Sun 18th

Sunday Sounds 57

There could only be one Sunday Sound on the day my Sister gave me the best birthday present ever: a Nephew. Here is the London Symphony Orchestra with the Tenebrae Choir and "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" from Handel's Messiah: Andrew

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

Earlier this month, I updated residents about the Magdalen Artists' exhibition as part of West End Christmas Fortnight. This takes place at the Vine - 43 Magdalen Yard Road - next weekend. As a taster, here's some of the art that will be on show: Toadstool by Fiona Moore Untitled by Jim Petrie Storm in a Teacup by Pauline Murray Untitled By Pat Edgar Winter Wood by Liz McCarthy

Wednesday Meadowcroft puts his head through the Breakfast Room window (fortunately, it is open at the time) to inform me that my drive is "befangled with ballistics". I rush outside to see what the fuss is about and am met by an extraordinary sight: the drive is occupied from the Lodge, past the lake, around my carriage sweep and under my porte cochère by jeeps, tanks and missile launchers. It reminds me of the chilly Moscow afternoon when (for reasons I need not enter into here) I found myself obliged to join the party taking the salute in Red Square. ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Say the name 'Starbucks' and we now associate it with tax evasion (click here for more info) Whats this got to do with Labour? It may have happened in the past but that goes back to the Brown and Blair era when Milliband and Balls were miles away from the treasury working at the treasury. But is was in the past. You'd have thought that if there was one thing that could unite the left, it is

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James

We just got home from Thought Bubble. I'm going to do a second post about the stuff I enjoyed later on, but I thought I'd get the cute over with first. Things of which Holly approved:pretty much everything to do with The Phoenix, including going round "finding" Phoenix feathers, and getting an art lesson from Neill Cameron, whom Holly describes as "the Epic-est of Epicness". In fact, I really want to give props to whichever person or persons decided the stuff that The Phoenix folks would be doing, because it was pitched exactly right for Holly. The challenge to go ...

Sun 18th

Six of the Best 296

Making the case against secret courts on the Spectator's Coffee House blog, Charlotte Henry reminds us what was in the Coalition agreement: "We will be strong in defence of freedom. The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties." The latest revision of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders threatens to turn childhood tantrums into a medical condition, says David Dobbs on Wired. Carla Saulter on Grist explains why public transport is good for children. ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

FLAMSTEED ROAD SCOUT HUT TOMORROW Most residents of Queen Edith's will know that parking is a big problem in this area. Lib Dem councillors have for many years been calling for action from Conservative-run Cambridgeshire County Council, the council responsible for parking management and highways. Last summer the County Council set up a parking review group, to look at all of the south of the city, including Queen Edith's, Trumpington, Romsey and some streets in Coleridge. Cllr Jean Swanson and I attended the first meeting, and since then Cllr Geoff Heathcock has sat on the group.The County officers have visited ...

Posted by Amanda Taylor on Amanda Taylor

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 300th 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 (11-17 November, 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. Just Cyril being ...

Posted by Helen Duffett on Liberal Democrat Voice

Wondering how to get those emails from Nick Clegg I have been blogging about? Know someone else who might like to get them? Want to make sure the helpers in your local party know about them? Here's the place to point them to sign up: Oh, and of course you could also mention a certain monthly email newsletter about the Lib Dems too...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Facebook has a lot to answer for. But so does the Trafford Housing Trust. An idiot posted on his Facebook aghast that the Government would dare force equal marriage upon churches (the plans aren't even about religious organisations!). An even bigger idiot decided that this person deciding to express his personal opinion on his personal social media page in his personal time constituted a reason to demote the original idiot. I used to work at a housing trust. I know they can be dumb. They once told off the LGBT group (of which I was a member) for the use ...

Posted on Neue Politik

As The Rambles of Neil Monnery closes in on half a million views in it's short 18 month life (on this server – I didn't transfer the old stats over – doh) I thought I would post a blog just to point out the many ways you can keep up to date with the goings on here on the blog: The easiest way to keep up to date is to subscribe to e-mail alerts. You can do that on the top right-hand corner of the screen. Just enter your e-mail address and you'll get an e-mail whenever a blog is ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

I'm pleased that Sarah Teather - even now - has spoken out against the negative effect the benefit cap is having on people in her constituency. It's a significant issue in an area of London that goes beyond the core inner boroughs because of the severely distorted housing market there. It's also - in most of the country -very politically popular, partly because it takes a particularly egregious and small set of cases of large amounts of benefit payments caused by legal precedent and market forces, and dresses it up in 'tough' clothing. That has never been thinking any self-respecting ...

