Mon 22nd
Ryan Cullen

Dear bloggers,

it's that time of the month again when the hosting meter needs a few more pounds to keep the site ticking. We need £25 in the next few days, else everything goes black. With over 100 blogs listed, if each author donated just two pounds a year the site would stay alive. Why not make this month the month you help out?


Many thanks
Ryan Cullen

Mon 22nd


When I started the Cerebus posts on Mindless Ones, I hoped to get them finished by the Thought Bubble convention towards the end of November . The problem was, shortly after the fourth post, I got hit by every major life problem you can think of, and while I've been trying to make sure I [...]

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

From the Leicester Mercury: An unholy row has erupted after a parish priest announced that a ceremony to mark his civil partnership is to be staged at his church. A local parishioner has said that the service to celebrate the partnership between the Reverend Dominic McClean and his male partner at St Peter's Church in Market Bosworth amounts to a "gay wedding".Thanks to... It's like a a real life episode of Rev - - row erupts over parish priest's civil partnership service at church — Ned Trifle (@nedtrifle) September 15, 2014 ...for giving me an excuse to use one ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

#79037936 / The West Lothian question should not trouble a Conservative over much. Why overturn a constitutional arrangement that works in the name of abstract principles like 'fairness' or 'justice'? That's the sort of folly that Liberals and Radicals go in for. But David Cameron had to act on it and act quickly. Because today large parts of the Conservative Party are hardly Conservative at all. The brighter among them do care about abstract principles, but most are Angry White Men who believe the disappointments of their lives and the failings of British society are the fault of Europe ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Some years ago I saw the last Deutsche wöchenschau, the Third Reich's newsreel dated March 1945. Whilst Messerschmitt fighters took off from waterlogged agricultural fields and streams of exhausted boys and old men in a mixture of uniforms marched past the camera the narrator pronounced ultimate victory would be theres. The Luftwaffe were blasting American planes from the air and the Russians were being turned back at the Oder. Whether the German people took anything from it is debatable but we know it was just noise. Medway Labour have a lot riding on this election. The Coalition has not always ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway | Mute

[IMG: Policy Unpacked logo] Earlier this week Bristol hosted the Policy & Politics Conference 2014. The conference theme was the challenges of leadership and collaboration in the 21st century. The conference examined governance structures at different spatial scales, but there was much talk about urban governance. After the conference I caught up with my colleague David Sweeting, Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies, to talk about some of the issues that were touched on during the panels on the theme What difference do directly elected mayors make?. (Running time: 19′ 49") If you fancy subscribing to my podcasts you can find ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives | Mute

It seems odd to be wishing a 1960s musician a happy 80th birthday, but we had better get used to it. Even Steve Winwood is 66 these days. Here is Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and he is just as cool today as he was then. I have chosen two other Leonard Cohen songs as Sunday music videos - I must be grown up: Famous Blue RaincoatClosing Time

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute


Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter | Mute

The monthly unadjusted claimant unemployment level in Acocks Green fell by another 24, last month, to 776. This is a rate of 5.9% and represents a fall of 303 over the last year. The number of long term unemployed in the ward now stands at 298 (70 down on the year) and youth unemployment (18-24 year olds) is 193 (95 down on the year). Across Birmingham the unadjusted claimant count is 34,979, which is 922 down on the month and 11,117 down on the year. The seasonally adjusted monthly fall was 1,294 and the rate now stands at 7.2%. While ...

Posted by rogerharmer on Roger Harmer | Mute

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 390th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere ... Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (14-20 September, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, you might otherwise have missed. Don't forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging. As ever, let's start with the most popular post, and work our way down: 1. That Nick Robinson incident and what it ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Earlier this week, Troy Michael, Mr Gay Iceland told Gay Star News about being raped when he was 12 by a friend of his older brother. For some reason, I only saw it this evening. I was not sure that I wanted to read the article, but I persevered and did so. You may well wonder...

Posted by John Carchrie Campbell on HIV Blogger: living positively | Mute

Here are the latest national voting intention figures from each of the main pollsters. To put the numbers into longer context, take a look at my database of polling figures going back to 1945, which is updated quarterly. Con Lab LibDem UKIP Green Con lead Fieldwork Method ComRes 32% 34% 8% 18% 3% -2% 20-22/8 Online ComRes 28% 35% 9% 17% 6% -7% 29-31/8 Phone ICM 33% 35% 10% 9% -2% 12-14/9 Phone Lord Ashcroft 33% 33% 9% 14% 6% 0% 12-14/9 Phone MORI 34% 33% 7% 15% 6% 1% 6-9/9 Phone Opinium 29% 37% 7% 19% 4% -8% 9-11/9 ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

[IMG: Star Wars] One of the first articles I wrote for this site was a re-imagining of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Funnily, it's actually quite painful to have to type out those words, "Phantom Menace", not out of anything like a "George Lucas ruined my childhood" type vibe, but just because even after having seen the film many more times than any sane person should have (i.e. more than once), I'm still not quite sure exactly what the titular menace is. Little Anni? Sidous? Jar Jar Binks? Anyhow, I could sit here and make fun of Phantom ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

[IMG: 7 ver 4 full] Many thanks to the 23,200 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here's our 7 most-read posts... What do you think will be the result of the Scottish independence referendum? Your predictions, please? (68 comments) by Stephen Tall Yes Scotland is a bit late to realise that Wings over Scotland is bad news (28 comments) by Caron Lindsay AGAIN ++Mike Hancock MP quits Lib Dems (7 comments) by The Voice Note to agents: do not publish anything you may learn at postal vote opening (6 comments) by Alex Foster. Another oldie from 2010 ...

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

[IMG: Cornish fishing boats] Liberal Democrats in Cornwall are about to launch a campaign for a Cornish Assembly: Lib Dems will gather in Bodmin next week to plan their campaign for new powers for Cornwall after the outcome of the Scotland independence vote. The party has already voted for Cornwall to benefit from a devolved assembly, with powers similar to those enjoyed in Wales, at their most recent national conference in York... Chair of the Lib Dem "Team for Cornwall", Julia Goldsworthy, who lost her Camborne seat to the Tories at the last general election, said:... "Ours is the only ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

Nick Clegg used strong language earlier. However, that sounded like sweet nothings compared to Paddy Ashdown's comments on the Murnaghan programme earlier. You can read the whole transcript here, but here are some of the highlights: PM and Miliband should play Join the Dots in a darkened room An interesting turn of phrase here as Paddy tells the two "old party" leaders to take a reality check: Mr Miliband and Mr Cameron are already running away from the promises they made. Mr Cameron didn't seem to realise that when he made that promise he may not be able to carry ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Sun 21st

Post Referendum Reform

Well I wasn't on-message over the Scottish referendum. On the post-referendum reforms, however, I'm just undecided. Nick Clegg suggests that we should start by implementing the recommendations of the McKay Commission. I'd probably agree with him if I could get my head round what those recommendations would mean in practice. Until a Peter Snow has [...]

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture | Mute

[IMG: sundaypaps] Here's my selection of stories to infuriate, inform and inspire from today's Sunday papers. I can't pick all the stories, so please add your favourites in the comments. Obviously the fallout rom the Scottish independence referendum dominates. Don't blame me. Blame David Cameron for using the occasion to pick a fight with Ed Miliband to try and make him out to be anti-English ahead of the General Electiona and, more immediately, the Labour conference. Labour wanted the week to plug their platform for the election. No such luck, it seems. It's very annoying that Scotland has been caught ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

[IMG: I've been reading a couple of interesting books this week: Colin Crouch's Post-democracy and the late Peter Mair's final book Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy . Both of them share a common theme: that our understanding of how politics works, including the nature of our democracy, is wrong. For Crouch, post-democracy represents a time when corporate interests now overwhelm those of a citizenry that is incapable (and perhaps unwilling) to rpresent itself as effectively. Mair's thesis is set out quite succinctly on the first page: "The age of party democracy has passed." The political systems ...

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

Party conference serves so many purposes. It's there to make policy, to deliver training and for members from around the country to get together and chat. I have to say that I've never thought that the big thing missing from our annual gathering was a film night. In fact, putting me in a warm, dark room after 4 sleep-deprived nights is likely to have me snoring in seconds. I was therefore surprised to see some weeks ago that a film night was to happen and the party was running a vote on its website so that people could choose what ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

The autumn conference and annual general meeting of the East Midlands Liberal Democrats will take place in Hinckley on Saturday 1 November. The keynote speaker will be John Leech, Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington, and the four candidates to be the party's new president have also been invited. Book via the East Midlands Lib Dems website.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

After being unsuccessful in his struggle to secure Scottish independence, First Minister Alex Salmond has opted to resign as First Minister. He did not need to do so, but his reasons for resigning are perfectly understandable. He has taken the SNP, and its cause of Scottish nationalism, as far as he can. It is perfectly logical, at a time when the SNP is naturally considering its next steps, to make way for a new leader - with possibly a new way of thinking. Why continue to serve until the next election in 2016, when instead the new leader can be ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal | Mute

-Follow and keep in touch!Ed Miliband has given his traditional conference interview on the Andrew Marr programme, talking about what his party would do in government, and the fallout from the Scottish referendum. It wasn't a bad interview. Ed got his points over, and hit his soundbites. It was just very...unconvincing. Miliband has barely developed [...]

