Tuesday 4th December 2007

11:35 pm

Vince Cable talks to Quaequam Blog!

Gravatar Once again, I was delighted to be invited to be invited to take part in another of Millennium’s interviews with party figures. At first we interviewed the two leadership candidates, but it seemed like a good idea to get an interview in with Vince Cable while he was serving as acting leader. He graciously agreed to do this and so the inteview took place at teatime on Monday. But then you know all this because you’ve presumably read all the other versions of the interview already. Apologies for my lateness, I spent the rest of the evening out with friends ...
11:11 pm

Iraqi interpreters

Gravatar This is a direct link to Lynne Featherstone's blog item Iraqi interpreters: new EDM. My excuse is that not all my readers are LibDems. Keep up the pressure, Lynne.
11:03 pm

Christmas shopping

Gravatar I wish I could add some sparkling wit to the blogosphere, but all I can report on is Christmas shopping. So whoever left their bottle of Umberto Giannini styling spray on the counter at Boots could contact me I'll gladly let them have it back. I've inadvertantly paid for it, and no doubt the original shopper has as well. The one place I would recommend is Kingston Parish...
10:39 pm

Edit message

Gravatar Wendy Alexander plans to clear her name and rid herself of any conscious wrongdoing by producing correspondence in the form of emails. As I upload emails to a website in my day job I have found you can manipulate this form of communication very easily. While, however, I do it to protect the sender's email address or in some cases their identity, someone else in trouble could do a very interesting editing job...
10:36 pm

Five cars in every drive - is a crash in the housing markets inevitable?

Gravatar Vince Cable has warned of the effects of a crash in the housing market - "with millions in negative equity or struggling to repay their debts." Walking down my local roads I see drives full of cars - 5 or 6 cars in drives. People still living with their parents in their mid 20s, even their 30s. Now I don't want to see people plunged into negative equity. But the market is clearly totally
10:31 pm

Merry Christmas from Gaza

Gravatar Whilst surfing the net I came across a site, a site very similiar to this one actually. The site 'Welcome to Baqa'a Refugee Camp' is a collection of blogs from Palestinians. It makes very interesting reading I can tell you. If you are even remotely interested in hearing what is actually happening over there (not the sanitised version you get to see on the news) I thoroughly recommend you visit the site for yourself. I found them very informative. http://palestineblogs.org/Welcome_to_Baqa'a_Refugee_Camp/# One blog stood out from all the others. Some of you may recall I wrote a blog on the israeli ...
10:25 pm

Profile, favourites and films

Gravatar Having recently been mistaken for Craig Murray, I thought I'd better put something in my profile, which has been completely bare up till now. So I've done that - you can go and look at it if you want. But I was stymied by the questions about favourite books and favourite films. I've never had favourites in books - or, perhaps I have at various periods, but they've been different ones. Nowadays, there aren't many books that I would happily go back to. That's largely because I have so little time for reading that I'd rather read something I haven't ...
10:21 pm

Mr. [Gordon] Bean

Gravatar I must confess this is not at all original, it just made me laugh (see the original article on Liberal England), but I thought I’d take it one step further: Spot the difference.
10:11 pm

Graham Harvey on the veal trade

Gravatar My favourite agricultural writer is on Comment is Free today: There's something distasteful about the news that government minister Lord Rooker is heading a working group whose aim is to end the export of live calves ...It seems churlish to find fault with any attempt to put an end to the odious business of exporting calves that may be just a day or two old. What sticks in the craw is the idea of a government minister being put in charge when it is governments and the livestock industry between them that have created this miserable trade.Before Britain joined the ...
10:00 pm

Who first called Gordon Brown "Mr Bean"?

Gravatar It was, of course, Vince Cable who made the parallel famous on 28 November. But here is Leo McKinstry writing in the Daily Express on 19 November: Through his serial incompetence, Brown is fast becoming the political equivalent of Mr Bean. All too many of his appointments have turned out to be mistaken, whether it be the inexperienced Jacqui Smith at the Home Office or the pompous Mark Malloch-Brown at the Foreign Office.  From the absurdity of employing 10,000 illegal immigrants in the security industry to the ongoing mess of Northern Rock, Brown has allowed Bean-like ineptitude to become the ...
9:58 pm

US Presidential races - it's all kicking off

Gravatar The US Presidential race is starting to move so fast, it's hard to keep up. You need a sort of voice-over saying: "Previously in the US Presidential race...." The latest twists and turns, courtesy of Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, are: Obama is ahead in two new polls in IowaClinton is losing support amongst women thereClinton is "going negative" against Obama but this could kibosh her chances
9:39 pm

How times change in the space of a season

Gravatar Read it and weep babies - tears of laughter and joy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHWKvN4fvvQ
9:15 pm

Post Office closures - an example letter

Gravatar In light of the post office proposals, I used a template letter provided by Action in Rural Sussex, edited slightly to suit my own needs and wrote a letter to send to the consultation team. I make a copy available for download to provide help for your own letters. letter for Adobe Acrobat (pdf) letter for Microsoft Word (.doc)
9:11 pm

Karpov tried to visit Kasparov in jail

Gravatar Garry Kasparov was released from jail last week. USA Today reports: The authorities' goal in jailing him "was to send a message," Kasparov said after stepping out of the police car that delivered him to his Moscow home.Kasparov said he would continue his efforts to build opposition to Putin and predicted he would be arrested again on more serious charges."The Putin regime is entering a new phase of confronting its own people," he said.Kasparov said he was treated well in jail and received food parcels.Fascinatingly, while Kasparov was inside his former great rival Anatoly Karpov tried to visit him: "He ...
9:09 pm

Xposur 3

Gravatar Its was great to meet 3 exciting new photographers - Simon Batt, Iain Clarke & Ian McGraw Penny School Gallery, 55 Richmond Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey. XPOSURE3 is an exhibition that showcases the work of three talented Kingston based photographers Simon Batt, Iain Clarke and Ian McGraw. The show is the culmination of 2 years part time...
9:02 pm

Student tuition fees - the two responses

Gravatar University tuition fees is a key issue for students. It is partly due to the Lib Dems stance on tuition fees that they are so popular with students - they are strongly in favour of scrapping them. But what to the to party leader contenders have to say? Any change on the current position? How do they plan on doing it? These two videos show Clegg’s, and then Huhne’s responses. Both Nick and Chris want to continue with the current policy to scrap tuition fees. But their responses are far from the same, as you’ll see. Nick is quite shaky. ...
8:07 pm

Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction

Gravatar At next Monday's Planning and Transport Committee of the City Council (of which I am Convener) there's a report for councillors to consider on identified sites for road safety improvements in the forthcoming year. I am pleased to advise that the Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction in Logie is recommended for improvement. Photo from Logie (but not the junction!) pictured right. The City Council has given me the following feedback on the Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction : "There have been 3 slight injury accidents recorded for the period 2004 to 2006 incl. These have occurred at the junction of the southern ...
8:06 pm

No medical emergency on the island!

Gravatar A story that really caught my attention today was the medical emergency on the remote British island of Tristan Da Cunha. However, the official Tristan Da Cunha website seems to tell a different story: “Islanders have been suffering from a flu virus over the last 10 days or so, with asthma sufferers particularly affected, and as a result there is a concern that stocks of drugs are low. “There is no emergency, no deaths, and the situation is under control. “Nevertheless the Tristan Administrator David Morley is exploring options for an extra supply of the appropriate drugs as a contingency ...
7:50 pm

Super Leeds put three past rock bottom Valiants

Gravatar David Prutton headed home from 6 yards in the 17th minute, after Leeds had dominated play from the start, 1-0. Hopes of more goals in the first half began to fade as United took their foot off the pedal and the Valiants increased their share of possession. After the restart Leeds got a grip of the game again and a right foot shot, from 12 yards, in the 54th minute, gave Jermaine Beckford his 11th league goal of the season so far, 2-0. An injury to Beckford in the 64th minute brought on Tore Andre Flo for what is said ...
7:45 pm

What's all this cultural relativism about then?

Gravatar Gillian Gibbons is freed and the Sudanese Government hasn’t made any contribution to the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion and that followers of Islam are not all fanatics ready to take umbrage at the slightest slur to their religion. In the UK, it has been pleasing to see that the majority of people commenting, irrespective of their religion or lack thereof have been appalled by the
7:28 pm

Good luck to Iain Dale!

Gravatar I see that Iain Dale has resigned from 18 Doughty Street and is bravely planning to launch a new political magazine. Good luck to him! Full explanation here. I also see that 18 Doughty Street has stopped live programmes. Yes, I know - I'm slow on the uptake. Just one small pointette (oh, all right then - two). Iain says that his magazine "will have no party affiliation". Ah yes. That well
6:58 pm

Shocking: "If you can read this, the b**** fell off"

Gravatar Now I'm really glad I started a separate blog for non-political stuff.......This is "yellow card" stuff.
6:44 pm

With the leadership election all over where next?

Gravatar All the signs point to the fact that the lib dem leadership election is effectively over, thank goodness. For those Huhnistas still in denial lets look at the facts: 1) That yougov poll, putting Nick 12 points ahead with probably around 2/3rds of those who are going to vote having voted (if I recall turnout last time was around the 70% mark?). Yes with such a small sample it has a large margin
6:40 pm

Possible book deal?

