I have always been fascinated by the sheer scale of the Battle of Jutland. I spent months researching the battle at the age of 13 when I should have been revising for common entrance exams (yes, I went to a private school) and I've never forgotten it. Especially today, on the centenary. Even now I find myself thinking of the 5,000 or so people killed agonisingly in the destructive explosions on board the battlecruisers Indefatigable, Invincible and Queen Mary, trapped in air pockets as their ships disintegrated. And the thousands killed in the German High Seas Fleet too. As the ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog | Mute

I've often said here that people join political parties because they care about specific issues, and they think the party is the best way to advance that issue. Having policy on an issue is one way to encourage people to join in the first place; being the kind of party that would do the "right" [...]

Posted by JHSB on Jazz Hands, Serious Business | Mute

This street was the heart of medieval Leicester - it is the street where Richard III spent his last night alive.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Phil Sandifer sent me a review copy of his book Neoreaction a Basilisk, ostensibly about Eliezer Yudkowsky, Nick Land, and "Mencius Moldbug", a couple of weeks ago. (For those who don't know, Yudkowsky is a blogger and fanfic author who ... Continue reading →

Posted by Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! | Mute

I went over to Oakham today for the official reopening of its castle after a £2m restoration project. The castle grounds and town centre were en fête with more or less Norman attractions. There is a report on BBC News: Oakham Castle, in Rutland, has been closed since September to allow for the restoration of the Great Hall and cleaning of the 230 commemorative horseshoes inside. The ancient defensive walls have also been revealed for the first time in 150 years. It is one of the oldest surviving secular buildings in the country. Oakham Castle, which dates back to 1180, ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

I use the Suffolk Links demand responsive transport system a lot, as it takes me from home to the station most days, and back again in the evening. And, as of 13 June, a new contract for the service comes into effect, run on a District Council basis, so it affects Barking and Somersham ward. Passengers have been handed a letter, explaining how the new contract will work. And the news isn't good for users of the service, of whom there are a number, mostly elderly, across the ward. The new service will be using smaller vehicles, and one of ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

Yesterday I headed down to Whickham to help with the Planting Up Whickham maintenance day on Church Green. The aim was to strip out the flower beds and do some weeding in preparation for some planting next week. I did 2 hours of dead-heading bluebells! There was a good turnout and lots of work was done.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute
Mon 30th

Ryton Hirings

I had to miss our IN stall in Whickham on Saturday because I was at the Ryton Hirings fair promoting self-sufficiency again and selling my preserves and eggs. I took along some recently hatched chicks and a duckling to draw people to my stall, a tactic that always works. Meanwhile, the IN stall went ahead without me but I understand there was a good response.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Most Liberal Democrats, indeed, most political activists, understand the importance of postal voters. First of all, they generally vote - one survey I've seen indicates that turnout rates, even in local elections, is about 75%. After all, if a ballot paper comes to your door, why not fill it in? Second, in a short campaign, you haven't got much time to reach them, as they're likely to fill it in fairly quickly - the return rate falls off as time passes from the date of receipt. My canvassing had, thus far, been targeted towards the postal voters. We're told where ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

More comedy genius from Australia's Clarke and Dawe:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

I'm well behind on book-blogging - a backlog of about 15 books at present. Three consecutive weekends of travel, and then being knocked out by a bug for a couple of days last week, can have that effect. Anyway, getting back in the swing, here's one of the Science Museum's sets of answers to questions asked by younger visitors. The second paragraph of the third section is: But let's face it - the coolest machines in the world are the ones that let us zoom all over the planet at crazy, breakneck speeds. Cars, trains, ships and planes carry us ...

Embed from Getty Images Imagine being in a situation where you have had months of no sleep, you have lost over 15 kilos in weight when you were already under weight and you cannot do anything but ruminate over problems. You go to your GP, he gives you some shiny pills then tells you to book an appointment in a few weeks, and offers you no therapy or treatment. A few weeks later your mental health deteriorates to a point where you consider self-harm. That was my story and I am lucky because I am here to tell it. I ...

Posted by Chris Key on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

A Monday evening, and Ros and I were on our way to Offton, the second largest of the seven villages in Barking and Somersham by voting population - there are two more voters on the register here than in Barking. The trip had two purposes, firstly to do some canvassing and for me to meet more voters, second for me to attend the Offton and Willisham Annual Parish Meeting at Offton's relatively new Village Hall. The sun was streaming down on what had turned out to be a rather nice evening, and we headed for the area near the Village ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

Commenting as the Scottish Children's Services Coalition called for new investment to support services for children with additional support needs, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Tavish Scott MSP said: "John Swinney needs to recognise the austerity he has forced onto councils will have a direct impact on the ability of schools to help children with [...]

Posted by dawudislam on Welcome to lib dem hame | Mute

Embed from Getty Images Some may think that this may not be the best of moments to draw attention to the refugees on our doorstep, at a time when we are fighting for Britain to remain in the EU – but I disagree. It is inevitable that the press will now focus almost exclusively on the in/out debate, but that focus is increasingly being targeted at migrants – the leave campaign having conceded the economic argument, for the moment. The issue of migrants from the EU is being wilfully conflated with the issue of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and surrounding ...

Posted by Shas Sheehan on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

I'm not a big fan of canvassing on a Sunday. It's not because I'm religious, but I do think that Sundays are not necessarily a great time to knock on doors in interrupt what is still seen as a day of rest in some quarters. That said, leaflet delivery is reasonable, and a gap in our delivery network needed to be filled. And so, Ros, Ben (our Local Party Youth Representative and a former member of the UK Youth Parliament) and I headed to Somersham to do some light delivering - I need the steps anyway, and I might as ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

Oscar Wilde married Constance Lloyd on 29 May 1884 at St. James's Church, Paddington, a short walk from the bride's grandfather's house in Lancaster Gate. For the past dozen years or so, that event has been commemorated at the church with an afternoon ceremony called Oscance, with readings, interviews and performances. But yesterday's commemoration was [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer | Mute

Embed from Getty Images There have been a number of voices over recent months hinting at the negative impact that Brexit could have on British sport. Earlier this year BBC Sport analysis suggested that 332 players in the top two divisions of English football, plus the Scottish Premiership, would be at risk by a Leave vote – a view backed up by Karen Brady from Stronger In a letter that she sent to all of the professional football teams in England, Scotland and Wales in January. Similarly, she hinted at the impact on competition and travelling fans – something relevant ...

Posted by John Thomason on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Mon 30th

Whickham eFocus 101

Our latest eFocus (no. 101) was published last night. It leads on the local election results but also covers the regional mayor issue and the EU referendum, as well as specifically local stories. You can ready it on this link.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Instagram Roxy having a happy snooze next to @karohemd earlier this morning miss_s_b | The Blood is the Life for 29-05-2016 posted The Blood is the Life for 29-05-2016 on #dreamwidth [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Your sports team wins. The confetti drops. And suddenly, the video quality falls apart. Why? Let's talk about interframe compression, bitrate, and unnecessary green screen effects.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

[IMG: Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice] Wednesday, 18 May 2016 The beginning of my Mayoral year Daughter Katie and grandchildren Sarah and Lily join me in the Mayor's parlour after the ceremony Last night I was installed as Mayor of Sefton at a meeting of the council held in Southport town hall. I am going to use a blog to record all my comings and goings as mayor which can be found at : http://themayoralblog.blogspot.co.uk/ and so the Birkdale FOCUS will not have any more postings from me for a while. At a reception held afterwards in The Atkinson I ...

Posted on birkdale focus | Mute

This is a reminder that the Conference Office will start allocating grants from the Access fund later this week. If you are thinking about applying, then read our post about it here and refer to the Conference Access Fund web page here. * Mary Reid is the Monday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Monday May Day in the village. Morris dancers spill from the doors of the Bonkers' Arms, while youths and maidens dance around the maypole. The Queen of the May is crowned, whereupon the cavorting figure of the Jack-in-the-Green leads us in procession to a conveniently sited stone circle. Then the aforementioned youths and maidens plight their troths in the meadows. (I used to play practical jokes on Roy Jenkins, but I have to admit that it his reforms that allow them to do it openly.) Above it all, on a green hill, stands the giant wicker figure of a hare ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

[IMG: Awards web image] Each year, ALDC recognises the outstanding work of local Focus teams through our Campaigner Awards. Nominations for this year's Awards are now open. The Campaigner Awards are presented at the ALDC AGM at Federal Conference by a special guest. Winners in each category and our Overall Winner will receive cash prizes and a signed and [...]

Posted by Claire Halliwell on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

A bunch of nice shiny leaflets had arrived, and whilst there is a network of local deliverers out there who very kindly deliver our leaflets (and yes, they really are delivered by local supporters), there are always likely to be gaps, if only because people are away, or busy, or just can't get them out as quickly as is required during a by-election. Luckily, as I have set myself the goal was walking 10,000 steps each day (and 12,500 in May), I was only too happy to fill some of the gaps in. I wasn't alone, with some of our ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute
Mon 30th

Tom's Diner

It is a bank holiday and I am at the Hay Festival. Following a superb live concert from Susanne Vega last night what better way to start the day than with Tom's Diner:

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

As with Tim Farron previously, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has looked to talent outside elected Parliamentarians (MSPs in his case, MPs in Tim's case) in order to put together a team of key spokespeople which is rather closer to the diversity of the electorate than is traditional. Both now have teams which are majority female – just like the electorate. The names announced for Willie Rennie's team in Scotland are: Willie Rennie MSP: leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and finance spokesperson Cllr Carolyn Caddick: economy spokesperson Cllr Karen Clark: social care spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP: health spokesperson ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Mon 30th

West End Ward Surgeries

With today being the Victoria Day holiday, my usual weekly ward surgeries at the West Park Centre and Mitchell Street Centre do not take place, but I can still be contacted on any local issues or concerns through my e-surgery - just e-mail esurgery@frasermacpherson.org.uk. I can also be contacted at home at any time on 459378 and also during office hours at my Dundee City Council office on 434985. Surgeries commence again on Thursday - full details of surgery days and times here.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney Liam McArthur said that people in the Northern Isles are fed up of the SNP's 'jam tomorrow' approach to cutting ferry fares after parliamentary questions revealed that reductions to prices may be delayed until at least 2018. During the election campaign, the First Minister told media during a visit to the [...]

Posted by dawudislam on Welcome to lib dem hame | Mute

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that former First Minister Alex Salmond is behaving like a not-so-secret agent for the leave campaign and called on him to opt out of EU campaigning before he does any more damage to the remain cause. Mr Rennie was speaking after Mr Salmond again used media [...]

Posted by dawudislam on Welcome to lib dem hame | Mute

Embed from Getty Images Each day seems to bring another installment in the ongoing sagas of the red and blue camp. Either it's the EU referendum backbiting and divisiveness in the Tory party or the long, slow and painful fall out from Corbyn's election and the unleashing of some rather unsavoury elements in the party. Scandal, drama and political machination may command media attention and interest from keen political observers, but it's another nail in the coffin for the reputation of politicians and crucially politics in the eyes of the voter. Politics should be about improving people's lives, creating a ...

Posted by Lauren Keith on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

From Blether Tay-Gither : Our May Blether will be on Tuesday May 31st at 7.00pm in Madigan's Food Emporium and Bookshop, Castle Street. The theme this month is CATS. Hope to see some of you there - all welcome!

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP yesterday announced his party's team of spokespeople. In addition to Liberal Democrat MSPs, the team includes other senior party figures who will help drive the party's policy making forwards over the next five years. The appointments announced today mean the Scottish Liberal Democrats have a gender balanced leadership [...]

Posted by dawudislam on Welcome to lib dem hame | Mute

It's available via the link above. Tim made this speech a couple of weeks ago but it is really quite good and worth reading in full even though it is quite long. Having voted for Tim in the Lib Dem leadership election I must admit to being slow to warm to him because at times he comes over as too moderate and not radical enough. However, this speech is spot on so I am warming to him a little more.

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute