Much ado about Botswana

The three chiefs and justice Gaberone by BoHeMIo
It’s been happening for many years. Decades. The Lib Dems, and the Liberal party before it, are part of Liberal International. Ideas and help are shared, by invitation, with fellow liberal parties around the world.

Recently some liberals went to help our sister party, BMD, in the Botswanan elections.

So far, so earnest.

Liberal Democrat Voice often carries articles about liberals helping overseas as part of Liberal International.

Normally such articles excite very little interest. Such an article appeared about Botswana and it all went smoothly.

…Until someone suggested (and I’m blithely paraphrasing so please do read the full enchilada here) that such help was a type of harking back to colonialism.

Oh dear. Liberal International is organised regionally and there is no template of policies pushed on other countries. All help given is strictly by invite, in this case by the Africa Liberal Network.

And then someone (not, I believe, a Lib Dem party member) threw in a bit of a hand grenade. A racist remark. This was made at 11pm and was taken down at 8am after a complaint. Please mark and inwardly digest that sentence. The racist remark was taken off the internet after only a handful of people had seen it overnight. The early hours of the morning are not exactly peak hours for people reading relatively old posts about Liberal International shenanighans.

A couple of people had, by that time, replied to the remark with impassioned reasoning. Bearing that in mind, a proposal to reinstate the remark, with the replies and with a clear statement condemning the remark, was made and accepted by interested people in Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats.

So the remark was reinstated with replies and editorial condemnation.

Then someone who I greatly respect resigned from the party.

It’s all a bit bizarre. A bit like the annual Fuchsia show turning into World War Three.

I currently don’t know what to make of it all, but time, as usual, will put everything into perspective.

We must respect differing perspectives but, if appropriate, we must also challenge them without rancour or dismissiveness.

Photo of the Justice statue in Gaborone, Botswana by BoHemIo

Advertisements

In praise of the Care Act 2014 and AgeUK

old care photo
I’m at that certain age. You spend your whole life not even thinking about pensions, or paying for Universities or nursing homes. And then you get to the age when you think about little else. I am there.

We’ve been through that very confusing shock when a 100% able-bodied and independent relative becomes, overnight, 100% dependent on care. Wading through the bewildering and worrying facts and figures about going into care homes, and facing the sudden possibility of needing Lasting Power of Attornies, a house clearance/sale and £1000 bills per week is utterly petrifying.

Thank God for AgeUK, who have been able to put our minds at rest and help us through the thicket of complexities. Their advisors know all the details and are marvellous at calming nervous minds.

In amongst all the complexities I discovered the Care Act 2014.

There is a strange rule (not universal) in politics. The stuff that really matters is hardly noticed and nobody thanks the politicians who do it. That is the fate of the Care Act 2014. At last, it introduces a cap at which the state takes over the payment of care. At last it will mean that children will not be faced with cashing all their parents’ assets to pay a seemingly endless bill for care. I suspect that most people that will benefit from this Act do not realise that it’s been passed at the moment. By the time they are affected by it, I suspect they will take it for granted. But it is an extraordinary act of parliament which will really improve lives (from April 2016).

Sorry about Linda, but delighted to support @daisy4change

I am personally very sad that Linda Jack did not get the required number of nomination signatures in time to stand as President of the Liberal Democrats. Linda would have been a fantastic keeper of the Liberal Democrat flame.

I am now supporting Daisy Cooper to be party President. It is quite clear to me that she is the best candidate of the three nominees. She is the real “new broom” which we need. I am particularly impressed with her reflections on internal democracy for the party. But, most of all, she has the sort of young, dynamic personality which we need to lead the party forward.

Location of Newbury Question Time and tragic accident which led to three of the panellists being late

Some people have searched for the location of Question Time in Newbury last night. It was at St Bartholomew’s school.

There was a tragic, fatal accident at the Ufton Nervet railway crossing last night. This delayed three of the Question Time guests (Sir Menzies Campbell, Jeremy Hunt and Angela Eagle) for more than an hour. One report said the delay was at least 103 minutes long. Passengers were eventually taken off the train at Newbury Racecourse station. There was a report that the three delayed panelists didn’t get to the set until 9.30pm, leaving it very tight to record an hour-long programme for broadcast at 10.45pm. The panel was completed by Isabel Oakeshott and Rev Giles Fraser.

RIP Sheila Tracy, the first woman to read the news on BBC Radio Four

Listening to ickle Jamie Cullen on Radio Two last night, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Sheila Tracy, bless her.

Sheila Tracy was a large feature in my early years, as she introduced “Spotlight South West” and was a general announcer and newsreader on BBC South West from Cornwall. I think she was there at around the same time as Hugh Scully, Joe Pengelly and Sue Lawley, while Ken MacLeod, Angela Rippon, Stuart Hitchison, Del Cooper, Clive Gunnell et al were on the “other side” on Westward.

She was a very good broadcaster.

She went on to become a major jazz and big band music presenter on BBC Radio Two, which is why our Jamie was paying tribute to her.

Oh, and I should mention that Sheila Tracy was a Cornish maid from Mullion (shown in the photo above). She went to Truro Girls’School.