Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Being a Liberal in a Labour Society

This is a blog post I've been meaning to write since October. I am a member of the University of Leicester's Labour Society much to the annoyance of the neighbouring De Montfort University's Labour Society who see my presence at some jointly held events as somehow breaking the rules. While I don't mention my LibDem membership at events, most of the UoL society do know and don't seem to mind too much but I've decided to run through just why I joined because I get asked about it a lot and writing it down seemed a reasonable way of making it make sense!

At Fresher's Fair I joined both the Labour and Conservative societies (unfortunately there isn't a Liberal Youth) in the hope that it would lead to me making more politically involved friends and get me to some good events. As it turned out I never actually went to any Conservative society events but that was no big loss, I wanted to get involved in local politics in Leicester and in Leicester politics is either Labour or bust - when 52/54 councillors, all 3 MPs and the elected mayor all belong to the same party you really don't have much of a choice!

Two guys I lived next door to last year (and who I'm subsequently living with next year) are Labour members so I went along to the first meeting with them. The meeting was very interesting and I could see this society would give me the debate and political contact I had been looking for but during the course of the hour three or four different people offered me a Labour party membership form. I was willing to join the society but am in no way inclined to leave the Liberal Democrats so I managed to avoid filling one in and left the meeting with no intention of going back. On the way out I got chatting to the Campaigns Sabb officier who persuaded me to registered as a candidate for our Union Parliament along with the guys I attended the meeting with. When we went to the meeting about those elections the next day the chair of the Labour Society was there and came over to discuss the possibility of running together under a Labour banner. I told him that I hadn't actually joined the society along with my reason why but he assured me it was fine and I was welcome to run supporting them anyway which I did and we got elected.

Unfortunately (and this seems to be a weakness of Liberal Democrats everywhere in the last 18 months) I didn't make my membership-but-not-quite of Labour clear to the Union Parliament who now all assume I'm one of them. I also never properly explained this to the DMU society - mainly because I didn't realise I had to - and I've been asked to not to make my LibDemness known the people at events. As if someone actually believed I would walk into a room with David Miliband no less (the event in question happened to be a Q&A with him) bedecked in yellow rosettes and reading aloud from the Liberal Democrat manifesto. I joined the society to make a bit of a difference locally and to meet new people; I know I'm not a full member so I don't go canvassing or fund raising, I didn't put myself forward to go to the National Labour Youth Conference (indeed I doubt the society would ask me to) and I don't see why a little bit of cross party working has caused such a fuss!

That said if anyone can help me set up a Liberal Youth at the University of Leicester or who knows anyone who can, drop me a line here or on Twitter @rebelrevell :D

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I'm back (again)

Okay okay I fail at the whole 'update more than once in a blue moon' thing but I'm having another go. Mainly because I'm fed up and like having a moan.

I'm a lib dem. I'm a member of a economic liberal group on facebook but I'm also a kind-of member of the Social Liberal Forum. It's been implied that I can't be both but I don't see why not! Why are the ideas social and economic liberalism so contradictory? I believe in the free market and less regulation for business but also that the poorest in society should be given a helping hand by being taken out of tax and schools given extra money to help for its most disadvantaged students? I always thought the Liberal Democrats were the only party without ridiculously tribal elements but it turns out this is complete crap. I'd really fed up of an economic liberal friend bitching about the Social Liberal Forum as if being vaguely left wing was some kind of hippy movement to be discarded as having no worth. And the SLF seem to think the economic liberals are Tories in disguise, sent to infiltrate the party and turn us all over to the other side.

The people I follow on Twitter seem to be torn between identifying as Tory Liberals or Labour Liberals and keep trying to debate where we should align ourselves in the run up to 2015. I don't see why we have to do either, we're our own party with our own sets of values and ideas and I know we're not going to win a majority at the next election - god knows we'll be lucky to keep the seats we have - but we shouldn't align ourselves with anyone. I think we're a party well placed to work with elements of either of the other two parties and Nick was right in what he said in the run up to the last election: in the event of a hung parliament we should talk to both parties but ultimately the electoral math decides.

We're not the Conservatives. We stand up for all members of the public regardless of wealth, class, gender etc which is more than can be said for them. We aren't torn apart by internal divisions (much as it seems as above) over Europe or religion and we should not be ashamed to stand up and say when we disagree with our Coalition partners.

We're not the Labour Party. Their internal divisions are the worse of any party and will never be a cohesive group. Some of the things they accomplished in their 13 years in office were admirable, it was pointed out on Twitter than their record on gay rights was fantastic, but they are a new party with a new leader and harping on about past victories whilst languishing on the Opposition Benches without a single idea and a 'blank page' approach to their policies. 

We're the fucking Liberal Democrats and I'm fed up of people trying to tell me otherwise!


One policy that's got my attention and that's the Tories favourite policy of tax breaks for married people. I'm fantastically proud of Nick's response to it because it shows how out of date some Conservatives are. I can't think of any justification for giving money to married couples that makes any sense! If 77% of people think a single parent can form a family and 59% think a same-sex couple can be a family then why do the Conservatives cling to this rose-tinted vision of an ideal past that never existed where father went out to work and mother stayed at home to raise the children? It's utter crap and I'm glad the Coalition Agreement does not bind our MPs into supporting this ridiculous policy.


One last thing, Aidan Burley's firing. This stag party is made to sound like a Max Mosely-style Nazi orgy (by the Daily Mail, obviously) but from the video footage I've seen it appears to be some men sat around a table with one of them wearing a military hat. If Mr Burley has been to a Nazi-themed stag do I can only conclude he was drunk (not exactly a fireable offence, especially given it was a stag do) or that his friends are idiots and I very much doubt this is something unique to him!

Before this I didn't know who this man was and my opinion now is that the man is harmless, if a little prone to mistakes under the influence of alcohol and the company of his friends. In my opinion this isn't a firing offence and if Cameron would have had any balls he'd have said that.


With any luck I'll remember to post again some time before Easter!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Thank you for waiting

Apologies for the utter failure I've suffered in updating this blog in the last week! Tonight is the first night in over a week where I haven't had a union parliament meeting, Labour meeting, late lecture, work shift etc and I'm torn between my determination to be nothing and my absolute need to do work! I've compromised to the point where I'm just sitting and watching endless episodes of Friends :/

I'm really enjoying work, even if it does mean I'm missing Jacqui Smith come to Leicester next week. Most of the people I'm working with are a good laugh and because the shifts are quite short I can fit them in pretty much every day. Plus with De Montfort Hall hosting so many different types of shows it's always a different type of crowd so it's not boring :) I've also got quite used to walking home through the park in the dark, not something by parents are overly pleased about but it's fun.

