Sun 26th

What's On Your Mind?

Sunday morning at church usually brings at least one comment or question on council matters as most people know I'm a councillor, though not for the ward in which I go to church. This morning brought a bumper crop and served as a reminder of what ordinary people are thinking about.First up was a question on a planning application - not one in Eaglescliffe ward, but in a neighbouring patch.

Posted by Maureen Rigg on Maureen Rigg's Blog

Tomorrow's Guardian reports that Nick Harvey, the defence minister and Lib Dem MP for North Devon, has written to Chris Grayling calling for an urgent review of the implementation of the government's welfare to work programme. In the letter, says the paper, Harvey calls for the programme's funding mechanism to be reviewed: "In low-income rural areas such as Devon which will be the last to pick their way out of the economic crisis, only the locally focused third sector such as Pathfinder can really deliver. "I would urge a review of the supply chain and reconsideration of the tail-end funding ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

Anyone recognise this room? Found on Flickr here. The low ceiling and position of the window make me feel that it must be on an upper floor. I have vague memories of an upper hall a bit like that at Christ's, but I guess it could equally be a room in, say, Trinity or John's which is no longer a public space. (Or somewhere in the Old Schools??) Anyway, interested to know if it rings any bells.

As my job is based in the centre of Hastings I am regularly following up bits of casework for people who live in Castle Ward. Last week I wrote to Mr Mead, who is head of Waste & Street Scene Services at Hastings Borough Council, to inform him about the litter problem above the high ...

Posted by nickperrylibdem on Nick Perry For Hastings & Rye

At the beginning of the month I took residents' views about icy pavements to the Castle Ward Forum committee. I am pleased to say that at its last meeting, the committee agreed to fund a new grit bin for Holmesdale Gardens, and we are in the process of sorting the siting of it with ...

Posted by nickperrylibdem on Nick Perry For Hastings & Rye
Sun 26th

Eagle Owls

I'm just back from a week in the South of France, so now I'll be posting again - but right now, even after just one week, struggling to get up to date with e-mails and so on. Thus I'm not really ready to continue the Odanglesex Chronicles with episode 5 of the Agile Stationery Strategy or with anything profound on politics, religion, philosophy, cricket, things like that. Tomorrow I hope I can get on with Odanglesex. For now, something from my holiday. The vehicle has driven up a bumpy track into the old quarry, where hills of loose scree are ...

Posted by SibatheHat on Siba The Hat

Yesterday morning I attended a local residents' association meeting. It was held in the Scout Hut on Rugby Road and a number of issues were raised: Lighting up Southfield Recreational Grounds: the ward panel agreed to add lighting for two paths across the Rec. More details can be found here. There were many residents who felt nervous about using the Rec when it was dark. There also was a serious attack in the Rec a few months ago. Lighting will be helpful to get more people using the tennis courts or getting to and from work. Before the lighting can ...

Posted by Gary Malcolm on Councillor Gary Malcolm

Take a poem from W.B. Yeats' early, Celtic Twilight period, have it set by Mike Scott of the Waterboys, with his weakness for the children's books of C.S. Lewis, and you fear that you will end up with something dangerously twee. But I like this song. It appears on The Waterboys' LP Fisherman's Blues, but I know it from the Yeats compilation Now and in the Time to Be. There are live versions on Youtube, but I think the narration on this studio version adds something to it. Serious, with notes of twinkling and Father Jack, it is by Tomas ...

Posted by Jonathan on Liberal England

The House of Play & Education, an organisation which has had funding from the Acocks Green Ward Committee (initially under their former name of 8+) is holding a Spring Fair at Acocks Green Christian Centre, which is situated to the rear of 100 Westley Road, on Saturday 10th March from 10am to 1pm. All funding raised by the Fair will go to support the Easter Playscheme they will be running in Acocks Green for local children. The following link will open up a poster for the Fair which gives some further details: HOPE Spring_Fair_2012[1]

Posted by rogerharmer on Roger Harmer

Oh dear, the city name in the title of Northern Ireland's biggest paper must have got to them. The above headline about a welcome restoration and regeneration project to St. Columb's Cathedral. I was very recently near St. Columb's as I was attending a funeral in one of the nearby churches which just happens to ...

