Tuesday 2nd January 2007

11:40 pm

Am I still here?

Gravatar Here's hoping that the conversion to the new Blogger doesn't increase the font size of my blog...
10:37 pm

Community Land Trusts - remember where you heard it first

Gravatar A bit pissed off today. In one broadcast & newspaper article Michael Gove has done more to spread the word about Community Land Trusts than my own dear Lib Dems have managed in the nearly two years we've had them as a key plank of our housing policy. But good on him - I've been trying to speak to Michael Gove about CLTs since March last year or whenever it was Cameron promised to build more homes so long as they were "beautiful". He explained it pretty well. And if Cameron can get his people ...
10:34 pm

Lib Dem Voice: Unmasked... Part I

Gravatar In the 114 days since it was launched (on 9th September, 2006), Lib Dem Voice has well and truly become established as the premier unofficial website for party members - “our place to talk” as LDV bills itself. In its first week, it was garlanded by Iain Dale as the No. 1 Lib Dem website. In its first month, it attracted 7,000 visits, and now lures in almost double that number. The techie
10:25 pm

Calvin & Hobbes snowman art

Gravatar Brilliant :) I’m praying for snow now… No Tags
10:01 pm

Nicol Stephen aims high in 2007

Gravatar In his new year message, Nicol Stephen, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said: “This (2006) has been a momentous year for the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Our success in the Dunfermline by-election sent shockwaves through the foundations of UK and Scottish politics. The Liberal Democrats achieved a massive 16% swing from Labour and Willie Rennie gained [...]
10:01 pm

RSS frenzy at Flock Together

Gravatar I’ve had a bit of an RSS frenzy here at Flock Together. There are now feeds for: By-elections Recently added or updated meetings Recent comments Blog entries If you go to the relevant page there are also RSS feeds for organisations and comments on organisations meetings, as per the following examples for Liberal Drinks: Liberal Drinks meetings [...]
9:50 pm

Adrian Sanders MP calls for new focus on Community Politics

Gravatar If 2006 was the year of the renaissance of 007, 2007 could be the renaissance of the Lib Dems.  Despite taking a seat from Labour in a great Parliamentary by-election victory, launching the most radical green tax switch policy to reward work and punish pollution, and remaining the only force in Parliament around which opponents [...]
9:36 pm

Black Tuesday

Gravatar Today the festive season comes to a grinding halt. In fact not so much that as it smashes into a wall. The long period from Hallowe'en to New Years' Day has always been my favourite time of year. It includes my birthday and of the last few years has included the communities' Eid's and Diwali. An extended period of reflection about things past, light in the darkness and eventually looking to the future afresh. The two events that stand out most are the Rememberence Service at Headingley War Memorial. Seeing the extreme age of some of the men made me ...
9:31 pm

United Nations

Gravatar Now, I know for all you experienced bloggers - and for those who get a lot more visitors to their site than I do - this will be of no interest. Actually, this will be of no interest to anyone but me. Was just looking at my visitor stats and though there have been plenty of occasional overseas visitors to my blog, tonight there has been a little record of 8 consecutive visitors from different countries. China, Belgium, Germany, France, Brazil, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, as you asked.
8:59 pm

Come, ye cold winds, at January's call

Gravatar It is a while since I have linked to Common Ground's pages for each new month. The January one is now in place.
8:34 pm

McCain's chips

Gravatar I’ve steered clear of risking any New Year predictions… until now. I’ve a hunch Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the long-term favourite, will fail to secure the Republican presidential nomination. (And not just because it enables me to use that headline.) This premonition has been semi-confirmed by his decision to out-hawk President Bush by urging a ‘surge’ of 30,000 more troops into Iraq - a
7:51 pm

Adil Rashid picked for England A

Gravatar This blog's hero, the Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid, has been included in the England A party to tour Bangladesh. Note too the presence of Nick "Grandson of Denis" Compton and Stuart "Should have been picked for the Ashes" Broad.
7:47 pm

Is it 2007 yet?

