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.





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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. 
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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.


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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

An Alternative/No Lies Look at the Queen's Speech



Found on the Facebook page of 'The Eye of Sour Ron'
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A Great Tweet About Nick Clegg

Tweet text
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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Tories are like the Paddock Brothers

Famine 1975! America's Decision: Who Will Survive?You may be wondering who on earth the Paddock Brothers are? William and Paul Paddock wrote a book in 1967 called 'Famine 1975! America's Decision: Who will survive?'. The brothers predicted that there would be a food shortage crisis because of the world's growing population. Their horrendous solution was to leave the poor people of India and other countries which had famines to suffer because they only had themselves to blame and their existence was not doing anybody any good. Food aid for these people, according to the Paddocks, was a waste of time and food should not be sent to them because these poor hungry people were people who "can't be saved". The Paddocks instead suggested that food be sent to those nations who can by their own efforts fight for survival. 

Roll on 48 years later to the present Tory election campaign and I don't think it is harsh to draw comparisons. While no Tory would actually say 'let them starve and die' about those whose live below the breadline this thought is still there in all that they say. 

There is a lack of passion and concern for the ordinary struggling folk . Cameron's talk is all about the neoliberal policies that is the Tory's red carpet for their rich folk. All that Cameron had to say about Foodbanks was that Labour had not signposted these places as well as the Tories have which is why there are more users of Foodbanks now. 

Yesterday Citizen's UK held a rally and the Asian Tory poster boy, Sajid Javid, was brought out yet again to tell the story (which we have all heard a million times before on Question Time) about how he was born into a poor struggling family but managed to break free, through his own hard work. That is nice for him but not many poor Asian families living in rundown areas whose children go to schools which are struggling to cater for those who come from deprived homes will really be able to join the Tory club one day.

I will be celebrating if the Tories don't win a working majority. I don't think I have the stomach for another Lib-Con coalition either. I don't want to grow up in a country where children suffer and the so called wealth creators only create wealth for themselves because their friends in government let them. 




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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Liberal Democrats Positive Attitude Towards Asylum Seekers


I am a proud member of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary because it is a group that brings together a moral dimension that understands that asylum seekers are humans, unlike the Tory and Labour party, and combines this morality with the best of Liberalism. We understand the plight of boat people and asylum seekers and the Committee Members work very hard to get the message out. 

Please see below for the latest LDOSS news and information and please do whatever you can to help either through your campaigning or by asking the candidates of other parties what they are going to do for asylum seekers.

QUESTION ON CHANGING THE RULES ON ASYLUM SEEKERS, HAVING TO TRAVEL TO LIVERPOOL TO SUBMIT NEW EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THEIR CASE.

"We are angry at the last minute re-introduction of an idea proposed by the Home Office earlier in the year that asylum seekers who have been refused leave to remain and are appealing have to take new evidence, in person, wherever they are living, to Liverpool. 

A new Home Office ruling means that asylum seekers who wish to submit fresh evidence in support of their asylum claim, following a refusal to grant status,  from wherever they are in the UK, have to take new evidence, in person, to Liverpool with 10 days’ notice.  

At the moment they can take this evidence to a regional centre, North Shields, or the centre where they would normally report which is accessed much easier, if they claimed after March 2007.  Asylum seekers have just 70% of income support to live on, but many who have had an initial refusal are on what is called Section 4 and have an Azure Card to spend at named supermarkets – not bus or rail fares.  

There are also those who have no support whatsoever, and like nearly all those seeking asylum, are not allowed to work. Travel costs to Liverpool and back, especially without advance booking, are costly.  The journey home could usually not be done on the same day by bus.  They will have no money for refreshments.  They will have nowhere to stay overnight.

There is no known reason why evidence cannot be submitted to a regional office, and transmitted via fax, or be scanned and e-mailed, to Liverpool for the decision makers there. Additionally, caseworkers from the Older Cases Unit have now been moved from Liverpool to Leeds. 

Question: Will the candidates work to remove this unjust rule that will make access to justice so difficult, if they are elected to office as an MP?


Please use the following information when you campaign to let people know about the positive work that Lib Dems have done in government. 

FACTS AROUND THE ENDING OF CHILD DETENTION

Cedars is a Pre Departure Centre for families, who have been through the immigration system and been refused the right to remain in the UK.  It is not a detention centre like Yarlswood where previously 1,000 children a year were detained.  It is run under completely different systems, with specialist childcare support delivered by Barnardos’, for the families who have gone through the family returns process.   

The families can move freely around the house and gardens, and do not have to have the strict routines experienced in detention.  32 children have been there in the last 12 months.  These statistics include families who have both sought asylum and come here for economic reasons and have not been granted status.

In the last 12 months 28 children under the age of 16 have been held at the purpose built family unit at Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre.  The families who stayed at the unit are not those seeking asylum, but have been refused entry at the border and are going to be returned to their country of origin on the first available flight.  A lot of the families are there for only a few hours, but it was recommended by HMIP that it was better that families spent waiting time at Tinsley House rather than in inadequate waiting conditions at airports. The statistics include border cases, which make up the majority of those at Tinsley House.





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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.



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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.



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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. 
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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.
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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

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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


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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


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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. 
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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.
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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. 
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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Nick Excelled on the Last Leg

Did you watch Nick Clegg on the 'Last Leg' Channel 4? He was at his best. He came off as very authentic which is exactly what he needed to boost his image. Nick Clegg is still being praised on twitter for his performance. I cannot see either David Cameron or Muddleband, sorry, Miliband following in Nick's footsteps. Here is a tweet from a convinced member of the public who is going to vote for our party.








Here are some clips from the programme




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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Can Lib Dems Learn Anything from Syriza's Win?

In 2010, before the election, Nick Clegg warned of 'Greek-style' strife on the streets of Britain if any Government pushed through policies that people did not vote for. Remember? Let's face it, nobody voted for 'coalition' policies in the end did they? But so it came to pass that UK austerity measures were passed and, suddenly, to question these was to be childish and unreasonable. Austerity politics was the grown up way of doing politics. TINA and all that. Now's there's another name in the political circles and it's Syriza.

I read this article today in Libdemvoice and pondered upon how far Lib Dems have come since 2010. With all respect to Joe Otten, the PPC for Sheffield Central, I really hope his attitude does not sum up the next 100 days of Lib Dem electioneering because it misses a huge point about the hardships that people have suffered under austerity cuts. I think this is where Syriza is relevant. Syriza was voted by people who used words like 'hopeful',  'a society that feels a little bit fairer' and 'give us the sense that they care' and 'we feel unprotected right now'. Syriza recognised that there was a void of humanity in politics and dares to challenge the forces that foisted the so called grown up politics of cuts.

This is where I think Lib Dems can learn from them. As the coalition draws to an end it is crucial to recognise that no matter how many times we tell people that Lib Dems prevented the Tories from veering too far to the right many won't believe it because many have suffered as a result of the Neoliberal hegemony that our party bought into in coalition. Sometimes I hear a Lib Dem speak and I wonder why he/she didn't join the Tory party. Talking about being King Makers again just makes Lib Dems sound like a party that will go into coalition with anyone for the sake of power. What happened to our liberal values? I think Nick Clegg is great but why is the party being positioned just as emergency air bags to stop the Tory party or Labour party crashing? I don't get it.

Syriza is full of risk-takers who have tapped into people's feelings. Podemos could be the next victor in Spain. Politics has just moved onto a whole new level and Lib Dems cannot be left behind. I am trying to say that we need to offer real hope to young people, sick people, disabled people, impoverished people, the unemployed and the lowly paid.

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