Two interesting reports from Conservative Party Conference. First, Isabel Hardman writes for the Spectator that new MPs, many of them highly qualified professional people, are not taking kindly to being put on a rota for walking with David Cameron between buildings. Yes, dear readers, such a thing actually exists. It appears that the women are none too pleased at being used as "arm candy" while the men are annoyed at being excluded: But this exciting opportunity to be pictured with the Prime Minister doesn't seem to have quite enthused some of those who have had to walk around with him ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Good to see former Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders wanting to get back into the political fray and running for the local council, though the circumstances of the by-election he'll be fighting are tragic: The Liberal Democrat, who was Torbay MP for 18 years until losing his seat at the general election, hopes to win a bye-election at Torbay council next month. If successful he would replace long-standing Lib Dem Ruth Pentney who died last month, at the age of 62, after battling motor neurone disease. Dubbed Torquay's "yellow iron lady" she was a for 13 years, representing the Clifton ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

UPDATED DETAILS. Independent seat. Cause: Death. No LD Candidate.

Posted by Michael Powell on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

Labour seat. Cause: Resignation. LD Candidate- Gwilym Owen.

Posted by Michael Powell on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

Conservative seat. Cause: Resignation. LD candidate, Jack Satterthwaite. To help, please contact Jack (07414 708960,

Posted by Michael Powell on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

If you are a young transgender person still at school, struggling to come to terms with your gender identity, you need specialised help pretty quickly. You should not have to wait a minimum of 7 months to see a specialist. If you are older, you should not be told that the waiting list is a year. Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume has highlighted this as another area in which the Scottish Government is failing to meet its 18 week target for referrals. This one will take a lot of thinking about as there are so few specialists in ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Protestors at Walton Hall Park One of the Many in Liverpool up in arms about the Mayor's sell off plans I am today issuing a challenge to Joe Anderson to debate the sale of parts of Calderstones Park; Walton Hall ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think? | Mute

Every society goes in an out of periods of insanity where they lock people up merely for being accused of something. Let me put it more strongly. There are some crimes considered so loathsome that you only have to be accused of them to be immediately assumed to be guilty. The last few months have seen the apotheosis of a moral panic about child abuse, which reached a head with the investigation into establishment abuse, leading to murder. There have been other moments in recent years. The frightening alliance between what you might call the child abuse 'industry' and fundamentalist ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog | Mute

There's something rather poignant about the decision of Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron to appoint two Middle East advisers, rather than just the one, as it seems to symbolise just how deeply divided even many of those who profess peace are on this issue. That said, it is a good choice of two: John McHugo, the Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine and someone with an impressively detailed background in the region and its issues. Lord Monroe Palmer, who I previously featured in my 'Local Liberal Heroes' series and someone with a similarly detailed knowledge of the issues and ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

So only 7 and a half years after I first blogged about Lincs FM and MuxCo getting the Lincolnshire DAB license we finally have it. Although from the list of 7 stations, only two are available (Lincs FM and Compass) along with BBC Radio Lincolnshire who had to be included. The really good news though is that the local relay in Lincoln has been switched on allowing me to get the commercial and BBC national DAB multiplexes at full signal strength. In the past I'd need to perform a circus act to get any of the BBC stations, and Absolute ...

Posted by Ryan Cullen on The Artesea | Mute

Back in July, I updated residents about the areas of the West End covered by Phase 2 of changes to bin and recycling collection arrangements. The changes are effective from 9th November :It was originally envisaged that the areas covered in the West End in Phase 2 would be most of the east and north of the West End Ward, although the Environment Department decided to exclude the areas immediately north and south of the Perth Road district shopping centre, which is to be included in a future phase. You can see a map of the areas that are in ...

[IMG: The Lib Dem team at Gatley's Tatton cinema site] The Lib Dem team are working to get development at Gatley's former Tatton cinema. The Lib Dems have approved a Compulsory Purchase Order for the former Tatton cinema site in Gatley. The Lib Dem team have welcomed the planning application to develop the former Tatton cinema site in Gatley, but we aren't taking anything for granted. Months ago we got the council to start work on a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the site. There were two reasons. First, we hoped it would encourage the owners to pull their finger ...

