Chorlton Lib Dems have slammed the Labour Council's proposals to cut funding for the Mersey Valley COuntryside Warden Service that looks after natural sites along the Mersey Valley like Chorlton Water Park, Chorlton Ees, Ivy Green and Hardy Farm. I understand that the City Council's budget proposals mean that the service is likely to close down in April. A cut of £150,000 from Manchester Council along with Trafford Council's lack of a payment commitment mean that the service is unlikely to survive. The City Council are conducting a consultation but if the budget proposal is not amended the service is ...

Manchester is the first UK City Council to join the likes of Bill Gates and Desmond Tutu in supporting a new international campaign against hunger .'Enough food for everyone IF' warns of the human and economic cost of hunger in a world where there is actually enough food to feed everyone.Manchester City council is the first City council to support the campaign, which has been launched this week by the largest coalition of Britain's leading development charities and faith groups since Make Poverty History in 2005.Charities are warning that hunger and malnutrition in childhood will trap almost a billion young ...

The online retailer Amazon considered at the start whether to launch on a native American reservation in order to avoid paying sales tax. Now, finally, and not before time, the company is being forced to pay sales tax in three hefty US states - California, Texas and Pennsylvania. I am pretty optimistic that this is the start of a long-term trend, which is happening much slower over here - that the big corporations will be expected to pay their way. The prospect of John Lewis being the last multinational retailer paying their fair share of tax must have struck terror ...

Posted by David Boyle on The Real Blog
Sun 27th

Dear Mr Ward...

Following David Ward MP's apology for insensitively implying that "the Jews" were responsible for acts of oppression against Palestinians, and the reaction of two "senior" Liberal Democrats in denouncing him, I have written him a short letter:Dear Mr Ward,As a member of the Liberal Democrats, I would like to congratulate you on your recent stance on Israel's historic and continued actions towards Palestinians. While, like many others, I was very concerned at the way you chose to make the point - the actions of the State of Israel must be distinguished from those of Jewish people; the Jews are not ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal

In Hemel Hempstead today, the grass was lush green, and the melted snows had contributed to turning Gadebridge Park into a lake. Here's some samples from the shots I took. More to see here

Posted by A D Winter on Alan D Winter
Sun 27th

The Pension Reform Again

Sorry for blogging about this topic again so soon, but I want to express the frustration that people of my age group are feeling because of the uncertainty about the way we will be affected. The Daily Telegraph personal finance pages have been very helpful in answering queries, in contrast to The Guardian, which has ...

Posted by Mira on Mira's Picture

[IMG: School classroom. Photo courtesy of] Over on Lib Dem Voice, Nick Thornsby has argued that the schooling decisions made by Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez for their children are none of our business. For pretty much the same reasons as those Stephen Tall has given, I think Nick T. is wrong about that. But I think Stephen too is wrong with his implication when he says: Politics works when it is representative, when leaders understand the lives lived by those they seek to lead. If too many of our politicians become too detached from the grind of ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Cameron's promise to the British public to give them a referendum on membership of the EU "to let the people decide" is a decision drenched in fear. His position is clearly based on an attempt to plaster over the divisions ... Continue reading →

Posted by Issan Ghazni on Issan Ghazni

We Liberals are meant to believe in Progress. So I am pleased to be able to report that the Northamptonshire village of Harrington, previously the home to nuclear missiles, now has a gin distillery.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

It's been a big week in politics and for the DPM... David Cameron's in/out EU referendum speech dominated the Westminster headlines, while the economy's backslide into negative growth put the Coalition on the defensive. Meanwhile Nick made a little bit of constitutional history by at least ending some of the discrimination around the laws of Royal succession. But most importantly, for the first time Nick's letter includes a link inviting people to do something! For weeks I've been urging Nick's team to use these emails to encourage folk to take action to support Lib Dem campaign initiatives. And this one ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 310th 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 (20 - 26 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. Controversial ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

My Lib Dem Voice colleague Nick Thornsby has penned an interesting piece robustly arguing that it's none of the public's business if Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez choose to send their eldest child to a private secondary school: ... the argument is that politicians are not just public figures but public figures with power, and the choices they make - even if they relate to the intimacies of their family life - are relevant to the ways in which they exercise that power. Not only do I think this is wrong, I think it is one of the things ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Well, "Geronimo" and "Allons-y" are all very good - and it was fab to hear David Tennant say the latter in person at Starfury: Midnight last month, but, really, there is no substitute for Tom Baker saying "Would you like a jelly baby?" with that big grin on his face.

