Thursday 26th April 2007

11:55 pm

A Political Hot Potato

Gravatar As a change from the now commonplace (though often delightful) Pizza and Politics, Hackney LibDems hosted a ‘Political Hot Potato’ this evening, at which I led a lively discussion on the topic “America: Friend or Foe?”. For a long time now, the British have had a love-hate relationship with the United States, which is not surprising, [...]
11:45 pm

Stick it up your mitre

Gravatar Peter Halliday, a former choir master, was jailed for 30 months after today after admitting sex offences against boys in the 1980s. The lead story on the morning's news was the Church of England's decision not to report him to the police when complaints were first made in 1990. The BBC quotes David Wilcox, the Bishop of Chichester, who was party to the decision in the days when he was Bishop of Dorking (not a see you often hear about). He defends the Church's actions in the following terms: "I believe that we sought to act in the ...
11:22 pm


Gravatar My Postal Ballot has finally arrived, the Council had led us to believe it would arrive Monday but I had to wait today. It will of course be no surprise that I voted Liberal Democrat. I think we have an excellent chance here and look forward to the result.
11:17 pm

The Greens

Gravatar I think one of the stories of this set of local elections is the Green Party, they have a record number of candidates with over a thousand across the country. Whilst I accept their (and everyone else's democratic right to stand) it does annoy me slightly when they choose not to stand everyone in a borough but seem to go out of their way to stand in areas that are good for the Liberal Democrats.
10:56 pm

Branson - Master Publicist

Gravatar A Canadian colleague has drawn my attention to Richard Branson’s new campaign to get people in Canada to save energy. The slogan for the campaign in ‘Flick Off’ but what really grabs attention is the way in which the logo has been designed….
10:40 pm

Yes, but did you go on this protest march ?

Gravatar Whilst my fellow Lib Dem's argue about whether they were on the march or not, can I just ask were they there on the march with me and Martin Luther King ? Ah, what a day that was !
10:38 pm

Moral High Ground

Gravatar Although some Plaid candidates continue to seek the moral high ground in their criticism of us, it is instructive that when it comes to their own literature they are equally at fault and sometimes worse. The Plaid Cymru freepost leaflet for Swansea East for example contains a blatant lie in an attempt to gain electoral advantage over the Morriston Neurosurgery issue. Their candidate, Danny Bowles, makes the claim that "When Plaid proposed a motion in the Assembly to keep the (neurosurgery) unit in Swansea, all members of the other parties voted against it". In fact all the local ...
10:26 pm

The sun returns

Gravatar As pleasant as it is campaigning in the sun the fact remains that I am incapable of getting a tan. Instead I have to wear long sleeved tops and collars that protect my neck in case I turn too red and burn. Nevertheless, it was a surprise this morning when I joined Dai Lloyd, Tamsin Dunwoody and Mark Isherwood in a Wales Video Network debate in front of students on four or five different sites around the Country, to see myself reflected back on the TV screen as bright orange. For a moment I thought I had been ...
10:21 pm

Headline of the Day

Gravatar This is what we pay the licence fee for: Hi-De-Hi actor finds hidden bomb
9:42 pm

Hey, I was on the march too!

Gravatar Sniff. I'm feeling a bit left out from all these blog postings about a certain march. I was there too you know, as you can see from this photo.
8:55 pm

When the two Americas meet

Gravatar The video above shows what happened when the choir from Norco High School went to see Mike Daisey's one man show Invincible Summer. Its a rather more direct approach to theatre criticism than I was taught at school. Although like every other sentient being on the planet I whole heartedly condemn such attempts at censorship and intimidation, I can't be the only theatre lover who has seen this
8:52 pm

Tories lavish with the half-truths

Gravatar The Tories found a trowel to tell us what a great thing Osborne's meeting with President Bush was going to be. Here's how they presented it to the Times: George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, will meet President Bush in the White House today in a significant boost to the Conservatives’ international credibility and a thawing in their frosty relations with Washington. Mr Bush invited Mr Osborne to join him at an event on tackling malaria across the developing world after he had his first meeting with Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, at the White House a few weeks ago. ...
8:48 pm

