//That Time I Organised a Mock General Election at Scouts//

Lately my passion for politics has just come flooding back to me. As you may or amy not know, last year I stuided AS Level Government & Politics, and unexpectedly fell in love with it. Whilst studying for my A Levels this year, I’ve had to push politics to the side and focus on the subjects I’m currently studying, but I think the recent political events in the USA, France and now the UK, my love for politics has returned, as it were.

Today at dinner I was discussing the French election with my family, as you do, and suddenly remembered That Time I Organised a Mock General Election at Scouts™ with my sister. After doing a bit of digging on my old blog, I found the post I’d written about it, so I thought I’d write about it again, because it’s something I’m really proud of (and yet another sign that I was in love with politics without realising??? Seriously for the past few years I’ve been like ‘oh yeah history is my favourite subject and I want to study it at uni’ and somehow completely missed all the signs that I was actually really enthusiastic about politics WELL DONE EM). Funnily enough, I can still remember where the idea came from. Basically at my Explorer Scout group we had to take it in turns in organising the meetings, and as we met on Thursdays, our weekly meeting would fall on the 7th May 2015, which just happened to be polling day for the 2015 General Election. I noticed this when we were at the planning meeting in January to plan the meetings for the months ahead and as our Scout hut is used as the local polling stations, it meant we wouldn’t be able to meet at the hut on that night. it was n’t a problem, because as our leaders said we would just have to meet outside of the hut that night, but it got me thinking. Despite the fact that i wasn’t even studying politics in 2015, and had never studied in school, I remember being really enthused about the General Election, and the fact that our Explorer meeting coincided with polling day was just too good an opportunity to miss in my opinion!

So, I talked to my sister who was also part of my Explorer group, and we came up with the idea of holding a ‘mock’ General Election in which the explorers form their own political parties, come up with a manifesto, present their ideas to the group and then have a secret ballot. So we claimed tha evening as our night to organise and got planning!

As we couldn’t meet at the hut, we decided to meet at the local woods instead (which in hindsight wasn’t The Best™ idea because GNAT BITES ARGHH) and instead of getting the ‘parties’ to right a whole manifesto, we just asked them to come up with policies on the EU, the environment and education. I ended up being part of a party as well, because there was an odd number of Explorers there, and our party was called ‘UK Dependent on Immigration Party’ or ‘UDIP’ for short (political pun intended – I think you can probably guess our politcal standpoint). Overall, the evening went really well! I mean, we came up with some whacky policies that probably would never get us elected, but it was thrilling to feel like we were actually engaging with politics.

The result of the ballot was 6 votes to The Bush Party (don’t ask), 5 votes to UDIP and 1 vote to The Fromage Party. Instead of forming a minority government, The Bush Party opted to form a coalition with The Fromage Party.

I think organising and running this mock election is one of the things I’m most proud of doing in Scouts, because I actually felt like I as helping fellow young people to get involved in politics and to the help them understand more about the way the govenrment works in the UK. Thinking back on it now, I think this could be something I want to go into in the future – educating young people about politics. Whether that be through teaching or campaiging or what, the advocacy of politics in education is something that I’m very passionate about (you can read my post about why politics should be taught in schools here), but we shall see where the future takes me!

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//Where have I been recently? All over the place apparently!//

A while ago I said I wanted to do more adventuring over the next few months and spend more time outdoors. I’m glad to say since writing this post in February, I have actually achieved this and managed to do a lot of exploring over the past few months. Spending time outdoors is such a great way to relax during exam season, so I thought I’d share with you where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to lately.

Right, it’s going to be hard to remember everywhere I’ve been and it what order, but I shall try my best!

I think the first adventure I had was going to Portsmouth by train to visit my sister at uni. I had to get up at 6:30 to get the train at 7:30, and the journey was nearly 4 hours in total. I was travelling with my mum so it wasn’t really bad but still long legs + train seating = achey legs + awkward kicking of strangers feet under the table!!

When we got there we met my sister then went to a nearby supermarket to buy dinner (ended up going to a different supermarket afterwards because we couldn’t find what we wanted 😂) then took the food back to her flat and sat in her room chatting for a bit. It was really nice to be back in her room because the last time I was there was the day we dropped her off in September, and that was stressful and sad so we couldn’t really enjoy it as much. But this time it was great to be back at her uni and see her enjoying herself. 

(Look at me loving the University of Portsmouth snapchat geo tags 😂😂)

We also went to Costa for a drink as you do, before heading off to the Museum of Portsmouth which was actually really good – it had a whole Sherlock Holmes exhibition because fun fact: the character Sherlock was born in Portsmouth 😉 It also had a a retro games room where you could play old video games which is fun! Plus the building itself was pretty nice-looking and we ate lunch sat in the gardens.

