Dreams can come true

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One thing I’ve always been told is “Never meet your heroes. They will just disappoint you!” and many people never have the chance to meet them. However, last night I met my hero. Former MP for Eastleigh and energy secretary Mr Chris Huhne, and I was far from let down.

For many of you who have read my blog or know me personally,  will know that this man is the reason I joined the Liberal Democrats. Because of his dedication in helping my family on two occasions and to Eastleigh. I always hoped that one day I would be able to meet him in person to thank him for his dedication but never thought I would get the chance.

Well, at the 2016 Liberal Democrat autumn conference, I did just that. When I heard that he was talking at a fringe event Sunday evening, the fan girl within me freaked out. Suddenly I thought “This is it, I can finally thank him!”.

When he walked through the door I thought I would freeze with nervousness at the prospect of speaking to him. Then all of sudden I was introduced to Chris by a friend of his,  I must say, he is one of the nicest politicians I have ever met.

I told him my story of the occasions in which he helped my family, that he was the reason I joined the party and without his inspiration, I wouldn’t  be where I am today within party. He seemed interested  in hearing my story and was very kind when I asked for a photo with him.

After he had given his talk about the environmental impact that Brexit will have. I went up to him and asked him if he would signed my copy of “The green book: New directions for liberal in government.” In which Chris writes about green growth within the economy and that going green has to be fair. And he did.

Both chapters are very well written and very enjoyable to read.

I then lastly said to Chris “It was very to finally lovely to met you!” and he said “It was very nice to meet you to!” I think that was the part that made my day the most and I went off as one very happy person.

Meeting Chris was the highlight of my Autumn conference experience and one moment I will never forget.

Since joining the Liberal Democrats I was elected to become part of the Liberal Youth policy committee. Also, within my first year becoming Eastleighs social media executive and also Eastleighs Liberal Youth representative.

But not just that. My confidence has flourished and my fear of public speaking eradicated as well as making many amazing friends.

Without this mans inspiration, none of my experiences within the Liberal Democrats would have been possible. For that I am forever grateful.

 

If you would like to read in more depth about how Chris helped my family and any past articles I have written about Chris work, please click the link below to my pass articles.

 

Why I joined the Liberal Democrats

The Green Deal: “Cutting carbon is not a luxury to be ditched when the going gets tough!”

REVIEW: Chris Huhnes appearance on BBC This Week

 

 

 

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The EU referendum: My experience

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In the early hours on the 24th June 2016, I was sitting at my count in Eastleigh waiting for our results to be announced for the Borough. Worrying that the result for our country and our future was not the one I was hoping for.

Not long after 10pm, the ballot boxes began to arrive and the counting of the votes began. As my role as a counting agent I stood there watching the votes being unfolded and I started to see what I saw as a worrying pattern. Leave, leave, remain, leave. And as the counting went on I saw this same pattern again and again.

Then at 3:30am on Friday 24th June 2016, The Eastleigh Borough  results were announced and that 52.5% of people who had voted in the Borough, wanted to LEAVE the European union. At this point in time as well I was starting to hear results from all around the country. And as dawn broke I woke up to the news that I really didn’t want to hear. Britain had voted to LEAVE the EU and that David Cameron had announced his resignation as prime minister.

At that point in time when I heard the news  I felt a mixture of emotions (anger, sadness, confusion)but most of all, heartbreak! Heartbreak because I knew that this result, would have a big impact on my generation and the many generations that are yet to come.

During the weeks leading up I campaigned as much as I could with the Eastleigh Liberal Democrats because I had (and still have) the strong belief that Britain in better off within the EU.

I believed this for a number of reasons such as the freedom of movement within EU countries which meant as a student nurse I would have the chance to study freely within EU countries if I so desired. As well as access to free health care within EU countries, the many different types of rights we got from the EU, as well as well movement of trade with EU countries.

