Friday 29th September 2006

11:45 pm

Broadland Constituency Selects April Pond

Gravatar Having been involved in the selection process in Broadland (the new potential target seat for the Lib Dems in Norfolk), I attended the husting meeting yesterday in Horsford with high hopes. All three candidates spoke well, and I would have been happy with any of the three. However, I was delighted to see that April Pond won the selection tonight. April is a Norfolk person, has plenty of time to devote to Broadland as she recently sold her business, and will be a strong advocate for the area, and lets face it, with Keith Simpson as the sitting ...

11:43 pm

Peter and Jane again

Gravatar Last year I mentioned the Ladybird Keywords read scheme in a couple of postings (here and here, to be exact - I think it must have been an example of this blog's eclecticism.) As Statcounter tells me those postings are still read, I thought I would mention it again. There is an article on a Ladybird collectors' site about the illustrations in the Peter and Jane books. As it points out, the books came out in 1964 only six years later the publishers decided that the illustrations needed to be updated. The writer asks: I wonder if the original target ...
11:32 pm

To the barricades...

Gravatar an outfit mis-named Truth in Science (no chance of a link) has sent education packs to secondary schools promoting Intelligent Design. Attempts top teach creationism is US schools has been repeatedly given the bum's rush by the courts, so fundamentalists have had to find a new way to lie to our children and impose their teaching. Cue Intelligent Design. Something dreamed up the by the Rev
11:27 pm

Just how low can they go?

Gravatar This govt just gets more & more absurd, fines for muggers? It's becoming parody of itself. Just think about it - someone is mugged & the attacker makes off with £100 - they are nabbed by the police and fined on the spot for all the money they have - £100! Mmmmm, surely some mistake? Though reid has distancd himself from the idea so intense is Labour's mania for populist stunts that it has infected the policy thinkers at the Home Office, so that they are coming up with this rubbish unprompted by Ministers. You just can't make ...
11:08 pm

Day 2095: Who was the Braverest Prime Minister?

Gravatar Thursday: You learn about a PLOT to shoot the Prime Minister. Do you: A)Say: let these people continue with their demonstration, removing them will only make us look bad and might provoke a worse threat. Or B)Cower behind huge metal gates, throw up ugly great concrete fortifications around the House of Commons, install huge bullet-proof glass shields inside the House of Commons and ban all demonstrations within a mile of where you are standing quaking in your Prime Ministerial boots. How you answered: Mostly "A's": you are a good defender of Liberal Democracy. Have your Chancellor ...
11:02 pm

CCTV nation

Gravatar I bought the New Statesman on the way home from work this evening. It is rather a good issue, with not too much of it written by comedians. In particular, I recommend the lead article by Brendan O'Neill. It looks at the spread of closed-circuit television and what that tells us about our society. He writes: Throughout the country are an estimated five million CCTV cameras; that's one for every 12 citizens. We have more than 20 per cent of the world's CCTV cameras, which, considering that Britain occupies a tiny 0.2 per cent of the world's inhab itable land ...
10:35 pm

Are Americans unspeakably vile?... No, actually...

Gravatar Liberty Cat asks this question in a recent blog post. And I must confess, on the face of a 65-34 vote in the US Senate and a 253-168 vote in the House of Representatives, one might easily draw that conclusion. However, it is still the case that there are reasonable people on the other side of the pond, and this resolution, recently passed at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee
10:12 pm

10 pence a Londoner

Gravatar Tory AM Roger Evans has published a response from Ken Livingstone on his blog on the costs of producing The Londoner newspaper. Livingstone told Evans the paper cost the “equivalent to 10p per copy per household”. Unlike Roger I’m unable to judge the current value of that 10 pence as our present flats don’t seem to [...]
9:15 pm