Councillor who warned ship looters accused of joining in

Gravatar by James Chard News comes to us from Devon which will give yet more ammo to the "all you politicians are the same brigade". It seems that now even the Official Monster Raving Loony Party is mired in allegations of sleaze: Councillor who warned ship looters accused of joining in For those who have never heard of Stuart Hughes, he made news way back in 1991 when he became the first Official (and we think the word "Official" is significant here) Monster Raving Loony to be elected as a councillor when he won the Sidford ...
8:33 pm

Do you link here ?

Gravatar I always try to give reciprocal links to other blogs, with the only exceptions being when the blogs are racist or offensive. I check on Technorati as often as possible to look for blogs that link here, but I am aware I could be missing some. So if you link to NorfolkBlogger, and want a reciprocal link, just let me know.
8:10 pm

Decline and Fall (The Entertainer - The Old Vic)

Gravatar Following Friday night's trip to see Zoe Wanermaker at the National last night the Girl and I ventured down the road to the Old Vic to see her My Family co-star Robert Lindsay at the Old Vic. Lindsay is currently giving his version of Archie Rice, the fading music hall 'star' made famous by Lawrence Olivier, in the Old Vic's 50th anniversary revival of The Entertainer, Joe Orton's follow up to
7:57 pm

I wonder...

Gravatar this time next week, ill be in the middle of my usual ritual on election day: taking a nap then watching a couple of hours of the west wing. that will be followed by drinking 2 or 3 red bulls, getting ready and then heading up to the count at lincoln city's Drill Hall But i many people actually know that there are local elections on the 3rd may. its different for scotland and Wales. the parliament/assembly are much more publicised and have more of an effect on peoples lives than any city council could ever have. (and yes i ...
7:54 pm

Accordion playing

Gravatar The best Quote of the Day for a long time: a gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't. Can't think why a Lib Dem would find that quote cheeky ...
7:42 pm

trevithick day

Gravatar What a fantastic day! This morning saw the formal announcement of the route of the Somerset Stage of the Tour of Britain, with the Tour Director already calling the Somerset Stage his favourite stage of the race! We were lucky to have been offered the gracious hospitality of the Fleet Air Arm Museum as a venue, one of the South-West’s most visited tourist attractions and home of Concorde! My personal thanks to Graham Mottram, Director of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, for his continued support and enthusiasm for all things Somerset. The Somerset Stage will start ...
7:24 pm

An Eighth of a Century Later…

Gravatar Today’s our twelfth-and-a-halfth anniversary! After a late night when my beloved serenaded me to sleep with the Kroll song, Richard and I were up early for a romantic morning of presents, wondering what to do for dinner, discussing Doctor Who and shouting at the Today Programme. Awwhhh. Thanks to Liberal Democrat Blogs Aggregated, too, for giving us a special private day to ourselves and discouraging anyone from peeking in at our blogs; at least, both mine and Millennium’s have vanished from the listings (so much for his latest on Sir Mr the Merciless and mine on free Doctor Who books!). ...
7:01 pm

What does a Councillor actually do ? (7) Personal Agendas

Gravatar Its depressing to contemplate but its now 15 years since, as a fresher, I started volunteering at Durham Prison Visitors centre. In search of some friends and broader horizons and perhaps a sense of privilege that needed to be repaid I wanted to do something in the community. My College had a long standing link with the Visitors Centre and so off I went. It remains one of my formative experiences. Superficially its because it was the first domino to fall in a long career based in Housing and Social Care. However the real impact was political. The realisation ...
6:53 pm