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith, Graham and Iain | Mute

Think Britain is a soft touch on immigration? Think again - shows how warped our immigration "debate" is Facebook data transfers threatened by Safe Harbour ruling 'Suffrajitsu': How the suffragettes fought back using martial arts Emily Wilding Davison and Parliament - UK Parliament Theresa May's immigration speech is dangerous and factually wrong - in which @jameskirkup absolutely NAILS IT. ICYMI: I posted about what happens when politicians demonise each other Vince Cable on his new book: "perhaps I have something to contribute" an understatement akin to that famous caption labelling Tim Berners-Lee as "web developer" This American tourist's list of ...

Agenda 2020 is the consultation exercise being carried out by the Liberal Democrats to set the framework of policy in the period up to 2020, when we next expect parliamentary elections. At this stage the idea is to keep the thinking at quite a high level. This is always quite hard for political activists. We somehow got onto VAT on tampons in the consultation exercise in Bournemouth. Then again, I'm always saying that political types on the left are too abstract. I haven't submitted the following contribution yet, but the idea is to be strong on general direction, with only ...

Posted by Matthew on thinking liberal | Mute

Today I went to see the double bill of Raven girl and Connectone at the Royal Opera House. I never wrote a ballet review before (although I've seen many) because I am not sure how to do that. However, this ballet took many risks so on this rare occasion I shall too. Firstly, let me [...]

Posted by olgaivannikova on Olga Ivannikova's Blog | Mute
Tue 6th


There's a lot of hysteria in NATO foreign ministries and media about Russian incursions into Turkish air space, but Turkey's policy on Syria is not aligned with NATO's. Erdogan's main objective is to get rid of potentially troublesome Kurds of the YPG, who have been the most effective opposition to the Daesh. It was with great reluctance that he allowed a small contingent from other YPG-held territory to cross through Turkish territory to help defend their beleaguered colleagues in Kobane when they were on the verge of being wiped out a year ago. If the Turks don't agree that the ...

Posted by Eric Avebury on Eric Avebury | Mute
Tue 6th

Tuesday meetings

Jericho House Earlier today, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism. We had a useful discussion about promoting the work of Jericho House across the city. Later today, I had a helpful meeting with Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith, the police area commander, and two of his senior colleagues, about local policing matters affecting the West End and the wider city area.

A major restructure at Liberal Democrat headquarters in Great George Street, London, is current underway. Having been agreed in outline through the party's democratic channels, the details of it are now being worked through with staff. It is meant to be about both reshaping the party's HQ operations to fit Tim Farron's plans and to save sufficient money to maintain the long-term health of the party's finances. Until all the details are settled and the names in place and public, and that is unlikely for a good few weeks given the time needed for consultations and so on, it can ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Tue 6th

Six of the Best 543

"It seems to me that the Left's narrative about neoliberalism is too naive to overcome it - it understands none of the appeal of its original ideas. It is somewhat vacuous - a fairy tale about nasty people overturning the great and enlightened Keynesian consensus of 1945." David Boyle says it is time for Liberals to read Hayek again. Jonathan Fryer reviews a new biography of the Soviet spy Guy Burgess. "[Joe] Orton's 'gutter' was not the brutal and bustling industrial landscape of the North, but the drab monotony of a comfortable city whose council housing reflected its unimaginative mediocrity." ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

BBC News reports today: Sex abuse victims of former Sussex bishop Peter Ball are suing the Church of England for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Ball, 83, who admitted offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, is being sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.I am not a believer in conspiracy theories - you don't have to be when evidence of the extraordinary unwillingness of the establishment to see Bishop Ball suffer for his crimes is openly available. When Peter Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993, after receiving a police caution for ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Second paragraph of third chapter: I seemed to be looking at an enormous illuminated painting, lit both by the unsettled water and by a deep light transmitted through the body of the cavern. What surprised me, as I pushed the cabin door against the current, was the intense clarity of every detail. In front of me, above its sloping lawn, was the half-timbered Tudor mansion. A number of people were watching me, like figures posed by the artist in a formal landscape. None of them moved, as if frozen by the burning aircraft that had burst out of the afternoon ...