Islington: It's a done deal

Gravatar Earlier in the week, attended the final PFI 2 residents forum meeting. The contract signed on 15th Sept will come into effect at the end of this month. From 2nd Oct Islington councils remaining 4100 street properties will be transferred to a consortium organisation Partners . The Refurbishment and Improvement Works to be done (there's some variations to the existing PFI 1 contract) . So pleased that the contract has eventually been signed. It was touch and go for a long time. Islington council have been working hard to make it happen. ...
9:11 pm

Liberal Review Revamped

Gravatar Rob Knight's hard work pays off handsomely
8:31 pm

Ian Macwhirter on John Reid

Gravatar The Herald and Sunday Herald journalist writes on Comment is Free: If Labour installs him as its leader, the party will complete its transition to an authoritarian party of the populist right. It will mean riots at home; new wars abroad. There will be imprisonment without trial, a massive increase in police powers, curbs on immigration. This must not happen. If Reid becomes leader, I will be voting for David Cameron.
8:22 pm

Tait's Lane

Gravatar Earlier this year, I was pleased to report that Tait's Lane's road surface was finally getting resurfaced and as you can see from the picture (right) its really needed. Since being elected to the City Council, I have been working with a number of the residents to get priority for the resurfacing here; it was a commitment during the Tayside Regional Council days so let's just say the residents have been patient. But patience pays off and here's the draft temporary traffic order sent to me for comment yesterday : ...
8:19 pm

"If Reid's the alternative..."

Gravatar Heard in the office* earlier today. Is Reid standing to make Gordo look like a good thing to Labour members? *I share an office with a member of Labour's NEC who was asked by another colleague what she thought of the leadership possibilities from what I can gather.
8:11 pm

A blogging first...

Gravatar Here's one that Stephen Tall or Iain Dale will now never be able to claim.... The first space blogger from Guardian Unlimited: News blog: The Iranian-born telecoms entrepreneur, who emigrated to the United States aged 16 and now lives in Dallas, did not waste the opportunity to add another first to the list: she became probably the only person to blog from space. Incidentally - she observed that 'space smells like a "burnt almond cookie"' I know something that smells like "burnt almond" and leaves you a bit spaced out too. I hope she enjoyed ...
7:32 pm

I am not so bad after all

Gravatar I feel for Tony Blair sometimes. It is hard to be a leader. Many skills are needed to achieve a desirable outcome. As a school leader I have been searching long and hard recently about how effective I am, basically am I any good? I lost the inspiration, the desire to help make a difference. I lost trust in the people around me or should I say stakeholders. I really have done some soul
7:30 pm

Spot the difference

Gravatar Ex-Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon is well-known as a former cocaine user, who is now proud to proclaim himself a substance-free zone. Whereas Mr Cameron...
7:08 pm

Because policies are boring

Gravatar The Tory leader has, it seems, been stung by accusations that he's a bit policy-lite. Or as Ming Campbell put it last week: When it comes to policy, Cameron’s Tories are a substance free zone. Their idea of political principle is to say, tell us what you don’t like and we’ll abandon it. They have learned all the wrong lessons from Mr Blair - the spin, the photo opportunity, the endless sound
7:05 pm

Noel Edmonds naked at 186mph

Gravatar I am not sure whether the police can at least investigate Noel Edmonds after he admitted driving naked on the Tring by-pass (where else?) at 186 mph at 4am 30 years ago. I'll be charitable and accept the explanation of Edmonds' spokesman that he was confessing to something he now accepted was extremely foolish, rather than bragging to a lads' magazine. It is tempting not to be charitable though.
6:56 pm

Penny finally drops on 'Deal or no deal'

Gravatar I was half-listening to 'Deal or no deal' this afternoon as my wife watched it in the kitchen. It has barely comprehensible rules, an apparently aimless sequence of moves and inane cheering at some apparently random point. I've got it. The penny has finally dropped. 'Deal or no deal' is the televisual version of 'Mornington Crescent'!
6:14 pm

