This is an issue I have not managed to track down any proper details about. He was campaigning for a proper investigation of the case of Hollie Grieg. I explained to him that the clearly wrong aspects of the case was the persecution of those who were concerned about it.Hence I am particularly worried that he himself has now been imprisoned. (cf Vicky Haigh).These are not secret prisoners

Posted by john on John Hemming's Web Log

The benefit cap and the European Union veto must have gone to the Tories' heads. With much popular support (more lukewarm on my behalf especially on the EU stuff) they probably thought their time had come. Forgetting they hadn't quite managed a majority at the last election and are currently showing no sign of a surge, the Tory party's more nasty wing may have got a little over-enthusiastic. Firstly comes workfare (or, as it's called, "Get Britain Working", which sounds like something from the 50s). There are some interesting ideas in there. The idea of having people on benefits do ...

Posted on Neue Politik

An impressive and diverse crowd gathered at S&B Cricket Club last night to hear John Pugh Southport's MP talk about the Coalition and to ask questions. It was good to see so many activists there but more impressive was the high number of non aligned folk from the town who just wanted to hear the discussion. On a personal note I was delighted to see Stephen Hesketh turn up-he made a very good contribution to a discussion thread online the other week. John was on fine form and deliciously off message. Indeed one of his targets was of 'media advisers'- ...

Posted on birkdale focus

It is time to spend a few days at Bonkers Hall, home of the Liberal MP for Rutland South-West 1906-10. The fall of David Attenborough It was in the 1930s that I first came across the Attenborough brothers, Dickie and David. This was through my friendship with their father F.L. Attenborough, who was then the Principal of University College Leicester. As I was Chancellor of the University of Rutland at Belvoir at the time (as indeed I am now), our paths often crossed. Though I always sensed that he was a little envious of our famed Department of Hard Sums, ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

Apparently I stink at updating my blog; many apologies. Since my last post, I have mostly been going on longer and longer runs. It's taken a lot out of me & I've been dealing with a bad cold all week. I'm hoping that this week, which was a lot lighter in the running department will help boost my immune system. I actually missed a run yesterday, but after I went home a couple of hours early from work, it seemed more sensible to stay in bed, rather than venture out into the cold & run. Thankfully, however, the cold has ...

Posted by Joyce on Joyce Goes for a Run

As I watch Arsenal losing to Sunderland (still only 1-0, so not yet beyond hope) I've started to play a game. It is entertaining me, and it is simple. It is which players would get into the Arsenal team of ... Continue reading →

At the risk of intruding on private grief, I feel I should draw the attention of Voice readers to an excoriating broadside against Ed Miliband's leadership published on LabourList last night. Entitled 'Losing faith', it is an open letter from Alex Hilton, twice a Labour parliamentary candidate and founder of the Labour Home website, to 'Dear Ed'. It weighs in at 1,457 words — here are just a few of them: I no longer have any faith that the Labour Party will make a better society - or even wants to do so. This is a feeling that I have ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

I've never agreed with Iain Duncan Smith's views, but I've always seen him as at least a decent sort of chap. I was quite pleased when his leadership of the Conservative party turned out to be a long slow implosion, but that was not because of who he was, it was because it ensured the Tories would not get back into power for a few more years. He managed to exit that episode with some personal dignity, and then spent his time doing things that suggested at least some sort of feeling for the poor and the dispossessed. Again, I ...

Posted by Rob on A comfortable place

Jonathan Freedland has an article in the Guardian today looking at the attraction that eugenics held for left-wing politicians in the first half of the 20th century: The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their ilk were not attracted to eugenics because they briefly forgot their leftwing principles. The harder truth is that they were drawn to eugenics for what were then good, leftwing reasons. They believed in science and progress, and nothing was more cutting edge and modern than social Darwinism. Man now had the ability to intervene in his own evolution. Instead of natural selection and the law ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

Quite often whilst the twitchforks are raised and the villagers storm and ransack the newevil doer, I often sit back a bit and try to see both perspectives. Many times, i'm not as often disgusted as many on twitter are either when I feel like should be. One of those occasions is workfare. Here are some thoughts laid out. When Tesco was ransacked this week by an angry twitter mob for a Job Centre advertisement offering workfare, where said unemployed person would be paid travel expenses and JSA allowances many rallied, and thousands upon thousands of angry tweets were sent ...

Posted by Andrew Emmerson on

In my last blog post, I commented on my questioning the Hywel Dda Local Health Board's lack of communication with the wider public when we met them as a Council on Thursday. My second point was on the Cardigan Hospital development and I wanted to dedicate a seperate post to this issue, such is its importance to the residents of Cardigan, southern Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire. The Hywel Dda Chief Executive Mr Trevor Purt had already made supportive noises towards the Cardigan Hospital development by the time that I was called to speak but I pressed him on the same ...

