Friday 30th November 2007

11:40 pm

Australians take the piss out of their recent election

Gravatar A must watch, absolutely hilarious
11:38 pm

Lib Dem wins "I'm a celebrity" ?

Gravatar I am sure I am correct in thinking that "I'm a celebrity - Get me out of here" winner, Christopher Biggins is a well known supporter of the Lib Dems (or was in the past). Either way, I didn't watch much of the show, but what I saw of him on it he was the nicest, most personable and genuine of all the contestants and he deserved to win.
11:11 pm

Is Lib Dem "Star" Vince Cable set for Strictly Come Dancing ?

Gravatar It is interesting to read about MP's real ambitions, and also a pleasant surprise when it is not all about power. Vince Cable, who has been making the headlines for all the right reasons since stepping in as acting Lib Dem leader for the last few weeks, has had the government on the rack over Northern Rock and a host of other issues, and delivered the killer line about Gordon Brown transforming from "Stalin to Mr Bean", a line that may well stay with Gordon Brown for a long while to come. So whilst everyone praises Vince, and some say ...
11:04 pm

When sub-editors don’t pay attention

Gravatar I think someone at BBC News might want to change the related stories that appear on their main page, unless there’s something we’re not being told about the identity of the person holding hostages in a Clinton campaign office: {BBC News front page} (If the image above isn’t showing, click here) I think this might be about something more than just the debate heating up, don’t you?
10:59 pm

"Her pieces have that slightly desperate pitch of someone who fears no one is listening" Alexander Macqueen

Gravatar No it's not his description of me - it's from a book review in the Guardian on 'Putin's Russia' by Anna Politkovskaya - a book I am truly red faced to admit I still haven't read. I read an extract of it in a paper when she was killed and found her writing magical and very eye-opening. A scene that still stays with me is a political social function being held a few months after the theatre hostage massacre with everyone having a great time and with no mention of the victims. This is what I meant when I said ...
10:39 pm

Zero Carbon Britain

Gravatar For a rare picture of Lembit without an adoring female on his arm (jealous? moi?), visit CAT's zero carbon pages. Seriously, it's great news that we have swiftly signed up to the Centre for Alternative Technology's manifesto. This follows Mick Bates's consistent championing of green policies in the Senedd. It's ironic that CAT - well worth a visit, by the way - is just outside the Montgomery constituency. However, to be fair to Plaid, Nia Griffith was in on the discussions which drew up the agenda. There is as yet no sign of the peripolitan Tories. - Frank Little
10:23 pm

Labour Party engulfed in sleaze

Gravatar The last week has demonstrated further, if we were in any doubt, that the Labour Party are so mired in sleaze and corruption that they are damaging public life in this country. After the 'Cash for Honours' saga, you'd think that the Labour brethren would have learnt some lessons- that in public life its not just about being honest, lawful and transparent, but about being seen to be. Its clear that after the CPS failed to prosecute anyone, after cash for honours they triumphantly thought they'd all got off, and, as we now know, went back to their arrogant sleazy ...
10:11 pm

Vote for Sustrans Win £50 million Lottery Fund

Gravatar We want more cars on the road. Yes put wheel on streets now! That seems to be the prevailing mode in our vale. The new Princes Mary site development in Wendover will not have a bus link to the Wendover train station nor to the Tring station. There is not much effort going into ensuring that the new 9,000 or so units planed for Aylesbury will be accompanied with a growth in the local job market. And yes, you guessed it, no buses to train stations. Last week we heard the cost of travelling by train is going to rise ...
10:10 pm

Australians take the piss out of their recent election

Gravatar A must watch, absolutely hilarious
10:02 pm

Miranda Grell loses her appeal

Gravatar Waltham Forest Labour councillor Miranda Grell lost her appeal today over her conviction for falsely smearing her Liberal Democrat opponent in the 2006 elections. The smears involved painting her opponent as a child abuser. It’s worth remembering the awful personal tragedy behind this case - the terrible effect on Barry Smith, the Liberal Democrat councillor who was [...]
9:50 pm

West End Christmas Week starts tomorrow!

Gravatar Just back from a couple of days (wet days!) in Dumfries with my day job (more on that later...) and very tired so I'll keep this short! Just a reminder to come along to Magdalen Green tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.15pm for the West End Christmas Week launch. Many thanks to the Courier and Evening Telegraph for their coverage of the impending launch today (including the article in the Craigie Column!) Also thanks to Wave 102 who interviewed me on the phone about the launch as I was parked in a layby on the A75 outside Dumfries, to be played on ...
9:07 pm

Ant or dec?

Gravatar Taking a few snatched moments out of my busy schedule I had a quick look at the Radio Times website to see what I could divert myself with this evening. One of the programmes listed on ITV takes a bunch of no-marks and drops them in a little wood next to a posh hotel in Australia. It’s called ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here…’ but the programme title is cut short on the website after 10pm because of a lack of space. It therefore reads far more accurately ‘I’m a c…’
8:56 pm

Good or Bad?