Ming addresses the troops

Gravatar Ming came to address the troops today, Jonathan Wallace took this picture with me holding a microphone at Ming's feet I don't think I have aged a bit since this photo from when I was at TVam taken about 22 years ago in similar pose ;-)
6:23 pm

Two can play at that game Mr Howells (UPDATED)

Gravatar Think you’re funny eh Will? Well, when I was at the anti-war demo, I saw this scandalous poster: I think we deserve an explanation after this revelation. (see this if you don’t understand) UPDATE: No one likes a laugh at Labour’s expense more than me, but Norfolk Blogger is entirely wrong to take this latest example is [...]
6:00 pm

Final set of holiday photos

Gravatar As you may have noticed from the stamp on my letter to Her Maj, I've come back to England, posted my holiday letter and am now out and about sniffing round pavements for campaigners up and down the country. Being down at pavement level makes it so much easier to find those potholes for the Local Focus Team Action Photo Pointing At Something With A Stern Expression. So before I forget, here are my last holiday snaps. I think they speak for themselves.
5:57 pm

Hook Parade - responding to the petition

Gravatar At the South of the Borough Neighbourhood meeting last month we decided to install parking meters in Hook Parade. This idea was first floated by the local traders some time ago. They were concerned that cars which were parked for very long periods were making it difficult for some of their customers to get to the shops. The report on the consultation on the proposals was fairly...
5:49 pm

How Labour campaign

Gravatar A look in at Lib Dem Voice will provide anyone toying with voting Labour with another reason to forget any silly notions of doing so. Read how they appear to be faking photos HERE. Update - James Graham appears to be getting incredibly touchy about me highlighting this Labour campaigning trick. I will re-iterate, that the bloke doing this is a Labour candidate, they printed his leaflet, they support his nomination, he is the face of the Labour Party, and in this case, this is how they campaign. What's the problem ?
5:43 pm

Another funny tale from school

Gravatar In view of the stunning response to yesterday's funny story, I'll re-post this one from a few months ago. Again, it is true and happened where I work. We had a visit from a high schoo teacher who had come to speak to our pupils about the transfer to High School next September. Next day, we had a parent come in, looking a little confused and wanting urgent clarification of what the High School had actually said. The mother says "My son is very worried about what he has been told. You see, he's very worried about ...
5:30 pm

Super bug figures hide the true extent of hospital acquired infections

Gravatar The Government have been trying to claim that today's announcement that MRSA cases has fallen is some sort of triumph of vindication of their policies. The fact that C.Dif infections is up seems to be taking up less of the government's time, but is well reported HERE. What is interesting though are the comments I heard on Radio Five Live earlier from a charity who monitor hospital acquired infection rates. They claimed that the reporting period for MRSA was actually only nine months, not twelve months, meaning comparisons are difficult to make, whilst some hospitals have reclassified some hospital ...
5:21 pm

Awarding young people

Gravatar I've been attending the Youth Achievement Awards since they started and this was one event that I was determined not to miss as Mayor. It was wonderful to be able to hand out certificates to 103 young people, each of whom had been nominated by someone who knows and admires them. There are five categories - Caring, Educational Achievement, Participation & Citizenship, Sporting...
5:16 pm

Brian Paddick, Mayor Of London ?

Gravatar Todays Guardian Unlimited reports that Brian Paddick, Metropolitian Police Commander, is to retire from the force on May 31st this year. I have long been an admirer of Mr Paddick and not just because he has survived perhaps the worst Homophobic press onslaught Britain has seen since Section 28 ( George Michael being the other contender in my view. ) He has proved that he is willing to take calculated risks with Community Policing and reach way beyond traditional boundaries. Personally I think Ming Campbell was 100% right to send David Cameron packing with his Joint Ticket ...
5:03 pm

Ming speaks to Cowley Street

Gravatar I'm not going to repeat Ming's speech (Will Howells recorded it so it will turn up soon on YouTube) but here is one of the photos I took.
4:43 pm

