Let's make one thing clear from the start, I utterly oppose the renewal of Trident on the river Clyde and for that matter any where else in the UK, (unlike the SNP who just want it pushed south of the border). It is utterly repellent to every fibre of my moral outlook and, I believe, utterly irrelevant as a tool of 21st century diplomacy except perhaps as a final tool in the architecture of global disarmament. It is from that position that I, and many of my Lib Dem colleagues approach the decision of who should lead the federal party ...
Saturday 3rd November 2007
I have had a bit of a quiet period on this blog over the last week or two. This is partly due to a lack of inspiration and partly due to the insane party selection rules. As number 9 on the selected Lib Dem GLA list for London I am: Allowed to say how I am voting in selections being conducted under rules set by the Federal Party. So I can say I am backing Chris Huhne for Leader and I can say that
In honour of Paul Walter’s recent Spooks puzzler (answer here), I have one of my own. It’s about the character of Sholto who was in Monday’s BBC One episode. The actor who plays him appeared alongside one of the regulars in an episode of another major TV series. Which one, and why was the Spooks regular’s appearance in that series particularly notable? Incidentally, Ros states that Sholto used to be a government minister. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be about the actor’s previous role in Spooks - as a peer - but it could be a sly ...
After David Cameron lied about children's attainment in literacy and maths in order to slag off the Labour government (and the teaching profession to boot) during the week, one has to question his ability to do simple arithmetic. But it appears he might be a serial liar when it comes to statistics. Top Lib Dem blogger Paul Walter points out that David Cameron has stated what appears to be the wrong amount on the register of members interests. Oh dear Dave, aren't you supposed to be preaching a new kind of politics ? If that's the case, why tell lies ...
The Courier today highlights the differing situation facing residents on different sides of part of Blackness Road – where residents on the south side have blue (paper) and brown (garden) recycling wheelie bins, but the residents on the north side do not have individual recycling bins. As I commented in the Courier article, the reason for this is because of the storage difficulties for three separate bins per household (waste, paper, garden) facing residents in tenements (this part of Blackness Road – just east of Balgay Road/Blackness Avenue – has houses on the south side and tenement flats on the ...
We Lib Dems have been rightly criticised for not selecting more women for winnable seats. But today for a change some good news - I am delighted to learn that the membership of Lib Dem-held Harrogate and Knaresborough have selected Claire Kelley to contest the parliamentary seat when Phil Willis stands down. Hearty congratulations, Claire.
Posted by Chris: For the second time in less than two years we travelled to Leeds to attend the Liberal Democrats Leadership Hustings..On the way we passed a church, I think it was on Scott Hall Road, which had a yellow dayglow poster outside displaying the words "Looking for a new Leader." We have certainly found one. Held in the impressive Civic Hall with its two owls perched proudly on two white Portland stone spires it was nice to be back in a proper Council Chamber. It was standing room only once again as members came from far and wide. ...
It had to come sometime and it has looked like happening over the past few games. Leeds United have been beaten in a League 1 game. If it was going to happen then Carlilse was going to be the place. They are riding high and in front of their largest crowd since 1976 they hit three past sleepy Leeds in the second half. Had it been a game of just one half then Leeds would have been worthy winners with a 27th minute goal from Jermaine Beckford but we have to play well for 90 minutes not 45. We managed ...
Steve Webb today has an important post reflecting on his recent visit to Israel Palestine. Steve rightly draws attention to the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. However, this doesn't take account of what it is like to be living under occupation. My metaphor for the situation is - if you are sitting on my head I may need you to get off my head before I can be reconciled to you. If in the course of sitting on my head you blacked my eye and broke my nose, I may need you to apologise to me for that. If in ...
“Charlotte Gore’s Diary” properly opened to the Lib Dem Blogosphere on the 19th of October. It’s had 816 unique visitors and served up 5975 pages. The average unique visitors per day, from the 19th onwards, was 123. I really don’t know know how this compares to the rest of the LD blogosphere - it’s certainly a lot more than I expected - but what I can say is that Lib Dem Blogs is an amazing resource that gives even brand new bloggers like me the opportunity to be heard in the LD Blogosphere. Given all the discussion on equality lately, ...
It is a difficult thing for any football fan to see their ex heroes pulling on the shirt of another team, but in some cases there is a certain smug satisfaction in seeing certain players fail miserably after they have demanded and got the move they have craved. At Norwich, we have something of a history of seeing players leave to go on to supposedly better things. But what defines the reception they receive when they return playing for the opposition or the way the fans speak of them on the terraces is based very much on the manner of ...
What's the difference between first class air travel and transport via a private jet? Well, let's see. With a private jet you can set your own timetable for departure and return - more or less. You can arrive via limousine at the steps of the aircraft and ascend the steps, saluted by the pilot. If your jet is a Falcon 9oo it will have deep-pile carpets, supple leather seats and veneer trimmings.
I'm not sure whether to tip my hat to Linda Jack for highlighting this non-story or to criticize her for regurgitating excitedly and in the manner of a parrot a scurrilous and unthinking story from the Torygraph that Chris Huhne owns shares in surveillance firm. By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 3:07am GMT 03/11/2007 Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat leadership contender who has strongly criticised both supermarkets and the surveillance state, is a major shareholder in a company that supplies "people monitoring" technology to Tesco. The revelation by The Daily Telegraph of Mr Huhne's links to the country's biggest ...
Think of this as the blogging equivalent of a 'Hi honey, I'm on the train!' entry. So here I am, listening to the two contenders joust for the delectation and delight of members from the Yorkshire and the Humber Region and beyond. With the formidable Baroness Angie Harris in the chair, Chris spoke first, demonstrating his ability to adapt as the campaign proceeds. His speech included more
From the BBC, "President" Musharraf has thrown his toys out of the pram and resorted to bully-boy tactics: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has declared emergency rule and suspended the country's constitution. Troops have been deployed inside state-run TV and radio stations, while independent channels have gone off air. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who condemned the moves, has
Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb has that bed blocking in the NHS is on the rise again despite assurances just a few months ago from the Labour government that they were acting to deal with this. Since Labour made their announcement, bed blocking has actually increased by 30%, with the problem now costing the NHS a reported £100 million a year. It appears, like so much Labour froth, that the pledge and announcement to do something about this was nothing more than a speech, with no actual action to follow it up.
Brenda Beddard, who wrote to the Mirror this week - "GOD forbid if Chris Huhne is elected leader of the Lib Dems. I was at a function where he gave a talk about insulating your loft and buying a car with low emissions. Very commendable... except he was addressing a group of over-80s in sheltered accommodation!" touches on an important issue for the Huhne campaign, he may be able to communicate well within the party, however, if he wants to be leader he perhaps needs to pay a little more attention to how he communicates with the world outside the ...
I'm rather pleased that in October this blog received over 9000 visits for the first time. That's actual visits, not pages visited, and it doesn't include search engine robots. But I would never claim that it represents 9000 different people since I do know that some of you come back regularly. I don't get a lot of comments on this blog, so sometimes I feel that no-one is out there....
Over on Labourhome, you can find the Fabian Society’s latest report for the Labour Party. It seems that they’d quite like the Labour Party to try keeping the liberal left as part of the Labour coalition. Bonus points for them for correctly realising that the liberal vote, in general, floats between Labour and the Conservatives far more than it votes for us and that for any party to form a majority you need the liberal votes. I can’t see their report getting much in the way of sympathy in Number 10. I’m fairly sure Brown’s strategy is to keep trying ...
The Tories are proposing to introduce a Bill to Parliament which would effectively given independence to the NHS. The so called NHS Autonomy and Accountability Bill makes me wonder who will be accountable and what would it achieve ? When the Tories were last in power they had an obsession with creating executive agencies who would themselves take the fall for government errors and mistakes, allowing Ministers to carry on regardless and never take responsibility. Famous Michael Howard got rid of Derek Lewis, the man in charge of the prison service rather than Michael Howard taking the blame for the ...
This month, the Green party is also having a leadership vote of its membership. But the question they are being asked is not, ‘Who should our leader be?’, but instead ‘Do we want to have a leader?’ Currently the party has two Principal Speakers, one female (Caroline Lucas), one male (Derek Wall). Darren Johnson, one [...]
If my unexpected guest compere appearance in Newbury was a sign that I might see more of this leadership contest than I did last time (and complained endlessly about), today may well give the impression that I'm becoming something of a groupie. This entry comes, in fact, from the 12:06 train from Derby, scene of the informal hustings at the East Midlands Regional Conference, to Leeds, the
There will be a series of different online hustings held during the party’s leadership contest between Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne. The first of these -which will run through the whole contest - is kicking off on Monday 5th November at forum.libdems.org.uk Any party member can use this hustings to question Chris Huhne or Nick Clegg [...]
Friday: I am getting a bit BORED of the commentary (copyright all newspapers) that "half of all the new jobs created since 1997 have been taken by foreign workers". It is JUST AS LIKELY that two million new jobs have been created and ENTIRELY taken by British workers… leaving one million LOWER-PAID jobs vacant, which have drawn in workers from Europe to do the jobs that British workers are no longer willing to do. I am not saying that that HAS happened – it's just no more unlikely than the other EXTREME, the one that everyone is quoting as gospel. ...
Well - there's been a little flurry just now of interesting and weighty blog postings on the issue of equality - and whether it shows up a clear ideological difference between the two Liberal Democrat leadership candidates. Rob Knight over on Liberal Review (good to see Rob starting up blogging again!) has the latest piece in this exchange. I don't agree with all his points but I do think he's right to highlight the question of how much we should worry about equlaity of outcome as opposed to equality of opportunity. This was a major theme of my speech to ...