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings
Sun 27th

West End view ...

A wonderful West End view today in Beechwood Terrace, off West Park Road - photo taken when visiting constituents.

Back in 2009 I chose Nick Drake's River Man as a Sunday music video. Since then his popularity, ironic for an artist who was so obscure in his short lifetime, has shown no sign of abating. His music is almost a cliche as backing for BBC factual programmes these days. One result of Drake's continued prominence has been the discovery and issuing of the songs that his mother wrote and performed. TwentyFourBit discusses their importance to her son's work: As Nick Drake collaborator Joe Boyd has said, the music of his mother, Molly Drake, could provide a key to understanding ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

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Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

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Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

The recycling collection-including food waste- has been missed a second time- in parts of Hillside and communication with local residents has been unacceptably bad in my opinion. The already rescheduled collection should have taken place on 18th January and it was missed because of poor weather. Nobody was sure whether to leave their recycling out or take it in. Relatively few households were impacted. I would have thought it would have been best to contact them directly by leaflet. The free papers and the postman was getting through the 2cm of snow. If they had rung the council they would ...

Posted on birkdale focus

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Posted by Paul on Liberal Burblings

David Steel, addressing an SDP conference. (Picture: Liberal History) It would turn out to be the final leader's speech to Liberal Assembly (not counting those held by the continuing Liberal Party). Twenty-five years ago last Friday, on a cold January day in Blackpool when every sensible person should have been either at home or a Burns Supper (or both), Liberals met at the Norbreck Castle Hotel - described as a giant Fawlty Towers - to decide whether to agree to the terms of the merger agreement with the Social Democratic Party. Bob Maclennan's party had already agreed to these, but ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal

...misconceptions about benefit dependency, that is. I use social media quite a lot. My partner thinks I'm addicted to it. I'm not sure that's true, but it does allow for interesting conversations and some relief from baby responsibilities. I'm not going to suggest that social media is a more accurate reflection of public opinion than the tried and tested methodology of opinion polling - after all, as in life more generally, there will always be minorities that make a disproportionate amount of noise. (Yes, Scotland for Marriage, I mean you.) But what is inescapable is that social media are not ...

Posted by Andrew on A Scottish Liberal
Sun 27th

Lugano, Switzerland

I mean, why wouldn't you want to go after seeing this? [IMG: image] The poster's from 1952 and is now in the collection of the Zurich Museum of Design. Thanks to Merlin3 for sending me a copy through the wonders of Postcrossing.

Posted by brian on Brian Robson

If one extreme of the argument was arguing from the gutter of politics, they would not have had to look too far for their Labour opponents. You know who they are, they say something along the lines of You're taking money off vulnerable people whilst cutting taxes for millionaires". Any Labour politicians who say this either have a very short memory and therefore so thick they would be

Posted by Gavin James on Councillor Gavin James

[IMG: Dreadnought by Robert K Massie] For the non-specialist new to this period of history, Robert Massie's Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War is a thorough and entertaining read. Despite its length, it is very readable and does not feel padded out or slow. This is a long book because it covers a lot, not because it has a self-indulgent author and a lazy editor. Yet it is also a book which leaves much out, for it is a balancing act which is revealed in its title. Is this a book about British and German relations ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Sun 27th

Picture the scene...

It is August 11th 1999. You're in Cornwall to see the solar eclipse, and as the time of totality approaches, people around you begin to notice that the sun itself won't be visible from the beach that you're on because of a tall rocky outcrop. Unfortunately, you broke your ankle during a trampolining lesson two weeks beforehand, and whilst every other person on the beach wades out to sea for a better vantage point, you are left sitting on your beach chair, alone, with a black binbag tied around your left leg to protect the cast from sea water. It's ...

Posted on katie writes stuff

Theresa May has rewritten the UK citizenship test to conform to Tory prejudices. And according to the Sunday Telegraph, the Life in the UK handbook for migrants taking the test has also had a makeover: Out go politically correct sections on how to complain about being arrested and "mundane information about water meters", and in come "the events and people who have helped make Britain a great place to live", ministers said. So I took the quiz included in the Telegraph's report and scored 100%. That's probably because I know slightly more about Admiral Nelson than water meters, which is ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

...and now the Sunday song. BBC Radio 4's Soul Music today discussed Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms and how WG Snuffy Walden used it in the West Wing when President Bartlett decided to run again.