The museum of Portsmouth

After visiting the museum, we walked around the high street and visited Primark to do some shopping (bc why not??). 

Portsmouth Guildhall
I always forget what this building is called, but it’s v pretty!

Then we went back to the flat to have dinner and said our good-byes at the train station at about 5:30-ish. It was a really lovely day, although due to the length of time we spent travelling, we didn’t actually spend much time in Portsmouth. But the good thing about travelling by train is seeing the countryside as you go through different stations – going through Bath Spa station was really nice as it’s right in the heart of the city and I’d never actually been to Bath before, also we could see Southampton port from the train which was quite cool!

Departure board at Portsmouth & Southsea station

The next adventure I went on was to Bristol with my friends to go shopping in Primark (apparently Bristol has the UK’s biggest Primark!?? I’m not entirely sure but it certainly is huge with four floors and loads of escalators (yayy)). Then two days after that – Friday 31st March – I went back to Portsmouth again!

This time we went in the car as we had to pick my sister up from uni for Easter break. The journey was just under 3 hours but I had so much homework I had to take my geography maths homework with me and spent the journey trying to do student t-tests by hand (each part of the question took like half an hour arghh).

Once we’d picked my sister up and put her stuff from her flat in the car, we drove to the historic dockyard in Portsmouth as my dad had managed to get a really good deal on annual tickets. When went on a boat tour around the dockyard, Portsmouth harbour in general and Gunwharf Quays which is a fancy shopping centre where the famous Spinnaker tower is located. It was quite nice even though I’m not the biggest fan of boats! We also went on board the HMS Warrior and went round various exhibitions which were very interesting.

*glares at police boat that sped across the harbour with it’s sirens blaring creating waves that made our boat bob up and down loads like a rollercoaster*

HMS Victory from the tour boat

This is where it gets a bit confusing – basically, I went to four cities in the space of a week, including this trip to Portsmouth. The Tuesday after this, I went to Bath for a UCAS convention with college which was very useful although my shoulders were aching from carrying round all the prospectuses! Before we left for Bath, I had a free lesson so decided to embark on the 20 mins walk to the beach near my college, although I only stated there for about 10 mins as there was a dog chasing me/barking at me and I’m still getting over my fear of dogs so decided to head back, but the views were still nice! 

Remember this hill, it will be important for future reference!!

Then the day after that, Wednesday, I went back to Bristol with my sister to Primark again as the previous week I hadn’t bought anything but had seen various things I liked and my sister needed clothes too so we went back together.

Then the next day, I went to Cardiff on a geography field trip. The trip was honestly great – firstly we actually managed to collect all the data for the trip in the time frame allowed, the weather was really sunny and hot, we had an hour for lunch (in which my friend bought us all fab lollies, me and another friend got offered a boat trip by a man with a loud hailer, we attempted to take selfies and we saw armed police men patrolling the bay which was NOT worrying at all) and we got a tour of the Senedd which is the Welsh assembly building. Ooh we also saw the BBC Cardiff studios where Doctor Who is filmed and walked right past the Doctor Who Experience on our way to the barrage. The only bad thing was it was soo sunny pretty much everyone got sunburnt as it wasn’t sunny at home so we didn’t think to put sun cream on. My nose and forehead got really badly burnt and it’s still painful now over a week later!

Cardiff Bay
That long building in the distance is the BBC Wales studios
We had to take photos of certain things as part of the field work, so i took this one of the barrage because we had to, but I didn’t realise the massive Olympic rings on the floor until just now 😂😂

So that week was very busy for me, as well as being the last week of term! Then last weekend the weather was really hot and sunny – I wore shorts and t-shirt pretty much the whole weekend! On the Saturday, I went to the beach nearest where I live for a morning walk then on the Sunday I went on a 7 miles hike with my mum through the countryside.

Then throughout the week I’ve been going out on my bike a lot around the local area and countryside which has been great!

And finally to conclude such a long post, I went to that hill on Saturday, which involved climbing over 100 very steep steps and walking up a steep hill to the WW1 fort at the end. The views from the top were great, as I could so the beach which is near my college, but also a lot further down the coast and even Wales!

So I think it’s safe to say I’ve managed to get out and about a lot more the past few months! Have you been on any adventures recently?

//Why I Love Me Tag//

The amazing Thoughtful Tash created this tag so us bloggers cna spend a bit of time appreciating what we love about ouorselves. I think this is such a wonderful idea, becuase self-love is something we all need to do more of and actually sittig down and thinking about what I do love about myself instead of dwelling on my flaws has actually been really beneficial to me, and I’m sure it will help others too. So. thank you very much to tash for making this tag, and you can read her post introducing it here.

