Sunday, 17 March 2013

I was in the Telegraph yesterday

Yesterday I was in the Telegraph magazine in a report about young bloggers.  I was featured with Jake's Bones, Childtastic books, The adventures of Betsy Lou and Tolly dolly posh fashion. Jessica Salter, kindly, came to interview me and then Johnathon Williams photographed me for the magazine. I thank them for producing a lovely article which you can see online here. Here is what the article says:

On the night of the last general election, in May 2010, Maelo Manning’s house in south London was a local campaign base for the Liberal Democrats – her mother, Jane, a civil servant, is an active party supporter. At 3.30am, caught up in the excitement, Maelo, then 10, asked her mother if she could start a political blog. ‘There were young people in the living-room, leaflets piled up in my bedroom, and it was a really exciting time to be involved in politics,’ she says. She chose the name – Libdem Child – and created a profile. Her mother put her own email as the contact, to monitor incoming mail, but Maelo has free rein to blog whenever she wants, about whatever she wants, as long as it is political or in the news. Following the rape and murder of a woman on a bus in Delhi, she organised a vigil in London in January to remember the 23-year-old victim, to which 30 people came. She blogs weekly, spending about an hour on each post.
Since starting to blog, Maelo, now 13, has spoken five times at Lib Dem party conferences on subjects such as youth clubs, gendercide, youth justice and academies. The blog is somewhere she can formulate her ideas. ‘It’s the only place I can express my views freely without someone else censoring it,’ she says.
Her blog gets between 200 and 400 hits per day. She has had negative comments from one visitor, but is sanguine about them. ‘He’s a troll, he does it to everyone,’ she says. Her friends at St Dunstan’s College, a co-educational independent school in south London, don’t read her blog (‘we don’t talk about politics; they’re more into celebrities’), but she has found friends who share her views through blogging (and Twitter). While her classmates have One Direction posters on their walls, Maelo has a framed photograph of her with the Rev Jesse Jackson.
Maelo, an only child, says her parents (her father, Roger, a recruitment manager, also supports the Lib Dems) respect her views when they talk politics. ‘But I’m not always treated like an adult,’ she says. ‘My mum doesn’t like that I recently became a vegetarian, and I can’t blog until I’ve done my homework.’ libdemchild.blogspot.com
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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Is there a minimum hunger line?

I DON'T read the Daily Mail but someone pointed out an article by Richard Littlejohn (sigh in frustration) which is so malignant that I wonder how much more Right the Right can go before it demands that people show their hunger swollen bellies to prove that they are living in poverty.  The article is a comment on a report published by the TUC this week on how the 'majority of children of UK children will be living below the breadline by 2015'.

I know that social policy can involve different ways of measuring needs and poverty levels and sometimes it can be a subjective study too but it cannot be denied that child poverty does exist in the UK. It may not exist to the levels that it does in other countries where children beg on streets and look in bins but does it have to get to that level in the UK for child poverty to be justified or recognised as a national issue of urgency? Does there have to be a minimum hunger line that exists before child poverty stops being a national joke among some fools and idiots?

So called 'obesity' is given as a reason for poverty being an illusion. The truth of the matter is that fruit and better quality food is more expensive and, therefore, junk food is popular because it costs far less. Cheap junk food does cause obesity. What stupid person cannot understand this?

Littlejohn says that "no one in Britain has any excuse for going hungry" but here is a report that proves differently.

Playstations, mobiles and flatscreen TVs seem to be the modern weapons of mass stigmatisation. If you own these and you are unemployed and on welfare then Richard Littlejohn and his little morons will visit upon you. Are there any other TVs these days apart from flatscreen? Playstations are, frankly, a bit outdated and nobody carries a landline around with them. The point I make is that using these items as symbols is not a way of measuring any type of social need but is a lazy and convenient way to harangue those on welfare and supports the stigma of 'strivers' vs 'skivers'.

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Plan B with a Smile

When I was little I used to play with a box by either putting things in it or putting myself in the box. My mother tells me that one day I took a colouring pencil and drew on the walls. After some time my mother shouted at me and in a fit of anger and rebellion I drew on the outside of my box. This, as it turned out, was a whole new experience. I found this more satisfactory than putting the box on my head. Crude as this was this is how I developed my skill of thinking outside the box.