Posted by stephenpglenn on Liberal Democrats in Northern Ireland

[IMG: Lib Dem manifesto cover] Thursday next week (1st March) I'm off to Merton to talk at the local Liberal Democrats' meeting about what the party should be pressing for in government during the second half of this Parliament. The original plans for a Mid-Term Review / Coalition Phase 2 have been rather scaled back as initial expectations that the Coalition Agreement would only keep people busy in the first half of the Parliament have turned out to be far too optimistic. Even with that Coalition Agreement still having a lot of life in it, there is still scope for ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

[IMG: Lynee, Ed and me launching the campaign] After a surge in complaints about speeding motorists, Lynne, Ed, Katherine and I launched a campaign to increase safety at the Upper Tollington Park zebra crossing in summer 2010. We won some small improvements such as better signs – but the Council refused to even consider developing plans to properly slow down the traffic on Upper Tollington or improve the crossing. However, over the last few months we've increased the pressure – particularly after some worrying near misses were reported to us, and a vehicle crashed into the flowerbeds just further up ...

Posted by Richard on Richard Wilson

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 262nd weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere ... Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (19-25 February, 2012), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed. Don't forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging. As ever, let's start with the most popular post, and work our way down: 1. Lord Bonkers' Diary: ...

Posted by Helen Duffett on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 26th

The Robocall Scandal.

The ruling Conservative Party of Canada is currently embroiled in an election scandal. The background is the federal election of 2011, when Stephen Harper won an absolute majority for the first time. The election was a disaster for the Liberal Party which lost 43 seats, and an even bigger disaster for the Bloc Québécois which ...

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture

Jerusalem is known as the City of Peace, yet for so long over the past two millennia it has been the focus of strife. The three monotheistic religions all claim a crucial stake in Jerusalem's spiritual heritage and two peoples — Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab — see the city as their natural capital. The ideal ...

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

Here's a round-up of stories we haven't had time to cover on the site this past week... Lib Dems fight reduction of their party political broadcasts in London (Guardian) Provisional plans being drawn up by the BBC suggest giving the Lib Dems two party political broadcasts for the elections - the same as the Green party - rather than the three the Lib Dems enjoyed alongside Labour and the Conservatives in 2008. ... A party source said the Lib Dems were confident the decision would be overturned, given that they have seven MPs in the capital, 246 councillors, and in ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 26th

Cross roads

[Originally posted at Bristol Running Resource, 26/02/12] We all know that safely negotiating the roads is step one for successful urban running. Some drivers are less likely to spot a runner than a cyclist. For runners, traffic awareness is vital. But what's your approach to negotiating the roads safely? In particular, what's your junction etiquette? This is a recurrent source of disagreement between me and my partner. When I'm on a run and I see a car on the main road signalling to turn at the time I'll be arriving at the turning then, if necessary, I give way. I ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives

I'm a fan of Graeme Archer, He was always one of the best contributors to Conservative Home and very much deserved his Orwell Prize win last year and the subsequent column in The Telegraph. His pieces are usually thought provoking and I find myself sometimes persuaded by him in a way I wasn't expecting. But a piece he wrote recently for The Telegraph about the Green party in Brighton strikes me as unfair in a particular respect. Not for the main thrust of his piece. I have no experience of Brighton politics, so I can't comment on his assertions about ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson

I know that we have to be in coalition with the Conservatives. Economic crisis, stable government, etc. etc. And I'm even willing to accept that some of the Conservatives are decent human beings - not liberals, for the most part, but decent enough even when they're wrong. But do I have to endure Eric Pickles? We are, after all, part of a government that has introduced a power of general competence for local government - a good thing, especially if your local council is innovative and thoughtful (mine aren't, but that's a different problem, especially as both are run solely ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

Please help find Michelle Rawlings. I have known Michelle a number of years now. She was a lifeguard at Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool and we did our swimming teaching qualification together. In 2010 her husPublish Postband helped with Ann Haigh's campaign, and his Aunt has tweeted about Michelle's disappearance. She attends a parent and toddler group with one of my teachers and I received a

Posted by Neil on Neil Woollcott

Much has been said and reported on the 'deals in the desert' that were done by the previous Government to bring the unhinged Gaddafi back into the 'mainstream of the international community.' The deal was that Gaddafi and Libya would have trade sanctions lifted and a rehabilitation of their 'image' in the UK and Europe. The benefit for Blair was that he would be seen as someone who could deliver 'a safer world' after the disaster of Iraq and the illegal invasion of Iraq for which he was the chief cheerleader. This whole debacle saw our then Prime Minister shake ...


