Saturday 20th January 2007

11:55 pm

Befuddled By Cormorants

Gravatar I am delighted to announce the yet another exciting Resonance FM Project: The publication of Frank Key’s new anthology: “Befuddled By Cormorants“, a collection of 52 thrilling stories from the acclaimed radio series “Hooting Yard on the Air”. It was my privilege to act as the typesetter of this wonderful collection of short prose. For more [...]
11:32 pm


Gravatar According to the blurb on YouTube, “This is the video for “Minger” by Meadow House (from ‘Tongue Under a Ton of Nine Volters’ on Alcohol Records). Upon its release as a single in 2006, this was rampantly dvd-dropped in public places around London and Hertfordshire.” Meadow House is also known as [...]
9:47 pm

"paparazzi often use illegal means to secure photos for such notoriously disreputable tabloids as...... "

Gravatar In a week in which far, far too much attention has been paid to 'celebrities', I found an old article which shows what celebrity culture ought to be like...
9:14 pm

I, for one, salute our new cockroach overlords

Gravatar And Dsquared reminds us of our place: To be honest, if society has reached the point at which blog comments sections have any influence on anything important, then we are well into book 5 of “Decline and Fall” and the only thing to do is start moving things around a bit to make it more convenient [...]
8:59 pm

New blogger

Gravatar Back from Thailand (sadly) and recovering from jetlag I decided to finally take the plunge and convert from the old blogger to the new blogger. I was expecting the process to be very slow and was worried that there might be some unexpected glitches once the blog reloaded. But no the conversion process took a few minutes and as far as I can tell the blog looks just as it was before unless anyone else can spot any problems. Still contemplating a possible move to wordpress although I shall see how how the new blogger goes first.
8:56 pm

Simon couldn't be more Wright on policing

Gravatar Well done to Norwich South Lib Dem prospective Parliamentary candidate Simon Wright for highlighting the dreadful way Norfolk Constabulary have been treated in the latest funding round. Simon has called on the Minister to help Norfolk's Police Authority to stick to the Government's own manifesto commitment to neighbourhood policing. In the light of the government's decision on funding for Norfolk, Norfolk's Police Authority has proposed the case for a 7% council tax rise to fund neighbourhood policing. This larger than inflation rise could have been avoided if the one third of the promised Government funding had not been withdrawn. Interestingly, ...
8:42 pm

Is there a Hillary/Barack dream ticket ?

Gravatar With the news that Hillary Clinton is going to stand for the Democratic Presidential nomination, the focus of the media will be on who has the best chance of winning out of Hillary and Barack Obama. One of Hillary's strengths is her loyalty (to her husband) , which appeals to some of the Christian right wing in America who believe in the family unit whilst her experience as a Senator for four years stands her in very good stead. This has to be seen against the fact that Obama is considered weak by some because of his lack of ...
8:25 pm

Hillary in. Does that mean Carville too?

Gravatar So, Hillary is in. The big question on my mind is will Carville and Begala come out and run her campaign? On James' website it says: We no longer handle domestic races and have not taken a new domestic client since President Clinton in 1992. But links between Carville and the Clintons are still strong and I reckon he won't be able to resist the challenge. In Hillary's first video clip on her
7:42 pm

The Ghost of Gary Powers

Gravatar Predictable reactions of worldwide disapproval have greeted China's successful destruction of one of it's own satellites by a land launched missile. I'm not quite sure how justified those protests are though. Many of the protesting countries, but especially the United States, use satellites to spy on other nations and gather valuable military or economic information. It goes without saying that they have absolutely no right to do so, but they get away with it because most nations lack the means to prevent them. As a sovereign nation, China has every right to prevent it's territory and it's citizens from being ...
6:38 pm

Day 2210: Loans for Lordships – Police Swoop!

Gravatar Friday: Another narrow escape for Lord Blairimort today. Tipped off that he was trying to escape disguised as a woman, police in the Cash for Coronets Case picked up Ms Ruth Turner by mistake. Clad in a BURKA, Lord B legged it out the secret tunnel to the Cabinet Office.
6:37 pm

Day 2209: Licence… to Bribe

Gravatar Thursday: Today my diary will be about a story that Sir Mr the Merciless brought to my attention: Lord Blairimort, the Secret Service and the BRIBES TO ARABIA scandal! Of course, I WAS going to have a go about the government’s miserly plans for the licence fee that funds the BBC, “one of the greatest assets of this country” as Lady Shirley Williams (Tom Baker) put it. The rise is going to be fixed at 3% this year and 3% next and 2% a year for the three years after that, rather than linked to the inflation rate. This ...
6:36 pm

