Most of our local charity shops collect used stamps - foreign, UK commemorative or just plain "ordinary" stamps - and sell them on to dealers. Please keep all those stamps you get at Xmas or indeed any time of year and take them in. Alternatively you can drop them off to Paul Hulbert at 35 Blaisdon (he's collecting them for Cancer Research) or leave them at Dodington Parish Council for him to collect.
Monday 17th December 2007
I will be travelling down to London to join Team Clegg tomorrow so I will be unable to react to the news when our new leader is unveiled. Well, obviously I will react - but being sadly disconnected it will not be on this blog. You'll all have to wait a few hours at least! I'm feeling nervous, but quietly confident. Just a few short hours to go! Congratulations in advance to whoever is declared the winner tomorrow, and more importantly - GOOD LUCK! May the spirit of liberty guide him well, may he find his cup runneth over with ...
Is it just me, or did Ruth Kelly on Newsnight just suggest that the lesson we should take from Datagate I, Datagate II, Datagate III, Datagate IV, Datagate V and Datagate Balboa is that our current databases aren't sophisticated enough and that we should embrace the ID card system to make data transfers easier? So she wouldn't say, for example, that the root cause of most of these scandals was
Right. I'm going to speak my mind. Tonight is the first night of my new campaign. It's a campaign that will completely revolutionize the way people work in politics. It's a campaign that will get more women involved in politics. More people from lower socio-economic backgrounds involved. Well...so...OK. It's a campaign for flexible internships...but it's pretty revolutionary. How do I know this? Why, because no-one seems to be doing it. That's how. (OK apart from Lynne Featherstone MP who recently offered a p/t internship). Working for free is expensive. Not only do you have to exist on fresh air and ...
Let’s have some ideas on how to hasten our policy decision-making particularly those things that are not particularly party political - ie house buying and selling, perpetual yearly rent charges and loads of other things. This would not be to circumvent conferences - they must stay sovereign. However, what is required is an IDEAS BANK that [...]
My post about Ed Mitchell, the former £100,000 a year newsreader who is now sleeping rough in Hove, generated quite a bit of interest. There was a long piece in the Sunday Times about him here: His street buddy is a former millionaire turned alcoholic. Mitchell grandly predicts that the 21st century will see many more white-collar tramps. Ever the business journalist, he launches into an
There is small footbridge in West Hampstead from where Priory Road meets Broadhurst Gardens. It's just an old railway bridge, but there is something of a story hidden behind it all - the reason why this arouses such comment at all is that it has as a route, gained a lot of traffic since the growth of the O2 Centre on Finchley Road and yet it has lain uncared for and increasingly unpleasant. Locally the steps are known as Granny Dripping Steps [Granny's Stairs and also Granny Drippen's Stairs/Steps - apparently named from her bread and dripping sandwhiches] - apparently ...
What a GREAT week for cycling. Well done to Two Tunnels in Bath and Sustrans across the country. Naturally I voted in the peoples millions for the Connect2 sustrans project. Here in Bath our part of the scheme is a fabulous project to bring to life two old rail tunnels and connect the centre of Bath to Tucking Mill and beyond. The Combe Down Tunnel will be really long with artistic lighting. It...
Was interested in this as a ploy to try to see if Vince Cable was demob happy. In time we may ask THEM - and could all their candidates (even in unwinnable seats) sign a statement including fair votes, keeping all lesbian/gay equality legislation and the Human Rights Act. I’m sure we could get the 600 odd [...]
One for the converted perhaps, but if you have a couple of hours to spare the new video from the Richard Dawkins Foundation the grandly titled "The Four Horsemen" is worth a look (you can download it here). The title is rather misleading. This has the feeling of a self-help group for atheist intellectuals rather than the full bore attack on the godly you may expect, as four of the more high
There is a fascinating article in The Telegraph today about how British restaurant groups are having massive success around the world, with French cuisine in something of a decline. The article features Gordon Ramsay, but also mentions restaurant groups who serve a mix of modern British dishes along with much more oriental offerings. It's worth a read and certainly is one in the eye for the French.
Nick Assinder on BBC News Online looks forward to the Liberal Democrats, for the first time in two years, having a period free (hopefully) from anguish about the leadership. He outlines the main tasks for the new leader, starting with getting a grip of the parliamentary party: Probably the first thing he has to do is get a solid grip of his parliamentary party, to ensure there is no more
On top of losing the data of thousands of Standard Life pensioners and everyone in the country who receives child benefit, the government have almost outdone themselves by losing a further three million individuals data. Quite shockingly the government now has the responsibility for losing the data of 3 million learner drivers.This disk was lost by a contractor in the United States. The real fear yet again is that the government has absolutely no idea how to keep data secure and has no idea what to do to put it all right. Absolutely shockingly bloody useless is the only term ...
This weekend the 26th teenager was murdered on the streets of London. David Nowak aged 16 was stabbed to death outside Somerford Grove Community Centre, Stoke Newington, in the London Borough of Hackney, just a few streets away from the last victim, Etem Celebi, who was shot dead outside his home last month. Its an estate I know well. I have friends who live there, and its where my son's childminder lived. On Saturday night David , who we've learned was mixed race of Turkish descent, died from a single stab wound after dozens of teenagers in rival gangs clashed. ...
Apparently my details have been lost in Iowa along with millions of others, probably mainly 17 and 18 year old sixth formers. I'm trying to think what details anyone in possession of the data will now have access to (assuming it is actually physically in someone's hands here). Photographs? Postal address? Date of birth...well maybe it's a little more serious than I first thought. To be honest my first reaction was to laugh. "S**t", I thought, "well as long as no-one finds out what a crap learner driver I am I don't really mind." Then it started to sink in. ...
Just got this and thought I would share it with you all. "I wanted to send a message to members to thank you for the support that you have given the party - and me personally - over the last couple of months. The overall profile of the party has risen considerably, showing us in a favourable light, and there are signs that this has translated into improved opinion poll ratings. We have also had a closely fought leadership contest between two excellent candidates, the result of which will be known on Tuesday. I have drawn several political lessons from ...
Huge congratulations to Anood on winnning the riverside by-election up in the Bermondsey ward of Riverside. She didn’t just win either but achieved a swing towards the Liberal Democrats. Usually, you’d expect a swing away from the party defending the seat as the opposition exploit a chance to campaign they might not normally have. Right from the start [...]
A reasonable news day for the Lib Dems today.David Cameron's pitch to the Lib Dems over the weekend has drawn a response in the form of stories in most papers - along with a leader column in The Independent ('Beware the siren voices of alliance')The Telegraph uses its leader to preview tomorrow's leadership result and suggests that, should Clegg win, "three-party politics will resume in earnest." ('Liberal Democrats' big chance')The Telegraph also sings the praises of Nicol Stephen, the Lib Dem leader north of the border in 'The redemption of Nicol Stephen'Assuming that the party gets some coverage when the ...
In this week’s Somerset Gazette, the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to be fire safe during the festive season. Their advise is: 1st Day of Christmas - check your tree lights conform to the British Standard. Use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment. 2nd Day - arrange a Home Safety Visit. Fire officers can come to your home to check for unsafe practices. They may install free working smoke alarms. Call 0800-7311822 for a free visit. 3rd Day - practice a fire escape plan. Make sure family and visitors know what to do in an ...
Now that the leadership contest has officially finished I wonder if anyone else had given any thought as to whether there would be any animosity between the two rival camps once the result is known? I ask because in the Telegraph yesterday, an article appeared to suggest that if elected leader Nick Clegg would offer high profile roles to Lord Ashdown, Baroness Williams and Sir Menzies Campbell but ignore Chris Huhne. What do you think about that? If that turned out to be the case, how should it be viewed? I dare say it would be argued that Chris Huhne ...
Up early to deal with e mails from people worried about planning and dustbin collections,etc. Then up to Penair to listen to year 9's visions for the future of Truro. This class was a bit more fidgety than last weeks, with a number of people who clearly didn't want to be there, so they were a little more challenging. Still, lots of interesting ideas and we all survived. Had a couple of Furniss Coal Vouchers to deliver. I normally wait until I've got 6 or 7 to do, but in this cold weather I thought I better go out, even ...
The first in a series of posts outlining the main platforms (in bullet point form) for the seven main political parties (in alphabetical order) standing in the elections on 23rd December Chart Thai Party Start building three electric train lines in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces within three months Construct High speed electric train link between Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Lop [...]
It’s not really the done thing is it, saying “oh, politics should be about personalities”? Well – I’m certainly a fan of substance and policies in my politics (and that’s one reason why I’m not a fan of a certain Mr D Cameron!) but I think someone should speak up occasionally for the role of personality ... which is what I do in my latest piece in Liberal Democrat News. You can read the full piece here.
I draw my reader's attention to an excellent article by Henry Porter, "At last the great divide is coming into focus". Although any article that has a go at Polly Toynbee can't be all bad, this has lots of points to get liberals nodding in agreement. However, I particularly liked this point; "The striking thing is how few in the government and among its supporters really grasp the substance of
I highly recommend the piece by Madeleine Bunting over at Comment is Free today on one of my pet subjects. Being, as I am, lazy, and also involved in protracted and difficult negotiations with a seven-foot Norwegian spruce, I find I can do no better than lift the most pertinent few paras clean out of it: The “medieval” has [...]
I discover to my delight that one of the parliamentary guidelines for writing Early Day Motions reads as follows: no unparliamentary language or irony should be used Oh, that’s like, so inconvenient. So is sarcasm ok? Satire? Superciliousness? Parody, so long as it’s well done and references its source? And in any case, is it acceptable to frame your [...]
Liberal Burblings points to this post on the ToryHome website, detailing exactly how the Tories plan to take us to the cleaners: DON’T GIVE THEM PUBLICITY (AND NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING DOESN’T WORK) Well, sorry guys, but with the recent performance of old Vince and the soon crowning of the young, hungry successor to Ming I’m sure we’ll be able to get our own publicity. HIGHLIGHT THEIR UNPOPULAR AND INCONSISTENT POLICIES Wait a minute, I thought you weren’t going negative. But why break the habit of a lifetime, eh? MAKE THEM IRRELEVANT BY STEALING THEIR POPULAR POLICIES Classic. “Destroy the libdems by ...
Lord Falconer the former Lord Chancellor, who originally backed Tony Blair's plans to extend the period of detention without charge limit for terror suspects, has said there is no need to extend it from the current 28 day limit to the 42 which now appears to be latest Labour ultimate answer. He now joins the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith and the Parliamentary committees on Home Affairs
Figures produced by the Liberal Democrats have shown that pensioners now receive less money than they did in 1950. The figures demonstrate that pensions in 2007 are the equivalent of only 15.9% of the average wage, compared to 18.4% in 1950. That means that we have gone backwards in the way we support people who have already given a lifetime of work to our society. These figures are a disgrace. We have had a Labour government for ten years, and yet Welsh pensioners are comparatively getting even less than they were under Attlee, at a time when the British economy ...
Jeremy Browne (Taunton, Liberal Democrat) | Hansard source To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of religious hate crime against police officers were recorded in each police force area in each of the last five years. Tony McNulty (Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office) | Hansard source The information requested is not available centrally. The Home Office collects statistics on the number of recorded offences of racially or religiously aggravated offences but details regarding the victim are not collected.
At last, thanks to pressure from the trade unions and from LibDem MP, Jenny Willott, the government has bowed to demands for improvements in their compensation for pensions lost when Allied Steel & Wire went bust. John Benson, a leading campaigner and spokesman for the ASW workers, was bitter about the lack of support from Labour MPs, when he spoke on BBC-2's "Working Lunch" today. He suggested that their loyalty to Gordon Brown took precedence over their concern for their constituents.