Gravatar I have just been watching the British teacher, Gillian Gibbons talking about her release from a sudanese prison. Whilst I have nothing against Ms Gibbons, she seems a genuine enough sort of person, I can’t help thinking - big deal! In a couple of days she’ll be selling her soul (sorry I mean ‘exclusive’) to one of the tabloids! This has all the hallmarks of a good Daily Mail/Express story – quaint middle aged woman, miles from home, vunerable and alone, helping educate poor african children, wrongly imprisoned by islamic fundamentalists. Just the sort of thing blue rinse tories lap ...
6:26 pm

Direct Action on Palatine Road

Gravatar Lib-Dems - working hard for you all year round, not just at election time. Last Saturday was Farmers Market day for the Village, and it was - as always - superb! However I was shocked to see piles of rubbish left on the parade when the traders had left. I went out to have a look, and one pile had spilled onto the slip road and was rapidly disintegrating when cars were forced to drive over it! I moved all the bulky items onto the pavement, but it was still unsightly due to the polystyrene scattered everywhere. I managed to ...
6:10 pm

Time to come off the fence and use my vote for ...

Gravatar I've left my ballot paper long enough and have now filled it in. I did though um and ah for sometime before marking my cross. The were a number of factors that swayed me. Personality: Nick Clegg has a warmth, a sense of being very normal that I like and I can see the electorate warming to. Chris has less natural charm, but I actually think he comes across with more authority on issues and has more gravitas, so for me neither of them outscored each other in this aspect. Policy: I have to say I think that Chris won ...
6:02 pm

Treehouse winning funding

Gravatar Just got notification that our own, our very own Treehouse Trust in Muswell Hill has won their TV contest with funding for landscaping at their Muswell Hill site. This comes from the People’s Millions programme, a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV in which viewers vote for the community project they want to receive funding. The Treehouse Trust was chosen by the public to receive funding. As the email said: 'Their Treehouse Landscape for Learning Project will transform the land around the National Centre for Autism Education into a wildlife area providing a habitat for birds, insects and ...
5:57 pm

Treble dose of good news about Liberal Democrat MPs

Gravatar Interesting poll by Iain Dale on his website of how his readers think MPs of all parties have been performing in the last month. 1,256 blog watchers voted and they rated the performance of a selection of MPs over the last month. Both our Liberal Democrat leadership candidates are in the top quarter, Chris at 10 and Nick at 21! Not bad for a Conservative originated contest on a website with a heavily Conservative readership! However, both might like to look at the methodology of the occupier of the No. 1 spot for guidance when our new leader is declared ...
5:52 pm

"You'll never get anything done in life if you wait for positive feedback"

Gravatar You know the feeling. It's getting dark outside. Everyone has left the office. The computer begins to slow down as if to say "What the f**k are you still doing here don't you have a life? I don't f**king work after 5pm...got it?". You click into the newsletter you've spent the last god-knows-how-many-weeks painstakingly zooming in and zooming out of, deciding which images you want to use, checking out permission issues over photos with children in them, checking that your name is on it HEAVEN FORBID should someone not see it and pressing print preview just in case you've missed ...
5:39 pm

Kids, Roads and Photos

Gravatar Today I have investigated an issue in my role as a governor of Butterstile Primary School, trying to make sure that a couple of children there don’t miss out on some Christmas festivities. I have spoken to a couple of other governors about it, and liaised with the Head, so now hopefully everyone will be happy and merry and full of festive joy. Also today I have spoken to a resident about the state of his road - it’s only a couple of months until we have the impossible task of selecting which of the ward’s pot-holed roads receive the ...
5:32 pm

Finest hour ruined by rumour

Gravatar Arguably one of the toughest jobs on the world’s stage is to get two nations that have fought each other for over 60 years, to sit in a room and talk about a peaceful solution to their ongoing crisis. Last week America, once again, successfully got the political leaders of Israel and Palestine to attend a conference for peace, but this massive achievement, which has taken months upon months of planning, has been over shadowed in the United States, because of a rumour. The American tabloid press, instead of reporting on the peace talks, are reporting that the current US ...
5:25 pm

Labour's Thousand Club - a chance to influence government policies

Gravatar Apparently members of Labour's Thousand Club are promised the 'inside track on government policies'. And they don''t even have to be Labour Party members! This is all according to the Evening Standard. Sounds great. In return for your commitment to regular donations, starting at £1k a year, you are offered meetings with Labour policy makers, and the chance to meet ministers. The perks of membership are spelled out in a schedule of benefits according to a subscription rate. Those on Level 1, giving a minimum of £1k a year, it promises: "political briefings.. tickets to a summer reception, attended by ...
5:21 pm

American Tragedy

Gravatar So George W. Bush has not had his opinion changed by his own intelligence reports? So those reports indicate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, and indeed has dramatically slowed such programmes that might lead to the development of such weapons. Now, I am all in favour of being a little cautious, given the implications that would arise were Iran indeed to gain a nuclear capability. Unfortunately the United States is saddled with a President who can not admit even a scintilla of doubt- no matter what. Having isolated his country and presided over a catastrophic economic weakening, the ...
5:05 pm

