Sunday 1st April 2007

10:23 pm

Hampstead gets stuffed

Gravatar This afternoon, I managed to catch the closing stages of the Camden Liberal Democrats’ clerical weekend off the Finchley Road, stuffing envelopes with reassurances about the party’s sensible policies on crime. Having been roped in at short notice last year to stand in the Hampstead Town ward (for which I qualified through my teaching at London University) [...]
10:20 pm

Capturing a moment in time (Sizwe Banzi is Dead - National Theatre)

Gravatar Against my better judgement (given her woeful record at picking stuff for us to see) I let the girl drag me to see Sizwe Banzi is Dead at the National last night. I'm so glad I did. Sizwe was written in 1972 as a protest against the apartheid era pass book laws that forced non-whites in South Africa to always carry documentation proving they had the right to live and work in the cities. Failure
10:04 pm

A victory for free speech on the internet

Gravatar The slippery slope of content classification has been avoided for the next few years, at least. It's not just free speech which has won here, young people with strict parents who would otherwise deny them access to information categorised into the XXX domain by well-meaning "think of the family" and "abstinence only" conservative politicians - information like sexual health and pregnancy. The comments by the CEO of ICM Registry are shameful. The reason a registry supports extra domain names is blindingly obvious it is a wonder they even bother to hide it - they want to flog hundreds of ...
9:56 pm

Milliband should run - but won't

Gravatar All the recent speculation about whether or not Milliband will run rather miss the point. He should. I start with the assumption that he wants to be Prime Minister. My evidence? He is a politician. The Pope is Catholic. Given this - why should he not take the gamble and go for it? The scenario under which not running make sense is that Labour will lose the next election, then David Cameron loses the next Election - and we'll get Prime Minister Milliband. This assumes several things: That Labour will lose the next election. Given current opinion ...
9:44 pm

Running before breakfast

Gravatar Cllr Bart Ricketts (left) getting ready to run in the Kingston Breakfast Run this morning, organised by the Surbiton based sporting events company Human Race. He, along with 13 others were running in aid of Young Kingston. Many thanks to all of them, including Paul Kenny, Kingston's Member of the UK Youth Parliament (left). It was a very cold morning but I was...
9:22 pm

Tamil culture

Gravatar This is one of the very accomplished young dancers who entertained a large audience on Saturday evening at Tolworth Girls School. She is a member of the Kingston Tamil School, which teaches the Tamil language, music and dance to over 200 young people every week. The school is just one of the branches of the Surbiton based Institute of Tamil Culture. ITC Fine Arts promotes...
8:56 pm


Gravatar ‘Fraid I’ve never been much of a Dr Who fanboy: ‘quite-enjoy-it-sometimes-watch-it’ is about my level of enthusiasm. Last night’s episode, ‘Smith and Jones’, was a really rather fine opener to the new series, and it was especially good to see Roy Marsden back on the small screen. Between 1984 and 1998, he was the personification of PD James’s slightly implausible poet-sleuth, Commander Adam
8:52 pm

Spoilt for choice

Gravatar The 'Golden Dozen' has reached its half-dozen anniversary - check out a selection of the best of the Lib Dem blogosphere at Lib Dem Voice. Or if you fancy a more wide-ranging round-up, check out the peripatetic BritBlog, the 111th outing of which is mooring at Jonathan Calder’s always-excellent Liberal England blog.
8:29 pm

Young Scot Awards, and Men in Kilts.........

Gravatar Oh dear me blog has bitten back, can't change size or colour or insert links anymore.........what did I do to deserve this? Anyway, I had waited until today to write about my trip to Glasgow last week for the Young Scot Awards, since I figured I would be able to put a link to the Sunday Mail (who were sponsoring) sure enough the Sunday Mail is full of articles, though no pix on line. There is a great article by Elaine C Smith who compared here: It was an awe ...
8:20 pm

Strippers, Steam, and Sand

Gravatar ... in the sense that we've spent the weekend working on our new flat. I'll just tell you that removing woodchip wallpaper is a slow process involving a steam thinggy, and you can make up your own jokes about long steamy stripping sessions etc. This weekend I've had my first use of a power tool (a palm sander) and also for the first time in my life whacked a brick wall with a hammer until it fell down (in this case revealing the original 30s fire). Very satisfying. Does this mean that my conversion to heterosexuality is entirely ...
8:08 pm

And the result of America's new policy in Iraq is ...

