Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats and the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) have organised a one-day conference on race equality. 'Race equality: a new Liberal Democrat approach' will take place on Saturday 16 February at Hughes-Parry Hall, 19-26 Cartwright Gardens, London WC1H 9EF from 10 a.m. The headline speakers will be Simon Hughes MPTom Brake MPBaroness Meral Hussein-EceOther people taking part include Kavya Kaushik, Kelly‚ÄźMarie Blundell, Gareth Epps, Naomi Smith, Issan Ghazni, Rob Berkely, Professor Gus John and Wilf Sullivan. The conference will launch the first report of the Lib Dem Task Force on Race Equality. Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, chair of the ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Thu 31st
22:32

County's Wind Farm error

[IMG: wind-turbine] I am disappointed but not really surprised by the county council's short-sighted proposal to ban wind farms on county owned land (Andover Advertiser 25 January). What is particularly worrying is that such an important decision is not made by the full council representing local views but by the leader alone. Wind farms have an important role to play in reducing our carbon emissions and Hampshire should have its fair share of them. There are adequate safeguards to prevent the building of wind farms in sensitive sites. The council could, and should, consider each case on its merits rather ...

Posted by lengates on Len Gates

I listened to last week's Week in Westminster today on the way into work and heard Peter Lilley say something very interesting. No, really. It was during a debate with Labour's Patricia Hollis where she was suggesting that David Cameron was mistaken to have ring-fenced benefits for pensioners in the way that he did before the election. Lilley pointed out quite rightly that Cameron ended up doing this as a result of a large amount of pressure applied by Labour who accused him of planning to reduce pensioner age benefits and demanded that he rule it out. Now they are ...

Posted by Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson

Realistically, there can only be one answer to this. It really has to be Bernard Cribbins, who played the part of Wilfred Mott perfectly. He was funny, brilliant and who can forget the poignant way in which he sympathised with the Tenth Doctor as he talked about his impending death - and then discovered that he was the cause of it. There are some honourable mentions to be handed out: to Kylie Minogue as Astrid Peth in the Voyage of the Damned. The end bit was a bit mawkish and sad, but, let's face it, Kylie couldn't really spare the ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings
Thu 31st
21:51

Southport BID

The picture above was taken some time ago, when Southport's Tourist Information Centre was threatened with closure. I have some good news and some not so good news to report about Southport and it's endeavour to improve the offer it provides for residents and tourists. The following was reported in today's local Visiter Newspaper: SEFTON Council is today (Thursday) expected to show its faith in the Southport town centre and seafront areas by allocating £100,000 to our resort's Business Improvement District project.Politicians will meet at Bootle Town Hall at 10am to discuss giving our BID team access to the entire ...

Posted by Mike Booth on kew focus

You know, I really don't do this gif stuff. Maybe it's because I am forbidden from inhabiting the crazy world of Tumblr which Anna sees as her domain and does not want to run into her mother on it. Anyway, I'm going to pass on this one. Anna has one in mind, which I quite like, and she will get it on here for me at some point. I actually have no idea how to do it. I don't think I've ever felt quite so old.

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

You might not be surprised to find that I, with my trashy underbelly, subscribe to the salacious Popbitch email, but there's someone significantly classier on the Liberal Democrat Voice team who takes it as well. Well, we don't want to be caught napping if one of our lot is in it, do we? And what do you mean, everyone on the Lib Dem Voice team is classier than I am? I'm truly hurt. Anyway, our dear leader finds his way into its scandal ridden pages this week. This is the story. lexie writes: "My friend was at Westminster with Nick ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

Regular reader of my blog will know that I am a big supporter of apprenticeships. Last year, apprenticeships in Manchester went up from 2580 to 4760 last year, an 84% rise. In Withington Constituency, the figures went to from 350 to ... Continue reading →

Posted by John Leech MP on John Leech MP

(a list of the questions and links to all the answers can be found on this entry) This is a question that's open to interpretation. It could mean: "When does one qualify for the epithet fan?", or"what age was I when I first became a fan?"I really don't like interpretation one. Like the ladies of the Verity Podcast, I firmly believe that the only "qualification" necessary to be called a fan is applying that label to yourself. I'm not going to gatekeep. I'm not going to say "you're not a proper fan unless you do/believe/like/know x". That's just shitty behaviour. ...

See this document: for where to get help with benefit changes 2013.

Posted by A D Winter on Alan D Winter
YouGov

Good news, alcohol related deaths drop to lowest level since 2002. In fact deaths have fallen by 8% since the peak of 2008. As Dick Puddlecote says on his Facebook page the media seem to have missed this good news. More to the point i've not seen many in the public health community celebrating this news either. You can read the full ONS report here ( H/T Dick Puddlecote ) Now for the obligatory graph. (click to enlarge)

Posted by Carl Minns on Carl Minns - Thoughts from Hull
Thu 31st
17:06

KLM Manston

It could just work, I appreciate that odds are not entirely in favour of Manston airport and recent history has been unkind. A lot has been stacked against Manston, much of it coming from Thanet's appalling Labour party who under Clive Hart's power at any price, strand of leadership has offered no comfort for local business, still what can you expect from a party whose main philosophy is based on handouts from those who work. That aside, having nothing better to do, this afternoon, I thought I'd do a random comparison between flying from Heathrow and Manston, nothing too scientific, ...

Posted by tony flaig bignews on BIGNEWS MARGATE

Lynne Featherstone MP sent this message to her email list regarding the proposed sale of parts of Whittington Hospital. You can sign the petition to ensure no services are lost here. Last week, the Board of the Whittington Hospital announced without warning that they plan to sell off six hospital buildings, including units for women's health and NHS staff accommodation. Maternity services will also be affected, with the hospital planning to cap births at 4,000 a year. The Haringey Liberal Democrats and I have now launched a petition calling on the Board to ensure that no services are lost, and ...

Posted by Haringey Lib Dems on Working for Hornsey

It's a strange and rare thing for a Liberal Democrat to be pinning her hopes for a civil liberties victory on a combination of government bad faith, Conservatives of principle voting the right way and Labour sticking to their guns. Yet that combination, combined with the votes of Lib Dem MPs, could offer a lifeline for those campaigning to defeat secret courts contained in the Justice and Security Bill. The Bill is now in Committee in the Commons. At the last possible moment the government published its proposed amendments to the Bill. The government line is that these amendments clarify ...

Posted by Jo Shaw on Liberal Democrat Voice

INT KGB office circa 1977. Dingy with nicotine-stained walls, rickety desks, black telephones. Two KGB agents are having a discussion.AGENT 1: Well what about Ivanova? She was near Washington. AGENT 2: No, we lost her in the first year when they showed the Rogar Corman film on TV at Halloween. Who knew they recited the poem at the start of it? AGENT 1: Petrov? AGENT 2: Went on a killing spree on his son's first birthday. I told you Happy Birthday was a bad activation poem for a sleeper agent, but would you listen? AGENT 1: Prutkova? AGENT 2: Killed ...

As politicos in Southend will know there has been a lot of chatter about holding all up elections every four years instead of electing in thirds three out of every four years. It is something that is probably going to happen at some point but can't happen for a couple of years anyway but it is worth a bit of chat. There are two main points regarding all up elections. One is it will save money but on the other hand it will reduce the amount of times people get to air their voice at the ballot box. In principle ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Care UK have submitted a planning application for a Care Home for Older People at Abney Court. If approved and built, the home will provide residential, nursing and specialist dementia care for 80 older people. Last March, Care UK consulted with residents on their proposals for a new care home behind the historic Abney Hall (there's an existing modern building on the site which would be replaced). Here are the plans Care UK came forward with back then. Following that consultation, Care UK say The original plans have been amended to reduce the footprint and massing of the proposed care ...

Posted by Iain Roberts on Keith Holloway, Iain Roberts & Pam King

Last night I blogged about the cock-up on Cornwall Council's housing and council tax benefit application form. This morning the council has apologised unreservedly. I'm glad that they have done so. It was clearly a mistake and they are changing the forms online and manually altering the paper copies. But there are two questions remaining: - How did this mistake happen? Who was responsible for checking the draft of the form and how did it slip through the net? - What use is made of the information taken from ethnic background monitoring? There is only a point in asking these ...

