Just a couple of minutes’ amble from my teaching at SOAS, on the corner of Russell Square, I was able to join the inaugural Pizza and Politics of the Holborn Branch of Holborn and St Pancras Liberal Democrats, at which Camden Council Leader Keith Moffitt and constituency PPC Jo Shaw were the star speakers (and [...]
Tuesday 24th April 2007
A friend phoned me this evening to ask if I knew why his colleague had received a polling card in Breckland. "The local elections", I replied "but his councillor was returned un-opposed !", came his reply. Simple question then for Breckland Council. Are they delivering (and presumably paying) for polling cards to go out to wards where there is no election on May 3rd ?
A couple of weeks ago Have I Got News For You had great fun with Cumbria Tourism's new attempt to promote the Lake District. This involved having the rapper MC Nuts dress up as Squirrel Nutkin to deliver a rap version of Wordsworth’s Daffodils. Not Saussure has the video and adds: And aren’t people always complaining that rap music concentrates too much on themes to do with guns, violence and drugs? Well, surely this is a step in the right direction.Besides, I am very fond of the Divine Comedy's settings of the Lucy poems.
Excitement-a-plenty today at the news that Peter Tatchell is to contest Oxford East at the next general election. Indeed, to read BBC News’ giddily breathless report a casual reader might imagine that the constituency is his for the taking from New Labour’s Andrew Smith. In reality, the Greens polled 4.3% at the last general election, and lost their deposit, while the Lib Dems’ Steve Goddard
“The death knell of freedom of speech in this fair country . . . goodbye freedom of expression, hello thought-crime . . . a small hop, skip and a gulag away from an authoritarian state.” Just a few of the whirling absurdities uttered in response to the latest EU draft proposal on combating racism and [...]
To an American observer, it might appear that Wales’ politicians are trying to join the fraternity in this election campaign. The voters have been bombarded by pledges on all sides, in most cases rather more literally than normal.It all starts with Plaid Cymru and their “7 for ‘07” (clever, huh!) list that adorns all their literature (well, almost all; their first leaflet in Cardiff West did go
"We are all the descendents of thieves, and the world’s resources are inequitably distributed. But we must begin the journey to tomorrow from the point where we are today. We cannot remake the past. We cannot safely divide the wealth equitably among all peoples so long as people reproduce at different rates. To do so would guarantee that our grandchildren and everyone else’s grandchildren, would have only a ruined world to inhabit" (Hardin, 1974:567)
With a slightly giddy feeling I've just realised what Daleks In Manhattan is really all about. The clue is that there are only four of them - four forlorn individuals. Their leader says "If we are SUPERIOR, Why are we not VICTORIOUS" It's obviously a metaphor for the Lib Dem councillors on Rochford DC. There are only 4 of us. The crowded skyline of New York represents the overdevelopment of
no this isn't a odd-one out round, this is pretty much everythin i did last night. yesterday was my housemate, Alex's birthday so we were planning on going to the fun fair in lincoln that was until alex said he had never had a birthday cake. so me and leanna rush outside to her car, and drive down to tescos, although we did get lost on the way, to buy alex a birthday cake, ice cream (for some reason) and candels b4 rushing home to light the candels so alex could finally have a birthday cake. (he later told us ...
We are used to seeing a good number of Conservative candidates described as a "local businessman". Addresses such as Newbury's exclusive Garden Close Lane, usually adorn the names of Tory candidates. Well, this time, the list of West Berkshire Liberal Democrat candidates boosts a good number of "business people" and two people whose address is "Garden Close Lane". Goodness me, there is even a
Rob Fenwick posted an article about the websites of the various Lib Dem GLA wannabes on Lib Dem Voice. It’s worth reading, and Rob has included his working so you don’t have to take his view at face value. Nasser Butt’s website came bottom. Not entirely surprising since, apart from anything else, pretty much [...]
When the US Democrats took control of congress, I looked forward to a few interesting congressional hearings about the war on Iraq. I didn't want flippant entertainment, I passionately believe that Bush and Blair should be tried for war crimes in The Hague. Congressional hearings are a good start in this direction. My expectations have been exceeded from the start. The Democrats have brilliantly
Apart from a short time helping Chris Hall, our Lochee Ward candidate in Menzieshill this afternoon, I have spent most of today campaigning in the West End. It was a lovely morning - the photo above was taken in Blackness Road - and I can honestly say that my third election campaign is proving to be by far the most enjoyable. Very grateful to the City Council's Rapid Response Team who spent one and a half hours yesterday removing graffiti in the area of the 100 steps in Perth Road, following my request.
