Friday 29 September 2006

New Improved Blogger

Ok I've just made the switch to blogger beta which has some new advanced tools from the version I've been using until one. One new function is the ability to add labels to my posts another is the ability to edit all posts rather than just the last 300.

As a result I am working on backdating my labels and sorting out the rogue errors in some of my early posts that I so far have been unable to rectify. I might also play about with some other options we shall see.

Catch That Pigeon

There may be a pigeon problem down at Holyrood however if you see any of these guys at the foot of the Royal Mile

I'd advise you to run away as fast as possible. But beware of the Laws of Cartoon Physics.

The Nutty Professor

Sometimes I cannot believe what some scientists produce in the face of overwhelming counter evidence. Today step forward this article in the Scotsman about Professor Bjorn Lomborg wrtier of the Skeptical Environmentalist.

OK I agree with him on one point that we need to spend more on tackling global poverty. However, how does he expect us to be able to do so if we are unable to support ourselves properly by not simultaneously tackling climate change.

Here are some flaws in that article:

He says a two degree increase in temperature would benefit developed countries like Scotland.

1. How does he intend to stop it after only a 2 degree rise. Has he discovered and patented some magic switch than can stop the trend.

2. He says that 2 degree increase will be beneficial to developed countries, does he fancy saying that to the Netherlands, Belgium, Louisiana, Florida or the people of East Anglia for starters.

3. The two degree estimate is a global average. The environmental impact possibly on Scotland might be reversed. We enjoy current good temperatures courtesy of the Gulf Stream will that flow of warmer water still end up at this latitude if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees, the last time this happened was during the time of the ice fairs on the Thames. Therefore Prof Lomborg may be condeming more Scots to death due to cold weather rather than less.

Ironically he says that what is needed is for Scotland to set aside National Parks, he's obviously forgetting the Cairngorm National Park (3800 sq kms) and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs (1865 sq kms). But in setting these aside he also says we should set aside over fertilisation and industrial pollution.

Now hang on. If we cut down on industrial pollution especially emmissions are wwe going some way to combatting climate change? Now I don't know how much Environmental and Economic Studies Prof. Lomberg did during his Political Science studies, however, he would have been studying the same experts on that subject as I did at the end of the 80s and early 90s. Since then the trend has become even more strongly in favour of tackling climate change.

Professor Lomborg says tackle global poverty and forget climate change. I say what is wrong with doing both, concurrently and sucessfully.

Thursday 28 September 2006

Tony May be Getting Nostalgic but...

...look what Guido Faulkes had dug up. Yes is is the Prime Minster's attack on the Tories when he first stood in Sedgefield in 1983.

He attacks them for closing hospitals. Whoops!
Also on health he attacks them for increases in prescription charges of 700%

On defence he attacks the Tories for getting us into the Falkland's war which cost us billions. This from a future Prime Minister who would take us into an illegal war in Iraq. Add in the war in Afghanistan and the war on terror that's a cost of £4.9 bn for 2005

He also attacks the Tories for planning to spend £10bn on Trident instead of trying to stop the arms race. He on the other hand is preparing to spend between £25 bn and £76bn on the replacement less than 20 years later, with the cold war over, to do what use it as a terror threat over rogue states instead of encouraging them there is no need for a nuclear arms race.

Does Labour Know What They Want?

Bernie Hughes highlighted an article in yesterday's Herald which states that the MPs Ian Davidson, Jimmy Hood and John McFall amongst them who want restrictions on new migrant worked from Bulgaria and Romania when these state are welcomed into the EU next January. They are fearful of the impact a second wave of migrants could have on Scottish job markets, wages and services.

However, this is in direct contract to the views of Labour's Scottish First Minster Jack McConnell who earlier this month said he wants Scotland to be the sole beneficiaries of the new influx of migrant workers.

So just what is the story? Where do Labour in Scotland stand on this issue? Does anyone really know? Is Labour listening to themselves?

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Let Them Watch Some Tele Tony

I have come to the conclusion that Tony is preventing his MPs from watching too much Television.

If you remember last week Harriett Harman said she had other things to do rather than watch Sir Menzies Campbell's speech at the Lib Dem conference. Now possibly that would have been pass remarkable only she was appearing on Question Time that evening and surely even the most junior researcher working for the Labour Party would have be able to remind her to watch it as cribbing for that evenings appearance on a national TV show talking about the politics of the week.