Running for Young Kingston

Gravatar A group of runners taking part in the Breakfast Run on April 1st collected sponsorship for Young Kingston - thank you so much! To thank them in person I invited them to a reception in the Parlour before Full Council on Tuesday. I'm afraid I committed the sin of forgetting my camera, but I'm hoping to be able to get some from someone else to add to this entry.
4:40 pm

It ain’t who you are, it’s who you wanna’ be

Gravatar There is a joke about economists that I have come across twice in the last couple of weeks. Charles Murray opens his book In Our Hands (about which I will blog in due course) by telling us about three men stuck at the bottom of a pit, discussing ways to get out. When it comes to the Economist, he begins by saying “First, assume we have a ladder.” G. R. Steele began his lecture on Friedrich Hayek by criticising microeconomics for being too theoretical: the economist on the desert island imagines he has a tin opener. Last night Nobel Laureate ...
4:37 pm

Mayor's Awards

Gravatar Just before the end of the mayoral year we hold two Mayor's Awards ceremonies to recognise the work done by Council employees and schools. Two weeks ago the long service awards were made; this week we lauded those people who had been specially recommended by their line managers for the quality of the work they do. In each case a citation was read out, and it was very inspiring to hear...
4:26 pm

Local Links

Gravatar I have added some local links to the Blog to try and show case the best of what Headingley Ward has to offer. It is of course far from exhaustive. I couldn't fail to mention the Iconic Cricket and Rugby Grounds but others may want to check out the under-development Woodhouse Ridge Action Group site, the Hyde Park Picture House site or OAP an excellent community group for over 55's. Not many electoral wards can claim a Test Status Stadium, a Grade 2 listed Art House Cinema and some Ancient Woodland. I have no idea where this little burst ...
4:22 pm

Cruel Pig Slaughter

Gravatar What’s wrong? Pigs are being slaughtered while fully conscious in Taiwan. This is not only incredibly cruel; it's against the law. What can be done? Modern slaughter methods exist to ensure animals don't die in pain or fear. Taiwan has laws to protect animals at slaughter but they are not being enforced. How can I help? Go to this link now
3:45 pm

Photoshop imposters

Gravatar There seem to be a number of Photoshop imposters claiming to have been marching against the war in Iraq. Firstly a Labour candidate in Bristol. Then Will claims it is Mark Pack. But it was me!!
3:38 pm

Carmel Preston speaks for us all when she says: "Give us back our NHS!".

Gravatar Experienced nurse Carmel Preston of Marshside speaks for many residents when she asks: "Just who is making the decisions around here about local Health Services?"
2:45 pm

Ah, a Photoshop game

Gravatar Can you do a better job than whoever was responsible for this apparently altered photograph of a Labour candidate? For example, I seem to have uncovered evidence that my boss, Dr Pack, was at the same march:
2:36 pm

Lynne Wrennall on UK Future TV

Gravatar Lynne Wrennall has done a long (35 mins) interview covering most of the problems within the UK Child Protection system. If you have the time it is worth watching it.
1:49 pm

Are Labour faking photos in Bristol?

Gravatar Here’s the evidence from Bristol. Judge for yourself. First, the background: Busharat Ali is the Labour candidate in Lawrence Hill ward, Bristol. He didn’t like being attacked in a Liberal Democrat leaflet over Blair and Iraq. He responded with a leaflet that said: “I was on the National March in London against the Iraq war” and had this [...]
1:02 pm

freedom of information

Gravatar Dear Khalid Mahmood,
12:50 pm

Will Ashdown prepare Gordo's secret plan?

