Sunday 18th November 2007

11:30 pm

Bob Marshall-Andrews MP: time to join the Lib Dems

Gravatar Every now and then I see Bob Marshall-Andrews (Lab, Medway) in the Bar Mess at the Old Bailey.  Until now I have resisted the urge to present him with a Lib Dem membership form. But having heard last Friday’s edition of Any Questions I wonder if someone has beat me to it. Bob comes out for pretty much every [...]
11:24 pm

The Vince and Brian Show

Gravatar The LibDems’ London Region Conference tends to be a low-key affair, even when it isn’t held in a school in deepest Streatham on a cold, rainy November day on which the local railway station is shut because of engineering work. The local party did nonetheless put on a really excellent lunch, and it soon became [...]
11:18 pm

Has Team Huhne gone into hiding?

Gravatar According to their website Chris Huhne should have been on The Westminster Hour this evening. I turned on eager to hear how he would explain the events of today. Chris? In the middle of the programme I got a call from a pal who is not particularly interested in politics but had seen the news and been horrified. Her verdict was that Nick had behaved like a gentleman but Chris had brought the party into disrepute. So, the only person on the programme from Team Huhne was Lynne Featherstone. Now I have a great deal of time for Lynne, ...
11:15 pm

The Clegg-Obama connection

Gravatar There are quite a few aspects of Nick Clegg’s website which are very alike to Barack Obama’s. Similar sign up facility, very similar menu bar, and Clegg keeps the “3 thing you can do” on every page as Obama keeps picture links to state volunteer centres on each page. The biography pages are uncanny.  Comapare this and this  Pictures and text set out [...]
11:08 pm

Peter Stothard: Lib Dem Alexis Rowell "genuinely represents"

Gravatar Alexis Rowell, of the Belsize Lib Dems blog, gets a fabulous write-up from Peter Stothard of the TLS: A worm's eye for politics After decades of living in North London, meeting politicians (too many) and writing about politics (too much), I'm beginning to feel for the first time that I'm genuinely represented by one. No, not Glenda Jackson, the movie-star-turned-axe-face-of-the-old Left and my veteran Member of Parliament here in the Hampstead part of Camden. There is still some way to go before the House of Commons itself has anything for me. {Alexis Rowell - Belsize Lib Dem Councillor} No, not ...
10:51 pm

Visiting Aunt Margaret

Gravatar No politics today, other than reading the newspaper political commentaries this morning in the car. No campaigning either. David drove myself and Dad to Teesdale in southern Co Durham to visit his 94 year old sister Margaret. Dad is 17 years younger than Margaret. They first met only 4 years ago. My family has a rich and interesting history and at some point I will tell all about it! But that is
10:45 pm

Gone to ground

Gravatar Not surprisingly considerable comment has been made on the subject of 'Calamity Clegg'. However more surprisingly is the fact that we have seen very little in response from Team Huhne. Why is that? Can they really have nothing to say in reply?
10:44 pm

Greens stand down in BNP by-election

Gravatar Some interesting news from the Princes End by-election here in Sandwell. The Green party candidate Vicky Dunn has withdrawn “in an effort to keep the BNP out”, according to The Stirrer. Have the Greens done the right thing? In my mind, the answer is no. It is generally accepted across parties that the best way to keep the BNP out is to have as many candidates as possible. I know the Labour party were pleased when we put up a candidate for this by-election. I believe the BNP made progress in Sandwell solely due to Labour switchers. By providing more ...
10:29 pm

It's not just me.....

Gravatar I see that Barrie Wood has made similar observations to mine about the Bristol event, perhaps even stronger ones, about the Plymouth hustings: Critics have likened Clegg to a kind of Liberal version of a Cameron clone. The alleged 'great communicator' proved to be heavier on style than substance at Plymouth. The lack of passion displayed on QT was replaced by a contrived 'passion' and a
10:28 pm

A question of culture

Gravatar One thing that I've not yet seen discussed in the Lib Dem leadership election is the whole issue of culture. I think that's a shame, as I believe it is something on which we could have a fair amount to say. I think that as a party, we quite rightly stress that quality of life is at least as important as material wealth, although I don't know whether we always discuss what that means in practice. One important area of quality of life is cultural activities. I am fortunate in that I am able to take part in quite a ...
10:25 pm

Chris2Win by stomping on the still beating heart of Clegg whilst gouging out the eyes of our dearly departed leader, Ming

Gravatar Thank you Norfolk Blogger, thank you: Anyone else wondering why Chris Huhne had his banner photo taken in a stable? Maybe those are hooves he is standing on, who knows... Can you get flip-flops for horses? Interrupting that wildly divergent line of thinking - the ambush on the BBC Politics Show this afternoon: worth a giggle wasn't it. Sorry I'm not taking it too seriously like some, but you've
10:23 pm

Jock and awe

Gravatar Jock Coats' latest in his 'Revolutionary Liberalism' series can be found here. Well worth a read.
10:17 pm

Come on media... you can ask me

Gravatar I see from the end of this report that some constituency chairman have been asked their voting intentions in the forthcoming leadership election. I have always been quite sceptical of this polls, but if anyone in the media wants to ask me, they are more than welcome to prove me wrong.
9:59 pm

The Great Politics Show Bust Up

Gravatar By far the best discussion of this lunchtime's events is the one by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice. It is notable that many of the bloggers who have expressed outrage at Chris Huhne's behaviour have been expressing outrage at at his campaign on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now. Clearly, the headline "Calamity Clegg" was a huge misjudgement on someone's part -and adopting the American "flip-flop" charge was silly and vulgar - but surely we are allowed to discuss policy in a leadership campaign? Nick Clegg began this one by pledging to take the party out ...
9:56 pm