Posted by Alex Folkes on A Lanson Boy

This afternoon the Department of Work and Pensions announces a significant change on the new Personal Independent Payments following significant Lib Dem pressure. Celia Thomas, the Lib Dem peer who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, explains why it's a major win. Getting the rules governing Personal Independence Payments right is vital. The new benefit, which will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance later this year, will have a huge effect on disabled people up and down the country. I'm broadly in favour of the change to PIP, which seeks to clarify the eligibility of disabled people to this benefit, ...

Posted by Celia Thomas on Liberal Democrat Voice

South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling has been snapped stood next to people dressed as fish. The stunt was orchestrated by Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West Chris Davies (not in the photo) who went out trawling the corridors of the European Parliament fishing for MEPs to support the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Next week in Strasbourg, MEPs will vote on its version of

Posted by Andrew on La Treizième Étoile
eUKhost

As I left Wahaca, warm and replete the other night, I stopped to Foursquare in (you can't inside as it's in the basement). I heard voice behind me asking if those were avocados in the window. I turned to see a young man smoking a cigarette and carrying a rucksack. He told me he was on his way to see if he could get into the homeless shelter down the road. He was, he said, suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia and would probably be sectioned. He rolled up his sleeves to show me wounds on his arms. He had, he said, ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

I believe that there is only one meeting at Blyth Town Council next week Tuesday 5th Febrary , 6:30 pm Policy Working Group. As ever, the doubts about whether the public can attend working group meetings persist, but it's advertised on the town council website, so hey ho! www.blythtowncouncil.org.uk

Posted by Alisdair Gibbs-Barton on Alisdair Gibbs-Barton

HE Applications The Government's controversial HE fees policy has resulted in an increase in the number of applications from deprived backgrounds. There is a narrowing of the gap between application rates between 18 year olds from the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas. UCAS revealed figures that the latest application figures at January 2013 show an ... Keep reading →

Posted by Rhys Taylor on Ramblings of a Liberal Democrat

I heard odd things yesterday. Talk of getting women back into the workplace by subsidising childcare for all parents – and this after means testing child benefit. Then someone proposed that all child carers should have good GCSE Maths & English whilst increasing ratios! How did the human race survive before academic qualifications? Here we have another narrowing of work opportunities for people who are not so hot at academic stuff. To add to my indignation, I heard someone say on the radio that only working parents provide a positive role model for children and that "non-working" parents don't contribute ...

Posted by Karen Wilkinson on Liberal Democrat Voice

You know Stephen Tall. He finds out a bit of information, he sticks it on a graph and here you go: And then I nick it because I just can't handle artwork. I hope he doesn't mind. What these figures show is that rather than the apocalyptic disaster Labour were predicting, people from disadvantaged areas have not been put off going to uni. In fact, more of them are applying than under Labour. It's still not good enough. But, let's face it, even up here where we have free tuition, not much more than 1 in 10 kids from the ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

Here is the beginning of Paul Staines' speech at last nights Spectator debate on Leveson. As you can see, things got quite heated. To find out what else happened sign up this blogs' weekly newsletter for just £5.

Posted by Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico

Here's today's hand-picked selection that caught my interest... Ministers and Whitehall mandarins need to get a grip – Telegraph Yes Minister lives and breathes 30 years later > Ministers and Whitehall mandarins need to get a grip – Telegraph http://buff.ly/WAL6ib Why teachers can't call themselves a profession | The Sutton Trust Interesting post from colleague @Lem_SuttonTrust > Why teachers can't call themselves a profession http://buff.ly/WAHmxn Why fixed terms parliaments are a nightmare for leaders and a gift for rebel MPs – Comment – Voices – The Independent .@SteveRichards14 > Why fix-term p'ments are a nightmare for leaders + a gift ...

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Since my last e-Cops message there has been one crime report, please find the relevant below. Between 7.15pm and 7.40pm on the 16th January 2013 unknown suspects have gained entry to Dry Drayton Primary School, forcing entry to the school via the main front doors using an unknown implement. A tidy search of the premises has been conducted and no items appear to have been moved or taken. Suspects have then left in an unknown direction via unknown means. An incident involving a Rottweiler took place at approximately 6.40am on Friday 18th January in Field View, Bar Hill. The dog ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

MP Julian Huppert has pressed the case for Cambridge's new Science Park station with Rail Minister, Simon Burns today (Thursday, January 31) at a four county rail summit to push forward the campaign to improve rail travel across East Anglia. Mr Burns told delegates, which included MPs from across the region, council officers, business representatives, Network Rail and train operators that the station was one the government wanted to open. Julian also highlighted the East West rail link which involves opening the old Varsity line linking Cambridge to Oxford. He said: "I will continue to push for both these important ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill
Thu 31st
13:01

Africa: we never learn

The current fighting in Mali is once again leading westerners to interpret events in simplistic terms: the global battle against Al Qaeda. But these blind and arrogant perceptions have a high cost. When on previous occasions western governments have intervened in northern Africa, their policies have proved counter-productive, fuelling a hatred and distrust of Europe and America, which in turn has massively helped the Islamist cause. That is the analysis of TV documentary maker Adam Curtis, in this fascinating account of events over the past twenty years in Somalia and Algeria. It is a lengthy essay accompanied by clips from ...

Posted by Simon Titley on Liberator's blog

The Libertine has interviewed the new members of the Liberal Youth exec on a range of topics, in order to keep you in the loop. Here is the next in the series, an interview with our new International Officer, Conor McKenzie. 1) What is the first thing you will do in office? I've already done ...

Posted by editorlibertine on The Libertine

CCC Highways Reporting Website People wanting to report a problem with the roads across Cambridgeshire will now find it easier thanks to improvements put in place by the County Council. The changes have been made following consultation with the public on the way they prefer to report potholes and other highway problems. The online Highways Fault Reporting System has been upgraded to provide: Easier data entry for the publicImproved tracking so people reporting on-line can follow the progress of a repairThe ability to enter a second fault without the need to re-enter personal/contact detailsBetter system capacity to ensure fault reports ...

Posted by Andy Pellew on Focus on Bar Hill

According to the Guardian, the UK has the second highest childcare costs in the world, second only to Switzerland. As a consequence, we also have a high level of "informal" childminding, and above average levels of government investment into childcare. ... Continue reading →

Posted by John Leech MP on John Leech MP

Last week I read a mouthwatering review of the Mexican street food restaurant Wahaca over on Katy Riddle's Feel-good Foodbook blog. Her photos and write-up looked so enticing and as I had to go to London for FE on Monday, I decided I had to try it out. Well, the first thing I have to say is that Katy can write a cracking review. She was bang on about the quality and flavour of the food. It was absolutely delicious. I went to the Covent Garden branch which is about 15 minutes' walk from Westminster. You can't book a table, ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

This is the second of three posts looking at the party's messaging. The first was published here yesterday; the last and final post will appear tomorrow. The first half of our message emphasises economic competence: bringing back (as David Laws once put it) Gladstonian Liberalism to the Treasury and setting us up to be competitive in a fast-changing, globalised economy. So far, much of the focus has been on our willingness to take "tough decisions". Here, for example, is David Laws speaking to the Independent recently: "in the past people have known we stood for a fairer society but have ...

Posted by Nick Thornsby on Liberal Democrat Voice

Last year, for the first time, the far-right Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) organised itself into a pan-European bloc, and has therefore recently been allocated almost £400,000 in public funding from the European Parliament. This group includes the BNP, the Front National in France and Jobbik, a far-right political party in Hungary renowned for its racist and anti-semitic views. Of particular concern is the possibility that public money could now end up being used to incite racial hatred. Under EU regulations, parties must observe fundamental principles such as liberty, democracy and respect for human rights in order to qualify ...