The Clegg-Huhne Roadshow pitchs up in Brussels

Gravatar The two leadership contestants found themselves in familiar surroundings as they took their Hustings roadshow to the European Parliament this afternoon. Speaking to a large group of MEPs (and not just to those from the UK), assistants, journalists, local party members and others, they put their case and answered a few questions. Given how late [...]
4:38 pm

Divorce is bad for the environment

Gravatar I've heard some pretty lame excuses as to why married couples should stay together and not divorce. But I think I’ve just read the lamest reason of them all. Researchers in America (where else) have come up with the ultimate reason not to divorce – it’s bad for the environment. Apparently higher divorce rates = more single occupancy households, more single occupancy households = greater energy requirements, greater energy requirements = greater pollution, greater pollution = changes in our climate, changes in our climate = damage to the environment, damage to the environment = end of the world as we ...
4:31 pm

Homage to Vince Cable

Gravatar I learned on Sunday morning that Vince Cable thought up the "Stalin to Mr Bean" line himself, in the bath. Vince disclosed this significant snippet during a guest appearance on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House. What creative genius! The man's awe-inspiring.
4:23 pm

Labour councillor arrested

Gravatar Here we go again. A former chairman of the Humberside Police Authority has been arrested in Northern Ireland on suspicion of gross indecency and other offences. Hull City Councillor Steven Bayes, 45, was detained in the centre of Belfast on Monday morning. He has since been released on bail.  Full story on the BBC website.  I think it’s [...]
4:20 pm

Opinion: Will our MPs show us their liberalism’s more than just words?

Gravatar Try to imagine a law that said “you can watch this film totally legally at your local multiplex, but it’s illegal to possess a still image from the film and you could be imprisoned if you do.” Sounds a little odd? How about a law saying “you can engage in a wholly legal activity and take [...]
4:00 pm

Tories set for a big booze-up

Gravatar Whilst looking at party funding, it appears Bearwood Corporate Services Limited (of Lord Ashcroft fame) donated £5,927.88 worth of bottle openers to the Conservative Party on 30 June 2006 - they must have been expecting quite a booze-up!
3:31 pm

Anything but a Lib Dem Government, please!

Gravatar Well that's what Labour and the Tories think. But there is one other group who dread the prospect. The Senior Civil Servants. Try to put yourself in their position. With a Labour or Tory Government, they know what they are getting. A bunch of Lawyers who went to either (or both) the same schools and universities as they did. Who have mostly never had a 'proper' job and are easily scared by the most implausible nonsense the state bureaucracy can come up with. But those dreadful Lib Dems. Full of people who actually know what they are talking about. On ...
3:28 pm

No publicity

Gravatar This report by the Taxpayers Alliance raises a number of questions but the one that is nagging at me is this: If Flintshire spent one million and ninety three thousand pounds in 2005-06 and presumably similar sums subsequently on publicity, then how is it that they never have any good news stories in the media?
3:23 pm

christianophobia warning

Gravatar I've not heard anyone mention "winterval" yet. But it can't be far away, especially as Mark Pritchard MP is leading a debate in Westminster hall on Christianophobia. Just to remind readers, Birmingham's Winterval happened in 1997/98 and was a catch all 3 month long festival covering several major religious celebrations between Oct and Dec. Pritchard goes a step further than normal by suggesting that extremists and fundamentalists will take over these religions if the "politically correct brigade" have their way.
2:53 pm

Look, I’m sorry to blog about this again…

Gravatar … but if the news keeps on spilling out, what can a blogger do? Today’s news - the person (Paul Green) who gave an illegal donation to Wendy Alexander’s Scottish Labour Leadership campaign has said that: Her campaign told him the donation was legal (oops, it wasn’t) He has also given a similar donation to the Glasgow South [...]
2:50 pm

All hail ‘Vince the hegemon’?

Gravatar Anthony Barnett, over at the OurKingdom blog, is in super-optimistic mood about the current state of the Lib Dems: For the first time since the First World War the Liberals are defining popular feeling thanks to Vince Cable. They have been hegemonic before (meaning dominating and setting the framework of thought rather than directing it) when [...]
2:34 pm

Iraqi interpreters: new EDM

Gravatar I have retabled my EDM calling on the British Government to move further and faster in its help for the Iraqi interpreters - those who helped us and are helping us in Iraq but for whom the consequence of doing so is to be hunted by death squads in Basra. All EDMs fall at the end of a parliamentary session - which is why I have retabled it for the new session and it is now open for MPs to sign it (whether or not they signed the previous one). Encourage your MP to sign! It's EDM 401 and you ...
2:23 pm

Shock at Taxpayers Alliance figures

Gravatar The Taxpayers Alliance have today released shocking new evidence that Birmingham is indeed the largest local authority in the UK. I really don't understand how the TA get away with releasing this sort of spend information without putting it in the context of the size of the authority (ie as a proportion of the total council expenditure - in the case of Birmingham getting on for £3bn, or as a spend per person so spread across the 1 million residents). In other news: Pope found to be biggest catholic. Big wood found to have most bear shit in it.
2:20 pm

