Saturday 13th January 2007

11:24 pm

Of cities and mayors

Gravatar This is the very fine mace and ceremonial sword of the Lord Mayor of London. They are displayed on a wall of the Egyptian Room in the Mansion House. I joined three hundred people, including many London mayors, for the Local Government Dinner, hosted by the Lord Mayor of London and addressed by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. Many people are confused by all these...
11:12 pm

Kylie cancels concert halfway through

Gravatar A friend whose brother was at the Kylie concert tonight texted me a while ago. Apparently she cancelled the concert - did a few songs and then walked off the stage. Hope she's okay. Flu, I believe. Just seen Benayoun's two goals on Match of the Day - really class. Not enough to get West Ham the three points though.
10:31 pm

Christmas Post

Gravatar As ever, Christmas and New Year offered some chances to stock up the library. Here are three really super books that I enjoyed as a neat chronological exposition of the 1960s, 70s and 80s: White Heat, The Rotters Club and The Line of Beauty
10:13 pm

Intriguing comments by Councillor Richard Barnbrook about Simone Clarke

Gravatar From today's Guardian there are some intriguing comments by the BNP's most senior elected politician, Councillor Richard Barnbrook, leader of the opposition on Barking and Dagenham Council: Mr Barnbrook, returning to the subject of Clarke, said she had his full backing and that he did not object to her relationship with Cuban-Chinese dancer Yat-Sen Chang. "She's not racist - she's going out with
9:34 pm

One for the ladeez!

Gravatar Eagles of Death Metal play London this week - but it is a ladies only night! Now, as excited as Grace has got at thought of being in a confined space with Josh Homme and no competing men, I think all those female hormones in a small space with Carlo Von Sexron could be lethal. But I have persuaded her that we should go to see them together when they return on 11 March.
9:07 pm

Jack Straw says Labour's union link should remain.

Gravatar The Labour Party will not allow its "historic links" with trade unions to be broken by changes to party funding, Jack Straw has said. I sometimes wonder if Jack Straw is just very stupid. He seems to have no grasp of public opinion, just of his own bubble. During the Leicester South by-election I watched him addressing a crowd on a soap box in the town centre in support of Peter Soulsby. The
9:05 pm

Who will be the next Lib Dem leader?

Gravatar Of course, we all believe that Ming is the greatest Liberal leader since Gladstone and should stay in the position for ever and all that. Even so, you may enjoy this thread on
8:54 pm

Day 2201: Moonraker

Gravatar Wednesday: No, REALLY! There is going to be a British space rocket called a MOONRAKER! And doesn't SIR MARTIN SWEETING sound like he should be in a JAMES BOND film!!! Mr Tom Papworth does not think that this is such a good idea because it will cost a lot of public money. But I think that I disagree. I hope that is all right! Here is MY Liberal thought: we should aim to maximise people's potential and minimise how much the government imposes on them! I think this is maximising potential but I think Mr Tom thinks ...
8:39 pm

It's murder for Labour in Rochdale

Gravatar It seems the Rochdale Labour Party makes North Wiltshire Tories look like a band of brothers. Back in November we reported Labour disarray in Rochdale. Things have moved on since then. According to Kevin Maguire on the Daily Mirror blog: Danczuk, a frontrunner to be selected as Labour's candidate in marginal Rochdale, says a caller with an Asian accent demanded he pull out of the race. "He said 'If you don't withdraw from the Parliamentary selection process meeting on the 6th January you'll find your body parts spread across the M6 motorway'," said Mr Danczuk.
8:30 pm

English Independence

Gravatar Gordon Brown is right to warn that calls for an English Parliament are a 'Trojan Horse' that could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom.  But will he end the unfair distribution of resource...
6:49 pm

Raiders of the Lost Archive

Gravatar An article in today Times makes this ITV series sound rather fun: The young Michael Parkinson looked a bit like Alastair Campbell and once pretended to have his back tattooed by an old codger called Sailor Jack in a dingy Liverpool parlour. When he is shown this alarming clip on Raiders of the Lost Archive, the old stager is suitably aghast, but embarrassment turns to joy when they show him his only interview with Laurence Olivier on an early cinema show. Even more alarming is Rolf Harris showing Joan Bakewell his didgeridoo on the po-faced arts programme Late Night Line-Up. ...
6:29 pm

Rising Tide of Nationalism? Blame the secularists

Gravatar The Guardian’s ongoing war against rationality continues. After a columnist equated secularism with totalitarianism last week, this week, we are being blamed for the rising tide of nationalism: There is a danger that the rising tide of secularism, and of narrow English and Scottish nationalism, itself often strongly secular in spirit, combined with its counterpart, [...]
6:08 pm

Lib Dems in the money.