Posted by Gareth on Gareth Epps

What happened in the elections for important Lib Dem bodies this month? Newsletter #28 had the answer. You can get future newsletters by email sent directly to you – just sign up here.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

For many years I have been a fantasy sports junkie. I have had fantasy football teams obviously but never was able to stick at it due to my terrible initial selections and I just couldn't be bothered. Throw in Fantasy F1, Fantasy Basketball, Fantasy NFL, Fantasy Baseball etc... and you'll see a deep rooted pattern. However I made a decision this year to change this up and cut my teams down to just one – the Fratton Yankees in a fantasy baseball league that I have been a member of for now seven years and that would be that. I ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Kenilworth Liberal Democrats recently distributed a newspaper to thousands of homes across the town, in which we told people of the Conservatives' plans for an expensive feasibility study of a scheme to flood the Mere (great lake) at Kenilworth Castle, restoring it to something like it was in Tudor times. We warned that the costs would be huge, and could only mean commercial development of precious green belt land by the castle. We asked people to reply to the question 'Do you think that spending time and money on recreating the Tudor mere at Kenilworth Castle is a good idea'? ...

Posted by John Whitehouse on John Whitehouse

LibDemVoice Co-Editor Stephen Tall reflected on the state of the Coalition at its mid-way point in an event jointly hosted by CentreForum and the Institute for Government, Half-Time Oranges (and Blues): How to renew the Coalition while Preparing for the Next Election. You can watch his 10-minute verdict on where the Lib Dems are at and where we should go next here:

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 18th

the little things

I have returned from a stay in Spain, up in the hills near Malaga. My dad lives out there now. Some similarities - BBC on cable TV, supermarkets and green trees. Differences - not many pavements, loo paper in the side bin and sun in November.One interesting tale. On the day we were voting for police commissioner in Bristol I was in a park near the coast in Spain. The local police had a mission. A small child had lost a green bouncy ball in a hedge. The police took 5 mins out of their day to help find it.Motorbikes ...

Posted by Emma Bagley on Emma Bagley's Blog

I've dealt already with my concerns about the first paragraph, but the rest of Nick's third Letter from the Leader was exactly what we need to hear from him. He's long been passionate about making sure people with mental health problems are treated properly and promptly by the NHS and about making sure that parents themselves can choose which of them takes the leave from work when they have a baby. This has been the week that he's been able to make announcements on both. I liked the bit at the bottom which suggested that people should forward the email ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

The Annual General Meeting of the Local Party is one of the things that marks the passing of the year. Good, bad or indifferent, it is time to reflect a little, twist arms to fill places on the Executive Committee, and dream of better days ahead. Inevitably, it takes place in the dark, and this year, I set off after work to Bury St Edmunds to give my report as Treasurer and seek re-election, not only as Treasurer, but as a Representative to the Regional and Federal Conferences. Equally inevitably, I was delayed on route by a signal fault at ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

Kenilworth town councillors were asked their views this week, as to whether the lights in Abbey Fields (on the path from Bridge Street to the swimming pool) should stay on all night after 1st December – when the great majority of the town's streetlights start being switched off at midnight to save money and energy. Now, most sensible people might think that this question was a no-brainer. After midnight these lights are on a "path to nowhere". How can it make sense to leave them blazing all night? Well, with the honourable exception of my two Lib Dem colleagues, this ...

Posted by John Whitehouse on John Whitehouse

From 1st December onwards, the vast majority of street lights in Kenilworth will be switched off between midnight and 5.30 am. I've given strong support at the County Council to the new part night lighting policy. It will save a lot of money (£500,000 a year) and a lot of energy, helping to reduce our carbon footprint. The plan was to start the new arrangements from 1st April next year, but in fact across Warwick District all the equipment is in place to implement early and make additional savings. A good idea, yes? WELL, UP TO A POINT! I don't ...

