Thursday 20th December 2007

11:48 pm

Season's Greetings - a card from your Local Focus

11:23 pm

Gross invasion of my privacy

Gravatar Thank God for Rob Knight… I thought I was going to be left off the desktop meme. Shunned by the Lib Dem Blogosphere as punishment for filling it to capacity with pro-Chris posts. The question I had to answer though was “which desktop?” I have a PC running Windows XP, a Mac Mini, a Mac G4 laptop, an Asus EEE PC that was running Linux until a few days ago but now runs XP, and an IBM Thinkpad running Windows XP. My desktops at home are also very different to my desktops at work where I have a Dell somethingorother ...
10:54 pm

More local press!

Gravatar After the story in the News Shopper a couple of weeks ago I now see my face graces this week's Bexley Chronicle on my selection/Queen Mary's Hospital and the Bexley Times on the leadership contest. Three stories in three weeks in three different papers. Fame at last!
10:51 pm

Christmas Collection Dates for Refuse and Recycling

Gravatar Birmingham City Council have confirmed collection dates for refuse and recycling over the Christmas period. As in previous years, there will be no collections on Christmas Day (Tuesday 25 December) and Boxing Day (Wednesday 26 December), with Thursday collections resuming as normal on 27 December. This means that residents who are due a refuse collection on
10:37 pm

Campaign for Gender Balance blog awards

Gravatar James Graham's blog is down for maintenance, but I have a vague feeling that he tagged me with a meme about the Campaign for Gender Balance blog awards. I can't remember what else I was supposed to do, but I have at least linked to them. If I am honest, the idea that women need special awards to encourage them to blog makes me a little uneasy. Doesn't this just position them as the weaker sex? Besides, the two most influential voices among the group of us who now host the BritBlog Roundup are the female bloggers who write Philobiblon ...
10:16 pm

End of Term Feeling

Gravatar This should have been a quiet day, leading to the Christmas holiday closedown. But no! First of all I needed to understand one of the reasons for refusal of a planning application in the ward for a children's play centre. The planning officer concerned did explain it very clearly to me, and I can understand now why it happened though I have some sympathy for the applicant who is passionately
9:55 pm

Nick Clegg names his first Shadow Cabinet

Gravatar Vince Cable's stellar performance as acting leader - his ability to discomfort Gordon Brown on the economy in particular - meant that Nick Clegg was almost bound to keep him on as shadow chancellor. This has put the kibosh on my own plan (had I won the leadership election) to move Vince to the foreign affairs brief and install Chris Huhne or David Laws in his place. But there is still much of interest in Nick's first shadow cabinet. Chris Huhne has been given the promotion his two leadership challenges had earned him and there is certainly more Lib Dem ...
9:42 pm

Nick Clegg and Shane McGowan: Old school ties

Gravatar Nick Clegg's apparent unfamiliarity with "Fairytale of New York" is particularly strange because, as I have pointed out before, he and Shane McGowan went to the same school. Late news: Young people's disco favourite Mika also went to Westminster.
9:37 pm

A Conversation Tonight

Gravatar Tory Councillor friend ready to have some fun with me: "Congratulations for choosing a new leader who's more conservative than the Conservative party" Me: "If you really believe that, you'd be joining the Lib Dems now, wouldn't you?" Tory Friend: "Uh..." End of Conversation.
9:34 pm

Nick Clegg elected and the reshuffle

Gravatar As I’ve been in London for the last two days, this has been my first chance to write about the leadership result.  Obviously I’m over the moon about it, and if anything it has been a huge relief after the last two months - which has felt more like two years.  The best moment after [...]
9:21 pm

Even more data lost

Gravatar This time the HM Revenue and Customs have admitted to losing personal details of 6,000 private pension holders. How much more data can be lost?
9:18 pm

The most boring meme ever

Gravatar This must be the time of year when meme's start to breed. People have time on their hands and an opportunity to make us all pay for it. Nevertheless I do not resent Alix Mortimer for tagging me on this particular one, even though it has to be the dullest ever. The sheer quality of Alix's blog means that she has can be forgiven this once, however she should not do it too often, especially as I am considering nominating her in this more substantial competition which is also doing the rounds as a meme when I get around to ...
8:47 pm


Gravatar According to Wikipedia "Happy Birthday to You" is a song which is sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. So, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lynne Featherstone, happy birthday to you” Happy birthday Lynne. You don’t look a day over ………………
8:44 pm

God grief

Gravatar Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Nick Clegg's revelation yesterday that he doesn't believe in revelations of the divine kind is that it merits so much concerned coverage and twittering worry from some around him. Personally I've been a secular humanist or non-believer as long as I can remember. Something about being dragged to St. Mary's CofE Church in Birmingham for 12 years had a debilitating impact on any nascent faith that I'm sceptical ever existed within me. But did have the upside of making me extremely interested in religion and scepticism of it. To avoid the extreme boredom of ...
8:43 pm

What's on my desktop?

Gravatar So, I've been tagged, and therefore must now reveal the contents of my desktop to the world. Upon realising this, my first thought was "hang on, what does my desktop look like?". I normally have so many windows open that catching sight of the desktop itself is a rare occurrence; normally only when the computer first boots up. Having reacquainted myself with its contents, I should now point out that asking people who work in IT to show the world what's on their desktops is a very bad idea. Why? Because you get something like this: {desktop-small.png} (click the above ...
8:42 pm

Britain's dumbest criminals ?

Gravatar It's nice to know that some dim thieves were not able to ruin someone's Christmas when they stole a load of presents from under a tree in office belonging to South Hams Council in Devon. Apparently the thieves who stole the boxes were so dim they were unable to detect that the boxes were unbelievably light and when shaken, would make no sound. Yes, these thieves were so stupid that they stole a load of boxes containing nothing but fresh air.
8:24 pm

Isolation & Exclusion

Gravatar The Washington Post today ran with the story of Fatina and Ahmad Zubeidat, two young arab citizens living in Israel. Having just read that story, it would seem I have an apology to make - merely being an arab in Israel IS grounds enough to be considered ‘socially incompatible’. I can't help wondering, if Israel can do this to their own citziens, what chance do you have if your Palestinian and living in Gaza?
8:12 pm

Here's my dull screenshot...

Gravatar Sorry I'm going to be even more dull and not link to anyone as I don't know anyone to link to!!! My screensaver is a rather groovy download from the unison website - 'Challenge X' Unison's target to recruit 1.5 million members by the end of 2007...not sure if they've met it...
7:22 pm

What’s on my desktop

Gravatar The Don has pointed a gun at my head and told me to take a screenshot of my computer, so here it is: {My Desktop} I believe I need to point the gun towards others, so here’s the next five: Iain Dale, Jo Anglezarke, Mark Valladares, Pink Dog and Stephen Robinson
7:14 pm

Merry Christmas!

Gravatar The photocall (mentioned in last blog entry) at lunchtime today went very well and many thanks to both Peter & Kim from Wave 102 for attending and to the Evening Telegraph for featuring it in tonight's paper. The West End Community Council website records the event ( together with other Christmas Week photos. Had an increasing number of e-Christmas cards this year but perhaps the nicest of them is from the University of Dundee (click on headline above to view) with its West End theme! As always, I take a break from blog entries over the festive period, so see ...
7:08 pm

Nick Clegg appoints new Shadow Cabinet

Gravatar Nick Clegg, the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has appointed his first Shadow Cabinet. Key appointments include Chris Huhne as Shadow Home Secretary and Ed Davey as Shadow Foreign Secretary.
7:03 pm

Thanks Paul Walter!

Gravatar I will be eternally grateful to Mr Walter for yet again pointing out the error of my ways. Thanks so much Paul for informing the world about my appalling spelling.......I hope you will note that I have immediately taken action to rectify my mistake. As for the formatting/fonts etc (also commented on by Nich Starling) I am afraid I need a clever bloggista to offer their services to help me make it as stunningly attractive as all my fellow bloggers who seem to all have it completely sussed. Though, long suffering readers will remember the wonderful comment I got on ...
6:14 pm

Last 'Post' on many borders tonight

Gravatar Back in 1945 my mother swam the Elbe to escape the oncoming Soviet army and find refuge in British held territory. Europe was a place of fear. At midnight today (20 December 2007) the Schengen agreement that allows for free passage –without need of passports- across national frontiers within most of the European Union is extended to include her native Lithuania (and eight other countries including Latvia and Estonia). What an extraordinary contrast in 60-odd years. This is going to be a bit of a challenge for our new LibDem leadership team as of course there are public fears associated ...
5:59 pm

Norman Baker

Gravatar Much to the relief of every government minister except Ruth Kelly, Norman Baker has today been appointed Lib Dem Shadow Transport Secretary. Does this mean he is the new spoke? On a considerably more serious note, I look forward to good things. Norman has a long standing interest in transport, and when he gets his teeth into something he doesn't let go. He has campaigned locally on such issues as the reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield railway line and the sorry state of our local bus services. I am sure he has plans to make Ms Kelly's life interesting. ...
5:50 pm

Congratulations to our local MPs

Gravatar Congratulations to our two Kingston MPs on their new posts in the Liberal Democrats Shadow Cabinet. Nick Clegg has appointed Edward Davey as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,. He also retains his position as Chair of Campaigns and Communications. Susan Kramer is now our Families spokesperson, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and for...
5:41 pm

Brian who?

Gravatar As you may or may not have guessed from my earlier postings. I have not bought into the whole Brian Eno 'yoof' adviser appointment thing. However,judging by some of the comments I have been receiving I think people have got the wrong end of the stick about what I am trying to say. So, let me try saying it once again. I am not knocking the fact that Brian Eno is 'phenomenally well-connected and respected". And, my thanks to Ros Scott (obviously a big Brian Eno fan) for informing me that 'He has campaigned extensively against the Iraq war, global ...
5:38 pm

Inside the People’s Republic…

Gravatar Little did the Quaequam Empire know that when it loftily issued this meme this morning that it would quickly be challenged with a number of other memes from various rogue states and be forced, in all grinchy conscience, to abide by them. I’m quite smug about this desktop one. My desktop has the impersonal clutter-free air of a [...]
5:35 pm

NHS Choose and Book website still doesn't work

Gravatar ... after nearly 18 months of it being noticed and raised as an issue at our local Linux User Group, and numerous complaints since it still doesn't work in anything apart from internet explorer. ( Read and post comments | Send to a friend
5:22 pm

Shadow Cabinet reshuffle

Gravatar I'm enjoying my birthday today! So - in place of a proper blog entry, here's the news release about my new Shadow Cabinet job: Hornsey & Wood Green MP, Lynne Featherstone, has today been appointed as Lib Dem Youth and Equalities Spokesperson in Nick Clegg’s Shadow Cabinet. The newly upgraded Shadow Cabinet post is part of the new leader’s drive to move away from the ‘broken politics of Westminster’ and to reconnect the party with issues of genuine concern to ordinary people. Lynne Featherstone MP comments: “Now more than ever do young people and those who face discrimination need a ...
5:06 pm

All to easy to get impermissable with donations

Gravatar Laughing at the Tory problems with ‘donations’ in Whitney is OK ( and the cause of the Tory upset was, it seems, accepting money from a long-time overseas resident who hasn’t been on the UK Electoral Register for yonks. So fair cop). But we do need the proverbial eternal vigilance in our own backyard. The rules can be diabolically complex. Take for example the events in the local association of ‘an MP’. A personal and professional friend of the MP made a substantial donation paid monthly by standing order and this continued happily for some years, all properly accounted for. ...
4:03 pm

All change please

Gravatar Having just checked out Nick Clegg’s new shadow cabinet I was delighted to see that Jeremy Browne has been appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Congratulations Jeremy!
4:03 pm

Don's desktop

Gravatar Signor Graham so pleased by advert for 'hot-gossips' contest, he tag me in diary-game. I regret humble interweb skills not up to taking picture of whole desktop. Besides little worried old-Don Campbell might recognise leather-embossed olive-wood item that appear suddenly in Liberali family home-office yesterday. Not sure why there list of Capos in drawer either with word Bastardos at the top. Still able to share picture I use as backdrop on iMac, it snapshot Capo Davey send me from his holiday in New York last year. He most upset, says his sympathetic attempts to dress like locals not go down ...
3:55 pm

The New Shadow Cabinet - The Scottish Perspective

Gravatar Just had a quick scan through the new Clegg Shadow Cabinet and it is a mixed bag for the Scottish Lib Dem MPs. For starters making room for Ed Davey as Shadow Foreign secretary is Michael Moore, who has been demoted within the same remit to Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Ouch! Sorry giving him a change or field rather than sitting behind Ed would have been kinder.
3:53 pm

The Spin From The Back Seat

Gravatar In our twenty-four hour, multimedia, wi-fi, world, there can be few places where one doesn’t expect to find political propaganda. On the bus to work is, however, one place you might feel reasonably safe. My bus this morning proved otherwise, however. At some point in its life, it had been done up to signify some anniversary of the company, and in amongst the posters going on about trolley-buses
3:47 pm

You see things can change - YES an' walls can come tumbling down!

