Thursday 13th December 2007

11:49 pm


Gravatar The ever-superb Ministry of Truth is onto the story of that physics teacher who a while ago wrote an open letter to the authorities, demanding his subject back. After the privatization of the exam boards, it should be thoroughly unsurprising that the exams have gotten easier - the boards are competing against each other. And since the GCSE is a fixed standard (or rather, they aren't allowed to call theirs "GCSE++"), there are two ways to compete to attract submissions: firstly by streamlining business processs and becoming more efficient, which is what the market was introduced to encourage but is, ...
11:48 pm

Can't Stop The Pot

Gravatar The government has responded to the petition to legalize cannabis on the No. 10 website. Here is their response in full, followed by why I think that it's a pile of shite. I have numbered the paragraphs for reference, the rest of the text is as produced on the No. 10 site. (1) The Government has no intention of legalising cannabis and regulating its control. In response to the Home Affairs Committee report on The Government's Drugs Policy: Is It Working? in 2002, it stated that "We do not accept that legalisation and regulation is now, or will be in ...
10:54 pm

Leadership Betting Shock

Gravatar Huhne price moves - err back out to 4/1 and the best 'lay' you can get if you excuse the expression is at 8/1. Which means you could probably get 5/1 or even 6/1 matched. The shock is that the price has not closed in to follow the talk. It would suggest that the Huhne backers that have been talking it up over the last few days are not prepared to put their money where their mouths are - or maybe they are all orthodox methodists or very poor.
10:44 pm

New Site for Lib Dem Humanists and Secularists

Gravatar on Facebook here An open group for all Liberal Democrat members, supporters and sympathisers who support Humanism and/or Secularism
10:30 pm

Let’s hope common sense prevails

Gravatar Is the government’s plan to let police detain terrorism suspects for more than 28 days dead in the water? Firstly, we had the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, and the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, saying no change was necessary. Now it appears Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of an influential parliamentary committee has come out and said that there was “no evidence that there was a case for extending the pre-charge detention beyond 28 days,” He went on say that the committee concluded: "We consider that there should be clearer evidence of need before civil liberties are further ...
10:03 pm

Should we have a leadership election everyday?

Gravatar It may be due to the Government making so many blunders. It may be because the Government is lacking direction. It may well be because the Tories don't have any policies or lacks the vision. It may well be that the current leadership election is allowing us Liberal Democrats to have a higher profile in the press or it may well be because Cowley Street is getting their arse into gear! Because
9:55 pm

BBC Question Time: open thread

Gravatar Charles Kennedy, former Lib Dem leader, is one of the panellists on tonight’s edition of Question Time (broadcast on BBC1 and online from 10.35 pm GMT). He’ll be alongside Hazel Blears, Labour’s secretary of state for communities and local government; Lord (Chris) Patten, former Tory party chairman; Piers Morgan, former Mirror editor; and Kirstie Allsopp, TV [...]
9:55 pm

Realpolitik 7: Wiiii!

Gravatar In this week’s Realpolitik podcast, spot the obvious technical flaw as myself, Richard and an old friend of ours, Alex Baker, discuss: Canoe Man and the world’s most incompetent case of fraud. Should we be locked up for 42 days without charge as Jacqui Smith plays detention lottery. Should we nationalise Brighton Rock, Led Zeppelin or even Northern Rock? Wind could power all UK homes… if
9:37 pm

Christmas Number One!

9:19 pm

This is just cheap, Mr Brown

Gravatar I mean our treatment of our Iraqi interpreters. The Times runs the latest situation, calling it a breach of honour. Fair language in my opinion. People put their lives and their families' lives in danger to help us. When it comes time to repay them, we weasel out of it. This is the conduct of empire. This is what we did to get India to fight for us in the First World War. "Fight for us now, and we'll use a form of words which will make you think we'll give you independence, but we'll weasel out of it when ...
9:12 pm

Lembit Opik - always good when you need a laugh!

