Archive for the ‘Political reviews’ Category

On being a Lib Dem in 2012

May 20, 2012

I remember the good old days of being a Liberal Democrat. The days when I could argue about politics for hours, be proud to wear a yellow rosette and generally feel superior about my political views.

I am not saying I don’t support the Lib Dems anymore, I do. It’s just that now in debates I have to explain a lot of policies, dispel a lot of lies and myths and at times simply apologise for the mistakes. It usually involves a long rant at me where I feel like I have to defend not just the party but myself for supporting it. Don’t get me wrong I love debating and thanks to my legal training I am quite good at it. Recently, however, I found it so frustrating and disheartening.  The worst is when I agree with people who are having a go at me (about tuition fees for example). It is easier not to tell anyone that I am a libdem at all!

My driving instructor likes telling me that the libdems won’t ever be in power again because they destroyed the country worse than Thatcher did. I know it is not true but I tend to laugh it off rather then get involved in a long argument.

I had a bad experience of my own last year. I was the agent for a local by-election and did badly. We came forth after the BNP, since then my candidate defected to Labour. In a way I still haven’t completely recovered from that and lost a lot of my campaigning spirit.

I agree with Tim Farron when he says that ‘With just 23% of the vote, we’ve got three-quarters of our manifesto into government policy. Let’s focus on that success, and stop apologising for the quarter we didn’t get.’

He didn’t, however, say how to recover from bad losses, get into the righteous mood of fighting for our principles and stop being ashamed about bad calls like tuition fees. Any ideas?

Stop a bill to silence millions! (Important)

November 21, 2011

Political leaders in St. Petersburg, led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin are about to vote on law that prohibits ‘propoganda’ of homosexuality and makes it illegal for any person to write a book, publish an article or speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender.

Apparently ‘the fines start at the equivalent of £20 for individual comments and up to £1,000 for organisations that ‘promote LGBT’ culture and issues.’

You don’t need to be a lawyer to see that this is a horrific violation of human rights: freedom of expression and a right to family life. Russia is the signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, yet again politicians choose to ignore it.

As a Russian, I find it hugely embarrassing.

There is a serious problem with discrimination of gay people in Russia as it is. When I was at school, teachers often made really nasty jokes about gay culture so if anyone would be too scared to come out. Even gay grown-ups live in fear of being beaten up and abused.

For girls who are bi-sexual it is a bit easier because it is seen as sexy but anything more ‘extreme’ is considered out of order and something to be ashamed of.

This is without a doubt a leap to re-criminalisation of homosexuality (which only became legal 18 years ago).

Please join the campaign against this http://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia_silenced/taf

We mustn’t let this ‘bill to silence millions’ to pass.

Anti-trafficking conference

October 11, 2011

On Saturday, 15th October I am going to Anti Trafficking Conference in Reading sponsored by Catherine Bearder MEP and the Women Liberal Democrats.
This event is not political, open to men and women

‘We would like to raise awareness of the issue and to help bring people together who want to see trafficking stopped.

Trafficking is happening all over the country, it could even be happening down your street. Would you like learn how to do something about it– if so please attend our conference, listen to our expert speakers and gain the tools so that you and your community can work together to make a difference.

To register for this event please email women@libdems.org.uk or call 020 7227 1208

Trafficking exists in your town.

What can your community do to help?

Speakers

Ret. Supt Bernie Gravett: MET Police
Julia Immonen: Sport Against Trafficking
Debbie Beadle: ECPAT UK
OXCAT’

I am really looking forward to it! Hope to see some of you there! If you can’t make it to Reading, come back here for the report of the conference.

Labour talking stalking

September 24, 2011

“Stalking must be a crime”, says Yvette Cooper ( link).

I absolutely agree with her on that. I also agree with Jason Hunter who said that Labour had 13 years to do it. Why didn’t they make it happen?

Labour made up 3000 new crimes while in power.  ‘Impersonating a traffic warden; selling a grey squirrel; detonating a nuclear bomb’ (link) and protesting outside of Parliament without permission.

Yet no one thought of making stalking a crime?! So many people have suffered from it and now with the internet, it is easier than ever.

Yet another reason not to trust Labour! They might sound good at times out of office but when in power the only thing they deliver is authoritarianism and not actual protection of people and their liberties.

Decisions are made by those who get permission from the police.

September 9, 2011

As most of you already know, libdem members now can’t go to conference without being accredited by the police.

It ‘requires party members to disclose personal data to the police and which is designed to enable the police to advise that certain party members should not be allowed to attend. ‘

I can’t think of more eloquent way to describe it other than just crazy.

We are the party who live and breathe liberal values and already delivering some of them in government – such as banning ID cards. Why don’t we apply those to our own conference?