Gravatar Ouch... my head really hurts...
7:36 pm

Priorities (well, some issues) for 2007

Gravatar Happy New Year to one and all, hope it has already started off well for you. I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions (although I do plan to get a lot fitter this year, so suppose I could call that a resolution), but thought I would try and put down a few local and personal political priorities for the year ahead. In no particular order... Fortis Green Clinic: The PCT, as I've already blogged, are planning to close and sell off Fortis Green Clinic, having already stopped some of the much-used services there. The fight to ...
7:31 pm

The nightmare that is ... going to the gym in January

Gravatar I went to the gym this afternoon and suddenly remembered why I hate going to the gym in January. The place was full of sweaty overweight people (no change there then), but the emphasis is on the word "full". Every January the membership of gyms across the country is swelled by tens of thousands of new members, keen to keep New Year resolutions to lose weight and get fit. Yet, we all know that by the end of January most of them will give up and return to their old ways again. It just means that people like me have ...
7:21 pm

Is your site in the top five?

Gravatar Latter this week, I’ll write up the top five list of local Liberal Democrat sites for referring traffic on to the party’s main site, www.libdems.org.uk, in the second half of 2006 - plus also the top five blogs. Will Iain Dale beat Guido Fawkes? Will Recess Monkey feature anywhere? Will any Lib Dem blog feature in the [...]
6:57 pm


Gravatar Continuing my very occasional series of restaurant recommendations (I think I mentioned Muang Thai in Camden), you should all make the effort to go and eat at Bakko, a Kurdish place in Muswell Hill. It's worth the trip to our neck of the woods for that restaurant alone. Was there again on Saturday night - absolutely excellent as always. http://www.bakko.co.uk/ And I'd recommend just going for the Bakko Choice set menu... you won't be disappointed.
6:56 pm

The end of the free society?

Gravatar I came across some disturbing statistics over the weekend. Apparently, less than half of the eligible voters in the UK work in the private sector. The rest are either state employees or on state benefits. This is important because a free society requires the citizens to keep their government in check. It is easy for those who do not rely on welfare and who are not paid a salary by the government to insist that their rulers take a long term view of their needs, look to the health of the economy and not just the wealth of the ...
6:42 pm

Shall we build a ground for you?

Gravatar That's the view from the back of the away stand at Fratton Park. The queue is for the snack stand and the toilets are in that little building too. There is no roof on the away stand at Portsmouth. Apparently at one stage the Pompey fans were doing their usual chant of "You're wet and you know you are" but it was difficult to hear them because of the hailstones crashing on to our heads and the fact that we were singing "Shall we build a ground for you?". But grounds like this give the Premiership more character. I ...
6:18 pm

Sofas and Celebrations - responsible for January obesity spike?

Gravatar Sofas and Celebrations (the edible ones that is). They seem to dominate the period between Christmas Day and the Twelfth day of Christmas on January 5th. If you are not sitting in a sofa watching an advert on ITV for sofas (mainly featuring glamorous models just sitting on sofas), you are "just eating one" Celebration (followed by "just another eight") on a sofa, or all three. Surely it can't
6:13 pm

Santa didn't give me my 12 points

Gravatar Four points from four games... it's not exactly Champions League qualifying form is it? But quite used to Spurs failing to impress over the festive period - and actually if we look at the four games then it doesn't seem all that bad... Newcastle v Spurs 23rd Dec - I didn't go up to Newcastle for this one, though I have been to St James Park to see us play before. As I blogged at the time, a nightmare start and a disappointing game - but the Barcodes are a team in form and making St James Park a very ...
6:05 pm

Haringey's political blogging spectrum now complete

Gravatar Haringey politics now has a full range of political blogs. A Conservative activist, Justin Hinchcliffe, has just started a new one at http://hunterandshooter.blogspot.com One of my Labour colleagues on the Council, Cllr Emma Jones, already had one before me at http://emmajonesbrucegrove.blogspot.com/ And of course, the original and the best, Lynne Featherstone started hers when a councillor on Haringey. Now she is the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green (which covers half of Haringey): http://www.lynnefeatherstone.org/blog.htm
6:05 pm

Could Mike Read be the new Tory candidate for London Mayor?