Gravatar Every so often this blog takes a punt on what Gordon Brown's 'Bank of England' moment will be.  The theory runs that when Gordo becomes PM he will reveal an unexpected secret policy to define a significant amount of his premiereship - much like making giving control of interest rates to the Bank of England when he first became Chancellor. Policy in Iraq must form part of this.  So news in The Guardian that Lord Ashdown and Sir Jeremy Greenstock are working with the Foreign Policy Centre on a new approach to Iraq ("Ashdown helps prepare Iraq strategy rethink ...
12:32 pm

Live blogging test

Gravatar Hello, from gateshead. Not used the email to blog test so here goes! I'm currently sat in the Gateshead hilton at the CIPFA conference. Today is concentrating on role of audit committees, and fraud. But suffering from death by powerpoint and whitehall TLAs this morning.
12:30 pm

Shocking photos: Labour threat of crocodile epedemic

Gravatar Shocking photos have revealed the threat of a crocodile epedemic in the Whitchurch area of Bristol. These photos reveal a clear warning sign that Labour have been secretly breeding crocodiles at a sec...
12:03 pm


Gravatar I'm celebrating in style tonight, because today is World Intellectual Property Day. BTW: any other blogger who posts on this subject will be hearing from my solicitors. Seriously.
11:48 am

Free hugs success

Gravatar There was a TV advert a while ago which featured a chap walking round in the street with a sign saying "free hugs" and then hugging people. I was fascinated to see that there is actually a bloke in Sydney who does this. He's called Juan Mann and has become an international phenomenum via You Tube, even appearing on Oprah. There is also a Free Hugs Campaign.
11:41 am

The Personal Property Register

Gravatar Some helpful advice from the police came in - so thought it might be useful to post it here. It’s about the Personal Property Register that the Met and other police forces are encouraging people to use. It’s at and you can use it to register your mobile phone, iPod etc. Two benefits: if the police recover stolen goods, this register makes it easier to trace the rightful owners
11:22 am

The Church of England: An Apology

Gravatar Yesterday, I made the claim on this blog that the Church of England was obsessed with sex. However, having heard about Peter Halliday this morning, I now accept that when it comes to paedophilia going on where the Church has a clear duty of care, they aren’t particularly interested in sex at all. UPDATE: On [...]
11:20 am

Use your vote at Kayleigh's Salon

Gravatar A Redcar hairdressing salon will be transformed into a Redcar and Cleveland Council polling station when voters go to the polls on Thursday, May 3. Owner Kayleigh Taberner is shelving her scissors for the day at her 'Diffuse Hair Salon' on Thrush Road, which will be open from 7am-10pm for voters in the Council's Coatham ward. The salon is probably the most unusual venue among a total of 81 polling stations to serve the Council's 22 wards after Kayleigh agreed to the makeover, complete with 'Polling Station' signs in the salon's window. Kayleigh, 19, explained: "I don't ...
10:46 am

Return to 'Facing up to reality'

Gravatar Yet more statistical evidence suggesting the introduction of ‘top-up’ tuition fees of £3,000 a year has not deterred students from applying to university: The latest snapshot of application figures to full-time undergraduate courses at UK higher education institutions from UCAS shows that 446,765 people have so far applied to start courses in 2007. This compares with 424,560 in 2006 and
10:27 am

South Street

Gravatar So the gloves come off in Dorchester today. According to the Echo, "Traders' leader Alistair Chisholm will go head-to-head with council chiefs". It is over plans to pedestrianise the South Walks end of South Street in a bid to manage local traffic. I don't mind the idea of pedestrianising South Street fully, but it will not sort out Dorchester's traffic problems. Even a congestion charge won't sort that out. There is no denying that the biggest impact on Dorchester's traffic has been the rapid local development. Had Prince Charles' toy town, Poundbury, been planned more carefully ...
9:04 am

Every Vote Counts

Gravatar We have had a great reception while out and about knocking doors in Walcot. Residents have told us just how much they appreciate the hard work and committment that Colin and I have shown the ward over the past 4 years in Walcot. As always the election in Walcot will be close between us the the Tories and every vote for Colin and I will count. People are telling us that they are voting Lib Dem because of our local record of acheivement. Here are some of the highlights: Riverside Youth and Community Centre Investment ...
8:55 am