Gravatar Musgrove Park Hospital becomes an NHS Foundation Trust in a little over 3 hours time. Although I am a NHS employee and I guess a member of the new Trust I can’t help wondering if this is a good or bad thing that’s happening to us? I am well aware of the good that Foundation status brings: We can manage our finances in such a way that allows us to spend our savings for the benefit of the community. We can use our financial surpluses to re-invest in the hospital, giving us greater flexibility in developing our 1940s buildings. However, ...
8:55 pm

Barack Obama: the theoretical physicist

Gravatar I'll say this about Mr Obama: I'm impressed. Not only did I not know of his detailed knowledge of the universe's underlying structure and the fundamental forces shaping it, but he's not afraid to talk about such weighty* issues on the campaign trail. As he revealed to the good folk of Ames: "The whole universe is long, but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own. It bends because people decide to bend the arc in the direction of justice". Wow. Quantum gravity eat your heart out. You can hear him say it ...
8:41 pm

Miranda Grell: Conviction Upheld

Gravatar Labour Councillor Miranda Grell’s conviction for making false statements about another candidate to gain electoral advantage (calling him a child abuser) was upheld today by the Crown Court at Snaresbrook.  There will now be a by-election for her seat in Leyton. As chance would have it, I was at Snaresbrook myself this morning on one of my [...]
8:32 pm

Results of YouGov poll on Liberal Democrat leadership election

Gravatar … will be broadcast on Sky News this Sunday as part of the Sunday Live show, from 10am. Both Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne will also be appearing on the show and you can submit questions for them via the Sky website. (Thanks Rob for the comment highlighting this show).
7:58 pm

What qualifies you to be a leader?

Gravatar I am having problems leaving comments on fellow bloggers' sites, so unfortunately couldn't leave a comment for Jo Hayes about Nick's qualifications. To be honest, it shouldn't matter a jot. If we think our leaders should all be blessed with Oxbridge 1sts to be worthy of the job we miss the point completely. I certainly don't think the fact that Cameron and Brown have 1st does anything to commend the award at all! One may need a certain level of intelligence in order to lead, but one also needs a hell of a lot more in terms of people, managerial ...
7:34 pm

There’s a run on the Government

Gravatar It seems clear to me that the Media have stored up loads of stories against Nu Labour ready for the right time - they judge that time to be now. Gordon Brown’s arrogant mindgames with the British people must have been seen as the last straw by the media who sense it was a tipping point [...]
7:30 pm

Well done Rhoda

Gravatar A nice 15% swing to us last night from Labour in Middleton - the Bette Midler troupe did a good job. Next time Rhoda, Next time!
7:25 pm

Lessons from Rwanda V: Recognise a mistake and react quickly

Gravatar When Gen. Dallaire was first sent to Rwanda to plan the UNAMIR mission, he was told by Maurice Baril, the senior military officer at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), not to recommend a brigade-sized deployment (4,000-5,000 personnel). The UN finally settled on 2,500, but it took many months to approach full strength, and even then the quality of the troops was mixed and lacked logistics support – they had too few vehicles, almost no working Armoured Personnel Carriers, only a couple of helicopters for only a part of the mission, and no heavy lift capability. As the war ...
7:17 pm

Lord Bonkers' Diary: Meadowcroft joins the Liberal Democrats

Gravatar Friday I am surprised this evening to find Meadowcroft at our weekly meeting of the Bonkers Hall Ward Branch of the Liberal Democrats. Ever since the Liberal Party merged with the "SDP Party" he has spent Friday evenings in his potting shed with the Quivering Brethren, amongst whom he is a leading light There his fellow members read from the works of L.T. Hobhouse, sing "The Land" and scourge themselves, before he entertains them with his clarinet. "I be ajoining the Liberal Democrats," Meadowcroft beams this evening, "and - look! - I’ve brought my sackbut." I give what I believe ...
6:35 pm

Amongst the best in the country ........

Gravatar Apparently I am amongst the canniest in the country when it comes to recycling waste. Where do I live - scroll to end! Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures show that Taunton Deane is now the sixth best district in the UK for generating the lowest amount of household waste for collection. We are also in the ‘Top Ten’ when it comes to authorities with the most improved recycling and composting rates over the past year. Our rate rose from 15.5% to 41%. Plastic bottle and cardboard trials will be run in April 2008 to test different collection ...
6:32 pm

Government must end ID card plan now

Gravatar The Government's data disaster over child benefit records shows why plans for Identity Cards must be scrapped, say the Liberal Democrats.
6:29 pm

A new MORI poll, same trend as before

Gravatar MORI have just popped up on their website their latest poll (Tories 41 - up 1, Labour 32 - down 3, Lib Dems 17 - up 4). Although, as Stephen frequently comments, LDV doesn’t generally do polls, this is a good moment to have a look at the picture in the changes in party support [...]
6:13 pm

Northern Rock should be nationalised

Gravatar The amount of taxpayers money lent to bail out Northern Rock may have reached £29billion according to Bank of England data. The Liberal Democrats are calling for Northern Rock to be taken into public ownership temporarily, in order to safeguard taxpayers money.
5:58 pm

Calls for Gillian Gibbons' execution - contrast with calm British Muslims

Gravatar After this week, I am a bit of a fan of Inayat Bunglawala (above), spokesman for the British Muslim Council. I first heard him speak about the teddy bear row on BBC Radio Manchester (his organisation are based there). He was absolutely unequivocal in condemning the prosecution of Gillian Gibbons: There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith,
5:46 pm

Sarah Teather's profile is so strong

Gravatar I've just had a constituent on the phone - from Swiss Cottage ward - they have rarely voted in elections, they usually watch Question Time and last night they did again. Sarah Teather MP was the Lib Dem on the panel and the constituent says Sarah was truly inspirational. Her clarity, straight answers and plain speaking stood out from the rest of the panel. It's true of course, Sarah is one of our most articulate, impressive and conscientious MPs and an astonishingly effective media performer, but it is good when people take the time to ring and express it. I ...
5:27 pm

Tim Garden’s Thanksgiving Service

Gravatar Hundreds of politicians, service personnel and friends of the late (Lord) Tim Garden thronged St Clement Danes church in the Strand in London this afternoon, for a thanksgiving service for his life. The choir of St Clement Danes provided sublime music, including ‘Lift Up Your Heads’ from Handel’s Messiah and the ‘Gloria’ from Schubert’s Mass [...]
5:19 pm

Lib Dems on air over the weekend

Gravatar Quick alert for those wanting to see/hear Lib Dem MPs live on air in the next three days: Tonight (Fri), Lynne Featherstone will be on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions at 8.00 pm; On Sunday, Vince Cable will be on ITV1’s GMTV Sunday Programme at 6.00 am - if you don’t want to get up specially James [...]
5:14 pm

The very important subject of thefts of lead from roofs...

Gravatar One wonders what else is in the 'other' section...? Jeremy Browne (Taunton, Liberal Democrat) | Hansard source "To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of thefts of lead from roofs in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement." Tony McNulty (Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office) | Hansard source "Statistics concerning the number of thefts of lead from roofs are not available. Such offences would be recorded under the 'other theft' classification and cannot be separately identified from other offences recorded ...
4:59 pm

Huhne hits media pay dirt

Gravatar We are constantly saying that the LibDems' biggest problem is getting media attention. Well, ahem, we are now being treated to a masterclass on how to get media attention from Chris Huhne. Chris Huhne has been all over the media like a rash in the last 72 hours, taking the government to task on Donor-gate. By judiciously "bagging" the role of formally asking the police for an inquiry, he has an
4:58 pm

Vince Cable - the best leader we never had?

Gravatar Linked under the title "Invincible?" on BBC Online, Arif Ansari's profile of Vince Cable reflects that he is proving remarkably successful as acting Liberal Democrat leader: Gone are the panto-style groans that have greeted previous Lib Dem leaders when they stand to take their turn in the Commons hurly-burly of question time. Instead this week he brought the House down, with his quip about the
4:43 pm

When the word "racist" is used too often

Gravatar Is it really racist to call someone English ? Apparently it is if you are Welsh. It is odd, because I have been told in the past that it would be racist to refer to a Welsh person as "a stupid Welshman" during a football match, but now you can also be called a racist for calling a Welsh person English too ? It seems crazy in the extreme and a massive amount of overkill for what appears to have been a misunderstanding (isn't that the word we are using about the British teacher in Sudan ?) . There is ...
4:29 pm

Guardian: Huhne to speak with Police

Gravatar The Guardian reports that Chris Huhne will be speaking with the police to help them piece together the Donor-gate investigation: Police are to speak to Liberal Democrat leadership contender Chris Huhne over his complaint about Labour Party donor David Abrahams and his business dealings. Durham Police said senior officers would be contacting the Lib Dem MP in the “near future” following a letter he sent to Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair. Mr Huhne raised questions about the decision to allow a company controlled by Mr Abrahams to build a business park in County Durham. A Durham Police spokesman said: ...
4:24 pm

Planning for Winchester's Future

Gravatar Winchester City Council has just launched the consultation process for the Core Strategy document which will, eventually, form part of the District's Local Development Framework. The document published this week is the Draft Issues and Options Paper from which the Council will need to develop its own Preferred Options Paper by summer 2008. This will in turn go to public examination and a binding
4:15 pm