Posted by John Whitehouse on John Whitehouse

'If a referendum were held on the UK's membership of the European Union, how do you think you would vote?' That's the question posed by polling company Opinium and published today in The Observer — with the following result reported by the paper: Almost four out of 10 Liberal Democrat voters support leaving the EU, according to a new poll which shows that hardline euroscepticism has taken hold in Britain's most pro-European party. An Opinium/Observer survey has found that 39% of Lib Dem supporters would be inclined to vote in favour of leaving Europe if an in/out referendum were called. ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Friday was not an easy day for the Liberal Democrats. This was not a surprise. I doubt many of us expected any good news at all. There was, though. We gained five Council seats and held on to three - and some of them were even up north where we're told by Labour and SNP types on social media, nobody will ever vote for us again. Electing police commissioners was one of these ideas the Tories brought to the Coalition and for a time, the English Liberal Democrats, astoundingly, weren't going to stand any candidates. It's a shame we didn't ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

After completing week 6, where the fundamentals of OOP were brain-dumped in half a dozen short videos, week 7 apparently changed tack. The first lecture sequence briefly introduced the NumPy and SciPy libraries and was followed by a lecture sequence on simulations and random walks. I say that the course apparently changed tack as although problem set 7 was a simulation task, being successful relied heavily on applying the OOP concepts taught in week 6. I suspect that this will be true for the rest of the course. Although it may have seemed to some students (judging by the reaction ...

It was late on a Tuesday night and I was parked up in the Market Tavern with Melissa having a good moan over a Pinot Grigio. I'd just finished a particularly scrappy and argumentative rehearsal with the Demsbury Orchestra. Susan, the new clarinet player, had caused us all grief. "I've had enough of it," I sounded off. "The Orchestra is not well-run anyway, and now we get this bloody new clarinet player who will not listen and does her own thing." Melissa didn't look the least bit interested, so I tried to bait her. "I bet she's a Tory as ...

Posted by Libby Local on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 18th

Saturday Six 14

So, now the dust has settled on the Bristol Mayoral Election - and the Police and Crime Commissioner election - I hope to get back to blogging more consistently: both here and over on LibDemGains. I've not had a lot of time online this week, but had bookmarked a number of twitter links with articles worth consideration for my random selection of posts of the week: and here are the chosen six: First, Caron outlines a debate on the treatment of drug addicts that is taking place in Scotland - and the worrying tendency for some to demonise rather to ...

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

Part of the life of a backbench Peer is to step in where a Liberal Democrat voice is required and, Ros being a team player, she is often able to oblige. In this instance, the issue is one of relevance after this spring's flooding in Needham Market... 1 November Baroness Quin To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to reassess the flood defence programme. Baroness Scott of Needham Market Is the noble Lord able to update the House on the progress of talks which were being held with the insurance industry as there are now many thousands of ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter
Sun 18th

Tumps rubish Dumped

There has been an amount of rubbish dumped at the Tumps, it appears that some of it is legitimate, that it was agreed by the council, but the majority was illegal. We have spoken to the council about getting this dealt with as soon as possible.

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

The third of Nick Clegg's Letters from the Leader series has hit party members' email inboxes today — here's what he has to say... In a week when we saw a set of disappointing elections – with hard working Liberal Democrats not getting the results they deserved and turnout slumping to a new low – it's worth remembering what we're achieving in Government. This week I had the privilege - and I really do mean privilege - to announce a change in government policy that I've been working on pretty much since day one in the job. It's a change ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

We have sent the following email I would ask that the application comes to committee if the application is recommended for approval:That this land represents one of the few employment opportunities in Bath, with land being scarce. Placing a care home on the site is contrary to

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

Hopi Sen has presented me with a problem, he's said what I was thinking. "....politics has been as much a struggle to prove to the voter that our politicians are smarter, stronger, fitter, better looking and have better hair than the other lot. Politicians? They were never sick, never confused, never half asleep, never just plain knackered. Always ready with the right answer, like some preternaturally perfect schoolboy genius. Worse, to convince voters that they were all-encompassing and all knowing, politicians had to convince themselves and all those who mediated between them and the public, from spin doctors to news ...

