Its 1am on 15 January 2009 and I still haven’t finished my “nine wishes” for the year. How crap am I?
That very crapness is what I want to address, at least in passing, in number eight. By the end of 2008, I was frankly a bit of a misery guts. There are lots of reasons for that – the relentless media refrain of “we’re all dooooomed!!!” doubtless hasn’t helped much – but one of the reasons was that 2008 was just so busy for me.
Workwise, we have been on an upward spiral – but it has been tough. Barely finding a window to take my annual leave, I ended up taking the bulk of it at the end of the year. I barely found the chance to think for myself and it took a toll both on my cheeriness and on this blog.
I want 2009 to be different. Starting with my request for ideas for things I could do to cheer me up, I’ve ended up taking on a number of commitments – arguably too many.
Most of them I can’t talk about right now (but you’ll find out soon enough). Suffice to say that among these are plans to overhaul Liberal Drinks and develop some ideas which might increase take up, and to revive my plans for Reflecting Britain.
Unlike most of my other wishes, this one is entirely in my hands. Watch this space.
The debate over how to make our Parliamentary Parties more reflective of wider society is riven with entrenched assertions, with very little actual data to help inform the debate, so the Campaign for Gender Balance are to be congratulated for doing this little piece of research.
They have found that in the 63 constituencies where the Lib Dems have an MP, there are just 29 approved women candidates. In 44 of these constituencies, not a single woman is on the approved list.
Is it any wonder therefore that we have such a blind spot when it comes to getting female candidates to replace retiring male MPs?
This is even worse when you consider that around a third of the Lib Dems’ total membership is locked up in these seats. In total, the party has around 200 approve female candidates, so you would therefore expect the held seats to have 60-odd approved women candidates.
If every held constituency were to set itself the target of getting just one woman through the approval process we would, at a stroke, massively improve the gender imbalance of our candidates. The experience of the CGB over the past few years has been that just getting a few extra women improved can have a dramatic effect. So how about it guys?
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Gender Balance are trying to raise funds via Pledgebank, Jo Swinson MP, Baroness Walmsley and PPC Sarah Di Caprio have set up pledges to donate Â£20, Â£10 and Â£5 a month respectively with a view to raising an additional Â£5,000 annual income. Contrary to popular belief, the Campaign for Gender Balance hasn’t received any financial support via the party’s new Diversity Fund; in fact, this year it has had its grant cut slightly. Personally I believe it is one of the most effective, positive and liberal measures any party has yet come up to improve its diversity and deserves your support. Sign up!