Gravatar Oh yes please! His recent radio CV reads as follows: In September 1999, he presented the Breakfast Show on Jazz FM in the North of England, occasional & special shows on Spirit FM in the South of England throughout 2001 and in 2002, presented a Saturday Morning show on the Magic network around the UK, where he remained until 2004. As of 2006, he is the weekday morning presenter on Radio London,
6:04 pm

Tory U-turn on railways - hard to swallow

Gravatar I know that the Tory U-turn on the railways was executed some months ago. But it is still hard to swallow. This morning on BBC Breakfast, Chris Grayling seemed to be going further than previous Tory pronouncements on the subject (that I have heard). He said that one of the main problems with rail privatisation is that the control of the trains and the track is separate, and that they should be
6:03 pm

Simone Clarke's colleagues

Gravatar It is interesting to read a list of the birthplaces of the colleagues of Simone Clarke who are principals or first solists in the English National Ballet: Bilbao, Spain Camagüey, Cuba Estonia Estonia Hertfordshire, UK Hokkaido, Japan London, UK Matanzas, Cuba Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK Pinar de Rio, Cuba Prague, Czech Republic Ranacagua, Chile Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sofia, Bugaria Spain St
5:34 pm

Up and down they go, where they stop, we can estimate with various levels of confidence...

Gravatar I have been meaning to respond to David Duff and his 'hot air' for several months now, not least because of his remark that temperature records go 'up and down like a whore's drawers' [has to be quote of some day or other...]. But I was finally prompted to respond after I belatedly saw 'An Inconvenient Truth' (0r 'What Al Gore Did Next'). In the UK, the idea that human-induced climate change is
5:32 pm

New Year and Carbon offset time

Gravatar My Car mileage 42261 from 40682 at the start of July gives 1579 miles for the half year. First New Years resolution - get rid of second car after the May elections. I clearly do not need it with the amount of journeys I am transferring to foot, bus, train and lift share. My wife's car mileage 33472 from 28339 at the start of July gives 5133 miles for the half...
4:52 pm

Prescott agrees with Norfolk Blogger

Gravatar Following my comments yesterday regarding the deplorably way in which Saddam Hussein was taunted and photographed by guards and witnesses at his execution, John Prescott has been quoted as saying that those responsible should be "ashamed of themselves". The BBC reports on it HERE. I am not claiming John Prescott has read my blog, but for once, at least someone in our awful government has had the guts to say what everyone else is thinking. Sadly, those responsible for the behaviour John Prescott deplores are supposedly "our friends", the Iraqi government. They themselves have said they will have ...
4:52 pm

At what age does someone become an adult?

Gravatar The Government had announced later in the year that they will be raising the age that someone can buy cigarettes at from 16 to 18. Also today I have been contacted by a Councillor in Birmingham asking what my view is on of the selling of spray paint to 16 and 17 year olds. Both the announcement and the question got me thinking, again, at what age does someone become an adult?
4:36 pm

The Trouble with Torchwood

Gravatar So that was Torchwood Season One, then. Hmmm… It certainly had its moments, but overall I think it was a serious misfire from a team that, up until this point, has provided some cracking telly over the past 18 months. So what was the problem? As far as I can see [...]
4:15 pm

Roundabout 40 And Still In Love

Gravatar That's the official slogan and logo for the 40th birthday of Milton Keynes, which is being celebrated in 2007. A good choice of visuals. The abiding symbol of MK for those who live here is not ‘the Concrete Cows’ but the roundabouts – there are so many of them that the wear on the tyres of MK residents has a characteristic pattern due to the constant turning. And believe it or not a lot of people like it here. OK we have what it takes to make Homer Simpson happy (including a brance of his favourite doughnut shop) but we ...
4:08 pm

Could we really be reduced to 6 seats?

Gravatar Given my extended Christmas leave I am amusing myself by catching up with Mike Smithson's Political Betting site and Martin Baxter's Electoral Calculus suggesting that we could be reduced to six seats at the next election. Whilst I think that is highly unlikely, our continued poor showing in the polls should give us all pause for thought. All the more reason for ensuring our policies are fresh, alternative and radical...........how about starting with Trident???
3:38 pm

It’s that time again

Gravatar They come but once a year: the Bloggies, the annual weblog awards that are usually won by (probably excellent) US blogs I’ve never heard of. Still, I’ll go along and vote for my favourites. New categories for the 2007 awards include “Best Sports Weblog”, for which I will, unsurprisingly, not be making a nomination. There [...]
2:47 pm

