Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Between the Festival of Sleep Day, Bubble Bath Day and even Global Orgasm Day (Peace through Global Ecstasy every 22nd December), every day, week and month of the year are swamped with ad agencies trying to make us aware of everything from the comic to the ridiculous.

All that happens is that vitally important issues are diluted somewhere between Left Hander’s Day and National Pet Day.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one that should stand out from the crowd, shouting as loud as it wants.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Honour Killings

I went to the Honour Killings Summit yesterday, arranged by the Conservative Women's Muslim Group: Shazia Ovasi and Fiona Hodgson had put together an outstanding panel of speakers.

I was particularly impressed by Jasvinder Sanghera (co-founder of Karma Nirvana) who is a dis-owned daughter, the author of the critically-acclaimed book Shame and a recent nominee of Woman of the Year 2007.

Jas spoke from the heart and her story of seeing her 15-year old sisters packed off to arranged marriages in Pakistan before returning to their schools in the UK, was heart wrenching - as was hearing about her disownment from her family after daring to say "no" to her own arranged marriage.

Heather Harvey from Amnesty International's Stop the Violence campaign, told us about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace & Security. We know of so many "last chance" UN resolutions that it was surprising to hear that a resolution exists that insists women's rights be part of any end of conflict negotiations. It's a shame then that the UK government (including apparently the Conservative Party) feel that leaving the new Iraqi administration to implement sharia law for women only (where there was none before), is acceptable.

Houzan Mahmoud (Click here for her blog), an Iraqi-Kurdish campaigner against the killing and stoning of women in Kurdistan, left us in no doubt that "honour" killings are a problem throughout the world and that it is not limited to Muslim communities. Houzan told us of a 17 year-old woman, stoned to death in front of 1,000 cheering men and of mothers who are killed with their daughter for refusing to be complicit in their death. She told of a 12 year-old girl killed by her Father for supposedly falling in love with a man and of the men that take their UK brides to Kurdistan for a holiday, kill them, then return quite legally to the UK to remarry.

Houzan described the situation as a "genocide of a generation of women in Kurdistan."

The over-riding message was that we must all pool resources to help each other to help real and potential victims, so please leave details of what your organisation is doing below, with a website or email address.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Past Reminders - Present Atrocities

Last night, Channel 4 repeated its stunning but shocking 2001 documentary by Saira Shah - Behind the Veil - highlighting the atrocities against the Afghan people at the hands of the Taliban.

It showed the work of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), who are struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.

If there was ever a just war and a moral reason for regime change - Afghanistan is it.

Bad News for Small Business

There are 4.5 million small businesses in the UK and every year more new businesses are started by women than men now.

The changes to capital gains tax, which the Chancellor announced in his Pre-Budget Report yesterday, will hit all of them in the pocket.

And this only months after they were left reeling from a 2 point rise in tax.

It might surprise you to learn that small business contributes half of this country's GDP.

The media are concentrating on magpies when they should be outraged over the treatment of the people who are the backbone of this country.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Honour Killings Summit

The Conservative Muslim Women's Group is having its next summit this Thursday 11th October at the House of Commons. Its subject will be Honour Killings and Violence Against Women.

Baroness Sayeedai Warsi will be leading a host of outstanding speakers and we hope you can join us for what will be an extraordinary morning.

As the summit is being held at Westminster, you will need to register your name in advance for security reasons.

Click here for details of the speakers and how to register.
Read more about the Conservative Women's Muslim Group.

Swinging Women

The weekend polls have confirmed (yet again) that women are the deciding vote in any election. The female swing towards Cameron over the last week has been a massive 22%.
Are we that fickle?

£665m payouts in birth errors

According to The Independent this morning:

The dangers of childbirth in the modern health service are highlighted today by figures showing that £665m has been paid out over the past three years to settle medical negligence claims where obstetric deliveries have gone catastrophically wrong.

The size of the payout – enough to hire 1,000 extra consultants – reflects the enormous and growing burden of medical negligence on the health service, which is diverting scarce resources from patient care.
If there was '24 hours to save the NHS' on 1 May 1997, then what have they been doing for the other 91,488 hours... and counting?

Ann Widdecombe to Retire

Last night, Ann Widdecombe announced that she will not be standing for Maidstone & The Weald again.

Whether you like her or not, she has always spoken from her heart, even if has got her into no end of trouble with the media or the party! A true conviction politician.

I hope she ends up causing as much trouble if she's (rightly) elevated to the Lords but I wish her well with her Audience with Ann Widdecombe in the meantime.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Is your size holding you back?"

You magazine with the Mail on Sunday has an article in it today called "Is your size holding you back?", which has been retitled on their website to: Are you too fat to get a good job? (Presumably their website readers wouldn't have understood the nuances of the original title). In it, it says:

Studies suggest that weight discrimination in the workplace is rife.
A recent survey for Personnel Today magazine revealed that 93 per cent of human resources (HR) professionals would give the job to the thinner person when choosing between two otherwise similar candidates, and the evidence suggests that weight discrimination counts more against women.

Overweight workers were routinely stereotyped as 'possessing negative personality traits', and dismissed as 'emotionally impaired'. Overweight people are typically seen as lazy, out of control, even dirty.
And apparently, very thin people don't get off well either:

"I would be wary of a candidate at an interview who was obviously smaller than size eight," agrees a (female) blue chip company HR director who did not want to be identified. "To my mind, a woman that thin has a problem, or at least an unhealthy attitude to food. In my experience, people like this don't make good team players and tend to be introverted and self-focused."
I would hope that I would always pick the best candidate, regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity and size...but how can I be absolutely sure that I'm not secretly sizist?

The Election Fall Out

30 hours after The Decision, I have to conclude that:
  1. Brown has brainwashed his front bench into actually believing that the polls were nothing to do with his decision
  2. The Lib Dems only want to talk about fixed term elections and not their disastrous polling figures
  3. Cameron won't ever admit that the initial Blackpool "Give us an election" was a bluff that came off spectacularly well
I know that CCHQ has been asking for an election since Brown got in - but I didn't realise that they actually meant it until Thursday's polls.

"Mulsim medical students get picky"

In a quite amazing piece in The Sunday Times, we are told that:

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.
Is this Religious Correctness gone mad - or why hasn't this been a problem in British Universities before?

Hamilton keeps us hanging

In two weeks time, there is a [albeit very slim] chance that a British rookie could win the F1 World Championship and England retain the Rugby World Cup within hours of each other - it may just be worth putting a fiver on the double.

Definition of Rhetoric

\Rhet"o*ric\, n. [F. rh['e]torique, L. rhetorica, Gr. See Gordon Brown's interview with Andrew Marr 07-Oct-2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cameron at the Conference

As a reminder to our blog readers, David Cameron, William Hague (amongst many others) will be speaking at the CWO Conference at the QEII Centre on Monday 12th November. The theme of this year's conference is Creating a Better World for Future Generations.

Members and non-members are welcome, whatever gender! Click here for tickets and information.

Adam Boulton is not a happy chappy

After a very impressive pool interview by David Cameron, in which I think he looked his most relaxed and statemanslike, since becoming leader, Andrew Wilson on Sky News went to Adam Boulton outside 10 Downing Street and asked him:

"Adam, one of the key points of that [interview] seemed to be the way [Cameron] started it, talking about Gordon Brown 'cancelling' the election. Presumably that's a message the Conservatives want to get through?"

[Adam Boulton] "They do and to be fair to them, it's a point they can make with some justification. In the coming days people will talk about media hysteria and the media ramping up this election.

"Let's be in no doubt about it: The reason why we were on election standby was because very senior officials close to Gordon Brown, and indeed Cabinet Ministers, told all of us that they were preparing for a general election and, if the polls were good enough, that general election would be called.

