Friday 29th June 2007

11:41 pm

Gordon Brown's shock appointment

Gravatar Norfolk Blogger has a posting tonight with the headline: With all the talent available, why Fearne Cotton?For a moment or two I thought Gordon Brown had made her a minister.
11:23 pm

Thank You Lovely Traffic Wardens

Gravatar Today is one of those weird days of terrorist activity in London when you know something very serious is going on in your city but at the same time it seems quite far away. The most peculiar detail of today’s story is that one of the cars containing a bomb was towed away by traffic wardens. [...]
11:04 pm

"Just sign here, Quentin"

Gravatar Today's House Points column from Liberal Democrat News. I was afraid that by the time it appeared someone would have broken ranks and accepted a ministerial post under Brown. Fortunately for me and for the party, it did not happen. But I share Norfolk Blogger's doubts about even those advisory posts. Headline to come I chose quite a week to go on holiday. Reading the papers, I half expected to find a telephone message from Gordon Brown waiting for me at home. Would I like a peerage and did I fancy taking over from Ben Bradshaw as ...
10:22 pm

On Liberty, Online: Get yerselves to Ealing Southall and Sedgefield!

Gravatar This entry is 100% shameless plug, so I'm going to let people who are better with words than I say it for me. First, Mark Gettleson: "Last summer, hundreds upon hundreds of Lib Dems flocked to Bromley for one of the biggest by-election campaigns in history. Many of them were young people just like us - university students, school-age people, young professionals and volunteers. Almost a million pieces of election literature were delivered. And we came within a whisker of overturning the 17th safest Tory seat in the country. "If you have never experienced the buzz and thrill ...
10:19 pm

It's official: US Airways suck!

Gravatar I'm perhaps one of the easier air travellers for airlines to deal with. Delays don't phase me much, I'm relentlessly pleasant to airline staff, crack jokes, volunteer to be 'bumped' off flights and work on being the model passenger. However, although I've flown on everything from Lloyd Aereo Boliviano to Air Vanuatu, from London City Airways to Air Sahara, I've finally found an airline that has
10:18 pm

With all the talent available, why Fearne Cotton ?

Gravatar I can hardly believe that I am the only person in the UK who felt it inappropriate that Fearne Cotton, a brainless kids TV presenter with all the gravitas of a Cheeky Girl and, I understand granddaughter of the late Bill Cotton (did I hear the word nepotism ?), got to interview Princes William and Harry about the death of their mother Princess Diana ten years ago. With such an exclusive and with so much talent available, can the BBC actually say that Ms Cotton was really the best choice ? Whatever next, "Dick and Dom" to interview Gordon Brown ...
10:01 pm

Stupidity in collusion

Gravatar I am at a loss as to what the Liberal Democrats or the country gains from having two Lib Dem peers act as advisers to Gordon Brown. Does anyone in their right mind believe that Baroness Neuberger or Lord Lester will hold sway or influence Gordon brown in their advisory capacity ? Will it further the cause of Liberal Democracy ? Or will it allow the Liberal Democrats to be labelled as Gordon Brown's Poodles ? As far as I am concerned, anyone who wants to work with the Labour government whilst the Labour Party has a ...
9:45 pm

Face? Book?

Gravatar As regular readers know, here at Hooting Yard we always keep abreast of the latest twaddle in the zeitgeist…or perhaps I mean the latest piffle in the Weltschmerz. Either way, it behoves me to inform you that your esteemed editor has joined the teeming millions flocking to Facebook. If you want a glimpse behind the [...]
8:23 pm

'20% off Orgasms'

Gravatar Posting made under "Tacky Pun Exclusion" conditions. There was a bit of a stir in the Newbury ionosphere when Ann Summers opened a shop in the "High Street", which is called Northbrook Street. At the time I was a town councillor. I developed what I would call a SIIMAS, whenever I passed Ann Summers' shop. That is, a Sudden Interest In Marks And Spencers, which is roughly opposite. I didn't
8:17 pm

The danger of religion?

Gravatar Interesting article on the FT today by Professor John Gray. He is right in pointing out that secularisation has been shown not to be the inevitable process resulting from industrialisation and scientific progress as postulated by Weber and Durkheim, among others, and, I might add, taken as ‘gospel truth’ by most of the academia until recently. He concludes by stating that “the issue is not how to exorcise religion from society. It is how rival faiths can learn to live together in peace”. I disagree. The challenge posed by the current de-secularisation process, does not lie in the potential ...
7:23 pm

New Face At Defra

Gravatar     1. A new Secretary at DEFRA 2. Top of the shops 3. Picnic in the Park 1. A new Secretary at DEFRA David Miliband MP's brief tenure as Environment Secretary has been ended by his promotion to the post of Foreign Secretary, a path previously trodden by his predecessor Margarget Beckett MP. New Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP has replaced him with Hilary Benn MP, previously International Development Secretary and a candidate for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party. Mr. Benn has ...
7:02 pm

This Is Not A Love Song (Or An Answer, Come To That...)

