Wednesday, October 31, 2007

S/he who pays the piper?

I was glad to see that Nick Clegg was quick off the mark in condemning the breakdown of the all- party talks on funding. Nick is quoted as saying "Self-interest from Labour and the Tories has killed the possibility of getting proper limits on political funding. There should be strict limits on national and local spending year on year. A cap should apply to individuals, companies, lobby groups and unions. It is a disgrace that Brown and Cameron have put their party funding interests above ending the power of big money in our politics."

As someone who has been an active trade unionist, including representing my union at a national level, it was always a great source of irritation to me that the affiliated political fund was only for Labour. Something made even more annoying by the fact that Labour was presiding over the wholesale marketization of public service and embarking on its illegal and immoral war with Iraq at a time when unions such as mine had clear policy against both.
I am reminded of a time when, as Branch Secretary I was desperate to get hold of my regional head of local government, I left messages, tried and tried without success. Then I decided to try the number for the Affiliated political fund........he picked the phone up immediately! I told him I was interested in paying into the fund but wanted my contribution to go to the Lib can guess the response!

Regardless of party funding powerful lobbies will always exist to contribute to the skewing of public policy, however funding has to be one of the most powerful tools for any organisation or individual seeking to influence party policy.

It is a travesty that both Tories and Labour bang on about fairness and then, for reasons of their own self interest, bolster up an unfair and discredited system.

Clegg v Huhne.........Facebook v Saga Zone?

............hmmm now there's a contest! I was amused to hear on Today this morning that Saga are intending to launch their own social networking site as many over 50's aren't comfortable with using Facebook. Interestingly I have noticed that I have a huge gap in my Facebook friends, lots of Lib Dems of all ages, but very few other friends who are "women (or men) of a certain age". Other than the few most other non Lib Dems are under 30. So maybe Saga is on to a winner..............

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Q for Huhne........when is a Nuclear Deterrent not a Nuclear Deterrent?

Answer.............when it's tiny.........

Thanks to Nick at Lib Dems for Chris for attempting to answer my questions but he didn't deal with why Chris didn't speak up in Shadow Cabinet? I can understand, though clearly not agree, with him not being prepared to make it a resigning issue, but that doesn't explain his silence in Shadow Cabinet.

It also appears to me, though I am willing to be corrected, a little disingenuous to bang on about others sitting on the fence whilst Nick says "Also, for the record, Chris is not a doctrinaire unilateralist; he thinks Trident is a poor purchase for Britain on cost and benefit and that it will squeeze the resources available to conventional forces. A smaller independent deterrent could be in the frame."

So..........let's get this right shall we, he's going to scrap Trident and build a new nuclear weapon! He doesn't have any moral objection to Trident he just thinks it is poor value for money. As far as I understand this would be totally in breach of the current Non Proliferation Treaty and International Law. He also wants to wait until after 2010 to make a decision (my problem with our current policy) so please will someone explain to me of little brain.......what is different about what he is saying from current policy?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Still Questions for Chris Huhne on Trident

Thanks to those of you who tried to answer on Chris's behalf. But that still doesn't answer the question about why he kept quiet during the debate.

I have heard that at the hustings at the LDYS yesterday he reiterated that a) he didn't see the case for Trident AFTER the multilateral talks starting in 2010 (which equates current party policy) and b) he still believes in a replacement (if an independent one) for Trident.

So the obvious questions which Chris hasn't answered as yet -

  • does he believe in scrapping Trident now?
  • If only after the multilateral talks what's the big difference from current policy?
  • is it really realistic to scrap Trident and start all over again with a separate new system?
  • is he advocating a unilateral approach, or a multilateral approach surely he can't do both?

Trident.......when exactly was Huhne converted?

As I hinted at yesterday, there was not much to choose in policy terms between Nick and Chris, they even used the same words on occasions. This therefore means that the only issue, touched on by Chris but not Nick, was Trident.

