If you read one post before the 2015 election….

So I get an email last week asking if I’d be interested in attending a Youth Media Agency event about voting. Immediately I say yes! Why? Because I’m all about encouraging people to have their say and helping provide them with the platform to spread their messages, and there is no bigger statement you can make than to VOTE.

Despite what the likes of Russell Brand and other non-voters say, I truly believe that it’s an important right/freedom we have in this country that we are allowed to vote for our leaders. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that I always believe in what they stand for and their policies, but I am very glad I can put my X in a box.

Now some of you might be reading this thinking, what’s the point in voting if the people you’re voting for don’t represent you or understand the challenges you face, and to some extent I hear what you’re saying, but in the same breath I say that if you refuse to vote or even register then no one will EVER care about representing you or understanding your challenges! Unfortunately I don’t think any vote at this election will magically solve all of this country’s problems around housing, employment, the health service, immigration etc.. but what your vote or being registered will do is start your engagement in the political process and the journey to making the changes that will start to tackle these issues in real terms.

There’s that famous saying by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and when it comes to politics I think this is so apt. If you imagine voting or registering to vote as the process of packing a bag and your supplies for this journey, and you haven’t even done that, then when/how exactly do you expect to get there?

So back to the Youth Media Agency event on Monday. It was held at Zero One in Soho and featured a multitude of exceptional talented young people from across the creative spectrum – magazine editors, film-makers, radio hosts, designers, digital experts and then me (I think I was the third oldest person in the room).

The launch event was for the new video campaign #xxvote. It’s primary aim is to encourage young women and young people in general to register to vote before the 20th April deadline! The very real and shocking narrative of the film depicts a world of harsh and extreme policies that marginalise young people. In the 2010 elections only 39% of young women aged 18-24 voted. If more young people don’t register (deadline is 20th April) then it’s expected that 800,000 eligible young people will not have voted. That’s 24% of the recorded 3.3million young people in the UK that could vote.. (figures from Youth Media Agency & YouGov research from British Future)

Hopefully my maths hasn’t let me down, but either way I hope this message is getting through – Register to vote, and then vote! Even if you decide to spoil your ballot paper (I’m not condoning or encouraging this) at least your discord with the system and its current policies will have to be noted and hopefully this will encourage somebody to step forward who is deserving of your political faith.

Watch the video and spread the word amongst your friends, colleagues, peers, family… The words of the video couldn’t be more true or scary, ‘If we don’t vote, we won’t matter’

You can register to vote online here 

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Probably the best # on Twitter….(so far)

So there I am just about to switch off for the night, but like most I decided to check my social media feeds for that final night time fix… A quick glance and it’s the same type of posts, Golden Globe red carpet, words of wisdom, but then I spotted a retweet from a friend with tag #FoxNewsFacts.

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Now I’m not a Fox News follower, I prefer my news unbiased and well, researched! Over the last few months you’d be forgiven for questioning whether Fox News actually shares any of these values.

But I digress, let’s keep this about #FoxNewsFacts. This hashtag was getting a lot of traction and my newsfeed was full of tweets, retweets and favourites. The reason for the # was due to comments made by Fox News ‘Terrorism Expert’ Steve Emerson – see for yourself:
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My first thoughts after watching this were; this had to be some kind of blooper showreel, but alas this was broadcast live and with no immediate retraction. (It should be noted that after the broadcast a fellow Twitter user (@pmatalack1878) apparently emailed Fox News complaining about their immense lack of knowledge regarding Birmingham and the UK. Since then Mr Emerson has sent an email apologising: https://twitter.com/pmatlack1878/status/554398263936569344)

But Mr Emerson’s apology genuine or not made no difference to the thousands of people that took to Twitter to lambaste Fox News and it’s reporting… There are some extremely creative people out there. Here’s a few tweets that put a smile of my face:

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If Twitter was only good for only one thing then this would be it – Taking a multinational news organisation to task while making everybody smile!Twitter and Tweeters I thank you! And goodnight.

What I would have added….

Some weeks I appear on London Lives‘ breakfast show, Wake Up London. I’m on for about 5mins every hour talking about some of the stories that are in the papers and making the news in the capital. With only 5 minutes, I don’t really get a chance to stay everything I’d like to, so I thought I’d create a weekly post on my blog for some ‘added value’ lol. Enjoy and feel free to comment and share!

