Thu 10th

Nuisance or Scam?

I have received three automated phone calls today two of which were telling me that it is important for me to contact them about a refund. It could have been anything that I have done in the last ten years and who can remember all of their financial dealings in the last ten years? Of course I am far too experienced to push any buttons on my phone which may enable the caller to take money from me. Then the automated caller tells me that I may have received this call in error - you bet - they know nothing ...

Posted by Michael Gradwell on Politics for Novices

A blogger talks about a radio show in a TV interview. Welcome to the modern world:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

This is a horrible one, partly because my knowledge is so incomplete. My family didn't like Doctor Who so chances to watch it as a child just had to be taken as and when I could. It was only when I had my own home and a television that I really was able to watch it when I chose - and then after two years of that they went and cancelled it. I have caught up on a lot of stuff, but haven't seen everything from what is now dubbed Classic Who. For example I've seen very little Troughton and ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

Concluding, with an amazing twist, the tale of greening Odanglesex - a report with added words for no extra price!!! FROM: Sam Speed, Emergency Social Work Co-ordinator TO: Silesia Jones, Equality and Diversity Beacon Consultant Hi! Have all the kettles disappeared from your kitchen too? FROM: Silesia Jones TO: Sam Speed Yes. It's a bummer. Terry's trying to find out what's happened. FROM: Sam Speed TO: Silesia Jones Especially as I work nights and the water heater is set to go off at 5. FROM: Hamish Carpenter, Transformational Excellence Manager TO: Calandra Larkins, Spatial Diversification Officer (Upper) Don Coggins, Hard ...

Posted by SibatheHat on Siba The Hat
Thu 10th

Onesiegate debunked

Because people are idiots, let us make this short and sweet: The Onesie question wasn't a plant. Let's be serious here – if you were going to plant a question, why would you plant that one? The badly photoshopped pictures ... Continue reading →

Posted by Stackee on Stackee
Thu 10th

Marsh Brook signal box

Our halt at Marshbrook has proved a little longer than I expected. After I put that post up Nigel Bishop sent me a link to his own nighttime photograph of the signal box and pointed out that Wikipedia claims it is the oldest surviving box on the railway network that is still operating. I can't find confirmation of this claim, but I did come across Railway Signal Boxes: A Review, which was written by John Minnis and published by English Heritage. This says: The LNWR/GWR line across the Welsh marches was interlocked in the early 1870s and five of the ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Thu 10th

Grieve-ous bodily harm

A hilarious in the Telegraph today, reporting that some 35 years ago whilst at Oxford University current Attorney General Dominic Grieve was involved in throwing future Government Colleague Damian Green off a bridge and into a river 12 fee below! Green was then the President of the Oxford Union, and could have been badly injured ...

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

This morning, Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps took to the airwaves to claim that Labour MPs had written a report calling for councillors to get higher allowances simply because the party would get more money from the tithe they operate. Of course, there are any number of things wrong with his premise. The tithe is a voluntary donation - it has to be by law - and all parties do it to one extent or another. The report by the Commons Local Government Select Committee was written with unanimous cross party support and the Government parties have a majority on ...

Posted by Alex Folkes on A Lanson Boy

Last week Mark Pack, writing on Liberal Democrat Voice, pointed us to an article on Slate about the way gay rights activists in Maryland and Maine have changed their tactics and won referendums to bring in same-sex marriage in those states. The article is by Nathaniel Frank, who writes: After the losses in Maine in 2009 and California a year earlier, LGBT advocates knew they needed to craft an effective [message]... For decades, gay advocates had framed their arguments in terms of equal rights and government benefits, often using rhetoric that was confrontational ("We're here, we're queer, get used to ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Oops. Appear to have missed doing this yesterday. Never mind! Have two day's worth at once! (a list of the questions and links to all the answers can be found on this entry) Favourite Master I'm quite fond of the Pratt/Beevers zombiefied Master. I'd like to have seen more of Jacobi before he turned into Simm. Not fond of Simm or Roberts. I have a big soft spot for Gatiss. But really, it's got to be between Ainley and Delgado. And I love them both, so I'm not going to choose. No, really. Ainley is my master, the one I ...

Thu 10th

Thoughts on "Call Nick"

I didn't hear "Call Nick" this morning on LBC, I was on a train to work and reception is fairly bad at the best of times. I did follow along with Twitter though. Granted most of my Twitter feed is made up of Liberal Democrats but the general feeling was that Nick did well. When I first heard of the "Call Nick" scheme I couldn't help but think this was a horrendously bad idea. Let's be honest he is hardly one of the best loved people in the UK, the general feeling amongst the public, rightly or wrongly, is that ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

In Kings Hedges, there are many residential roads with 30 mile and hour speed limits, and every parent (and cat owner too, I suspect) knows what it is to worry about that screech of tyres out in your street. Thankfully the City Council is moving forward with a City-wide scheme aimed at introducing 20mph speed limits in most streets within the city. Major roads will remain at 30mph. I certainly agree with this reporter with the Cambridge News, and support these changes. It is crazy that the limit for the streets with our homes, and near our children's schools are ...

Posted by Neale on Focus on King's Hedges

There are the following meetings at Blyth Town Council next week Tuesday 15th January, 6:30 pm at Ebor House Staffing Committee It is anticipated that the Committee will move a resolution under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 to exclude the press and public from most of of the agenda as the items involve consideration of the circumstances of individual staff members. Thursday 17th January , 6:30 pm at Buffalo Centre, Blyth Full Council meeting and Public question time Friday 18th January, 2:00 pm Finance Committee. This meeting is called as today's meeting was inquorate. (I couldn't attend ...

Posted by Alisdair Gibbs-Barton on Alisdair Gibbs-Barton

Last Friday I blogged about Rutland County Council's threat to sue three of its own members for defamation. I had always understood that public bodies could not sue in this way, but according to a BBC News report I quoted in that post: The defamation action would be possible thanks to the Localism Act 2011 which grants local authorities the power to act like an individual.This still sounded odd to me, though I am no lawyer, and a couple of people tweeted me that evening with the same reaction. In a post on the New Statesman site this afternoon David ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Black communities hold the keys to Downing Street and are king-makers at the next general election, according to new research carried out by The Voice. African and Caribbean voters can make the difference in over ...

Posted by Lester Holloway on

Made a New Year's resolution? No? No matter. Why not make one now? To campaign early and often in the run-up to May's elections. And to help you keep it, we've three more Regional Action Days, with more to come. These events are designed to give you the best possible experience, well-organised, with free food and the chance to campaign with leading campaigners from across the region. Don't worry if you don't have campaigning experience. These days are especially for you, to give you an enjoyable way to pick up new skills. Can't make the whole day? Then come for ...

Posted by George Kendall on Liberal Democrat Voice

I've seen a couple of people tweeting about how to manage twitter and stop it from becoming a time sink recently - possibly because it's new year and there are resolutions going on. It's a genuine (first world) problem. If you follow back everyone who follows you your timeline quickly becomes unmanageable. But if you don't follow back won't they be offended? And then there's all the celebs/journos/etc. My twitter feed is pretty tight. Here's how I do it:I don't backread further than the first load of my homescreen. Ever. Twitter is something for NOW. I don't track or care ...

Thu 10th

Storefront Science

Storefront Science is a pretty unique space. Situated way uptown in Washington Heights (but conveniently close to the A and and 1 lines), it is part afterschool classroom and part creche, providing an informal, engaging learning experience for families, kids, and school groups. Based on the idea that learning is most effective when opt-in, with hands-on activities and experimentation at the forefront, StoSci provides classes and drop in sessions for children of all ages, put especially K through 5th grade, in ecology, biodiversity, mechanics and energy. I mention this, because I'm teaching my first class there this afternoon. [IMG: :)] ...

Posted by Debi on

Local environmental charity Rotters is looking for someone to work on a part time and freelance basis as an education officer. It's a two day a week post during the school term time and the aim is to start in February this year witha contract running through to July. Whoever gets the job will be working with primary and secondary schools focusing on education around recycling and composting. Rotters are looking for someone with some educational experience but knowledge of environmental education is not essential. If you are interested, the closing date is Friday 25th January at 12 noon. Rotters ...