Gravatar Slightly random blog post, but just thought I would share with you my favourite museum exhibit ever. I bet some of you haven't even got a favourite museum exhibit, have you? It's at the Natural History Museum and I take everyone in to see it whenever I'm passing. It's called Bluey, and you can see the photo here from when I took my friend Zoe to see it last year, when she was visiting London from Finland. It amuses me, anyway.
8:54 am

Red faces for Labour in Pendle as campaign descends into farce

Gravatar Calling for a 20mph speed limit to be introduced on a stretch of road that has actually had one for four years would be a bit of an embarrassment. Add in your candidate being a bus driver in the area and it’s a bit of a blunder. But when it then turns out that the [...]
8:38 am


Gravatar Apologies again for the odd posting times for blogs of late. I am waging an ongoing battle with the people at Orange Broadband who seem singularly incapable of fixing whatever intermittent problem it is that causes my phone to work but my modem to not. And their Indian call centre isn't helping the problem. The lines are faint, there is a satellite delay, and the poor staff on the other end are
6:56 am

Dundee Double for Sheena!

Gravatar With thanks to Sheena Wellington for this latest news : Dundee singer Sheena Wellington will be appearing at both of the city’s Universities next week! On Monday 30th April, she’ll be providing the songs at The Big Work Debate hustings at Abertay (tickets from or 01382 221545). On Saturday 5th May she’ll be at Dundee University Chaplaincy for an evening of music and song relating to the period around the Act of Union of 1707 (Tickets £5.00 from 07732 752 609) Also appearing The Chaplaincy event, which will include a performance of Sir John ...
12:27 am

The ghost of Sid James

Gravatar The great Sid James died on 26 April 1976 - that's 31 years ago today. As Ron Drew's Theatre Page tells it: He was playing in a comedy called "The Mating Game". Sid came on stage said a line, sat on the sofa but did not reply to the next cue. Olga Lowe who was sitting next to him thought it was a gag (for which Sid James was renowned) and started to ad lib, but soon realised that something was amiss. The curtain was brought down and the audience asked 'Is there a doctor in the house?' The ...
12:23 am

Edward Heath and Gay Allegations

Gravatar On the subject of Edward Heath and the reports today about his private life. I know a lot of Tories, and had chances to chat in private with Tories who were in a postion to know about Heath. The general view that was conveyed to me was that "Yes, he probably was, but no, he never did". I got the impression that he was wedded to his job and to politics and actually think he left a lasting legacy of which he can be proud. Let's remember him for that.
12:11 am


Gravatar I was about to go to bed, only to discover that this blog is the top Google result for the search “similarities korean klingon” and that someone actually found me that way. I’ve also been impressed by the number of people finding this blog over the last 48 hours because of my post about Kryptonite. [...]
12:08 am

Day 2307: Sir Mr the Merciless Fights for Freedom!

Gravatar Thursday: Hurrah! for Sir Mr the Merciless who has been prompted into swift action to defend the Freedom of Information Act. He stood up in the House of Commons yesterday and challenged Lord Blairimort over the bill introduced by a Conservatory backbencher that would make Parliament EXEMPT from answering DIFFICULT questions like "what did you spend your expenses on?" Sir Menzies asked: "Do you support this shoddy bill. Yes or no?" This is just the sort of thing that I was calling for yesterday! May I modestly suggest that I am an ELEPHANT OF INFLUENCE ...
12:08 am

A new logo for Ryanair

Gravatar Remember how Ryanair protested when new safety checks were introduced on to airlines to prevent terrorist attacks in the summer ? Now, as if caring about terrorism is not enough, they don't are about customer satisfaction either. Might I suggest this change to their logo ?

Previous days:

Wednesday 25th April 2007, Tuesday 24th April 2007, Monday 23rd April 2007, Sunday 22nd April 2007, Saturday 21st April 2007, Friday 20th April 2007