UBLD Charity Pub Quiz – 3rd March 2019

The UBLD Charity Pub Quiz returned to the Indie Lounge on Sunday the 3rd of March, starting at 7:30pm. UBLD Secretary Adam Belcher hosted the pub quiz as always, but he was joined this time by co-host Hermione Peace, who wrote and presented the second and fourth rounds. Sophie Thornton and Sam Maude also helped to arrange prizes and run the raffle in parallel with the quiz.

The rounds were:
1. General Knowledge (Adam)
2. Film & TV Trivia (Hermione)
3. Flags (Adam)
4. General Knowledge 2: Electric Boogaloo (Hermione)
5. Politics and Current Affairs (Adam)
6. Music (Adam)

A total of £107 was raised, setting a new record for UBLD quizzes. Winning team Rafa Benitez Appreciation Society chose to donate this money to Mind UK. A total of 35 players took part. Our thanks go to the Labour Society for sending a large cohort of players, and of course to the Indie Lounge for hosting us.

The final rankings are as follows:
1. The Rafa Benitez Appreciation Society (Alex Hawkins, Ali Cheyne, Alex Young, ???) – 51.5 points
2. Let’s Get Quizzical (Alicia Butteriss, Will Gould, Sam Maude, Alex Read) – 50.5 points
3. Pablo’s Hippos (Peter Tutykhin, Kate Robertshaw, Megan Cole, Aled Hanson, Billy Thompson, Alex Binnie) – 46.5 points
4. Quiznce Cable (Jessica Wood, Abi Kirkby, Lucy Cullimore, Manon Hughes, Charlotte Pollard) – 44 points
5. The So-called Quizlamic State (Sam Boardman, Joe McColl, Sophie Thornton, Nick Molland, Megan Wright) – 43 points
6. The Independent Group (Ben Lockley, Emilia Fletcher, Jonny) – 22.5 points
7. Norfolk and Chance (Ben, Grace, Zara, Lauren, Susie) – 22 points
8. The Three Muskequeerz (Alex Clark-Michalek, Cara, Owen) – 11.5 points

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The So-called Quizlamic State, looking excited about something.

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Teams prepare to tackle a night of challenging trivia.

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Co-hosts for the night, Adam Belcher and Hermione Peace.

List of media used in the quiz:
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
AC/DC – Back in Black
Queen – I Want To Break Free
Kitchen Gun (Round 1 intro)
Initial Duck (Round 2 intro)
John Williams – Cantina Band
Adam’s Vine playlist
Toilet Grenade (Round 3 intro)
Best pirate I’ve ever seen (Round 4 intro)
Band of the Grenadier Guards – On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at
The Killers – Somebody Told Me but Brandon Flowers keeps breaking his back
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
In The Air Tonight Spiderman slap (Round 5 intro)
Rainbow Trololo (Round 6 intro)
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Round 6 Question 1)
Jeff Wayne – Eve of the War (Round 6 Question 2)
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights (Round 6 Question 3)
Nirvana – Come As You Are (Round 6 Question 4)
Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Round 6 Question 5)
System of a Down – Chop Suey! (Round 6 Question 6)
Basshunter – DotA (Round 6 Question 7)
Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Round 6 Question 8)
Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (Round 6 Question 9)
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer (Round 6 Question 10)
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me but all the lyrics are You Were Working as a Waitress in a Cocktail Bar
Smash Mouth – All Star
Toto – Africa
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

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Coalition of Chaos – 28th February 2019

Thursday the 28th of February saw the second annual Coalition of Chaos bar crawl, courtesy of the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Politics Societies. Wearing the yellow shirts were Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Ned Hilton and Charles Michael, as well as the Lunar Society’s Ben Sculfor and new member Alex Clark-Michalek.

The bar crawl began at Circo in Selly Oak, where T-shirts were distributed. At around 8:30 we got Ubers to Bierkeller on Broad Street. Here, Adam was pleasantly surprised to discover it was possible to buy double pints of Strongbow Dark Fruit. The next stop, at around 10pm, was Reflex. Here, Charles bought a cowboy hat, became very drunk, and began wondering around trying to convert people to the Lib Dems. Adam, meanwhile, ended up discussing the pros and cons of HS2 with a fellow Wakefield native from Polsoc.

After a quick pit-stop at a food establishment on Broad Street (which served Ned with blatantly raw chicken which they insisted was cooked), we arrived at our final venue, Rosies nightclub. Here, UBLD mostly stayed within the Retro room, and didn’t leave until the DJ finally played our anthem, Don’t You Want Me.

