The Illamasqua Anti-Fascism Pledge

Just before Christmas I caught up with a representative from Illamasqua to discuss their upcoming make up collections. I woke up on the morning of the meeting ridiculously hungover; seriously regretting that last Red Stripe (and everything else I’d consumed the night before). I shoved an Eat 4 Less baguette down my gob, downed so much Fanta I’ve probably given myself diabetes and prayed that I would be home within half an hour; back in bed with a burrito. Within 10 minutes of sitting down and getting a sneak preview of all the latest pigments, palettes and powders my hangover woes disappeared – I was in heaven. I’m not the most particularly make up obsessed girl (Read: I still have a tide line when I apply foundation and I’ve only recently discovered highlighter) but I am all about socially conscious brands. I learned how Illamasqua pride themselves on having a stance against animal testing and how they strive to be inclusive of all ethnicities and skin colours. Yesterday they released a statement which didn’t sugar coat how they felt about Trump supporters buying their products and I felt it was the perfect time to finally get round to writing about them………

After the shit storm that was 2016, it’s pretty hard to avoid being political these days. Even your ex boyfriend, who once thought Hugh Grant was Prime Minister, is over on Facebook; letting everyone know that he thinks Donald Trump is a bit of a dickhead. Celebrities haven’t been shy to speak out and share their beliefs either; Gary Lineker is more or less the leader of the opposition in the U.K, Michael Sheen has swapped acting for activism and Lily Allen is doing God’s work on Twitter; dealing with sexist, racist misogynist trolls daily for merely daring to call out fascism.

But brands and businesses? They’ve been a little quieter. Sure, a few have made a stand or a statement but the majority are adopting the ‘never discuss politics at a dinner party’ strategy in order to protect their profits. After all, Trump supporters are ridiculously extra when you offend their Fash Daddy.

So yesterday when Illamasqua released a statement detailing their Anti-Fascism Pledge it made for a refreshing break from reading about the latest atrocities the Alt-Right* are up to.

*A polite term for Nazis

Illamasqua believe in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity. That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum… wherever it is happening.

As such, we will never knowingly sell our products to people who support President Trump’s values. To be part of our community, and to buy our products, you must first pledge to Human Fundamentalism values:

  • Never discriminate against race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • Accept responsibility on challenging social and climate issues
  • Speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves
  • Uphold the principles of the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity to stamp out prejudice, intolerance and hatred.

We’re realistic. We know we can’t stop anyone buying our products. But we also know that no matter how hard some people work to make themselves beautiful on the outside, make-up can never hide the ugliness inside. So please, if you don’t agree with the above DON’T BUY US.

Prejudice, sexism and racism should never be tolerated. Whether you’re a brand or an individual join us and, together, we can be the change we want to see.

PEACE,

JULIAN KYNASTON, ILLAMASQUA FOUNDER.

The fashion and beauty industry gets a bad rep at times because of course they do, it’s mainly women who enjoy make up so naturally anything a female enjoys will be passed off as trivial and unimportant. Yet here we are in 2017, and along with Teen Vogue being the main major publication to pull Trump up on his bullshit, it’s a beauty brand that’s risking their profits and putting their influence to good use to fight fascism.

Some may be cynical and claim Illamasqua’s pledge is all for publicity and to generate more sales and, while I don’t believe that to be true, who actually cares if that’s what it is? If brands and businesses want to start marketing their goods by highlighting dangerous politics and directing us towards good causes while they’re at it, I’m all for it. I’d rather be flogged a lipstick by a company not standing by while a repulsive bigot tries to implement disgusting policies like a Muslim Ban rather than a business that chucks a few hundred grand at a Kardashian so they can feature on their Instagram page.

For those cynics who still aren’t convinced, Illamasqua are donating 100% of ALL sales proceeds of Lip Lure in Nebulus to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation to help the charity continue it’s work in challenging prejudice and intolerance.

