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Day: February 5, 2012

Southend Lib Dems rally against the Thames Estuary Airport scheme

‘The City of London needs a new airport like I need a mushroom risotto covered in fried egg’ – Neil Monnery 5th Feb 2012.

Yes that is right folks the time is now (or indeed a few days ago but it was embargoed for a few days) for the people of Southend to raise their voices and start campaigning against the proposed Thames Estuary Airport which is set to be an issue throughout South East England over the coming months.

Boris Johnson thinks it is a great idea. The PM is ready to have a public consultation on the issue as we look for a way to cram yet another unneeded airport into our capital city. Did that sentence read as though it had no bias? Good.

The local Lib Dems will be taking part a public meeting concerning the proposed Thames Estuary Airport to be held at Southend Adult Community College, Lower Hall, Leigh Centre, in Elm road on Friday 10th February starting at 7:45PM. If you live in or around Southend and are concerned about the proposed airport then do pop along and speak with the four Lib Dems who’ll be taking part in the event and talking to residents and listening residents views on the plans.

The four of them are technologically savvy too. They have started an e-petition against the Thames Estuary plans which you can sign behind the link.

Just for a change I’ll throw in a bunch of quotes that are in the Press Release on this matter. I should know as I just wrote it (those three years studying Journalism were worth it although it is being amended but still…):

Alan Crystall – Lib Dem councillor for Leigh – “I first got involved in local politics to fight the Maplin scheme. I am convinced that this mad idea is wrong on all counts.”

Peter Wexham – Lib Dem councillor for Leigh – “The last thing the Estuary needs is a huge expanse of concrete.”

Chris Bailey – Lib Dem candidate for West Leigh and former councillor – “We are already facing excessive aircraft noise in this part of Leigh on Sea. These proposals would make things much worse.”

Peter Welch – Lib Dem PPC for Southend West in 2010 – “It is important for people to speak up now and voice their opposition to these ideas.”

So there you have it. If you are against these proposals and live locally then please do pop along to the public meeting on Friday and sign the e-petition before that. If you aren’t local but are still against yet another major airport serving London then please also sign the e-petition.

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In defence of Nick Clegg regards to promoting Ed Davey to the cabinet

So Chris Huhne had to go. Well he didn’t have to go but he did have to go. You know what I mean. The next big question was who would replace him as the fifth Liberal Democrat in the cabinet. Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander are already in. All white men. The clamour was clear amongst the grass roots. They wanted a woman. We are the party of diversity or so we proclaim. How can we live with the situation of not having a woman in the cabinet if we are allowed five members under the coalition agreement?

As a brief aside why do I never read about the lack of Lib Dem MPs from ethnic backgrounds in the party let alone in the cabinet?

I digress.

Anyway I have read a plethora of reasoned posts on the subject from the very flffy elephant to the standard bearer for Liberal Democrat blogging to arguably the most vocal voice in Lib Dem blogging. They are all worth reading if you have a spare ten minutes or so.

In the interests of showing my colours and thoughts I wanted either Lynne Featherstone or Jo Swinson to get the promotion. People will probably not believe me as I have been pigeon-holed by many within the Lib Dem blogosphere as hating women. Therefore here is a screenshot from Facebook in the Essex Liberal Youth group on Friday morning.

Neil Monnery Lynne Featherstone Jo Swinson
My thoughts on Friday morning.

You can also go back through my twitter history if you really want to. My position on this subject has been the same all the way through.

So whilst I was disappointed in the Ed Davey decision I also note that I’m not in the best place to judge. I don’t know these candidates personally. I know of their jobs and what they do and what they are trying to do but that is it. Nick Clegg knows them all personally. He also knows what they would all bring to the job. So he is clearly in the best position to judge.

So there are two pertinent questions. Firstly who is the best person for the job of Energy Secretary in Nick Clegg’s eyes and secondly if that person is a white male should they be overlooked just for diversity reasons? I can’t answer the first question because I don’t have enough insight and only Nick Clegg really does so I move straight on to the second part. Nick has decided Ed Davey is the right person for the job so should he be discriminated against because of his gender? The answer to that in my opinion is no. To discriminate against him for that reason is sexist and as a party we do not believe in sexism.

Of course there is one caveat to this. The above maybe a moot point is Nick Clegg himself is a sexist and is determined to keep women down. Does anyone truly believe that is the case? *surveys the landscape and sees a few hands but chooses to ignore them* No doubt some of you actually believe that. I can’t say he isn’t but really. I choose to believe that Nick Clegg is not a sexist and doesn’t think women are inferior. I would implore you all to follow my lead on that.

So here we are. A lot of us didn’t get what we wanted but we have to concede that we weren’t equipped with all the facts. I firmly believe that Nick chose the person he thought was the best fit for the job no matter of their creed or gender. That is what I believe. I don’t believe in positive discrimination. I just don’t therefore if Nick decided that Ed was the right person for the job then I’m happy to go with that.

There is no big conspiracy. I’ll back Ed Davey and hope he does a great job. The likes of Lynne Featherstone, Jenny Willott and Jo Swinson will have great futures within the party. As will many women who will be elected in the coming years. Just because their time isn’t now in the top jobs doesn’t mean that the hierarchy of the party is sexist and all wrong.

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Take Me Out Chelsea ‘wins’ a date with Damion

If there are any fans of the ITV1 show Take Me Out who haven’t seen the moment male contestant Damion shot himself in the foot and repeatedly did so then you’ve got to see this. You have to feel for poor Chelsea who eventually ‘won’ a date with him.

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The endless struggle to find that feeling of belonging

Sometimes I sit here (or in other places – mostly other places like at the beach or on the loo – why do so many man think on the loo – I digress) and think about my place in the universe or more reasonably my place in my little world. There are two schools of thought that people should conform to the norm or be individual and I sit squarely in the latter. It is a choice I make because I’m more comfortable that way. However I note that it at times has made me feel left out and that I don’t belong anywhere. It is something I struggle with all the time.

The last time I felt that I truly belonged was probably when I was 18. I was comfortable with my social group and had been throughout high school and VI form. They weren’t easy times. Our social group was a mix of boys and girls and in all honesty I was the least liked of the boys by the girls. The reasons for this have never been made clear to me. I’m guessing there was a reason. If someone pointed a gun at my head and asked me to guess I’d probably guess right. I remember one girl at one point fancied every single member of our social group throughout those five years bar me. I’m not saying this upset me but it is something I remember noting at the time. You wonder why it is. You look yourself in the mirror and try to work out what is wrong with you. It hurts.

Still that was one part of it. The male side of the social group and myself were solid. We had good times. However when I went to university I would never settle back down on the Isle of Wight and you drift apart. I have not seen any of those people since a wedding in July of 2010. I hadn’t even spoken to any of them in about 16 months until the other day. My best mate at the time and his partner are expecting so I got in touch to say well done, good luck and you’ll be a great dad etc…

I don’t yearn for those days again. I have moved on but it did get me wondering about my place and finding somewhere where I truly felt I belonged. I didn’t at university. I had friends but I never belonged. There are many reasons for this but two of them are at the time I drunk but never ever to get drunk and I didn’t really enjoy going out much. These are two things that I have had to struggle with all my life. People not drinking is not normal and people think that there is something wrong with you.

Another issue is that of self-confidence. Now these days I don’t struggle from a chronic lack of this. I won’t say I’m brimming over with it but that isn’t an issue that keeps me awake at night any more. In my teens and early 20s though my lack of confidence was terrible. I couldn’t see that having a lack of confidence in itself put people off knowing me. It was a spiral that I couldn’t pull myself out of. Confidence is a strange foe. How do you get it when no-one gives you the opportunity to get any?

In the end on that front it was a charity shop that dragged me out of it. Volunteering and people actually thinking I was worth something. Who would have thought that seeing a Crimewatch reconstruction one evening would lead me to getting some self-belief and a sense of self-worth. Well that is what happened as there was a robbery on a charity shop and I hadn’t really thought about doing anything like that. All I was doing was moping about trying to work out my next step in life and there we have it.

I suppose you could argue that I kind of felt I belonged there. However I was moving out of the area and the two managers both left at the same time so things would have been different anyway. I suppose you could argue I feel like I belong when I do Hospital Radio. I have done it for so many years and with the same core of people that it just works. So maybe I belong there.

However that is but a small part of my life. I started this post by decreeing that I made a choice that I’d be an individual and I’d live by my rules no matter what. This has without a doubt led to some sad times and certainly many feelings of inadequacy. Not going with the crowd is tough when deep down all you want is to be liked and wanted by people. When you swim against the tide it is easier to stand out but you are also easier to dismiss.

It took me many years to understand who I am to the level that I understand myself now. I think it is fair to say that I have not been this contented in a long time. I have no more feeling of belonging than I did when I was in my late teens or early 20s but I have found that the need to belong isn’t actually that important.

In the past 48 hours I have had to sit down with a close friend to help him make an extremely tough decision with regards to his first proper relationship. I myself have also felt the sting of seeing my first proper relationship end with a surprising jolt as well as have someone else on the phone to me in tears as someone she loved had passed away. Not the most straightforward of periods but that’s life.

What it showed me is that people I care about come to me if they have issues. That makes me feel good as a person. I have always said that I have no delusions of grandeur and that if on my death bed I can look back and say that those close to me felt that their lives were enriched by having me in it then that is all that I can ask for.

So maybe I don’t belong anywhere but you know what? I think that is actually ok. Maybe one day I’ll feel like I’m truly wanted and that I belong somewhere or with someone. Until that day though all I can do is carry on down the journey of life. Where that will take me I have no idea. All I can say with any assurance is all I want to be is a positive influence on those close to me. If I can do that then I think that is good enough for now.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.