Gravatar The famous Lib Dem Ed Maxfield has reason to be pleased.
5:49 pm

Norfolk's greatest icon

Gravatar The EDP is creating a virtual reality museum of Norfolk and, amongst other things, are hunting for the county's greatest icons. My vote would be Thomas Paine (1737-1809) whose influence on my own political thinking has been profound-his principled internationalism and radical defiance of reactionary institutions coupled with confidence not fear of economic growth; defence of popular rights and democratic responsibility have been influential the world over. "Rights of Man" published in 1791 is still inspirational today. My second choice would be Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)-the prison reforming quaker who became known as the "Angel of mercy" for her ...
5:28 pm

Busy day, but no time for exercise

Gravatar Thursday was a busy day. It started with the usual emails and enquiries at my desk. My first mayoral engagement was an interview for YTN, the Korean 24 hours TV news channel. They wanted to know what it is that makes Kingston such a desirable place to live. I talked about our schools and shopping and plans for the future. I mentioned that the borough's high educational achievements are...
4:52 pm

Wolverhampton South West update - Park

Gravatar After updating on Tettenhall Regis I thought it would be worth an update on Park Ward (I'll leave the St. Peters, Tettenhall Wightwick and the other wards for now). Robin Lawrence, the Liberal Democrat candidate is going great guns, in between Tettenhall Regis leaflets this week I was able to give him a hand going out knocking on doors and will do another couple of hours later tonight.
2:45 pm

Today the Daily Telegraph…

Gravatar Fame at last 
2:36 pm

Pots, Kettles, Black

Gravatar Those are the thoughts that came to mind when I saw this piece entitled Thailand calls for action on Burma on the Bangkok Post website. The Thai government believes it is in a position to criticise what is going on in other countries. Specifically it is critical of Burmas actions against pro democracy activists and it is critical of the lack of action by the United Nations when a proposed resolution against the Burmese actions was not passed. How the government of Thailand comes to believe that it has any moral position to adopt on matters such as these I ...
2:17 pm

Especially for you

Gravatar Just arriving back into London on the train after a night of Kylie at the MEN Arena yesterday. Shame that I couldn't stay up in Manchester a bit longer, but have a meeting with one of my Lib Dem colleagues this afternoon to discuss the council budget. Off work yesterday to head up here - went into our HQ in the morning to do some campaigns work and then got into Manchester about 4pm. Got the tram to Stretford and dropped stuff at Nic and Julie's before we all headed into town. Had a couple of drinks in ...
1:26 pm

The best thing about blogging is ...

Gravatar When people start talking about the "blogosphere", they talk about this community of people who have never met, but "get on" and, if you like, become friends. I have done that with a few people. But blogging has done more than that. Let me explain. I like my occasional Everton chats with Dizzy, whilst I have enjoyed the postings of Paul Walter enormously and have had some e-mail to and fro with him on various points. There are others too, whose comments I seek out (apologies if I don't mention you all). However, possibly the best thing for me ...
1:14 pm

Keeping an ear on noise

Gravatar yesterday it was off to the airport for the Noise Monitoring Committee. This is a group which goes through reports of complaints re noise, and discusses other noise related subjects. The airport is following up my suggestion of advertising the complaints mechanism a bit more widely. i certainly get quite a few complaints when I walk round parts of Speke - but these aren't always borne out in the complaints made to the airport.. and how can they investigate if they don't have the details.
12:44 pm

Teachers: Their Own Worst Enemy

Gravatar Most blogging originates in a personal interest, so before beginning this piece I ought to 'fess up mine: I've just finished a PGCE. Although it's a while until the official piece of paper arrives, I have a feeling that although it is a useful certificate to have under your belt, had things worked out slightly differently it could have been so, so much more. It's pretty much universally acknowledged that the respect which society holds teachers in has slipped dramatically over the past half century or so. Although they are grudgingly included as professionals, they are no longer bracketed at ...
11:49 am

Ducking responsibility

Gravatar The phenomenon described in this Guardian article of Government Ministers campaigning against their own policies is not new to Wales. Here we have Labour Ministers opposing their own party's policy of housing stock transfer, fighting against school reorganisations that the Education Minister has virtually ordered Councils to implement and then condemning those same Councils for not tackling surplus places, and campaigning against NHS cuts, reorganisation and hospital closures that have been brought on by their own policy of restructuring the health service. And it is not just lowly Ministers who do it, the First Minister has played the ...
11:44 am

The chicken and the M4

Gravatar As a frequent traveller on the M4 I do see some pretty horrendous sights, not least the sort of accidents and delays that occur as soon as the weather turns bad. I have not, however, so far witnessed the sort of incidents outlined in this Western Mail article, though I have heard some of them referred to on Radio Wales as I have travelled into Cardiff: Traffic Wales officials have also seen heavy carpets being left on the motorway, a flock of sheep wandering on to the carriageway and a man dressed as Santa being tied to a gantry. ...
11:17 am

There's only one Stephen Tall

Gravatar It must a humbling experience, really, for my ward colleague, Stephen Tall. He is well-known to all you denizens of Bloggoshire (a village community if ever there was one). He has even acheived a certain fame, with his appearances on various television channels, as well as being a guest star on a internet chat show filmed up some back-alley in London. What must have chuffed him most, though, was appearing on the back page of LibDem News last autumn, with a photo showing how terribly pleased he was to be standing next to the MP and indomitable blogger, Lynne Featherstone. ...
10:39 am

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Gravatar Given that children in the UK from time to time are taken off their birth parents and put through adoption without adequate reason I would think that the UK is in contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Dyslexia in the mother is not an adequate reason.
10:33 am

Book at Bedtime for Bush

Gravatar According to CNN President Bush's current choice of reading matter is "A Savage War of Peace," Alister Horne's account of France's colonial wars in Algeria. Personally I was shocked. A book about a failed colonial war that left a muslim country wracked with bloody civil strife for several decades, surely Bush should be reading something more relevant to the challenges facing America today.
10:30 am

Blair War Talk - why does hawkish rhetoric work?

