Thursday 1st November 2007

11:42 pm

Busy, but good busy

Gravatar The week so far has been a busy one, so the blog has had to take a backseat again. Audit Committee on Monday night, on Wednesday a meeting to discuss the scrutiny review on Neighbourhood Management that I'm chairing and a Lib Dem leadership team meeting tonight. Did have Tuesday night off though, and went to the cinema to see Blame It On Fidel, which was really excellent - so go see it. Have got a mixed weekend ahead - after work tomorrow am going to see Carter USM in Brixton, including support from the Sultans of Ping FC, and ...
11:39 pm

The Prince and the Painter

Gravatar This afternoon, I had an audience with the Duke of Edinburgh in his library at Buckingham Palace, for my next literary project: the authorised biography of the Polish-born artist Feliks Topolski. Prince Philip and Feliks (as he was generally known, even by his children) were members of the Thursday Club that used to meet in a first floor private room at Wheeler’s Restaurant in the West End, and the Prince visited the artist’s studio under the arches on the South Bank on numerous occasions. He had the idea of commissioning Topolski to paint a huge panorama of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, inspired ...
11:28 pm

Ally Pally – Trustees kept in the dark, say Liberal Democrats

Gravatar I'm aware that I said I was going to blog about the Alexandra Palace debacle that Haringey Labour are presiding over, but haven't got around to doing it yet. In lieu of a proper blog post, here is a press release which went out today: The Lib Dems have welcomed the resignation of Labour's Finance boss, Cllr Charles Adje, from the Chairmanship of the Ally Pally Trading Company following weeks of pressure from the opposition party – but have condemned attempts by the Labour trustees to pack the body (which has a total of four councillors) with a third Labour ...
11:20 pm

Addressing Voucher Deficiencies

Gravatar In a previous post, I outlined my two qualms with education vouchers: 1. The flight of the middle classes to better schools, due to reduced deadweight costs. 2. That poorer children require more expensive education, and yet are least likely to get it. I would like to examine a different idea: reverse-auctioning children to the bidder who offered to teach them for the least amount of money. You'd need to collect a bit of information about each child and hir parents - household income, geographical location, disabilities and so on, not more than about four variables. Then the children can ...
11:17 pm

Public meeting to save the Romsey bus rail link

Gravatar Public meetings are an occupational hazard and sometimes generate more heat than light - but a politician ignores them at her peril. Was relieved to find that it was standing room only at the public meeting tonight - after all no one wants to be trying to save something that people are completely indifferent about. Much of the credit needs to go to Matt and Nadine (mentioned in an earlier blog)
11:06 pm

Did Labour bribe Birmingham drug addicts to steal votes?

Gravatar That’s one of a series of allegations made by BBC’s Newsnight this week. The report includes a series of people talking to camera alleging a range of electoral fraud by Labour, including one drug addict saying he was paid £5 per vote he cast, pretending to be someone else each time. You can watch the piece [...]
10:59 pm

Be Enterprising

Gravatar The Redcar and Cleveland Partnership is organising drop-in sessions to offer information on how to benefit from the Borough's Local Enterprise Growth Initiative. The sessions, which also offer free creche and refreshments, will tell you how your group might benefit from LEGI's Social Enterprise support, generate more income and make a difference in your community. Dates, venues and times are on Monday, November 5 at South Bank Women's Centre, from 10am-1pm, Tuesday, November 6 at the Sure Start Children's Centre, Saltburn, from 1pm-4pm and Wednesday, November 7 at Redcar Library, from 4pm-7pm.
10:43 pm

More on Skittles the Stiperstones Inn cat

Gravatar Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I am able to bring you this photograph of Skittles the Stiperstones Inn cat. but she's a girl describes her thus: Afterwards we warmed ourselves by the log fire in the Stiperstones Inn and watched the pub cat, Skittles, go through a series of extraordinary yoga poses in an effort to maximise the surface area being roasted by the fire. There are few things more relaxing than watching a snoozing cat.
10:25 pm