Gravatar Put simply, deaths are up, attacks are up, the policy is failing and nobody in the Bush administration will admit it. Read about it all HERE.
7:13 pm

Is the Libby Bird about to fly away?

Gravatar There is a fun story on Suz Blog which I regularly visit. Suz Blog: Is the Libby Bird about to fly away I have submitted a comment, which just in case it does not make it to her site, is re-printed again here. I regularly shop with a Liby-bird canvas bag acquired at a Conference in Blackpool a couple of years ago... and in the past two years, three people have come up to me and said "I recognise that logo on your bag - are you a Liberal Democrat?" I confess the truth of ...
6:19 pm

Sarah Carr selected for Hereford

Gravatar Excellent news today that Sarah Carr has been picked at the Liberal Demcrat candidate for the cumbersomely named Hereford and South Herefordshire constituency. If elected, she will become only the second Liberal Democrat female MP to take over from an incumbent male MP (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, [...]
6:13 pm

Church Homophobia again....

Gravatar ... in what is becoming a recurring theme yet another example of the Church's intolerance on this blog; and I was raised as such a nice christian boy. Today's Observer highlights what could become an interesting test case on the tension written into employment laws between he freedom of religious groups to insist that their staff conform to their religious teachings and their staff not to be
6:03 pm

Newroz celebrations

Gravatar Campaign team meeting and door knocking to start off and then off to Shoreditch Park in Hackney to speak at the Newroz celebrations. Thousands of members of the Kurdish community come together to celebrate the year's 'renewal'. With bands, dancers and political speakers - the sun shone and the fun goes on. Simon Hughes and I were the Liberal Democrat contingent - and Simon is clearly an old
4:51 pm

Day 2282: Iain Dale attacks Mr Balloon

Gravatar Sunday: Responding to the revelations that Mr Balloon had been FOUND GUILTY of taking CASH in return for IMPROPER USE of his Commons Office, famous diarist and losing Conservatory candidate in North Norfolk, Mr Dale Winton, struck out, saying: "I condemn 'cash for access' wherever it happens." Further SCORNING the Conservatory Leader's LACK OF MORAL FIBRE, Mr Dale continued: "I stood at the last election with 10 promises of how I would conduct myself in Parliament. I was the only Tory candidate to do it" Mr Balloon REFUSED to make those same promises to ...
4:47 pm

Leadership and Vision

Gravatar Leadership and Vision I have recently read a number of articles on leadership, from the IDeA, from a 203-2005 MORI study, from an old favourite Sun Tzu and the Art of War. Now Sun Tzu has the benefit of having committed to writing early, like about 2500 years ago! More of Sun Tzu later, for now here are the top tips for leadership from David Craig, Associate Director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute: Communicate, communicate, communicate Know when to let go Communicate Tone, not Plans Get the Culture Right Passion and Energy Matter Accept some ...
4:45 pm

Day 2281: DOCTOR WHO: Smith and Jones

Gravatar Saturday: HONESTLY! As if it wasn’t bad enough that last year Dr Who returns to CAT MONSTERS, this year Dr Who returns to STUPID THICK RHINOS! Where are the SPACE ELEPHANTS, then? Wise and kind and wearing nuclear-powered rocket packs! I am off to start a PETITION for Space Elephants in Doctor Who – I will leave Daddy Richard to write some stuff about last night’s adventure. The question that everyone wanted answered was, after the departure of Billie Piper, after Torchwood, would the magic still be there? Well, the answer is a resounding “yes”, with ...
4:36 pm

BritBlog Roundup 111

Gravatar Welcome to Liberal England for this week's BritBlog Roundup. As it is no. 111, I have asked the cricket umpire David Shepherd to jiggle about on one leg while I put it together. Thank you to everyone who made nominations. There were so many that I have not had to add any of my own. In fact, where someone suggested more than one posting from the same blog, I just chose one of them. To work... The topic of the week has been the seizure of British sailors by the Iranians. Cape to Rio thinks they could ...
4:17 pm

Carr campaigning in Ross-on-Wye

Gravatar As I left Hereford this morning to spend hours on trains trying to get back to Wolverhampton (no direct trains to Birmingham this morning!), the new candidate Sarah Carr was off to Ross-on-Wye to start campaigning for the next General Election and these Local Elections.
3:54 pm

Big up to the Chesterfield Massive…

Gravatar … or whatever.  Out with Paul Holmes, Helen Walsh, Ian Openshaw, Kevin Maher and Austin Rathe yesterday (I hope that bit of outrageous blog-pimping fits on the Lib Dem Blogs feed…) Have to say the response on the doorstep was very positive so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that award winning Chesterfield Council stays the right shade of [...]
1:50 pm

Conservatives accused in poll fixing scandal

Gravatar It’s a common complaint that when phone polls run by newspapers produce odd results the papers often publish them anyway. So full credit to one local paper for taking a rather close look at the results of its phone poll over whether the pay-off given to Northampton Council’s (now former) Chief Executive should be made public:  THE CONSERVATIVES [...]
1:39 pm

Stockton Mayor's Blog

Gravatar Cllr Suzanne Fletcher has been Lib Dem Mayor of Stockton Borough Council since last May, and as Mayor, she’s been writing up her days on a blog on the Borough Council’s website. The idea has been a huge success.  The community groups she has visited have been thrilled with the coverage and the photographs on the [...]
1:11 pm

Is 11 bigger than 10?

Gravatar As Jonathan Wallace points out, there’s one slight flaw in the Conservative Party’s excitement at the number of Liberal Democrat councillors who have switched to them. More have actually switched from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats (11 to 10) than have gone the other way since the end of Michael Howard’s leadership. And I don’t think [...]
12:47 pm

Top of the Blogs: the Golden Dozen #6

Gravatar The sixth of our weekly round-ups from the Lib Dem blogosphere, featuring the seven most popular stories according to click-throughs from the Aggregator, together with a hand-picked quintet you might otherwise have missed. A rather eclectic mix this week, in descending order of popularity: 1. ‘Nick Clegg’s Leadership Plans’ on Linda Jack’s Lindyloo’s Muze blog. Linda teases her [...]
12:14 pm

Arnie needs Stephen Tall to show him what to do.

Gravatar Stephen is famous not just for being Lib Dem blogger of the Year but for the professional way he carried on when a journalist fainted as he was being interviewed on live television. California's Governor obviously needs some coaching from our Stephen, as you can see here.
11:24 am

Star Struck

Gravatar It was a wow-factor evening. At a rousing fund-raiser dinner for the Manchester Lib Dems, I spoke with the Guru himself. About what, you might ask … Thomas the Tank engine of course – like my own sons, Charles Kennedy’s is fascinated by the little engines and their exploits! Dinner, speakers and issues raised were apt, focused and superb. Manchester borders our Prestwich council ward so it’s
10:55 am

Haley's Pix

Gravatar Just got these pix from niece Haley who is on a round the world tour with her partner Lawrence......they have now reached Australia. Posting here to make it easier for friends and family to view.....and to make myself jealous!
10:35 am

Campaigning Today - and Happy Pesach to Jewish readers.

Gravatar The weekend's leafleting continues. Yesterday there were lots of us out, distributing to a fiar proportion of Sedgley. The weekends are always busy, and yesterday was no exception. Although leafelting is at 12 and 5, the campaigning doesn't end there. Our campaign HQ is continually noisy with the sound of leaflets printing, being folded and sorted. There are also enveloped that need stuffing (90
10:12 am

Campaigning - 18th Century Style

Gravatar I am full of Chinese food, which is a concern given the time (10.15am on Sunday). However, rest assured that this isn't a desperate reaction to being covered in leaflet ink day-in and dayout, meaning that I've taken to eating my dinner in the morning. Instead it is merely a hangover from last night's oriental glutton-fest at Pacific in Manchester. Whilst there, Tamsin and I devoured enough tasty
10:09 am

Anguish Over the 15

Gravatar My heart goes out today to the relatives of the 15 naval personnel held in Iran. This leader in the Telegraph yesterday - and the comments following it - should be preserved as a historical document summarising the international mess that our government has got our country - and servicemen - into. Some key comments: With UKIP running this country no foreign power would dare to capture any
9:59 am

