Monday, 28 January 2013

Blue Blairite One Year on....

So it is one year ago today that I finally filled in the forms and took the leap to become a fully paid up member of the Conservative Party and I haven't looked back since.....

Over the last year I have made some amazing friends from across the UK and I've been inspired by the hard work and intelligent views of a whole range of individuals such as:

  • Cllr Clare George-Hilley and her great work with Conservative Future Women (launch event was a great welcome to the party),
  • Deborah Dunleavy an engaging professional women doing some truly fantastic work supporting women to succeed with Women2Win. (always feel inspired seeing what you have achieved)
  • Alycia James one of the hardest working and most down to earth young Councillors I've met and one of the best friends I've made despite living miles apart!
  • Charlotte Argyle a truly passionate positive campaigner who with her work with Conservative Women's Organisation and generally in the party has helped to make me feel valued and engaged with as a working professional women and young member, 
  • Sarah Jane Sewell a fantastic Conservative Future Deputy Chairman who have enjoyed engaging with this year,
  • Cllr Ian Lewis a truly all round package who is one of the party' true diamonds a person I feel privileged to call a friend
  • Cllr Leah Fraser who has done nothing but make me feel welcome in the local party is hard working and a friend who I value a lot
  • Ben Howlett Conservative Future's fabulous chairman who has lead CF from strength to strength and I know will go on to make a wonderful MP (will happy to turn up to help on your campaign!), 
  • Salford bunch who I have enjoyed meeting at many events and sharing campaign geekery with on many occasions!
  • The rest of Wirral Conservative party and Councillors many of who I have enjoyed meeting and campaigning with over the last year and who I am looking forward to hopefully being a candidate for with over the coming year fingers crossed, 
  • Robert Manning a hard working great North West CF Chairman :)
  • Oliver Cooper for being one of the most sensible and knowledgeable  Conservative Libertarians I've met and being an all round engaging guy.
  • Cllr Pamela Hall for your fantastic work ethic, fun campaign sessions and your all round positivity!
  • Tony Caldeira one of the most down to earth people I have met in politics you are under valued, been a pleasure getting to know you this year and working on your campaign for Liverpool Mayor last May
  • Liverpool Conservative Party all of you have been a pleasure to know and made me feel welcome from day one,
  • Esther McVey MP one of the most engaging MPs in Parliament and a pleasure to have as a local MP in Wirral!
  • Louise Mensch who helped start me on my journey by opening the door to the party right at the beginning THANK YOU!
  • Daniel Byles MP who ive enjoyed sharing views and engaging with throughout the yr via social media a real pleasure! 

I'm sure I've missed some other fabulous people but as you can see its been a wonderful year and the friends I've made have made it even better!

I started off the year as a new member disillusioned with politics from my time as a centrist Blairite in the Labour Party and since then I've met the Home Secretary, Several other government ministers, too many MPs to mention, Ive campaigned from Bradford West in the north to Corby in the south, became a party campaign coordinator, a conservative appointed school governor, an approved local government conservative candidate, part of the team planning a new Conservative Future Branch in Wirral and leading on developing the proposal for a new party organisation "Conservative Friends of the Falklands" (hoping party will accept the proposal when we have it developed). I now feel engaged valued and excited about my future and politics in general and know I am in a party who is taking the country in the right direction for a brighter and more sustainable future.

The conservative party values what you bring to the table not who is bringing it or what equality group you come from. I've found the harder you work the more valued your are and the more you get back in return these are the values the party lives by and the values we want to help instill into the country and in government and values which will help deliver a successful society where everyone has equal opportunity to succeed and where diversity is lived not just something you find on an equality tick box form or a glossy Labour Party leaflet.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow Versus Great Britain Time to MAN UP

Many nations around the world put up with extremes of weather be in the freezing conditions of the arctic circle in Canada and Alaska or the Hot dry climate of Australia. In fact "British Weather" is a phrase known around the world too. This week we have seen the BIG CHILL come to the UK with snow and freezing temperatures hit most parts of the country. One might expect Britain's to be responding with that stiff upper lip with a carry on and make do attitude but in reality this couldnt be further from the truth.....

The snow fall the UK has had has not been to the extent of meters of snow on our words or sub arctic temperatures of minus 15 or lower in fact most main routes are clear, most footpaths can be walked on and I didn't need to wear a snow survival suit to leave the house. However despite this businesses are closed, trains and flights are cancelled, hospitals put on Level 3 alerts, workplaces cancelling meetings and people taking a "snow day" having a lie in and not going into work.

We are in the middle of a economic crisis, have a crippling national debt, people are meant to be struggling to pay the bills and businesses on the brink of administration yet some fluffy snow flakes and cooler temperatures make the UK streets and workplaces look like the Mary Celeste. Like the Mary Celeste we have the resources to get us through yet no one is using them. This morning I ventured across half of rural Cheshire via two buses and two short walks to get into the office not through being a superwomen, having special snow shoes (3" heels today) or some kind of supernatural luck but because I had a job to do and today was no different than any other.