Paddick overtakes Boris at Betfair

Gravatar Well this is mainly about how quickly a market can fluctuate ( Or be manipulated ) when the total sums being bet are small. As of 4.15pm 30th November, as I type, Brian Paddick has overtaken Boris Johnson in the Betfair market for next London Mayor....
4:15 pm

Wolverhampton Community Radio

Gravatar I will be on Wolverhampton Community Radio again this evening on their politics show from 7-8 - tune in on 101.8FM
4:02 pm


Gravatar This week it was announced that elections to the new Cornish Unitary Authority will take place in May 2009, not 2008 as originally planned. One of the odd side effects of this is that because Parish Council elections are to be brought in line with the Unitary elections, the next Parish Council elections will not be until 2013. So those of us elected to Parish Councils last year, and Truro City Council is a Parish Council, were signing on for for a 7 year term. I'm not sure that's a good thing at all.
3:59 pm

Strapped for cash in the run-up to xmas?

Gravatar At the start of November I found a really good article in the money section of the Independent. I saw an advert in my local theatre for movie extras but wasn't persuaded as I knew someone at uni who did this. She was so bored on set she read a whole book! Had never thought about teaching just one child though...
3:52 pm

The die is cast

Gravatar Scanning Lib Dem Blogs today, it is pleasing that we now seem to have passed the point where we are all boring each other to death ‘bigging up’ our preferred leadership candidates - and found other stuff to talk about! This is largely due to NuLab pushing the self-destruct button once again over party funding. Vince Cable is clearly going to end up being talked about as a potentially great leader we never had. His performance over the last week has been heart-warming to say the least. I applauded his decision to boycott the visit of the Saudi king. PMQs ...
3:47 pm

Spectator: Huhne demonstrates his credentials with Donor-gate performance

Gravatar In the Spectator Coffee House blog, Fraser Nelson observes:  A big winner of donor-gate is Chris Huhne. He’s been the face of the Lib Dems on this, as Vince Cable continues to hound Northern Rock. The ability to jump on a news issue is a key skill required for a Lib Dem leader, and he’s demonstrating his credentials here…I’ve just come out of a Radio Scotland phone-in I agreed to do ages ago. It was a good laugh, sparring with taxi drivers and MSPs. And then: “we’re now joined by Chris Huhne who joins us on his mobile from the ...
3:46 pm

Free & Fair Elections?

Gravatar It seems, that despite assurances from Vladimir Putin himself, Sunday's parliamentary elections are unlikely to be honest, transparent and "without systematic flaws or shortcomings"........... Now there's a surprise! Even before one vote has been cast election monitoring groups are reporting that the Russian authorities are trying to manipulate the result by intimidating the opposition and pressurising voters into supporting the ruling party - United Russia. Although several parties are competing for the 450 seats to the State Duma,lower house of parliament,the pro-Putin United Russia party is expected to emerge as the dominant force. Critics are crying foul over recent changes ...
3:39 pm

Nick Clegg's lecturing - when and where?

Gravatar No one has contradicted the information I was given that Nick Clegg’s degree was a lower second (see my posting on 26 Nov). If that was the case, then here’s a puzzle. His constituency website states: “Nick stood down from the European Parliament in 2004 and lectured part time at Sheffield and Cambridge Universities.” That seems to mean that in 2004-5 Nick had part-time lecturing jobs at both of those prestigious universities. I find that surprising, if he only had a lower second, in view of the intense competition for academic jobs. However that may be, the Royal Society of ...
3:24 pm

Christine Humphreys new president of Welsh LibDems

Gravatar Former Assembly Member Christine Humphreys, who was narrowly defeated by Mike German for leadership of the party in 1998, has been elected the new President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Christine takes over from Rob Humphries of the Swansea and Gower party. Rob will be remembered as the President who guided us through a difficult period in the party's history with firmness tempered with good humour and ready wit. The official announcement continues: "Christine, who was AM for North Wales between 1999 and 2001, said: 'I’m delighted to have been elected President by the membership and look forward to representing ...
3:22 pm

Latest Planning Applications

Gravatar Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 07/03318/FUL Parish: N/A Registered: 14th November 2007 Expiry Date: 9th January 2008 Location: 6 Claverton Drive Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AJ Grid Ref: (E)377739 - (N)163173 LB Grade: N/A Proposal: Erection of conservatory to rear Officer: Richard Stott Applicant: Mr K Embleton Agent: J H Leeke And Son Ltd 6 Claverton Drive Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AJ Unit 1 Mwyndy Business Park Cardiff Road Pontyclun Rhondda Cynon Taff. CF72 8PN Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 07/03393/REG03 Parish: N/A Registered: 8th November 2007 Expiry Date: 3rd January 2008 Location: Foxhill Community Centre Hawthorn Grove Combe Down ...
3:17 pm

So, who is Father Christmas?

