Saturday 25th August 2007

11:58 pm

Lord Ashcroft's hold on Tory party threatens a rift

Gravatar The Sunday Telegraph reports that Lord Ashcroft has set up a parallel Tory party campaign HQ at Millbank and is issuing decrees, requests for action etc etc independently of Cameron's command HQ. This is risking a serious organisational rift in the Conservative party, with MPs complaining that Lord Ashcroft is unelected and unaccountable. Great fun! Tory concerns at the growing influence of
11:41 pm

You're on your Jack!

Gravatar The observant amongst you may have noticed the lack of women candidates in the Eastern European yours truly. I know I bang on about these issues, but can we at least try to understand why we are so unrepresentative as a party? I have said it before, but will say it again.......I was so frustrated that at the Meeting the Challenge conference 18 months ago not one woman graced the floor, not even at a fringe meeting. When we debated Meeting the Challenge, I was the first woman to speak after 13 men. I had to ask Conference if ...
11:28 pm

Classical Music Posting of the Week

Gravatar From, ineveitably, On An Overgrown Path: BBC Radio 3 presenter Louise Fryer ... is gaining something of a cult following for her faux pas. In April she famously muddled her Mozart and Haydn quartets. And during tonight's BBC Prom she introduced the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment as the Orchestra of the Age of the Environment.Just don't let her near the Prom on September 8. One of the composers is Julius Fučík.
11:09 pm

A tribute to Sally Hannon

Gravatar Philip Arnold, the father of Sally Hannon, has set up a website in her memory. You can find it here.
11:06 pm

Meanwhile in Cuba Are Things Starting to Improve?

Gravatar It will no doubt shock regular readers of this blog to discover that I'm no big fan of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist regime. In stark contrast to the situation in China, the human rights situation appears to be slowly improving in Cuba even if it is far from perfect. Raul Castro seems to be taking advantage of his elder brother's infirmity to "liberalise" (I use the word cautiously) Cuba both politically and economically. According to this report by Rory Carroll of the Guardian, one fifth of Cuba's political prisoners have been freed this year. It's a small fraction ...
10:11 pm

Living next door to an owl

Gravatar We've just got back from a few days in North Wales. Enjoy the photos...
10:06 pm

Did that really happen ?

Gravatar Watching Simon Cowell's "X Factor" tonight on ITV, I was slightly bemused and confused by a soldier appearing on the show. As he sang, his father said "If he doesn't get through, he's off to Afghanistan" Did I hear that right ? A soldier can get time off from fighting (I thought that is what the army did) to take part in a singing competition ? As it is, he did get through to X Factor "boot camp", which means he is not off to Afghanistan. Don't get me wrong, I have great admiration for the British Army and this ...
9:52 pm

Second Life

Gravatar My advice to anyone wants to login to this virtual world - don't. A mere seven hours since installing it, the application is clean off my hard drive. The only reason it lasted that long is because I couldn't be bothered to uninstall it after the first 30 minutes.
9:06 pm

To buy or not to buy?

Gravatar It's pointless. It's wonderful. It's pointless. It's wonderful. It's pointless. It's wonderful. It's pointless. It's wonderful. Good thing I'm not a human, otherwise I just wouldn't be able to make up my mind whether or not to buy this.
8:14 pm

Elected Lib Dem Bloggers: The List

Gravatar There’s still time to vote in the 2007 Lib Dem Blog of the Year contest, to nominate blogs for our expert panel. Find out more here. But who, you may struggle to recall, is a publicly-elected Lib Dem blogger from amongst the many you’ve read? How many bloggers we read are secretly councillors? How many elected [...]
8:13 pm

Under what section?

Gravatar Via A Very British Dude: Ok, so the film-maker is a bit annoying, but he's making a good point. He's filming in his garden, and yet the Police act as though they are the law, declaring that an offence is taking place (although unable to specify the legal source of this offence). Aside from the obvious question of "where the hell did they learn that particular law?" this is an example of the
7:39 pm

Letterboxes I Love

Gravatar I was out this sunny afternoon taking a break from my desk, delivering health surveys in the Stonebridge ward by-election in Brent. The patch I was covering was made up of neat streets of terraced houses of the sort I love: tiny front gardens, no steps and letterboxes that are at a sensible height from the ground and wide enough to take a C5 envelope. No vicious springs, or draught-excluders with brushes that trap your hand. On the whole round, I only encountered two dogs, who flung themselves at the door when they heard me arrive. But I can cope ...
6:30 pm

Eight reasons for Gordon Brown to be worried

Gravatar Ipsos MORI has recently published a couple of books about Britain after Blair’s ten years. One of them recounts what happened to long-serving Prime Ministers’ previous successors: Before Tony Blair, only seven men and one woman have previously held office as British Prime Minister for ten years or more (Robert Walpole, Henry Pelham, Lord North, William Pitt [...]
5:05 pm

Lord Bonkers' Diary: Saturday

Gravatar The week continues: SaturdayI was sorry to hear of the fate of Shambo the bullock – could not a good sanatorium have been found for him?Some have questioned the practice of keeping farm animals in religious communities, but here at St Asquith’s it does not seem strange to us. For as it says in the Bible (and I think rightly): “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child ...
4:03 pm

Death of a favourite wonk

Gravatar Hat tip to the Adam Smith Institute for pointing out that today is the anniversary of the death, 231 years ago, of one of my favourite wonks, David Hume. David Hume (1711-1776): {image} On this day in 1776, after a long illness, David Hume died. He must have been one of the most intelligent, and indeed one of the wisest human beings to have lived - a truth that can still be inspected in the pages of his history and philosophy. A notorious skeptic on the subject of religion, Hume found himself excluded from academic posts. But he made up ...
3:02 pm

Forest felled by Mighty Leeds

Gravatar Nottingham Forest had all the chances but failed to take them. Leeds showed once again that the tough pre-season training programme has paid off with another strong finish and a last minute winner from Jermaine Beckford. We are now at minus 6 points and another tough fixture is out of the way. Dennis Wise has got to be Manager of the Month there is no question about it! Listening to the match on Yorkshire Radio whilst watching Sky Sports News, muted, at 1-1, a caption came up 'Nottingham Forest 1, Leeds United 2. It took a few seconds for that ...
2:49 pm

How government policy killed Rhys Jones just as surely as any Croxteth "gangland" scrote.

Gravatar Everyone seems to be trying to analyze what caused the death of Rhys James, and what can be done about it.  More police, punishment or reward for parents taking more responsibility, compulsory community service, blah, blah, blah.  I can conclusively reveal that none of this matters.  Rhys was killed by government policy, particularly on drugs... In the Independent today Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kids Company provides some insight gleaned from her eleven years of working with dislocated children: This is not what David Cameron refers to as anarchy; it is nihilism. It is an absence of values in which the notion ...
11:18 am

A bit of bank holiday weekend fun

Gravatar Play the new 'Cameron's: Don't count your chickens' game at
11:13 am

Does someone earning £1.2 million a year from the license fee have the right to lecture the BBC about costs ?

Gravatar Jeremy Paxman went on something of a rant yesterday in Edinburgh, criticising the BBC for it's interactivity and the tightening of budgets on Newsnight. I note he criticised the license fee and asked "why doesn't the government tax washing machines and give money to Persil ?" As stupid an analogy as he could possibly have made up. Firstly, TV could be argued to be a luxury whilst the washing of clothes is not. Whilst producing a packet of Persil costs significantly less than producing a TV programme, which he ought to know as it leads on to his second major ...
10:46 am

Are exams fit for purpose?

Gravatar Mike Baker hits the nail on the head in the examination standards debate.
10:41 am

The housing conundrum

Gravatar I want to do some more work on this blog on the issue of affordable housing but at present I am struggling with an IT nightmare. My laptop swallowed my pamphlet whole last night and it appears to be only retrievable via the server back-up. I am on tenter-hooks, waiting for the service desk to ring me back and utter some soothing words. I will therefore confine myself to just a few comments about this morning's Western Mail piece on affordable housing. They reveal new statistics that show that average property prices in rural areas is 6.4 times average annual ...
10:30 am

What is the point of the Fabian Society ?

Gravatar The Fabian Society has done a poll on what people believe differing professions should earn. From this, they conclude, that professional footballers should earn £62,000 a year. Well what an pointless piece of research that is. My Guess, although it is part of a larger report, this fact was picked out to get the report some press coverage. however, to my mind it undermines what must be in the rest of their report. The Fabian Society seems to ignore the fact that a professional footballer earning the best wage for only about 10 years. Very few professionals play beyond their ...
10:03 am

Sex and Independence

Gravatar If that title doesn't increase my hit-rate then nothing will. Poor old Glyn Davies, not only is he being gently mocked on the interweb for his open enthusiasm for older people having sex, but he is now being routinely misquoted and taken out of context regarding his views on Independence. What I believe that Glyn said is that Wales could survive as an Independent nation if we were prepared to cut our cloth (and presumably our public services) to fit our means. He is though not in favour of Independence for a whole raft of reasons, including the inter-dependent world ...
7:53 am

Lionel Blue - the antidote to Anne Atkins

Gravatar My list of the Top Ten living people, if I ever sat down to write it out, would probably include Rabbi Lionel Blue. The man is just so wonderful and cosy, a British national treasure if ever there was one. To remind myself how much I like Lionel Blue, all I need to do is to remember the voice of Anne Atkins. Anyway, Lionel gave a wonderful Thought for the Day a couple of weeks back. It can be

Previous days:

Friday 24th August 2007, Thursday 23rd August 2007, Wednesday 22nd August 2007, Tuesday 21st August 2007, Monday 20th August 2007, Sunday 19th August 2007