The Annual General Meeting of the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) is not normally a contentious or exciting gathering, however pleasant it might be, but this evening’s event at the Law Society in London’s Chancery Lane was something of a departure. It had been decided that both the Society of Authors and the Writers [...]
Thursday 29th November 2007
Prepared for colleagues, passed on in the hope it will divert: Staff are reminded that a number of additional Council procedures will apply over the Christmas period: 1. This is a busy time for Building Control as they tend to receive call outs to inspect ‘rude’ stables at this time of year. Please factor this in when passing over requests for visits relating to your service area. A similar restriction applies to environmental health, who are often called out to inspect local hotels to ensure they are not exceeding licensed visitor numbers. 2. Christmas is also a busy time for ...
David Cameron gave a speech in Washington today in which he called for NATO troops to be deployed in Kosovo to avert the risk of a Russian backed crisis after the Kosovan government has threatened to declare independence on December 10th. Isn’t this – crudely put - how the First World War started, with different ‘empires’ lining up behind their respecitve pugilists until one slipped and tried to land a blow on the other, causing everyone else to pile in on top. That experience ended well, didn’t it, so why not repeat it? What about negotiation? What about making it ...
Chris Leslie, Labour MP and Gordon Brown’s leadership election campaign coordinator, has been named by Harriet Harman’s aides as the person who suggested they contact Janet Kidd for a donation to her campaign. Yet the Gordon Brown campaign also received a cheque from Janet Kidd and rejected it. Why reject money from someone whilst also recommending that [...]
Well it's a case of him ranting, raving and being his usual blethering idiot. He's boring, wrong and totally irrelevant to Scotland. I'd rather watch the proverbial paint dry so off to bed with a good book. Night night. P.S. Labour and Broon seem totally stuffed. Wonder what the bookies would offer for a GE on the 1st Thursday in June 2009? ( Next Euro Parl election day)
Sarah Teather, Lib Dem Shadow Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, is one of the panellists on tonight’s edition of Question Time (broadcast on BBC1 and online from 10.35 pm GMT). She’ll be alongside Minister of State for Employment Caroline Flint, Conservative Shadow Secretary for Business Alan Duncan, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and businessman Paul Myners. If [...]
As time goes by I seem to be getting more and more synical in my old age. Why is that I wonder. Why do I question everything and trust nobody? Have things gotten so bad that I cannot trust a word anyone says? By way of an example, todays announcement of a crackdown on gun culture. Bloody convenient wasn’t it? Police raids at a time when Labour are taking a real pasting in the press - Northern Rock, missing Inland Revenue CD’s, illegal party donations. If ever Labour needed a good news story to break it was now. And sure ...
Why are there more male bloggers than women? And why aren't the female bloggers on here more vocal and prolific? Lack of confidence? Shyness? Having men post aggressive comments on their blog? Being wary and holding back due to their name and photo being posted on their site? Jo Swinson MP would say lack of confidence I think but what else could it be?
For those who might be interested, the address of the Embassy of Sudan in London is: Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan 3 Cleveland Row St. James’s London SW1A 1DD Should you feel that the violent and unpleasant regime might need reminding that civilised states do not jail teachers on trumped up charges under a kangeroo court for allowing their class to name a teddy bear, my suggestion is that you let them know that the people of the United Kingdom hold them in the most abject contempt. After all it is merely the latest crime from a regime ...
I have always had a particular soft spot for North Hyde Park Neighbourhood Association despite it being the only local institution to ever refuse me membership. But then we all know what to think about clubs that would have us as members. Its the second year running the AGM has been held in Wrangthorn Church on Hyde Park Corner. There's something mind focusing about meeting in the House of the Lord particularly is its November and the heating isn't working. We cantered through a packed agenda and were particularly grateful for the Tea. Although the boundary change significantly reduced the ...
Flashback: Cllrs Mike Drew and Ruth Davis checking out plans at the Health CentreLocal councillors have welcomed the granting of planning permission for the new Yate Community Health Centre. As well as replacing GP surgeries at the current West Walk building and Chipping Sodbury clinic, it will offer many outpatient facilities so that local people often won't not need to go to the major hospitals for tests and clinics. Building is due to start in early 2008. The West Walk GP practice will move to a temporary building during the works.
