Sun 30th

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: 4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 43,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

The BBC are very good at this sort of thing. Personally I prefer the I Am The Walrus vid from a few years ago, though: ... but it's nice to see old Eric keeping his hand in. [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Sun 30th

Fleeing Google

AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / For some time, I have been concerned about the amount of data I store on Google. This post aims to show alternatives to the service. This is primarily for two reasons. The first is simple. I would like to avoid a single point of failure, and the risk that I could be suspended for a number of months with no recourse. The second if more political. I'm worried about the way that certain governments can subpoena information which they may not be able to collect directly. Now, don't get me wrong. Google is good at ...

Posted by Neil McGovern on Liberal Murmurs

So I've been helping out [IMG: [personal profile] ] evilawyer with The Gallifrey Times, which is a bit like Who Daily, but for DW. The thing is, because of various reasons mostly to do with not treading on other people's toes, GT will only link to stuff either posted in or publicised in a public post in a DW comm. So, for instance in my latest edition, I link to something on AO3 and a couple of things in personal journals, but only because they've been publicised in comms on DW. So basically, what I am asking is: if you ...

Sun 30th

Rocking through the Rain

Some of Consett's fine young performers will soon be in action again. [IMG: Rocking Final Poster]

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple

Part 1, part 2 and part 3 have already been posted. October I suggested it was time to freshen up the Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards and asked what BBC managers' ignorance of Jimmy Savile's activities told us about the limitations of management ideology. Also in October, I remembered meeting the poet W.T. Nettlefold and discovered fowl perversion on the streets of Leicester. November I attended a meeting on rewilding the River Welland through Market Harborough and Lord Bonkers brought us Nick Clegg's thoughts on "Beardies, weirdies, beardy-weirdies and weirdy-beardies". November also saw me bringing news of floods ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Many of us have given over several years of our lives to watching Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. And older readers may remember the 1978 cartoon (was it any good? - I never saw it) or BBC Radio 4's distinguished dramatisation of 1981. What I didn't know until the other evening is that the trilogy was first dramatised by BBC Radio as early as 1955 - apparently Tolkien himself was not keen on the production. The Tolkien Gateway has a page about this adaptation and gives much of the cast list. It includes some reliable BBC names of ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

This month the Westminster Government announced its proposals for marriage equality in England and Wales. I was pleased to see them expand their plans beyond just civil marriages to include religious marriages. However there remain some issues with the proposals that need to be addressed before legislation is introduced. 1. Equal Civil Partnerships I'm no fan of civil partnerships (I'd hope, by now, you'd be more than aware of this!) but they do exist. And they shall continue to exist under the current Government proposals. However there are no plans to open them up to mixed-sex couples. I suspect the ...

Posted on Neue Politik

If you are looking for policy ideas that will help the Liberal Democrats break out of the sterility of presenting themselves as the centre party, may I suggest the Coalition Agreement as a source of ideas? Take this paragraph from the Social Action section: We will give public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they deliver. This will empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services.While I was stuffing envelopes at the Corby by-election, a young Lib Dem activist said ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

This is the sixth in a series of reviews of Welsh blog posts that have caught my eye over the last month. In fact it was 25th October when I last did this so this series has been more occasional that I had envisaged. I thought I would start with an intriguing post from A Change of Personnel concerning the fate of the DotCym campaign and in particular a statement from the individuals concerned, which blames Minister's, Political Party's and lobbyists for their fate: With only two volunteer working in their spare time with dotCYM, it was possible to run ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 306th 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 (22 - 28 December, 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. Gay ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

I got a bit excited the other day when I was surfing just-eat to decide what I was going to get for takeaway as I found a place that made custom burgers and hot dogs with a plethora of sauces and toppings. The idea that I could have a chilli dog was immensely appealing but more than that it seemed to be a real alternative from Chinese, Indian, Chippy, Kebab or Pizza. In all honesty I very rarely get a kebab or a pizza but having an extra option appealed. So last night I took the plunge and gave it ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery
Sun 30th

Why I like Twitter

Recently I discovered that the Environment Agency published water levels on it's website, however other than a two day graph it didn't have an real historical data. So I went about and created a script to scrape the data for me. This ensures that I have data past the 48 hours and allows me to see exactly what kind of changes have taken place say in the last week. Now as I was already collecting the data, it seemed sensible to create a twitter account to publish key changes. So I set up @sincildrain. It has some pre-defined boundaries which ...