THE RULES (as stated in Tash’s post)

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Leave a link to the original tag creator (ThoughtfulTash) to get a bit more info about WHY this tag has been made!
  • Write 10 things you love about YOURSELF and WHY
  • Nominate at least 5 other bloggers
  • In the comments of the blog post, spread more self-love with compliments to each other! THE MORE LOVE THE BETTER!

Why I love me:

1. My love of life

One thing I love about myslef is how much I love life, it’s the main thing that gets me through hard times becuase I know I’ve got my whole life ahead of me and it doesn’t matter if I’m struggling now because I will get through it and one day I can look back on what I’ve been through and be proud of reaching my goals and fulfilling my ambitions regardless. Also remembering and thinking of all the good times makes me realise how much I do love my life and how  iwouldn’t have it any other way.

2. My passions

My passions are part of me and always will be, they are the one thing that stays the same as I grow and change as a person and I’m really glad to have these passions like blogging and photography and politics and reading etc that make me happy and make me who I am.

3. My creativity

I love the fact that although I haven’t chosen a creative educational path, I still keep up with the creative things that I’ve always loved like painting and sketching and that although I don’t want a creative career, I haven’t closed that part of my life off.

4. My optimism

Although I don’t regard myself to be a constantly optimistic person, I do have a lot of optimism for the future and that helps to motivate me to keep working hard to get where I want to be.

5. My personality

Most people would think of me as quite an introverted person, which is true, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a personality! I love the fact that I’m quite introverted actually, as it means less people get to know the real me and when they do it makes the friendship more special. I love the fact though that I can be myself around my family because we’re all a bit mad!

6. My way of thinking

Another thing I love is the way I think. I think we all have our own unique way of thinking about things and I find it fascinating the way we all percieve things differently. I love how I can read about something or see something and my brain will make all these millions of connections ot different things, or I’ll suddenly be inspired to do something. Although I don’t like overthinking so much, it’s still a part of me and I’m growing to love the fact that I only overthink because I care so much about other people.

7. My height

I’ve always felt a bit awkward being so tall – I think I’m currently about 5 ft 8″, which isn’t huge but I’m still very tall compared to most of my friends – but as I’ve got older I’ve grown to love my height becuase again it’s just a part of me that I can’t control and if I can’t change it, I’ve gotta embrace it.

8. My love for the world

I honestly find the world so fascinating and just want to constantly learn about the people that live around the world and all the different countries and EVERYTHING!!!! I’m so interested in how we all live in the same world but there is so much variation between different cultures and countries, and I love the fact that I’m not just invested in my own life and ‘world’ and want to know about others.

9. My music taste

This is a bit random??? But honestly I love my taste in music because it varies so much! I can go from listening to 80s music, to French electro, to pop, to rock, to indie – I’m just interested in so many different styles of music and I love it!

10. My drive to learn

I sort of mentioned this before, but I just really want to be learning all the time. SOmetimes doing homework or revision isn’t even tiring and monotonous because I want to do it so I can learn, and I love that I love learning as it definitely helps to motivate me to study and work hard.

So there’s the 10 things that I love about me. I’m going to nominate some bloggers below so they too can explore what they love about themselves. 🙂

Nominations:

Regina 5000

Ivy and Em

Lyss and Dani

All the Jazz

Bamboo Chewer

 

//Is Thatcher a good role model for young girls?//

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This weekend I have been studying Thatcher’s 11 years in power in considerable detail, as I came to the realisation that my teacher hadn’t actually taught us the whole of the Thatcher unit in our course book and so set about teaching it to myself. For those of you who don’t know Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative party member who became the first female Prime Minister of Britain in 1979. As a woman myself and a strong believer in the importance of politics in the empowerment of young people, women, and other misrepresented and minority groups, I was keen to investigate Thatcher’s impact as a role model for young women like me and why perhaps she is still viewed negatively by British society nowadays. Was she really as bad as people make out?

So I started with learning about what Thatcherism actually meant, as despite studying politics last year and learning about Thatcherism as an ideology, I feel like I never fully understood it.  Thatcherism is basically the key political ideas that Thatcher stood by and from what I can tell, they were given their own ideological term as at the time, they were considered to be radical compared to the traditional Conservative ideas of preserving individual wealth and private ownership. To give you a bit of background, what Thatcher stood for was the rights and interests of individuals over that of the nation as a whole, promoting individual enterprise, rewarding hard work through low taxes, the importance of law and order to maintain a democratic society, that law, freedom and justice was provided for all by British democracy and she was a conviction politician, believing that as prime minister, she should stick to her own principles rather than trying to reach a consensus which always required compromise. Although I pretty much have the opposite political standpoint on most of her key ideas, I could see the logic behind Thatcherism, so at this point had a fairly positive view of Thatcher, although I was a little skeptical as to how she could have transformed her political beliefs into policy that would have benefited the political and social environment at the time.

