Proud to be British, and delighted Scotland said Yes to a United Kingdom.

Posted 20 Sep 2014 by Walaa Idris

As some might already know, I am British by choice. As a naturalized citizen my pride of my adopted home and nation is founded on admiration and respect of who we are and what Britain represents – fairness, freedom and justice.

First my reverence, as a young girl growing in autocratic Sudan, was from afar. Back then I watched in awe a country ran by consent, and a nation that genuinely respects and accepts opposing opinions. But also cannot deny electing the first female Prime Minister had its own special magic and allure. Years later when I had to choose where to move with my family I was in no doubt Britain was to become our home. I moved to London, and from within I had first-hand experiences of Britishness and British Values.

This pride continued to grow daily, and become cemented by our actions and interactions with other nations close and far away, and harnessed with our relentless fight for justices and others’ freedoms, even when in occasions, these liberties adversely affected us. I say that as someone who travelled a great deal and lived midst many different cultures.

Thursday’s result increased that pride.

In the past few weeks and month, Scotland showed the world that fighting for a republic can be emotional and at times even get personal, but when it comes to democracy we Brits know how to be fair, generous and gracious both in victory and in defeat.

Our union is intact and we are stronger and better for it, plus we can be proud that all it cost us was determination and politicking.
The Scottish referendum did not only settle the question of its own independence, it ignited the debate on a thirty seven year old question, the West Lothian question. And made it more than ever before possible for England to have ‘English Votes for English Laws’.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 will go down in history not only as the day Scotland decided to stay in the union, but as the day the ‘West Lothian question’ finally got a serious look in. It was an all-round good day for all of Britain!

By staying in the United Kingdom, Scotland will get their Devo Max. But with a few months to go, before the 2015 general election, the question political parties and UK politicians need to answer is how much powers they intend to give England and how will they give those powers?

Will it be ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in the UK Parliament – will it be devolving more powers down to local authorities – will there be regional assemblies, or will they go all out and setup an English Parliament? Whichever method they decide on there is no denying the Scottish #Indyref has catalysed and energised the devolution debate for all four nations in the union particularly England.

Personally, I think an English Parliament though might sound fair and appropriate – Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all have their own Assembly – is a costly extra layer of bureaucracy. Using existing resources, the House of Commons, and allowing English MPs only to vote on English issues, is a much more cost effective and sounder method, it will give England the powers it needs and the gravities it deserves.

On this occasion I would also like to add my voice to Ukip and Nigel Farage, and ask Scottish MPs, going forward, to abstain from voting on any English matters as a gesture of solidarity with their brothers and sisters south the border.


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Congratulating Mr Blair on his GQ Philanthropist of the year award!

Posted 5 Sep 2014 by Walaa Idris

Was surprised, actually very surprised by some of the reactions to Tony Blair winning GQ’s Philanthropist of the year award!

First because he’s one of us, and by ‘us’ I mean a Briton. GQ is an international publication and a Brit winning what we the British pride ourselves of (selflessly giving and helping those less fortunate than us) should be applauded.

Secondly, Blair’s philanthropy is very visible. A simple Google entry will prove my point. Despite his politics, Tony Blair is a successful British Prime Minister with three general elections wins under his belt. And after ten years as the UK’s PM, he went on to devote his life for public service. He runs three charitable foundations that champion inter-faith dialogue, development in Africa and sport in the north-east of England plus he employs hundreds of people. The former Prime Minister, also advices the Kazakhstan government pro bono, and acts as the representative of the international community in Palestine, also for free. Not to mention he donated the entire proceeds of his biography “A Journey” to charity.

Thirdly and most of all, the Iraq war that we all now think was a big mistake, and it was, was not his call alone. The majority of Britain (via our representatives in the House of Commons) voted for the Iraq war. So to now, in hindsight, call him a killer and a war criminal is simply disingenuous.

I too supported the Iraq War based on knowing what we knew then. Today I feel different but that doesn’t mean I should take my disappointment and dismay on Blair, Bush or my MP.

