Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness R Thaler, C Sunstein. Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-12223-7 I'm going to be honest. It doesn't come easily (I'm involved in politics, afterall), but i'm going to come out straight with it: I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted to write a clear, fluid review ...

European officials probably thought that no-one would take much notice when they signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a controversial international treaty on intellectual property rights. Two months later, mass protests have erupted in cities all across Europe against the ... Continue reading →

Posted by paulhaydon on Eurology
Tue 14th

Job Vacancy

Durham County Council are seeking a school crossing patrol person for children attending Consett Nursery and Junior Schools. Location:Ashdale Road/Beechdale Road, Consett Salary:£6.38 per hour. Contract:Hourly Paid. Not open to Job Share. Hours:8 hours 20 minutes hours per week. Reference:NS/12/12 For further details use this link:

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple

This morning, I had a very productive meeting with the Tullideph sheltered housing tenants at the sheltered lounge (see right). We discussed numerous local issues included safety on the pathway from Logie Street to Tullideph Street/Tullideph Place, local bus services and graffiti. This afternoon, I had a similar and equally useful meeting with the sheltered tenants of Ancrum Place and Morven Terrace. Issues discussed included pavement repairs that are needed, grass/flower bed maintenance in the area and kitchen/bathroom upgrades. I have raised all issues mentioned with appropriate council officers. After a meeting with constituents at teatime, I attended tonight's West ...

In today's Guardian, Adam Price calls on the "dismal" European left to learn from its American counterpart. According to Price, "the real secret to progressive success" is the wisdom of Professor Marshall Ganz, of the Hauser Centre at Harvard. Price calls Ganz "the Mark Zuckerberg of activism" and says: At the core of his teaching is the idea that leaders must build a public narrative explaining their calling, a sort of progressive elevator pitch in three parts: why they feel called to act (story of self), how this act relates to the audience (story of us) and what urgent challenge ...

Posted on

Today was a good day for me .... I went to my GP, she told me that the rather worrying lump on my calf was probably just a sebaceous cyst, and arranged an ultrascan to check. Last night wasn't quite so good for a while , because I found the lump and was somewhat concerned as to what it might be. After a while I tried gently squeezing it and it went away, which made me think that I had just

Posted by Chris Black on Moonlight Over Essex
Tue 14th

Zani's Desires and Love

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has yet to achieve its goal of joining the European Union, but this evening it got a symbolic foot through the door of Europe House — headquarters of both the European Commission representation and the European Parliament in London — with the opening of an exhibition of work by ...

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

Courtesy of a Parliamentary Question, the regional distribution of Civil Service employment has been brought to my attention. And the data is quite interesting. As at 31 March 2011, the headcount for the Civil Service was as follows; England 404,043Scotland 48,832Wales 33,299Northern Ireland 4,355* * Northern Ireland has its own Civil Service, and so it is rather difficult to do a reasonable comparison. So, how does this compare to population? England has one civil servant per 129 head of population, Scotland has one per 107 and Wales has one per 90. Naturally, there are reasons for the discrepancies. As a ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

Just been watching the Special Features on the new disc of The Three Doctors which arrived (inna box with Robots of Death and TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN WOOHOO) this morning. There was a cool thing where several people (gender balanced!) argued against some of the lazy fictions peddled about old Who. One of these people was the utterly lovely Joe Lidster, who managed to get an SJA plug in and everything (props for that, Mr L). But the best thing on it was an extended interview/chat between Caroline John, Katy Manning and Louise Jameson about what it was like being ...

Lewisham Council is reviewing its housing allocations scheme and developing its Strategic Policy on Tenancies and is asking for views on the proposed changes. The consultations run from now until 29 February 2012 and are open to all. To take part go to

Posted by Alex Feakes on Up in Forest Hill

The Safer Lewisham Partnership are currently undertaking its annual review of the Designated Public Place Order. The Order gives the police extra powers to address alcohol related anti-social behaviour and disorder, and will influence things like alcohol control zones. You can feed in your views to the consultation here: Alternatively, if you'd rather not ...