Morrissey: I abhor racism, and apologise - for speaking to NME

Gravatar Morrissey's much plugged "racist" interview with the New NME has certainly stirred up some publicity. He has now responded on the Guardian's Arts blog. The questions he raises of national identity and culture are no different to some of the pronouncements I have heard come from many politicians who would never be described as racist. Nobody would argue against any country maintaining national
1:57 pm


Gravatar Share This
1:46 pm

Familiar face named Lib Dem candidate

Gravatar Nice little piece in today's News Shopper on my selection as PPC for Old Bexley & Sidcup. I should point out that Grace and I are married.. and that my daughters actually live with their mother. But the confusion is probably my fault.
1:43 pm

Slovenia: a role model for ’small’ nations

Gravatar  Just returned from a weekend in Slovenia. A very impressive location which saw us take in the capital Ljubljana, some caves, a castle and the Slovenian coast. I would certainly want to return and see more. The Slovenians, of course, will take on the Presidency of the EU next January and in doing so they will [...]
1:34 pm

Now Peter Hain

Gravatar Peter Hain has now revealed that he received £5,000 towards his Deputy Leadership campaign that was not declared. It was from John Mendelsohn, who of course we heard of last week with the other dodgy donations...
1:32 pm

Vince Cable tops poll for best performing MP

Gravatar Iain Dale, that paragon of impartial and erudite words of wisdom on UK politics (occasionally, when he’s not being an unthinking Tory loyalist obviously), has published the results of his poll on which MPs have performed best in the last month. The poll was open to readers of his website who (as Iain acknowledges) are a [...]
1:12 pm


Gravatar Northern Rock giving its staff a pay rise with public money. Whatever happened to that free market that banks keep banging on about?
12:33 pm

Getting the roads fixed in Northern Moor

Gravatar New parking bays for Lawton Moor Road have been applied for by your local Lib-Dem team I was out delivering leaflets at the weekend when I noticed how shabby the verges are and how congested the road is on one part of Lawton Moor Road. The council installed a few parking bays on the western half of the road, and they do massively improve things, so we've applied for them to be installed on the eastern half also. We'll keep you updated with any progress made.
12:32 pm

Hey, I remember how to do this now.....

Gravatar Two posts in one day..... like buses eh? (yep, you're right, I still don't have any inspiration for my essay) James Graham seems disappointed by Nick Cleggs performance on Today this morning. I didn't catch it at the time, but have now listened to it on their website HERE He, and Paul Water, have a point. Nick was certainly not as accomplished as Chris on that performance. Mrs Barcharter, who is leaning toward Nick thought that Chris sounded far more authoritative, crisp, and commanding. Nick seem a tad flustered by the barrage of questions, Chris seemed comfortable and easily seized ...
12:27 pm

Plaid put their foot in it

Gravatar Much is written about Liberal Democrat leaflets, often unjustly, however, I am not so sure if the same critics will be featuring the latest offering from Plaid Cymru in the Cathays ward of Cardiff in their pantheon of misleading literature. The nationalists have circulated a newsletter entitled Cathays Voice in which they claim that due to the intervention of Plaid Cymru, Government plans to close the City's Salisbury Road Post Office have been postponed until after the May local elections. Except that it is not true. The Government have in fact told the Post Office to postpone new announcements due ...
12:23 pm

Was YouGov’s leadership poll “technically flawed”? (UPDATED)

Gravatar That’s the suggestion that was made last night in a comment on Lib Dem Voice by Martin Tod, the party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Winchester, who noted: Just had a quick look and there’s an important technical flaw with the poll… The poll sample’s age split isn’t even close to the party membership’s actual age split. [...]
12:23 pm

Quick study

Gravatar A rumour reaches me that the Assembly Government's commitment to lifelong learning has been taken to a new level. I am told that Counsel General, Carwyn Jones has been seen wandering around the Assembly with an undergraduate law text book under his arm. And he has been seen reading it. Glad to see he is keeping up-to-date in case he gets any difficult questions in Cabinet.
12:00 pm

It's time to vote!

Gravatar Many of us in Cornwall are supporting The Eden Project in its quest to secure £50million to build "The Edge". This phase of the project promises to be a fresh and inspiring look at how communities can take control of their own futures. read more here. I have just voted online (here) and am delighted to have my support also published on their website (here). The Eden Project has been so good for Cornwall in so many ways and it is a project that has put us on the map and given us a world-class attraction. I was working at ...
11:56 am

Party funding - what needs to happen?