Banksy saved by an e-petition

Gravatar Many of Banksy's wall paintings have appeared in his home town of Bristol as well as in East London. Are they art or vandalism? They certainly are amusing and high quality works, and some (but by no means all) are painted with the permission of the building's owners. This one appeared unexpectedly on the wall of a listed building near the Civic Offices, and a Conservative...
10:04 pm

Internet schools

Gravatar There was an interesting piece in the Independent a few days ago about internet schools. Radicals used to want to deschool society along the lines advocated by Ivan Illich. Maybe technology is giving us the means to move towards that?
9:57 pm

Commissioner: we’re doing a fine job

Gravatar I see that the Commissioner of the Metropolis has said it’s business as usual at Scotland Yard and he thinks the Met are doing an “increasingly successful” job under his leadership.  The “failures” (an absolutely disgraceful euphemism to use for unlawfully killing someone) were “not systematic” so that take makes it alright. So, the next hoodlum indicted at the [...]
9:43 pm

More Rejected Jokes

Gravatar Following on from last week's McCann based joke that never aired, here's some that didn't make it into tonight's Vox Politix: Top Ten lies about Heather Mills 5. In an ironic twist of fate, touching her fake leg cures leprosy.3. She kidnapped Madeleine McCann.2. Whilst appearing on the US version of Strictly Come Dancing and during a particularly tricky allegro heel turn her fake leg flew off
9:18 pm

Riverside by-election

Gravatar The resignation of Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Baichoo on health grounds means there will be a by-election in Riverside Ward, Bermondsey. Paul, who is a gym instructor by profession, was really helpful to us recently. He gave us some well researched and thoughtful advice on a matter we raised with him, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Unusually we already have a fairly good idea who the Labour candidate is likely to be, given a less than gallant attack on Councillor Baichoo by said individual in the Southwark News the week before his health issues came to light. Still ...
9:05 pm

The Peckham Pioneer Health Centre

Gravatar Yesterday Jonathan Freedland wrote about the Peckham Pioneer Health Centre in the Guardian. He described it as: sparkling building of glass and light, two radical doctors in the 1930s established the Pioneer Health Centre. It was not a surgery, treating the sick, but rather a place dedicated to spreading - and studying - health. The founders, the husband and wife team of George Scott Williamson and Innes Pearse, reckoned health was a lot like disease, that it was contagious. The trick was to create an environment in which people would infect each other with wellbeing.The result was a beautiful club, ...
8:39 pm

David Boyle is blogging

Gravatar You can find him at The Real Blog.
8:16 pm

The trouble with those Blair brothers

Gravatar In Alan Bennett’s play Forty Years On, he imagines running into the Berlin brothers in the 1920s – Irving and Isaiah. Perhaps someone in a future play about the early years of this century might imagine running into the Blair brothers, Tony and Ian – brothers, at least, in their inability to realise they have to take responsibility for disaster by resigning. They may have done their best. Their motives may have been pure. That isn’t the point. When you lead an organisation found guilty of endangering life, and when one innocent man was shot dead five times at point ...
8:05 pm

Fairtrade coffee - the wrong way round?

Gravatar Most coffee shops have a little sign saying that if you ask for Fairtrade beans to be used for the production of your mug of coffee, it will be done. I plucked up sufficient courage to do this in a branch of well-known chain last Saturday. I am pleased to say that the instruction was somehow communicated down the chain of three people who took my order, processed my money and made my coffee. So,
7:55 pm

Tell Chris Huhne to lay off the negative campaigning please !!

Gravatar I cannot be the only person who is concerned about Chris Huhne's apparently "negative" words used against Nick Clegg, can I ? Did Chris Huhne really need to say "Britain does not need a 3rd Tory party" ? After all, isn't one of those questions that does not need to be said unless you are trying to imply something ? What ammunition this will give to Labour supporters who could go around saying, if Nick Clegg wins, that the Lib Dems are becoming another Tory Party, so don't vote for them. Talk about making a rod for your own back ...
7:49 pm

Blair Must Go

Gravatar The Metropolitan Police have been found guilty in a criminal court of causing the death of an innocent man, and yet the Commissioner says that he won't resign. This is sadly sympotomatic of modern society, where people seem to want the power without the responsibility that came with it. I think politicians started acting like this when John Major was at number 10, and it has carried on since Labour came to power. The bottom line is that there are times when the person leading an organisation must take responsibility for the actions of that organisation. This is one of ...
7:45 pm

Cameron and the Tories cannot add up - Time for someone to put David Cameron on the spot over bogus figures he peddles

Gravatar David Cameron was quick to peddle a statistic on GMTV this morning when he said that "half of all pupils at age eleven are unable to read, write and add up properly". Interestingly, having looked at the statistics, is is quite clear that David Cameron has completely made up these figures. For 2006, the last set of full results I was able to find, statistics show that just 20% of fail to achieve the correct standard in reading and writing (English) whilst in maths, the number failing to meet the required standard at age eleven is 23%. Now if these ...
7:37 pm

Blair Must Go

Gravatar Sir Ian Blair’s position as Metropolitan Police Commissioner is untenable. He must resign. Jean Charles de Menezes was killed as a result of Police ‘shoot to kill policy’ which was implemented as a result of a catastrophic series of failures and incompetence. In their desperate flailing to defend themselves the Police leadership has smeared Menezes’s name by the Police and Sir Ian’s attitude throughout has at best been high handed, insensitive and arrogant. Despite his being identified as a potential terrorist subject and having had several opportunities to do so the Police totally failed to attempt to detained Menezes from ...
6:31 pm

Daniel Radcliffe....Matthew Tait

Gravatar Has anyone ever seen them in the same room together? Huh...thought not. Makes you think don't it?
6:16 pm

Huhne’s Campaign: An Overview

Gravatar With the nominations closed and Mr Huhne’s manifesto published and launched, it is possible to take a step back and consider his overall campaign - what he’s trying to do and whether or not he’s been successful. I’m not going to judge his policies here. His campaign website is at where you can find press cuttings, endorsements and his manifesto. You can also register your support and other helpful information about how to help his campaign. Chris Huhne’s Image In speeches and on television, Huhne wears smart business wear. His voice is strong, with quite a nice deep tone. ...
5:43 pm

Scrap Tuition Fees to help End 'i-Pod Generation' Misery

Gravatar A critical report published this week reveals that many 18 - 29 year olds are paying nearly half their income in tax. Think tank 'Reform' published the report, which argues that Gordon Brown is putting 'massive burdens' on today's 'iPod (Insecure, Pressurised, Over-taxed and Debt-ridden) Generation ', resulting in less innovation from young people.
5:39 pm

Zero Punctuation

Gravatar Zero Punctuation, a funny and fast weekly look at gaming:
5:25 pm

Cowley Street Cake-Off A Two Horse Race

Gravatar There are some perks to being a Liberal Democrat member of staff - one of which is the amount of cake and jam produced by the other people in the building. We celebrated this fact this afternoon with a bake-off in honour of Eliane from the Candidates Office who was leaving, having given the Party many approved candidates and many cakes over the years. Since I'm on a diet, I restricted myself to sampling the sponges, all of which were delicious, and much better than the Tesco black forest gateaux some people contributed. The overall winner was a blackberry and ...
5:16 pm

Clegg leads call for Ian Blair to resign

Gravatar Here it is. Clegg was the first national politician to lead on this Tories followed Ken Livingstone defending Sir Ian I hear...
4:58 pm

Liverpool disenfranchised

Gravatar In Liverpool the Postal Workers strike went on longer than in most other parts of the country. Piles of undelivered mail built up in various storage areas, and a quote from one of the staff said it would take "weeks" to catch up. This would have been merely annoying. But delayed by this, and still not delivered, are the ballot papers for the Lib Dem European candidate selection contest. The deadline is next Wednesday. Freepost is second class. Even if the papers arrive tomorrow and are returned straight away we will be cutting it fine. We are though highly likely ...
4:43 pm

Police guilty - Clegg tells Commissioner to resign

Gravatar Nick Clegg has rightly called for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to resign after the Force was found guilty of criminal disregard for public safety over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. A number of things struck me as odd during the trial.  For example, the defence chose to make an opening speech, which is very unusual in a [...]
4:29 pm


Gravatar At last... Just a shame the conviction was on health and safety grounds, rather than corporate manslaughter and appears not to have been for actually shooting Jean Charles de Menezes, but for failing to shoot him earlier. And a fine for the Met, which of course will be paid for by the taxpayer (I would say "by us", but then I'm a student). Pickled Politics makes a good point: Lets fine the Met.
4:05 pm

Advise to Lib Dem Bloggers re Trident: shut up!

Gravatar It is now almost a week since Steelgate. In that time, the Lib Dem blogosphere has been obsessed with the topic of Trident. It was a bad political miscalculation of Chris Huhne’s to make such a big deal of it over the weekend. Almost certainly, his intention was to make the announcement before his manifesto launch so that it wouldn’t overshadow his manifesto. Well, it has. People can agree or disagree with his stance: I certainly think that Clegg has now made a creditable rebuttal. But if this election ends up being remembered as the Trident election, the party is ...
4:00 pm

The Rhetoric of Hate, The Immigration Debate

Gravatar As I watch the daily procession of stories on immigration march across the front pages of the newspapers, I often wonder to myself whether politicians and public figures really understand the effect of their rhetoric on society. The academic veil of economic analysis that the government has attempted to place over the issue has done [...]
3:44 pm

Justice for Aston!

Gravatar As we all know, no Labour candidate is ever guilty of anything and Labour stands by them, even if they admit to making homophobic smears in court (”but I technically didn’t call ‘im a nonce, guv!“). So I wonder what they will make of this. Actually, I already know that. The official Labour response at the end of the film dismissed the whole thing out of hand on the basis that it was cooked up by the political opponents and depended on the account of a drug addict. So no denial there then. Hat tip: John Hemming. Share This
3:05 pm

Daniel Hannan: another mad Tory

Gravatar Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, whose sense of history doesn’t seem to go beyond Our Island Story, opined that Belguim’s collapse into seperate states is inevitable and that it proves the EU will shortly collapse too. His contention is that successful political entities cannot exist where they have more than one significant language. Well in that case, the USA, China, Switzerland, [...]
3:05 pm

Chris Huhne's Trident Policy Stands Up

Gravatar The Trident system has three parts: the missiles, which are American-owned, the 192 warheads, which are British-made and owned, and four British Vanguard-class submarines that carry and fire the missiles. Chris Huhne, if I understand him rightly, thinks there is no convincing case for replacing the Trident system with a system of equal capacity. So the preparatory work now being carried out on a new generation of submarines can be cancelled. As I understand his views, Chris Huhne does not advocate scrapping Trident now because he is not a unilateralist. However, Trident has a finite life, and he thinks a ...
2:56 pm

Government’s death sentence for Iraqi employees: a first-hand account

Gravatar The reality of the Government's death sentence to Iraqi employees has been really brought home to me by an email sent to me because of my activity on this issue by an Iraqi translator working for the British in Iraq. Because I want to protect him I can't give too many details but here's a bit of the email: I read about you on the internet that you are supported the interpreters asylum matter, so I decided to write about our suffering to you and I appreciate that you are a very busy woman but I trust you to do ...
2:32 pm

Let’s invite Than Shwe

Gravatar I don’t mean that literally but is there that much difference between the Burmese Government and the Saudis? Maybe Gordon can invite him for a state visit - Kim Howells can explain how we have `shared values` with him! What’s that you say? No oil? Oh shucks!
2:21 pm

Police guilty in de Menezes case

Gravatar Hallejujah! At last a small part of the civilised ethos of this country has been restored. From the moment I heard the news of the de Menezes shooting, I have been deeply troubled by this case. A young man who optimistically came to this country, shot seven times in public for no reason other than he emerged from a block of flats under police observation. It was utterly repulsive. So, I am
2:08 pm


Gravatar A 1960's office building in New Bridge Street is being converted into flats, so I got invited along to the Chairman of Planning to look at the plans. In fact the developers had already been given permission by the Planning Inspector, against the Councils wishes, and we were only looking at a proposal to increase the number of flats from 8 to 10. Having already lost an Appeal the Planners had no enthusiasm to fight this, and felt we had to accept it. But my main interest was slightly different. This building bridges a footpath into a small park and ...
1:47 pm

A Saudi view on Oil Production

Gravatar Sadad Al Husseini was head of exploration and production for Aramco (the Saudi oil company). He has presented recently at the Oil and Money conference in London. He also has information on David Strahan's site. One part about reserves and another podcast about general issues. [David Strahan did a presentation at the first APPG OPO meeting.] Key points on these are: The world’s proved reserves
1:46 pm

Can we veto the 'people’s veto'?