I put a question down at Full Council last night on Birkdale High Scool. The answer to it raised further concerns about the Chair of Governors. it is reproduced below (my italics etc). Fuller details and a link to the report can be found here I have contacted our MP about this issue. Mine was the third question on the order paper. I shall comment further on this matter. Can any let me know if they have an example of a school going from Good to Special measures and the fate of the Chair of Governors and Headteacher? (3) Question ...

Posted on birkdale focus

There's no prize at stake - just the opportunity to prove you're wittier than any other LDV reader... [IMG: Ed Miliband The Sun] Here's Labour leader Ed Miliband proudly bathing in the reflected glory of The Sun (before Rupert Murdoch's fall from grace, natch) — what do you think might be being said or thought by or about him? And the winner of our last caption comp is... Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Clegg, Cam & Lansley "You can hear the white coats flapping" Edition. The winner, according to The Voice's judging panel of one, was ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sat 18th

The Week in Parliament

Monday, my question about the drafting of the new constitution and progress towards a new electoral register,needed before the deadline of the elections in June 2013 []. By that time Mugabe will be 89 and it is becoming increasingly unrealistic for Zanu PF to say that he will be their Presidential candidate. That's why there is a faction within the party that wants elections by the end of 2012, even though many of the provisions of the Global Political Agreement remain unfulfilled. Free political activity, freedom of assembly, the rule of law, and impartiality of state institutions, for instance, are ...

Posted by Eric Avebury on Eric Avebury

This week in Strasbourg a majority of MEPs have again voted in favour of creating a single seat of the European Parliament in order to cut operating costs.In a report giving the Parliament's views on the Guidelines of the 2013 EU budget, a majority of MEPs (329) voted in favour of Amendment 2, which stated that "[the European Parliament] Believes that the real and biggest saving could be made by

Posted by Andrew on La Treizième Étoile

According to the Grauniad Tesco want the Department of Work and Pensions to change the nature of the scheme in which people will work in private sector firms for up to 8 weeks, with only the offer of an interview at the end of that time. In comes after a week that the company who takes one pound out of every £8.50 spent in the UK faced accusations of further profiting from slave labour. Having worked in retail I know that someone can be trained to restack shelves in a morning. They can learn to operate a till in a ...

Posted by Stephen Glenn on Stephen's Liberal Journal

One of the great things about Lib Dem Conference is that you can ask all kinds of questions to different people in public and they have to answer. Here's my question to the Chief Whips of the Lords and Commons Parliamentary Parties: For each Minister based in the Commons/Lords, what do they consider to be their 'signature achievement' – the achievement they have made as a minister that most clearly demonstrates the difference that Liberal Democrats – and they – are making in Government? I look forward to their answers!

Posted by Martin on Martin Tod

The parties' vote shares in local by-elections over the last 3 months were Con 33% Lib Dem 26% Lab 22% Overall more than 5,000 people voted in these polls.

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

I have written to Luton Borough Council requesting speed repeater signs on Dunstable Road Luton, from the traffic lights at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital junction, through to the roundabout at Tesco's, the junction with Poynters Road. The primary reason I am asking for this is that a man died due to a car accelerating fast away from the lights. The secondary reasons I am asking for this are that: - the road is a dual carriageway, and often drivers think that means the national speed limit of 60mph applies (and it doesn't) - the road was previously 40mph and ...

Posted by Alan Winter on Alan Winter Lib Dem Blog

Here's your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate... Sony caught a lot flack this week for initially raising the price on Whitney Houston's songs after her death (a rise since recanted). Was Sony initially right and the pricing of products like music should be left to market forces? Or was Sony's second view right and is there also a moral angle? If so, which prices does it cover and when? Post your comments below... * Mark Pack is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and writes a monthly newsletter about ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Prime Minister has just been to Paris to sign a deal with France to, as the BBC puts it, "strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy" with much happy talk of, "our shared commitment to the future of civil nuclear power, setting out a shared long-term vision of safe, secure, sustainable and affordable ...

Posted by liberaleye on Liberal Eye

Via Matthew Norman in the Telegraph: Judge: Whoever you are, you will sit in the dock. You, sir, in your suit, and you, ma'am, in your frock A Cabinet Minister you may well once have been In the land of economics you may be a queen But the wheels of justice care not for your stock So whoever you are, you will sit in my dock Chorus: Oh whoever you are, you will sit in his dock Yes, whoever you are, you will sit in that dock. I think that is based on "I am so proud" from the Mikado, ...

Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

This week Cameron was on the case of the cost burden alcohol missuse puts on the NHS (here). Hardly a new story, first mentioned on this blog back in September 2009. I understand many countries have considered 'minimum pricing', but only Scotland seems to going ahead with it. I'm not convinced it will work. I don't doubt increasing price will reduce the sales of alcohol, but that is

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James

The latest issue of Liberator magazine (issue no.351 - February 2012) has just been mailed to subscribers. For those of you who are not yet subscribers, here's a summary of the contents: The editorial column Commentary asks who will take over Chris Huhne's role as the government minister most willing to challenge the Tories publicly. There is also a rebuke to Liberal Democrat MPs who helped to vote down the Lords' amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill. The insider gossip column Radical Bulletin begins with a look at what went on behind the Lords' rebellion on the benefit 'cap'. 'Lib ...

Posted by The Liberator Collective on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sat 18th

A fresh start

Get yourself a new range of skills with Durham County Council's Adult Learning and Skills Service. Courses include customer service, retailing, business and administration, team leading, first line management, Information Technology, teaching and health and social care. They also run employability courses, giving people the chance to explore their career options. Why not get in touch with them for advice and guidance on choosing a course? For more information email or telephone: North Durham 03000 261 478 East Durham 0191 586 2402 Central Durham 0191 372 8496 South Durham 03000 263 868

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple

[IMG: John Bercow and Tom Kiehl] Photo credit: Sharon Wallace, Federation of Small Businesses. Tom Kiehl, from the Liberal Democrats Lords Whips Office, scooped two prizes at this week's Dods Parliamentary Researcher of the Year Awards. From PoliticsHome: The Lib Dems have triumphed at the Dods Parliamentary Researcher of the Year Awards for the second year in a row. At last week's ceremony Tom Kiehl (pictured), who was nominated by Lord Shutt of Greetland, won Lib Dem researcher of the year and overall researcher of the year. Just like last year's overall winner, Erin Harvey, Tom's prize was a trip ...

Posted by Helen Duffett on Liberal Democrat Voice

I've just been fuming listening to a ridiculous interview with John Gledhill, the Bishop of Lichfield and Alan Beith MP by Evan Davies on the Today programme. It wasn't the interviewees who infuriated me, although Alan Beith's argument that disestablishing the Church of England would lead to an aversion culture akin to "elf'n'safety" did come pretty close. What I found infuriating was the normally sensible Evan Davies' repeated use of the phrase "militant secularism". I seem to remember being here before. Back in 2007, at the height of the rise of the so-called New Atheism as espoused by Richard Dawkins ...

Posted by James Graham on Quaequam Blog!
Sat 18th

Wired Plants

Researchers have produced electricity directly from plants. Five years ago just a few milliwatts m2 but now at 200mW/m2. During the next two years they expect to more than double this to 500mW/m2. Solar panels and wind turbines generate around 5W/m2. So some way to go but this is a brand new technology. A happy is effect is sucking out electrons reduces te production of methane from plants so it's combined electricity production and methane reduction is a double positive whammy to help the planet avoid global warming. Amazing stuff because green electricity producing roofs also provide great insulation, rainwater ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

With the Welsh Labour Conference getting underway in Cardiff today, the airwaves are being dominated by the brothers and sisters talking the talk about ideological cuts and the evil coalition government in Westminister. Their enthusiasm for oppositionist politics however, is being undermined by the actions and words of their front bench spokespeople elsewhere. Labour is in danger of falling into the a trap they always seek to set for others, namely saying different things in different places for political advantage. This is underlined even in today's news, where it is reported that Maria Eagle, one of Ed Miliband's earliest supporters ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black
Sat 18th

Lord Lucan, I presume?

It must be Forgotten News Stories of the 1970s week. One of the most-read posts on this blog yesterday was the one about Joyce McKinney and the 'Manacled Mormon'. Now the Lord Lucan case has been remembered too. On Monday the South East edition of the BBC Inside Out programme will cover claims that Lord Lucan was smuggled out of the country after he murdered the family's nanny. A woman who worked for Lucan's friend John Aspinall will say she used to arrange for his children to fly to Africa so that the peer could view them "from a distance". ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

First we have the ever popular Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of the 6th February 2012 which was (after recording stopped due to running out of tape adjourned). Now with subtitles it has been viewed (at the time of writing) 228 times, has been embedded in an article on Wirral Leaks and ...

