Made these to follow on from Jennie cooking a sausage casserole (separate Quorn for me) based on a Grauniad recipe from yesterday, as the oven was on I made pudding. They're very nice, and very sour, citrussy cakes. And I really do mean sour. Theoretically, I bake these so we've something nice to finish and some left for the next day. 12 of them, 4 of us, 3 each, they're all gone almost immediately, every time... 3 oz Butter/baking fat/margerine (softened if necessary) 3 oz Caster Sugar 1 large egg 3 oz Self Raising Flour 1 oz dry Semolina (or ...

Posted on Mat Bowles

It would be fair to say that I have a slightly quirky sense of humour, and that it tends to be expressed in my blogging, both here and in my role as day editor for Liberal Democrat Voice. What I find surprising is not that other people don't get it, or even that they don't like it, it is the fact that some find it necessary to moan about it. I would probably be the first to admit that I don't entirely take politics seriously. Contrary to the expectations of others, it is not the be all and end all ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on The view from Creeting St Peter
Sun 20th

Sunday Sounds 64

This week I re-listened to the podcast of last year's "Your Desert Island Discs". The most requested piece of music amongst listeners was Ralph Vaughan Williams "The Lark Ascending" - with its beautiful soaring melody. It's no wonder it's a popular choice - and not just with Radio 4 listeners, but also amongst Classic FM fans - it was Number 2 in last year's Hall of Fame. Here's the fabulous Nicola Benedetti performing it: Andrew

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

For a complete list of schools closed during the current bad weather – and links to the websites of the various road, train, bus and plane companies and organisations – you can click here. This links you to the birmingham disruption website. Hopefully tomorrow will see the end of the serious disruption but with the weather forecast to stay cold for the rest of the week another fall of snow is possible. Do take care when travelling and allow extra time for your journey.

Posted by rogerharmer on Roger Harmer

Guided Busway Maintenance Track As you may be aware one of the unexpected success stories associated with the guided busway is the number of people using the maintenance track next to it to cycle into and out of Cambridge during the day. The knock-on effect of this is that the issue of lighting, especially during the winter months, has arisen. To support the use of the maintenance track in this way Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to install lighting columns along the Guided Busway maintenance track along the whole southern section and along the northern section on the Cambridge-side of ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

[IMG: 3d Graduate writes a blog] We live in a world of impact and engagement. Academics are encouraged to embrace social media and communicate in new and different ways to broader audiences. More academics should be getting acquainted with WordPress or Blogger, Typepad, Posterous or Tumblr. The world needs to know what's happening within the academy. We've got interesting ideas and findings to share. And if the world is going to grasp what's happening then our writing needs to be clear and digestible. The spin-off benefits that this can have for one's own teaching and research have been admirably summarised ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives

The churchyard at Wistanstow is probably not the site of the martyrdom of St Wystan, but it does contain the grave of one of my favourite MPs. Julian Critichley sat for Rochester and Chatham between 1959 and 1964, and for Aldershot between 1970 and 1997. As his Guardian obituary by John Biffen suggested: The broken Westminster service between 1964 and 1970 was crucial to Critchley's political career. He was a liberal Tory, supporting one-nation social policies, membership of the European Community, and a defence policy based on Nato and a nuclear strategy. He would have been a natural and able ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

A startling graph published by shows that public opinion on Europe is not where most politicians imagine it to be. Voting intentions in a referendum on whether the UK should stay in the EU are changing. Successive opinion polls show that the proportion of people who would vote to stay is increasing, while the proportion who would vote to leave is decreasing. That's not all. A poll on voting intentions in the next European parliamentary elections shows that support for UKIP has fallen to fourth place behind the Liberal Democrats. And this is a poll by YouGov, which usually ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

[IMG: 2013-01-20 20.40.25.jpg] The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill proposes that benefits should only be raised by 1% over the next three years. Tomorrow (21 January) the Bill will reach the Committee of the whole House, Report stage and get a third reading. Unless the ghost of William Beveridge descends on Parliament tomorrow it is a near certainty that the Bill will be voted through. This does not stop me from launching my campaign 'To Keep Your Blinds Closed' tomorrow in protests against the injustices of this Bill. George Osborne said: "It is unfair that a person leaves their home early ...

Posted by Maelo Manning on libdemchild, aged 13
Sun 20th

Obama - "I did it"

President Barack Obama has been sworn in for his second term. Obama and VP Joe Biden were sworn in at a small private ceremony, to keep with the constitutionally set date of January 20th. The public inauguration will take place tomorrow.

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

The brothers and sisters of the Labour Party appear to have fallen out again this time over attempts by Ed Miliband to distance himself from the record of the government he formed a part of, on the issue of migration. According to the Independent Tony Blair's former immigration minister has criticised the Labour leader for thinking it is "trendy to echo the rhetoric of Migration Watch": Barbara Roche, co-founder of Migration Matters, warned Mr Miliband not to abandon "progressive migration policies" put forward by Labour in the last decade. In a speech last week, the Labour leader said: "High levels ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

Just like Libya, the "good guys" in Mali - the government army - are being accused by Amnesty International of extra-judicial killings. Today the Observer reports first-hand accounts of human rights abuses and sexual crimes, once ...

Posted by Lester Holloway on

Stop dismantling historical gains made in equalities legislation - Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. As Chair of Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD), I recently wrote to both Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson, Minister for Equalities (BIS), to express our grave ... Continue reading →

Posted by Issan Ghazni on Issan Ghazni

In June of last year I wrote about the odd experience of hearing a record on a rerun of Top of the Pops from 1977 when I had no memory of it from the time - step forward Contempt. But those reruns have also led me to reappraise a band I do remember from the time: Darts. I have taken to describing them as "Showaddywaddy with irony", but they had a more interesting history than that. The Independent obituary of the band's pianist Hammy Howell describes its genesis: Darts had evolved from the break-up of Rocky Sharpe and the Razors, ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 309th 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 (13-,19 January 2013), 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 when you ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

Lis Sladen would win this one hands down, but I've already written about her lots during the course of this challenge and elsewhere, so let's leave her out and look at the wider "whoniverse". Alex Kingston has managed to get across the complex River Song very well - the vulnerablility, the sassiness, the courage of someone who has been kidnapped, abused, and still turns out all right in the end. Sheila Hancock was fantastic as Helen A in the Happiness Patrol. Angela Bruce got exactly what a Doctor Who brigadier should be about - bit of British stiff upper lip, ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

As we all know I cover the vital topics here on The Rambles of Neil Monnery but have we had a bigger issue than this? Mr Kipling has brought out a new cake and after eating a few I am willing to include it in the same sentence at the Cherry Bakewell. I knows. Crazy. Not saying it is better than the Cherry Bakewell because that would be the first sign that I needed to see the men in white coats but it might deserve to at least be in the discussion. Lets go back to the start... It was ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery


Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

[IMG: Gary Fuller at bus stop] Sandgate Valley Councillor Gary Fuller in the replaced Enbrook Valley bus stop Bus stops across Folkestone West have had a make-over in the last few years. Horn Street, Cheriton High Street, and the Golden Valley have had aging stops refurbished thanks the grants from Kent County Councillor Tim Prater. New shelters have also been installed in Somerset Road and Enbrook Valley. Lib Dem Folkestone West Councillor Tim Prater said: "Encouraging bus use is about having the right services and facilities. The old shelters looked awful and leaked. I listened to local residents and got ...

Posted on Tim Prater

[IMG: Barack Obama Is Sworn In As 44th President Of The United States] I am just watching C-Span as Barack Obama swears in for his second term. He'll be repeating the oath tomorrow, making him only the second US President to take the Presidential oath four times (if you remember, Obama took the oath twice in 2009 due to a bit of Chief Justice flubbing). Add to this the fact that the final 2012 election vote count shows he had over 51.06 percent to Romney's 47.21 percent. That makes Obama the first President since Eisenhower in 1956 to get more ...

Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

MPs from all parties have begun to sign a Commons motion expressing "great alarm" at plans by the education secretary Michael Gove to remove Victorian heroine Mary Seacole from the schools curriculum. 16 MPs have ...

Posted by Lester Holloway on

Europe might have been the focus for much of the commentariat this week, but there's no doubt what's been the most significant domestic news: the Coalition's reforms of the state pension. And it's that issue — and Steve Webb's contribution to it — which is the focus of Nick Clegg's latest letter: 'you can tell [the public] that Steve Webb has delivered a pension change that makes it worthwhile to save, and simple to prepare for retirement.' It's not often (ever?) you'll find the Lib Dem leader and the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts on the same page: their admiration for ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 20th

Puzzlement and Pain

My friend John Cole has sent me the following essay. It reflects my views exactly and is packed with supporting evidence. Is there a lack of joined-up thinking in how we run our economy and our lives? My comments, which are largely critical, apply in the first instance to the UK but I suspect apply even more strongly to the US economy - and to a lesser extent to the other G7 countries. In 1930 Keynes was looking 80 years ahead to a time where productivity would have increased to such an extent that a perfectly acceptable material standard of ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal

Stephen Tall has recently been promoting the fact on Lib Dem Voice that the Lib Dems only ever promised a referendum on membership of the EU when there was a fundamental change in the relationship. Stephen is absolutely right about that. That has been the line since 2007 and it hasn't really changed since then. But he is also wrong. Wrong in that the fact he is right is largely beside the point. We called for an in/out referendum. I remember our spokespeople before the last election saying things like "It's about time the British people had their say" and ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson

YouGov have found a significant increase in support for remaining in the European Union recently. Clearly the recent efforts from the pro-European camp have begun to have an effect on public opinion. I've always believed personally that people like to rail against the EU but most would actually be very uncomfortable with the prospect of Britain going it alone. And UKIP appear to be suffering too - in the space of just over a week, Euro 2014 election opinion polls from YouGov show: Lab: 38% (+0) Con: 30% (+2) LD: 13% (+1) UKIP: 12% (-5) These results actually have UKIP ...

Conservative MEP Giles Chichester made an appearance in today's BBC Politics Show SW in which he repeated his attack on his party leader and current Prime Minister David Cameron for his stance on gay marriage which he believes is alienating the party's grassroots. "I am very disappointed that David Cameron, and I think it is personal, has chosen to take this initiative. It was not in the

Posted by Andrew on La Treizième Étoile

Where Are All the Female Bloggers: a Series of Questions that require answers – something discovered during my trawl through the blogging archives. A post by Jennie Rigg from three years ago, but still very relevant. What next for the Liberal Democrats? – An interesting perspective on the party's situation from Irish blogger Jason O'Mahony. Let more women report how the country is run – Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent points out that political reporting is just as male-dominated as politics itself. Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

When I was a teenager, I found great comfort in Christianity and then in paganism. Not only was the certainty of an afterlife and of a benevolent power watching over you reassuring but the "existence" of miracles and, in paganism, magic gave the humdrum life I led a tinge of excitement. There is something rather attractive still about such beliefs. It is why I'm not only fascinated by the beliefs of more obscure/interesting sects (such as Scientology or the Latter-day Saint movement) but often sympathetic to them (more so to Mormons than to Scientologists I admit). Yet my "spiritual" path ...

An interesting opinion poll from YouGov this weekend, asking people how they will vote in next year's European elections, has UKIP in fourth place, behind the Liberal Democrats (LAB 38%, CON 30%, LD 13%, UKIP 12%, SNP/PC 3%, Grn 3%, BNP 1%). That's quite a bump down from even a week ago, but more significantly indicates ...

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

[IMG: Grenville 2] Pensioners in Andover receiving the basic state pension are now £5.30 a week better off thanks to the Lib Dems. This means that since the last general election 19,870 pensioners living in our area are almost £10 a week better off. I'm delighted that pensioners are being given the respect they deserve. This is in stark contrast to the last Labour Government which insulted pensioners with a 75p a week rise. The Lib Dems' pensions 'triple lock guarantee' means that the basic state pension will go up every year. It will rise in line with earnings, inflation, ...

Posted by lengates on Len Gates
Sun 20th

Rose tinted spectacles

Lib Dem Voice were kind enough to post the article below on Friday - and it's caused an awful lot of comment.... Do pop over there to see what everyone has been saying... We're generally an optimistic lot aren't we, looking on the brighter side when the world and his wife thinks we should be walking around with our heads in our hands. I even wrote a piece about how genuinely cheerful we are for the New Statesman the other day...But whisper it gently... and just between us... you don't think we're fooling ourselves do you?I say this because we ...

Posted by Richard Morris on A VIEW FROM HAM COMMON
Sun 20th

King's Landing

(Also known as Dubrovnik.)

What was it about 1954? It marked the end of wartime rationing in the UK. the closure of Ellis Island and the opening of the first Burger King. Not to mention the fall of Senator McCarthy. And the Four Minute Mile. None of that quite justifies the idea that it was the year of the birth of the modern world. But I was wondering about it last night when I went to see the revival of Julian Slade's Salad Days at the Riverside Studios - which was absolutely fabulous. There was something about 1954. Perhaps I have inherited that feeling ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog

I wasn't going to be a Lib Dem. And at times during the last two weeks, I have wondered whether I still want to a councillor. As thick snow fell across Demsbury, I poured out my frustration to Melissa over a glass in the Market Tavern. I leant across the table towards her. "I'm furious. I feel unaccountably angry," I said. "I think I may have made a mistake in standing for council at all." The very good thing about Melissa is that she is both calm and calming. She talked about the weather, the lack of gritting of pavements ...