Posted by Louise Shaw on From one of the Jilted Generation...

The East Midlands branch Social Liberal Forum recently put three questions to all the European Selection Candidates and invited them all to answer in the form of a video. The SLF have published the candidate's videos via Youtube and the ... Continue reading →

Posted by Issan Ghazni on Issan Ghazni

Ok, I've had enough. Will somebody please take Israel by the scruff of the neck and get them told that bombarding Gaza, causing immense suffering and a humanitarian crisis, is just not on. I'm looking at you, Barack Obama and William Hague. Then can they just get all the key players together and not let them out until a peaceful way forward has been found? Israel needs to understand how its actions have contributed to the current situation over many years. There's no evidence that they are learning anything. If any member of our Government said that our forces wanted ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

A new speed awareness sign has been installed in Old Fosse Road, this sign can be altered from 30 mph to 20 mph when Old Fosse Road becomes part of the city wide 20 mph area. Cllr Steve Hedges said " The traffic calming in Old Fosse Road has helped a bit, but not for all drivers, we hope this sign will help to slow traffic." Cllr Nigel Roberts added, " The sign can be turned around if we

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

We all know this song from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? but it was first recorded around a hundred years ago. This slightly chaotic live version appears on the first Ginger Baker's Air Force LP. The singer is Denny Laine, whom we last saw with the Moody Blues. Later he was to be kidnapped by the McCartneys and forced to sing and play on dross like Mull of Kintyre. Also playing on the track are this blog's hero Steve Winwood on bass guitar and Leicester's Ric Grech (of Blind Faith and Family) on violin.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Ok, I know that this is rather a moot point at the moment as I meant to write this last week before being laid out by man flu. On Friday 9th November - Yes I know, again, sorry - a letter from the Medway Liberal Democrat's chair, Tony Jeacock was published in the Medway Messenger. Danger of politicising the Police policy in county. Cllr Mackinlay states if elected as Police commissioner, he'll take all the salary as he considers it a 24/7 job. Surely this would mean a by-election in River ward in which he holds a council seat. All ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

Hertfordshire resident, Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles MEP is already well known both as the powerful chair of Europe's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Now, after being chosen as MEP of the Year last month and then named by a Financial News publication as one of the '30 most Inspirational Women in the City of London' , she has been named by a poll across Europe's senior politicians and civil servants as "the most influencial Briton on and in European policy making". In contrast to the everyday heckling and intimidation in the House of Commons and the "yah boo" of prime ...

Posted by nickhollinghurst on Nick Hollinghurst

Good points: It's still going. There is a serious commitment to making these more frequent and more informal communications work. It's on message – repeating a theme that featured heavily in the party's media push during the week. It's a good message – picking up issues which are very relevant to many people's lives and on which the party is doing things in government. It's got a good style – more of the sort of chatty style that works really well for Nick Clegg and less of the rather stilted, as if written by committee, style that some of the ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Sun 18th

New road works service

The county council has launched a new service enabling you to find out more about roadworks in the county and neighbouring authorities. More details here:

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

Lib Dem MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather makes the front page of The Observer today for a powerful interview slamming the Government's plans to bring in a benefit cap. I'm quoting extensively from it, below, but it's well worth reading the whole piece here. This is clearly an issue that touches Sarah deeply, not least because of the number of her constituents she knows will be deeply affected by the changes. What impresses me most, though, is the way she acknowledges the way the arguments are being framed by the Tories and by the media — and passively accepted ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

I though for once I'd write a blogpost that has nothing to do with Politics and very little to do with Germany and started to think about what else I spend my time doing. My family life I want to keep, somewhat selfishly, to myself. It is my little slice of personal bliss and although I let somethings out and some people in I'd rather keep that mine if that is ok. I spend a lot of time on trains going back and forth to the Olde Bedlam Sanatorium that is my work place which means I spend a lot ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