Posted by Alex Feakes on Up in Forest Hill

Details of this planning application can be found by following this link: The case officer is Stephanie Gardiner - please email comments and objections to her at, and don't forget to copy us in at

Posted by Alex Feakes on Up in Forest Hill

Every party has a number of smaller factions within itself - with members aiming to influence the policy and direction of the party as a whole. And so it is with us in the Liberal Democrats. This week saw the launch of Liberal Left to the excitement of some in the media for its anti-coalition line. We have all heard of the 'orange book-ers', we have the Social and Liberal Forum, and this week I received an email from Liberal Reform. Such groups are to be welcomed as it encourages internal debate and discussion about the future of our party ...

Posted by Keith Nevols on Keith Nevols

Councillors were treated to an upbeat and enthusiastic briefing this afternoon on the events in the borough associated with the olympics. It was almost enough to inspire me to take up a new sport - almost but not quite! Those who know me of old will know that sport and me don't mix. Nevertheless I might well be inspired to go and watch other people taking part. There are rowing and cycling

Posted by Maureen Rigg on Maureen Rigg's Blog

Free-range Kids send us to a piece in the Post-Star from Glen Falls, New York, by that paper's editor Ken Tingley. He reports the decision of the Warrensburg Central School District not to allow the use of one of its schools for a primary election in April. This, says Tingley, is because board members thought it would be "too dangerous": Of the seven members on the school board, not one even cleared their throat to say this is all just a bit silly. Voting at local schools and firehouses is a tradition that goes back generations. I can't remember the ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

I'm not sure the adjective shambolic really characterises the state that Wirral Borough Council (WBC) now finds itself in, open ...Continue reading »

In my day job yesterday I wrote a short news story for our website about a proposal for a new 'free school' aimed at boys aged 11 to 16 who have taken ballet classes while at primary school and want to continue dancing in their teens. You will see my story owes an indecent amount to the original BBC News report that it links to. I wrote this up because it was a nice anti-stereotype story (I know what my readers like) and because I thought I had just the right person to comment on it. But it also set ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

As you will be aware that Cambridgeshire County Councillor last year voted (largely through a Conservative majority) to give it's County Councillors the *option* of claiming a 25% rise in allowances (from 7,600 to 10,000). After Full Council had approved the raise it was placed in the awkward position of having it's decision nullified by the fact that the independent remuneration panel was appointed without any reference to the Standards Body. The Conservatives seem to have learnt from this mistake and have now appointed a panel following the "correct" process. In my view the aim of this new panel is ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on King's Hedges

[IMG: Councillor Andy Pellew] As you will be aware that Cambridgeshire County Councillor last year voted (largely through a Conservative majority) to give it's County Councillors the *option* of claiming a 25% rise in allowances (from 7,600 to 10,000). After Full Council had approved the raise it was placed in the awkward position of having it's decision nullified by the fact that the independent remuneration panel was appointed without any reference to the Standards Body.The Conservatives seem to have learnt from this mistake and have now appointed a panel following the "correct" process.In my view the aim of this new ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Posts of Blog

As you will be aware that Cambridgeshire County Councillor last year voted (largely through a Conservative majority) to give it's County Councillors the *option* of claiming a 25% rise in allowances (from 7,600 to 10,000). After Full Council had approved the raise it was placed in the awkward position of having it's decision nullified by the fact that the independent remuneration panel was appointed without any reference to the Standards Body. The Conservatives seem to have learnt from this mistake and have now appointed a panel following the "correct" process. In my view the aim of this new panel is ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

Local LIB DEM ward councillor for South Werrington and North Gunthorpe, Cllr Darren Fower, has said the Tory controlled councils plans relating to affordable housing are impracticable! Despite thousands of local residents in need of housing – even if you subtract those on the waiting list who have recently arrived in the city – the Council have responded via their budget document (P18) by stating they will only spend £16m on affordable housing over next 5 years!, so if each home cost an average of £80k, then that's a mere 40 additional homes a year!!! Commenting, Cllr Fower said: "Under ...