I took this morning's poll with a pinch of salt, but the scond poll of the day says the same sort of thing with significantly more credible figures. The Guardian/ICM poll has the Tories down 4% at 37%, Labour down 1% at 37%, and Lib Dems up 3% to 21%. All those leaflets must be working! The PPPP (Pigeon Post Poll of Polls) now gives Tories 36.5%, Labour 28.5%, and the Liberal Democrats 21.5% - for the day. Probably tomorrow we will have one of those amusing YouGov polls that put us on 12%. ...
For those people interested in Euro selections, the Westminster to Euro 'conversion' is going to be much tougher this time round. The idea is to give potential candidates quite a good grilling. High time too. Last time round there were people on Euro lists who had a rather vague approach to party policy. OK, none of them embarrassed the Party, but even so all our candidates, even ones for town council elections, should be able to confidently deliver the correct answers to basic policy questions.
There has rightly been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Britain about the treatment dished out to British nationals and residents by the US at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. It has, quite rightly, been described as torture as well as a gross abuse of due process and Human Rights. But one shouldn't lose fact that the US's meritocratic(ish) society is a beacon for many across the world who
So I browsed onto Conservapedia, and saw... "Newspapers today cite a new study claiming that abortion does not cause breast cancer. Read the truth here: the news reports are a fraud. The study ignored African Americans and Hispanics, distorted the data, and downplayed how its own data showed that abortion causes an alarming increase in the most dangerous type of breast cancer. Only on Conservapedia: this study debunked." Oddly, Conservapedia's coverage of the study was rather different from that in the media, for instance on Fox News. You can count the logical fallacies on Conservapedia's coverage ...
This article in G2 makes some serious points, but is manifestly absurd. The title should be warning enough really: 'Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps' Oh dear. A big fat dollop visceral anti-american fact twisting coming right up. I was not disappointed in that sense, but the desperate intellectual poverty of trying to shoe horn the events in Italy, Germany and Russia during the 1920s and 30s into a 'parallel pattern' with modern times was truly lamentable and serves only to show an unforgivable lack of imagination, not to mention factual historical knowledge, in this regard. But it gets ...
After each round of elections there are various chances for us to provide feedback to those involved in running the elections, including both the Electoral Commission and the Department for Constitutional Affairs. If you have any examples of things being done badly (e.g. typos on ballot papers, Returning Officers refusing to provide lists of postal voters, [...]
Good news, Peter Tatchell, the publicity seeking wannabe politician, is to stand in Oxford East at the next General Election. This is of course great news for the Lib Dems. Peter Tatchell was the candidate in the famous Bermondsey by-election. He even wrote a book on the subject "The Battle of Bermondsey", in which he denigrated the Lib Dems obsession with pavement politics. he also had a massive effect on Labour voters with former socialists unable to put a cross next to his name. What his standing will do is to focus people in on the constituency and ...
Today I had the chance to debate the issue of power generation from the River Severn at Westminster with DTI Minister Malcolm Wicks. These so-called 'adjournment debates' don't lead to a vote or necessarily lead to immediate action, but they do give you a platform to challenge a Minister about a local or topical issue in far more detail than is normally possible in a brief oral question. My emphasis today was very much on the need for a fresh appraisal of the many different types of schemes that have been proposed for harnessing the tidal power ...
Dave Anderson (Labour, Blaydon) has been told off for the second time for misusing the “free” (i.e. paid for by taxpayers) postage available to MPs. This time it was 30,000 letters that were wrongly sent out. Easy to see how such a small error could be overlooked Jonathan Wallace has the full story about [...]
Today Ming Campbell travelled to Haddenham in Buckinghamshire, where he visited a local post office and called for the Government to reveal its secret “hit list” of post offices planned for closure. Post office closures in the county mean that many customers - most of them pensioners - are now forced to travel greater distances [...]
All of this talk of pacts between Plaid and Labour has meant that the really interesting news of the day has been lost in the media scrum. I am referring of course to Rod Richard's latest attack on Nick Bourne and the Welsh Conservative Party. Admittedly this is not as colourful as Rod Richards' Golwg article but it is still good stuff. Rod Richards said he had "no regard whatsover" for his successor and that he would not be voting for any other party instead: "I certainly won't be voting Conservative because they don't deserve it and have no ...
Vaughan Roderick really put the cat among the pigeons this morning with the suggestion that Labour and Plaid are poised to sign up to an informal agreement short of a coalition so as to give Rhodri Morgan another four years in the top job. He has been talking to prominent Labour figures who told him that they are considering a deal with Plaid rather than the Liberal Democrats. This immediately led to a spate of denials from, amongst others, the First Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales. I am not sure that Plaid Cymru were too amused ...