8:15 pm

LibDems Clear on Kosovo

Gravatar Almost unnoticed by the great British public, Europe is soon likely to have its newest independent state, though not without birth pangs. On Monday, the deadline for agreement on Kosovo passed, with Serbia still displaying deep hostility to the province’s detachment. I understand why ethnic Serbs are concerned about the prospects for them in any future [...]
7:54 pm

Atheist World History

Gravatar Via, once again, the Daily Irrelevant: Click to enlarge, four-eyes.
7:48 pm

Out with the old…

Gravatar Last New Year’s Eve, looking at the dark pink walls inherited from the previous owner of the flat, and full of the boozy optimism of the season, I resolved that by 2008, it would have been redecorated. Life then intervened for a few months but we finally got round to it this month. All last week [...]
7:44 pm

It's called a brain injury Boris, not a scab

Gravatar Boris Johnson, in his usual half witted, half arsed, half thought about way, rights in his usual full literary style about the pleasures of scabs today in the the Telegraph. The problem with Boris Johnson is, as ever, that it is all fluff, all nonsense, all a load of guff packaged in a lively form of prose that engages and lulls you in to thinking it has substance, which sadly it does not. Indeed, Boris Johnson's writings are "the Emperors new clothes" of political thought. Look closely and there is nothing there. Of course, the real reason he writes is ...
7:39 pm

Why is Wycombe not a “Fairtrade town”? - Cllr Trevor Snaith - Dec 2007

Gravatar At a recent Council Meeting the question was asked what could be done to achieve Fairtrade status for High Wycombe The comment back from one Member was that was there was nothing that our council could do. Im amazed at such a response. For the benefit of our readers — To become a Fairtrade Town (or any other populated area), 5 goals must be met:  The local council must pass a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and serve Fairtrade coffee and tea at its meetings and in offices and canteens.  A range of Fairtrade products must be readily available in the area’s ...
7:28 pm

A very different carol service

Gravatar One of the high spots of Christmas (apart from my own children's nativity plays etc., of course!) is the Christmas service at Ashfield Young Offenders Institution in my constituency. We learned this afternoon that Ashfield is the 'largest juvenile prison in Europe' (not my constituency's proudest boast I guess..) and it has been turned around in recent years under the unique leadership of governor Vicky O'Dea. To give you a flavour, she introduced the service by pointing out to some of the young offenders all the mayors etc. on the front row with their 'bling' and wondered if they'd 'been ...
7:20 pm

Wycombe High Street Footfall - Cllr Trevor Snaith - Dec 2007

Gravatar Your Liberal Democrat Councillors are pressing for protection of our historic High Street shops and market. We hear quite a lot about the thousands of visitors coming to High Wycombe with the opening of Eden. I’m sure we will have a lot of new visitors to the shopping centre However let’s not forget about our traditional High Street shops and Market. Despite numerous requests we are not seeing investment in this area ahead of the opening of Eden. It had been suggested that footfall will drop in this area of the town despite the opening of Eden. We are also ...
7:09 pm

Iraqi interpreters tricked out of asylum by Labour

Gravatar There was a furore a few months ago when it was first announced that Iraqis working as interpreters for UK forces in Basra were not going to be given asylum in the UK. After a strong media campaign the government made sympathetic sounds and indicated that it would re-visit there decision. However, the figures show that the government has done very little to help the interpreters since then. Of 200 applicants, 125 have been rejected on the basis of their absenteeism from duties in Basra. As the example in The Times makes clear, UK forces have been keen to tell ...
7:07 pm

Clauses vs causes

Gravatar Today the EU Reform treaty was signed by all the EU heads of government – kind of. Gordon Brown signed by himself after the group celebrations this morning, presumably hoping distance would lend enchantment to the view. What Gordon may think is nifty footwork just looks inept to everyone else. Unlike our own Vince Cable, I [...]
6:58 pm

Gordon Brown isn't up to the job of UK PM

Gravatar I have been in two minds about this Gordon Brown Lisbon/London diary double booking tizzy. At fiirst I thought it was all a kerfuffle about nothing. However, I have seen the image of the United Kingdom Prime Minister shuffling up to the signing table with EU dignatories hastilly and confusedly forming up behind him. It was most undignified. There is no excuse for this late signing shambles.
6:55 pm

THE Clegg Facebook Picture

Gravatar Those of us who signed up to the Clegg campaign on Facebook received a message Monday imploring us to change our profile picture to show we've voted for the dark-haired handsome one. Responding to this diktat, James Graham has had the bright idea of putting one erect middle digit in the air and changed his picture to this: Serves them right for ordering us around I suppose.
6:34 pm

Do bloggers/blog readers prefer Cameron to Brown?

Gravatar The observant amongst us may have noticed that I have been running a couple of polls, OK hardly a scientific sample - but at the moment it seems the Tories have it! If we are going to consider a coalition with seems the blogging money will be on Cameron. But, as I say, hardly scientific.............. :-)
6:32 pm

We hate Clegg blog

Gravatar It is often very amusing to see how people have arrived on your doorstep having googled for instance "men in pink tights" (honestly!) so I was interested to discover that someone had entered my blogosphere having googled "we hate Clegg blog"..........hmmmm, Google getting its knickers in a twist again I fancy!
6:31 pm

Are big cats stupid?

Gravatar When you can roam anywhere in Shropshire, why choose Telford? If I were a puma, you'd find me in Ludlow or Bishop's Castle.
6:23 pm

There’s a trend in management, and Lib Dems should be pleased with it

Gravatar Some years ago I spent three days on a training course with an American management guru - Kevin Freiberg. Like most people who worked at the company who sent us on the course, I was sceptical. The people in the company who had heard him before and asked him to visit us were [...]
6:14 pm

Kenya slum dweller gets UK degree

Gravatar Maybe I'm just in a Christmas mood, but this story from BBC News has got such a real, heartwarming tone to it that everyone should take five minutes to read it and consider the power of persistence, hard-work and education to change a life: A Kenyan slum child inspired by finding a Manchester University prospectus on a rubbish tip says he is overjoyed to realise his dream of getting a degree.
6:07 pm

There's still time to vote

Gravatar Alex Wilcock helpfully points out that there is still time to vote in the Lib Dem leadership election: My own tip to get the vote out is that a first class stamp may now be risky with the Christmas post, but that if you’re in London and really want to make sure, the ERS office in Clarendon Road is only a few minutes’ walk from Turnpike Lane (Piccadilly Line Tube).If you do vote that way, you may well meet Alex on the doorstep. And, he suggests, Simon Hughes too.
6:04 pm

No child of mine

Gravatar It is a rare and unpleasant day when I am forced to confirm to my mother (who lives up the road and who sees me several times a week) that I have not become a father. And yet that is what I am forced to do now. Last night at Council, Cllr Bernie Vincent offered me his congratulations on the birth of my daughter. “That’s nice,” I thought “if a little odd, given that she’s yet to be born or, I hope, conceived.” I queried the nature of the congratulations, just to be sure. Apparently Richard Baum has recently become ...
5:28 pm

12 Days of Christmas

Gravatar Via the Daily Irrelevant, stick with it, it gets very good: Now, is today (13th) the 12th day (13 + 12 = 25), or was it yesterday, as some of my friends maintain?
5:14 pm

"Gissa job, I can do that!"

Gravatar Today's announcement by Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, that more than 6,600 illegal immigrants have been cleared to seek security jobs in the UK, is reminiscent of the desperation shown in the 1980's British TV drama, Boys from The Blackstuff. Those old enough to remember the series, will recall that it was highly acclaimed for its powerful and emotional depiction of 5 unemployed tarmac layers in Liverpool. Let's face it, the security industry is an industry famed for its working practices - long, unsocialable hours for poor pay.Just like the Boys from the Blackstuff, immigrants are desperate enough to do any ...
5:09 pm

Brown is Yellow

Gravatar Oh Purr-lease! Gordon Brown was "too busy" to co-ordinate times with all the other 26 heads of government in the European Union, so could not sign the Reform treaty with them, but had to do it in the shed, while all the other leaders went to have a boozy lunch. What a totally pathetic way to behave! Poor old Gordon "No Mates", has not got the balls to either so "no, I won't sign" or "Yes I will sign with everyone else... and then get pissed". I don't know why he did not just create a "review' to decide whether ...
5:05 pm

Councillor expelled from group over behaviour claims

Gravatar This story by Matthew Colledge in the Somerset County Gazette caught my eye; ‘A Somerset county councillor has been expelled from his own political group for alleged inappropriate behaviour. Cllr Paul Buchanan, who was deputy leader of the council until May, has had his membership of the authority's LibDem group revoked. In a letter to the County Gazette, Cllr Buchanan claimed he had been forced out because county council leader Jill Shortland saw him as a political threat. But Cllr Shortland told the County Gazette: "It was not just my decision. It was taken by three people at a group ...
4:58 pm

