Tuesday, January 31, 2006

100th Death in Iraq

So the 100th UK death in Iraq has occurred. I realise this is small beer by comparison with the American statistics to say nothing of the number of Iraqi dead but nonetheless very real for those families affected personally by this. That is before one considers the thousands of UK casualties - all for an illegal war predicated on the premise of "Weapons of Mass destruction" which didn't exist.

Tag Politics

Huhne outflanks Ming

At least that is how the Guardian sees it where it reports that Huhne is calling for the withdrawal of all British troops by the end of the year. Interestingly he also calls for parliament to be the final arbiter of a decision on a replacement for Trident (I would be shocked by any suggestion that parliament should not make this decision) and goes on to suggest that the nuclear deterrent should be reigned in.

I have to say that I have great sympathy with both of these viewpoints.

On Iraq we should never have been there in the first place and although I have concerns about how easy or practical it will be to withdraw it interesting that Chris Huhne is able to cite General Sir Mike Jackson as saying that a withdrawal this year was "well within the range of what is realistically possible"

On the nuclear front a reduction has to be a positive to say nothing of the financial savings - maybe these could be put into the development of alternative energy sources

Tag Lib Dems

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Beastie Returns

At last my pride and joy is back home

It has been away for about six weeks having some more chrome added and a few other bits and pieces done. The paintwork is now completely different as you will see in the picture which is below. This is a set of tank and fenders which I got from ebay for £320 - a bargain. The original set are now awaiting completion of the design work for new paintwork themed on the 17th Airborne division who were based at Greenham Common during World War 2. Once that is done this paintwork will disappear and probably be reauctioned on ebay.

Tags Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Fatboy with new paintwork Posted by Picasa

Tag Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Gloves come off

I really wish this sort of commentary in this mornings Guardian would stop.

The gloves came off in the Liberal Democrat leadership race yesterday as Chris Huhne suggested that his rival Simon Hughes was no longer a serious contender after coverage of his personal life.

I did see a really good piece on another Blog yesterday with regard to Chris Huhne


This piece really got me thinking about his possible strengths as we go forward - still worried about his lack of experience though. And I wish the candidates and the media would get away from commenting on each other and we could see more about what they propose to do, how they propose to lead the party and in what direction.

Tag Lib Dems

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Members leave over bisexuality! Good Riddance

According to that well known Murdoch organ the Sunday Times some Lib Dem members are leaving the party because of Simon Hughes bisexuality. If this is really the case (and I have my doubts) then all I can say is good riddance. If this is really how these people feel then what on earth were they doing as members of the Liberal Democrats in the first place is beyond me. I am proud to be a member of a party that believes that all people should be treated equally and fairly and without discrimination regardless of their sexuality. If these people do not subscribe to the same view then I think they were probably in the wrong party all along.

Tag Lib Dems

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Government proposes a return to preventative healthcare

I was delighted to read this article which trailers the governments health white paper which is due to be published on Monday.


I wasn't entirely convinced by the Lib Dem response as quoted in this piece - lets hope that we were just underquoted. We should wholeheartedly support these proposals and go further. We should call on the Labour government to reverse the charges for eye tests and dental check ups which were introduced by the previous Conservative government.

Tag Politics

Reading vs Birmingham

Just back from the game where the Championship leaders easily held the Premiership strugglers. I can certainly see why Birmingham are struggling so much in the Premiership this season.

As far as I could tell the Birmingham side was pretty much a first choice team with the exception of the two centre backs where Alex Bruce and Olivier Tebily started due to injuries and suspension.

Meanwhile the Reading side contained 8 players that I would not consider to be first choice starts in a Championship league game.

Reading deservedly went ahead through Shane Long in what was only his third start for the club. This guy along with Kevin Doyle have to be the finds and the bargains of the season! Reading signed them together during the summer for a combined fee of approximately £80,000. Kevin Doyle is one of the leading scorers in the Championship and was recently valued in the paper at £2.5m

Reading had easily the best of the first half and were doing ok in the second half until Steve Bruce carried out a triple substitution. Birmingham had the better of the later exchanges and equalised through David Dunn but Reading hung on to earn a replay

Laugh of the game was the big fat bloke with no shirt and the Reading fans in full flight singing "Have you ever seen your dick?"

If Reading can play like this against Premiership opposition with a reserve team then their chances of making it to the Premiership and staying there look hopeful.

Tag Football Reading

Friday, January 27, 2006

Youngest Supports Oldest

So Jo Swinson the youngest Lib Dem MP at present supports the oldest of the three candidates


I still cannot make up my mind on Ming. He clearly has gravitas and experience. Having him as leader will allow time for a younger generation of Lib Dem MPs to develop. He clearly comes across as a credible politician. I just wonder about his age. Not because I believe that his age will prevent him from doing a job but because I worry that the public at large will be concerned about it come the next general election.

On the other hand go for a young new MP like another party and you could face the criticism of inexperience.

Tag Lib Dems

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sex and Public Speaking

The BBC news health section has just published this great article entitled "Sex 'cuts public speaking stress' "


Given the events of the last week or so it explains a lot. In fact there is now a good medical reasons for all us politicians to have as much sex as possible!

A Plea to Ming and Chris

Well the campaign for Leader seems to be continuing in the same vein. Today we have revelations that Simon Hughes is bisexual.

Frankly I am getting a little sick of all this. I couldn't care less about peoples sexuality and I wish we could get back to a sensible debate about the future direction of the Liberal Democrats and who will make the best leader to take us forward.

So a plea to Ming and Chris.

If you have anything that you would like to tell the press can you please arrange to do so by the end of the week?

Then can we please start talking about the real issues

Tag Lib Dems

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nominations Close

So it is official

There are three candidates to be the new leader of the Liberal Democrats and I am no closer to deciding how to vote

I think Nick Clegg might make a great leader in the future - but it is too early for him this time around. I notice he is backing Ming so maybe that says something.

Ming has gravitas and experience and would doubtless command the respect and support of the parliamentary party but will his age tell against him?

Simon would also no doubt command the support of his parliamentary colleagues and would I am sure be popular with the activists but would he be so popular with the country at large?

Huhne I feel is possibly one for the future. He is definitely bright and has much experience as an MEP but would he need to spend more time making sure that the parliamentary party was behind him? I don't know

and I am still no closer to deciding how to vote

but I am open to arguments

Tag Lib Dems

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sven-Goran Eriksson to go...but not yet

So Sven is to go but not until after the world cup. Oh and probably with a payoff of £5m.


I realise I am probably in a minority on this one but the in my opinion he should have been sacked

Not because of all his affairs - that is his business

Not because he was gullible enough to be conned by the papers

Not because he alleges there is corruption in the game - he is probably right

Not because he wants to discuss future employment prospects

But because (and this is a point which seems to have been missed by most of the media) he was prepared to approach Beckham and persuade him to return to english football. As far as I know Beckham is under contract to Real Madrid and an approach like this is known as "tapping up". That is why he should have been sacked...and no compensation either!

Tag Football

Details Political Introduction

I was first elected onto Newbury District Council in 1992 and was re-elected on three further occasions before standing down in 2003. Post held include : Deputy Leader 1995 to 1997, Chair of Ruling Group 2001 to 2003, Chair of Public Protection Committee 1996 to 1998, Executive Member for Public Protection and Waste 2001 to 2003. I was Chair of Newbury Constituency during the by-election in 1993. I have stood for Parliament at each of the last three elections. From 1992 I was involved in efforts to return the former Greenham Common Airbase to public use. I took part along with others in meetings which led to the establishment of the Greenham Common Trust. From 1999 to 2002 I was the Chairman of Greenham Committee which was responsible for drafting the Greenham and Crookham Common Act which the council was promoting through Parliament. The bill received Royal Assent in May 2002. I am currently Chairman of the Greenham and Crookham Common Commission which was set up by the Act of Parliament to oversee the management of the common. I am also a Director of New Greenham Park Ltd which runs the business park on behalf of the Greenham Common Trust.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Well this is my first attempt at blogging so I will post a brief introduction to this blog to get something up on the blog and so I can start to see how this thing works.

So why Ballots, Balls and Bikes ?

Well Ballots because I have an interest in politics. I am a member of the Lib Dems, was a councillor for 11 years and have stood for parliament on 3 occasions. An interesting time to start blogging if you are a Lib Dem!

Balls because I love Football - A Leeds fan all my life I spend most of life watching Reading with my son who is a life long Reading fan. I support Leeds and follow Reading. He supports Reading and follows Leeds

and finally Bikes because my great love (apart from my wife and kids) is my Harley Davidson Fatboy which is constantly being customised and is a bit of an ongoing project.