I am flabulous :)

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I am not a skinny girl. I have a dress size that is for some considered a “bit rank”. I have struggled with my body for many years. Hiding it under black and baggy clothes, avoiding wearing dresses, dressing frumpy and generally not being proud of the body I have. I am plus sized. Obese, fat, whatever. These words have fairly negative connotations around them. So I am inventing a word for what I am. FLAB-U-LOUS. Flabulous. I have a nice body. I should like it more. So here is my body. If you like it great! Enjoy. If you don’t, then fine your choice. Whatev’s πŸ™‚

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Looking Flabulous – no double chin there.

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Double chin, but sexy Christmas jumper πŸ™‚

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Boobs! And the swimming costume I almost took back to the shop in the fear my body might scare people.

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Looking good at a Lib dem thing. I felt fab.

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Dressed up on a night out where every single man I came across seemed to fancy me πŸ™‚

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And y’know – standard face πŸ™‚

UPDATE – been bra shopping with the lovely boyf. Bravissimo is a great place. Turns out I am a different bra size than I thought. πŸ™‚

Age before beauty or how old should our politicians be?

I recently wrote a piece for the Beestonia blog about my crossing of the political floor (you can read it if that interests you here )

One of the comments on the post brings me to write this post. Here it is : –

“For one, Sarah is too young and hasn’t enough life experience; and she’s no casework experience of helping others in dire-straits.”

This person is writing about my suitability for elected office I assume.

I am 29. Not that it’s relevant. I have had life experience. I have casework experience. I have helped people in dire-straits.

I was a senior union steward. I met and helped people with a whole range of problems relating to their employment. I always represented them to the best of my ability. Sometimes I won the case and sometimes I lost. But never once did a member complain to my boss that I was too young to represent them or hadn’t had enough life experience. Mostly they were grateful they had someone on their side to support them.

Age is a daft way to judge someone’s suitability to take up elected office. Jake Morrison an Independent Councillor for Liverpool City Council is one of the hardest working Councillors I know. Selected just a few days after his 17th Birthday and elected just days after his 18th Birthday he works tirelessly for the residents in his local area. He is an activist for the OK foundation who are campaigning with my MP Anna Soubry for more public defibrillators. There are also some councillors who are older and useless. The age is irrelevant.

So dear reader it’s really easy the criticise politicians for a whole plethora of reasons. But their age? Come now you can do better than that surely! πŸ™‚

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So yeah… I changed parties.

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I joined the lib dems on 3rd May 2013 at about 21:00. I was at my friends house and 18 months of confusion and dissatisfaction manifested itself in my pressing the join button. It was kinda terrifying. But I’m glad I did it. I kept it quiet for a few days because I needed to talk to some people in my former party about my jumping ship. So many of them knew how unhappy I had been both locally and nationally and so it came as no big surprise to them that I had finally taken the jump.

Coming out of the closest was hard. I expected criticism, who wouldn’t but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had found myself increasingly disagreeing with my old party and ever more agreeing with the lib dems. I felt like I had a huge neon sign above my head everytime I went into a constituency or branch meeting. It said “I don’t belong here”.

The criticism ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. The most vitriolic referred to my defection as me “whoring myself out” and the most hilarious referred to me being a “careerist”. As much as I like my new party, I don’t think joining the liberal democrats is the most sensible move for a “careerist”. Some just said “why” and others took the easy “we never liked her anyway” approach.

Joining a new party can be pretty terrifying. There was an article about it in two of the local papers. They called me a “prominent” activist. Was I? Am I? Really? Really really?! My first response to seeing it was to laugh and say “blimey slow news day or what?!” I made the mistake of reading “below the line” on the article and saw many odd comments about me. One said I was the obvious choice for parliamentary candidate, one said I would “soon sort out all the liberal men” and others labour I assume said I was just a careerist. Whatever.

As for my intentions, I’m going to do what I ever do. Represent my ward on the parish council, represent my trade union members to the best of my ability, fight to get more female candidates and just go with the flow politically.

I’m not going to start wearing socks with sandals or change who I am. I’m just me. I’m a lib dem now. So what?

Removing red tape doesn’t build houses Dave…

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Today David Cameron gave his speech to Tory Party Conference.

Last week I spoke on behalf of UNISON at the housing voice “how to tackle the housing crisis” fringe. A similar event was held at Lib dem conference.

At the fringe event I told my story. I am a low paid worker, I am 28 and I still live with my Mum. I can’t afford a privately rented house and I certainly can’t afford a massive deposit and a mortgage. I told a packed room that failing to give housing a high enough political priority was a mistake and that money spent building houses stimulates the economy and in its own way pays for itself.

Today David Cameron said this:

then there are those who say “yes of course we need more housing”…

…but “no” to every development – and not in my backyard.

Look – it’s OK for my generation. Many of us have got on the ladder.

But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help for their parents?

33 years old.

We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on.

So yes – we’re doubling the discount for buying your council house…

…we’re helping first-time buyers get a 95 per cent mortgage…

…but there’s something else we need to do – and that’s accept we need to build more houses in Britain.

There are young people who work hard year after year but are still living at home.

They sit in their childhood bedroom, looking out of the window dreaming of a place of their own.

I want us to say to them – you are our people, we are on your side, we will help you reach your dreams.

David Cameron seems to think that buying your council house and relaxing planning regulations will solve this deep and serious problem. Well I don’t think it will.

If you allow people to buy their council houses, then that council house isn’t available for the next generation to occupy. Meaning another council house needs to be built and in general they aren’t being built.

Then there is the relaxing of planning laws. Meaning developers can build the houses that will deliver the biggest profit rather than houses that fit the need of the population. Last week Ed Balls said that a labour government would built 100,000 new houses with the money raised from the sale of 4G. These would be a variety of affordable and social housing. Although I think that doesn’t go far enough and we would need that many houses every year, it tackles the issue more than David Cameron’s lacklustre attempt.

So David Cameron, where are the new houses going to come from and will hey be for for purpose? You didn’t say because you don’t know seems to be the sad truth.

Have you had a “film worthy romance” lately?

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A friend and I were discussing what constituted a “film worthy” romance after watching Love Actually the other day. He said he had never had a film worthy romance. But this made me question. What is a film worthy romance and are they a good thing or not.

By virtue of the fact they are in a film the romance can’t be straightforward.

The romance must have some form of turmoil otherwise the film would either be very short or very boring. Boy meets girl and they live happily ever after doth not a film worthy romance make. More boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy lusts after girl, girls dog gets stuck in a car about to be destroyed by a flesh eating robot and then the boy saves the dog and the girl has a massive change of heart and finally falls for the boy.

But then again the above implies that the romance must ultimately be successful. Film worthy romance can be unsuccessful and yet still film worthy. For example; boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy likes girl, so far so good. Yet then tragically girl discovers the boy is a serial romancer yet the girl has fallen for the boy and deems that this time it will be different. The boy continues to see the girl but also continues to see girl B. The boy feels he can continue to date both girls and indeed falls in love with both of them. Girl A and Girl B become best friends after meeting at a yoga class and soon discover they share more than a love of yoga. The boy is confronted and the girls remain life long friends.

Or;

Boy and girl meet, girl realises that the boy is unavailable yet the become good friends, the girl lusts after the boy and one day confesses her love of the boy. The boy feels flattered and sleeps with the girl, the girl sees this as a sign the boy is now available and pines after him, yet the boy continues to be unavailable.

To conclude I feel that having not experienced a “film worthy romance” is no bad thing. Although these romances would make a good film the reality is that they are not easy and often lead to heartbreak.

Pickles and the Commies

Eric Pickles said the following in his speech today… So who are these Commies of which he speaks?

Conference chums,

In my Ministerial office, I’ve placed reminders of what it means to be a Conservative.

A bust of Disraeli.

A poster of the great Winston.

A momento of the magnificent Margaret.

But over my left shoulder is a photograph that often catches the eye of visitors.

ChΓ© Guevara.

The Cuban Revolutionary.

Smoking a very large Havana cigar.

It’s there to remind me: that without constant vigilance – the cigar-chomping Commies will take over.

Well, that isn’t going to happen on my watch.

After more than two years in government, I’ve learnt that cigar-chomping Commies come in many guises.

George doesn’t get it.

Following reading this article I feel I must question the logic of George Osborne and his determination to hit ordinary working people. I’ll comment on the worst aspects which will be in italics.

“Businesses will be allowed to remove “gold-plated employment rights” in exchange for handing out shares to employees which will be exempt from tax, George Osborne has said.”

I wouldn’t call employment rights “gold plated” this implies that they give workers more than they deserve and should be reduced as much as possible. This is wrong our employment rights mean we have the right to challenge when our employers wrong us and that works to “put off” unscrupulous bosses. Exchanging employment rights for shares in a company won’t work. It should be an absolute right to challenge when your employer wrongs you and shares which could be worth very little are no comparison to laid down legislation which protects you at work.

The chancellor’s plan would allow businesses hiring staff to insist they forfeit employment rights in two broad areas in exchange for the shares, which would be exempt from capital-gains tax. Existing employees would have the right to refuse.
Employees would:
β€’ Give up their rights under UK law on unfair dismissal, redundancy and the right to request flexible working and time off for training.
β€’ Women would have to give twice as much notice of the date when they want to return from maternity leave. Women currently have to give eight weeks, but this would increase to 16.

The language used here is concerning “insist” meaning only those who would be willing to give up employment rights would be offered employment. This is a dangerous path and is surely nothing but an excuse to erode working conditions.

Then there are the aspects of employment rights that they would seek to erode, unfair dismissal – where you lose your job and it is found to be unfair, redundancy – that safety net when your employer has to make cutbacks, the right to request flexible working – where workers reduce their hours or adopt flexi time to care for relatives or their families and finally, time off for training – meaning that workers would end up unable to progress as they would lack that vital on the job training.

These measures don’t appear to achieve anything other than keeping working people in their place. It’s wrong and I hope there is a famous government u-turn on this.

Another cracking line from this article was

He said he wanted the Conservatives to be a one-nation party that speaks for the corner-shop owner, the teacher, the commuter and pensioner. “They are all part of one nation – one nation working together to get on.

The Tories are clearly rattled by Ed’s one nation and are trying to claim it back as their own. Yet can the tories be a one nation party when they do nothing but seek to widen the social divides in out country? I think not.