"So farewell then" 2006

Gravatar It is pretty hard to avoid sounding demi E.J Thribb when saying goodbye to a year. Politically it has been slightly inconclusive- although the Conservatives have advanced, it does not, as yet, seem enough to give them the chance to win outright, come the next election. Labour seem more becalmed than in actually stormy water, and while the Lib Dems have had a generally poor year, the party is at least becoming more coherent and although polls have been generally down, in local government by-elections, the Lib Dems have achieved considerable success. However, I think no party can look at ...
2:39 pm

Nuts, Crackers, but not Sweet

Gravatar I always thought I could quite fancy a ballerina, though perhaps not Simone Clarke. The BNP-supporting dancer found it “silly” when some questioned the fate of her Chinese-Cuban boyfriend in a Nationalist Britain; claiming that the party no longer advocates mandatory repatriations. That may be the case, but I do hope that they don't ever intend to skip London for life in some rural idyll in the South West. I seem to recall that the BNP was toying with establishing it as a 'whites only' region, and it would set rather a bad example.
2:31 pm

Toys for party members

Gravatar The Liberal Democrat members’ website (follow the link from the bottom of the party website) has a new sidebar for logged in members, carrying the latest party news and headlines from the LibDem blogosphere. (This post will appear on Lib Dem Blogs and then in the sidebar itself, making everything remarkably circular.) I’ve also used [...]
2:13 pm

Philippa Pearce

Gravatar This morning's Guardian carries an obituary of the children's writer Philippa Pearce, who died just before Christmas. It turns out that the Independent carried a rather better obituary at the time. Pearce was one of the most important figures of what has been called the second Golden Age of English children's literature. This occupied, I suppose, the second half of the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s. Her most celebrated book is Tom's Midnight Garden, though I was always fond of the earlier Minnow on the Say, even if I was never quite been able to understand the ...
2:06 pm

This is the dawning of the age of 'you're scaring us'

Gravatar New Years Eve was spent at the Live Bar in Deptford, at a night called Planet Hop. We were treated to a genuinely ace band called Ebony Bones in the hours leading up to midnight. Again, musical description eludes me completely; but I suppose you could call it high-energy art punk with ska influence. You’d be at least half wrong, and really quite pretentious, but you could do that. The lead radiated an attractive combination of sweetness and anger, and was wearing a dress which I think requires illustrating (see picture, left). They belted out a track which I think ...
1:08 pm

Absoute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Gravatar History was the only subject I really excelled in at School.  I suppose having studied it, it was obvious I would want to find a job where I would help make it!  That sounds terribly pretent...
1:00 pm

Nick Clegg on crime

Gravatar Ahead of this year’s Lib Dem crime campaign launch, Nick Clegg has published a piece setting the scene. nick clegg
12:33 pm

Fighting the BNP on the internet

Gravatar Since taking on this new form of communication, blogging that is, I have become addicted to myspace like many (the Govt should make this at least a class c drug). What I have noticed is the presence o...
12:18 pm

Thank you "The Stirrer"

Gravatar The Stirrer - Adrian Goldberg's campaigning news website - have kindly decided that I should be their "Politician of the Year" - 2006. (see link)
12:16 pm

My asian country

Gravatar According to Blog Thing is not Thailand but Cambodia! You Should Travel to Cambodia While you might not go all Angelina Jolie and adopt a baby...You can still appreciate Cambodia's rich history and deserted beaches. What Asian Country Should You Visit? Sorry to disappoint the folks at Blog Thing but I am off to Thailand anyway. - bombs or no bombs. I will try to blog and upload some photos whilst out there ...
12:14 pm

Christmas card recycling

Gravatar Happy New Year to all. Please remember to recycle all your Christmas cards at all participating primary schools and libraries. Alternatively at home, you can place your cards into the white sack or orange sack (terraced homes only) for collection.
12:01 pm

Scandal of Government sell-out on our right to privacy

Gravatar Those of us who have been worried by the threat to our privacy and basic liberties posed by the introduction of ID cards now have an additional matter to be concerned about. According to today's Daily Telegraph, the Government have decided that our details can be accessed by a foreign country. The fact that the Country concerned is the USA, who are reportedly an ally of ours, should not put anybody's mind at rest. America has a reputation, irrespective of whichever President is in power, of interpreting its national interest very widely and of showing the sort of disregard ...
11:24 am

