Monday 1st January 2007

10:29 pm

The defect in defecting

Gravatar So, while I was chumping away on the mince pies, a frisson has tango'ed through Tory spines, I hear. It might not have made any Christmas headlines but, apparently, in Smith Square (or is it 18, Doughty Street?) they can hardly keep their excitement under seemly wraps. Whisper it, if you dare: not one, not two but three former LibDems have, as they imagine it, swum with the tide and been marooned with the Cameroons. Bless them. All political hacks, let's face it, muster some semblance of delight at a defection to their ranks. Every week there's some sort ...
10:13 pm

Quote of the day

Gravatar From advice by a French doctor to his colleague on how to deal with English patients: I would never hesitate to tell a French woman to take off her clothes on her first appointment ... but you have to be very careful about that sort of thing with English women.
9:46 pm

Against Presidents

Gravatar Blogger ate my serious attempt at this post, so here goes a quick replacement. Basically, a directly elected head of government is a bad idea. The US experience makes it far from obvious that separating President and Congress actually reduces the power of the President. With Republican control of both houses of Congress and the White House, George W. Bush and Tom Delay ran the most overmighty
9:30 pm

Day 2192: Happy Birthday to ME!

Gravatar New Year’s Day: I am SEVEN! [R: He is six, but don’t argue with him, not today.] I am a VERY HAPPY ELEPHANT. My Daddy Alex and Daddy Richard have got me PRESENTS! Daddy Richard bought me some LEGO – which is okay. Look: LEGO! Daddy Alex, though, got me JAMES BOND! Because it is 2007 he has got me the first 2007 James Bond films on DVD. Well, the first 007 anyway. I think that he is VERY CLEVER! Here is Mr Sean on shiny DVD – he is my ...
9:25 pm


Gravatar Having just watched The Secret Life of Brian on Channel 4, I remember that I’ve yet to post my review of Spamalot. I took Heather along just before Christmas for her birthday to a Saturday Matinee (the only tickets left). The musical follows the basic plot line of the Holy Grail and includes scenes from the [...]
9:25 pm

Execution as pornography

Gravatar Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sam Leith says: What we've been seeing over the past couple of days is the pornographisation of a judicial process. There's no question that Saddam's crimes were terrible. There's no question that, however jury-rigged the legal process by which he was held to account for them, it is proper that he was held to account. But our fever of excitement over that hempen rope is no more than the baying of a mob.And he is right. There was something shocking about the casual way in which broadcasters and newspapers have deployed the footage ...
9:14 pm

Day 2191: Millennium’s Year of the Reviews

Gravatar Sunday: I have written a new INDEX for all the reviews that I have had Daddy write for my diary. And you can find it HERE! Also, Happy New Year!
9:03 pm

A few pics from the the past week

Gravatar Usual habit. I've taken a bucket load of photos over the past week. And only got round to sorting them now. Fortunately, I've only put 5 on the blog! Richard sings "The Hills are alive to the sound of music" to my sister Esther and her boyfriend Ian on Seaton Sluice beach on Boxing Day. Me and Richard at the Albert pub for New Year. At that point I was brewing up quite a cold. I now feel
8:25 pm

I'm Full of Sloth

Gravatar It's not doing any exercise that condemned me, I think... And the computer games. Greed:Medium  Gluttony:Medium  Wrath:Medium  Sloth:High  Envy:Very Low  Lust:Low  Pride:Medium   The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on Found via the less-slothful Paul Trathen and the even-more-slothful Martine Martin.
8:20 pm

New film: my New Year’s resolutions (for others)

Gravatar Well, if the Archbishop of Canterbury can deliver a New Year broadcast, I don’t see why I shouldn’t. Here are a few gratis suggestions for Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Ming Campell for 2007.
8:01 pm

The Best Look at Last Year ...

Gravatar .... is here at New Scientist. It's a list of their most-visited stories in 2006. There's a wonderful set of items here - a mixture of the delightful, the curious, and the alarming: 1. Imagine Earth without people Just how profound an impact have we had on our planet? This intriguing thought experiment captured your imaginations. 2. Marooned Mars rover returns stunning panorama Too weak to
7:01 pm

Have a very northern Christmas and a Scottish new year

Gravatar Well, as you can see from the photo of Talkin Tarn above, the main reason I head north for Christmas is to bask in the gulf-stream sun and sip cocktails by the sea. But, weather aside, thank God for Christmas, eh? Without it, would we ever really make the effort to get the as much of [...]
5:47 pm

Happy New Year everyone!