Then I went on to learn about Thatcher’s economic policy, which I won’t go into detail with as it is quite complex and long-winded, but overall her attempts to lead Britain out of recession – although they broke the trend of past governments – and her way of economic thinking interested me, despite their limited success. Generally though I am quite sympathetic towards economic policy as it must be so difficult to manage such a vast, fluid concept as a countries economy and it’s impossible to benefit everyone at once, so her economic failures in my opinion were no worse than past governments.

After going on to reading about her intentions to “roll back” (reduce) state intervention in the economy and increase the size of the private sector, I started reading into how Thatcher’s policies caused political and social division within Britain. This aspect of analysing her time in office really interested me, because instead of reading all the complex detail of which policies she introduced to do what, I was actually learning about the impact of her policies and how they affected real people living at the time. What stood out to me most, was a statement saying that Thatcher felt “threatened” by diversity within society. This is what got me thinking about if Thatcher really is a role model and an inspiration to young girls like me because even though she managed to fight her way to the top level of politics – something that would have been unheard of 50, 20 or even 10 years before she became Prime Minister – I certainly don’t agree with some of the things she did whilst she was in that position of power.

Firstly, Thatcher’s viewpoint of homosexuality was that it was a symbol of ‘moral decline’ and that heterosexual families and relationships were the norm which should be promoted to young children of the time as the ‘right’ way to live. As a member of the LGBT+ community myself, I was saddened by this. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t ignorant to the fact that discrimination and attitudes towards the LGBT+ community in not-so-distant decades were on a different scale to they are now, but it still upsets me to read about the fact that the government who sets the law and code which the public should abide had a role in stigmatising homosexuality as late as the 1980s. As a result of Thatcher’s beliefs about homosexuality, she introduced a law called the Local Government Act 1988 and in Section 28 of this law, it was stated that discussion and promotion of homosexuality within schools was to be banned. This is something I really disagreed with, because even during my school education I haven’t learnt about homosexuality, in fact i can’t even think of one instance throughout my primary and secondary school education where homosexuality was even mentioned, other than Christian views on homosexuality that we had to study at GCSE, but even then we only briefly touched on it. As a result of this, I didn’t even know that there were other sexualities until about two years ago and only discovered my own sexual identity thanks to the help of my internet and my wonderful blogger friends, so I definitely think education about LGBT+ issues and people is vital in helping the LGBT+ community, especially young people, feel accepted by society and to help others to learn about us and the issues we face. So going back to Thatcher, I an’t imagine what it must have been like for LGBT+ young people back then to live in a society where your sexual identity is repressed in every aspect of society.

Furthermore, as Thatcher was in favour of advancing individual rights over collective rights, she was also against feminist movements of the time. Feminism is also something I am passionate about as a young women, because I believe that nothing: race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity etc should stop anyone from being treated with equal respect and having equal opportunities in life, so naturally feminism is a cause that I am in support of. It sort of shocked me a bit to hear that Thatcher was against feminism, to the extent that she stated that a group of women campaigning against the positioning of American cruise missiles on British territory should be ‘eradicated’, because as  the first female Prime Minister, she was in a position to empower young women and make a step forward for the rights and attitudes towards women within British society at the time. Those women that she said needed to be ‘eradicated’ had every right to campaign and what sort of message would Thatcher’s attitude towards them have sent to young girls at the time? That they should remain passive and that their opinions aren’t worthy of expressing?

Honestly, although I could accept some of Thatcher’s early beliefs and policies, I struggle to accept her attitudes towards homosexuality and women. I know I must take into consideration the context of the time in which she was Prime Minister when attitudes towards same-sex relationships and the roles of women were still very traditional, but form the viewpoint of a young 21st century LGBT+ girl, I can’t really see Thatcher as an ideal role model for people like me to look up to. I mean yes, it is inspiring that a woman managed to achieve such power in a time where women were very much expected to be wives and home-makers instead of pursuing careers for themselves, but I think there is so much more that Thatcher could have done as Prime Minister to inspire more young girls to take up careers in politics. Of course, I still think it is important for young girls and women to learn about Thatcher but I hope that one day the stereotype of female politicians and Prime Ministers as being ‘just another Thatcher’ will disappear and the new generation of female politicians will forge their own identities and success stories that will act as a better inspiration for young women of the future.