Chris, expectedly, got huge support in the hall when he spoke of his position on Trident. The truth is that the grassroots of the party are against our policy position. Had the parliamentarians and PPC's not been whipped last year I believe the motion would have been lost. I am of course delighted that Chris has taken this position, but I am a tad suspicious. For those of us who are against Trident this is an issue we are passionate about. If Chris shares that passion where was he in the Harrogate debate........on the platform speaking against? no. In the conference hall voting against? no. In the shadow cabinet speaking out against a crap policy? no. So my question for Chris is this......what has changed over the last 18 months to make you either come out of the closet or change your mind? If you had taken a principled stance, resigned from the front bench and spoken against the motion you would have shown real leadership and I am convinced you would have swung the vote. Why didn't you? I am genuinely interested in the answer, without a sound one I may be tempted to suspect this decision has more to do with another example of Huhne opportunism and far less to do with a man of serious convictions.

Is it the Nick Huhne or the Chris Clegg Show?..........continued........

OK.....I have returned, unscarred from my Murder Mystery. Totally confused it has to be said, I was convinced it was me what dun it, with the help of course of Captain Pastings............

So, where was I?

Q - I think this was something about priorities?

Nick talked about his Freedom Bill, and that one of our first acts in power should be to remove a swathe of laws. He touched on ID cards, the DNA database, the right to protest. He talked about the research he had done, widely reported, to discover that there were 3,400 new criminal offences. He emphasised the fact that we must do our research.

Chris focused on the salami slicing of our civil liberties that has accumulated under a Labour Government. He highlighted the cases of Maya Evans and Walter Woolfgang. We are losing our liberties - no other country detains people for longer than 14 days and we are witnessing a worrying erosion of liberties. We should never forget the cumulative effect.

Q about how charismatic the candidates were

Chris observed that we were doomed to fail if not seen as charismatic. He felt it was up for others to decide as to whether a candidate was charismatic, his faith was in that everyone has a vote and he trusted in the collective wisdom of the party.

Nick was insistent that there was a need to represent the different strands of the party - the leader had to be the standard bearer for all off us.He believed he had the flair energy and dynamism necessary. We should celebrate our values and be ambitious.

Q - what does success look like?

Nick's ambition was to break the deadlock in 10 years, doubling representation as a stepping stone to power.

Chris was reminded of the wisdom from an ex Treasury colleague any prediction should be without a date! He broadly agreed with Nick that our objective should be 150 seats in 2 elections. He again referred to his belief that we were reaching a tipping point. He also saw the party on an ambitious route march, fighting to win, and he believed we had a real prospect of success .

Q how to reengage our youth

Nick reflected that it was a grotesque sin that our young people were being deliberately vilified by a so called progressive party. For him the key was communication.

Chris recognised that one of the key issues was the environment we were steeling the planet from our children of enormous importance was to reconnect locally with the young.

Q ? Er...........forgot this one but a prize to anyone who can guess it from the answers!

Chris - we should be inspiring the apathetic as an anti establishment party it was outrageous that the Labour Party had 55% of seats for 30% of vote - we needed to engage on a crusade for change.

Nick believes that we are the future, we should be a gathering point for those who want a different kind of politics, people not systems, communities not bureaucracy, human innovation not government dictat.

Well, I am dropping off at the mo, so may get to comment on this tomorrow.........maybe!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is it the Nick Huhne or the Chris Clegg Show? be continued........

Just back from Rugby for the first official leadership hustings. I have decided to focus on the answers candidates gave to questions, as the contents of their speeches are already well known.

Bearing in mind my preferred candidate, I may have inadvertently got distracted from time to time when Chris was speaking, but have picked up as much as I can.

Q about what candidates would do in their first 100 days

Chris wanted to get the message of fairer, greener, less centralised across. Show that as a party we were more ambitious, not a 3rd party but a 1st . He believes there will be a tipping point when the electorate will come over to us. He would have a clear strategy to up our game so it is clear no other party can form a government without us. He also touched on the importance of fundraising.