Had my first Union Parliament this week which was interesting but had dull moments. Two of the proposals I disagree with quite a lot, one just in principle but the other in the wordings which is just unreasonable and leaves no wiggle room. I'm totally behind gay rights but I don't think it's necessary to have a specific LGBT officer when the Equalities Officer we have does a perfectly reasonable job. I also don't think putting a rainbow flag in the middle of the students union will do any good either, it sets a precedent for every cause, society and group to demand their flag/banner/poster should be displayed as well. Unfortunately I can't attend the forum where these policies will be debated as I'm at work and it's proving difficult to find someone to go in my stead. One housemate hates the guy who is proposing these motions and the others have plans for that night plus one of my mates off my course has had a monumental falling out with the proposer over a walk out during a lecture given by Ann Widdecombe. Some members of the LGBTQA and their friends attended this lecture with the express intent of walking out in protest against Ms Widdecombe's opinions on gay rights. I can't say I disagree with their opinion but I'm a Lib Dem, I'll fight til the end to guarantee someone their right to express their views even, indeed especially, if it in contrast to my own opinion. As it transpired Ms Widdecombe didn't mention gay rights at any point during her speech or the lengthy Q&A which followed it so the group had to choose a random point to walk out. During this they made no indication as to why they were walking out so no-one in the room knew why! It was so pointless!

I went to a Movement for Change training event on the Living Wage campaign last night. It was a really good training thing - not that I've been to any other training events I could compare it to! - that helps us work out a great strategy for getting the Living Wage implemented across the uni. Afterwards we went to the pub, ending campaigning events in true politico style ;)

Hopefully I'll be back to regular updates soon, just in case the lack of info about my boring life is troubling anyone!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Just sayin'

I suppose this is technically my first blog post as an elected official. I got elected to Union Parliament which is obviously marvellous but I did find out today the turnout was just under 1200 from a student body of around 20,000 and I managed to get elected with only 24 first choice votes! That's made it clear the increasing awareness of the parliament's activities and encouraging more general student involvement are things I absolutely have to do. The chair of the uni's Labour Society got elected too but the two mates who were running with us didn't, hopefully we can get them in through the re-open nominations next week. I have the training session tomorrow afternoon so hopefully it's not as dull as it sounds though I fear it may be lol.

The reason I'm writing this post now and not last night is that after Russian my housemates and I decided we wanted to go watch The Lion King 3D at the cinema. Somehow I'd managed to convince myself that watching the film as an adult and knowing the traumas that were about to come would mean I wouldn't cry at them, this was an utter falsehood! I didn't cry quite as much as some I could mention but there were definitely tears in my eyes! For some reason we decided to walk home in the minus twenty weather but we had a laugh by getting tangled up - quite literally - in the rock climbing society's social which seems to involve groups of ten people tied together, wandering drunkenly round town and trying to avoid getting tied around lamp-posts.

I wrote all that ^ over an hour ago but then got distracted by Question Time. It's not bad this week, I've seen better but it's not a passionate as usual, I've only shouted madly at the TV twice which for an hour long political programme is unusual.

Having seen tomorrows front pages for The Sun and the Daily Mail I am disgusted. I was always disgusted by those two particular newspapers anyway given their tendencies towards homophobia, bigotry, racism, sexism and so on but the way they have glorified Col. Gaddafi's death is horrendous. No man, no matter what war crimes he may have committed, deserves to die. He should have been put on trial by the International Criminal Court and sentenced for what he could be held accountable for not killed. A trial would have allowed Libyans to put the past behind them whilst showing the world that they were prepared to embrace the norms of modern liberal democracies and yet all they have done is reinforced my belief that Western governments will live to regret the recognition of the NTC.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Apologies for the lack of blog for the last few days, the Internet went off mid-Downton Abbey on Sunday and I was at the Politics Society bar crawl last night so didn't have time to post! The polsoc bar crawl was brilliant and confirmed my belief that our department does the best t-shirt graffiti - best examples included ''Liam Fox is my best mate too'' - even if a friend did confess in drunkenness that the guy he lives with fancies me. He's lovely and everything but just not in that way! Made the rest of the night quite awkward to be fair, plus I'm campaigning with him for the Union Parliament elections :/


Speaking of, the voting was today so I spent the entire morning - 10 til 1 anyway - freezing my hands off attempting to hand out leaflets to a disinterested student body. I know I'm guaranteed a win - 24 candidates for 30 seats will give you that kind of confidence - but I'd love to get a decent amount of votes and beat the guys I ran with. Especially the annoyingly attractive chair of Labour Students (unfortunately not the guy who apparently fancies me - damn you Fate!).


I'm writing this post from my bedroom as my house has been invaded by a house party. Now I like house parties, much better than clubs in my opinion, but not when they're in my house! I worry too much about stuff being broken/stolen/vomited on. I was invited to two friends houses to escape but decided to stay in and protect my room, I'm the only one who lives on the ground floor and my door doesn't lock so there's not a snowflakes chance in Hell that I would return to an untouched room!

I'm going to take advantage of everyone forgetting I'm in the house and get an early night for the first time in a fortnight. Night people xx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Fuck it I'm sleepy

I'm utterly exhausted. All I want is a day where I can sit and do nothing but I'm not going to get one until at least Wednesday and even then I've got Russian in the evenings. Tomorrow I need to head into town and find something to wear for Monday's polsoc bar crawl, I need to make my screen page for the union elections and double check my manifesto is okay. I also need to copy up all my lecture notes and read for my UK politics module. I'm actually so fucking tired that I can't write anything...

One thing I can remember through the haze of tiredness is that Liam Fox finally bit the dust. I'm not happy about his replacement at all but that's an entirely different story! Fox was clearly in the wrong and he should have stepped down quickly in order to work on clearing his name and retaining any respectability he could. It has become increasingly apparent that his name isn't likely to be cleared though; Werrity shouldn't have been given access to the people Fox could give him and it's probably that he was being funded by less then legitimate means. I'm too fucking tired for in depth political analysis atm, might write another post when I'm watching the F1 tomorrow morning.

I will leave you with this brilliant column by Chris Bryant in today's Indy about the media and 'carry on' politics.

Friday, 14 October 2011

It's too early for a title :(

I've missed two whole days of blog writing! Oh no!
I've been busy, you (the non-existent reader) will get over it :p Wednesday was a panicky day, I've ended up running for Union Parliament under a Labour Students banner. I know the other guys running too, they're mates from my course and they know I'm a Lib Dem so it's not so bad. Their leaflets say 'running as Labour Students' and mine say 'running with....' so morally I can justify that better to myself. Plus they can give me shit loads of help and we're more likely to get elected running together. But it's still stressful basically!


On top of that I had my first Russian lesson which was fun but also a bit overwhelming. People seemed to pick up the alphabet so quickly and could read words while I was still hunting for the second letter! I'm going to have a listen to some Russian CDs this weekend and hope that triggers memories lol, I can remember no, goodbye and hi atm. Not great but better than nothing.


Yesterday I had the first globalisation lecture with the most bias lecturer I've ever met. I thought they were suppose to give two aides at least but this guy was wry clear that he thought globalisation was powerful counties (US, Russia, China) not playing by the rules of free trade whilst encouraging everyone else to do so and therefore reinforcing their hegemony. But whatever, i can have an opinion too lol.


Went into town and got a new phone, iPhone 4 baby :) My number moves over today so I'm just having a play today, iOS 5 seems to have taken all the music off my iPod though for some strange reason and my mate has all his music but no pictures. Bit random and quite annoying (especially for him, he went to see Katy Perry the night before so those pics are gone!).


Second shift at work was good, apart from one or two mistakes. I haven't quite worked out what goes in which glass yet and a woman asked for orange and lemonade and I gave her orange squash not fresh lol. I've never worked in a bar and for some reason that's what I thought she meant! Given it was Madama Butterfly last night I probably should have though she didn't want squash! One guy wanted a brandy and that took me five minutes to find, I don't know what bottles are brandy lol. I'll know for next time though! I also need to learn types of wine but there's only six so I should be okay. Being on Leicester Male Voice Choir Saturday night!!