Whilst I was out door knocking, leafleting or helping out of Stronger IN stalls I met a very different variety of people with all different types of stories from how they have benefited from us being to EU, to being shouted at and even had a door slammed in my face by leave voters. However i’ll never forgot the two loveliest leave voters I met at my count, who didn’t rub it in our faces that we lost, they showed us respect and dignity, which is what all people within politics should show to each other, no matter what their opinion.

I’ll also never forget when I was helping out on the stall at Eastleigh Market and I was explaining to an undecided voter, my reasons for why I think we should stay within the EU. Not only had I managed to convince him to vote remain, but he also said to me “You know, we need more young people like you to get involved and take an interest in politics. You my dear are a breath of fresh air!”

Remain campaigners  we should not forgot all our efforts and hard work over the many weeks we campaigned. We did our best, and we can be proud of that.

But now we must leave and try and move on as a nation and as people! The challenges that are ahead are ones we must face together! We will not let this defeat us. We are British, and we can be proud of how far we have come.

 

 

My first year

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As of the 14th April 2016 I have officially been a member of the Liberal Democrats for one whole year. And did I renew my membership? Of course I did! It’s safe to say it has been an eventful and rewarding year.

So much has happened in the past twelve months that has made me realised that the Liberal Democrats is where I belong.

One of the highlights of my first year is that I have had the privileged of attending two federal conferences. Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016. It is fair to say that conference is an absolutely blast. At my very first conference I spoke in the general election review, this was a very rewarding yet terrifying experience. However the positive feedback I received afterwords from fellow members made all those nerves worth while. It also gave me the chance to meet many people who I had spoken to on twitter and may have gone a bit crazy on the spending in the conference shop.This is also where I met the leader himself Tim Farron, he is one of the nicest and down to earth people I have ever met. It was great to talk to him.

Spring 2016 also taught me what conference on a shoe string really meant, with spending most of the money I had in Wetherspoons. However it was still one hell of a weekend (despite the limited funds I had left after!) Spring was also the closest I had even been to meeting Nick Clegg, and even getting a photo with his back (close enough). It was also the first chance I had voting for policy which made the whole weekend even more rewarding. I look forward to Autumn 2016.

The biggest achievement in my first year as a member has to be within only six months of becoming a member and thinking that nobody knew who I was, I was elected to become part of the policy committee within the Liberal Youth. Holding this position has been an amazing experience for me and I’m so lucky to be working with such an amazing policy officer.

Locally (Eastleigh) as well I have been helping out in elections as much as I can. The first ever election I helped out in was the by-election in  Chandlers Ford in October 2015. This was the first time that I had ever been canvassing which I really enjoyed.It was also where I was given my first ever Liberal Democrat rosette by ex Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton. I now wear this rosette every time I go canvassing.

I have also been helping out in the recent local election. On Wednesday 27th April I went canvassing with the leader himself (Tim Farron) in Bishopstoke with my local party and even got to knock a few doors with him. On Saturday I did my first ever round of delivery. This was a very interesting experience with me learning a few things; 1. A dog may bite your fingers off (as one was very close to biting me) 2. Take your headphones, your going to need them. I look forwarding to casting my first ever vote on May 5th, for the Liberal Democrats of course!

I hope to increase my involvement within my local party more in the upcoming months.

But despite all the politics, I have made a great deal of  friends. Many who I shared a drink, or two with at conference.And some I talk to on a regular basis

Without the party I would have never met one my dearest friends, Callum Littlemore who I always have to send a photo of my conference outfits for approval. Thank you Callum for being the most amazing liberal friend a girl could ask for.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have made me feel so welcome and supported me throughout my first twelve and a half months of being a member.

I can not wait to see what the next twelve months hold. But I know it will be an adventure!

 

Autumn conference 2015: What it has all been about for me

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So the Autumn conference has been and gone. And I had the most amazing two days. It was a privileged to meet to many Liberal Democrats like myself  who share the same views and passion for liberal values. Was also an amazing honour to have a few members approach me to say to say how much they enjoy reading my blog.

Never did I think in a million years would I have the confidence to stand up in front of hundreds of people and deliver my speech in the 2015 Election review. It was a terrifying but rewarding experience with many people coming up to me to say how well they think I did, even though I was absolutely terrified and thought I did really badly! With even Paddy Ashdown complementing on how well I did.

