And Life Goes On

The random bloggings on what gets my goat!

Archive for the month “May, 2010”

Volunteering

As some of you may already know, before my Blogger account was hacked, I went to find out about volunteering with the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Well, the training was very informative and has made me decide that it is definately something that I would love to pursue, so in that vein I have decided to become a mentor; I will be visiting people that have been diagnosed with HIV to basically become a friend, someone that they can talk to and I am there to help them with anything that they need.

I am so excited and will keep you up to date with any further developments.

If you feel that you would like to volunteer with the Terrence Higgins Trust please visit

http://www.tht.org.uk/howyoucanhelpus/volunteering/typesofroles/refugeementor/

Twitter’s Litchat – A Taboo Subject?

I have recently stumbled across Litchat on Twitter which is a discussion forum every week that allows writers (and me!) to talk about the process of writing, publishing, editing etc. A ffew weeks ago, the topic had been part of a week of Taboo topics that authors and readers may not be comfortable with dealing with.
One particular Litchat guest was Elissa Stein who has written a book entitled Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, which is a book about menstruation, Macmillan quote “Flow answers such questions as: What’s the point of getting a period? What did women do before pads and tampons? What about new drugs that promise to end periods—a hot idea or not? Sex during your period: gross or a turn-on? And what’s normal, anyway? With color reproductions of (campy) historical ads and early (excruciating) femcare devices, it also provides a fascinating (and mind-boggling) gallery of this complex, personal and uniquely female process”.
 
Stein spoke about the book passionately, as did others who were making comments on what is deemed taboo and why. Stein commented that she had done a recording with Dr Oz to promote her book that has still yet to be aired! It seems people still do not want to talk or hear about this frankly natural process. TV executives are deciding what we will or will not be allowed to watch and discuss, surely this is a form of censorship?
This is sheer lunancy, which seemed to be the status quo from all the comments that were made, one lady tweeted “our bodies as objects, acceptable. Our bodies as functional, not acceptable“. The UK and other countries tax us on our sanitary products, tax is suuposedly meant for luxury products, how are tampons and the like a luxury? Amazingly, after the launch of the IPad, ITampon was the number one on the tweet trending topic after the IPad launch, much to the ambarrassment of Apple!
It is painful to think that mensruation is something that most women endure as part of their lives , however it is treated  as something so shameful, many comments were that sexual repression was a huge part of the problem, we learn very early from our parents and then from society, we must as parents change this perception.
Stein gave us a brief history rundown on how Priests used to shut women away during a period as they were deemed unclean, whilst midwives were considered witches. Their knowledge of childbirth and their understanding of menstruation was deemed evil. Whilst men were so afraid of menstrual blood that they created all sorts of theories as to what was really happening to women.
Many of us will have heard many euphemisms, my Nan used to call it a “Red Letter Day”, whilst my mother recounts the story of her first period to me believing that she was dying as she had never been told by her strict Mother what menstruation was. Girls even today believe that they are dying because they have no education on menstruation.
It seems we can talk about anything but not the way a woman’s body works. One lady suggested that Northern America was very stuffy, I commented on the furore that was Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at a music awards ceremony, with the view in the UK being “All that fuss over a breast!”.
Whilst I have not read the book, I am off today to get my copy and I am going to leave it strategically placed around my house in order that the subject can be talked about freely by my friends and family and hopefully then onto others and have this ridiculous taboo subject tackled head on!!! Until we begin to tackle these issues and talk about them freely then we will forever have people with antiquated ideas controlling our free speech and our childrens ability to have a more free and liberal existence.

Waiting Game

Just a quick note to chat about what has been happening since the electorate chose a hung parliament.

Have the Lib-Con talks broken down? Gordon Brown has now resigned, with Labour offering a referendum on AV in talks on a Lib-Lab Coalition.

What next? Watch this space, quite exciting really.

My, I am a geek!

A Hung Parliament?

Britain officially has a hung Parliament – the first since 1974 – with the Conservatives the largest party.

Because there are 650 seats in the next Parliament, the winning post for a single party to have an overall majority in the House of Commons is 326 seats.

None of the parties achieved this, so we have a hung parliament for only the ninth time since 1832.

In most of the previous cases, another General Election was been called shortly afterwards.

A party is not required to have an overall majority in the Commons in order to form a government. 

The largest party (although it does not have to be the largest) could form what is known as a minority government.

Of course, this makes it vulnerable to the remaining parties combining and defeating it on votes about legislation.

But there are many reasons why this might not happen. 

The other parties may disagree with one another or they may be wary of defeating the government because this may trigger another General Election which will cost them resources and even seats.

There are many examples of minority governments around the world that work perfectly well, such as New Zealand.

There are also many local authorities in this country where minority-run councils still manage to run effective local services.

Alternatively, in a hung parliament two or more parties may have an informal agreement whereby, in exchange for concessions over policy, one of the parties to the agreement forms the government knowing that the other parties will support it in any votes in the House of Commons. In essence this was the so-called ‘Lib-Lab’ pact of the mid-1970s.

When coalitions do break up that does not necessarily lead to another General Election. One of the parties involved could opt to carry on as a minority government. It might seek out alternative coalition partners, assuming that the arithmetic allows other majority coalitions (a combination of parties that have an overall majority) to form.

Anticipating that a hung parliament could result after the 2010 General Election, a set of guidelines was written that outline the constitutional position. As the incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is not required to resign immediately his party loses its overall majority.

Ultimately the politicians have to sort it out and it is the job of the MPs to decide among themselves who is going to be the governing party and who is going to get their business though. 

A pact is less formal than a coalition government. Normally, coalition governments include politicians from all the parties involved in the coalition as ministers and members of the Cabinet. The negotiations leading to coalition formation are normally about which ministerial and Cabinet posts each party is to be awarded. 

Many countries, particularly those that use some form of proportional representation to elect their parliament, are governed by such coalitions. Sometimes, coalitions break up because the partners disagree over vital policy issues but they are actually more stable than most people probably imagine. 

As the incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is not required to resign immediately his party loses its overall majority. 

In February 1974, then-Prime Minister Edward Heath spent some time discussing a possible agreement with Jeremy Thorpe’s Liberal Party having lost his majority. 

When no support came Heath resigned, leading the way for Harold Wilson to form a minority government. Another election followed in October the same year. 

Mr Brown might try to negotiate with other parties, depending on the electoral arithmetic. 

It is most likely that discussions would take place with the Liberal Democrats. This might lead to a pact or even a coalition although the latter is extremely rare outside of wartime conditions.  

It might also lead to no agreement at all in which case Mr Brown has two options: continue to govern alone as a minority government or offer his resignation to the Queen and suggest to her that David Cameron be asked to form a new government.

If the former option is taken the first real challenge to his government comes with the Queen’s Speech, the statement of the government’s legislative plans for the new Parliament. If the government was defeated on this measure then Mr Brown would be expected to resign and the Queen would be advised on which party leader to invite to form a new government.

The second option will have already been discussed extensively between the political parties before it happens. If David Cameron’s name is offered to the Queen then he will already have indicated that either he is prepared to govern as a minority or has identified another party or parties to join him in either a pact or a coalition.

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