Posted by Paul Haydon on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Government made an announcement earlier this week about money for various cycle related schemes across the country. Buried in a lot of the detail is some specific funding for South Liverpool. Money will be going to create more secure storage for cycles at stations including Cressington, Aigburth, Hunts Cross and St Michaels. The idea is for the storage to be the sort that closes and that you get into using a fob. This is good news for people who want to be able to cycle for part of their journey to work, or elsewhere. At the moment fewer than ...

Posted by Paula Keaveney on Paula Keaveney - Lib Dem Campaigner

The Liverpool Echo is promoting a Comic Relief linked scheme which gives smallish grants to local groups. Here is the link to the story, which also tells you how to apply. Don' forget also that the deadine for applications for the next round of grants from the Cressington Community First Fund is coming up (8 Feb). There's a website which includes a downloadable application form, but if you have any problems downloading, please e mail me at paulakeaveney@yahoo.co.uk and I'll get one to you somehow.

Posted by Paula Keaveney on Paula Keaveney - Lib Dem Campaigner

I wrote a while ago about the Council's trees for years initiative, which was meant to happen this Saturday, the 2nd of February. However, because of the recent cold weather, it's been necessary to delay this to allow the ground conditions to improve for moving the trees. It's now scheduled to take place on Saturday 16th February, and all the details can be found by clicking here.

Posted by Nick on What You Can Get Away With

Nick Clegg's fourth half hour phone-in this morning was the first I had actually managed to listen to all the way through. It takes some guts for a senior member of the Government to take unvetted calls from members of the public every week. In just 30 minutes, he answered questions on subjects like youth unemployment, the threatened Lewisham hospital, childcare, stay at home parents, David Ward's comments and HS2 and its role in providing prosperity for the whole country. One man was very angry about the comments made by David Ward for which he apologised and was subsequently censured ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

[IMG: David Laws] The process has been kicked off for writing the 2015 Liberal Democrat manifesto. What's happening, what are the main issues that will need to be overcome and what is the £6 billion pot of gold waiting to be used in the next Parliament? Find out the answers to all these in the next edition of my monthly email newsletter, going out tomorrow (Friday). Sign up for it here and make sure you don't miss out.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

A few years ago, as the Greek crisis unfolded, an Economist blogger suggested that its austerity programme would be an interesting experiment. Did the then fashionable idea of austerity growth have any validity? The answer to that experiment seems to be a clear no, though now doubt there are get out clauses. Now a very different economic experiment is taking place in Japan, after the election of Shinzo Abe and the Liberal Democrat Party last December. It is popularly referred to as "Abenomics". Abenomics, described by the Economist here, has three elements: increased infrastructure expenditure, looser monetary policy (through focus ...

Posted by Matthew on thinking liberal

I was delighted when I was asked to take on ministerial responsibility for our forests. If I had any doubt about what forests offer, and I didn't, I would have been even more convinced as I've had the opportunity to travel around the country. Our woodlands are places where people can get out in the fresh air and enjoy walking, bike riding and picnicking. But they're also important for public health, preserving wildlife, storing carbon dioxide, and have huge potential to provide sustainable employment in some of our most rural areas. That's why I have worked hard over recent months ...

Posted by David Heath MP on Liberal Democrat Voice

Cllr Juby's column for the Medway Messenger: I find it slightly worrying that so much energy and time is being spent on debating the pros and cons of a referendum on Europe. Most people have definite views on whether we should stay in or come out, but I am getting vibes that the public would rather like to know sooner rather than later. Perhaps not only the public - if I were a foreign investor with a few billions to spare I might be thinking twice about putting my cash into Great Britain, given the fact that half our foreign ...

Posted by Chris Sams on The Ginger Liberal from Medway

[IMG: mummy] What is going to happen next? This week's vote to postpone changes to the boundaries of electoral constituencies was the first time the Liberal Democrats have voted en masse against the Conservatives. We may well argue that this vote was justified in political terms once it became clear the Conservatives were going to torpedo Lords reform. But what will be its consequences for the remainder of this Parliament? Can the parties put this issue behind them and continue to work together in areas of agreement or, at least, tolerated difference? That would be the mature approach. Or has ...