Gravatar Did Blair ever ask himself this question before making this speech? Why are hawks so influential? A paper in the journal Foreign Policy suggest that the answer …may lie deep in the human mind. People have dozens of decision-making biases, and almost all favor conflict rather than concession. A look at why the tough guys win more than they should. ) Daniel Kahneman and Jonathan Renshon. ‘Foreign Policy’ (Jan 2007 The core of their argument; Social and cognitive psychologists have identified a number of predictable errors (psychologists call them ...
9:45 am

Two Thousand Metres Of Lake

Gravatar It would be nice to think that any level of individual or collective incompetence on the part of the Tocs, Roscos and Briscos (as the jargon describes the thirty-plus companies that make up our railways) could be overcome by the various quangos, and indeed gos, that have responsibilities in this field. Would that wishes were horses… Take for example the old Varsity Line between Oxford and
9:33 am

LibDem news features sexy LibDems poll by John Tall

Gravatar 'People' in the LibDem News this week features the "Sexiest LibDem" poll in "John Tall's personal blog". Who is John Tall? And where can I access his blog with this exciting poll? He seems to be directly plagiarising his demi-namesake, Stephen Tall.
9:30 am

ELDR - State of the Party

Gravatar The ELDR Party, the pan-European Liberal Party (of which the Liberal Democrats are a member) has compiled a booklet which details the work and achievements of the party in strengthening European liberalism and the European Project over the course of the last seven years. Specifically, the report covers the period from April 1999 up to the most recent ELDR congress in Romania in October 2006. The booklet is 68 pages and I can send a copy electronically to anyone who emails me asking for it at
2:25 am

What on earth do you talk about if you can't talk about

Gravatar .....just back from a night out with my pal Yasmin. Yas is a playwrite so lots of her pals are luvvies, plus - or including - a few journalists. During a very pleasant meal at St John's in Archway, and having caught up with her exciting lovelife, I was in the middle of a detailed explanation of why we couldn't look at reforming the benefits system without considering whether the levels of benefit were adequate......when I noticed she was grinning broadly. No, it wasn't at something that was happening behind was me! She explained that whilst listening to my ...
2:21 am

Only the bomber jacket was missing

Gravatar Watching Tony Blush today, the imagery looked just so George W. Bair. The only thing missing as he urged Britain to pursue an aggressive foreign policy was that Blush wasn't wearing a psuedo military bomber jacket like his friend Dubya. As Ming says: "His closeness to President Bush has not served Britain’s interest."
2:13 am

Guantanamo is as unacceptable today as it was when it was set up (audio)

Gravatar You can listen to the Guardian Unlimited interview with Ming Campbell on the subject of Guantanamo below (10 min 9 sec): Download audio file (Campbell100107.mp3) You can read the Guardian’s special reports on Guantanamo here.
1:55 am

The eleven hypocrites who support NHS cuts in other people's constituencies

Gravatar The Guardian has an excellent article HERE highlighting the eleven government ministers who are campaigning against NHS closures and cuts in their own constituencies, even though the policy is supported by their own Labour government and is supported by the cabinet. These ministers accept something called cabinet responsibility, which put simply means that they stand by decision made by cabinet, they do not argue against them and they do not show disloyalty. So why are they against their own government's NHS policy ? Simple. They don't like it when it affect their constituents, however, they will keep ...
1:25 am

Protest against Guantanamo Bay (film)

Gravatar Ming Campbell joined Liberal Democrat MPs Sarah Teather and Edward Davey at a candlelit vigil opposite Downing Street to highlight the 5th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay: He has also written to Tony Blair ahead of the fifth anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay asking him to use all his influence with [...]
1:21 am

A warning to Focus deliverers

Gravatar A deputy mayor's consort had the end of her finger bitten off by a dog as she posted a Labour Party leaflet through a letter box.
12:33 am

World is not our Oyster

Gravatar Ken Livingstone and TfL are crowing that the 10 millionth Oyster Card has been issued. I agree that Oyster cards have made travelling in London easier for many. But out here in the South East of London our train operator - southeastern - don't see the business case for fully accepting them. OK, my local station has got Oyster gates - but you can only use travel cards, not pre pay. The real issue
12:03 am

Our Mutual Friend

Gravatar Could this be the new meme?

Previous days:

Friday 12th January 2007, Thursday 11th January 2007, Wednesday 10th January 2007, Tuesday 9th January 2007, Monday 8th January 2007, Sunday 7th January 2007