MR: I am very glad that WILPF has a strong section in Scotland. And we need to be stronger. We need to get more people out there. We need more people in the UK.
I really wanted to have seen a strong response to this Cameron Government and his belligerence. We need to be out there showing that 187bn dollars toward a war effort, for the future, is just not something that is conscionable because it will make conflict inevitable. So the militarisation that is going on under Cameron is appalling, instead of doing the work that would keep people safe. You know, the police, the front line, intelligence but intelligent intelligence, about decency, about increasing levels of education, ending Islamophobia, making a more equal society – you don’t hear that from him. Not now, and that is scary; so we need to step that up.
We need to be getting our politicians to ask Parliamentary questions all the time. If Jeremy Corbyn is true to his word in saying that he will ask the questions constituents put to him. Let’s get these questions in.
HK: Any hints on how we can engage with younger women?
MR: It’s interesting. That is a discussion we have been having forever! We have to be cool and sexy. If, from what I have seen and heard, there is a degree of alienation – that is why Jeremy Corbyn has been good in mobilising, he speaks to what young people are concerned about; and if young people want a future then they have got to be concerned about what we are concerned about. So it is getting that message out. And I think that the universities are great recruitment grounds, especially this one, seems to be fantastic.
Part of the problem of being such an old organisation, we still have practices, constitutions and things – are they really what we need now? There is an endless debate around just now about whether somewhere like India which is vast, whether you have to be a member of the section or you can be an international member. And how we are going to manage all that. Because that tends to be the thing – people don’t want to go to local meetings anymore, they go to global gatherings. So we need to make it broad enough church to have the movement as well as the sections and it is a question of, ideally we get all people joining the sections and being the real powerhouse which then can be part of the movement. But we are not there yet.
HK: It may be part of globalisation process, people want to be part of the international? Originally there were international memberships in WILPF – it was set up as an international organisation, the sections were only there to change attitudes within their own country and support the international group of women, the group of women working internationally.
MR: We need more joined-up thinking.