Don’t know if it’s Social Media and its ready availability or something else? But at times it appears we are becoming a posse prepared to fiercely attack those we disagree with and do it viciously at the drop of a hat. And we do it, without any sensibilities, letting anger cloud our judgments while happily brush to one side any common sense. It seems somehow, somewhere along the line we stopped ‘feeling human’ and under the cloak of cyberspace turned into blood thirsty hounds with little or no care for decorum, too at ease with becoming aggressive agents of hate ready to let rip in a flash.

It’s uncivilised, unjust and just plain no good.

Tony Blair is human. And like most humans has made mistakes, but he also achieved many selfless deeds. God knows I don’t agree with everything he did or does, but I do agree that he is a great philanthropist and I am happy to applaud and congratulate him for this award and be very proud that he is one of us.


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Police and Crime Commissioners are good for policing, give them a chance.

Posted 24 Aug 2014 by Walaa Idris

Despite the low turnout (15.1%) when they were initially elected back in November, and the even lower than imaginable turnout of Thursday’s by -election (10.3%), I still think PCCs (Police and Crime Commissioners) are a good idea and should stay.

Here is why. First and foremost because it is still early days and both the public and PCCs are finding their way around the role.

Like most new positions, this post needs some tweaking here and there. The duties should be clearer to the post holder – PCCs work for the public and oversee the police not the other way round. This can at times prove challenging especially when the PCC is a former police officer (officers usually come from decades of following rules and answering superiors, and can find the transition difficult. It can be hard for some to change roles and assume leadership particularly with those who in the past outranked them). And of course those who never worked in such posts tend to struggle with managing expectations of not only the police, who are a tightknit and regimented fraternity, but also the public, who can at times be unrealistically demanding.

Unlike most I have no trouble with the political slant in the role as I believe having a political tie focuses both the post and the post holder better, but I do agree that more independent candidates should be encouraged to bring freshness and diversity to the post.

The reason many PCCs have had little impact on their local communities is due to, as I mentioned above, the newness of the role, plus the high number of ex-police elected to the role. Who in some cases, seem to have simply carried over their old roles to the new post. When having a police background should have been an asset, used to better understand and improve policing in the area, it didn’t, because it became one and the same.

We know the police have their restrictions. So it’s the duty of the elected PCC to enhance policing by setting the guidelines that provide the link between what the public wants, the service they expect and the service the police deliver to them. It’s as easy and as important as that. Therefore the main duty of the PCC should be to understand what his community needs and his gift is to decide what crimes the police should prioritise.

In London we (the public) share our concerns at ward level in Safer Neighbourhood Watch Committees. This gives each ward the bespoke service they need but it’s non-operational. PCCs on the other hand can decide on operational priorities (why do you think some police take issue with them). A Police and Crime Commissioner can be as important and as effective in the policing of his/her region as he/she decides.

Having the elections in November was a bad idea not at all helpful for the inception of the position. Autumn days are shorter and darker for electioneering than spring days. Furthermore, because in the UK, all important elections take place in May. A November poll lessened the importance of the election and therefore the post.

As for this Thursday’s by-election in the West Midlands, here too the timing was unfortunate. Beside the summer holidays, August Bank Holiday is the last long weekend before Christmas. And for many it is the last chance they have to escape before the demands, on businesses and individuals, of the Festive Season begin.

Then of course there is Ann Barnes, Kent’s PCC, who had her own reality TV show ‘Meet the Commissioner’ on Channel Four. I caught parts of it and found the whole thing hilarious and not too impressive. But will let you watch and decide for yourself what you make of it. However, in my opinion Ann Barnes wasn’t very helpful to the role.

Police and Crime Commissioners, give the local community a say on how they want to be policed. They also give them a say on who they want to represent them in that role. Surely both are good things to stand-up for, support and improve.


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Wish some people just stop their macho madness!

Posted 14 Aug 2014 by Walaa Idris

A few home truths we need to know about our relationship with the Middle East.

Firstly, our past actions in Afghanistan then later in Iraq are one of the main causes of recent Islamic terrorism against the West. Attacks on us, whether at home or abroad against our representatives and interests and particularly homegrown terrorism, are direct results of our intervention in that region.

