Sunday 21st January 2007

11:26 pm

Another Valladares blogs...

Gravatar Day 2 of diet - swapped from cheese to ham at breakfast to remove 180 calories a day from my diet, gave up processed food and filled the refridgerator with lean meat - current weight loss: 0.5kg (better...) - net improvement in Body Mass Index (BMI): -0.17... It was vaguely unlikely when I started blogging some fifteen months ago but now an even less likely event has happened, in that my father
10:51 pm

What Sundays should be about

Gravatar I know I should have sat inside today, watching Ming on Sunday AM, and leafing through the papers in search of blogging inspiration. Instead, I opted for a bracing walk in gorgeously wintry sunshine besides Port Meadow. At 440 acres, it's the largest area of common land in Oxford (even if much of it was under water today). So, no erudite opinionating from me today, I'm afraid.
9:57 pm

Day 2211: If the Conservatories do it, it cannot be Right!

Gravatar Saturday: Before Dale Winton gets his knickers in a twist, today’s title is a CUNNING PUN on the latest words of wisdom from my Daddy Alex. Obviously there are LOTS of things that the Conservatories CAN do right, usually it only takes a little pointer from the Liberal Democrats: just look at their thoughts on Green Taxes, Opposition to I.D.iot cards, and Iraq (subject to direction wind is blowing). So, the defection of Conservatory peer NUMBER THREE to the UKPNuts Party should be a non-story. The question is: why do they KEEP doing that? Their problem is not wanting ...
9:54 pm

Global Warming

Gravatar Sunday 21 just watched the BBC tv program on Global Warming. Very good program and well presented. At last there is a growing awareness about the difficulties ahead though you would not believe it to hear our PM and other world leaders speak. In fact at the Full Council on last Thursday the Liberal Democrat Group put forward the following motion: COUNCIL MEETING 18TH JANUARY...
9:33 pm

"Bootiful" - Bernard Matthews to install wind turbines

Gravatar In the wake of Marks and Spencer announcing plans to go Carbon neutral, it is good to see a Norfolk firm, in this case Bernard Matthews in discussions with planners to install a wind turbine on its site in Lenwade, Norfolk. Read more about it HERE. Although this is not a commitment from Bernard Matthews to go carbon neutral, it is good to see them taking a step in the right direction. It would be nice if they could go one further and have their fleet of lorries run on LPG fuel, but I don't want to be ...
9:22 pm

My best birthday presents

Gravatar It is my birthday today (no, I am not saying it in order to get lots of people congratulating me), but I wanted to share with people what has been so good about my day. 1) Not having to go to work. 2) Getting an Everton away top with "Nich" and the number "36" on the back (my age) 3) Everton winning 2-0 away against Wigan. 4) Finally going to see Casino Royale at the cinema 5) Spending all day with my wife. What more could a man ask for ?
8:14 pm

Charlotte's Web

Gravatar If you've got young children then you will probably know this charming book by E B White. And the film, starring the voices of Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese and Kathy Bates is expected to be a huge success. The exciting thing is that the Odeon in Kingston will be putting on a special preview of Charlotte's Web in aid of the Mayor's Charity Fund. The children get to enjoy a...
8:04 pm

Campaign issue number 1 - 3,055 US military deaths in Iraq

Gravatar Attacks in Iraq and the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter brought to 25 the number of American troops killed in Iraq on Saturday, making it one of the deadliest days for the U.S. military since the war began. The deaths bring the total for U.S. military deaths in January to 51 and the number since the Iraq war began to 3,055, including seven civilian contractors of the Defense Department. The
7:48 pm

Kingston Day Nursery

Gravatar Somehow or other Kingston Day Nursery managed to keep on functioning whilst their interesting home (a former chapel) was completely redecorated and partly remodelled. That says something for the professionalism of the staff and the high quality management. I was invited along yesterday to an open day for parents and children, to relaunch the nursery. They can take around 70 children...
7:44 pm

Another Brick in the Wall

Gravatar An anti-intellectual culture is the cause of Big Brother ignorance, not school failings.
7:34 pm

The Hook Centre opens

Gravatar If you live in the Hook or Chessington area you really must call in to the new Hook Centre. Our new flagship community building is far better than I had ever envisaged - and I had nurtured a vision for it for many years. It has a wonderful sense of space, flooded with natural light. The Library has double the previous number of books, plus lots of IT and other study facilities,...
7:21 pm

FOCUS, flooding, TV reception and other matters ...