However, last night on Newsnight Scotland it appears that David Cairns MP from Inverclyde also appears to have had his television rights withdrawn by Head Boy A.C.L. Blair. If his comments are to be believed he is mistaking what Labour are currently spurting out as being the only radical policy that is coming out of Scotland. He must have missed how much of what the Scottish Parliament has acheived in the last 7 and bit years has actually not come from his party's policies but from the Liberal Democrats. He actually went on to alude to two items strangely missing from the 2003 Labour Manifesto for Scotland, however you will find them here.

Image from 'Campaign Against Climate Change'
How I think he's been missing being allowed to turn on the television is that he singled out the Liberal Democrats saying we were unable to make hard decisions. So he must have missed out how Jo Swinson set out those hard decisions made and acted on my Lib Dems in Scotland at last weeks conference. He also must have missed the news that the Lib Dems are the only party to have set out plans for taxation to tackle climate change. Considering how little detail and how much waffle the Chancellor of the last 8 and a half years had to say about this issue I think objective observers will know just who is avoiding making the hard decisions.

Brown's Speech in Full

Poor Peter Brookes The Times cartoonist had a tough time at Labour's conference yestreday as he attempted to encapsulate the passion in Gordon Brown's speech. Judge for yourself how he did in this series of images.

Peter Brookes - The Times 26-09-06

Personally I reckon the 10th image must have been his joke about the Arctic Monkeys and the Arctic Circle.

Monday 25 September 2006

How do you Solve a Problem Like Cherie Blair?

Music by Richard Rodgers:
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstien II (adapted by Stephen Glenn)

She climbs the law, marries MP
Her address is number 10
She waltzes on her way to court
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her gown
She has the latest fashion wear
I even heard her singing to the jury

She's always late for chambers
But her politics not stopped
She's always late for everything
Except for photo ops
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Cherie Blair's not an asset to this practise

I'd like to say a word in her behalf
Cherie Blair makes me laugh

How do you solve a problem like Cherie Blair?
How do you catch a dream and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Cherie Blair?
A flibbertijibbet! Who won't listen to Gordon Brown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say?
How do you keep New Labour on in power?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Cherie Blair?
How do you buy two flats at discount rates?

When Tony's with her he's confused
Out of focus and bemused
And he never knows exactly where she stands
Unpredictable as weather
She's as flighty as a feather
She's a darling! She's a demon who can bite her man!

She'd outprezza Prezza
Drive Margaret Beckett from her nest
She could throw Deniis Skinner out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! She's an angel!
She's a girl!

How do you solve a problem like Cherie Blair?
How do you make a leftie pipe it down?
How do you find a word that means Cherie Blair?
A wreak of the hessbriss when florists come to call!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep New Labour on in power?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Cherie Blair?
Maybe we'll find out under PM Brown?

Scottish Labour to Force Councils to Use ASBOs

Well Labour appear to be gearing up to next year's STV council elections by attempted to centralise some control. Possibly scared of losing control of certain councils they are going to insist that councils use ASBOs to deal with issues. What will happen if they don't? Will the council be served with an ASBO or a dispersal order from Labour's Holyrood Politburu?

Other proposals include giving front line teachers the power to exclude pupils without refeeral to senior staff, sin bins in schools and tougher punishments for certain crimes.

Looks like a serious case of control freakery to me.

Sign up a Disabled Sportsperson to Play for Celtic

I'm all for disabled sports and as far as possible for them to play alongside able-bodied competitors. I've actually played bowls with a paralympian on my team, against a deaf rink in bowls who I jokingly signed to 'shut up' as they wouldn't stop signing as I was attempting to play. I've also been a guide runner for a blind club mate in athletics. However, what on earth is this latest directive from the Scottish Executive?

Yes sports clubs should be encouraged to integrate as far as possible disabled sportspeople in their clubs, this is easier for some sports than others. Athletics and bowls are the two sports I've been actively involved with disabled athletes and many clubs can quite easily provide provisions for competitors of various disabilities. However, you cannot have a wheel chair athlete run fairly against an able bodied athlete.

Why? Because they have a higher gearing and at equivalent levels of fitness will always go faster. Blind footballers need specialist equipment, ie a ball that makes noise, and therefore to put blind footballers up against seeing players is unfair to the disabled as the sighted players have a slight advantage as light travels faster than sound and can sight the ball without trying to train on its direction.

I love watching paralympian sports, their competitors often adapt sports to suit their level of ability. Wheelchair basketball is as much a non-contact sport as the NBA version. But the competitors who end up getting up ended in their chairs pick themselves off, dust themselves off and carry on playing.

The Sports 21 directive contains the line that clubs should develop an "inclusive selection policy which guarantees all members a game each week". How is this sort of approach going to encourage participation in sport? Yes the directive is right in encouraging participation in disabled sport but not every club is necessarily going to be able to offer a weekly competitive place within its make up on an inclusive policy. Some teams may have to group together to match abilities into a team that can compete together.

As for bowls I'll carry on playing against wheelchair bound, blind and deaf opponents and occasionally lose and occasionally win against them.

Friday 22 September 2006

Tory Tax Commission Ignores Cameron

Poor David Cam...sorry...Dave Cameron is having a hard time being the leader to wag the Tory dog.

The A-Lististos have been facing mixed furtunes in the selection process. His colleagues in Scotland seem to be distancing themselves from him in the hope that a revival in their hopes is best not served by their leader in Westminster. Now it appears that the Tax Commission George Osburn set up has been unable to fit in Dave's vision.

Dave says he wants more spending on schools and hospitals, the leaked commission report says they are seeking £20bn cuts in public spending.

Dave says he wants to introduce Green Taxes, this commission reports appears not to mention any of these.

Dave has attacked Lib Dem plans for a local income tax based on ability to pay, but the commission reforms do not mention any new proposals for local taxation. (Well there's a surprise. Not!)

After the sucess of the Lib Dem tax commission and radical tax policy agenda put before conference this week the Tory one looks like producing 'policy' that would undoubtedly be referred back if put to a Lib Dem Conference vote. Thankfully for Dave he doesn't face such democracy in his party.

So after all the rhetoric of Cameron it appears his own party is not happy and instead is looking for £20 Billion cuts in public spending and not shoring up their leader's new agenda.

Looks like a case of Vote Blue get exactly what you'd expect. Isn't it time you told us the truth Dave? Looks like that tiger hasn't been able to change his or his party's spots at all.

New Tory Labour on Climate Change

If you saw the Lib Dem Party Conference Broadcast during the week you might me interested to this this mock up of the New Tory Labour Party's response to the key issue raised in that debate.

Well done to Tim Ireland for an excellent job. He may well be getting contacted by 25 and 39 Victoria Street to carry on making New Tory Labour broadcasts in the future.

New Political Internet Channel

Hat tip to Iain Dale*.

It appears that we are weeks away from a new Political TV station. This will be a first on the internet and will be 4 hours of policial vox pops and looking at political blogs from Monday to Thursday, either live or downloadable and podcastable.

However, with two Tory bloggers as the main frontmen we shall have to wait and see how balanced the views end up being.

For more info visit their blog but here is a summation of whats on offer:

Tim Montgomerie will present UP FRONT - a fair and opinionated news programme at
8pm every night - all based on the output of that day’s blogs.

VOX POLITIX WITH IAIN DALE will go out at 9pm. Dale will be joined by alternate
co-presenters Rena Valeh and Zoe-Ann Phillips as well as two sofa-guests. The show will
be a mix of news and discussion with the final half hour devoted to a thirty minute debate
on a news topic of the day.

Other programmes on the channel include...
• END OF THE DAY SHOW – Live one hour discussion show each night at 11pm – including a long preview of the following day’s newspapers
• ONE TO ONE – a 30 minute interview designed to restore the idea of serious discussion
• PARTY TALK – with Zoe Ann Phillips – a Monday night show previewing the week in politics
• BROUGHT TO BOOK – Iain Dale talks to guests from the world of political books
• SELL THE IMPOSSIBLE will task a panel of expert politicians and bloggers with the job of devising a strategy to sell controversial policies chosen by visitors to the station’s website.

There will also be specialist programmes – presented by anti-establishment campaign groups – that will spotlight the tax burden, the threat of terrorism and media bias.

The launch night of the channel will include an exclusive interview with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

*Even if he does have vest interests in the publicity.

Charles Kennedy on Question Time

It is always tough for the party representative to go on Question Time the day that the autumn conference finishes. Usually this is because the events of the week are fresh in the audiences mind and any faux pas made by or at conference is liable to be held up to ridicule.