Gravatar Sticking with the music and politics them. In Yesterday's Evening Standard Anne McElvoy said that Nick Clegg is a member of the Jam Generation. More at home with Paul Weller than Joni Mitchell. So here is Walls Come Tumbling Down by Style Council (Weller's band after The Jam) live at Live Aid. Nick may find some of the lyrics helpful! You don't have to take this crap You don't have to sit back
3:42 pm

Wake up and smell the coffee

Gravatar In his acceptance speech Nick Clegg said; "our politics is broken,out of touch with people, out of touch with the modern world". I totally agree Nick but have you lost your senses? I can see no logic in appointing an ageing pop star to be 'yoof' adviser? Hardly,putting us back in touch with the modern world is it? One way to do just that may be to appoint a 'Social Media' adviser. Why social media? Well, quite simply social media is now much more than a cool way to catch up with old friends and with 250,000 new users joining ...
3:19 pm

A strong team astrologically

Gravatar Just had a look at the new team - Our leader and Home Affairs spokesperson are both cardinal signs (people that naturally lead from the front). One leads from the head (Capricorn) and one from the heart (Cancer) - what a great combination. Our Deputy and Finance person is a Taurean - solid, dependable and [...]
3:04 pm

Nick Clegg names his Shadow Cabinet

Gravatar The new Shadow Cabinet is as follows: Leader NICK CLEGG Deputy Leader Vince Cable Chief Whip Paul Burstow The economy and business - VINCE CABLE - Shadow Chancellor Jeremy Browne - Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Sarah Teather - Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Home Affairs - CHRIS HUHNE - Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department David Heath Shadow - Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor The Rt Hon the Lord Thomas - Shadow Attorney General David Howarth - Shadow Solicitor General International affairs - ED DAVEY - Shadow Secretary ...
2:58 pm

Great role for Chris Huhne

Gravatar There has been much speculation about what would happen to Chris Huhne in the new Shadow Cabinet. I think the Home Affairs brief is an excellent one for him. I look forward to seeing his "sharp elbows" in practise in this key and high-profile area! I think it is right that Vince Cable has been left in the Treasury role, given his recent excellent performances. I don't think the deputy leader
2:55 pm

Blogger Desktops

Gravatar Shane Greer has asked me to reveal my desktop to the world, so here goes (click to enlarge): I tag: Will Howells Richard Holloway James Graham A Very British Dude Maggie Bob 
2:48 pm

Clegg shadow Cabinet

Gravatar Leader NICK CLEGG Deputy Leader Vince Cable Chief Whip Paul Burstow The economy and business VINCE CABLE Shadow Chancellor Jeremy Browne Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Sarah Teather Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Home Affairs CHRIS HUHNE Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department David Heath Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
2:47 pm

Steve Webb given environment role

Gravatar Congratulations to Sandwell-born Steve Webb MP, who takes up the role of environment spokesperson on Nick Clegg’s front bench. Steve worked tirelessly on the manifesto-that-never-was throughout this year and thoroughly deserves this opportunity. His plain-speaking style has won him many fans in the party and I think he’ll take to this role like a duck to water. Good luck, Steve!
2:39 pm

Clegg keeps Compo!

Gravatar Well, well, well. This is pretty good. As Shadow Cabinets go, I'm quite impressed. With Vince to act as Compo to our Clegg, all is right in the world. I'm glad to see Sarah Teather on Business. I'm glad to see Norman Baker at Transport - it needs our fully paid up member of the awkward squad to get on to that brief. Steve Webb on Environment is an excellent choice too. But then Steve Webb is an excellent choice anywhere. Nick now has to get this lot working together as a team. I think he will, and it's obvious ...
2:39 pm

It's the idiot drivers who turn to talk to their passengers that I worry about

Gravatar Evidence has been produced today to show that drivers using hands free mobile phone in cars are as dangerous as drunk drivers. That may be the case, but there has to be a sensible place to draw the line. using a hand held mobile phone is quite rightly, in my opinion, banned. I think everyone can agree that having a hand way from the job of driving the vehicle cannot help road safety. But there are so many other things that make driving dangerous. When I worked for an insurance company in Norwich (work it out) the figures showed at ...
1:33 pm

Clegg’s new Shadow Cabinet

Gravatar Leader Nick Clegg Deputy Leader Vince Cable (unchanged) Chief Whip Paul Burstow (unchanged) The economy and business VINCE CABLE (unchanged) Shadow Chancellor Jeremy Browne (was Julia Goldsworthy) Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Sarah Teather (was Lembit Opik) Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Home Affairs CHRIS HUHNE (was Nick Clegg) Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department David Heath (unchanged) Shadow Secretary of State for Justice [...]
1:27 pm

Home Affairs for Huhne

Gravatar Chris Huhne has won a big promotion to the key role of Home Affairs spokesman in the first wave of announcements from Nick Clegg. But perhaps the bigger surprise is the announcement that Ed Davey will take over at as shadow Foreign Secretary. No surprises at the treasury, where Vince Cable returns with enhanced prestige after his successful spell as Acting Leader (or should that be Dancing Leader?).
1:10 pm

Desperate Dan certificate of achievement

Gravatar Last night I went to the Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory in Tipton with Claire, Mike, Daniel, Tom and Caroline. I had never been before and would certainly recommend a visit. I had the 4lb Desparate Dan Cow Pie and as a result got my very own certificate of achievement.
1:04 pm

Exciting news - even more gossip awards!

Gravatar Well seem "No men by 2010" really start something with great idea to schism annual Diary Control awards. Now other important sub-committees of Liberali Family internal power-structure want to get in on act with own competitions. Cowley Printworks is buzzing with rumours we soon to have awards ceremonies for: Best gossip by an asylum seeker, hosted by "Liberali for less Sicilians" Queenie bitch of the year award, hosted by "Liberali Gay Mafia" Best gossip by student with nothing better to do that write diary all day while pretending to study, and whining about debt before blowing loan on cyber-sex in ...
12:52 pm

Please help Mahmoud Salehi

Gravatar Jailed Iranian Trade Unionist and human rights campaign, Mahmoud Salehi, whom Amnesty International believes is a prisoner of conscience, has long-term medical concerns. A request by his doctor in May 2007 that he be accorded specialist treatment outside the prison has been ignored. He suffers from chronic kidney disease, for which he requires dialysis. He is also said to suffer from a heart disorder. This month it was reported that Salehi has grave intestinal edema or swelling that may be connected with his renal disease. "Our father has committed no "crime" other than defending the rights of the working class ...
12:24 pm

Giuliani tied for lead, whilst Clinton continues at the top

Gravatar The latest sets of polls for the American presidential election have been released, and show that Rudy Giuliani’s once dominate position in the Republican nomination race has (at least for now) come to an end. The former mayor is now tied on 20 per cent with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Third place is currently held by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who on 17 % is enjoying the high media exposure he has received over the last month, whilst 4th is held by Senator John McCain (on 14 per cent) and 5th Tennessee senator Fred Thompson (whose campaign has ...
12:15 pm

Brain One installed in Lib Dem head

Gravatar The news yesterday that Brain One has been appointed an advisor by Nick Clegg is welcome. The Cowley Street Bedouin (please change that blog name) completely misses the point, but that is not surprising if all you know about Brian is his Roxy Music days and his ambient music. Of course Brian created the Microsoft Sound also the Bedouin's comments about CD's... well yes that is why Brian has been
12:01 pm

Congestion Charge debate moves on

Gravatar I have the following letter published in this week’s Bury Times and Prestwich & Whitefield Guide.   BURY’S decision to say no’ to the proposed congestion charge is a much needed ‘nail in the coffin’ for the proposal to make us pay to make local journeys, but it should not be the end to the discussion on public transport. To make local people pay a charge to drive between Whitefield and Prestwich is quite clearly wrong, and another example of this government trying to impose unpopular measures on the people of Greater Manchester. But the need for improved public transport ...
12:00 pm

Archbishop and Moderators Son Back Clegg on Religion Answer

Gravatar "It matters less to me than to know they are honest and reliable and that what beliefs they have they hold sincerely" So said Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury on Nick Clegg's one word answer to the question in a Radio 5 interview about whether he believed in God. For the record the word was no. And OK I'll admit the son is not that of the current Moderator of the Church of Scotland
11:32 am


Gravatar Last night, the LibDem young professionals’ discussion and social group, CONNECT, held its Christmas dinner at Thai Square, just off Trafalgar Square. (Party members interested in being involved in CONNECT can get in touch by doing a search on Facebook.) As several of its core members — not least Rab Makki, from Channel 4 — were [...]
11:25 am

The Oldest Monarch

Gravatar Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (or "Madge" to her friends, in homage to her favourite character from a popular daytime soap), today becomes the oldest monarch the UK has ever had. The Onion takes a look at one of her greatest achievements:
11:17 am

New Leader - for a New Liberal Britain

Gravatar Nick Clegg is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Sheffield MP, Nick Clegg, pictured above with Glyn Nightingale and fellow Councillor, Chris Abbott, was the favourite to win and was widely supported by local Liberal Democrats, including all three Ormesby & Nunthorpe Councillors. His victory marks a new beginning for the Lib Dems and for achieving a new Liberal Britain. Here's his acceptance speech in full - "My election as leader of this party marks a new beginning. Today is about two things: ambition, and change. Renewed ambition for the Liberal Democrats. Renewed ambition to reach out to the ...
11:15 am

Ward Work Update

Gravatar Christmas is nearly upon us, and resultantly every minute spent in work as opposed to gallivanting around town wearing Santa hats seems to take fifteen times as long as normal.   Still, there’s time for casework, and there have been a few successes and a frustration with ward work in the last couple of days:   The Prestwich Pensioner’s Club approached me with a query about their Council Tax liability the other day. They will have a more peaceful Christmas after I liaised with the Council’s finance staff to ensure that they were granted the necessary exemptions that they are entitled ...
11:11 am

Who is best looking gossip in Family?

Gravatar In brave new world of change Family now going through the "No men by 2010" sub-committee of the Committee for Diary Control, have great idea. Today they launch competition to address problem of unfair perception that most Liberali diarists extremely unattractive. To help the 'No men' team with their work. They like you to nominate in the following categoriesHottest Liberali gossip that not Signor 'shorty' Tall or any other manBest bit of gossip by a Liberali that make you all hot and bothered under collar (no men or elephants)Hottest gossip outside Liberali Family, although this might already be won. Again ...
11:06 am

Clegg to unveil Lib Dem shadow cabinet today

Gravatar New Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is expected to announce later today who will get which post in the party’s shadow cabinet. The Guardian speculates here about some of the likely winners from the shake-up.
10:59 am

The Bloggers and Nick: Decision, Diversity, Doughnuts

Gravatar It’s not every day that you’re both anointed and kicked up the arse, then have to go round looking happy to talk to the world and her wife about it, but it definitely suited Nick Clegg. In his second bloggers’ interview, he was transformed: from candidate to Leader; from wary to incisive; from contemplative to energised. He’d been impressive the first time, but, perhaps aided by a strict time limit between media interviews, or perhaps just galvanised by getting the top job and the shock of so very nearly not getting it, his answers were shorter, sharper and more driven. ...
10:39 am

Don Clegg not a Catholic

Gravatar So Don Clegg not a Catholic, this no big deal, even for man like me who like to spend more time in confession box than on witness stand. Last Don we have little too close to God for taste of Family, one before had habit of telling us he'd spoken to supreme being directly after visions accompanied by strange headaches the next day, and Don Ashdown thought he was God. This switch to atheism may be refreshing change. And besides Signora Clegg still bringing up Clegg bambinos in right way, so I still send Clegg family Christmas card with nice ...
10:32 am

Welsh Liberal Democrats appoint new Chief Executive

Gravatar The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced that Joanne Foster is to be their new Chief Executive . Ms Foster, 27, will take over the role early next year and become the first female Chief Executive of any state Liberal Democrat party. She takes over from Stephen Smith, who left earlier in the year. She said: “This is a challenging role and I am looking forward to getting started. The party is in a period of change at the top, and with a new UK leader taking office, a new President in Wales, and I am delighted to be a part ...
10:23 am

A real chance for real change

Gravatar I am of course delighted that Nick Clegg has won the race to be our next Leader - obviously I’d rather it hadn’t been quite so close (if the contest had lasted another week, I think it’s pretty clear that Chris would have won it), but as Dubya has shown us, an extremely tight victory doesn’t necessarily have to detract much from strong leadership (though I hope and trust Nick’s leadership will be rather more intelligently directed than Bush’s!) But it isn’t just that I’m glad the distractions of the internal contest are now over, and I’m glad my guy ...
10:23 am

Opinion: Why Labour can’t square the circle in Basra

Gravatar Bob Ainsworth the defence minister had a torrid time on The Today Programme this week. He tried to persuade us that the British troops leaving Iraq today was a “success story”. John Humphreys put to him a quote from the police commander that “They have left me militias, they have left me gangsters, they have [...]
10:19 am

Happy Christmas - Today's New Crimes

Gravatar Press Notice from the Labour Party: (Note to self not for publication, everyone, well everyone that votes and matters, will be too busy at Christmas Parties getting drunk to notice) New Year Resolutions: To make paying for sex illegal that'll take care of the oldest profession. (side margin) Aye Right! To fill up our overcrowded prisions with people using mobile phones while driving even if
10:13 am

One for Private Eye

Gravatar This story of a failed burgler certainly brightened my day. I think it is the last lines that make the story: "As prosecutor Peter Bardsley outlined the case, one probation officer had to leave the courtroom because she was laughing so much. Defending, John Lee said: "This has all been the cause of great embarrassment for him. He is remorseful, ashamed and has moderated his drinking. "He does not want to end up as the Grim Reaper again."
10:08 am

Frankfurt Market not the real pull

Gravatar It’s interesting to read of the record number of visitors to Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market this year. But the real star attraction is the English craft market on Chamberlain Square (in front of the library) Most people wouldn’t realise they had walked between the two, but the goods on offer at the craft market are far more interesting. If you have a chance before this weekend, stop by the Orchard Pig stall for some mulled cider or mulled apple juice (for once an advertising slogan - hot apple pie in a cup - sums up a product perfectly!)
9:59 am

Advice for Nick Clegg

Gravatar I supported Nick Clegg in the leadership election and am delighted he won. I wouldn't dream of offering advice myself (well, not yet anyway). But I spotted this advice for Nick (or for his oppenents) in Matthew Parris's column in the Times Were I a Lib-Dem I'd back Nick Clegg all the way. Cameron Conservatives are not as secure in their new 21st-century home as many assume, and I think Mr Clegg a potentially corner-turning leader for Liberal Democracy, a man of depth and calibre. But I think he needs a big, horrible fright in his life, and a vicious ...
9:58 am

Women's blogs which I like

Gravatar The Gender Balance website is today launching an award to encourage women bloggers. I am all for this. There is nothing worse than inhabiting a blogosphere that often consists mainly of blokes. You miss a lot. Fortunately, we have numerous stars in the LibDem blogospheric diaspora who are women. Three which immediately spring to mind as being very worthy of nomination for the award are:
9:27 am

A Failed Government

Gravatar In Nick Clegg's YouTube video he pointed out the "decade of failure" of the Labour government. But the failures of our society, the binge drinking, the drug problem, the obesity epidemic, failing schools, the violent crime amongst young, mainly, men, the failing NHS. All this is the inexorable outcome of the systems we have in place now. If we want to change these outcomes/outputs of the bureaucratic systems that produce them, then a Liberal Democrat government must undertake a pacific revolution of all the government institutions itself. We must re-design and restructure our systems of government and departments and ministries ...
9:12 am

Monday to Thursday!

Gravatar It has been an exceptionally busy week … on Monday, had a very useful and constructive meeting with Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland, about a variety of local and regional issues. Also met with representatives from NCR and, apart from an administration group meeting on budget matters, the City Council’s Development Quality Committee met for some four hours in the evening, including debate over a number of highly contentious planning applications. One of the items I spoke on was the decision of the Scottish Government Reporter to uphold an appeal (and quosh enforcement action) against the committee’s decision ...
8:58 am

We've elected a leader, not a bishop or a deejay

Gravatar As a fully paid-up Godsquad member, I am delighted that Nick Clegg has given a straight answer to the question: "Do you believe in God?" ("No"). It is good that he has got some coverage this morning about this, and it is good that the subject has been opened up for debate. He's a party leader, not a bishop. I have often bored people with saying the following. I feel more comfortable with an
8:48 am

