Jo Swinson


>Last Friday my dear friends and fellow Northern Ireland Liberal Democrat Members Michael and Andrew got were civil partnered. Today there is a rather special occaion. There have been husband and wife teams in the House of Commons before but I don’t think any of them have got married while both were members, for example only Yvette Cooper was an MP when she and Ed Balls got married in 1998. (I’m prepared to be proven wrong). So congratulations to Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames.

However, it seems fitting that at Michael and Andrew’s Ceremony of Commitment last Saturday at All Souls’ Church in Belfast last Saturday that I was wearing Highland Dress as was one of the grooms, and some of the other guests that I keep my promise last Friday of the pictures to follow.

Here is me on the left in my Donegal tartan, with Kyle and Rory two of the Marshals, Kyle is wearing Red Ulster.

And here is one of last weekend’s happy couple with family, yes that is the Campbell tartan on Michael.

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Red magazine have named their top 20 women under 30 and includes three politicians one from each of the three main parties. From left to right they are Maryam Khan Labour PPC for Bury North, Jo Swinson Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire and Chloe Smith Conservative MP for Norwich North.

Now I’m not a regular reader of Red Magazine but they did send me an email promoting their March issue in which the full list of 20 is discussed. I don’t think Jo’s use of Red in the Common’s chamber while debating was the only reason she made this list.



Red magazine have named their top 20 women under 30 and includes three politicians one from each of the three main parties. From left to right they are Maryam Khan Labour PPC for Bury North, Jo Swinson Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire and Chloe Smith Conservative MP for Norwich North.

Now I’m not a regular reader of Red Magazine but they did send me an email promoting their March issue in which the full list of 20 is discussed. I don’t think Jo’s use of Red in the Common’s chamber while debating was the only reason she made this list.

>Well I’m sitting on the HSS heading away from Scotland (actually currently still surrounded by Scotland as we’re still in Loch Ryan) for the Christmas holidays, so I’m only just catching up on stuff that has been happening since my three trains to get here.

One thing I did see on TV before setting off was Jo Swinson talking about the Olay ad for wrinkle cream in which Twiggy’s wriggles had been airbrushed out, it aired at 7:40 this morning a time of that show I don’t usually see. Reading on Lib Dem Voice just now there is a party press release about the Advertising Standards Agency banning this misleading advert.

The fact that we live in botox world is no excuse for a company producing wrinkle reduction cream to try and compete on a par with that medical solution. The fact that the results as advertised where lies is something that the ASA needs to take a stand on and should be applauded for their decision in this case. Anyway I thought scientists had shown us that while the perfect image is our fantasy when it comes to reality it is the little imperfections of the person that we end up loving that endear them to us.

Listening to Jo this morning she put forward a very strong case for the whole body image argument against airbrushing in advertising giving false imagery for people to live up to. I say people because I was very impressed to her Jo say “and men too” when talking about the problem. Now I know that the campaign was part of the Real Woman initiative that the party made policy at conference in Bournemouth earlier this year, but as I pointed out at the time the issue it affects men as well.

To be honest I can’t honestly remember if I’ve actually raised the issue with Jo in person on the numerous times we have met in the intervening months. I know I have raised it with a number of people and was doing so at conference, even though I had another appointment at the time of the actual debate. However, I was glad to see that Jo has taken that point on board and whether I mentioned it to her directly or she read it on the blog or from other source this is truly an issue that isn’t really gender specific.

By the way Twiggy turned 60 on the day of the Real Woman debate of confernce. I know this without having to look it up as the debate took place on our mutual birthdays, though Twiggy is 20 years my senior.

Well I’m sitting on the HSS heading away from Scotland (actually currently still surrounded by Scotland as we’re still in Loch Ryan) for the Christmas holidays, so I’m only just catching up on stuff that has been happening since my three trains to get here.