Secondly, our military actions in Iraq and Libya plus to some extend the West’s support of the military in Egypt, did more damage than good. Exporting our style of democracy to that part of the world does not and will never work, because the way the two sides view democracy is very different. To westerners that remark might sound crazy ‘democracy is democracy’ but trust me it’s not that straight forward. Plus, it took the West thousands of years and many trials and errors to arrive to where we are now. Let’s then allow the Middle East the time and space to find their brand of democracy and arrive at it in their own tempo.

Thirdly, we can never win a war in that region. Just look at Afghanistan! We have totally destroyed Iraq and currently our actions are destroying Libya. Avoiding any further destruction in the region should now become our main concern and our number one goal.

And finally, we need to understand the people of the region. Not the sample segment we meet and speak with, the well-travelled that can speak English and to some extend share our ideals – but the Joe Bloggs, or as we say in Arabic the Mohamed Ahameds and those who feel the beat of the street because they live and daily breath it.

We also need to understand, if those we intend to help actually want our help. And before giving any help lets first ascertain how much of it they want. Because unwanted help can be offensive and as we saw throughout history it can at times even be dangerous. We also need to understand that the East’s sensibilities are very different to ours; at times we tend to be blinded by our sense of guardianship to see that. We must open our eyes and stop meddling in other nations’ affairs as a cause of duty, especially when it’s unwelcomed.

Having said that, as a powerful wealthier and compassionate nation, we have a duty to aid those less fortunate than us in their hour of need, sending food and medical aid to the injured and displaced is a duty of all those who can offer it. Gathering intelligence to better deliver that aid is also a way by which we can be helpful. But anything more than that can be easily misconstrued as interference and will not be welcomed and might even have dire consequence in the long run.

That is why when I hear politicos; journos and commentators argue that the British response to the current crisis in Iraq is not enough, I want to scream ‘No, it’s perfect, just find a way to deliver aid and help the victims quicker and better.’

As for those who think Britain should copy France by arming victims on the ground, I say remember Bin Laden? Osama Bin Laden was a freedom fighter armed by the US to fight with them against the Russians in Afghanistan – look how well that turned out! Russia is now long gone from that fight and we’re still fighting and dying there daily by those who were once armed by the West!

Just stop the macho madness. We can’t keep making the same mistakes and not learning from them – that makes us stupid, arrogant and loses us a great deal of respect.

David Cameron is very wise to not call for any military intervention on Iraq. He is even wiser to stand solid as the only western leader doing all he can to deliver humanitarian relief, gather important intelligence and help the Yazidis to escape the Islamic State (IS) fighters and reach safety. This way he has no beef with IS and they have no excuse to send terror our way.

One thing we must also remember is that the whole world is watching, and half of it is comparing our reaction to the Gaza bombings with that of Iraq. Particularly as Gazans are predominately Muslims and Yazidis are mostly Christians. It is therefore crucial to not be seen more angered by one atrocity than the other. That’s how we show and share our democracy, balance, and fairness, that is how we promote our values across the globe.


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What’s happening in Gaza has considerable global ramifications and should not be reduced to “its Hamas’ fault!”

Posted 22 Jul 2014 by Walaa Idris

First, because it’s too complex to simplify into a ‘them and us’ scenario, and secondly, regardless of what anyone might think, it touches all of us equally. And by “touches us” I don’t mean in the humanitarian sense, of course there is that, but what I’m referring to here, is its consequences in the larger political sense.

But before I go any further, I would like to make it absolutely clear that Israel has every right to defend itself and protect her people. However, that defence needs to be proportional. It also needs to remember that many in Gaza don’t want Hamas.

Heavily shelling and killing innocent women and children daily, regardless of whether Hamas is using them as human shields or not, is very inflaming. To daily see innocent Palestinians, sometimes whole families killed in this way, conjures images of cleansing and mass executions.

Now I know Israeli propaganda is doing a good job promoting and explaining their reasons “we’re shelling missiles’ hideaways – Hamas weapons are hidden in residential area and hospitals – Hamas is using women and children as human shields, these victims’ blood is on Hamas’ hands alone.” Whether all of this it’s true or not, what’s observed and witnessed by the world, is Israel has lost a couple of dozen soldiers (people who enlisted to fight and die for their country) while the Palestinians lost upwards of 500 men, women and children (innocent civilians, whom when the bombing starts have nowhere to run to, and no place to hid in).