Gravatar This morning we were again out delivering FOCUS newsletters in the West End; already had lots of feedback - including flooding at West Port (below right) and at Pinegrove (below left), comments on the operation of the Riverside Drive/Perth Road junction (a story in FOCUS), speeding in City Road/Logie Street and TV reception (problem with the Tay Bridge transmitter analogue reception over the weekend) - I have contacted the BBC about this. And, talking of TV reception, the Head of Public Affairs at Digital UK has e-mailed me following complaints that some constituents in the West End ...
6:41 pm

Large failing department to be restructured

Gravatar I hope I'm not the only one to notice the similarity between the Home Secretary's plans for his "not fit for purpose" Home Office and those of Southwark Council for their underperforming Housing Department. Both large unwieldy organisations are due to be split to ensure their services are better organised and aligned to the needs of the public rather than civil service empire building and tradition. In fact a community activist observed in a letter to the local papers the similarity between the two when John Reid was appointed and before either reorganisation was kicked off This presents ...
6:28 pm

Reinforcing the Dichotomy

Gravatar I fear the proposed separation of the Home Office will divide it along the very lines I was concerned about yesterday. I know the division is necessary and I can't think of a better way of doing it. I just hope they remember that "justice" is necessary in the "security" department!
5:31 pm

Perry Barr Liberal Democrats IGM

Gravatar Earlier this afternoon I attended the Perry Barr IGM. Up until last year Perry Barr and Ladywood constituencies were in the same local party, both have now had IGM's and split into two separate local parties. The meeting was very well attended and all went smoothly. Simon Hanson and I oversaw the elections which ended up being very straight forward.
5:21 pm

The Old Left

Gravatar An excellent critque from Nick Cohen.
4:51 pm

Has Hell frozen over?

Gravatar A peace deal being struck between the RFU and the premiership clubs after 10 years of open warfare? (Telegraph story) Munster losing at Thomond Park in a European cup game? Andy Farrell is playing effectively at number 12? Quins winning five in a row and playing exciting clinical running rugby (well in patches) matched with a stonewall defence? Surely hell has frozen over and pigs have begun
4:36 pm

Chuffing Wet Weekend

Gravatar Been house-bound with cough mixture, marking and ironing - yes, whole weekend! Friend from work came round for a chat this afternoon - which got me through the ironing pile as we chatted it was good to catch up - maybe the odd cold gets you to slow down a little and have time out - maybe they are good for you! Was asked to act as a reference on a community funding grant application this weekend
3:48 pm

Candidate news: selection ads, new PPCs announced

Gravatar OK, this is a bit of a bumper update. Congratulations to Gareth Epps, selected in Reading East and Farid Ahmed who was reselected to fight Walthamstow (thanks to Peter Dunphy for letting me know). The party is now publishing its official list of PPCs on the party website, which may mean that the Lib Dem Voice [...]
3:48 pm

Military send confused signals over Thaksins return

Gravatar The Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said that Thaksin Shinawatra could return to Thailand. He went on to say it depended on whether Mr Thaksin would like to return or not and if he wanted to then the government would talk about his movements. If an agreement was reached between the Council for National Security and Mr Thaksin's family then he could come back. Meanwhile Thaksins media comments continue to be blocked. According to the Bangkok Post Thailands main pay TV provider has said it will block an interview with deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra that CNN plans to ...
3:26 pm

Go Hillary

Gravatar I'm glad to see that Hillary has thrown her hat into the ring. Conventional wisdom says that she's too much of a polarising figure and that she won't, even if teamed up with Barack Obama, be able to lead the Democrats to victory. I think with a bold campaign she could win, as long as she ensures she campaigns on her agenda and not that of the Republicans. Duncan Borrowman and Ed Maxfield have put it much better than I have on their blogs, which, in the absence of me knowing how to put a link here, you will ...
3:22 pm

