Sunday 23rd December 2007

11:30 pm

Atheism and politics

Gravatar There’s a certain neatness about the week in which Nick Clegg admits he doesn’t believe in God being the same week that Tony Blair converts to Catholicism. Religion and politics rarely mixes in British politics, and so it is unusual for there to be so much discussion about it. Personally, I cannot understand why someone [...]
9:14 pm

BritBlog Roundup 149

Gravatar This week with Mr Eugenides.
9:13 pm


Gravatar Nick Clegg says education will be a priority for him. He was talking about schools, but he and Stephen Williams would do well to look at what the government is proposing to do to universities. John Denham, The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, has announced that they propose to withdraw funding from higher level students whose current studies are at a level equivalent to or lower than the qualification they already have. In shorthand, the ELQ (Equivalent or Lower Qualification) problem. I have to declare an interest here. I work for the Open University, and that institution ...
7:46 pm

Top of the Blogs: the Golden Dozen #44

Gravatar Welcome to the 44th of our weekly round-ups from the Lib Dem blogosphere, featuring the seven most popular stories according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (16th-22nd December), together with a hand-picked quintet you might otherwise have missed. An end to Lib Dem leadership speculation, at last… Here are the top-rated stories in descending order:
7:09 pm

Christmas lights displays in your garden - Good or Bad ?

Gravatar Are you a fan of Christmas light displays in gardens ? Personally, I love them, although I don't have any lights outside my own house. There used to be two houses in my old council ward in Fakenham that used to leave them up all year (but just not turn them on), which some might see as tacky, but given the massive amount of effort some people go to to make their garden look like Santa's Grotto, I don't blame them. For anyone who like them, or wants to see some examples of truly terrible and tacky Christmas light displays ...
7:04 pm

Council Christmas Contact Details

Gravatar The Council’s normal opening times are 8.45 am until 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Over the Christmas and New Year period the majority of Bury Council’s offices and the Customer Contact helpline will be closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January. The Customer Contact Team will operate as follows. – Monday 24 December Closed – Tuesday 25 December Closed – Wednesday 26 December Closed  – Thursday 27 December Open – Friday 28 December Open – Monday 31 December Closed – Tuesday 1 January Normal business will start again on Wednesday 2 January As always Bury Council Emergency number is ...
7:04 pm

Waitrose, cheese and Christmas

Gravatar In my cheese blog yesterday I did Waitrose a disservice. I didn't spot their deli counter, hidden from me by a minor swarm of connoisseurs. Today I found it and got several varieties of cow cheese and three different varieties of sheep cheese, including a really nice Iskara. Well done, Waitrose. I was quite lucky to find it today as the shop was a scrum. The staff I chatted to said that today was the day the shoppers decided to go berserk. It's been interesting over the last few years watching the game of creditfest chicken between shoppers and retailers, ...
6:59 pm

Children’s Centre - will Salford Labour work with us now for Rainsough?

Gravatar Tuesday night was the Planning Committee’s final decision on the Children’s Centre for our ward at Butterstile School, and I welcome the Planning Committee’s decision to approve planning permission for the Centre. It is great news for the ward and will allow our children and their families to benefit from this new facility. However, the conduct of the Council in this matter has been less than the standard I expect, and unfortunately some residents, particularly on School Grove, rightly feel let down. Because of delays caused by errors in the design and consultation stage, overseen by the Labour-controlled Council pre-May and not ...
6:49 pm

Christmas festivities, and other ward matters

Gravatar I reckon the postings might be a bit sporadic over the next ten days. My usual routine of blogging at lunchtime will have to be postponed because I am on Christmas holidays from work and thus “lunchtime” becomes a fluid concept that can take place any time between 10am and 6pm, and in any place. So apologies. Today I am very tired - last night was a pre-Christmas get-together for my former work colleagues and I, which resulted in an early-hours arrival back in bed, and a fitful night’s sleep. Today has been one of those days seen through a fog of ...
6:40 pm

Nick - if you want to make Education your priority then lets adopt the principle of having as little change as possible

Gravatar Of course Nick Clegg is right to make education an absolute priority for the Lib Dems. Labour talked a lot about education but for some sectors, particularly ages 7-11 and for 16+, Labour has done very little. But Nick does need to beware of promising more change. Education has, in recent years, undergone so many changes that it is very difficult for those working in education to be totally sure if anything that is brought in will last more than two years before it is scrapped and replaced by something else. In the Primary sector at the moment we are ...
4:16 pm

Lessons we don’t need from the imagined future, but are learning anyway

Gravatar A lot of people complain that it’s hard to find old TV programmes, especially ones from the black and white era, being broadcast nowadays. However, I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing, as I’ve just watched the old Twilight Zone episode Number 12 Looks Just Like You and realised that this sort of programme may not need a wider audience. If it was to be broadcast, even on the smallest satellite network, there’s still a risk that a commissioning editor from ITV or Channel 4 could see it and realise that it’s just the idea they need for their ...
3:58 pm

What the Sunday papers say about Nick Clegg

Gravatar Today’s Times and Torygraph both carry generous copious coverage of the Lib Dems following Nick Clegg’s election as leader last Tuesday. The Sunday Times lines up an out-of-her-depth Rosie Millard to quiz Nick - fortunately she quotes Nick extensively, which makes for more interesting reading than her insipid questions. Meanwhile, her ST colleague Simon Jenkins [...]
3:52 pm

Blair, the Pope and the Iraq War

Gravatar I imagine many of us would have liked to be a fly on the wall at Tony Blair’s pre-conversion Confession, not least to know if he now counts the Iraq War amongst his sins. Before the 2003 hostilities, he sought God’s guidance, we are told. Did he receive a message from on high telling him to smite all [...]
3:43 pm

What Labour must to do to win.

Gravatar Gordon Brown has a problem, and that problem is legitimate authority over his party. Suddenly his unthinking appointment is starting to look like Labour’s biggest mistake. It’s not just Labour’s Autumn of Discontent - it’s the fact that Brown quite happily takes credit for the ’successes’ of the previous Government. You know the stuff, it’s how Labour constantly explains how absolutely amazing they are:  Crime is Down, Waiting Lists Are Down, Interest Rates Are Low, Inflation is Slow, The Economy Has Grown For X Quarters In A Row, Spending On Education Up, Spending On Health Up in Real Terms, Child ...
2:26 pm

So how was it for you?

Gravatar Now that the Leadeship Election is over and we begin to scratch our comfort zones... a chance to reflect on what it is like to be on the receiving end of an election campaign. Did loads of leaflets help you make up your mind? Was it a personal insight from a comment by someone you knew? Did the blogs push out your boat? How about the webcasts? Or did a single ten-second taster on TV settle your mind irrevocably? We are usually in the position of dishing all this out. Maybe we (the lucky people not actually on one or ...
2:18 pm

Today's favourite comment found on Wikipedia

Gravatar what is this Guardian Unlimited, is it a reliable UK source? Ctjf83 talk 20:07, 21 December 2007 (UTC)From guess they didn't look at :-)
1:49 pm

FBI's 'body identity' plan - 23 Dec 07

Gravatar from Aljazeera tv
1:48 pm

To think Bryan Ferry got in trouble for saying he liked the imagery of Nazi art !

Gravatar Remember a few weeks ago the furore because Bryan Ferry said their was something rather beautiful about some of the imagery of the art produced in the Nazi period. Heaven knows what the press will make of this comment from the actor Will Smith.
1:43 pm

I'm Spartacus !

Gravatar This will mean nothing to you at all if you have not seen the film "Spartacus", and in particular the last two minutes of the film. However, if there is a government department that has not yet put its hand up to losing personal confidential data, could they do so now.
1:12 pm

Football Stadia Tour 5: McDiarmid Park

Gravatar After a week of freezing fog i the central belt some Livi fans were recollecting a previous trip to McDiarmid Park when the game was abandoned in the 80th minute after fog made it impossible for play to continue. We were glad when we arrived that although the car park was frosty that the lights in the houses on the hill to the south were still clearly visible. Location The only league side in
1:10 pm

A different take on Nick Clegg’s election

Gravatar  Somebody mentioned this to me as a different and interesting take on Nick Clegg’s election as Liberal Democrat leader: The Tories, for years, have wanted their own Tony Blair and so elected David Cameron; In turn the Liberal Democrats wanted their own David Cameron and so elected Nick Clegg; And in their own turn, at some point in the [...]
12:05 pm

Labour’s swing to puritanism

Gravatar Since the departure of Blair the most noticeable change in the nature of policy statements and proposals have been on the classic battlegrounds of social liberalism versus social conservatism. First we had the U-turn on Super Casinos. Then we had the proposals to re-reclassify Cannabis. We now have a suggestion to reverse the liberalisation of the [...]
12:05 pm

Clegg Q+A in the People

Gravatar Since everyone has picked up on the Times and Telegraph already I thought I would point out a nice simple little Q+A in the People (note I scan the on-line site not buy the paper). The questions are intelligent and the answers largely to the point. The Christmas presents will make you laugh.
11:47 am

The Jam: Tales from the Riverbank

Gravatar A terrific live version. Not to be confused with the Watch with Mother series of the same name.
11:42 am

Essex Enquirer Story into Essex Childrens Services

Gravatar The following story has just been published by the Essex Enquirer. They publish on the net using PDF so I have extracted the text: IT’S USED up more than £90m per year for the last four years and has the power to save children’s lives or ruin families for ever. It has overseen the adoption of about 450 youngsters since 2002 and investigated the home lives of 8,000 more. And it employs more
11:28 am

Sunday Times on Clegg - delivering leaflets is a better option

Gravatar There's a lot about Nick Clegg in the Sunday Times, as well as the Telegraph. A huge interview write-up from Rosie Millard and a long article from Simon Jenkins. They look rather disparaging so I can't be bothered to read them - I'm going to deliver some leaflets!
11:28 am

Telegraph Cleggfest - is this what going "outside our comfort zone" means?

Gravatar The Sunday Telegraph is full to bursting with Nick Clegg: It has a leader article entitled: "Nick Clegg and David Cameron lead the pack" which hints at a "new consensus": The election of Nick Clegg as leader of the Liberal Democrats suggests that the beginnings of a new consensus may be forming in British politics. Mr Clegg evidently shares more than just his mannerisms and fresh-faced
11:27 am

One is on You Tube

Gravatar The Royal Family has launched its own YouTube channel. It doesn't allow you to embed videos. Spoil sports. For many years I have wanted to watch old Queen's Christmas broadcasts on demand. Heaven, I'm in heaven....
11:00 am

Day 2545: Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady…

Gravatar Thursday: Continuing his efforts to be GENDER BALANCE to the FORCE by eliminating all of the Jedi… er… Mr James "Anakin" Graham has tagged me with an MEME. Mr Anakin also expresses some DOUBT as to MY fluffy gender. Honestly, young master padwan: James Bond, DVDs and Cars – how many CLUES do you NEED!?!?!? It says here that I have to encourage everyone to go and nonimate bloggers on the Gender Balance Awards page. GO! Nonimate! Right, done that. Now I have to nonimate three lady bloggers myself. Well THAT is EASY – how can I nonimate anyone OTHER ...
10:25 am

The Milford Track

Gravatar The first half of this week I was walking the Milford Track. You'll probably be able to spot straight away that I didn't buy a digital camera before I left in the end - these are just more blurry photos taken on my phone. My mate who I'm travelling with has a proper camera, so we are getting plenty of decent shots too, which might get posted on here when I'm back. The top photo is the view from our room at the backpackers in Te Anau Downs, the night before we started the walk. The backpackers used to be ...
10:25 am

Two tribes go to war

Gravatar The tit-for-tat sleaze-fest that is continuing to develop over individual donations to Labour and the Conservatives is threatening to once more bring politics into disrepute. After seeking to capitalise on Labour's problems, the Tory leader faced some embarrassment after it emerged that his local party received £7,000 in invalid donations. This now looks like it will escalate into a full blown war as Labour MP Kevan Jones, writes to the Electoral Commission to request more information regarding a £500,000 donation from the son of a controversial Guernsey-based donor. Like the Standards Board before it, the Commission is in danger of ...
10:10 am

What sort of Christmas message is this?

Gravatar According to statistics just released, the UK is now a more Catholic country than an Anglican one. It's not conversions like Anne Widdecombe's or Tony Blair's which has tipped the balance, but the high proportion of church-goers among the people from Poland who have come here to work. This sense of Christian solidarity does not extend to the authorities, who are quite prepared to force the Williams family of Swansea to return to virtually certain violent recrimination in Pakistan, because of their faith. The episode illustrates the inhuman inconsistency in Britain's immigration policy. The Home department has targets of repatriation ...
10:00 am

Nick Clegg

Gravatar Just thought I should make a quick comment on Nick Clegg's election as leader. A very quick one, as it's not news any more and I haven't got much time. Congratulations to Nick. As I'd said before, he is the right person to take the party forward. He's assembled an excellent front bench team as well - all in all, there is plenty of reason to feel very positive about the party. Talking about slightly old news, to all those people who asked me about the Gisborne earthquake: I was a long, long way away from Gisborne. But thanks.
9:53 am

How powerful a campaigning tool is Facebook?

Gravatar Pretty powerful, at least in Canada it seems.
9:48 am

Nestle sales to tumble?

Gravatar I got a bit excited in a shop at Franz Josef yesterday... I saw these! For someone who has been boycotting all Nestle products for more than 10 years but hasn't yet stopped missing Smarties, this is what I've been waiting for. I don't know if they're 'new' or not, as Cadburys do have a different range here in NZ to the UK. For example, there best seller is the Moro - like a Mars bar - which they don't make back home as they couldn't compete with Mars. Hopefully they'll take on Nestle in the UK though... The Pebbles ...
8:20 am

Christmas greetings

Gravatar I won't be blogging much this week, so I'd like to wish everyone a very happy and stressfree Christmas.
8:00 am

What will happen?

Gravatar Thailand goes to the polls today and indeed as this post goes up it will be about 3pm Bangkok time.  So what will the outcome be?  The two largest parties will be the PPP and the Democrats.  The key question will be whether or not on of those parties manages to get over half the seats.  [...]
7:53 am

Policies of the Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana Party

Gravatar Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana Party  Boost GDP by 5% per annum and keep inflation at 3%  Lower personal income tax, increase deductible expenses and waive income tax for the first 240,000 to 280,000 of net income  Exempt SME’s from taxes for the first five years of operations  Raise the village fund to 2 million Baht  Solve debt problems for [...]
12:37 am

Martin Luther King, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

Gravatar The exact same thing could be said about Iraq today
12:32 am

Daily Mail journalist wins Idiot of the Year

Gravatar Good will to all men and that, but there are limits. An anonymous Daily Mail journalist is really very stupid indeed. The Daily Mail has a report on Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for new talent to act in his revival of Oliver! He is looking for a woman to play Nancy and three boys to play Oliver Twist and will recruit them via a television show run along the lines of Any Dream Will Do. The Mail then goes to tell us: Dickens's second novel, Oliver Twist, was published in monthly instalments between 1923 and 1939.It seems that everything the ...
12:25 am

'The Pavement' on Mill Lane

Gravatar Some roads you think you know so well and then 'bingo' you notice a feature for the first time. Yesterday was one of those. I have been up and down, onto and across Mill Lane, West Hampstead, more often than I can remember and yet I had never noticed this sign that identified 'The Pavement 1888'. Now of course, this range of shops running from 41-83 Mill Lane on the North side are a great little run - inlcuding the famous Mill Lane Post Office. So a bit of digging in the books at home and the best insights I ...

Previous days:

Saturday 22nd December 2007, Friday 21st December 2007, Thursday 20th December 2007, Wednesday 19th December 2007, Tuesday 18th December 2007, Monday 17th December 2007