Advanced search

Webchat with Mhairi Black MP, Tuesday 12 January 11am-12pm

(155 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Jan-16 17:36:15


We’re pleased to announce that the SNP’s Mhairi Black MP will be joining us at MNHQ on Tuesday 12th January between 11am and 12 midday. She’d particularly like to talk about the ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ campaign - see below for more details on that.

Mhairi Black is SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and is the current ‘Baby of the House’ - the youngest member of the House of Commons. After joining the SNP in 2011 Mhairi was elected at the age of 20 in the 2015 General Election, whilst completing her undergraduate degree in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. Her maiden speech made headlines, partly for the rule-breaking applause which followed it.

In support of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, Mhairi secured a debate in the House of Commons on state pension age increases that some say discriminate against women born on or after 6th April 1951, calling the situation “grossly unfair”. The campaign is calling for the reversal of the decision to delay the retirement age for women born in 1953-1954 - you can read more about this here.

Please do join us on the day or leave a question here in advance - and as ever, please remember our Webchat Guidelines: one question per poster, and please do be polite.


TresDesolee Mon 11-Jan-16 11:36:40

Hi Mhairi. Can you sum up the pensions issue in one sentence? I've tried to get my head around it a couple of times but suspect that for those not directly affected it may seem a bit, uh, difficult to comprehend!

And, what's your favourite biscuit (sorry, someone's got to!)

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 11-Jan-16 13:25:04

what's your favourite biscuit

Is it a Tunnocks? grin wink

HerrenaHarridan Mon 11-Jan-16 15:02:54

Hi mhari

I don't have a pensions question.

I actually just want to thank you for making me feel like 'old man' politics applies to me.
I have never voted because I have never found a politician I could back with clear conscience.
It's not that I'm apathetic I care deeply and actively campaign about issues such as nuclear weapons, war, environmental destruction and human rights.

If I was in your constituency I would vote for you.
Please don't become jaded or compromise yourself to fit in with the rotten system.

WestCoastDreamin Mon 11-Jan-16 16:09:52

Hi Mhairi,

Having studied politics and now serving in Westminster, I'd be interested to know what you think are the best skills and values a good public representative can have? (I'm passionate about democracy but I don't believe that political fervour is particularly helpful in the day-to-day representation of constituents!). You are a talented, young politician; which of your skills and values do you think will serve your constituents best?

Also (if I can sneak in another!) How do you balance the passion to further the cause of Scottish independence with representing a no-voting constituency?

ssd Mon 11-Jan-16 17:02:43

Hi Mhairi, another one here who thinks you're great.

One thing I want to say, I live in Glasgow and met no one who gave my friends who voted no a hard time, apparently people were scared to say they were voting no, well I didn't see that happening at all, I felt it was more the case you were almost embarrassed to say you were voting yes as that meant you were running round the streets with a saltire round your neck, singing Scotland the Brave.

I think there was a lot of propaganda going on and the abuse no voters received was made up over emphasised.

ssd Mon 11-Jan-16 17:05:14

also just wanted to say, my son is starting a politics degree come Sept, in Glasgow, he was very inspired by the yes campaign, I think the future is in the hands of the young.

Wannabestepfordwife Mon 11-Jan-16 17:18:09

Hi Mhairi,

I'm really concerned about how no political parties are championing children's rights.

We have the establishment child abuse investigation which seems to be going nowhere, increasingly lenient sentences for paedophiles, overstretched and under budgeted Children Services and CAHMS not to mention increasing child poverty.

Children need a party to represent them. Do you feel the SNP could do this- especially as there are no links between your party and child abuse?

andypandy55 Mon 11-Jan-16 17:39:38

Just to say it's refreshing that a young person understands quite clearly how the government are discriminating against women who fought for so much but haven't had the benefit of what they fought for. Wouldn't it be better to phase in pension equality over 30-40 years?
Well done on your maiden speech, you were a credit to your age group, your party and women.