Gravatar Laura Webb, from Kingston Vale, was tragically killed by one of the suicide bombers on 7th July 2005. Her brother, Robert, has written a booklet in her memory called "So, who is Father Christmas?". He has researched the history of this iconic figure, and I'm very pleased to learrn that he wasn't invented by Coca Cola, as has been rather dubiously claimed. The...
2:52 pm

Bring Back The Homies

Gravatar I don't know who should be England's next manager, although I was very certain that Steve McLaren should not have been the last.  I never understood Mr McLaren's appointment other than perhaps t...
2:44 pm

Sucking eggs and donations

Gravatar The uproars in the Labour financial undergrowth should remind us to take care of our own book-keeping scrupulously. This does take some work. Earlier in November reminders went out from our diverse regions to local Party treasurers on the need to take great care in end-of year returns on donations. Irritated comments (permutating the words ‘eggs’ ‘suck’ and ‘grandmothers’) resulted in some cases. Well I hope the moaners reflect again – better a twice-careful reminder e-mail than a visit from m’learned friends. Example of what has to be done. Personal donors have to be linked to an entry in the ...
2:36 pm

Do you think he's any good?

2:14 pm

Under Review

Gravatar Hat Tip to Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats and Liberal Democrat News
2:05 pm

Booze, Fags and Mags

Gravatar I was having a drink outside the Big Chill Bar off Brick Lane last night (I am after all, a trendy young Londoner) when a lady selling The Big Issue magazine approached us. One of our party dug into her purse, handed over a quid or so and received the magazine. As the vendor melted into the inky East End night, the girl looked down to see that she had actually just purchased a copy of Law Gazette. With a puzzled expression she regarded the mag, before offering it to me. I said: “thanks very much. We do get it ...
1:55 pm

Lib Dem Councillor assaulted over planning rejection

Gravatar My friend and Conference Committee colleague Councillor Debra Storr (Ellon & Distric Ward of Aberdeenshire Council) was assaulted by an angry women who was indignant over Debra's vote against giving planning permission to American billionaire Donald Trump's plans to build a hotel, golf course and 1500 houses. Here is Debra in her own words as recounted to the BBC: "There was a knock on my door and a woman who was somewhat upset gave a stream of obscenities relating to the Trump application. " "She stepped over the doorstep and pushed me. I think she was slightly surprised at what ...
1:48 pm

Best thing since sliced bread

Gravatar In a little light relief from news of Labour donation scandals and blasphemous teddy bears, Tory Baroness Gardner of Parks gave an interview to Radio 5 Live this morning about sliced bread. It’s too thick, she thinks. “In central London you can hardly buy a thin or medium-sliced loaf of bread and any sandwich that you [...]
1:44 pm

Wimminism and the People’s Republic

Gravatar As two current threads on equality are unravelling to marvellous effect for one and all - by golly, we’ve learnt a lot - I thought it must be time to have a canter through the darker, cobwebbier corners of the People’s Republic and explain my own prejudices. Because I am aware in all discussions like those I have linked [...]
1:41 pm

Musharraf quits the Army and pledges to life the State of Emergency

Gravatar Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf this week quit the Army becoming a civilian President and has also pledged to lift the State of Emergency on 16 December. Elections will follow in December. All of this news must be welcomed and hopefully will see Pakistan move to become a fully democratic nation.
1:27 pm

Welcome to the World Jennifer Mary Smith

Gravatar Heartfelt congratulations to Ruby & Nick on the birth of their Daughter at 3.20pm yesterday. Jennifer Mary Smith weighed 8lb 5oz and is healthy as is Mum. Dad is trying to catch up with some sleep and it seems that Altrincham Town have a new supporter, if Nick is to be believed. Uncle Iain and Aunt Catherine hope to see you all on Sunday.
1:22 pm

Christmas lights switched on in Redcar tomorrow

Gravatar The Christmas lights will be switched on in the High Street, Redcar tomorrow (Saturday 1st December) at 5.30pm. The winners of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council's Talent 2007 will be showing off their dancing and singing skills on the stage in front of the Town Clock from 3pm. The Christmas parade, led by Police Horses and the Royal Jazz Band, will set off from the opposite end of the High Street, arriving at the stage at 5pm. That will be followed by Community Christmas Carols until 6pm. Santa will be in a horse drawn sleigh, accompanied by various Disney Characters ...
1:13 pm

Lawrence Bailey and his computer

Gravatar Laurence Bailey, former Labour Lord Mayor of Swansea, has been banned for two and a half years by something called the Adjudication Panel for Wales. It seems thousands of pornographic pictures were found on the hard drive of his council-issued laptop. Why don't we make councillors buy their own computers like everyone else does? Then they could look at as much pornography as they wanted. More seriously, the BBC reports that the police: also found it contained 253 documents, mostly letters to the Swansea Evening Post. "Although the police examination showed Mr Bailey as being the author, the documents purported ...
1:04 pm