News from America: Small coding mistake led to big Internet voting system failure The main security weakness that let University of Michigan researchers take control over a planned city of Washington, D.C. Internet voting system pilot for overseas voters in 2010 was "a tiny oversight in a single line of code," ... It's evidence, say the researchers – led by Assistant Professor J. Alex Halderman – that Internet voting should be postponed until, when or if major new breakthroughs in cybersecurity occur. Mistakes like the one they exploited are all too common, hard to eradicate, and indicative of a brittleness ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

As I reflected in a blog post last Thursday the idea that left me least convinced in the Prime Minister's speech to the BITC summit was the assertion that: "Put a young person into college for a month's learning, unpaid - and it's hailed as a good thing. Put a young person into a supermarket for a month's learning, unpaid - and it's slammed as slave labour." I pointed out that surely when Tescos, Argos and Poundland are reflecting on the concerns about the race to the bottom that these "workfare" schemes could trigger it is time for Number 10 ...

Posted by Andrew Dakers on Everyone's Blog Posts - ANDREW DAKERS

Judging by the comments on my first update on the meeting with Jenny Willott (boy am I starting to get tired of typing that phrase now) I just want to clarify that what I'm trying to do is to give an account of how the meeting went and the arguments that were made - but that doesn't mean I agree with everything Jenny said or that I think that everything's magically okay even when I do agree with something. So, despite the meeting revealing precisely what I feared - that the government won't budge an inch on the time limit ...

Posted by George W. Potter on The Potter Blogger

A rather poignant YA novel, based apparently rather closely on the writer's own life, about growing up in a reservation wracked by poverty and alcoholism in Washington state, and his attempts to fit in at the nearby white high school. I felt it a bit of a cop-out that the narrator turns out to be good at basketball and so wins the respect of his peers, but maybe I was just over-projecting nerd experience. Anyway, it is very lucidly told, with lots of illustrations, and can be recommended for younger teenage readers.

I was startled to read this headline and story in the Belfast Telegraph: St Columb's Cathedral is not in Belfast but over 100 km away in Derry! Or perhaps Northern Ireland's geography has changed since I was last there?

Liberal Democrat leaders are working hard at persuading the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accelerate the pace at which the threshold for paying income tax is raised to £10 000. I have never been over-enthusiastic about this policy,which was successfully mauled by critics during the election campaign on two counts. Firstly it is of no help to the very poorest who either don't pay income tax because they can't find work, or work for such low wages that they never even reach the present threshold. Secondly, the policy is wasteful because raising the threshold gives extra tax-free income to all ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

One of the very short "quick reads" novels, less than 100 pages, with the Tenth Doctor investigating mysterious deaths at an athletics training camp which has become the latest front in the Sontaran/Rutan war. Surprisingly high death toll among the characters (shades of Fang Rock, perhaps). Decently constructed, but I do wonder if these books reach their target audience.

[IMG: Lawrence House, Cheriton sign] Lawrence House, Cheriton A planning application for 30 new houses has been submitted for Lawrence House in Cheriton. The former care home site is to be redeveloped following its closure. The proposals are for 21 four bedroom houses and 9 "affordable" houses accessed from St Mark's Close. The application Y11/1156/SH can be viewed on the Shepway Council website. Lib Dem Councillor Gary Fuller says: "I'd like to hear from local residents what they think about these plans. Are they about right, or are there too many houses for this site?" Contact Gary Fuller at ...

Posted on Tim Prater
Sun 26th

I'm back

Right, I'm back after a hiatus of a few days. To be honest, I suddenly found myself feeling completely drained and not up to facing anything related to blogging or the Welfare Reform Bill. Not writing anything, not reading anything, not debating about anything, not anything about it at all. Partly this is because of the meeting with Jenny Willott. To be honest, I'm used to seeing things in black and white terms and, as a result of the meeting I've suddenly found a lot of shades of grey in what I'm doing. Which in turn means that I've been ...

Posted by George W. Potter on The Potter Blogger

It is time to get my thinking cap back on and come up with an answer to The Question as posted on Stephen Chapman's State of the Nation blog. The question this month is:What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? The cliche answer of course is to say just be yourself and to be honest that is pretty good advise. My parents were good at this never forcing me or my brother into anything but letting us do the things that we wanted to do and getting their support whatever we decided to do. But ...

Posted by Stephen Glenn on Stephen's Liberal Journal

Cory Doctorow writes, Harriet Harman, deputy leader the UK Labour Party, has explained her party's programme for the British Internet: "implement the Digital Economy Act under a clear timetable including getting on with the notification letters." "Notification letters?" Why yes, those would be the letters notifying you that you have been accused, without proof, of downloading copyrighted material without permission, and that everyone in your household is now at risk of being disconnected from the Internet, without a trial. If that costs you your job, if that costs your children their education, if that makes it harder to engage with ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 26th

Medicated tears

[IMG: Image: Feeling nothing was worse than the anxiety and depression.] I'm nearly two years off the pills now, and happier than I ever was on them. Go figure. [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

In the event that Scotland votes for independence in a referendum, what will happen to Scottish representatives at Westminster? When Montenegro declared independence 13 days after its 2006 referendum, the Serbia-Montenegro joint parliament consisted only on members appointed by the two constituent parliaments, and could simply be dissolved. In 2011, the Southern Sudanese were (rightly) annoyed when their members of the Sudanese parliament were sent packing before the formal declaration of independence after the January referendum but before independence was declared on 9 July. At the other extreme, the MPs elected to the Indonesian parliament to represent East Timor in ...

Lynne Featherstone graces the pages of the Telegraph yesterday. I'm sure that some of their more socially conservative readers choked on their English Breakfast tea, but her article is definitely worth reading. The photo of Lynne the editor has chosen, of her pointing her finger, stern faced during a speech, will no doubt have added to their angst. It's all about the forthcoming consultation on equal marriage. What she says is very sensible. The fierce debate over the past few weeks has shown people feel very strongly about marriage. Some believe the Government has no right to change it at ...

Posted by Caron on Caron's Musings

I've been sitting on these documents for some time, and am surprised that they haven't received more coverage, given the extent of concern over the public finances. They are a set of papers that have been in the public domain since last September, but I do feel that they merit a better airing. They are 'Measuring Tax Gaps 2011', published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as an official statistics release. Over the coming weeks, I intend to dip into them, highlighting some of the things that I find of particular interest., but I'm going to start today by looking ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

Despite failing to enthuse my fellow Islington Liberal Democrat crack quiz team members (or others) with the delight of Polo Cola (what's not to like about an East European imitation of Coca Cola?), at least initially, a great time was had by all last night at the Leyton & Wanstead Quiz night. Aided by the retro-look and the improbably large amount of chocolate we won. It was well organised by the local party, including of course the two key elements – good questions and lovely food. They didn't stint on other ways of raising extra funds, with not only a ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

As readers of our local Focus Newsletter in Church Ward will know we were absolutely delighted that the council did a U turn and decided not to close 6 Children's Centres but to save money by adopting a hub and ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?

This is part two of a two-part post regarding policies to tackle youth unemployment – part one is here. Welcome as the youth contract initiatives have been, I do not believe that they are yet comprehensive enough to adequately address what has been and remains a long-term endemic problem with youth employment in the UK. For 16-24 year olds not in education, training or employment, we ultimately need to be able to offer a guarantee of paid work within a structured training program, albeit at minimum wage, even if this is in the public sector. The jobs and training would ...

Posted by Joe Bourke on Liberal Democrat Voice

What does it mean in Eastrop? From an Eastrop point of view, a number of sites within the town area have been included with virtually no debate. This is, in part, as they are already within the settlement boundary and therefore infrastructure largely exists. However it also means that some of these sites have significant constraints that have not been properly considered. Although Greytown

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James

Currently doing his final tour, Glenn Campbell has one of the most sensational "pop" voices ever to hit vinyl. That is demonstrated very well by this one – Country Boy – you've got your feet in LA, but your mind's on Tennessee. [IMG: Post to Twitter] Tweet This Post

Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

Bevan Foundation Director, Victoria Winckler has an excellent article on that organisation's website, 'This is my truth' this morning outlining the lessons that need to be learnt from the AWEMA scandal, here in Wales. She says that although many have protested that the behaviour of AWEMA was exceptional, it brings into question the effectiveness and scrutiny of charities by the Welsh Government as well as the Charity Commission. It is worth quoting in full: With over 9,000 charities and a total income of nearly £1 billion, charities in Wales are a powerful provider of services and doer of good deeds. ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

A letter to The Guardian: Polly Toynbee writes (24 February) that journalists "précis a muddled reality into a narrative of right and wrong". However, the very best of journalists manage to combine a clear sense of morality with an understanding of the muddled and complex nature of reality – presenting a fully rounded picture to their audiences. Even those recounting horrors such as William L Shirer recounting the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s managed more than trite simplicities in explaining who did what and why. The pressures and constraints of journalism often do call for shorter and simpler versions ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

The link is to the story about the conviction of a Southampton Foster Carer from Thursday. What is important about this is the inaction of the authorities over a long period of time.The problem is that the authorities are conflicted on dealing with these things and there is no independent protection of children that are in care from abuse. I have a similar sort of case in Birmingham. Not as