You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything

Gravatar This is the second response to Ed Maxfield's posting on the Crucial Issue's of the Day. In 2004 the Kerry-Edwards ticket lost the entire South, most of the Midwest, and all of the Rocky Mountain States. Compare this to Bill Clinton in 1992. He won Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas in the South. Add to this Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana. So how do the
2:52 pm

Not so Goody

Gravatar I may be the only one in the country to feel like this but I must confess to having quite a bit of sympathy for Jade Goody. Not because I condone her behaviour in the Celebrity Big Brother house, because I don't. The way she and the other girls treated Shilpa was immature and unacceptable. However, I am appalled by the way in which she has now become our national hate figure. Headlines such as Beauty and the Bigot and the heated words which accompany them are much, much worse than anything she did or said in the house. ...
2:47 pm

Leeds crash and Reading march on

Gravatar A good start for new signing Tore Andre Flo as he headed Leeds in front after only three minutes. But from then on it all went downhill as West Brom equalised after in the seventh minute and them promptly went on to lead 3-1. One consolation was that another new signing Alan Thompson got one back to make it 3-2 but the result effectively leaves Leeds at least seven points adrift of safety. Dennis Wise was also sent to the stands after pushing West Brom striker Diomansy Kamara. Meanwhile Reading marched on at the Madejski Stadium with a 3-1 ...
2:29 pm

"Misled, double-crossed and betrayed": how Labour broke its by-election promises

Gravatar During the hard-fought by-election in Hartlepool in 2004, Labour accused the Lib Dems of variously lying, scaremongering and eating babies for basing our campaign on saving Hartlepool hospital. Labour, who just held on to what had been a rock-solid safe seat, claimed the hospital was safe, with both Tony Blair and John Reed (then Health Secretary) personally [...]
2:28 pm

Chris Davies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – spot the difference!

Gravatar Chris Davies MEP has recently published a collection of articles on his website, detailing his responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past year or so. Here is a selection of what Chris has said on the subject. Readers can make up their own minds as to how principled and how consistent his views are. I do not support any act of violence. Chris Davies, 17 January 2007 The minority in Gaza who, out of despair, have taken up arms against an occupying army cannot be dismissed as ‘terrorists’. In the face of overwhelming and hopeless odds should ...
2:25 pm

Big Brother: Is the issue racism or Channel 4?

Gravatar This is the first of two responses to Ed Maxfield's posting on the Crucial Issue's of the Day. Speaking as a South Londoner who went to a polytechnic (well until I left it for the BBC), I can comment free from middle class red-brick snobbery. Ed is of course right that the issue is to tackle racism by enfranchising communities. The areas where racism has been most militant is those white working
1:59 pm

Healthy White Babies - Unpaid surrogate mothers

Gravatar The surge in the numbers of healthy white babies being taken into care continues. Parents and Grandparents are mystified as to why their babies are being taken off them. The mothers feel like unpaid surrogate mothers. However, this will help the government to hit their targets in increasing the percentage of children in care that are adopted. It is relatively easy to find a family for a
1:42 pm

Norfolk ace no longer flying the flag down under

Gravatar Today started rather more leisurely than I was expecting... I had managed to mix up the days I had a ward meeting scheduled with my Fortis Green colleagues Sara Beynon and Martin Newton. I only realised yesterday afternoon that I had left them waiting for me that morning while I was at home oblivious to it all... I'd put the meeting in my diary for this morning instead. Which was rather annoying, all the more so for them. Anyway, have been spending some time sorting out a few issues around my panel's CCTV scrutiny review which is due to ...
1:16 pm

