Wed 23rd
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

The Western Mail reports that the Welsh Government has been accused of reneging on its word and breaching budget commitments after leaked documents suggested ringfenced funding designed to support Wales' poorest pupils will be used to meet its education spending promise:. Pressure from the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru secured an extra £35m for the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG), which will be distributed among schools this year and see an additional £918 allocated to pupils eligible for free school meals. Education Minister Huw Lewis has threatened to "claw back" from schools that ignore guidance on how best to use the ...

Posted by Freedom Central on Freedom Central | Mute

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of volunteers gift specially chosen and printed World Book Night books in their communities to share their love of reading. Last year, over 5000 books were given out across Cambridgeshire, thanks to 270 volunteers. This year, Cambridgeshire libraries are once again being used as pick up points. Visit your local library to find out more about the 20 World Book Night 2014 titles being collected and handed out, from authors such as Nora Roberts, John Grisham and Adele Parks.

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill | Mute
Wed 23rd

Canadian Tax Returns

The Canadian tax year runs from 1st January to 31st December, but tax-payers have until 30th April to make their return. I completed ours yesterday. It is a complicated process, because separate calculations have to be made for the Federal and the Provincial taxes, and both give taxpayers allowances for all sorts of things that [...]

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture | Mute

I briefly listened to BBC4 You and Yours today, because the topic was teaching and learning. Unsurprisingly lots of people rang in or emailed to voice their opinion. Opinions were roughly split between teachers, who talked about the stresses of league tables, teaching towards exams and endless paper work, and non- teachers, who argued that [...]

Posted by werahobhouse on Wera's Blog | Mute

Another photo from Olney.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Labour seat. Resignation.

Posted by Victor Chamberlain on Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors | Mute

The other week, I had the joy of representing Sheffield Hallam for the second consecutive year at the annual NUS conference. Students from universities and colleges across the nation, from Truro to the Highlands, gather to elect the NUS executive and talk policy. As in 2013 I enjoyed the conference and met some great people but there's something that wasn't quite right. It's not an issue with that conference specifically but with the NUS philosophy as a whole and it's been percolating in my mind for a while. The most significant issue is that, for an organisation that makes such ...

From the Independent: David Cameron's constituency office has come under fire for calling the police on the Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Hebden as they attempted to present him with an open letter on food poverty. Their letter, part of the End Hunger Fast campaign, was signed by 42 Anglican bishops and more than 600 clerics and called on the three party leaders to work with the parliamentary inquiry into food poverty to implement its recommendations. However, despite David Cameron's Witney office expecting their visit, they were barred from presenting the letter and instead greeted by three police officers. I ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Tue 22nd

Get farage!

It started with the Common Market for those of us old enough to remember, we were reassured that our sovereignty would never be surrendered and it has ended with Angela Merkel calling the shots. I've seen and know those who've been replaced by cheaper labour. The EU don't do audits, (that is the process of checking accounts) apparently it's more cost effective to just give money away to MEP's and the like.Mine most likely, my well educated mid income readers need not fear, the middle classes tend to have well protected employment contracts, ordinary people like me, zero hours contracts ...

Posted by tony flaig bignews on BIGNEWS MARGATE | Mute

Nick Robinson nails the hypocrisy of Nigel Farage: [IMG: Post to Twitter] Tweet This Post

Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings | Mute

For those with local elections this year your nominations should now be in (if not you only have until 4pm on Thursday, the 24th April). Now you can get back to some serious door knocking. If you don't have council elections canvassing should still be taking place to push up our vote in the European [...]

The strident insistence, by David Cameron and others, that we are a Christian country, is both inaccurate and divisive. What can't be denied, however, is that we are a nation with an overwhelmingly Christian heritage, and I'm pretty sure that the various groups who are not Christians but share the heritage are quite happy to accommodate to this. From pre-Christian times there have been pagans, druids, animists, agnostics, atheists and maybe others outside my knowledge. I believe there have been Jews settled here, with varying degrees of comfort, from about the 11th Century, followed by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and, ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal | Mute

A very awkward, and very revealing, encounter between the BBC's Nick Robinson, and UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The BBC Political Correspondent took the UKIP leader to task over the employment of his German wife as his secretary, despite his party campaigning against immigration. Farage is already facing scrutiny for his expenses, and xenophobic posters released for his party's European Parliament campaign. Robinson accused the clearly rattled Farage of turning everything into a joke. To which Farage responded...with a joke.