Its a bold claim given that we host the Cricket and Rugby Stadiums but I have always felt that the jewel in Headingley's cultural crown is the Hyde Park Picture House. Grade 2 listed and still lit by Gas Lamps enter always make me feel like I have walked through a wardrobe into an Art House Narnia. Last week I make one of my regular but not frequent enough visits and met Wendy Cook the Manager. I have been around to long to genuflect at public service for the sake of it but its always moving to engage with someone ...
I was a little surprised today to see that a Mr N Lamb, a Liberal Democrat with strong links to North Norfolk, had started blogging. In this case, it is Ned Lamb, youngest son of our very own Norman Lamb, who has become the latest Norfolk Lib Dem to start blogging. His blog is called Liberal Talk 24 I've known Ned since he was actually quite little (I first met him when he was about five) and in recent years he always struck me as being a lot keener of football than politics. What his parents were always keen to ...
New figures have been released showing huge variations in the amount of carbon emitted per person across the UK. This is the third year Defra have published these statistics by local authority but the Government say the estimates are not comparable with either of the datasets published previously, due to improvements in the source data and methodology used. The figures estimate that 6.7 tonnes were emitted for each person in the Wolverhampton in 2005, Birmingham is 6.8 tonnes, Dudley is 6.0 tonnes, Sandwell is 7.9 tonnes and Walsall was 7.5 tonnes (the UK figure is 9.3). This compares to a ...
I have to agree with Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp when he explained that he was "deeply upset that my home was raided at 0600 with press photographers in tow, when the allegations had nothing whatsoever to do with me". I think there is something very rotten in the police force that they should turn up with the press. Either the police were working with the press on this, in which case it is completely wrong. Alternatively the press were tipped off by a policeman, in which case the police need to investigate this and take action against the officer concerned. ...
Police have warned that drinkers in Chipping Sodbury will face tough action from the police if they are caught acting anti-socially. As well as the criminal damage we have already reported on, there was violence last weekend including a fight and an assault in the early hours of Sunday. A total of five people were arrested. Police have said they will operate a zero tolerance policy on drunken behaviour between now and Xmas (We hope they carry on for New Year, as well - Ed.) Sodbury Town Council's closed circuit TV system system is see as key to identifying people ...
Chris is appearing on BBC News24 again today, being interviewed by Ben Brown about the Labour donations imbroglio. The interview is being shown repeatedly. In the interview, Chris: Welcomes the calling in of the police by the Electoral Commission Calls for much tighter controls on political funding Vehemently rejects Angus Mac Neill’s attempt to draw comparisons with the Michael Brown donation to the Liberal Democrats, on which matter, says Chris, the Electoral Commission confirmed that the party had carried out all necessary “due diligence”. There are BBC Politics Show videos available of a very relaxed and animated Chris calling for ...
After new problems for Labour with the Scottish Labour Party now embroiled in the donations row, the police have now been called in by Labour to investigate the donations they have received. What is humilating for Labour is that minister after minister has been wheeled out in front of the press for the last four days telling us that their own internal investigation was all that was required, and that calling the police was just opportunistic and playing politics by the opposition parties. It is worth noting too that it was the Lib Dems who first suggested this was a ...
Disability awareness was today’s theme for my students, for our field our trip, to the Disabled Living Foundation in Manchester. They explored equipment and adaptations to help people to live independent lives as well as find out how the centre works and finds funding in order to run effectively. Trips like this are expensive and we don’t get to do as many as we’d like to – they are so very
There's a few things I don't understand about the Labour Party's latest funding scandals, now to be the subject of yet another police investigation. Apparently, David Abrahams offered money towards Gordon Brown's leadership campaign but was turned down. And Wendy Alexander, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, has now admitted that she received an illegal donation towards her campaign to lead the Scottish party. The common denominator with these two funding issues is that neither of them actually faced a contest to become leader of their respective bits of the Labour Party. Both were unopposed, so what the hell ...
The BBC has an extended, thoughtful piece on the politcal background of David Abrahams and the nature of poltics in the North East. It quotes our own Greg Stone extensively: Of the North-East's 30 MPs, 28 belong to the Labour Party and many current and former Cabinet ministers - including Tony Blair, David Miliband, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers and Hilary Armstrong - represent seats in the North East. In a few former mining areas political opposition has disappeared to the extent that Labour councillors are elected unopposed. Much of the employment in the region is also in the public sector ...
It is a balanced piece, as you would expect, and the conclusion is cheering: All in all, however, the Lib Dems are lucky in their candidates; and partly as a result, the party is picking up in the polls. They are luckier still in their acting leader. Mr Cable—who coined the single best line of Gordon Brown's premiership this week when he pointed out that the prime minister had metamorphosed from being Stalin to Mr Bean—is having a very good war.
