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.

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. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

A Tribute to A Fine New Zealand Cricket Commentator - Grandpa Richards

Alan Richards or 'Grandpa Richards' as I called him was a well known New Zealand cricket and football commentator. He died on 27 December aged 91 in Auckland. He was my father's godfather. Grandpa Richards is very well known in New Zealand for covering some of the country's finest and most exciting sporting moments  like the and the All Whites football journey to the World Cup in 1982. He was the first sports commentator to broadcast from China in 1975.  In a country that loves and worships sport, Grandpa Richards will be remembered for being a part of New Zealand's sporting  history through his captivating and exciting broadcasts.
RIP Grandpa Richards with love from 'Scallywag'. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Lib Dem Mps did what?

The food bank debate was one of the most shocking and horrific things that I have witnessed, it was worse than being in the school playground with a bunch of rowdy school children.

I wasn't surprised at the Tory MPs cold hearted and neoliberal response to the debate but I was shocked at the continuous downward spiral of Lib Dem ethics. Here is a link to the names of the MPs who voted against investigating the rise in use of food banks.  In the Liberal Democrat constitution  it is stated that, "The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safe guard a fair, free and open society in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and and community in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity." People who use food banks are enslaved by poverty.

Most of the people who use food banks are in work and many of these work zero hours contracts. So much  of the austerity programme is being built on the promise that work pays. This is a lie being sold to cover up the fact that this austerity programme is driven by ideology. If it was anything else the evidence would come into it. Instead the Government does not look at the statistics of food baks and is refusing to look into a report on it. What I really deplore is that 36.6% of children were food bank users in the last year and 296 MPs voted against even looking into it. It just doesn't add up. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Dear Tom Daley

Dear Tom Daley,

I have been receiving texts telling me that you are bisexual ever since you made your announcement today.  I am writing you an open letter to tell you how pleased I am that you have had the courage to tell the world that you are bi-sexual (I say 'bisexual' because you admit to still fancying girls).

My letter will only make sense if I add context. Two weeks ago I shouted at a boy during a lesson because he was making anti-gay jokes. I normally take my lessons seriously (leaving aside the odd chat and telling off that I get from teachers) but I could not let this boy get away with his anti-gay rant. As a result of me losing my temper, I was sent off to the deputy's office (I did not get into trouble once things were explained). However, I felt there was a need to make a stand because I am sick of how gay and bi-sexual people are being ridiculed and treated.

There is something that is very intolerant among my generation over people who do not conform to the mainstream view of society - Gays, disabled, poor and the list goes on.

As a Christian, I wish you all the best and I really hope that you will help to make a difference to the level of hate in our society for anything that is different.

Best Wishes

Monday, 28 October 2013

A break from blogging

To my readers,
I am sorry to say that I will have to take a temporary break from my blogging. I have had too much school work and I have found that I have had less and less time. My father has also had a stroke fairly recently and I am struggling to uphold all of my tasks. I will still be on my twitter and you can contact me via email at . 
Maelo Manning

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

An Interview with 'Karl Marx'

Karl Marx is constantly mentioned in the news these days. Marxism is enjoying a resurgence in political debates and thoughts and in the protest movements that fights back against what it sees as social and economic injustice. There are many who believe in the core views of Marxism and challenge neo-liberalism that seems to rule the capitalist system.

If you had the chance to meet Karl Marx would you want to know what he would have to say about modern society? Howard Zinn's play, 'Marx in Soho', addresses Marx's ideology through a monologue that resurrects Marx and places him in modern day society in New York. In the play Marx poses the question: "Don't you wonder: Why is it necessary to declare me dead again and again?""

 I attended this play at Calder Bookshop and was immensely taken with the acting by Daniel Kelly as Karl Marx. I asked him to give me an interview as 'Karl Marx':

What impact does the Communist Manifesto have on modern society?

 Not enough!  Why did Engels and I bother to write the Manifesto when so few get round to reading it?  It’s never been more relevant, more urgently needed than now.  It should be compulsory reading in every school assembly!

You have come back 130 years later do you think the people of the world are pleased to see you?

Yes, I think I’m becoming more and more popular as your present crisis gets deeper and deeper.  I have something to teach the World, the question is does anyone want to learn it?

Your predictions regarding Capitalism were astoundingly accurate.  How do you see the World in 150 years time?