The Yorkshire Post reports, as its front page story on Saturday, that Yorkshire is set to ‘scupper’ the Tories hopes of winning the next election. The paper mentions three seats as evidence of where the Tories have gone backwards since the 1970s so making it unlikely they will win again. The three seats, Harrogate and [...]
Well, I suppose we shouldn't complain. We often get precious little coverage for months. But today it appears to be our day for the Tories and the press to go on about us ad nauseam. Conservative Home did a piece yesterday entitled "The Liberal Democrats are David Cameron's number one headache". Today, they precis readers' comments to that piece in a post called "Seven approaches to beating the
Traffic levels here at The Voice have grown sharply all through the year. We estimated last month that around 10-15% of those who will vote in the party’s leadership election are readers of this site - which is significantly higher than most (if not all) other Liberal Democrat blogs. On the other hand, it still leaves plenty [...]
Google avoiding controversy anyone: With the main roads and towns in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia showing up on Google Maps, the company has taken the decision merely to mark out the Green Line in Israel - Palestine, probably in an attempt to avoid endless emails from the two sides disputing the details.
A long awaited meeting between Hucknall Councillors and the Hucknall Police will be taking place next Friday, December 21st. The meeting is an opportunity to raise with the police the issues that are coming to us as Councillors on a regular basis. If there is an issue you'd like be to raise with the Police, please click here to send me an email!
So a BBC opinion piece seems to suggest. He certainly achieved the aim of getting our party noticed and talked about, thanks mainly to his performances in PMQ’s. The Northern Rock probe and the refusal to meet the Saudi King also scored highly on the Liberalometer. Whether we would’ve had the excellent coverage of the last few months had their not been a leadership election is unknown, but I suspect not. So well done Vince, but the time has come for Nick or Chris to step forward. But whoever wins, they’d better ensure Vince stays in the public eye.
Just a few days after I write a post about holier-than-thou leftwingers, along comes Alex Hilton arguing that all Tories are evil. Iain Dale's response was a sort of exasperated 'oh grow up'. That's not entirely fair, because Hilton's rant compares with other polemic from people who are much older (even in reading age). What winds me up is the utter arrogance of this part of 'the left'. Hilton writes: "I believe politics is a matter of good and evil. This is why I abhor the oxymoron of Christian conservatism". So you're either New Labour or you are part of ...
I'm pleased, though completely unsurprised, that the Liberal Democrats have rejected Cameron's offer to form an alliance. You see, I don't think that either Labour or Conservatives understand how coalitions work. Lib Dems have ardently supported proportional representation at all levels of Government. Indeed it is gradually creeping in at Assembly and European level, but...
The most outstanding thing about John Major's appearance on Sunday AM yesterday were his pink socks. It was very difficult to think about what he was saying faced with those glaring garments. There hasn't been such a flambouyant display of hosiery on Sunday mornings since David Frost moved onto new pastures. Presumably this was John Major telling us that he isn't the "grey man" after all. ...
I have read David Cameron's very short article expressing the wish for an "alliance" between the Conservatives, the LibDems and the Greens. The article is remarkable due to its brevity. 296 words. The standard length of a letter to the press in the case of many newspapers. If you are going to make a serious proposal about an "alliance" with other parties, am I the only one that thinks that the
We're going to Prague in about an hour's time. This means that I miss out on all of the fun of the circus as the leadership result is announced. Somewhat worryingly, I did have a dream about one of the candidates last night (no, I'm not telling you which, for all sorts of reasons). I'm sure whichever candidate loses will be offered, and gracefully accept, a senior Shadow Cabinet post. Hopefully the Lib Dem blogosphere will become a bit less splenetic as well. So congratulations, whoever you are!
Today the Bury Council Planning Control Committee are visiting School Grove to see for themselves the traffic and congestion issues brought to their attention by residents opposed to the Butterstile Children’s Centre. Whilst I am firmly of the view that our ward needs a Children’s Centre, I also know how important it is for the Council to listen to the views of residents, and for all of us to have confidence that due process is followed. At least now, if it goes against them, they can’t say that their views weren’t heard at all. The Committee will come to their ...