Nick believed the first 100 days would give us a unique opportunity to get to the press - that we had the opportunity of a fairer hearing and we should be planning now for the election of a new leader. He believed we should create a sense of story, an idea that there was "something new afoot". His target was to break the mold in 10 years create a sense of excitement that we are a party on the march. His priority would be to establish our credentials as the anti establishment and campaigning party giving a voice to millions without a voice. And that we should do it in human speak - in ways people can understand.

Q about the two appearing to agree on policy
(I didn't quite get this question I thought it referred to the candidates but they seemed to have interpreted it as about parties)

Nick pointed out that the public perception is that we are all the same. He emphasised the need to do nationally what we do well locally, and that we needed to do so with a sense of flair and colour.

Chris talked about breaking the mold, that we should be seen as party there to change system and not just government. He reflected that despite 25% of the vote we had just10% of seats and that we can't build a fair society on the basis of an unfair system. He talked about the need to reconnect back. That a picture was worth a thousand words and suggested that on issues such as the loss of Civil Liberties MPs should do the same as Maya Evans, thus getting our message across visually.

Q about how to reach hard to reach places like the Black Country

Chris talked about his great grandfather having come from the Black Country. He said that we needed a party strategy and that we could bust the system in two parliaments. He felt we should have teams to recruit where we don't have a central spark.

Nick said we needed to talk to people, he had been out campaigning and had met people who hadn't heard from us before. We should build confidence in our ethos and values. He also stressed that candidates had to reflect contemporary Britain and that this was an issue he would be returning to.

Q about what was distinctive about each candidate

Nick referred to his record as shadow Home Sec at a time when the Home Office was as illiberal as it had ever been. He refused to accept the counsel from some senior colleagues that we should keep quiet. He expressed his outrage at the state of our prisons with 3,000-4,000 young men going to prison every month, into a system that wasn't working. His view was that we should take a principled approach. And he had done the same on immigration - put forward policies that would lead to a break through out of an incompetent system out of twilight zone - drawing illegal immigrants out and making them useful to society.

Chris said that we must make clear our differences That our policies are already there, our problem is communicating how we differ. On Iraq we were lucky to have our own issues but that isn't always the case especially when our policies get nicked. We must be more fleet of foot - research issues more - define wedge issues - and chisel away. Issues of social justice, freedom, green tax switch. We have had a problem honing down the central differences.

Q about the tole of the private sector in NHS

Chris referred to the proposals being worked up by Norman for more local control. Consequently some areas would choose to use the private sector, we were not offering top down proposals. We should scrap the centralised NHS and that for dynamism in the public sector you must have local control.

Nick said he had 2 priorities - greater control locally for NHS and to create a system that treats people like human beings - many get great service, but those with long term issues are not listened to. We should look at innovations in social care where people decide themselves who they want. He regarded the debate about the role of the private sector as a red herring and referred to the many rigged markets in high value schemes. He believed public monopolies were being replaced by private monopolies and gave as an example the buses in Sheffield.

Q asking about carers given that 1in5 of us are likely to be carers in fin the future

Nick pointed out that carers save us all billions. He cited the lack of respite care for carers as being unacceptable - this was an issue that must be more prominent.

Chris observed that councils were more concerned to protect their road budgets, rather than most vulnerable. He felt the degree of devotion of so many was astonishing but that they were often at their wits end.

To be continued.....................

I have to run off to a local party murder mystery evening............if I don't end up being the one getting it (which I know some of my esteemed readers would appreciate!) I will come back to this when I get home......

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stop Press - Loo's Muze Exclusive

I have just learnt, from a source close to Nick, that his nomination paper has been signed by the following MPs
  • Danny Alexander heading up Nick's campaign
  • Julia Goldsworthy - Nick's agent
  • Stephen Williams - (Chris Huhne's agent last time)
  • Steve Webb
  • Sarah Teather
  • Tim Farron - (Ming's PPS)
  • Norman Baker - our own Eco champion
I have to say that if Steve Webb had stood it would have made my decision about who to back very difficult. The fact that Steve and for that matter Tim Farron, are behind Nick is a huge encouragement. GO TEAM CLEGG!

It has to be Clegg!

A couple of weeks ago I had the great honour of addressing a group of 6th form politics students at one of our local upper schools. Their teacher was at pains to reassure me that despite the pasting they had given our local Tory PPC the previous week, she didn't think I would have the same trouble given that they were much more sympathetic to the Lib Dems. So, as anticipated I had a great time. Nice easy questions, lots of opportunity to explain our policies and priorities. Only one thing they couldn't understand was our choice of leader. What could I say? As it happened within days we were faced with the prospect of choosing a new leader.

I have said it before and will say it again, our narrative must coalesce around our leader. We are the dynamic, radical party that appeals to young people, we need a leader who will live up to that image. But we also need a leader with sound liberal values, who will ensure our distinctiveness from the other two Tory parties.

That is why I am backing Nick Clegg. Nick is the candidate who for me is best equipped to get our message across. There are few people in politics with such incredible communication skills. He is a man of deep compassion and his politics is rooted in believing - it doesn't have to be like this for the millions in this country who remain in poverty in a country where the gap between rich and poor has widened under a Labour government.

There has been a lot of idle chatter about Nick being right wing. This is total piffle. Nick is first and foremost an instinctive liberal and for me it is that liberalism that matters most. Importantly he is someone who is prepared to listen and I believe can unite the party behind a forward looking and ground breaking approach to politics. I believe he will get our messages across in ways that really connect with people whoever and where ever they are.

There have been some interesting musings elsewhere on the importance of choosing a leader on the basis of their policies.........yes, but that's a fat lot of use if the leader can't communicate effectively with the electorate. We are not just choosing a leader to lead us motley crew, but a leader who can lead and inspire our nation.

So, I will continue to challenge Nick on the policy areas (and they are few) where we disagree, but I will give him my total support in his quest for leadership.

I commented a couple of years ago that I thought Charles was a Moses (leading us to the promised land) and that at some point we would need a Joshua to take us into that promised land. I believe Nick is that man.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is Political Suicide a Spectator Sport?

Paul Walter, bless him, commented on "My lips are sealed" last night - Gagged?! We don't appear to be hearing the last of it! How right you are Paul (as ever how tiresome is that?!). So.............I have outed myself on Facebook..............and somewhere else.

Leadership Elections? My lips are sealed..............

When everyone is chatting about the leadership election and I am gagged................what to say???? Well, I have had an interesting few days in Berlin, when I was delighted that a motion I initiated on the situation of the Arab citizens of Israel was passed. But I am not convinced that the way ELDR do business is the right way. Motions are submitted, amendments follow, there are then working groups to try and reach a consensus. Votes are only taken on contentious issues, motions are passed with little or no debate. This is very unfortunate. I wanted to get a feel for what my other European colleagues were passionate about..........instead there were points made about the minutiae of inappropriate commas!

But Berlin was lovely, it was fascinating to return (my last visit being pre the fall of the wall) and see how the city had been revitalised. A definite candidate for a future cultural visit.

My only other news is that I have been invited to become a blogger on my trade mag. This is a great honour, especially as the other person invited is one of my all time heroes, previously CEO of the National Youth Agency, Tom Wylie (seen here with Simon Hughes).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Agreeing with James Graham

Having spent the last few days away at ELDR in Berlin - I have been catching up with the blogs and have found myself agreeing with James Graham (shock horror!) on a couple of points.

One is the comment he made in relation to the last general election campaign........"We spent so much time trying to widen our appeal in so many different directions that no-one knew what we were for." He also observed that our 10 point plan, and failure to link it with our underpinning philosophy gained us voters but not supporters. Absolutely!!!!

