The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for August, 2013

Lib Dems select candidates for Prittlewell & Westborough wards for the 2014 Council elections

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Last night the Liberal Democrat members of Prittlewell and Westborough wards met for their regular branch meeting and chose their candidates for the 2014 Southend Council elections to be held on May 22 2014.

Cllr. Mike Grimwade who has represented Prittlewell ward since 2006 was re-selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate and hopes the people of Prittlewell once more believe he is the right person to represent them. Cllr. Grimwade looks forward to keep working hard and continuing the active casework that has helped the residents of the ward get their issues solved as quickly as possible.

He has recently been in the news for helping get a Post Office back into the ward following the one in Princes Avenue closing last autumn. The new Post Office is set to open on September 30th in nearby Eastbourne Grove.

Speaking to The Southend Echo Cllr. Grimwade said:

“Longer opening hours mean the new post office is much more accessible to residents, and it is very conveniently placed, so everything is in its favour.

“The Post Office was most helpful throughout the process – together we toured the area, looking at several different locations to try to find the best site. It listened to all our suggestions and was fantastic to work with.”

A few minutes later it was also unanimously agreed that Cllr. Paul Collins would stand as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the neighbouring Westborough ward. Cllr. Collins was first elected as a councillor for Westborough ward in 2010 and has worked hard – just like his Prittlewell colleague Cllr. Grimwade – to listen to local residents and deal with the problems that they bring to him.

The issues facing Westborough are different to those of the people in Prittlewell but Cllr. Collins has been hard at work to help bring these issues to the attention of the council. Car parking is a long-term issue in the ward but only recently more double yellow lines were removed and extra car parking spaces made available thanks to his hard work.

He has also been very active helping the new Westborough Community Association get formed and stay stable. Recently he has been standing up for Westcliff Library which is under threat of closure.

Both Cllr. Grimwade and Cllr. Collins are hard-working local councillors and they hope come May 23rd 2014 they’ll be able to carry on their hard work and continue with their ongoing active casework to solve residents issues and problems.

paul collins mike grimwade

Cllr. Collins & Cllr. Grimwade

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August 23rd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Politics

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Why I nominated Karen Chilvers aka @LDKatz71 aka Cllr. Sexy Boots for Councillor of the Year

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I didn’t nominate in every category for the BOTYs this year but along with my nominations for Blog of the Year I did ensure that I proposed a name in one of the new categories. With a new ‘Councillor of the Year’ award up for grabs I thought it was a good time to give Karen Chilvers a bit more recognition as to her excellent work locally both for her residents and for the Liberal Democrat party.

The reason why I decided to do this wasn’t just because I coined her nickname of Cllr. Sexy Boots (hint for women of the world – high heels are great but knee high boots…yeah). The reason I did it is because she ticks so many of the boxes that promote the party and works hard for her residents. Now I know many many councillors work hard for their residents but having media savvy so that everyone knows is something that I think many councillors fall short at, Cllr. Chilvers certainly doesn’t lack in that capacity.

She runs the Brentwood Lib Dem website, which is always up to date and shows off the good work all the local Lib Dems are doing. She has a good media presence locally and can often to found lurking around Phoenix FM and in doing so keeping the people of Brentwood up to speed as to what is going on council wise. She also has reached the stage where the cartoonist in the local newspaper features her, which I think it is fair to say is a point not many councillors reach.

She lost in 2011 on the back of the national wave of apathy and distrust of the party and instead of walking away she came back stronger and was part of a very successful night for the Lib Dems in Brentwood. When a local party goes against the national trend then they must be something – no scratch that – they must be doing a whole lot right – and there is little doubt that in Brentwood the Lib Dems are very much on the up due to three core factors. Firstly how poor the incumbant Tories seem to be, secondly due to good media savvy and presence by the local party but thirdly and most importantly the local Lib Dem councillors work bloody hard and people are seeing that so they are voting for them on the back of that.

I think Karen deserves this award for two keys reasons – her passion and dedication to helping out her residents is truly first rate. I have read on her blog many a time about things such as a resident e-mailing her asking why they hadn’t to receive a reply only for Cllr. Chilvers to reply that she is already on her way round to see the resident about the problem face-to-face. It is so easy to respond to an e-mail or to make a phone call but to see a resident in person you get a much better feel for the issue and can act on it in the most constructive manner.

