Thursday 25th January 2007

11:46 pm

Cobham Band

Gravatar There aren't many concert brass bands around these parts, but I've been attending performances of the Cobham Band for many years. In spite of its name it does have quite a number of players from the Royal Borough. So I was really pleased when they offered to put on a concert in aid of my Mayor's Charity. It will be on Saturday 3rd February, at 7.30pm in the Arthur Cotterell Theatre at...
11:31 pm


Gravatar Yesterday I had the chance to look round BedZED. I'm afraid nothing I write will really do justice to this ground-breaking housing and business development in the next-door borough of Sutton. The Beddington Zero Energy Development is a prototype of sustainable development, and like all prototypes much has been learnt from it, including how not to repeat some mistakes. But...
10:19 pm

Hear me on Any Questions

Gravatar Tomorrow (Friday) I'm off to Reading for Radio 4's Any Questions. It'll be broadcast at 8pm, but if you miss it you can listen again on the BBC's website.
10:16 pm

Babystealers leaflet

Gravatar We have now agreed the leaflet about the baby stealers. The members of the organisations supporting "justice for families" will be distributing copies of the leaflet (see link) which tells people how to fight the baby stealers. Anyone who wishes to help should print a couple of hundred copies of the leaflet (See link) and hand it out to visitors to the local maternity unit. The baby stealers
10:13 pm

Even worse customer service from Sky TV

Gravatar I complained a couple of months ago about the awful service I got from Sky TV (or BSkyB) on the phone. Now, two months after I phoned them to cancel my Sky multiroom, they've decided not only to cancel my multiroom, but also to cancel my subscriptions on my other TV to all Sports and Movies Channels. Do Sky TV have a complaints number ? Of course not. Do they have an option on their system for "If we've messed you up and non of the options we give you is relevent, press zero", don't be silly. When Freeview goes ...
10:06 pm

Rattling the Mayor's cage

Gravatar Quite surprised to see a personal message from London Mayor Ken Livingstone in today's Southwark News. Ken it appears doesn't appreciate my investigation into his abuse of nearly £20,000 of public money to fund partisan campaigning during an election. Ken being Ken, of course doesn't want to talk about that. His letter deflects the issue, preferring instead to highlight where we all agree - that a change of Licensing policy after the event was a good thing. He also seems to have forgotten that it was a decision by landlords Network Rail that prevented the Club opening, rather than ...
10:02 pm

Brown sauce

Gravatar There are two explanations for the news that Gordon Brown has - apparently - been voted the 97th sexiest man by readers of NW (New Woman) magazine. Either: it’s actually quite hard to name up to 100 famous men who could in any way fit the description. Or: the magazine’s editors have found an easy way of conning the BBC into running some free advertising, just as they did last year with David
9:52 pm

Paddy vs Ming?

Gravatar Paddy Ashdown's Independent article seems to fly in the face of Ming's call to leave Iraq. But closer examination indicates a degree of agreement.
8:37 pm

Hidden email system found in loans for peerages scandal?

Gravatar Sky News has the story: Detectives investigating the cash-for-honours affair have reportedly uncovered a “hidden” computer network at Number 10. ITV News claimed the system had been used to send crucial emails - which now appear to have been deleted. labour loans for peerages Opposition watch
8:06 pm

35 Spring Bank Cresent

Gravatar I often observe that the one thing that the Planning system doesn't allow you to do is actually plan anything. The row over 35 Spring Bank Cresent came to a head this week although not it now seems a conclusion. In my 7 years I must now have topped 4 figures in the number of planning applications I have had involvement with. I single this one out only because it lays bare the limitations of what democratically elected local representitives can do. But also how much worse the system would be with out us. The facts ...
7:26 pm

Unitary status for Norwich is wrong by every measure

Gravatar The plans submitted by Norwich City Council are wrong and actually reckless in their disregard for local communities, local democracy and financial probity. Firstly, Norwich's bid is non compliant. Why ? Because they intend swallowing up parts of neighbouring Broadland and South Norfolk Council's. This is expressly precluded form any bid for Unitary Status, but already the government have said they will consider the bid. Why ? Is it because Norwich is currently Labour run or simply because this government has a flagrant disregard for its own rules. Secondly, not a single "fringe parish" has accepted the need to ...
7:18 pm

More criticism of Breckland Council

Gravatar The Eastern Daily Press continues to do its work to dig up what is going on in Breckland Council. Today the EDP reports that the Public Accounts Committee have looked at the issue and Richard bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk condemned the actions of Breckland as an "outrage". Read more about it HERE.
7:07 pm

Conservative Home homophobia makes the news

Gravatar After called "disingenuous" by Dizzy today in the comments on my previous posting on this topic, the Pink News has now picked up on this issue too. I am grateful to Justin Hinchcliffe for posting me the link to it HERE. Some might be shocked to know I am not a reader usually of this fine publication. What was of particular interest to me is the statement from the Conservative Party at the end of the article. "The majority of the Conservative front bench believe it is right that same-sex couples should be able to adopt" ...
6:31 pm

Anglo-Finnish relations

Gravatar Two photos from last night's game. The first is the aftermath of the celebration of our second goal when everything was peachy. The second is just a random shot of Aaron Lennon from the second half, when everything was much less peachy. Game of two halves? You could say that. Oh well, we still have a fighting chance for our trip to the Emirates next Wednesday - and we're all bound to be in good voice however it goes. Thanks to everyone who emailed and texted to tell me that Spurs have been given that bye through ...
5:35 pm

Iraq: find out more

Gravatar A footnote to my posting about yesterday's debate in Parliament: there's much more detail on the Liberal Democrat proposals for withdrawing British troops on the Liberal Democrat website.
5:10 pm

The socialist approach to broadcasting

Gravatar Lurking in the margins of The Times I saw this brief but depressing story: YouTube rival call A publicly funded rival to YouTube should be set up to make up for a shortfall in quality television, the communications regulator has said. Ofcom suggested that the organisation, called the public service publisher, should have an annual budget for digital content of up to £100 million so it can rival the BBC. Clearly socialism is alive and well in Ofcom! The presence of YouTube is itself evidence that the market is responding to people’s desire for more copious and more varied ...
4:54 pm

Saudi corruption inquiry: Tories silent again as Lib Dems pursue Labour

Gravatar Another day, another angle to the story of why Labour axed the Saudi arms deal corruption investigation (tough on crime? only when it suits, seems to be the line). And David Cameron’s Conservatives? Silent again. Embarrassed by their own involvement in the deal I guess… Al Yamamah conservatives
4:40 pm

Sinderins, Roseangle, Newhall Gardens and Pennycook Lane

Gravatar Attended last night's Blackness Area Residents' Association meeting and this morning, along with local residents, met on-site with Planning & Transportation Department officers at Sinderins to look at the operation of the junction following an accident involving a local resident here before Christmas. Changes to the way that vehicles "trip" the lights sequence at the top of Shepherd's Loan were agreed. Additionally, alterations to both exits from Pinegrove (better signage at Shepherd's Loan exit and alteration to the 'stop' line at Perth Road exit) were agreed. Have also reported dangerous area on pavement in Roseangle caused by a ...
3:57 pm

Basketball for girls...

Gravatar Yesterday’s governor’s meeting was very interesting – we were talking about the plans for the new Children’s Centre to be built at the Butterstile site, which of course means lots of issues for local people like parking and traffic congestion. And lots of issues for the school community, such as who will be in overall charge of the school site now that there’s a Children’s Centre there as well…
3:30 pm

religious hypocracy

Gravatar I was going to write about the current hoopla regarding the catholic church and their adoption agencies, and the hypocracy of seeking exemptions to the anti-discrimination laws. But Alex Wilcock has written a few thousand intelligent words on the subject which pretty much cover it. (And its good to see him back blogging in such depth.
3:25 pm

Facebook say no.

Gravatar Stella from Facebook has replied: Hey, Facebook is for individual (human) use only. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for understanding. I bet she has a cat at home.
2:19 pm

The Problem of ‘Accident’

Gravatar After writing several articles about ‘process issues’ around religion, you might think I’m not interested in the main arguments, but in fact I’ve been involved in theological debate from an early age: it’s probably where I got my training in how to argue obscure Doctor Who lore, and certainly the foundation of some of my politics. So (at the risk of sounding like John Humphrys) I’d like to invite any religious readers to engage with a theological problem I have. While the most frequently raised trouble with God is ‘The Problem of Evil’, I founder on the problem of ‘Accident’. ...
2:13 pm

Hornsey Hospital: protesters go to Number Ten

Gravatar Rush to Downing Street to meet three very, very old ladies who have come to present a petition to Patricia Hewitt via No 10! The Prayer (wording) on the petition reads: We the undersigned condemn: the neglect of Hornsey Hospital and its site; the neglect of older peoples' services in Haringey; the failure to inform and consult with local people. We the undersigned demand that services promised for
2:12 pm

Oi WSPA - join the Lib Dems while you are over here

Gravatar Yesterday and today saw a steady stream of readers of my blog from WSPA (I have the logs, you better all have excuses why you were netsurfing is all I can say!) Of course they all read my posting on Paul Rainger, and why people should join WSPA, but I note that none of the people in WSPA then joined the Lib Dems in return! So, Oi! whisperers - join the Lib Dems through this link today!
2:00 pm

Operation Black Vote talk up Lib Dem chances

Gravatar “LIBDEMS CAN WIN IN INNER-CITY AREAS” say Operation Black Vote, who are taking part in a series of initiatives to improve the party’s level of representation from ethnic minority communities. More details are in a report in The Voice. operation black vote
1:57 pm

Petition for Ruth Kelly to resign

Gravatar There's a new all-party petition on the Number 10 website asking Ruth Kelly to resign in respect of her an attempt to create special exemptions for Catholic organisations to discriminate against same-sex couples adopting children. I'm supporting this and I'd urge all my readers to do likewise. Regardless of anyone's religious beliefs, I take the pretty straight-forward view that human rights mean all humans, and that the rule of law and rights in a democracy trumps the rules and customs of any relgion. It seems to me absurd that the Labour government, which to give them credit, bought ...
1:35 pm

Apple: good news and bad news

Gravatar Every iPod I’ve ever had has broken inside a year, and I’ve had lots. My latest was no exception - but luckily it was still (just) inside warranty so I sent it off to Apple for replacement.  Apple’s repair collection service is great - it works very smoothly, and costs zip. But, as had happened before, [...]
1:22 pm

Making A Mint

Gravatar You come home late at night, turn on the telly and it's a quiz show offering good money for answering ridiculously simple questions.  Only you have to phone in on a premium cost phone line to ent...
1:19 pm

What's in your microwave?

Gravatar Today's Guardian has a fascinating article outlining 10 novel uses for your microwave oven. These include: Get more juice out of lemons and limes, by softening them on high for 15-20 seconds. Sterilise garden soil to make it fit to plant seedlings. Spread 400g soil on a flat dish and heat on high for 90 seconds or until steaming. Get extra life out of a dried-up mascara stick by heating for 30-40 seconds on high - with a cup of water in the microwave beside it for safety's sake. Dye up to 225g of material. Wearing ...
1:18 pm

I am offended by your right to be offended

Gravatar Is it still ultra stylish to use the phrase ‘blogging up a storm’ or is it rather infra dig? Well, whatever may be the phrase of the moment applies to Alex Wilcock, who’s written a series of excellent posts on religion and anti-discrimination laws here, here and here.
12:56 pm

Eurovision 2007

Gravatar Andorra are first out of the blocks. Come on Mozza!
12:33 pm

Wise words on Iraq

Gravatar I am usually more guilty of tarting for my own blog traffic than pointing readers elsewhere, but this posting on Lindyloo's Muze by Paul Reynolds should be read...
12:16 pm

Dave's bike punctured

Gravatar Walking into work this morning there was the fairly routine wait for cars to drive into the Palace of Westminster while a policeman stopped pedestrians. Today it was not one car, but a convoy of three cars that swept in. This usually means a minister, but no the passenger was none other than Dave Cameron. Poor Dave, his bike must have a puncture. Hopefully he will be out of his three cars and
12:09 pm

House of Lords debate Trident

Gravatar Yesterday the House of Lords debated the White Paper: The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent. The Liberal Democrats were very vocal during the debate, below is a summary of their speeches and a link to the whole debate.
10:48 am

Why Should I Want a Bigot to Smile Politely?

Gravatar Splitting yesterday roughly equally between typing blog pieces and doing arm exercises to enable me to keep typing, I reflected that during the months when I’ve barely been able to type at all many of the blog articles going no further than my head were to do with religion. I remember thinking it was probably for the best, as once I got started I’d never shut up: ah well, too late now. Before my next substantive piece on religion, then, I thought I’d detour to wonder why we have anti-discrimination legislation in general, whether the Catholic Church objects or not. ...
10:44 am

Selection Committee Training in Wyre Forest

Gravatar Last night I went to Kidderminster to train Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats on Selection Committee skills. All local Liberal Democrat parties have to have at least two people having been trained in Selection Committee skills prior to placing an advert for a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate.
10:02 am

Local Network Funds available in Redcar

Gravatar NEED EXTRA MONEY IN 2007? This could be your last chance! If you work with children and young people 0 - 19 yrs old and have a short-term project in 2007, but lack the necessary funds to get it started look no further……. The Local Network Fund for Children and Young People (LNF), administered by Tees Valley Community Foundation may be your answer, but you only have 6 months in which to submit your bids( i.e. up to 30 September 2007). If you are a small, locally managed group and you need between £250 and £7,000 ...
9:35 am

Iraq - an enlightening and well informed view from Professor Paul Reynolds

Gravatar Given Ming's statement about troop withdrawal yesterday I asked fellow Lib Dem Paul Reynolds if, given his expertise on the issue (having been a political adviser to the coalition forces in Iraq), he would do a piece for my blog. I find his analysis well informed, insightful and enlightening. Thanks Paul! Southern Iraq - Troop Withdrawal. What comes after ? The new Liberal Democrat ‘public policy’ on Iraq is a significant political step. There has been some bleating on this policy from the British Conservatives and one can expect possibly heated criticism from Britain’s Pro-Bush Labour ...
8:16 am

Getting the vote out

Gravatar Peter Hain steps into the fray once more today by repeating his well-known views on constitutional reform. Voting at 16 and a fully elected House of Lords are all reforms I can happily sign up to, but I am more cautious on the idea of compulsory voting. I do not see what benefits it will bring that can compensate for the loss of freedom of choice. The Western Mail comment column also has reservations. They point out that people don't vote for a whole variety of reasons but that those reasons are a matter for them. Choosing to opt ...
8:07 am

Should we abandon GMT?

Gravatar Apparently there is a Private Members Bill before parliament sponsored by Tory MP Tim Yeo's which proposes that clocks be moved forward an hour in England initially for a three year trial. We would continue with the practice of summer and winter time so winter time would effectively be GMT + 1 and summer time would be GMT + 2 This issue comes up from time to time and the same old arguments get trotted out each time. Farmers and Postal workers would be opposed. ROSPA is in favour because of the likely reduction in accidents. ...
8:00 am

Bill Richardson for President?