Posted by Ryan Cullen on The Artesea

No, it's the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is one of humanity's greatest scientific and technological achievements, and a powerful symbol of international co-operation. It is also the third brightest object in the sky (after the sun and moon). If you have seen it without knowing what it is, you probably assumed it was an aircraft (although a very high and fast-moving one; it orbits at an altitude of over 200 miles at a speed of about 17,000 mph). The light you can see from Earth is sunlight reflected from the ISS's solar panels. For that reason, the ISS ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog
Sun 30th

Notes from a Precipice

The holiday season, as the cliché goes, is a time of family, and this often entails seeing relatives that one doesn't encounter regularly. Several days ago, my father invited his brothers and sisters to the family home for a meal; it was an altogether Italian affair, with rice balls, eggplant rollatini and strong red wine ...

Posted by Christian on Whirled Peas

A bunch of us have been reading War and Peace at the rate of a chapter a day for the duration of this year - a slight initial miscalculation led us to believe that there are 366 chapters, but in fact there are only 365, so most of us finished this morning, to general rejoicing. It's a long, long book, and I think that reading it in solidarity with a group was a useful discipline as well as an enjoyable experience. I didn't contribute all that much to the group discussions but I was very glad that they we there ...

So there's only a day and a bit of 2012 left, and it's time for the last Sunday Sound of the year... but what to choose? Well, one of my presents this year was (finally) Annie Lennox's 2010 album, A Christmas Cornucopia. It's a sublime album of carols, which ends with today's track: Universal Child, the album version of which features the African Children's Choir who have more recently sang on Gary Barlow and Lord Lloyd-Webber's Diamond Jubilee song, Sing. You can hear that song on the link above, and find out more about the choir itself by clicking "About ...

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

[IMG: lib dem conf voting] 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. Over 500 party members have responded, and we're publishing the full results. +28% says party is on the "right course" Do you think, as a whole, the Liberal Democrats are on the right course or on the wrong track? (Comparison with November's figures.) 61% (+4%) – The right course 33% (-1%) – The wrong track 6% (-3%) – Don't know / No opinion Net right course: +28% ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

[IMG: they_came_to_a_city_01] Last week we we saw the film of J.B. Priestley's They Came to a City shown by the BFI as part of their season of Ealing Studios films. As entertainment the film lacked a certain something, but as a political and historical document it is of real interest. It reflects the wartime desire of many Britons to build a better society once the war was over – as a sort of quid pro quo for pulling together as part of the war effort. Does this have anything to say to us now? The film, made in 1944 from ...

Posted by Matthew on thinking liberal

[IMG: Poundstock Gildhouse - Some rights reserved by europanostra] I was privileged this morning to be able to enjoy coffee and biscuits in the newly restore Poundstock Gildhouse, complete with its highly impressive coat of arms (above). The restoration recently won a Europa Nostra award. [IMG: Post to Twitter] Tweet This Post

Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

Since I'm rewatching New Who, I thought I should repeat my practice with Old Who and read the relevant annuals as I go through the episodes. I'm a little ahead of time here, in that the 2006 Annual wasn't published until after we had seen The Parting of the Ways and I'm only up to The Doctor Dances, but there's not much in it. Anyway the Annual appears to be written on the presumption that Ecclestone would still be the current Doctor - the stories are all about Nine and Rose (with one exception, which I'll get to at the ...

So here are my top 6 most read blog posts of the year, in reverse order... 6. My Disappointment With Tim Farron Grows I really do think Tim Farron is a nice guy who regularly engages with ordinary members of the party through Twitter and other mediums. But I just think we are, politically and religiously, on such different pages as to render me unable to support him still. 5. A New Danger From Civil Partnerships Queensland, Australia showed us that whilst we are "separate but equal" we are far more at risk of having our rights removed at the ...

Posted on Neue Politik

I have something of an interest in European politics which may not be immediately obvious given most of my writing is quite Scotland-centric. I have been sufficiently intrigued by the politics of the small principality of Andorra recently to read a little about its recent history. It really is quite a fascinating study for various reasons, not least on account of the complex democratic system that such a small nation has in place. I have to confess my principal purpose in researching Andorra's political system was to explore the relationship the country had with the EU. It is intriguing that ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal
Sun 30th

2012 Privacy Review

Privacy issues are a major interest of mine, and a large chunk of my work involves being the campaigns manager of NO2Id. This time of year it is the custom to take a look back over the past 12 months and summarise the year that was. So pour yourself a cup of tea, grab one of the last of the mince pies and settle down for my 2012 privacy review. January 2012 The year started with a handful of census refuseniks getting fined for not handing over their personal details to the Office of National Statistics. The 2011 census was ...

Posted by jamesbaker on Cllr James Baker

It's a briefer email message from Nick Clegg this week, as he like most of us takes a few days' R&R to re-charge our batteries for the year to come. He takes the opportunity simply to say thank you to all those working to deliver Lib Dem success. Don't forget you can sign-up to receive Nick's emails here. [IMG: libdem ltr from nick clegg] This week's Letter from the Leader will be a lot shorter than usual as this is a time to spend with your family and friends. And as I am spending Christmas with my three small children ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Here is the second part of my list of the most popular posts on my blog this year. As I noted yesterday, it reflects only those written and published over the course of 2012. Stats courtesy of Google Analytics. At Number 6, some thoughts on The Voice UK. I'm not sure it lived up to it's initial promise - but the format still had a lot to recommend it. Number 5 was another musical post, this time a review of a concert by del Amitri frontman, Justin Currie, at The Fleece in Bristol. It was a brilliant evening with a ...

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world
Sun 30th

Alliance: 'We'll win'

At home this Christmas, my mum thought I might be interested to see the announcement of my birth in the Western Gazette and the Weston Mercury, then an impressively full broadsheet newspaper. Naturally, what caught my eye was adjacent news of the impending general election. Our constituency MP, Jerry Wiggin, was a belligerent right-winger. The ...

Posted by pauldavidevans on The Evans Account

[IMG: Brighton pier] Remember, remember... the 31st of December, as that's the deadline for the cheaper 'early bird' registration rates for the Liberal Democrat Spring 2013 conference in Brighton. I've also just booked my accommodation and found both lower prices and a better range of hotels on offer via than available via the official information. As an extra money-saving tip, sign up at Quidco and then go to via there as you will then get a cashback rebate on the price.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Sun 30th

William Rees Mogg

I was sad to hear that William Rees Mogg has died. I enjoyed his writing on the corner of the West Country that he loved - his columns devoted to Somerset Country Cricket, to the North Somerset coalfields, to Downside Abbey. Rather too often (editors too must surely have been exasperated), he wrote about the ...

Posted by pauldavidevans on The Evans Account
Sun 30th

The Greatest Day Of 2012

I've been using FourSquare and TwitPic to look back through 2012. It's been a pretty amazing year for me. I've been to India, spoken at a dozen conferences, photographed the moon, and got a lovely new job. But none of that - not one single experience - compares to May 30, 2012. That was the day the madness ended. One of the perils of being human is that we look for patterns. Our brains are hard-wired to try and recognise useful patters. This leads to Pareidolia - the ability to spot faces in random objects. It also forces some of ...

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog
Sun 30th

My 2012 top 12

It's that time of year for retrospectives, so I thought I'd share with you my 12 most read blog posts of 2012. There's a bit on welfare reform, quite a lot on Scottish politics and issues to do with the referendum, and a couple of posts on the portrayal of women in the media. In reverse order: 12, So, what was Jo Swinson doing in Private Eye? Talking about airbrushing and body image as she had another success with the Advertising Standards people over airbrushing. 11. Are you fit to work? I was annoyed the other day when somebody said ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

2012: the year when it became okay to blame victims of sexual assault - Home News - UK - The Independent (tags: ) You are free to do as we tell you Nick Barlow absolutely NAILS IT on the attitude of the Lib Dem leadership to the members and why it's doomed to fail. (tags: ) 10 Stubborn Body Myths That Just Won't Die, Debunked by Science (tags: ) Amusing response to online harrassment (tags: ) Nerdfacts about Christopher Lee, with commentary (tags: ) [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

I find that I featured Elvis Costello here back in 2009, so it is high time to hear from him again. The Other Side of Summer comes from Costello's 1990 album Mighty Like a Rose. It has always sounded to me like a Beach Boys track but one that evokes a very different landscape from Californian beaches of the early 1960s. Read the sleeve notes for the album and you will see I more or less had it right: This album opens with "The Other Side Of Summer". The arrangement is a pastiche of The Beach Boys after the fashion ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Sun 30th

Junk science

One downside of our celebrity culture (are there any upsides?) is that celebrities' opinions on all manner of topics are taken seriously, even when these celebrities are completely ignorant. For example, BBC1's Question Time regularly invites comedians onto the panel, presumably because someone in the BBC's management thinks this will make the programme more 'relevant'. But celebrities need to be careful. They have a duty of care because many people are influenced by what they say. Celebrities' opinions are widely reported, so that when they promote junk science such as unfounded health scares or quack remedies, they can cause widespread ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

Here's another of Ros's interventions that I hadn't covered, from 17 October 2011... At the height of the Dale Farm controversy, Ros was intrigued to find out what action the Government was taking to address the question of provision for gypsy and traveller communities, and their position regarding council tax... Baroness Scott of Needham Market (Liberal Democrat) To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on a national policy framework for the Gypsy and Traveller community. Baroness Hanham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Conservative) The consultation on the Government's draft planning policy for traveller ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter

This article in the Sunday Express highlights the fact that currently Queens regnant are treated as being less important than Kings regnant. It is, in fact, a matter of discussion as to what title the Monarch's spouse is given when the Monarch is crowned. There are a number of options to deal with this: To give the monarch the choice of a number of titles for his or her spouse To have all

Posted by John Hemming on John Hemming's Web Log

On a number of occasions in the past year, I have raised with Dundee City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership, the deteriorating roads condition in parts of Riverside Drive. The issue was again highlighted in Friday's Evening Telegraph in an article that pointed out the bad potholes in various Dundee roads. The photograph of a huge pothole on Riverside Drive adjacent to the former Homebase site reinforced the concern about the road condition on what is supposed to be a city "ambassador route." I have been in further contact with the City Engineer about the situation and he has responded: "The ...

I take back what I said after Conrad's Fate – I didn't have Chrestomanci fatigue. At least, not that would get in the way of me thoroughly enjoying the final book in the series. There are two viewpoint characters in The Pinhoe Egg – Cat Chant from Charmed Life, and new protagonist Marianne Pinhoe, who comes from a large family of witches who try to keep their craft secret and hidden from the prying eyes and interfering noses of Government as represented by Chrestomanci. Wynne Jones constructs a really interesting story about rural witchcraft and being at one with nature, ...

Posted by Debi on

Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have given schools in Hampshire a £28,056,000 Christmas present. The cash is the result of an increase in the Pupil Premium funding, which targets extra money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds they have. Last years funding was £16 million. The Pupil Premium is a major Liberal Democrat priority that is being delivered by the Coalition Government. In Hampshire 35,230 pupils are expected to be eligible, meaning that our schools are set to benefit from £28 million funding to support disadvantaged children. The Pupil Premium covers any primary or ...

Posted by lengates on Len Gates