New Year's Day Parade

Gravatar London's New Year's Day Parade has to be the highlight of the year. Well obviously it's the highlight so far for 2007, but I really meant for my whole mayoral year. So loads of photos today... The day was bright and dry just at the right time. The London Eye looked fine after the spectacular fireworks the night before. I was at the front of the first of the...
11:19 am

Two games six points

Gravatar What a start to the New Year. Lets hope that the rest of the year carries on like this. First of all Leeds managed to kick the year off with a 2-1 win over Coventry - well deserved as far as I can see from the highlights and they managed to hit the crossbar twice as well. Rumour in the transfer market is that Robbie Elliott and Matt Heath are to sign until the end of the season. Meanwhile Reading absolutely crushed West Ham 6-0 at the Madejski Stadium. There is a report from the BBC here which I felt ...
10:21 am

Going green in Wales

Gravatar Welsh Liberal Democrats published plans yesterday to switch Wales to 100% renewable electricity. There’s more details on their website. green electricity wales
10:07 am

Court of Appeal Hearing 23rd Jan

Gravatar We have just received notice from the Court of Appeal Registry Office that the hearing has been set for 23rd January.
10:01 am

Happy New Year

Gravatar I saw in the New Year in a wind-blown house somewhere near Glasgow. The storm knocked out the electricity, meaning that we ended up eating (and drinking) in a room full of candles, listening to the rattling moan of the tempest outside. A nearby shed was shaking itself to bits in the wind and it was dangerous to venture outside as the night was full of flying tiles. It had all the makings of an Agatha Christie novel and I was waiting for the sudden news that our host had been found dead in the kitchen / sitting room / ...
9:54 am

Instant Online Political Party - yours for only 30 pounds

Gravatar New Year´s day is a good time to check over your regular commitments for the coming year which includes web hosting services in my case. As I was reviewing one of the service providers I use I was drawn down a link to their offer of website templates. One of their template categories [...]
9:26 am

Welcome Bulgaria and Romania

Gravatar Yesterday saw both Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union, taking the number of member states to 27. Both should be welcomed and the EU has a duty to fulfil its duty to the other applicant states and finish negotiations as speedily as possible and admit those that that meet the entry criteria, most urgently they should conclude the negotiations with Turkey and admit them.
5:01 am

Now for my West Wing entry...

Gravatar Before I start, I would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful and successful New Year. I am sadly about to leave to New York. I hope to post some pictures and more reflections when I get home. On Friday I took the Greyhound Bus to Washington. I was staying with a Principle of a school we have links with. It also gave me an opportunity to visit some of the museums I didn't have the time to
12:24 am

My seven top things of 2006

Gravatar Norfolk Blogger wants to know the seven things that tickled my fancy most in 2006. I could easily just list seven of the gigs I've been to during the year. For me little beats the excitement and atmosphere of live music. But I guess Nich is interested in a list of rock bands. So here goes: 1 More time with the Family. A phrase with connotations for politicians, but I mean it in the positive way it should be meant. As a workaholic by nature I have consciously tried to take more time off to see ...
12:23 am

Bumper Doctor Who spin-off day

Gravatar Well today was a bumper Dr Who spin-off day... and my verdict was I loved it all. The Sarah Jane Adventures were like revisiting classic old school Dr Who. And I loved the Sonic Lipstick. It resurrected that children's tea time "hide behind the sofa" script style. Torchwood has had its ups and downs. But the this Torchwood double bill was excellent with some good old fashioned rifts (thats
12:12 am

Dishonourable honour

Gravatar It is utterly astounding that John Scarlett, the author of the 'dodgy dossier' that has led to so much death and destruction in Iraq, has received an honour. I've always been uncomfortable with the idea that senior civil servants are given honours purely for having done their job for many years, while everyone else has to do something over and above the call of duty. But the idea that someone is honoured who has clearly failed in the single most important task of their career makes a mockery of the whole system. Every single person who has served in Iraq ...

Previous days:

Monday 1st January 2007, Sunday 31st December 2006, Saturday 30th December 2006, Friday 29th December 2006, Thursday 28th December 2006, Wednesday 27th December 2006