Libdem Child's (mainly) weekly thoughts

You're probably wondering whether this is really a teenager's blog or not. Well it is. I believe in the Liberal principles of fairness, equality and community. I may only be fourteen but I can hold a good debate on politics. Honest, I can.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Pro-Palestine and on the Side of David Ward

Why is it so controversial to question Israel's actions? This is a country whose bombs have killed 600 Palestinians, 150 of whom are children. I cannot bear to see the images of dead and severely injured children. There are many of these on Twitter. The UN has said that Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza and has voted to launch an international inquiry. So, excuse me while I question why the aggressor always wins?

David Ward, a Lib Dem MP, posted a tweet  which empathizes with the people of Gaza. Is it not normal to put yourself in other people's shoes and think about what they are experiencing? If you see images day after day of suffering and death is it not human to question what you would do in those circumstances? People are dying needlessly in Gaza and the Western world, until recently, has not intervened. Instead the US is against a UN international inquiry. The Conservative's 'Friends of Israel' group is a very powerful lobby group.  Aid agencies say a child has been killed every hour, on average, in the past two days. Why is it then controversial to support or understand Gaza's sufferings?

I do not condone the actions of Hamas but I do not equate Palestinians with the political aims of Hamas. Gideon Levy, the famous Jewish journalist, has questioned whether Israel wants peace at all. Israel has whipped up war mongering talk ever since three Jewish teens were found murdered. There is still no evidence that Hamas did it. Yet, the ordinary children of Gaza have paid the price. I felt very sad over the deaths of the Jewish teens but their deaths cannot be used to justify the needless slaughter of hundreds in Palestine.

I fear for the young of Palestine and Israel because they are being brought up with a culture of hatred for the other side. As a teenage girl I was shocked by the hatred that pre-army teens were tweeting. The fact that they believed it was normal to put these racist thoughts onto a social networking site that is open to the world reflects the hatred towards Palestine that they have been brought up with. On the other side there were a lot anti-semitic and pro-Hitler tweets which are absolutely wrong. How is there ever going to be a two state solution now or in the future? 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

This is why Israel will find it hard to win the war of sympathy

View image on Twitter
Sderot cinema. Israelis bringing chairs 2 hilltop in sderot 2 watch latest from Gaza. Clapping when blasts are heard.

View this content on Al Jazeera English's website

An injured boy kisses his mother's hand. Both of them were injured by an Israeli airstrike on
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RT children impacted by psychological distress and fear, like this girl in

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

IAgreeWithNick vs Libdems4change

I joined the Lib Dems at the age of 10, I am now 14, and never have I questioned my belief in the party until now. In these four years I have seen the party go from having no chance of being in power, to being in Government and reverting back to having no chance again. Being the youngest party member (I haven’t been challenged on this so far) I feel that some balanced analysis is called for because I want to grow up in a party that governs for the sake of the people. I don’t think i am being young and idealistic in wanting this.

After such massive losses in two elections any political party should question the leadership and the direction of the party otherwise the party is a cult of followers for the leadership or it becomes a single interest group. I know the coalition was meant to be a compromise of Tory and Lib Dem ideologies but even I now struggle to know what our values and red lines are.  Compromise has become ‘give way’.  We are an immature party if we can’t be challenged or criticised? What is the tipping point for when the leadership can be challenged? I think two drastically failed elections qualify. 

Paddy Ashdown, whom I admire greatly and always have a chat with at conference, has called Libdems4change the 'silliest idea’ he had ever heard but given how long Paddy has been in politics I would have thought that he would have engaged with members calling for change rather than seeking to delegitimize them. Annette Brooke’s email was an utter fiasco.  It’s not about the messaging. I was not able to campaign because of my exams but I really don’t think that any more leaflets would have made a difference. A Councillor lost his seat after 40 years.

Many young Lib Dem members have pledged unquestioning devotion to the leadership forgetting completely that the reason some members are disappointed and angry is because there is a long history of struggles among people who have been in the party far longer than us to get the numbers of MPs and MEPs up.  What’s a party if it is not molded and created by change and history? Character assassinations of those who question the party’s future is ineffective.