Tuesday 24th April 2007 - Hello from a very sunny Strasbourg! I'm happy with the weather, but Rachel is suffering from a severe bought of hay fever and I can barely see her across the desk for the drops, pills and tissues that are building up around her!! She's still here though - soldiering on through the streaming eyes and runny nose!! What she wouldn't have missed
Newspaper and television journalist Mark Webster has been appointed as Senior Media Spokesperson to Menzies Campbell. The new post is the latest step in the modernisation of the Party’s communications capability which has been underway since Ming became Party Leader. Mark has over thirty years experience as a newspaper and television journalist. During that [...]
Cllr Lisa Rajan, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Environment and Transport on Southwark Council, has demanded urgent answers from London Mayor Ken Livingstone in the wake of Mr Livingstone’s admission that Metronet, the firm which runs tube lines through the borough, could face bankruptcy. Metronet runs nine of the deep tube lines in London including the Bakerloo and East London Lines which serve stations in Southwark. “It will be very worrying for Southwark’s residents and visitors to hear the Mayor’s warning that Metronet Rail could collapse,” said Cllr Lisa Rajan. “Many thousands of people use the tube each day to ...
It seems David Cameron only has to open his mouth these days for the press to gather round, pens in hand, like expectant children. The Times brings us the "news" that:"David Cameron has called for a revolution in personal responsibility to halt social decline and promised that a Conservative government would not treat people like children" (We will not treat you like children, says Crusader Cameron)Cameron continues to treat us like adults by chastising society for its lack of responsibility. He goes on to attack the media for its endless depictions of "violence, aggression, sex, vulgarity and shallowness" - ...
I would not have thought this worth blogging about normally were it not for the reason that this lady gave for standing. West Berkshire has not normally had the BNP contesting seats but this time two BNP candidates have put up in Thatcham North. Then the Newbury Weekly News published this article outlining why one of the candidates had decided to stand for the BNP. Apparently she "decided that enough was enough recently when her grandson came home from school after a citizenship lesson and said that he was learning about other religions." I guess I always thought ...
Tonight’s party election broadcast for the English local elections is on the subject of crime. Fronted by home affairs spokesperson Nick Clegg, it deals with Labour’s failures, Liberal Democrat proposals for tackling crime, and the positive records of Liberal Democrat councils. Here’s a preview: You can also watch this film on TV: at 5.55pm on BBC [...]
Roger Helmer one of the Conservative MEP for the Midlands held climate sceptic conference last week. The 'Counter-Consensual Climate Conference', was held at the European Parliament, in Brussels and hosted an array of climate skeptics as well as a screening of the documentary 'the Great Swindle', recently broadcasted by Channel 4 and highly criticised around the scientific world.
As the last couple of days have seen some of the first clouds in East Anglia for weeks, I was getting worried that some new political weather rule of ‘good for campaigning, bad for election day’ was about to be in effect. However, according to here, it should only be bad tomorrow, with nice warm [...]
Party press release: Newspaper and television journalist, Mark Webster, has been appointed as Senior Media Spokesperson to Menzies Campbell. The new post is the latest step in the modernisation of the Party’s communications capability, which has been underway since Menzies Campbell became Party Leader. Mark Webster will play a key role in the Party’s strategic communications team [...]
Sunday 22nd April 2007 - I was delighted to be able to attend the Fusion Awards 07 to celebrate the achievements of the North West Asian community on Sunday night in the company of my family and Lord John Lee and his wife Lady Monique Lee. My father enjoyed catching up with John who we have known since the days when he was the Tory MP for Pendle when as a seven year old I used to canvass and
Sunday 22nd April 2007 - With just less than 2 weeks to go before this year's local elections I was out campaigning again across the region over the weekend. Friday I was in Manchester where Simon Ashley is co-ordinating a strong campaign to win yet more seats from labour and keep the Tories out of another major northern city despite David Cameron's leadership. Saturday saw me working in
I'm a bit late blogging this, but good to see Dimitar Berbatov getting the recognition he deserves - a place in the PFA Premier League team of the year. Especially when he is one of only three non-Man Utd players to make it into the 11 (along with Gerrard and Drogba). 20 goals so far this season - not bad in a team that also has the highest number of different scorers in the league, i.e. a lot of different Spurs players share our goals around, we don't just rely on our strikers... which is a good thing when ...
LABOUR MP for Blaydon, Dave Anderson, has been taken to task for a second time in three months for misusing House of Commons postage. And for the second time his office has been blamed for the “error”. Mr Anderson was forced to pay up in January for misusing taxpayer funded stationery and pre-paid first class mail after he wrote to Labour members to attack Lib Dem councillors and drum up support
CSS were excellent last night. Missed the first support act at the Astoria, as my mate Dan was a bit late - he had a good reason though, his sister had just called him to tell him he'll be getting a nephew/niece before too long. Congratulations. The second support were, I think, Tilly & The Wall. Well, whoever they were, I really liked them. Six always seems a lot of people to have in one band, but it seemed to work so mustn't grumble. CSS were just awesome - rocked through the set with massive energy and finished ...
Interesting debate on the place of non-believers in modern society in the House of Lords (hat tip and interesting review). John Sentamu comes out with the new religious tactic of trying to define atheism as a religion, but this is my favourite bit: Twenty-seven years ago I was chaplain to a young offenders remand centre, Latchmere House. Every inmate was asked to declare his religious affiliation, and four young men were registered as having no religion. One Sunday, all the inmates were offered the chance to go to worship. The four young men with no religion declined the offer, while ...
David Cameron was in the Guardian yesterday banging on about embracing new politics by proposing that the Tories and LibDems stand Greg Dyke as a joint candidate for London Mayor. (You can read it here complete with a stackload of comments). This typifies the shallowness of Cameron. Firstly, it is only after exhausting a long list of hoped-for big names such as John Bird and Mike Read (yes, a
More love and haromony in David Cameron’s party: A FORMER council leader has claimed his own colleagues are more concerned with their allowances than working for their constituents. Tory Rochford district councillor Peter Webster launched an astonishing attack on his fellow members who, he claimed, were “too lazy”. Chris Black has the full story. Meanwhile over in Wales [...]
The European Parliament will today have the second reading of a proposed directive aimed at reducing the economic and environmental impact of floods in the EU. Flood management is a big issue for many in the UK, and particularly in thew West Midlands, whilst not in an area susceptible to flooding I have a keen interest in flood management and will be looking at this debate closely.
The last episode of "Play it again" has been dropped from BBC1 next Sunday following disastrous ratings for last Sunday's episode featuring Diane Abbott learning to play the piano. While this Abbott/piano episode was, I am told, a very worthy programme, it wasn't a prime time contender. There are many worthy programmes broadcast by the BBC but that doesn't mean they have to go out at prime time.
Not been a good couple of days and things don't seem to be improving! First, my dad's car went for its MoT yesterday and it failed. The garage estimated that the work would cost upto £800 to make it road safe again - which is more than the car is worth! to add to this - when it was recently serviced they said it would need new shock absorbers, a new tyre and a couple of new brake pads to pass. That got done and now it needs more!! The thng is that while doing the brake pads you ...
Appalling media misinformation about kryptonite today. As any fule kno, kryptonite doesn’t have to be green, that is just the type that kills Kryptonians (not ’sap them of their powers’ as the BBC and others put it - that’s gold kryptonite). In fact, white kryptonite is supposed to have a lethal effect on plantlife, but [...]
That’s the headline on the front page of today’s Guardian: The UK is covertly trying to oust the head of the world’s main anti-bribery watchdog to prevent criticism of ministers and Britain’s biggest arms company, BAE, the Guardian has learned. The effort to remove Mark Pieth comes as his organisation has stepped up its investigation into the [...]
The Chair of the Royal Free NHS Trust, Pam Chesters (left), explained to a group of Belsize residents why the hospital is applying to be a Foundation Trust. She said the key reasons were to make the hospital more accountable to local people and to allow the Trust to plan investment over a longer period than it can currently, borrow on the open market and keep any financial surpluses which it can't at the moment. Answering questions from Cllr Arthur Graves (right) and Belsize residents, Mrs Chesters admitted that there was no clear evidence that becoming a Foundation ...
"I certainly won't be voting Conservative because they don't deserve it and have no credibility in my view." Rod Richards, former Conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly. Labour sinks to lowest levels since 1983 (Take this poll with a pinch of salt...) Independent Update: The Express doesn't follow my advice on this poll Labour’s figure of 27 per cent in last night’s poll is even lower than the total vote won by Michael Foot when he led the party into the 1983 election with a manifesto described as “the longest suicide note in ...
Obviously I didn't want to post what exactly I had been doing for Wales recently, just that I was "busy" doing stuff for their elections. Up to the point where I headed off to Edinburgh. Well today the printers phoned to say the last of the 102 variants of Election Address literature I had been involved in for the Welsh Assembly elections were on their way to Royal Mail. They have been falling
Monday: That silly sausage Mr Balloon has been back on the radio and television telling everyone about his new new idea: responsibility. This is the same as his LAST new idea, but he's launching it all over again. Perhaps someone needs to take responsibility for making sure he does not REPEAT himself. The PROBLEM of course is the same as last time: you can only TAKE responsibility; you cannot GIVE it to someone else. You need to give them the AUTHORITY and the RESOURCES to deal with it, but YOU remain responsible. Mr Balloon's ...