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Charlotte Henry | Mute

I'm a great believer in the concept of somewhere else. As an Englishman with a rather quirky backstory - I was born here, unlike either parent - and a deep and abiding suspicion of nationalism - who is it, exactly, that you're against? - I hold firmly to a view that you only really appreciate your nation's strengths and weaknesses by comparing it with other places. My country right or wrong? Well, not really, but it's still my country... and yours... and probably theirs too, even if they might be a bit of an embarrassment in civilised circles. And so, ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter | Mute

[IMG: Imperial College London. Photo courtesy of - some rights reserved] News that four of the top six universities in the world are in England is a reminder of how tremendously successful our higher education sector is at persuading some of the most talented people around the world to buy university and post-graduate education from British outlets. It's a remarkably successful export industry, and one which brings many benefits to the UK. It brings in money that helps finance our education system. It brings in diverse and talented students which makes it easier to recruit the best and brightest ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

The Hatborough Mail reports that the Black Beast of Harborough was seen near Lubenham on two consecutive evenings earlier this month. We have previously reported sightings of the Beast near Arthingworth and Foxton.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Football players up and down the country this last weekend played their part in helping to stamp out homophobia in football, and to some extent, sport in general. Compared to other public domains, sport still has less LGBT representatives than most, and this applies especially to football. Players from clubs from every division and every part of the country laced up their boots with 'Rainbow Laces' to show their support for stopping homophobic attitudes in football. As a gay man and a football fan, I know that homophobia still exists in some forms in football. Gainborough Trinity Footballers showing off ...

Posted by Ross Pepper on A Pinch of Pepper | Mute

[IMG: Liberal Youth logo 2014] Voting closes in the Liberal Youth annual elections tomorrow at noon. All members of the party under 26 are eligible to vote. Those members for whom we have an email address should have received a ballot paper from Opavote. If you haven't received one, check your spam to make sure isn't in there, then email me on with proof of age and Liberal Democrat membership. You must cast your vote by noon tomorrow. Full details of the candidates and their manifestos can be found here on the Liberal Youth website. There are also details ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

The roots of my complicated psychic relationship with Gordon Brown are explained in this old blog post (tags: ) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

A bit of history was made yesterday when Ludlow town council gave the freedom of the town to the Royal Welsh regiment. It was a fantastic occasion, with a parade and ceremony in the Castle, followed by a march around the town watched and applauded by several thousand people. The star of the occasion, especially [...]

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington | Mute

Nick's written an article on devolution which is 100% right. I couldn't have put it better myself - which is why I am pasting it below. He says it all! Within hours of the momentous decision by the Scottish people to remain in the UK, Westminster found itself once again bogged down in conventional party political point scoring. I have seen for myself the way in which the vested interests in the two old parties can conspire to block reform – scuppering elections to the House of Lords and a clean up of party funding in recent years. We cannot ...

Posted by Lynne Featherstone on Lynne Featherstone » Blog | Mute

I had a sneak preview of an article Nick Clegg wrote for today's Sunday Post. I was a bit disappointed in its blandness. We needed more robust language, I felt. Why? Well, when Cameron had just had almost half of Scots who voted tell him they wanted out of the Union, his main message in response was to pick a fight with Labour on the so-called "West Lothian Question." Really, Dave, is that what you take from all of this? By making more powers for Scotland seem contingent on resolving the English votes for English laws issues, he exacerbated tensions ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Sun 21st

Southport Airshow 2014

Some nice shots via the two links above from the Liverpool Echo and the Flickr site of George C1. I used to go to this show every year but have not been for 2 or 3 years. The weather was great for it yesterday and it looks set for another nice day today. Here's a link to a shot I took at the 2006 Southport Airshow:- This show draws thousands of folk to the North West's best seaside resort and the vast expanse of sand is perfect for such an event. Now if only the rail links ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

[IMG: Nick Clegg at a conference podium. Image courtesy of the Liberal Democrats.] Yesterday I wrote how: Devolution is about devolving power. There's a clue in the name. Which is why talk of English devolution that slips into talking about English MPs voting on English laws misses what English devolution should really be about. Not about a smaller number of MPs keeping power still to themselves, but about devolving power away from MPs downwards to local government (and possibly regional government, though the appetite for creating a new layer of government across England is fairly limited - better to look ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute The BBC covers it via the link above:- The Liverpool Echo covers it via the link above:- Let's hope the child gets well again as a priority but how on earth could this have happened?

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Further to my recent article about the excellent Discovery Walk proposal, it was good to see the article in Friday's Evening Telegraph - you can read this here. And ... the project now has a logo :

Sun 21st

Leonard Cohen is 80

So here is one of his classic songs

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute
Sun 21st

My favourite heretic

The man who convinced me that Liberal Christianity is Bible-based Christianity is someone I don't believe to even be a Christian I started to be won over by the Christian view of the world during my first year at university. And initially I was drawn to the more evangelical iterations of the faith. I attended a church [...]

Posted by Mark Mills on Matter Of Facts | Mute

[NB this should come before yesterday's post. A note on sources -- for most of these essays I have used multiple sources. For this essay, I have relied more than any other on a single source, Steve Stanley's liner notes for the And Then... Along Comes The Association reissue, and I thought this should be [...]

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