We have been informed by a friendly source of information in the Labour Party in Gateshead that Labour Councillor Anne Wheeler has been deselected by 18 votes to 6. Her tenure of Pelaw and Heworth ward will come to an end in May 2018 after 8 years in the role. This could well be the first signs of the Corbynistas on the march in Gateshead, or it could be Labour members getting rid of a rather low

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Embed from Getty Images Well, he is now, but he never used to be. That is what I have longed believed, and there is evidence to support this view in a page on the Arthuriana site. It says the earliest reference to Father Christmas: comes from the mid-fifteenth century, when a Sir Christëmas appears in a carol, although most discussions start with Ben Johnson's early seventeenth-century old or Captaine Christmas. Whilst strenuous efforts were made by the puritans of the seventeenth century to do away with this character, they did not succeed. In the nineteenth century Father Christmas benefited from ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Sun 17th
23:18

Sunniside Carol Service

On Monday 18th December the first event to mark the first ever public Christmas tree in Sunniside will be held. Four local churches together will be holding a carol service next to the tree on the Front Street from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. All welcome.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute
Sun 17th
23:10

Ryton Focus delivery

After helping out at the Whickham Library coffee morning on Saturday last week, I then headed down to Ryton to help deliver our next edition of Focus. As usual, I was given the Riverside patch to do. 450 Focuses and 2 hours later I was back at the home of local Lib Dem Councillor Christine McHatton. After a bowl of vegetable broth and a discussion about local issues, I was back home ready to

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

[IMG: Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice] Update: 15.53 on 12th December: Hi Iain, I contacted Bosco house Bootle for an update on their policy. They can take an extra 8 or 9 people in the extreme weather and they have been told to turn no one away but they are still applying the policy that the homeless have to turn up between 8 and 9. I then phone Leyland Road Southport and they have taken the furniture out the room so they can accommodate an extra 6 or 7 people. After that they are referring them to Bosco House. Again ...

Posted on birkdale focus | Mute

On Saturday 9th December, Whickham Voluntary Library held its first coffee morning. I went along to help though it turned out that a large number of the volunteers came along as well to give a hand. A useful event that got people through the doors and raised a modest amount in donations.

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Now that Sunday Sounds is back, one way or another I'm going to try and post every week:

Posted by Andrew Brown on the widow's world | Mute

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 499th 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 (10-16 December, 2017), 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. Final council by-elections of 2017: Lib Dems ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

News that BMG had found a 11 point lead* for the Remain side in any Euro-referendum re-run understandably got Remain campaigners rather excited. However...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Sun 17th
18:49

Six of the Best 752

Why did white working-class men vote for Brexit? Noam Gidron and Peter A. Hall suggest it is because they have lost social standing over the past three decades. "The UK government can't leave the Single Market and the Customs Union and, at the same time, avoid a physical border in Ireland," says Flip Chart Rick. If you want to know who matters in Britain, wait until it snows. You will find that the roads are gritted but pedestrians are left to tackle icy pavements unaided. Ludlow's Andy Boddington thinks it is time we did something to help them. Emma Tucker ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Following on from my recent post about the decline of lifelong learning in England over the last decade, I'd like to offer three broad suggestions that could help to reverse this depressing trend. 1. (Re)introduce greater flexibility in course choices One impact of the changes made over the last decade has ensured that more funding goes to institutions whose students ... The post Three ideas for encouraging lifelong learning appeared first on ten pence piece.

Posted by tim on ten pence piece | Mute
Sun 17th
18:43

Sunday reading

Current The World of Yesterday, by Stefan Zweig Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories, ed. John Joseph Adams Last books finished Aliénor: La Légende Noire, vol 3, by Arnaud Delalande and Simona Mogavino, art by Carlos Gomez Fear Itself, by Nick Wallace Next books The Autumnlands, Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw, by Kurt Busiek The Fall of Hyperion, by Dan Simmons A Life in Pieces, by Dave Stone, Paul Sutton & Joseph Lidster

Added to the ICM website recently has been an opinion poll carried out in Kensington and Chelsea for the council elections coming up next May. The 'headline' voting intentions (excluding don't knows and weighted for turnout) are Conservative 41% (-11% on the last local elections in 2014), Labour 41% (+14%), Liberal Democrat 13% (+1%), Green 4% (+1%). That parenthesis should give a little pause for caution over these dramatic figures, which suggest the Conservatives are on the verge of losing control of the council. Estimating turnout at elections is hard enough for general elections. It's even harder for local elections ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

This is an update from last week's post, where I considered a slightly different version of the first part of this question. I have illustrated this with some nice maps, all taken from Google, but with the latitude and longitude grid developed by Bill Chadwick of the Bracknell District Caving Club (a really neat idea which nobody else seems to have implemented). Which line of longitude passes through the most countries? The first part of the question is, which line of longitude, a straight line from North Pole to South Pole, passes through the most countries? Well, my answer last ...

I know that many of us who read and contribute to this site are pretty much bleeding heart liberals. Our hearts are not bleeding, though, when we hear Nigel Farage whinging in the Daily Mail about how hard his life is. He complains about being skint and how there's no money in politics. His near £90k salary apparently isn't enough for him to live on. I'm sure someone struggling on Universal Credit would have a different perspective. But his MEP salary isn't his only source of income. He doesn't do all his media stuff for nothing. His most recent update ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Vince Cable has been on Pienaar's Politics on Radio 5 Live this morning. He told Pienaar and journalists Paul Waugh and Kate McCann there there were no good outcomes to Brexit. There are no good options now. We are either going to get a very poor deal or none at all. He added that the Single market was originally a British project and walking away imposes very major economic costs. Those costs aren't being felt yet as business is "sitting on its hands" waiting to see what emerges from the negotiations: We haven't got to decision point yet. All the ...

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Sadly I am hearing that the newly reopened and refurbished Weld Blundell pub was broken into last night. Unless I am getting things out of perspective it seems that Maghull & Lydiate are in the midst of a rather worrying break-in crime wave at present. With thanks to Ian for the lead to this posting

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute
Sun 17th
11:00

My tweets

Sat, 13:45: Reminder: BSFA nominations are open, until 31 December. https://t.co/DLBmOENebH Sat, 15:40: The Great Ziegfeld (1936) https://t.co/LAAeOOMyce Sat, 17:33: RT @KeohaneDan: "number of EU leaders, including Merkel, were adamant that each phase of negotiations...had to be put into a legal text bef... Sat, 17:55: This prediction did not age well. https://t.co/t3oVtUKcHK Sat, 23:27: RT @quarsan: Heinz Wolff, child refugee. Who gave so much to UK science https://t.co/XW2FC3qq3A Sun, 00:21: RT @danbarker: @NickJTimothy It's down to the writing. It reads as a standalone point, even if you did not intend it to be so: 'if *you* be... Sun, 10:23: RT ...

I read The Wire In The Blood by Val McDermid - here's my review on Goodreads tl;dr I liked it. It's pretty graphic in places, though, like many of Val's books. Heinz Wolff, Great Egg Race presenter and scientist, dies RIP inspiring science guy Literary fiction in crisis as sales drop dramatically, Arts Council England reports I'd feel sorrier for the literary fiction types if they weren't so relentlessly snobbish about books that actually sell. CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity Oh for fuck's sake Poll gives Remain a 10 point lead over Leave - what does ...

The internet is the world's purest democracy. On the web we are all equal and our opinions equally valid. Unfortunately, that egalitarianism also spawns behaviour which reflects the worst aspects of humanity, including stalking, trolling and vile abuse. We take the good with the bad (law-breaking excepted) because to do otherwise would compromise our own freedoms. Despite being a commercial concern in its own right, the internet remains a community to which we can all have access in one way or another. It is a community in which a small blog or a single tweet can have a huge impact, ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

Former Parliamentary and GLA candidate (on the London-wide list) for the Conservatives, Kishan Devani, has joined the Liberal Democrats: Thrilled to have joined the @LibDems yesterday. Look forward to working with @vincecable & @LibDems @LibDemPress. Leaving the @Conservatives was not a decision taken lightly – as have created some life long friends. But it is clear only @LibDems are taking the fight to #Brexit. pic.twitter.com/E1yHMXrWpn — Kishan Devani FRSA (@Kishan_Devani) December 17, 2017 Welcome, Kishan.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Sun 17th
10:10

Cleo Laine: Thieving Boy

Turning on Radio 4 was dangerous in the 1970s. There was every chance you would encounter Instant Sunshine, the King's Singers or James bloody Galway. Worse, it could be Cleo Laine. She invariably went: Doo wop, doo be doo, diddly diddly shoo, doo wop, doop doop diddly diddly whop, woop woop shoo wop shoo wop, diddly diddly, bip bop bap, shoobly shoobly woop woo.I knew I was supposed to like her, but I couldn't But my new favourite television station, Talking Pictures TV, has twice shown the 1960 film The Criminal this week. It is a genuine British noir - ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Tempting thought it might be for me to laugh at another Brexiter brush with the law, this story makes me wonder: why should we have a Cabinet minister responsible for regulating use of the word 'institute'? Use of the word 'charity' or 'doctor' I can get. But 'institute'? A hard Brexit-supporting thinktank faces being forced to change its name or pay a fine after describing itself as an "institute" without permission. Use of the title is protected by law and reserved for established organisations "that typically undertake research at the highest level, or are professional bodies of the highest standing". ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

[IMG: Exposing Tories to the suffering of welfare claimants will not make a jot of difference] I met someone today who works in a job centre. She hates her job. The reason she hates her job is because she is constantly trying to fight the welfare system which penalizes people for... The post Exposing Tories to the suffering of welfare claimants will not make a jot of difference appeared first on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas.

Posted by ambitiousmamas on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas | Mute

'You want me to explain what a letter is?!' Jeremy Paxman helps to explain our annual letter writing campaign, Write For Rights.

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

The Christmas and New Year bank holiday period (23 December 2017 to 2 January 2018) is traditionally the time when a considerable amount of improvement and engineering work is undertaken on Britain's rail network. Many train companies will also be making changes to their timetable to match service levels to the number of customers travelling. Please plan ahead and check if your journey is affected as some services will be added, some will be restricted, and some will not be running during this time period. For more info click here

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

The US state of Alabama went to the polls this week in an election that can hardly have been more polarised. In what is normally rock solid Republican territory, the GOP candidate Roy Moore faced Democrat Doug Jones. Mr Moore, a right winger opposes abortion in all circumstances, thinks homosexuality is a sin and believes Muslims should not be allowed to hold government jobs. However Moore's political views were not what made this race competitive. The surfacing of allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour was the issue that dogged him during the campaign. It made his principle opponent a contender in ...

Posted by David Warren on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Recently One Vision Housing took a significant amount of height out of their privet hedge which bounds Southport Road's pavement and this seems to have been welcomed as it makes sight lines for motorists parked on Southport Road clearer. But oddly the same hedge has also grown in width over the years and has been encroaching over the pavement yet this aspect was not tackled as part of the works. I have raised this with One Vision Housing and await their response.

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

 

According to an opinion poll commissioned by the Independent newspaper, UK voters are having second thoughts about the wisdom of Brexit, with 51% now favouring Remain, 41% Leave and 8% don't know. That's quite a shift since the vote 18 months ago. Of course, one shouldn't read too much into one opinion poll, but there are [...]

Posted by jonathanfryer on Jonathan Fryer | Mute