Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Fantasy Shadow Cabinet

The BBC Politics Show has launched a Fantasy Shadow Cabinet pending the election of hte new Tory Leader. All you have to do is name the men who will file the big 4 jobs.

I've gone for DC is the leaders shoes and the following for his main appointees.

Shadow Chancellor: David Davis, I know George Osbourne is close to Cameron but he may serve another role such as Party Chairman to get Cameron's points across and attempt to make the party electable.

Shadow Foreign Secretary: Sir Malcolm Rifkind after stepping down before the first round of voting Sir Malcolm is bound to feature somewhere prominent, he's probably the best hand the Tories have for the foreign portfolio even though he has been out of Westminster for 8 years in the interim.

Shadow Home Secretary: William Hague, there is much speculation about the baseball cap wearing former leader's return to the shadow cabinet. He is still young enough to serve in seniour roles for some time and he is liable to have to come back now or else be seen as an opportunist nearer the election. So I can see his rapier wit being used in the Home Affairs against all those terrible decisions that Blair will be forcing through.

Having said that, I'll probably be well off track but it's fun to try.

I'm Your Prime Minster Get Me Out of Here

Jungle Tony is obviously scared of things creeping through the rafters above him yesterday. As he left the hall he was supposed to give his speech about Nuclear energy to go to another room when Greenpeace protesters climbed to the rafters demanding a 10 minute counter statement.

This man is supposed to be the leader of our parliament. Does he parlez much? For a start he tends to avoid the chamber. He also tends to avoid debate of any kind. This man is supposed ot be in charge of a democracy but is scared of debate.

I will encourage people to continue not to Vote Tony in I'm A Prime Minster Get Me Out of Here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Is this Blogdaq?

Ok I've done Celebdaq, I've traded on Sportdaq now from the lijnks to this site I've found that the latest trading game appears to be Blogshares. I have no idea how I came to be listed, nor have I nay idea how it works. If I did I might be accused of insider dealer trying to increase my value.

Although if I read this right (Economics degrees come in handy some times) I'm currently valued above LibDem Blogs, Susanne Lamido, The Apollo Project and a number of other Lib Dem Bloggers.

Although Lynne Featherstone and Jonathan Calder are way out ther in high value land.

I might of course have got all that wrong.

MPs really Are Old Fuddy Duddies

MPs have rejected Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams' Representation of the People (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill by eithg votes 136 to 128.

While you may be old enough to but cigarettes, have sex, get married, join the army and pay income tax. You are not old enough to have you say in any of these things, or so the Labour and Conservative parties say, and vote.

Just when do children become aldults, when are they old enough to make adult decisions. Clearly we trust them with their long term health with both smoking and sex. We allow them to sign up for a career which might lead them into the valley of death. We are more than happy to accept their income tax. Unfortunately they don't trust you to vote.

So how is this going to inspire the most apathetic group of voters the 18-25 years olds?

Answers on a postcard to:

I'm a Prime Minster Get me out of Here
Number 10

Sunday, 27 November 2005

Will ID be Required to Travel Through Town?

Edis at MKNE Political Information has reported on his blog that a woman has been arrested in denver for refusing to show her ID on a cross-city bus.

Will the introduction of ID cards in the UK to this level of scrutity of the documents? How long will it take to escalate to this level? Is this not a gross infringement of our civil liberties?

If this can happen in the 'land of the free and the home of the brave' what are the odds of this coming to a bus service near you if Tony blair has his way?

Saturday, 26 November 2005

A Minutes Applause

Have just come back from the Livingston game this afternoon.

Before the kick-off all the fans observed a minutes applause for George Best. I'm sure that George as the consummate showman and rebel would have approved.

Unfortunately had little to applaud the rest of the game as the team lost to Kilmarnock 3-0.

So Long Bestie

Obviously as a Northern Irish born football fan yesterdays news of George Best's death came with great sadness if not a great shock.

There are so many tributes from so many people Malcolm Brodie football correspondent for the Belfast Telegraph who knew George before he even set foot in Manchester.

He was to go to Matt Busby's Manchester United to join England's first choice striker Bobby Charlton and Scotland's Dennis Law.

In 1964 he made his Northern Ireland debut with another debutant Pat Jennings.

He lived a life claiming that he lived up to his name being the Best. In first his autobiography, 'The Good, the Bad and the Bubbly', he had a photograph standing next to Pele with the caption:

Me with the second best player in the world.

However, Pele admitted that Best was the best player he had ever seen. He did dazzle and entertain and on several occasions even after beaten his man would go back just for fun and do it again. he won English and European footballer of the year titles before he was 22. And was a key part in Manchester United's European Cup winning team of 1968. However, he walked out on United in 1974 after a dispute with Tommy Docherty never to return, he was only 28.

He returned to football with lowly Stockport County in 1975 then joined the North American Soccer League. From 1976 to 1982 alongside names like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, first playing for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes. He interspersed this appearances with spells at Cork Celtic, Fulham and Hibernian before ending his playing career at Bournemouth.

Sadly none of George's 37 International Caps lead to one at a world cup. His first was six years after the historic side reached the 1958 Quarter Finals in Sweden, the last in 1977 five years before a glorious return in Spain 1982.

He may have succumbed to alcoholism, but in his death the greats remembered his football from Diego Maradonna to Sir Alex Ferguson, many of his Man United, Hibernian and Northern Ireland Colleagues.

Friday, 25 November 2005

Welcome to Narnia...

...or so it seems. The snow has arrived in East Central Scotland, with a vengence.

The snow started just after 9 o'clock so I was already sat at my desk and hasn't let up yet. At times I have been unable to see Edinburgh City by pass through the snow, which is a bit disconcerting as it is less than 50 metres from my office window.

Now if only I can find my way back to those faux fur coats in the wardrobe.

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Blair's Nuclear Winter

It is interesting that within weeks of terrorist suspects’ arrest in Australia, apparently aiming to blow up a nuclear test centre, Tony Blair believes that more nuclear power is just what the UK needs.

The Prime Minister is said to believe nuclear power can improve the security of the UK's energy supply and also help on climate change. But what security will be provided to ensure we don't have a terrorist attack on such a new plant? Also what does he intend to do about the radioactive waste that will be produced? He is creating another damaging by product to cover for his inadequacies in eight years of moving on alternative, totally clean, sustainable energy sources.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

I've Been Re-elected

Last night was the local party AGM at the end of a hectic year, what with the general election and the by election. I was returned unopposed as treasurer for another year, no real surprise there then. Also I've been reappointed as a Rep fpr both the Federal and Scottish Conference. So I'll see you all at Harogate, Aviemore, Brighton and TBA in 2006.

There was some changing of the guard as our convernor stepped aside to concentrate on her Scottish Party role. But there is some new blood in the exec, while the old hands are staying on board, they say, only until we have councillors in 2007 at the latest.

Saturday, 19 November 2005

No Longer Bottom of the League

After finally getting over all the elections of this year it is a relief to get back to watching football on a Saturday afternoon again.

This afternoon I took the short hop to Dunfermline for what was a real needle match, there is a lot of animosity between the fans and the chairmen of the two clubs. However, we came away smiling as Livingston won away 1-0 and deservedly so. There was a good traveling support we had to queue for fifteen minutes to get to the turnstile. But Paul Dalglish standing in sparkling form and it was he who scored a belter of a goal. Sized up looking to get through from the edge of the box just like his old man. If it is King Kenny we have definitely found Prince Paul.

The result is our first win in the league all season following 5 draws. However most importantly it takes us off the bottom leaving Dunfermline there instead with just one win and three draws.