Today will of cost the UK £millions in lost work time, capacity and output across various sectors and some people will have even took un paid days off rather then venturing outside in the cold despite how we are all meant to be struggling to budget with our earnings as it is. This is a cost the country can ill afford and demonstrates a fall in work ethnic and attitude of times gone by when people made it into the office come rain or shine.

My message to businesses, transport companies, bin men not collecting bins today, health and safety jobsworths, people who took a snowday and general hysteria please lets be "GREAT" Britain again MAN UP and get back out to work lets get Britain back into the red instead of wallowing in the cold snow and adding to our national debt!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Nothing Wrong With Being a Princess

As a diversity consultant I work every day to help ensure we live in a society that gives everyone equal opportunities to succeed and that services and businesses meet the needs of their communities and markets.

Women have fought long and hard for the right to vote, be allowed to work, earn the same as men and to be viewed as more than just a mother or home maker. I will be the first to stand up against the horrendous violence and abuse that many women still face. However we also face a crisis of identity many women get attacked or feel uncomfortable doing things they enjoy because they are seen as "betraying the feminist cause". 

Well I am here to say men and women are different we do enjoy different things and can be better at different things too. That doesnt mean no women make good soldiers for example or want to be in the army but that more men do and thats not because of society but because of differences between the genders.

We should not be afraid to dress up, enjoy expensive heels, gorgeous evening gowns, sparkling tiaras and go out as the princesses we feel especially if we have a nice partner to spoil us too. I don't feel less equal if I have a nice man buying me cocktails all night and admiring my curves while I grace the dance floor in a flowing evening dress.... in fact I feel rather empowered and in control, especially if I am out with a group of friends and we have spent the evening pampering and spoiling our selves before we headed out to an expensive bar and restaurant. Just because I enjoy being treat like a princess doesnt mean the next day I wont be kicking the same guys ass's in the board room in fact if you know me thats exactly what I will be doing.

Feminism has made leaps and bounds of ensuring women have free will rights and an equal place in society, now we need to make sure it continues to focus on the barriers women still face and violence and abuse that exist in society, not dictating our wardrobe, drink choice or how we like to be pampered by men (or other women) partners.

Every Girl Likes to be a Princess may not be 100% true but for those that do let your hair down put on a tiara and tell the bra burners La Senza had a sale and your not ashamed to show the curves you own!

The Falklands THE BIG QUESTION Announced

The Falkland Island's Government have announced the question for their referendum on their political status taking place on March 10th and 11th.

The question that will be put to Falkland Islanders is: 

"Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom?"
“YES or NO”

Over 2400 Falkland Islanders will go to the polls to decide the future of the Island indisputably.  Under the Island's constitution residents have the right to self determination and the vote will send out a message loud and clear on the wishes of the native population.
Whilst it is fairly clear that residents are going to vote yes in the referendum, the result is likely to cause increasing diplomatic friction between the UK and Argentina and military plans have already been put in place to ensure the safety and defence of the Islands over the coming months.
As a nation we have a proud history of allowing self determination to our overseas territory but also of following the principle that British soil is British soil where ever it is found on the globe. We will defend British citizens and territory whether its on the banks of the Thames or islands in the south Atlantic.
In the next few years the oil reserves found around the Falklands are going to become a important resource for residents and the world economy and its important politically that we maintain our strong links and relationship with the Island's government and residents.
 I for one are proud of my British subjects across the sea who have put up a stiff upper lip to the Argentinian aggression and maintained their little bit of quintessential Britain on the edge of the subarctic maritime climate zone three cheers for the Falklands.
Hip Hip Hooray
Hip Hip Hooray
Hip Hip Hooray
and God save the Queen.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bridging the gulf with coffee and a chat

This week we have seen alot of discussion around transphobia in the media. Following some upset and anger myself at some of what I had read, I decided that the best way to engage and challenge ignorance of the trans community was through talking and sharing experiences. We have seen alot of anger from across different communities over the last few days and its important we recognise how strong some of those feelings have been especially from vulnerable and often abused members of the Trans community. 

If we are to move past this and continue our move for equality and campaign for the end of violence and abuse against all women, trans people and people in general we need to look to build bridges and help people understand our feelings and experiences rather than simply through the expression of anger. Inspired by the always fantastic Paris Lee's letter to Suzanne Moore I thought inviting Julie Burchill for coffee and the chance to exchange views and experiences might be a positive way forward :)

Dear Julie,

I am writing as you would put it as a member of the “trans lobby” you described in your recent article.
I am not writing to give out hate however but to invite you to share a coffee and a chat to share our experiences.

This week a lot of people have been angry, angry at the injustice towards women in the world (Suzanne Moore), angry at ignorance of how trans people are perceived (Trans community), angry at how hurtful people can be when they are upset (Yourself), angry at allies in the fight for equality turning on one another like dogs (all of us).

This anger all started from an article written by a woman who has spoken eloquently in the past around the need for equality for all women where she not in a malicious manner but an ignorant one used “Brazilian transsexuals” as the butt of her argument within the article. Now this I agree did not make me jump off my seat with shock or anger (I see worse published every week in the Daily Mail) however was uncomfortable to see an ally in the fight for equality ignorantly using language in an unhelpful way that further perpetuates the abuse many Trans people face. 

