Sunday 4th November 2007

11:28 pm

Liam Byrne, they say problems come in three's!

Gravatar The News of the World has today attacked Birmingham Hodge Hill's Labour MP Liam Byrne as having fiddled the figures on immigration - this comes straight after he was found guilty of driving whilst being on a mobile and the latest figures on MPs expenses showed him to be the second highest claiming MP.
10:59 pm

Sandy Denny: Solo

Gravatar Last Sunday I posted a video of Rock the Casbah by Rachid Taha. While I am still at the "I have just got broadband and isn't YouTube wonderful?" stage, let's turn that into a new tradition and have a regular Sunday video. This one shows the incomparable Sandy Denny (who died in 1978 at the age of only 31) singing live in 1974, probably at Birmingham University according to a comment on Youtube. The picture quality is poor, but somehow the ghostly quality is appropriate for a lost artist like Sandy Denny.
10:43 pm

Harnessing the power of water

Gravatar Harnessing nature, and working with it, especially with water, struck me as we visited Cragside. Lord Armstrong had installed the very first hydroelectric power house there in around 1868. I only wish more progress had been made in harnessing the power of water, wind, waves and sun, instead of this mad obsession with nuclear power. Political problems were put aside for some hours...
10:12 pm

From bad to worse in Pakistan

Gravatar President Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and fired the chief justice and other senior judges. Commentators say he has done so to prevent the Supreme Court from delivering a ruling that as a military officer he was ineligible to stand in the recent presidential election. Why is Pakistan such a mess, yet neighbouring India manages to keep its democracy together despite a population of over a billion?
10:10 pm

Could the National Trust become a political party?

Gravatar Whatever happened to political parties? Their combined membership amounts to little more than the circulation of a modest-sized celebrity magazine. In ten years time, well, they probably won’t manage more than the readership of the New Statesman. I’ve been on the look-out for years for something that might replace the insititution, at least in the UK. Then I open the Times yesterday, and find that the National Trust is going head to head with the government over their housebuilding plans – threaten to buy up green belt land to prevent them. I have wondered for some time, without taking the ...
10:08 pm

100 years of women councillors

Gravatar Thanks to Paul Hulbert for reminding us that: the first women councillors were elected in this country, at the elections of 1 November 1907, following the Qualification of Women Act. They started taking office at the first meetings of the new councils, 100 years ago this week.Paul also tells us that the pioneering woman doctor Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became Britain's first mayor in 1909 when she took office in Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Incidentally, her father, Newson Garrett, built the Maltings at Snape, which are now the principal home of the Aldeburgh Festival.
9:57 pm

Respect splits in Tower Hamlets

Gravatar The Newham Recorder reports: Respect in Tower Hamlets were in turmoil this week after a revolt by four of their councillors.Oliur Rahman - the first Respect councillor in the country - and colleagues Lutfa Begum, Cllr Rania Khan and Ahmed Hussain have formed the breakaway Respect (Independent) faction.They have resigned the Respect Group whip, which means they are not obliged to follow the party line. The rebels say it is no longer possible for them to work constructively with the group.I presume that the four issued a statement along the following lines: It is not we who have left Respect, ...
9:54 pm

BritBlog Roundup 142

Gravatar This week Suz Blog hosts the Roundup for the first time.
9:47 pm

Realpolitik Podcast

Gravatar Richard Holloway and I have recorded the first of what we hope will be the first of many podcasts on politics, the media, politics and the media and anything else that takes our fancy. We've pretentiously decided to call the series "realpolitik" and the first show, "The DL Show", can be listened to or downloaded here. We hope to release a new one every Tuesday (this week's is a one-off delay
9:34 pm

Wikipedia and its limitations

Gravatar Wikipedia {Wikipedia logo} - the online encyclopaedia which anyone can edit or contribute to - dominates much of the provision of information on the internet. It's not just that the site is massive - or that it has huge levels of traffic - but also on a huge range of searches people plug into Google or Yahoo or MSN or some other search engine - there is Wikipedia, sitting somewhere near the top - if not at the top - of the search results. Being the first or nearly the first port of call on so many hunts for information ...
8:52 pm

City Road, Tullideph Road, Tullideph Street

Gravatar I'm pleased to have been advised by Dundee City Council that the dropped kerbs and red tactile paving at the signalised City Road and Tullideph Road junction are to be improved this financial year. The area has many elderly people so I am pleased that this improvement to dropped kerbing and tactile paving is planned. I have also recently raised with the City Council the issue of road safety in Tullideph Street, an area with sheltered housing. This follows the recent community meeting at Balgay Church Hall - and residents are concerned about some vehicle speeds. Although I am advised ...
7:54 pm

Made my mind up

Gravatar After attending the East Midlands Regional Conference yesterday where Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne did an sort of husting, I’ve finally made up my mind on who will get my vote for the LibDem Leadership. (more…)
7:10 pm

First women councillors 100 years ago

Gravatar It's a hundred years ago this month that the first women councillors were elected in this country, at the elections of 1 November 1907, following the Qualification of Women Act. They started taking office at the first meetings of the new councils, 100 years ago this week. The first woman mayor, in 1909, was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who became mayor of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. She was also the first woman to qualify as a doctor in the UK. It took another 21 years before women got the same voting rights as men, in 1928. A personal note from the editor ...
7:09 pm

Mary D’Albert chosen for St Mary’s election 2008

Gravatar The Liberal Democrats have chosen local woman Mary D’Albert as the Lib Dem Focus Team candidate for St Mary’s ward for the 2008 local elections. Mary lives in the ward on Prestwich Park Road South, and is a long-standing and active party member. Mary has said how delighted she is to have been chosen as the candidate, and how excited she is at getting stuck in to some of the local issues. You can read more about Mary in the new edition of St Mary’s Focus, which is being delivered across the ward in the coming weeks. After Cllr Donal O’Hanlon’s victory ...
7:04 pm

Fireworks on St Ann’s Road

Gravatar Walking outside at this time of year is often quite surreal. For most of the English winter, a dry, cold evening is a time for venturing forth hearing only the crispy leaves and seeing only your breath in the freezing air. But for the first week in November there is a Kate Adie war report soundtrack and an apocalypse-mist foggy backdrop added to the mix, as hundreds of tonnes of grade-A ordnance is blown up in gardens nationwide for bonfire night. It is a depressing but winnable bet that most of the people blowing up their fireworks have little knowledge of why precisely they’re ...
7:04 pm

Do I vote for Linda Jack???????

Gravatar Well............I'll tell you after Wednesday! :-)
6:58 pm

Better living through glowsticks

Gravatar “The thing about the NY Jedi school is that it isn’t about a bunch of dorks trying to best each other, it’s about a bunch of dorks trying to better each other,” says an improbably attractive woman (an actress they paid for the shoot?) in this short film. Inspirational stuff! Share This
6:54 pm

Huhne’s campaign turns negative

Gravatar The Lib Dem leadership campaign is quite difficult for me in some respects as I know both Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne well. I suppose there are many people in the party in a similar position and have to make a difficult decision to, effectively, decide which of your friends you are going to [...]
6:52 pm

First Rule Of Politics

Gravatar Never, ever, ever tell the media… What you’re not doing. “I’m not stealing your car!” What you’re not going to do. “I’m not going to hurt you.” What you’re not, full stop. “I’m not a criminal.” “We’re not scrapping ID cards” as Peter Hain briefed the BBC today actually says to me “people are talking about scrapping ID cards. We have to deny it, but we’re definately going to keep kicking this into the long grass until it’s safe for us to scrap it.” Why? Because, clearly, someone’s been telling the Mirror they’re going to bin the project, and it’s ...
6:50 pm

New Focus hits the streets

Gravatar Like a trumpeting marketing man from the Ford Motor Company, it is my joyous duty to inform you that the new Focus has hit the streets. Unlike said man from Ford, my Focus is less a mid-range saloon car, and more a community newsletter. And whilst the car comes with a range of engine sizes and trim levels and arrives on the back of a transporter, the newsletter comes in one trim level (orange with black and white photos) has no engine, and gets delivered by hand through your door. The latest issue has more on Philips Park, Lib Dem ...
6:46 pm

Have your say on Philips Park

Gravatar Local people are being asked to give their views on the future of Philips Park, after plans for renovation works were revealed by the Council. Options include bidding for heritage lottery funds to renovate the buildings and make substantial improvements to the park. I think that Philips Park is one of Bury’s great parks, and I am proud that it’s in this ward. Now we need to know local people’s views on improving the park. For too long buildings like the Orangery have not been kept in the best condition or made best use of. Now we have the chance ...
6:42 pm

Don’t just read the blog… Say hello!

Gravatar An exciting new feature was added to the blog recently, so now I can see how many hits I get. I had imagined it was about three per day, with two of them being me and the other being someone like my mum. It turns out though that I am getting loads, which is brilliant. In fact, so far in November I have 1,337 unique visits, as well as 4,711 for the last bit of October when the hit-counter was installed. Now, I know that if I visit every day for a month this counts as 30 visits, not one ...
5:04 pm

Cyril Smith declares for Clegg

Gravatar More good news for Nick Clegg as he gained support for his leadership bid from Sir Cyril Smith MBE, former MP for Rochdale Sir Cyril said - "The more I see of Nick Clegg, the more I am convinced that he has the youthful energy and passion that this party needs. He has been excellent as the Home Affair's Spokesperson and I will be encouraging all Rochdale members and beyond to back Nick. I met him in May and it is abundantly clear that under his leadership our party has a bright future. I know I'm biased but I welcome ...
4:31 pm

Chris Would Tear Up The NPT

Gravatar A number of comments on my last post drew me also to the completely illogical policy of Huhne’s nuclear policy, and since I have been criticized already for attacking Clegg’s policies I hope this post will go some way to prove my independent spirit. Chris says that the UK should scrap trident and decide whether [...]
3:46 pm

On leadership

Gravatar A few hours ago nominations closed for the posts of Leader of the Welsh Assembly Liberal Democrat Group and Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. It is almost certain that Mike German will be elected to both posts unopposed, leaving him without any mandate to do what is needed. I am aware that a number of members are unhappy at this situation. Many of them would have liked to have had a choice, even though they may have decided to vote for Mike. The Assembly Group however decided that this was not to be and all of them, bar me, ...
3:45 pm

Blair must go

Gravatar I have rarely read such a powerful and compelling newspaper article as that by Andrew Rawnsley in today's Observer entitled: "Sir Ian Blair will resign. The only real question is when". Rawnsley catalogues the failures in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes and makes an unanswerable case for the removal of Blair: The commissioner's central claim in his defence is that there is no evidence of '
3:37 pm

The Rose Go Marching On 2

Gravatar Yesterday saw the second round of the OVD Scottish Junior Cup which saw mixed fortunes from the West Lothian sides. A couple of the matched did have some Lib Dem political significance to them. In the Battle of the Lib Dem Blogs Linlithgow Rose, whose ground I have canvassed and delivered leaflet all around, carried on their defence of this trophy beating fellow Blogger Iain Dale's Irvine
3:35 pm

Enoch was Right!

Gravatar For reasons of self-preservation, and to avoid joining Nick Clegg in prison, this blog tends to avoid matters of national controversy.  But in the week when a "senior Conservative" - all politicians in trouble are immediately promoted to 'senior' - found himself in "mucho caliente agua" for saying Enoch was Right (which, in a purely political sense, is surely correct), I was tempted to check whether I too was in danger of a 'senior' moment. So imagine my trepidation when I googled and found the following quotes from Simon Heffer's recent biography "Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell":  "The ...
3:27 pm

Cameron seems to forget it was a Conservative government that let in the biggest "preacher of hate".