If you needed an excuse to add to your make up collection, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Head down to Illamasqua and be safe in the knowledge that when you’re applying your eyeliner your wings won’t be Alt-Right.

Join Illamasqua’s Anti-Fascism Pledge HERE

See also: How to Not Fund a Tory Business

 

A Biased Guide to the UK Parties & Who to Vote For

A longer, online version of the article published in OPEN Magazine.

see url The Conservative Party

In 2010, the NHS had it’s highest ever public approval ratings – five years on and it’s the number one election issue. Back in 2005, David Cameron declared it a disgrace that ONE single mother had taken a food parcel off the Salvation Army under a Labour government. I can’t give you an up to date figure of how many rely on food banks today, due to the number increasing by the day, but we can all agree that the Prime Minister probably regrets that claim 10 years ago. The Chancellor’s budget in March claimed we’re better off than ever, yet almost half of those in poverty live in working households. So you’ve really got to admire the Prime Minister – it takes some confidence to declare you’re still the right man for the job after 5 years of your leadership has plunged millions into poverty.

David Cameron - a man in touch with the working classes.

David Cameron – a man in touch with the working classes.

What have the Tories got up their sleeve then? What are they promising us in exchange for our vote? Let’s have a look. I’ve waded through their manifesto and cut out the waffle.

Remember when Cameron and Co decided that paying 3 grand a year simply wasn’t enough to go to University & watch poorly designed PowerPoint presentations? Well they stand by their decision to treble tuition fees, pricing working class kids out of further education, but they will ensure that you click won’t have to pay back any of that humongous student debt until you’re earning at least £21,000.

According to statistics, half of those living on the streets became homeless before the age of 21. So what has the Conservative’s decided is the best solution to help stop this cycle? go site To axe benefit for those aged 18 – 21 years old. The Prime Minister has stated that welfare should no longer be a ‘lifestyle choice’ but hasn’t really addressed the issue of just where do you go if you’re under 21 and don’t have the happy family home he assumes everyone has? Not all are blessed with a mummy and daddy there to loan them a deposit to get on the property ladder, or even help them with their rent in a grotty bed sit. Rather than taking away free TV licences and bus travel from richer pensioners, yet again working class young people will be the ones to suffer at the hands of a Tory government.

They’re a proven failure but a Conservative government promise to open at least 500 more free schools.

The ban of Fox Hunting will be repelled. Because of course, reinstating a cruel ‘sport’ to make posh people happy should be at the top of any to do list when tackling the issues facing this country.

Tax will only begin once you earn at least £12,400. However, 37.5 hours a week at National Minimum Wage (something David Cameron once voted against) currently brings you in £12,675 a year so this doesn’t mean much to anyone working full-time.

Back in the 80’s, Thatcher seemed to think selling off all the social housing on the cheap was a good idea. She believed that a nation of home owners was key to a successful country. 35 years on and a third of ex council homes are now owned by rich landlords and we’re in the midst of a severe housing crisis. However, this isn’t stopping Thatcherite David Cameron pledging an unabashed extension of the right to buy scheme for 1.3m families in housing association properties. What about the 9m renting in the private sector? Nothing for them. Tough luck.

“We will rebalance our economy and build a Northern Powerhouse” Does anyone actually know what this Northern Powerhouse is that Cameron keeps banging on about? It sounds like how an Apprentice candidate from Blackburn would describe themselves. Whatever it is, the Conservatives are doing their best to try and convince us that they actually care about anywhere North of Birmingham; with promises of better representation across the country – including a Mayor of Manchester.

 The Labour Party

Whereas The Conservative manifesto basically acts at an 84 page ‘F**k you’ to anyone under the age of 30, Ed Miliband’s Labour actually seem interested in future generations; even if we don’t vote. You can argue that Red Ed doesn’t seem tough enough to lead the country, but your alternative is a man who is scared to debate a supposedly weak man. The Labour leader may not look attractive while scoffing a bacon butty (who does?) but let’s look at some policies and promises rather than fall for The S*n’s smear campaign.