I even spoke in the policy session in the beginning of conference saying about how we should engage with members who want to vote and become involved in the policy making process  my using social media. But also how we could use online voting to allow members who are unable to make it to federal conference the opportunity to vote on Liberal Democrat polices.

During Saturday evening who came up to me to say hello? It was only Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. It was amazing to have the opportunity to meet him and talk to him about why I joined the party. He is such a kind man who is doing an amazing job as leader. That is one meeting i’m not likely to forget in a hurry.

It was also nice to see Paddy Ashdown work his DJ skills at the Lib Dem disco. Which was a fun night had by all!

Then when I came back for the last day of conference. I met three Liberal Democrat legends. Norman Lamb, Tom Brake and Nick Clegg (Even though it was for two seconds and he didn’t have time to have a photo with me). Norman and Tom were both very lovely.

Tim Farrons speech was both inspiring and liberating. Never have I seen a speech with so much  passion and drive. And yes I admit, I did have a little cry at the end of Tims speech. Tims speech really shows that we will always be needed within British politics.

The highlight of conference for me was the fact I got to meet many youths like myself who have a keen interest in politics and the future of our country. And the fact I am also now the proud owner of my very own Liberal Democrat clipboard.

This conference was such an amazing and rewarding experience. I look forward to the many conferences to come.

The Lib Dem fightback has well and truly began and this conference was just the beginning.

Election 2015 review: Where did it all go wrong?

On the first day at the 2015 Liberal Democrat autumn conference, I delivered my speech about our campaign in the 2015 general election. In my speech instead on mentioning what we did wrong. I spoke about what we did right. During the 2015 general election, I think we delivered a strong campaign and here is why.

As I said at conference, during the election I did not meet one Liberal Democrat MP, candidate, councillor, campaigner etc who did not work hard to spread the Liberal Democrat message and aim which is to create a country in which we have a stronger economy, a fairer society and opportunity for everyone no matter where you are from.

After all in my opinion, our manifesto for this election in my opinion was the best manifesto we have ever produced. With the clear message that we would cut less than the Conservatives and borrow less than Labour. The sections that appealed to me the most was we would do for the NHS and for the younger generation.

Such as invest 8 billion in the NHS with £500 million a year for mental health services. And for the younger generation double the amount of apprenticeships already created as well as transform  mental health services for younger people which will allow them for access to mental health services.

One of the biggest challenges we faced in the election was showing the nation the amount of good work we did whilst we were in coalition with the Conservatives from 2010-2015 as lack of press coverage meant this would be a tricky challenge. Such as deliver a £825 a year tax cut to low and middle income families, created 2 million apprenticeships for young people, a 2.5 billion year pupil premium for education and as a result of improving mental health services, 2 million mental health patients were treated between 2010-2015. Now that is one hell of a result!

The public didn’t vote for us because they didn’t like us. They voted for the Conservatives because of fear. And that fear is of Labour and the SNP going into coalition and the fear of not trusting Labour with your economy after the mess they left in before 2010.

I believe that 2020 will be our year. The year the phoenix rises from the ashes and people will finally start to realise that the Liberal Democrats are the only party who can finish the recovery of Britain’s economy, but most importantly do it fairly.

As I said in my speech at conference “The 2015 general election was not a defeat, it was just the ammunition we needed for us to work harder!”  

I will always proud to be part of the Liberal Democrats and will also continue to fight for what we stand for. As I will always believe we are what is best for the country and for the future.

The fightback well and truly began the moment the polling station closed at 10pm on May 7th 2015. And oh boy, isn’t it a fightback indeed.

My top three reasons why people should vote

Despite having the biggest turn out of voters in 18 years,in the 2015 general election, I was shocked to find many people hadn’t voted. In my opinion if you don’t vote, you shouldn’t moan about the current government if you don’t like them. As it was stated that in the 2010 general election 15.9 million people didn’t vote. Imagine what a difference that would have made to the results. Yes our electoral system needs to be looked at to make sure the number of seats matches votes. But voting is still one of many ways you can have your say on the countries decisions. So here are my top three reasons as to why people should vote.