There's an interesting poll conducted by ComRes and published today. There's no surprise in its headline voting intention figures, below — they're in line with other surveys and indeed with what 'Super Thursday's elections found: Conservative 31% (-2) Labour 43% (+2) Lib Dem 10% (0) UKIP 8% (-1) Others 8% (+1) But what is new is that ComRes has asked the following question: 'Which, if any, of these parties would you seriously consider voting for at a General Election if it were held tomorrow? Please indicate all that apply.' So much political punditry is predicated on the (false) assumption that ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Mark Pack has graciously asked me to respond to his suggestions on improving party election rules, and, as a gentleman, I do feel that I ought to respond. First, some context. We introduced the rule that insisted that members renew their subscription before being allowed to take part in Parliamentary candidate selections and the like after a series of instances where Local Parties experienced sometimes quite stunning increases in their memberships just before the selection itself took place, no names, no pack drill, as they say. And, having experienced a few of them myself as a Returning Officer or Regional ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter
Sun 18th

An electoral disaster?

The Financial Times suggests that the low turnout in Thursday's Police and Crime Commissioner elections are a massive kick in the teeth for David Cameron, who championed the contests at every stage. They say that his hope that Britain would embrace his vision of US-style elected police chiefs lies in tatters as the public turned its back on his latest attempt to change the way the country is run. The idea being put about by the Prime Minister's spin doctors that it was all the fault of the London-based national media for failing to cover the police campaign properly is ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black
Sun 18th

Janet Douglass

The funeral of Janet Douglass will take place on Wednesday 21st November, at St Bede's church , Newsham followed by interment at the Links cemetery Blyth. Janet was a former Mayor of Blyth Valley, and in 2009 she left the Labour Party and joined the LibDems. I don't think that she ever stood again for office after the break-up of BVBC , but she was widely liked and respected by those of all parties and none. She will be missed.

Posted by Alisdair Gibbs-Barton on Alisdair Gibbs-Barton
Sun 18th

Petition watch

A couple of petitions to the Government that people who read this might be interested in signing: Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Nov 15th elections : My vote was a "No" vote – I plugged this a lot during the week on social media, and it's a very good way of making clear that people object to the concept of police commissioners, and the low turnout last week wasn't just apathy. Add legally binding 'Reopen nominations (RON)' & 'Leave position vacant' options to all ballot papers – It would be an interesting addition to voting, and give people who don't ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

More comedy genius from Australia's Clarke and Dawe:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

I am just on my way back to Liverpool having spent a week in Uganda. This week has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. I have learned a hell of a lot but hope that I ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we're publishing the full results. Only 3% of Lib Dem members back current plans for secret courts LDV asked: Parliament is currently debating Part II of the Justice and Security Bill which makes provision for closed material procedures (CMPs) - more commonly known as 'secret courts' - to be used in any civil proceedings (except, at present, for inquests) in cases where national security is ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood Ward as detailed below:- Application number: 55783 Type of application: Full Date Registered: 12/11/2012 Location: 9 Willingdon Drive, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1PA Proposal: 2 storey rear extension Plans will be available to view on the Council's website (use the above reference number to search). Please do not hesitate to get in touch if I can be of help or for more information. Tim

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

This is a very hard post for me to write. I've recently finished reading two autobiographies. Both cover the same story. A boy - a nerd - has success in the fickle world of acting. Both stories tell of series of choices made. In one, the boy soars to great heights. In the other, the boy is bought back to Earth with a thump - seemingly never to succeed again. The first is by Simon Pegg, the second by Wil Wheaton. What's so hard is that both stories feel like they could have been written about me. Both make me ...

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog

From Dundee City Council: THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 : SECTION 14(1) THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of SSE duct laying works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Seafield Road (north leg) (from its junction with Perth Road to number 50 Seafield Road), Dundee. This notice comes into effect on Monday 26th November 2012 for 5 working days. Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained. Access will be maintained where possible. Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Seafield Road/Bellefield Avenue/Magdalen Yard ...

Sun 18th

Batman and Robin (1949)

Prev: Batman (1942) Yes it has been two years. Shut up, I had family issues. Anyhoo. Format: As with Batman (1943): A single story movie serial consisting of one half hour and 14 15-minute episodes, each moving the plot along just enough to leave us with a suitably gripping 'how will they get out of this one?' cliffhanger. Batman: (Robert Lowery) A forensic scientist ahead of his time, Batman no longer works for the US government, but is a private citizen using gadgetry, fists and smarts to assist a grateful, cooperative police force. His fighting skills are fine, but not ...

Posted by Debi on