Gravatar Firstly can I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a prosperous 2007! And to start off 2007 a bit of good news from the City Council's Planning & Transportation Department I received just before the New Year break. Residents in the Invergowrie Drive area have complained to me that when the footpaths were made up to adopted standard during 2006, the pavements in the cul-de-sacs were missed out. I contacted the department about this and am pleased to advise the response is as follows: "Will be considered for inclusion in the future as part of the unadopted ...
5:00 pm

Opinion: The Separation of Powers

Gravatar The French writer Montesquieu came to Britain in the 18th century and studied our political system. His observations became the basis of his seminal work, The Spirit of the Laws, and, misunderstanding the British system of the time, he formed the theory of the “separation of powers”, between the legislative (Parliament), executive (the king) and [...]
4:58 pm

Review of the year

Gravatar Apologies for the fact the review of the year post appears to have been missing for a while - looks like some database oddity.
4:08 pm

Celebrity Big Brother

Gravatar All the excitement at home at the moment centres on the start of the new Celebrity Big Brother on Wednesday. This series will plaque us for a month and no doubt will generate huge news headlines for some time to come. My interest is in who will take on the George Galloway 'pussycat' role as the token politician. Rumours I have seen suggest that it may be Boris Johnson or Robert Kilroy Silk. Personally, I would be surprised if Boris went in there after the criticism that Galloway attracted last time, mostly from the Tories, for his long absence ...
3:50 pm

Why the Countryside Alliance have to fiddle polls

Gravatar The Countryside Alliance have admitted that they ran a campaign to change the results of a Radio Four poll. The poll, which was supposed to be an open poll asking people which piece of legislation they would like to see overturned, was hijacked, when the Countryside Alliance used its website and e-mail lists to lobby its pro hunting supporters to vote. The fact is that if the Hunting with dogs act was so unpopular, they would not have needed to fiddle the poll results. The Countryside Alliance constantly claim to speak on behalf of the countryside. However, I've ...
3:05 pm

What ever sort of democracy would allow this ?

Gravatar I was speaking to my brother about Saddam Hussein's hanging last night when he told me he had seen the full footage, on the internet, of the whole hanging. My brother relayed to me how you could hear Saddam being verbally abused, how when he dropped, even before he was dead, the was a rugby scrum of assorted thugs sticking cameras, mobile phones and other recording equipment in Saddam's face. He told me the whole process was sickening. The question is, aside from the fact that hanging is barbaric, what sort of democracy allows the humiliation of ...
2:53 pm

Sexiest female and male Lib Dems - final poll results

Gravatar Well, the votes have been counted and verified, and the final results of my ever-so-classy ‘Sexiest female and male Lib Dems’ poll can now be revealed. Your winners are: And, for what it's worth, I think they make a lovely couple... Full results as follows: Sexiest female Lib Dem (in order of votes cast): Kirsty Williams AM - 20% (53)Jenny Willott MP - 19% (51)Julia
2:05 pm

Welcome to Europe; don't come here

Gravatar Two stories in the news struck me particularly: the accession of two new countries to the EU and Government plans to change the legal age of smoking. I doubt I am alone in being angered by the government’s decision to limit the number of EU citizens from Romania and Bulgaria entering the UK. As with the 2004 accession countries, the new entrants should enjoy the same free movement of goods, services, capital and labour that the older members enjoy. What is more, anyone who wants to work hard, pay taxes and obey the law should be welcome in our ...
1:36 pm

Ages of consent

Gravatar The new year is clearly upon us. I’ve just watched the news and it’s full of substance, rather than the Christmas fluff that has predominated over the last week. Two stories struck me particularly: the accession of two new countries to the EU and Government plans to change the legal age of smoking. I’m fairly agnostic about what the legal age for smoking should be. The precise point at which one becomes an adult, trusted to make decisions for oneself, is one I would be happy to debate, but it’s not going to fire my blood. However, it does ...
1:16 pm

Age Limits and Smoking

Gravatar I have tended to have "non standard" views on age limits. I don't have a problem where there are different age limits for differing things. When the age of majority was changed from 21 to 18 this affected not only the right to vote, but also the age at which someone could enter into a binding contract. Specifically the issue of obtaining credit is something that I would not wish to make easier
1:11 pm