Secondly – and this one involves several people but she is a big part of it – being part of a local party that is bucking the national trend and in a constituency that doesn’t have a Lib Dem MP. We’ve seen up and down the country that Lib Dem MPs have a strong network and the vote has held up ok but to make gains in an area that doesn’t have that financial and deep rooted support is mightily impressive and I think Cllr. Chilvers is one of the big driving forces behind that.

So if you are looking for reasons to vote for Cllr. Chilvers as your Lib Dem Councillor of the Year then I hope I’ve given you an overview as to why I both admire her and believe she’d be a worthy winner who could inspire and be a terrific template for many serving and aspiring councillors to follow.

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August 23rd, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Politics

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My Lib Dem Blog of the Year nominations 2013

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I have just sent in my nominations for Lib Dem Blog of the Year and I wanted to explain why I nominated the four blogs that I did.

First of all I wanted to point out my personal criteria. I only considered blogs that on average are above 400 words per piece and are in my opinion thought-provoking and base their blogging on an opinion rather than just reporting news. My opinion on what blogs are is writing something that makes me both think and helps me understand why another person has that point of view. That was my criteria.

In alphabetical order (as they show up on Lib Dem Blogs so first names…):

Alex Marsh – Alex’s Archives – Now this nomination comes with the caveat that I do not religiously read his blog solely because he blogs a lot about a subject that doesn’t push my buttons – housing. However I appreciate the quality of his work and when he isn’t writing about housing I enjoy his pieces. Blogging to me in the context of awards isn’t about just what I’d read but also what I perceive as the quality of the writing and I think Alex’s work has considerable merit.

Alex Wilcock – Love & Liberty – Look lets get this out in the open. I don’t watch Doctor Who and couldn’t give two hoots about it so there is a considerable percentage of his posts that I wouldn’t read. However the quality of his writing on political issues and opinions is first rate. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who has read his work and if you haven’t then I implore you to do so.

Jennie Rigg – Automated Attack Monkeys, Scalpel Mines, & Acid – Now Jennie and I have this faux hate/hate thing going. No love here (well from her end anyway, I may have a little shrine *glances to his right and sighs*) but these nominations aren’t about people whom I like and who like me. They are about people who write thought-provoking pieces with a large dollop of opinion and are of significant length. Jennie fits the bill and in terms of pure style her blog might be the one that I find easiest to read. She tells me she can’t win as she’s too anti-establishment but I said I couldn’t get a girlfriend and look at me now…oh wait…maybe you can’t win Jennie. Sorry.

Louise Shaw – From one of the Jilted Generation… – Louise writes when her gander gets up on a certain subject and when she does she uses a mixture of research and opinion to put her pieces together. When I see one of her blogs pop up I find myself clicking and reading to the end and I suppose that says a lot.

They were my four nominations.

For the record I would have nominated Richard Morris’ blog – A view from Ham Common – but most of his work these days is primarily produced for The New Statesman and as so I deemed his work is published by a commercial outlet and not on his own blog. Otherwise I think there is little doubt his writing is in the upper echelons of Lib Dem Blogging.

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August 22nd, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Politics

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No Nick, this is simply not good enough.

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A spokesman for Nick Clegg has released the following statement to the media this morning regarding David Miranda, The Guardian and National Security issues. This statement was reported by multiple outlets but I saw it first on LibDemVoice

We understand the concerns about recent events, particularly around issues of freedom of the press and civil liberties. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation is already looking into the circumstances around the detention of David Miranda and we will wait to see his findings.

On the specific issue of records held by the Guardian, the Deputy Prime Minister thought it was reasonable for the Cabinet Secretary to request that the Guardian destroyed data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands.

The Deputy Prime Minister felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action. He was keen to protect the Guardian’s freedom to publish, whilst taking the necessary steps to safeguard security.

It was agreed to on the understanding that the purpose of the destruction of the material would not impinge on the Guardian’s ability to publish articles about the issue, but would help as a precautionary measure to protect lives and security.

My initial reaction is quite simple. Nick that quite simply is not good enough. I was laying in bed last night thinking about the time I met Nick Clegg at conference in 2011 (because that is what I do in bed – I worry about myself – as should you) and I was thinking about how impressed I was with him and how I was fully convinced as to his liberal philosophies. The reason I was thinking about it was because of how impressed I was with Julian Huppert on BBC News yesterday afternoon and it got me thinking about how often I hear Nick – or any of his Liberal Democrat cabinet colleagues – say anything that I thought was inherently liberal.