Gravatar David Cameron says Britain made a "historic mistake" in letting in Islamist "preachers of hate". He says Britain should never have allowed the preachers in. Perhaps he should have a word with his friend Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. She was Prime Minister when the most renowned "preacher of hate" Abu Hamza was allowed into Britain.
3:21 pm

Personally If I Were The Nats I'd Run

Gravatar I doubt this is the same Labour Party that most Scottish politicos know. Apparently the latest about face from Labour is that they are now claiming that Scotland could survive independently. Now the Nats I know who are politically active are unlikely to be taken in so lightly by this sudden U-Turn approach. However, is this another case of the many flavours of Labour which leaves them rudderless
3:04 pm

Do I vote for Linda Jack?

Gravatar I have spent almost all day tidying up my study at home, catching up on paying bills and sorting out other correspondents. And yes it was really that messy to spend a whole day on tidying. As I am now beginning to clear my 'Lib Dem' pile I have come across the ballot paper for the selection of our European candidates. The first thing I noticed about the list was the fact that there was only
3:00 pm

In Memoriam Jean-Luc Hucque

Gravatar The Belgian photographer and film-maker Jean-Luc Hucque died of cancer yesterday, aged 60. For seven years we lived together, until I moved to London, and I always stayed in the flat when I was in Brussels for work or for political meetings after that. It is still full of pictures and books and even clothes [...]
2:41 pm

Labouristi 'just a bunch of crooks'

Gravatar Signor Huhne sure not pulling his punches in highlighting how life be different if he become Don of Family. Today he announce to world: "I'm sick of the hypocrisy in the mafia. It is completely evident that the Labouristi are a bunch of corrupt criminals who have been selling Family membership. If I am wrong let them sue me." Great-grandad Liberali joined Family in 1920s when Don Welshie sold him a place in the Old Capo's Home. But times change, Families all agree this not good business, and I earn my place in old fashioned way. Signor Huhne is right, ...
2:28 pm

New Guardian archive - first mention of the "liberal party" I can find

Gravatar In honour of Mr Gladstone's welcome entry into the world of blogging, I used the Guardian's excellent newly launched searchable digital archive of their old newspapers. I found the first mention of the "liberal party" in the Guardian in the issue for December 4th 1852 (16th line down above).
2:04 pm

Deal or no deal?

Gravatar Honestly, I go away for a week's holiday and by the time I come back the One Wales Government is on the verge of collapse. Well, at least they cannot blame me this time, although some might say that the events that have led to this present crisis were inevitable. According to the Western Mail, hard-liners within Plaid Cymru are preparing to go to the Party's National Council on November 17, with a motion proposing an end to the coalition because they are are unhappy at what they see as a rowing back from their partnership deal by Labour, specifically ...
1:59 pm

Sunday Roundup

Gravatar Today, Daniel Kawczynski MP is arguing that human rights abuses and lack of democracy in Burma should prompt action from the international community. A matter of days ago he was bemoaning the ‘liberal elites’ who argue that human rights abuses and lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia make King Abdullah’s state visit inappropriate. What is wrong with the man? On an unrelated note, there is a very entertaining lunch with Martin Amis interview in the Financial Times, in which he mentions things he regrets saying, things he’s glad he said and things he simply never said. Worth a read.
1:58 pm

Huhne: No doubt peeerages were "sold" to Labour donors

Gravatar Way to go, Chris Huhne! The cash-for-honours controversy was reopened when Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne said he had no doubt peerages were "sold" to Labour donors - and challenged ministers to sue him over it...Mr Huhne, who is fighting for the party leadership, said the chances it was coincidence that all £1 million-plus donors were awarded gongs were about the same as getting hit by an
1:55 pm

The real Tory party stands up (2)

Gravatar Earlier today I blogged about the Tory Halesowen PPC who said Enoch Powell was right when he talked about "rivers of blood". If that wasn't enough to blow apart David Cameron plea for moderate language when dealing with matters of immigration, Adrian Sanders regales us with another of example of the real Tory party escaping from its bunker: I thought the Tories were supposed to have changed but
12:33 pm

Chris takes part in online Q&A at Political Betting

Gravatar The Political Betting website is holding online Q&A sessions for both leadership contenders. Chris was first up this morning and you can read it here.
12:29 pm

oh no not again!

Gravatar Yesterday started out reasonably well. We were off to Anfield to do some delivery. The drizzly rain eased off. And I got given a patch of terraced houses! but then ..on the last road..disaster struck. My delicate litte hand was seized by a hell hound leaving me with a big gash on one finger and lots of blood. so the afternoon saw me at casualty - again. This is the third dog bite and the third finger. annoyingly this time its the one I use most for typing. I have now had dog bites in anfield, belle vale and warbreck. ...
12:21 pm

Online hustings with Chris Huhne: read the transcript

Gravatar This morning held an online hustings with Chris Huhne, which you can read here. (One with Nick Clegg is also scheduled).
12:16 pm

Margaret Thatcher

Gravatar For a long, long time I've had trouble making up my mind about Margaret Thatcher. I was actually glad when she came to power, because she removed Labour. That gladness very quickly turned to dislike and slowly into a hatred of all she stood for. That has been replaced equally slowly in recent years by a more tempered assessment of a person who is a very complex character. Simon Jenkins, in Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts, argues that she carried out two revolutions - an economic one, which benefitted the country enormously, and a centralisation of power, ...
12:01 pm

The Kooks - Naive

Gravatar Is it just me, or do the Kooks write some of the most simple, perfect pop songs ever? Not as intricate or interesting as an Arcade Fire or a Beirut, but brilliant in its own way.
12:00 pm

Clegg and Huhne: “Look! We’re being oppressed!”

Gravatar Civil disobedience is hot, which is why blogland was fairly unstinting in its outpouring of praise for Nick Clegg’s intended stand against ID cards. Now Huhne has stepped up with an open invitation to court action for saying, effectively “You’re a bunch of corrupt bastards. And you know you are.” As I said before, gesture politics this ain’t. Neither [...]
11:31 am

Gypsies aren’t a race but a lifestyle choice says Torbay Tory

Gravatar 1. David Cameron says people should use moderate and careful language when talking about immigration. 2. A Conservative candidate in a key marginal Westminster seat (Nigel Hastilow, Halesowen and Rowl...
11:23 am

Football Stadia Tour 2: East End Park

Gravatar Carrying on my tour of the Irn Bru Scottish First Division Stadia this weekend I returned, for the first time in two seasons, to another familiar stomping ground East End Park in Dunfermline. Not only have I blogged about games attended and missed here before but I also saw the crowd from numerous angles and vantage points during the Dumfermline and East Fife by election. Location East End
11:17 am there's a thought.......

Gravatar Rob Knight begins to tackle this issue as it has been identified by Chris as a defining issue in the leadership election. Chris Huhne himself, on the Sunday Edition this morning said it was one of the issues that separated him from Nick Clegg. Although he didn't elaborate on exactly how and why. If he is for equality is his implication that Nick is against? And of course we all have our own definition of equality. I am reminded of the time when as a youth worker, I organised a trip to cycle round Grafham Water, everyone had an equal ...
11:14 am

A Self-Contradicting Sentence

Gravatar From Mary Riddell, in today's Observer, slips up in what is an otherwise persuasively argued piece on the dangers of a war with Iran and the alternatives open to the world: "Hundreds of thousands have died in Iraq in a war waged to wipe out non-existent WMDs. This time round, the intelligence is just as thin, but the Tehran weapon, unlike the phantom Baghdad bomb, is a real and dreadful prospect
10:59 am

Conservative abandons Cameron’s pledge on immigration

Gravatar 1. David Cameron says people should use moderate and careful language when talking about immigration. 2. A Conservative candidate in a key marginal Westminster seat (Nigel Hastilow, Halesowen and Rowley Regis) says Enoch Powell was right to talk about “rivers of blood” (in the context of immigration). 3. A Conservative spokesman says said candidate will be told [...]
10:21 am

Sunny Day and I’m wrapped up inside.

