already experiences a fair amount of stigma and hateful racist comments which she says increases during the 2015 general election when UKIP experienced a rise in popularity. UKIP's heavy involvement in the leave campaign frightens me and I have become particularly concerned since Nigel Farage's recent poster came out.

 Leaving the EU would decrease racial tolerance and after seeing how easily racist attitudes are adopted in this country because of political parties and figures, such as UKIP, I am certain that leaving the EU would be a backwards step for our country and would be harmful for migrants who already live here as well as potential ones. This can already been seen to be taking shape with more and more people taking the view that migrants are stealing British jobs and harming our economy without recognising the need for different skill sets in different sectors. Because of our links with the EU and the subsequent migration British families are £38 a week, on average, better off. The whole picture concerning migration and racial attitudes needs to be taken into account when considering a leave vote today and deciding against the EU would be selfish, not only as it would harm the future generation, but also existing and potential migrants.

I am hugely worried about the results of the referendum and can only hope that the UK makes the right decision to stay in the EU. If we were to benefit from leaving the EU, which I find highly unlikely from looking at the solid and confirmed facts, we could only know this in the distant future and leaving would still put too many people's jobs and income at risk. Our current situation in the EU is certain and brings a multitude of benefits for the UK.

The leave campaign has evoked a warped concept of British sovereignty, pride and greatness which will leave us an insular and backwards country who will also lose out economically as a result of an out vote. Risking the future of my generation in this referendum is wholly selfish and I strongly urge you to take this into consideration when visiting the ballot box today.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

What the Liberal Democrats are saying about the EU Referendum

I was delighted to receive the email about the Lib Dem leaders European event and signed up immediately because, frankly, the EU referendum debate has been inundated with arguments that don't always make sense and are often factually ambiguous. I am quite often irritated these days because of this.

The Lib Dems leaders,Paddy Ashdown, Ming Campbell, Nick Clegg and Tim Farron, didn't let me down and it was excellent to see a united front on display. It felt like quite a historic moment for a young person like me.

The event took place at the BAFTA offices in Piccadilly. Each leader began with an impassioned speech explaining what staying in Europe meant to him and why we should adopt the same approach.

My favourite remark came from Tim Farron who said that those who support the leave campaign are "selfish" and should set aside their own prejudices or beliefs for the good of their children's future and how we should avoid being, "insular, isolated, alone or irrelevant". He said that he was not making the decision to vote in as a politician but as a "parent and a patriot". Tim also attacked the out campaign and referred to it as "sheer dishonest elitism". Tim's analysis was spot on because of his emphasis on a concern for the future generations if we were to leave the EU.

I spoke to Tim afterwards and got a good account about his beliefs. He explained than any young person voting should, "consider educational opportunities, work abroad and most importantly climate change." He sees climate change as an extremely pressing issue for future generations and that we would be "better equipped to deal with it in the EU". He also said that staying in the EU would be a "smart outward looking statement".

Paddy displayed a similar sentiment to Tim in that he addressed the importance of the EU's help with future generations. Leaving, he said, "would be an act of historic folly which our grandchildren and children would be bound to pay the price". Paddy repeatedly praised the EU and placed emphasis on it's ability to act as a tool for avoiding conflict as he referred to it as, "the greatest peace making institution that we have ever seen".

Ming also praised the EU by explaining that membership is beneficial to Britain as it holds, "complimentary affiliations" which mean that we are able to work together for mutual benefits.

Nick conveyed the need for affiliations with the EU by positioning the UK as an international foreign policy player. He said that if we are to act on an international stage "how else are we going to go toe to toe with great superpowers other than doing so with the collective clout that we have through the European Union?"

I was compelled by these arguments which continually reiterated that we are stronger together and that we benefit from the EU as 3 million jobs are linked to trade with the EU, 89% of businesses back staying in Europe and because EU membership has increased average UK salaries by £1,800. 

The debate then moved to questions from the audience. The leaders were asked about the non factual and unsupported information being put out by the leave campaign. These so-called fact come via those such as Michael Gove who claimed that the NHS would receive £100m more a week in funding if we left the EU. The leave campaign has not only been riddled by false statistics but also by false and harmful sentiments such as Farage referring to sexual assaults by immigrants to stir anti-European feelings.

Tim and Paddy who noted the appeal of providing simple solutions to complex questions for the general populace rather than solid facts. The help of the EU in dealing with the migrant crisis and the potential of a subsequent Scottish referendum as a result of an 'out' vote were addressed in further questions.

Nick Clegg also furthered his case by not only addressing the importance of economic benefits from the EU but also the cultural ones by providing a narrative of cultural benefits from the EU and stating that we are, "culturally entwined with Europe as it is a part of our cultural landscape" and that we are, "better for it".

It was a successful event and if I could vote I would certainly be putting an 'X' beside 'Remain'.


This article was originally written by me published on Lib Dem Voice:

http://www.libdemvoice.org/what-our-liberal-democrat-leaders-are-saying-about-the-eu-referendum-50868.html#comments

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Why young people should register to vote in the EU referendum

The 7th of June is the deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum. Whilst I urge everyone to take an active interest in the decision I think that it is of particular importance for young people to fully participate and vote in the referendum.