This is how polls should be covered

Gravatar Dave Gorman explains what the US polls mean.
5:14 pm

The Tories have no policies, Maude announces

Gravatar Francis Maude, chairman of the Tory party, has admitted they have practically no policies other than destroying their 170 year-old ideology for the sake of looking nice on TV. In one of the most bizarre and unfortunate comparisons of all time he compared their four-page document of "aims" and "values" to firstly (and ironically), the Lord's Prayer, and secondly, to the Ten Commandments. Why is it ironic? The Lord's Prayer is, with minor alterations, Matthew 6:9-13, which is preceded by: And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the ...
5:02 pm

A Conservative candidate looking very pissed off

Gravatar I took a photo at the Dunston and Teams count in Gateshead yesterday of the Labour candidate being congratulated by Lib Dem Michael Ruddy and our agent Charles Jevon. The really interesting bit though is on the left hand side: the Conservative candidate looking very, very, very unhappy. But at 6%, what do you expect. The picture is on my news blog: Enjoy!
4:55 pm

Pigeon Lovers Get Into a Flap

Gravatar It’s a strange world where the directly elected leader of London only makes the news when he says something which causes real or imagined offence or someone else is attacking him. Mayor Ken makes the news again today with a number of stories attacking him for spending £226,000 on two hawks over the past 6 years [...]
4:22 pm

Groom TBA

Gravatar Whilst browsing the Debenhams Weddings site I found a gift list registered for one rather interesting couple. The bride's name was there but her groom was 'TBA'. I see that girl has her priorities right!! For today's Random Act of Kindness I did consider finding a couple with a wedding tomorrow who still have things on their list, but I didn't. Sorry.
4:10 pm

New Improved Blogger

Gravatar Ok I've just made the switch to blogger beta which has some new advanced tools from the version I've been using until one. One new function is the ability to add labels to my posts another is the ability to edit all posts rather than just the last 300. As a result I am working on backdating my labels and sorting out the rogue errors in some of my early posts that I so far have been unable to
4:06 pm

Is America really unspeakbly vile?

Gravatar The US Congress has just approved the "compromise" bill legalising the mistreatment of detainees by the CIA. For the record, this bill legalizes certain forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, the use of stress positions, and induced hypothermiastrips the right to habeas corpus from non-US citizens, including legal immigrants in the USallows alleged terrorists to be convicted on the basis
3:49 pm

My place in the league table.

Gravatar Although this blog came in at around 80 on Iain Dale's blog list, I do occasionally blog elsewhere And thanks to Rob Knight, Liberal Review and the Appollo Blog (no's 3 and 13 in the Iain Dale list) are looking even more upmarket and attractive. Well done, Rob! More work than you expected - but worth it.
3:46 pm

Climate change

Gravatar One of the things that really attracted me to Chris Huhne's leadership bid earlier this year was his commitment to the environment. Although Chris didn't win, his run for the top post really helped shift the party's position - confirmed by our debates at conference on our "green tax switch" policies. I see that this week the party released a fun little film poking fun at the lack of action from
3:41 pm

The latest scores in the Blogger Video Race

Gravatar The latest viewing figures for the "My Blogger of the Year Video got played more than yours" competition can be exclusively revealed. Here they are: Thrusting ahead, Robert Fenwick's flirting friend Stephen Tall on an interesting 69In 2nd place but eagerly awaiting a copy of the video from me on dvd is Alex Wilcox on 56Making his mark in 3rd place is Mark Pack on 46Bringing up the rear Lynne Featherstone MP 28. But Copacabana Beach has opened up a commanding lead on 502 viewings. Just in case a certain colleague of mine accuses me again of shamelessly trying to ...
3:27 pm

New Tory Labour

Gravatar As New Labour and Cameron's Conservatives converge on the centre ground, what will the future of British politics look like?
2:45 pm

He Gets It

Gravatar Will Howells points me towards this video of Nick Clegg at conference. Worth a look if you have a spare 18 minutes and 9 seconds.
2:37 pm