I probably did other things but I'm late for a lecture and I need to dry my hair so I'll let you know some other time!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

We have no time to stand and stare

Well I've done so much today I've practically forgotten I even had a lecture! Got dragged to the Union Parliament by a friend who wanted to see what it was like and ended up getting nominated to stand for election to the bloody thing. I have no idea why I've done it but there we go, I'll send a message round the UoL groups on Facebook and hope lol. It would help if I know enough people to get elected! I also had to go to the Labour society meeting which led to the awkward moment when they tried to sign me up for the party. The Conservative society is open to people with an interest with politics, regardless of party, but the Labour one seems to require party membership. Might email a exec member tomorrow and see if this is definite or if I'd got the wrong end of the stick but trying to get out the room without filling the form in, signing away my soul and possibly breaking some law (I'm not sure if its legal to join more than one political party lol) was ridiculously difficult!

LUSH was a ridiculously chaotic meeting; I would much rather do some campaigns or scheduling work but Roisin persuaded me to join up and she really wants to do a radio show so I can't really say 'yeah erm go off and do it on your own...' can I?! The model UN meeting was actually brilliant, I persuaded Jason and Joe to come with me and they've both signed up too. There's a informal debate thing next week to get us into it, I never actually thought to ask if we pick our own country or pick them out of a hat or what. And do we keep the same country for every MUN or does it change? I really should email on of the exec guys and find out, probably the distractingly hot guy who happens to be on my course and friends with a girl I know :)
Contrary to the impressing this blog post may have given so far I did actually attend some lectures today and yesterday. Mondays are now my least favourite day of the week as I have two lectures and a seminar with a lecturer who has a hideously dull and irritating voice :( The European Union lecture today though was really good, the lecturer seems nice and unlike 90% of students I know I don't find the European Union dull as hell or a pointless waste of time. It was amusing though to see that the most recognisable 'important EU figure' (as decided by our lecturer) was Cathy Ashdown even though there was one guy who for some reason recognised not only her and Van Rumpoy (as did I, before someone thinks I'm think) but also Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean-Claude Trichet. Clearly someone how either reads for seminars way way in advance or someone who actually gives more than a passing glance at EU news!
Anyways I have a killer headache and am panicking slightly about my new-found need to campaign for a week for the Union Parliament so I'm off! Night folks x

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Busy Busy (not)

Managed to do a shit load of nothing today: I got out of bed, watched an entire Dara O'Brien gig on YouTube and cooked a sausage pie. I actually can't wait until I get back into lectures tomorrow so I have something more than 'watched tv' to say on this bloody blog! Double 'Governance and Politics in the UK' tomorrow, two hours apart in the lecture theatre next door which is utterly ridiculous but the makers of my timetable seem to be hell-bent on ruining my week so I suppose I shall have to deal with it :/


Now the first week of Freshers is over I've started getting emails about the societies I signed up to about their first meetings. This does mean that on Tuesday I have a meeting at 5pm in Attenborough One about working for the uni radio station, 6pm in Attenborough Two for the Labour Party Society and 7pm in Attenborough One for Leicester Model UN. I may as well just sit in the corridor outside the Attenborough lecture theatres and get them to leave the doors open and speak loudly! I'm not going to the Politics bar crawl though, a mate from my course has suggested an alernative bar crawl at our own pace and 'round some better bars since the organised ones are fast as hell and downing two drinks quickly and moving on to the next club isn't her idea of fun, or mine!

Lib Dems on Twitter have been floating the idea of Paddy Ashdown as new Defence Secretary given that Liam Fox appears to have got himself into a shit load of trouble. This would be absolutely fantastic as Paddy is brilliant and he is probably one of the best foreign policy minds the Coalition has, certainly better than William Hague! But he's a former leader on the junior coalition partner, a member of the Lords with a vast experience in politics and a man almost universally adored by all Liberal Democrats so I feel David Cameron is highly unlikely to want to be head of the Cabinet that contains a man so unlikely to tow the line.


Another political story, Chris Huhne has apologised to Theresa May for briefing against her. Lets be honest if a conference address by an opposition party member turns out to be utter bullshit and a dramatic misrepresentation of the facts, attracting attention across the media spectrum, and then it turns out that this story was lifted directly from a far right party speech who wouldn't casually point it out to a newspaper! May has shown her incompetence through 'Catgate' and Huhne is not a member of her party and has not reason to back her over this idiotic mistake. Any reshuffle should leave him well alone!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Think Different

Went into uni yesterday for the introductory lecture, basically a work hard, don't plagiarise kind of talk, then tried to register for Russian which turned out to be harder than expected. They've cancelled the Monday night lesson because no-one was signing up for it but the only other session was on a Wednesday when I'm supposed to be at Rainbows. Luckily I emailed the Rainbow leader apologising profusely but asking if I could change units which luckily she let me do so I went back to pay for the course today and I start my second Rainbow unit inside a month on Tuesday.

Wednesday nights in Leicester mean Red Leicester at the O2. Since its freshers week they actually got someone in rather than the usual DJ so off our house trotted to mingle with the Freshers and relive our youth with a bit of 5ive :D Turns out it was just a 'bit' of 5ive, two to be precise, and they only did like half an hour but they must be getting on a bit now and it was a good night anyway so we'll forgive them! I had to go even if it was cheesy 90s pop, 5ive were the first band I ever saw live - not something I readily admit I assure you - even if it was against my will. Rest assured I made up for the faultering start to my gigging life, the next two live concerts I went to were Elton John and The Who so I feel I regained some must needed credibility there!

Our return from the O2 was complicated slightly by the fact we had a housemates girlfriend who, when drunk, insists on kicking everything in sight. Including to her chargin and my amusement a metal bin and an oak tree. When we finally got her home there was another strange half hour where we had to pursuade her going to bed was a good idea and she shouldn't try and snog the all her girlfriend's housemates. As I was going to bed Beth asked me who Steve Jobs was as someone on Facebook said he was dead. So at 3am this morning I learnt probably the greatest technical mind of the 20th and 21st centuries had passed away. When he stepped down as CEO fully my first thought was that his illness must have gotten worse and I didn't think I've even been less glad of being right in my life. I've read a bucket load of obits online - fittingly on my iPod - and flicked through all the pictures of the post-its on Apple shops and the word 'bye' carved into an apple left outside the LA store (which made me ridiculously emotional but I'm blaming hormones (they have to be good for something!)) and I've come to the conclusion that Tim Cook has a massive job on his hands but that he will be able to accomplish it without fail because Apple the company it is today because Steve Jobs never gave up on it.

On the off chance anyone cared what my favourite picture from today was it's this one >

And you've probably all seen the videos for his Stanford commencement speech or the 'think different' adds, if you haven't stick them on on YouTube they're well worth a watch!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

(see yesterday's imaginative title)

I was supposed to meet a mate off my course at half ten but somehow managed to sleep through three alarms and a text message and not actually wake up until quarter past. Had to shower as quickly as possible when the water's minus 10 and somehow got to uni just after eleven. The second mooch round freshers fair got me signed up to the Public Speaking society, the Leicester Model UN and grabbed a form to fill in for the Languages@Leicester program. Gonna fill the form and hand it in tomorrow hopefully!