That picture alone to many is enough to wrong Israel and label it a tyrant and an aggressor. To be perfectly honest, I too was shocked when the headcount reached 342 Palestinians versus 2 Israelis, yet Israel continued to bomb!

Because regardless of the reasons and the rhetoric coming from Hamas (they want to wipe-out all Jews – which we all know logically is impossible.) Israel is still the bigger and stronger of the two; they are better equipped and much readier for this fight than Hamas will ever be. And because of that, they should have exercised some restraint and showed Hamas and the world that Israel is a compassionate and tolerant occupier – I know to some that might sound like madness. But think about it, now after the slaughter of innocent civilians have passed the 500 mark, nobody including Israel’s allies sees Israel as the victim – because the headcount tips the balance for the other side.

In addition to that, if we look at the region and what’s happening in Syria, and the latest trend of home-grown jihadists, the last thing the West needs now is innocent Palestinians killed by Israeli bullets. Because it will only act as a catalyst, to entice further grooming of young vexed and impressionable men and women.

To quash any support for Hamas Israel should seriously consider lifting the blockade in Gaza and allow her citizens the freedom to lead some sort of normal lives – and gain their regard. We saw throughout history those who were oppressed gained their strength from being subjugated, Slavery, the Holocaust and more recently the Apartheid all ended despite their conquerors’ powerful control over their subjects, all stopped when the oppressed had enough and channelled that oppression to free themselves.

One thing every occupier, invader and suppressor needs to remember, untroubled, plump and prosperous people are less inclined to rise and fight. But hungry oppressed citizens have lots to fight for and very little to lose.


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Who said only a black, Muslim and single mother can represent me and my values?

Posted 19 Jul 2014 by Walaa Idris

As someone who ticks a lot of boxes – woman, black, immigrant, Muslim and a single mother of two – I worry about where we’re going with the ‘representation’ issue. Don’t get me wrong, having a legislator representative of all views and segments of the society is a great thing, a fair thing plus is also the right thing. But when I hear commentators and politicians talk about “looking more like the country” I wonder what does that really mean?

Does it mean aesthetically, as in a percentage of every group in the country visually represented? Or is it a representation of thoughts and principles? Because one is clearly not the other!

The latter does not focus on race, gender or religion while the former is very specific, in that it asks for each group to be represented in certain percentages i.e. the UK’s population is 50% female so the House of Common should reflect that in its members.

Where did it come from? Who decided that only a black, immigrant, Muslim and single mother can mirror my beliefs, speaks on my behalf and represents me?

I am a low tax, punishment should fit the crime, and time means time, monitored, managed and controlled immigration, Eurosceptic – EU needs to reform and if it doesn’t, very happy for us to leave it – shoot from the right Conservative. The last time I checked there are many Tory MPs who share my exact politics. A party member since 2000, I never once felt, neither in the past nor now, unrepresented in Parliament. So where’s the problem?

And why in the last half of 2014 we are worried about gender and race when what we should be concerned with is engagement. It seems to me there are more people today, percentage wise, disengaged and disillusioned with politics than ever before. That feeling is not because women can only speak for women and minorities can only speak for their groups. It’s because to these people politics doesn’t feel authentic enough.

Surprisingly, one of the reasons the public feels this way, is because of this ‘our team have more women, black and ethnic minorities than yours’ business. It cheapens politics and makes it more about looking like someone as oppose to sharing their views and values.

As Conservatives our core principle is to promote based on merit and equality. After all we are the first and the only party to produce a female British Prime Minster and we did it over 35 years ago. Plus we did it organically without any cosmetic social engineering imposed on members program.

Diversity should not be interpreted as an inventory of the different groups. But rather the variety of thoughts and options, and yes our politicians should reflect the societies they represent. But that reflection should not mainly focus on visual and aesthetic differences, it should focus on the reflection of choices and the variety of options.


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Life is full of Greys and overlaps; sometimes it’s good to be either black or white.