Up into fourth

Gravatar To say that this has been an incredible season so far is the understatement of the century by some way.  I am not a fine of Ken Bates and the appointment of Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet die not sit easy with me.  Get the Chelsea out of Leeds and all that!  But like the [...]
9:53 pm

I said we needed a female leadership candidate

Gravatar I came back from the London Region Conference, where I was a keynote speaker on Black and Minority Ethnic Communities and London, today to find the Liberal Democrats once again are in the news! Sure enough the blogosphere is hot. As my teenage kids would say - "There was some beef between those two Lib Dem blokes today"- and it grabbed the headlines. I watched the piece on the BBC News, and saw Chris Huhne hectoring and accusing Nick Clegg of terrible and unforgiveable crimes against humanity, while he looked disappointed, puzzled, and I think, rather kept his cool. As ...
9:50 pm

All dressed up with somewhere to go

Gravatar I've been out of town for a few days with Ros, who was acting as guest speaker for the North West Parliamentary Dining Circle in a hotel near Kirkby Lonsdale, where the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire touch. As Ros was in Manchester on business anyway, we decided to make a mini-weekend of it, hire a rental car, and drive up via Todmorden and Pendle (Kirkby Lonsdale is pretty
9:41 pm

Frank Barnes' wishes must come first

Gravatar There is currently £200m available from the government as part of its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme for secondary schools. We have learned from bitter experience that it is a mistake to hesitate with this government when funds are offered, because it can and does evaporate, as ALMO funding did. There are two areas of Camden that need secondary places - the north-west and the south. There is, at present, no available site in the south. Swiss Cottage is a perfect transport hub for the north-west. Our cornerstone expenditure under BSF will therefore be on a new secondary ...
9:35 pm

Time Flies ....

Gravatar Over a fortnight since my last post - tut! I do have an excuse though, or at least a series of them! First of all, we celebrated a very special birthday for my mother early in November and that took some time to plan and organise. All worth it when she saw my cousins from Ireland and from Wearside whom she hasn't seen for far too long. We followed the big celebration with a day out for her at
9:35 pm

More walkabouts

Gravatar Yesterday saw our carrying out our next village walkabout, this time in Swalwell in the neigbhouring ward to mine. I went along to do the photos and video. These walkabouts are a good way of being seen and seeing what needs to be done. We invited residents to send us their suggestions as to what to look at. From this we produce a list of locations to visit. Last week we did Sunniside, the village
9:28 pm

Huhne Has Gone Too Far

Gravatar In 20 years of membership of the Liberals or Liberal Democrats I have never seen anything as appalling as Chris Huhne's conduct today and given some of my recent personal experiences, that's saying something! The same old nonsense has been wheeled out again regarding Nick's position on education, the health service and Trident. Chris' conduct on BBC1 today has damaged the Party's image and, should he hopefully lose the leadership election, has consigned him to the backbenches. How on earth does he expect Nick Clegg to trust him after he pulls this kind of stunt? It is very clear that ...
9:04 pm

Politics is the mind-killer?

Gravatar Alix Mortimer has written an excellent post calling for both 'sides' in the leadership debate to show a bit more respect for each other's opinions. I generally agree with her argument and recommend that everyone involved reads it and listens to what is being said. This is important because politics can be a very tricky subject; in fact, as one of my favourite blogs argues, Politics is the mind-killer: People go funny in the head when talking about politics. The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring: In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter ...
8:52 pm

Opinion: Not pretty, but does it matter?

Gravatar The Lib Dem leadership contest should be a fantastic opportunity for the party to display its wares, offering its most talented MPs the media spotlight to exhibit their vibrant view of liberalism, and how their leadership will elevate the party. At times - including last Thursday’s Question Time - that’s how it’s been. Today’s BBC1 [...]
8:51 pm

Calamity chris

Gravatar It's reassuring to have your prejudices confirmed but it is not always comfortable. Having spent a few weeks rallying together to decry the 'nasty' tag being foisted upon us by the Tory press, Chris Huhne has blown the consensus out of the water today with his outburst on the BBC. Putting aside the obvious surprise that one of our MPs could launch into such a public tirade against another, this clearly devastates the Huhne campaign. Calamity Chris or Hopeless Huhne? A nation decides.
8:40 pm

Over to Wordpress

Gravatar My blog is now mostly transferred over here to Wordpress A couple of issues need ironing out so if any one has any pointers I would be most grateful 1) I cannot sort out the Photo at the top of this blog. The one that comes with this theme is nice enough but I have had [...]
8:26 pm

Vouchers prefered by the poor and minorities:

Gravatar In the US at least. Nice to see all the do gooder ‘liberals’ want to protect them from their ‘mistake’. I suppose the poor can’t lobby or give donations so they don’t matter. Of course, the UK isn’t in quite the same mess as parts of the US with the unions, but still, its interesting that the [...]
8:16 pm

Fireworks at last

Gravatar I must admit, I'm glad that I didn't declare support for a candidate in the current Lib Dem leadership election. I'm still undecided and have, until now, found it quite hard to get worked up about what either side has been saying. The Question Time debate between Clegg and Huhne was only mildly interesting, and I suspect that even that interest was sustained only because I'm a lot more interested in the issues than the average man on the street. I gave my comments on the debate in the Lib Dem Voice open thread on the subject. My comment at ...
8:06 pm

Which one said this?

Gravatar But Mark wants freedom for unhealthy things! According to Samizdata one of the candidates said this. Which one was it? Of course, I’d agree with Mark, how can it be called freedom if you are not free to choose unhealthy things? I despair if the thinking in this party is now that freedom means restricting access to [...]
7:53 pm

Reminder: you have until Wednesday to send in your questions for the webcast (not YouTube) hustings

Gravatar Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to dig out your web cam. If you’re a member or supporter, you will have been e-mailed a web link on Friday to a form that allows you to send in questions for a Webcast e-hustings in assocation with the University of Westminster. After today’s developments, I guess there will be plenty of questions!
7:35 pm

Breaking News! Chris & Nick in third smoothie spin attack!

Gravatar Apparently the smoothie blender has been on extra-fast spin today with banana smoothies being produced by the dozen...An anonymous insider spills the jelly beans once more... "Well this time it w...
7:27 pm

Cleggheads and Huhnistas: what are they like?

Gravatar I haven’t seen the full Politics Show yet, just the half-minute excerpt on the BBC website where the Calamity Clegg document was produced. So what follows may need revision when I’ve seen the whole thing. But at first sight, it ain’t pretty. It’s the first real blow my neophyte enthusiasm for the party as a whole has taken. And while I doubt it [...]
7:16 pm

'Woolly and Waffly' Clegg and the Plymouth Hustings

Gravatar John Rentoul in todays 'Independent on Sunday' describes Nick Clegg's performance on BBC TV's 'Question Time' programme as 'woolly and waffly' and having attended the combined Devon and Cornwall plus Western Counties Regional Conference which included the Plymouth hustings one arrived at exactly the same conclusion. Critics have likened Clegg to a kind of Liberal version of a Cameron clone. The alleged 'great communicator' proved to be heavier on style than substance at Plymouth. The lack of passion displayed on QT was replaced by a contrived 'passion' and a conversational-style address akin to that of Cameron at the Conservative conference. ...
7:02 pm

Sunday in Lochee ... and great West End photos!

Gravatar Our Lochee campaign team has returned home, damp, sore legs, but a great day in Lochee Ward! I have just worked out how much extra custom the Tesco cafe at the Stack is getting from the by-election... The SNP did make an appearance today in Menzieshill, but the LibDem team was in Menzieshill, Charleston, Beechwood, Dryburgh ... you get the picture!Anyway, away from damp clothes and worn-out legs - click on the headline above to see some great West End photographs (South Tay Street; Nethergate) and also some of St Andrews.Nicol Stephen MSP back in Lochee Ward tomorrow afternoon - ...
6:54 pm

A new banner for Team Huhne

Gravatar After today's showing from Huhne, he has got to prove that this banner is not true. He is in danger of losing a lot of votes over this, and furthermore is in danger of losing the party votes. I was swinging towards Chris after Question Time, but on the basis of today, I cant but feel that Chris will do or say anything in order to win. That's the moral equivalence of New Labour or Cameron's Tories.We'll have to see if heads to roll in the Huhne campaign in the next couple of days to see if Chris really is ...
6:48 pm

Heres Comes The Snow…

Gravatar   Rutland Road, Bearwood, 6.40pm tonight. 8.45pm - starting to settle 10pm - glad I’m not driving anywhere in the morning {:)}
6:39 pm

Scottish Lib Dem Office Bearers 2008-2009

Gravatar Further to my earlier post here are the full details of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Office Bearers who shall serve their term from the 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2009. Leader: Nicol Stephen MSP (re-elected unopposed) Deputy Leader: Michael Moore MP (re-elected unopposed) President: Malcolm Bruce MP (re-elected unopposed) Convener: Audrey Findlay (beat Helen Watt by 758 to 425) Treasurer: Brian Logan (beat Patricia Carruthers (Catherine's Mum) by 633 to 533) Vice Convener (Policy): Siobhan Mathers (elected unopposed) Vice Convener (Campaigns & Candidates): Stephen Peters (elected unopposed) Vice Convener (Conference): Iain Dale (beat Sheila Ritchie by 592 to 586) ...
6:37 pm

What a Calamity!

Gravatar I've been around for long enough to know that sometimes during election campaigns mistakes are made. Some of them are quite funny - does anyone remember Mary Matalin's Bimbo Eruptions during the '92 US Presidential Election Campaign? Priceless! I know that there are people working on both Clegg and Huhne campaigns who probably haven't slept properly in weeks. When you are working at that sort of intensity, sometimes judgement goes a bit wonky and things go a bit wrong. Very early on in the campaign, the Clegg people sent an e-mail round purporting to be to supporters. Unfortunately, it included ...
6:30 pm

Game, set and match!

Gravatar Having just returned from the Western Counties, Devon & Cornwall Regional Conference in Plymouth I wondered what on earth had happened in the leadership contest. Had Chris Huhne done a Mark Oaten on us? Anyhow, knowing it had something to do with BBC1’s The Politics Show this afternoon I logged onto their website and have just watched the show. Well, what can I say? Someone at Team Huhne has been a rather silly billy haven’t they? Fancy releasing a highly critical briefing document to the media without first proof reading it. Chris Huhne now seems trapped between a rock and ...
6:29 pm

Another glorious failure

Gravatar Sick as the proverbial parrot! Scotland didn't make it to next year's Euro Championships in Austria and Switzerland. I'm sure you all know we lost 1-2 to Italy. However we can take great pride in the way our lads fought to the last in this group and fought with pride, passion and increasing skill. There may be no superstars in our team but the "team spirit" and unity made up for that. Another upside of this campaign is that we will be 2nd seeds for the World Cup qualifying contest. No one in Scotland need be ashamed of our team ...
6:28 pm

Let's keep things in proportion

Gravatar I've just watched the Politics Show. I was expecting a televisual Armageddon, from some of the Blog posts I saw this afternoon. I am glad the document at the centre of the debate has been withdrawn and apologised for. In terms of the debate on the programme, I thought Chris kept his cool and validly questioned Nick on some of his positions. We're all grown-ups. It is valid to ask about policy
6:22 pm

If Chris Huhne cannot control his own campaign team, how can he run the party and the country ?

Gravatar I was deeply embarrassed watching Chris Huhne being exposed Jon Sopel on The Politics Show. As a Liberal Democrat it was embarrassing to see a leadership candidate deny he had said something, have a complete lack of knowledge about what his campaign team were issuing on his behalf and then, to top it all, then make the allegations again. Jon Sopel produced a briefing document with used the title "Calamity Clegg" at the top. this document had been produced by "Team Huhne" and had been sent to the BBC. This sort of rubbish is an absolute gift for our political ...
5:32 pm

The Choice

Gravatar I wrote a couple of days ago that the way someone fights a leadership campaign will tell you lot about what sort of leader they would be. Today´s Politics Show has told us a great deal. The ballots go out in a few days. Party members now havea clear choice, they can vote for a negative, inward looking lñeft leaning campaign or they can vote for a psotive one that seeks to win new converts to our cause by updating our enduring liberal values for the 21st century. For me the choice is clearer nopw than ever before. It´s Nick ...
5:24 pm

Out in the cold for THIS!

Gravatar What angers me more about Chris Huhne’s performance today is that like me there must have been hundreds of activists out in the cold leafletting and knocking on doors. OK locally we have a Lib Dem Council, three neighbouring MPs with a first-class PPC here in Stockport. If I feel like this now in an area [...]
4:56 pm

Lib Dems Lead Labour on Facebook Daily Polling

Gravatar According to votes cast today: 37.8% Conservative 21.6% Liberal Democrats 16.2% Labour Very silly, insignificantly tiny sample but still, amusing nevertheless.
4:33 pm

It’s time for Nick!

Gravatar Great art to me is the conjunction of the disciplined with the creative. What was so stunning about Chris’s performance today was that it missed both these targets by miles. I’ve often said that we should get more abrasive - the point is there is a way to do this that ADDS VALUE. Chris’s performance today [...]
4:05 pm

Huhne lost the election today...

Gravatar It was slipping anyhow, but the astonishing revelation of the Huhne campaign - a bitter and aggressive and hectoring candidate, literature and briefings unrestrained and a press spokeswoman endorsing the nastiness - all will be reviewed in hindsight as the moment it was clear that Huhne does not suit leadership and not for the Liberal Democrats. Huhne has blown it and he deserves to be blown out. He was trying to blow Clegg of course in way that was utterly unbecoming. If this was an internal PPC selection would we allow it - no! Who has brought the party into ...
4:00 pm

Back in action

Gravatar Well I’m back - and it’s good to see I’ve been missed. The reasons? My 26th birthday, a wedding reception, two pieces of web design work, two gigs, a software program to learn, my parents moving house, a new iPhone to play with and of course, several Lib Dem meetings. Phew! I’m also following the lead of a couple of Lib Dem Bloggers by splitting my blog. It’s been getting more and more music focused so in the next week or so I shall split that off and keep the politics separate. Not much else to report, apart from on ...
3:56 pm

More desperation from the Huhne camp

Gravatar Posted by Chris: The release of the document "Calamity Clegg" by the Chris Huhne campaign and the subsequent row on the Politics Show has once again confirmed my view that Chris is well behind and is resorting to desperate tactics. To say, as Chris did, that he knew nothing about it beggars belief. Chris should concentrate on what he is standing for and stop trying to give us his misinterpretation of what Nick Clegg stands for. The postal votes go out this week and most will return them straight away. Time is running out to persuade members and I guess ...
3:55 pm

Why I’m Still Backing Chris - 2

Gravatar There’s a lot of unfortunate stuff flying around at the moment, because the battle for the Lib Dem leadership is hotting up a little. It needed to! Whilst it is great that our two candidates agree on so much, we do need to pry open the differences between them if we are to make a choice. We do need to be careful, though, that some of the things we say could come back to haunt us if our preferred candidate doesn’t win! That said, nothing of the two televised debates we have seen has changed my view that Chris Huhne ...
3:53 pm

Does today’s Politics Show give us an insight into the real Chris Huhne?

Gravatar  Today’s Politics Show picked up on a press release entitled ‘Clegg’s calamities’ apparently issued by the Huhne campaign. Not only did it show a rather vindictive streak in its own right but the hectoring and bullying of Clegg by Huhne that followed was car crash TV at its best! I can’t believe that Huhne will [...]
3:43 pm

That's it then............

Gravatar .............I'm off to listen to Dr Zhivago. It's far less bloodthirsty than the leadership election!
3:42 pm

Frontrunner has the Momentum Again

Gravatar There’s been a lot of heat and light generated over the last few hours over the contenders’ appearances today on The Politics Show and The World This Weekend - and it does indeed seem to have been less than our party’s finest hour. (Though in the midst of it I have been enjoying the grounding effect that the aggregator, Lib Dem Blogs, brings to it all, so that furious posts like Huhne - now he has really cooked his goose are also interspersed with ones of much more local interest with titles like Lib Dem appointed Camden Cycling Champion!). But ...
3:34 pm

The fighting dirty doesn't bother me...

Gravatar ... its the fact that it looks like Chris has lost control of his campaign. To be honest I couldn't give a toss that Chris' campaign is putting out negative briefings, after all they are both big boys and quite frankly a nice positive campaign on the issues is just a little bit too dull for my tastes. I know that makes me a bad person, but I've been involved in too many campaigns against Labour
3:29 pm

Huhne's Supporters Drifting Away?

Gravatar Oh dear, Chris has really blown it now. Even Colin Ross is reconsidering his decision to come out in support of him following today's performance. To quote Colin " Firstly Chris denied having seen the document, I am not sure I believe him, having already dealt with the Chris campaign I know for a fact that he had to give the final approval on something they sent out to me, logic dictates that the same would be true of this. Chris then tried to paint Nick as a calamity by saying he was all over the place on a number ...
3:28 pm

On Liberty, Online: Who's got the 'mo'?

Gravatar I see that The Observer today is running a story saying that Chris Huhne is 'closing' in the Lib Dem leadership race. This is based on the fact that "several of the party's MPs privately believe" that the two are running neck-and-neck. Well let me tell you, if everything I believed came true then for a start there'd be no such thing as I'm A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here. What I do know is that 37 MPs are supporting Nick Clegg versus 11 for Huhne. Over 1500 supporters have declared for the Clegg campaign, versus just over ...
3:20 pm

Opinion: Why I’m supporting Nick Clegg

Gravatar What is the point of the Liberal Democrats? It’s a question leveled at party supporters, in some form or another, time and time again, over and over; one almost always delivered with lashings of self-satisfaction and smugness. It’s also an odd sort of question. Because in asking it, you are asking: What is the point in [...]
3:09 pm

Lib Dem leadership update

Gravatar I watched Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne go head-to-head on Question Time on Thursday evening, and have just seen a clip of their lunchtime encounter on the Politics Show. Whereas Thursday's was largely consensual - much to David Dimbleby's irritation - today's was much more scratchy. The Politics Show had been sent a dossier prepared by the Huhne team entitled 'calamity clegg' attacking Nick Clegg on policy and on his record. Chris Huhne said he knew nothing about it. This is obviously unhelpful for us as a party, as a leadership contest that is about issues gives us a chance ...
3:05 pm

Jake Thackray: On again

Gravatar This Sunday's video celebrates the late, great Jake Thackray. As my readers are so young these days, I had better introduce him with this extract from the biography on a website devoted to him: Jake Thackray was a singer-songwriter in the French tradition, a "chansonnier" whose songs are nevertheless convincingly and idiosyncratically English. This is scarcely surprising. After graduating from Durham University, Jake spent four years in France as a teacher where the likes of Jaques Brel and his particular hero Georges Brassens made their indelible mark.The influence of their songs and story telling propelled Jake towards his own writing ...
2:29 pm

Huhne and Cry

Gravatar It was all going so well. A leadership election which I, for one, feared could enter the Olympics in the long-distance tedium category was actually proving a credit to our party. We were seeing two true Liberals reminding us of the core beliefs which we share; they were ably showing the world how different we are from what Ming, in one of his last good acts as leader, dubbed the cosy consensus. And I was still honestly undecided about whom I would support. All that ended today. I doubt any of us are so naïve as to imagine that either ...
2:20 pm

Opinion: Why I’m supporting Chris Huhne

Gravatar Having spent the last four weeks or so following the leadership election closely – and having spoken to both Chris and Nick – I was interviewed yesterday lunchtime for The World this Weekend about who should be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. This gave me the opportunity to crystallise my thinking about which [...]
1:57 pm


Gravatar Following Nick's appearance on Question Time two further MPs, Jo Swinson and Alan Beith, have decided to support Nick in his bid to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. On the back of Nick's performance Jo Swinson has decided that Nick is the right choice to lead the party and give the Liberal Democrats fresh momentum. Jo Swinson said: 'Nick is dynamic, vibrant and brings an exceptional passion to his politics. He has the ability to connect with voters and excel in the Parliamentary arena, and that's why I'm delighted to be supporting Nick Clegg to be the ...
1:56 pm

Calamity Clegg?

Gravatar To my intense irritation, I managed to miss the first ten minutes of the Politics Show, which meant that I missed the first half of the Liberal Democrat leadership special, where John Sopel spoke to both Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne in a head-to-head. Others will have to tell me whether I missed the best bit, but the half I saw was interesting enough. I came in just before Sopel produced a document entitled Calamity Clegg, that he claimed was an attack sheet produced by Huhne’s office in which it accused Clegg of flip-flopping, saying different things to different audiences ...
1:44 pm

Cut it out, Chris!

Gravatar I made up my mind to vote for Chris Huhne as the next Lib Dem leader after watching Thursday's Question Time debate in which I thought he was clearly the better performer, relaxed and confident, able to articulate a clear liberal vision while having an obvious mastery of detail. Although today's Politics Show debate did not change my mind, I thought Chris did himself absolutely no favours whatsoever. The problem is that although there are legitimate questions to be asked about some quotes which Nick Clegg has come out with in the past, there are ways and means of doing ...
1:42 pm

Huhne loses control of his own campaign

Gravatar Well what other conclusion can you draw from the fact that his own campaign is putting out briefings which he himself is then disowning?
1:31 pm

Blogs Rally To Support Clegg

Gravatar Some might say that political blogs are nothing more than self-referential, insular, party-political irrelevance playing off the mainstream media. In an attempt to falsify such claims, I will now use up a post by just listing reactions on some Lib Dem blogs to today's Lib Dem leadership drama as played out on the BBC. Charlotte Gore: BBC Bring Up Dirty CampaigningLindyloo's Muze: Huhne - Now he has really cooked his goose!On Liberty, Online: Huhne's negative chickens come home to roost"Clarence Willcock": Huhne - stop it stop it stop it - you're losing control and it's nasty Some other comments scattered ...
1:15 pm

Huhne - stop it stop it stop it - you're losing control and it's nasty

Gravatar Huhne - stop it stop it stop it - you're losing control and it's nasty That's it really: - Cameron stunt double - Calamity Clegg - Vouchers All vile misrepresentations, aggressive and unpleasant repetitions from the mouth of Huhne. Ga! Chris - stop it stop it stop it
1:14 pm

Horrible Huhne

Gravatar I am still fizzing about the outrageous antics of Huhne and/or his team on the Politics Show. I am far too ladylike to say what I really think, so I will have to stick with horrible. His team's briefing to the Politics Show, presumably hoping their tag would stick, smacks of total desperation. So I hope he ends up hoisted on his own petard. This it seems is just the latest in a long line of spin and "misinformation". In the Observer this morning Team Huhne even tried to suggest he had twice as many supporters as Clegg...........doh!!!!!! Since when ...
1:10 pm

Goodie Bags

Gravatar I got so way-laid by putting the winner goodie bags together - I had to escape to come and have a slice of reality for a while. Yesterday I completely forgot to pick up the bananas and organic chocolate for them ... so will have to make a de-tour on route to the Town Hall after work tomorrow. At least it's raining - we'd finished out next Focus Community leaflet - which we could be printing
1:08 pm

Calamity Clegg? or Horrid Huhne?

Gravatar I have just the BBC's Politics Show and am astounded by Chris Huhne. The presented showed a copy of a document send by Chris' Office on Friday to the Politics Show called 'Calamity Clegg', such negative campaigning is bad enough (in an internal election) but Chris's performance afterwards was truly horrid and I may have to reconsider if I will be supporting him.
1:05 pm

Lib Dem appointed Camden Cycling Champion

Gravatar I'm delighted for my colleague Cllr Paul Braithwaite who's just been appointed Camden Cycling Champion to advise the Council on cycling issues. Paul was instrumental in getting me on a bike a couple of years back. He advised me which bike to buy and has helped me to learn to love cycling in recent years. Paul is one of our most conscientious councillors and I'm sure he'll make a great success of his new role. Paul's stated ambition is "to see Camden become London’s leading cycle-friendly Borough. " Cycling in Camden has doubled in five years, but Paul wants to ...
12:53 pm

Huhne - Now he has really cooked his goose!

Gravatar Up until now I have been reassuring myself that even if my chosen candidate, Nick Clegg didn't become leader, I could live with Huhne in that position. His performance and attitude on the Politics Show has totally changed my mind. Firstly, to lose control of your PR team once (as in the Chris Clarke outrage) could be seen as an accident, to do it twice, as demonstrated today with a "Calamity Clegg" press briefing going out from his office without his knowledge, smacks of a little more than carelessness. If it was deliberate it was thoroughly nasty, if it was ...
12:31 pm

On Liberty, Online: Huhne's negative chickens come home to roost

Gravatar Oh dear - I've just watched the second leadership debate on The Politics Show where Chris Huhne was utterly blindsided by a very nasty briefing document written by his campaign office entitled 'Calamity Clegg'. What followed was a new low in leadership campaign politics as Huhne first denied knowing anything about the memo - and then proceeded to parrot all the attacks on Clegg contained within it! Several times he even used the word "flip-flop" - are borrowing from George W Bush's campaign playbook now? It was a most unedifying spectacle as Huhne recited the attacks by rote - including ...
12:30 pm

Writers block!

Gravatar Why is it that sometimes when you write the words just come rushing out.. and at other times its hard to even start a sentence? I'm on a postgraduate course at the moment which involves writing three pieces. The first is done. The research for the third is underway. But the second.. well I'm stuck in neutral. Of course if there was a deadline in a few hours time, my fingers would be flying over the keyboard. I guess you just have to be in the mood for certain types of writing.
12:26 pm

A dog free campaign day - hurrah!!

Gravatar Out on Saturday helping in Kensington. Still a bit wary about putting things through letterboxes - expecting the feel of canine teeth any moment. Amazingly, not a single brush with a dog and the only one in sight was a sweet little terrier who just wanted to say hello to everyone. Got lots of leaflets delivered - a good turnout too.
12:21 pm

Daily Politics: BBC Bring Up Dirty Campaigning

Gravatar So, the shock on Huhne’s face when he discovered the BBC has a press released issued by his campaign headlined, “Calamity Clegg” perpetuating the vouchers myth. Why couldn’t Nick have been like this on Thursday? Update: Well that was an entirely different experience to the QT debate. There’s absolutely no doubt about who won this particular encounter. Update 2: On the World This Weekend on Radio 4, this issue gets raised again. This time Huhne condemns the title but then begins to recite the contents, then argue for them - in other words, he knows exactly what this briefing was ...
12:19 pm

Huhne Playing Dirty on 'Calamity Clegg'?

Gravatar A disturbingly unclean contest on the Politics Show this lunchtime as Sopel accused Chris Huhne of briefing journalists with a character assasination document entitled "Calamity Clegg". Chris Huhne has claimed no knowledge of the document and correctly refused to be bullied into issuing comment on a document he (presumably) was not familiar with. However, his subsequent attempt to attack Clegg on school vouchers and social insurance merely gave the programme what it wanted - an unattractive and petulant tiff. Orange By Name considers this an instinctive political misjudgement by Huhne; following previous misdemeanors, he is risking his campaign being seen ...
12:08 pm

Going low waste at home - part 3

Gravatar Of course all the changes I've described in my last few postings have taken time, effort and masses of motivation. And, yes, I know, we don’t have children. But the point is that it is possible to achieve dramatic reductions in the amount of waste we create. People need help, they need information, they need incentives and occasionally they need rules. For example, I think the only way we’re going to be able to introduce a pay as you throw scheme in an inner city borough like Camden is by copying cities in Belgium and Switzerland. Over there the local ...
11:45 am

Have You Heard This One?

Gravatar The Guardian has been promoting a section entitled '1000 albums to hear before you die'.  On Saturday they published the first 200 alphabetically (A Certain Ratio's Early to The Creation's Our Mu...
11:13 am

“Huhne’s got momentum” — Politics Show’s Littlewood

Gravatar “As the Liberal Democrat leadership campaign enters its crucial week, there’s a feeling that some momentum is building behind Chris Huhne,” says Mark Littlewood, Politics Show pundit on the leadership race and former party Head of Press. Littlewood’s piece can be read in full here, but this is his opinion on the Question Time debate: Huhne seemed more relaxed from the outset and was sure-footed on policy questions. The clash over replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system - one of the few areas of “clear yellow water” between the two candidates - brought Chris the biggest cheer of the night ...
11:11 am

"Jack on the Cards for Ace Euro Seat"

Gravatar I was delighted to read this article in my local rag Bedfordshire on Sunday, particularly given that they are more likely to be giving us Lib Dems a hard time. If I achieve nothing else over the next 18 months, I hope I will contribute to making the Euro elections more relevant, eye-catching and sexy than they usually are and of course, the media have a key role to play in this. Can I also remind pals in the Eastern Region, I am itching to get going - already have one invite to visit a local party, more would be ...
10:59 am

Listen out for me on Radio 4

Gravatar BBC's The World This Weekend are featuring a report on the Liberal Democrat leadership election this afternoon. As part of their coverage, they interviewed me, alongside Mark Mills, a fellow blogger and OULD member. It's airing today at 1pm on Radio 4. If you don't manage to catch it live, you'll be able to listen again for up to a week. I have no idea how much of our interview will have made it into the final cut, but given that we spoke for 10 minutes, and the final report is only four minutes, it can't be very much! Chances ...
10:50 am

BBC Politics Show: Lib Dem leadership election special - open thread

Gravatar Are you ready for Round 2 of Clegg v. Huhne? Because today, at 12 noon, the two candidates for the leadership will go head-to-head once again in front of the cameras for BBC1’s Politics Show. If you’re tuned in, and want to let folk know what you think of the contenders’ performances, feel free to [...]
10:47 am

The Best Post on Question Time

Gravatar There have been a lot of excellent posts analysing the performance of Clegg and Huhne on Question Time, even, I have to say the ones I didn't agree with (!) but that have given me and I trust Team Clegg and Team Huhne, important food for thought. However, my favourite has to be this. It is so good I am tempted to print it off and paste it on to my wall to remind me of why we are all in this business in the first place.
10:25 am

You know Sony have problems with the PS3 when ...

Gravatar Sony are claiming a breakthrough in their sales with 100,000 units being sold of their Playstation 3 console in the last month. Put in to context, this is probably still only 50% of the numbers that Nintendo are doing pf their Wii console. However, it appears that this breakthrough has less to do with people wanting a PS3, and has more to do with a shortage of Nintendo Wii's in shops. When you also take account of the fact that Nintendo have upped production of the Wii whilst Sony have hundreds of thousands of unsold PS3's in shops and Sony ...
10:08 am

Every time Brian Paddick says something to the press I become more impressed.

Gravatar Brian Paddick has told the Telegraph that Sir Ian Blair, who Brian Paddick worked closely with in the Met Police, is too close to the government. He explained his thinking clearly when he said; "As soon as people perceive that the police commissioner is too close to a political party it undermines public confidence in the whole of the police force .It calls the political independence of the police into question. Police officers want the public to be proud of them. If there's a perception that their chief is aligned to a political party that undermines the rank and file ...
10:05 am

Fan mail

Gravatar The Observer reports that Alistair Darling's cat, Sybil is receiving large volume of letters from other cats. Many apparently enclose photographs and put their paw-prints at the bottom. Not to be outdone, Sybil, has had some lovely cards made with her picture on them, together with a paw-print, to send out as replies. It is nice to see that one member of Gordon Brown's government is getting fan mail. Sybil even has her own Facebook page.
10:04 am

I know we are pleased that Israel beat Russia, but this is ridiculous !

Gravatar I guess it shows the government's obsession with Sport that in the wake of Israel beating Russia, thus opening the door for England to still qualify for Euro 2008, we send the foreign minister to Israel for talks. Couldn't we just have sent them an e-mail thanking them ? Sending them David Miliband is more likely to make them wish they had lost to Russia .
9:58 am

Tory big gun attacks Rifkind's English plan

Gravatar I think it's fair to David Trimble as a "Tory big gun". He sits in the Lords, is a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and joined the Conservative party a while ago. He has attacked Maclcolm Rifkind's English Grand Committee plan. Trimble, of course, speaks for Northern Ireland. Indeed, apart from one councillor, he is the only Conservative public representative from Northern Ireland. He makes a strong
9:52 am

The wrong sort of reptile

Gravatar This morning's Wales on Sunday reports that new fears have emerged that the £30m rail link between Ebbw Vale and Cardiff will not be ready on time. The hourly service was expected to start rolling on 14th December but it is rumoured that there have been further setbacks caused by colonies of slow worms near the tracks of the new link. Slow worms have of course been granted protected status, alongside all other native British reptile species. The slow worm has been decreasing in numbers, and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure, ...
9:32 am

How can you be a religious liberal?