Posted by David on Disgruntled Radical

I don't know if Daniel Hannan or any of his fellow Europhobes have ever visited the Menin Gate in Ypres. It is the memorial to 54,896 soldiers who died near there in the First World War but whose bodies were never found. Another quarter of a million died in the Ypres Salient. The Versailles Conference and its success redrew the map of Europe with more nations than ever. Twenty years later

Posted by David on Disgruntled Radical

For this week's Sunday Sound, I've chosen a clip from a film - Kevin Spacey's biopic of Bobby Darin, Beyond the Sea. This is the title track, with a spot of dialogue to top and tail it: Enjoy, Andrew

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

It's Saturday evening, so 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. My brother, Hans Rausing, entered a world of addiction where no one in the end could follow him – Sigrid Rausing's heart-rending account has persuaded her that drug addicts need care, not prison: 'I do wonder slightly if the people who formulate the policy on drugs know what that heavy hand, the war on drugs, feels like and looks like and sounds like.' In Israel, the centre strikes back ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Liberal Democrat Voice

Here's today's hand-picked selection that caught my interest... Colin Murray and the sad decline of Match of the Day | Duleep Allirajah| spiked .@DuleepOffside's points out the bland infantilism of BBC's MotD punditry Same true of its election-night coverage Prime Minister Cameron's European Fantasy – New York Times 's verdict > PM Cameron's European Fantasy Ie, to have chance of reforming EU you have to be in it Yet More on Government Spending Levels | Mother Jones Fascinating graph from @kdrum showing the ballooning of real federal spending under George W. Bush Americans Like Obama's Gun-Control ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

A very short post about Iraq – The Yorkshire Ranter with a succinct response to the 'I was wrong, but' brigade. The less well-paid you are when you enter the labour market, the more your degree will now cost – From the LSE's British Politics and Policy blog. Under the new system of student finance "the greater your rewards from studying for a degree the less you pay for the opportunity." Why we need a Robin Hood tax to support councils and their communities – I suspect the potential proceeds of a Robin Hood tax have been spent many thousands ...

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Nick Clegg was asked once again which secondary school he would send his eldest child too. He quite rightly dismissed the question as a personal one – he and Miriam have strived to keep their children out of the public eye, so why should they change that now? As I tweeted at the time: Anybody who thinks it's any of their business which school Clegg's children go to is one of the problems with our political culture. — Nick Thornsby (@NickThornsby) January 27, 2013 Some disagreed with that statement. The summary of ...

Posted by Nick Thornsby on Liberal Democrat Voice
Sun 27th

Alan's Weekly Round Up

BEDFORDSHIRE WILDLIFE TRUSTI'd like to share this WONDERFUL collection of photos from "Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust". ON EBAY THIS WEEK THE FACE OF IVORY Unacceptable Every day in the savannas and forests of Africa, elephants are being gunned down for their ivory tusks. Across the continent, tens of thousands of these majestic animals are being slaughtered each year. In many places the species has already been poached to extinction. If we don't act now there may be no wild elephants left. The WWF organisation today launches a global petition asking Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade ...

Posted by A D Winter on Alan D Winter
Sun 27th

Details of 20 mph zone

A 20 mph zone is to be introduced in the Aboyne area (as well as the area below the Cathedral in Verulam ward). Details: 20 mph zone

Posted by chriswhite on Chris White

The 'Studio Church' which meets in the former Heaton Park Congregational Church on Bailey Street have asked me to circulate some of their latest information about their forthcoming activities. This includes information about some forthcoming events for both Lent and Easter, and also information about a 'Pause to Reflect' campaign. Click here for the latest newsletter. If you're involved in a local organisation or group I'm always happy to to circulate information – just let me know!. Tim

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood ward as detailed below:- Application number: 55959 Type of application: Full Date Registered: 24/01/2013 Location: 30A Simister Lane, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2RS Proposal: Pitched roof to existing flat roof at front Plans will be available to view on the Council's website here (use the application number to search). Please do not hesitate to get in touch if I can be of help or if you need further information.

