Friday 6th April 2007

11:53 pm

Tales of the Cemetery

Gravatar After lunch at Masala Zone in Earl’s Court, my dearest friend, the octogenarian novelist Francis King, and I ambled down Earl’s Court Road in the sunshine. When I lived in the area, more than 20 years ago, there used to be a wonderful secondhand bookshop in the street. Then later, a large Waterstone’s opened. But [...]
11:03 pm

Menky stat check (3)

Gravatar Gosh, blogging for three years. As always on anniversary day, here’s some self-obsessed scores on the doors. I’m not one for harping on about my hit count or Google rank every five minutes (not least because there’s not much to shout about) but once a year seems acceptable. Previous two years’ figures are in brackets, last [...]
10:36 pm

How can you tell when Tony Blair is lying ?

Gravatar Labour are going to introduce lie detectors in to benefit officer in order to catch out those people who are lying when making claims. I wonder what response a lie detector would have given if Tony Blair had been using one when he gave the "dodgy dossier" details and when he misled parliament over the 45 minute claim. The problem is that I think Blair believes his own bullshit so even a lie detector couldn't catch him out even when he is lying. So in answer to the question, how can you tell when the Prime Minister is lying ? ...
10:27 pm

Labour beat the scientists to it

Gravatar Scientists have explained that they may be able to invent an invisibility cloak in the future. I was under the impression that the Labour Party had already invented one. They have loads of non-entity MP's whose names appears mysteriously in Hansard, but nobody (not even Iain Dale) knows who they are and nobody seems to see them, whilst locally, Labour seem to have been using their invisibility cloaks really well as they have the lowest number of candidates ever for local elections in this area.
10:06 pm

Good Friday

Gravatar No mayoral engaments today. Instead I joined members of my church, St Paul's Hook, and of the other churches in Chessington and Hook for a service at St Paul's. We then walked behind the cross through the shopping centres to St Catherines for prayers and hot cross buns. Thanks to Alan Dean for this photo of part of the procession as it made its way through Hook...
9:49 pm

Notes from the Campaign 3

Gravatar Writing on the BNP is the Scylla and Charybdis of political debate. The dilemma is fresh in my mind because, for the first time, they are going to contest all 33 Leeds wards In May's election. Although as this blogs only referral to the Standards Board for England was made by my Colleague Cllr Chris Beverley (BNP, Morley South ) it presents more local challenges. The choice is this. If you "blog up" the BNP threat as Margaret Hodge discovered you can get blamed for giving them the publicity and credibility they crave. ( Although Ms Hodges prediction about ...
8:14 pm

The Parish Church

Gravatar I broke out of my liturgical comfort zone on Thursday evening and attended the Maundy service at All Hallows, Hyde Park. ( check out the excellent website at ) This is technically my Parish Church and I always wonder why I never go. It has a long and proud tradition of radical /liberal Theology and social action. The current Vicar , Ray Gaston is a significant local figure and All Hallows played a big role in the inter faith response to the "Bomb Factory" discovery in 2005. They also deserve considerable credit for there work On Lesbian and ...
8:06 pm

Congratulations Councillor Nigel Rock

Gravatar Liberal Democrat Councillor Nigel Rock has been re-elected unopposed for Stockton and Napton on Stratford-on-Avon District Council.
7:48 pm

The contents of the goody bags given by Iran to our sailors?

Gravatar Arguably, they may have been illegally kidnapped and paraded in front of the media, in contravention of the Geneva Convention, but, bless them, the Iranian military gave "goody bags" to our released sailors. Oh well, that's alright then. It's just like a kid's party or a beano at conference. Take a goody bag as you leave. One wonders what was in those goody bags? Key fobs emblazoned with
6:26 pm

If you say something often enough it does not make it true

Gravatar Dick Cheney asserts till that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime had close links with al-Quaeda, according to a report on the BBC website. I guess the USA have had to give on on proclaiming that the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction and it seems that this is the only line that the Republicans can still push because it is difficult to prove disprove that "meetings" might have been held. Still, if nothing else, it goes to show that some people, Bush and Cheney included, who have sent so many others to their graves are going to go to ...
6:15 pm

Local election candidates for Southport 2007

Gravatar Nominations have closed for the local council elections on May 3rd and there are no real surprises in Southport. Long serving Liberal Democrat Councillor for Kew Ward, and former Mayor of Sefton, Terry Francis is retiring. Ainsdale Conservative Councillor Tony Brough is also not re-standing. Barring any last minute withdrawals, there will be 28 candidates for the 7 available seats. As well as full slates for the three main parties, there are 5 candidates for the Southport Party, 1 for UKIP, and 1 BNP.
5:29 pm

Things that really annoy me; Number 2 - Flat Pack furniture

Gravatar I didn't blog yesterday as I had to construct some flat pack furniture. I have never liked putting flat pack stuff together, however, for some odd reason, my wife does. She is, at the moment, quite pregnant so the task of constructing the computer desk and drawers fell to me. Why do MFI insist on selling flat pack stuff, but only tell you when you open the packaging that you will need glue, that they do not provide ? Okay, first obstacle overcome as my brother lives five minutes away and he has lots of glue. Next problem, ...
4:15 pm

Belsize Police crack down on car offences

Gravatar Officers from the Belsize Safer Neighbourhoods Team recently took part in a remarkably successful two day operation to check vehicles using Adelaide Road. During the sting 54 cars were ticketed for either failing to display their tax or for not having a valid tax disc. Fourteen commercial vehicles were found to be carrying waste without a licence. One driver was given a ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt and 26 drivers were issued verbal warnings for other offences such as inadequate seat belts for children, using mobile phones, defective lights etc.
3:50 pm

So which way will Rebus vote?