Posted by Libby Local on Liberal Democrat Voice

Here's today's hand-picked selection that caught my interest... What the Tory modernisers did next The Tory Diary Very interesting look by @pete_hoskin at 'What the Tory modernisers did next' John Kay – London's rise from sewer to spectacle Vomit matters: John Kay in great form on London's rise from sewer to spectacle The Toynbee tendency is Labour's greatest weakness « Labour Uncut Hard not just to read this Labour Uncut headline and nod > 'The Toynbee tendency is Labour's greatest weakness' Not the Treasury view...: European labour markets: six key lessons from the Commission report Jonathan Portes ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Alastair Campbell asked an interesting (if not altogether original) question on Twitter this morning: Success of Borgen (currently trending) and West Wing (which I have not seen) a sign of gap in market for essentially pro politics TV? — Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) January 20, 2013 As a massive fan of The West Wing, and an avid viewer of Borgen, it is a question I have also thought about. Britain is the world leader in political satire, yet we must be close to bottom of the league when it comes to political drama. [IMG: Borgen] It is worth highlighting, I think, ...

Posted by Nick Thornsby on Liberal Democrat Voice

I arrived at Woking Library shortly before 1600 on a Thursday. At that time of day, the library is filled - somewhat understandably - with people who aren't working a normal 9-5 job. Retirees, students, and the unemployed. I walked through the extensive computer section of the library. Dozens of computers with free Internet access. While a few people were on Wikipedia, or checking out the library catalogue, the majority seemed to be playing free flash games on the web. For a moment, I struggled to contain my rage. My inner-Tory spluttered invectives about how the workshy were wasting hard-pressed ...

Posted by Terence Eden on Terence Eden has a Blog

South Glos Council say that as we didn't get any more snow yesterday all four SORT IT!* Centres are OPEN today. Latest SORT IT! updates are posted here.

Posted by Paul Hulbert on Focus on Sodbury, Yate and Dodington

This week's letter from the Leader - better pensions because of the Libdems in Government... Dear Chris, [IMG: nick_light_(1).png] Nick Clegg

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

It is snowing as I type so no chance of getting out into the garden at all and so my thoughts this morning, on what can only be described as a very quiet Sunday are turning to Craters, the sequel to Crater* and the second book dealing with what will happen to humankind several hundred years from now if we have to abandon Earth and live on Mars. If you haven't read Crater* then I should warn you now, what follows will contain spoilers...(spoiler alert!) So now I have three settings for my characters, Earth, Mars and the crater ship ...

Posted by Trisha xx on ripplestone review

I've read a couple of articles in recent days about how UK mobile phone operators are blocking content such as political satire and LGBT news sites by default. I think the idea is that "mature" content is set to be opt in in order to prevent younger eyes from seeing "adult" things. There is certainly a strong debate to be had about whether you need to be 18 before you can read political satire and information about LGBT issues and I know which side I would come down on. I just wanted however to briefly share my experiences in this ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson

Here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I've linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here. Is there good news in HMV's collapse? – Robert Peston argues in favour of the creative destruction of corporate zombies: 'if HMV's demise signals a rising incidence of banks and other creditors being more ruthless in putting lame companies out of their misery, that might in a fundamental sense be quite a good thing.' Face it, we only matter to Obama as part of the EU – Peter Oborne with some hard truths ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

[IMG: house of lords] Believe it or not, there is nowhere in the House of Lords where backbenchers can hold press conferences! We used to be able to use any of the Committee Rooms, but in March 2010 the House agreed that only Committee Room G could be used for this purpose. Two years later, an obscure Committee which deals with matters such as charging for tours of Big Ben and the use of electric hand dyers decreed that press conferences should be exiled to a small room in a building five minutes' walk from the House. No consultation was ...

Posted by Eric Avebury on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 20th

My job in Up-Goer Five

Deascribing my job using only the thousand most common words in English: There are people who run some places (or who would like to run them) who do not find it easy to talk to people who run other places, but would like to do that more often and better. I help the first group of people to talk to the other people. Try it yourself.