Gravatar The current debate about party funding has certainly thrown up a lot of issues. As someone who has been actively involved in selling raffle tickets and helping at events to raise cash for campaigns, I know just how difficult this can be. Frustrating too if all your efforts are completely out done by one cheque written by a business, union or rich individual to an opposing party. Certainly State funding coupled with real restrictions, with teeth, on large donations, could level the playing field. But I have an instinctive dislike of the idea of too much state funding. Obviously parties ...
11:12 am

The Amazing Mr Pritchard (not)

Gravatar I should thank Mark Pritchard MP who, along with Cristine Odone, has given me a fantastic idea for this new pledge: These people are obsessed with being martyrs, so why not lend them a hand? Share This
11:08 am

No to Norwich, Yes to Norfolk

Gravatar Norwich have their sights firmly set on swallowing up Broadland and South Norfolk in a bid to become a unitary authority. They had originally wanted to just move from a City Council to a unitary authority, however this idea appears to be out of favour with the powers that be, because it would be too small. So the City Council think they’ll just swallow up part or all of their neighbouring districts. All very well, but at the moment Norfolk is already split by too many completely arbitrary local government lines. Having a large unitary authority in the middle of ...
11:08 am

Ken's wrong - Camden does want the Tram

Gravatar Ken Livingstone has been quoted as saying that Camden doesn't seem to be in favour of the Cross River Tram. That isn't true. We the undersigned would like to make sure that the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, understands that there is indeed considerable support for the tram in Camden, in particular from our cross-party Sustainability Task Force of councillors whose concern is climate change. We support the tram because we believe that it will provide an environmentally friendly addition to our public transport system. We welcome the tram routed along our main roads and see this as an opportunity to make ...
11:06 am

Clegg and Huhne on Today this morning

Gravatar If you missed Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne on Radio 4’s Today program this morning, you can listen again on the BBC’s website: click the 07:50 link on the right-hand side of http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/ Blog reactions so far: James Graham: Clegg and Huhne on Today: the verdict Paul Walter: Advice to Nick Clegg: Don’t go on “Just a Minute” Let [...]
11:05 am

Andrei Lugovi earns immunity

Gravatar One particular piece of bad news from Russia's Parliamentary elections: Andrei Lugovi, the man suspected of murdering ex-KGB agent (and constituent of mine) Alexander Litvinenko - was elected, and so now has Parliamentary immunity. Not good news for those of us who want to see the case come to court and him either convicted or cleared depending on the evidence - either way, a court case would give the chance for justice to be done.
10:53 am

Vince Cable and the elephant in the room

Gravatar Yesterday evening, Millennium Elephant kindly organised* the fourth in a series of for the bloggers. Answering the questions and eating the doughnuts this time, the unstoppable Dr Vincent Cable. It has been well rehearsed elsewhere what a thoroughly shiny time of it our Acting Leader is having (so much so that the People’s Republic was moved to express formal congratulations). The [...]
10:52 am

Tower Bridge closing

Gravatar Shortly after wrecking my vocal chords doing karaoke in a bar near Tower Bridge on Saturday night, I strolled up to the bridge itself only to find traffic halted and the bascules raised - something I’d never come across before (although it happens around 1,000 times a year). Whipping out my cameraphone, I shot this short video of the bridge closing.
10:52 am

Where are they now?

Gravatar Two updates: Andrew Pelling - the Conservative MP arrested on suspicion of assaulting his wife - has announced he is standing down at the next general election. Miranda Grell - the Labour councillor convited of smearing her Liberal Democrat opponent as a paedophile - has quit as an aide to Labour London Assembly member (and Deputy Mayor) [...]
10:45 am

YouTube hustings: Time to drop our tuition fees policy?

Gravatar Today’s YouTube question to the two leadership candidates comes from Liberal Democrat Voice’s own Stephen Tall, and is on the subject of student tuition fees. (See also Monday’s videos.)
10:40 am

Brummie Of The Year 2007

Gravatar The Brummie of the Year 2007 has been announced and it’s John Tighe of the Spotted Dog pub in Digbeth. Congratulations John! Hopefully this will give the Keep Digbeth Vibrant campaign some extra media attention.
10:39 am

Christine Tinker selected in Stone

Gravatar Stone Liberal Democrats have selected Christine Tinker as their Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election.
10:16 am

No2ID certificate

Gravatar This is brilliant. Everyone should do it. http://www.no2id.net/pledge/
10:11 am

Facebook and the Lib Dem Leadership Contenders

Gravatar I have just been on Facebook and one of my friends had sent me an invitation for a name analyzer . I added it to my profile after it had analyzed my name like so: Radiant Outrageous Sublime Successful But as I was finishing adding the application it came up with some of my friends' name analyzed, and being a good Lib Dem both Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne are my facebook friends, and both of thier analyzed names were on this list - so I thought I would share them with you. Cute Highpitched Respectful Inventive Superb Number One ...
10:07 am

Undercover Reporting Goes too Far

Gravatar From The Onion:
9:58 am

Advice to Nick Clegg: Don't go on "Just a Minute"

Gravatar Well, I am delighted that James said it first: Assuming (Clegg) does get elected however, I do hope he will spend the Christmas break working out where he went wrong over the campaign and getting some serious media training. I listened to Huhne and Clegg on Today this morning (available to listen here under "0750 Who will be the next leader of the liberal democrats?). I resisted the temptation
9:42 am

Bush off the hook over Iran

Gravatar It is true that George Bush looks rather silly at the moment over Iran. Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president had calculated that he could go ahead with his nuclear power program, and the US would not dare to stop him. For the next 12 months at least, his gamble has paid off. Originally when the US invaded Iraq, they imagined that Iraq would become a prosperous liberal democracy, and then they could march on to Syria and Iran. Iran was the more important target, since it produces more oil. Since the US bit off more than it could chew in Iraq, ...
9:35 am

King and King

Gravatar We all know the old fairytales, especially those of us with kids who want to hear them over and over again. I read to my children every night and its usually either a modern book about sparkly elephants or an old fairytale with the same old plot. Queen is close to death, Princess isn’t married and has to find a husband, princess goes through adventure and eventually finds her Prince Charming, gets married and lives happily ever after. Is this really the message we want to be sending out in the 21st Century? Is this really the only option we ...
9:28 am

When a boring-as-dust debate conceals vital matters

Gravatar "Child Maintenance and other payments Bill Report" That was the title of the debate when I entered the public gallery of the House of Commons yesterday. Boring or what? Except hold on a cotton picking moment. Isn't this parliament's third attempt to get right an area which has possibly involved one of the greatest volumes of personal heartache across the country - Child Maintenance? Yes, it is
9:20 am

Ban these words???

Gravatar Listening to Radio 4 this morning took me back to one my obsessions... nouns that have been made into verbs and the way they get into the language. Ok, language changes, but do we really need the word "incentivise"? Or my own bete noir "diarise"? Years ago, when I worked for BBC local radio on Teeside, the editor had a particular objection to "stretchered-off" being used in sports reports (and as over time a lot of players were stretchered off he raised this objection several times!) Or perhaps my objections to these show I am entering into "old fogey" territory. ...
9:06 am

Party Funding: easy on the hubris folks!

Gravatar For the past four years, I’ve spent much of my job working on party funding related issues. This has given me a rather apolitical outlook when it comes to funding scandals. “Abrahamsgate” and “Wendygate” are no exceptions. Don’t get me wrong; the decision of Peter Watt, apparently his predeccessors and almost certainly a lot of others within the party to break the law in covering up the identity of a major party donor is a real scandal. With the Wendy Alexander debacle, a similar dismissive attitude about the law seems to have been in place. But no party has clean ...
8:58 am

Cable: I'm no friend of Gordon Brown

Gravatar It all seemed to start with Andrew Rawnsley. On November 11th he wrote: ...the MP for Twickenham and the Prime Minister go back a long way: they were collaborators in a publication called the Red Paper on Scotland - yes, they go back a very long way indeed - in the 1970s. Mr Cable observed that his old friend had waited for more than a decade to deliver his first Queen's Speech and he'd spent
8:50 am

The Perils of Biological Parenthood

Gravatar The media have picked up the case of a man who has been forced to pay child support under the Child Support Acts after donating his sperm (outside of a clinic) to a lesbian couple who were friends of his. His case illustrates the strong connection between purely biological parenthood and child support, and the fact that no matter how many assurances an informal donor gets about his lack of financial liability, he can never stop the resident parent from changing (usually) her mind and applying to the Child Support Agency.
8:42 am

Clegg and Huhne on Today: the verdict

Gravatar I’ve just been listening to Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne’s head-to-head on the Today Programme. For a Cleggite, it made for pretty uncomfortable listening. While I think Clegg was significantly better than Huhne at the hustings last week, the broadcast media is the real battleground in the struggle to win the hearts and minds of the public. And once again, Clegg came off as dramatically weaker than Huhne. The difference was obvious. Huhne trotted off a series of clear and concise soundbites while Clegg waffled. It isn’t as if this problem hasn’t been remarked upon before; why hasn’t Clegg sorted ...
8:20 am

Blogging at 186mph

Gravatar A little bit of a rubbish post, but I can't resist a little experimentation with my new work-toy, a 3G-datacard, that's letting me finally do some connected work on the train to Brussels. I have to say I'm very impressed with the new Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras. There wasn't much wrong with Waterloo, but it could have been a better gateway to the UK and St. Pancras is precisely that... anyhow... back to work
7:50 am

Labour donations: the fifth man

Gravatar As surely as night follows day, today brings news of yet another expansion of the Labour donors scandal. Step forward George Crawford, the possible unwitting fifth man: George Crawford, a Newcastle-based lawyer, went to the police amid claims that his name may have been used to illicitly donate money to the party. He is demanding an investigation after a [...]
7:40 am

David Whitton - what was his role in Wendygate?