"Gordon Brown had the opportunity - I myself said to him 'If you want to stop this speculation, just say that there's not going to be an election this year' - he refused to do so at the time of his conference.

"This has nothing to do with the media. The reason why everyone has been so excited about a general election is the governing party - the Labour Party - and senior members and officials of it, have said that is what we are doing. Therefore, one can only say, now that Gordon Brown has finally said that he's calling off a general election, that the reason is, as they said to us, that the polling data is not there.

"All the talk about running the country, spelling out the future and all that, is so many words."

[Question to AB from the studio about Brown not having an election this year or next]

"Well, it's certainly what the Prime Minister said in his interview with Andrew Marr...he agreed with that. Again, it's an extraordinary situation, isn't it, that we don't know, even although we know what the Prime Minister's done, we don't know precisely how he said it.

"He's not like David Cameron, stepping out of his front door and talking to the cameras live. He's done some sort of interview that's apparently going to be held overnight. So, again, from that sort of style, people might draw their own inferences on who is on the defensive and who's on the front foot at the moment.

"And of course, it's an oppportunity David Cameron probably dreamed of, to come out of his front door, with some credibility and to accuse the Prime Minister of [Adam Boulton reads off his notes] 'indecision, weakness, humiliating retreat, opportunism and spin'.

"I mean, this is the disaster that Team Brown have brought on themselves by their hubris of thinking that they can go for a general election and winning it, and then bottling it when they see the polls are not so good. I mean, it is, whatever else, it will call into question the judgement of Team Brown and also their sincerity when they talk about the national interest because of the political caclulation which they have clearly now been caught by the headlights."

[Question from the studio about whether there is a crisis in Team Brown, given the advice he has received from his young advisers]

"It's all very well calling them young advisors. Let's remember that they are Cabinet Ministers - Ministers of the Crown - people like Ed Balls and Ed Milliband and of course, Douglas Alexander. All of them occupy lofty offices of state so their age doesn't really matter. They are very senior figures, apparently."
"At one level, this has been a political storm in a tea cup because at the end of it, Gordon Brown still has a healthy majority - he can still govern for 2 years or more - Britain is much the same today as it was 24 hours ago BUT if you're talking about trust in government, trust in the judgement of the people who are at the very top, there's no doubting it, they've shot themselves in the foot."

I can't wait for his show Sunday lunchtime...

Brown Bottles It

UPDATE 17:50: Andrew Marr has recorded an interview with GB and Adam Boulton on Sky News is steaming at Labour... Quotes as I type them...

The BBC and Sky News have just heard that Brown is not calling an election this year.

Sweet Chariot!

After a nightmare last 20 minutes of watching England v Australia (and missing Jonny Wilkinson's usually point perfect accuracy), I will admit to actually shedding a tear at the result. Now onto face France or New Zealand (OK, so New Zealand France then)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"We will fight - Britain will win"

David Cameron closed the 2007 Conference with a challenge to Gordon Brown:

"Call that election. We will fight - Britain will win."

In the keynote speech of the Conference, David outlined his vision for Britain.

He described the "old politics" of Labour as no longer relevant for a new world, and stressed that only the modern approach of the Conservatives could inspire the British people.

What did you think of Cameron's speech or the chance of an Autumn election now that the polls show a Conservative fightback?

The Women are Blogging!

The CWO Blog is up and running and waiting for your comments. We want to hear what you are talking about what you think about current events.

Monday, October 01, 2007

About the CWO

Welcome to the CWO Blog! The CWO is the Conservative Party's national network for women. We help the Conservative Party win elections at every level by:

  • Providing a focus for women of all ages, backgrounds and from across the United Kingdom within the Conservative Party
  • Encouraging and enabling women to participate and stand for office at all levels of the Conservative Party, Government and Public Office
  • Ensuring that Party policy takes women's views into account
  • Helping the Conservative Party regain the women's vote

If you are interesting in finding out more about the CWO, please visit our website at