Day 2208: Gordo vs Goody

Gravatar Wednesday: Embarrassment this week for Mr Frown as he arrives for his BIG TOUR in India. “What’s that on the BARBECUE?” he asks, descending from the not-quite-yet Prime Ministerial jet. Well, quite. It’s about the antics of the Ceebeebies in the BIG BOTHER house, as seen on Channel Furore. This is the STORM IN A TEACUP that has swept the country this week – at least until a REAL storm swept the country and made that sort of metaphor a bit BAD TASTE. Oops! People seem to be STRANGELY SURPRISED that if you take a load of complete strangers ...
6:16 pm

Reconnected to the outside world

Gravatar Day 1 of diet - changed desserts to remove 120 calories a day from my diet (must start somewhere) - current weight loss: -0.1kg (that's not good...) I'm not the most technically-minded person, and had found it impossible to reconnect my now repaired PC to the internet - until now. I was looking for something completely unconnected to my computer when I ran across the installation CD for AOL
5:59 pm

Hillary declares - Democrat campaign boss hides under desk

Gravatar Hillary Clinton has formally announced that she is running for US President. Her web site only mentions her first name, fascinatingly. Barack Obama has already taken the first step to join the race. So we now have the scenario that Democrat campaign guru, Rahm Emanuel, feared when he said: I think that I am going to hide under this desk if both of them ran. Apparently he now says he is
5:43 pm

Calls for Minister to Support Norfolk's Neighbourhood Policing Plans

Gravatar Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for Norwich South, has written to Police Minister Tony McNulty following the budget consultation meeting conducted by Norfolk Police Authority. Mr Wright calls on the Minister to help Norfolk's Police Authority to stick to the Government's own manifesto commitment to neighbourhood policing when he meets with police representatives in Norfolk next Tuesday. Norfolk's Police Authority has proposed the case for a 7% council tax rise to fund neighbourhood policing as a third of the promised Government funding has been withdrawn.
5:40 pm

Norfolk Lib Dems Hand in 8,000 Name Petition Following Westminster Health Rally

Gravatar Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for Norwich South, Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, and April Pond, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Broadland, have taken part in a mass rally at Westminster to highlight the threat of closure of hospitals. They handed in a petition of around 8,000 residents objecting to the likely closure of community beds and hospitals in Norfolk on financial grounds to the Department of Health.
4:35 pm

A trip to the court of appeal

Gravatar If I am lucky I may visit the Court of Appeal twice next week. I am working on some papers for a second Appeal as well as the one I am going on Tuesday. Both have substantial significance, but one is Family Division and hence covered by confidentiality at the moment.
4:33 pm

Newsletter delivering and leaves ...

Gravatar Well, it has been a lovely day for delivering my FOCUS newsletter. Although a bit windy, the weather held and I'd like to thank all of my team who delivered thousands of copies today.Already feedback on a number of issues by e-mail and phone. One concerns a request to remove the dead rotting leaves that are lying on the pavement on Glamis Drive. The problem lies mainly between the top of Hazel Drive going west towards Invergowrie Drive. Leaves are lying in elongated piles and take up most of the pavement in places.I've passed on this concern to the Head ...
3:45 pm

Spinning Out Of Control

Gravatar Politicians ought to exist to give people what they want within the means the people are prepared to give the State.   Democracy is the expression of the people through the ballot box, but d...
3:25 pm

Correction of the Week

Gravatar This effort from Monday's Guardian deserves to be remembered: A rigid application of the Guardian style guide caused us to say of Carlo Ponti in his obituary, page 34, January 11, that in his early career he was "already a man with a good eye for pretty actors ..." This was one of those occasions when the word "actresses" might have been used.
2:55 pm

That was the week that was

Gravatar Apologies for the lack of updates since Monday. I did warn you. Here are some meaty stories that came up during my absence from the blogosphere... From Former home secretary David Blunkett has admitted that anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) are not working and are seen as a "badge of honour" by some youngsters. The Sheffield Brightside MP was asked if he still had faith in the measures that, although introduced two years before his time at the Home Office, he championed. He replied: "Not wholly."From Hot Ginger and Dynamite: the priority and ordering of the stories ...
2:49 pm

Can we have snow?

Gravatar Jim, a colleague at Loreto finally got home to Huddersfield, from Manchester at 5am Friday morning due to the storms and cancelled trains. He did ring in at 7am to offer to come in Friday and was delighted when told to stay home and get some sleep! Another colleague managed to get back to Warrington and home by 9pm - I was luckier - my 35 min car journey was only 2 hours - I live 6 miles from work
2:23 pm

The Etymology of Coolio

Gravatar 'Coolio' is a word that I'm quite fond of using. Another is 'tootle'. Recently I've been told that 'Coolio' has been formally adopted by Sloane Rangers, though alternatively according to some like mbryson, it means that I shouldn't be allowed to moderate ebuyer forums. But you shouldn't jump to conclusions, because Noell, 15, from Manchester, thinks it means I'm quality. There are some other amusing examples of it's usage in the Urban Dictionary. On the other hand, 'Tootle' it seems is more straight forward.
1:40 pm

Is "White trash" really a term of racist abuse?

Gravatar I have seen a couple of comments recently (including on Norfolk Blogger) saying that everyone is laying into Jade for racist comments (e.g "Shilpa Poppadom" - but Jade says she said it because she couldn't remember Shilpa's real name so just thought of something Indian - oh that's all right then) but noone has taken Jermaine Jackson to task for calling Jade "White trash" which, we are told by
1:16 pm

Robert Kennedy Jr says he might run for New York Senator

Gravatar I am too young (hark at him!) to remember what I was doing when I heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. But I am old enough to remember what I was doing when I heard that Robert Kennedy was shot. I was posting a letter at the post box on St Michael's Mount, Cornwall. My father told me the news. Political Wire reports that Robert Kennedy Jr is ready to run for the US Senate if Hilary Clinton
12:13 pm

You can lose weight playing computer games

Gravatar Fabulous news for owners of the Nintendo wii games console. new research shows that playing on the "wii" can lead to significant weight loss. Read more about it HERE. For me personally, I don't know that I've lost weight, but on a cold evening, rather than turn the heating on, I play on the Nintendo for 20 minutes and I'm sweating and as a result, nice and warm, so perhaps there are some benefits in preventing global warming as I am sure it uses less carbon to have my wii on for 20 minutes than it does to burn gas ...
12:00 pm

Does 'economics' corrupt our moral senses?

Gravatar As I start trying to fill some of the holes in my formal knowledge of economics, two unsettling questions. Why are economists distrusted and even loathed so much? And does studying economics degrade our moral capacities? And are these questions relevant to current debates within the LibDems? Georgetown University economist Pietra Rivoli notes this about her discipline: As a classically trained financial and international economist I share with my colleagues the somewhat off-putting tendency to believe that if everyone understood what we understood – if they “got it” – they wouldn’t argue so much. More ...
11:56 am

Police work unsocial hours

Gravatar It was fascinating watching C4 news yesterday evening to see the director and Labour luvvy peer David Puttnam being rolled out to attack the police tactics of theatrics. He should leave the police to do policing, and he can get on directing films. As to the charge that arresting someone pre-dawn was just theatrical, my understanding is that if you want to question someone over perverting the course of justice, the last thing you do is make an appointment with them to provide plenty of notice and time to carry out more deleting or shredding...
11:34 am

The False Dichotomy of Liberty and Security

Gravatar On Thursday night, the Cambridge Union debated the motion: "This House believes that civil liberties should not be sacrificed for national security interests." The debate was a very good one, despite the fact that Shami Chakrabarti, among others, was unable to attend due to the weather. When I entered the Chamber, I was thinking of voting against the motion, since I believe that civil liberties must sometimes be restricted for national security purposes. However, the Proposition convinced me that civil liberties should not be sacrificed. Rather, what was required was the balancing exercise that always takes ...
11:30 am

Give us this day our daily bread, and deliver us from committees

Gravatar I attended a local community committee meeting last night, and despite moving in to the borough relatively recently, it all seems spookily familiar - the first hour was spent discussing the quality of the minutes, and how the secretarial support for the committee was organised. Bad memories started coming back. I think there is something of [...]
11:25 am

Senile Auntie

Gravatar I am a strong supporter of the BBC. And I am clearly not a big supporter of the Conservative Party. However, the priority and ordering of the stories on Newsnight last night was bizarre in the extreme. The lead story was a hack job by Michael Crick, along the lines of “On the day that the Tories launch a campaign for more success in the North” [who gives a shit?] - “a Conservative activist was found to have sent an email to a Conservative Councillor in Bradford, in which he called the local Labour Party Chair a cripple”. This may ...
10:50 am

I feel cheated and misled - Was "The A Team" a con ?

Gravatar When I was a child, my favourite TV program was "The A Team". In "The A Team", every other week they would find themselves locked in a compound or shed or warehouse or building of some sort and create some sort of improvised machine from the bits of equipment they had to hand. Now using this machine, they would make good their escape in a show of wood splinters, screaming tyres and a trail of smoke, then evade capture and complete their mission. So why do I feel cheated ? For over two week now Dirk Benedict, the actor ...
10:39 am

Nice people ?