First up was this AMAZING story – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2734481/Woman-54-kills-leopard-spade-hour-long-fight-death-attacked-Indian-village.html Yes it’s in the Daily Mail… But put that aside for one moment and check this story out! A woman in her fifties fights off a leopard with a sickle and a small shovel! It’s one of those stories you hear and instantly wonder what you’d do in that situation. I’ve had a think and I’m not sure I would have lasted 10 minutes, let alone the hour that this woman fought for her life. I guess when you are in that ‘fight or flight’ situation and when flight really isn’t an option it can be amazing what the human body can overcome. Despite suffering some fractures and wounds that required 100+ witches it looks like this woman will make a good recovery! Not so lucky for the leopard though – it was found dead a short distance away.

Next was this wonderful use of technology – https://www.goodsamapp.org  – An app that could literally save your life! It was developed by a neurosurgeon and London Air Ambulance doctor, Mr Mark Wilson, (along with two techies, Ali Ghorbangholi and Ali Haddad). The app as two functions, Responder and Alerter. The Responder is for people that have some form or formal first aid qualification. They register and are notified of any emergencies in their local vicinity, which they can choose to respond to. The Alerter is for members of the public (like you and me). Signing up for the service means that should you be involved in an emergency or witness one, you simply press the button on the App and it will call the emergency services and also notify any Responders that might be close by and able to help. It’s one of those creations that make you think, why oh why do people keep sending me Candy Crush invites when they could be forwarding on this life saving app instead! I’m not one for promoting things (unless I’m getting paid), but I definitely think everyone should sign up as an Alerter – you never know who you might be able to help – it might even be yourself!

And finally this week – to recline or not to recline. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-28943131 This story’s been doing the rounds on the inter web for the last few days (Guardian Comment is Free) and although on one hand it’s the story of two people arguing over the position of a seat (#firstworldproblems), it does raise the question of airline seat etiquette. Is there a right time to recline your chair, should you inform your fellow passengers that you are about to violate their 4 inches of legroom, or whatever it is these days? I know that on long haul flights I used to be upset when the passenger in front instantly pushed their seat back, as if the seatbelt sign was some sort of formula one starting light. I’ve been on many an uncomfortable flight stuck in the position unable to watch the little telly or find any position of comfort, but in my old age (relative) I now don’t seem to care so much. With the every increasing cost of flights (taxes) just being on a plane is worthy of a celebration and if part of that celebration involves kicking my feet up and making the most of my economy ticket then I will. Maybe #firstworldproblem isn’t correct – it should be #economyclassproblem lol

 

Trend that kept me awake… #YesAllWomen

So just about to fall asleep and I do a last minute check of Twitter. European elections, more stuff on UKIP and then I stumble on #YesAllWomen It’s currently tending number with over 700,000 tweets from around the world! (At 3am in the UK)

It seems to have been started (well a catalyst at least) because of the terrible events in America where a 22 year old man decided to go on a killing rampage – after he was apparently shunned by some women http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-27562917

The news is extremely sad, with six people losing their lives to this one man’s twisted actions.

But what I find just as distressing are the vast numbers of tweets written by women sharing their experiences of misogyny, disrespect, rape and general sexist abuse. I don’t want to believe what I’m reading – but unfortunately some of the stories ring true for some of my friends and acquaintances…

Reading the continuous stream of tweets became almost overwhelming… Here are a few:
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Reading some of these frank accounts of misogyny experienced by women around the world, sometimes on a daily occurrence really upset me! Why do some men choose to behave like that?

Why do we continue to live in a world where some stupid men choose to treat women so poorly and without respect? Obviously questions that we could spend hours debating.

Bottom line – It’s really time the men out there became even more vocal about these abuses, however ‘minor’ some might appear. With society force feeding young men and women the idea that it’s ok to objectify and disrespect women more and more each day, it’s really up to us MEN to stand tall with our WOMEN and start teaching these young men that young women are just as equal and deserve our respect… As for the older generations of men, lets hope that they’re not beyond re-education. Refreshing to see that some men already get it:

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Guys if this trending topic doesn’t get you thinking about how you should be treating women, then try and remember this… We all have mothers!

#YesAllWomen