This year the choice of Charles Kennedy to be our representative made it a matter of waiting for the ineffitable question and seeing how it was handled. The question came in the form:

What does the future hold for a political party when the ex-leader outshines the present leader at party conference?

The wording allowed Charles to attempt to side step the issue by mentioning that he did not think that Paddy Ashdown's comments about his own speech would have ramifications on Ming's leadership. He also turned the question over to next week in waiting to see if the leader in waiting might outshine the leader at Labour's Conference.

David Dimbleby however would not let Charles get away with saying anything is possible in politics and wanted a yes or no answer as to whether he would like to be leader again. Problem is David as Charles is well aware a lot of things can happen in politics. Though I hope the party never can again fit all its MPs into one London Cab nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. After all Alex Salmond seems to revel in a recurring role as leader of the SNP. William Hague has turned down his lucarative private income to resume a seat on the Tory front bench.

Both Hague and Kennedy may have a long time to go in Westminster, who can say what will happen. After all the last time all three main parties changed their leaders in one parliament was 1974-79, Callaghan replaced Wilson, Thatcher usurped Heath and David Steel took over from Jo Grimmond. So we live in interesting times.

One that was heartening/discouraging (depending on you take of it) was Harriet Harman lazy approach to preparing for the first QT of the session. Knowing that CK was going to be on she admitted not listening to Ming's speech, surely she must have guessed at the question that would come. SHe also seemed ill at ease and unprepared for the questions on John Reid and Foreign policy, or maybe that was just because even she didn't believe the answers she ended up spurting out.

Thursday 21 September 2006

End of Conference

Well that is that for another year, the TV crews will move on to Manchester next week to cover Labour then on to the Conservatives. Another Federal Lib Dem conference has finished.

It was a solid conference making progress on a number of key issues. The press as usual got all pent up about the possibility that the rank and file members might o against the leadership, because ours is the only conference that offers such democracy. In the end some of the press have already started attacking us for not going against the leadership or misunderstood than certain failed ammendments were in addition not instead of policy that was eventually agreed.

Anyway, the hoardes will be winding their way back from Brighton after a good speech from Ming, I have to admit it was a stirring as the last leader's speech I heard from the hall, but then that was on the eve of the General Election. However, he started strong with the comment that an oak tree takes 50 years from planting to create fruit, Tory image makers didn't take note of that. At the current rate as Ming said later on it might be a miracle if we hear of any new Tory policy by the end of that time.

It is also ironic as Ming mentioned that the latest hurricane that is inflicting damage this side of the Atlantic is called Gordon. Did Tony ask George to get his meterologists to name it that in the hope that the 7th tropical storm of this season might end up battering the British Isles on the eve of his final conference?

I'm proud of what the Liberal Democrats have done at this conference. It is a good stepping stone onward to better and greater things, I'm sure as Charles Kennedy said on Tuesday 'the best is yet to come' but the strides taken this week are taking us there.

Coming to all TV Channels Soon

I love Peter Brookes cartoon in today's Times.

With the Prime Minister away in Manchester next week anything might happen in London.

Wednesday 20 September 2006

Houston May Have a Problem

The Conservative Party have named Fiona Houston as their candidate for next May's Scottish Parliament Election. A brief scan of any Fiona Houston with conservative leanings brings up one involved in the Save Inverleith Park campaign which attempted to stop the building of a skate park in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh.

If this is the same one she should be aware that there is a very popular and sucessful skate park slap bang in the middle of the constituency where she is hoping to lift her party from their slumbers.

That make the current field in Livingston next May:

Angela Constance SNP
Charles Dundas Liberal Democrat
Fiona Houston Conservative
Bristow Muldoon Labour

The Press on Lib Dem Tax Proposals

The broadsheet press were setting Sir Menzies Campbell up for a lambasting if he failed to get his tax proposals unamemnded at conference yesterday. This morning did they let Ming delight in the victory, not a change mainly they largely attempted to clutch a defeat story from the clutches of victory.

A quick scan of this mornings papers shows that the political editors obviously see the Liberal Democrat tax plans only on how they affect their own pockets. Most of them either ignored or buried the benfits that these radical redistributive taxes brought to the most needy in society.