Afternoon was a bit of a write-off, bit like the last month really. Intended to unpack, thought about upacked, watched shit on the tele instead. I did meet the same friend again though and we went to a debate on student activism which was quite interest if a little irritating. General anti-Lib Dem feeling managed to pervade the event which is annoying but not unexpected when one of your panelists is Aaron Porter. I'm far too tired to explain what went on, plus someone is coming to (hopefully) fix the boiler at 830am so I'm going to have to be up early.

Night folks x

Cold, cold water surrounds me now

Plumber turned up just after noon to check the boiler, in his professional opinion it's fucked. Apparently he told the landlady last year that she needed to replace it but she clearly didn't listen! So we still have no hot water. Later in the afternoon someone rang Jenni and said they'd called round to look at the boiler but no-one was in, clearly the landlady arranged for more than one person to come but didn't bother to tell us so we went out after the first one. Someone else is coming on Wednesday morning - 8.30am!!! - so I'm going to have to get up and let them in because people are going out tomorrow night and there's no-one the others will be sober enough to get up. Wish me luck with that...


Fresher's fair today. Well the bit of it that didn't have a massive queue. Joined university Labour and Conservative societies, the Feminists (they're going to hate me), Lush (uni radio) and the Politics Society having been dragged by a guy on my course who told me it was necessary. Also signed away my soul to the cinema, god knows what I signed but I got free popcorn so I don't care! Off back tomorrow with a mate who couldn't make it today and I'm signing up for Public Speaking, Leicester Model UN (I really want to be somewhere random and tiny but make a massive deal about it) and the Ripple (uni mag). Might join some other things I see but I'm determined to sign up to more exiting things this year as opposed to last. I'm also trying to build up some confidence to start a Lib Dem society next year, probably not this year as people are still pissed over tuition fees plus I'm a bit unorganised (and Liberal Youth are ridiculously annoying and, in my experience, incompetent).


It's not really politics but it is news, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have had their murder convctions overturned. I'm glad and not particularly surprised, as pathetic and circus-esque as the Italian legal system is it could hardly fail to overturn based on such compromised evidence as led to these convictions. Twitter exploded with rage against the Daily Mail after it accidently posted an article written in case the appeals were rejected. While anger against the Daily Mail is a fairly normal emotion for me and I can certainly understand it in others but I would be willing to bet money that most news sites had written two articles. The Daily Mail's crime, for a change, wasn't homophobia or racist it was computer illiteracy, nothing that requires an outpouring of anger from the Twitterarti!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Round and round and round

Did fuck all yesterday, watched the news and a dozen episodes of Friends while the housemates were at work/spending their student loans (unwisely in my opinion but I'm considered the sensible (ie. boring) one in our house so they tend to ignore me). I got weirdly moody when they got back so I thought the best thing to do would be to leave the house, I had my first late night library session of the year :) To be fair it wasn't really a library session, there was no revision or reading to speak of I just caught up on QI and panicked a bit while two tweeps tried to persuade me to go to the doctors over my twitching, fidgeting and random moods. I've been living with the twitching for ten years, I haven't cared enough to go to the doctor before I'm not worrying about it now.

Came home from the library when the housemates called me to say they were watching a movie if I wanted to watch. So we sat and watched Sophie's Choice without subtitles, we have no real clue what happened as much of the important scenes are in German or Polish :/ Then Roisin rebelled against the film by making Sims of all of us our house and moving them into Uni so now we have a second virtual life. She also spent a good ten minutes singing songs from Cabaret.

Roisin and I tried to avoid the lure of a takeaway breakfast this morning which I feel we can say we technically did but only because we put of ordering until 1230 therefore we really ordered lunch :P

Hopefully we're going to put my IKEA drawers up today, I'm determined to be unpacked by the end of Freshers!!!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Lazing on a sunny afternoon, in the... winter time??

So politics first, for a change. I'm currently in the middle of a 'debate' (I'm right, he's wrong, 'debate' is just me being polite) with a guy on Twitter over Michael Gove's plans to teach languages to children as young as five. My fellow politics student - whose favourite topic happens to be education policy -  believes that while languages are important, 5 is too young to be learning them. A person is most receptive to learning between the ages of 3 and 5 years and the New York Times has reported that anyone who starts speaking a language after the age of 10 will never be as proficient as those who begin learning before that age so why shouldn't foreign languages taught from primary school?

I actually wish I had been taught languages from an early age, I didn't start French until I was at school and I didn't enjoy it because it was taught from a textbook.Although I hope to learn Russian through university this year I feel I would have been better equipped for it if I had started learning earlier. Plus I was always envious of other schools in my area who got to choose other languages at secondary level beyond the standard French and German. As Chris Bryant said French is a 'useless' modern language.

Just had another tweet containing the phrase 'or Latin as Gove would have it!', this now leads me to believe that a small part of his dislike for the policy is class-based and there is a perception someone that the Tories want everyone to learn Latin (I realise some - Boris Johnson for example) do.

On a personal note, my mother came to visit bearing cake that her friend had gotten up especially to bake for us this morning. Needless to say chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberries was very well received by all my housemates :)

Spent the day with my mother shopping and drinking a ridiculous amount of liquids because the weather this year has decided to fuck us over. Just as all the shops and getting out jumpers and coats the weather goes 'fuck that shit' and turns the temperature up by about 20 degrees. Well bugger that weather, I like jumpers! Give me back my normal British winter of snow and ice!


Thursday, 29 September 2011

I will survive

Managed to waste the entire morning by not waking up til gone half twelve. I really needed to get up and put together the IKEA chest of drawers I bought so I could unpack before my mother arrives tomorrow, not such luck clearly! She's just have to deal with the fact her daughter can't unpack!
When I did get out of bed I found that no-one had washed up (again) and got ridiculously angry but as a pathetic English person didn't shout at my housemates I just washed up for them... I still refuse to clean the worktops or the oven though.

Had my induction at work which wasn't so bad. There's six of us new people, five women and a bloke, and apparently we'll get 3-4 shifts a week which is good considering it's seven quid an hour. God love council work :D I'm hoping I can work as many shifts as possible, mainly because the money would be nice but also so I can avoid nights out because I'm busy :)


I would usually be watching BBC Question Time but I really can't be bothered so if anything interesting happens (which I doubt) do please let me know :)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I would walk 500 miles...

Okay so maybe not 500 miles but it does seem like I've done a lot of walking in the last 24 hours. After protesting all day that I didn't want to go to a house party I eventually gave in (damn persistent housemates) and so we walked the 25 minutes to their house. I had realised even before the end of my street that sandals were not the best option but it was that or heels so I went with what I perceived to be the better option. 4 hours of drinking later someone decided we should walk to ASDA; a good half hour (uphill) walk seems a lot less after a bottle of peach schnapps :/ Then we had to walk the hour back to our house by which time the housemate and I collapsed in a pile and didn't consider moving for a good while.

The same housemate and I thought it would be a good idea to trek into town (uphill) this afternoon in jumpers because although we may be heading for one of the warmest Octobers on record we were a bit hung over and therefore weren't thinking properly. So we walked another hour+ round trip, this time in the boiling sun, to get a parcel from the Post Office depot and set up our TV/Internet/phone with Virgin.

I feel like we deserve some kind of alcohol for our walking efforts, unfortunately we drank it all last night :|


One housemate has to be designated the main tenant for the property we're living in, unfortunately the one who volunteered is an utter failure when it comes to organisation of any kind. She is incapable of being firm with a landlady and given that we've lived here one month and we've only had a dozen hot showers between us because we only had hot water for a 6 day period it is fundamentally necessary to be firm with her! The landlady insists on getting people she knows to come fix things so so far two plumber mates have come to look at the boiler only to tell us we need a gas-electrician and they aren't qualified to do anything. Her excuse is that we didn't tell her these things (even though we have) and I'm getting very close to the point where I just start shouting at people. We're written an official letter to her and given a copy to the lettings agency so they can keep one but if it doesn't get sorted soon I may well just move into a hotel. Luckily I got a job this summer so I can afford to do that even if I'd rather not, this is unlike the lead tenant who pisses money she doesn't have up the wall like it's going out of fashion and who had to extend her overdraft and borrow from her parents to pay the rent and then went out and spend half the weeks rent on a build-a-bear and a jumper.

So if you hear of a student going on an angry rampage in Leicester from a lack of hot water and unpaid bills that's probably me...

Monday, 26 September 2011

I couldn't manage more than 24 hours in the house before I cleaned up. I filled a bin bag with magazines, letters, general paper, bottles and other crap the housemates had left all over the living room floor, tidied the eight - 8!! - pairs of shoes that were hanging around and did the week's worth of washing up that had been piling up in the kitchen. I refused to clean the kitchen worktops or the cooker which are covered in bread, cheese and grease respectively but no doubt they won't disappear before the next time I snap and clean up after everyone.

We've finally met our neighbours, well three of them, and they seem quite nice. I must admit we were hoping for some attractive men who could be called upon to open jars or kill spiders from time to time but they seem like nice girls. We've been invited round for drinks tonight but we're too poor to go out out so pre-drinks then going straight back to ours while everyone else goes out seemed a bit miserable!

My evening thus far has been spent Goolging pictures of topless men in the hunt for pictures for my mate's birthday card. The miracles of Moonpig mean he is now going to received a card detailing his past relationships with Russell Tovey (naked photo), Danny Miller (strategically positioned towel), Colin Morgan and Bradley James (clothed, unfortunately) before showing a current picture of him clinging to a lovely Gaydar Angel wearing only some time silver pants at Manchester Pride a few weeks back. Along with the US Queer as Folk box set I've bought him as a gift, I feel I have probably bought the best present I could conceivably have come up with :D


I feel like I should chuck the odd bit of politics in today after a slight lapse post-LibDemConf. Apparently 57% of people don't see Ed Miliband as a credible Prime Minister and I must say I also fall into that category. While he appears to be one of the more reasonable members of the Labour Party, his inability to control the tribalism of his shadow cabinet - see Ed Balls - or the members of his party in general doesn't fill me with confidence for his political future.

It could be suggested that Labour's reforms with regards to the shadow cabinet, the move from appointment by the Leader rather than internal elections, will help give Ed control but I don't think it it bodes well that a political party has decided elections are an undesired event. They have also suggested that non-members should be allowed to play a part in the party's leadership elections which I can only assume were suggested by David Miliband and adopted by Ed under the influence of alcohol. There is no way Ed would be in the position he is now if non-members had more of an influence over the leadership!

This conference will once again have an undertone of sibling rivalry. David has said he doesn't want to detract attention from his brother, merely to help the party, but by popping in and out of the spotlight he draws more attention to himself and the failed leadership bid than he would have if he had simply entered the shadow cabinet alongside his brother. One finds it difficult to believe David thinks his leadership hopes are over and it's hard to shake the sense he would happily step in, should his brother fail.

Anyways more politics tomorrow! Mili-E steps up to the podium to make his keynote speech and I shall be listening intently (and trying not to fall asleep)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Boredom central

So erm no post yesterday either but all I did was catch up on TV I'd missed while I was at conference. Today me and the best mate managed to miss a shit load of trains and yet somehow only arrived in Sheffield for a conedy gig half hour later than expected! The minutiae of my life are of very little interest today I'm afraid!


I'm writing this blog post off for today, my life is not interesting eough today! Hopefully something exciting happened tomorrow lol

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Failure to communicate

Apologies for the lack of a blog post yesterday but I get distracted by having to get a train home from conference that split in two at Shrewsbury and I had a rather large fear I would end up in Wales :/

I didn't and I'm in Chester visiting mate number two for the weekend :D


Yesterday was pretty fun though, good morning debate on the Liberal response to the Arab awakening followed by Michael Moore's speech which I must admit I drifted off in the middle of and started reading the paper. The Q&A on international issues was good though, I get picked first yet again to ask someone I admire a question! Luckily Paddy Ashdown is much less terrifying than Nick Clegg - it's the favourite grandad kind of image I think - and there were considerably less people in the hall given it was 1030am the morning after Glee Club!

The rest of the day was dominated by Mr Clegg's speech which I thought stuck the perfect balance between painful honesty over the economic situation and hope for the future with the odd joke thrown in to cheer us up!

I'm trying to write this whilst watching Question Time and suffering extremely because of it. Harriet Harman is becoming increasingly fixed in my mind as a shrill woman who for some strange reason thinks having a separate conference for women helps deliver equality. Ian Hislop, as much as he is a very witty man, cannot be asked for an opinion on economic recovery! The leader of Mumsnet should not be listened to any topic unless it involves rusks or baby-gro.

One thing I have been taught this week is that journalists are infinitely capable of twisting quotes to the point where they are almost unrecognisable. I was already aware of this fact but having spent a week at conferece and sat through and listened to many if not most of the speeches and debates in question I was unable to sit and read the papers or watch Paxman or Dimbleby quote speeches back at politicians in an entirely different context to which they were said. It's so irritating! It has certainly increased the amount of shouting I've done at the tv this week!!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


There are many things that I would love to share about how fantastic the conference was today but I don't think I currently have the wherewithal to write it all up. Pretty much the only thing in my mind right now are the phrases 'I met David Laws' and 'David Laws signed my Orange Book'.

It has already been pointed out by me in this very blog that I have a ridiculous amount of respect for David Laws and finding out he was speaking at a fringe event I wanted to attend today did make it even more appealing. However I'm not a particularly forthright person; once you get to know me I'll probably never shut up again but I find it have hard to make the first move towards conversation. But the second fringe event I was attending this evening was in the same room as the first so I hung around after the first one finished, waiting for people to leave so I could sit down again. David Laws was chatting to a few people and I wished I was brave enough to just do that, then I realised a follower of mine on Twitter who shares my admiration for the man would never forgive me if I didn't make something of the opportunity so I thought 'bugger it, I'm off to say hi'. Turns out I'm not as shy as I thought, he's perfectly lovely and was happy to chat and didn't at all mind (as far as I could tell) obliging my geeky request for him to sign my copy of The Orange Book :D

This clearly put me on a bit of a roll as after the second fringe I chatted to the chair of the joint LGBT+ Lib Dems/Stonewall event I went to yesterday and thanked him for it then congratulated one of my MEPs who was speaking at the event on his defection to the Liberal Democrats after a regrettable period of Conservatism.