Posted by admin on Darren Fower

Over at The Spectator, Jonathan Jones looks at the US and UK approaches to their forthcoming budgets — cutting the deficit, taming debt, etc — and his fourth and final point concludes: Obama the Lib Dem. It's striking how similar Obama's tax priorities are to those of the Liberal Democrats, even though the specifics differ either side of the Atlantic. Obama wants to extend the payroll tax cut for '160 million hardworking Americans', which he says is worth 'about $40 in every paycheck' for 'the typical family earning $50,000 a year'. The Lib Dems have been pushing to raise the ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

The TES published an article — Maths – Put the brakes on — which has attracted a great deal of opprobrium in the last 24 hours for appearing to show a lack of aspiration in the state sector for children to excel. The author, Jonny Griffiths, is a current maths teacher. Here's an extract which gives you a flavour of the piece: "Pleased with your C3 score, Michael?" I asked. "No," he said. "I only just got an A." Now Michael is staying behind after college to seek my reassurance. "It's just that I keep making silly mistakes," he pleads. ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on

There was drama and excitement last night as Cllr Foulkes tried to persuade the Tory and Lib Dem councillors to let him stay on as Leader of Wirral Council. A debate on the HESPE report and AKA report was adjourned partly due to the HESPE report not being ready (despite an earlier assurance it would ...

Tue 14th


Vince Cross, who wrote the music for Gophers!, has left a comment on my post about this wonderful children's TV series from 1990. Read more about it on Classic Kids TV.

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

We have been informed about the lights being left on at the park and ride on 9th of March On Friday 9th March Bath Rugby are playing in the LV= cup semi-final against Leicester. The game kicks off at 7:30pm. The city will already be busy with early arrivals for the Bath Half Marathon on the following Sunday, and to avoid excessive traffic congestion on that Friday evening it is proposed to

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

I've created a new comm: [IMG: [community profile] ] weekly_food_challenge. Everyone welcome; I won't be posting an actual challenge till a week tomorrow, I thought we might have some democratic setup stuff first. (x-posted personal journal and [IMG: [site community profile] ] dw_community_promo) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Well done, Butch Otter. And it you don't believe me, you can follow him on Twitter.

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England
Tue 14th

Cameron the car czar

David Cameron is, it seems, to take the lead in tightening the rules for insurance claims - particularly those relating to whiplash which now account for 1,500 claims a day, cost the industry £2 billion per year and the average motorist £90 per year in higher premiums. That there is a problem is clear – ...

Posted by liberaleye on Liberal Eye

By Matthew Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi, (London, Biteback Publishing, 2011, 271 pages) ISBN: 978-1-84954-143-5 When in 2007 the world suffered the biggest ever crash of the financial markets, economic rules were abandoned and traditional knowledge of recessions were rendered useless, governments and states struggled to deal with the unfolding situation, and both failed to understand the underlying causes. Now in 2011, two Conservative Party MPs Nadhim Zahawi and Matthew Hancock have sought to write about the crash and the human psychology behind it, in their book Masters of Nothing: How the Crash Will Happen Again unless we Understand Human Nature. ...

Posted by Andrew Emmerson on
Tue 14th

Valentine's Day.

Yep that's all I'm going with in the title. Short but sweet (just how I like my women – oooooooooo). Today I went to ASDA to get my upply of juice. Yes there are nearer stores but they don't have the variety. If I want orange then I can walk over the road but if I want White Grape & Peach or Orange & Mango or Wild Blueberry then it is a longer trek. So I went there at lunchtime and walked in to see no fewer than seven women who worked there by the entrance around the flowers section. ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Following yesterday's post about RBS, i've done a little more digging to look at comparisons more easily made than a straight bank/FTSE shootoff. I'd like you to look at the diagram below: LINK This plots RBS as we saw yesterday against other hard hit banks. Lloyds TSB, the other taxpayer-held bank, is in yellow. ...