VertigoNun Mon 11-Jan-16 17:42:49

Hi Mhiari,

I am concerned that the deafening silence from the left is giving the far right a loud voice when it comes to Women in Europe. In particular the situation in Germany on NYE.

There are now four threads on the subject "in the news" on MN. This is unprecedented as far as I know. There is outrage that Women are being thrown under the buss because the media and politicians are too scared to debate the situation.

Women this week have been told to moderate their behaviour, victim blamed and the assaults have been minimised by the BBC and Guardian in particular.

Sometimes you have to debate uncomfortable and messy issues, please be the first to discuss this.

Here is an article from the New York Post. Europe at present, looks like a misogynistic place to America.

VertigoNun Mon 11-Jan-16 17:46:42

Links to the four threads.

iPost Mon 11-Jan-16 17:50:31

I too would like to see the issues raised by VertigoNun addressed.

DespicableBee Mon 11-Jan-16 17:54:41

I too would like to see the issues raised about the cologne attacks addressed

WildeWoman Mon 11-Jan-16 18:04:52

Me three! I would like to see the Cologne events and fall-out addressed.

hefzi Mon 11-Jan-16 18:08:34

Another vote for a response explaining why precisely, liberal and progressive parties, as the SNP represents itself to be, are failing to tackle the elephant in the room with regard to Cologne, and why it is that, in this case, women's rights are considered to be expendable.

carlajean Mon 11-Jan-16 18:19:46

Another voice asking for a response to this

lavenderandrosemary Mon 11-Jan-16 18:37:20

Hi Mhairi,

As VertigoNun said, the topic regarding the appalling mistreatment of Women in Europe is wildly under addressed. Not just the women who were attacked on NYE, but every Woman, including refugees in the care of European nations.

Overall the treatment of Women needs to be regarded as something important, as we too have rights.

What do you think needs to be done to allow free and thorough discussion with regards to this previously ignored topic?

BungoWomble Mon 11-Jan-16 19:01:43

I'm also pretty disgusted about the deafening political silence on the sex attacks on women across Europe (it was not just Cologne). I contrast it with the amount of male bluster after Paris. Not directly comparable, but I don't think it's unfair either - no deaths, but many more attackers, more victims, across far-flung locations, none of which in either case was here.

No political figure in the UK has even so much as publicly condemned the attacks, offered commiseration and support to our EU partners, and supported the women's rights to move freely without assault, to my knowledge. Right wingers are stepping into the void - Donald Trump fgs did. Is that kind of person the only one now prepared to say anything?

Pinkchampchoccies Mon 11-Jan-16 19:03:59

It is incredible.

After four threads and lots of venting, sharing, discussing and reflecting.

The crux of the matter still remains:

It is 100% socially and politically not acceptable to openly debate and challenge the misogynist culture of Muslim immigrants, even where women are harassed, raped, mutilated and murdered.

I actually don't think that we will be able to challenge any of this without being silenced, ridiculed or without loosing our personal credibility as a result of being labelled a racist.

It's what Claig has been saying all along. The political correctness where immigrants, especially Muslims are concerned forbids us to challenge anything Muslims do in the West. That's it.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 11-Jan-16 20:31:46

Yes, please reassure us you won't let Westminster throw women's rights under the bus.
That you won't get embarassed and ignore mass violence against women.

Women are NOT expendable

Most of the media and politicians seem to be closing their eyes and ignoring the mass sexual assaults on women in Europe, because of embarassment at who is committing these crimes.
Please be different

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 11-Jan-16 22:21:04

Mhairi, I voted Yes in the referendum and for the SNP in the election. I was vilified by No voters for being so stupid! But I did and do believe that Scotland could stand alone perfectly well, thank you very much.

I work for a Scottish local authority. We have to make something like £147 million of savings and the figure keeps going up. This is mainly because of the rising numbers and age of the population, as far as I understand it. My council is restructuring at vast and pointless expense and wants to make staff redundant. However, we have been warned that if council tax doesn't go up then even more jobs will have to be cut. The Scottish Govt says no to unfreezing council tax. The proposal, however, is to increase it by 12% over the next 3 or 4 years (I forget which). I currently pay £100 per month in CT so at the end of that I'd only be paying £112. I'm okay with that! Why won't the Scottish Govt allow that to happen?

