Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Lib Dem Voice's Liberal Voice of 2011 - Vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will not be surprised that I found Liberal Democrat Voice's shortlist  for the Liberal Voice of 2011 profoundly depressing. Why? Purely because there is only one woman on it, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Much as I love my dear colleagues at Lib Dem Voice, I really can't let that one pass.

One woman out of nine nominees is pretty poor, especially when this has been a year of very rich pickings. They could have chosen Michele Bachelet, the head of the new UN Women agency who has hit the ground running in the organisation's first year highlighting the need for women to be involved in the emerging democracies and working to stamp out violence against women.

What about any one of our three Nobel Peace Prize Winners, who won for their "non violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace building work".

What about Eman Al Obeidi, whose shocking disclosure to journalists in Tripoli highlighted the sexual violence and repression used by Gadaffi's troops?

What about Mona Eltahawy, the journalist recently arrested and sexually assaulted in Egypt?

I can't really argue with the presence of Bouazizi, Ai Weiwei, Nick Davies and Hacked Off on the list. Bouazizi's act, however, was one of desperation. Its consequence was the overthrow of some horrendous regimes in the Middle East, but if you are looking for a Liberal Voice, you have to go for someone with a sustained record of putting liberal values into practice. We want to find someone who works to prevent the situation where people have to take their own lives in such desperate acts because they see no other option. A View from Ham Common is supporting Bouazizi and certainly when he called for us to vote for him in the Time Magazine Person of the Year poll, I did so. He's not the Liberal Voice of the Year, though.

I find it extraordinary that, on this list with world leaders and globally recognised names, we find Mark Littlewood. Why, just why?

And I have real reservations about the Occupy Movement - I've heard reports of sexual violence and very unequal values in the running of specifically the Edinburgh camp. 

I've never voted Tory in my life and, much as I love Ken Clarke, I'm not going to start now. I forgave him for his comments on rape and he has been very sensible on sentencing, but he's not a liberal.

Which leaves us with Obama and Clinton. I am not going to pretend for a minute that I am entirely satisfied with the human rights record of the US administration. However, if they tried to do the things that I think they should do, like get rid of the death penalty, they simply wouldn't be able to. The voices of opposition from the states would be overwhelming. That battle has still to be won. The administration's record is not perfect by any manner of means, but it's darned sight better than any Republican could or would have done. A phrase that keeps popping into my mind these days is that the best mustn't be the enemy of the good. Voltaire was right. Sometimes you just have to live with baby steps towards your ultimate goal. 

It's Clinton, though, who has constantly striven to put women's issues front and centre of what she does. Sadly, we don't get the boys talking about women's rights, but Clinton is speaking and doing loads to make women's lives better. She's been working with UN Women, highlighting the need for a greater economic role for women, for more women in politics, putting together a joined up strategy for women's peace and security. It's all good stuff. And this is something she believes with a passion. 17 years ago she went to China and told the authorities there in no uncertain terms that that they needed to sort out women's rights there as this video shows:

Working for equality for women is a very liberal thing to do. Her actions could benefit literally millions if not billions of women now and in the future. That's why my vote instinctively went to her. I hope you'll support her too.


Left Lib said...

On the other hand ... she is part of the foreign affairs team that has invested in drone attacks in Pakistan and other countries they are not officially at war with.
Extra judiciary killings, collective punishment, anti civil liberties - this is the opposite of what Liberals believe in.

Billy Carlin said...

Dear Dear! You really do not have a clue what is going on in the world right now.

I think you should get away from newspapers and the tv and maybe you will find out that Clinton is NOT for human rights never mind womens rights.

Mark Pack said...

Just in case you missed it, the simple direct answer to your "Why, just why?" question is that the shortlist is what readers selected in response to the last LDV survey of party members.

It's not a list that Stephen or anyone else in the team personally selected. And I think it's probably quite different from what any of us would have picked as our personal list :)

Unknown said...

Billy and Left Lib, it's not perfect by any manner of means, but Liberals also believe in women's rights and Hillary is doing more than most to help women across the world.

Mark, I know that the names were put forward by readers in the survey, but there were over 230 potential choices. Surely more than one was female?

I do worry about our party sometimes. I'd love to see the gender balance of the survey participants to see if my theory that boys choose boys applies in this instance.