Now that I am older, I don't draw on boxes (much) and some are packed away (pic below). Instead, I try to put my skill to good use by putting the economy to right. On the 20th of March next week is Budget day and you can be sure as the Easter Bunny is getting ready that old George won't have anything new to say. So far we have had manufacturing figures down, no growth, no jobs, Dave and Ed fighting at PMQs, yada yada but, hang on, have you noticed that there are a whole lot of people surging around the touristy places of Britain?

Yes, it's tourist season and it's going to last well into October. All these people are coming to spend money here. Britain is teetering on the brink of a triple dip recession and I think that it is time to start loving tourists. When countries can't produce, manufacture or export as much tourism is their back up.  So, instead of grumbling about how tourists are clogging tubes and buses and acres of pavement just smile at them instead. London, especially, has a reputation for being unfriendly so next time you are about to complain about "bloody tourists" remember that they are not here to steal your job, undercut your business, draw welfare, kick your cat or steal your hamster but they may be providing the financial means to keeping your job going.




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Sunday, 10 March 2013

My Liberal Mother

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This may have been Conference weekend but today has a special significance in being Mother's Day. My mother and I woke up in Brighton to a lovely view of the sea before dashing off to the emergency debate on 'secret courts' which is an illiberal move. Ever since I was little I have recognised liberalism by instinct. I have my mother to thank for nurturing this moral, political and humane view that I have. At conference someone told me, as people often do, that I will cease to be as idealistic as I grow up. That may be so but I do think that people often confuse the act of being 'unrealistic' with 'idealistic'. It doesn't matter. I am neither an 'unrealist' nor a hopeless idealist. I am a realistic idealist who is growing up in a world where Liberal values seem to hold the key increasingly to societal problems. I want to thank my mother for this. 
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Friday, 8 March 2013

What the Lib Dem's stand for - my response to Linda Jack

I am honoured to have been passed a baton by Linda Jack as part of a Meme (an idea that passes from person to person) on 'what the Lib Dems stand for'.  I have spent two days thinking about this in some depth. Since I became a member of the party 3 years ago at the age of 10 I have seen the party go from 'a vote for the Lib Dems is a wasted vote' to us going into coalition and making decisions as part of Government. Now, that's something for me to tell my grandchildren. Being a Lib Dem is an exciting part of my life. Liberalism is part of my life.

I believe the party stands for:  'fairness, equality and community'. 

Fairness- It's been a roller coaster ride so far.  Sometimes I am extremely thrilled at the decisions taken like lowering the tax threshold and a commitment to green issues; and then at other times being really angry at the unfair welfare reforms that especially target the vulnerable and disabled. Ironically, I have often thought to myself that if the Lib Dems were not in government, I would actually wish that we were so as to be able to make a difference to those suffering from welfare cuts. At these moments of negative thoughts I have despaired that we are actually in government making life difficult for the disabled through a whole range of cuts. Basically, I have a problem with welfare reform.

Equality - Everybody is given a fair start and supported in the necessary way for them to be able to participate in society. For example, schools in poorer areas are given extra support and guidance to help the pupils have a fair start in life. The equal marriage bill which has received massive Lib Dem support.

Community - demonstrated at local levels by our superb councillors who are in tune with the needs of their local communities; and party campaigners who work to deliver Focus, make phone calls and attend endless 'Politics & Pizza' events where they donate money and exchange brilliant ideas.

As a young party member I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat. Liberalism consists of the values of 'fairness, equality and community' which the protesters in the Arab Spring and countless other protest movements are fighting for. 
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Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Morning After the Morning After Analysis


Wow! What a roller coaster ride Eastleigh was. On the night of the by-election I only got 4 hours sleep because I was so excited and nervous. Now it is time for the analysis. I have been leafleting for three years and now the world is becoming increasingly digitalised. I wonder if leafleting is becoming outdated?

Leafleting takes up time and money. It is dependent on volunteers and although there were plenty in Eastleigh there won't be enough people in the general election because Eastleigh was a one off where people came from everywhere to help out. Leaflets are a good way of  communicating with voters in detail but beyond the first leaflet there maybe a law diminishing returns. Even in Nick Clegg's morning after speech he apologised to voters for the amount of canvassing they were bombarded with. I think that face-to-face canvassing is still vital because the voters general reactions and thoughts to our policies can only be gauged from talking to them. The same applies to telephone banking too.

Cancer research has its own app where people can contribute ideas for cancer research.  Maybe we could have an apps in local areas instead with reduced leaflets and a national app whereby people enter their location and give the party their thoughts on Lib Dem policy. Perhaps this is a way forward which utilises the digital world and will allow the party to reach people.


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