Tue 14th

Animal Love Poem

My friend, hair-twin and never-quite-colleague Emma wrote this poem for Valentine's day: The panther chameleon will bob his head And make his colour intense. A broody ringtail lemur girl, Will attract her mate with scents. Read more at the Grant Museum blog

Posted by Debi on

When was the last time you ended an evening out, a little less considerate and respectful, perhaps maybe some of your judgement having been eroded by a few to many vodka and cokes or in my case Kronenbourg 1664. Anyhow I understand that a local taxi driver who has had allegations made against him by customer, has now posted what appears to have been a secretly recorded film, I stumbled upon this as a caught up reading comments from an earlier post, where an anonymous contributor had linked to a you tube video showing a customer complaining in the back ...

Posted by tony flaig bignews on BIGNEWS MARGATE

So Liberal Reform have just burst onto the scene having been launched by a group of more economically liberal minded members of the Lib Dems. It's website says "Liberal Reform exists to promote four-cornered freedom in the Liberal Democrats - personal, political, social and economic liberalism." This should truly be a lesson on good inclusive Liberal groupings that the "Liberal Left" could learn a lesson from. I've always believed that one of the Lib Dems fundamental weaknesses over the years as been a lack goods on the the market place of ideas. Whilst we've had The Orange Book and The ...

Posted by Andrew Emmerson on

In theory, the launch of Liberal Left is something I should welcome as I've always thought that more and stronger party bodies make for a healthy party. They help give more meaning to internal party democracy by making it easier for people to co-operate with others of a like mind. So why am I underwhelmed by Liberal Left's launch? It's not that it covers some of the same ground as the Social Liberal Forum (disclosure: I'm on the SLF's Advisory Council). Liberal Left looks to have a distinctive message and approach which diverges from, rather than duplicates, that of the ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Liberal Democrats Leader in Manchester, Cllr Marc Ramsbottom has responded angrily to Richard Leese's claim that the council will need to make cuts of £80m over the next two years. He issued the following statement. "It's a con for ... Continue reading →

Posted by John Leech MP on John Leech MP

Norwich South MP Simon Wright has called a roundtable meeting with representatives from the Norwich City Centre Partnership tomorrow (Wednesday). The meeting will discuss the proposal for a Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) and the findings of Mary Portas' recent report into Britain's High Street. "Norwich is one of the top ten retail destinations in the country. We've got a great mix of different types of shops in the city, and this is part of what makes Norwich special for shopping. There are nonetheless significant challenges for retailers everywhere. "By working in partnership, Norwich's traders are pursuing exciting initiatives such ...

Posted on Simon Wright MP

I have reasons to believe that someone was recently imprisoned with reporting restrictions relating to their name. This is clearly against the Civil Procedure Rules. However, the fact that a court order is unlawful does not make it unenforceable. It is, however, relatively difficult to find out if there are reporting restrictions.

Posted by john on John Hemming's Web Log

Norwich South MP Simon Wright is calling for safer and more practical cycling in Norwich. He's written to the Transport Minister Norman Baker and signed a parliamentary motion calling for action to support the concerns of cyclists. Mr Wright said: "I strongly welcome recently introduced measures to help local areas become more cyclist friendly by reducing the cost of introducing 20mph zones and putting trixi mirrors on dangerous junctions. "I wrote to the Minister to support calls from cyclists in the city to go as far as is reasonably possible to improve their safety. I would hope that further measures ...

Posted on Simon Wright MP

I've already quoted the Belgian line from this Eleventh Doctor novel, which is yet another story of car crashes and mixed-up timelines (I have lost count of how often this has come up in New Who but it's at least twice on the main show plus Sarah Jane Smith's parents), but with the excellent addition of the Weeping Angels, who both create the possibility of temporal paradox and hope to feed off it. Morris does a beautiful job of conveying the history of the relationship between the car crash victim and her husband which is central to the narrative, and ...