(Almost Past) Time To Decide

Gravatar Next week there’ll be a new Liberal Democrat Leader. One candidate’s team says they have it in the bag; the other adopts the more traditional Lib Dem approach that it’s too close to call. My own tip to get the vote out is that a first class stamp may now be risky with the Christmas post, but that if you’re in London and really want to make sure, the ERS office in Clarendon Road is only a few minutes’ walk from Turnpike Lane (Piccadilly Line Tube). Er, not that I’ve ever delivered a ballot paper very near to the deadline. ...
4:56 pm

London is a Liberal City, That is Why We Need a Liberal Democrat Mayor

Gravatar Who can forget the fiasco in which Ken Livingstone clambered to be taken back into the fold of New Labour when his principles and policy making resonated with the socialist guard which he accused Blair of sidelining to the touchlines of Labour's political field? Who can forget the rhetoric from Ken on how employment opportunities are better than they ever were, when the reality is that unemployment has grown in the last 6 years in the capital. Worryingly, Ken seems to have forgotten that London is not just about inner city boroughs and their problems, it is about those boroughs ...
4:52 pm

Does anyone know...?

Gravatar Does anyone know how to restrict my blog so that somebody can't read it? I've been into 'settings' but I can only restrict it so that anyone not on google blogger has to sign in with their email address - is this the only way I can restrict access without losing all ten of my readers?!!! ;@)
3:56 pm

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Gravatar From the outset can I say that I recognise Israel's right to take measures to defend itself. However, this must be balanced with the rights of Palestinians to live a normal and dignified life. I would like to share with you a story I read on the internet today. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an organisation that normally prides itself on its non-political stance, has taken the rather unprecedented decision to call for political action to be taken to contain the "deep crisis" in Gaza. The ICRC Director of Operations for the Middle East, Beatrice Megevand Roggo, ...
3:54 pm

Everything's coming up roses

Gravatar In 1932 Democrats in America launched their presidential campaign promising that 'Everything will be Rosy with Roosevelt'. Apparently they got the idea from the title of a popular song from the musical Gypsy, Everything's coming up roses - "Things look swell, things look great, Gonna have the whole world on a plate. Starting here, starting now Honey, everything's coming up roses." Well they seem to have gone one better than that in South Korea. Supporters of presidential frontrunner Lee Myung-bak have been secretly spraying a perfume called "Great Korea" at all of his rallies. On 19th December, the day of ...
2:58 pm

An interview with Vince Cable - Part 1

Gravatar A week last Monday, a group of Lib Dem bloggers interviewed our acting leader Vince Cable, as a sequel to our entertaining little chats with the two leadership candidates last month. In the world of 24-hour rolling news, it’s quite inexcusable that it’s taken me ten days write it up. In my defence, I spent half of the time looking after Oxford interview candidates applying to my college, and the other half of the time in bed with the dreaded lurgy. I have thus been beaten to it by: James Graham Linda Jack Millennium Dome, Elephant Jonathan Calder Alix Mortimer ...
2:37 pm

Is the UK economy facing a long bout of 'anglo disease'?

Gravatar Has the UK caught ‘Dutch Disease’? No, not ‘Dutch Elm Disease’ but the economic catch-22 identified by the Economist to describe the impact of revenues from natural gas on the industrial economy of the Nederlands in the 1970’s. There is now an argument that the UK has suffered a similar hollowing-out of the economy through the dominance of the financial services sector in our economic life and that this will weigh us down for decades to come. The general claim is that where one economic sector offers exceptionally high profit opportunities, it can squeeze out investment in other sectors. Also ...
1:43 pm

The credit crunch - private parasitism on the public purse?

Gravatar The idea of nationalising Northern Rock gets a cool comment in an article by Ann Pettifor (Globalisation: Sleepwalking to Disaster) posted in ‘Open Democracy’. Pettifor calls attention to the analysis by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association that in the second half of 2007 the value of Credit Default Swaps (really a form of insurance) was $43.5 trillion - that is about £21,000,000,000,000 sterling give or take a few tens of millions between friends. Which is twice the value of the US Stock market and three times the GDP of the USA. On Northern Rock she says: Private gains and ...
1:37 pm

iPlayer all flashy

Gravatar After the disaster which was the BBC iPlayer, the BBC have relaunched with a flash version instead. This runs on any computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) as long as you have Flash installed. A bit like YouTube. It’s seems to be great, and no longer do I require that crap software on my computer. {Boosh iPlayer}
1:34 pm

The West Midlands Sustrans Connect2 projects

Gravatar As you may know Sustrans Connect2 won the people's £50 lottery, below is an outline of the projects that will be happening in the West Midlands.
1:03 pm

Pratchett Not Doing a Mark Twain

Gravatar As has been noted before on this blog I am an avid reader of the novels of Terry Pratchett. So it was with shock that I read this morning, that not only had he had a minor stroke but had also be disagnosed with a rare form of early Alzheimer's. The Author says he still has a few books in his yet. Nation is nearing completions and Unseen Academicals (possibly based on Saturday's performance at
1:01 pm

Rock the baby — Marsh School Christmas Production- Cllr Trevor Snaith- Dec 2007

Gravatar The Marsh First School excelled itself last night with the school childrens production of “Rock the Baby”. The school hall was filled with proud parents,friends, governors and local councillors who were present for the production A well done to the Headteacher, teachers, PTA, parents and the children for putting on such a good show. It is brilliant to see that the school continues to be a positive contribution to the Ryemead and Micklefield area Cllr Ray Farmer and I look forward to the next event.
12:52 pm

Cable Not Going as Quiet as a Mouse

Gravatar T'was the PMQ's before Christmas and all round the House nothing was stirring not even a mouse, the members and press were waiting for killer Cable's last stab to the heart. He started by merely asking which of the disasters that have battered the infant Brown Government would haunt him over his Christmas sprout. Brown tried to side step the issue, thanking Vince for his contributions as
12:44 pm

Yep, I like actually handwriting letters...

Gravatar The now perennial, season and annual debate on the design of our end of year psued Christmas Card was less painful than usual due to a tight timetable - but I'm appending here the main artwork design background for Hampstead and Kilburn Liberal Democrats this year. I still like Christmas Cards - it feels old fashioned but I have an ink pen, I like writing letters - for me the personal thoughts, news and greetings is a relaxation that reminds me of friends and family of whom I see too little. So the coming week is a joyous prospect of ...
12:36 pm

Butterstile Children’s Centre - update from Council

Gravatar So the final full Council meeting of 2007 is over. The press were out in force for the congestion charge debate, and I can only apologise to them for the two hours of knockabout political gaming that went on before the main event.   Questions from the public gallery boomed out from the world’s single loudest microphone, puncturing the eardrums of many during the opening minutes, with a contest going on between Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART) and planted Bury Labour supporters as to who could ask the most obtuse questions to the Leader. I would say that, perhaps for ...
12:29 pm

When is it too late to try?

Gravatar Steele's the butchers in Hampstead is to close. Joe is retiring after a lifetime and so it will cease trading in the near future. I'm not close to Joe at all - I pop in there occasionally, grateful and delighted to have a local independent butcher - I was in there last week to buy my copy of the Hampstead meat cook book, but is this the sort of thing you try and 'save'? Linda Chung, the energetic Hampstead village campaigner, hit the nail on the head when she was reported in the Ham and High as saying there should ...
12:29 pm

Cowley St Xmas Party - exclusive photos!

Gravatar The Cowley St Xmas party was held last night and here are some of the exlusive photos I took before leaving to catch a train home to Tyneside.
12:28 pm

Cameron's quiet revolution

Gravatar Is Cameron policy light or does is he quietly mapping out a policy revolution?Steve Richards seems to think that the latter is the case. Writing in the Independent today he argues that 'It's not true that Cameron has no policies.  He has, and they are quite revolutionary'Putting aside whether or not you can be 'quite' revolutionary, the substance of his article is very interesting.  By looking at a collection of Cameron's speeches over recent months he sees a pattern of themes emerging around decentralisation and co-operation. Richards suggests the new policy platform would also have a direct impact on the ...
12:26 pm