"Oh great, The Sun still dining out on that bacon butty picture - that's not boring at all."

“Oh great, The Sun still dining out on that bacon butty picture – that’s not boring at all.”

As it stands, you’re more than welcome to start paying tax at the age of 16, but you haven’t got the right to vote on which government gets to spend your money. If Labour return to power they pledge to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 years of age by 2016.

Iain Duncan Smith wants to rebrand brand evil, exploitive zero hour contracts. Fine – Ed Miliband will ban them. No more paying to travel to a minimum wage job to be told you’re not needed and get sent home with no pay. And the minimum wage will raise to £8 an hour by October 2019. Still not enough but much better than the Tories insulting 20p hike in this year’s budget.

Unpaid internships favour kids from middle class backgrounds. Sure, working for free for six months will probably secure you a job in your dream industry, but you better make sure your parents are rich enough to have you live at home rent free while you complete it. By banning them, Labour will even the playing field up a little bit.

“The Bedroom Tax is cruel and we will abolish it” *solidarity fist emoji*

While our parents seemed to get on the property ladder for the price of a packet of crisps, those days are well and truly over – we’re Generation Rent. How are Labour planning to tackle that housing crisis I mentioned earlier? They’re looking at building more homes, tackling exploitive private landlords and help give renters more protection and rights.

Fairer tax rules under Labour. The Tories may think you should be financially rewarded for making your friends and family sit through a wedding but Ed promises to scrap the date Marriage Tax Allowance. The insulting tax break for married couples (giving nothing for single parent households & widows etc) going will make way for the introduction of a lower 10p starting rate of tax. They will also abolish Non Dom status – an old-fashioned rule that helps multi-millionaires dodge paying their share of income tax.

David Cameron may say dated, sexist stuff like “Calm down, dear’ when a woman dares to speak, but Labour seem to have cottoned on to the fact that females actually make up quite a lot of the electoral and should probably be treated like equal citizens. Labour want to give more money to refuges and Rape Crisis Centre, create better access for women to get legal aid in cases of domestic violence and ‘appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards to tackle domestic and sexual violence.’

Liberal Democrats

Bless Nick Clegg, I don’t know why he’s bothered the past few months. Who’s actually going to vote for him? Just in case anyone is still a Lib Dem, he and his party have also wrote a manifesto.

Oh Nick, mate....

Oh Nick, mate….

Just like Labour, they want to lower the voting age to 16.

They want to establish a review of higher education and ‘ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students.’ Brave move even mentioning universities to be honest, lads – I’d have just steered cleared of the topic after the whole ‘trebling fees rather than abolishing them’ thing. Brave.

Lib Dems want to focus on mental health and wellbeing and have an ‘interim target of getting 25% of people suffering into treatment.” While that may not seem a huge target, help and services for those with mental health issues in this country are woeful so this is admirable pledge.

They want to encourage businesses to ensure at least one board member is filled by a BAME candidate and support ‘name blank recruitment’ – a technique that stops middle class white boys being favoured over someone with a name that Katie Hopkins would mock.

UKIP

I don’t really know why I bothered to read the UKIP manifesto – Nigel Farage and his party want to leave the EU and take back control of our borders, and that’s about it really. They’re really into the idea of an Australian-style points system for skilled workers; which makes a lot of sense as Nigel Farage looks exactly like the kind of bloke who says things like “Them Ozzies have the right idea – they don’t just let any bugger in.”

Self proclaimed ordinary man of the people Nigel Farage - at a fox hunt....

Self proclaimed ordinary man of the people Nigel Farage – at a fox hunt….

Some of their proposals are great; like ending ATOS assessments and increasing Carers’ Allowance, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Their manifesto is jam-packed with all the reasons why immigrants and the EU are to blame for everything wrong in Britain, and then random promises; like making it a criminal offence to cold call someone in respect of pension arrangements.

It goes without saying; they want to make St George’s Day a national holiday (it honestly reads like a parody manifesto at times), and pledge to end the use of multi-lingual formatting on official documents. Have you ever got a form and been really mad if it was also available in an alternative language or braille etc? No, of course you haven’t as no right thinking person gets pissed off by this.

 The Green Party

 No longer passed off as a ‘hippy’ party, The Green Party has emerged as a serious rival to Labour for the left-wing vote. They’re also the only party that put any effort into the design of their manifesto; a simple layout, easy to read, and there’s even a mini version if you’re too lazy to tackle the full one. However, they are getting marked down for having titles featuring hashtags – #notcoolguys

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

It can be easy to get excited flicking through, reading about the absolute liberal utopia the Greens would create if they had the chance to implement any of their promise, but I’m going to be a bitch and pick holes. They don’t really have the right idea about how to tackle the housing crisis, and with aims like ‘ensure through planning that everyone lives within five minutes’ walk of a green open space’ some of their pledges can seem a bit whimsical considering the issues at hand. Then again, they are The Green Party so it would be a bit odd if they didn’t have these kind of goals.

 I’ve clearly not been unbiased in this piece but then again, neither have any of the right-wing publications this week – VOTE LABOUR this Thursday.

See also: Who to Vote For (Feat. Rick Edwards)

Who to Vote for (Feat. Rick Edwards)

You saw all the tweets linking you to the online form; you’re registered to vote, you’ve got your polling card* through – you’re all set for May 7th. Slight problem – just who do you vote for? Your dad’s banging on about how politicians are ‘all the bloody same’, your sister’s read Russell Brand’s book and is waffling on about being a ‘Revolution Activist’, and your mate’s practising drawing an elaborate cock and balls in preparation for spoiling his ballot. But you? You don’t know. You haven’t got a clue who’s who, what’s what and most importantly, where to mark your X.

You’ve got just over a week for a crash course in British politics and to make your mind up. Here are a few things out there that can offer you some impartial help, without all the complex jargon that comes with politics:

(*Don’t worry if your polling card hasn’t arrived yet, you don’t actually need it to vote. So when Russell Brand claims people “are free” when they rip theirs up, he’s wrong.)

1) Verto An online tool perfect for first time voters. Answer a series of questions by swiping left or right if you agree or not (think of it like a political Tinder) and Verto will help you find where you stand on the political spectrum

2) Who Should You Vote For? If you’re a bit lazy (guilty) and want an even quicker answer, these 20 questions, where you rank how strongly you agree with a statement, will give you a (very) rough idea of who you should vote for in under 5 minutes.

3) Rick Edwards If the former T4 presenter ever fancies a career change, I suspect plenty of students would be very keen to hear him lecture about government policies and prime ministers as a politics teacher.

The fact that Rick would have a packed classroom isn’t just down to the fact he’s one handsome devil (although it doesn’t hurt) – it’s due to how he’s successfully engaging young people in the seemingly stuffy and boring world of politics.

If you’re a quick reader, Rick’s book None of the Above, is the perfect unbiased guide to everything you need to know before heading to the polling station this May. Think British Politics for Dummies but funny. And not in the slightest bit patronising. It covers everything; from benefits and broken promises, to coalitions and celebrity involvement.

 

But what happens when you learn about all the parties yet feel no one is worthy of your vote? Spoil your ballot! Don’t just stay at home and let the government think you’re apathetic and lazy – still turn up at the polling station and make it be known you’re not impressed with what’s currently on offer. As Rick Edwards says – Your vote is your voice, don’t stay silent.

I’ve interviewed Rick last month (you can read it here but be warned, I do go on). Here are some best bits:

Rick on Russell Brand

While Rick is on a one man mission to get the missing millions to vote, Russell Brand has been very vocal about how he feels voting doesn’t change anything. In None of the Above, throughout the Celebrity Involvement in Politics chapter, Rick praises Russell’s foray into the political world but, unsurprisingly, has some concerns about his reluctance to vote. 

