When the Welfare Association* conceived the idea of a fundraising gala dinner in aid of disadvantaged children in Palestine, to be held at the Bloomsbury Big Top in central London, they can have had no idea that that event this evening would coincide with renewed fighting between Gaza's Hamas and Israel, in which several Palestinian children have ...

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

In this weeks Spectator (pictured) there is a report of the debate on Equal Marriage. One of the Councillors Brian Wilson the independent for Bangor West is reported to have said: "the definition of marriage was not a matter for the council but for the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary." Now the OED is a fluid document and definitions there do get redefined all the time; marriage is one such word actually. In older editions it was defined as: marriage, n. 1a the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they ...

Posted by Stephen Glenn on Stephen's Liberal Journal

Next weekend Bristol will host the Festival of Economics, organised under the auspices of the Festival of Ideas. The programme for the Festival of Economics has been assembled by Diane Coyle of Enlightenment Economics. It brings together economic journalists, applied academic economists, and economists in the think tank world who seek to talk directly to policy makers. Some are relatively mainstream in their orientation. Some are decidedly more heterodox. The arrival of the festival coincides with my finally getting the chance to finish Diane's recent edited collection What's the use of economics? Teaching the dismal science after the crisis (WTUOE). ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives

Tuesday Do you know David Heath? Our Liberal Democrat MPs are fine fellows to a man - and, indeed, a woman - but if I were kidnapped by highly-paid BBC executives and forced to listen to the ramblings of David Dimbleby until I named my favourite amongst them, my choice would almost certainly light upon Heath. In recent years, he has served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, which means that he has been privy to the most delicious gossip: who is up, who is down, whether the government will be obliged to make concessions on the Tramways ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Sat 17th

The Treaty of Ripon

Thanks to the booklet published by the city's civic society, I came across the plaque in a Ripon backwater. The Treaty of Ripon put an end to the Bishops' Wars of 1639-40 between England and Scotland. These were caused by Charlies I's attempt to impose an Episcopalian system of church government upon Scotland. Defeat in these wars, and their expense, forced Charles to abandon his attempt to govern without a parliament and were thus a Cause of the Civil War. The English puritans were sympathetic to the Scots' resistance to High Anglicanism but suspicious of what they saw as their ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Sarah Teather is interviewed by Toby Helm, the paper's political editor, in tomorrow's Observer: She accuses parts of government and the press of a deliberate campaign to "demonise" those on benefits and of failing to understand that those in need of state help are just as human as they are. With vivid outrage she describes the language and caricatures that have been peddled. "Whenever there is any hint of opposition they wheel out a caricature of a family, usually a very large family, probably black, most likely recent immigrants, without much English, lots of children, apparently chaotic, living in a ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Lord Bonkers explains over on the new Liberator blog.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

The DT's logic in setting up a pay wall only for its overseas readers is incomprehensible to me, but I reluctantly decided that I had to subscribe. I need the DT to provide balance against the Guardian. That's especially important while I'm here in Canada, because if I only get news of Blighty from the ...

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture

I've heard that Angelo Massone has put in a £4.5m bid for Hearts. My first thought is about half that money was probably laundered from Livingston FC, my second is don't anyone let this man anywhere near another football club ever. This is the man who single-handedly ignored fans, almost ran my team into ruin. If Hearts fans want a businessman to take over the £4.2m of debt and tax bills and turn the club around Massone is not the man to do it. He's has proved he is incapable of doing that on a smaller basis. Within months of ...

Posted by Stephen Glenn on Stephen's Liberal Journal

On Thursday evening I was at Fox Hollies Forum for the AGM of the Fox Hollies Community Association (FHCA). The FHCA supports a range of vital community activities, from mother and toddler groups to activities for older people, from its base at Fox Hollies Forum, Greenwood Avenue. Its been a challenging couple of years as the Association has taken over the management of the Forum from the Council, but this has been successfully managed and the Forum looks in great shape. You can find out more about the facilities at the Forum via this link to their facebook page. I'm ...