Gravatar Having belatedly gotten hold of my copy of Private Eye, I feel it's only right to once again declare an early victor in my Quote Of The Year contest. Admittedly, taking the laurels in June is not a patch on Ed Balls' sterling effort last year in taking the crown in February, but hey... 2007's winner is our recently departed foreign secretary, giving evidence (at least nominally) to the Commons
6:52 pm

Becoming More Like God

Gravatar I read in the paper today that the Archbishop of York’s press officer is himself being ordained as a priest. He has taken this step because, apparently, he “wants to be more like Jesus Christ”. If we accept his belief system for a moment, what he is saying is that he wants to be more [...]
6:47 pm


Gravatar Following Gordon Brown's revelation that his school motto was "I will do my utmost", Good Evening Wales ran a feature on the subject. More out of curiosity than anything else I decided to look up my old school's motto. It is "Sapientia Ianua Vitae", translated as "Wisdom is the gateway to life". Given that the school has churned out amongst others, a Prime Minister, a Welsh MP, a Welsh Assembly Member, a 'Brookside' actor, an Air Commodore, numerous academics, a comedian, professional footballers, an Olympian and a film director then it must have been doing something right. ...
6:17 pm

By-elections writ large

Gravatar For those interested in such things, here are the writs for July’s two parliamentary by-elections as they were moved yesterday morning. The description of Tony Blair’s departure from Parliament is a particular highlight. 1 Ealing Southall Writ,—Ordered, That the Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out [...]
5:46 pm

Avoid Penrhyn Road on Sunday

Gravatar Just don't try to go down Penrhyn Road in Kingston this Sunday between 10am and 4pm because it will be full of emergency vehicles. But don't be alarmed either - it will be a joint exercise by the Council, police, fire and ambulance services and the University to test what should happen in the case of major contamination. Some lucky volunteers will act as victims, but the Council...
5:45 pm

Global Warming, a fact.

Gravatar The House of Representatives yesterday voted though a bill that aimed to scupper the right wing agenda by decreeing that global warming is a reality. This, after so much from Bush, who has refused to carry out positive environmental action. Arguing instead that global warming claims, are based on inconclusive scientific evidence. The Bill also goes much further than the White House had whished in funding for the environmental agenda. This follows recent trends in America, who have for a long time was the world worse polluter. Individual states like California have for example endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, ...
5:20 pm

Thoughts on the Haymarket car bomb

Gravatar It was good to hear Ricky Gervais on BBC Radio 4 this morning say that he’d been an atheist since the age of 10. So have I actually. I worked out that what the “God Squad” said was unlikely to be true, and that was that. Anyone who wants a rational discussion about it is most welcome, but don’t use the “f” word, please. (I refer to “faith”.) Just before that the news was reporting that last night the ideologues had been making another attempt to blast hundreds of us into oblivion. (Great ...
5:18 pm

Delivery starts in Ealing Southall

Gravatar As the photo shows, the first leaflet is being bundled in our impressive HQ - and has started falling through doors. Come and help get the message out! HQ address: Unit 5, Urban Hive, Grand Union way, Bridge Road, Southall, UB2 4EX.
5:02 pm

Campbell urges Brown to be bold and radical on constitutional reform

Gravatar Liberal Democrat Leader Menzies Campbell today published proposals for a comprehensive programme of constitutional reform.
4:30 pm

Ealing 1: Tony Lite eclipses Tony Lit

Gravatar The Conservatives have got in ahead of the two main parties by selecting their candidates for Ealing and Sedgefield. There's a very nice video of the Conservative candidate for Ealing Southall, Tony Lit, with their Party leader, Tony Lite. (Hint: Laugh). Tony Lite outlined all the really important things that Tony Lit would be talking about, well, mainly trams. The video is here. Strange though that Tony Lit didn't get a word in edgeways above His Glorious Leader. Why not? Are Conservative by-election candidates not allowed to talk these days? Would Tony Lit have made a fool of ...
4:00 pm

Fopp closes :(

Gravatar The BBC is reporting that Fopp has closed. Unfortunatly I could see this on the cards when they purchased the failed Music Zone, who had original grown by buying the failed MVC. The orginal Fopp in Leamington was great, although maybe not buying much from there 7 years ago might be the reason why it’s [...]
3:53 pm

Reshuffle predictions - how did I do?

Gravatar Well, not too bad. Five ‘direct hits’ (right person, right job) and 12 ‘indirect hits’ (in the cabinet, but in a different job). Caroline Flint, Hilary Armstrong, Lord Kinnock and Liam Byrne were the ones I tipped for the top who didn’t make it. Prime Minister: Gordon Brown Deputy PM: Jack Straw No-one appointed (though is Straw de facto) Chancellor: Alastair Darling Home Secretary: Alan
3:36 pm

A Presidency is born???

Gravatar As we await the ‘Word From Gordon On High’ on ‘constitutional initiatives’ a thought on the possible road to a Presidency. The constitutional convention in the UK is that Ministers of the Crown (however junior) have to be Members of Parliament, either of the Commons or the Lords. In the past when outsiders have been parachuted into government they were given peerages to regularise their positions. This means that ministers have a certain connection to Party, and a political position separate from their ministerial office. They are also questionable by their own house. In presidential systems ...
2:34 pm

The verdict on the cabinet

Gravatar The verdicts are now in - even if not all the junior ministerial positions are.  So its time to play 'Guess the leader column'Below are three extracts from the leader columns of today's Sun, Telegraph and Times .  You just have to match the quote to the publication -  Ready?  Here goes:David Miliband is an undoubtedly able individual. But he has an innocent enthusiasm for the EU that might not make him the best man to play hard-ball with Britain’s partners in the deliberations to come over the final shape of a new treaty. Supposedly “Blairite”, he has a whiff of ...
2:34 pm

Wozza is a total smoking numpty

Gravatar "Wozza" is celebrity chef Antony Worrall-Thompson,whose full name is Henry Antony Cardew Worrall Thompson. He once said that he wanted to be a Conservative MP. More than that, he said that he quite fancied succeeding Michael Heseltine as MP for Henley. So, the British public could have been treated to "Wozza" as the MP for Henley, instead of that apology itinerist, Bozza. Are we better off, as
2:11 pm

Controlled explosions

Gravatar For those of us wondering what a 'controlled explosion' could possibly be (in bomb disposal terms) this article from a few years ago gives an outline of procedures without giving away any current secrets. (Discussed in terms of the IRA as a threat - amazing how long ago that seems...) I suspect though that the Haymarket attempted Bomb mechanism will have been dealt with by something like the 'candle' technique using a remote insert. This would have flashed burning aluminium powder through the device, and burnt out the firing mechanism without triggering the main payload. Alternatively the method could ...
1:18 pm

Interview under caution

Gravatar It funny thing. I walking down market street in Little Sicily, when all of sudden, screech of tires, blue lights, and I is pulled into back of car that take off at high speed. Either side of me sit two gentleman. One in uniform introduce himself as Inspector Blair, the other who wear big overcoat and low brimmed hat he introduce as former-Inspector Stevens. "Liberali" say Inspector Blair, "naturally we hate to detain you on such a lovely day, but it has come to our attention that there was a little trouble in Little Brixton the other day. ...
12:54 pm

Acceptable Cross-party Activity

Gravatar There’s been quite a lot of debate these last few days about the desirability or otherwise of cross-party activity in the British political context, outside of formal coalition arrangements. Here in Vilnius, Lithuania, I’ve been experiencing one positive kind, at a seminar on interested parties relating to reform in Belarus, organised by the British Conservatives, but [...]
12:27 pm

Gordon Brown's Cabinet

Gravatar Gordon Brown's first Cabinet has been announced, a couple of surprises but pretty much what was expected. I was slightly annoyed that Douglas Alexander has taken over at the Department for International Development, not because I don't think he will be any good (quite the contrary) but he is also in charge of General Election planning and I don't think he will put as much into the job as Hilary Benn did. The full list of the Cabinet is below:
12:20 pm

Conservatives win in Sandwell, Labour win in Nuneaton and Bedworth

Gravatar Last night's by-elections were very bad news for the Liberal Democrats with us coming 4th in Charlemont in Sandwell and 5th in Slough ward in Bedworth. It cannot just be explained by the Brown bounce or a rise for the BNP, I know there were other factors with limited human resources available for both campaigns I suspect they did the best they could in trying circumstances
12:17 pm

New Glasses, same faces.

Gravatar We'll be back on the leaflet trail in St Mary's this weekend, so hopefully the weather won't spoil the Focus party... This will also be the last weekend when I will be out on the street looking like a hungover and washed-up rock star - I am finally getting rid of my glasses with the "Reactions" lenses that go dark the moment I step outside. They are a fine idea in theory, and I'm sure my retinas
12:09 pm

Renewing the Liberal Democrats

Gravatar The advent of the Brown Administration places new challenges for the opposition to face. David Cameron, for example, will need to adjust his front bench, to reflect the different portfolios that Brown has created. He will also need to find a considered response to the devastating charges from Quentin Davies, amongst others, that he is not much more than a vacuous light weight. For the Liberal Democrats, the challenges are, if anything, greater. Gordon Brown is clearly intending to address some of the major constitutional problems that the UK now faces. I now expect some radical measures, possibly ...
11:42 am

Out of the Loop

Gravatar Work has had me on a roller-coaster ride of supporting meetings in various locations over the last few days which has meant being out of the domestic news loop. Tuesday was the strangest day when I had to call someone in London and they started talking about a) a Conservative MP defecting to Labour (a surprise [...]
11:38 am

IEA move towards Campbell Position

Gravatar The linked story is in French and as such is less likely to hit the UK Media. However, in it FATIH BIROL, DIRECTEUR DES ÉTUDES ÉCONOMIQUES DE L'AGENCE INTERNATIONALE DE L'ÉNERGIE - the Director of Economic Studies at the Internatinoal Energy Agency basically says peak oil is closer than people think. He says a substantial growth in Iraqi output will be needed to avoid a market "wall". Automatic
11:33 am

Floods and Bureaucracy

Gravatar Hey all!! Lots to update you on!! Firstly the recent floods (or many near floods in Lincoln). Had a walk around the city on Tuesday with many areas waterlogged and also got evacuated from the University library due to the impending high tide and risk from flooding. Second - am still waiting on my uni results - due to the postal strike there is on post on the day they were due to arrive!! so now at least one more day of waiting and another sleepless night. Last - I have a Boyfriend. Me and ...
11:25 am

"Off the Map" will Blair consider the whole picture?

Gravatar A couple of days ago, just as Mr Blair and Mr Brown were changing places, I took a taxi to Waterloo. As I usually do I got chatting the the driver about politics, Iraq, Blair's new job and the situation in Israel/Palestine. He came up with the sort of nonsense I had been brought up with as a former Zionist..........namely, there was no such thing as a Palestinian before 1967 and that before 1948 the land was an uncultivated wasteland. It got me reminiscing about my first visit to Mar Elias, when I drove with Abuna Chacour (now Archbishop) to ...
11:18 am

Where do we build now Wycombe Town wards being are being overdeveloped- Molins Saunderton! - Cllr Ray Farmer -June 2007

Gravatar Cllr Ray Farmer is receiving resident compaints and questions concerning  the ongoing development of the Town centre wards by backgarden and brownfield sites  . Issue appears to be one of lack of cohesive community resoures, traffic management, buses  and community service  to support the developments in the town. Ray will be expanding on this over the coming weeks, [...]
11:15 am

Two parliamentary by-elections on the go…

Gravatar …so we need as many Liberal Democrats as possible to come and help in Ealing Southall and Sedgefield. Here’s a video on the subject from the party’s Chief Executive, Lord Rennard:
10:32 am

A Department for Children - at last

Gravatar I've said before that in my view 'Every Child Matters' was one of the most humane documents to come from central government in my lifetime. Its theme was that the services to children should be joined up - at one level agencies should be sharing information about children at risk; at another level all services to children and families should be integrated and focus on the needs of the child and...
10:17 am

The Gordon Brown definition of change.........what you do when you have run out of loo paper.....

Gravatar there's a thought, it's something we all talk about, desire, in our optimistic moments believe in, in our pessimistic moments, despair of. It is something we all look for when we are unhappy with the status quo, so like most of us I wondered about the Brown definition of change. In my house I have quite a few spare loo rolls, they all look the same, they all came out of the same packet, they all do the same job........and when I run out of one I replace it with a "different" one........I "change" it. Sorry about the metaphor, ...
10:08 am

'Government of all the talents' - as long as they join the Labour party

Gravatar The BBC reports: ...former CBI head Sir Digby Jones is to be made minister for trade promotion...Sir Digby is to be given a peerage and will have to join the Labour Party in order to serve as a minister. So, you have to join the Labour party in order to join the "government of all the talents". Er? This is just a week after Brown offered Ashdown a cabinet post - presumably Labour membership
9:37 am

Resistance is futile

Gravatar The Western Mail covers a number of elements in Welsh political life who are determined to stoke up opposition to the Red-Green Coalition. First off is Ron Davies, who presumably never envisaged such a pairing when he first put together the 1998 Government of Wales Act. Ron tells us that Plaid Cymru has been “stitched up” by Labour in agreeing to the One Wales coalition document: He said, “If you look at the wording of the document, there is no firm commitment to hold a referendum on full lawmaking powers for the Assembly. There is a get-out clause ...
9:30 am

Digby Jones

Gravatar The appointment of Digby Jones is an interesting step for the government. It will also be a challenge for Digby to see if he can affect the treacle that is the way in which governmental systems work. It is helpful for Birmingham to have someone else from Birmingham as part of the government even though he has never been someone to be described as a Labour loyalist.
9:02 am

Libertarian UK Launch Drinks

Gravatar Last nigh I went along to the launch drinks of Libertarian UK. Libertarian UK was put together by Chris Mounsey who is better known as Devil’s Kitchen. The aim is to provide a place for libertarians (aka liberals) to discuss policy and ideas with the aim of promoting libertarian, anti-authoritarian, liberty based ideas and promoting policies which [...]
8:49 am

The travelling circus of Europe

Gravatar Colin Ross talks about the financial and environmental cost of the European Parliament having two homes. This is a no-brainer to me. Why should people pay any attention to politicans that bang on about the environment when the travelling circus of Europe pumps (it is thought) the same amount of C02 into the atmosphere as 4,000 London [...]
8:40 am

Tories hold Charlemont

Gravatar Counts can take a frustratingly long time. Luckily, last night was not one of those ocassions! The Charlemont with Grove Vale by-election was counted at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury, much easier to find than the Tipton Sports Academy. Fingers crossed that the Warley seats can be counted there (or even at Smethwick) next May rather than trekking [...]
8:40 am

The complete nonsense about Miliband and Iraq

Gravatar The spin is that David Miliband was against the Iraq war so we should all be cheering in the streets now that he has been appointed Foreign Secretary. Today's Guardian puts it this way: (Miliband) is not publicly associated with the decision to invade Iraq and is said to have been privately sceptical about it. Oh really? At the time, he may have been safely in a "home" department, approving
8:30 am

“Come and help in Ealing and Sedgefield” - message from Chris Rennard

8:28 am

Day 2370: Change the (Criminal) Record

Gravatar Thursday: Lord Blairimort hasn't been out of office A DAY and already the police have nicked him again. Just as last time, though, it turns out that it happened weeks ago and the Labour have been keeping shtumm about it, waiting for a good moment to BURY IT. So much for "ALL CHANGE". Possibly MORE shocking is the news that we heard on the The Today Programme the other day – though apparently it has been known for some time – that the police wanted to question Lord Blairimort "under caution", but were ...
8:27 am

Sometimes the journalists do speak for us

Gravatar This has been doing the rounds but it amused a very tired me that at least one person in the 'news' business understands that some of us have a brain, and want real news and not the latest updates in the life of some spoiled brat. Mika Brzezinski I salute you, and your two co-hosts should be shot.
8:02 am

On Liberty, Online: US Democrats: All protectionists now

Gravatar Daily Kos has this potted summary (1, 2, 3) of the latest Democratic Presidential candidates' debate: Q: Outsourcing a problem? GRAVEL: No. Bad trade deals, employer-based health insurance is the problem. DODD: Yes. We need to try to keep jobs here. CLINTON: Yes. Make it less advantageous to outsource -- fight for better trade deals. Develop new industries. BIDEN: Need to take burden of employers. Make ourselves more competitive through infrastructure development. EDWARDS: I've seen the horrors of outsourcing. Repeats tax, trade arguments ...
7:37 am

By-election mania

Gravatar Gosh, they don’t hang about, those Lib Dem campaigners, do they? They already seem to have fairly full campaigns up and running in Ealing Southall, and in Sedgefield.
12:08 am

Ming Campbell's allright experience on question time

Gravatar If there was anything to sum up how the political parties stand it would be this evening's question time. Ming did a good job on the things you'd expect him to do, IE foreign affairs, but also managed a good few points on things like flood defences. We had the same old spin from Yvette Cooper and Michael Howard did everything you'd expect from a Tory by supporting Blair's appointment as the UN peace envoy (because he's pro Bush) while calling Tony Blair's time in government a failure. Pierce Morgan added some flair to the evening by having what ...
12:02 am

The Daily Show: Barack Tones

Gravatar I came across the link below and thought it was worth sharing.
12:00 am

Manic Street Preachers - Yes

Gravatar its just plain cool.atom.xml

Previous days:

Thursday 28th June 2007, Wednesday 27th June 2007, Tuesday 26th June 2007, Monday 25th June 2007, Sunday 24th June 2007, Saturday 23rd June 2007