Congestion Charge Speech

Gravatar Here is the speech I made proposing the congestion charge amendment at the meeting of Bury Council last night. There were a few last minute amendments made in the chamber, and I said a bit afterwards too to close the debate, but this is more or less it: “Mr Mayor, in proposing this amendment I would like to tell Council  about an experience I had at Watford Gap service station on the M1  in early October.   I was driving to an engagement party when my car began making the  types of spluttering noises one would normally associate with the early ...
12:20 pm

Lib Dem Congestion Charge Amendment - what was voted for last night

Gravatar This is the Liberal Democrat amendment to the Congestion Charge motion that Bury Council voted on last night. “TRANSPORT INNOVATION FUND (TIF) BID Amendment Proposed by the Lib Dem Group Cllrs Baum, D’Albert, Davision, A J Garner, A S Garner, O’Hanlon, Pickstone and S D Wright This Council believes that major investment in public transport infrastructure is urgently needed in Greater Manchester for significant environmental and economic reasons, but rejects the attempts of the Labour Government to force congestion charging on Greater Manchester to receive the public transport investment we need. This Council is against the TIF Bid if Congestion ...
12:17 pm

Bury Council says “no” to Congestion Charge - thanks to Lib Dems

Gravatar Last night’s meeting of full Council was very successful, not only for local Liberal Democrats, but I think also for the long term future of the people of Bury, as the Lib Dem amendment to support the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid only at the exclusion of congestion charging passed and became Council policy. This emotive issue has been central to local politics ever since I was elected, and whilst others have wavered in the Council chamber and flattered to deceive, Bury Lib Dems have been resolute in our opposition to the bullying imposition of this unfair tax since the ...
11:21 am

If you want to be 100% sure that your vote will be counted, post it today!

Gravatar What with the Christmas post and all, you should stick a first class stamp on your ballot paper and send it back today (tomorrow absolute latest). If you haven’t got a stamp, send it back today and cross your fingers! Chris’s campaign team are absolutely convinced that that the contest is close. It really could come down [...]
10:58 am

Veteran Tory MEP: Cameron's promise to leave EPP and find new Euro-allies is a "hopeless quest"

Gravatar It would be difficult to find a more rock-solid veteran Tory MEP than Caroline Jackson. She has been an MEP for donkeys' years. Today she writes in Conservative Home that the search for an alternative ally, other than the EPP, for the Tories to form a new group in the European Parliament, is a 'hopeless search': I, and probably most Conservative MEPs, believe that the search for "other like
10:33 am

Red tape and murder

Gravatar That's the title of the latest blog posting from Dan Hardie, the indefatigable blogger on the shameful way in which the British government is turning its back on those Iraqis who work as interpreters for our armed forces over there. As Dan writes: This comes down to one simple principle: the Iraqis whom our Government should help first are those who are at risk of being murdered for having worked for the British. It is still not too late for the Government to implement this principle. It is administratively possible. It is morally imperative.And from the Government’s viewpoint, it is ...
10:13 am

How the markets work

Gravatar With thanks to Simon Titley and Liberal Democrat Voice.
10:01 am

Latest Freeview Concerns

Gravatar With thanks to the City Centre & Harbour Community Council member who kindly brought this latest Freeview issue to my attention, here's a news release I have issued on the subject today :NEWS RELEASE : Councillor hits out at inferior TV services planned for thousands of Dundonians Dundee City West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson has today accused TV bosses of short-changing thousands of Dundee TV viewers who will still be getting a “second rate” TV service after the digital TV switch over in Tayside in 2010. Cllr Macpherson has long been critical of the Westminster Government’s handling of the conversion ...
9:55 am

Friends of the Earth interviews Clegg & Huhne

Gravatar And the results are here. Friends of the Earth’s Parliamentary Campaigner Katie Elliott, comments: “We’re delighted that both candidates for the Liberal Democrat leadership agree that environmental issues are at the top of their priorities. We face a huge environmental challenge, especially on climate change, so it’s really important that our party leaders are committed to [...]
9:33 am