Labour opposed every single move towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equality before they were for it. The Labour Government spent millions of pounds of taxpayers' money fighting to keep discrimination in the armed forces and age of consent before the European Court found against them and they were forced to change the law. Now they shamelessly claim credit, like a crook caught by the cops and found guilty after a long trial they tried to escape... Then pretending they turned themselves in out of their own goodness. They voted against civil partnerships and in favour of Section 28, too, ...

Posted by Alex Wilcock on Love and Liberty
Tue 14th

Questions answered

I have received many questions regarding my blog post of yesterday evening. For the sake of ease I have answered them below: Q – Why have you resigned from the local party? A number of situations have arisen that make me feel incredibly compromised and uncomfortable. I have many friends within the local party and I am deeply upset ...

Posted by Spidey on Spiderplantland

Now, before I start, let me be clear: I am not an atheist and in fact find atheism's certainties as puzzling as those of fundamentalists - the latter are certain that God exists and the former that he does not. Quite how, after centuries of Enlightenment philosophy, there are adherents to either point of view is beyond me. Anyway: I go to Church, have doubts, fall far short of my ideals. Sorry. Last week there was a High Court judgment against Bideford Town Council. In a nutshell it said that prayers should not form part of a council meeting. I ...

Posted by Chris White on Liberal Democrat Voice

In The best kept secret in the Liberal Democrats I criticised Liberal Democrat peers for their lack of communication over welfare reforms: Bizarre is perhaps the best word for it, though a little more polite than some that have passed through my mind in the last few days as, once again, the party has drawn a tight veil of secrecy around the concessions Liberal Democrat peers have been securing in the House of Lords over welfare reform... The official party position is basically, "we're not going to say anything about the successes we've had"... Bizarre is perhaps the best word ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

If you are following the Republican primaries you may be thinking that the battle is between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. According to Mike Smithson, this isn'tnot be the whole picture. Smithson points out that Ron Paul's campaign is collecting delegates, yet this fact is not being widely reported. By the end of the contest, Romney may well end up with the nomination. However, getting there may not be as straightforward as everyone thinks.

Posted by Simon Goldie on Simon Goldie
Tue 14th

Those pesky militants

It is difficult to know how to respond to claims by Conservative Party Chair, Baroness Warsi, that British society is under threat from a rising tide of "militant secularisation" reminiscent of "totalitarian regimes". It all seems to be a bit over-the-top to me and very unBritish. Her argument appears to be that this 'militant secularisation' is taking hold because signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings and religion is sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere. She says: "For me, one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularisation is that at its core ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

One of the more bizarre policies in the government's coalition agreement is the decision to appoint police and crime commissioners for every police force in the country. These will be elected in November and the new Commissioners will have overall responsibility for running local police forces. At present Hampshire police are run by a Chief Constable answerable to a Police Authority made up of elected local councillors. This works well and prevents any single person or group running policing for their own ends. The elections will see a single individual being paid up to £100,000 a year to supervise the ...

Posted by lengates on Len Gates

It was revealed that more than ten million tube users missed out last year on refunds that they were entitled to following severe tube delays. The new figures were obtained by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group. Sadly in practice only about 4 percent (412,713 people) claimed what they were entitled to. A few years ago it was common place for me to get monies for the poor service but more recently it has been made more difficult to claim for entitlements. Why I should fill in the same form twice - that is just cheeky ...

Posted by Gary Malcolm on Councillor Gary Malcolm


Posted by Richard Marbrow on Chris Davies MEP

The BBC is launching another one of those national lists that will probably become a major talking point this year. In the last decade we had Great Britons, when Churchill pipped Brunel to be the greatest Briton of all time. Now Radio 4 is confining itself to the last 60 years. To mark the Diamond ...