I realised that I just don’t hear Nick, Vince, Danny, Michael or Ed come out and say anything in the media that would make me nod and approve as to its liberalness. They might say things I agree with but they don’t say things that would prompt me to think how liberal they are.

Now on this situation it has clearly been pretty clumsy. The Whitehouse knew about it and the Deputy Prime Minister did not. This cannot be. Nick should either be banging the drum and asking why America was told and he wasn’t or he should be just banging his drum and asking relevant questions. Instead he seemingly backs the Prime Minister, ‘the Deputy Prime Minister thought it was reasonable for the Cabinet Secretary to request that the Guardian destroyed data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands. What bollocks. Flat out bollocks.

Why do I say this I hear you ask (or at least think)? Well any time I hear the words ‘serious threat to national security’ all I actually hear is ‘we had no actual reason so we need a good all encompassing cover story that people will swallow.’ If the No More Page 3 campaign started claiming that boobs were harming national security then they would get a whole lot more traction. If Wayne Rooney moving to Chelsea would destabilise national security then the PM would have a word with the Manchester United board and ensure he stays. National Security is a term used when politicians don’t actually know why they’ve done something.

There was probably a time when I would believe politicians and take them at face value but that good will has long since evaporated and I firmly believe anyone in power would go a long way to suppress free speech in an attempt to justify their actions. They are happy for The Guardian to publish articles on this subject but want everything destroyed. Yeah that doesn’t add up. I may not be the sharpest tool in the tool shed but I’m no tool (see what I did there?)

Tony Blair took on to war in the guise of National Security and as hindsight clearly states it was done not in National Security interests. It was done to finish a job that a President was too scared to finish as he had an election to win and feared the US citizens didn’t care about that war any more. ‘National Security’ this and ‘National Security’ that. That good will ship has sailed and quite frankly I don’t believe it one jot any more – certainly when it comes to this situation. All logic dictates that our National Security wasn’t in any jeopardy and in fact the only thing here was to blow smoke up America’s butt and to show Edward Snowdon and any other person interested in whistle-blowing against America that it has allies who are willing to help out all under the guise of ‘national security.’

I am suspicious of politicians in general but when I start getting suspicious of the leader of the Liberal Democrats then it is probably time to worry.

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August 21st, 2013 at 11:05 am

Posted in News,Politics

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40 Days of Dating – a genuinely thought-provoking experiment by two New Yorkers…

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When people ask me what I did with my afternoon of Tuesday 20th August 2013 I’ll tell them I read. I read a lot. As you all know I’ve not an avid reader of books but I love reading. It is just I struggle sitting with a fiction book as it isn’t real but anything that is real captivates me. Whether that is researching politics or news stories or whether, as in this instance it all about human interaction and dating then I’m all over it like the proverbial fat kid on a smartie.

This afternoon I was pointed to a BBC news story about dating and then to the website with the story – 40 Days of Dating. This is the story of two New York friends who have decided to undergo a rather unusual experiment. They are going to date but there are some ground rules. The ground rules are as follows:

We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.

What makes it interesting for us people who don’t know either of the two people involved is the bit about the questionnaire. They answer a set of questions every single day that has shown the ups and downs of the experiment but also shows how the two of them are truly feeling at every single point. They don’t seem to have pulled any punches and as I read on the more I got enthralled in the pair of them and what they are trying to do.

They are posting their story one day at a time so I caught up and they are currently on Day 36. So only a few days to go until we find out what happened next. Up to this point we’ve seen the two of them grow closer together and despite one of them quitting the experiment briefly it so far seems like a successful venture. When one of them quit it was in part because of what her friends thought would be best for her and that opened up some thoughts in that brain of mine.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t exactly open up to people about these things and prefer to carry my baggage internally and not pass it off on to others. However on the rare occasions I talk to people it isn’t with the goal of getting any advice, I’m possibly a bit too stubborn but I really do think it is my life to lead and my mistakes to make. This is certainly true when it comes to my private life. Friends tell me I should do this or I should do that and I learned pretty quickly that as humans we are all different so what works for one person will not work for another. We are just wired up differently. That is just how it is.