Posted by timpickstone on Tim Pickstone

Meols Ward Lib Dem Councillors John Dodd, David Rimmer and Nigel Ashton are holding their next monthly advice centre on Saturday 9th February, from 11 am to 12 noon at St John's Primary School, Rufford Road, Crossens. We will be there to meet you and discuss any Council problems you may have. No appointment necessary. Just pop in. We hold our advice centre every month (except August) on the second Saturday of the month at St John's School, Crossens.

Posted by Nigel Ashton on Meols Lib Dems
Sun 27th

Storm in a teacup

Today's Telegraph reports the astonishing news that Starbucks has threatened to suspend millions of pounds of investment in Britain after what it described as constant and unfair attacks over its tax affairs by David Cameron and the Government. The paper says that Kris Engskov, the multinational's UK managing director, has demanded talks at Downing Street after the Prime Minister said tax-avoiding companies had to "wake up and smell the coffee". He has interpreted this as a direct attack on Starbucks which has been criticised for not paying corporation tax in Britain. The paper reports that Mr Engskov is concerned about ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black

Since I wrote my post the other day about how few of our MPs I knew were definitely restanding in 2015, I wrote to them all bar the 3 I knew were definite 'yes's to ask them their intentions. I've had a fabulous response. Many have asked me not to name precise names at this point due to the vagaries and rules around public statements during reselections - but not one single MP (or their office) who has come back to me has said 'no'. Around 20% have said a definitive yes and others have said 'in progress'. So given ...

Posted by Richard Morris on A VIEW FROM HAM COMMON

No time for analysis - rushing to catch a train to go to see the Strictly Come Dancing live tour in Glasgow, but here's what Nick Clegg said on Marr this morning. [View the story "Nick Clegg on Marr - 27 January 2013" on Storify]

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

"Tory Obama plots to oust the PM" is the sensationalist headline in today's Mail on Sunday. MP and multi-millionaire Adam Afriyie is said to be behind a "secret bid for party leadership". What, you mean David Cameron's speech on Europe was not enough to satisfy Tory backbenchers? The Mail certainly thinks so. It assures us that, "News of the cloak-and-dagger moves rocked No.10". Actually, the chances of this 'stalking horse' rocking anything are rather slim. For all the Mail's hype, the truth is revealed several paragraphs into the story: Mr Afriyie... is said to be frustrated at failing to be ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

Last night, I dreamt I owned something that was a cross between a recumbent trike and Air at Alton Towers. If the universe could make that happen, that'd be ace. [IMG: comment count unavailable] comments

Posted on katie writes stuff

This week Nick covers the economy, the fall in unemployment, the big problem with David Cameron's speech on the EU, and rounds off with reform of the royal succession. The point that while the economy is weak, employment is surprisingly strong is something that is perplexing the economists (video) and I'm surprised it doesn't get more attention. It hasn't hit the headlines, perhaps because the fall in unemployment was thought to be a blip. But after over a year, this is clearly something to be welcomed. I'd like to say that it is a result of the coalition's extra investment ...

Posted by Joe Otten on Liberal Democrat Voice

Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black will hold advice surgeries in Port Talbot and Maesteg on Friday 1st February. Between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. he will be in Maesteg Library, and from 3.30 until 4.30 p.m. in Port Talbot library. No appointment is necessary.

Posted by Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats

"The profile of the Union is not tainted because others are threatening it or advancing alternative, more viable political or economic models. What chiefly dents the credibility of the EU is that Europeans have not been practicing what they preach as consistently and effectively as they committed to do, at home and abroad." (Giovanni Grevi, in the introduction)This is a 100-page book brought out earlier this month by the Spanish-based think tank FRIDE, which is producing better and better material these days. It is a good global review of the political situation in various parts of the world, with some ...

Sun 27th

People count

The week in Westminster has been dominated by two events: the Prime Minister's speech on Europe and this Friday's Gross Domestic Product figures. The GDP figures are always surrounded by secrecy. I am among a small group of people who get to see the data the day before it is released but with strict instructions not to breathe a word to anyone. In other words it's the exact opposite of the Prime Minister's speech, which seemed to be the subject of about a year's open speculation before we finally got to hear it. The GDP numbers were disappointing, but not ...

Posted by Nick Clegg on Freedom Central

Here's me in The New Statesman on Friday... As the IMF calls for Plan B, everyone has got very excited that Nick Clegg has come out and said he thinks cutting spending on infrastructure went too fast at the start - and maybe needs addressing. "It's another coalition split" goes up the cry...But it's not you know. The change in strategy had already been announced. It's just everyone missed it.As I said a few weeks ago, the mid-term review marked a shift in the coalition's priorities. A seismic shift.The original coalition agreement made one thing very clear. Every pledge, every ...

Posted by Richard Morris on A VIEW FROM HAM COMMON

Andy Murray is going for grand slam glory, but Marr is features an interview with Nick Clegg, and the Sunday Politics follows the tennis. Come on Tim!

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico
Sun 27th

Audit Commission demiss

The ending of the Audit Commission progresses. For Southwark Council it means that the councils accounts will this year be audited by Grant Thornton. This has resulted in a 43% reduction in the audit fee. Instead of being charged £552,990 by the Audit Commission in 2011/12 we'll be charged £313,794 by Grant Thornton covering 2012/13. It gets better. The Audit Commission took many months to complete their audit not even starting until after they'd audited others. Grant Thornton expect to have their draft completed by mid August. Not ideal or perfect but a big improvement. With time and when Southwark ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

'I've discovered a lot in the last few weeks,' Smith began. 'I've found out that being the Doctor... it's not about having special knowledge or abilities. It's about not being cruel. It's about not being afraid.' He walked into the middle of the clearing, searching for the right words. 'There are monsters out there, yes. Terrible things. But you don't have to become one in order to defeat them. You can be peaceful in the face of their cruelty. You can win by being cleverer than they are.' This is still the only Who novel to have been adapted for ...

I would like to thank Sarah Brown, Jae Kay, and Zoe O'Connell for their analyses of the bill so far; I've had some time to read the bill over the past 36 hours and I've got my own comments. Were I to grade the legislation, I'd give it 6/10, could do better. In the abstract, it's a good bill, in so much as two people of the same gender will be able to marry. However, there are some seams in which the concept of equal marriage start to fray. What's Not In As marriage is a devolved issue, the legislation, ...

Posted by Sarah on The Other Sarah

The Only Way to Get Important Things Done Programming yourself, apparently. (tags: psychology lifehacks productivity ) New photos, videos and app shed fresh light on Anne Frank's family life #fb (tags: books ) George Packer: The Political Isolation of the American South As late as 1950, there were just three Republicans among the South's hundred and nine congressmen, and none in the Senate; a decade later, the numbers had barely moved. (tags: Uspolitics )

Nicola Sturgeon in this morning's Scotland on Sunday says that a no vote in next year's referendum on Scottish Independence is a vote for nothing. This is rather big seeing as the SNP have yet to secure an Independent Scotland's future within Europe and to answer some leading questions on military, support for the arts, culture and leisure (currently covered by the national lottery) and other issues that severance with the rest of the UK would bring about. Of course she pulls the line of toeing the line to Westminster Austerity cuts, has she forgotten that Scotland two banks and ...

Posted by Stephen Glenn on Stephen's Liberal Journal

Earlier this week I saw Sun, Sea & Suspicious Parents on BBC Three and thought about how my parents may have reacted if they were following me around on my lads holiday after my A-Levels in 2001. So I thought I'd have a look back in the form of a blog post. We went to a place called Lloret De Mar (I have just spent around 15 minutes or so on Streetview looking up the place) for a week. There were six of us and it was our first lads holiday. I can say this about our lot – we ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

On numerous occasions over 2011 and 2012, I raised with Dundee City Council the continued poor transport provision for West End pupils who attend St John's High School. The issue was initially highlighted in 2011 when National Express Dundee withdrew the 4S school bus that took St John's pupils from the West Endto the school and back every school day. Although, after the campaign to improve the situation, there was some movement - in particular in relation to a service at the end of the school day, albeit convoluted via Ninewells Hospital - travel to school arrangements for West End ...

I heard his voice exclaim, 'Listen to the noisy sods.' And a female voice, husky with love, said, 'Never mind them, darling. Come back here.' And I thought another thought, except this one was even more stupid. I actually recognised her voice, until I corrected myself. It couldn't be, never in a million years.This is the most recent Lovejoy book, published in 2008, and since the author turns 80 this year I guess it may well be the last. (Though not for me; eleven down, thirteen to go.) It is a rather confused affair; an older Lovejoy, more narcissistic than ...