Thursday 22nd November 2007

11:53 pm

Three Davids, three ladies in red

Gravatar It’s Question Time from Glasgow. As you would expect from a loyal Lib Dem, I’m agreeing with David Steel more than David Aaronovitch. Or any of Annabel Goldie, Nicola Sturgeon or Wendy Alexander. David Steel pointed out that all democracies are under attack from terrorism but none has a detention time without charge as long [...]
11:47 pm

Lib Dem leadership survey alert

Gravatar I’ve just completed a YouGov survey on the Lib Dem leadership. Very simple stuff. Depending on who the client was, and what the results turn out to be, expect to hear about the results in the next few days. Share This
11:47 pm

Wickham By-election Result

Gravatar There was a by-election today for the Winchester City Council seat in Wickham. Wickham is part of Winchester's southern parishes and is in the new Meon Valley parliamentary constituency. The by-election was caused by the sad and unexpected death of Liberal Democrat councillor Sue Fitzgerald, who had only been elected for the first time in May this year. Here is the result: Liberal Democrat (
11:37 pm

Steve Guy, a voice for Wycombe!

Gravatar In June, I started the process of selecting a PPC for Wycombe, in leafy, and true blue, Buckinghamshire. Tonight saw the culmination of that process, so I was back in High Wycombe for the hustings. First, the AGM was held, and Wendy Guy, the Chair, breezed through the agenda in double quick time, before reviewing the year. I was touched when she took the time to express her gratitude, and that
11:20 pm

Masque of the Red Death - Battersea Arts Centre

Gravatar The Masque of the Red Death is one of the hottest tickets in London theatre, with its complete run now sold out (although there are rumours of an extension). Following the seeming of Faust (which I unfortunately never got round to seeing) this is not surprising, but does it live up to the hype? Well its certainly not a show for those wedded to conventional theatre, nor claustrophobics, the
11:18 pm

A death sentence for UK's Iraqi employees

Gravatar That's the subject of my recent article for Liberal Democrat News: Many Iraqis employed by the British are tortured when found by the Iraqi death-squads. Like Haidr al-Mtury, a translator for the British, who had holes drilled into his hands and knees before both legs were broken and acid was poured over his face. Only then did a bullet to the head put an end to his suffering. These Iraqis are people whose intelligence and work the British Forces lives have been dependant upon. Yet the fact is that the British government is treating these people as if they are ...
10:39 pm

Heathrow doublethink

Gravatar There really is something sick about the idea that we can boost the UK economy by concreting over six schools and one whole village, and demolishing at least one twelfth century church. Only in the peculiar looking-glass world of Treasury economics can that path lead to 'wealth'. By that route we will have no schools, concrete wastelands punctured by planes landing every thirty seconds, and without historic or natural features, yet we will be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. It is a prime example of what Ruskin referred to as 'illth'. For me, there is something fundamental about the coming ...
10:31 pm

Friends of Magdalen Green update

Gravatar With the agreement of the Friends, I replicate the latest update below : Friends of Magdalen Green Coffee Morning First of all a big thank you to everyone who supported our Coffee Morning on 27th October; it was a tremendous success and raised £930. The talents of our local cooks & bakers were much appreciated as were the skills of the dedicated kitchen team who served and entertained people. The cards and crafts seemed to spark off some early Christmas shopping. But without everyone who came for the craic over tea & scones and stayed to buy things the morning ...
10:25 pm

Chuck Norris Approved

Gravatar Too cool for words: That doesn't satisfy you? Then try this on for size:
10:21 pm

Response to Tristan Mills' 'Fascists are left wing' blog: no they arent

Gravatar Original post here: Hmm, I think I’d disagree, under your definition of the terms left and right wing you are quite correct in pointing out that fascists were anti free market (pro private corporation and state working together as one) and you are thus correct under your terms. But I believe left and right wing can be seen more in terms of sympathies and where those sympathies lie rather than in differing methods such as whether they are free market or corporatist. For instance the sympathies of communism lie with the proletariat (although in practise it only truly favours the ...
9:50 pm

BBC Question Time: open thread

Gravatar Former Liberal leader Lord Steel is one of the panellists on tonight’s edition of Question Time (broadcast on BBC1 and online from 10.35 pm GMT). He’ll be alongside Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie, and David Aaronovitch columnist for The Times. If you’re [...]
8:58 pm

Labour MP no longer to misuse taxpayers’ money

Gravatar Last week I posted a a story (link to Clelland allowance abuse story) about how a Labour MP (Dave Clelland, Tyne Bridge) was using his Parliamentary allowance to pay for a website that he was then using to attack me as a Lib Dem councillor and the Liberal Democrats generally. Mr Clelland also defaced the Lib Dem logo which he then included on his website. I wrote that I was referring the matter
8:52 pm

What's more painful than exfoliating using salt scrub with a handful of paper cuts?