Spluttering in my tea

Gravatar This article caused me to choke on my breakfast this morning. In fact it's 12.20 and I'm still upset. Now Read it in detail again. I expect that many of you may also share my disbelief. Maybe this was the intent of the writers, but more probably a sense of irritation is caused by having my privately cherished grievence that the middle classes have not done as relatively well out of the past few years as either the super rich or the destitute hi-jacked in such a way. How dare someone living in an £800,000 house complain about their personal ...
1:02 pm

"They're not very cooked"

Gravatar Yesterday I dragged my mate Cos to watch Spurs at Fulham (he's a Liverpool fan). The day started off well, as we watched Liverpool thrash Chelsea. We found an alright pub in Fulham, and the crowd of Fulham fans, Spurs fans and one Liverpool fan all had some common ground - and enjoyed every minute of the match. If only our match had been quite that exciting. I've been to Craven Cottage three times, twice to see Spurs and once with my friend Sarah to watch Man City and every time it has been an incredibly dull match. You'd ...
12:56 pm

If Labour Does It, It Can’t Be Wrong

Gravatar Labour has a problem with the law. That’s obvious, you say: they campaign on ‘law and order’ rhetoric, but after several crime bills every year inventing over 3,000 new crimes (that’s one every day for the police to memorise rather than getting out tackling real criminals), but the whole criminal justice system’s still such a failure that today the Home Secretary’s announcing to the House of Commons Sunday Telegraph that, having run out of other people to blame, he wants to split his department in two. But their fundamental problem is that they don’t believe in the Rule of Law. ...
12:51 pm

Iran e Ma

Gravatar I am a Persiaphile. Iran is a quite extraordinary country. Its woman are stunningly beautiful, demur and intelligent (just look at the University attendance figures). Its men are funny, warm and welcoming. Not Ahmedinajad or the Ayatollah so much, but every country has its bad eggs. So on Saturday night it took little persuasion from a desperately international colleague to lure me to Iran e Ma on Borough Road. Hidden sneakily below a Chinese restaurant, our fidgety waiter bedecked in jewelled waistcoat seemed fascinated as to how we could have actually located the place. Carpeted walls, an indoor fountain and ...
11:21 am

Don't Be Conned By This Petition

Gravatar I'm always happy to allow people to promote their concerns and campaigns on my profile even if I don't necessarily agree with them.There is a petition doing the rounds against the idea of trackin...
11:21 am

Hartlepool by-election revisited

Gravatar Labour politicians in the North East of England have egg all over their face this week after the Hartlepool Mail reported that, following a near four-year review of hospital services, Hartlepool's hospital is to be replaced with a single new one somewhere north of the Tees. Until that is built – perhaps within as little as four years – maternity and children's services in Hartlepool will be downgraded and the consultant-led services will be centralised at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton. During the by-election in September 2004 Liberal Democrat Candidate, Jody Dunn, made saving the ...
11:06 am

Ethnic Minorities Should not be "Tolerated" in Britain

Gravatar The worldwide sensation (I first heard about it on CNN in Mexico City) caused by the remarks of a failed game show contestant Jade Goody last week were disturbing not only in themselves but also in the reactions that they provoked from those who supposedly had no truck for racism. The strongest denunciation that Gordon Brown could muster was that Britain is a tolerant nation. Although one does wonder whether he was talking about the tolerance shown by the Brits for people like Jade Goody, it was clear that his remarks were directed towards the tolerance of ethnic minorities in ...
10:55 am

Who's the bloke on the RHS of the blog header bar?

Gravatar That was the question I was asked earlier this week. I am delighted to answer it. David Penhaligon. He is my main political inspiration. I sent a donation to David Steel, Liberal Party leader at the time, when David Penhaligon died. I was so affected by his death. As a result, David Rendel came round to my house and joined me up. When David Penhaligon was alive, my mother always said: "If the
10:44 am

Trying out online polls

Gravatar I am trying out online polls as a way of engaging with constituents. My thanks to Stephen Tall for supplying me with the details of where to get free polls. (Stephen - when are you going to do a poll on sexiest member of Lib Dem staff!?) The poll I am doing is on plans by Gateshead Council to introduce car parking charges at various locations throughout the borough including Whickham (I
10:41 am

The dilemma facing Ruth Kelly

Gravatar I commented a few weeks ago that as Government Minister it seems that Ruth Kelly has a problem with Labour Party principles. Well she is at it again with an attempt to undermine her own party's anti-discrimination laws by seeking to build in an exemption that will let Catholic adoption agencies turn away gay couples: Ms Kelly, a devout Catholic and member of the Opus Dei sect, remains determined to include a loophole for her church in the Equality Act 2006 which comes into force this April. A spokeswoman for Ms Kelly, who has overall responsibility for equality, said ...
10:32 am

The crucial issues of the day

Gravatar Found myself having dinner with Donnachadh McCarthy last night and surprised to be agreeing with him on the top issue of the day.  We both felt there was more than a hint of unpleasant middle class intellectual snobbery (dare I say bullying) in the reaction to the exposure of the un-spun Jade Goodey on Celebrity Big [...]
10:30 am

Mobile phones: if the death rays don't get you, the killer bugs will

Gravatar “The Average Mobile Phone Contains More Bacteria Than A Toilet Seat”
9:59 am

TV audiences: Ann Widdecombe beats Jade Goody

Gravatar The impression may have been gathered that Celebrity Big Brother was watched by vast audiences, after Jade Goody started kicking off (photo -left - is of Shilpa Shetty because I don't want to show Jade's photo). You know, the entire nation, as one, huddled round their flickering cathode tubes (old technology - Ed) to humbly imbibe this seminal, epoch-making "Britain-in-a-mirror" cultural
9:59 am

After Celebrity Big Brother?

Gravatar As the dust begins to settle on last week's shameful events in the celebrity big brother house, and Jade begins to pay the price for her appalling bullying and racist treatment of Shilpa, what lessons cane be learnt: That we are all accountable for our words and actions.That bigotry is alive and well and needs to be challenged however and wherever it manifests itself whether it be in the spheres of entertainment, politics, sport, religion or family and community relationships. It is something that should be taught about in schools and families.However false, clumsy or coerced, there was an attempt ...
9:37 am

Aw cr*p…

Gravatar I told Dani that renting was cheaper…
9:18 am

Conservative lose yet another Peer to UKIP

Gravatar Lord Dartmouth has defected from the Conservatives to UKIP. It really just gets worse for the Conservatives. I however, am not sure, David Cameron is particularly concerned - is this his version of expelling Militant, not quite as these Peers (and others) are leaving by choice, however I am sure Cameron will point to this and say "look we have changed" although I am not convinced they have.
9:16 am

Well done 82% of Celebrity Big Brother voters

Gravatar Bye then Jade, a whooping 82% of Celebrity Big Brother voters chose to evict Jade on Friday night. The makers of Celebrity Big Brother choose not to have members of public at the eviction as they feared there might by trouble, showing how much impact the bullying and racism has had on the public.
2:15 am

I'm Ken - fly me

Gravatar Despite taking an obviously more than active role in watching London politics, very little of City Hall's working ever hit the Richter Scale into my consciousness - even though if a Lib Dem Assembly member falls under a bus I become a GLA member! Personally I think maybe too much time is spent on scrutiny, and not enough on hitting the headlines in exposing what goes on. But one issue this week
12:47 am

Worst kept secret finally out

Gravatar Hillary Clinton has declared that she is looking to run for president - with a statement that includes the line: "Only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world." Which is a little odd, as the one surefire thing about the 2008 election is that America will have a new president of some sort... it's as if she's expecting Baby Bush as her opponent. But not a genuinely weird thing to say on your announcement, unlike Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican, who has also declared his intentions with: "My family ...
12:00 am

Home Office to be split in two

Gravatar John Reid has announced that the Home Office could be split in to two separate departments, one dealing with justice, one with security. Read more aobut it HERE. I could try and claim the credit for this idea as I suggested it last week on my blog !

Previous days:

Saturday 20th January 2007, Friday 19th January 2007, Thursday 18th January 2007, Wednesday 17th January 2007, Tuesday 16th January 2007, Monday 15th January 2007