Back in Blighty and a brand new blog

Gravatar Well, it’s not actually that new. In fact, it is pretty much identical to the last one, the only difference being the address - I am now hosting this blog myself using rather than on The reason being that I am a bit of a geek and like playing around with techie stuff behind it all. The past posts and comments are here, so if something I wrote amazes you so much you have to read it every day to motivate yourself in the morning, then you can read it here now! Yes, and this afternoon I am ...
7:53 am

Nominations open for Campaign for Gender Balance Blog Awards

Gravatar I was delighted when the Campaign for Gender Balance asked me to help judge the first Gender Balance Blog Awards - and relieved, because the dearth of women blogging about politics has had an uncivilising effect on the internet. Too many established bloggers, unconsciously or otherwise, consider the web a perfectly egalitarian place where women [...]
7:52 am

Ban the ban

Gravatar Just seen a report into mobile phones on BBC Breakfast. The report follows the release of findings by the Transport Research Laboratory that suggest having a phone conversation could be more dangerous than drink-driving. Personaly, I don’t have a problem with not using a mobile phone whilst driving. However, I do have a problem with the introduction of legislation that would effectively ban the use of mobile phones using hands-free kits in a motor vehicle. Of course I accept that in some cases some motorists drive dangerously and in some cases accidents are caused as a result of drivers using ...
7:50 am

Policies of the People Power Party

Gravatar People Power Party  Set aside a budget of 1.5 Trillion Baht to subsidise public infrastructure, irrigation, housing and mass transit projects  Build 10 new electric train routes with a fixed fare of 15 baht for 10 years  Lay standard gauge tracks to link the rails system with that of neighbouring countries  Construct five more roads in Bangkok  Lower bus fares [...]
7:34 am

God and the man

Gravatar So what is this new-found obsession of the British media with the individual religious beliefs of our politicians all about? Let us hope that we do not start going down the American path, where every candidate feels the need to outdo the others in the way that they observe their faith and being a devout Muslim is an electoral liability. God is even used to justify decisions made by those in power, although curiously those who profess to have the Almighty as their guide appear to be the ones most out-of-touch with their electorate. The invasion of Iraq is the ...
7:25 am

Jeremy Browne MP

Gravatar In this weeks column Jeremy Browne talks about Voluntary Work. See if you agree with what he has to say: “I have just attended the final committee meeting for the St Margaret’s Hospice New Build Appeal. Few organisations embody the genuine meaning of Christmas better than St Margaret’s. The volunteers make a generous commitment to help other people. The nursing staff demonstrate real compassion every day for patients in great need of care. St Margaret’s survives and prospers because of the charitable instincts of local people donating both their time and their money. For most of us, Christmas involves giving ...
2:29 am

Energised and optimistic

Gravatar What an incredibly close result!  After much thought, I’d backed Chris, but it was a close decision. I’ve worked closely with both Nick and Chris on a range of issues - with Nick on our crime campaign earlier this year - and with Chris on a range of local issues, as well as packaging, the environment and post offices. I saw them at their first hustings in Newbury. I saw them both in successive weeks at the Winchester and Meon Valley Annual Dinners. I watched almost every appearance on TV. And then I chaired a meeting of them both at ...
2:18 am


Gravatar Another day, another article in the Guardian. This time it's Michael Cockerell, who has written that: Tory electoral prospects could now be in the hands of the Lib Dem's new Davealike leader.Clearly the MSM have already chosen their preferred albatross to hang around our neck, and it is that our new leader is a clone of Dave Cameron. This, it seems, on the back of the following startling
12:25 am

Realpolitik 8: Not the Christmas Special

Gravatar This week's Realpolitik podcast is now available here. In the show: This podcast gets a mention on BBC Radio Five Live’s Pods and Blogs, thanks to Matt Wardman. Nick Clegg is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Is a progressive alliance with the Conservatives in the offing, and what about that god thing? The US Presidential race, Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris. Somehow, our data ends

Previous days:

Wednesday 19th December 2007, Tuesday 18th December 2007, Monday 17th December 2007, Sunday 16th December 2007, Saturday 15th December 2007, Friday 14th December 2007