Gravatar Rebus author Ian Rankin says that Scotland was not yet ready for independence, claiming it would make Scots "even more chippy". He said he had not yet decided how to vote, but was "not convinced" by the SNP's arguments and could not see what Scotland would gain from independence. and that Rebus is definitely old Labour. Me, I've voted Labour, Lib Dems and Green in the past. I've voted
3:36 pm

Barenaked all over again

Gravatar I took myself off to Brighton last night to watch Barenaked Ladies in concert again (London was so much fun I thought I couldn’t miss up the opportunity to have a second go - I’m the kind of person who plays a new song twenty times in quick succession if I like it) and this [...]
3:16 pm

Busy week!

Gravatar In my blog of 17th March, I reported that I had asked the Waste Management Department for a new litter bin in Blackness Street following the bin being burnt (see story by clicking headline above). Pleased to report that a new bin has now been provided (see right). Grateful to all residents who have wished me the best for May 3rd's City Council elections - really heartened by the really positive feedback locally. Had a useful meeting with the Lord Provost and representatives of the Western Cemetery Association at the City Chambers yesterday - we are getting ...
2:18 pm

What's the biggest problem for Palestinian girls?

Gravatar Israel? Poverty? The US? The answer I actually got when visiting Kalandia School on the West Bank rather suprised me ... and you can read about it in my latest column.
2:10 pm

Sun-shiny day

Gravatar Great weather outside for the bank holiday, which is fabulous news for all concerned I think. Especially those of us whose hundreds of leaflets get ruined when it rains. Today we have begun leafleting St Mary's with the first official election Focus, as well as a letter from me to local people explaining why I'm running. The letter won't be full of surprises to readers of the blog - issues like
1:24 pm

Davis Cup tennis

Gravatar I forgot that Britain are playing Holland in the Davis Cup this weekend. Right now, in fact. Andy Murray, whose last game was a hammering in the Miami Masters semi-final by Novak Djokovic, has started well, already a break up against Raemon Sluiter. Henman will be playing the other singles match later today and Murray's brother Jamie is set to team up with Greg Rusedski for the doubles. Anyway, it's on BBC2 now if you want to go and watch. I do.
1:20 pm

Hazel's new idea

Gravatar this morning my dad told me that Labour party Chair Hazel Blears has had a wondeful idea. the lovely minister without portfolio has begun selling various items, from mouse mats to t-shirts, to aid her bid to become deputy PM. i wonder where she got that idea from
1:10 pm

We wuz robbed

Gravatar The match last night was pretty entertaining overall. Sevilla really did look quite good - but then you'd expect that, looking at their position in La Liga at the moment. But we looked good too, even if on balance, if you hadn't seen the goals, you might have guessed Sevilla 2 Spurs 1 would have been a fair(ish) result. But as their equaliser came from a penalty which was one of the worst decisions I've seen for a long time and their second goal came from Spurs failing to clear the ball when they had chance, it's difficult not ...
1:07 pm

On the knocker!!

Gravatar Thursday 5th April 2007 - My office at Team Karim HQ had organised two full days of working with local election candidates around the region before allowing me a break for Easter so I have been clocking up the miles over the last couple of days around Hazel Grove, Manchester and Liverpool. It's always good to catch up with our campaigning teams around the key seats and see what is happening on
12:37 pm

The case for fair-minded journalism

Gravatar How does the media come out of Gordon Brown’s 1997 decision to scrap dividend tax credits, the so-called ‘pensions scandal’? On one level, they will claim vindication. After all, it was The Times’s two-year battle to publish the advice of Treasury officials which sparked this week’s controversy, with Mr Brown’s credibility once again placed in the full glare of publicity. Only after being
12:19 pm

Congratulations Councillor Nigel Hartin

Gravatar Nigel Hartin has also been re-elected unopposed to the Bucknell Ward of South Shropshire Council. Well done Nigel!
12:02 pm

Not reminiscent of Doctor Who fandom at all

Gravatar “It was a total rip-off of the sub-plot from Midsummer’s Nights Dream anyway. Talk about unoriginal.” “I’m still waiting for WS to explain the continuity errors in Antony and Cleopatra. There is NO WAY that both AAC and Julius Ceasar can take place simultaneously!” What if the Globe Theatre had a message board? (via Mat)
11:59 am