I decided not to partake in this nonsense and watch the conference on TV.

I don’t however encourage others to stay home because as President Bartlett said Decisions are made by those who show up’.  Or in this case by those who get permission by from the police. So those of you who do decide to go please vote on the motion that Gareth Epps and others are proposing against these crazy illiberal rules.

I would go just for this motion but don’t have funds to afford such gesture.

Sorry to all my dear friends who I won’t see this year but I just can’t get myself to go through with it – it is against everything I believe in.

Barack Obama vs Vince Cable (2010) on education

October 9, 2010

Lord Browne’s report is coming out on Monday. Today Vince Cable has admitted that Liberal Democrats are to abandon plans for a graduate tax to fund universities. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11507537

Removing the option of a graduate tax to fund university tuition suggests that Liberal Democrat MPs may be asked to significantly increase tuition fees.

In the mean time, this government is already cutting university research grants.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/09/daily_view_science_funding_cut.html

I want to join the Liberal Youth group in  calling on the party’s MPs to reject any fee increase, and scientists protesting against cuts to grants. If Britain is to have a stronger and more diversified economy this seems to be  exactly the wrong thing to do.

We fought the election on the promise to scrap the tuition fees over the period of 6 years. I understand that we have to compromise in the coalition and that’s why I was OK with graduate tax. When did the Liberal Democrats accepted the notion of fees anyway?  This is so shortsighted and definitely does not encourage social mobility. Many students  are already leaving university with 30, 000 pounds debt. If that’s going to double it might take a lifetime to pay it off – what’s the point of going to university then? Who can afford it?

I am lucky that I finished university this year.  But think of all the people who will have to and people who simply won’t afford to go to the university.  What will be the future of this country?

If that doesn’t worry you, think about political suicide. We already lost tactical Labour voters, now we are risking losing our biggest constituencies of students and middle-class parents who want to send their kids to university, not to mention academics and scientists. Who is going to be left to vote for us?

Today Barack Obama posted his weekly address in which he said: ‘Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education.’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkrnzu15RpY&feature=player_embedded

Nick Clegg in his speech at the last conference said:’ The great thing is that all Liberal Democrats share a passion for education.

So I urge Liberal Democrats to rebel and show more backbone than Labour MP’s did when they threatened to rebel over tuition fees and then chickened out.

As much as like Vince, Barack Obama is right on this.

Increasing fees would risk the future economic prosperity in England especially since research is being cut at the same time.

One of the reasons, I moved to England was to get a decent education (for which I paid over 30, 000 pounds in a way financing degrees for British students.)  Now there is a risk of it being taken away. But I guess LibDems don’t like immigrants now anyway, seeing Clegg’s awful rhetoric about legal immigration in the debates and that they signed up to the immigration cap (which will also be damaging to science and universities) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11490403

Please don’t let this Government  increase tuition fees. They should be finding ways to abolish them instead like the Liberal Democrat Party said they would!

(President Barack Obama wins by first round knock out on this)

 

 

 

Tim Farron for President

October 3, 2010
I support Tim Farron for president because he is an outstanding public speaker, very strong campaigner (witness his massively increased majority from 267 to 12 264 last election) and very good in the media.
Times are challenging for the Liberal Democrats. Lots of people who are not used to Coalition government don’t see the difference between us and Conservatives anymore. We need someone who can be ‘our distinctive voice in the Coalition’ and ensure that our Parties values don’t get lost. He is in a position to speak out for members and the Party and help reach people outside.
Part of the President’s job is to inspire and motivate activists and supporters. I think he is one of the most inspiring politicians of this ‘new generation‘.
He represents a Northern rural constituency which will help us break out of the Westminster and London bubble.
If  Tim was not running  I would support Jennie Rigg in the election. I would feel more represented as a member because she is like me geeky, alternative and bi-sexual. It is just that Tim is in the race. I however wish her all the best in her political career and hope that she will go far.
Back to Tim, for me is the right candidate for the job. If you feel the same, then sign his pledge on the web-site http://www.timfarronforpresident.org.uk/

Loyalty and liberalism

September 23, 2010

I found myself in a situation where every time I criticise liberal democrats Im being blamed for not being loyal to my party. Since when did liberals swallow everything that comes out of government? The idea that the government is not always right and that individuals have soverignty over themselves and their minds is core to liberalism. Since the election a lot of people seemed to have suspended their critical faculties.

Take for example a number of people who are perfectly happy to stand up for policies that only a few months ago they were strenuously denouncing. Take for example those who BELIEVE that cuts will be fair and progressive and absolutely best thing to do at the moment when just few months ago we said that cuts this deep and at this time will ruin the economy.