Gravatar Oh dear. One of the headlines of the Chris Huhne campaign is the proposal for a ‘people’s veto’. This would see voters being given the right to challenge legislation if 2.5% of the population registered their opposition. Well, where to begin on this? First it is the kind of populist clap-trap which you would expect from the Tories when they are desperate to gain support. The idea of giving power back to voters is an old saw and it completely ignores the need for improving the existing systems of scrutiny of legislation, namely both Houses of Parliament and the need ...
12:59 pm

The Saud of Silence

Gravatar Sometimes my party takes a stand that reminds me why I am a Lib Dem.. This week the acting leader of the Lib Dems, Dr Vince Cable MP, took a decision to boycott the state visit of King Abdullah o...
12:59 pm

Education and the leadership election

Gravatar I was sorry to see Chris Huhne's manifesto going out of its way to rule out any thought of introducing school vouchers. It says: But we should not fool ourselves that either insurance or vouchers will improve the quality or the fairness of public services. They will certainly do nothing, unlike local democratic control, for community responsibility and cohesion.Particular proposals for public services stand or fall on their details: look, for example, at all the problems that flowed from the botched privatisation of British Rail. The school voucher scheme in Arizona left three quarters of public money going to children ...
12:55 pm

Chris Huhne - Is there something of the "twilight" about him?

Gravatar It may be the fact that I don't have the benefits of a classical/Oxbridge education..........but I am still totally confused about Huhne's policy position on Trident. I am not sure if he is deliberately surrounding himself with the half light of impossible contortions, or whether he really believes his position has any credibility. Whichever - it has only served to alienate many of the very people he presumably was hoping to attract. There is now even a Facebook Group 'Anti Trident Lib Dems for Nick Clegg'. Please please Lib Dems for Chris or Chris himself can we once and for ...
12:45 pm

Jeremy Kyle and the fall of Western civilisation

Gravatar Or "I'm just wild about Hari". Johann Hari has a particularly silly piece in the Independent today in which he argues that Jeremy Kyle and his television show are a force for tolerance and morality. Love and Garbage has kindly made a lot of good points in reply, saving me the trouble. But there are two I should like to add. Hari writes: Who are the villains of these shows, the people the audience find abhorrent? Men who treat women badly. Homophobes. Misogynists. Neglectful parents.But bullying people into the values that Hari and I agree with is no more admirable ...
11:55 am

My speech to Council last night on bus fares for young people

Gravatar Last night was my debut speech to Council, proposing an amendment which called upon the government to extend the concessionary travel scheme and give free bus travel to school children, as well as to extend the yellow school bus scheme to every school in England. Below is a transcript of my speech, minus a few last minute amendments scribbled as the debate went on… In proposing this amendment Mr Mayor, I would like to tell Council the story of Arthur Pennington, a resident of my ward who is 82 years old.   Arthur visits his family in Burnley fairly often, and he ...
11:52 am

Lib Dems call for free bus travel for youngsters and an end to post office closures

Gravatar Local Lib Dems secured unanimous Council backing for two motions at last night’s meeting of Bury Council. The first called for action to stop the potential loss of another 6 post offices in Bury, in addition to the 16 already lost here. It called on the government to halt the post office closure programme, to stop removing government business from post offices, and to consider the options to give more government business to the post office. It also called on The Leader of the Council to write to government expressing the Council’s views. The second motion was an amendment to an existing ...
11:50 am