Gravatar Is it sad to have got your christmas shopping by mid-November? I've already bought presents for all my family and friends...ranging from some very pretty red shoes to a very handily already wrapped go...
9:28 am

Quaequam Blog! excels

Gravatar Cor blimey, James Graham writes an excellent post here, including a reference to Buggles in the title "Nick Clegg: video killed the media star?". James puts into writing something I thought but didn't blog about, that the Guardian's leader yesterday which came out for Clegg "failed to give a good reason why". James points to a Times article which I hadn't seen. It's from Danny Finkelstein,
9:27 am

The farce of Brown's "government of all the talents"

Gravatar Brown's "reaching out" style of government really has been exposed as a farce this week. He brings in the "simple sailor" Lord Admiral Alan West. He hears West's advice, which is built on year's of experience, and then promptly tells West to reverse his opinion on the 56 days detention without charge period. Then there is Lord Malluch-Brown. Being briefed against. The modern equivalent of being
9:01 am

Observer: “Huhne ‘closing’ in Lib Dem race”

Gravatar Today’s Observer reports that Chris Huhne’s campaign is reaching a point of criticial momentum, just before ballot papers are sent out: Until last week, Huhne, 53, the party’s environment spokesman, was thought to be trailing well behind his younger rival, home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg. But several of the party’s MPs privately believe the two are now running neck and neck, after Huhne concentrated on using the traditional election methods of local political networks and telephone canvassing to win more votes. The former MEP believes his decision to ignore ‘the Westminster bubble’, as he describes it, and rely on grassroots ...
9:00 am

Evidence Based Evidence - moving away from witch finding

Gravatar The link is to an article in the Sunday Times about the unreliability of expert evidence. There does seem to be little concern in the legal profession about the reliability of opinion offered in court. That essentially is much like the witching courts where the witch finder says "she's a witch" and then the state dunks her. The similarity goes as far as the amounts of money made by various
8:58 am

Observer: Huhne 'closing' in LibDem race

Gravatar The Observer reports that grassroots methods have brought Huhne neck and neck with Clegg: Until last week, Huhne, 53, the party's environment spokesman, was thought to be trailing well behind his younger rival, home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg. But several of the party's MPs privately believe the two are now running neck and neck, after Huhne concentrated on using the traditional election
8:57 am

Clegg campaign manager: "I'm still in his team, as far as I know"

Gravatar There's an intriguing throw-away line in the Observer: There was talk in the party however, of a row between Clegg and Ed Fordham, his campaign manager. Fordham denied any rift. 'I'm still in his team, as far as I know,' he said. I am glad to hear it.
8:56 am

John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand

Gravatar Richard Reeves writes an excellent article in the Guardian about John Stuart Mills, entitled "Cry, freedom". It's to accompany Reeves' new book "John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand". With the recent debate about inheritance tax, I was particularly interested to be reminded of JS Mill's pronouncements on tax: On tax, Mill made a sharp distinction between earned wealth, acquired through
3:47 am

4am quickie

Gravatar Needless to say, my blog-toilet hybrid has utterly failed to do its job so far because only nice, reasonable, non-shrill people have commented. Howsobeit, I have been tagged for the Crazy Eight meme by Peter Black (although I don’t understand what is so crazy about it) and here in the People’s Republic no-one ever need ask [...]
2:37 am

Tooth Review: 1563 (Obligatory Spoiler Warning)

Gravatar Face offs galore this week as the new strips start to get going. {Prog 1563} Cover: Simon Davis draws Finnegan Sinister John Woo style. Not sure about that gun chain - seems a little taut and impractical. I have visions that he must have something similar for his gloves, bless him. For those new readers wondering why Sinister has such a white face, it’s a Simon Davis thing. Spoilers a-go-go… (more…) Share This
12:27 am

Nick Clegg: video killed the media star?

Gravatar I’ve finally got around to watching Thursday night’s Question Time Lib Dem leadership hustings. Not much for me to add that hasn’t already been said by so many others. It was no knock out, but the clear consensus (which I agree with) is that Huhne won on points although Clegg recovered well in the second half. In the interests of balance though, I have to agree with Aaron Heath at Liberal Conspiracy: Huhne’s tie should be tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity. I’m always being told that Huhne is boring and dry. He wasn’t on Thursday. He managed ...
12:27 am

England to qualify for Euro 2008 ? Who'd have thunk it ?

Gravatar I laughed yesterday when I heard Steve McClaren, the England Manager, saying that qualification for the European Football Championships is decided over 12 games, not one, and that there were many more twists to come yet. The phrase "clutching at straws" came to mind. And then what goes and happens ? Israel beat Russia and all England need is a draw to qualify now. It makes McClaren seem like some sort of visionary genius now. The only problem is, now that England only need a draw, what chance is there that we will still lose against Croatia ?
12:20 am

Back Online

Gravatar Hello again! So I finally get to write a new post - at last I have my new computer and broadband back online - hurrah to that! I so wish I have been off in a dream world -but alas I have not. I have been working way to much recently - but least it paid for this new computer! Not much news as of yet - apart from I have recently been elected to the DELGA Exec (for anyone who doesn't know its the Lib Dem Gay & Lesbian Association), and on to the Lincolnshire Lib Dem Federation as ...

Previous days:

Saturday 17th November 2007, Friday 16th November 2007, Thursday 15th November 2007, Wednesday 14th November 2007, Tuesday 13th November 2007, Monday 12th November 2007