I've been thinking for a few days to do a post on Christmas Adverts but I will do a quick one now just for the Boots adverts. They have done one main advert with clips of several stories which is 1m long and then they have done shorter 30s ads delving slightly deeper into all of the stories which I happen to think has been most spiffing. I really enjoyed the housemate finds love one as it reminded me of a situation I was in not that long ago. I also really fancy the ginger girl in it but then ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

There's been rather a flurry of Liberal Democrats tweeting about tax today (provoked in part no doubt by Labour talking about the issue too). Here are some of the highlights. You can sign up to back the Liberal Democrat campaign for fairer taxes at FairerTax.org. Under Labour, someone on the Minimum Wage paid over £1,000 in tax. By April their tax bill will be almost halved #fairertaxes — Cllr. Rhys Taylor (@syhrtaylor) 11 hours ago With Liberal Democrats in government, a millionaire will pay £381,000 more tax on their income than under Labour #fairertaxes — Charles Kennedy (@charles_kennedy) 11 hours ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently visiting Zambia and blogging her trip for the Huffington Post. In her first post she writes: My first visit since arriving in Zambia was to a UK aid adolescent girls empowerment programme in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital, Lusaka. This initiative is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills. The girls I met told me they were learning about their rights as women. One 16-year-old girl said she now felt more confident to say no ...

Posted by NewsHound on Liberal Democrat Voice

Leeds University Union's No Platform policy was renewed two weeks ago at one of their Better Union forums but a motion to extend it to the student newspaper was sent to referendum. The reason for the second motion was an interview that was published with Griffin in Leeds Student a month ago, which caused a massive controversy on campus because it didn't technically break the No Platform policy. The whole controversy, though, I think exposes exactly why the policy is broken as it currently stands. First, let me say, that I think it was wrong, in the context of what ...

Posted by Will on Liberal Will

When Fountains Abbey was dissolved its water mill continued working. By 1900 it was providing electric power for Fountains Hall. Today it is in the hands of the National Trust and open as interpretation centre while new way to harness the power of its millstream are sought. Remarkably, you can the original doors of the abbey now serving as floorboards inside the mill. Henry VIII's commissars would be delighted.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Though his roots reached back to the racketeering of post-war racketeering, Jimmy Savile came to prominence in that odd period between the dawn of the permissive society and the rise of feminism. This era took in the second half of the 1960s and most of the 1970s. And I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the key texts in understanding this era are the three spin-off films made from the ITV comedy series On the Buses. This was a rare success for ITV comedy which was shown between 1969 and 1973 and starred Reg Varney as the bus driver ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

We were lucky in Launceston that no homes were actually flooded during the recent bad weather. There were lots of very sodden gardens and some houses had a close run thing, but it seems that we escaped the fate of other towns and villages across Cornwall. One of the main reasons why our town escaped the worst was flood preventions schemes like the leat that runs alongside Wooda Lane, You may well never have seen it. And if you have, you were probably trying to avoid driving (or falling) into it. But it copes with a huge amount of run ...

Posted by Alex Folkes on A Lanson Boy
Tue 27th

Don't be conned

There's an event, targeted at women over 55 in the Consett area, at Citizen's House on Tuesday December 6th. The target group has been chosen as the group most likely to get caught by the type of fraud concerned. Relatives of those who are in this age group can also attend on their behalf to ensure they receive the information to keep them safe.

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple

If we forget the tribal politics for a second, the first half of any parliament is all rather predictable. (Thanks to fixed parliaments we can be more confident than normal that it is half time) Governments can blame most things that are bad on the mess they inheritted from the other lot, though any success is down to them of course. Opposition claim all bad things are down to the new

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James

Some schools are better than others.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Santa is going to be in our area quite a lot over the next few weeks. Assisted by the Garston Rotary Club he's doing quite a tour. Here's a link to his itinerary.

Posted by Paula Keaveney on Paula Keaveney - Lib Dem Campaigner

On the 30th September I added a note to my blog entry about BT. My reservations about naming this company have long gone as so many things have gone wrong. This note said that I had set up a direct debit and was hopefully the end of many problems that I had had with this company. I won't repeat these problems except to say that I had been asking them for their services since the end of July and it still hasn't been sorted as I received an automated phone call today telling me that I hadn't paid my bill. ...

Posted by Michael Gradwell on Politics for Novices

Commenting, local LIB DEM ward councillor, Darren Fower said: "I've been on, checked out the site, followed them on Twitter and LIKED them on Facebook, but lets be honest, I'm not their target audience and so I'd be very interested to hear from young people as to what they think of this service and in fact any others that they have tried or used from the City Council." CLICK HERE to visit the website! If you have a thought or opinion on this please leave comment below!