All in all, everyone seemed to survive the night, which for Adam is a substantial improvement over previous cross-party nights out.

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Sam, Ned and Hermione, with a rather drunk Charles in the background.

UBLD visits Brussels

Instead of our usual annual trip to Westminster, UBLD this year took a short city break to Brussels, to see the EU Parliament and other sights before the UK leaves the EU. On the trip were Sophie Thornton, Sam Maude, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Alex Helliker, Ned Hilton, Charles Michael and the lesser-spotted Alex Hawkins.

We set off early on Saturday 23rd of February, catching the train to London and then the Eurostar to Brussels, arriving in the early afternoon. We then checked into our Airbnb a short walk away from the Bruxelles-Midi train station. The Airbnb was spacious, but not without its faults. Later, we walked into town in search of food; after ordering chips (or in Ned’s case, a rather small sausage), we checked out the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. From there we walked to the Parc de Bruxelles and posed for photos in front of the Royal Palace.

As the evening began to approach, we acquired food and alcohol from a local Lidl and retired to our flat. Sam and Sophie, our parents for the trip, cooked us our evening meals, which included snails for those brave enough to try them. We then spent the rest of the evening watching the rugby on the TV and playing card games. We later upgraded to Piccolo, which got a few of us rather drunk.

After a slow start on Sunday morning, we (with the exception of Hermione, who instead spent the day with former YL Events Officer Huw James, who lives in Brussels working for ALDE) finally left the house at around midday to get the Metro to the government district, where we got a quick look at the European Commission buildings before heading to the Brussels Military History Museum. We spent a good few hours in there, as it was a huge museum, even including a hangar full of aircraft; Charles and Helliker were particularly impressed by the museum. We had a late lunch in the nearby Parc du Cinquantenaire, and then took the Metro to the other side of town to see the Atomium landmark. Sunday evening was pretty quiet – we simply ordered takeaway food to the flat, and most of us called it an early night.

We got up early on Monday morning as we had to check out of the Airbnb; once we had done so, our first stop was the ALDE party headquarters. There was some confusion with the intercom system, but luckily Huw was on hand to let us in. We were then given a very informative presentation by the Secretary-General of LYMEC (the youth wing of ALDE) and had the opportunity to ask our own questions about how ALDE and LYMEC work. Then, we had our lunch at the very fancy Chez Leon restaurant, which left us all very satisfied. The final stop of the trip was at the EU Parliament’s “Parliamentarium”, a sort of museum / interactive exhibition about the history and workings of the EU Parliament. Unfortunately, due to time constraits, we didn’t get to see the EU Parliament hemicycle itself, but the Parliamentarium was nonetheless very interesting. After a quick call at the gift shop, it was time for the long journey back home – we finally got back in to Birmingham at around 11pm on Monday night.

The trip was by a long way the most ambitious event UBLD has ever done, and is largely thanks to the efforts of our Vice-Chair Sam Maude, who essentially organised the entire thing. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

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Helliker dramatically looking out of the window on the Eurostar.

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Adam, meanwhile, looks very tired.

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At the Parc de Bruxelles. L-R: Charles Michael, Hermione Peace, Sam Maude, Sophie Thornton, Alex Hawkins, Alex Helliker, Ned Hilton, Adam Belcher.

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With the LYMEC Secretary-General at ALDE headquarters.

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Lunch at the Chez Leon. L-R: Alex Helliker, Sam Maude, Charles Michael, Adam Belcher, Ned Hilton, Alex Hawkins, Hermione Peace, Sophie Thornton.

Mock PMQs and Glasgow YL Conference

Several members of UBLD were present for the launch of a new cross-party debate format at UoB, Mock Prime Minister’s Questions, on Wednesday 13th of February in Lecture Room 4 of the Arts Building. This event takes the form of a Cabinet and opposing Shadow Cabinet from the Tory and Labour societies respectively, with others, including members of the Lib Dem and Green societies, filling out the backbenches. Present on behalf of UBLD were Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher, Ned Hilton, Sam Boardman, and towards the end, Alicia Butteriss and Hermione Peace. We sat next to and teamed up with the Green Society, collectively branding ourselves the “real opposition”.

The event was generally considered a success. Most of those present had the chance to ask a question. UBLD members asked questions about climate change, the Vagrancy Act, and the Windrush scandal. There were also plenty of laughs to be had as well, particularly with regards to the Prime Minister’s inexplicable habit of referring non-Brexit related questions to his Brexit Secretary, and of course the inevitable citation of Bournbrook Magazine on both sides of the aisle. Afterwards, many of us went to the Goose for a couple more drinks.

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Photo courtesy of BULS.

Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher and Hermione Peace represented UBLD at the Young Liberals conference in Glasgow from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th of February. This involved a horrific overnight coach journey departing Birmingham at half past two in the morning, which unfortunately put us out of action for much of the first day. We spent much of the Friday night in a Wetherspoons, mingling with the other YL folk from across the country.

On the Saturday, we attended the keynote speech by Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson MP, followed by training delivered by President of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Sal Brinton, in the main conference venue at the University of Glasgow. On Saturday night, Hermione went out clubbing with some of the other YLers, whilst Adam and Sophie stayed back at the Youth Hostel.

On the Sunday, the conference dealt with officers’ reports. Hermione received a vote of commendation for her work as Vice-Chair of the Young Liberals, in spite of her protests. The conference closed early on Sunday afternoon, and we began slowly making our way back home.

Spirited Discussions with Lunar Society – 7th February 2019

The University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats held a special joint edition of Spirited Discussions with the UoB Lunar Society on Thursday 7th of February, starting from 6pm in Lecture Room 8 of the Arts Building.

The first debate was a question proposed by the Lunar Society: “To what extent should we judge historical figures by modern moral standards?” This was co-chaired by UBLD Chair Sophie Thornton and Lunar President Ben Sculfor. This was debated in the Lunar informal style, with no votes or opening/closing speeches, and with closing remarks at the end. The order of speakers for this topic was as follows:
Chavonne Brown (LAB)
Cameron Simpson-Allsop (LD)
Sam Tapper (CON)
Tiffany Idle (IND)
Ned Hilton (LD, UBLD Campaigns Officer)
David Atkins (IND?)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Hermione Peace (LD, UBLD Communications Officer)
Anna Humphreys (CON, President of UOBC)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Adam Belcher (LD, Secretary of UBLD)
Tiffany Idle (IND)
Megan Cole (LAB)
David Walsh (CON)
Sam Tapper (CON)
Hermione Peace (LD)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Chavonne Brown (LAB)
Ned Hilton (LD)
Tiffany Idle (IND)
David Walsh (CON)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Ben Lockley (LAB)
Anna Humphreys (CON)
Greg Allman (CON)
Hermione Peace (LD)
David Walsh (CON)
David Atkins (IND?)
Chavonne Brown (LAB)

The second debate was a motion in the standard Spirited Discussions style: “that this House believes that the Coalition’s decision to raise tuition fees was the right thing to do.” This debate was chaired by Sophie Thornton as the Chair of UBLD. The initial votes were as follows:
AYE: 5
NO: 16
ABSTAIN: 6
The opening speech in favour of the motion was given by Sam Boardman (LD). The opening speech against the motion was given by Chavonne Brown (LAB). The order of speakers was then as follows:
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Anna Humphreys (CON, President of UOBC)
Oliver Stanley (CON)
Ben Lockley (LAB)
Hermione Peace (LD, UBLD Communications Officer)
Cameron Allsop-Simpson (LD)
Tiffany Idle (IND)
Adam Belcher (LD, Secretary of UBLD)
Chavonne Brown (LAB)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Greg Allman (CON)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Melanie Dean (IND?)
Jonis Liban (CON/LD)
David Atkins (IND?)
Sam Maude (LD, Vice-Chair of UBLD)
Sam Boardman (LD)
Megan Cole (LAB)
Anna Humphreys (CON)
Chavonne Brown (LAB)
Adam Belcher (LD)
Ned Hilton (LD, UBLD Campaigns Officer)
DJ Hanson (LAB)
Peter Tutykhin (LAB)
Greg Allman (CON)
Anna Humphreys (CON)
The closing speech against the motion was given by Hermione Peace (LD). The closing speech in favour of the motion, surprisingly, was given by DJ Hanson (LAB). The final votes were:
AYE: 13
NO: 10
ABSTAIN: 2
Therefore the proposition side won the debate with a significant swing.

We then allowed attendees to suggest ideas for the third, less-serious motion on the whiteboard. We briefly decided to debate the motion “this House believes that sex shows should become more mainstream,” however, this debate quickly became too serious for the final motion, so we decided to end that debate early and pick a new topic. We then decided to debate “where should the capital of the UK moved to?” This resulted a range of interesting suggestions, from Brussels to Wakefield and Huddersfield, meaning we got to hear a lot about rugby teams and maximum-security prisons.

Afterwards, many of those present went to the Goose for a few more drinks and a few games of pool. A small handful of stragglers later went back to Sophie’s house for yet more drinks.

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A packed LR8.

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Sophie Thornton and Ben Sculfor co-chair, whilst Adam Belcher takes notes for this very blog post…

Webinar with Layla Moran MP and Nightingales – 31st January 2019

On Thursday 31st of January, members of UBLD gathered at Sam Maude, Adam Belcher and Alex Helliker’s house on Dawlish Road to watch a live webinar held for us by Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Layla Moran. Present to watch the webinar on the TV, besides Sam and Adam, were Sophie Thornton, Hermione Peace, Ned Hilton, Juliano Saunders, Charles Michael and Alex Young. Some, such as alumni James Cox and Alex Waters, were also able to watch the Facebook livestream from the comfort of their own homes. Using the comments system, we were able to ask Layla a range of questions which yielded some interesting answers. Afterwards, we were joined by Alicia Butteriss and Alex Helliker, and Sam helpfully sorted out our catering for the evening by cooking several pizzas and ordering chips from the Dolphin chip shop. Later in the evening, we played Singstar on Sam’s PS2. After pre-drinks, Sophie, Sam, Adam, Hermione and Alex Young spent a couple of hours at the Nightingales nightclub in the Gay Village.

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Sam, Sophie, Ned and Anna, about to watch Layla Moran’s livestream.

The following day, Friday the 1st of February, several members of the society attended the Tory Society’s Port and Policy at Bournbrook and Selly Oak Social Club. Representing UBLD were Sophie Thornton, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Ned Hilton, Sam Boardman and Alex Young. We debated unconditional university offers, Sunday trading laws, and whether or not Article 50 should be extended. Afterwards, Sophie, Adam, Hermione and Sam went with many of the others to Circo for a short while, but owing to its busy-ness, we soon decided to get some drinks from University Superstore instead and spent a couple of hours at Sam’s house hanging out with him and his housemate Callum.

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New member Alex Young makes his Port and Policy debut.

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One particular motion clearly divides the Liberal bench.

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Hermione tries out Adam’s top hat.

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Sophie’s turn to try on the hat.

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Sam Boardman addresses the room.

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Adam advocates for extending Article 50.

On Saturday the 2nd of February, Alex Helliker took a bunch of his friends, including many of us in the society, out to a meal at Dilshad to celebrate his 21st birthday. Besides Helliker were Sam Maude, Adam Belcher, Hermione Peace, Ned Hilton, Alicia Butteriss, Anna Worthington, Juliano Saunders, and our former member Alex Read (who now works for WMCA Mayor Andy Street). This was a good opportunity for Hermione to get more photos for her @alexilovedilshad Instagram account. Afterwards, we went to the Bristol Pear for a few more drinks. The night ended with Sam, Adam, Hermione and Alex Read getting food from Dixies, just like the old days of the Liberal Drinks Mafia.

Pizza and Board Games, 24th January 2019

On Thursday 24th of January, members of UBLD gathered at Room 105 of the Business School (University House) to eat pizza and play board games, starting from 6pm. Present were Sophie Thornton, Sam Maude, Adam Belcher, Alex Helliker, Ned Hilton, Sam Boardman, Emily Chomicz, Lewis Nash, Jonis Liban, Nick Molland, Tiffany Idle and Jalil Tofighi. Sophie and Maude supplied us with plenty of pizza (and garlic bread for Adam), whilst Boardman was kind enough to provide a crate of Budweiser. We played two games of Articulate, the first game with two teams and the second game with three teams.

Afterwards, we split into two groups, some of us going to catch the final hour of the Tory Society’s Pint and Policy in the Arts Building, and the rest going straight to the Bristol Pear for more drinks. Some of those who went to Pint and Policy later caught up with the others at the Pear. Adam and Maude were the last to call it a night, at around 11pm, finishing the night with some chips from Roosters.

Earlier that week, on Monday the 21st, Adam, Ned and Hermione Peace attended a Labour Society debate on abolishing the monarchy in the Guild Council Chamber.