[IMG: 3387203709_d0349346c3_b] Liberal Democrats are thought to have benefited considerably from support in Muslim communities at the 2010 General Election. This can be attributed both to the Lib Dems being the only party to oppose the invasion of Iraq in 1993, and also to Nick Clegg being the only party leader to consistently criticise Israel for its policies towards Palestinians in the years leading up to the Election. This has caused some concern in the party that we may be losing Jewish votes. During the period of the coalition government there has been much more muted criticism of Israel and ...

Posted by John Kelly on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Tue 22nd

Spectacles found

Barr Hills – Beverley Terrace area. Contact Consett Police Station if yours.

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple & Margaret Nealis | Mute

In March we told you about the latest templates for the Local and European Elections from Lib Dem HQ. They've now produced a further set that will take you up until polling day. As before, they can be downloaded as zip files containing both the PDF and PagePlus files below or browsed individually in our [...]

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

[IMG: photo 4] We're chasing the Council to remove a tree that's fallen across Gatley Brook by the footbridge from Gatley Hill to Scholes Field (near the running track). We're concerned that, if left, it could easily form a dam as debris washes downstream and then flood the area. It's not too big, so hopefully can be sorted out fairly quickly.

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith Holloway, Iain Roberts & Pam King | Mute

The Lib Dem team have been cracking down on graffiti – and people often mention to us how there's a lot less around in Cheadle and Gatley than a few years ago. Reporting it and getting it cleaned off does work. This week we've asked for two tricky areas to be painted over: the underpasses at Cheadle Royal and Barnes Hospital. They're out of the way with few people passing by, so an easy option for anyone wanting to deface the walls, and it may not be practical to keep them cleaned in the way we do most more visible ...

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith Holloway, Iain Roberts & Pam King | Mute

[IMG: House of Lords chamber] Among Liberal Democrats at least, the House of Lords is viewed as an institution deeply in need of reform. That said, the potential of this house to monitor and moderate the work of the House of Commons was absolutely evident during the passage of the Immigration Bill, which is due for its Lords third reading on 6 May. The Lords were responsible for moderating the Bill in several important ways, such as: exempting student accommodation from the proposed 'landlord checks creating 'guardians' for potential victims of child trafficking, and crucially blocking the Government's plans to ...

Posted by Lord Roger Roberts on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

You may have seen the the Times leader article that appeared on Saturday, which talked about political blogging and why we need more women engaging in political discourse online and scrutinising politicians. I was away for the weekend, so didn't write anything at the time, but it won't surprise you to know I agree. The leader says: Few of Britain's main political bloggers are women. As traditional male only clubs close all over the country, the bloggers' club remains unattractive to women, if not formally closed to them. It's true, few female political bloggers are women. There is the excellent ...

[IMG: elephant-in-the-room-audialtempartem] The news that HMRC is preparing to sell our anonymised tax data has made me wonder a little at how we will remember this decade when it is over. The reason I wonder is that, despite the launch of the Turing Institute - at least as a gleam in the Treasury's eye (and I'm sure my e-biography of Alan Turing was deeply influential here, especially now it reached #1 in one Amazon category last weekend!) - I'm not completely convinced that Big Data will really prove as important as we currently believe. The reason is that it suffers ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog | Mute

On Thursday we will know how many people have agreed to stand for election to local authorities in England and Northern Ireland (Scotland and wales have no local elections this year. The candidates will be a motley collection ranged from ... Continue reading →

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

It's Braemar Avenue, not Braemer Avenue. Another little triumph for attention to detail from #WorstCouncil. [IMG: Braemar Avenue - road name spelt wrong]

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute


Posted on birkdale focus | Mute

[IMG: Nigel Farage with Thatcher mug] I wrote an article yesterday about the Farage-Le Pen spat. I got some interesting comments back on the piece - one person pointed out, validly, that UKIP are in the EFD in the European Parliament and are not amongst the Non-Inscrits as I had said. All right, bad me, but can you blame me really? The EFD are such a rabble you could be forgiven for thinking they are just an extension of the unaffiliated nuttery. Another commenter said that it was unfair to brand UKIP as a party of the far right. Isn't ...