Eggs and packaging

Gravatar This press release from Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson, could well be an April Fool's joke, though if it is she might have dated it as such rather than 31 March. We have to assume therefore that she is making a serious point, which of course she is: 85% OF EASTER EGGS ARE PACKAGING – SWINSON Saturday 31st March 2007 The Liberal Democrats have released research showing that only 15% of an average Easter egg is made from chocolate. The main findings are: • The average volume of Easter ...
9:29 am

child care awards

Gravatar People in Liverpool are being asked to nominate early years and child care workers for a set of awards. I came across this on the City Council website the other day. Child care is such an important field to be in, yet there are still some who see it as low status, and its awards like this that help reinforce the fact that it's really important, valuable work which we should be encouraging people to see as a profession. The awards information is at The first stage is just nominations - but the closing date ...
9:02 am

Lambeth Council to introduce 'protest tax'

Gravatar In a move that many will find upsetting and bizarre it has emerged that Labour-run Lambeth Council intends to introduce a 'protest tax' or Aggravated Dissent Charges (ADCs) on large delegations to Council meetings that behave in a manner "likely to upset the smooth running of Council Meetings". The decision follows several large protests within and without Lambeth Town Hall this year that have led to concerns about the rising cost of security and the safety of Labour Members. Several have wounded feelings as a result of uncouth remarks made by pensioners protesting against soaring charges for personal ...
9:01 am

Birmingham 'worst' over climate change

8:43 am

Look North for A Mayor

Gravatar It's typical of the living-in-the-past attitude of today that even a blog I respect - Liberal Democrat Voice - is supporting David Owen as Mayor of London. This annoys me on several levels - for one thing David Owen was never my cup of tea (although I heard he was very good at encouraging activists, which is a plus point.) But the whole thing reminds me of when a big-name overpaid football
7:33 am

Regulating the politicians

Gravatar How politicians interact with their voters is becoming more and more diverse. Many Assembly members already have blogs and it is likely that this number will grow after the election. Ciaran Jenkins on Blamerbell Briefs comments on the increasing use of Facebook by those who seek to serve and hints that perhaps we should act our age. His taunting rather reflects Glyn Davies' bewilderment at finding himself a member of this social network. Ciaran tells us that 'Facebook is for writing crap banter on your mates' walls. It's for stalking attractive women in American colleges. And it's for ...
3:41 am

12% of Tories are racists - Official

Gravatar Interesting story on Conservative Home reporting on the latest You Gov opinion poll. It not only reports that Lib Dem support is on the up, but it shows people's second preferences. What it clearly shows is that 12% of Tories second choice votes would be for the BNP. No further comment needed.
2:12 am

Opinion: Owen is the only credible candidate for Mayor

Gravatar Specualtion has been to rife as to all the opposition parties will nominate as their candidate for Mayor of London and take on Red Ken. The Tories are having a primary to consider the huge range heavy-hitters being touted, such as Nick Boles, Steve Morris and Iain Dale, while the Greens have just plumped for [...]
1:21 am

Slap an ASBO on all of them?

Gravatar There was I, listening to my ipod (some cheesy pop song) as I was walking to the bus stop on my way to a friend's house when a group of young people, mainly dressed in track suits and hoodies joined the path I was walking along. I bowed my head, no eye contact is my first reaction, if I don't look at them and they don't look at me then we wont have to speak and I will be able to get through my
12:59 am

Blair to tread boards

Gravatar Tony Blair’s post-political career is to be theatre, the Observer reports today. He’ll be appearing in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as the Reverend John Hale. Which is the character I played when we did The Crucible at school in 1992. I spent most of the time of my German exchange (when not playing Civ on my exchange mate’s [...]
12:13 am

Pink Dog has gone to New Zealand

Gravatar Pink Dog is off on holiday to New Zealand. I think he is feeling jealous. He wants to be a DJ like DJ Badger. DJ Shine will understand this...

Previous days:

Saturday 31st March 2007, Friday 30th March 2007, Thursday 29th March 2007, Wednesday 28th March 2007, Tuesday 27th March 2007, Monday 26th March 2007