Unfortunately words were had and I am sure Suzanne received messages that were not helpful and completely out of order, all be it made by people feeling vulnerable and threatened. As a result Suzanne made some comments in the heat of the moment that well really made me go “WOW has she just said that?”

You then felt the need to come to the defence of your friend, sister and ally in the fight for women’s equality a sentiment I can understand whilst not agreeing with your methods.
What I found most sad about reading your article was the very generalisations and stereotypes you and other feminists like myself have been campaigning against you seemed able to throw right back at the transgender community you felt had upset your friend. You talked about the fight for equality and the big issues in the world and the need for a focused women’s movement, but then with insulting upsetting and clumsy language drove many of your fellow sisters and allies away.

Reading your article was upsetting not least because I’m not a Shemale, Shim, a dick in chicks clothing or a Tranny, but I’m a women just like you a sister and a feminist who wants us to work together against the violence and abuse faced by women from all backgrounds. What was most upsetting was seeing allies in the fight for equality been turned against each other like dogs in a dog fight instead of sisters united against misogyny.

Often what appears to be Transphobia is often based on lack of knowledge or experience all of us are born ignorant and its only through talking and sharing experiences do many people understand the issues that can often lead to upset and anger from the Trans community.  When it comes to heated arguments and entrenched positions sharing experiences can also help bridge the gulf of viewpoints and help to cool the anger that has resulted from polarised views.

That in mind as a trans women I would like to extend an olive branch over the modern cultural sanctuary of a coffee and a chat, an opportunity to share experiences and views and move beyond the hate and anger we have seen over the last few days. Like you I’m prone to controversy having been a Labour Party Officer who defected to the Conservatives last year and now a lay Trade Union Officer and Conservative Party Campaign Coordinator, I know we can share some common ground on breaking the mold and I hope you will consider accepting my offer.

Kind Regards

Tara Hewitt

Feminist, Diversity Consultant, Trade Unionist, Conservative Party Member and Trans Women

Friday, 4 January 2013

Labour Policy Taken from USA Comedy "Dave"

Today the Labour Party announced a flagship jobs policy "guaranteed job for everyone" designed to attack the Coalition government on unemployment and show they are a serious opposition with serious policies after accusations of them having no policies at all.

However it would appear in an attempt to push off criticism around their lack of policy they have resorted to a rather "unusual method" for policy development. 

Take a USA Comedy hit film about a Man put in the white house to impersonate the president, pick a slapstick policy put in as a simplistic crescendo to the film and then turn it into a real whistle and bells Labour Party branded policy. Simple, creative alternative and they might of got away with it if it wasnt for one thing? The film was shown on national TV last night, oh the irony! (check out the film plot here)

Well at least they tried? They have gone from having no policy to a copy of a comedy policy whats next for Labour? Will we find out Ed Miliband is really just impersonating as leader until the real leader his brother comes back David/Dave?

Or maybe we will see the Labour policy team taking policy from other block buster hits? any suggestions please put on a postcode and send to: 

The Labour Party 
One Brewer's Green

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) Call to Ban the Prime Minister and Attack Rich People in the Northwest

Today the Prime Minister David Cameron, made a visit to the Northwest to visit business leaders in Liverpool. Due to social factors and the cities history, unemployment has been higher here than in other parts of the UK which of course has had a knock on effect on the City's economy. A visit by the Prime Minister you would think would be welcomed as an opportunity to bring growth to the city, a chance for business leaders to talk about the issues they face and look to ensure they are best placed to create new jobs in the city and the North West in 2013.

However despite many including the large contingent of business leaders who turned out to meet and welcome David Cameron, PCS lead a minority of "professional Protesters" in a call to Ban the Prime Minister from the City with the Slogan "YOUR NOT WELCOME HERE" which they used across social networks to attack the Prime Ministers Visit.

PCS have a long history of militant action which has in the past lead to further damage their cause rather than leading to meaningful and positive outcomes. They were the main Union to take a more aggressive stance over pensions despite the more engaging and positive voices from unions such as Unison which displayed trade unions in a negative light to the public especially amongst those who only have access to a private sector pension.

Following todays protest the Regional Secretary of PCS responded to Blue Blairite by saying instead of the PM talking to Businesses to help them create Jobs in the city we should be attacking the growth makers and business leaders themselves with extra tax increases and rhetoric.... hmmm in other words the slogan to the Prime Minster "Your Not Welcome Here" could be directed at business leaders too the very people looking to create growth, jobs and improve the cities economy.

This looks like some in Liverpool want to go back to the dark days of Militant in the city blaming everyone else for the problems and preferring to protest than getting on a bike to find a job. The Left constantly claim that it was Thatcher who wanted to lead Liverpool into a "Managed Decline" after today it looks like PCS have took up that mantle because without the support of the government (who are "not welcome here") or business leaders (who it would appear they want to tax soo much they are "not welcome here" either) Liverpool will be following a managed decline lead by its Militant leaders. Time has come to stand up to these people who are following their own interests and not the interests of the City or the Northwest.