Unknown said...

Caron, I have no doubt that what you say is correct but my feeling is that the extra-judicial killings and other actions authorised by Hilary Clinton make her a far worse choice than many others on the list - even if they are men.

Neil Monnery said...

I must say I disagree with your hypothesis Caron. I in fact believe the opposite that more women will vote for a woman just because of her gender than men will do for a man just for the same reason.

I love Hillary but it must also be noted that she was part of an administration that wanted to let Libyans sort out Libya and was happy for Gaddafi to slaughter his own people. It was only the French and English who made the move with the US sitting at the back saying 'yeah we agree but we won't help'

She is also part of an administration who decided to execute without due process Osama Bin Laden. It might have been the right thing to do - we'll never know but Hillary has faults as does Obama as we all know.

Hillary would in my view have been a much better president for this point in time. She is stronger on economic issues than Obama and that is what America needed. Obama would be a truly great peace-time and economic boom time President but America missed out. Hopefully Hillary can rise again in 2016.

As for whether it is wrong that there are eight men on the list and the merits of all of them it's a debate. No doubt some will agree with you. No doubt most would have at least one or two different people on the list but when you say you worry about the party (I'm guessing on gender issues) you can look at the past winners of this award. Two women, one man and a group of people. Hillary will probably win because she is the only woman and the feminist vote will go with her whether or not she is the right person for the award. So it will be three wins out of five for women and only one win out of five for men.

I know you had a similar PoV regarding BBC SPOTY and the male led short-list. I didn't. Not because I'm a man but because no woman excelled in a sport or an event that captured the imagination of the public. How can you win Sports Personality of the Year award if most people haven't heard of you? I'd heard of all the women you listed but that is because I'm a sports nut. However I wouldn't recognise some of them if I bumped into them in the street. Now there is a debate to be had about whether women's sports get enough exposure but that is a debate for another comment. This is already far longer than intended.

I'll end with this though. If eight women were shortlisted and just one man would you be equally worried about the party and the members within? Honest question.

Unknown said...

Much as I would have loved Gadaffi, Bin Laden and Saddam for that matter to have had a date with destiny at the Hague, that, sadly is not the way it panned out.

The operation to capture Bin Laden was a risky one that had a good chance of ending the way it did, but are you saying it should not have been tried when it was clear where he was?

We've not done anything about many nasty regimes who slaughter their own people on a daily basis, so we can't really talk on that one.

I am a long term admirer of Hillary and supported her against Obama in 2008. I think she's ideally placed in her current role and has achieved much for women across the world.

And I'm not voting for her just because she's a woman.

And, actually, yes, if there were 8 women and one man I probably would be quite happy. I want to see the day when we don't think about these things, but it's clear that women are increasingly marginalised in politics and the media. Just look at any BBC panel discussion or sports personality list. And your comment on the latter is a bit chicken and egg. How are these sports going to capture the imagination of the public without coverage?

And, frankly, I listed many women who I feel are much more deserving of their place on that list than, for example, Mark Littlewood. I can't see him as anything other than an ironic suggestion.

Left Lib said...

Caron I am a bit confused by your response to my message. I know the issue of drone attacks in Pakistan does not appear to be controversial in the media but when you look at it objectively I do not see how you can say that Hilary Clintons support of women's rights outweighs the impact of drone attacks which kills many innocent people? Imagine we did that in Northern Ireland? Why are the Pakistanis any different to them?

Unknown said...

LL, there's not much I like about most military action where innocent people get hurt.

I don't like that particular aspect of US military policy, but I still stand by my support of Hillary Clinton in her attempt to make life better for women, to talk about the need for equal rights and education and campaign against violence towards them.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, like SPOTY, I think its a lack of coverage of women and the sexist not sexist media who don't portray women in the right way at all. I have never heard of any of the women that you mentioned other than Clinton and I don't think she is that liberal. Would love to do a site that shows what women do in this world and do something other than the typical female magazine which I think is sexist and degrading.
Probably be run partly by a search engine that finds articles all over the web and displays them in a magazine layout and possibly new articles from female and male bloggers who highlight what women have achieved - not just what women are wearing. How to cook and how to enchant men etc.


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