In an episode of The Green Green Grass, the Shropshire-based spin-off from Only Fools and Horses, an American who had been stationed in the county in the 1960s proposes looking round to see how things have changed. "It's not changed," comes the reply. "If anything it's more like it was now than it was then." It would be nice if it were true, but in the 30 years I have been visiting the county things have changed. I used to be struck but how much cheaper houses were than in Leicetershire, but that all changed when the weekending classes discovered ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Before the general election we all got very excited about the #LibDemFightback, In a week where there were a dozen local by-elections we would get very excited about a spectacular Liberal Democrat gain and ignore the other 11 contests where there was no Lib Dem candidate or we polled only three per cent. This summer I suggested this was a classic case of confirmation bias - noticing the evidence that supports our beliefs and disregarding that which does not. Which is why so many Lib Dems were unpleasantly surprised by our general election result in June. A couple of years ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Fri 6th

The shorter Nick Clegg

I screwed up the Liberal Democrats so comprehensively that there's no point joining them any more. This just in... Lib Dem spokesperson: "Nick (Clegg) is a card-carrying Liberal Democrat and of course wants people to join the party." Nice to be reminded.— paulwalteruk (@paulwalteruk) October 6, 2017

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Thanks to the genius of The British Drea, you can compose any slogan you like and then watch it fall off the wall behind Theresa May.

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Second paragraph from 'mars' [='March'] chapter, from the 'A-Z of London sex work' series of side-bars, discussing oil: Aside from degrading barrier protection, it's a rubbish lubricant in general. A man once suggested (whipping out a tub of Vaseline as he did so) attempting to fist me with a petrolatum-based aid. Are you joking? That stuff traps heat and makes it feel like someone's deep-frying your labia. This is a really funny and frank look at the high end of the London sex work market, by a scientist and feminist who ended up being played by Billie Piper on TV ...

It's somewhat surreal when being balanced and reasonable counts as radical thinking. For decades, the UK has been beset with an obsession of pitting 'private' against 'public' in the most unhelpfully ideological ways. Thatcher's rise, turned the word 'public' into a four letter word. Thatcher acolytes of the time, like Norman Tebbit and John Biffen, [...] The post Please, don't let's go back to the old public versus private merry-go-round appeared first on Radix.

Posted by Joe Zammit-Lucia on Opinion - Radix

It is easy to forget sometimes that a majority of Liberal Democrat members have joined since the 2015 General Election. Even in my rural corner of England that is Mid Suffolk, membership numbers have increased by more than 150%. What that means is a huge infusion of new blood, potentially willing to hold aloft the Party banner in elections, if only they could find out how. Perhaps I can help... It may surprise some readers to hear that the process of selecting Parliamentary candidates is already underway in some constituencies. In some cases, they might represent potential target seats for ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Democrat Voice

As always, I quite enjoyed attending the LibDem Autumn Conference and its fringe meetings. The only suggestion about fringe meetings I would like to make (as a member of D66, 27.000 members; we've always had one member one vote at our halfyearly conferences) is: if it is about the three issues Social Liberals care most about: Europe, Education and the Environment, having some fringe meetings in the plenary sessions hall (or a secondary big hall, like at the back of Bournemouths BIC, where the Prospect interview with Clegg was moved to) so that every interested member gets a change of ...

Posted by Bernard Aris on Liberal Democrat Voice

Come on then, a show of hands. Whoever thought that I'd be defending Nick Clegg? Me of all the people. The person who has defending him a pretty much every turn in the road. Oh wait, all of you? Fair enough. So yes, Nick Clegg has ruffled a few feathers in the past day or so after he came out and said that the country is in a state of emergency regarding Brexit. I think we can all agree on that so fantastic. What he proposed though has caused a lot of Lib Dems to want the former leader to ...

Posted by neilmonnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery
Fri 6th

My tweets

Thu, 12:56: Why the Thames water level changes rapidly during a day in London? Hilarious! Thu, 13:23: RT @NobelPrize: BREAKING NEWS The 2017 #NobelPrize in Literature is awarded to the English author Kazuo Ishiguro Thu, 16:05: Ireland an afterthought during Brexit campaign when I was Cameron adviser Brilliant piece. Thu, 16:10: RT @_DianeKim: Bias in AI: when you translate this from English ➡️Turkish, a gender neutral language, then that same Turkish phrase back to... Thu, 18:22: The Angel Maker, by Stefan Brijs Thu, 20:48: When Working From Home Doesn't Work Food for thought. Thu, 21:43: ...


Police arrest drunk 'time traveller' from 2048 warning of coming alien invasion They'll be kicking themselves if he's not lying. 'Jessica Jones' Hires All Women Directors for Season 2, Showrunner Says *fistpump* This kind of thing is why we need proper SRE in schools Teach consent from an early age. You don't have to teach about explicit sex acts, but teach all genders that their bodies about bodily autonomy for themselves and others, and that consent is crucial. I lost my male privilege - BBC News video feature on a trans lady who runs a tech company I suspect there ...

This is the sixth of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them. I had low expectations for Detroit. You hear stories about bankruptcy and violence. In fact, I found Detroit to be a wonderful city. It is beautifully spaced out. Rather than having all its prominent buildings in the centre of the city, they are spread out across the urban area. The ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice

Shockwaves from the speech disaster are still feel being felt. Grant Shapps was on Radio 4 this morning, urging an immediate leadership contest. "We can't go on like this" he said. While Tory MPs are loath to have an election for a new leader just this second, May is starting to make it more likely than not. Yet there is one way she can possibly save herself and buy her party some time: she needs to reshuffle the cabinet, big time and right now. The logic for this is that she moves aside some deadwood (Boris and let's face it, ...

Posted by Nick on

The Art Deco portal to Queensway the first Mersey Tunnel The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above These are the tickets my family were given when we walked through the new (2nd) Tunnel in 1971, the day before it opened to vehicles. This is the front page of the booklet produced to celebrate of the opening of Kingsway Tunnel in 1971. I have always been fascinated by the Mersey Tunnels, their history and how they were constructed. This Liverpool Echo article gives an interesting insight into both of them.

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus

Local councillors outside Yate MIU At a meeting of South Gloucestershire's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Friday, Conservative Councillors failed to support a recommendation for the Clinical Commissioning Group to review and invest in services at Yate Minor Injuries Unit. The recommendation was moved by Lib Dem councillor Sue Hope and supported by all Lib Dem and Labour councillors on the committee. The Conservatives split with six abstaining and two voting against. The recommendation states: "There is recognition of the growing demand for services at the Yate MIU; the CCG recognise this and reviews the service with the aim ...

Posted by Paul Hulbert on Focus on Sodbury, Yate and Dodington
Fri 6th

Ritual Performance

Rituals, and ritual behaviour, inform both the everyday life and the aesthetic art of a culture. Agnicayana Image Source: Schechner writes about the reproduction of various forms of ritual, such as the Agnicayana,[1]which was staged for filmic purposes. All performance, both ritual, everyday and aesthetic is subject to the Hawthorne effect: subjects modify their behaviour when observed. Or "the act of observing changes that which is being observed." Even context changes the interpretation, and interpretation changes, to the observer, the action. In the case of the Agnicayana ritual, the original behaviours were changed due to filming and location constraints, ...

Posted by Dani Tougher on More Than Nothing


There are great moments in life, many of which fall in sport. And there are some great films. But to assume that a great moment in sport automatically translates to the cinema is a serious flaw, as the new Borg vs McEnroe film proves. I only hope it doesn't put people off for the imminent Battle of the Sexes film which ought to be vastly better - and more socially valuable.There's no question the Wimbledon final of 1980 between Björn Borg and John McEnroe was one of the greatest-ever tennis contests. I don't know anyone who wouldn't put it in ...

Posted on chrisbowers

Nick Clegg is probably the country's most knowledgable person on international trade, the EU and our relationship with it. Read his brilliant Brexit Challenge papers to see how true that is. We should listen to whatever he says on Brexit because he is most often right. However, for the former leader of a political party, he has shown a monumental amount of naivety in suggesting that people need to join Labour or the Conservatives to stop Brexit. He could not be more wrong. You can maybe see where he gets the idea from. When he was leader of the Liberal ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

The Financial Times reports that the UK Independence party and its anti-EU allies in Brussels have lost access to their biggest source of European campaign funding following a series of scandals over alleged misuse and misappropriation of funds. They say that after becoming insolvent in April, the Ukip-dominated pan-European Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe has now missed a deadline to register for EU funding, losing access to as much as €1.5m in 2018 alone, say officials involved in the process. Ukip is wrestling with a weaker financial position at home and demands from Brussels for the alliance to repay ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black
Fri 6th

Quick Question

I'm just finishing a draft of The Basilisk Murders after getting feedback from a couple of beta readers, but I'm after a second round of feedback on this draft before I release it to the public, ideally from people who ... Continue reading →

Posted by Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!