Posted by stephenwilliamsmp on Stephen Williams' Blog

FROM: Rob Methuen, Business Transformation Consultant TO: Brett West, Head of Modernisation and Business Practice cc: Goneril Hayes, Head of Information Management Brett: You asked me to report on progress towards the total enablement target for Supersmart engagement, and in particular its contribution to the Agile Stationery Strategy. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that one module of the enablement target has been hit. Since there are no admin officers left except those directly attached to Directors, 94.4% of Supersmart orders are now committed by the responsible officers, exceeding the target of 90% comfortably. The bad ...

Posted by SibatheHat on Siba The Hat

It seems that this idea is catching on, as Liberal Democrat Voice has received its first unsolicited postcard. So, without further ado... It is generally assumed that the Mediterranean countries do not have a strong liberal, democratic strand to their politics. Indeed, the two members of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) Group in the European Parliament are the nationalist parties of two Regions, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (Catalonia) and Partido Nacionalista Vasco (the Basque Country). However, there are liberal democrats in Spanish politics, awaiting discovery by the European liberal family, and the failure to engage with ...

Posted by Ruben Arbaizar on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 14th

Cowardly excuses

I read a comment on one of my blogposts this lunchtime and it's sent me off into something of a rant. Such a rant, in fact, that it won't fit in a comment box. So instead I'm going to post both the comment and my reply here: Original comment: Ben Feb 14, 2012 03:00 AM"Preserve your party, no matter the cost" Well, when the cost is being unable to influence government policy because of the navel gazing noise generated by stories of splits, then yes party unity matters. As for morality and conscience, I think you need to get off ...

Posted by George W. Potter on The Potter Blogger

My colleague Simon Wheale has done some interesting work around yesterday's lurid headlines in the Manchester Evening News about the "shock" £80 million further cuts required. It was a surprise to those of us who'd read the Council's financial situation, as the Council was ahead of schedule on the current year's savings and next year's budget is pretty much what was agreed last year (as the Council had gone for a 3 year budget strategy). Turns out that if the Council increases expenditure by £50 million over the next two years, then there'll be a "shortfall" of £80 million, rather ...

Posted by jackiepearcey on Jackie Pearcey

[Originally posted at Liberal Democrat Voice, 14/02/12] Last Wednesday the LGiU and Bristol City Council collaborated to host a day conference on the Localism Act. Yesterday I introduced some of the main themes from the Government's perspective, as set out by Andrew Stunell. As the conference progressed many issues and questions emerged. Today I identify those that particularly struck me. A broad message is that there remain significant challenges in effectively communicating to local communities the nature and extent of change. The discussion of neighbourhood planning and neighbourhood forums highlighted quite how much of the Government's Localism agenda relies on ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives

Nick Clegg is a very nice person. He is very loyal to people (which is probably why he puts up with me!) But he is ever so wrong about Lansley. Lansley must go because he has failed to explain his ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?

Welcome back to Liberal Democrat Voice's coverage of the House of Lords. Or not, as the case may be, because, as you read this, they haven't gone away yet. Confused? You see, this column covers the programme for the two weeks to come, and they're not sitting next week, as they take a short recess to draw breath. But I digress (I've obviously spent too much time with some the Conservative backbenchers)... Refreshed and relaxed after the break, the Lords returns to an increasingly hectic programme of Bills. Days 3 and 4 of the Report Stage of the Health and ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

I blame Radio 4's News Quiz for the fact that every time I hear the name Abu Qatada, this song passes through my brain. Once I have dispelled those catchy lyrics, I reflect on the sheer nonsense talked by Tory backbenchers, the tabloids and Labour spokespersons.The Daily Mail runs with "...even his own mother wants him deported to Jordan". She says, "I don't know why the British keep him.

Posted by David on Disgruntled Radical

Richard Leese has more front than Blackpool. His latest claim, splashed on the front of the Evening News, is that that there "may need to be" £80m of cuts between 2013 and 2015. What he doesn't say is that he is proposing ... Continue reading →

Posted by John Leech MP on John Leech MP

Janet Battye our Liberal Democrat leader on Calderdale Council has been doing some fantastic work trying to tackle the problem of youth unemployment. Recently she held an urgent summit meeting that brought people to together to work on a solution for this problem here in Calderdale. Believe it or not Warley ward has some of the highest levels of youth unemployment in Calderdale. We need to work harder in the ward to improve the chances and opportunities for these people. Essential to this is securing better educational opportunities for young people. Here in Warley ward I believe that means securing ...

Posted by James on James Baker for Warley Ward

February 3rd was the thirtieth anniversary of a massacre, carried out by Hafez al-Assad, on the people of the Syrian city of Hama. 20,000 people were killed in a protracted artillery bombardment, which also flattened a historic and beautiful city centre. Thirty years later, and the Assad regime is still in power in Syria. The face has changed – Hafez's son, Bashar, inherited rule after his father's death in 2000 – but the tactics are still the same. So far over 7,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the uprising, and the regime is becoming more brutal, rather ...

Posted by Aosher on Brontides

Those lovely folk over at Stonewall have published a draft same-sex marriage bill. The clue is in the name – it's just same-sex marriage, not equal marriage. It's telling that the real content is just two sides of A4, with lots of space on the page. I think the Trans community's version would be longer, just for the basics. Brainstorming, what would people like to see in a proper equal marriage bill? For starters, here's what I have: Same-sex marriage, both civil and religious Opposite-sex civil partnerships (Emma Brownbill points out that this is also a Trans issue, due to ...

Posted by Zoe O'Connell on Complicity

It seems the Liberal Democrats aren't doing as badly as everyone assumed they would when they made the fateful decision to form a coalition government. A recent ICM poll for the Guardian put the party on 16%. It is unclear why this is happening. The polling data isn't strong enough to tell us if this is a trend or an outlier. The local wins could be down to campaigning in that area. Certainly, things aren't as bleak as many commentators predicted they would for the party. I have always said that it would be unwise to write Nick Clegg off ...

Posted by Simon Goldie on Simon Goldie

Yesterday we covered a survey which suggests that the Liberal Democrats are strongly romantic. Today, Lord Bonkers gives the LDV readership the benefit of his insight on this subject... We are great romantics here in Rutland. This morning I watched swains, as tradition demands, gather the first snowdrops of the year to take to their loves. (This afternoon I phoned the Oakham Royal Infirmary and Matron is confident that no toes will be lost to frostbite.) I was pleased to see from this survey that we Liberal Democrats are great romantics too. If one thinks about it, however, it should ...

Posted by Lord Bonkers on Liberal Democrat Voice

Last night, the Welsh rugby legend Eddie Butler presented the 2nd in his 4 part series looking at the history of 'Welsh Towns'. As the information going alongside this accompanying BBC iPlayer clip reads: "Eddie Butler explores the story of Cardigan. Today it's a quiet market town, but it has a rich and turbulent history dating back over 900 years. The town first made its mark in the 12th century when Rhys ap Gruffudd ousted the Norman invaders and built his own castle there. In celebration, he held a festival of music and poetry - the first ever Eisteddfod. In ...

Tue 14th

Well done Rugby League!

The RFL (Rugby Football League) was one of the first sporting bodies to sign up to the Coalition's Sports Charter – which is about tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport. Signing up is the first step – but it's about more than signing a charter as the RFL have already shown. Not only were the Sheffield Eagles the first team to wear Tackle It shirts – but now the RFL have produced a 'Tackle It video. You can watch it here. Fantastic!

Posted by Lynne Featherstone on Lynne Featherstone » Blog

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, is the latest Liberal Democrat MP to join Twitter. He is @StephenLloydMP. You can follow all of the Liberal Democrat MPs, or all of the Lib Dem peers, via two lists I curate: Liberal Democrat MPs (35 currently) Liberal Democrat peers (10 currently)

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Last Wednesday the LGiU and Bristol City Council collaborated to host a day conference on the Localism Act. Yesterday I introduced some of the main themes from the Government's perspective, as set out by Andrew Stunell. As the conference progressed many issues and questions emerged. Today I identify those that particularly struck me. A broad message is that there remain significant challenges in effectively communicating to local communities the nature and extent of change. The discussion of neighbourhood planning and neighbourhood forums highlighted quite how much of the Government's Localism agenda relies on details yet to emerge. The imminent National ...