Sun 20th

Stop Horsing Around

All that people are asking when it comes to burgers is that we are told the truth. So that's why Tesco and other supermarkets withdrew their burgers from stock this week because the Irish burgers didn't say that they had horse meat as one of the ingredients. Now there is all this fuss, even vegetarians want to know that their burgers contain no unicorn. Gourmet meatball lovers are wondering if they're really chewing the dog's bollocks. At a fast food outlet if you're asked if you want anything on your burger the now usual reply is "yes I'll have five ...

Posted by A D Winter on Alan D Winter
Sun 20th

Recycling (2)

Black plastics - The council have never accepted these through the green box, but what appears to have been happening is that some of the crews have been taking it when it has mistakenly been put out, but it has been disposed of as contamination further down the line. The council have been working with the crews to stop them taking it in the first place, so some residents are thinking that we

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down
Sun 20th

Counci Recycling (1)

NEW small electrical recycling collection starts 18 February 2013 Starting 18 February, we will collect

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

I completed the edX 6.00x final exam last weekend, but as its been a ridiculously busy week at work (which finally finished around 5pm yesterday) I haven't had the time to put pen to paper (or finger to ipad) until now. So here are some brief reflections on the experience. 1. Content As an introduction to computer science and computational thinking, it's rather good. It's reassuring to know that the fundamental principles I first learned around 30 years ago are still sound, albeit with the implementation method being Python rather than Pascal these days. The only significant criticism I have ...

Never let it be said that the worlds of politics and media are overly self-referential... but Joe Otten has spotted the wonderful story of the Labour press officer with the job of issuing a press release calling on himself to change a decision that he had made.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

The issue of parking around St. Phillips School will be discussed with at the next PACT meeting on 23rd April.

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

The hostage crisis in Algeria takes centre stage this morning.

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

Very pithy and succinct report of a diversity discussion being derailed (tags: ) why booth babes are a counterproductive marketing choice (tags: ) Jim hines makes the Bbc news article contains the interesting nugget that less sexualised book covers actually do sell better. Who'd have thought? (tags: ) Billionaires' fortunes hinder fight against poverty, says Oxfam (tags: ) A living wage, or a much higher minimum wage, is worth paying - Telegraph an unlikely advocate for higher wages for the poor, but then so was Henry Ford (tags: ) assertTrue( ): The Serif Readability Myth interesting article on font readability ...

Sun 20th

Grate Ridge Green Close

The damaged grate outside in Ridge Green Close has been reported to the council.

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

We have reported the road along Frome Road outside of the United Reform Church, pedestrians along the road are getting wet from all of the pot holes. There are a couple of large pot holes causing the problem that need to be filled in.

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

[IMG: EU flag - Some rights reserved by European Parliament] As a follow-up to my post The surprising truth about that Lib Dem in/out EU referendum leaflet — and as a handy guide for journalists in the future — I thought I'd piece together the timeline of the recent history of the Lib Dems' position on holding a referendum to give the British people a say on our future relationship with the European Union. As you can see, it's a picture of quite shocking, erm, consistency... 2007: Lib Dems (under Ming Campbell) commit to an in/out referendum the next time ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Ward: Odd Down App Ref: 12/05619/CLEURegistered: 24th December 2012 Expiry Date: 18th February 2013Location: Somerset Trucks Red Lion Quarry Frome Road Odd Down Bath Bath And North East SomersetProposal: Use of workshop and yard for the repair, maintenance and parking of lorries, buses, vans and cars (B2) (Certificate of Lawfulness for an Existing Use)

Posted by Odddown on Odd Down

Why I like Martin Luther King Day (Note to self: Americans have a holiday tomorrow.) (tags: ) Forget Harry Potter John Crowley speaks out for Joan Aiken's "Wolves of Willoughby Chase", etc. (tags: sf ) Books on books -- recursive but fun! Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy (tags: sf )

In the category of 'small, but annoying, errors' we have this from the Guardian: Obama will make history in another way on Monday, becoming the first US president to be sworn in four separate times. THat should be 'the first since Franklin Roosevelt', of course, who got his four inaugurations the old-fashioned way by being elected four times. Related PostsI have nothing to say about Trafigura There's no romance on the Megabus

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

For more information, or to book your place, please visit

Sun 20th

My mate Steve

This week I want to tell you about my good friend and colleague, Professor Steve Webb. Steve is the Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury and Yate, north west of Bristol. There are two things you will know about Steve if you have ever heard him speak. First: he is originally from Birmingham. Second: he is incredibly clever and understands more about pensions than almost anyone else in the country. A former professor of social policy at Bath University, Steve's CV includes a stint designing a new pensions system for the Ukraine after the fall of Communism and nearly ten years ...

Posted by Nick Clegg on Freedom Central