“He’s galvanising people in such a positive way. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of what he says but never the less, he’s widening the political conversation and that needs to be applauded, totally.

I read Revolution excited; I wanted to know what he suggests we do if we want this revolution, not that I necessarily do, but I was interested in what he had to say. I felt I didn’t really get any answers.

I obviously disagree with his views on voting – I feel they’ll do more harm than good towards young people and that’s why I feel it’s important for me to say the opposite.

I have very briefly mentioned None of the Above to him, and the idea of spoiling your ballot etc, but I don’t think he buys into it unfortunately. Even though, deep down, I think he would like a NOTA option on the ballot paper and recognise it as a revolution from within, if you like. I feel it could sit with his principles but I don’t think he’ll come out in favour of any of that at the moment so I’ll just be the one to keep banging on about it. (Laughter)”

Rick on Pop Star Politics 

Are you old enough to remember Britpop? Back when Noel Gallagher sipped champagne with Labour leader Tony Blair at 10 Downing St, pop and politics mixed – “Cool Britannia” and all that.

Paloma Faith & left wing columnist Owen Jones

Nowadays you won’t find many acts willing to stick their neck out and risk damaging their brand with a mention of politics – apart from Paloma Faith, who’s taken left-wing columnist Owen Jones on tour with her.

“I think it’s great. It’s all about getting people talking about politics – especially those who wouldn’t normally speak about it. Having a political journalist speak to your audience before a gig, some of who will be politically engaged and some who won’t, is obviously a positive thing. Even if they disagree with everything Owen says, and they go away angry and speak with someone about it; that’s engagement and for me, that’s key. It’s really brilliant and I’ve said it to her – a great thing to do.”

Rick on Politicians

It’s become quite fashionable to declare that all politicians are the same: corrupt and evil. Surely some out there are good?

“I strongly believe a lot of politicians get into it for the right reasons and are trying to do good things to help people. I really do. I know this is not a view shared by everyone, by any means. I’ve met a few politicians over the last couple of years who I have really liked and respected and felt that they were genuine. I find that encouraging. If I took the view that they’re actually all pricks and self-serving then it would all be too depressing.”

Rick on LFC

Okay, so technically this isn’t related to politics but I have always wondered how Cambridge born Rick came about supporting Liverpool.

“I support Liverpool for a very pathetic reason; when I was a kid, my dad loved all sports but he was especially keen for me to play football. We’d watch it on TV, but whereas I loved live games and playing, I found watching it on TV boring. When I was about 6, he was forcing me to watch the ‘86 Cup Final and I was bored. He told me to pick a team to support and that way I’d enjoy it and I happened to pick the red team. That is literally it. I have been a Liverpool fan for a long time now and there is no link whatsoever. Purely random – all because I liked red at the time. It could have just as easily have been Everton!

Regarding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the work and dedication they have put in for getting justice for the 96 killed is just incredible and I’ve got nothing but respect for those people. It just shows what can be done if you care about something and don’t let things lie. It demonstrates just what people can achieve if they keep going – even with some serious obstacles in their way.”

Remember to vote May 7th. Find out where you polling station is here.

See also: Interview: Rick Edwards

Interview: Rick Edwards

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

Over the past few years, only 38% of those aged 18 – 24 have voted in any election – that’s 18% less than the EU* average. In 2010, over 65s were 23% more likely to get down to a polling station than the under 25s. This “generation gap” is a seemingly recent development; in 1992 the difference was just 12%.  Something isn’t right. Are the youth of Britain actually apathetic and lazy, or is the system failing the younger members of society?

(*The European Union – that thing Nigel “I’m not racist but…” Farage is always banging on about leaving.)

“I so very rarely come across anyone that’s like ‘No, I have no interest in politics whatsoever’ – really, really rare,” BBC Free Speech host Rick Edwards tells us. “So something is going wrong. Is it in school? Is it a lack of political education? The barriers? Is politics not accessible?”