The Times had a strapline in the side bar saying Lib Dems vote for higher tax plan, which is not true for the majority of people. And their article is headlined Plans to Squeeze the wealthy is victory for leadership. Heaven know what they would have written if the 50p tax rate had been retained as well. It takes a full 18 paragraphs of the article before they even start to mention the benefits of the tax proposals to the vast majority of the population.

The Torygraph leads with 'Green' Liberal Democrats target wealthy Start by mention the top 2 million being worse off and not the bottom 2 million being lifted out of income tax. Only the very last phrase mentions those who benefit from the policy 'his [Ming Campbell's] determination to redistribute wealth in favour of the disadvantaged in society.'

The Grauniad does give a blanced view in their article however, again the article starts mentioning potential tensions. However, they do have a list of key proposals at the end as a summary.

Only the Independent starts with the good news and stays upbeat throughout. But strangely the article has Labour quoted as attacking us by attacking the poorer end. Labour obviously want to ignore the fact that the poorest will benefit from tax cuts, increased threasholds and will not be affected as greatly by environmental taxes as they don't buy new cars and are not the greatest users of airlines.

Is Bristow Muldoon a One Tax Pony?

Livingston MSP Bristow Muldoon is at it again, in a letter in today's Scotsman he seems to assume that income tax is the only measure of taxation in households. Perhaps Cllr. Cathy Muldoon is the one to deal with the family finances in that particular Murieston household.

The Liberal Democrat tax proposals agreed to yesterday are going to help the poorest and guard the environment, something which Prime Minister Elect Brown has failed to do in 9 years at the Treasury. In fact the majority of people will either be better off or no worse off under these proposals.

Nine years of Labour control of the nation's purse strings has actually seen the proportion of tax that the rich and poor pay get closer to equality than even the Conservatives managed. What a legacy 100 years into the Labour Party's history. These proposals are lifting the poorest 2 million out of income tax altogether. It is not increasing the overall tax burden something which Gordon Brown has had great difficulty with over the years.

Tuesday 19 September 2006

No Ambition Reid

Oh dear it looks like John Reid the Home Secretary has followed Jim Hacker and Margaret Thatcher in stating he does not see himself as a future Prime Minster.

Following on from the presses obsession with Jim Hacker's department and Administration he famously said as did tow of his rivals that he had no ambition in that direction when asked about becoming Prime Minister. Baroness Thatcher went even further by regularly saying that she did not she there being a women Prime Minister in her lifetime. However, we all know where both of them ended up.

Dr Reid has said he has 'no personal ambition to attain any other high office'. However, like Thatcher who gained a wide range of experience in opposition, Reid has already raked up a breadth of experience unparalleled by his colleagues. He has previously been Health, Defence, Leader of the House and Secretary of State for both Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as being Labour Party Chairman.

We wait and see if Reid was merely avoiding throwing his hat in the ring before a contest is called or not. The Cabinet Bulldog surely is not afraid to expose his teeth once more?

100% Renewable Energy For Scotland

That is the target that Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen has announced as acheiveable by 2050.

It is going further than the executives current proposals to reach 40% by 2020 but as Nicol says these plans are 'deliberately bold', adding: 'Apollo to the Moon was a challenge.'

Ross Henderson, of the renewable energy company Ocean Power Delivery, backed up the Lib Dem proposal saying:

"It's absolutely possible, but it requires a complete change in Scotland's infrastructure. We welcome the pledge, and it's not such a wacky suggestion. The technology is now starting to become available and a lot of progress has been made on renewables in the last ten years. Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in wave energy."

Martyn Williams, of the campaign group Friends of the Earth, is another who welcomed the pledge. He said:

"It's very ambitious, but it is possible. For this to work, it would have to be done as a mix of onshore wind farms, solar power, offshore turbines and hydroelectricity. Studies have shown that it could be done and we have the space in Scotland to do it."

However, other parties do not share the view of these experts. Richard Lochhead, the SNP's energy spokesman in the Scottish Parliament said it lacked ambition they had pledged to make Scotland 'all-renewable' by 2050. However, a main thrust of SNP funding for an independent Scotland is meant to be coming from Scotland's oil and gas, so how does that work if they are committed to defending the planet.

The Tories are not talking the Dave Cameron talk. Their energy spokesman Alex Johnstone, dismissed it as "pie in the sky". He said:

"This will have damaging implications for industry and the economy, particularly as the technology is nowhere near ready to achieve that."

Maybe he should listen to people like Ross Henderson of Ocean Power Delivery and others who say that the technology is ready to step up and deliver. As Martyn Williams of FotE says it needs the right balance. Mr Johnstone and his fellow Tories should stop listening to the petroleum and oil bosses whose money helps finance the Tory party and look at reality.

Ming Versus Sir Humphrey

What is it with the press that they have the obsession with a fictional senior Civil Servant?

I was watching with trepidation as the Tax Debate unfolded in Brighton. There were people I would position myself alongside speaking against and for amendment 3 (the retention of the 50p upper tax rate). It was a typical civilised debate by a party that allows its members freedom of expression in policy decision making. You would have thought the media would have got the hang of that with us by now. But no they were still obsessing that accempting any ammendment would be a slur on the leadership. How can following a democratic agenda be a slur on the leader of party with the name Democrats taking up half the party name?

If I had been there and been called to speak I would have echoed one of the speakers who was an accounted by starting:

There is an old addage that where more than one economist in a room you will have their number plus one ideas in the room. Well today that is not true with this economist Vince.

While as someone did state if our Green Tax Switch Proposals do have the desired result they will reduce the revenue raised as a result of the change in lifestyle they encourage. That is a bridge that a trust a Liberal Democrat Chancellor of the Exchequer will be more than capable of meeting when he is present at No. 11 having implemented these proposals.

But in this mornings papers and immediately after the policy was passed without amendment I was flicking through both Sky News and BBC News 24, conveniently placed on freeview and they both saying that Sir Humphrey Appleby would be ridiculing these as radical. No doubt he would but he does not exist?

I'm sure that previous premanent secretaries have said to Liberal Minsters you can't abolish slavery, you can't introduce an old age pension etc to many of our radical proposals. I'm gald that the historically radical party is still thinking outside the box. For the good of the poor people that Labour have failed to help. For the good of the planet which both Labour and Tories are currently only failing with their stance of rhetoric alone.

As for the Civil Servants as a former one myself I know that many of them actually enjoy a challenge. Admittedly my personal experience was at the initial period of devolved government in Northern Ireland but my colleagues thrived on being the chance to try new things then. While the civil servants may point out what is not achieveable they also will give their all to succeed.

Sir Humphrey doesn't stand a chance against a fair, simple, green tax system that is bound to engage the populace at large.

They Say It's My Birthday

Last year I spent it campaigning for Charles Dundas in the Livingston by-Election, the year before that I spent most of the day on my way to Conference in Bournemouth. This year I shall have my feet up and watch the Tax debate and Charles Kennedy's speech from my armchair.

Monday 18 September 2006

Great Repeal Act

There have been times that me or somebody I have meet through my life, both political and non-political, has come across some archaic piece of legislation that is still on the statute books that either has no bearing on present day circumstances or has been missed by some subsequent act which deals with a similar issue. Also as Nick Clegg pointed out there is too much Labour legislation of the last 9 years that is redundent before it even hit the statute books.

Well what can we do? Nick wants anybody who feels this way to let him know what he can get rid of in A Great Repeal Act.

A Home for Brighton and Hove

I may not be in Brighton so therefore I didn't get to see the protest first hand that The Clown of Pevensey Bay has been urging other Lib Dem bloggers to post about.

However, I can emphasis with that poster of various comments. For starters I used to live not to distantly from the original home of the English franchise FC, formerly Wimbledon FC now moved to Milton Keynes and known as the MK Dons. I also support what many Scottish fans deem to be the English equivalent of Livingston.

Brighton and Hove Albion fans have been following their team to home games at Gillingham for 2 years before squeezing into the 8,850 seat Withdean Stadium, since the Goldstone Ground was sold in 1997. The club are seeking to build a new stadium at Falmer and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 28 October last year that the application had been successful. As a fan who has lived in fear of losing their team recently I imagine the delight that must have caused.

However, it appears that John Prescott's department made a error in neglecting to notice that some of the car parking was in Lewes Council area and not in Brighton and Hove unitary authority.

Watching from Afar

Well you can tell it is conference session. Normally first thing on a Monday morning there is very little backlog on LibDemBlogs. But clearly all my fellow bloggers have found out how to connect up from Brighton and are busy typing away.