Gravatar Whilst I suspect Governor Bill Richardson will not secure the Democrat nomination for the US Presidential election he is an interesting candidate and if Barack and Hillary were not running he could be in with a chance. Below is some background information from his website, he certainly has a good chance with being a part of the new administration should the Democrats win.
7:30 am

The diversity fund: Steve Hitchins responds

Gravatar In response to recent questions raised about the party’s diversity fund, Steve Hitchins has provided Liberal Democrat Voice with a piece that will soon be run in the party’s official newspaper, Liberal Democrat News. – Last summer, Ming Campbell announced the launch of his diversity fund “to assist women, disabled, black and ethnic minority candidates to contest [...]
7:00 am

John Pugh's Bill to scrutinise secret Government contracts

Gravatar John Pugh, Lib Dem MP for Southport, introduced a short Bill in the House of Commons to allow Parliamentary scrutiny of secret Government contracts such as the al-Yamamah arms deal. He said that the release to an appropriate committee of the Commons of sensitive reports like the National Audit Office report on the arms deal would do much to restore credibility all round.
2:24 am

The spirit of co-operation

Gravatar The third delegation of the night concerned the closure by Royal Mail of the Herne Hill Sorting Office and transfer of services to Camberwell. The motion that followed it started in the spirit of some unity. Everyone sagely agreed that they opposed the government's programme of cuts that have led to 4,000 Post Offices being closed since 1999 and the 2,500 that would follow. Labour's Deputy Leader Fiona Colley described her own government's policy as a "haphazard closure of Post Offices with no strategy". It then though got into a silly row about party policies. Liberal Democrat policy ...
1:02 am

Love, peace and harmony

Gravatar Wednesday's Southwark Council Meeting was a game of two halves. There was so much camaraderie and bonhomie between Councillors of all parties agreeing with one another during the first half of the meeting that I began to worry that the combined Executive and their shadows would break out in a rendition of "We are family". Not a bad idea for peace and harmony in the Borough, just not altogether fair on those trapped in the public gallery. The meeting opened with an announcement of the Mayor's birthday. Happy Birthday Mayor Kyriacou, you are excused leafleting today. The first ...
12:29 am

Ming at PMQs - full text

Gravatar It's been a while, hasn't it? A blog is a terrible thing to waste. Ming was excellent at PMQs today - but don't take my word for it, click here and go to 10 minutes 13 seconds in, or read on below: Campbell May I associate myself with the expressions of sympathy and condolence which the Prime Minister has expressed in relation to the young soldier who has been killed. May we also on this
12:19 am

Church Latest: Protect Hate, Hate Love

Gravatar At last, after centuries of taking pot-shots at each other (often literally), the Catholic Church and the Church of England have found common ground: persecuting gay people and children. They’re horrified at the idea of same-sex couples being happy, and have opposed every single removal of state-sponsored bigotry that used to give their churches’ views special rights. But we’re all used to that. Of many disgusting things about their united gospel of hate, the worst is that they are desperately proselytising to keep vulnerable children suffering in care, instead of giving them a chance of happiness with loving same-sex parents. ...
12:14 am

Labour and Tories talking thru their backsides about Iraq

Gravatar I'm sorry if anyone is offended by my bluntness but there are days when I absolutely despair at the total ineffectiveness of our parliamentary democracy, when I totally understand the disconnection and disaffection of the British electorate. Today was such a day. I had been invited to the APPG on debt and personal finance "New Year Reception" with my work hat on. I have to say I was a tad put out by the fact that the hooks on which to hang your coat outside "dining room A" were high enough to make a rather "petite" woman like me speculate ...
12:14 am

Ming at PMQs - full text

Gravatar It's been a while, hasn't it? A blog is a terrible thing to waste. Ming was excellent at PMQs today - but don't take my word for it, click here and go to 10 minutes 13 seconds in, or read on below: Campbell May I associate myself with the expressions of sympathy and condolence which the Prime Minister has expressed in relation to the young soldier who has been killed. May we also on this

Previous days:

Wednesday 24th January 2007, Tuesday 23rd January 2007, Monday 22nd January 2007, Sunday 21st January 2007, Saturday 20th January 2007, Friday 19th January 2007