New Year's Resolutions are so passe'

Gravatar So I won't make any, except to say, in 2007, I'll only blog when I actually have something to say. Which gives this posting the piquancy of suitably post-modern irony. Happy New Year!
12:42 pm

Who really represents the working class

Gravatar Having posted a couple of criticisms of fellow bloggars’ postings recently (hating the sin and not the sinner, I hasten to add!), it is a pleasure to be able to cite an excellent entry by Tristan about David Cameron’s recently announced aspiration to make the Conservatives the party of the working class. Much as we may want to ridicule this, Tristan is right to note that for a long time the Tories appealed to the naturally conservative tendency within a big proportion of the population, while Labour’s intellectually-driven egalitarianism only appealed to the working class when it was combined ...
11:18 am

Iain Dale.............who he?

Gravatar Iain Dale........ah, now that name rings a bell.......wasn't he the Tory boy who got thoroughly trounced in the general by our Norman? Mmmm methinks the gentleman doth protest too much. I have to say I was rather amused on Saturday's the Week in Westminster to hear him boldly stating that we Lib Dems didn't know what our policies were (that's fine m'dear, but if you are going to make such a sweeping statement do at least attempt to provide some evidence) and then almost in the same breath admitting that the Tories didn't have any policies at all! And now ...
11:16 am

Time must be stopped

Gravatar No to 2007!
11:14 am

2007: What's next?

Gravatar Excerpt: Consult Google on 2007 predictions and the first entry informs you that This is the first of 3 'quiet' years which may give us a chance to get organized before 2010.
10:44 am

Tories try to gloss over their implementation of rail privatisation

Gravatar It appears that some re-writing of history is going on in Conservative circles. A Conservative supporter writes in this week's 'Newbury Weekly News': Richard Benyon was not an MP when rail privatisation was pushed through, and was therefore as powerless as the rest of us. That’s strange. On 10th December 1996, a copy of the Conservative party’s "West Berkshire Messenger" was delivered to my
10:00 am

Bombs blast Bangkok

Gravatar It appears that a series of eight bombs have rocked Bangkok in the run up to New Year. Six blast rocked the capital early in the evening as people started to gather for the New Years Eve celebrations. Celebrations were cancelled and police attempted to persuade tourists and revellers to leave the area. However, it appears that a further two bombs detonated at or around Midnight. There are various options as to who might be behind these attacks - muslim extremist from the south, foreign groups and opponents of the military government. The front runner at present appears to be ...
8:48 am

Hands up if you were on ITV last night

Gravatar Ahem. Yes, it’s my ITV1 debut, completing a full house of terrestrial channels. Hurrah for YouTube. And yes, I did just point my phone at the TV to get that image: that’s about as hi-tech as I get on New Year’s Eve. The clip shown, which enjoyed pride of place between David Cameron himself and naughty Sion [...]
2:24 am

Happy New Year

Gravatar Happy 2007 to all our readers and looking forward to some good writing from all the Southwark bloggers this year. I see for example that Labour's Fiona Colley has posted again after a long break with a more considered piece about why Labour might want to scrap Community Wardens here as well as Lambeth, related to dealing with street drinking. I asked on 13th December whether this was an official policy of the Labour group. It seems it might be. Labour has a preference for resourcing Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) as opposed to Wardens. Neither have the ...
12:06 am

Happy New Year

Gravatar It’s been a week since my last post as I’m on holiday and, although I’ve had access to a computer I haven’t felt the need, want or desire to post to my blog - that and I’m exausted after a day being dragged around sales by my wife. Anyway have a Happy New Year and I’ll [...]
12:01 am

Happy New Year 2007

Gravatar Happy New Year everyone! 2007 looks set to be a busy year. As of today I am now the West Midlands Liberal Democrats regional Vice-Chair.
12:00 am

Happy New Year

Gravatar Thank you for your visits and comments in 2006 and I hope you have a happy 2007. And what better way to bring in the new year than with Doctor Who and ABBA? (This is a rhetorical question.)

Previous days:

Sunday 31st December 2006, Saturday 30th December 2006, Friday 29th December 2006, Thursday 28th December 2006, Wednesday 27th December 2006, Tuesday 26th December 2006