CCTV conference in Market Harborough

Gravatar The Harborough Mail reports: Counter-terrorism police were among the guests in Harborough yesterday (Wednesday) as part of a conference on Closed-Circuit Television. Experts on CCTV including counter-terrorist police, Home Office officials and a fact-finding team from Australia were invited by Harborough District Council to the town’s Angel Hotel.I was mystified by the comment of the Tory Cllr Paul Dann, the council’s "lead for community safety and CCTV": We are perceived as a low-crime district, but it is important not to be complacent.Harborough is not "perceived" as a low-crime district: Harborough is a low-crime district.
12:59 pm

Butterstile Children’s Centre meeting

Gravatar This morning your three St Mary’s Councillors (Donal O’Hanlon and me from the Lib Dems, and Cllr Gibb from Labour) met with officers of the Council to discuss the Butterstile Children’s Centre. A site visit from the Planning Committee is to be made in mid-December so that they can exercise their legitimate right to make a decision on the merits of the planning application. I have presented the views of concerned residents to the Committee, as is my job as their Councillor. I am glad that the Committee are taking the concerns seriously. Obviously though they need to weigh these against ...
12:59 pm

Day 2522: Could Gordon Go?

Gravatar Thursday: Cash Under the Counter continues to spiral OUT OF CONTROL today, with Ms Harriet Harpy pointing the finger at Mr Frown, and Mr Huhney-Monster dialling 999! Mr Frown has called up the old hatchet man Mr Jack Man O'Straw to issue another round of denials. "Mr Frown has no idea what's going on," said Mr Man O'Straw, not completely reassuringly. The police are going to investigate and no doubt they will work DILIGENTLY until the find the proof that Mr Frown is COMPLETELY INNOCENT. But there is actually a BIGGER question. Can Mr Frown SURVIVE as Prime Monster? Further ...
12:53 pm

Charles Kennedy to be EU Commissioner?

Gravatar Jon Worth points out that Peter Mandelson's term as Britain's EU Commissioner runs out in 2009 and he has said that he does not wish to be reappointed. So who will take his place? Worth names four principal candidates: Patricia HewittCharles ClarkeGeoff Hoon Charles Kennedy Charles Kennedy to Brussels is an intriguing thought, though I am mystified by Jon Worth's claim that his appointment would "divide the Lib Dems". I am sure we would all be pleased to see Charles get the job. If anything, it would solve the problem of what the party should do with him in the ...
12:13 pm

Election Results: Thursday 29th November 2007

Gravatar Elmbridge DC, Cobham Fairmile Con 418 (74.6; +0.4), LD 45 (8.0; -9.3), Labour 38 (6.8; -1.7), Ind 32 (5.7; +5.7), Ind 18 (3.2; +3.2), Monster Raving Loony Party 9 ( 1.6; +1.6). Majority 373. Turnout 17.9%. Con hold. Last fought 2006. Kerrier DC, Helston North Con 315 (37.1), Ind 226 (26.6), Ind 194 (22.8), MK 115 (13.5). Majority 89. Turnout 17.8%. Con gain from Ind. Uncontested in 2007.
12:11 pm

A Review is Under Way

Gravatar With acknowledgments to Liberal Democrat News
11:58 am

Blanket media coverage for Huhne’s successful call for police investigation

Gravatar Chris has a whole slew of mentions in the press and on web sites this morning, for his successful call on the police to investigate the Labour donations imbroglio: The Sun: “Police are at the door of No 10″ The Guardian: Harman implicates Brown  The Independent The Daily Telegraph The Times The Scotsman The Herald BBC News Online Bloomberg Sky News Scottish Daily Record The Belfast Telegraph  London Evening Standard Peninsula Online, Qatar
11:58 am

Gordon Brown - a kid's view

Gravatar I mentioned the name "Vince Cable" this morning and my ten year old asked "Who's he?" I said "He is the chap who said Gordon Brown is like Mr Bean". "Ah yes", came the response "That was on CBBC Newsround". So Vince Cable has sewn up the Popbitch market and the CBBC Newsround market. Well done. I also started discussing different types of jobs and their stress levels, compared to their pay
11:57 am

I can't get that bloody tune out of my head now

Gravatar I blame someone. Anyone. Probably a cat. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
11:48 am

Vince Cable flutters his eyelashes at Bruce Forsyth

Gravatar On GMTV this Sunday, Vince Cable will declare his ambition to appear on Strictly Come Dancing: Steve Richards: …as many of the newspapers have commented in recent days, you enjoy a bit of the ballroom dancing. Are you watching Strictly Come Dancing? Vince Cable: I watch it religiously… Steve Richards: I thought you did! Vince Cable: …every week. Yes, it’s a wonderful programme. Bruce Forsyth is of course just over the top but actually the judges are great, the dancers are great. I’m backing Alesha, this very beautiful and very talented dancer. Steve Richards: Right. Vince Cable: No, it’s great ...
11:34 am