Gravatar Hat tip to Liberal Democrat Voice for finding this on the BBC website. Clearly abuse is the first thing that jumps to mind when a Tory councillor starts arguing a point. Even today one Tory Councillor has sent a message to this blog calling me a "pratt" (I am sure it has one 't', but the Tories know more about abuse that I do). There are some nice people in Dave's party, but some are just downright awful.
9:18 am

Reflections on an Eviction

Gravatar I have to admit that I was rather delighted that Jade Goody was evicted from Big Brother last night. I'm not a great fan of the programme (what genuine Liberal would be?) and I have to wonder at whether Channel 4 to some extent engineered an explosive situation in order to generate higher viewer ratings to sell advertising. It has backfired as they have lost the sponsorship of Carphone Warehouse and I suspect that they will not be the first to walk. The greatest thing that came out of last night was the British public's unwillingness to ...
9:12 am

'A week of flip-flopping'

Gravatar The fall-out of the Labour-Nationalist budget deal continues to hit the pages of the Western Mail with chief critic, Leighton Andrews, again outlining his disgust at how his party gave Ieuan Wyn Jones an easy ride, but also making it clear once more that Plaid caved in far too easily, leaving schools to pay the cost of further budget cuts: "Despite not voting for this, Plaid is trying to claim credit for it. How did Plaid get away with their claims? Because we were asked not to criticise them during the Budget debate. Ministers asked us not to attack ...
9:00 am

Yet another Conservative defection

Gravatar This time, it’s Lord Dartmouth who has joined UKIP, their fourth recruit  in recent days (two other ex-Tory peers and one Tory economist being the rest). All this follows hot on the heels of David Cameron’s party losing two councillors to the independents, costing them control of one more council, and a former councillor to the [...]
9:00 am

Malcolm Rifkind puts his foot in it

Gravatar Dear old Sir Malcolm Rifkind (do people really talk like that in Edinburgh?) has put his foot in it. Bless him. Iain Dale reports somewhat sardonically: ConservativeHome reports HERE that Sir Malcolm Rifkind (for it is he) is positively encouraging Eurosceptics to defect to UKIP. Thanks Malc. Really helpful. What is it with these relics that they feel they have to clamber out of their political
8:51 am

Iain Dale back in excellent form on English Parliament

Gravatar After the wimpy bit of Blogger which he uses went down last night, Iain Dale is back with a vengeance on the subject of an English Parliament. Old Frank Field, bless him, has tabled an EDM noting opinion poll support for an English parliament and saying that he believes voters now put this ahead of Scottish Independence and Lords reform as a priority. The problem is that you cannot take any of
8:23 am

United 93, and other films everyone else has seen already

Gravatar I know. Everyone else has seen it. Finally, I have watched this film. It is brilliant. They had a bit of a challenge on their hands. After Airport and then Airplane! they had to smash up the genre of the airborne disaster movie and start again. They did that brilliantly using the shaky camera, reailty style, I-can-hardly-hear-what-they-are-saying-so-it-must-be-real-or
8:06 am

Conservative apologises for abusive email

Gravatar The BBC has the story from Bradford. conservatives Opposition watch
7:53 am

Celebrity fever??

Gravatar Saturday 20th January 2007 - After all the furore this week over Celebrity Big Brother you can imagine my surprise when I was asked for my autograph in India on Friday after delivering my speech to the CII Partnership Summit (you can read the speech here . It has been an eventful and engaging three days in Bangalore meeting some very influential
1:09 am

Another Conservative Peer defects to UKIP

Gravatar Another Conservative Peer, and a former Tory parliamentary candidate has defected to UKIP. The BBC reports on it HERE. There must come a point when they will all have to form an orderly queue, such is clamour amongst once strongly Conservative peers to join the ranks of UKIP. Lord Dartmouth said that he was "very disappointed" with David Cameron's leadership. "He has become a slave to political correctness," "His chosen themes are things like hug a hoodie and green taxes - all of which are of very little concern to people outside the Notting Hill Gate and ...
12:40 am

One three lions on my shirt

Gravatar Gordon Brown is backing England to win the football World Cup in 2018 - and not Scotland. He said he would like "the host" to win such a competition, adding that "of course, Scotland will do well". Has he been comparing the Scottish and English Labour Party membership figures? Watch the report here.
12:04 am

A lack of experience

Gravatar Paul's post on the US election got me thinking about the experience of the candidates. Of the six leading candidates (Clinton, Obama and Edwards in the blue corner, and McCain, Romney, and Guliani in the red) only two have any executive political experience. Romney as one term Governor of Massachusetts and Guliana's two terms as Mayor of New York, New York. The Democrats look particularly weak

Previous days:

Friday 19th January 2007, Thursday 18th January 2007, Wednesday 17th January 2007, Tuesday 16th January 2007, Monday 15th January 2007, Sunday 14th January 2007