No endorsement of any one candidate, but a fairly decent (though by no means uncritical) write-up of the Lib Dem leadership candidates in this week’s Economist, which is well worth reading in full. Here’s the conclusion: There are reasons to be cautious about both candidates. Mr Clegg has run a flat campaign, and was rattled when [...]
We've had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So... Thursday Arriving in Oakham to visit the cattle market, I notice a long queue that winds around several street corners before doubling back upon itself. Upon enquiring the reason for such a lengthy crocodile, I am informed that it consists of investors in my own Rutland Rock Building Society. I take command of the situation by mounting a soapbox and addressing the throng through the collapsible megaphone that I always carry with me. I inform them that their savings are perfectly safe with the Society and that they should go home at once. ...
You know those wholly false and very annoying pop ups that claim you are the 100,000 visitor to a website ? Well in my case you could be right because as of the time of writing this I need only 13 more visitors to reach the 100,000 visitor to my blog. Thanks to all those who do read what I write, even if you disagree with me. it would be much more worrying if you did all agree and would be far more boring.
Earlier this week I donned a hard hat and followed David Kemp, the Head of Chessington Community College, as he showed me around the new building. The first new block will be opening in April next year, then work will begin on replacing the current main block. The old block on the left, soon to be demolished, beside the spectacular entrance to the new main building on the...
Today's new research which shows that one in ten people going into hospital are harmed by the experience is actually not a surprise. It confirms almost identical research elsewhere. The problem is that it is unlikely to become the political issue that it ought to be because political parties don’t know what to do with it – which of their various complaints and campaigns does it relate to, after all? Actually, this is a key element of any non-technocratic campaign against the corrosion of our public services. The research was carried out in a large teaching hospital in the north; ...
Hugh Muir in the Guardian highlights a collection of photos of people outside the Oxford Union debate this week on Redwatch. The website asks for information on the people in the photographs, who are described as "Demonstrators opposing Nick Griffin and David Irving, Oxford University 26th November 2007". It says: "Any further info on the freaks below will be gratefully received". Hugh Muir
It seems that bearly a day goes by without ‘teddy bears’ somehow making the news one way or another. Obviously, the first story to catch my eye this week was the one about British teacher, Gillian Gibbons and the Sudanese Teddy Bear. Ms Gibbons has been charged with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that Sudan is not a place where religion is never mocked or satirised and people believe it is "unthinkable" that a toy or pet could be given a religious name. This does seem ...
You might ask what happened to lunch? no time to rest here, lunch time found me hurrying around delivering coal. When he died, in about 1880, Mr Furniss of Furniss Biscuit fame left a pile of cash to pay for coal for poor people. Well its still going and I look after west Truro. So my lunchtime spent out delivering coal vouchers, having established that they needed them, which in my book means making sure that they have chimney pots. But back to the early part of the week. That was all taken up with the Railway Club Planning Tribunal. ...
Hurrah! One did not miss the train, one caught the train, and one arrived on time in Olomouc. One also met one’s friend, Mohan, who is studying medecine at Palacký University in Olomouc. He currently has diarrhea. Quite incredible, it is, that I have seemingly managed to get myself around the Česká Republika purely by writing down coach and train times found on the interweb. In this sense I am indebted to aforementioned characters Cicero and Valerie, whose advice I have wisely followed. Some odd cultural quirks exist in these regions: bottles of mineral water invariably contain sparkling water; they ...
A few weeks ago this ten year old article by Fed E Folvary was brought to my attention. I thought I had blogged about it before, but in the light of what I said in 'Revolutionary Liberalism: 5 - The "Sovereign Individual"' the other day and the welter of stories of party funding corruption this week it's worth reprinting today I think: Democracy Needs Reforming by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor, The Progress Report Ever since the 1996 elections, we have had wave after wave of revelations about improper or suspicious political campaign finances. Campaign contributions from Asia, soliciting contributions ...
The next four weeks should prove to be fascinating as the elections are underway under the new Thai Constitution with polling day set for 23rd December. I hope the result all ends peacefully as we fly in on 3rd January for three weeks. At present the election looks to be a two horse race between the [...]