BBC iPlayer now available for Windows Vista

Gravatar Thank you BBC, thank you. Now if only you could allow me to download programmes in Firefox, all would be good in the world. That is all.
10:53 am


Gravatar Now here is an interesting dilemma for the Deputy First Minister. He has just taken responsibility for the National Botanic Garden of Wales as Rhodri Glyn Thomas is barred from dealing with this issue on account of being the constituency AM. The National Botanic Garden has a debt of £1.7 million, which it is hoping that the Welsh Government will pay off. By a happy coincidence this is almost exactly the amount of money that the WLGA believes will be sufficient to lift the Revenue Support Grant increase for Powys, Conwy and Anglesey from around 1% to 1.5%. Let us ...
10:42 am

Second Labour resignation over dodgy donations

Gravatar Rather overshadowed in the (English) media has been the news in Scotland that Scottish Parliament Labour frontbencher Charles Gordon has quit his post after it was revealed that Wendy Alexander’s Scottish Labour leadership campaign accepted an illegal donation: The Labour Party in Scotland is facing the prospect of a wounding criminal inquiry after one of its [...]
10:36 am

Vince quoted on Popbitch

Gravatar To add to my increasingly surreal morning, I've just read the Popbitch email which fell into my inbox earlier on. At the top, before all the stories about munchkins and Amy Winehouse, is Vince's quote about Gordon going from Stalin to Mr Bean. Normally when a Lib Dem MP is mentioned in Popbitch it's not a good thing. Do Vince's talents know no bounds?
10:34 am

The Labour councillor, the indecent images and the 253 fake letters

Gravatar Lawrence Bailey, the previous Labour leader of Swansea Council, has been banned from being a councillor for two and a half years. There were two reasons for this ban. The first: the finding of indecent images on his computers on more than one occassion. The second, and more unusual: the finding of 253 documents on his laptop [...]
10:28 am

A look back at the polls: November

Gravatar We tend not to be too poll-obsessed here at LDV - of course we look at them, as do all other politico-geeks, but viewed in isolation no one poll will tell you very much beyond what you want to read into it. Looked at over a reasonable time-span and, if there are enough polls, you [...]
9:49 am

Boots. Anyone lost any?

Gravatar So I wake up and realise that in my kitchen are two bags, one of which contains a pair of ladies' boots. Why do I have these boots? Who do they belong to? Why did anyone think that giving me these two bags (inc boots) last night was a good idea? Anyway, if you are sitting at your desk with a bad hangover this morning thinking "Where the fuck are my boots?" let me know. Suffice to say the Ball was very good. *scratches head*
9:40 am

A herbal tea and a massage

Gravatar A year ago I started getting into alternative remedies and investigating my health food shops very closely. Since then I have built up an array of essential oil bottles, mixing bottles, oil burners and various other strange looking (and, yes, a little bit too expensive for my liking) creams and potions. I started having regular massages (although I find it a little off-putting feeling as if I'm floating above my desk at work afterwards!) and drinking lots of herbal tea. I have collated a list of the different ailments different herbal teas are good for: Peppermint - indigestion and nausea ...
9:30 am

Liberal Democrats call for Police enquiry into Labour Party donations

Gravatar The Liberal Democrats have formally urged the police to investigate apparent "serious breaches" of party funding laws by Labour. Acting leader Vincent Cable said in a statement that it was essential to "establish the facts" and press charges if necessary. Gordon Brown has said donations made to Labour through intermediaries were unlawful and has announced an inquiry. But when asked in prime minister's questions as to why he had not called in the police, he said he had followed convention in referring the matter to the Electoral Commission.
9:19 am

Budgets and the blame game

Gravatar Another day, another letter from Plaid Cymru AM, Dai Lloyd in the Western Mail seeking to defend the Government's budget. It was a very tight settlement, don't you know, and all the evil Labour Government's fault in Westminster. Thank goodness for Plaid Cymru and the review that has been set up into the Barnett formula, which will deliver unlimited manna to Wales for years to come. Never mind that the funding formula review came about as a result of a Welsh Liberal Democrat motion, Dai has elevated it to the status of a nationalist Holy Grail. Important as it is ...
9:00 am

1/100 Chance of Being Born to British Family

Gravatar So, I was thinking it might be a funny idea to write a ‘destiny generator’ application which looks at the odds of being born in a specific country, of being born either male or female, of being born to a wealthy family in that country or a poor family, of being born Gay, and your new life expectancy and reduces all this information down to one single button. It would be a ‘birth simulator’. So, for example, every 6th person that presses the button will be told their new randomly selected life is “chinese peasant” while only one in a ...
8:39 am