Whatever the cause may be, Rick is on a one man mission to recruit those missing voters. While many may have scoffed at the presenter of a show calledTool Academy turning his hand to more political matters, the former face of T4 is silencing any doubters; engaging an alienated generation in politics and urging them to use their voice and vote.

It’s all very well encouraging people to get on the electoral register, but some may not have a clue where to mark their X once they get in the polling station. That’s where None of the Above steps in to help – Rick’s unbiased guide to all the country’s major parties, the elective system and all the issues affecting UK citizens. Think British Politics for Dummies but funny, and not patronising either. If after learning about who wants your vote and what they pledge to do for you, you don’t feel anyone is a worthy candidate, None of the Above comes complete with a handy sticker to help you spoil your ballot.

With the deadline to register to vote Monday 20th April, and the election less than a month away, OPEN had a chat with Rick Edwards to find out why he thinks young people don’t vote, what needs to be done, and just how he feels about Russell Brand’s reluctance to exercise his democratic right.

OPEN: There’s a general feeling that young people* aren’t politically active. March’s budget appealed to homeowners, savers, married people – basically, an older voter. It seems the fact the under 25’s don’t vote has resulted in politicians not bothering to appeal to them.  How different do you think a budget would be if young people actually got down to the polling station?

RICK EDWARDS: I think you’re absolutely right – I think if politicians in government – and not in government – thought that young people were going to vote in the numbers that old people do then you would see that in their budgets and policies. Unfortunately, I don’t think at the moment because they kind of know that young people aren’t going to vote as much as older people are so they look after the people they know do. That’s why we have a big problem as young people aren’t getting the care that they deserve.

It’s such a vicious cycle. If I’m a young person and watch that budget, or listen to politicians of all parties and they’re not saying anything specifically relevant to me I’m going to feel like I don’t care, so I don’t vote. Then the politicians don’t have any incentive to appeal to me and the cycle continues. It’s dangerous and that’s the cycle that needs to be broken – either by young people suddenly voting in much greater numbers or politicians courting the youth vote by saying what they can do for young people with stuff like minimum wage, affordable housing etc.

 

We say young people aren’t voting but we all become older eventually. Our parents and grandparents voted from a young age – do you see this as a generational problem?

Well, so I guess the question really is, if you don’t vote when you’re younger, will you ever vote? I think the answer is, yes, but not as much as you’d expect. You’re much less likely to vote later in life and that is going to cause a decline in voting numbers which again, it’s not a good thing – you want as many people exercising their democratic right as possible. That’s democracy functioning at its best but it’s quite important to not see this as a generational war, pitting young people against old people because as you say, they’re not two distinct groups  – young people do become old people.

When I refer to generations, I mean more so like millennials etc. Will we become the under 25s that are one day over 65s that don’t vote?

Ah I understand. Actually, it’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know the answer. It’s safe to say young people of comparative age in the 60’s and 70’s were voting much more, so there is a clear distinction there but what has that been caused by? I don’t really know which makes the problem harder to solve. If you know what’s causing it it’s easier to deal with. I suppose what I’m trying to do is focus on things I think will help, as opposed to what the causes were. Are you a millennial?

I guess, I’m 25.

And what are your feelings on it?

Well, I’m a bit of an anomaly as I’m from quite a politically active family so I grew up aware of the importance of voting so I don’t think my views are necessarily the norm. I know a few people who don’t vote simply because it’s quite a complicated process (NB – it’s not,register HERE) – I’ve struggled to register this year, taking three times online and ringing up multiple times, so I can see why many don’t bother.

Exactly. There are all these barriers to entry which shouldn’t be there. Like you say, if you’re not really kind of engaged to think “I will sort this” then you are more likely to think “Oh, it feels like they don’t want me to get involved anyway, I’ll just give up.” And there are so many ways we can change that. It’s frustrating.

I don’t think it’s just the system though – I think a lot of young people, particularly the working classes, feel like they haven’t got anyone to vote for. Many see Labour as Tories with a smile.

Do you think that? I can see why you’d think that about New Labour but I feel like with Miliband it is different. 

I quite like Ed Miliband. I think it’s funny when people say he’s not tough enough to be Prime Minister, yet they’re quite happy to vote for a man scared to debate with a supposedly weak man. The TV elections are a great thing and really help a lot of swinging voters.

They really are. David Cameron himself said those TV debates in 2010 really did engage people and that’s where a lot of people got their information from ahead of that election. I think Ed Miliband has actually been talking about trying to introduce legislation where the leaders are obliged to take part in a debate – quite interesting. 

I saw you tweeting David Cameron the other month about him appearing on the BBC Three’s Free Speech – have you had any response from him yet?

We have been nagging him for a while now to come on Free Speech, we don’t know yet, but we think his schedule isn’t going to allow it. It’s a bit of a shame as we’ve obviously had all the other leaders from the major parties on. I just thought, maybe a tweet would help (Laughter) and goad him into it but weirdly, he hasn’t got back to me. 

Do you think there’s a danger of first time voters just following family traditions and copying their parents vote?

It’s probably more worrying that if your parents don’t vote than you don’t vote – that concerns me more than “My parents vote this way so I’m going to too.”

Maybe the first time they may be led but after that you start making your own decisions, I do believe that. Also, the number of people that associate with parties strongly is so low now that’s it’s probably a small number. I suspect there aren’t many families that are die hard Labour or Tory and therefore not many kids are getting, not the right word, but indoctrinated by their mum and dad. So yeah, it worries more if your parents don’t vote, you don’t.

I voted because my parents did. Interestingly, my parents have never told me, or each other, who they vote for – which I really like. Lived together 40 years and never once told each other.

My grandad refuses to tell me who he votes for which I don’t understand – I’m proud of my vote and explaining why I vote for who I do.

Well obviously I don’t know your granddad – as far as I know – but with my mum and dad I think it’s for a few reasons. My mum is quite private and I think she’s concerned they may argue about it. My dad is a stronger character and could persuade her when she just wants to do it in peace so they don’t really talk about politics a great deal.

I like the fact I know both my parents take it seriously privately.

And to be fair, broadly speaking, I know who my parents have voted for at every election. I know them pretty well and what they want and what’s important to them – You can figure it out but they never explicitly say. Weirdly, it’s prepared me for working for the BBC – I’m not allowed to express any opinion on anything.

Do you think you would be vocal if you didn’t work for the BBC?

If I did the same kind of job to some extent in the public eye and if I felt really strongly about an issue or a campaign I think I would speak out. Though I haven’t voted for different parties at every election but nearly, so my vote is all over the place and it would be hard for me to come out and support a party. I think I’d be more likely to speak about a specific issue or campaign I imagine and that in itself might slightly align me with a party but not explicitly.

Have you made your mind up who you’re voting for next month?

I think so. As it gets closer you think more about it and it could change but I enjoy the process of thinking about it. My vote is partly to do with the candidates in my area in North London. I know the candidates, not personally, but there’s one that I like!

I won’t ask anymore and get you in trouble but you say that there is one you like which is rare – it seems the norm to hate politicians and think they’re all corrupt.

I strongly believe a lot of politicians get into it for the right reasons and are trying to do good things to help people. I really do. I know this is not a view shared by everyone, by any means. I’ve met a few politicians over the last couple of years who I have really liked and respected and felt that they were genuine. I find that encouraging. If I took the view that they’re actually all pricks and self-serving then it would all be too depressing.

It must be annoying being asked about him all the time but, Russell Brand! He’s gone down a very different route than you – encouraging people not to vote without really having an alternative plan in place. Do you wish he’d support spoiling a ballot instead?

Firstly, it’s great that he’s widening the political conversation; making more people aware of issues they may not know about. He needs to be applauded and encouraged, totally.