Catch That Pigeon

Gravatar There may be a pigeon problem down at Holyrood however if you see any of these guys at the foot of the Royal Mile I'd advise you to run away as fast as possible. But beware of the Laws of Cartoon Physics.
2:30 pm

Big applause to Ros Taylor

Gravatar The Guardian’s Ros Taylor, hated by Guido Fawkes (and thus I am immediately a fan), has been writing spoof diaries from all the party conferences. They are genius. Their mastery is that they are always just believable if you don’t read them too closely. So far, to my knowledge she has caught out me (though I mercifully [...]
2:28 pm

Two weeks of news

Gravatar Am slowly waking up after Liberal Democrat Conference, one of the worst things about Conference is its easy to miss what is going on in the 'real' world. Lots have happened in the last couple of weeks, I will try and comment on some of it below, in a light-hearted way, its all in an odd order as this week has been very odd for me too:
1:28 pm

A more liberal Britain

Gravatar I wasn’t in the conference hall at Brighton for young Nick Clegg’s speech, but I could tell from the little that I saw on the screens above the BBC stand that it was a speech that would be talked about. I’ve finally caught up thanks to the recording of it on Google Video, where you [...]
12:59 pm

The Nutty Professor

Gravatar Sometimes I cannot believe what some scientists produce in the face of overwhelming counter evidence. Today step forward this article in the Scotsman about Professor Bjorn Lomborg wrtier of the Skeptical Environmentalist. OK I agree with him on one point that we need to spend more on tackling global poverty. However, how does he expect us to be able to do so if we are unable to support
12:44 pm

Wedges - the solution to Climate Change?

Gravatar A roadmap to tackling climate change?
12:44 pm

Suffragette 'scheme to shoot Prime Minister'

Gravatar reports this story. An early example of a women-only shot list.
11:27 am

The Revenge Of Society

Gravatar It is always worth recalling that Margaret Thatcher never said “There’s no such thing as society”. After all, what she actually said is much more interesting… “[People constantly seeking government intervention] are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except
11:24 am

The Tortoise and the Hare: Iain Dale in the New Statesman

Gravatar Iain Dale gets behind the glitz and headlines of Cameron´s first months as Tory leader. Not all is rosy in the Tory garden...
11:24 am

What MPs get paid

Gravatar David Cameron, who is apparently the new leader of the Tories, says that Members of Parliament should not set their own salaries. Superficially, it sounds like a good idea, but I wonder if it’s anything more than a soundbite. As I understand it, changes to MPs’ salaries are based on recommendations from the Senior Salaries Review [...]
11:16 am

Call for contributors, editors, and facilitators

Gravatar Lib Dem Voice is averaging about 2000 visits a week now. Which is nice, but not enough. More activity = more visitors = a stronger independent community for Lib Dem activists, run by Lib Dem activists. I’m looking for volunteers to join the Lib Dem team as: Regular contributors - you would be prepared to churn out [...]
11:07 am

Reflections from a Year on the Council

Gravatar 12 months ago today I was rushing around frenetically. It was the day of the Oliver's Battery Badger Farm by-election and I was busy doing all the election day stuff. At the end of an exhausting day it was all worth while because I'd been elected with a substantial majority! One year on and I've been trying to reflect on my first 12 months as a Winchester City Councillor. Bad things
11:05 am

Minimum wage discrimination

Gravatar I've always taken a slightly different view of the inbuilt age discrimination in the minimum wage legislation for under 21 year olds than many it would appear. When I was a councillor in Oxford we had a few instances of employers of young people - mostly restaurants - pushing the limits of the legislation anyway. I never did approve for example of including tips in the minimum wage. If someone's working they get paid, if their customers think they've done a good job they should feel free to enhance that, not make up the employer's shortfall. But ...
11:04 am

My sweet untouched Miranda

Gravatar As it's Friday - here, 'We both go down together' by The Decemberists, from the Conan O'Brien Show.
10:54 am

Barriers to commitment

Gravatar Another article, this time in the Telegraph about how twenty-somethings can't 'grow up'. What they skirt over is covered in this Grauniad article. This is an education/career-specific problem - people I was at primary school with who have no degree now have houses, cars and children. However, friends living in London from some of the best universities in the country flit between low paid or
10:46 am

Multiple Spin

Gravatar A letter in the Western Mail this morning largely reflects the line being peddled by Plaid Cymru to whoever will listen: SIR - Poor Peter Hain seems to have become befuddled in the heady air of New Labour's National Conference. "A vote for Plaid or the Lib-Dems will give a Tory First Minister" says he. Nonsense. Any fool knows that a vote for a Lib-Dem will give us four more years of
10:44 am

Noblesse oblige

Gravatar Chad Noble, who runs UKIP Home, the one-man Mothercare wing of the eurosceptic party, is a very odd person. I think the very most perplexing thing about his site is the prominent link he affords to thelondonpaper on his website. Why is a UKIP-supporting website pushing a free News International rag handed out to weary commuters? Because he likes the masthead?
10:22 am

Tories failing to make inroads in North East

Gravatar From Jonathan Wallace comes the welcome news that the Tories lost 3% of their vote in yesterday’s Gateshead council by-election, dropping to just 6% of the vote.  The Lib Dems were up 4%, but clearly there are some parts of the North East that will carry on loving Labour… mind you, that’s what people said about [...]
9:21 am

Ken Livingstone: J'accuse

Gravatar Cicero has received some very interesting responses to "Mr. Livingstone, I presume" In particular the investigative journalist, Vitali Vitaliev, has pointed out what may be the most egregious display of public corruption since the Poulson scandal of the 1970s. His extensive article on the subject will be published shortly. Ken Livingstone is using Londoners' money to support a dictator that Human Rights Watch accuses of multiple allegations of murder and torture: Hugo Chavez of "the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela". In particular, Livingstone has negotiated a deal to swap Venezuelan oil for surveillance, finger printing and closed circuit television expertise. Several ...
8:37 am

Reason to love the Royal Mail

Gravatar I think our postal service in this country is generally great anyway. I used to get my post at 6.30 am in Fakenham, now I get it at about 11am, but still think that is okay. But when the Royal Mail is compared to some foreign postal services, you really can appreciate how good it is. When I was on my honeymoon in early August in Mexico, my wife sent a postcard to her place of work. It was sent on about 12th August, and it arrived in Dereham yesterday !!! Says it all really doesn't it.
7:58 am

Day 2094: Broken Record

Gravatar Wednesday: The 2007 Guinness Book of Records apparently has listed as the World's Longest Running Science Fiction television series (consecutive)... STARGATE SG-1 for having reached its tenth anniversary and 203 episodes. To add insult to injury, they say that it has taken this record from THE X-FLIES which had 202 episodes over nine years and was CANCELLED ages ago! Now I may be a very backwards fluffy thing, but I think I can think of a television series that has been running for a bit longer than that. In actual fact, at about four DECADES, that's QUITE a bit ...
12:40 am

The Chinese "Civil War" Deepens

Gravatar It seems that Hu Jintao is getting the bit between his teeth and is really working hard to smash the Shanghai faction of the Chinese Communist Party associated with his predecessor Jiang Zemin. Now it's gone down to the Vice Secretary General of the Shanghai Municipal Communist Party, Sun Luyi. He was previously Director of the Shanghai Personnel Bureau and responsible for overseeing the issuing of Laowai (foreigners) with work permits. I'm wondering if his arrest had something to do with that. I would imagine that Jiang Zemin is probably hopping mad but impotent. I recall watching on television ...

Previous days:

Thursday 28th September 2006, Wednesday 27th September 2006, Tuesday 26th September 2006, Monday 25th September 2006, Sunday 24th September 2006, Saturday 23rd September 2006