I'm sure other things have happened in my day but I'm far too excited to remember any of them!!

Monday, 19 September 2011

What have you done today, to make you feel proud (AKA the day my face was on BBC One)

An exciting, if terrifying, day 3 at conference.
I submitted a question to Nick Clegg's Q&A on a whim this morning and didn't expect them to call me in a million years. It's my first conference and I've never spoken before so I wasn't prepared but I think somewhere in my mind I knew I had a good question, I sat deliberately at the end of the row in case I needed to get to the intervention mike for example. But nothing quite prepared me for Andrew Wiseman reading my name out in front of a conference hall full of people then promptly introducing Nick Clegg and leaving me quick terrified in front of a mike-less intervention mike (quickly remedied luckily but it didn't help my nerves!). I'm sure I was blushing and speaking in a ridiculously shakey voice but hopefully, with the first public speech out the way, I'll get better!


When I did A-level politics we looked at US party conferences and it was said they performed very little practical function but served to bolster the commitment of the masses. With the level of democracy Liberal Democrats exercise our conferences are never going to be merely decorative but I never expected to feel so inspired by the debates, speeches and fringes! For someone who lives in a Labour town and moved to a Labour city, someone whose only work on a political campaign ended with a loss followed by a candidate defection, someone who as a student had to face off against so much anger over tuition fees being surrounded by people who share your ideas and beliefs is incredibly uplifting :D


I have yet to develop a cool and calm attitude when faced for politicians and news personalities I see around the ICC. Today I've seen Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Jeremy Paxman, Nick Robinson, James Landale, Andrew Neil, Lynne Featherstone, Paddy Ashdown, Tim Farron, Ming Campbell, Brian Paddick (more about him below) and many more and I still can't keep casual about it. Actually I hope I'm never casual about it! The utter geeky pleasure I get from seeing these people reassures me I'm involved in a party I love and studying a subject I adore and I don't ever want that to go away!


One event I particularly enjoyed was the Stonewall and LGBTLD fringe this evening which focused on increasing LGBT representation in politics, media and sport. The panel included Ben Summerskill, Simon Hughes (even if he was terribly late!), Stephen Williams, Belinda Brooks-Gordon and 2012 Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick. And I must admit it does appear that the latter was almost certainly the most popular with the audience there and on a personal note I do love the man. There's just something about him that is so distinctly un-politician like about him that I just think suits London and suits an elected mayor, I'm committed to giving up as much time as I can and travelling to London and campaigning for him because he's brilliant. The event was very inspiring and my determination to further gay rights I spoke of over the weekend is strengthened yet again :)

Tomorrow, MSM blood ban unfairness!


Quick P.S. I've just watched Newsnight from the conference and I am fantastically proud of every Lib Dem in the audience because they took no shit from Paxman, even when goaded, they defended the coalition and our role within it and they showed Britain we are not Tory lapdogs and we CAN make a difference to this country!

P.P.S My face was just on BBC One, listening while Nick answered my question. I wish it hadn't been! Luckily they didn't show me asking the question, probably owing to the amount of shaking I was doing at the time :|

Sunday, 18 September 2011

And thus continues the weirdest week of my life

I believe I am possibly too tired for my brain to function but I shall give this blog a go!

No-one needs a blow to blow account of the conference but I can say absolutely that I have heard some of the most inspiring speeches I'll probably ever hear. Every time I hear him speak, I get more reassured the voting for Tim Farron as Party President was a great decision. He is funny, witty and reassuringly Liberal because unlike other high-ranking party members he doesn't have to take the feelings of the Conservatives into account.

Danny Alexander's speech was also remarkable. He's young and refreshing yet bolshy enough to stand up for the Tories and provide a strong Liberal Democrat influence in the Treasury. Yet however brilliant he is and however much he protects our interests I can't shake the feeling that it shouldn't be him giving the speeches, it should be David Laws. That's nothing against Danny, he's marvellous as I've said, but Chief Secretary to the Treasury is David Laws' job and the only reason he isn't doing it is that he did the honourable thing and resigned to protect the party and the department from his mistakes. And they were mistakes that a less honourable man would have ignored in the hope that they went away and no doubt they would have. Laws could easily have survived with his job in tact but the reason he resigned was because he valued the work the Liberal Democrats were trying to do and didn't want to distract from it. So as fantastic and inspiring as Danny Alexander's speech was, I was watching with a slight twinge of regret.

The debate on drug policy was enlightening, with speakers making very personal remarks that persuaded those who weren't already in favour of a drug review that it was most certainly necessary, but an interesting point was raised across the twittersphere. Not one person who spoke in favour of the motion or amendments spoke from a position of freedom; all supported the motion because it would cut crime or increase the safety of drug but no-one it seemed was brave enough to suggest we should decriminalise drug possession because we as Liberals belief in a person's right to do with their body as they will so long as it doesn't negatively effect the health or well-being of those around them. Perhaps if the debate had been on drug legislation an not whether or not to have a review into such, the point would have been raised.

Lunchtime fringe was rather interesting, as was the evening one I attended even if the latter did require me to spend the first ten minutes standing while extra chairs could be found to accommodate the demand and then, once I was seating, realising I could no longer see any panel member except Jeremy Browne (not that that's a bad thing to have to look at :p) and had to make do with looking vaguely in their direction and merely listening.

Now I could and probably should have stayed later and gone to a fringe about the HS2 rail system but I was far far too tired so I can only apologise for missing it and hope to catch up with all relevant information as soon as possible!

As so I leave you as my desire to attend an early morning fringe means I need to get a 7am train :'(

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I'm definitely coming again next year...

Day One of my first ever Liberal Democrat Conference! Since I'm crashing in Michael's spare room he offered to come into Birmingham City Centre with me and show me where everything is (and by everything I mean the ICC) so I would be able to find my way round alone in the dark. We tried to go for lunch in Wetherspoons but they'd had a power cut so couldn't cook any food but did kindly recommend a pub down the round where I was amused to discover every single person was either wearing a Lib Dem lanyard or an Aston Villa shirt because the football was on!

I left Michael in the pub and headed off to the ICC. Got into a lovely chat with an old man in the queue for the security checks; we chatted away about which areas we were from, what I was studying at university and what he used to teach and then he said I must go to the First Timer's Drinks in the evening because he was giving a small speech about his first conference. I got into the conference hall much quicker than expected however so I had a lot of time to kill. Mooched about the exhibitors and yet somehow failed to find the DELGA stand which was a minor irritation but I'm here all week so I'm sure I'll find in eventually!

The opening speech was dealt with, as were the Reports from the FCC and FPC, which was the first point in the day I felt like it would have been better if i had attended my first conference with someone who had been before because I had very little idea what was going on. The Lords Reform debate however I did understand (even if I did forget to pick up the Conference Daily so I had to guess what the amendments were) and found rather interesting. I've always been quite conflicted because, as a Liberal, the idea of entrenched privilege and unaccountable decision making unsettle me but a tiny part of my brain finds the idea of the lofty and posh House of Lords quite pleasing (I blame Jane Austen novels) but now I am committed to an at least majority elected second chamber :D

Lynne Featherstone's speech though was a highlight. She is clearly very passionate about what she does and it's quite inspiring. A week ago (ish) I blogged about what I wanted to do in the future and Lynne's speech - which is here if you wanted to read it - has nudged me (at least for today) towards working for the promotion of human rights abroad, especially gay rights. Her announcement that the Government is set to consult on gay marriages in March was warmly welcomed but I was annoyed by the obvious delay! Why does setting up a consultation take six months, why can't a bill just be introduced, debated and voted on? After venting this mild annoyance on Twitter it was pointed out to me by a follower, and Lib Dem councillor who listening to the speech, that we are having to take the Tories with us on this policy and it is obviously something a lot of their MPs, Lords and membership aren't exactly jumping for joy about.