Posted by Nick on | Mute

BIRKDALE VILLAGE GETS NEW SIGNS Two new signs promoting Birkdale Village were put up just before Easter. These replace the former signs, on Liverpool Road and Weld Road, which merely said "Birkdale" even though they were on the outskirts of "The Village" as it is known locally. Birkdale councillor Simon Shaw, who was behind the initiative, explains: "A lot of people have always thought that the Council got it wrong with the original signs. Neither of them was close to the boundaries of Birkdale." "Now we have the correct locality signs and it isn't as if the two old signs ...

Posted on birkdale focus | Mute

[IMG: jeremy browne_Reform_Race_plan_cover] Is Jeremy Browne really a secret lover of state intervention and a sceptic of free markets, believing in big state spending, government economic planning and regular intervention in the market? For all of the veneer of free marketeering in his book Race Plan, not to mention his choice of Reform as the publisher, it's a question that comes to mind because in-between praising specific free market, small state policies, Browne regularly praises the results of governments such as the Chinese and the South Koreans, who are anything but. It's his praise of South Korea that is the ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute
Tue 22nd

Locke (review)

An unconventional film delivers a compelling portrait of a man's life disintegrating There is an XKCD comic of charts showing which characters are on screen together over the course of a film. It starts with elaborate designs showing the interactions in Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. It ends, however, with 12 Angry Men [...]

Posted by Mark Mills on Matter Of Facts | Mute
Tue 22nd

Dissent in the ranks

[IMG: Modern Housing] You'd expect lefties to kick up a fuss about the Coalition's austerity-justified policies. An agenda that is having serious negative impacts upon the most vulnerable, while at the same time transferring wealth to the already wealthy, will have a tendency to annoy those who prioritize solidarity, dignity and security over the search for profit and the appeasement of plutocrats. But that can be dismissed as just so much hot air from the naïve and irresponsible. The problems really begin when your own people start cutting up rough. And perhaps we're beginning to detect that that is what ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives | Mute

We are a Christian nation. Many years before Scotland or England existed (and thus many more years before the United Kingdom as is appeared), Christian Kings ruled on these isles. And even before them we were briefly under the influence of the Roman empire, whose Christian beliefs were late to appear but quickly spread. Visited by soon-to-be saints, and an important part of Christian medieval Europe (and Christian medieval empires), we really can't pretend our little islands aren't steeped in Christianity. Our villages and towns are adorned with elaborate churches, crucifix gravestones and pubs named after saints, Bishops and monks. ...

Executive CBC Councillor Richard Stay this week has a pop at Independents, and the fact that Central Bedfordshire Council's former Labour councillor Julian Murray is collecting a bonus (worth £902 in 2012/13) for being leader of the second largest party on the Council. It's certainly something that rankles with rank and file members of all political parties, the fact that they declare themselves Independent, and then hold "group" meetings to decide on strategy etc. But I do sense an air of distrust about Cllr Stay's own allowance 'fortune'. He should tell us more about his own special responsibility allowance - ...

Posted by Alan Winter on Alan D Winter ~ life blog | Mute

There is good news in today's Times, who report that the planned vote on overturning the ban on hunting is set to be abandoned by the UK government. They say that although the coalition agreement, signed off by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, promised that MPs would be given a free vote on tearing up the controversial Hunting Act, senior Tories have concluded that there is no point in holding the vote before the election as most MPs support the ban. They have also decided that holding a vote with no prospect of success would cause unnecessary problems for Conservatives ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

Today's Western Mail reports that evidence provided to an Assembly inquiry into orthodontic services in Wales has revealed that patients are waiting nearly three and a half years for secondary care services, often hospital treatment, while primary care waiting lists, including GP services, can stretch for up to two and a half years, with groups particularly pointing to rural areas enduring far less provision. They say that the The government body tasked with tackling public health issues has also questioned whether the current spending on orthodontic services is sustainable amid continuing austerity: Public Health Wales said it must be "closely ...

Posted by Freedom Central on Freedom Central | Mute

Young Women Fastest Growing Demographic New Comics Survey | The Mary Sue (tags: ) Welfare cuts drive UK's poorest families deeper into poverty, says Oxfam (tags: ) Is the Daily Mail guilty of fraud? | UK Criminal Law Blog (tags: ) Thanks for the Easter message, Dave. But if you're such a good Christian, why are so many people in Britain using food banks? (tags: ) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

[IMG: Sabrent 4 port USB 3 hub] USB hubs are fairly standard, making it hard for one to stand out much from the crowd. But the Sabrent portable 4-port USB 3.0 Hub does a decent job of sticking its head above the others. It looks neat and tidy. It is light. It comes with a short USB cable, which for me is a plus as I'm using it simply to plug more things in next to my laptop and so a long cable would be messy. That welcome short cable looks robust, though I've not yet given it extended rough ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