Council agrees 70% of Eco Task Force's recommendations on Waste & Recycling

Gravatar Last night Camden Council's Executive backed the majority of the Sustainability Task Force's recommendations on waste and recycling. That's great. Policies agreed include: Research into making sure our recycling practices are genuinely good for the environment and not just about increasing recycling ratesA cost benefit analysis of a community composting scheme on one of our housing estatesA pilot to collect food waste in one area of Camden instead of one general waste collection Research into creating electricity from food waste as part of the work started by the Task Force Report into Energy and Energy EfficiencyA pilot to transform food ...
11:45 am

Friends, Romans, Councillors…

Gravatar So I spent Hallowe’en with a collection of faintly ghoulish representations of the undead. Yes, it was full Council. And it was my speech, which seemed to go down well. Nobody fell asleep, there was no heckling or rotten fruit thrown my way (no more so than normal, anyway) and most importantly of course, our amendment calling on the government to extend yellow school bus provision to every secondary school in the country and introduce a free fare for school children carried with unanimous support. As did the other Lib Dem motion on post office closures, calling on the government to halt their ...
11:44 am

The woman packing her kids off to school

Gravatar Jeremy Hargreaves in his blog illustrates very well Chris’s short-comings. It seems that for someone who is supposed to get the intellectuals vote not enough thinking or research had been done on the policy of Trident. In the hope of making a quick headline has Chris let himself down by panicing in the face of Nick [...]
11:36 am

Dave Bassett replaces Gus Poyet

Gravatar Leeds have moved quickly to appoint a new assistant manager following Gus Poyet's move to Spurs. In comes Dave Bassett who has worked with Dennis Wise at previous clubs so hopefully this a shrewd move. According to the BBC Leeds are also looking to make a further appointment to the first team coaching staff within the next week.
11:34 am

Playing with fire

Gravatar There has been a lot of hot air wafted about recently on the subject of the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Despite the fact that oil is now on the brink of $100 a bbl, support for independence in Scotland is falling rapidly. Nevertheless a certain section of the English press is stirring things up. We see resentful headlines in the London Paper about supposed extra payments being made to the Scottish government merely because the long overdue investment in London's crossrail is finally taking place. The idea that Scotland is a whining subsidy junkie - ...
11:25 am

Do we want more Supermarkets?

Gravatar Yesterday the Competition Commission called for a revamp of the planning system to allow more supermarkets to open in some areas of the UK. The Commission seemed to be more concerned with allowing more competition between the major supermarkets and less concerned with the impact this would have on independent retailers and our town centres. I am concerned that this will add weight to the proposed change to the 'Supermarket Needs Test' that would give local authorities less power to assess whether a supermarket is needed in a community. As I said in an earlier blog we have a diverse ...
11:03 am

Is J.K. finding it hard to let go?

Gravatar Can anyone spot the inconsistency between the following two statements? There will be just seven volumes of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and they will not be published. One copy will be auctioned to raise money for her charity, The Children’s Voice, and the author will give away the rest of them. She said the books were a “wonderful way” to say goodbye to Potter. And: JK Rowling and the makers of the Harry Potter films, Warner Bros, are suing a US publisher over its plans to release a book version of a popular website dedicated to the boy ...
10:53 am

Clegg wins my vote and the passion war

Gravatar Last night the RSA hosted the two candidates Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne. Both spoke and then took questions to a pretty packed hall - mainly Lib Dems, some journo's, lots of liberal leaning folk. Nick spoke without notes, he spokes passionately, clearly and with a hint of anger and frustration. It was clear, structured - it was a strong performance. Chris spoke from notes, was heavy weight and serious but I found it just too monotone - he projects as being policy heavy not because he is thinking aloud in a way that is considered, but in way that ...
10:49 am

Huhne’s Trident Policy Collapses

Gravatar It was the chap in the wing collar and spats who started all the trouble. He asked a question at last night’s meeting at the Royal Society for Arts (RSA) about nuclear policy - and what until then had been a reasonably interesting but fairly predictable debate between the leadership candidates, suddenly turned into something really quite interesting. As Clegg said in response, this is an area where the two candidates really do disagree. Clegg backs existing party policy on this (which was agreed, let’s not forget, by party conference after extensive internal debate less then seven months ago) which ...
10:37 am