If it’s not destroyed by wars or all the environmental damage caused by capitalism then the World will surely have made it because the capitalist system must then be dead replaced by a fairer system.


P/S I think the answer to why Karl Marx keeps being declared dead is because the free marketeers have much to fear is Marxism were to become a revivalist organisation and mainstream again. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why Young People in Politics Should Support Ed M Against The Daily Mail

The war of slander waged by The Daily Mail against Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph Miliband, has become a pivotal moment for the future of young people who write and work in politics. There is something about the whole ongoing episode that has crossed over from ‘dirty politics’ into ‘dirty nationalism politics’ and it is for this reason that I worry about what the repercussions could be for young people.

Ed is basically being persecuted for not having a British father who fulfils the stereotypical image of being British. The Daily Mail, in effect, offers the British test of having a love for ‘Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, the great Clubs, the Times, the Church, the Army and the respectable Sunday papers’.  I don’t know about you but I felt really quite embarrassed at this list. Is this all that there is to Britain?

The paper has more to offer on what Ralph Miliband wrote: ‘It also means the values of the ruling orders, keep the workers in their place, strengthen the House of Lords, maintain social hierarchies, God save the Queen, equality is bunk, democracy is dangerous etc...

In chastising Ralph Miliband the paper, basically, is mounting a campaign to keep politics within the realms of the ruling classes who went to Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, dined at Clubs, read the Times, send their sons to be Commanders in the Army and prayed on a Sunday to (probably) keep women Bishops out. In other words, the call is for a return to another bygone era, a demand for absolute obedience to the ruling classes. 

What does this all mean for someone like me and many more like me? Firstly, given the level of worship of the free market by the right wing then globalisation is a natural occurrence. Free market of goods and services do not flow by themselves. They require people to travel and deliver them. So, we have migrants now living in the UK and children, like me, being born to parents who were not born British. I hold a British passport.

Secondly, given the high incidence of war as a means of carrying out international relations and war is always favoured by the right wing then refugees and asylum seekers coming into Britain is another occurrence. The children of these families will become British at some point. Many of these children will love Britain for offering them the sanctuary of peace and security that they did not get in their original home country. However (and I have met such children) these children do not believe in unquestioning obedience. They have seen atrocities committed, experienced being victims of state violence, they do not believe in God easily because they think that if God existed he would not have let them suffer and they certainly have a suspicion of guns. Eton, Cambridge, clubs will be as distant from their lives as food stamps and food banks is to the right wing.

One does not have to be born in Britain to become an MP, unlike in America. One can be a British or Commonwealth citizen. Who is to say that at some point we won’t have children going into politics with a firm belief that they really want to make the world a better place and not to fleece the expenses system? 

Lastly, to question the capitalist system is not a crime. I didn’t sit through three days of a five day Marxism conference in London for nothing. My mother took me. It has always been part of my education to learn about what is outside my system of belief. I own a Ralph Miliband book. If you don’t know anything else than your own narrow world then you may as well live in a Duck pond or build a moat around your house.

All young people regardless of their political belief need to support Ed M in this situation. It feels as if a trial of class politics and economic systems and parentage is being held. Politics will be closed off to us if stupidity, as shown by the Daily Mail and people who support it, win.

P.S. Marxism is becoming hugely relevant as the inequality gap grows. Ralph Miliband said: “…the real problem for the people in charge of affairs was not the threat of revolution but the need, as they saw it, to contain pressure for reforms which the nation could not afford’. Page 4.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

My First Conference Miss Because My Father Did An 'Andrew Marr'

I became a member at the age of 10 and have attended every conference for four years except this one in Glasgow. To say I am hugely disappointed at not being there is an understatement. That aside it is interesting to note that the papers are talking about another coalition and where our party will position itself. I would have thought that the priority of party business at conference would be the latter as a stand-alone issue.

What with a reduced membership and current members being unhappy about what we see as the tactics of following Tory policy I do hope that a clear distinct picture will emerge of who we are in modern politics.
While I disagree with some coalition policies I am still proud to be a Liberal Democrat and strongly believe in liberalism. I am following Twitter and LibDem voice closely and will be watching the Parliament Channel. All the best to everyone who is in Glasgow and keep tweeting and blogging for the rest of us who cannot be there.

P/S My father had a stroke and it is a little difficult to leave home for too long at the moment. He is recovering.