Posted by admin on Alex's Archives

Over at LibDemVoice today, Mark Pack has produced an interesting graph showing an important trend: the narrowing gap in university application rates between 18 year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas and the most advantaged areas. Here's my less sophisticated graphical attempt: [IMG: fees graphic] You can read my post from yesterday – University application rates in England at highest ever for disadvantaged groups, even post-£9k tuition fees – here. And at CentreForum, Gill Wyness has analysed the figures here.

Posted by Stephen Tall on Stephen Tall

Analysis of the 2011 census figures has revealed that of the ten local authority areas with the lowest levels of good health, five are in Wales and that Neath Port Talbot is one of these five. Local Liberal Democrats say that this is a scandal. One sadly has to accept that where a person is born often dictates how healthy that person's life will be, but more than 13 years of Labour rule in London and Wales has resulted in a more unequal society with a widening gap between the rich and poor. The disproportionate appearance of Welsh local authority ...

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

Nick Clegg's fourth Call Clegg phone-in on LBC has just finished. It's the first time I've been able to listen to all the way through. He took a huge range of questions, from David Ward's comments, which he handled sensitively, to marriage tax breaks to youth unemployment, to childcare, to whether he wanted to be PM and Lib Dem leader after the General Election (and he definitely did) to what he thought about MPs' pay. On that latter question, I was glad to hear him say, as I have always done, that MPs work very hard before he added that ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Caron's Musings

[IMG: Susan Kramer - Some rights reserved by David Spender] I have previously highlighted some of Baroness (Susan) Kramer's excellent House of Lords speeches on the economy here on Lib Dem Voice. There follows, courtesy of Lords Hansard, an extract from another speech she gave on Tuesday to the House in a debate on economic growth, urging the government to focus on small and medium size businesses, by whom the vast majority of people are employed: I would like to add something slightly different to this debate, because as a doer and deliverer I am going to ask him if ...

Posted by Nick Thornsby on Liberal Democrat Voice

"What's Your Preferred Gender Pronoun?" | Scarleteen (tags: ) Downing Street: high benefits mean food banks should not be needed Oh dear... (tags: ) In which Laurie Penny apologises for bad wording and explains why she's apologising "Legitimate, useful critique is not the same as hate-trolling or censorship. I know other people have different opinions on this, but personally I think that if we are to deal with either of the extremely real, pressing problems of online censorship or of harassment and hate speech, then we also need to get used to taking ownership of our mistakes." (tags: ) Teenage ...

The Guardian are reporting that there has been a record increase in university applicants from poorer backgrounds this year. "The proportion of school-leavers from disadvantaged backgrounds applying in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland has increased to record levels." This is good news as the feedback I was getting was that the rhetoric from Labour and ... Continue reading »

Posted by chrisrichardslibdem on Chris Richards

May I introduce you to my latest graph? It's based on the new data just published about university applications in England and compares the application rate for university places from the most deprived parts of the country with those from the least deprived. As you might expect, the least deprived areas see a higher university application rate than the most deprived. But look what's happened to that gap: [IMG: University application rate graphs] Yes indeed, since the changes to tuition fees in England we've seen the gap in applications between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged areas of the ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Liberal Democrat Voice

It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being 'It' "Once I step foot outside the rectory, all bets are off," the priest says. "I have to be a little more careful." (tags: games ) "Westvleteren 12" retains status of "best beer in the world" Hooray! (tags: beer Belgium )

Monday 28 January the very first interested parents meeting took place of those interested in sending their children to a new local Harris East Dulwich primary school. The invite had gone out from Harris to those who'd said they'd consider joining any steering committee. Despite terrible weather I counted a dozen parents. Lots of really useful questions. Harris promised to provide a summary of their vision for the school – Harris Primary Free School East Dulwich vision What I'm really chuffed about is the vision to create a school in the top 10% of the country by progress and overall ...

