Saturday 6th January 2007

11:46 pm

Recycle your Christmas tree

Gravatar Don't forget to leave your Christmas tree out with your rubbish or recycling this week. It will be collected for free by Kingston Council. But only if it is a real one....
11:09 pm

I'm as much against ID cards as anyone else...

Gravatar ...still I think that it woudn't be such a bad thing if the prison service knew who was in prison, and who wasn't.
9:31 pm

1,000 people registered - 1,426 meetings, by-elections and resources - 7 new members

Gravatar Congratulations to David Peters for being the 1,000th account on Flock Together. So far Flock Together has recorded 1,426 meetings, by-election and resources, comprising amongst others: 356 council by-elections, 329 social events, 237 campaigning sessions, 227 organisational meetings, 70 public meetings, 64 policy discussions, 44 conferences, 30 training sessions, 25 hustings, 17 RISOs and 5 parliamentary [...]
8:57 pm

Quote of the day

Gravatar This article means I can no longer finish the authors book. I was given it for xmas and I'm over halfway through it but knowing the author is a fool has ruined it. From a Grauniad comments thread, discussing this article.
8:43 pm

UKIP's hypocrisy on Polish workers

Gravatar One of the pleasures of returning home to Cornwall is reading the "Cornish and Devon Post". It is always interesting to read the anti-European rants published by the Robertson family in their Trago Mills adverts, over the years. The Westcountry Trago Mills stores even have signs decrying the woes of the European Union. Bruce Robertson, owner of Trago Mills, is a donor to UKIP. He has just taken
7:59 pm

Sinderins Junction

Gravatar Before Christmas, a local resident was very unfortunately involved in an accident at the Sinderins junction (a pedestrian crossing near Shepherd's Loan). I have already been in discussion with the City Council about the operation of the Sinderins Junction (Perth Road/Hawkhill/Blackness Avenue/Shepherd's Loan) and have requested a site visit with road safety staff. I will keep residents advised on this issue, as always.
7:49 pm

Quins almost throw it away (Harlequins 9 Bath 3)

Gravatar Despite dominating the forward battle throughout the entire game Quins almost managed to conspired to lose in a rain drenched encounter. In the end they needed a pair of magnificent lineout steals in their own 22 by man of the match Olly Kohn to preserve their lead. The game started in heavy rain and by the end of the 1st quarter it had got so hard I was starting to struggle to see the other side
7:35 pm

A couple of messages

Gravatar To Tobias Jones et al: The next time you want to write an article about the ’secular fundamentalist’ conspiracy, could you try to come up with one that doesn’t use an argument on the lines of ‘ooh, that Richard Dawkins is a bit rude’ as a piece of supposed evidence? To Richard Dawkins et al: If [...]
7:29 pm

Happy Birthday to David Bowie for Monday!

Gravatar My favourite radio station, XFM, has just played one of my top ten tracks, "Rebel Rebel", yet again (for the second time in two days). Good on them. A superb track. If I was asked by a recently arrived Martian to explain popular music, I would play her/him "Rebel Rebel". It has all the ingredients of a great pop song, without being tacky or saccharine, and stands the test of time. Any road up
7:28 pm

Shut it, Ana! (You're only free if you're not wrong)

Gravatar The greatest threats to freedom of speech do not come in edicts aimed at preventing public protests against our government or righteous expressions of belief. This may seem surprising, at a time when our Government has banned public protests near parliament and frequently threatens laws that might criminalize criticism of religious beliefs or practices that are affronts to liberty. Yet the very fact that these are blatant abuses of power, flagrant violations of ancient rights, make them difficult and controversial. The majority of the public probably opposes bans on public protests – die-hard supporters of the Iraq War would ...
7:22 pm

Bromley Boy Bowie hits 60

Gravatar Local Bromley boy David Jones hits 60 this Monday. I was 9 in 1969 when Space Oddity came out and in the period from then to hitting my 20s witnessed some of the greatest and most seminal albums of all time: Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station to Station, Low, "Heroes", Lodger and Scary Monsters
7:04 pm


Gravatar Justin ( has "tagged" me to stick 5 random things about myself on here. I wouldn't normally bother with that sort of thing... But I don't know if it's rude to ignore these requests in the blogging world? And the Liverpool FA Cup match isn't too interesting any more... 1. I used to play the cello. Not very well. 2. My pillow was once on fire during the night. It burnt through two pillows my head was on but didn't wake me up. 3. I used to be in the Bangles fanclub. It was called ...
6:13 pm

Obsessed with statistics, but not the obvious ones

Gravatar The BBC reports that the head of the Prison Service, Phil Wheatly, does not know how many prisoners have absconded from Open Prisons. Read it HERE. So what is he admitting to ? Basically, it is an admission that the government do not know how many people are on the run, how many should be in prison, how many actually are in prison, or indeed, their arse from their elbow ! This government has an obsession with statistics. School league tables, NHS targets, even baby names, yet when it comes to a basic requirement of government, to ...
5:53 pm

Not minging

Gravatar For reasons not immediately apparent to me, this is the top YouTube return for the search term ‘Ming Campbell’. One way to boost ratings for our next party political, I s’pose...
5:49 pm

Single issue websites - start using them now!

Gravatar On Thursday evening I had my first attempt at using the party's single issue website tool. I set up a site for the campaign against opencast plans in my ward in Gateshead. The planning application for the site was rejected last year but with an appeal now lodged, the campaign to defeat the plans steps up a gear. I have now produced a petition to Ruth Kelly calling for the appeal to be rejected
5:47 pm

It was fantastic

Gravatar The Kylie concert last night was fantastic. Had a great time even if I did have to get the night bus back to the flat.
5:26 pm

Old arguments revisited

Gravatar I was intrigued by this graph in the Economist’s analysis of ‘The future of the BBC’: "… the BBC is not equally loved by everyone. The rich and the old are keener on it than the poor and the young, who in effect subsidise the viewing and listening of more prosperous households." There has been much holiday discussion about the need for the Lib Dems to regain our risk-taking cutting edge, to
5:00 pm

Disposing of the Christmas Tree

Gravatar It is that time of year again... Bromley ask people to take them to recycling centres... Luckily we are in Bexley at the moment who say: When the festive season is at an end, Christmas trees can be disposed of, if the trunk is less than two inches in diameter, by cutting in half and leaving out beside the bin. Quick check on Lib Dem Sutton: The council will offer a free collection service for
4:59 pm

Police petition

Gravatar My petition to Save Garston police station is already attracting lots of signatures. I started this on Thursday and its clearly something local people want to support. The petition can be signed on line too... if you go to and then select the Sign Our Petition bit of the navigation bar, the petition will come up.
4:57 pm

Stet for stats

Gravatar I know what the Grauniad’s Martin Kettle is trying to say, but he might have found a more persuasive way of saying it: The current decline of public trust in the reliability of government statistics is spectacular. An Office for National Statistics survey in 2005 underlines just how dire the situation has become. It found that a mere 17% of people think that government statistics are free from
4:09 pm

Royal Navy, contraction or expansion - confusion from the Government

Gravatar Great uproars over the future of the Royal Navy, as you will know if you glance at the Daily Telegraph reports. The first reports that half the existing surface fleet will be mothballed as part of a MoD cost cutting exercise. This will, (supreme horrors) leave the French Navy much superior to the Royal Navy. The second report calls into question whether the UK will proceed with the building of two new aircraft carriers. Quite apart from the cost of the carriers, each of these huge vessels needs a battle group of cruisers and destroyers to provide surface protection. So ...
3:45 pm

Sorry BBC, but Norwich didn't read YOUR script

Gravatar What a disappointment for the BBC. Norwich City turned up at Tamworth's Ground "The Lambs" to be slaughtered. A sloping pitch, a noisy but small intimidating crowd, a team in Norwich who struggled to get past round three every year and a BBC team hell bent on "A Tamworth win". Well Norwich hadn't read the script. Norwich won 4-1. Dominated for the last 75 minutes and it was Tamworth whose were caught out by their own awful pitch. Well done Norwich. Sorry BBC !
2:50 pm

The Lambeth Warden exchange rate

Gravatar Labour-run Lambeth has announced the trade-off for scrapping their Community Warden scheme. In exchange for sacking up to 35 Wardens they will recruit just 21 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Or every five Wardens lost are replaced by only 3 PCSOs. This at a time when they're whacking up Council tax by 5% and a 100% rise on Council parking permits. This leads local Liberal Democrats to suggest quite reasonably that "Labour's real agenda here is to save costs". Interestingly Labour are retaining a handful of Wardens along the South Bank in recognition that their role in ...
2:00 pm

Should we be cheering Wal-Mart?

Gravatar News comes from the US that Wal-Mart is considering switching to using solar power in five US states - which would make the project the biggest individual solar power project ever. For all the downsides with Wal-Mart’s behaviour, it’s huge size means that if it does something even half-decent, the positive impact can completely swamp the [...]
1:47 pm

Casework morning

Gravatar At Parklands in Speke again this morning for the councillors' surgery. The community centre still looked christmassy. On the way there.. and on theh way back.. called into some places to check the progress of various bits of work. Glad to say the flytipping I complained about has gone.. and the gate at the park where a lot of asb has been going on... is more secure now.
1:23 pm

Who is the idiot commentating for the BBC on the Norwich City versus Tamworth game ?

Gravatar Some classics from the idiot commentating for the BBC on the Norwich versus Tamworth game. "Huckerby has the ball" - It was in fact Robert Earnshaw (who is much, much darker skinned and a foot shorter. "Dublin with the shot" - Actually Dickson Etuhu. They are both black, but that is no excuse. "Etuhu with the knock down " - Actually it was Jurgen Colin. Again, both black, but no excuse. "Tamworth have had the lion's share of the chances up to half time yet Norwich lead two nil" - Actually, the BBC's own stats ...
1:02 pm

Flying Into Flak

Gravatar Anyone who saw the C4 Despatches programme about Ryan Air would understand why the Minister for Climate Change, Ian Pearson MP, would refer to the company as the unacceptable face of capitalism. ...
12:58 pm

Mr Dale with his knickers in a twist.......again!

Gravatar I was interested to hear of Iain Dale getting his knickers in a twist over the work our party is doing to ensure our parliamentary candidates are representative of the electorate they seek to serve. I have to agree, in an ideal world there would be no need to try to redress the balance, but the reality is that for years, in all parties, prejudice had often triumphed over selecting the "best" candidate. It is not that long ago (and may still be the case) that the Tories were asking their female married candidates, what their husbands would do if ...
11:47 am

The Attack of Totalitarian atheists!

Gravatar I wondered long and hard whether to link to this article on comment is free attacking "the rise of the new secularist totalitarianism"; as the Guardian has obviously only put it on to try attract attention. It is so badly written and misses the point so spectacularly that surely they cannot have published it meaning it as a serious contribution to the wider debate. The people in the comments are
11:32 am

Political emergency continues in Thailand

Gravatar Some interesting snippets from the english language press here in Thailand today. The Council for National Security (CNS) issued a circular to ministries, courts and state enterprises yesterday urging officials to watch out for strangers or unidentified objects left abandoned in buildings and public places. This struck me as a little odd and somewhat slow off the mark given that the bombs went off on 31st December and 1st January. The Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said the public should prepare for more political violence after the New Year bomb blasts in the capital. He went on to say that ...
10:59 am

Seeing hands of Koh Samui

Gravatar This is a picture of Mr Noi. We discovered him on our last visit to Koh Samui and what this guy does not know about back problems and how to massage them back to good health is not worth knowing. He had a piece written about him in The Nation about four years ago. He was rendered almost blind by illness as a teenager, but far from being disheartened by it Noi has been kneading the tension out of tourists muscles for many many years. You can always find him in the same place beneath a shady ...
10:48 am

Not dying of boredom

Gravatar If only he was called *Danny* Blanchflower... then the absolute truth would be assured. slap-in-face-for-migration-watch.html Still, I think he's probably right anyway.
10:44 am

Friern Road to close for six weeks

Gravatar Happy New Year! I have been informed that Friern Road is to close to enable the installation of a new gas main. The closure, from the junction of Underhill Road to Upland Road and from Goodrich Road to Etherow Street, will be over six weeks in two stages starting from 3rd January. The Southern Gas contact regarding the works [...]
10:29 am

EXCLUSIVE : Tory "A List" candidates to be de-listed

Gravatar I was speaking to some Tory friends who are London based a few weeks ago, and two of them, who could easily get "A List" status, told me they did not wish to do so for fear that if they did not apply for enough seats, they could be stripped of their "A list" status, and received what might be a fatal blow to their future chances of candidature. I thought nothing of it at the time, but have now received an e-mail from another Tory was told by a Conservative colleague of his who is on the A ...
10:20 am

Day 2193: SARAH JANE SMITH: Invasion of the Bane

Gravatar Tuesday: (Okay, yesterday REALLY) For my BIRTHDAY, the BBC have pulled out all the stops and produced a SUPER NEW spin off episode from their TOP SERIES! WHOOPEE! But we have to wait until tomorrow for the "Thick of It" special. Meanwhile, today there is a SARAH JANE SMITH ADVENTURE. Actually, that is worth a WHOOPEE! too 'cos it was JOLLY BRILLIANT! Even SUPER-SPLENETIC Mr Charlie Brooker (who we do love!) in the Grauniad said so! But what did Daddy Richard think… You cannot beat a really good squiggly-Cthuloid monster (except apparently with an Intergalactic mobile phone!). ...
9:21 am

"Hattersley set to back Benn" - Time Warp?

Gravatar When I saw this story on Epolitix, I thought perhaps they had a system error which had regurgitated a story from twenty years ago: Hattersley set to back Benn as deputy leader However, it is Hilary Benn that is the Benn in question this time, not Tony. Quite how the views of an aged commentator like Hattersley matter, I don't know.
9:07 am

Could Saddam really hear the taunts anyway?

Gravatar The controversy over the taunts aimed at Saddam as he was executed seem to have ignored an element of acoustics. The recording was made by someone on a mobile standing roughly ten metres lower and away from Saddam. The taunts sound loud(ish) on the recording. But the microphone on the mobile phone would clearly and loudly pick up the sounds of the people standing besides the person with the
9:03 am

Suit shopping

Gravatar Today I had a day-trip to London to get a new suit, sounds quite a way to go for just a suit doesn't it. I am going to a wedding in the States later in the year and apparently my suit needs to match, or compliment, the Bridesmaid's dress so I went shopping with the Bridesmaid (Victoria Marsom) and the Bride (Miranda Piercy) today.
9:01 am

US Iraq troops debate - irresistible force meets an immovable object

Gravatar In the US, things are shaping up for a real ding-dong over Iraq troop levels. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (pictured) have wasted no time. In their first day in office as leaders of the US Congress, they have written to George Bush warning him that sending more troops to Iraq would stretch the US military to breaking point with no strategic gain. It looks as though there is going to be an
8:51 am

Ignoring close neighbours - while talking to friends miles away

Gravatar This may be ill-informed guesswork but I'll take a stab anyway. A hundred years ago, people in Britain knew most people in their village or town. They spoke to their neighbours on a daily basis, over the garden gate, down the road. People had a community around them with whom they communicated daily. Nowadays, this neighbouring community has been replaced. Many people do not even know the name
8:45 am

Steve Webb starts blogging

Gravatar Steve’s blog comes complete with a gruesome pun of a absolutely smashing title. Steve is now looking after the drawing up of the party’s manifesto for the next general election. There will be more news on the online consultation later this month. steve webb
8:22 am

Weekend madness

Gravatar This is a quick entry as I have to rush off to Mid Wales for a meeting, however reading the Western Mail over breakfast I noticed that the impending elections are rapidly turning into a discussion on fringe issues rather than the key matters of crime, health and education that concern the vast majority of voters. First off is Lord Falconer, friend of Tony, and Lord Chancellor, who has warned that Scottish independence will splinter the UK. He is naturally concerned at the growth in support for the SNP north of the border and their promise to hold a ...

Previous days:

Friday 5th January 2007, Thursday 4th January 2007, Wednesday 3rd January 2007, Tuesday 2nd January 2007, Monday 1st January 2007, Sunday 31st December 2006