Gravatar The role of David Whitton, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden comes in to the spotlight after the alleged secret list of donors to Wendy Alexander's campaign mentioned him in connection with a donation for £995. The facts, as reported by the Sunday Herald: David Whitton was treasurer of the Alexander Campaign; David Whitton, prior to his election, had First Group as one of his PR clients; The document states that a "David" was responsible for securing a donation of £995 which was pencilled in against the name of Moir Lochhead, Chief Executive of the First Group. Interestingly, the name to ...
6:42 am

Our man in Kabul?

Gravatar The Telegraph is reporting that the US backs Lord Ashdown for Afghanistan role: {Paddy Ashdown} US backs Lord Ashdown for Afghanistan role By Tom Coghlan in Kabul and David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent Last Updated: 12:24am GMT 04/12/2007 The United States is backing Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader who served as the international community's "high representative" in Bosnia, to be the United Nations new "super envoy" to Afghanistan. The proposed role would see Lord Ashdown being charged with uniting the efforts of both Nato and the UN in Afghanistan. Nato officials are understood to support his candidacy for a ...
5:50 am

Iran: not quite as mad as the Mullahs were made out to be.

Gravatar The Independent and others today highlight a report from US "Intelligence Agencies" that says that Iran ended any nuclear weapons program it had going four years ago in response to threats of sanctions and force and international signs of disapproval Iran 'has halted its nuclear weapons programme' By Leonard Doyle in Washington Published: 04 December 2007 In a blow to Bush administration hawks demanding military strikes on Iran, a US intelligence report reveals that Tehran's secret nuclear weapons programme was shut down four years ago. The finding which has come as a surprise to friends and foes of the US ...
5:49 am

Iran Halted Weapons Program “Years Ago”

Gravatar A rare news item that tells us that today the world is really a better place. Have a great day everyone. Now one really has to wonder why Brown approved a strike on Iran in June of this year if this is all true.
4:15 am

Oxbridge Academies: history repeating itself?

Gravatar I had an early meeting yesterday of a governors' committee where someone mentioned this Guardian article from Monday about how Oxford and Cambridge Universities have proven lukewarm or downright icy towards the idea that they should sponsor New Labour academies. Oxbridge snub to government on academies Polly Curtis and Patrick Wintour Monday December 3, 2007 The Guardian Oxford and Cambridge universities have turned down ministerial attempts to persuade them to adopt a city academy, the Guardian has learned. Their decisions deliver a fresh blow to the government, which is trying to raise the academic profile of the schools by wooing ...
1:48 am

Decisions, Decisions

Gravatar Wow..... it's been over two months since my last post.... doesn't time fly when you're desperately trying to re-adjust to being back at school after a twenty five year gap? I case I hadn't mentioned it, I'm back in full time education, at University studying Global Politics, and Legal Studies. (And I should be busy producing the last 500 words of a 1500 word essay on the implications of Nationalism for Global Governance which is due tomorrow, but I've dried up.....) so, here I am blogging as displacement activity. Did I miss anything exciting while I've been away? Oh yeah..... ...
12:55 am

A bug or a feature

Gravatar It the Wendover Parish Council trying to tell us something? Is it just a mischieful wink or a clever reminder not to drink and drive? For the two and a half readers (and my wife) who do not get what I am talking about – the triangle on the top of the clock tower was installed on the off-side. The parish council discussed today the very important subject of safety measures for the crossing to the area they are developing on the London Road. I support their decision to install an interactive sign that will flash to drivers the speed ...
12:21 am

Reinventing the State Chapter 15: The Case for Localism - the Liberal Narrative

Gravatar The problem with reviewing Chris Huhne's second chapter, making the case for localism in public service provision, is that it is by now an argument we are very familiar with. And one which I entirely support. Peter Welch takes a thorough look at this issue in the context of the leadership election here. To paraphrase (or perhaps invent) Peter's question to Chris, it is this: Is localism the end
12:13 am

Peter Hain, fund-raising and the Royal Mail

Gravatar Mr Hain has been concerned to wipe the slate clean after he found that his deputy leadership campaign team had received an undeclared donation from Jon Mendelsohn. He has now retrospectively declared a fund-raising function at a Cardiff restaurant, sponsored by Huw Roberts, Director of Welsh Affairs, Royal Mail Group. It is for others to judge how far these declarations were voluntary and how far they were pre-empted by journalists like Guido Fawkes. It is for the authorities to decide how far Mr Hain is culpable under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000. On the evidence in the ...
12:10 am

Errors galore

Gravatar OK, I have been really charitable towards Peter Hain so far but there is only so much charity one person can offer. The Secretary of State for Wales remains, in my opinion, an honourable person and a man of integrity, but he really has got to get better organised. The BBC are reporting that he has admitted that more donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign "were not registered as they should have been". He is reviewing all donations and has apologised for the "extremely regrettable" events. It seems that these latest admissions may have been hurried along a little ...

Previous days:

Monday 3rd December 2007, Sunday 2nd December 2007, Saturday 1st December 2007, Friday 30th November 2007, Thursday 29th November 2007, Wednesday 28th November 2007