Awesome batman thing YAY for Egghead & King Tut! Also, the Clayface on this is really good. (tags: comics ) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Sat 18th

Guilty Pleasures 10

This week's guilty pleasure is as cheesy as they came: Atomic Kitten's Whole Again. Aside from being a slab of pure pop, it has the audacity to start with the same first line as one of the best songs ever written; Bacharach and David's Walk On By! Any song which can do that and pull it off deserves plaudits in my book! Enjoy, even if you don't want to admit it! Andrew

Posted by oneexwidow on the widow's world
Sat 18th


I'm about to get on a train with the kids to go to Germany and visit my parents. I might borrow some of their Internet at some point, but it's not the fastest connection, so I won't be reading or commenting very much till Wednesday morning. Text will be the best way to reach me in the meantime. This entry was cross-posted from Dreamwidth, where there are currently [IMG: comment count unavailable] comment(s). View DW comment(s).

Sat 18th

The plank in our eye

Today William Hague again joins the American condemnation of Iran. The inconsistency of the western position is breathtaking. Iran claims it is developing civil nuclear power; the West says it is developing nuclear weapons. Israel, on the other hand, actually has nuclear weapons but refuses to admit it. When do I hear the demands for Israel to let the IAEA inspect ? "Ah", reply the Western

Posted by David on Disgruntled Radical

Liberal Democrat Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has received a commitment from the government that it plans new legislation to tackle metal theft across Cambridgeshire and nationally. A new criminal offence will be created to stop dealers buying scrap metal with cash and fines for all scrap metal offences will be significantly increased. Julian was also told that the government planned to fund a new dedicated metal theft taskforce to address the issue. Home Office Minister, James Brokenshire told yesterday (February 2) that the government considers legislation as "the only sustainable, long-term solution". His comments came after Julian raised a written ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

Following on from the recent cold weather and the County Council's decision to increase maintenance funding for work on the highways it seems to be a good time for a reminder of the best way to report highways issues. The first point to make is that "highways" is not just roads. Highways covers roads, paths (both those bordering the road and, potentially, those off-road paths like the Spine) it also covers the state of roundabouts, signage, and (amongst other things) public rights of way. To report an issue you can call the County Councils Highways Agency on 0345 045 5212, ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on King's Hedges

"Apprenticeships" apparently deserve a "week" which was held from 6th to 12th February. Liberal Democrat News celebrated it on 10th February with a front page article in which Vince Cable proudly announced that the government "has prioritised investment in apprenticeships (which) has led to the creation of a record number of apprenticeships combined with tough new standards to drive up quality...(which will)...deliver the world class skills individuals and firms need to get ahead." In the same issue, on the back page , it reported Redcar MP Ian Swales's pride that his constituency has seen "a 91% increase in apprenticeships in ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

MP Julian Huppert has received a commitment from the government that it plans new legislation to tackle metal theft across Cambridgeshire and nationally. A new criminal offence will be created to stop dealers buying scrap metal with cash and fines for all scrap metal offences will be significantly increased. Julian was also told that the government planned to fund a new dedicated metal theft taskforce to address the issue. Home Office Minister, James Brokenshire told yesterday (February 2) that the government considers legislation as "the only sustainable, long-term solution". His comments came after Julian raised a written question with Home ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on King's Hedges
Sat 18th

Blyth Station

With work on the new Morrison's supermarket being started this week, it might be a good time to remind people what used to be on the site. I have always had an interest in railways, most men retain at least a passing interest, but I moved to Blyth long after the railway ceased. These photos are therefore not my own, but have been accumulated over the years. I have a few more, mainly postcards and old photos bought over the web, but these are a representative sample. I can almost smell the scene.... At a recent model railway exhibition I ...

Posted by Alisdair Gibbs-Barton on Alisdair Gibbs-Barton

Friends of Magdalen Green's latest newsletter is now available in local shops, Blackness Library, local churches and at other community venues. You can download it here.

Sat 18th

Hitler's love child?

Saturday's papers are full of the story that Hitler had a son with a French teenager while serving as a soldier during the First World War. See the Daily Telegraph, for instance. I don't believe it. And there is a much more interesting story in this field that I don't believe either. That is the story that Unity Mitford had Hitler's love child.

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

Back in 2008 I blogged after coming across a reference to the Leicestershire smallpipes. "A variety of bagpipes native to this county?" I wondered. The answer is probably not. A post on a Mudcat Cafe bulletin board says: Most English bagpipe designs are based on very scanty evidence such as old pictures and carvings found in churches, or drawings in old books. Occasionally actual relics of pipe chanters are found, which makers study in great detail and take loads of measurements. The rest is imagination combined with experimentation to get a pipe that is playable and in some recognisable pitch. ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions, although I typically have an idea of some aims and objectives in my head which I occasionally commit to paper - and to posts here in years past. This year I didn't specifically identify any but, given that the aims have been repetitive over the past few years, perhaps I didn't need to. One of the things that has habitually been something I've talked about is losing weight and getting fit. 12 years ago I was 9st 13lb. That was when I was working in Grocery Retailing, on my feet and active ...

Posted by oneexwidow on the widow's world