Over 300 Post Offices lost in London

Gravatar I was in The Evening Standard yesterday with a story about the number of Post Offices London has lost over the last few years under Labour - it's the same old, same old story of Labour (and the Tories before them) letting our local communities get run down and lose out on key local services: Opposition MPs said post offices were the "lifeblood" of communities as they helped other small shops and businesses to thrive. They warned the situation is likely to get worse as ministers are planning another 2,500 closures across the country, of which as many as 150 ...
10:10 am

I think Chris Huhne may have just lost my vote

Gravatar He’s come down against individualism and choice in public services, paying homage to the myth that localising bureaucracy is the only way to improve services and that denying people freedom is the liberal way forward. There is no difference between a bureaucrat in my local council or one in Westminster - neither can understand the needs [...]
9:55 am

Those James Graham ratings MUST NOT be compared

Gravatar I continue to be amazed at the thoughtfulness of James Graham. He reaches the parts which many of the rest of us, frankly, can't even be bothered to try to reach. He is amazingly fair. His middle ought to be "caveat". His "Comment is free" article from yesterday: "Team Clegg is losing momentum" is a must read. James has also done astonishingly detailed and fair analyses of Clegg's National
9:45 am

Chris Huhne writes: No to Trident

Gravatar Lib Dem Voice has asked both leadership candidates to set out their views on what should be the party’s approach to Britain’s policy on nuclear weapons. Nick Clegg’s article was published earlier today. Here’s Chris Huhne’s take… In Britain today we face a multitude of threats to our security. We need strong defences to protect us [...]
8:55 am

Richard Benyon MP should apologise to the House of Commons

Gravatar Julian Swift-hook, Councillor for Greehmam, West Berkshire and Newbury Town Council, writes in today's Newbury Weekly News: I wholeheartedly commend the honesty of Adrian Edwards, the mayor of Newbury Town Council, in admitting that the leader of Newbury Town Council, Ian Grose, had made it 'quite clear' that he supported the idea of a welcome reception for troops returning from Iraq. Given
8:54 am

What could have been....

Gravatar What a wonderful day to go up to the Queen and say"Let's have a general election today, your majesty"! The weather wouldn't have been that bad after all: Thursday day: Cloudy in Scotland with rain, mainly in the west. Occasional light rain will spread into Northern Ireland and Cumbria. Dry and mostly cloudy elsewhere with the chance of some sunshine. Mild everywhere.
8:53 am

James Graham on Chris’s manifesto

Gravatar Over at Quaequam Blog!, James Graham has been looking through the various sections of Chris’s manifesto and giving his opinion. He says: Huhne is clearly taking risks, and he should be congratulated for that. He has brought substance to a debate which until now has been distinctly wanting for it. On a number of issues however, he simply doesn’t seem to appreciate the communication issue. On the environment, on crime and on taxation it isn’t that he is wrong on detail, but that he hasn’t worked enough on communicating the message. This is at least a much bigger concern of ...
8:36 am

Day 2492: Victory for the Elephant!

Gravatar Sunday: Okay, ACTUALLY it this photo news story that an ELEPHANT has won a top photographic award, but it looks like FUN doesn't it! I must melt down all of Daddies' CHOCOLATE supplies to see if I can RECREATE this image! In other news, a scientist has scanned the Mona Lisa's eyebrows only to discover the words "THIS IS A FAKE" written on the canvass in felt tip! Word of the Day: Clams!
8:25 am

How can you have both points and a quota?

Gravatar "Dave" Cameron has decided that he's going to have an immigration quota, but he won't say how big - probably because he knows that any actual decision will be unpopular with either the Daily Mail ("too high") or business ("too low"), or - more likely - both. He's also decided that he's going to have a points system for economic migrants. The problem is that you can't have both. What happens if too many people get enough points? I suppose you could have a system where you grant visas to the 75,000 people with the most points - effectively like ...
8:21 am

Public path Peddie Street to Tait's Lane

Gravatar I have in the past dealt with a number of complaints about the condition of the above pathway, which runs from the middle of Tait's Lane to Peddie Street - complaints have previously included graffiti and litter. However, recently residents have expressed concern at the state of the fencing running along the pathway and I contacted Home Scotland (who own the houses to the south of the path) about this. I am pleased to say that, having inspected the situation, Home Scotland has agreed to carry out repairs to the fencing and in the reply it is indicated this will ...
8:01 am