Nick Clegg has some really worthy policies- 3,200,000 of the poorest no longer have to pay tax on their income, pupil premium, shared parental leave and preventing child detention. How will the party ever move on from the tuition fees fiasco if members refuse to acknowledge the damage this caused?  There were loads of students in 2010 stuffing envelopes etc in my home. I despair at the level of debt that students now graduate with because of the higher fees. There is no point saying that they will only repay the debt if their salary reaches a certain level because they all want high wages after incurring a debt.

  A Save the Children report states that five million children could be “sentenced to a life of poverty” by 2020 because of welfare reforms.  A “triple whammy” has been caused by benefit cuts, the rising cost of living and years of stagnant wages. As a child this breaks my heart and it is made even worse by the fact that my own party are in power doing this. The rise of Zero hours contracts and the royal mail fiasco show that we aren't a centre left party anymore. Being centre left is about social equality and equal opportunities.

Removing the party as a ‘protest party’ has left us with no centre left position. People are increasingly engaging with protest movements. It’s a new form of democracy and these people need representation in Westminster.  It is not immature to respect protest politics.

The party cannot carry on as it is. It’s not about messaging. it’s not about winning where you are strongest. It’s about making a real difference in people’s lives. A mature political party is not a personal fiefdom. Acting like a sacrificial lamb for ‘the good of the of the country’ rings hollow. Please change strategy. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

So, A Vote for UKIP means...

Let me get this straight. A vote for UKIP on Thursday which results in a UKIP MEP being elected means that the United Kingdom is sending representatives to sit in the European Parliament who will work their socks off to JEOPARDISE the UK's interests in Brussels. That's about it- right? 

The election on Thursday is NOT an 'in-out referendum' as to whether the UK remains or leaves the European Union. Yet, people are treating it as if it is. Let me present you with what I think is an illogical argument. Growth and the economy has been the daily mantra. 'Hard working' people who had to find alternative ways of getting into work during the London tube strikes recently criticised the RMT union for making their lives harder. Businesses berated the RMT for the large sums of money that they lost. So, any means that helps people earn money and make a living must be a good thing to cling on to, right? Wrong. 

According to the CBI being part of the European Union contributes to 4-5% of annual output in the UK. There are a whole lot more statistics and information on being in Europe. Yet, UKIP goes on and on about Romanians - living next door, being on the train with you, eating your food (I made the last one up but I am sure that will be next). So, macho isolationalism is the key part of UKIP's politics. When UKIP blames Romanians for everything that is wrong with this country UKIP shows an utter ignorance of the powers of globalisation, the competition state and the post-industrialism theories. Their politics is just the politics of scaremongering and fear. 

There are some wonderful MEPs who are working their socks off to make British life better for all. Don't waste your vote on a UKIP candidate. If you do all it will result in is a UKIP MEP earning a large salary and expenses while doing little to make your life better. That's not growth for the country. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

UKIP is a party of 'Clowns'


UKIP made the headlines again for spouting discriminatory comments. This time a UKIP election candidate, William Henwood,  has called on Lenny Henry the comedian to emigrate to a 'black country' because 'he does not have to live with Whites'. Lenny Henry is a British comedian who has given us many laughs over the years. UKIP are a bunch of 'Clowns' of the Stephen King variety from the novel/film called 'It',  they certainly do not qualify as clowns of the circus variety who always make both kids and adults laugh.

Every time a UKIP candidate makes a derogatory comment their supporters need to seriously reconsider their allegiance to this party which is full of discrimination, no matter that the figurehead of UKIP is a smiley man with a pint in his hand. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

An 18 year old is in Yarls Wood Detention Centre

Following the policy motion on 'Making Migration Work for Britain' at the Lib Dem Spring conference in York and the passionate speeches given on how asylum seekers are treated, another case of a cruel detention has come to light. This time it is an 18 year old called Yashika Bageerathi who came to the UK in 2012 to escape abuse in Mauritius.

 There is a possibility that she could be deported back to Mauritus because she is now 18. If deported, she will be separated from her family who are allowed to live in the UK. How is it that the system allows a minor to live in this country as an asylum seeker then attempts to throw them out when they reach 18. There is a petition to keep Yashika in the country which i urge you to sign.

A recent report  called 'Detained' shows the horrifying conditions that women in detention centers face. Detention centres are a dark corner of Britain where human rights seem to have taken flight. I gave a speech on this at the conference and said,
 "Can we please ask for an asylum process that recognises the suffering the woman has already been through and which factors that into their treatment in the UK?  A liberal and fair process is what I call for." 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why young people should register to vote

Today is National Voter Registration Day and an organisation called Bite the Ballot is running a campaign to get young people aged 16 or over to sign up to vote. I spent a day with Bite the Ballot last summer as a young person who is interested in politics (they are a non-political organisation) and am very enthusiastic about the work that they do. Apparently young people aged between 16 to 24 are the most under-represented part of society on the electoral register. Yet, so much of what is happening in the world concerns that age group. Why can't they be bothered then?

1. Politics seems too far away - I blame the 'Westminster Bubble' for this. What matters to Westminster does NOT always matter to young people. It's only by voting that young people can help to burst this ridiculous bubble.

2. I don't understand what the parties are all about - this is a confusing one if you don't know your left from your right and where the centre ground is. I am not talking about hands or being Zen grounded either. The political line of ideologies is confusing at the best of times to anyone but listen to what the leaders are saying about things that affect your life. Keep it simple to help yourself understand politics.

3. Prime Minister Question Time - Enough to scare anyone off. All those posh voices baying away and the Speaker shouting at them to keep quiet. It reminds people about school. Once experienced, never again. PMQs are for political geeks.

Young people don't realise how pervasive politics is. Everything is political - from the food eaten to what we wear to how the services we want are delivered. Education, university, first time jobs, apprenticeships and allowances - these are all political.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The ridiculous bikini bridge

Apologies to my usual Lib Dem readers who probably think a 'bikini bridge' is a bridge made out of bikinis or a bridge with women in bikinis standing on it.  A bikini bridge in the contemporary sense is the gap that exists between a bikini bottom and the lower abdomen. You only have to look at the picture to know what I am referring to. 

The bikini bridge has become the new trend after '4chan' created a internet hoax whereby they encouraged people to post pictures of their bikini bridge and revealed that it was set up to see the response and how easily people would succumb to the trend. A '4chan' user said, "After a fair amount of circulation has been accomplished, we circulate the images throughout parts of the Internet known to be biased on the subject of weight (i.e. thin privilege, fat shaming, etc). This should cause large enough of a stir to snowball into a fairly big subject.”

The bikini bridge is part of the body image which dominates the lives of the girls of my generation. Another body image obsession is over the 'thigh gap' (a thigh gap appears when the legs don't meet above the knees because they are so skinny). The bikini bridge and the thigh gap are constantly being obsessed over by girls on social media sites tumblr, facebook, twitter, at schools and I have have even overheard conversations on the streets about it. There are Instagram accounts dedicated to the aim of being extremely thin. Some of the pictures posted show girls in an unhealthy physical state to the extent that it interferes with their everyday life. 

The following was a comment posted on a thigh gap Instagram account, "Today during my exams I was having insane hunger pains. My head hurt and it felt like I was going to throw up all morning. Its all worth it though." This unattainable body image for girls has become extremely dangerous because it leads to self harm, eating disorders and sometimes even suicide. The bikini bridge craze may have been set up as a hoax but it is becoming a real thing and a harmful one at that.

Girls of my generation are very skewed in the way that they view a healthy body. Fitness has become mixed up with wanting to live up to the physical ideal of a skinny top model. Skipping meals, forcing yourself to throw up and weighing 100 lbs are not marks of fitness. I was moved to conduct a personal experiment. My friend and I both weighed ourselves and calculated our BMI (body mass index). She is 5'6", weighs 112lbs and has a BMI of 18.08. I am 5'9", weigh 133lbs and I have a BMI of 19.64. Both of our BMIs are very healthy yet neither of us have a thigh gap, bikini bridge or the body of a supermodel but we do not have physical problems either that result from our lifestyles or choices that we make as girls. 

My generation is obsessed with appearance and image rather than reality. All of these unhealthy crazes stem from this obsession. Who is to blame? Is it the young girl's fault for buying into the hype? Is it social media's fault for reinforcing 'body perfection' through the bikini bridge and the thigh gap? It is worrying that my generation prioritises looks and style over things like intelligence and academic ambition. It is as if the feminist fight for self worth has not trickled down to my generation.