‘Gordon Brown’s chief fundraiser advocated the use of unlawful third parties for donations’ - Evening Standard
The Standard reports: Gordon Brown’s chief fundraiser advocated the use of unlawful third parties for donations, it emerged today. In a potentially explosive revelation, it’s been reported that Jon Mendelsohn suggested that at least one Labour deputy leadership campaign should use a “network” of people to cover up the real identities of donors… The Standard has learned that [...]
Yes, my brand new blog has now gone live! I'm a bit nervous to be honest, its bad enough chatting to a bunch of Lib Dems, but most youth workers I know would make Paul Walter look like a pussycat! (Only teasing Paul - just recalling your hanging me from the lamp post earlier this year!!!). It will be quite a challenge, particularly having to tone down the political commentary, but one that I will relish and an enormous honour to have been asked. As you know, I am firmly of the view that if Youth Workers ruled the world ...
Today is my last day at as an officer at Oldham Council, and I must say that I am very sad indeed to be leaving. My emotions have been all over the place since the weekend, when my leaving do confirmed that I was actually about to be kicked out of the Civic Centre once and for all, into the unknown. It probably isn’t within the normal social bounds of convention for a 26 year old man elected to public office to be seen crying his eyes out at his desk, but I’ve come mighty close in the last 48 ...
Executive last night was about as riveting as any meeting can be when your bit is thirty seconds long and comes around after two hours of standing outside waiting. But there were lots of other, more important things to discuss, so I don’t begrudge it, and you can read a full report of what went on by visiting Cllr Tim Pickstone’s site here. What was lovely though was that a number of my Councillor colleagues saw me loitering outside and said congratulations on the recent “Politics Show” appearance, and the speech I made at the last full Council. These positive ...
Harriet Harman has claimed that by accepting a donation from Janet Kidd (which really came from David Abrahams) in good faith, she has complied with the law, so it's worth remembering what the law actually is on donations. I quote from the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, section 54: (1) A donation received by a registered party must not be accepted by the party if— ... (b)
Last night Kate and I went to the Glee Club in Birmingham to see Mark Thomas. He was again in great form - this show is about the right to protest. I have seen Mark Thomas do stand-up three times and once when he came to protest at the Liberal Democrats conference (not at the Liberal Democrats though, at Nestle).
I watched a program last night about homeless Children. There were 250,000 homeless children in March this year. Some of the families featured were victims of nothing more than a failure of the authorities to talk to each other and sort out the paperwork. Regardless of the circumstances this is an issue that has devastating effects on the families. Schoolwork is affected. Children are scared of what will happened to them. The threat of going into care hanging over their heads. Little things we do not realise about this problem. How do families eat in Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Some ...
Ah.....Dr Vince Cable, ex chief-economist of Shell and the man who warned of the debt crisis, as well as the man who seems to have coined an epitaph for the end of New Labour's political dominance. When you consider the backgrounds of Dr Cable, David Laws, Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, Steve Webb etc etc before going in to politics, I don't know how any fair judge can say that we don't have the most talented front bench by a country mile...
Sunday saw us down at the Blue Bar in Portowan, for the Cornish leg of the Huhne Clegg Hustings Roadshow. A lovely day, cold but with clear blue skies and a nice bit of surf rolling in. Nick couldn't resist the beach and took the opportunity to 'get some sand on his shoes', as the late great Johnny Cash once sang. I'm voting for Clegg, but I'm delighted that we have two really good candidates and that they took the time to come all the way down here twice during the campaign. They were asked what job they would give ...
The role of the Leader of the Liberal Democrats is one of the most difficult in British politics. Unlike the Leader of HM Opposition, there is no specific financial support for the leader of the party, neither, except at election time, does the Liberal Democrat Leader have Police security protection. Yet despite the reduced official support, the role of the leader is, if anything, even more difficult than that of the Leader of the official Opposition. In a system explicitly designed to divide only two ways, the Leader of the party must overcome the structure of the constitution as well ...
I know that in today's world we can not generally sit in judgement over the matter of cultural differences. However there is currently a very clear example of where we are entitled to make a comment. The arrest of a British school teacher who allowed her class to name a teddy bear after the name of one of the kids in her class- Mohammad- is extremely simple. Those who accuse her of a crime are evil. Were they to succeed in inflicting punishment upon her, particularly the whipping that is suggested, then they would be barbarians. I see that the ...