Cameron owes teaching profession an apology for smears on GMTV

Gravatar David Cameron seemed very flustered on GMTV a few minutes ago, so much so that even the light weight Fiona Phillips pushed him in to a corner on education. Cameron's response was to say that "after 10 years of labour half of all eleven year old's leave school not being able to read, write or add up". This statement is, of course, absolute rubbish. I wonder if David Cameron will offer an apology to the teaching profession for this slur, after all, he is quick to ask for Labour MP's to apologise when they make similar errors.
7:45 am

Nick Clegg writes: Yes to multilateral, global disarmament

Gravatar Lib Dem Voice has asked both leadership candidates to set out their views on what should be the party’s approach to Britain’s policy on nuclear weapons. First up is Nick Clegg… My ambition is simple: nuclear disarmament around the world. Under my leadership, Britain would use every last ounce of her leverage to secure multilateral, global [...]
6:50 am

Labour's vote buying on Newsnight

Gravatar Newsnight's reporter did an excellent job in obtaining usable evidence that Labour candidates have continued buying votes. The advantage of buying postal votes is that it is easier to check that people have voted for the party's candidate. It is possible for people to show their ballots in the polling station. They were paying about £15 a vote in 2004 and hence an increase to £20 per vote is
1:13 am

The real test for Huhne's "left" credentials.............

Gravatar Tomorrow we will learn who Simon Hughes will give his support to in the leadership race. Up until now, as party President, he has kept his counsel. There has been a lot of lazy analysis in the media about who is the left and who is the right candidate. Already, many of those who are regarded as representing the left of the party have come out in support of Nick. But if anyone can be regarded as the darling of the left it has to be Simon Hughes. I can't imagine Simon supporting a "Cameron stunt double" I await with ...
12:58 am

What Now On ID Cards?

Gravatar Nick Clegg might just have scuppered any chance the Labour Government have of introducing compulsory ID cards. They’re in a bind now: If they go ahead then they’ll make a martyr of Nick Clegg and anyone brave or foolhardy enough to stand up with him. This would be a nightmare scenario for Labour, especially if it brought down the law (there’s a precedent, remember!) or did, in fact, cause mass civil disobedience. The alternative then is to keep kicking it into the long grass until everyone’s forgotten about it (or they go into opposition) when it quietly gets abandoned and ...
12:39 am

Revolutionary Liberalism: 3 - Health, wealth and happiness

Gravatar Health seems to have become the theme of the day in the Lib Dem leadership debate, at least amongst bloggers (John Dixon's "A Radical Writes" here, and Tristan's "Liberty Alone" here as examples). The two candidates themselves have both now produced manifestos of sorts with Chris Huhne (page 9) promoting "the principle of universal access on the basis of need" and Nick Clegg earlier (despite John Dixon's interpretation otherwise) setting down the principle that "our universal public services must be free to use and accessible to all". Both have admirable reasons for wanting to retain this universality and free access; ...
12:20 am

Chris Huhne’s manifesto: the verdict

Gravatar I thought I’d give Huhne’s manifesto the same treatment that I gave Clegg’s speech last week. Once again, I’ll give each main section marks out of five for how much the section is in the party’s comfort zone, how much it is reaching out beyond our traditional supporter base and how much I personally agree with it. I realise the first two are tests which Nick Clegg first set, but they are valid ones. Changing the system, not just the Government Huhne starts off by talking about the electoral system, a matter close to Liberal Democrats’ hearts but not neccesarily ...
12:02 am

Birmingham - NO2ID regional meeting

Gravatar Phil Booth, the National Coordinator of NO2ID, will be coming to Birmingham on 24th November 2007, for a meeting at The Priory Rooms, Friends Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AF from 10.30am to 1.00pm.

Previous days:

Wednesday 31st October 2007, Tuesday 30th October 2007, Monday 29th October 2007, Sunday 28th October 2007, Saturday 27th October 2007, Friday 26th October 2007