One thing I did see on TV before setting off was Jo Swinson talking about the Olay ad for wrinkle cream in which Twiggy’s wriggles had been airbrushed out, it aired at 7:40 this morning a time of that show I don’t usually see. Reading on Lib Dem Voice just now there is a party press release about the Advertising Standards Agency banning this misleading advert.

The fact that we live in botox world is no excuse for a company producing wrinkle reduction cream to try and compete on a par with that medical solution. The fact that the results as advertised where lies is something that the ASA needs to take a stand on and should be applauded for their decision in this case. Anyway I thought scientists had shown us that while the perfect image is our fantasy when it comes to reality it is the little imperfections of the person that we end up loving that endear them to us.

Listening to Jo this morning she put forward a very strong case for the whole body image argument against airbrushing in advertising giving false imagery for people to live up to. I say people because I was very impressed to her Jo say “and men too” when talking about the problem. Now I know that the campaign was part of the Real Woman initiative that the party made policy at conference in Bournemouth earlier this year, but as I pointed out at the time the issue it affects men as well.

To be honest I can’t honestly remember if I’ve actually raised the issue with Jo in person on the numerous times we have met in the intervening months. I know I have raised it with a number of people and was doing so at conference, even though I had another appointment at the time of the actual debate. However, I was glad to see that Jo has taken that point on board and whether I mentioned it to her directly or she read it on the blog or from other source this is truly an issue that isn’t really gender specific.

By the way Twiggy turned 60 on the day of the Real Woman debate of confernce. I know this without having to look it up as the debate took place on our mutual birthdays, though Twiggy is 20 years my senior.

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I see Mark Thompson has beaten me to it posting about the BBC’s response to the complaints about the recent removal at the last minute of Jo Swinson from a Question Time panel in Edinburgh. However, that befits a man who shares his name with the Director General. Like Mark I’d raised the issue that the Lib Dems were the most differing opinion on the war of Iraq a big story of that week, on top of that I mentioned a couple of the more Scottish-centric issues that also popped up that week, I’m not sure if Mark mentioned those in his complaint, but I did.

Yet we both got the same response.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Question Time’.

We forwarded concerns on this issue to ‘Question Time’ Executive Editor Gavin Allen who explained that we constantly monitor the balance of the panel and that in light of their national electoral strength, the level of representation for the Liberal Democrats on the programme remains very strong.

He added that on this occasion the panel was rearranged to reflect a change in the prominence of some of the issues due to be discussed on the programme and in order to facilitate debate by having representatives willing to question the central political consensus on these issues, of which the Liberal Democrats are a part.

He also added that:

“It was regrettable – but necessary – that the decision to replace Jo Swinson was taken relatively late, but we have to keep a constant editorial eye out for the best possible panel and this can of course mean last-minute alterations. To ensure the widest range of political views are heard there are occasions across the series when nationalists or minority parties are invited onto the panel”.

We’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Regards

BBC Complaints

I’ve highlighted a few of the issues that we of my own concern, issues that didn’t answer the issues I raised.. One of mine was that while Nicola Sturgeon was on that show there wasn’t a single other Scottish based member of the panel. I have, as I pointed out in my original complaint no qualms about the SNP appearing on Question Time. What I did raise that on a Question Time with a Scottish audience they removed the only other Scottish representation from the panel.

The prominence of the issues to be discussed. How they could know these 24 hours before the audience turned up to ask their questions is beyond be, however, I was far better at guessing these than the BBC editorial team seemed to be. Yes there was going to be the Iraq war enquiry and no the Lib Dems never have been part of the central political consensus on that issue. There were also Questions on:

  • Jim Murphy’s White paper delaying more powers to Scotland to the next Parliament
  • the SNP alcohol’s policy where the Lib Dems in Scotland do have an agreed alternative policy
  • the banks getting away with more, another area that the Lib Dems are and have been leading the political debate

So how the BBC can justify

  • a) dropping another Scot to counter Nicola Sturgeon, especially when they were already on the panel
  • or
  • b) dropping the one party that stand outs on many of the questions that were actually asked

is beyond me. I though it was meant to be “My BBC”. Yet despite the questions that were going to be asked they went for three colours of sameness in Lord Falconer, David Davis and Melanie Phillips.