  1. People died for the right to vote 

Yes, this one if mainly aimed at women as we all know about the Suffragettes. For those of you who don’t. The Suffragettes was the move that wanted women to be given the right to vote. the move for women to have the vote had really started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage. The most known act associated with the Suffragettes took place during June 1913 when a fellow suffragette Emily Wilding Dawson threw herself under the king’s horse and being  tragically killed.

Most men in Parliament believed that women simply would not understand how Parliament worked and therefore should not take part in the voting process of an election. I beg to differ, with many women today taking a huge interest in politics, some even holding positions within the cabinet. That shows how far women have come within politics.

After much protesting women were finally all given women the right to vote in 1928. So as you can see without the Suffragettes, women would not have the amazing opportunity to vote.

2. It’s your future 

A simple but effective statement. In Britain we live in a democracy. Which in my opinion is a blessing not a curse. This means a constituency can pick  who represents them within parliament. Yes it may not always be the person you want, but at least it is someone’s job to represent where you live.

Whichever party has the overall majority, will effect your future no matter where you live. Such things like your education, housing and pension. You should vote for the party who you think will make sure your future is a bright and promising one. So doing research before polling day is an essential for understanding which party you would like to see carry out their polices.

That’s is why I joined the Liberal Democrats. Yes we may not be the strongest party within parliament. But they are the party with the most polices that I agree with and would like to see them carried out as I think they are what is best for not just my future, but the future of the country as a whole.

3. Don’t vote, Don’t complain!

It still shocks me that many people who don’t vote, still moan about the way the country is run. Not voting means that your voice is not getting heard anyway so don’t go moaning about it if the party you don’t like gets elected.

You can ever leave your ballot paper blank if your not sure on who to vote for. At least if you did that, you would still be having your opinion heard.

Many people say they didn’t vote because “They didn’t have the time!” absolute nonsense! This is not a valid reason, it’s just an excuse. Voting is made even easier and you don’t have to pop into your local polling station on election day, you can now do a postal vote which means yes, YOUR VOTE WILL COUNT!!!

So as you can see, voting plays a very important part within a 21st century democracy within Britain. So make your voices and opinion heard. So in your next local/national election. Don’t just sit there. Get out and vote!

The Liberal Youth 2015 election: What I can offer!

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After much debating and convincing from a very good friend. I have finally found the confidence to stand in this years Liberal Youth election to become a member of the policy committee. Through this article and my manifesto. I would like to present to you what I would do if elected member of the policy committee.

So why did I decide to run I hear you ask? I’m not running in this election to boost my career in politics. I’m running to help the younger generation have their voices heard. I care passionately about helping the young people have their say. I like so many other young people care about the future of our country. And I believe that the Liberal Democrats are the right party to keep our country fair and stable. Like Tim Farron said “We joined as a vocation not a career choice!” and I honour this statement.

Communication is key within the Liberal Youth to keep members up to date with new and exciting polices. The main feature of my manifesto highlights how I would use technology to get as many members of the Liberal Youth involved within the policy committee as possible. Mainly by creating social media events by using tools such as Google hangout by hosting monthly sessions.

By doing this, I hope it will allow many Liberal Youth members to have a say on what they think of our polices, what they would like to see us discuss at committee meetings and what they think we could improve on. Every Liberal Youth member deserves a say on the committees decision making. As without the Liberal Youth members, we would not have the privilege of holding positions within the Liberal Youth.

I would work alongside the policy officer, no matter who that may be. To make sure that our policy system is fair and orderly. Working together with other officers is key to allow the Liberal Youth to the best it can be and allow us to do everything we can for our members.

Another useful tool I would use to keep members up to date with the policy committees work is by posting updates on this very blog. I believe that all Liberal Youth members should be kept up to current speed with any work we are carrying out and any polices we are currently discussing.

I am already overwhelmed with the amount of support I have been receiving from other Liberal Youth members. With such members as Terry  White (Who is also standing is this election, but for International officer) commenting:

“Hannah is bursting with ambition and no new member is bursting with ambition as much as Hannah is. Hannah’s social media feed has been non stop with creativity and the great liberal message. If there’s anyone who deserves your vote for policy committee, it’s Hannah.” 

And Callum-James Littmore commenting:

“Never in all my life have I met someone with so much passion, energy and charisma as Hannah. She is a fiercely loyal liberal who certainly knows how to fight a good fight and is just one of the many great examples of young Liberal Democrats now making their voices heard. 

What makes Hannah unique is her sheer ability to smile and get on with things, no matter how difficult or disheartening they may be. She has also shown herself to be a dab hand at Social Media, a skill we need to greatly capitalise on in the Party

Thus for me she is the only candidate for PCM who strikes the balance between ability and experience almost perfectly, bringing both fresh, new ideas with an individual panache that I feel will invigorate those she interacts with to really help establish a connection and link between both the active and disconnected members of the Party”

I hope through the Liberal Youth election I can show how committed I am to helping the parties future and helping the younger generation have their voices heard within politics.

A vote for me, is a vote for dedication and hard work. That is a promise.

Please support me in my campaign by liking my Facebook page, following me of twitter, sharing my manifesto. And by using the hashtag #Hannah4policycommittee.

Thank You 🙂

Better together: Why Britain should stay in the EU!

One of the biggest decisions that will be made in this current Government is. Should Britain stay part of the European Union?

As their is expected to be a referendum held in 2017 to decide this matter however some people have even speculated that the vote could place as early as next year. The EU referendum played a massive part in the Conservatives 2015 general election manifesto with the Liberal Democrats stopping any chance of a referendum taking place during their time in Government with the Conservatives from 2010-2015. And In my opinion WE SHOULD  stay part of the European Union. We are better together!

When people are deciding to vote if they think we should leave, they should think about not just the benefits of staying in. But the effect it could have on the nation as a whole if we did decide to leave.

One of the biggest factor if we left the European Union is the effect that it will have on the British economy. UKIP have it in their head that we would be able to survive. I don’t think we would. As Britain counts for less than 1% of the worlds population and less than 3% of global income.

I’ve heard some people mention that Britain would actually save money as the Government would not be paying the £55 million fee a year to be part of the European Union which could be spent on other sectors in Britain such as the NHS or education. But when you actually think about it, £55 million isn’t that much for this current government. So you can’t use that one UKIP!

Many British businesses are in favour of staying as part of the European Union. A survey carried out by the Financial Times should that of 3,800 businesses earlier this year found 63 per cent believe that leaving the EU would have a  bad impact for Britain, a rise of 4 percentage points since the end of 2014. As the EU is one of the biggest trading partners and the largest consumer market in the world, so leaving the European union would pose a big risk. Last year alone Britain exported £147 billion worth on good and services to countries that are part of the European Union. Down by 2% from 2013.

So as you can see. Britain would not be able to be economically stable for long if we left the European union as we would lose vital trading relationships between other countries that are part of the union with us.

There are other vital factors that could effect Britain if we left. Such as EU consumer laws which provide for refunds or other solutions  for customers when they are not happy with a product/service. For example in cases involving defective products, unfair contract terms or flights that are delayed or cancelled. As with employment and environmental laws, businesses could be encouraged to lower their standards.

So those are to mention but a few reasons/factors as to why Britain should stay as part of the European Union. I’ll say it again. We are better together! All we can do now is sit and wait for this referendum to take place. But let’s hope that the people of Britain, make the right decision!

Why the Liberal Youth plays an important part within the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal youth. What does that mean to you? To me it shows that the Liberal Democrats care about giving young people a voice within politics.

I remember first hearing about the Liberal youth from my old MP and I thought “Hmmm, maybe I could sign up!”. Since then I have never looked back. With the Liberal Youth elections coming up with me running to become part of the policy committee within the Liberal youth, I felt it was important to highlight the massive part it plays within the Liberal Democrats.