Minced by Vince! Poor old Gordon Brown in Prime Minister's Questions yesterday - from 'Stalin to Mr Bean' is a perfect description of the PM's journey thus far. As one who thinks PMQs is just playtime for little boys - I have to say that 'soundbite' did make me smile (to my chagrin). The Labour Party woes know no end. A disaster a day keeps Labour in dismay. The faces of the Labour troops on the benches told it all. They must be devastated by such goings on. Vince and Chris Huhne have now asked the police to investigate. Also ...
Can anyone tell me who precisely was responsible for coining the phrase “positive discrimination”? Google has been barren. It is a phrase that attempts to evade responsibility for its own meaning. If it’s positive it can’t be that bad can it? Well yes, because a positive necessarily entrains a negative. Discrimination is still discrimination whatever zingy adjective you put in front [...]
Well I hope somebody has noticed that I haven't posted all week. Reason is, I've been busy. Last Friday was 11 million takeover day, a scheme where Young People take over key roles in an effort to get their voices heard. I'd arranged for Young People to be Mayors of Truro, Falmouth and Pennryn and spent the day looking after the Truro Mayor's. It went really well, the Young people were great, they interviewed like old hands on Pirate FM and in the West Briton, and the feedback from the Officers they met has been very good. Everyone is keen ...
I am told that the scale model of the Senedd building in which we hold all our meetings has arrived in the Pompidou Centre in Paris where it forms part of the Richard Rogers exhibition. The exhibition also includes a video feed of Assembly proceedings. Who says that AMs are incapable of commanding a wider audience?
Q: Mr Huhne. The word “liberal” implies a willingness to allow others their freedom. Since your party - the party of high taxes and economic regulation - respects freedom the least, can we please have our word back? Posted by Tim S on November 20, 2007 10:20 PM RyanBerks: Right now if I had to think [...]
Peter Hain took time out of his busy schedule to come to Cardiff Bay yesterday to try and restore confidence in the shaky Legislative Competence Order procedure that he built into the Government of Wales Act so as to keep Labour MPs happy. Mr. Hain told us he would not block any transfer of power, or insist on detailed explanations from the Assembly Government as to what it would do with any new powers. But he said a growing mindset which saw MPs as merely a hindrance also had to go: “The mentality that sees Parliament as an inconvenience will ...
Last night was the meeting of Bury Council’s Executive Committee. As one of two Opposition Group Leaders on the Council I sit on the Committee alongside the portfolio holiding members from the largest Group. It was a very long and full agenda, with a number of important issues. The full agenda, together with all the papers for the meeting can be viewed here. Important issues included: - policies around anti-social behaviour - the authority has now agreed a set of policies and procedures around dealing with anti-social behaviour which is welcome. On a minor point, I asked about how the alley-gating ...
Not only has Vince Cable managed to eloquently capture the public mood with his, “Stalin to Mr Bean transformation” gag - a subject well covered all over the blogosphere including the blue-blogs - he’s also managed to score a second, much less obvious but nonetheless important victory. Every week, Brown has responded to Vince’s first question with a sneering, patronising joke about the Lib Dem leadership. Vince, to his credit, hasn’t dignified this with any kind of retaliation, but these prepared jokes were always highly immature and cheap, and quite obviously exposed Brown as something of a Bully - terrified ...
The official Lib Dem colour is Pantone 1235 on coated paper or Pantone 116 on uncoated. I presume cashmere wool counts as uncoated stock. A bus passed me in Regent Street today, advertising the Uniqlo range of cashmere jumpers produced in co-operation with Pantone, produced to celebrate the Oxford Street store opening. The question is, do they come in Pantone 116 for Lib Dems? And spot the
The new Realpolitik podcast is now available here. In this week's show: Gordon Brown confirms those donations were unlawful, as Pickled Politics wonders whether the Brown Premiership is coming to an end and Guido Fawkes reveals an unblocked business park. BNP leader Nick Griffin and holocaust denier David Irving speak at the Oxford Union. Jonny Wright offers his first hand perspective, and
Wednesday: After all the FUSS caused by the Bernie Ecclestone BUNG, Mr Mandy Mandleson's MORTGAGE, the Hinduja Brother's Passports and of course Lord Blairimort's CASH FOR CORONETS you would have thought that the Labour would have put its financial house in order. Not so, as it turns out. Hold onto your hats because the latest goings on are going to get a bit twisty-turny, and developments are still developing! And the money involved, like some kind of out of control roll-over lottery keeps going up and up: first it was £400,000, then £500,000, then £600,000. Latest: a devilish £666,000. It ...