Posted by admin on Darren Fower
Tue 27th

Second day in Zambia

I spent today in Zambia's Southern province to see some of the vital work being delivered in education, health care, private sector development, social support, and reducing gender-based violence. I wanted to meet those most directly impacted by these programmes and to hear their stories. For example, Metiness Chandi, a disabled mother of three in Monze district, who now receives income support through the Government of Zambia's social protection programme. Metiness has used this income to build hard-roof housing for her family, to buy chickens, and to send her children to school. Her life has changed from desperation to hopefulness. ...

Posted by Lynne Featherstone on Lynne Featherstone » Blog
Tue 27th

New Governor of the Bank

I know little about Mark Carney, the Canadian appointed by George Osborne as the new Governor of the Bank of England, but am disappointed that my own favoured candidate, Adair Turner, has not got the job. I must confess that I don't know much about Lord Turner either, and haven't even read his book, "Economics after the Crisis," on which my preference is based. But I have read Robert Skidelski's review of it in the Times Literary Supplement (28/09/2012). In this review Skidelski claims that Turner challenges "the three main planks of 'instrumental conventional wisdom'" viz:- that the chief objective ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

This story would have been so appropriate on 5th November. But London Assembly member Stephen Knight took an opportunity last week to ask this question at the meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. In August 2012 it was reported that another fire in the Palace of Westminster had left the House of Commons and other areas closed off, and that a report to the House of Commons Commission has apparently identified significant fire risks with boilers "ready to blow"! Is the Chairman concerned at the potential fire risks in the major London landmark - and workplace – ...

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice

Dan Hodges writes on the Telegraph website today: Ukip are not a political force, but a political curiosity. In years to come many a pub quiz trophy will be won by those who can correctly answer the question: "What was the name of the guy who ran the anti-EU party? Begins with an N." In life there are rules. What goes up will come down. The Earth rotates around the Sun, not vice versa. And come election time, minor British political parties get squeezed out of existence. It may not be fair. It may not be healthy. But them's the ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

Nadine Dorries has been unfairly judged. In fact she should not be judged at all. We have been so busy arguing whether she has brought herself and Parliament into disrepute by flying out to Australia to share a platform with B-list celebrities and eat Marsupial genitalia, that we seem to have forgotten all about the original question she was trying to answer: how can MPs and indeed all public officials of every office, from mayors to parish councillors, reach out and re-connect with the public? My answer to this question is borne not just out of my years as a ...

Posted by Tony Koutsoumbos on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 27th

Poetry and Calendars

Poetry books and 2013 calendars from Ripplestone Garden available on Lulu website

Posted by Trisha xx on ripplestone review

The past couple of weeks has seen a concerted defence of the British media by, er... well the British media. Articles such as "Don't Make us North Korean", "We must defend a free press" and so on have been a spectacular case of special pleading. So many people who cross the boundary between politics and journalism, from Boris Johnson to Paul Goodman, have been rushing to tell us why any regulation amounts to the end of the free press as we have known it. Well frankly Bul***it. The fact is that the Press has been ignoring its own (self) regulators ...

Posted by Cicero on Cicero's Songs

The elephant in the room, referring to an issue everybody can see but won't talk about, is one of our most irritating cliches – almost as bad the perfect storm, used to mean trouble on more than one front. So I am employing the elephant's slightly less tired cousin, the gorilla, in a shameless atempt to get a more interesting headline. I want to talk about the politically unmentionable fact of London's local government: its borough system is not fit for purpose. Local government in London is the responsibility of 32 Boroughs, plus the oddity of the City of London. ...

Posted by Matthew on thinking liberal

[IMG: Chris Rennard] Chris Rennard spoke to the Liberal Youth Conference at the weekend. Courtesy of The Libertine here is an extract from his speech: Party youth groups were always crucial in the key by-elections that I was involved in during the 1980s and later when some of the great by-election wins that I helped to deliver rescued our party and helped it to gain many more parliamentary seats. Active Liberal youth helped to make the difference in many of the seats that we now hold at different levels. I often talk to sixth form and university groups about young ...

Posted by Mary Reid on Liberal Democrat Voice
Tue 27th

Another UKIP own goal

If the UK Independence Party felt that it was riding the crest of a wave as a result of the decision by Rotherham Council to remove three young children from their foster parents because the couple were members of the party, then they would have come down to earth with a bump today. The Guardian reports on comments by Winston McKenzie, Ukip's candidate for this week's byelection in Croydon North that it would not be "healthy" for children to be adopted by gay couples: Winston McKenzie's comments were quoted by local media in the south London constituency days after his ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

Various people were buzzing this morning thanks to this story in the Telegraph where UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler talks about people he's had lunch with recently. With this, and the bizarre 'Sarah Teather's about to join Labour' rumour that went round last week, it seems we're in a new silly season, probably caused when everyone got confused by an MP going on a televised holiday to Australia in November. As I wrote a few weeks ago, MPs crossing the floor is something that's happened very rarely in modern times. (See here for a list) They also tend to happen as ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

The Manchester Evening News has a regular slot in the paper where they get a number of MPs to write an opinion column on topical issues of their choice. This week just happened to be my turn, so I thought that I would comment on the eagerly awaited Leveson report, due out on Thursday. For those of you who don't know, the MEN is owned by Trinity Mirror, and along with other major newspaper groups, are totally opposed to independent regulation of the press. They claim that regulation will be the end of freedom of expression. How ironic then, that ...

Posted by John Leech MP on Liberal Democrat Voice

Local Lib Dem councillors have been asking: how long does it take to repaint a zebra crossing? The pedestrian crossing on Sandpit Lane by Beaumont Avenue has begun to fade away and yet the county council – despite repeated prompts from councillors – has still failed to paint it. Anthony Rowlands, Lib Dem councillor for Ashley Ward, said: 'I campaigned to get this crossing installed and it is appalling that it is being allowed to disappear. There are increasing reports from residents of near misses.' Chris White, Lib Dem councillor for Clarence Ward, said: 'I first raised this over two ...

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

I had never heard of Phillip Lee – the Conservative MP for Bracknell until about five minutes ago. He came into parliament after being put into a nice safe Tory seat in 2010 and hasn't done much (if anything) to make waves in the national media...well until yesterday. 'If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, fine, but there is a cost implication. We need to match actions to consequences - at the moment that does not happen.' he told the guests an an event organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank. So those who develop a disease ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

You may have seen the list of the 400 "worst primaries in England", according to M. Gove. If not, you can download it here: Primaries. I am not about to re-visit the bone of contention that is academy status among Lib Dem colleagues, but I do think we have to look very carefully at the whole issue of forcing schools to become academies–and look at it as Liberal Democrats, who value both devolution of powers and liberalism. I know that those to the right of the party will say that there is nothing liberal about allowing children to fail–and they ...

Posted by Helen Flynn on Liberal Democrat Voice

Lots of new investment figures out from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) today, with this graph summing up the overall picture:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Tue 27th

The new standards regime

this briefing is a good summary of the new standards regime. The new regime reinforces democracy ensuring that councillors are primarily accountable to the electorate.

Posted by John Hemming on John Hemming's Web Log

Last week's West End Christmas Lights Switch On and Fireworks were a great success, and, with thanks to Gareth Key of Key Images (Keyimages@live.co.uk and 07775 438879), here's some superb photographs of the fireworks display that was so impressive again this year:

As the economy slowly rebuilds, Vince Cable's Industrial Strategy will play a key role in whether we will manufacture more in Britain. The challenge is to replace imports, export more and to be at the cutting edge of new technologies. The case for government nurturing and supporting long term manufacturing growth in the UK is a compelling one. The challenge is to make this intervention work. This article is the first of four articles – brought together by the Lib Dem Campaign for Manufacturing – from around the country and from different industrial perspectives to inform this debate. Government should ...

Posted by William Hobhouse on Liberal Democrat Voice

I have today written to the MP for Dundee West in the following terms: From: Fraser Macpherson Sent: 27 November 2012 08:44To: Jim McGovern MP Dear Jim As you will be aware, the Palestinians are seeking recognition of sovereignty by applying for Observer status at the UN on 29th November. This is a fundamental step towards having long term peace in the region and moves the two state solution closer to reality. Unfortunately the British government is planning to abstain in this vote. However, it is expected that the Palestinians are likely to win this bid and gain recognition by ...

Never too early to start thinking about motions and the like, so here's the timetable: 19 December 2012 (1pm) – deadline for submitting motions for drafting advice 9 January 2013 (1pm) - deadline for submitting motions 19 February 2013 (1pm) - deadline for submitting amendments and emergency motions for drafting advice 5 March 2013 (1pm) - deadline for submitting amendments, emergency motions, topical issues and questions to party reports 8-10 March 2013 – Spring Conference

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Tue 27th

Blue Screen Bat'leth

Last year, I quickly created a blue-screen cut out of a strange photo of the police. Today, I was alerted to this rather lovely photo. [IMG: Police Batleth] Apparently, some 6 years ago, the police confiscated this "deadly martial arts weapon capable of decapitating a man." Well, I couldn't resist! Perhaps this can become one of my blog's traditions? So, here's a quick and dirty removal of the bluescreen. [IMG: Police Batleth Transparent] If I think of any more funny images, I'll stick them in this imgur gallery.

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog

Good news for people who use the 80 or 80a bus to go from Garston Leisure Centre towards town. A new bus shelter's being put up at the stop on Long Lane. Thanks to people who helped write letters (albeit quite some time ago!)

Posted by Paula Keaveney on Paula Keaveney - Lib Dem Campaigner

On Sunday (2 December 2012) it is the Prestwich 'Winter Fair' – the Farmers Market at the Longfield, together with the Christmas lights switch on. The Market is 11.00am – 3.00pm, and the lights switch on at 4.00pm. There are also some great activities planned for the other communities across Bury which are detailed below (the number in the bauble is the date in December!)

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

On Wednesday (28 November) I will be attending the Council's Cabinet meeting which is considering a report on Bury's 'Civic Halls'. These are the four venues which are operated by the Council (Ramsbottom, Bury, Radcliffe and our own Longfield Suite here in Prestwich). The four venues currently do not 'pay for themselves' commercially – making a loss (after all the councl's overheads are taken into account) of over £1/2 million in 2011-12. Nearly 18 months ago the Council commissioned an independent review by the private consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). They have made a number of recommendations on how the ...

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

There is some confusion about exactly what the government's draft bill on prisoner voting will contain on Thursday. What there is no confusion about, however, is that our MPs are strongly opposed to any move to extend the franchise to inmates. In February last year, they voted by a majority of 212 (with only 22 against) to retain the current ban. There are some who say it is foolish for our politicians to behave in this way as it will result in a confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights. That argument does not cut much ice with me. ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson

The invented tales about European Union policy have the ability to amuse and terrify the public. But Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England, explains why she has launched her Euromyth Buster campaign to make sure fact is not substituted for fantasy. Let's face it, is it any surprise people in the UK get exasperated by the European Union? They are swamped with erroneous tales of alleged devious directives and barmy plans from 'meddling Brussels bureaucrats'. I have my favourites. There was the 'fear' sparked amongst the European male population after the story of the German man ...

Posted by Catherine Bearder MEP on Liberal Democrat Voice

This lady has made a vibrator that responds to her body... (tags: ) What happens to women denied abortions? This is the first scientific study to find out. "We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later." (tags: ) On Misogyny in Industrial Music (tags: ) On Bisexuality ...

Just to thank everyone who got in touch by email, phone and on the blog about your experiences around the bonfire night organisation in Heaton Park. A lot of people raised some very serious failings around the measures that were put in place around the part. The most frequently reported issue was around the inadequacy of parking restrictions on many roads around the park – Middleton Road/Baguley Crescent, Carver Avenue and the Meade Hill Road areas in particular. I know other people were concerned about the way that the Bury Old Road road closure was introduced and how as local ...

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

Now that's what I call a motion:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Mayor of Tring, Lord and Lady Rothschild and David Ridgwell representing the Committee at the Re-Opening of Hastoe Village Hall On Sunday 25th November Hastoe celebrated the restoration of its magnificent village hall on the heights of the Chilterns. Lord and Lady Rothschild graciously agreed to conduct the formal re-opening of the village hall that was endowed by Lord Rothschild's ancestors and opened by Lady Emma Rothschild in the 1890s. Tring Mayor Nick and Rosemarie were very happy to have been invited to see the final result of years of restoration work. The major restoration effected over the past year ...

Posted by nickhollinghurst on Nick Hollinghurst

Don't forget - later today - 4pm - 5pm ... Children's Craft activity at Blackness Library - making a snowman - all children welcome!

... he couldn't cope with Baron Greenback's sidekicks under his bed.

Posted by Dan Falchikov on Living on words alone

I'm pleased to see Green Dundee having its Annual Christmas Fayrethis Friday - 30th November - during West End Christmas Fortnight! It takes place at the University of Dundee Dalhousie Building main foyer between 12 noon and 2pm and features : · Palestinian Olive oil, soaps, scarves brooches etc · Fairtrade Swaziland sauces, pickles and jams · Ragweek Christmas cards in aid of Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Lodge Charity · Kenyan Orphan project Society- with home baking raising funds for orphanage · Guide Dogs for the Blind- variety of small gifts and stocking fillers · Russian speaking society ...

I've been doing some really interesting modules this semester, especially Finance and Development as one of my economics modules and State and Society in Europe as one of my politics ones. I'll get to how they are linked later, but I've been doing a lot of reading around the subject matter in both, and my existing opinions on some of the issues have been challenged a little (which I suppose is part of the purpose of higher education after all!). For example in international development, thinking of the "free trade neo-liberal" model versus the arguments of its detractors, if the ...

Posted by Jock on Jock's OXFr33? Blog