In a nut shell the Liberal Youth are the youth and student wing within the Liberal Democrats. Giving young people and students the chance to express their views and make sure their voices are heard within the party. As other parties such as Labour and the Conservatives also have youth and students wings of the party such as Young Labour and Young Conservatives.

It also allows young people to take on responsibilities in running this side of the party. Which can give them great experience for a career within politics and showing that the younger generation really do care about the future of their country.

I’m looking forward to taking part in the Liberal Youth election and hopefully win enough votes to become a member of the policy committee as I would like to make a difference within the Liberal Youth and of course the Liberal  Democrats. Hopefully helping loads of other young and student members like myself along the way and inspire them to take an active role within politics, the party and the future of the Liberal Youth.

I spoke to Liberal Youth candidate for international officer Terry White and asked what the Liberal Youth means to him and how he sees it plays a massive part within the party. This is what Terry had to say:

“I believe Liberal Youth is a significant part of the Liberal Democrats. Liberal Youth can create significant noise at election time and contributes key ideas to our manifesto. I remember at the Norwich North by-election prior to the 2010 general election, key members of Liberal Youth such as Alex Royden were key to the energy at election HQ. Members like Martin Shapland were great representatives to our sister parties across the globe and former chairs such as Elaine Bagshaw are now energetic candidates and I hope Elaine does well in running for Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Of course, Liberal Youth have also created fantastic MPs such as Jo Swinson and I dearly hope she wins back her seat she represented ever so well. Liberal Youth doesn’t just make the future of the Liberal Democrats, it makes the noise.”

So as you can see the Liberal Youth has and always will continue to play a massive part within the Liberal Democrats. I know that the Liberal Youth will become stronger and stronger over the years. Let the nominates for the Liberal Youth election begin!

Why 16 and 17 year olds should be given the right to vote!

If any of you have been following my blog since the very beginning. You will know that my first ever article was my view on if 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in the EU referendum. And of course I think they should be given the right to vote in the EU referendum. But what about voting as a whole? Well, my view is very much still the same. 16 and 17 year olds SHOULD be given the right to vote. And so think the Liberal Democrats.

Many a times I have heard from the older generation saying that 16 and 17 year olds shouldn’t be given the right to vote because in their eyes they haven’t ‘lived’ yet or they don’t really know what it is all about until they have actually lived under different governments. Nonsense!  Many 16 and 17 year olds I know have a great interest in politics as they care about their future and the future of Britain.

As we live in a democracy, everybody is entitled to their opinion and having their voice heard. What does it matter if your 16 or even 66? Your opinion is just as important. Many issues that are raised in government will effect the younger generation. Such as the rise in tuition fees and the EU referendum.

I also think that if 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote in the 2015 general election. The results would have been different. As I feel that the Liberal Democrats would have kept more of their seats as I know many 16 and 17 year olds who support the principles of liberalism and the Liberal Democrats as a party. As well as the Green Party and Labour.

16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote in Scotland with the vote of whether they wanted to become a independent country. What makes any other election different? It’s still putting a cross into a box about your opinion on a countries decision.

Abby Tomlinson, the creator of Milifandom is living proof that the younger generation are interested in politics. Even though she is a Labour member. I admire her dedicated and courage to stand up for the younger generation and basically say to the Conservatives “Look, we do care why can’t you see that too!” I just wish more teenagers were like Abby, then maybe the Conservatives and David Cameron would finally listen to us and give us the vote that we want and deserve.

Such groups as the Liberal Youth as well is proof that we do have an interest. With many younger people taking active roles within that group, such as a good friend of mine Nathan Goldsmith who is the treasurer for the Liberal  Youth. There needs to be more groups like the Liberal Youth to give younger people a political voice.

Another movement that allows to give young people a voice within politics is the Youth parliament. Which again just like the Liberal Youth, is an absolute treasure in showing that younger people do care.

It’s our future! It’s not the strongest argument in the world. But in my opinion it’s the only argument we need. I just only wish David Cameron and his Conservative government saw it like that too.