Wordsaremything Mon 11-Jan-16 23:28:50

Please Mhairi, address this issue. What can be done to break through the embarrassed silence of the left and the I told you so of the right? This is messy, challenging uncomfortable territory. But I really do fear European society is doomed if we don't challenge what's happening. You're an admirable role model. Read our threads on mumsnet and help us please.

FeministWummin Tue 12-Jan-16 10:23:09

Hi Mhairi,

You said before you were elected, in response to (YET ANOTHER) question about your age that you couldn't help your age any more than your sexuality or the fact that you are a woman.

Why do you think that middle-aged, middle-class white men are automatically assumed to be qualified to be members of Parliament, while you have to justify your abilities?

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:00:10


MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:02:42


Delighted to be here. I was grateful to have the opportunity to raise the issue of the WASPI campaign in the debate last week and I'm looking forward to answering your questions.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 11:03:01

Some questions from Gransnetters for Mhairi:

1955 baby here who only realised five years ago that I was on a reduced stamp so my pension will be around £17 per week! This can t be adjusted by extra payments apparently. As the difference in payments is not huge, it would be nice to know what I was paying towards! I am lucky in that I have another pension but what happens to the women that don't? Surely there should be some form of making extra payments for the last ten years. Cambia

I would also like to thank Mhairi for having the courage and wisdom to make a stand to try and do something about this appalling inequality.
I am so angry at the way the Government is able to keep moving the goalposts. I have worked hard all my life and saved on the basis that I would retire at 60. And yet the goalposts have moved and moved and now I have to wait until I am 65. I do realise people are living longer and something needs to be done to reflect this but you cannot expect people to live a whole life according to one set of rules then have them changed at the last minute. We can't possibly make up the shortfall at this stage in our lives/jobs. And yet other friends get their pensions no problem.
We appreciate you speaking out for us and I would like to know if there are any other steps I can take - both for my own financial security and also to help you in what you are doing? NW950

But I struggled to get past the first point. "The Government did not write to any woman affected by the rise in pension ages for nearly 14 years after the law was passed in 1995."
How on earth can they get away with this? You can bet your bottom dollar that if it was men affected they never would have got away with it this long. sharky

I know that this was debated in the Commons for several hours last week and your motion was passed by 158 votes to zero. But the minister said that there will still be no change. This is ludicrous. Now what?
Thank you for fighting the fight. downthelane

But would like to raise another point about the continual increase of the retirement age which is that sometimes the work that you do makes it impossible to continue in a job even though you may wish to. As a nurse I have had to help move patients - often twice my body weight - for years and years and as a result now suffer from back problems which prevent me continuing in the role however much I might want to. So what am I supposed to do at 60 plus? Retrain? Even if I could afford it what's the point in spending a year training for a new career that will only last a couple of years? The government need to think about those of us who have done heavy work that cannot be sustained into later years. They also need to remember that unemployment is rife, particularly in the north where I live. So it is all very well telling me I need to work - and actually I would like to work - but where am I meant to find a job when I have spent the best part of 40 years doing something I can no longer do? yezle

My husband and I are both retired and spend a lot of our time helping out at local charities and organisations that do a huge amount of good in the community but would never survive without volunteers like us. Had I been born a year later we would not have been able to do all this and it made me think about the what ifs and how these changes are going to deprive so many organisations of the people who keep them going. Or as we are all meant to be living longer are the government assuming that we can do this sort of thing in our 70s and 80s instead? mrshm

Mhairi, I'm ashamed to say that when you were elected, I wondered how someone so young would cope as an MP. You have proved to be a force in UK politics, and a very honourable woman. Thank you so much for taking up the fight on behalf of us WASPI women. Could I ask what influenced you to make this one of your battles? Maggiemaybe

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »