I have been feeling guilty about this exchange: It's Alan Bennett meets Murray Bennett. Reader's voice: Who is Murray Bennett? Liberal England replies: An obscure Australian spinner Les Taylor caught and bowled in 1985 to regain the Ashes. Persistent reader: Who is Les Taylor? Liberal England replies tetchily: Really, if you are not prepared to do the reading there's no point in your coming to these seminars.Guilty because it was all a long time ago and millennials can only acquire information visually. (Some scientists believe this is due to advanced avocado poisoning.) So here is Taylor dismissing Bennett at The ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

When each new issue comes out, Liberator posts a couple of articles from it online in pdf format. This time my review of the BBC drama A Very English Scandal is one of them: Hugh Grant's performance as Jeremy Thorpe has been rightly praised. As well as his arrogance, Grant showed us why Thorpe was an attractive figure to liberally minded voters, particularly in the scenes set in the Commons chamber. I thought no actor would be able to get near to Thorpe's ugly-handsome, doglike face, but there were times when Grant made me see it. It is no criticism ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England
Sun 5th

Six of the Best 809

"Cuts to local authority budgets have hit big, urban, metropolitan districts disproportionately hard despite these being where community need for good quality green-space is highest." Ian Rotherham examines the mass felling of healthy street-trees in Sheffield. "Officers have threatened me with a complaint to the council's monitoring officer if I leak a word of secret conversations on future development sites around Ludlow," reports Andy Boddington. The long-lasting benefits of a school garden - supporting health and wellness, encouraging students to choose nutritious foods - are set out by Leah Shafer. Alicia Chilcott attended the oral history and sound heritage conference ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 527th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere ... Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (29 July – 4 August, 2018), together with a hand-picked seven 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. Is the Labour Party ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice

Second paragraph of third chapter: 'Good morning,' I said. This won the BSFA Award for 1993, beating three books that I have read - Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith; Green Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson; and Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson - and one that I haven't, Harm's Way by Colin Greenland. This is stiff competition - Green Mars is probably the best of the Mars trilogy and won the Hugo and Locus awards, Snow Crash made Stephenson's reputation and was also on the Clarke shortlist, and Ammonite won the Tiptree award and was on the Clarke shortlist as well. Yet ...

I reported in June that Lembit Opik had been elected as a member of parliament in Asgardia, the first space nation. Now comes the news that he is Asgardia's prime minister: According to his own manifesto, Opik's most important qualifications for the job are that he was born in Northern Ireland and his grandfather was a famous astronomer. Being a British MP for 13 years ranks only fifth, slightly ahead of his private pilot's licence.Opik is interviewed in the video report above. It plays the for laughs, but still shows that he is now hanging out with the man who ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

The people who prattle in this building and work in the Ministries that surround it control too much of our lives. Liverpool and the other major cities of England will never flourish until we break the power of Whitehall and ... Continue reading →

Posted by richardkemp on But what does Richard Kemp think?

How could a Hollywood movie released way back in 1982 have predicted Brexit? Well, watch this scene and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

I have been partying like it's 2009. On Thursday I helped spread a Twitter meme and last night I contributed to a blog carnival. That carnival was the The Fifth Annual Rule, Britannia Blogathon, which you can find on Terence Towles Canote's blog A Shrould of Thoughts. My contribution was a post on the minor Ealing comedy The Magnet, which I have already posted here. Terence explains:The Rule, Britannia Blogathon is meant to celebrate classic, British films. While many think of Hollywood when they think of movies, the fact is that many classic films originated in the United Kingdom. From ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

Good news from Lancashire this week – a strong performance in town Council By-elections in Colne. ALICE MANN Liberal Democrat 394 JAMIE HARGREAVES Liberal Democrat 356 Nathan McCollum CON 187 Linda McCollum CON 186 Tony Harmson LAB 185 Patricia Hannah-Wood LAB 180 One LD gain from Labour and one LD hold. Congratulations to Alice and Jamie and their campaign team.

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice

The damage to the historic fabric of Ludlow is almost as old as the buildings themselves. The damage has got worse over the years as permitted lengths and weights for HGVs have increased. But if you want to get Cakes to Pontefract, a current Tesco slogan, the best way to do it is through the centre of Ludlow. That moving advert for Tesco has slightly damaged a bollard with more significant damage to the truck. I am lost for words here. Tesco has been a world leader in gathering computerising information on customer habits. It ensures its shelves are restocked ...

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington

Regular readers will know how there might be a Parliamentary by-election in Peterborough, depending on the outcome of a case against the incumbent Labour MP. One person already interested is Nigel Farage: Nigel Farage is said to be considering running for Parliament for the eight time. The former Ukip leader is rumoured to have his eye on Labour MP Fiona Onasanya's Peterborough seat, as she faces a looming court battle over a speeding fine. Seven times stood for Parliament, seven times defeated, yet thinking of standing again? Almost like Nigel Farage doesn't believe the people should only be allowed to ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack
Sun 5th

Buxton was closed

Last week I paid a visit to Buxton for the first time in many years. Self-styled as "England's leading spa town" (although I'm sure Royal Leamington Spa may have something to say about that claim) the visit was a disappointment. The Crescent and Pump Rooms remain under renovation, with the 2018 re-opening date given on the hoardings looking optimistic. A ... The post Buxton was closed appeared first on ten pence piece.

Posted by tim on ten pence piece

I'd like to tell you a story about my youngest sister, Claire. My beautiful, mouthy, intelligent, selfless, pain-in-ass, amazing baby sister who died in March this year, aged just 24 – which, apparently according to the endless platitudes and condolences ... Continue reading →

Posted by Stackee on Stackee

The latest Polling Matters podcast takes a new look at a subject I've often covered – the trend in public opinion over Brexit. It also covers the polling about attitudes towards different political philosophies that I blogged about a few days back, but the podcast does so in much greater and more interesting detail. You can take a listen here:

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack

Like most children in the 1950s I was a great fan of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books. I had a slight crush on Julian, disliked tomboy George and wished to be the dog Timmy. They got up to all sorts of exciting adventures, though everything always turned out alright in the end. Above all, they [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer

I have been a local councillor in Gateshead for 31 years and in that time I have built up a substantial collection of photos which should major changes in the area. I am doing a talk on these changes to Sunniside History Society shortly, using the photos. Alas, most of them are from the pre-digital age, so I have had to spend quite some time scanning them.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace

I attended a meeting of Lighting Up Sunniside last week. The group has been set up to raise the funds for the village's Christmas tree. We are now just over half way to our target. The meeting on Wednesday agreed to hold a race night on 22nd September at the Travellers pub. Preparations are now underway. I need to find a sponsor (£20), 8 jockeys and 8 owners (£5 each) for race one. Get in touch

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace
Sun 5th

My tweets

Sat, 12:42: RT @DrDuncanBell: Ladies and gentleman, I think we have reached Peak Telegraph https://t.co/31MlFl8hyk via @Telegraph Sat, 12:56: Think twice before appointing yourself cultural appropriation police https://t.co/IFmjsAoqZE Wise words. Sat, 16:05: When My Mom Was an Astronaut https://t.co/4kSBQp7txf Very moving. "In the universes where we are happy, we claim th... https://t.co/ucTv8tBwKt Sat, 16:59: The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England, by Ian Mortimer https://t.co/1QSqVnIax5 Sat, 19:51: Ali�nor, La L�gende Noire, vols 5 & 6, by Arnaud Delalande, Simona Mogavino & Carlos Gomez https://t.co/d2kovcb4jf Sat, 20:48: The 9 Questions That Will, Hopefully, Lead To A Happy Marriage https://t.co/YAZ5Bs6Cal Wise advice. ...

I put my thoughts on Brexit to camera recently while I had a few minutes spare. I am a remainer mainly because I believe it is in the national interest to be in the EU, arguing our case. I do not believe sovereignty can be restored simply by going "independent" as the EU, even without the UK, is an economic superpower. What happens there, affects us here, whether we are in or out. So we should

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace

It's high time we had some more Sandy Denny, here singing with her band Fotheringhay. Ewan MacColl wrote of The Banks of the Nile in 1956: This is one of the best known of the ballads arising out of the campaigns against Napoleon, and it is still sung by country singers in both Scotland and England. It has the mark of the broadside presses which helped to circulate both the hack-scrivener verses with which they are usually associated and traditional material as well. The air is a common one, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, and variants of it are to ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England

One of the amazing innovations with modern technology is being able to watch half forgotten programmes and films from bygone ages. Gainsborough Pictures conjure up an England of sunny summers, tea on the lawn and Saturday sing-alongs at the local theatre. It is a charming, national picture of how things used to be – for a few. The power of cinema, however, gives the impression of life being like that for everyone. It most certainly wasn't. Along with many , I remember what it was really like in the 1960s and early 1970s. The three day week, when electricity was ...

Posted by Flo Clucas on Liberal Democrat Voice

[IMG: Have the Lib Dems started scapegoating immigrants too?] Contentious wording on immigration is to form part of a policy motion to be debated at the Lib Dem party conference in the autumn. It sends a message that I never envisaged would come from... The post Have the Lib Dems started scapegoating immigrants too? appeared first on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas.

Posted by ambitiousmamas on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas

Responding to Liam Fox's comments that a no-deal Brexit is 'odds on', Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: "The Conservative government are making a mess of Brexit and the fact Liam Fox now sees a no deal Brexit as likely is testament to Theresa May's failure to protect British interests. After two years the fact that her team - including Liam Fox - have delivered nothing more than senseless soundbites is damning. "The public must be given the final say on Brexit with a vote on the final deal - this government simply can't be trusted"

Posted by LD Neath on Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats
Sun 5th

Liberator 391 is out

Our two free sample articles for this issue are by Lord Trevor Smith on the withering of parliamentary democracy under pressures that started in the Thatcher era, and by Jonathan Calder on A Very English Scandal and his own role in unmaksing a key figure. Both are on: www.liberatormagazine.org.uk Also in this issue: A Long Way From Lewisham – Don't be deceived by Lewisham East – a decent result but the Lib Dems must get radical to get noticed, says Roger Hayes Protest Party – The Liberal Democrats should be leading the protests against social injustice, says Natalie Bird UK ...

Posted by The Liberator Collective on Liberal Democrat Voice

The last Sunday Bandstand Concert of the 2018 season on the Magdalen Green Bandstand takes place today - Sunday 5th August - at 2pm. The Forfar Instrumental Band will be playing - all welcome - don't miss it!