Posted by john on John Hemming's Web Log

Who Owns Marriage? Lynne Featherstone is made of awesome. (tags: awesome libdemmery ) Mozilla phone on the way Could be interesting (tags: phones ) MOAR photos from the new Star Trek movie including a cool one with Quinto and Frumious Bandersnatch standing in front of their stunt doubles. (tags: trek ) I'm Not Going To Watch Comic Book Men Anymore Urgh. Horrid horrid horrid. (tags: Sexism telly comics ) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Deborah Orr has a must-read article in the Guardian highlighting the inverted absurdity of this week's row about the Coalition's workfare programme, The slanging match over workfare is getting us nowhere. She points out that the very essence of workfare is government intervention in the workings of the free market, the state urging private companies to offer work experience placements to the unemployed: For the right, such hapless, inefficient intervention by the state is anathema. When the private sector is left to make its own arrangements, neo-liberals never tire of pointing out, it functions better, to the advantage of all. ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 26th

NHS Reform

Why should the NHS be improved? Well nothing is perfect and some feel that competition improves business. It may be the case that competition within the NHS can be healthy (no pun intended) but competition brings its own layer of bureaucracy and inefficiency. There may also be improvements to be made with accountability in the NHS . I am old enough to remember community health councils and at that time I had access to local politicians who were part of the decision making process. I have not had that ability for many years so some parts of the latest bill ...

Posted by Michael Gradwell on Politics for Novices

At the beginning of this semester, about a month ago now, the Students' Union invited us to "celebrate" twenty years' service to the community of, first, Morrell Hall, and latterly Clive Booth Student Village, by Morals Bar by announcing it was to close permanently at the end of this semester. I decided at the time not to write an outraged post or try to form a campaign myself to persuade them otherwise because I was heartened that within a few days of that announcement a group of students resident in one of the old Morrell Hall blocks had been to ...

Posted by Jock on Jock's OXFr33? Blog

At the request of Logie residents, I have asked that the very worn white lines at the Elm Street/Blackness Road junction be repainted - see right.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet with Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, for a bloggers' interview. So it was that Andrew Page, Nicola Prigg, Douglas Mclennan and I spent an evening discussing everything from the constitution to youth unemployment. The LibDems have been through a torrid time over the last couple of years in Scotland. Being aligned with the Tories in government brought the party to the brink of oblivion at the Scottish elections last year. Being the junior partner in a government dealing with the global financial crisis and an enormous structural deficit ...

Posted by GHmltn on The view from the hills
Sun 26th

The Question 2

It's time for the second episode in the Stephen's collective blog experience - The Question. This month the question is: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? So, here's my take on it. Why not post your own response and put the link on Stephen's blog? Even if you don't, do pay a visit to see how else it's been answered! The best bit of advice I've ever had was probably given to me by Stephen when we worked together... but if it was, then I've long since forgotten it. My dad always advised me ...

Posted by oneexwidow on the widow's world

GAH! This originally posted with the worst thing ever, rather than Brian Wilson. I apologise more than words can say for that. Watch this, then you either will get it, or you'll know you never will: (For those who care, that's Brian Wilson in 2004 performing the song Surf's Up, from Smile, written by Wilson ...

Posted by Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!
Sun 26th

In the Poet's Own Hand?

Some time ago, I came across this photograph: [IMG: Iliad with 'autographed' sticker] It's such an intriguing image - you wonder: was it just a mistake by some sales assistant, or was somebody in that bookshop making a very thoughtful comment on an age-old mystery? Well, well.... just imagine. What would the signature be like? What name would he write? And would he be willing to sign the Odyssey as well? At this point, I wonder whether we'd be any wiser if we read that his name was actually Melesigenes – how much, apart from a name, would he have ...

Posted by Maria Pretzler on Working Memories
Sun 26th

Well, I am back....

... sweeps away some cobwebs ... I guess I have to apologise for leaving my blog behind for so long. It's been a few busy weeks - any excuses I might make would make a localised version of many points made in this article: Stefan Collini: The Threat to Our Universities (Guardian)

Posted by Maria Pretzler on Working Memories
Sun 26th

Kanadischen Klimabomben

Austria was one of the countries which voted for implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive, whereas the UK only abstained. If passed the FQD would effectively put an import ban on Canadian tar sands oil into Europe. The environment minister for Austria is Niki Berlakovich, of the Austrian People's Party, which has a right of ...

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture