Campaigns We Like

You all should read this post from Penny Red, it follows on nicely from my last post and also from brazenshrew’s comment which was this:

It really annoys me that most people don’t seem to think that history can repeat itself. The nazis gained power in very similar circumstances; a weak economy and disenchantment with the political process. It’s scary how easily they could get it, if people are complacent, that is.

History CAN repeat itself and only YOU can make a difference.

I’m going away with JD imminently to York, where I went to university, to stay in a posh hotel and swim and eat dinner out tonight and all that fancy stuff ūüôā

I indulged in some new bras the other day (indulge is probably the wrong word given that I only one bra that actually fitted properly!) and then set about finding something to do with my ill-fitting but still in perfect working order bras!

Thank you internet! I googled “recycling bras”¬† and as well as finding a few links on how to turn a bra into a purse (useful but I’ve already got a purse and have several bras to recycle), I found this appeal for unwanted bras.

The Bra Appeal collects bras and distributes them to UK and international charities for women in need of bras! As well as using them to rise money for Breast Cancer Research.
A pretty ace idea!

Also you need to is wash your unwanted bras and check they don’t have an rips or anything. Then paperclip a piece of paper to them with the size on and post them off and feel good!


There’s blue skies in between the random outbursts of hail here in Sheffield, and that can mean only one thing: Spring is on its way.

And that means that political activism is hotting up.

I’ve just had an email – which will have gone out to every member of the NUS – about a group called “HOPE not hate“. Apologies for the strange, unnecessary capitals, but it wasn’t me that thought up the name.

In their own words:

“HOPE not hate is Searchlight’s campaign against the British National Party and other racists and fascists. HOPE not hate recognises that people, communities and society as a whole face problems, but the BNP is not the answer and would only make everything worse. We work to expose the truth about the BNP and, by democratic means, to prevent it gaining electoral success. Our current campaign aims to increase turnout in the European election on 4 June 2009 so that the BNP’s percentage vote falls short of that needed to win seats.”

And Searchlight?

“Searchlight opposes racism and fascism in Britain and abroad. It was founded in 1962 and now has three components: Searchlight magazine, Searchlight Educational Trust and Searchlight Information Services.”

Now, I didn’t even know that the European elections were coming up. But if there’s even a modicum of a chance that the BNP might get in, we need to be voting, because a nastier group is hard to imagine since Robert Kilroy-Silk stopped heading¬† UKIP.

Bear in mind, it is the BNP whose London Assembly candidate, Nick Eriksen, was last year outed as a blogger who said things like this:

‚ÄúThe demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Men who go along with the rape myth are either morons or traitors.‚ÄĚ

And, closer to home, Mark Collett, in Barnsley, was filmed at a meeting saying this:

“Next thing: the treatment of women.
Now, I like women [muffled cheers]
If I want to drive through Leeds on a sunny day and look at women walking down the streets in low-cut tops, that’s a pleasure. I don’t want to see those women being spat at and abused, for simply choosing to wear clothes, that these people who’ve been here five minutes [muslim immigrants] don’t approve of. [loud clapping]
And this isn’t just my opinion. This is Western culture. Look back, as far as you want to go – the Rennaissance, Roman sculpture, Greek art – central to all those things was the depiction of the female form. It is part of our culture, our heritage.
It even goes beyond human rights – it’s part of what we are. It’s part of what we fought for, part of what our ancestors died for, and these people want to take it away from us.”

In all honesty, it’s quite a shock to find the BNP mentioning women at all, given that a search for “woman”, “women”, “girl” and “female” in their 2007 manifesto turned up… absolutely nothing. Women are also not mentioned in their policies tab, and nor are any of their leaflets specifically about women (although unsurprisingly, they are given a fleeting mention in the “Islam issue” leaflet). Why, if I didn’t know better, I could almost think that they didn’t really care about women!

Sarcasm aside, this is important. The BNP are a serious threat, specifically because they don’t hide the fact that they’re a party comprised of just about every “phobia” you can imagine. I’ve put up a link to the HOPE not hate campaign in the sidebar, in the form of a pretty picture, because I’m a sucker for happy-looking graphics.

Less fluffily, this is my call for everybody who can vote in the European elections, to vote. Please. I seriously don’t care who you support, as long as it isn’t this lot of fascists. Or UKIP, of course. Please register to vote. Please don’t let the BNP get in.

The HOPE not hate campaign has a number of local groups, which you can find here. Yorkshire seems a little less well represented than I would have hoped, but they do have a HQ in leeds, and there are email addresses for some other cities. The email address given for Sheffield, however, leads to Barnsley, so I assume that there isn’t a Sheffield-specific group at the moment.


Yes! I’ve decided to award myself the badge. Because what, after all, is the point of claiming to be the ruler of all you survey, if you can’t even have a badge to prove it?

Anyway, this post will be sticky until 22nd March. Any new posts will remain underneath it until I decide to un-sticky it.

We’re looking for toys to give to the Northern Refugee Centre, because they are lovely. More importantly, although they are lovely and run womens’ conversation clubs that we thoroughly approve of, they don’t have any toys to entertain children with. And, as you can imagine, there will be some women who’d like to come along, but don’t feel they can converse with a small child pulling at their ear because they’re bored.

So, we’re helping out. We’re looking for clean, safe, sensible toys. If you have any spare, they might as well be donated to the Refugee Centre as to Oxfam, or wherever else you might send them to. We’re happy to collect, within reason, and you can get hold of us either by using the email addresses provided on the contact page, or by calling Jude directly on 01142 660434.

In the “toys we’d like” list:

  • books for all ages – cardboard books for young children would be nice, as would any bilingual books of any kind.
  • building blocks, stackable buckets, big “shape” puzzles, big dumper/ tipper trucks and other “construction” type toys
  • “tea party” style sets (or even single items), as long as they’re not so small they can be choked on – so plastic cups, plates, fake tins of food etc are fine, utensils are probably best avoided

In the “toys we can’t take” list:

  • any kind of war-related items. Please don’t give guns, swords, tanks, action men etc.
  • cuddly toys. They’re lovely, but are not the most washable of items.
  • battery-operated or noisy toys.
  • toys with lots of small parts. We have to assume that there will be toddlers around, so please don’t give anything that might be eaten!
  • pens, crayons, pencils etc. Guaranteed, somebody will draw on the walls.

Obviously, these are just suggestions. Feel free to give anything you think might be appropriate. If we, with the Northern Refugee Centre, decide that, on balance, we can’t take what’s been given, it will be donated to the nearest charity shop. One way or another, we’ll find good homes for the toys. Happy donating, everybody!

Jude talked to us about Women In Black which is a international network of women campaigning for peace.
Women In Black Sheffield has just restarted, and will meet on the 1st Saturday of every month at the War Memorial by the city hall between 1-2pm and obviously wearing black. A detailed history of Women In Black can be found at the linked site and it is a fascinating story to see how what started as a very small action in Israel in 1988 spread across the world.
The next Sheffield WIB will be 4th April and then the first Saturday of every month, the themes will always be related to stopping violence of all forms against women.

Just a quick reminder that we are collecting toys for the Northern Refugee Centre this month! We need the toys by 22nd march and then we’ll send them off. Anything clean, safe and appropraite more then welcome, board games and puzzles are especially good as well as anything that crosses a broad age range. Either bring the toys to a meeting or email in about collection.

Via The F-Word blog, the news that the wonderful Dianne Abbott is campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland, with the early day motion that states:

“That this House supports safe, legal abortion for women, within existing time limits, no matter where they live in the United Kingdom; notes that because the Abortion Act 1967 was never extended to Northern Ireland, women in Northern Ireland do not have the same access to abortion as women in the rest of the United Kingdom; further notes that as a consequence women who are for example the victims of rape or incest or who are carrying a severely abnormal foetus are forced to continue their pregnancy against their will or to travel to England and pay for a private abortion, which can cost up to ¬£2,000 and takes place later in gestation than necessary because of the burden on women to raise significant sums of money at short notice and to organise travel to Britain; condemns the inequity that this causes by its impact on poorer, younger and other vulnerable women; deplores the fact that thousands of women are forced into motherhood, illegal abortion or debt each year because they do not have the same reproductive rights as women in other parts of the UK; and calls on the Government to relieve this burden and provide funding for women in Northern Ireland to access NHS abortion services in Britain.”

Abortion Rights is asking that everybody contact their MP to ask them to add their support, and, because I’m awesome, I’ve got the list of Sheffield MPs for you*. The links will take you to an email form hosted by the Parliament website, which in simple terms means that all you’ve got to do is click on the suitable link, put your address and email address in the relevant boxes, type a message along the lines of

“As one of your constituents, I would like to ask you to support the Early Day Motion 625 tabled by Dianne Abbot, MP, and help extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland. Thank you.”

and hit send. It might help to vary the message somewhat, though, so that they don’t think we’re spamming them!

Sheffield Central¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† —¬† Rt Hon Richard Caborn (Lab)
Sheffield, Attercliffe¬†¬† ¬† ¬†¬† —¬† Mr Clive Betts (Lab)
Sheffield, Brightside ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† —¬† Rt Hon David Blunkett (Lab)
Sheffield, Hallam¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† — Rt Hon Nick Clegg (LD)
Sheffield, Heeley¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† — Meg Munn (Lab/Co-op)
Sheffield, Hillsborough¬† — Ms Angela C. Smith (Lab)

For reasons which escape me, I, and therefore every other University of Sheffield student living in the Endcliffe accomodation, am in “Sheffield, Hallam” and our MP is therefore Nick Clegg.

It should be pointed out that emailing these MPs could have a big impact – each of them voted against lowering the abortion time-limit from 24 to 22 weeks when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was around last year. Now, either it was politically expedient for them to vote in that way, or they were sensible people, or both. Either way, emails from people like us could well remind them to be sensible again. Happy emailing, everybody!

*For any non-Sheffield-based readers, this link will take you to upmystreet, the website that I used to find the MPs.

News from the meeting:

  • We would like the stop violence against women action in the city centre to be an annual thing and will hopefully link up with Sheffield Domestic Abuse Forum next year.
  • The Christmas Social will be Dec 12th at Affinity on Campo Lane, please let us know if you can make it!
  • We are keeping a eye out for the finalised date of the Million Women Rise, which will be some time around the 8th March, so that we can arrange to go.
  • On 3rd Feb we will be having a discussion about women only space and the meetings.
  • We are looking for a new charity for the coming year, if you have any ideas, please let us know.

We had a lengthy discussion about trans issues and feminism, which didn’t really get minuted, but was very interesting.

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