Also I have learned this about myself in that if someone says I should do something then I instinctively think I should do the opposite. I don’t know why this is, maybe it is because I think I can do things myself or maybe that I should do things myself, with no help from anyone else but it is part of me and something I have just dealt with throughout my life.

I made the decision to stop drinking despite most people thinking it is madness. I chose not to sleep with someone unless it felt right. I chose to exclude myself from certain social situations where I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable and wouldn’t enjoy myself. Maybe I do this as some kind of self-defence mechanism and I’m certainly not the type of person who generally puts things on the line until I’m all but certain I won’t get hurt. It’s not like I’ve ever really been hurt before so I don’t even know what it is like but still I don’t put things on the line whereas in all honesty I should but something holds me back.

Still that is one thing that made me think from this experiment. The next comes from Tim:

Some women wait their whole lives to find a “soulmate,” and then they just settle for a guy who’s got a good job, or a guy with a nice apartment, or the guy who will simply stay with them. Jessie is definitely still looking for her soulmate, and I worry about this.

It is something I think about a lot. Even though I’m a guy I see very little point in settling for something with someone who doesn’t really do it for me. I think that is in part a fault but also a solid strength of mine. Many of us are blinded by the ‘Hollywood’ idea of romance and relationships. That things are perfect and everything should be all sweetness and light. The thing is the practical part of my brain knows that relationships are not like that and they are in general hard work. So the question I often ask myself is at what point do I decide a person is worth putting in that time and hard work for?

Now as regular readers and people who know me in real life who attest my dating history is about as successful as a team with Michael Jordan as GM and/or owner. As I wrote yesterday I think in the past few years there has only been two occasions where I felt a date was probably worth time and investment but maybe that is the wrong attitude to have. Who knows what can happen in time and your opinions and feelings change the more you see them – both negatively and positively. These two people were essentially forced by the rules of their experiment to spend time with each other and that in itself is an interesting concept, having to see someone every single day for forty days would scare the living bejesus out of me even if they were my best friend.

Yet again the next thing I want to bring up comes from Tim:

There are girls you date, and there are girls you marry. Jessie is definitely a girl you marry. I think Jessie won’t date a guy she feels like is a waste of her time. There needs to be a real possibility for something more.

Again I’m like Jessie. I won’t waste time or energy on someone that I don’t see something productive coming from. Now whilst my views on marriage are somewhat negative I do certainly want – no yearn – for is something real and not fleeting. However whose to say that my first instincts are right? Maybe someone who I didn’t spark with initially is the right one for me. Last week I had a date that didn’t even last half an hour and in all honesty it was over without seconds and she instead was working out how quickly she could get away without seeming overly rude. Maybe this experiment between two New Yorkers has shown that feelings can develop and people can be more opened up to them in time.

I could go on but what I think I’m trying to write is that this has been a totally enthralling. I love to read about love and relationships in a real life capacity. This particular saga has been quite wonderful to read because the two people have been so forthcoming and open about the whole experience and how they felt every step along the way. I’m not sure how I want their adventure to end. I suppose I want what I always want – for both parties to be happy going forward, whether that is as a couple or not.

What I mostly enjoyed though was it was/is a story we can all use to think about ourselves. I like thinking. I like being challenged (mentally) and humans are just a fascinating species. I see much of myself in both these people and I suspect most of us can identify bits of Jessica and Tim in us. Whilst this was no doubt for both of them, this whole experience is one that I would implore anyone to read up on, certainly if they are single and struggling with that notion, or if they are just lovers of a good human interest story. It has been written up extremely well and would probably lend itself to a book should they want to go down that route.

As for me doing something similar…I wouldn’t want to put anyone through having to see my every day for forty days. I felt sorry enough for my housemates who had to live with me, let alone having to specifically go out of their way to see me for forty straight days. I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy.

As for Jessica and Tim. A heartfelt thank you from some guy in the UK. Your story was/is riveting and thought-provoking and that is just how I like my reading material.

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August 20th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Dating

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Cllr. Chris Hossack and cheap taxi fares for scantily clad women…

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It has been a while. My rage-o-metre has been pretty low in recent days and weeks. I have been serene. Cruising along the path of life not worrying about things – certainly with regards to politics. However I saw Brentwood Lib Dems tweeting ferociously this morning about disassociating themselves with the comments of a fellow councillor so I did some investigating. When I say did some investigating I meant clicked on the link where a Brentwood councillor had made some shall we say ‘interesting’ comments.