Posted 5 Jul 2014 by Walaa Idris

Don’t know about everyone else, but it feels like my sporting summer – the biggest sporting summer since the Olympics – which I was very excited about, was cut short and finished before it properly began!

I was looking forward to the World Cup and England at least making it past the groups’ stages. Then Wimbledon’s nasty surprise, now all that’s left in my ‘sporting summer’ is the Commonwealth Games.

Not sure if I’m alone here but there are certain sporting events you can’t carry on watching after your team is knocked out. In my case major Football and Rugby events are not worth watching if England is not competing.

Tennis is a new thing; in the past I used to easily follow all of Wimbledon then half way pick someone to root for. But since Andy Murray’s rise my Wimbledon expectations changed. Murray not making it to the finals put a damper on the whole Wimbledon experience. Now all is left of summer 2014 is the Commonwealth Games. Which luckily I will follow in full regardless, especially Track & Field events, as they are my absolute favourite sporting pastime.

I know my attitude makes me tribal. That tribalism also shows in my politics. Some think it’s uncool to be this tribal, but I think life is full of Greys and overlaps and it’s good to have some clear cuts, some black or white and an either or in certain things. Don’t you think?

My clear cuts are mostly in some sports and all of my politics what are yours?


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David Cameron, Britain’s champion and her hero!

Posted 1 Jul 2014 by Walaa Idris

Lefties are trying their hardest to paint Prime Minister Cameron negatively for opposing Jean-Claude Juncker’s election as EU president. Sadly for them, the exact opposite is happening – European leaders’ are exposed, Cameron’s approval rating is increasing, and polls are narrowing in favour of the Conservatives.

For many weeks, Labourites went on and on about how Cameron is making a mockery of himself and the UK, and is risking everything by his vocal opposition to Juncker’s selection. Even Ukip – who just wants Britain to simply leave the EU – got on the act and Farage (siding with lefties) gave his two cents on the matter!

But in their blind obsession with the PM not succeeding, they failed to see that for the first time since joining the EU, Britain had a champion, and a leader who wasn’t afraid to speak up for what’s best for her at all costs. They failed to see a leader who didn’t care what Europe thought but passionately tended to what the UK wanted and needed – a Prime Minister who was fighting Britain’s corner and putting her first.

In standing alone against the rest of the EU, David Cameron proved that he is the leaders who listens. He listened to what the voters said and did what they wanted – British voters want the EU to reform and he stood solid against electing a conformist.

Cameron’s historic carriage highlighted Labour’s weakness, Europe’s dangerous arrogance, plus it prepared the ground for a referendum on the EU.

Like most, I see the benefits of our membership and don’t just want to leave Europe, I want reforms but very happy to leave if Britain doesn’t get what she needs. From where I am standing the only leader who can offer me that is Britain’s champion, Prime Minister David Cameron.


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This hate and loathe Nick Clegg campaign doesn’t make any sense!

Posted 28 Jun 2014 by Walaa Idris

Because the “I agree with Nick” is the same DPM Nick Clegg! So what happened? And what changed in the past four years?

From where I am standing, there are two reasons why Nick Clegg and the LibDems are so unpopular today. And both reasons have nothing to do with Clegg reneging on ‘Tuition Fees’ or other promises. Since none of the people that voted for the LibDems up to 2010, expected them to implement any of their manifesto promises – in other words they [LibDems] were never expected to win an election and form a government!

In my opinion, Libs are unpopular now, mainly because, before the 2010 General Election, they were the default party most disaffected voters voted for. They were pure of government, innocent of making the hard decisions and delivering the tough solutions. So, to suddenly be at the heart of government was a shock to many and to some even an outright betrayal.

LibDems were seen as the compeller party. A weapon used by Labour and Conservative voters and supports, who used switching their vote to LibDems as a way of saying to their respective party “We’re important please woo us back.” When the Liberals became “the government” they stripped away that power. Thus forcing that block of voters to look elsewhere for an alternative vote to use as pressure.

Enter Ukip, which unlike the LibDems is not a centrist party that can easily straddle both sides of the political spectrum. Ukip’s home is firmly on the right and they share very little with the left. That has angered that particular block – causing them to lash at Libs.