This is an issue close to my heart, we are a small party, we have to shout to get heard, we have to be fleeter of foot than the other two elephantine (apologies Millennium!) parties. So this constant idea of widening our base is totally misjudged.

As a student I spent many hours playing the game Risk. For those not familiar with this board game, the plan is to take over the world. Those who win tend to be those who consolidate their forces into defendable territories and then move out from there. A scattergun approach usually ends up with disaster......wipeout! We must take a truly radical approach that is prepared to sacrifice some ground (in hard to hold areas) for taking defendable and winnable ground.

So, I would like to see us lift our eyes from the minutiae and start considering the big picture.........yes that must link to FREE FAIR and GREEN - so long as we are clear how our definitions differ from the other parties who would also no doubt espouse freedom, fairness and greenness in their own way, but what about really coalescing around what I believe we can all aspire to, regardless or our party "wing", our stated ambition, that no one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Loo's Muze............Gagged

Last week I received an email informing me that as a Euro candidate I was not allowed to endorse a candidate. Now, of course, the candidates may well be relieved at this news! The reason myself and other candidates have been thus silenced, is, in my view, a complete misinterpretation of the rule which states that we cannot have any endorsement in our literature from a "known" Lib Dem. I can accept that, not all candidates will have access to such endorsement. What I can't accept is this being interpreted as us not being able to endorse a candidate - guilt allegedly by association. This I can't accept, every single candidate is able to endorse a candidate if they so wish, so no one has an advantage. I am a Lib Dem because I am a liberal........I share the value of freedom of expression and that no-one should be "enslaved by conformity".........I thus find this ruling a tad absurd and illiberal....but am willing to be corrected.

Anyway, I am appealing this decision, but knowing how slowly the appealwheels turn in our party I am not holding my breath or expecting a decision pre 7th November (after which I can say what I like).

Friends and detractors alike will no doubt find it a little odd for me to keep my mouth shut on this really important issue.

I am considering my options, fellow bloggers are invited to vote in my poll..........

My choice for leader

............OK in 2050!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Stuck at Luton Airport with a 4 hour delay..............and its costing £1 for 10 minutes on the internet.........someone feel sorry for me! I am just hoping that Jo Hayes has her laptop in Berlin, otherwise signing off til Saturday.


And my choice for leader is...............


Monday, October 15, 2007

17th December? What's that all about?

I am not a member of FE so have no idea how they came up with their time scale, but surely, we need a bit longer to make a decision about a new leader?

Ming Resigns

In August I was vilified for saying what so many were thinking. That doesn't make me happy it is a sad day that it had to come to this. As I said yesterday, Ming is an honourable man and I expected he would do the honourable thing. I hope he will go back to his old job and regain the gravitas he had as our shadow Foreign Secretary.

The most important thing is that we get the right leader this time. Whilst I do accept what lots of fellow Lib Demmers have said that our problems are not just about our leader, our leader has a key role to play in getting our messages out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Occasional Dissident............Time to Fez up?

Ming hit back at critics today saying that there was idle chatter from the occasional dissident......if that is true he has nothing to worry about. He is right, we all have a responsibility to raise our game, but he is the only one who can do anything about raising his own personal ratings.

Having spoken out earlier this year I have kept my mouth shut due to the possibility of a snap election and due to fellow party members asking me to because they believed it would damage the party. That is the last thing any of us want to do. All parties have their dissidents, in fact it would be quite unhealthy if they didn't. They can actually be quite useful for a leader to show his or her metal by either silencing them or bringing them on board. But there has to come a time when continuing to pretend everything in the garden is rosy is more damaging than being honest.

Ming is an honourable man. On a personal level he has been absolutely charming to me on the occasions we have met since my comments in the summer. He is hugely talented and has been and will continue to be an asset to our party. And because he is honourable I believe he will listen to what his parliamentary colleagues and grassroots activists are saying. A leader can continue very well with the occasional dissident, but when you have lost the confidence of a third of your party chairs and if that is translated to a third of your party, you surely must consider your position.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Let's get the Lib Dems up to 51%

If you are a Facebooker can you go and download UK Politics ? At present we are on 19.8% of the vote, despite me persuading 6 of my mates to join! We all know us Lib Dems lead the pack in Facebook terms, so come on, let's prove it!

Inheritance Tax and Dancing on the Head of a Pin with Nick Clegg

At the WATO fringe Nick Clegg made a comment that I didn't get a chance to come back on, namely that as far as tax goes all three main parties were "dancing on the head of a pin". That may well be true Nick, but that doesn't make it right. On Sunday, Simon ( there is only one, no not Cowell!) was chatting to Andy Marr about us and the Tories being the tax cutters in contrast to Labour. Oh heavens, have I woken up in a parallel universe?!

This piece by Johann Hari in today's Indy says it all for me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Well Darling.........................

Alistair Darling. Hmmmm, is that a contradiction in terms? I must confess I haven't yet read all 286 pages of his CSR, but what I have seen already hasn't really convinced me that it does what it says on the tin, namely "meet the aspirations of the British people". How I wish the document we got sight of today hadn't been disinfected. What fun if we had been able to track the changes!

So, lots of gimmicks, little long term thinking. I share a theory, you may know it.........the wise man built his house on a rock...........the foolish on the sand. One of my biggest criticisms of the way this government develops its policy is that it neglects to see the value of foundations, its all about packaging and short term gain. A few years ago the Connexions service was established. As chair of Unison's Youth and Community Workers Forum at the time I was very involved in the consultations about the service and the development of "personal advisers". On one memorable occasion I shared a platform with Malcolm Wicks where he took umbrage at my metaphor for Connexions (his baby). What I saw was that they had two perfectly good houses with solid foundations (the existing Youth Service and Careers), OK there were a few broken windows, the walls could do with a lick of paint and maybe the roof needed replacing. What did they do? They abandoned the existing buildings and built a brand spanking new orange and purple foundations and likely to be pulled down in a few years. Was I right? Has Connexions been taken back into local authority control? And all the time, those of us who tried to soldier on in a Youth Service that had continued to face cuts even under Labour, saw our cuddly cousins in Connexions squandering the resources that could have enabled us to provide important services to our young people. In the service I used to manage, once I had met all my staffing and revenue bills, I had £2,000 a year left to spend on young people! Sorry, I am still bitter. But what happened with Connexions happens time and time again. Peter is robbed to pay Paul as the focus group gaze drifts from this to that. So today it is cuts in inheritance tax, screening for MRSA, doctors open at weekends. Tomorrow it will be????

Yet again no real investment in Youth Service, billions to the Health Service, but no mention of dealing with mixed wards (particularly in psychiatric units), but plenty of money for Trident and reserves to ensure we can attack Iran if Mr Bush tells us to. OK those are some of my personal issues and I am sure there are some good bits..........I'll let you know if I find them.

Young Scot

I was delighted to hear that Louise McDonald has been appointed as the new CEO for Young Scot. In Marcus Liddle - Young Scot founder - she has a hard act to follow, but if anyone can do it Louise can!

I have had the pleasure of working with Louise and Young Scot for the past three years. They are a remarkable organisation, really making a difference to young people's lives in Scotland. Louise has all the qualities necessary to take over the role, she is professional and scarily efficient and effective (!) but with a warmth and humour that immediately endears her to everyone she meets. Her immense talent is already a huge asset to Young Scot and in her new role she will have even more opportunity to be the advocate she already is for the young people of Scotland.

Oh.........and she has got wicked taste in clothes and shoes, need I say more?!

(She also sent me a couple of pix from last year's Burns Night in Edinburgh......the other one is unpublishable! That's me with me mouth open dancing with the adorable Martin Coppack.)

Brown Backs Down

Well, we all turned up of one mind..........if it meant getting arrested, it meant getting arrested. With prison overcrowding were we really likely to see mass arrests? Maybe the plan was, if it was a tincywincy protest it was worth risking, but whilst the erstwhile mass support for Stop the War has melted away, protesters were out today in large enough numbers to have made it a tad embarrassing for MR B if the march had been stopped. I went with my pal Sharon - pic right (she who is banned from the House of Commons for shouting down into the chamber to agree with John McDonnell on 18th March 2003), she had gone prepared to be arrested, unlike me (never that well organised - I just took my mobile and Blackberry!) she had a clean pair of knickers, dental floss and baby wipes (one apparently doesn't get any toilet paper if arrested).

But today was a potential Rubicon and I was disappointed that so few of my fellow citizens saw that. As Martin Niemoller said in 1945

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

What was interesting was that the law dragged up by Gordon Brown was the one enacted to prevent the Chartists demonstrating. At a time when this same man spouts mealy mouthed words about Burma and every child being precious he doesn't want those of us who are outraged by an illegal immoral and unjustifiable war which is killing the very children he claims to care for, to have our voices heard.

I was disappointed that there were no Lib Dem speakers, I will take this up with STWC but I was delighted to see David Howarth in Trafalgar Square. So, Sharon took a few pix, which can be seen here, sadly you are unlikely to see any coverage anywhere else.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

London Mayoral Race

Yesterday I trekked over to Bethnal Green for our Mayoral hustings. A poor turnout but all three contestants acquitted themselves well. Brian Paddick was more serious than in Brighton, Chamali was much better at answering questions and Fiyaz was far more commanding in his speech. Whilst the outcome may be seen to be a foregone conclusion, all three candidates have proved themselves fantastic advocates for our party.

Then it was back to dear old Bedford for a great night out with fellow started off with the table nearest us singing some sort of drinking songs (sorry not a rugby fan - je ne comprend pas!) Dave Hodsgson and I both had the same thought at the same time, we should start singing The Land...........but we didn't, we stuffed ourselves instead!

Jack's Back so Back Jack?!

Well after weeks unable to get on line at home, here I am at last able to hit the blogosphere from the comfort of my own home! But..........don't hold your breath..............

So, no election (I am sure like most people I have mixed feelings about that) time to focus on my 3 impending contests...........hmmmm............ watch this space!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ming's my Friend!

A little while ago I decided it was time to let bygones be bygones, bury the hatchet, let the water run under the bridge etc etc and ask Ming to be my friend on Facebook and he has accepted?! Now I know he doesn't actually have much to do with his Facebook, doesn't spend much time poking people or sending them wet smelly yellow invitations like my charming daughter does (!), maybe if he had he would have spurned me...............but now I have the opportunity to start my little campaign to write on Ming's wall...........more about that later.

Stop the War Demo Banned..........Where are our MP's?

There hasn't been much in the press about this sadly, but on Monday the Government has decided to ban a peaceful march called by the Stop the War Coalition. The protest has been called to demand all the troops withdrawn from Iraq immediately. The police have said all protests within one mile of Parliament are now prohibited. This is an affront to democratic rights and totally contradicts Brown's commitment to liberalising protest laws.

I am very disappointed that as a party we seem to have withdrawn support for STWC, not as individuals obviously, but collectively. I would not only like to see a Lib Dem speaking on the platform on Monday but also to see our parliamentarians collectively joining the demonstration, if for no other reason than to show how seriously we as a party take this affront to our civil liberties. I am emailing all those I know and I would hope any of you reading this with contacts with our parliamentary party will urge the same.

Assembly is at Trafalgar Square at 1pm Monday 8th. Please pass this information on to anyone who may be able to make it. But if you can't please at least sign the petition on the STWC website.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Why Jack is still not back!

I am so frustrated, you have no idea. I am still being denied access to the blogosphere from home. It's too long and boring a story, but it may lead to me leading a campaign to renationalise BT and nationalise Sky. Watch this space.................