After that speech I grabbed a quick sandwich, jumped on a train back to Michael's house, had a speedy shower and hopped on the next train back for the First Timer's Drinks Reception. This did cause another moment of desire for a friend who knew what they were doing because I managed to miss the rally and Nick Clegg's speech because I didn't know it was happening!! The drinks reception was fun though, found everyone friendly and chatty and had some good conversations with other newbies. The old gentleman from the morning queue did make his speech but it wasn't until he was introduced that I realised I'd met him before; William Wallace, Baron of Saltaire and I met one day campaigning for my local candidate at the 2010 General Election and I was hoping to meet him again. He recognised me from the morning and came over for a chat afterwards which was nice.

I've now reached the point where I've realised I want to be at the ICC for 9am tomorrow morning and there are no trains so I'm going to have to get a taxi so I should probably go to bed!

Night folks :)

Friday, 16 September 2011

I've run out of quote/song-lyric/poetry inspired titles...

Completely forgot to post yesterday! Mainly due to the excitement of watching the final episode of Torchwood with an over-excited housemate who forced me to watch the 5 episodes I was behind in one afternoon so that I would be ready to watch the final episode at 9pm. It was totally worth it though; John Barrowman got his kit off, Rex survived and I managed to ignore Gwen's shrill voice so all was well :) This was followed by what can only be described as THE most boring Question Time I have ever watched; monotone voices and boring questions combined to make it very difficult to watch/stay awake throughout!


Today however I was up bright and early (having panic packed yesterday), showered and took delivery of some drawers the housemate and I had orders to compensate for the lack of storage space in our uni house. Booked taxi to the train station and apart from my bag strap breaking as I was on my way out the door I managed to get to my Liberal Democrat Conference accommodation (my mate's sofa) without too much trouble. I've planned all the ICC and Fringe events I want to go to so now all I have to do is read the policy documents for the debates I'm going to and contact my home party and see when they're about so I don't feel so ridiculously alone!

Makes it sound so simple ay?

Will be reporting back tomorrow on opening speeches, Lords reform plans, a speech by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone and the Conference First Timers welcome drinks :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I need a dollar, dollar

Finally had a wander into town having been in Leicester for over a week. 

Firstly, a hideous encounter at the City Council building when an overweight man with dubious body odour stood far too close behind me to be socially acceptable then I had to wander over the road to the Admin Office and try and say a name of foreign origin through a dodgy intercom without sounding racist. I think I probably failed :| Although when I finally got into the building I was reassured that my worrying lack of passport doesn't mean I'm losing any shifts in my new job as the guy who decides when I can start work is on holiday. They have my driving licence and national insurance information so all they need now is my passport and I can start working. As a liberal I feel that this is a worrying amount of information a council needs just to prove I am allowed to work in the country, especially since that's what I've been doing for the last three years, but you never know, theatre bar staff may become a national security risk in the near future ;)


Nothing much on the news has caught my eye today but that's probably because I haven't read the paper or watched the news. I did see the unemployment figures but I'll be the first to admit my knowledge of economics isn't the greatest so any comments I make would almost certianly be ill-informed and unhelpful. On the other hand I do know that the BBC's continued blanket on reporting George Osbourne's dominatrix-cocaine issues is causing me no end of laughter. Do they think it's not important enough to even worth mentioning or something?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Every sinner has a future

I seem to have found myself thinking about my future all summer; not in a deeply philosophical way, just in a 'what do I want to do with my life?' kind of way which I'll admit is pretty important nevertheless. Pretty early on after I picked my degree subject I realised that being a politics student meant every single person I meet with automatically ask 'So you want to be an MP?'
No I don't.
Not even close.

I don't want to build my adult life on such a fluid job; the idea that I would probably have to move my political beliefs to a more electable centre ground to get anywhere coupled with the chance that five years down the line I could be unemployed hardly makes for attractive job prospects does it? On the other hand, the idea of working behind the scenes in some kind of capacity is very enticing to me. So far I've come up with
  1. Lobbyist
  2. Charity Work
  3. F&C Office / DfID / Diplomatic Service
  4. Party Work
The first two kind of go together: I'd like to lobby for issues I care about and recently I've found myself being drawn to gay rights charities like Stonewall or Kaleidoscope which launched today. I'm also passionate about working in other countries, I aim to learn Russian this year, so working for Kaleidoscope or any of the #3 departments would be amazing for me. Since the election last year I've paid close attention to DfID's work; I admire the way Andrew Mitchell has set about his job with determination and planning and I realised that although British politics can be incredibly disillusioning, the idea of spreading democracy and basic human rights around the world has a strong appeal. My final option is some party work: I would love to be able to work towards strengthening and increasing party support plus I have a love of speech writing that I've always wanted to develop so working for an MP or Lord in some kind of research assistant capacity sounds like something I'd enjoy.

All of this needs to be decided fairly soon which terrifies me slightly. I'm almost certain now that I want to continue education beyond the end of this degree though, probably working towards a Masters at a different University if possible. Leicester is all well and good but it's not the place I see myself spending the rest of my life!


Positive news!! My Lib Dem conference pass has arrived!! Now all I have to worry about is getting lost, missing something I really want to go to, looking like a lonely nutter because I'm going on my own and the guy I'm staying with trying something on with me because he's been trying for years and now he's giving up his bed for me for 5 nights.

Oh and I've lost my passport. That was yesterday's panic that hasn't quite subsided yet.

So not much panic then!!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A low, dishonest decade

I'm in one of those moods where I'm noticing every little annoying or stupid thing the people around me do. Like a housemate panicking that she didn't know what the numbers on the oven dial meant; increasing numbers on a dial on a device designed to generate heat, What The Fuck do you think it does! Even if you're never used a gas oven before it can't be that difficult!


A side effect of this mood is that I become very sarcastic, moody, argumentative and confrontational. Probably a bad day to pick a fight with the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party then. I saw an article this morning about the Labour Conference having an event where men were not allowed to attend - with the exception of Ed Miliband - and issues such as maternity leave and childcare were to be discussed. I tweeted the link to the article, tagging Ms Harman and saying she had a lot to answer for. As a women, I find of lot of her proposals for gender equality derogatory; forcing the Labour Party to have a woman as either leader and all-women short lists are two examples of plans for equality that Ms Harman supports but that I feel merely reinforce the belief that women are not capable of becoming successful without help. Harriet Harman unexpectedly responded to this tweet saying women's only conferences will not be needed 'when women & men [are] on equal terms in [the] Labour party.' Now this isn't something I can agree with:
  1. Discussing issues such as these at a women's only event surely reinforces the gender stereotypes that men are unable or unwilling to participate in child-rearing which is hardly conducive to gender equality and,
  2. Gender equality (and a harmonious party) are hardly likely to come from making party policy whilst excluding the opinions and ideas of 50% of the population
While I did my best to convey these messages through Twitter's 140 character limit and Harriet Harman did reply for a couple more tweets I feel I probably did little to change her mind. It did however make my day slightly more cheerful; it's not every day you get to chat with the Deputy Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition!


While that would have been a marvellous ending to a blog it's 9/11 and I feel some comment is required. Mass outpourings of grief has always made me feel uncomfortable; grief is such a personal thing that I feel the big crowds at Ground Zero and the constant documentaries and press stories border on morbid fascination. That is not to say that the friends and families of the victims shouldn't be able to visit Ground Zero and mourn but the endless press coverage, conspiracy documentaries and wall to wall news coverage of the memorial service just indulges some peoples unhealthy obsessions and cheapens the true feelings of people who actually suffered.

I've already been told off for expressing this opinion once so I hope it's not too offensive to anyone, I just find public outpourings of grief distasteful.

Hopefully more politics/ less my moods tomorrow :D

Saturday, 10 September 2011

That odd melancholy feeling

I've actually had a bit of a miserable day. Not for any specific reason either; nothing terrible has happened but I've just been a bit down. You know that kind of general feeling of shitty, can't be bothered to move just want to curl up in bed sort of feeling? I have no motivation to do anything, including unpack, and I've just sat around the house all day not doing anything. Well I cooked a lasagna but that was a bit of a failure too; the cheese sauce wouldn't thicken and I've probably ruined my pan in the process but Jenni ate some and she hasn't dropped dead yet so we'll assume while it wasn't my best lasagna, it wasn't altogether a disaster.

Tomorrow I WILL
  • unpack - I've been here a week so it's a bit pathetic that I haven't done it yet
  • sort out my job forms - I need to wait until Monday though as the medical form they emailed me won't load and there's no way I'm putting my passport in the post
  • finish writing my letter to Liz Kendall - I haven't got a strong desire to work for a Labour MP but living in Leicester where the council is 52 Labour, one Tory, one Lib Dem and all three MPs plus the elected Mayor are Labour there isn't a fabulous amount of choice!
I'm also a bit fed up with my (lack of) social life. I hate clubs and drinking outside of pubs so I never go out; I'm not the sort of person to do something I don't want to do because everyone else is doing it, but as a result I seem to have a lot less friends than everyone else. The guys I live with are always talking about people they go out with and I'm just sat there thinking 'I've no clue what the hell you're talking about'. Plus my best mate has an ex that she's not sure about texting her and yesterday said she was grateful for my advice; baring in mind I'm the only permanently single person she knows. My advice is apparently very good but I've no idea how because I've never actually been on a date so god knows where this agony-aunt genius has come from!

Apologies for the downpour a misery; I just needed it out of my system!


And it's Monza tomorrow :D

Friday, 9 September 2011

Silence is golden

Both flatmates (I have three but one hasn't moved in yet) have headed out for the evening and as a result of my dislike if alcohol and general antisocial nature I'm rocking about the house alone. It's not as depressing as it sounds; I have Sky+ and the Internet so I think I'll survive.

A result of this Sky+ though is that I've spend a good few hours today watching LA/Miami Ink and now have a rather strong desire to get some tattoos. I had this desire already but now I've actually started putting proper thought into it. Stars on my wrist and something on my shoulder blade but I'm not sure what yet.

I also almost set the house on fire but that was entirely accidental! We've got a gas oven but I dropped the jacket potato I was cooking which then rolled into the flames and proceeded to scorch quite dramatically. Luckily I switched it off quick as anything and prized it out using the kitchen tongs that were just lying around on the side.

I feel like I may have over-egged this potato story but it really did scare the crap out of me. That and thirty seconds later the landlady wandered in without any warning. Luckily she wasn't earlier otherwise she'd have caught me with my head in a gas oven which could have prompted some odd questions :/

So the rest of my night consists of checking out TV packages for when this one ends, googling tattoo designs and panicking slightly over the fact our landlady has just told me we're behind in out rent :|

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Failure to launch

I woke up this morning to the news that the government are repealing the blanket ban on MSM blood donation. Obviously this is a fabulous move in the right direction but a) it's nowhere near enough and b) it comes a week before the Lib Dems were going to going to debate it at conference. I realise we still can, the ban is still discriminatory and not 100% based on science, but I still feel like we're been robbed of something.

Finally managed to get the housemates to understand the urgency of visiting the bank to get our house account set up only to get there and have the manager tell us we needed to make an appointment a week in advance. Hopefully by next Thursday we'll be in a position to pay our rent but somehow I doubt it! There is a possibility that if Jenni and I had managed to get out of bed before noon we may have sorted more things out today but what can you do when your housemate gets into your bed at 10am dressed in a tiger onesie? She doesn't half look cute with it on bless her. I really should unpack though as I have lived in the new house now for three days and I've so far only unpacked textbooks and DVDs :|

One result of the lack of organisation on behalf of my housemates is that I have had to fund a TV licence off my own back. Now this isn't a problem as I actually went out this summer (and last) and got a job and earned money that I save and don't spend on copious amounts of alcohol but I can't help but think I'm going to have to remind them to pay me so often that I'll sound like I'm just demanding money from them :/ They are perfectly happy to watch TV without one but my paranoia about breaking the law coupled with my love of the BBC and need to fund it in some way meant I just couldn't deal with not having one. Now we have TV channels we don't pay for (don't panic, someone else does) that we finally watch legally.

Meaning they best not want to watch anything tonight as I'm watching BBC Question Time!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Late night musing on the world stage

First blog post and it's being written while I'm revising for an exam I passed months ago. Technically I'm hoping someone else, who forgets when their exam is!! I had planned to go to the pub tonight and go round to his tomorrow for the whole day to help him revise but now him and his boyfriend are sat in my living room talking about the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions and the risk to international relations of climate change and nuclear weapons. Who said students don't have intellectual debates!

On a political front, Parliament today voted down the Dorries Field amendment to the new Health Bill. Thank God! I'm a Liberal so I have absolutely no problems with someone saying they want abortions limited or banned or whatever and would frankly actively defend your right to say that but I absolutely contend Nadine Dorries' definition of 'independent'. Saying the only 'independent' counselling services are ones which themselves do not offer abortions is ridiculous, if they don't them it's more likely than not to be for religious reasons so how is that independent! In addition to that, Dorries claims to be pro-choice. I am pro-choice and I do not want to be clubbed together with that woman. She claimed 'no woman ever wants an abortion': bull shit! Not all of the 200,000 women who had an abortion last year were forced into it, a small percentage were possibly pressured but I doubt extra counselling would have helped. At least it was voted down - with the largest ever majority on an abortion vote as well.

Slightly aside from Westminster politics by Liberal Democrat conference pass hasn't arrive yet and I'm starting to get a bit angsty about it. I thought it would arrive in late August so I put my address down as my home address but now I've come back to uni, my mum promised to post it to me but I'm worried it won't arrive it time. What the hell do I do if it doesn't turn up?!? :/

I've just realised this background looks a bit ultra-nationalist. Worried now that it gives out a quite UKIP-style message, not exactly what I was looking for!