Yahoo vs Google

Gravatar I find it interesting where items appear in the Yahoo search engine vis-a-vis the Google search engine. For some reason Yahoo has me at number 3 for hhctrl.ocx whereas as far as Google is concerned my blog is not in the top 100. Still back to the printing now. [later the same day] The answer is that the Google search updated later. I end up as item 7 on the Google Search. This has driven my
11:58 am

Election fever starts

Gravatar Now that the nominations have closed a number of interesting things have emerged in the potential contests for Bridgnorth District Council. Of the 6 rogue Conservative with Independants group - who are all pro-unitary. 4 have already been returned unopposed. Two  partners of prominant Conservatives are standing in Bridgnorth as well as their husbands. If elected it would make [...]
11:34 am

Sunny Edinburgh

Gravatar Arrived in sunny Edinburgh yesterday. The Scotsman today sums it up perfectly under the heading "A big mistake to underestimate the Lib Dems' electoral appeal" Further news from the campaign of Siobhan Mathers for Edinburgh Central to follow. The competition is a straight two horse race between local champion Siobhan and the Labour candidate. Forget all the national hype about the SNP, their
11:31 am

Canvassing and litter

Gravatar Unlike my political pals, I don’t delight in knocking on people’s doors and disturb their evening meal but it’s an important part of our campaigning. It’s also a way of meeting residents and picking up case work. So, two roads have now got requests for traffic calming assessments and I’ve asked why a few key areas are badly littered. Apparently with cut-backs we only get streets cleaned every
11:21 am

Women..........what are they good for...certainly not the front line?

Gravatar The storm engendered in the press this morning about women in combat raises many issues. Their deaths, coming as they do hard on the heels of the Iran incident where, heaven forbid a bloody woman complicated the situation, has sadly unearthed the sexism still lurking just beneath the surface in some quarters As someone who, like one of the women killed yesterday, served with the Intelligence Corps, it made me think long and hard about the issues. What really gets my goat is the sort of comments that are being made about this. There is ...
11:18 am

Who are the most straight talking politicians?

Gravatar Liberal Democrats Ming Campbell and Nick Clegg come out as two of the top three in this survey.
11:02 am

Tory MP on doorstep one hour before nominations due

Gravatar I have heard a whisper about a Conservative MP who turned up unannounced on someone's doorstep one hour before nominations were due last Wednesday. Said MP promptly thrust some nomination forms in front of the person to sign as a official candidate of the Conservative party for the council elections. Shurely shome mishtake?!
10:19 am

North Wales Shotgun licence Fiasco!

Gravatar  Fair green future Dyfodol teg, dyfodol gwyrdd      North Wales shotgun licence fiasco!   Owners of shotguns in North Wales are being put in compromising situations by slack Home office administration of strict firearms regulations, says Mark Young, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly candidate for the Vale of Clwyd. THIS IS AT A TIME WHEN THE LEVEL OF GUN CRIME IN NORTH WALES HAS INCREASED MORE THAN FOURTEEN FOLD IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS! Mark has discovered that the time it takes for North Wales Police to process many shotgun certificate renewals is taking up ...
9:39 am

Belsize has three grass verges

Gravatar Belsize has three parks (Antrim Gardens, Primrose Gardens and Adelaide Road Nature Reserve) and three grass verges. How do I know that? Because yesterday Arthur and I went on a walkabout with Camden's head of parks and open spaces. As a result he's promised to replace the notice board in Primrose Gardens and block off the short cut through the flower bed that some anti-social dog owners use. But actually the reason we invited him to Belsize was because we wanted to talk about the grass verges! At a recent Safer Neighbourhoods Panel meeting residents asked who was ...
8:22 am

Colne Milly

Gravatar We had a long weekend last week in Colne, Lancashire. This was to meet relatives and finalise some arrangements. However, we had an exceptionally enjoyable time. The Bronte museum at Howarth was a particular highlight. As usual, we stayed in the wonderful Crown Hotel in Albert road, Colne. This is just near the railway station. Recently, this statue of "Milly" by Claire Bigger has been erected
12:18 am

My nomination is in as well

Gravatar A number of bloggers have posted that their nomination papers are now in and accepted. And one or two are even returned unopposed. Not to be left behind, I suppose I had better mention that my nomination is submitted for the Liberal Democratic Republic of Whickham South and Sunniside in Gateshead. Last year my colleague Marilynn Ord got about 66%. I can't remember who stood for the Conservatives
12:16 am

Ebbs and tides

Gravatar It is actually much harder than I envisaged keeping this blog up-to-date on a daily basis in the middle of a keenly fought election. It has been particularly difficult to find the time to do anything resembling a diary or a contemporary commentary on events. Nevertheless I will endeavour to achieve this on a spasmodic basis. With nominations closing on Wednesday, yesterday was the first proper campaigning period of the election and boy did it feel like it. The sun was beating down on us as we leafletted and canvassed, whilst far away in Cardiff the Welsh Liberal Democrats ...

Previous days:

Thursday 5th April 2007, Wednesday 4th April 2007, Tuesday 3rd April 2007, Monday 2nd April 2007, Sunday 1st April 2007, Saturday 31st March 2007