Tue 6th

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell has given me two significant things over the last few years – reigniting my love of reading and making me feel more in touch with my Swedish roots. As a child I read avidly and writing was something I'd always wanted to do as a career (that dream still exists, but at 40 [...]

Posted by Anders Hanson on Anders Hanson | Mute

Due to emergency engineering work by Network Rail to carry out essential repairs to overhead power lines between City Thameslink and St Pancras International, there will be no services between London St Pancras and London Blackfriars for the rest of the day and cancellations and delays on the rest of the Thameslink route. Please use [...]

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White » Chris White | Mute

Well done to Bromley's News Shopper, winner of today's Headline of the Day Award. I suspect the insurance investigators will want a word with Barbara.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Tue 6th

Stalin's Englishman

Andrew Lownie's biography of Guy Burgess, Stalin's Englishman (Hodder & Stoughton, £25) was in gestation for 30 years, but like a fine single malt it is all the better for it. Though Burgess has been dead for half a century, his flight to Moscow with the other "Missing Diplomat", Donald Maclean, still resonates in the English collective [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer | Mute

Seond paragraph of third section: "That, Mr. Pond, is no ordinary milk-float. That float has been rendered spaceworthy! As you said, what we are lacking in space travel today is a viable means of propulsion, and even then we are limited by the speed of light. But there is one substance which can travel faster than light —boiling milk, when it thinks you're not looking!" This was one of the many Neil Gaiman works made available a couple of weeks ago in the most successful Humble Bundle ever. Gaiman describes it as "my worst short story ever... It misfires in ...

This year there are two sources of grants to help support your local campaigning. The G8 scheme is funded jointly by the Federal, English, Scottish and Welsh Parties and is administered by ALDC. This year the G8 committee has decided to prioritise grants just for those wards that will help give us the best possible [...]

Posted by Anders Hanson on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

Exactly a month ago, the party lost one of its most successful campaigners when Ruth Pentney from Torbay died. Her son Nicholas wrote a wonderful tribute to her here. Ruth wouldn't stop working even immediately after electoral victory. Her energy really was that boundless. On election night 2010, I stayed awake long enough to see the Torbay result come in. I was pleased but in no way surprised that Mum had done it again and Adrian had been re-elected. Contented that Torbay was to remain in Lib Dem hands, I went to bed. A few hours later, at approximately 3.30am, ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Keith writes: Dear friend, As a local councillor for Cheadle and Gatley, the most important part of my job is to fight for our area on your behalf. To do that, I need to understand what you see as the most important issues. Please take just a couple of minutes to fill out this survey. It tells us what you want us to be working on and how well you think we're doing at the moment.

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith, Graham and Iain | Mute

The unpleasant rhetoric of Theresa May's speech this morning has given every liberal what we Scots call "the dry boak" Her remarks were not measured, not reasonable and entirely designed to win over that small proportion of the population who are members of the Conservative Party. Anyone who knows anything about the immigration system will know how difficult it is to actually get into this country. Married couples often have to endure years of separation before (and it's not inevitable that they will be) they can live together in this country. The strain put on families is intolerable. People who ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

[IMG: Newspapers.] You can save the hassle of working your way through piles of different political news with my political aggregator. Straight out of the Ronseal school of website naming, it aggregates political news... providing you with the latest stories from a range of the most important and best media outlets and blogs. It's at Happy reading!

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

There is an interesting article by Dan Hodges in yesterday's Telegraph in which he questions the direction of travel of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in light of the protests outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. He says that over the past 48 hours, delegates, MPs, journalists and exhibitors who are attending the annual gathering of the nation's governing party have been punched, spat at, kicked, subjected to racist abuse, sexist abuse and other general threats of violence. He believes that fascist street-craft is being deployed in the name of the progressive majority. And although Frances O'Grady, the TUC general ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

So having had enough of my Nexus 6 at best running breakeven whilst on charge in the car using the Sat Nav, and at worst loosing 1% every minute I recently decided to invest in a Aukey Quick Charge 2.0 30W 2 Ports USB Car Charger Adapter. Not only does it support Qualcomm Quick Charge, but has a second 2.4A for your iDevices, allowing the wife to be able to charge her phone at the same time. With the Quick Charge port, I can run Google Maps Navigation, Tune In Radio and still come out with a 20% lift on ...

Posted by Ryan Cullen on The Artesea | Mute

Steve recently helped out at the Digital Tea Party where residents were invited to discuss any queries they had about IT and the latest digital communications. This involved introduction and advice on the use of computers, emailing, internet, installing Apps, on-line security, Face-Time, Skype, mobile and smart phones. Our MP Tom Brake was there and [...]

Posted by jaynemccoy on Diary of a Sutton Councillor | Mute

[IMG: trolling] So, the Taxpayers' Alliance have finally found the point at which they say something so outrageous that they actually have to apologise for it. There's an even more shocking claim at the start of that report, however, when it refers to the TPA as a 'think tank', which future lexicographers may well come to regard as the point at which that term lost all meaning. Whereas a think tank used to conjure up images of dour and serious policy wonks lost in deep contemplation about the future of the country, now it appears to refer to anyone with ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With | Mute

It is a sobering thought that this country might have two Conservative women prime ministers before there is a single one of another party. Today Theresa May made her pitch, and here is some of the reaction. Theresa May: 'No case, in the national interest, for immigration we have experienced over the last decade' — Sky News (@SkyNews) October 6, 2015 This particular point was pre-rebutted some time ago here. Immigration appears to have a positive effect on wages where labour markets are flexible and a negative one where they are inflexible. The UK sits, only just on the ...

Posted by Joe Otten on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Norwood Lib Dems (Southport) have posted on their blog site with some useful information about domestic abuse – see the link above for the posting and some useful contacts/help lines.

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus » Sefton Focus | Mute

Residents' favourite food and drink businesses were honoured at St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Awards 2015 on Monday 5 October. The award-winners were announced at the end of St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival in a ceremony in Sopwell House Hotel. The festival and awards were organised by St Albans City [...]

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White » Chris White | Mute

"What do you expect from Tories? They're evil!" "What do you expect from The Left? They're so self-righteous!" Liberals are up themselves, greens couldn't run a whelk stall, kippers are racist... You know what this relentless tide of assertion of stereotype does? It makes the public hate all of us. Because quite a lot of the public believe all the negative assertions. We're all nasty and selfish and incompetent and have no empathy and, and... Now I'm not saying I've never done this. I'm as prone to groupthink and tribalism as the next politician, although I try very hard to ...

The Conservatives are again messing up over Europe in a tacky attempt to mask their own huge internal divisions. Cameron's ploy of renogotiation will deliver nothing sunbstantial and the vote is really an IN or OUT. Lets be honest and say so. In that case it is a huge vote and a huge decision and for the poll the voting age should be lowered to 16. A great debate at Bournemouth approved this change at the Liberal Democrat Conference. Now lets get on and pursuade the Government to implement it. I am for IN – but recognize some of the ...

Posted by Paul Crossley on Paul Crossley » Paul Crossley | Mute

No doubt by now you'll have read or heard about the 5p charge for plastic bags scheme that's been introduced? But you might not be aware that the idea is NOT something the Conservatives came up with, but IS instead a policy championed by the Liberal Democrats in the previous coalition government. So what's so [...]

Posted by Cllr Darren Fower on Cllr Darren Fower | Mute

[IMG: If you know why this post is illustrated by a camel, well done but you probably spend too much time reading this blog] If you know why this post is illustrated by a camel, well done but you probably spend too much time reading this blog. The Liberal Democrat party's rules, procedures and habits for list selections matter. They always have, but after the 2015 general election they matter all the more because over the next few years those who get elected to the London Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and European Parliament via those PR lists will have ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

Liberal Democrats are supporting the Fair Deal Devo campaign launched by the Manchester Evening News, Bolton News, Wigan Evening Post and Oldham Evening Chronicle. "There's a growing consensus that, if Greater Manchester is to achieve its potential, we need a fair funding deal from government." Cllr Sue Derbyshire, Lib Dem leader of Stockport Council said. "Talk of the Northern Powerhouse has to be more than words. We're starting to see the first signs of real money, but there's a long way to go." The Liberal Democrats have been calling for fair transport funding for the region to close the gap ...

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith, Graham and Iain | Mute

I'm rather upset at the rudeness of two journalists today, trotting out the tired old "Oh, all this violence and stuff is just life in Manchester" Camilla is well known for making jokes, and I defended her when UKIP tried to get the police arrest her for suggesting she'd been to South Thanet more often than Nigel Farage, on a satirical comedy show. This latest from her is clearly a joke, but it's also pretty rude and prejudiced. The editor of GQ, that's Gentleman's Quarterly, you think might have a line in charm but replied to Camilla Long thus: Nice. ...

Posted by Louise Ankers on From one of the Jilted Generation... | Mute

As usual, it seems to me that the BBC have got the wrong end of the stick about the significance of George Osborne's announcement that the government will let councils keep the proceeds of the business rates. In doing so, he has not yet had the nerve to let them set their own, or change their arrangements for taxing businesses, but that will come eventually. But listening to the BBC, you would be forgiven for thinking this was an argument between a Conservative government flinging away Margaret Thatcher's centralising legacy versus Labour council chiefs who want to reinstate it. There ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog | Mute

Bringing Tony Blair into any political discussion these days is asking for trouble, but he does really belong in this one: as the guy who managed to get the Labour Party three parliamentary majorities in a row, a feat extremely likely to never be repeated, his achievement is instructive. How does Labour get back into power? It is a question that is strangely not seriously asked by anyone these days within the party in question (it was barely touched upon by anyone at Labour conference this year, as a for instance); it's now something that has been left to theorists ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

The preamble to our constitution says no-one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. These three go together. So, when we put Education among our top priorities, we must get it right. Thus, poverty can prevent some people from getting the benefits of a good education, while conformity to a backward-looking community can inhibit an individual's educational development. In September 2013, RISE (Research and Information on State Education) concluded that 80% of the difference in performance of school pupils was due to factors outside the school. Our schools and colleges cannot on their own, solve the ills of society. ...

Posted by Nigel Jones on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Cruel and increasingly unusual Capital punishment in the USA. (tags: uspolitics death ) New here? Welcome to Brussels A guide fore the perplexed. (tags: eu ) The UN draft climate treaty 20 pages, PDF (tags: climatechange ) This Insurance Agent Threatened Me, I Got Him Fired Uncomfortable reading [trigger warning]. (tags: internet ) What happens to British expatriates if the UK leaves the EU? Old news, but still not good news. (tags: eu ukpolitics )

Tue 6th

Dog Bin - Roseangle

I received a complaint from a resident at the end of last week that the dog bin on the cycle path from Greenmarket to Roseangle (at the Roseangle end) appeared to be full to over-flowing - see right. Not a pretty sight. I immediately asked the council's Environment Department on Friday to have it emptied and tidied and this was done swiftly. The department responded as follows : "This has been investigated and the operator spoken too. The operator confirmed there were bags on top of bin and on the ground and approx 8.15am today. He did also mention that ...

Very sad news to see this: Alex Folkes has resigned from both Cornwall Council and Launceston Town Council. Mr Folkes ... [has] also withdrawn his application to re-join the Liberal Democrat party. Mr Folkes, a Launceston councillor since 2009 and until last year a high profile cabinet member of Cornwall Council, with responsibility for the authority's £1.2 billion budget, was forced to resign his front-line role when experts labelled him "a serious and enduring risk to children."... Mr Folkes said he was quitting politics for health reasons. He continues to deny the allegations against him. "You know how much I ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

Yorkshire Devolution deal not yet a deal: FAO @Yorkshire_DM Tories being held up by their own security theatre is hilarious though. Tory MP takes flak from working mum over tax credits plan [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

This blog opened for business five years ago today. The first post was Can the Big Society be anything more than BS?, reblogged from Liberal Democrat Voice. It felt like quite a big step to strike out on my own rather than post occasionally at group sites. The most recent post - yesterday's Compassionate friends of Conservatism - just tipped me over 600 posts. A blogging anniversary is conventionally a time to pause and reflect. I did so on the blog's second anniversary - Reaching the terrible twos - but I don't think I've done so since. Last year I ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives | Mute