Monday, 31 March 2014

The Pavlovian response "But what about the menz?"

Owen Jones has written a reasonable article about domestic violence. I'm not completely in line with his politics, however the facts he quotes are correct, and it's definitely important comment about an issue affecting women.

But it's distinctly annoying that EVERY time a commentator talks about this it's always attacked by people (usually men) saying "but what about the menz".

I'd like to argue this is pathological. As in mal-adaptive behaviour. I'm not sure what people's aim is here when they attack any domestic violence campaign with questions about why people don't talk about men.

Just imagine for a minute Owen had written about prostate cancer. How bizarre and idiotic, not to mention offensive would it be for feminists (say) to descend on his article and say "Women get cancer you know!!" "Why don't these articles talk about breast cancer?" "But what about the womenz?" Interestingly, I don't think this ever happens. 

It looks so pathological, honestly. That means habitual (tick), maladaptive (tick), and compulsive (tick).

It's like a Pavlovian response, oh someone's talking about an issue that affects women, lets make sure that they talk about men TOO. Why? Why do people do this? i think anyone that does should at least be examining their own motivations, but I'm sure they'd rather focus on everyone elses. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Why doesn't Mother's (and Father's) Day raise the same hackles Valentine's Day does?

I was struck today by the fact Mother's Day is getting more and more commercialised. Having already done present and card (and scheduled a visit, even if it's not on the day!), I was struck by how much MORE I am encouraged to spend by all outlets. My email box is full of Groupons, email invitations to Mother's Day presents, flower companies etc, and each thing I looked at looked more expensive than the last. I was also struck by how when my partner and I looked to go out one Mother's Day, we couldn't as all restaurants were packed.

And then it struck me, you don't hear siren voices on social media on the run up to Mother's or Father's Day ringing out about how it's a pathetic festival, designed for card and flower companies and restaurants to make a lot of money.

Also, what of those with terrible, or absent, or abusive parents - they must feel quite left out of these days, especially if they've had to cut contact with their parents for their own safety ? There are always siren calls to remember single people on Valentine's Day - or at least be sensitive about receiving a £100 bouquet in the office - perhaps that's sensible as well for this celebration - but nobody ever says it.

I put this to twitter and received several replies, I have a pet theory but not sure how it will stand up - I wonder if at least in some cases, making a case for the "commercialisation of Valentine's Day" and subsequently how you "won't be participating in it" precludes the person saying it from at least putting some effort (which doesn't have to involve cash) into expressing their affection for the other person. And that this may point to at least some issues with commitment. 

Alternatively, it may be the opposite - that the commercialisation of the thing MOST dear to  someone - their partner, someone that COULD leave at any time, unlike their parents - might be what really gets to people.

What do you think? Please answer in the comments. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Nick Clegg is a real Lib Dem, he loves campaigning.....

Having been to Spring Conference, I was interested to see that a new spring seems to be in Nick Clegg's step, ever since he successfully challenged Nigel Farage to sign up to a debate on Europe.

I also feel quite positively about this myself, proving that once again, if I agree with my leader his move is wise, politically adept and bound to improve our chances in the election. Of course if I don't, he's misguided, unaligned with the membership and destined to take us into political oblivion. The truth is likely somewhere between.

But back on point, I was struck how much Nick reminded me of other Lib Dems, and other Lib Dems around the time in the calendar where families get abandoned, social life becomes a distant memory (unless it's with Other Lib Dems and A Fundraising Opportunity Probably Involving A Raffle) and one persuades oneself that knocking on doors and talking to strangers is a fun way to spend a precious day off from working to pay the bills, and moreover one should take pictures of this to advertise to ones twitter feed of Other Lib Dems that one is doing this - I call this the Lib Dem delivery brag - c.f. "Just popping out to do some leaflets in the morning" or it's sister the Lib Dem doorstep brag "On the doorstep in XXXXXX, beautiful sunny day".

It seems often Lib Dems especially seem to get very fired up by campaigning, and exist in a level of hyperactivity, in the literal sense, whenever anyone wants to campaign. In this sense, our leader with his excellent debate and "town hall meeting" skills, is an exemplary Lib Dem.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Let’s Move to OMOV

Following on from Sue Doughty’s excellent invitation to the consultation session on OMOV for our party’s important committees, I’d like to give my perspective as a young(er) member on why I will be supporting this move at conference this weekend.

Sometimes people on the inside of the party can forget what it’s like to be on the outside, and also what it’s like to be a new member. Imagine for a minute you’ve just joined the party, your eyes and ears full of ideas. You’ve joined the party because of a shining commitment to involving the whole party in policy, something the party is rightly proud of and you’re likely to have heard about from the leadership, your local party and conference itself.

Then conference time rolls around, you excitely sign up and you find you can’t vote on policy, or even the make-up of the committees as you’re not a conference rep, a concept you’ve may not have heard of! Perhaps you’ve joined through the website as an every growing number of us are now, and haven’t been able to get in touch with your local party yet? How disappointing would that be? Unmet expectations are at the bottom of a lot of dissatisfaction with politics. So, let’s take a moment to contemplate how much worse it would be if you’re that rare breed, someone with enough oomph to join a political party, especially the one that prides itself on member involvement and is looked on with envy by the others?

Some might say this detracts from holding the leadership to account, but I can’t see how - as the committees will still be there, only elected from a more comprehensive franchise - it’s the same structure but with a more inclusive franchise, a more modern one. It would be a very conservative view to assume there aren’t any improvements to be had from where we are, one looking back and not forward. I want to be part of a progressive party.

Some might say that they don’t understand our motives, but in reality they are clear - we want to improve the membership experience, include more party members in the franchise and stand up for democracy and an egalitarian approach to our party.

I look forward to this debate, because I hear from my younger friends, newer members and people that for whatever reason can’t be part of their local party structure, how frustrated they are with not being able to vote on policy or party committees. Let’s go forward to the future, and understand every liberal and democratic voice, through working to make more of our decisions mandated by more of our members.

This post was originally published on Lib Dem Voice and can be found here :