This week I took advantage of the gap between the end of one Parliamentary session on Monday and the start of the next (Queen's Speech next Tuesday) to join a Bible Society delegation with other MPs to visit Israel / Palestine. It was the first time I had been there and I've come away with a mass of impressions. We talked on our visit to people on 'both sides' of the issue, although it quickly emerged that there are far more than two perspectives on what is happening. I had been told a lot about the wall (see pictures which ...
In this excellent post, James Graham implores the Lib Dem leadership candidates to get down to basic principles. In the post, he reinforces the view that there is, at heart, a fundamental difference between Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg's aims: Huhne’s manifesto contains two core elements that he should push home as much as possible over the next few weeks. The first is the People’s Veto - a brilliant populist move which happens to also be a democratic one. The second is his defence of equality. The latter guarantees that the likes of Andy Mayer and Tristan Mills won’t vote ...
Hat-tip: Liberal England Linda Jack writes: I will say it loud and clear, THOSE OF US WHO OPPOSE TRIDENT DON'T DO SO BECAUSE IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY. WE DO IT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT IS MORALLY WRONG. WE DON'T LIKE CHEAPER SON OF TRIDENT EITHER.........BECAUSE THAT IS MORALLY WRONG TOO. GET IT??? Well actually, could you just repeat the first bit?
Thursday: Let's start with a statement of the OBVIOUS: you CANNOT make the public more SAFE by SHOOTING them at RANDOM. We listened to the wise words of Mr Brian on Questionable Time last night, saying it was TOO SOON to call for the resignation of Sir Ian clone of Lord Blairimort, that we should not RUSH to JUDGEMENT. There is the report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to be published in the next few days, and then there will be an Inquest. Mr Brian is right – we should wait for those. And THEN Sir Ian should resign. ...
Oh dear, dear, dear, dear, dear. The signs are that Australia's PM, John Howard, will have his eleven year term in office terminated by the electorate in three weeks time. But let's not speak too soon, there's still time for some ship containing some poor refugees to be forced by Howard onto some Godforsaken island amidst much publicity....
A few days ago I praised Chris Huhne's call for us to scrap Trident because it is too expensive and does not serve Britain's needs in the post-Cold War world. Since then, it is true, things have become rather more muddied, with Chris's position sounding less innovative than it once did. But I retain my view that Huhne's position: is forward-looking, acknowledges the national interest and lacks the faint aroma of hand-woven yoghurt that traditional Liberal policies sometimes have.Not everyone agrees. Linda Jack - sounding a little like Millennium Elephant on speed - writes: I will say it loud and ...
Alix has left a comment on my Hit by a thought blog suggesting that "Let's dance to Joy Division" by the Wombats could be an anthem for the LibDems. Great idea! : Let's dance to joy division, And celebrate the irony, Everything is going wrong, But we're so happy, Let's dance to joy division, And raise our glass to the ceiling, 'Cos this could all go so wrong, But we're just so happy,
Halloween: A new report from the Competition Commission: "No, no, no, Mr Beelzebub is not in the classical sense EVIL. Yes, we admit that there may be SOME technical concerns about restrictive practice involved in the selling of souls business… And we're not COMPLETELY happy with everything that is going on between the Prince of Darkness and his minions in the National Farmers' Union, viz use of red-hot pitch-forks… And we MAY have to consider requiring him to release to other demons some of the 'land bank' that he has built up in the property of 'Hell'… But there is ...
Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has proposed setting up a joint inquiry with the Local Government Association to investigate widespread claims that the social housing system is being abused. This is a very positive suggestion. Throughout debates about housing and immigration it has normally been apparent that there is no hard evidence on this subject.
A couple of London LibDem members have been on to me saying they still have not received their ballot papers for the Euro and mayoral selections. I suppose it was inevitable that some would go astray during the postal strike, and one hears dark rumours of a backlog postal mountain somewhere in North London. Whatever [...]
Right, this is hard post for me to write because I failed miserably in my mission to put any of my questions to him. Thanks to a pre-booked fundraising event, the local lib dem branch were lucky enough to have Nick as their guest speaker. So this is how it came to pass that I met Nick Clegg. I see that he’s going to pass quite close to me and, feeling confident and determined I put out my hand. That’s when it all went wrong. I shook his hand confidently and said “Hi Nick” then when he asked, “Oh Hi! ...
Friday 2nd November First a copy of Hansard arrived sent to me by a friend, for July 10th. It gives a verbatim record of how Elected Executives were dealt with in the House of Lords. The word "daft" was used twice to describe them, and "barmiest" once, and that was only a brief glance. Thank goodness they are out of the window. Then an exciting large parcel arrived. It...