Posted by James Barber on James Barber

(or even the SWP) Then do it in style. You will need to persevere with this then it get jaw droppingly cringe worthy at the three minute mark before semi recovering then plunging. All in all though, this is a novel way to resign. For background regarding the serious issues surrounding this story read here

Posted by Carl Minns on Carl Minns - Thoughts from Hull

Some people (fools!) think that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is too long. They cannot understand why anyone (me!) can be looking forward to the Extended Edition coming out. (I've seen October rumoured for this...) Ho hum, each to their own. The folks over at How It Should Have Ended have come up with a way of shortening The Hobbit Trilogy (and The Tolkien sextet) quite dramatically and with great comic effect. Keep watching past the closing credits too, for an additional Dwarvish treat... Andrew

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world

I'm relatively relaxed about the bulk of Damian Green's proposals to shake up the recruitment of senior police personnel. It's clear the service suffers from a lack of external expertise and modern management. It has very few women in senior positions and even fewer from ethnic minorities. Its closed shop nature makes it easy for it to act as a law to itself - even trying to fit up senior ministers for political gain. But the police's strength is that every single serving officer has spent time on the beat, dealing with community crime and misbehaviour. It's the cornerstone of ...

Posted by Dan Falchikov on Living on words alone

Last night, I was minute-taker at the latest Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting at which we had a really productive discussion about activities in 2013 that will include: * Supporting and helping to fund playground improvements at the Roseangle playground. We are keen to engage with parents and children about the play improvements they would most like to see. * Progress with lighting improvements on the Green. * A Spring Members' Newsletter. * Promoting Friends of Magdalen Green in local shops and other venues using our new membership leaflet. * Fundraising activities for the coming year. * Continuing participation ...

The figures published yesterday showing the number of students applying for a university place threw up some unexpected outcomes. The first of these was that Wales has bucked the trend despite a student fee regime that sees the Welsh Government cap tuition fees for homegrown students at £3,500. The BBC report that throughout the UK there was a 3.5% rise in the number of applications but in Wales it was down by 2.7%. There was though a rise in those wanting to attend Welsh universities from outside Wales. What is significant about these results is that the Welsh Government is ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black
Thu 31st
05:45

Training, Week 5

Sorry, I'm a little late on this one. If I weren't typing this on Wednesday night, I'd be talking about how nervous I was finishing up Week 5. Because Week 6 are when things get tough on my Hanson's plan - all of a sudden I've got to start doing long intervals and tempo runs and six runs a week, instead of five fairly short runs at super duper easy pace. Week 5 involved 24 miles of running; Week 6 requires 39(!). But, er, now that the hard part of the week (the interval and tempo runs) are done, I'm ...

Posted by Joyce on Joyce Goes for a Run

Statistics released today have shown that the ambulance service has missed the 65% all-Wales target for the seventh successive month. The Welsh Labour government's target is for 65% of category A calls to receive an ambulance response time within eight minutes. This target was missed, with only 56.1% of calls in December receiving an ambulance within that time. I am now calling on the Health Minister to raise the all-Wales target to 75% to match Scotland and England and so that the current review into the ambulance service can be based on realistic funding to attain that target. The figures ...

Posted by Kirsty Williams on Freedom Central

There is a Monty Python sketch that starts 'I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired'. There are a few variations on the internet but this is the closest to the one I remember learning as a teenager. It showed me the power that words have to persuade. It also highlighted how some politicians can talk and talk and say nothing. I was reminded of this sketch yesterday because the Electoral Commission rejected the SNP's wording for the ...

Posted by Michael Gradwell on Politics for Novices

So... we asked all our MPs what they thought of the 'Secret Courts Bill'. Where did they come out? For almost all of them... it's a secret! MP Constituency Response Danny Alexander Inverness, Nairn, and Badenoch & Strathspey No answer. It's a secret. Norman Baker Lewes No answer. It's a secret. Sir Alan Beith Berwick upon Tweed No answer. It's a secret. Gordon Birtwhistle Burnley No answer. It's a secret. Tom Brake Carshalton and Wallington "I am following Nick's lead on this." Annette Brooke Mid Dorset and Poole North No answer. It's a secret. Jeremy Browne Taunton No answer. It's ...