Wednesday, November 30, 2005

UKOWLA and the Warwick Bo One World Link Building Community Partnerships between UK and Sierra Leone
2-3 December (Friday & Saturday)
This conference will bring together towns, schools, local authorities, faith-based and diaspora groups and others who have links to Sierra Leone. The purpose of the conference will be to learn more from each other, to share and promote good practice, and to identify practical solutions. The conference is being organised jointly by UKOLWA and the Warwick Bo One World Link and is supported by the DFID Global School Partnerships.
For further information please contact or visit
UNESCO in London
13 December (Tuesday)
The UK National Commission for UNESCO will be hosting the UK Launch Conference for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development at the Institute of Education, London. Four seminars will address some key issues including: Climate Change; Building Skills and Capacity for Sustainable Development; Culture and Community and Education for Sustainable Development; and Communicating Sustainable Development.
If you have any questions or would like to register for the conference, please contact Alex Inglis on +44(0) 20 7766 3453 or by e-mail at
10 December (Saturday, 9pm-late)
A Night of World Music supporting human rights at the Yacht Club, Temple Station, London, WC2R 2PN. Tickets cost £10. Peace Brigades International have joined forces with City Soul to commemorate Human Rights Day with a mix of music spanning 3 continents across 3 rooms (Latin and Brazilian Beats, Asian rhythms and African roots music). Proceeds from the night will go to Peace Brigades International UK. Tickets are available from or for more information visit

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Strong and active students union

NUS is currently carrying out a review of the role and resourcing of its Regions & Development Department and specifically its Regional Officers.

As part of this review NUS asks what respondents think should be the definition of a strong and active union. My response to the questions for my input into the University of Wolverhampton response was "a strong and active union should be one, which campaigns on behalf of its members on education issues as well as issues, related to the welfare and future of students. Strong and Active student unions should be campaigning to ensure that their universities charge the lowest possible amount of tuition fees but this is not all a strong union should be doing, strong unions should also be campaigning to ensure that the maximum number of people who have the academic ability to study at their institution should be regardless of their gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of traveller community, HIV status, or political affiliation. Strong unions should also campaign against course and departmental closure. Strong unions should also be campaigning on issues such as visas since we have many international students, the Environment (we need a safe and clean environment to work in), Transport (many students use public transport to commute), Health (STI, prescription charges, health awareness campaigns), Media (freedom of press) and Sport (facilities and opportunities for students). Strong unions should also be communicating with their members so that they know what is happening at their university, in the union, the local area and in the country and world as a whole. Strong unions should also be helping students with financial difficulties that they may have whether they be bursaries, loans, grants, and information. Unions should be ensuring that their members have the freedom to an education without the fear of poverty. In a age when the job market is becoming more and more competitive unions should be helping their members learn and pick up the skills social actives and training programmes".

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Campaigning against ID cards

Late last month, the Liberal Democrats launched a new website, as part of our campaign gagainst Labour's plans for mandatory ID cards.

Why not take a look.
West Midlands Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference
On Saturday we had the West Midlands Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference take place in Stratford upon Avon. It was well attended and people had the opportunity to get involved in policy debates, training and hear speeches from Liberal Democrat MPs. There were also internal elections and I am pleased to say that I elected as Website and IT Officer and to English Council.
There were debates on the proposed expansion of Birmingham Airport, about exemptions from the national minimum wage for younger people in employment (my motion) and disabled access at Liberal Democrats Federal Conference. As I proposed the national minimum wage motion I had to speak first in that debate. As ever I was very nervous about addressing the audience even though it was my second speech of the day (first was at hustings).
I also helped Colin Ross deliver two training sessions one on negative campaigning and the other on setting up youth branches. The feedback on the all the sessions is good which is always good news.
We also had Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming and Solihull MP Lorely Burt both addressing conference, it was the first West Midlands Liberal Democrat Conference since their elections earlier this year. The keynote speaker was Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough who gave an interesting and highly charged speech about the future of British politics.