Saturday 15th December 2007

11:49 pm

Marie Curie Cancer Care Lights to Remember

Gravatar I attended an emotional service in the All Saints Church, it brought back memory's of family I had lost through Cancer. Marie Curie do amazing supportive work in helping people with terminal illness. The Marie Curie sponsored Tree in the Market place, with then switched on by Amanda Burton, who I was very pleased to meet in support of this charity. Amanda...
10:34 pm

Victory for Leon!

Gravatar Well, bookies wrong as usual! Congratulations to Leon!
10:28 pm

Do we really need a BBC1 news summary at 7.57pm?

Gravatar Does there really need to be a news summary on BBC1 at 7.57pm? Don't get me wrong. It's a wonderfully presented summary. On Friday night we had the wonderful Fiona Bruce ("rrrrrrrr" as they say on Dead Ringers) and in the South region we were treated to Dani Sinha. It's brilliantly done. It's along the lines of the very attractive BBC3 60 second news. But we have a full news programme at 6pm
10:20 pm

Stuff Blu-Ray and HD-DVD…

Gravatar …according to the latest TV ads the new formats you should make sure that your Home Entertainment system supports are DVD-Monday and DVD-Now!
9:58 pm

From £100,000 a year TV presenter to sleeping rough

Gravatar Ed MitchellFrom high-flying TV presenter 1996 (left) to sleeping rough in 2007 (right) The story of Ed Mitchell on BBC South made me sit up straight. Mitchell was a high-flying TV journalist (BBC, ITN, Sky, CNBC, Reuters) who interviewed six presidents, five chancellors and thre prime ministers. He had a £500,000 house and earnt up to £100,000 a year - but now he's sleeping rough in Hove. He's
9:17 pm

Our REAL challenge: Identity (Lesbian and Gay lessons)

Gravatar Viewing the leadership contest I have come to the conclusion that members largely voted on a hunch and gut instinct. There are some late stragglers who wrote down lists of pros and cons. Mostly though folk voted straight away or after hustings or simply in the last week. Having pondered it all i’m pretty 50/50 about [...]
8:47 pm

Slow news day?

Gravatar I only ask because of the BBC News headline “Chris De Burgh to be first Western artist to play in Iran since 1979 revolution.”
7:41 pm

Thank You

Gravatar Thanks to everyone who visited LibDems4Chris over the past few weeks. The party has been lucky to have two excellent contenders, but we’re still hoping Chris will emerge the winner on Tuesday. Special thanks to the team who worked on this blog, Nick Barlow (who designed it), Sean McMahon (who beautified it), Paul Walters and Rob Fenwick (who both wrote much of it).
7:37 pm

The X Factor Winner - Let's make it about talent and not where you live

Gravatar The phrase to do with Pots and Kettles comes to mind when one Lib Dem blogger (Cllr Frazer MacPherson) tonight says that The X-Factor is rather unhelpfully (to his preferred candidate) calling the final a battle of the nations. I agree with these views. The X Factor winner should be decided on talent and not to do with where they come from . However, last week Cllr MacPherson referred to Leon as "Scotland's Entry". At the time I felt that Frazer's comments were a little parochial and as I was aware, no nation had "and entrant" as they were taking ...
7:33 pm

Polly Toynbee and the Continuing SDP

Gravatar Blood & Treasure writes: I’ve always been mildly annoyed by Polly’s self-presentation as the reborn conscience of Labour when her active political life was spent in an organization trying to destroy it and replace it, to wit the SDP. She even stuck around for a time when it dwindled to being a kind of cult of David Owen.Any sensible person who had backed the "Continuing SDP" would have concluded from the episode that they had no particular talent for political punditry. They would have gone off to be a helicopter pilot, write thrillers or farm goats instead. Not Polly Toynbee. ...
7:27 pm

Iain Dale - Can we play you every week ?

Gravatar I ought to be feeling a little bit guilty about Iain Dale being on the end of a two defeats at the hands of my other team (Everton) this week. We know Iain is a Tory, and I gather this is not yet treatable on the NHS, but as Tories go he is not such a bad chap. So I feel a little sorry for him having to put up with Boris Johnson as the Tories mayoral candidate (and Iain has done a good job of trying to make Boris sound dynamic, but it is a losing battle) and also ...
7:26 pm

Should Simon Hughes know the value of your home?

Gravatar I only ask because of this intriguing Google Ad I came across on the Daily Telegraph’s website. The first two adverts I can understand, but the third seems a little desperate…
7:24 pm

Vote for Leon tonight!

Gravatar The X Factor has started, so mind and vote for Leon tonight! The programme is unhelpfully presenting it as a battle of the nations which rather helps Same Difference in terms on population, but hopefully talent will prevail!
7:17 pm

The laptop connection is off!

Gravatar Should be getting ready for Christmas, but there is case work coming in, and worse - lots of documents to read for Council meetings next week. Sound like a winge ? well what would you rather do - plough through background reading for Corporate and Social Inclusion select Committee and the Members Advisory Panel, or do something Christmassy ? Well it was a compromise, I did do quite a bit, but...
7:07 pm

A touch of Tory Photoshopping

Gravatar Labour activist Hopi Sen has the story on A blog from the back room.
6:50 pm

People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Push so Hard for Golf Courses

Gravatar Before I post the rest of this I'd like to point out two things. 1. In most committees should a vote be tied the Chairman's casting vote is normally cast to maintain the status quo and not to effect change. 2. Also local representatives on planning committess have always been left free to vote as they see fit on each local decision, and any hint of bullying or bribing a decision is usually
6:25 pm

It was a shock to the system

Gravatar Having arrived back from Kenya on Tuesday, I suffered 2 shocks to the system. Firstly, it was so damned cold! We looked in stunned amazement at frost on everything, having hours before been wandering around in shorts in temperatures of abour 40C. Secondly we realised Christmas is coming up. That was probably more of a shock to the system. So last night we went down to the Metrocentre, that great
6:23 pm

Glass recycling is a climate change nonsense

Gravatar Camden’s glass recycling has become a climate change nonsense because bottle bank glass is now being mixed up rather than kept separated. As a result it's turned into aggregate for roads, which produces more carbon dioxide than recycling glass into bottles or making glass from raw materials. If we want to do the worst possible thing for the environment with our glass recycling, then what we’re doing right now is that thing. Camden collects glass in two ways - via kerbside mixed recycling boxes and via bottle banks. Glass is collected in doorstep recycling boxes which gets mixed up with ...
6:16 pm

Unconvincing smokescreen

Gravatar The latest attempt at diversionary waffle by SNP MSP Alex Neil (click on headline to view today's Press & Journal on this) in which Neil wholly inaccurately claims that Nicol Stephen had launched a "cowardly attack" on Jim McKinnon, the Scottish Government’s chief planning officer, is, I suspect, simply designed to try to deflect from the serious questions the SNP government has to answer in relation to McTrumpgate. What did Nicol Stephen actually say? Well, let’s quote word for word from the parliamentary official report : “Nicol Stephen: Aberdeenshire Council will confirm that it had to ask for the Trump ...
6:16 pm

Kim Howells puts the Government's case on Iraqi interpreters

Gravatar It {Helicopter in Iraq} completely buggered up my going to Pond Square carols on Thursday - which is one of my fav of the year events - but having been trying to get a meeting with Minister Kim Howells about the Iraqi interpreters issue for some time - then when only the day before I was told that a 5.30pm meeting was arranged, that took precedence. I think it was the powers of persuasion of Chris Bryant (MP for Rhondda, Labour) rather than my that achieved this - but also Ed Vaizey Conservative MP and Dan Hardie - my local ...
6:11 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Danny Alexander reselected

Gravatar Danny Alexander MP was last night unanimously reselected as the Lib Dem candidate to fight Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey at the next Westminster General Election. I look forward to working hard to help secure his re-election.
5:52 pm

Tennant 'is leaving Doctor Who'

Gravatar Having read some of the earlier postings I am sorry to reveal that David Tennant may be leaving Doctor Who!!!
5:28 pm

Corndon Hill

Gravatar Today's Hill of the Day is Corndon Hill, which is just over the Welsh border from Shropshire - though that border appears to be negotiable in its vicinity. As the BBC's Shropshire pages say: Travel anywhere around the Stiperstones or the Bishop's Castle to Shrewsbury road and your view will be dominated by Corndon Hill. At 513 metres it's not far off the height of Shropshire's highest hill, Brown Clee. The border skirts around the edge of this magnificent hill - but 100 or more years ago the view would have been very different. Corndon looks down over Shropshire's lead-mining ...
5:25 pm

Football fix

Gravatar People will be happy to know that I am not doing without football while I'm away. I took this photo last night at Wellington's Westpac stadium. The match was from the A-League - which is basically the Australian league, but includes Wellington Phoenix too. Having beaten Perth Glory 3-0 last week, I saw Phoenix play out a 1-1 draw with Queensland Roar. Football chants are pretty similar the world over, which is reassuring, and there was some nice football too, especially Phoenix's equaliser. Admittedly it looks pretty empty on the photo, but it's a big stadium and actually there were ...
5:23 pm

It's Christmas!

Gravatar Ok I know it isn't quite 25 December, but Dad took me to get my Christmas tree this afternoon and I have just finished decorating it. Now I am all in the festive spirit... next job writing my Christmas cards.
5:06 pm


Gravatar Taunton Deane website announcement; State-of-the-art car parking technology is going live in Taunton and Wellington this week with the launch of the revolutionary RingGo payment system. The innovative scheme will allow drivers to park in 21 Taunton Deane Borough Council car parks and pay for their stay by using their mobile phone rather than scrabbling for loose change. The cashless system will go "live" in pay-and-display car parks on Thursday 13 December when Taunton Deane will become the first Local Authority in Somerset to introduce the 21st century technology. The launch of RingGo follows in-depth research by officers into ways ...
4:58 pm

Cameron is "tearing his hair out" over Boris' lazy Mayoral campaign

Gravatar There's an interesting article from Peter Obourne in the Mail: I am reliably told that David Cameron is "tearing his hair out" at Boris's lazy campaign. He backed his Old Etonian friend for the mayorship in the summer because he was eager to show that the Tory Party was taking the battle for London seriously by putting forward its most dazzling public performer for the top job. But the
4:51 pm

European Reform Treaty

Gravatar I'm pleased that the European Reform Treaty has been signed. It should allow an enlarged Europe to work better together. Last week, in Council, the Tories proposed that the District Council should urge the Government to hold a referendum on the treaty (aka the Lisbon Treaty). We urged a referendum on membership of the EU: the point being that this is the real agenda of those wanting any kind of a treaty. The debate was interesting. Some of the Tories made it plain that they do, indeed, want out of the EU. Others that they're committed Europeans, but that the ...
4:38 pm

An NHS cock-up that isn't the government's fault ?

Gravatar It is nice to know that a cock up which meant a new scanner meant for the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Kings Lynn was not, for once, the fault of this bloody useless Labour government. Read about it HERE.
4:30 pm

Thompson saves United's blushes with a late equaliser against the Saddlers

Gravatar End to end play at the Bescot Stadium resulted in stalemate for the first 75 minutes then Tommy Mooney left footed into the net, from the six-yard line, to put Walsall into the lead, 0-1. This sparked United into life and an injury time, deflected free kick, from substitute Alan Thompson sailed into the net from 30 yards, 1-1. Jonathan Douglas was carried off in the last minute with what seems to be a serious injury to his left leg. Leeds had the most possession but Walsall had slightly the better chances. United go home with a draw and that ...
4:28 pm

Well done team!

Gravatar I whole-heartedly echo Rob Fenwick's sentiments. It has been a very thoroughly argued leadership contest with lots of visibility for the candidates and positive publicity for the party. Whoever is shown to have received the membership's majority approval will have won fair and square. We can look forward to an extremely positive future for the Liberal Democrats, whoever wins.
4:26 pm

A climate deal, of sorts, which fails to tackle the issues

Gravatar You have to have some sympathy for some of the negotiators at the Bali UN climate conference. They have to sit and look at the smug faces of the American delegation knowing that the US under George Bush really does not give a damn about the environment, and if they are going to get any sort of agreement it will be a watered down waste of time, and that, it appears, is what we have got. Some might argue that any deal is better than no deal. Perhaps this is true, but what we have got after the so called ...
4:17 pm

Park crime figures show why we need to keep Parks Police

Gravatar I've written before about Labour's plans to axe the Parks Police here in Haringey. Well - the latest figures for crime in our parks show exactly why they should be kept! Also in sobering local news this week was the estimate that up to 50 people will die of fuel poverty this winter in Hornsey and Wood Green - another good reminder, if one were needed, of the need to publicise the Warm Front Scheme to people who could benefit from it. In the scheme's own words:If you need help paying for heating and insulation improvements in your privately owned ...
4:12 pm

Judge & Jury Politics

Gravatar Yesterday I appeared before Torbay Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the local government version of a Parliamentary Select Committee. Select Committees in Parliament are made up of cross-par...
4:01 pm

Day 2535: Ms Bleary is Planning Something

Gravatar Monday: The Labour first demanded a change to planning laws after the Public Inquiry into Terminal Five at Heathrow dragged on for four years. SIX years later, the highly polished Labour machine has arrived at some ideas. Mr Frown's CHICKEN-HEADED Secretary of State for Wrecking Communities and Overruling Local Government, Ms Hazel Bleary, came to the Commons with Proposals to simplify the donation of bungs to the Labour Party. Chirpy Ms Bleary insists in her insistent way that "the public will have not one but three chance to have a say" in new planning applications. Well, having a SAY all ...
3:44 pm

Dirk Gently's American Lawmaking

Gravatar The Register brings promising news from New Jersey, where the Democrat-controlled State Assembly voted yesterday to abolish the death penalty, the first state to do so since Gregg v. Georgia reintroduced the penalty in 1976. For those of us who believe in the interconnectedness of all things, it's worth noting that one of the eight death row inmates spared as a result will be Jesse Timmendequas
3:33 pm

The polls close…

Gravatar …and whoever wins the Lib Dem leadership contest, we all win. It turned out to be much more of an interesting contest than I expected at the start. Congratulations to all who participated in it.
2:49 pm

Another miscarriage of justice reported on Weds

Gravatar At least the medical evidence (opinion) was recognised in retrospect to be wrong. It would be nice if we put some effort in as a society to ensure that the opinion given in court is actually true. This lady was imprisoned and had a child forcibly adopted away from her family, but was innocent.
2:34 pm

Something for the Weekend: Santa Claus is coming to town

Gravatar It’s Saturday, it’s Lib Dem Voice, it’s Crackerjack Something for the Weekend! We’re edging closer to Christmas, the weather’s getting colder and the inter-office Cowley Street decorations competition is hotting up. Fingers crossed that the Campaigns Department doesn’t burn down in a faulty fairy light induced fireball. In the Something for the Weekend grotto today: David Cameron [...]
2:14 pm

Another Warwick Post Office Faces Closure

Gravatar Another careless data leak has caused embarrassment for Post Office officials as it reveals secret plans to close yet more Post Offices in Warwickshire including West Street in Warwick. The post office website intended to show Post Offices planned for closure in the East Midlands where consultation is underway, yet the map also shows other areas of the midlands including Warwick. I managed to get hold of a copy of the map and have published part of it on our Local Lib-Dem Website. This Post Office is at the heart of a thriving community and is yet another nail in ...
1:47 pm

Reduced to beggary

1:14 pm

I can Vouch for It

Gravatar I have an Op-Ed piece over at Lib Dem Voice on education vouchers. Do check it out.
1:12 pm

Transport for London must improve safety at the junction of Hook Road and Elm Road

Gravatar Since the dreadful accident outside the Hook Centre on Wednesday, several people have contacted us about safety at the Hook Road/Elm Road junction. The Hook Road is controlled by Transport for London on behalf of the Mayor of London. We have been asking them to improve this junction for years. In fact, when TfL first proposed to introduce the Red Route, some of the local...
12:45 pm

Will's Passing Out Ceremony

Gravatar Yesterday was Will's Passing Out Ceremony as a Royal Marine Commando. What a great day!A quick flight to Exeter from Newcastle the night before and we were at Commando Training Centre, Lympstone for 9am. 23 of the original 48 recruits in April had made it to the end. They were joined by 25 others from earlier troops who had been "backtrooped" due to injury. In the Falklands Hall, the
12:34 pm

Simon Hughes Rules..........OK?

Gravatar The debate that has been raging about whether or not Simon Hughes as President should keep shtum on matters of leadership it seems to me raises some wider questions for us as a party of liberals. What are rules for, and should "unwritten rules" carry any weight? Don't get me wrong, I am not against rules in principle, I am only against patently stupid rules and I am particularly against the attempted enforcement of those unwritten rules which are often the product of personal opinion and belief and not necessarily universally supported. All too often we make the assumption that ...
12:26 pm

Newport case - taking children into care wrongly hurts the children

Gravatar The link is to today's story in The Mirror about the Newport Case. What those who defend the current system have to recognise is that taking children into care hurts the children. Where it was not necessary substantial damage has been done without good reason. Yes there will always be times when children do need to be taken into care, but there should be good well argued reasons first. The
11:56 am

EXCLUSIVE: Leadership election: Too elfing close to call

Gravatar Now that the ballot has closed, the two candidates are indulging themselves with some much needed festive fun here.
11:55 am

Remembering Calamity Jane - goodness, Doris Day looked good in leathers!

Gravatar Now that the ballot is closed, I feel free to mention this, albeit with a little trepidation. I didn't like to mention it at the time, because it would have looked like "spinning". I wonder how many people these days actually remember Doris Day in "Calamity Jane"? It did occur to me that the "Calamity Clegg" title was dreamt up by someone who had an affection for old Hollywood musical films and
11:35 am


Gravatar What is to be gained from people leaving comments on blogs under false names? Why do it? Cowardness? For example, I recently posted a harmless local interest blog and received this comment from someone calling themselves ‘Nick’. “Where have you been? If you were more IT literate you would have noticed this on the county gazette website on tuesday afternoon. Oh...and the fact that it was swiftly withdrawn the next day!!” Now, there was no link to the name and I don’t know any Nick , so just who was Nick? My curiousity got the better of me and I ...
11:12 am

What the climate change talks have achieved

Gravatar Nothing
10:55 am

Opinion: The ‘V’ Word

Gravatar The leadership contest has seen much natural agreement and some forced disagreement. One of the issues that confused most onlookers is who was advocating the use of education vouchers. After Chris Huhne repeatedly asked Nick Clegg to deny that he supported ‘US-style vouchers’, Clegg became more and more adamant about his opposition to the idea. [...]
10:49 am

Trivial Pursuits

Gravatar Tomos Livingstone details some of the trivial matters that have become the basic staple of every political journalist as they struggle to maintain the public's attention: IT HAD been building up for some time. Every day, anxious Westminster journalists would question Number 10 spokespeople about Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s plans to arrive unfashionably late in Lisbon, signing the EU Reform Treaty after every other leader had moved on. “Every day I tell him [the PM] this is the main subject at the Lobby and he reacts with incredulity,” said Mr Brown’s spokesman on Tuesday. With the document finally signed, on ...
10:08 am

All over bar the counting............

Gravatar Well me dearies, that's it then - all over for another...........decade? It has been a bit of a lack lustre campaign it has to be said. No real ideological battles. The only bit of drama being the Calamity Clegg incident which thankfully for the party blew over very quickly. So now we wait to see whether it is the expected or the shock result. Over on Mike Smithson's Political Betting, his punters are voting 3-1 in favour of a Clegg victory, but we will all have to continue to hold our breath until the official announcement on Tuesday.
9:49 am

A determined mother & a private tutor

Gravatar Interesting article by Janice Turner in the Times online today. Seems she has a 'class' chip on her shoulder, a bit like me... "The Sutton Trust report this week into how educational attainment is linked to social class evoked a powerful and depressing image. A pair of three-year-olds; one poor but bright, scoring brilliantly in tests, the other rich but dim, struggling to answer. Then the same children returning aged 7; the poor child now freefalling down the percentile charts, the rich but dim soaring to overtake him. How angry we should be at that crude determinism between wealth and ...
9:38 am

Behind the scenes at the christmas doctor who! Only ten days to go!

Gravatar Behind the scenes of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Kylie - Times Online Proof that back scratching isn't only a necessity in politics...
9:13 am

Stop the Secret Jailings - release Charles Roy Taylor

Gravatar The campaign to stop secret jailings is going well. The law is entirely clear people cannot be jailed with giving details in public of what is happening including the offence and jail term. The fact that this hasn't been done doesn't mean that we will tolerate it from now. Interestingly the reason the 1679 Habeas Corpus Act was brought in was judges jailing people for things that weren't
8:33 am

How SMART is the Bali Agreement

Gravatar Ok so the American's have come up with a compromise that means that unlike Kyoto they have signed up to the Bali Agreement. But at this time of year when many of us are undergoing our annual performance review and setting objectives for the forthcoming year we are all aware that a good objective is a SMART objective, one that is Specific, Measureable , Achieveable, Realistic and Time Bound. So
8:01 am

Day 2534: Coast

Gravatar Sunday: Excellent News! The Government has agreed to the building of thousands of new windmill farms to really make use of the offshore winds. People say: "but this will change our coast FOREVER!" Yes, true – but the alternative is to allow GLOBAL WARMING to melt the icecaps, raise the sea level by twenty metres and change the coast forever ANYWAY!
12:22 am

Google to create a "China friendly" version of Wikipedia

Gravatar The Times today reveals that Google are to go head to head with Wikipedia to set up an online encyclopedia in the Wikipedia style. Google's own version called "knowl" will though follow Google's usual rules of being one sided, sanitised and of course China friendly (so no writing about the killing of tens of thousands of students in Beijing). If Google ran the world people like Robert Mugabe would just be so happy as the real world and real history would be ignored all in the interests of the mighty dollar.
12:01 am

Day 2533: Gesture Politics

Gravatar Saturday: As Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond once said to the Khasi of Khalabar: "There's another fine old British Gesture..." I think that Mr President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is a bit horrid and you would have to go a long way to find anyone who wouldn't agree with that idea – probably as far as AFRICA where it seems that the leaders of neighbouring states like South Africa are the last people still sticking up for him. But here is the thing: EVIL DICTATORS don't give a STUFF what soft toys think of them. Action, not hollow gestures, is what gets them ...

Previous days:

Friday 14th December 2007, Thursday 13th December 2007, Wednesday 12th December 2007, Tuesday 11th December 2007, Monday 10th December 2007, Sunday 9th December 2007