Cllr Chris Hossack, who is a Conservative councillor on Brentwood Borough Council has had an idea that would help keep young women out of danger on nights out, which I think we’ll all agree is something that sounds great. However looking at his actual idea and I think it is fair to say I’m rather skeptical and in all honesty it might actually instead of resolving the issue would escalate the danger young women have.

His idea is for local taxi firms to give cheap fares home to scantily clad women. Yes you heard that right. If you are looking extremely sexy then taxi drivers should give you cheaper fares home in an effort to stop young women (and I suppose older women) from deciding the taxi isn’t good value for money and walking home instead. Now in a way its an idea that has some merit but the moment you scratch beyond the surface it is a horrendous idea.

He blames it in part on TOWIE and that culture but women have a right to wear whatever they like on a night out. He blames Amy Childs for basically making her living off of her looks. I mean is he for real? If I was an attractive young man who abs and a body and face to die for do you think I’d have a job sitting at a PC all day? I doubt it somewhat. People are free to live their lives lives however they see fit and if she has decided to use her looks to help build u a brand and a career then good for her.

Going back to the councillor and who decides what should be deemed as being ‘provocatively dressed’ as he puts it. Do taxi drivers come out and measure the length of skirts above the knee to decide what kind of discount these women should get? That is just lunacy and also would taxi drivers choose not to pick up young women because they know they wouldn’t get as much money for their time?

The other part of this that really troubles me if this doesn’t actually get to the heart of the problem. If women knew they would get cheaper lifts home then would they dress even more ‘proactively’ as he put it? The issue is women (and men) should be able to dress however they like. Just because a woman has a short skirt and low cut top doesn’t mean they are more open to advances and the like. The issue at hand is about ensuring that people have a safe night out and are able to travel home safely no matter how they are dressed. I’m fairly sure that sexual predators don’t just look at clothes in deciding who they are going to attack, they look at opportunity.

Cllr. Chris Hossack is looking at a real issue but his idea just doesn’t tackle the issue in any sort of way that would solve the problem. Instead it would create more problems and would in fact be making a definition that there is a difference between women who wear short skirts and/or low-cut tops compared to those who don’t and personally speaking I think that is an extremely dangerous road to go down…

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August 15th, 2013 at 9:21 am

Posted in Politics

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Oh my word – my heart – she cannae take any more captain!

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So. This evening I was out on the radio so I was unable to sit here and watch the Hampshire v Lancashire T20 Quarter-Final but I was full of confidence. I kept away from the interweb including twitter, Facebook et al as I didn’t want to know the result. I did see a tweet early in proceedings so I knew Hampshire were batting first and James Vince had batted really well but apart from that I knew naff all.

So I sit down to watch the game when I get in and oh my word. Talk about going through the wringer. Had I been watching it live I know exactly what I’d have been like. I’d have been pacing up and down and cursing as Lancashire stayed in touch with the Royals.

Hampshire had batted marvelously and put on 202 and in a way that might have been a disappointing score as the home side could easily have scored 15-20 more. James Vince and Michael Carberry were just electric at the top of the innings with Vince who frustrates me more than any other Hampshire player breaking out getting 60 off 30 balls and then getting out to a waist high full toss that he probably should have deposited for six wherever he liked. The reason Vince frustrates me is because I know how talented he is. He has all the shots and power and always gets in and then gets out to a sloppy shot for 20 odd but tonight he out-paced Carberry to get the Royals off to a flyer.

Speaking of Michael Carberry that man has to be in the England T20 squad and pretty much has to open. He is just so destructive and has been in great nick all summer long. In all honesty the IPL should come calling and next spring he should be in the sub-continent plying his trade. He scored an unbeaten century with an inside edge scramble for two off the last ball of the innings. It was magnificent from Hampshire but 202 might actually have been short considering we only got 23 off the last 20 deliveries.

Lancashire though hadn’t read the script. Dimitri Mascarenhas was expensive which isn’t exactly the norm and the away side kept up with the mammoth run rate needed. Two wickets in two balls from Danny Briggs looked set to call a halt to any hopes of a Lancashire win but they just wouldn’t go away. Chris Wood bowled a fantastic four balls in the penultimate over but then a ramp four and a big six meant Lancs needed 17 off the final over and when Sohail Tanvir bowled a dumb waist high no ball with the first delivery of the last over that meant 14 off six needed and that was very much in play.

In the end it came down to the final ball and I was pacing up and down my living room ready to curse but Tanvir just about came through as a low full toss was only straight driven down the ground for two and the defending champions squeaked home. I have said all summer long that Hampshire are the best team in this competition but tonight for the first time I saw the bowlers struggle but somehow we just got there and have made it two south group teams already at Finals Day with Essex still to play tonight.

I am not a huge fan of international ODI and T20 cricket but I think the domestic T20 tournament is fantastic for the game. Little things made the difference tonight. James Vince made a quite insane save of a boundary and Jimmy Adams drove a ball straight into the umpire that would have been four. Such small margins but my plans for Saturday week seem more solid than they were. I still think Hampshire should be regarded as favourites for the competition and this close run thing should help.

The Royals know how to win games and winning is a great habit. The other great thing on show tonight was a terrific spectacle and a huge amount of entertainment. A belter of a wicket led to a belter of a game and whilst the game has probably led to more colours of shall we say a lighter shade appearing on my head, I think it is fair to say any naturals watching will have been well and truly entertained and isn’t that the point of sport? We all love winning and don’t love losing but we all love is to be entertained and tonight both Hampshire and Lancashire helped by a stunning pitch delivered a quality nights entertainment.

Having said all that though. Thank fuck we won.

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August 8th, 2013 at 1:09 am

Posted in Other Sport

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The problem(s) facing the feminist movement.

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Who the fuck cares what it looks like from the inside? Slavery, suffrage, civil rights, Vietnam, what all those things have in common is there were leaders. The only thing leaders cared about was getting it done. If you guys had leaders then you’ll find a man with a fucking map that’ll tell you the thing about Capitalism is that it is politically accountable.

The words of Will McAvoy, ACN Anchor when speaking to Occupy Wall Street movement member Shelley in this weeks episode of The Newsroom on HBO.

Now what do the words of a fictional character of a TV show have to do with feminism. Well the point about leaders is what I’m keying in on here. One of the biggest problems with the feminist movement is that there is no key defined end goal. Gender equality is a pretty broad stroke and I think we can all agree that is where we want to be but the interpretation of that varies wildly from person to person and until an end game can be more precisely defined then I think it will always struggle to get to where they want to be.

A perfect example on this is the #twittersilence protest on Sunday. Some women thought it was a great idea whereas some thought it sent out the wrong message. So what were people to do if they wanted to show solidarity with those who felt twitter needs to do more to protect women on their network? Should they have stayed off twitter or stayed on twitter? Over on the Lib Dem Voice two female members and quite probably two future MPs had two very different views. Kelly-Marie Blundell stayed off twitter whereas Cllr. Marie Jenkins stayed on. Both have valid points but it sends out a mixed message and doesn’t actually push the movement forward because people aren’t sure exactly what is trying to be achieved.

Last week new peers to the House of Lords were announced and ten of them were Liberal Democrats. Five were men and five were women which most would see as gender equality – but not all. Again over at LDV Caron Lindsay said, ‘There is an argument, though, that he could have gone further. Our gender balance in Commons and Lords is appalling. There would have been no problem with him submitting a list with a significant majority of women.’ Of course there wouldn’t have been a problem with this but it implies that there would be a problem with the list having a majority of men on it. So reading between the lines here (and Caron can put me right should she ever read this) then in her opinion the end game would be for gender balance in the House of Lords (and House of Commons).

See. I think that is a good aim and in an ideal world that would be the best way to go but what if more women wanted to be MPs than men? Now of course this is not the case but would women be happy having All Male Shortlists should the male quota be needed be create gender balance across the party? This of course is hypothetical and is in no way the case at the moment but it is an interesting question I think.

I have always been of the belief that men and women deserve exactly the same opportunities. Whether they choose to take them then that is their prerogative. I do not think anyone should be raised or held back based solely on what sexual organ they use to procreate.

Take the No More Page 3 campaign for example. Last night I was told ‘That’s probably the most dickish thing you’ve ever said. You don’t support women because it might be a jab at Murdoch. Riiight. This is because I had the audacity to suggest that the No More Page 3 campaign is illogical that they only go after topless women in The Sun and not the Daily Star. I was told that once they win on The Sun then all the other publications with naked women will fall into line. That is laughable. Unless there is political legislation against it then there is a market for naked women and if The Sun dropped page 3 then the Daily Star probably picks up a quarter of a million sales a day (and that is a conservative estimate). Page 3 in The Sun is the big boy on the block but it isn’t the only boy and when other boys are doing exactly the same and not being campaigned against then it is probably fair to at least question the strategy.

Also the line ‘you don’t support women’ hacked me off royally. It may surprise people but I actually know two or three women and it may surprise you lot even more that one or two of them actually speak to me and get this – not all women are against page 3. Heck not all feminists are. Are those women and feminists against women because they don’t support a page 3 ban? No. No they are not. People are free to have their own opinions.

The most fun argument on this is that if Page 3 is sexist (which it is) then it is actually sexist against the male species. Isn’t sexism defined as ‘prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex?’ Well men cannot model on Page 3 based solely on their gender. Isn’t that blatant sexism? Of course you can’t actually say this because people don’t like hearing it but it is true. Now if you say Page 3 is damaging then that is a very fair PoV and one I to some degree subscribe to. However celebrity and teen magazines are far more damaging in a direct sense in my opinion as more young women read them and crucially take notice of them. Page 3’s damage is on young men and how they view women.

Now you see I have a solution to this and it comes in the form of government legislation. If The Sun and the Daily Star and any other publication want to have photographs of naked women then they should be free to do so. If women want to sell photos of their body then they should be free to do so. However they should also have an 18+ label so only those old enough can view its content. If alcohol and cigarettes are considered as damaging to young people then so is this. This would give the publications a choice to continue its policy or not whilst going a long way to stop young minds being influenced by it. Now of course this isn’t foolproof but it is a step forward and one that doesn’t impinge of the freedoms of a publication and on the models.

Back to the end game. Is the end game to ensure equality everywhere? For example the Open was held this year at an All-Male club and Harriet Harman was not happy about this. She felt that all clubs should be open to women as well as men but what about the Women’s Institute? They do not allow men to be members. My old chestnut of the scouts and the guides. Boys and girls can be scouts but only girls can be guides. Why is this so? The argument is of course that some young women need a place to grow away from young boys but young boys do not deserve the same. However do members of the Women’s Institute need said sanctuary?

So we have a problem. Single sex clubs seem to be fine if they are women only but men only is less ok. Where is the equality in that? It is essentially us being told in one instance that we are all the same and deserve to be treated as such but in some respects we are different and that women deserve special treatment. That does not compute with my definition of equality. My vision of equality is – as I referred to earlier – we all have the same opportunities no matter whether we are xx or xy. Do I have an issue that a golf club is male members only? To a degree I do but I also have an issue that the WI is women only. You can’t have one rule for one and one rule for another unless you want to say you want unequal equality. Is that what we want?

What about male midwives? It has been known on more than one occasion that women refuse male midwives believing that only women can provide the care and nursing skill required to deliver their baby. Do women (even those who have never had a baby) have more knowledge than men who have been through exactly the same training? Isn’t that just a bit bizarre?

Going back to the opening quote. Until the feminist movement has a clearly defined end game strategy then it will never reach their goals. They may have wins along the way but they’ll never be satisfied. When feminists disagree over something so simple as whether staying silent on twitter for a day is good or bad in their goal to promote equality and in this instance stop vile abuse from men then you struggle to see how they can get to where they want (I say they but I really mean we) want to be. My hopes for feminism is that no-one will ever get judged or discriminated against solely along gender lines. If more men are MPs or more women are I couldn’t care less. I just want people who are passionate and will work hard.

I don’t care whether my doctor is male or female. I don’t care if the person serving me at the local shop is male or female. I don’t care if the person cutting my hair is male or female. I don’t care if I’m in a car and the driver is male or female. I don’t care if my MP is male or female. Gender is not something that I look at to define a person. However I know there are some that do. This is why the feminism movement is important but until they have a clear defined goal and leaders then it will struggle. Mixed messages do not work and at times I feel as though we are bogged down in mixed messages and not getting anywhere and anywhere we are getting, we are taking too long to get there.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 6th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Politics

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