Posted by Paula Keaveney on Paula Keaveney - Lib Dem Campaigner

There is a narrative of current trends in the Liberal Democrats (repeated most recently in some of the comments here) that says David Laws and Nick Clegg are joined in some sort of conspiracy to move the party rightwards. It's not as simple as that. There is an important philosophical difference between Laws, who is motivated by ideology, and Clegg, who is motivated by an idea of pragmatism. Laws believes that Liberalism once existed in a pure form, the classical liberalism of the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, it became polluted by association with socialism and social democracy. The task is ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

Why not join hundreds of other Lib Dem Voice readers in getting our latest headlines by email? Some people like regularly visiting a site to see if there's new stories of interest. Some people like subscribing to its news feed (RSS) and checking that way. But if you prefer email, you can instead sign up to get a daily early morning email with a summary of the previous day's posts from Lib Dem Voice, complete with a note of how many comments each post has got and convenient links to click on if any take your fancy and you want ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

So, the members of the 2015 Liberal Democrat Manifesto Working Group have been announced after a little bit of controversy at the Federal Policy Committee as Gareth Epps tells us. David Laws MP, ChairSharon Bowles MEP, Vice-ChairDuncan Brack, Vice-Chair (FPC Vice-Chair)Nick Clegg MP (Leader, FPC Member)Tim Farron MP (President, FPC Member)Duncan Hames MP (FPC Chair)Cllr Dr Julie Smith (FPC Vice-Chair)Dr Julian Huppert MP (FPC Vice-Chair)Jenny Willott MP (FPC Member)Baroness Sal Brinton (FPC Member)Jo Swinson MPLord John ShipleyNow, while I disagree with David Laws about quite a lot, I think he will do a good job on the process. I worry ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013 – Mark Lynas explains how he moved from being anti-genetically modified food to being in favour of it. He makes an interesting point on how environmentalism can be extremely pro-science on issues of climate change, but then ignore it on others. Obesity & ideology – Chris Dillow has an interesting take on how Labour's inconsistent authoritarianism can be explained by managerialism. Lib Dems, welfare and the art of negotiation – Very good piece by James Graham on the party's current problems. Lance Armstrong Wants To Tell Nation Something But Nation Has To ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

Why do governments always assume that they will save money by privatising the public sector? The Probation Service is now in Chris Grayling's sights with his plan to hive off low risk offenders to charities and private enterprise leaving the rump Probation Service to concentrate on high risk offenders. High risk offenders are the sex offenders, domestic violence perpetrators and offenders on indeterminate sentences whose risk prior to release from custody is subject to constant review. As a former probation officer this was my bread and butter work – and incredibly stressful it was too. I understand that under the ...

Posted by Sandra James on Liberal Democrat Voice

[IMG: YearCoop2012] Did you know that 2012 was the UN International Year of Co-operatives? No, me neither, I'm afraid. But that's a pity - turns out Co-operatives are bigger business and far more important than most of us may have imagined. Did you know, for example, that worldwide one billion people are members of Co-operatives? And although many of these are self-employed, co-operatives actually directly employ 100 million people - that's 20% more than multi-nationals employ. The worldwide turnover of these Co-operatives is over one trillion dollars and one way or another they provide livelihoods to over 3 billion people. ...

Posted by nickhollinghurst on Nick Hollinghurst

Birmingham's Labour councillors voted this week to levy 20% council tax charges on households who have previously not had to pay council tax – in the teeth of Liberal Democrat oppositon. Only two months ago Labour councillors were calling this the "new poll tax". Yet in Birmingham the Labour council has rejected a £2.1 million government grant that would have helped prevent this tax being levied. Proposing that it should not be levied, Lib Dem group leader Paul Tilsley warned the council was unlikely to be able to collect the full tax from non-payers. And he proposed as an alternative ...

Posted by rogerharmer on Roger Harmer

Lets play a game of spot the difference, gentle reader: This photo is a picture taken by of Nick Clegg posing with an Incredible Hulk onesie given to him by Liberal Youth: [IMG: cleggonesie] This photo is a picture used by the Torygraph to illustrate a non-story about one of the people who spoke to Nick Clegg on his radio phone in being a Lib Dem activist: [IMG: Cleggcropped] Now, I am sure that the Torygraph just cropped the picture to make the composition better and to make it fit better into the column, and the fact that this has ...

Here's today's hand-picked selection that caught my interest... Not the Treasury view...: The government's mid term review: deficit reduction Jonathan Portes in conciliatory mood [IMG: :)] "we shd at least give the government credit for not making things even worse" The polling facts about Labour's mid-term lead « Labour Uncut Lab's actual mid term lead is "close to zero" says @LabourUncut > The polling facts about Labour's mid-term lead Councillors' pay: a proposal | Stephen Tall 6 years ago, back when I was a councillor, I put forward this proposal for how we should be paid Tinker, ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Medicines save and improve lives, can also cause great harm if inappropriately deployed. To decide which drugs are safe, and which might work in which circumstances, regulators, doctors and scientists need access to all the results from all trials conducted on all drugs that are in use - but this data is all-too-often missing as a result of commercial practices that put millions of lives at risk. A new campaign seeks to bring this largely hidden scandal in medical science, revealed in Dr. Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma, to an end - and with it the needless harm and loss ...

Posted by Prateek Buch on Liberal Democrat Voice

From the Evening Standard: [IMG: Evening Standard poll re Clegg's LBC call-in show] Boring health note: it's a self-selecting, online poll of the voodoo variety. It's worth briefly noting though as such polls usually are very hostile to politicians and, since the general election, especially to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

The Guardian is running a letter from people in Labour and the Lib Dems demanding that the two parties being working towards a future possible coalition after the next election. They were obviously concerned with the success of the recent mid-term review press conference. You can probably guess the signatories. They include Chair and Vice-Chair ...

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

You may have seen my post a couple of days ago in which I expressed my concern about the new Scottish Government campaign aimed at getting women to reduce their alcohol consumption because too much wine makes them ugly. The intervening two days have not made me any happier with this tactic. It's bad enough when newspapers and celebrity magazines ridicule people who don't conform to a certain standard of beauty - you'd think it was a crime even going out without make-up, for example. There's a multi squillion cosmetics and beauty industry persuading women that their natural state is ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

One of the top policy debates that will come up in 2015, as it did in 2010 is the constant rise in Rail fares. It is a burning issue here in the Medway towns and it was definitely one of the things that cost Paul Clarke (a junior transport minister) his seat. Local Conservatives, who protested at the Railway stations are now being supplanted by Labourites waving the same banners. Although local MPs have fought hard to keep the rise in tickets to RPI+1 and limit the rise a rise has occurred. [IMG: Chelsea VS Man U.jpg.] The usual tired ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway
Thu 10th

Voting in both lobbies

Those following the debate on by how much the Coalition Government should increase welfare payments in the coming years, may have noticed that some Liberal Democrat MPs voted in both lobbies of the House of Commons. This was duly recorded, and stands as an ad hoc way for MPs to show an abstention in Hansard. Their constituents will know that while they might have opted for different cuts or taxes elsewhere, or more borrowing, to fund a higher (perhaps inflationary) increase in benefits, they recognise a) that the Government is facing a very tough economic situation and b) that Liberal ...

Posted by Lord Tyler on Lords of the Blog » Lord Tyler

Courtesy of the Polish Foreign Minister:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

This week I stumbled across a gem. In the early 1980s George Lucas donated the audio rights to the Star Wars trilogy to the US National Public Radio. They expand upon the original movies with some scenes that were cut and added new scenes. Some of the original movie cast such as Mark Hamill pick up their former roles but you do have to get used to new voices for some other main parts. I have just finished listening to A New Hope which is nearly 6 hours long. It fleshes out the characters, closes some plot holes and adds ...

Posted by Carl Minns on Carl Minns - Thoughts from Hull

English is a funny old language. That my mother tongue doesn't bother with internal consistency doesn't bother me much - except when it comes to Text-To-Speech. Using Google Maps to provide route guidance in the UK is a challenging affair. Driving through Reading, the computerised voice continually mispronounced is as "Reading". Err... that is to say, it should have said "ˈrɛdɪŋ" instead it said "ˈriːdɪŋ" - that is, "red-ing" rather than "reed-ing". Ok, hetronyms are a notoriously difficult to get right - even for humans. Without context, it's hard to know which pronunciation should be used. [IMG: Sat Nav Llan] ...

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog

Today was the day History Was Made. At least if you believe LBC Radio's self-publicity. To be slightly more precise, Nick Clegg took part in the first of his weekly Call Clegg phone-ins on LBC Radio, putting his job on the line (geddit?!) for 30 minutes. Starting 9am this Thursday 10 January, I will be answering your questions every week on @lbc973 – — Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) January 7, 2013 * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

I am setting up a new blog where I will serialise some of my stories. The first will be Crater, a sci-fi novel. In 2297, eighty-two years after Earth Abandonment to Mars, the Company is sending back a salvage team to retrieve the ISELP (International Space Exploration Launch Platform). The mission for the five Company crew members on board the Company ship 'The Gybe' is straightforward, return to Earth, refit the one hundred and twenty year old ISELP and sail her back to Mars... You can find the blog here or just follow the link in my blog list.

Posted by Trisha xx on ripplestone review

Many column inches have been filled with comment over the government's decision to restrict a number of benefits and tax credits to increases of 1% over the next couple of years. This piece (£), however, by the FT's economics editor, Chris Giles, warrants a special mention, not least because it is makes some interesting points that nobody else seems to have done. Here's a (fairly lengthy) extract: In any case, good evidence exists on living standards to assess the merits of restricting benefit uprating. According to the most recent year of data, 2010-11, the crisis has caused real household net ...

Posted by Nick Thornsby on Liberal Democrat Voice

The outbreak of Norovirus in the UK has been greeted with the customary restraint and good sense we know so well from the British press. It is certainly an unpleasant infection, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it has been particularly nasty this year. Yet in fact the disease is relatively safe in that, in almost all cases, the symptoms will clear up quite quickly by themselves. However, the breakdown in several areas of the healthcare system that have come as a result of the outbreak should absolutely terrify us. If the infection was one that needed medical intervention in order ...

Posted by Cicero on Cicero's Songs

Over at Lib Dem Voice I wrote an article giving some advice to the new Lib Dem Federal Party Committees on what their focus should be for the next 2 years. Radical policy, explaining the 'why' behind 'what' we want to do and allowing conference to be geared toward giving our MPs ammunition for the battles ahead. You can read the full post here.

Posted on On Liberty Now
Thu 10th

The other national debt

It is not just the government that is in debt but also individuals. Collectively, the amount that individuals in the UK owe is almost as much as the country's annual GDP. Credit Action has just published the latest monthly statistics. The overall trend is that household debt continues to rise. While secured (mortgage) lending is rising, however, unsecured (consumer) lending is falling (following a rise in the autumn). The average amount owed per UK adult (including mortgages) was £28,901 last November, around 117% of average earnings.

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

The BBC report that a back-to-work scheme supported by £36m of public money faces being wound up a year early after a review found it was failing to hit some targets. They say that the Welsh government wants to revoke £23m of European funding from Genesis Cymru Wales 2, which the review said was "under-performing". It was supposed to find work for people struggling to get jobs, including single parents. They add that officials are looking at ways to close the scheme ahead of schedule in June: Genesis Cymru Wales 2 was set up in 2008 to help 20,000 people ...

Posted by Freedom Central on Freedom Central
Thu 10th


Sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple of weeks. I've been working on some long posts that will start to appear next week and also reading and thinking about Drew Westen's The Political Brain which will hopefully serve as the springboard for series of posts in the near future. Stay tuned!

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

Operation Hartland resulted in all shoplifting incidents reported to Consett police being detected – 6 out of 6. Reports of anti social behaviour were low and there were no licensing incidents during the hours of the extra patrols. The community and commercial engagement with the police was excellent, and a display in the foyer of Matalan was another opportunity to get across seasonal crime prevention messages.

Posted by Owen Temple on Owen Temple
Thu 10th

Call Clegg - live

The Lib Dem Leader is preparing for his first weekly phone in show on LBC – 0845 60 60 973.

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

[IMG: Drew's first driving lesson - Some rights reserved by akarmy] Mark McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, has recently proposed unjust new restrictions on young drivers. His proposals would mean that 17-25 year olds, regardless of driving experience, would be banned from driving between 11pm and 4am every day, as well as preventing them from carrying passengers in their vehicles. This is based on a discriminatory assumption that young people are generally bad drivers. Even although there is a higher risk as assessed by insurance companies, once you pass your driving test you are judged competent to drive. ...

Posted by Hannah Bettsworth on Liberal Democrat Voice

xkcd: Rubber Sheet this made me giggle (tags: ) Why do you write strong female characters? Shannon Hale deconstructs the assumptions behind the question (tags: ) Owen Jones is quite justifiably Cross (tags: ) The New Statesman's guide to the lib dem rebels on the benefit bill (tags: ) Has Cameron lied to parliament about law breaking? and if any MP says he has, will it be unparliamentary language? Does tweeting from the chamber count as saying it in the chamber? (tags: ) BBC News - Key points: Coalition mid-term review Useful summary (tags: ) #TransDocFail hashtag: The Lowlights If ...

This morning's Western Mail has an interesting take on the changes to Council Tax benefit that will see claimants having to contribute 10% of their entitlement themselves. We already knew that the Scottish Government was picking up the shortfall themselves so as to protect the poor and vulnerable, however the Welsh Government say that they cannot afford to follow suit. That may well be the case. What the paper shows however is that a number of English Councils are meeting the shortfall in their own schemes for good social and practical reasons.They say that the Royal Borough of Kensington & ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

Just before Christmas, Scottish Liberal Democrat members received a newsletter which contained a "Twinterview" with Chief Whip and Scottish Deputy Leader Alistair Carmichael. This is a chat he had with me - in which questions and answers had to be within 140 characters reproduced here for your amusement.CL: You clearly enjoy social media despite the risk that it might get you into trouble some day. Why do you do it and what do you like about it?AC: Despite? Because of the risk! Facebook allows me to stay in touch with party members & constituents and indulge my obsession with pandasCL: ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Release Announced "Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann will all reprise their roles as, respectively, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors... Louise Jameson reprises the role of the savage Leela, Sarah Sutton plays the scientist Nyssa, Nicola Bryant is American botany student Peri, Sophie Aldred is streetwise kid Ace and India Fisher returns as Edwardian adventurer Charley Pollard." Hooray! (tags: Doctorwho ) Revisionist Romps With The Revolutionary Twosome Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, via Viz. (tags: comics ) Britain's relationship with the EU is none of Barack Obama's business ...

Thu 10th

Fairer Taxes

A review of taxation is taking place. One tax that I've always been mystified by the most regressive tax that affects virtually all households and is evaded every year by 5.2% of those that meant to pay – TV licences. The govt sets the amount of the licence and who doesn't pay. After that all households have to pay whatever their ability to pay. On top of this it's a chore for most people to pay and the poorest who often pay by cash are most inconvenienced. So I'd suggest getting rid of the annual TV licence. It would be ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

Commentators are pointing out that what we used to call "social security" we now refer to by what they regard as the more pejorative term of "welfare." I personally find little difference in the two terms. Welfare, in the sense of "well being" can be a very positive term, and work itself brings a good deal of welfare: a sense of purpose, of self worth, usually social contacts, a pattern to the day, and, above all, an income. Like any other terms, both "on the social" and "on welfare" can be used pejoratively if the speaker or writer intends, and ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

I have slammed vandals who have damaged part of the stonework on McGonagall's walkway on Riverside Drive. The letter "G" in the word God in part of the inscription has been badly defaced - see right. I have asked the City Council for necessary repairs to be carried out and also for the stonework to be cleaned, which badly needs done. The City Council's Director of City Development has informed me: "The letter 'G' has been deliberately vandalised. This would be difficult to repair with resins or cements and would not look convincing or last. A proper job would be ...

Thu 10th

Presentation to Lydia

On Tuesday, I had the honour of making the presentation to Lydia Dorward, a stalwart of the West End Community Council, as Lydia retired as a community councillor. With thanks to Alan Young, who took the photo, and Lydia for giving permission to use it, here's Lydia and myself at the presentation:

The Polish Jewish doctor and writer Henryk Goldszmit, who published under the pen name Janusz Korczak, was for the Nazis a mere statistic, as he perished in Treblinka concentration camp in 1942. But his memory lives on, not just in his books, but for the way he championed the rights of the child, long before that ...

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer
Thu 10th

Ninotchka (1939)

I was persuaded into seeing Ninotchka on the strength of the following three things I knew about it beforehand: 1) it was playing at the Film Forum, which has never steered me wrong so far; 2) it starred Greta Garbo, and 3) she laughs in it. [IMG: Ninotchka2] Garbo plays the eponymous Nina Invanovna, bureaucrat of the Soviet Union who is sent to Paris to oversee the sale of a set of jewels belonging to The Russian People, after the first set of bureaucrats managed to get distracted by Parisian decadence, boozeahol and French maids. Nina is Very Earnest and ...

Posted by Debi on

...but only on screen. In real life, this image did not seem to rotate the way it does here... Andrew

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

Happy birthday to underground railways in London: 150 today. I can recommend the site 150 great things about the Underground and I also like this video of a steam train passing through Turnham Green.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England