Gravatar Reading Nick Clegg's article in the's inspired a lot of thoughts about him. What does he mean when he says power is better "in a relationship"? Is this a code for coalition? Who with? With or without PR? Despite him beginning the article quoting someone who made a very public schoolboy pun on words, the article is well written but fails to address key issues as I have outlined above.
8:07 pm

X marks the spot

Gravatar Well, I have placed my X, sealed the envelope and put it in the post box. So, assuming it doesn't get lost in the post Nick Clegg has at least one vote against his name. Before posting it I did think about taking the added precaution of returning my ballot paper by recorded or registered post but in the end a friend at HMRC advised me against spending the extra money on postage - as he quite rightly said "what are the chances of something getting lost in the post these days"! Anyway too late now, what’s done is done. ...
7:53 pm

Revealed : HMRC were warned about delivering the disks safely by the National Audit Office

Gravatar Information has been released by the government showing that the National Audit Office warned HMRC to ensure that the disks (the now famous disks) holding the personal information on 25 million people, be delivered "as safely as possible". The government apparently asked for this information to be released to "prove their case". The problem is, for them, is that I cannot see how it does. The government would have is believe that this shows that they knew that safety was paramount in this case. However, what it says is that one government department (the National Audit Office), knew about safety, ...
7:47 pm

Day 2517: Fly Me to the Moon

Gravatar Thursday: Today's paper was full of pictures of Mr Sir Richard Branston-Pickle's new base for his Virgin Galactic rockets: TRACEY ISLAND. [R: it says Spaceport America on this press release, Millennium!] Up, up and away! {Posted by Picasa} Like all good BLUE PETER PLAYSETS, this one comes with detachable roof: Here's one we made earlier! {Posted by Picasa} Set course for SPACE, I say!
7:27 pm

Hattersley Praises Liberals’ “Impeccable” European Credentials

Gravatar At a lunchtime seminar in the National Liberal Club, organised by the Local Government Group for Europe (LGE), Lord (Roy) Hattersley, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, ‘Guardian’ columnist, social historian and novelist , today issued a clarion call for pro-Europeans to go out and make the case for Europe. He praised what he called the [...]
7:08 pm

Opinion: Genetic advantage

Gravatar Following on from my previous article having a go at Nick Clegg over DNA databases, it is now time to turn to Christopher Huhne and some disappointing remarks concerning GM crops. He says, “Ministers should not give any go-ahead for commercial planting until they can state confidently that GM varieties would not contaminate non-GM foods [...]
6:24 pm

A thriving democracy....

Gravatar My leadership ballot lies on the doormat. Unopened. I know thousands of people want to know which way I'm going to vote. (Well, ok, maybe, dozens....). However, I'm not going to tell you. Instead two interesting pieces of election news from nearly-democratic Georgia. Firstly, the government has decided to double the state pension, from 38 Georgian Lari to 76. To put this in its economic context, I bought a bottle of decent wine for 30 Lari, very roughly £7.50, and thought that the price reflected the fact I was English and drunk at the time. to put it in its ...
6:06 pm

Infinite Stupidity Loops

Gravatar A lot has changed for me in 40 days. I’ve gone from sceptical and neutral observer to ardent supporter. This is all Nick Clegg’s fault. I’m holding him responsible. The fact that I no longer class myself as a cynical and sarcastic outsider is really saying something. His “epidemic of powerlessness” is what’s getting me going. I have my answer to the question, “What are Lib Dems for?” I am really quite excited about this. Suddenly I can visualise what a Lib Dem Government would be like. This is a first for me. It’s simple. The Government only has one answer ...
5:59 pm

Journalist in “recognising Tory education policy is rip off from Lib Dems” shocker

Gravatar Okay, so it’s Anne McElvoy, hardly a trenchant critic of the party at the worst of times, and you do have to look for the reference pretty carefully. But I have been doing a certain amount of blubbery crying over some of the responses to Chris Huhne’s appearance in the Telegraph and Nick Clegg’s Guardian column, [...]
5:54 pm