[IMG: clegg farage lbc] Nick Clegg asked this question in The Guardian yesterday, and robustly attacked Ukip's position: The isolationists have been allowed to peddle their myths unchallenged for decades. Of all Nigel Farage's far-fetched claims - and there are many - the most outlandish is the idea that Ukip's call for an exit is the insurgents' battle cry. European withdrawal is presented as a great revolutionary promise, held in stark contrast to the status quo upheld by a homogeneous political elite. What poppycock. For a start, Farage is every bit the professional politician he enthusiastically reviles. He and I ...

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

One of the biggest Lib Dem wins of this Coalition Government has been the Pupil Premium. The Pupil Premium was designed as extra support for kids in our schools who need a little extra help to get the best start in life. I don't need to tell you about it; you've supported it from an [...]

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

Years ago the Abbotswood Estate was built. Part of it include some cycle and pedestrian shared paths. But despite asking years ago (when I chaired Southwark Cyclists) they've never had a dropped kerb to make them work – you have to be stunt cyclist to use them. So almost no cyclists actually use them. So I'm trying to get this fixed yet again. Wish me luck. What other little details block people cycling freely? [IMG: IMG00339-20140307-0735]

Posted by James Barber on James Barber | Mute

This article first appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice. I came across this article about some of the circumstances which had led to sanctions being imposed on benefit claimants. Everything in the article is sourced, but I also take it seriously because it ... Continue reading →

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings | Mute
Tue 22nd

City Council meetings

After some weeks of illness, I was pleased to be able to attend my Monday surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and West Park Centre yesterday afternoon - and many thanks to colleagues who have covered them in recent weeks. Thereafter I attended a lengthy evening of council committee meetings. It was kind of the Lord Provost at the start of the City Council meeting to welcome me back to council meetings and I thanked everyone for their kind concern and good wishes during the time I was ill. At Education Committee, I welcomed an excellent initiative by the Robertson ...

A number of constituents have expressed concern to me regarding the decision by Leisure and Culture Dundee to close Mills Observatory to normal public opening between April and September, concerns also expressed by a number of organisations and Dundee TV personality Lorraine Kelly. I therefore raised with Leisure and Culture Dundee a number of questions that constituents had made and their Head of Cultural Services has responded as follows:Please see below in response to the enquiry that you made. During this process we had consultation with Staff, trade unions, Mills Observatory Advisory Group and Dundee Astronomical Society. Further discussion with ...

A study has concluded that the level of indiscipline in schools is being seriously underestimated because of the pressure to satisfy inspectors and keep expulsion rates down. It claimed that schools strain every sinew to create a positive impression of pupil behaviour for fear of damaging their reputation. The study, by the University of East Anglia, found that nearly all schools had a problem with unruly pupils. It warned that misbehaviour was "not limited" to the inner cities and had a major impact on small, semi-rural schools not traditionally associated with loss of control. Researchers said Ofsted figures showing that ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

Shropshire Council is planning to bump up the charges for travel to school by 68% to nearly £900 per year for most 17 and 18 year olds. With inflation at less than 2% that's eye-watering. The proposed charges from September 2014 are: Students from families not on defined benefits: £876 a year (previously £520) Students [...]

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington | Mute


Posted by Matt Gallagher on Matt Gallagher | Mute

A little while ago I was confronted with an event that positively challenged some of the ignorance that I have around the plight of transgender individuals. For most of my life I have campaigned on issues of faith, race and sexuality and have written on such issues such as Muslims and LGBT communities working together. Yet, recently, I had to re-appraise my own understanding about the pain happiness, stress and loneliness that some people in our communities and societies go through simply because they want to live their lives as another gender. I have also written before about the fact ...


My mum is 88 and she lives on her own in East Sussex. I'm unhappy about her continuing to live on her own at such an advanced age, so now that I'm about to move to Devon, I've suggested that she comes to live near me. The high property prices in the South East make [...]

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture | Mute

Calling a country "Christian" will just make its Christians complacent David Cameron has – in the process of promoting the Big Society – argued that Britain is "a Christian Country." A claim which has earned him a rebuke from a group of notable non-believers. I at least partially share their concerns but my main issue [...]

Posted by Mark Mills on Matter Of Facts | Mute