I obviously don’t agree with what he says about not voting. I read Revolution excited as I wanted to know what he suggests we do, if we want revolution. It’s not that I necessarily want one, but I was interested to see what he had to say, but I feel he didn’t really give me any answers.

So I don’t agree with a lot he says but never the less, I think he’s galvanising people in a positive way.

I’ve very briefly mentioned None of the Above to him, and spoiling your ballot etc., but I don’t think he buys into it, unfortunately. Even though, deep down, I think he would like a None of the Above option on the ballot paper – like a revolution from within, if you like. It could sit with his principles but I don’t think he’ll come out in favour of any of that at the moment so I’ll be the one to keep banging on about it (laughter). 

Finally, one none political question, just because I’m curious – why do you support Liverpool FC? You’re not from the city and don’t seem to have any links to the club?

I support Liverpool for a very pathetic reason – when I was a kid my dad loved all sports but he was especially keen for me to play football. We’d watch it on TV, but whereas I loved live games and playing, I found watching it on TV boring. When I was about 6, he was forcing me to watch the ‘86 Cup Final and I was bored. He told me to pick a team to support and that way I’d enjoy it and I happened to pick the red team. That is literally it. I have been a Liverpool fan for a long time now and there is no link whatsoever. Purely random – all because I liked red at the time. It could have just as easily have been Everton!

Regarding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the work and dedication they have put in for getting justice for the 96 killed is just incredible and I’ve got nothing but respect for those people. It just shows what can be done if you care about something and don’t let things lie. It demonstrates just what people can achieve if they keep going – even with some serious obstacles in their way.

* “By the way, I wish there was a better term for young people than ‘young people’. I know it’s hopelessly patronising, especially given I am not one. I am open to alternative suggestions. For now, though, I’ll persist with young people. Just know that I wince every time I write it.”  Expert from None of the Above

Same, Rick. Same.

None of the Above is out now

See also: Are You Registered to Vote?

Are You Registered to Vote?

The general election will take place on Thursday 7th May 2015, less than 100 days away, and shit loads of us (that’s an exact & official figure) haven’t yet bothered registering to vote. In 2010, only 44% of people aged 18-24 actually went to the polling stations, the lowest level among any age group of voters. Let’s not have a repeat performance – regardless of what Russell Brand says, you have to vote. Yes, you can point out that all the major parties are essentially the same, and if you really want to get all ‘Joey Barton A Level Philosophy student’ about it, you could argue that nothing will change; no matter what ‘shape shifting lizard’ is in power, but just get down to the sodding polling station, yeah? Even the most apathetic amongst us would be outraged if we one day we lost the right to vote and elect our own government.

*adopts a mum voice* Don’t give me the whole ‘oh politics burns my head out– I don’t really understand anything’ speech. You don’t need a PHD to vote – do a bit of googling and give yourself a quick education. Don’t pretend that you haven’t got the time to do this – if you’re reading me rambling on right now then you’re not too busy to learn the difference between the right and left-wing. Here’s a good place to start – read that, have a click on some of the related articles and you’ll be up to speed in no time at all.

Look, even if you want to vote Conservative, it’s your right to do so and you should (if you really must). Just remember, no one wants to shag a Tory so think before you choose where you mark your X. And all you lot on Twitter that enjoy calling out ‘Tory behaviour’? You’re going to have to vote, otherwise you’ll have to retire those shouts.

Register to vote HERE. It takes just five minutes to do – I suffer terribly from CBA Syndrome but even I’ve managed to do it. Also, more than nine million women didn’t vote in the last election; Come on, girls; suffragettes died so we had the right to vote -don’t be ungrateful bitches.

Originally published for Scouse Bird Problems. Below are some links to more content I have provided for the site:

Restaurants – Pack It In

Men to Avoid 

Valentine’s Day for Side Chicks

New Year, New Positivity

Who is Your Champion?

Where Are All The Fit Men in Liverpool?

Nu Clinic: Mother Pucker

10 Reasons You Need to Ink