In the meantime I have already seen a number of them on the BBC Parliament Channel yesterday and today so I know that they are not all constantly avoiding the conference hall. The thing about watching the conference on television is the fact that you can sneak out to the toilet or to get food and still hear what is going on in the debates.

Problem Solved

Well done to Connie Fisher for being the winner of the BBC's How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria? to find the leading lady for Lord Andrew Lloyd-Weber and David Ian's production of The Sound of Musicwhich will be opening in the West End on 4 November.

All through the series I was impressed by the consistancy that she brought to her weekly performances and surely this was something that other viewers saw in her as well.

Shame I'm not at work this week as Connie was a call centre worker and working in the same environment may have some of my colleagues buzzing. Especially as a lot of people there have some great talent which is not utilised in they daily task of paying the bills.

Not quite the Ultimate Answer

Blogger wasn't behaving for me on Friday so I apologise for the delay in announcing that this blog made Iain Dale's top 100 Lib Dem Blogs found on this pdf file.

As a Douglas Adam's fan I was somewhat upset not to take the coverted 42nd spot that honour going to Chris Black. Instead I find myself one spot above at 41.

I just hope that I was not deducted points by constantly referring to Iain's blog as Mrs Dale's Diary in my writting. After all who said everything is fair in life and political blogging. This is also not to be taken as a plead to drop one spot in any subsequent list that Iain many produce, in fact I hope to improve on his criteria in future.

I marked each blog out of ten on the following 10 areas: design; frequency of posting; writing ability; personality; comment; humour; range; interaction; popularity; independence of thought. This generated a mark out of 100. - Iain Dale

You can see his list of the top 100 political blogs as well as the top 100 of each of the main parties here on his downloadable guide to political blogging.

Make Trident History

Yesterday evening the Scottish CND march from Faslane to the Scottish Parliament stopped off at Bathgate with just two days march to go. They held a public meeting at St. David's Church at which Bruce Kent, Michael Connarty MP and Fiona Hyslop MSP were the guest speakers. I sat in the audience and was acknowledged by both the local politicians and had passing mention in their comments.

£250 Billion pounds is earmarked as a replacement for the current Trident nucleur deterent. Strange that the UK government and their US buddies should be saying that Iran, North Korean and others should not be allowed to carry on proliferation of nucleur weapons when they themselves are seeking to replace their soon to be redundent systems. We see these countries as a threat and yet maintain a system which by all accounts we have no intention of using.

Last year many people more people marched to Make Poverty History than are on this march for peace. Many people were upset by how little the G8 leaders in the end promised to donate to Make World Poverty History. Yet here we are proposing such large spending on a system that will in all likelihood not be fired in anger just like Trident. It is something which not even Alastair Campbell could spin into being an important weapon in the war on terrorism.

Technology in warfare has moved on since the nucleur option was paraded as the new must have in the 50s and 60s. We now have satilite guided precision weapons which by in large actually take out their target with minimal collateral damage. A nucluer warhead is simply going to have massive civilain repercusions for years and decades after it is used.

Michael Connarty expressed his desire that the vote on replacing Trident be put to a free vote in Westminster, not under the control of the whips. I agree with him on that it would free up many on the Government payrole to vote with their consence and not merely on a party line which has drifted from one camp to the other during the time most Labour MPs have been members of their party.

Do we need a nucleur weapon of mass destruction? If we did threathen to use it shouldn't some country be given liberty to invade us and topple our government? After all this is what we dis to Iraq so we can have no arguments there. So what is the point of having such a weapon?

Let's not replace Trident but use the money far more sensibly.

Wednesday 13 September 2006

Blogger of the Year

While a lot of attention at Brighton next week will be spent on key motions, some people are nervously biting their finger nails for the the first Lib Dem Blogger of the year awards which are due to be announced on Sunday night.

Six worthy nominees there, have yet to announce the odd though.

Another first for the Lib Dems as we are actively seeking to encourage bloggers whereas Labour are doing all that they can to manage their messages and themes centrally, a task in which they are failing spectactularly.

Thursday 7 September 2006

So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Adieu

So Tony is about to name the Date. Maybe we should have a special of the reality show How do you solve a problem called Maria? and line up Gordon Brown, Charles Clarke, Tom Watson et al in bright coloured dungarees so that they can sing to Tony as he prepares to exist stage right.

Watch out for Graham Norton hosting such a show next May.

What Tony said.

What Gordon said.