Posted by Alex Marsh on Liberal Democrat Voice

How can we save the Greeks from complete economic shutdown, and keep them in the euro? Answer: give them new kinds of mediums of exchange:

Posted by Davidboyle on The Real Blog
Tue 14th

Goose Green roundabout

The Labour council have issued plans to radically change Goose Green roundabout. They tried such changes the last time Labour led the council in 2001. I recall the public meeting where the then Labour councillor Nick Dolezal tried to persuade local East Dulwich residents that we would prefer traffic lights or a radically changed roundabout so more cars and lorries can pass through our area more quickly every day. He also revealed that Goose Green roundabout defies highway planners by having an unprecedented low collission rate. The attached plans are the current attempt by council officers to make more road ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

Those new Liberal Democrat groups explained Yet another splinter group was launched yesterday. I fully agree with Jonathan Calder about the lot of them. (tags: ) TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue: You Were Expecting Someone Else 8 (Alan Moore's Doctor Who Work) I must confess to not having read Moore's Who stuff, and that my first thought on clicking through to this was "if he only did 28 pages, did he have time to fit the rapes in?" Not that I think the much vaunted Moore is fond of some troubling tropes or anything... (tags: ) Literary Characters, as ...

Tue 14th

Orbit housing update

All, Orbit came to the Town Council meeting last night to discuss their proposals for the field next to Angela's Meadow, which they have bough an option on (see my previous post here). The proposals, however, are no more than initial thoughts. Orbit said that they took an option on the land at the end of last year, and don't have any firm proposals yet. Worryingly they said hat the development could consist of 70-80 homes – although this could be reduced depending on the size of the homes they build. A mixture of two bedroom homes and flats would ...

Posted by Philip Vial on Philip Vial

Energy market reforms which will make it easier for consumers to get the best deal have been backed by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert. He was given the chance to have his say on the plans at an event organised by energy regulator, Ofgem at the House of Commons. Under the proposals, each energy supplier will have to offer a no frills tariff with a simple unit price and a fixed standing charge. It is expected that around 75 per cent of consumers on standard tariffs will benefit from the changes. Energy companies would also be required to make their bills, ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 570 party members responded, and we're publishing the full results. 81% yes to mansion tax – but pretty even split on £1m or £2m levy value LDV asked: The 'mansion tax' would levy a 1% annual charge on properties above a certain value. Would you support or oppose this new tax? 7% – I support: for houses worth more than £5 million 39% – I support: for houses worth more than ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Controversial plans to switch off some street lights in St Albans at night - part of a wider scheme being rolled out across Hertfordshire by the Conservative-run County Council - will go on display at the District Council following intervention by our local Lib Dem councillors. Street maps showing the lights set to be switched off in the City will also be available for the public to view at the Liberal Democrat office (9 Hatfield Rd, St Albans AL1 3RR - above the Kashu Restaurant) on Saturday 18th February from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m., when a County Councillor will ...

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats made another bid to save £2.7 million of county bus subsidies today (Tuesday, January 31) as the Tories met to rubber stamp their plans and press ahead with their flawed replacement transport plan. They fought to reverse the decision after winning the first round of their battle which led to the Tories backing down and putting £1.5 million back into subsidised transport. And they spoke out vehemently against the plans again today during a Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet meeting accusing the Tories of scrapping 100 per cent of bus subsidies without a viable alternative plan. Lib Dem ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on King's Hedges

I was on the Wave 102 news yesterday about the Blackness Library proposed capital investment yesterday. Click 'play' to listen:

Left-wing Lib Dem's need to be united, pragmatic and positive

Posted by mathewhulbert on A Liberal Helping

We have seen Lembit miming, but here is a song about a Lib Dem MP for Valentine's Day.

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England