Coming clean

Gravatar Last night's news that Peter Hain had failed to register a £5,000 deputy leadership campaign donation, due to an "administrative error" was a bit of a shock, but unlike other bloggers I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. A mistake was made, he has owned up to it. Let us move on. In many ways, Mr. Hain's confession is a side show to the main action. Interesting as it is that the undeclared loan came from Labour fundraiser, Jon Mendelsohn months before he started to work for the party, there is no suggestion that it was ...
8:29 am

Spooky - Norfolk Blogger and Liberal Burblings pass 100,000 page views on same day

Gravatar It is spooky ! Both the Norfolk Blogger and Liberal Burblings passed the 100,000 page views mark (not visitors) yesterday. But Nich has been blogging for six months less than me, so he is getting page views at a faster rate than me. But he has a lot of Tories looking at his site. I try to discourage Tories visiting mine.
8:27 am


Gravatar The immediate past Labour Leader of Swansea Council, who is also a former Lord Mayor of the City, has been banned by the Adjudication Panel for Wales from holding public office for two and a half years. Amongst other offences, the Panel found that he had broken rules by writing to a local newspaper using false names. Council computers being used by the former Councillor were found to contain 253 documents, mostly letters to the Swansea Evening Post. "Although the police examination showed Mr Bailey as being the author, the documents purported to have originated from various residents of Swansea," ...
7:39 am

Natwest / Enron Three and plea bargaining

Gravatar When I met up with the Natwest Three they told me that they were likely to plead guilty. The reason is quite simple. If they plead not guilty and loose they would get 35 years, but if they admit guilt they get 5 years (actually it turns out 37 months). There is always a question of risk with a court. I am quite happy to have an incentive for guilty defendants to plead guilty. I am also
2:22 am

Here we go again…

Gravatar South West Trains have just announced another round of inflation-busting price increases for peak and off-peak travel. Part of this increase comes as a result of the franchising system - and will disappear off into Central Government coffers. It’s effectively “tax farming” - or a stealth tax on off-peak and peak travellers in the South East. British rail passengers already pay more per mile than most of the rest of Europe. If the government was serious about rail, it would award the franchise to the company offering the lowest fares, not the highest premium. The second issue is that the ...
1:58 am

Taking the post office campaign to Whitehall

Gravatar {Martin Tod and Kelsie Learney campaigning to defend Littleton’s post office} The final deadline for submitting responses to the Post Office Closure programme consultation for Hampshire & the Isle of Wight finished on Monday - with detailed responses submitted by ourselves and others for most of the post offices in the local area. However, all this detailed work mustn’t let us lose sight of the fact that ultimately these closures stem from a Government decision backed by Gordon Brown. The Government decided to close these 2,500 post offices. Post Office Management are just administering a government decision. That’s why I ...
12:54 am

Just for clarity, Labour trolls…

Gravatar Gordon Brown’s statement yesterday on the David Abrahams scandal has made everything perfectly clear. I’m afraid I don’t have it verbatim as I heard it on the news several hours ago: It was completely unacceptable and cannot be justified by anyone, not even Chris Paul. Something like that, anyway.
12:52 am

Complacency on data protection in Winchester

Gravatar My colleague, Councillor Kelsie Learney, has been asking Winchester’s Conservative Cabinet member for Finance to give higher priority to looking after residents’ personal information for several months - without success - in particular to ensure that the Council puts greater priority into meeting the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. I’ve been campaigning for greater protection of people’s privacy since the introduction of the RIP Act back in 2000. So soon after millions of private details have been lost by the Government, it’s very worrying that the City Council isn’t doing more to meet industry standards for protecting our personal ...
12:29 am

More PRS balls

Gravatar As a follow up to my blog post a couple of weeks ago, ‘Ron‘ from Linksway Hotel has written the following: I have just been contacted by this society and been advised that I need to pay some £1800 per annum for hotel guests to view and listen to music in their rooms. We pay for a Television Licence for the hotel. The law states that once you have reserved a room in a hotel, it becomes your private residence,so any viewing of tv or listening to radio is deemed to be private. It seems to me that someone at ...
12:20 am

Ruby gave birth to a wee girl tonight

Gravatar This post is being written through tears of joy. Ruby had a wee girl tonight!!! That's all I can tell you for the moment as that's all the information that I have for now. When I stop crying I may be able to put some lucid thoughts together, but for the moment all I can do is congratulate Roobz and Nick on the birth of their Daughter. What's her name and what does she weigh? Are Mum and Daughter well and healthy? Is Dad still sober? Suddenly, the world is a more beautiful place. Councillor Ruby Kirkwood is the Lib ...

Previous days:

Thursday 29th November 2007, Wednesday 28th November 2007, Tuesday 27th November 2007, Monday 26th November 2007, Sunday 25th November 2007, Saturday 24th November 2007