It’s been a while since my last post – loads going on in my life, including needing to set myself up as a self-employed worker due to some unpleasantness with my last job (on that note, if you’d like a website or photographic services, my photography site is live now, while if you want my financial planning services I’m currently going through the regulation process, but you can have a look at my financial consulting website for updates). Notwithstanding the above, it seemed like it was a good time to post an update on what I have been doing politically.
Practising speaking skills
Some of you will already know that I have been going along to the Trojan Speakers club in Ealing, a member of the Toastmasters network. This is a great opportunity for me to practice public speaking in a controlled and non-political setting, but it is excellent practice for different styles of addressing groups, which can only stand me in good stead when it comes to a General Election.
Recently I have finally won one of the coveted “Best Speaker” ribbons for a talk I did on retirement planning. The goal for this exercise was to inspire the audience, so I thought I would pick a subject that most people see as “boring” at best to see if I could change a few minds. Mission accomplished, I think!
Learning to debate
Practising public speaking is one thing, but I also thought it would be useful for me and Blaise to learn a bit more about the art of debating. Again, this is with the intention of being better equipped to take on David Simmonds and Boris Johnson respectively if we participate in a hustings at some stage. Given this, we gathered an expert debated – the former president of a university debating society – and some volunteers from my Speakers club, and we had a debate on whether or not MPs should be subject to a recall petition from their constituents.
For information, this is a highly relevant topic. At the moment, Boris Johnson is subject to an inquiry from the Privileges Committee relating to his repeated lies to the House. If he is found to have lied to the House deliberately, he might be suspended. If suspended for more than two working weeks, the residents of Uxbridge & South Ruislip are eligible to file a recall petition to remove him as their MP.
This suspension is the bare minimum needed for an MP to be subject to a recall petition. In most circumstances, an MP can be absolutely certain that their position is secure. They can do absolutely no work for their constituency, host no surgeries, make no speeches in the Commons. In essence, they can wholly abandon their constituency, and as long as they do not die, go to jail or become suspended from the Commons for more than 10 working days, they will still be eligible to claim a salary for representing their constituents. The system is set up such that an MP is protected from any accountability until the next election.