While we were getting back into the car the draw was made for the semi-finals when we avoided Celtic and got Dunfermline again. There is a real possibility of us getting to our fourth game at Hampden (semi-finals of the Scottish are also played at the national stadium).

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

My Carbon Footprint

Thanks to Will Howells for this link which allowed me to calculate my carbon footprint.

My house came out at 6 tonnes of CO2 of which most was the 4.35 tonnes for the car. My house came in at only 1.11 tonnes because of all the energy saving and recycling intiatives that I take.

Considering the average UK footprint is 10 tonnes, I've done not too badly. If only I was on a high enough wage to afford a hyprid car I could save an additional 2 tonnes. The worrying thing though is that the average American carbon footprint is 19 tonnes of CO2, almost double that of the UK.

Monday, 14 November 2005

Local MP to Fix Minimum Wage Injustice

Hat's off to Michael Connarty this weekend. The
Sunday Mail
tells of the bill he about to introduce to ensure that restaurant bosses do not pay the minimum wage from the tips that are earned my their employees.

A tip as defined by the Mirrian Webster Online Diction is:

Tip 10 Function:noun
a gift or a sum of money tendered for a service performed or anticipated is an reward

Note that this is for the service rendered as a reward, not as a right which is what the pay people recieve is. I'm glad Michael is seeking to close this particular loophole in minimum wage legislation.

Although I'm still upset that his name is not on this list, it is good t see he isn't fully on the dark side.

Saturday, 12 November 2005

Smokescreen or Counter Smokescreen

Defence Secretary John Reid has been defending the police. Saying the the Tories are using the political activies of the police over the last week over the 90 days they said they needed to detail suspected terrorists.

Firstly when the police come under the Minstry of Defence? Are they not under the remit of Charles Clarke the Home Secretary?

Secondly the fact is that the Tories along with a large number of Labour back-benchers and the Liberal Demcrats support the most draconian period of detention without trial in any western democracy to rise it to 28 days. That is a four fold increase from earlier this year already. This was offered as a compromise.

Therefore, is not the smokescreen that Dr Reid is trying to errect over the fact that his government colleagues were trying to make us even further the most draconian free state?


Woke up this morning and in between waiting for my online chess oponents to respond to my moves noticed Susanne Lamido and other Liberal Democrats have found and listed themselves on what is seeking to be the ultimate list of all blogs. I was good to see that the Lib Dems are by far the best represented UK political party on this list.

Although to be fair Bloggers for Cameron and Boris Johnson represent the Conservatives. Niether Labour nor Socialism are currently listed in the category index so maybe the spin doctors are circling threateningly around Labour bloggers seeking to prevent publicity of possible rebellion.

There is also a Who Do You Think you are kidding Mr Prescott blog campaigning for an English Parliament. No doubt I will have fun finding out more blogs as time goes by.

One of the strangest categories was for Noddles which brought up one blog. Fortunately it mentions more that just noddles and will not be fielding candidates in any by elections in the near future.

Friday, 11 November 2005

Scottish By Election Results

Colin Ross was bemoaning the fact that we are failing to staind candidates in the West Midlands. However, here in Scotland by election fever has carried on. It is six weeks since we had a hat trick with Westminster, Holyrood and Council election by elections on the same day.

Although we did not stand a candidate in Dumfries and Galloway last month we again were fighting three elections in Scotland this week.

In the Murrayfield ward in Edinburgh Mike Crockart increased the Lib Dem vote by 10.5% to close the gap on the Tories. Labour and the SNP vote dropped dramatically and even the Conservatives suffered a dent in their share.

Over in Glasgow in Knightswood Park Katy Gordon leapfrogged the Scottish Socialists and Conservatives with an 8.5% increase to come a very credible third. Closing in on both the SNP and Labour carrying on the trend of the Lib Dems in Scotland's largest city.

Only in Loanhead in Midlothian did our vote go down. However, the Labour candidate had held the seat until being defeated by an independent in 2003 and two indepedents and a strong local SNP candidates caused quite an intriguing day.

I agree with Colin however that we need to stand candidates in as many by elections as possible as we should always be working on building nad maintaining our local presence between elections.

Health Centre Set to Move: Possibly Out of Town

Linlithgow's health centre is set to move from its High Street premises under the latest plans from NHS Sotland.

One possibility is to move it out of town to he Blackness road. This would further add to the traffic problems which the town is already concerned about. Moving the health centre to the North of the town centre would add more vehicles to the busy High Street as people are less likely to walk if able following a new build on that site.

Another alternative is the County Buildings which are set to be vacated by moving services the multi-purpose Civic Centre centralising a large number of council services in Livingston.

Linlithgow Community Council are understandably up in arms are are preparing an alternative town plan to present to West Lothian Council.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Just Who is Out of Touch Tony?

Tony Blair is saying that certain areas of Parliament are out of touch with the public over the terrorism bill.

However, interesting viewing is the BBC poll on the topic.

Just now of 145472 Votes Cast:

52% favour 28 days or keeping it at 14. (28 and 24 % respectively)

7% will allow up to 42 days only 41% will allow 90 days hardly a resounding majority Mr. Blair.

Going by my reckoning that makes 47.5% of MPs in favour of the 90 day detention which is 6.5 more than the general public. Therefore maybe Tony has a point and is making us aware that his majority should have been cut further in yesterday evening's vote. Very honourable of you Tony to point that out to us.

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

28 Days a Policeman's Lot

The result of the terrorism debate on period of detention has led to defeat for Tony Blair.

The Vote for 90 days was defeated by 322 votes to 291.

The second vote on the 28 day ammendment the vote was 323 to 290.

There was a heated aftenoon which kicked off with the Prime Minister stating in PMQs that he was backing the police over the 90 days and that he expected every member of the house to do so as well.

The debate on the terrorism bill followed and it was clear the the Prime Minster's final pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

Alistair Carmichael one of the Liberal Democrat Home Affair's Spokepeople said:

"This is no flight of fancy because we have been here before - detention without charge is not a new concept. We tried it in Northern Ireland - we know what the consequences of that were."

As someone raised in Northern Ireland who experienced the result of internment while a child I can understand exactly what he means. I'm glad the 90 days was not handed over to the police because they wanted it without thought of the rights of our citizens.

What now for Tony Blair following his first defeat on any vote? Has he finally lost his authority? Will he step aside now?

The nation is watching with interest.

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Dalglish Scores Winner in Cup Tie

Before any of you think I am going slightly mad or have stepped out of a TARDIS by accident I'm not referring to King Kenny but to his son Paul.

This season I must have entered an elite groups of people who have cheered on both Kenny and Paul from the terraces/stands while they play for my team. Being Northern Irish I feel that I am allowed to indulge my football support not just for home team Bangor but also two other teams that have been in European competition, Liverpool and Livingston.

Paul has overcome a slight injury earlier this season to return with strength to the Livi starting line up. Scoring in extra time in today's game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle to secure a place in the semi-finals of the CIS Insurance Cup.

Energy Crisis Predicted for 2030

According the International Energy Agency in 25 years time demand for energy will surpass the supply available from the world's fossil fuel reserves. This is due to the advancement of developing economies in Africa, the Middle East and China. To meet these demands Carbon Dioxide emissions will rise by 52%.

Hardly surprisingly then the IEA say this trend is:

Not sustainable from an energy, security or environmental perspective. We must change these outcomes and get the planet on to a sustainable energy path.

All this at a time when Tony Blair appears to be going back on his promises on global targets and the UK’s contribution to them.

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Labour Not Sure What to Do

It appears that Labour is not sure what to do about terrorism and have posted a questionnaire on their website. The most worrying thing about this questionnaire is how vague the questions are. This suggests just the opposite that Labour knows exactly what they are doing and are ready to interpret the answers accordingly.