The second reason is the media. When Nick Clegg became the kingmaker, like that block of voters, the media lost both the carrot and the stick they used to use to pump-up and whip with both Labour and the Conservatives. They lost their ‘I agree with Nick’ effect to ‘Nick, the man who can’t keep his promises’ and that dismayed them for the same above mentioned reasons.

Now the media also needed a replacement “carrot and stick” to entice the two big parties with. Ukip was the only available alternative [the fourth party] and that presented a number of challenges. One of them, until very recently, Ukip and the BNP were regarded by many in the media as identical twins that were separated at birth. That posed the greatest challenge – easily visible in the love hate relationship the media have with Ukip.

If we take a step back, Nick Clegg is the same Nick Clegg. The only difference between Clegg pre 2010 and Clegg post 2010 is being in government. Whether propping up the Tories, coming to the country’s aid or delivering some of his party manifesto while making the Libs the party of government and not a permanent opposition third party, those who used the Liberal Democrats as their default vote and whipping tool have lost their weapon and with it the power to pressure the government of the day. And that infuriated them.

Party politics aside, as a Brit, I think Nick Clegg, should be admired and applauded. He is the first LibDems leader in almost a century to be in government. As much as it pains me to admit it, he did curb the Conservatives from cutting deeper and faster – so lefties should applaud that. He went in knowing the minor partner in any coalition will take most of the blame and less of the credit but accepted it as the price of fixing the country. Everyone on either side of the political divide ought to respect and admire him for that.

Clegg and the LibDems have entered history from its wider doors. Today’s whingers might not think it but history will remember it.

My advice to Liberals is to edify their leader, highlight their achievements and remember that a minority Tory government could not have delivered many to the current reforms. Without the LibDems by the Conservatives side the country might not have experienced the stability and unity of purpose it did in the past four and half years. Without the coalition, our country might not have seen the current improvement in the economy. This coalition came together for the right reasons and delivered where it mattered.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is where the buck stops!


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Alibhai – Brown is neither assertive, nor strong, just a bully!

Posted 21 Jun 2014 by Walaa Idris

Michael Fabricant was wrong to tweet “he might end up punching Yasmin Alibhai -Brown “in the throat” if he appeared on a discussion show with her.”

But he was right to apologise and do it as swiftly as he did.

There is no denying Ms Alibhai- Brown can be very argumentative in discussions, to the extent of getting on peoples nerves. But gentlemen don’t punch (or even publicly say they might want to, or feel like) punching someone, especially not a woman!

In addition to that, if he already knew her style of debating, he should have known that as a Tory, male and white she would capitalise on anything he said against her – and she did.

She made his comment all about her person – gender, race and religion. When it was only about her personality – argumentative, shouty and quick to manipulate every word and situation to suit her end game.

Yasmin Alibhai – Brown is extremely irritating in any colour and race, and she knows it. She knows it and uses it very well to shut people up.

Those who debate against her in any panel are mostly white and male, and are very conscious of her mouth. They shut up not because they are convinced by her argument or because (as she told Sky News) she is an assertive strong woman. They do it because she is a bully, who will use the race card and her religion against them and they don’t want to be her pawn. They rather let her have the last word than stand accused [in a public medium in front of millions] of being racist and anti-Islamic.

Michael Fabricant didn’t see that and gave her the opportunity to tout her fantasy about who she thinks she is.

Speaking as a Black Muslim woman, visible figures like Yasmin Alibhai -Brown don’t help us – and defiantly don’t represent me – they do the exact opposite.

Women like me, don’t want to be ‘judged by the colour of our skin but by the content of our character’ and estimated by our deeds and achievements. We are happy to be involved in robust debates without intimidating our opponents into submission in fear of crossing any line other than the line of basic civility and mutual respect. Religion, race and gender should never come into it, unless they are the subject of discussion.

We are pleased to go where the topic takes us openly, honestly and robustly, and are happy for other points of view to win the day. We are even willing to change ours and admit it when persuaded. We are not bullies and unlike bullies understand that we can be wrong at times and that is okay too.

But not Ms Alibhai- Brown, she wants to be always right, have the last word and when that doesn’t happen, she pulls out the race card. That’s not being strong and assertive that’s called being a bully.

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