Gravatar My students fetch horrid bugs from their placements into college which I fought off until the weekend – at least it’s kept me at home doing their marking! The week wasn’t as busy politically as usual. So I managed to catch up on case work as well as meet with 6 Town Housing to find a way forward with a TRA group in difficulties and sort out the Climate change competition plans and organisation
10:12 am

New Labour sold honours; sue me if you like - Huhne

Gravatar Chris Huhne has been interviewed by today’s Independent on Sunday, and pulled no punches when demonstrating a radical edge that was intolerant of corruption. On New Labour’s peerages for donors: “It’s quite clear what was going on,” he said. “This was basically a supermarket in honours. It is completely mad to suggest other than this was an organised matter. I am very happy to say that on the record. If they [the Government] think otherwise they can very happily take me to a libel court.
9:34 am

The persistent undercurrent of racist language from the Tory Party continues

Gravatar The news that Nigel Hastilow, a Tory candidate, is to be asked to speak to senior Tory officials after he apparently praised Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the constant racist undertones emanating from the Conservative party. In recent months we have had these sorts of comments from MP's, from Peers and advisers to David Cameron, accusations from Tory candidates, plus we have to ask questions about the way they campaign in local elections. You could just put this down to one rogue individuals, and I do not believe for one ...
7:55 am

All you need to know about the REAL Tory party

Gravatar We had David Cameron dealing with immigration like a college lecturer and then, just when you thought it was safe to go out, the real Tory party slips out. Oh dear. Tory PPC for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, Nigel Hastilow, has written an article for the Express and Star in Wolverhampton saying: When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is,
7:47 am

Another Sunday Blog Quiz - This one will really test you

Gravatar As a teacher, I know I should do better than this score suggests, but this test is really hard. Give it a go for yourself and see if you beat me. Your English Skills: Spelling: 100% Grammar: 80% Punctuation: 80% Vocabulary: 80%Does Your English Cut the Mustard?
3:01 am

Is Labour Social Democratic?

Gravatar Words have been flying around today, and this one, especially, has been niggling away: Social Democracy Paul Hulbert, in a comment on an earlier post, asked if there was perhaps a gap in the market for a genuine social democratic party. I’d argued earlier today on the same point, but I’d done a bit of a reassessment and come to the conclusion that there isn’t. Why? Because, basically, Labour is still a social democratic party. I came to this conclusion when I tried to discover what test I could apply to Labour to determine how to tell if they were ...
1:49 am

Why Nick’s Nukes are Just Plain Wrong

Gravatar Trying to make sense of Nick Clegg’s policy on Trident was difficult for me, in the end I have concluded that it makes no sense. Firstly I would like to point out that Nick says that he would never consider breaking the NPT. however article one of the NPT states. “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty [...]
1:10 am

Excellent evening at the Tower

Gravatar Another excellent evening at the Tower on Friday night listening to Angela Brown and the Mighty 45s. The Tower was completely packed. The band was on fire. Angela Brown was awesome! A brilliant end to the week and start to the weekend. There was just as much energy in the room (although much less on stage) at the public meeting on Thursday night about the future of the Tower Arts Centre. Alistair Marsden has written at some length about the evening (the public meeting that is, not Angela Brown) on the Save Tower Arts blog. The continued incompetence and - ...

Previous days:

Saturday 3rd November 2007, Friday 2nd November 2007, Thursday 1st November 2007, Wednesday 31st October 2007, Tuesday 30th October 2007, Monday 29th October 2007