Here are the questions and a possible interpretation in italics.

Do you think that our laws should be updated to cope with the current security threat?

This would appear to be an innocent question. However, look closely it strikes fear my drawing attention to a current security threat. 'What is Labour not telling us?' some people may wonder. Also most people including liberal leaners will agree that our terrorism laws need updating so it leads almost everyone to say yes. Saying no might just lead to your immediate detention on the suspicion of being a terrorist.

Do you think police should have the time and opportunity to complete their investigations into suspected terrorists?

This does not specify a time limit. This is a seriously loaded question. The government will use yes answers to automatically mean a backing for 90 day detention and not alternatives such as less paperwork to allow them more time to investigate on the street before making a n arrest.

Do you think the government should make sure there are new safeguards to protect innocent people?

Again with no specifics this is giving the government a blank cheque to do whatever they want.

In other words be careful how you answer a question put to you by a Labour politician. They avoid specifics, can make answers made in all innocence tell a distorted truth and message; in other words exactly what they want to hear not what the people are saying.

Be Careful of Labour activists carrying clipboards

Friday, 4 November 2005

Goldie to Lead Tories and Loses an MSP Already

I'm sorry I am of an age that associates Goldie with Simon Groom's dog on Blue Peter. Not the next leader of the Scottish Tories looks set to share the name.

Annabel Goldie appears to be having a Michael Howard style coronation as the leader to replace David McLetchie, with Murdo Fraser completing the 'dream' ticket. However, we all know how sucessful Howard proved to be, especially in Scotland.

Annabelle has managed to do something that not even Michael Howard managed however. Her group in parliament has shrunk by 5.6% before she has even been officially appointed as leader. Brian Monteith a list member for Mid Scotland and Fife has resigned the whip after it emerged that he had e-mailed a Sunday newspaper editor suggesting a leader column calling for Mr McLetchie to quit as party leader.

Therefore the Conservative benches are now reduced to 17 in the Scottish Parliament.

Devine's Voter Honeymoon Over

It appears that the voters are watching carefully and seeing that Jim Devine’s claim to be following in Robin Cook’s footsteps is falling short. This appeared in the online West Lothian News:

SIR, I am pleased to report that the new MP for the area has at least lived up to his own words. During the election he said he was no Robin Cook. How true, because Robin Cook wouldn't have voted for the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Bill which Mr Devine has just signed up to!

Labour - and Mr Devine - believe that the only way to stop terrorism is to turn this country into a police state and that's what this bill does.

Mr Devine was once a senior officer of a union that wholeheartedly objects to this bill - it seems that Mr Devine's morals are up for grabs for the highest bidder, once it was Unison now it is the Labour party!
Ian Wallace, Mid Calder

So I guess this means that the Devine honeymoon period is over. I make that five weeks.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Place Your Bets Now

So David Blunkett has finally resigned.

So it looks that Lynne Featherstone’s question which I alluded to yesterday has been answered in the negative.

Are William Hill or Ladbrokes taking bets on when David Blunkett will be rehabilitated in a third Mandelsonesque way?

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

The Blunkett Sidestep

I read Lynne Featehrstone’s blog with interest yesterday. She said that she had the first question on David Blunketts latest big news dayand that her supplementary was shunned by the Minster for Works and Pensions. So I eagerly awaited this morning's update of Hansard with interest to see what was actually said.

What is wrong with asking him:

…does he believe that he remains in a position to secure the consensus that he mentioned in a divided Cabinet over the urgent need radically to reform the pensions system?

I agree with Lynne that some mention had to be made about his judgement as the whole media was asking that question. Not to do so, as the first opposition questioner, would have been derided in the media.

Unfortunately due to a minsters share dealings and his own frustration at his foolishness we did not find out if the Minster feels that there is a consensus in cabinet to push through another of their manifesto pledges. Their recent discussion on a smoking ban being a case in point that the public are concerned how stable the promises of this government is at present.