The first cuts were announced in local government falling mainly on housing and regeneration. How is it progressive and fair http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11400220 That’s rubbish. Housing and regeneration are crucial to economic recovery and inequality. I know Clegg and Danny Alexander said that they changed their mind because of economic changes not political circumstances.. Im no economist but I just dont believe that and I dont see why I should defend it.

Don’t tell me now that Im playing into Labour’s game. This is our game from just few months ago and for that matter Barack Obama’s game as well.  This is a game of ‘fairness’ and debate.

Don’t tell me that Im not loyal to my party. I am just loyal to what we said for several years.. Why do I have to praise everything that comes out of government. That’s just not liberal.

I care about social justice as many liberals have always done. Is there still room for us in the party?

Emergency motion on Human trafficking

September 16, 2010

I’ve gone through the arguments on the new Directive in my previous post https://olgaivannikova.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/a-call-to-the-liberal-democrats/

Cameron’s comments at PMQs yesterday showed that the current government thinking is not to opt in to this. This may be our only chance to change it. The motion which I drafted up is on the ballot for emergency motions on Sunday.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported so far, but now we need to try to make sure that it is picked for Wednesday morning debate.

Ballot papers will be published in Sunday’s Conference Daily, and should be returned to the ballot box in the auditorium between 09.00 and 13.00 on Sunday 19th September. If you are in Liverpool on Sunday please support the fight against human trafficking and tell your friends 🙂

The motion itself:

‘Conference notes that on 31st August 2010 the Home Office announced that the Coalition Government will not opt in to the new draft EU Directive on Human Trafficking, which repeals Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA.

Conference notes that the new directive includes a series of measures protecting victims of trafficking, such as non-punishment of victims, measures to provide compensation and medical and psychological assistance.

Conference notes that on 16th June the Anti-trafficking monitoring body, comprising of charities such as Amnesty International, ECPAT UK and Anti-Slavery International described the Government strategy as ‘not fit for purpose’ and potentially discriminatory.

Conference believes that not opting in to the directive will harm international efforts to combat human trafficking.

Conference therefore resolves to:

1. Reaffirm the Liberal Democrats’ long standing opposition to all forms of human trafficking.

2. Call on Liberal Democrat ministers to argue strongly for the Coalition Government to opt in to the new directive.’

A better case for Europe

September 13, 2010

Debates about Europe are being framed through a nationalistic lens. Arguments supporting it are not being made or heard strongly enough.

We can blame ignorance, a euro-sceptic press, nationalists, and racists. But what can we do to ensure a proper fair debate on the subject?

First, let’s make a better case for Europe and describe some of many advantages it gives citizens of England.

EU allows the free movement of people on its territory so a British citizen can go on holidays or work and create business anywhere in 27 countries freely without having to go through a visa nightmare. Now, surely it’s good! Hold on.. It also means that… Europeans can come over here!! IMMIGRANTS! Some of them might not even be white! Or speak English!  Some of them might prefer salami to British sausage! Don’t panic, take a deep breath. I will let you into a secret: Immigration creates businesses and therefore creates jobs. EU immigrants can’t initially claim benefits or take free houses and cars, whilst non-EU immigrants can’t claim at all. (I tried. 🙂 ) They can however pay tax. Immigrants bring LOTS of money into the economy, enrich English society and bring lovely food with them.

The EU also ensures free movement of goods that removes trade barriers, allows a British citizen to buy pretty much anything from Europe (food, clothes, technology) costing much less than it would if there were trade obstacles. Above all, such close trading between countries helps all of us from atrocities such as World Wars 1 and 2 being committed again.

The EU gives the opportunity for countries to tackle international problems like human trafficking, organised crime and climate change. I don’t think there is a need for me to explain why this is important. England can’t possibly tackle these problems on its own.

The European community created the European Convention of Human Rights that English Government then enacted in a form of the Human Rights Act 1998. It gave British citizens written assurance of equal human rights such as freedom of expression, association, religion, private and family life.

The EU funds a lot of projects, like the regional structural fund, that give local communities  more power and funds, particularly deprived communities.

There are problems, like democratic deficit and Common agricultural policy. England can only solve those problems if it is a part of the European Union while enjoying all the benefits.

So, Europe allows us to have free movement of people, goods, life in peace, to tackle organised crime and climate change, to enjoy equal human rights and it gives more funding to deprived communities. All these controversial things . 🙂

How do we explain this to euro-sceptics?

I am very proud to say that I was recently appointed as a Political Development Officer for the Centre for Europe, the main goal of which is to build understanding of Europe by promoting European education. At the moment I am in the process of developing a strategy. If you have any ideas or want to be involved in campaigning for Europe and European education, e-mail me on olga.a.ivannikova@gmail.com Let’s educate the public about the advantages of Europe!