Friday 16th September 2005

Friday 16th September 2005

Latest Blunkett scandal

A column by Martin Bright in today's New Statesman is exciting the media (though not the BBC, which seems to be ignoring the story so far). I am not sure how long it will be freely available, so here is the most interesting part: The furore over the nanny's visa reminded me of an earlier encounter with Blunkett. Around August 1998, when I was working as an education correspondent, I received a call from him to thank me for not running a story about his son, who had just taken exams crucial to his future. The allegation was damaging. ...

Appreciating the freebies

I'm all set for conference - early morning train. Honestly don't know how I managed to finish everything including printing off a seemingly never ending pile of documents for meetings all of which arrived during the past 24 hours. Sometimes wish people would think of others and email them in time. Received another one a few minutes ago but if any more arrive later that's tough luck. Was even able to get my hair done - feeling quite glam at the moment. A woman's vanity I know but I'm praying it won't rain tomorrow. ...

Blackpool beckons

Off to sunny Blackpool for Lib Dem Conference tomorrow. I like Blackpool. It brings back memories of a) childhood holidays and b) the 15 NUS conferences I attended in my student days. In fact there will be several of our new MPs making speeches this week who I first saw making speeches at NUS conferences in the Winter Gardens. Conference for me is not about debates in the main hall and fringe meetings, but training sessions and meetings with constuency teams. And of course the chance to catch up with the many friends I have made over ...

Defending our basic freedoms

The main justification for the so-called 'war on terror' is that our Government is acting to defend our traditions, culture and values. Blair and Bush talk of 'defending democracy'. On of the traditional freedoms that we have enjoyed for a few centuries in this country is freedom of expression. Freedom of expression - the right to put forward your views on an issue regardless - is one of the fundamental liberties that has set the UK, the US and most western democracies apart from communist, dictatorial and other tyrannical regimes. Yet now, in the name of fighting ...

Blogging the Lib Dem Way

In the pre-conference edition of Lib Dem News Jonathan calder has an excellent article on the proliferation of blogs within the party from all levels of activity our MP's, councillors and activists. he obviously was unable to name check us all and give a note on the content. But his sample is a pretty far cross section. Peter Black AM however does mention some of the newer bloggers, including me.

Aye Aye

Strolling across Westminster Bridge to pick up my tickets for Blackpool, I got a squiz at the re-enacted funeral procession of Admiral Lord Nelson.It's a truly great quality that we as a nation have, to be able to carry out lenghthy and ultimately pointless ceremonies like this. I'm sure none of us would have it any other way. After all if we had lost the Battle of Trafalgar 200 years ago we could all be speaking French, and those people have no word for entrepreneur.

The town fathers of Whitby

(who smell suspiciously of fish oil) are in a great taking about the presence of herring gulls and their associated small, black-backed, common, black headed etc. etc. cousins, collectively known hereabouts as shite-hawks. They fly around our town, crapping prodigiously on people and cars, and at this time of the year they supplement their diet with ripe blackberries. Blackberry-enriched seagull

Picture of the Week

Thanks to the BBC for this one.

Petrol Direct

Petrol Direct - get petrol through your letterbox.

Promoting bloggers

Jonathan Calder has used the pre-Conference edition of Liberal Democrats News to promote the world of Liberal Democrats blogging. There are now so many of my fellow party members using the internet in this way that it is impossible to put all of them on my links. Every time I visit the libdem blogs aggregated site I find a new blogger has appeared. Yesterday I discovered Simon Mollan's new blog. Another excellent collaboration is the Apollo Project, whilst Stephen Glenn is giving us a blow-by-blow account from the front line with his posts on the Livingstone by-election. Blogging is a ...

Limiting our freedoms

Personally, I have grave reservations about a number of the measures being proposed by the Home Secretary to tackle terrorism. As Simon Titley said in a recent post, there is a fallacy parroted endlessly by New Labour's ministers that "public security and civil liberties exist in inverse proportion and that, if we want to protect one, we must sacrifice the other. As I said in an earlier posting , this notion of a trade-off recalls that infamous declaration, "In order to save the village, it was necessary to destroy it. "There are two other ...

More on Clothing and the Guardian

I fear that I will have to resort once more to only reading the FT, because the Guardian has irritated me once again, not just by the 'controversialism' of the commentators, but also by the disturbingly poor quality of thought. I also seem to be getting preoccupied by issues relating to 'choice', by that is another matter. In today's Guardian Cathering Bennett has written a column entitled: Of course women have a right to choose. But agreeing to wear a jilbab is no choice at all - even Mrs Blair can see that This means: women ...

Warmth in the Friendship Club

Finally! Through persistent lobbying, I've gotten the Council to authorise new radiators at the Bentworth Court Friendship Club. Bentworth Court is one of the few elderly person's dwellings in Weavers Ward. Mrs Scheffer who lives there is the keyholder for the Friendship Club, adjacent to the main block - she lobbied me about the poor heating when I booked the hall earlier this year. The bingo nights will be better attended this winter. This is the sort of thing that makes being a Councillor worth while.

Adrian Sanders on cricket and television

The website of Adrian Sanders, the Lib Dem MP for Torbay, reprints an article of his on the nation's current number one political issue. He writes: If a partnership deal cannot be brokered by the Sports Minister in the coming weeks, there will be no alternative but to restore Test cricket to the A-list of protected events just as the Australian government did last year in order to maintain their long-term strength as a cricketing nation.After a performance like that, he may well be invited to play for Lord Bonkers' XI next summer.

How legitimate is Respect?

I pored over some figures about the election today & it jumped out on me that our MP George Galloway scored poorly on legitimacy. Only 19.2% of the registered electors in Bethnal Green and Bow voted for him: only Roger Godsiff scored lower with 18.7% of his vote. Who's Roger Godsiff? Labour member for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath didn't tell me much until I noticed that it was Respect's Salma Yaqoob who was 2nd in the fight. Galloway also scored badly on the % of the share of votes cast. The only people ...

Previous days: Thursday 15th September 2005, Wednesday 14th September 2005, Tuesday 13th September 2005, Monday 12th September 2005, Sunday 11th September 2005, Saturday 10th September 2005