The weekend was busy, fun and productive. Just how I like it. Saturday was fun, watching City pound Bolton into submission in the second half, after I expertly predicted to my companion that I doubted we’d score again, only to see us score three times. I also survived the Christmas markets, emerging with a couple of presents and some bruises. Sunday was the business end of the weekend. In the morning I met a man who lives in one of the Farm Hill Cottages, who is concerned about fly-tipping. This has been a problem before, which we solved briefly ...
Redcar and Cleveland Council is reminding residents of the revised Christmas refuse collection times - and urging everyone to remember to recycle real Christmas trees and cards as well as the regular cans, paper, glass, plastic and cardboard, which are plentiful at this time of year. There will be no collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day, but the Council's catch-up arrangements will ensure everything is back to normal on Tuesday, January 8. Collection dates will change from: Tuesday, December 25 to Thursday, December 27 Wednesday, December 26 to Friday, December 28 Thursday, December 27 to Saturday, ...
Some people say that they find Melanie Phillips a bit tiresome, and that her endless predictions of the imminent fall of civilisation seem to be re-cycled week in and week out. I think that Ms Phillips is a confused woman with a limited grasp of the laws of succession. Just a couple of months ago in a piece on Sayeeda Warsi, she accused the Tory Baroness of being Chamberlain’s Heir. Now though, she is congratulating Newt Gingrich on his denounciation of The heirs to Chamberlain - plural. Honestly, woman! Phillips, like Peter Hitchens, is sometimes regarded as having travelled some ...
It is right that British troops are leaving Basra. Indeed they should leave Iraq altogther. But New Labour will not admit to the real reason as to why they have to leave; that the UK has been defeated. It is because they dare not loose face, the defence minister got what he deserved on the Today program this morning. John Humphries has been to Iraq himself and seen how terrible it is out there; no one is going to pull the wool over his eyes. Unfortunately for defence minister Bob Ainsworth, the Today program allocated a full length timeslot for ...
Martin Eakins is campaigning for a Community Library in Benchill - perhaps at or near Benchill Primary School Your Lib-Dem team have launched a campaign to build a Community Library in Benchill. Whilst Northern Moor has one, as does Northenden, Benchill is the only part of our ward to be a Library free zone. Hundreds of Families would benefit from a library close by, as the nearest one at present is at the Forum in the Centre of Wythenshawe.
The latest opinion poll is out showing the levels of support for the Thai political parties in the run up to the election in a weeks time. This opinion poll pretty much has the parties where they were on 21st November with the People Power Party, which is clearly a proxy for Thai Rak Thai and for [...]
There is still time to enter our Leadership Election Prediction Competition. Entrants so far include both the Iain Dales (the Lib Dem and the Conservative one), so here’s your chance to show that you’re a smarter reader of the political scene than not one but two Iain Dales. Go on, you know you want to.
Isn’t it a bit rich of the former conservative Prime Minister, Sir John Major, to come out and publicly accuse Labour of presiding over "systemic sleaze"? He seems to have forgotten that the conservative party were hardly ‘whiter than white’ when in government. However, give him his due, he did acknowledge that "lots of people misbehaved" when he was prime minister. Misbehave! Under statement of the year don’t you think? For once I find myself having to agree with Labour MP Graham Allen who said: "Sadly Sir John Major's attempt to rewrite history will only serve to remind us that, ...
Denzil Washington’s new flick American Gangster is great. He plays Frank Lucas, the founder of a massive drugs empire in ’70s New York by importing direct from Vietnam through bent military officers and, thereby, supplying a cheaper but purer product than his competitors. Russell Crowe playes the enlightened detective who proves his eventual nemesis. It is based on a true story. By the time he went to [...]
Where the Orange Book focusses on offenders and the tough love of training and work, Tim Starkey barely mentions this and talks instead about the system. So we hear about policing, anti-social behaviour, community justice, and honesty in sentencing: all good themes. But we should not leave behind the earlier themes under Mark Oaten's cloud, whether he wrote the chapter or not. That said, there