Posted by rogerharmer on Roger Harmer

This morning, we had a great launch to West End Christmas Fortnight 2012, with a well-attended Community Fayre at Dundee West Church. For the first time - and at the suggestion of Rev Andrew Greaves, Minister of Dundee West Church, we held the fayre in the church itself, adjacent to the Guild Christmas Coffee Morning rather than in the lower hall. This worked extremely well and I - and the rest of the West End Christmas Committee - would like to thank the 25 local organisations who participated in the fayre and to all local residents who came along this ...

We'd all like to believe that the 80+% of voters who stayed at home for last week's PCC elections would have voted for a Lib Dem candidate had one stood in their area. But the result can probably more accurately be seen as mass public apathy, or even hostility to the Police and Crime Commissioners policy. A major problem with our electoral system, then, is that there is no effective way to capture and represent 'none of the above' or 'no-one under any circumstances' viewpoints that so many potentially hold. As a democrat, I want to fix that. That's why ...

Posted by Andrew Tennant on Liberal Democrat Voice

Wednesday saw the final 2012 meeting of the Parish Council, with our District and County Councillors in attendance, and, for a change, there was more hand-wringing on the part of our District Councillor than on mine. It looks truly grim for Mid Suffolk District Council, with the prospect of cutting spending by 35% over the next three years, and whilst I would rather have been the successful candidate in Stowupland last year, the fact that my Conservative rival is having to make up for her otherwise embarrassing feebleness by having to take responsibility for her decisions does bring me a ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

Since January 2009 I had been an iPhone man. 3G - 3GS - 4S was my path. I had been reasonably happy at first. But there were things that niggled with me. Being a techy person I was frustrated at the limitations of the devices and the operating system. So three weeks ago I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100). This post is a summary of my experiences switching from the iPhone/iOS world to the Samsung/Android world. Some of my comments here will be the differences in the operating systems (iOS vs Android). Some will be differences between the ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson
Sat 17th

Andover Trees United

A new seven acre woodland, part of the new Queen Elizabeth Wood Andover, and one of the nation's 60 Diamond Woods to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee, is being planted at Augusta Park. The wood is next to the new playing fields on the north east side of the development. Planting and management is being carried out by a local community group, Andover Trees United. The aim of Andover Trees United is for every young person in the town and surrounding villages, over a ten-year period, to have contributed to the woodland by planting a tree in their school nursery bed ...

Posted by lengates on Len Gates
Sat 17th

Children of Egypt


Posted by Maelo Manning on libdemchild, aged 13
Sat 17th

Moving forward

I'm 6 out of 8 weeks through term and it's been quite an experience. No, not the conventional "I've had such great nights out!!1 My drunken antics were hilarious!". I'm quite impressed with how I've managed to cope with the work (because there's so much of it!), although this is partly because I'm becoming increasingly

Posted by Josh Goldenberg on Life, philosophy, and a whole lot else

Remember Francis Maude and his country suppers? I just came across this window into the domestic life of the Osborne's and Cameron's in today's Telegraph. It's so removed from almost anyone's normal life - can we really hope they will ever understand? I despair... Custard from a dainty cupMiddle-aged men everywhere will have sympathised with David Cameron when his tummy popped out at that formal dinner. It's a hazard we all face, thanks to the tyranny of the "fitted" shirt. Indeed, my Downing Street source tells me this isn't the first time the PM has had this problem."The Osbornes invited ...

Posted by Richard Morris on A VIEW FROM HAM COMMON
Sat 17th

It's those babies!

The Telegraph interviewed me after a panel session on Violence against Women and Girls which was the final session of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Unit event on 'Gender and Politics'. The interview itself seemed to focus less on violence against women and far more on what held women back from equality. I think it was a statement of the bleeding obvious when I said that having babies was a bit of an issue! Anyway – you can read the interview here.

Posted by Lynne Featherstone on Lynne Featherstone » Blog

After the ward I'm working in, Dundonald, won the award for most canvassed ward in London at London Lib Dems Regional Conference, I wrote a short article on canvassing for Lib Dem Voice – enjoy and get out there on the doorsteps!

Posted by philling on Philip Ling
Sat 17th

Tax avoiders and trials.

Lord McAlpine has apparently settled out of court for his £185 000 damages and costs from the BBC for the alleged libel. However, the BBC is apparently only the head of a "very long list" (Guardian 16th November) of others including ITV and the wife of the Speaker, whom Lord McAlpine is likely to sue. If any of these defend their case they will make us of a judge, courtroom, ushers and other officials, all financed by we taxpayers. If Wikipedia is to be believed, as noted in my comment below, (Self-harming BBC) Lord McAlpine has registered himself as a ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal
Sat 17th

Network Effects

I recently took a survey which asked how many hours per week I spent "online". It struck me as a bizarre question. I am always online. Even when I am asleep, my phone is downloading email, my laptops are updating themselves, and my cameras are scanning for intruders. I realise that I am probably a statistical outlier - but I thought it would be interesting to see how many Internet connected devices I have in my flat. Here they are, in no particular order... My Android phone.Liz's Android phone.NASWork PCWork laptopLiz's laptopMediaCentre (OpenElec)Xbox 360Original XboxWiiPanasonic TVY-Cam security cameraAnother Y-Cam security ...

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog

From a White House press release this week: Readout of Vice President Biden's Call with Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg Vice President Biden spoke to Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg today to thank him for his congratulatory message following last week's U.S. election. The Vice President expressed appreciation for Deputy Prime Minister Clegg's friendship and the close and enduring partnership of the United States and the United Kingdom. The two also agreed to continue close cooperation between our two countries to strengthen the global economy and address a range of shared security ...

Posted by Helen Duffett on Liberal Democrat Voice

For about 85% of the country with elections it didn't. (And didn't at all in Scotland and London) There will be many reasons put forward for the embarrassingly low turnout for this flagship Tory policy; 1. It was in November (so was the 1935 General Election with 71% turnout) 2. It was the first election for PCC's. (the first euro elections in 1979 had 32% T/O - which remains the average )

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James
Sat 17th

Fearing for the future

Jennie Rigg and James Graham have both written posts recently that have touched on issues that have been concerning me. To quote Jennie: And because people are just generally pissed off with politicians, political media, and elections this feeds into the perception that there is a lack of meaningful choice – if all politicians are the same and they are all venal scumsucking money-grubbing bastards, why bother to try to choose between them? It won't make any difference. And James: What we need in the UK is almost the exact opposite of what Andreas Whittam Smith is proposing: greater accountability ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

It's not the fact that the tiny sliver of land that is Gaza - a place utterly incapable of sustaining or controlling it's own economy and supporting civilian infrastructure - is under attack that's disappointing. It is the depressing inevitability of it all as Israel approaches a set of elections in January 2013 at the convergence of a number of events that could change the very nature of the Middle East. The news that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a coalition of sorts in what appears to be a desperate bid to hold onto power in the upcoming Israeli ...

Posted on It's Just Jason

Danny wrote to me the other day, telling me that he was cutting my taxes (I pay tax and earn less than £100,000 per annum), a point that I was quite pleased about, especially given that I haven't had a pay rise for three years (I'm a civil servant, and neither Labour or the Coalition approve of such things). Indeed, the enhancements to the personal allowance have made up for some of the real terms loss in my pay. Unlike some of my colleagues, I can be reasonably sanguine about my relative loss of income, as I don't have a ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter
Sat 17th

An omnishambles

No, not the Police and Crime Commissioner elections though there is a case that can be made for that accolade, but this article in the Guardian explaining how the word had grown into common usage following its first airing on "The Thick of it". The paper says that this week, the word "omnishambles" was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. They add that it emerged as part of a script edit for episode 1, series 3 of The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker is in the middle of lambasting new minister Nicola Murray. He gets in a lift, ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

For more information, follow the link below:

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

So far, there has been a weird paradox at the heart of the coverage about the Obama 2012 campaign machine. On the one hand we're all meant to be impressed by how it was based on data and analysis, honing campaign techniques and targeting activity based on what the data said. On the other hand, we're meant to take it all on trust (or trust plus bucketloads of anecdotes; i.e. trust) that this hard-nosed, evidence-based approach to campaigning worked. Where's the evidence that the reliance on evidence really worked? There's been remarkably little presented. Which is why the following graph ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

I managed to catch a bit of the news this morning before heading out the door. On the Sky news they were discussing Christmas adverts and revealed that Asda are being investigated because of complaints of sexism. For those of you who haven't seen then the advert basically shows the Mum of the house running around doing everything and all the domestic duties. I can sort of see this point of view in that in these enlightened times either partner can and does pitch in at Christmas. Indeed the battle that is Christmas dinner can be a team effort but... ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

Danny Boyle accuses culture minister Maria Miller of 'outrageous' snub | Stage | The Guardian (tags: ) I am part of a rather small minority... and why I'm proud of the Liberal Democrats Lady Mark on voting for a PCC where no Lib Dem is standing (tags: ) Who are the tools at the BBC that got rid of most the episodes of Top of the Pops from the 60s? Andrew tells us why this happened (tags: ) Knit Your Own Scotland - A Work Of Comic Genius Are there no ladies at all in Scotland? How do they breed? ...

Sat 17th

Operation Nexus

The Met Police have been working much more closely with the UK Boarder Agency. They estimate roughly a third of London's 8 million residents are not UK nationals. Taking this into account it is reassuring that less than a third of the people arrested in London are foreign nationals, 27%. But that is still a lot of people. Over 70,000 prisoners a year. The problems the Police have is that they don't have great processes or systems to then check whether such prisoners are wanted abroad, are illegally here, etc. hence the work with the UK Border Agency. The UK ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

Against expectation, the Conservative favourite for Hertfordshire in the ill-considered Police & Crime Commissioner elections failed to win 50% of the first preference votes. However, because the elections were held under a form of Proportional Representation (PR), second preference votes enabled David Lloyd for the Conservatives to achieve a majority of support in this poorly supported election. At less than 15% turnout, however, it is difficult for the elected commissioner to claim any form of mandate. In view of the controversy surrounding proposals to hand back-office police station work over to G4S his early moves on this matter will be ...

Posted by nickhollinghurst on Nick Hollinghurst

It's Saturday morning, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices... Growth or bust (Financial Times) – Tim Harford on why there just aren't enough companies going bankrupt in the UK: 'The ability to fail quickly - and without much collateral damage - is a tremendous economic asset.' On Managerialist Ideology (Stumbling and Mumbling) – In the wake of the BBC crisis, Chris Dillow questions the cult of management as a panacea for organisational failings: 'the solution to sloppy journalism is, well, better journalism'. I'm a Celebrity: still the kangaroo's bollocks (Spiked Online) – David Bowden's almost ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sat 17th

Reminder: Thought Bubble

The main reason I've not written much in the last two weeks is we've had Plok as a house-guest. And the main reason he's chosen this time to come over rather than another time is that this weekend is Thought Bubble, the best comic convention in the UK. The Mindless Ones will have a stall ...

Posted by Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Dundee Partnership Awards Dinner at the City Chambers - see right. It was a very enjoyable evening and great to see the winning local organisations recognised for the work they do in local communities across Dundee. Amongst the winners last night was the Food Train, which has expanded rapidly thanks to the hard work of Grant Simmons, his colleague and the team of volunteers who provide an invaluable shopping service to elderly people across the city.

West End Christmas Fortnight will be launched today, with the West End Community Fayre, taking place in Dundee West Church from 10am to 12 noon! 25 local groups in the West End are taking part. Entrance is entirely free of charge and it will be a great way for local residents to learn about all the organisations in the West End that are working for the local area. There will be lots to see, including free face painting for the children and, at 11am, children from the dancing studio of the Russian School at Harris Academy will be performing. All ...