Lessons in incompetence I: "Situating the estimate"

Gravatar I have started reading Shake hands with the Devil: The failure of humanity in Rwanda, by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire. As head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), he was the man who was left holding the ring while the UN and its member states turned their back on the Rwandan genocide. Having skipped over the fist half century of his life at a mercifully brisk page a year, on p56 he describes how from day 1 his peacekeeping mission was hobbled. He was asked to prepare an assessment for a mission to support the newly signed ...
5:48 pm

Lib Dem drinks: leadership hustings debriefing

Gravatar Lib Dem leadership hustings debriefing ...because when it’s all over bar the shouting, where better to shout than The Prince Arthur. Tuesday 27 November, after the leadership hustings and round the corner from the Friends' Meeting House. Whether you are a Cleggite or a Huhnie, undecided or disaffected, if you can fight your way past the LDYS kids handing out badges and avoid the unprecedented approachableness of the two candidates in the lobby, come to The Prince Arthur at 80-82 Eversholt Street, NW1 1BX and discuss the leadership, the future direction of the party and our electoral chances… …or, alternatively, ...
5:42 pm

Paul Danan in Preston

Gravatar The BBC reports: A former soap actor has been sacked from a pantomime after swearing at a 3,000-strong crowd at the switch-on of the Christmas lights.But what did he say? At times like this, you can rely on Holy Moly: Ever wondered what happened to 'Celebrity Love Island' lady-botherer Paul Danan? Well, he's not been bothering the BAFTA judges too much, but has now signed up for the Pinter-esque heights of the Christmas Panto in Preston, the place with the famous sign 'You are now entering Preston, Britain's newest city. Sponsored by Spar.' This means he was invited to help ...
5:38 pm

This time, get it right

Gravatar I do not hold Nick Clegg responsible as head of Ming Campbell’s leadership campaign in 2006 for the false, and damaging, claim made by telephone canvassers that none of Chris Huhne’s former colleagues in the European Parliament were supporting the 2006 Huhne leadership bid. (In fact, three Lib Dem MEPs were supporting Huhne.) Equally, I do not hold Huhne responsible for the “Calamity Clegg” tag used in a briefing document sent out by someone in his team. So let’s back to what’s important, which is this: the Tories must crush the Lib Dem vote if they are to regain power. ...
5:36 pm

Cool Cash game defeats modern punters

Gravatar This story appears in this week's Private Eye, but it is worth repeating next time a Labour minister claims that educational standards are higher than ever before. The Manchester Evening News reports: A lottery scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn't understand it. The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won. To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As ...
5:11 pm

Friend or Foe ?

Gravatar One of the strange things about having a series of internal party elections in close sequence is how one minute you can be working closely with someone as a valued team member and the next thing you know the same person is in a different camp for the next campaign in a hard fought struggle to the death. We have had the Euro MEP selections followed immediately by the leadership campaign and for London members the Mayoral campaign as well - and all three overlapped for a short while. I was Selection Campaign Manager for Jonathan Fryer for Euro and ...
4:22 pm

Killer Jellyfish attack Northern Ireland!

Gravatar The overall effects of global warming upon the environment are well known. But probably not so well known has been the effect it has had on the only salmon farm in Northern Ireland. Did you know that as a result of global warming that farm now faces closure with the loss of 12 jobs. Confused? Let me explain. The migration north of mauve stinger jellyish, rarely ever seen in British waters until now, recently caused the destruction of nearly 100,000 fish in a salmon farm in Northern Ireland. This destruction occured in only seven hours. Scientists cited the appearance of ...
4:18 pm

Are you on your way to the Forum?

Gravatar Don’t forget, if you’re a party member you can register for the Lib Dem Voice members’ forum - in which case you get to read and post on a rich variety of topics which don’t always make it into the public blog. Here’s a selection of the currently active threads to wet your appetites: Private Eye [...]
4:05 pm

The challenges that the next Liberal Democrat leader must address

Gravatar I believe that there are several key challenges that Britain now faces and which the Liberal Democrats must address. The role and power of the State has grown substantially over the course of the past two decades at a time when those who control the state apparatus are coming from an ever smaller pool of career politicians who lack the management skills required to administer the increasingly complex mechanisms that are supposed to deliver the promises that they make. The result has been increasing disillusionment from an electorate that has learned that politicians can not deliver what they say. Furthermore, ...
3:53 pm

There i’ve done it!

Gravatar …..voted for Nick Clegg!
3:39 pm

A liberal vision for school reform

Gravatar Iain Martin in today’s Telegraph lauds the Conservatives’ plans for schools.  Tory plans for schools…are genuinely exciting: the Tories promise to unleash a wave of reform in our moribund state education system. Iain points out that the Conservative’s green paper on education, ‘Raising the bar, closing the gap’ promises: a supply side revolution, stripping away the monopoly power of local education authorities, the state monoliths that strangle diversity of provision and competition. Would any parents want to open and run schools, as they would be allowed to under Tory plans? Perhaps. They did in Sweden, when such a scheme was a ...
3:36 pm

When you've cocked up after so many second chances, sometimes you have to go

Gravatar Let's face it, the inevitability of someone losing their job sometimes makes the news of it happening seem like more of a relief than anything else. Sometimes they fall on their swords themselves, sometimes, stubbornly, they need a push. After being given another chance after the previous debacles, after letting millions of people down, after showing a spineless lack of urgency in dealing with the problems in hand and in the way that there appears to be a complete lack of vision, it is only right that "he" goes. Now as for the "he", please insert the words "Alistair Darling" ...
3:25 pm

Another Busy Day in the US Senate

Gravatar Explanation: "Senators have left town for the Thanksgiving holiday, but the Senate will technically stay in session — a move that keeps President Bush from making appointments while lawmakers are in recess [so called "recess appointments"]. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he would schedule “pro forma” sessions during the two-week break, even though lawmakers will be absent
3:24 pm

EXCLUSIVE: The meaning behind Mark Oaten’s cryptic comments

Gravatar Lib Dem Voice has the skinny on Mark Oaten ruminating on the possibility that he might quit early and force a byelection. Stephen Tall has quoted from the Hampshire Chronicle Oaten’s views, but I can exclusively reveal the subtext: He said it was “me me me”. Mr Oaten said he did not intend to trigger a by-election but “me me me”. He said if the “me me me” came up for him and his wife, he would “me me me”. The father-of-two said: “I hope people understand. “Me me me me me me me me me me me me me.” ...
2:59 pm

Politics and Post Offices

Gravatar If anybody tries to tell you that the closure of Post Offices has nothing to do with the Government then just refer them to this article. The Telegraph reports that the Government has suspended the consultation process in the three weeks leading up to local authority elections in England and Wales on May 2 next year. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform insists that the suspension is simply part of routine pre-election preparations where government announcements are put on hold:A spokesman said: "Due to the application of normal purdah procedures which apply during election periods, no public consultations ...
2:49 pm

Still undecided about Clegg vs Huhne..

Gravatar ..but I am firmly decided that I'm fed up with the cheerleaders and campaigners. Both candidates have a lot of common and party policies, so it's only on the personality smaller/detailed issues that you can really tell them apart, and this is whe... Read and post comments | Send to a friend
2:26 pm

Oaten: I might quit early

Gravatar Ten years after his sensational 1997 election victory over Tory Gerry Malone was confirmed by a landslide by-election, Mark Oaten has said he might quit politics before the next election if a too-good-to-refuse job offer comes along. Speaking to the Hampshire Chronicle, Mark is reported saying: he did not intend to trigger a by-election but “couldn’t rule [...]
2:10 pm

In the eye of the beholder

Gravatar The two Lib Dem leadership candidates could be found last night in Cambridge, husting for the top job. Sal Brinton’s account can be found at Lib Dems for Chris; Linda Jack’s take is over at her Lindyloo’s Muze blog.
1:55 pm

Can Clegg raise his game?

Gravatar Tonight I am off to the St Albans hustings, which I hope will enable me to reach a firm decision as to who to vote for. At the start of the campaign, I thought it almost unimaginable that I wouldn’t vote for Clegg. But events since then have given cause for serious doubts, and I would certainly be more than happy to have Huhne as leader. The Clegg campaign has been very poor indeed, which gives cause for doubt about Nick’s choice of acolytes. There has been an impression that his organisers, fancying their man to be the equivalent of ...
1:42 pm

What next for England?

Gravatar There was a stunned silence around me when Olic skipped around Carson for Croatia’s second after only 15 minutes. Nobody could quite believe what they were watching. Contrast this with the atmosphere after an hour, as the new Wembley finally found an atmosphere. The place was ROCKING. But then… the last 20 minutes was embarrasing to watch - the players didn’t have a clue how to approach it. Push forward for a third, or defend for the point? In the end they did neither - and paid the price. McClaren’s departure was inevitable. So, what next? Quite simply - the ...
1:41 pm

West End, West Hampstead, Fortune Green

Gravatar The top corner of Camden is the ward of Fortune Green, previously the ward of West End - it's a lovely part of the borough and in broad terms the area is framed by Cricklewood, Kilburn High Road/Shoot Up Hill and Finchley Road. It's represented by Lib Dem Cllrs Flick Rea, Russell Eagling and Jane Schopflin and is home to Hampstead School (of which I am a Governor), Hampstead Cemetery (the early 19th century overflow from Hampstead Parish Church), West Hampstead Community Centre, the UCS playing fields and Fortune Green itself. The Green running along Fortune Green Road is a ...
1:30 pm

Meetings Next Week

Gravatar There are two important meetings next week which might be of interest to people. On Tuesday 27 November 2007 its the meeting of Prestwich Local Area Partnership. This is the grouping that brings together the 9 Prestwich Councillors, with reps from partner organisations like the Police, NHS, etc - plus community reps from community groups, business, charities etc. The meeting this time is at Sedgley Park Primary on Kings Road/Bishops Road Prestwich. There is a “business meeting” 6.30-7.30, and then from 7.30-8.30 its open forum with a chance to have your say on any issue in Prestwich.  On Wednesday its ...
1:25 pm

Government Secretly Axes Overseas Aid

Gravatar Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone has uncovered a story concerning Overseas Aid. International development has always been a really important issue for me, and I’ve always supported the principle that we should be contributing more to alleviate poorer parts of the world. London Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone has revealed that Labour have secretly removed £1 billion from the overseas aid budget! Here’s the story, taken from Lynne’s “blog” at Labour secretly axes £1 billion from overseas aid budget “Well, well - will Labour never learn? They’ve axed around £1 billion from the UK aid budget (official development assistance) - and then tried ...
1:17 pm

Prestwich Heys Road Football Plans Approved

Gravatar Plans to move forward on development of the Prestwich Heys Football Club on Sandgate Road have been approved. As a ward Councillor I was at a site visit with many local residents who raised many important concerns about the proposal. My councillor colleague Cllr Vic D’Albert represented residents at the meeting later that evening. Here’s Vic’s report from the meeting: “Bury Council’s Planning Control Committee last night approved controversial plans to re-develope the Sandgate Road Football Ground. The plans for new buildings, fencing, extended car park and floodlighting were passed by 6 votes to 3 and followed a visit to ...
1:08 pm

Is it time to rethink football?

Gravatar I admit I’m not a huge fan of the game EXCEPT at World and European cup levels. So I’m saddened that my interest in 2008 will wane. It is quite frankly, to steal a phrase, calamitous that England are  not going to be represented. I remember the last final when Greece won and I couldn’t help ponder [...]
1:05 pm

Chris Huhne writes...

Gravatar Dear Colin
1:03 pm

Game Theory and candidate selection

Gravatar A number of interesting applications of game theory in this article by Fred E. Foldvary. Land value taxation and the green tax switch you would of course expect me to approve of, and the principle of constitutional liberty is something I would very much be interested in exploring further as well. Demand revelation is an idea that I’ve heard of before and would like to see how it could be applied in practice. Cellular democracy though. My kneejerk reaction is to think that this sounds remarkably similar to Chinese-style democracy. Internal party democracy however is rather similar. There’s a technocratic ...
12:58 pm

Come in John Howard, your time is up!!

Gravatar The offending leaflet Oh dear, dear, dear. There was me saying that we bloggers love to see a head tumbling into the basket, and, my goodness me, it seems that we can look forward with relish to seeing the head of one John Howard hitting the cane work in the next few days! Thanks to One Hour ahead for highlighting this report in the Guardian. It seems that the Australian Liberal Party (no
12:42 pm

Shuffling The Deckchairs On The S.S. Conservative

Gravatar I’ve said before that as a blogger I actively strive not to be topical. Of course, there will always be things that you do want to comment on immediately, but I generally find that the hecticness (or in my case, the strange form of anti-hecticness I cultivate) of life will intervenes if you want it to.Nevertheless I’m quite glad that the appearance of Liberal Conspiracy has brought the future of
12:19 pm

Aussie Liberal’s dirty tricks

Gravatar The last desperate acts of the Howard party.
12:13 pm

Let’s not talk about England, focusing instead on Prestwich…

Gravatar I take back what I said yesterday about secretly wanting England to lose. It was horrible. Awful stuff. It might be amusing to think back on in a few years when Jose Mourinho or Martin Jol or Fabio Capello or (and let’s face it, he’ll probably be given the job by the buffoons in Soho Square) Steve Bruce lead us to World Cup 2010. But right now the founders of football have been pipped to qualification by a team who managed to beat Andorra 1-0. And on a pitch like a farm track despite spending nearly a billion quid on the stadium. ...
12:00 pm

Day 2516: Conservatory and Labour Show their True Colours… They have Red Faces Not Green Credentials

Gravatar Wednesday: Hilarity at the end of Prime Monster's Questionable Time as Conservatory Mr David Half-cocked Amoral demands a stop to windmills… like the one on Mr Balloon's roof. But the SERIOUS damage is to be done by the Secretary of State for Ruining Everyone's Environment, Mr Ruth Kelly, who is going to give the go-ahead to a THIRD runway and a SIXTH terminal at Britain's Busiest Noise Polluter: Heathrow Airport. "These plans could see the number of flights from Heathrow rise to 800,000 per year, making a mockery of any attempts to tackle climate change," said Ms Susan Kramer-vs-Kramer, Liberal ...
11:58 am

We love to see a head drop into the basket don't we?

Gravatar There was an amusing moment in the Bloggers' interview with Nick Clegg on Monday. While Nick was answering a question on cannabis, Nick observed that he saw Alex making a "furtive glance" at Richard when Nick said something. With some exasperation, Nick said that it was almost tougher being interviewed by LibDem bloggers than by journos in the Westminster bubble - "and we're in the same party!"
11:53 am


Gravatar Nice run this morning. A combination of diet and exercise means I'm getting thinner and fitter, who knew that would work?, but running faster means we can't chat and I'm left with my own thoughts. So I was turning over a recent irony. No, not Huhne trying to label Nick 'Calamity' then saying he has no idea what his own staff are up to, and no control over what they send out. No, thoughts tend to be a bit more basic on a run. Because I'm dieting I'm watching the calories. At the Christmas Fare there was a guess the ...
11:33 am

More devolution concerns

Gravatar If I was concerned at the inability of some MPs to grasp the basic principles behind the Government of Wales Act 2006 then this article in today's Western Mail must cause further doubts about what exactly is going on down in Westminster. Yesterday the Prime Minister raised eyebrows when he suggested the Barnett formula was based on spending needs. Asked about it at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said, “The Barnett formula is for the whole of the United Kingdom. It is not for one part of the United Kingdom, it covers all parts of the UK ... based on the ...
11:25 am

How the MPs are lining up (UPDATED)

Gravatar By popular request, here’s the current list of which Lib Dem MPs have declared for which leadership candidate so far. (Originally compiled with the help of Jonathan Isaby of The Daily Telegraph.) The list shows that Nick has attracted two MPs who supported Chris as leader in 2006: Greg Mulholland and Stephen Williams; and eight who [...]
11:19 am

Nick quotes about Sex and Power

Gravatar Great article Nick - clear, consice and interesting. 
11:16 am

The Cambridge Hustings

Gravatar Sal Brinton, PPC for Watford, has written a short report on the Cambridge hustings last night: Last night the Cambridge Leadership hustings really buzzed. I chatted to loads of people on the way in, and in typical Liberal Democrat fashion, many of them said that they were really looking forward to hearing from both candidates, and were genuinely undecided. In a large hall, latecomers were struggling to find seats, and the questions fielded were thoughtful and produced interesting answers. I was struck how many people came out afterwards who talked to me about Chris’s really strong performance, and yet again ...
11:14 am

Lights on in Tolworth

Gravatar 44 lampposts in Tolworth have been decorated with Christmas lights - quite an undertaking. Yesterday evening they were switched on by Santa and Mayor viewed by lots of excited children and their parents. The crowd also enjoyed face painting, balloon modelling and a stilt walker dressed as a Christmas tree. These two seemed to be having...
10:59 am


Gravatar Apparently, David Cameron is to make a trip to Washington DC. I wonder whether the President will mention the US State Department claim that the Tories were "more deceitful spinners" than Labour?
10:59 am

Huhne reaches out

Gravatar Well, we're supposed to be reaching out, being our natural constituency, so it is good to know that the Telegraph has gone a bundle on Chris Huhne's proposal to have a referendum on English votes for English matters in the House of Commons. (You can click below to see him being interviewed on Telegraph TV). BUT - Chris emphasises that this should be part of a comprehensive constitutional reform
10:58 am

For God's Sake Musharraf, Free Imran Khan and Other Political Dissenters That You Have Detained

Gravatar The fiasco in Pakistan continues. The strongman 'El Presidente' Musharraf continues to lock up anyone who dissents and the very basis of democracy is now gravely injured and lying on the side of the road somewhere between Lahore and Islamabad. The Analogy of Rome burning whilst we are all asleep is a very apt one. Who can forget history when today's 'friend' becomes tomorrow's rogue state and rogue administration. Yet, our own Foreign Office has not been robust in making it clear that dissidents like Imran Khan and the thousands of others detained need to be released and the General ...
10:56 am

ID Fiasco - Government missing the point

Gravatar As of the 18th October my entire family was put at risk of ID Fraud by the UK Government. Government advice at this time is to change passwords and keep an eye bank accounts. What the government is failing to warn us about is the need for vigilance of our credit records. Although my data lost by [...]
10:55 am

MPs lose the plot again

Gravatar It is not often that I feel sorry for Jane Hutt but even she must be feeling a bit frustrated at having to explain the Legislative Competence Order process to a Committee of MPs, some of whom seem intent on undermining the spirit if not the letter of the 2006 Government of Wales Act. The Western Mail reports that MPs have demanded to know why the process for transferring powers from Westminster to Cardiff Bay is “too vague”; why the Assembly LCO committee finished its scrutiny of the Orders in Council before the Welsh Affairs Select Committee had begun their ...
10:28 am

I stagger myself

Gravatar I have staggered myself at my first forays into posting videos on You Tube. Thanks no doubt to LibDem Voice and the power of LibDem videos on You Tube, I've received 139 hits for my question to Clegg/Huhne (below). I am also having contain my excitement at being awarded a five star rating for my video of a basking shark taken on holiday around the Isle of Mull last summer.
10:26 am

Cosmo 'Man of the Year': one for the boys.....

Gravatar On Tuesday night I went to another WAFE (Women Against Fundamentalism and for Equality) seminar at the House of Lords. As always these events are thoroughly engaging but always leave me in the confusing state of feeling both uplifted and despairing at the same time. There were as ever many very interesting women speakers about whom I will blog later (especially the Finnish MP Johanna
9:58 am

Would this happen in any other party?

Gravatar I am getting loads of hits from being featured very prominently on Nick Clegg's web site. This is for my laudatory piece entitled: Nick Clegg - potentially a great leader of our party. This is despite being a fervent supporter of Chris Huhne and being, some might say, an outspoken critic of Nick Clegg's public speaking and other aspects of his platform. Would this sort of magniminity and
9:53 am


Gravatar Just catching up on some work before going out this morning when the phone rings. A call from a council officer to let me know that an inspector will be sitting in on the Cabinet meeting tonight at which I "will be centre stage presenting your report. Don't worry about it, I'll be there so if you want anything just say. Do you need a briefing note?" Honestly, if I can't present a report to
9:51 am

'Say No To Nazi'

Gravatar Hello and welcome to Day 2 of the Great Trip to the Czech Republic. The title, as you're clearly wondering, is reference to my favourite piece of graffiti witnessed since arriving here. I have yet to meet this 'Nazi' character, whoever he is, but be assured that I will, following in the footsteps of Zammo, give him a resolute 'no'. Later in the day I ended up in a bar polluted by heavy metal. There was a pinball machine in the corner. Its flashing graphics sporadically included the instruction 'Say No To Drugs'. Some tourist-like stuff has been done. A ...
9:28 am

Pant wettingly awful / The consolations of being beaten by Croatia

8:58 am

Tory PPC praises apartheid

Gravatar David Cameron’s attempts to show the Tory party has really, really changed would be slightly more credible if it weren’t 100% clear the Tories are still just the same as they ever were. Further evidence of the Tories’ unchanging attitudes emerges courtesy of Richard Willis, a Tory councillor in Reading and their parliamentary candidate for Sutton [...]
8:30 am

Ex-Labour councillor wins discrimination case

Gravatar As the BBC reports: Raghib Ahsan, a councillor in Sparkhill, Birmingham, for seven years, claimed discrimination by a [Labour] selection panel before the 1998 local elections. The House of Lords accepted his appeal against a court ruling which rejected his claim he had been discriminated for being a Pakistani candidate. It restored an employment tribunal’s decision that found [...]
7:59 am

Consultant Pay

Gravatar Listening to Radio 5 Live this morning, a particular story caught my attention. A story on hospital consultants pay. I find it somewhat infuriating that at a time when many of my NHS colleagues have to now work longer hours, on lower pay scales than they were at this time last year -thanks to the introduction of Agenda for Change - a Committee of Public Accounts has found that hospital consultants have seen their pay rise by 27% and their working hours decrease. Is this fair? Course it’s not.
1:48 am

Civilian Bash The Government Day

Gravatar The Government have themselves a real problem. The nearly unanimous verdict amongst my colleagues at work - mostly a mix of working class blue collar types and middle class white collar - was that Labour are done for. In general the level of political awareness is growing, and people aren’t liking what they’re seeing. I was rather cheeky today and after a comment on this blog yesterday I thought I’d test out my ‘they look like a government of a different era‘ line on civilians and, to my surprise, found that it was quite resonant.  ‘They know nothing about IT. They ...
1:04 am

A rare opportunity to disagree with James Graham!

Gravatar is the economy (stupid), or at least the political economy. James Graham comes out for Clegg today in his piece at Comment is Free, Ich bin ein Clegghead: Lesson one from the latest (and hopefully last for a good long while) Liberal Democrat leadership contest is that everything I thought I knew about the candidates was wrong. Chris "master strategist" Huhne has ended up making some appalling tactical blunders, while Nick "great communicator" Clegg, it emerges, can be a bit rubbish on the telly. They both have feet of clay. Despite this, I remain as sure as I was ...
12:57 am

Nick Clegg wins by a mile at the Eastern Region Hustings...........

Gravatar ............well that was the verdict of my 20 year old daughter. I should make it clear, despite vigorous attempts by her mother, this was the first party political event Lara has ever attended. Now, she did lead her school out in protest about the Iraq war and as a result spoke at the first STWC people's parliament.........but, like her brother, she has never been one to go along with her mother............on anything! (I guess that is the price you pay for raising independently thinking children). So, taking her to the hustings I went knowing the risk that she would take ...
12:27 am

Is this the end for ID cards?

Gravatar Will the government's loss of data belonging to 25m people spell the end of their plans for ID cards and a database state? I think it may. As Gareth Crossman writes on Comment is Free: Whenever Liberty is being interviewed about ID cards or other privacy issues, we normally expect the tired old question "surely those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear". Following the jaw-dropping admission yesterday that Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had lost the confidential information of 25 million people, I suspect we've heard it for the last time.Listening to my fellow workers in the office today, ...
12:10 am

Odds on the next England manager

Gravatar reports the odds on who will succeed poor Steve McClaren: Jose Mourinho is now 5/1 favorite with William Hill to succeed Steve McClaren as permanent England manager. Hills make Martin O'Neill 11/2 second favorite and also offer 6/1 Scolari; 7/1 Hiddink; 10/1 Pearce; 12/1 Lippi; 12/1 Alan Shearer;16/1 Curbishley, Capello, Allardyce, Redknapp, Wenger; 25/1 Venables.Which makes it odd that chief sports correspondent of The Times has just filed an article on the subject that does not even mention his name.
12:09 am


Gravatar Well, just about... ... but I've almost nudged him off the top (the offending post is here).Oh yes, and on the Duncan Borrowman monitor I'm (if you can't be scroll all that way down my sidebar) firmly undecided.
12:02 am

Birmingham, Hodge Hill Liberal Democrats Leadership Election Hustings

Gravatar The Birmingham, Hodge Hill Liberal Democrats will be hosting Leadership Election Hustings ON 5th December starting at 6.00pm at the Park View Business & Enterprise School Naseby Road, Birmingham B8 3HG.

Previous days:

Wednesday 21st November 2007, Tuesday 20th November 2007, Monday 19th November 2007, Sunday 18th November 2007, Saturday 17th November 2007, Friday 16th November 2007