Younger age groups have a reputation for being disinterested in politics. The voter turnout is very low at 51.8% for under 25s in 2010 compared to 74.7% for over 65s. In my experience young people are not uninformed or disinterested in politics but rather disillusioned. We are put off by the Westminster bubble. Valid as these reasons are none of this applicable to the EU referendum.

Whilst I completely understand the reluctance of young people to endorse a political party in the general election this vote is about the future of Britain. It is not about the allure or credibility of individual parties or politicians. The consequences of this vote are just too large to be ignored and the consequences will determine our future job market, economy, migration patterns etc.

I am, however, extremely pleased to see so many young people actively debating the EU referendum through organisations such as'Bite the Ballot', I just hope that this will translate into votes that will actually make an impact on Britain's future.

I urge you to register to vote by 7 June midnight. In my opinion, the most beneficial outcome for the UK would be an 'in vote'.Whilst I place primary importance of young people voting in this referendum I do believe that it is in our best interest to vote stay and I encourage young people to strongly consider the arguments put forward by the stay campaign especially in regards to their own future as well as the future of Britain.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

We need more role models for young girls in politics

As a young girl involved in politics i have always taken great comfort and drawn strength in the existence of feminism and what it can offer girls like me. Yesterday i attended the 'Feminism in London' conference and I can honestly say that i came away feeling rejuvenated.

In the morning I attended a workshop about the history of feminism which was specifically catered for 12-18 year olds.   It isn't just politics that is personal, politics is woven into feminism which makes politics and feminism a potent combination. It got me thinking about the opportunities for young girls in politics.

The patriarchal nature of the political system is intimidating. PMQs pre-Corbyn resembled a swarm of well educated white men all baying to see who could shout louder. As a 16 year old girl I am constantly frustrated with the lack of gender equality within politics. There are several wonderful organisations that exist to help young people become involved in politics, such as Bite the Ballot, but there is barely anything that aids young girls.

Entering the political world as a young girl can seem like an impossibility and this is evident when i talk to female friends of my own age.

Several of my female friends have expressed their confusion over the political jargon used by high ranking politicians the political processes involved. The problem of not having  women in politics was addressed in a session called, 'women in parliament' which spoke the gender imbalance within the houses of parliament. This session was hosted by '50:50 parliament which calls for gender quotas to be brought into the British political system to deal with the gender inequality` of 29:71 female to male MPs.

Whilst i recognize that gender quotas may not be the ideal way forward, for fear of being labelled 'tokenism', i do believe that it could provide many more female role models in politics for young girls such as myself.

The Lib Dems received very favourable mentions. Although the 50:50 parliament organisation remained politically impartial through out the talk several of the speakers praised the Lib Dems for  our gender quotas in the EU elections. Tim Farron will be pleased to know that his approach to gender equality was praised during  this conference. . Needless to say I was very proud  that the Lib Dems were being presented as the forerunners for gender equality and at a feminist conference.
Even so, there still aren't enough female role models in politics to encourage young girls to take an active interest. A lot more needs to be done. I look forward to having more young women enter politics because being a teenager in politics is an experience that I would commend to any of them.





Thursday, 17 September 2015

Do we want the Blairites joining the Lib Dems?

According to reports Tim Farron has been contacted by Labour MPs who are thinking of joining the Lib Dems. These Labour MPs are, apparently, "deeply distressed" by Corbyn's victory. The question for our party is do we want the Blairites to be joining us?

We elected Tim Farron to position the party in the centre left, much away from where Nick Clegg had us. Many of Corbyn's policies align with those of the Lib Dems, such as Trident. Taking on Labour MPs who have ideologically shunned Corbyn's leadership would be contradictory and distort the new image that the party is creating for itself. I don't see the benefit of taking in the Blairites.

What people need to understand is that there is a generation who will be eligible to vote in 2020. To us talk of Corbyn's ideology being an old fashioned concept is irrelevant to my generation. Corbyn's ideas seem to be the new way of doing things. Anti-austerity does not seem like a recycled notion but rather a refreshing new way of approaching politics. New Labour has been taken over by the Tories and is no longer an electable viewpoint.

The Lib Dems need to stick to the centre left if we want any chance at regaining relevance in the next election. An acceptance of Blairites and a shift to the right will be destructive for the party. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

I used a dummy until i was 4 years old and it wasn't a problem


Isn't she a bit old? David and Victoria Beckham's four-year-old daughter Harper was seen walking with her father in West Hollywood on Friday, while holding a dummy in her mouth


The silly season is upon us. What with the Labour leadership campaign, more and more refugees arriving in distress and the closure of kids company the nation has been asked to ponder upon whether Harper Beckham, aged four, should still be using a dummy.

I used a dummy until i was 4.5 and i protested when i was forced to give it up when my school told me i had to. I don't have dental problems as a result of the dummy and i spoke my first word at 3 months, so my speech was unaffected by it.

When you're little a dummy serves as security and it's a way for the child to comfort itself. I had a whole collection of dummies all of different colours. In the morning i would choose which one i wanted for the day.

What right does everybody have to tell the Beckhams how to parent Harper? Why isn't this much passion being used to question the cuts being made that will push children further into poverty? Sometimes i think this nation's priorites are skewed.