As for it being regrettable but necessary to drop Jo Swinson, this is the second time this year she has been dropped at such sort notice. At least this time she hadn’t made plans to go out of her way. Edinburgh after all isn’t that far away from her East Dunbartonshire constituency. Also when have they ever dropped the Labour or Conservative politician from the panel to add diversity, or indeed ever dropped one not to be replaced by another. Indeed only last week as well as a Conservative MP we had Kirsty Allsop who is advising the Tories on housing, where is the balance in such a panel. Often the Lib Dems only have a liberal leaning celebrity to raise our points instead not as well as a politician.

I see Mark Thompson has beaten me to it posting about the BBC’s response to the complaints about the recent removal at the last minute of Jo Swinson from a Question Time panel in Edinburgh. However, that befits a man who shares his name with the Director General. Like Mark I’d raised the issue that the Lib Dems were the most differing opinion on the war of Iraq a big story of that week, on top of that I mentioned a couple of the more Scottish-centric issues that also popped up that week, I’m not sure if Mark mentioned those in his complaint, but I did.

Yet we both got the same response.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Question Time’.

We forwarded concerns on this issue to ‘Question Time’ Executive Editor Gavin Allen who explained that we constantly monitor the balance of the panel and that in light of their national electoral strength, the level of representation for the Liberal Democrats on the programme remains very strong.

He added that on this occasion the panel was rearranged to reflect a change in the prominence of some of the issues due to be discussed on the programme and in order to facilitate debate by having representatives willing to question the central political consensus on these issues, of which the Liberal Democrats are a part.

He also added that:

“It was regrettable – but necessary – that the decision to replace Jo Swinson was taken relatively late, but we have to keep a constant editorial eye out for the best possible panel and this can of course mean last-minute alterations. To ensure the widest range of political views are heard there are occasions across the series when nationalists or minority parties are invited onto the panel”.

We’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Regards

BBC Complaints

I’ve highlighted a few of the issues that we of my own concern, issues that didn’t answer the issues I raised.. One of mine was that while Nicola Sturgeon was on that show there wasn’t a single other Scottish based member of the panel. I have, as I pointed out in my original complaint no qualms about the SNP appearing on Question Time. What I did raise that on a Question Time with a Scottish audience they removed the only other Scottish representation from the panel.

The prominence of the issues to be discussed. How they could know these 24 hours before the audience turned up to ask their questions is beyond be, however, I was far better at guessing these than the BBC editorial team seemed to be. Yes there was going to be the Iraq war enquiry and no the Lib Dems never have been part of the central political consensus on that issue. There were also Questions on:

  • Jim Murphy’s White paper delaying more powers to Scotland to the next Parliament
  • the SNP alcohol’s policy where the Lib Dems in Scotland do have an agreed alternative policy
  • the banks getting away with more, another area that the Lib Dems are and have been leading the political debate

So how the BBC can justify

  • a) dropping another Scot to counter Nicola Sturgeon, especially when they were already on the panel
  • or
  • b) dropping the one party that stand outs on many of the questions that were actually asked

is beyond me. I though it was meant to be “My BBC”. Yet despite the questions that were going to be asked they went for three colours of sameness in Lord Falconer, David Davis and Melanie Phillips.

As for it being regrettable but necessary to drop Jo Swinson, this is the second time this year she has been dropped at such sort notice. At least this time she hadn’t made plans to go out of her way. Edinburgh after all isn’t that far away from her East Dunbartonshire constituency. Also when have they ever dropped the Labour or Conservative politician from the panel to add diversity, or indeed ever dropped one not to be replaced by another. Indeed only last week as well as a Conservative MP we had Kirsty Allsop who is advising the Tories on housing, where is the balance in such a panel. Often the Lib Dems only have a liberal leaning celebrity to raise our points instead not as well as a politician.

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