A Listening Council

Gravatar Last night the members of the Executive of Camden Council made a wise decision - they showed they could listen and changed their minds. The issue was Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, which has to move from the site of the new secondary school in Swiss Cottage. A few weeks ago the Executive announced a "preferred option" - to transfer the pupils of Frank Barnes to Blanche Nevile in Haringey, another deaf school. At the time they almost certainly genuinely believed that this was likely to be the best option for Frank Barnes. However since then a number of ...
9:20 am

Can't blog today

Gravatar Can't blog today, because tonight's Planning Committee is the issue of the day, and its been suggested that I should be very careful about commenting on live planning matters. Fair enough. One of the joys of a City Centre Ward is that we get lots of big applications, and to nights theme is Supermarkets, with Sainsburys and the Co- Op involved. So I shall quietly read the Officers reports today, go along to the Committee and listen to the Officers expert presentation, and to anyone else who wants to say a few words, and quite possibly chip in with a ...
9:08 am

Sustrans Connect2 wins the Lottery

Gravatar The BIG Lottery Fund has announced that Sustrans' Connect2 has been crowned the winner of The People's £50 Million Lottery contest; the biggest ever award to be decided by a public vote.
8:51 am

Tribute to Vince

Gravatar He may have decided not to stand for the leader's job but there can be no doubt that in his role as acting leader, Vince Cable has not just steadied the ship but also made a distinctive and valuable contribution, a point acknowledged by Tomos Livingstone in today's Western Mail: MEMBERS of Parliament turned up at the House of Commons yesterday to witness a popular leader who has the unanimous support of his party giving his last performance at Prime Minister’s Questions. Yes, we’re all going to miss Vince Cable. The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats floored Gordon Brown ...
8:44 am

Labour Refuse to Oppose Congestion Charge

Gravatar The Labour Party in Bury have finally shown their “true colours” when they refused to oppose the proposed Manchester “Congestion Charge” scheme and refused calls for a Greater Manchester referendum on the charge. Labour councillors unanimously refused to support a Lib Dem proposal which set down clearly that Bury was opposed to the Charge and called for the people of Greater Manchester to be consulted through a referendum vote on the issue. Everyone knows that we need to do something about the lack of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Manchester area, but forcing people to pay an extra £5 a day (at todays prices!) to get the investment ...
8:38 am

90 Not Out

Gravatar This was the title of a show given last night at Stockton Photo-Colour Society by a resident of our ward, Ray Wallace Thompson. Ray has been taking photographs since 1936, and as a professional architect his eye for design was honed over the years. Now almost 91, he was given the opportunity by the Photo club to have an evening showing some of his pictures and telling some of his life story.
8:27 am

Full Council 12 December 2007

Gravatar Last night was the regular meeting of the “Full Council” in Bury. It was a packed agenda with a number of important topics. Please see the separate posting about the debate on Congestion Charging. As usual my colleagues in the Liberal Democrat group asked some very probing and important questions to the Council Leadership. These included questions on the value for money and effectiveness of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems, progress towards the Children’s Centre outreach service in Rainsough and highlighting the amount of money the council loses through the 1400+ empty homes in the borough. My colleague Cllr Ann ...
7:45 am

The subprime crisis explained

Gravatar The economic crisis caused by the selling of subprime mortgages is a complex issue that few understand. Luckily, the Long Johns have provided this explanation:
6:57 am

Aberdeenshire disgrace

Gravatar In the face of a sustained and occasionally vituperative campaign in the local press, Aberdeenshire planning committee turned down an application from US billionaire Donald Trump to build a golf course which would have altered the character of a section of the coast and affected a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Now the forces behind the development have taken their revenge, the main victim being the Liberal Democrat chairman of the planning committee. Liberal Democrats Iain Dale and Bernald Salmon, in their blogs, tell the story better than I can. If the Scottish Nationalist government has its way, yet another ...
12:03 am

Sustrans wins!

Gravatar As a member of Sustrans, I am delighted that their Connect2 project has won the Peoples' £50million Lottery Giveaway. This was a triumph of telephone-based electoral organisation of which Lord Rennard would be proud. A couple of weeks ago I was phoned by a Sustrans volunteer to ask if I would vote for the project. Then earlier this week I received one of those text messages which are sent in

Previous days:

Wednesday 12th December 2007, Tuesday 11th December 2007, Monday 10th December 2007, Sunday 9th December 2007, Saturday 8th December 2007, Friday 7th December 2007