Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My blog should be red? Think I will stick to orange thanks

Your Blog Should Be Red

Your blog is full of intensity and passion.
You are very opinionated - and people love or hate you for it.
You have the potential to be both a famous and infamous blogger.

My wife wants a bigger one!

Bike that is! What else did you think I meant?

She has done a deal to buy a Harley Davidson Fatboy from a friend of ours. It is currently having a pink and blue paintjob applied to the tank and fenders but the upshot is that her Harley Davidson Sportster needs to go.

It is listed on ebay (see link) and is a beautiful bike. 2004 which means it is rubber mounted unlike older sportsters. Details as follows:

Blue/Black XL883C Sportster, 5,800 miles. Taxed until September. Stage 1, Windshield, Solid Saddle Bags, Custom Grips, Double seat with sissy bar and bag rack. If anyone is interested or knows of anyone who might like such a machine then please click on the link or post a comment to this message (for the right money we are prepared to sell it and remove from ebay)

Liberal Democrat readers please note this machine is NOT stored in a barn in East Lothian!

Tag Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sheffield United players banned from pubs

Brilliant Brilliant - long may this continue.

So now we know why Sheffield (Uniteds) season is starting to collapse around their ears. They have been down the pub too often. But don't worry all you Leeds fans although Warnock has banned them from pubs until the end of the season he is quoted as saying

"This is not an alcohol ban however, they can get drunk at home after the game if they want to."

Please feel free to carry on getting drunk!

Tag Football

British political system faces meltdown

Or so says the BBC in this article reporting on the launch of the report from The Power Inquiry, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy. I have downloaded this and will have a good read over the next few days to see what is in the detail.

I assume that this is linked to Gordon Browns statement about being in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 which I heartily support.

However, most encouraging was the statement that

"The inquiry's Power to the People report calls for a shift in control from
ministers to parliament, and from central to local government. "

Tag Politics

Political parties can prosper even without a leader

At least according to this article in this mornings Guardian

Depending upon the outcome of the ballot this week this might not be a bad idea!

Tag Politics

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I so hope that this is bollocks

This article in todays Indepenedent on Sunday left me gasping at the pure arrogance

Hopefully this is just journalistic rubbish - I hope so but I fear not.

To be selecting your office furniture before the result has been declared let alone before the ballot has closed smacks of arrogance. I also did not like the suggestion that all those who were going to get jobs (in the event of a Campbell victory) would come from amongst Mings backers. Lets face it we are still a relatively small parliamentary party and we cannot afford to waste any of the talents we have at our disposal. I would hate to see the likes of Huhne and Hughes cast out into the wilderness should Campbell win. Similarly I would not expect Hughes or Huhne to lose the talents which Campbell has to offer to the party.

Perhaps someone with "Gravitas" from the Ming Campbell campaign would care to comment on this story

Tag Lib Dems

Normal Service is resumed

Norwich crash 4-1 to Crystal Palace. Reading resume their march to the Premiership and the Championship title following their 2-1 defeat of Preston who themselves were unbeaten in 22 games. Meanwhile the race for the second automatic promotion spot is hotting up as Sheffield are starting to falter losing to QPR and leaving them 12 points adrift of Reading with 10 games to go. Both Watford and the mighty Leeds won yesterday. Watford are now only 7 points behind Sheffield and Leeds are 8 points behind with a game in hand. Were they to win this then they would only be 5 points behind. Come on you Whites!!

Tags Football Reading Leeds

Well I guess this is one way of trying to unify the party

It wouldn't be mine by a country mile

In my opinion people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Campbell clearly had dirty hands in Kennedys assassination and refused to answer the question on question time. Huhne had his hands bloodied but at least he had the guts to stick the knife in the front. Campbell seems to spend a lot of time getting others to do his dirty work for him. This (as I understand it ) was not the first time he had tried to bring down Kennedy and on both occasions his preferred solution to the leadership vacancy that would occur was a coronation for himself.

I also hope that this does not indicate that under a Campbell leadership Huhnes talents or those of anyone else will be wasted on the backbenches.

Tag Lib Dems

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Leadership candidates use web to snare new support

According to this article in the Times Campbell gets 4/5 Huhne, 3/5 and Hughes 2/5 (although I think they missed the separate bloggers for Hughes site) for their campaign sites. I have to say that I thought the Campbell effort on e-campaigning was good although I agree with the comment on the difficulty to navigate but of the three I think this one was the easiest to sign up to if you just wanted information about the candidate and his policies.

Tag Lib Dems

Friday, February 24, 2006

Is Ming getting rattled?

Judging by this article which went up on the Guardian website this afternoon I would say so.

This weekend is really the last push for people to finally make their minds up and get their ballot papers in the post by Monday at the latest and it is clear that Campbell is worried about Huhne and so he should be.

Having failed to execute a coup d'etat (not for the first time I understand) and having failed to achieve his own coronation he has been forced to fight a leadership campaign.

During that campaign Ming Campbell has not impressed me at all. I finally decided to support Simon Hughes after a lot of agonising but Chris Huhne impressed and Campbell went down in my estimation.

Should Campbell win he is going to have to work very hard to address some of his weaknesses and we are all going to have to work out how to deal with the constant questions about the next leadership election. The parliamentary party will also have to show some restraint and ensure that they do not waste a lot of effort on public jostling for position.

Tag Lib Dems

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The honeymoon is over

Good news. Camerons honeymoon is over. At least that is the way it seems if you read the article in todays Guardian. The best quote in the article was as follows:

"Lord Tebbit, former party chairman, compared Mr Cameron's "purge" of Thatcherism to the actions of Pol Pot."

Even more amusingly Robin Harris a speech writer for Thatcher is quoted as saying "There are good reasons why every Tory leader since Margaret Thatcher has started by proclaiming the party's transformation into something kinder, gentler and more leftwing - and then conducted a sharp rightward turn."

Hmmm fascinating. I guess Mr Harris struggles to find the flaw in his argument - namely the thrashing the Tories have received at the last three general elections.

The article then goes on to say that his (Camerons) fate will depend on progress in the polls and performance at the May local elections. I know we are all used to regular changes of Tory leader but I am amazed that the press (albeit The Guardian) are talking about his fate as leader so soon after he was elected. Ho hum. Happy Days

Tag Politics

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dissident? Don't make me laugh

Prince Charles may disagree with many people and many policies but his is hardly the image that springs to mind when one thinks of a dissident. Apparently he regards himself as a "dissident working against the prevailing political consensus".

I find it hard to believe that the british constitution (unwritten though it is) was not a key part of the education of our would be Monarch. If he wants to get involved in politics then fair enough I say but only after he has removed himself from the line of succession.

What will happen when a future King Charles (or is it George?) is faced with a hung parliament and two parties with an equally large number of seats? Which leader will he ask to form a government first? Will it be the one who is most in tune with his policies? and whatever his decision will the british people respect it?

I should imagine that his mother is furious. Better still lets do away with the whole institution.

Tag Politics

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Its Official! We are over it

According to the Guardian we are over the "leadership crisis" and are back at 21% in the opinion polls. In my opinion in no small measure due to the fantastic result achieved in the Dunfermline byelection. Even better Labour is down to its lowest point since the general election at 34%. Hopefully we will pick up some more good coverage when the new leader is announced.

Tag Lib Dems

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hughes for Leader (but he should appoint Huhne as his deputy)

It has taken me along time to decide but finally I have decided to plump for Simon Hughes as my first preference. But he might like to consider Chris Huhne as his deputy.

Ultimately for me it came down to Simons ability to communicate the Liberal Democrat vision across a wide range of topics. He is passionate and inspiring and I feel that these are essential qualities in a leader. He clearly needs to ensure that he has good people around him who can organise him and just as critically ensure that our policies are revisited in a methodical and structured way. Chris Huhne would be ideal for the job

Tag Lib Dems

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The what classic punk band are you? Test

I couldn't resist taking this test and this is the answer I got

The Ramones (actually one of my favourite bands - see my profile)
This is where you belong in the annals of punk history!

You probably don't realize how cool you actually are.

You set the trend by not setting one.

You do what you want and are surprised when other people like doing it your
way. You may be simple but that's just fine.

Who cares, right? you'll go down in history as the stuff of legends, though
you have no idea why; as far as you knew, you were just some stupid person
having some fun, right?

Tag Music

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Big Brother is watching you

An interesting piece by Chris Huhne in the Guardian this morning about the creeping encroachment on our freedoms under the current Labour government.

Locking up people without charge should not be an option in a modern democracy. Luckily enough MP's understand this to have defeated the notion that one can do this for 90 days. And yet Mr Blair still does not get the message and still wants to ram this through - lets hope enough MP's have the courage of their convictions and this measure is defeated again.

Then there is the abuse of anti terrorism legislation. Who can forget the absurd situation at the Labour Party Conference where Walter Wolfgang was arrested under the prevention of terrorism legislation for the "heinous" crime of having shouted 'Nonsense' during a speech by Jack Straw defending the governments policy on Iraq.

To say nothing of everyday life in a country where CCTV cameras and Number Plate recognition cameras are everywhere and where ID cards are to be introduced which will hold all sorts of data about our citizens with I suspect very few safeguards against abuse.

All of which puts me in mind of the TV advert I keep seeing where the long distance lorry driver is lost on the way to Albuquerque when pulled up by the woman in the middle of the road sat at a desk. She goes on to explain that she knows that they are lost because of the RFID tags attached to the goods.

There is something about this advert that puzzles and scares me. Puzzles me because I cannot imagine what the benefit is of advertising this technology to the general public (as opposed to corporations) and scares me because somehow the thought that my jeans could have an RFID tag in them and that ultimately the technolgy to link that pair of jeans to me and track me round the world is a possibilty that I find somewhat scary!

Don't forget big brother is watching you.

Tag Politics

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Revised Pros and Cons

Just my opinion after reading the comments so far so I have only change my list if I agree with the comment that was made

Hughes Pros

The most passionate and inspiring speaker who communicates a positive Lib Dem vision

Bigger constituency majority.

Experience in parliament.

Deeper understanding over a broad range of subjects.

Energy and enthusiasm.

Best placed to make lead the Lib Dems in making inroads into Labour seats.

Hughes Cons

Not the most coherent when arguing policy detail (seems too long winded and unfocussed). His manner can appear a little disordered.

Lack of time keeping.

Setting unrealistic targets e.g. 100,000 members whilst president. Making them public (and possibly not following through on them).

Judgement e.g. the long equivocation over his sexuality and inability to make a clear stand on being bisexual and not gay (e.g. on Question Time). Also his inability to understand that (at present) the vast majority of the general public do not differentiate between gay and bisexual.

Huhne Pros

Experience as an ecomomist, journalist and MEP.

Great on Taxation and Economy.

Good on policy generally.

Strong on subsidiarity

Good organisational skills

Has created a credible campaign seemingly from nowhere.

Huhne Cons

Lack of experience as an MP.

Small majority (maybe his profile as leader will help but it will also make him a target).

Came across as weaker in non areas other than the economy.

Lacks passion and charisma in presenting his case.

Tag Lib Dems

Hughes bloggers fight back

After a slow start when all the visitors seemed to be pro Huhne the bloggers for Hughes made a sterling effort to fight back. I also had a phone call last night from a Hughes supporter who stressed two key areas. 1. The vision thing and 2. Who is best placed to lead a charge to take seats off labour at the next general election. I may revise the list of pros and cons later but in the end I think it will come down to which factors are most important to me to decide who gets that 1st preference.

Tag Lib Dems

Monday, February 13, 2006

Where are the Bloggers for Hughes? Are they running late?

Slightly worried since posting my pros and cons for voting for "Hughes vs Huhne" that all the comments on this thread so far "appear" to be from those who are pro Huhne and anti Hughes

Perhaps the bloggers for Hughes browse the net at different times of the day but whatever I would welcome their input into what so far appears to be a very one sided debate.

Tag Lib Dems

Hughes vs Huhne

Ok now comes the difficult bit. For reasons which I have already documented here Ming Campbell has now become my third choice which at least makes life a little easier. The difficult bit is weighing up the pros and the cons of the two remaining contenders for my first preference.

So here is a brief resume of my list of pros and cons so far

Hughes Pros

The most passionate and inspiring speaker who communicates a positive Lib Dem vision

Bigger constituency majority.

Experience in parliament.

Deeper understanding over a broad range of subjects.

Energy and enthusiasm.

Hughes Cons

Not the most coherent when arguing policy detail (seems too long winded and unfocussed).

His manner can appear a little disordered.

Lack of time keeping.

Setting unrealistic targets e.g. 100,000 members whilst president (and possibly not following through on them).

Judgement e.g. the long equivocation over his sexuality and inability to make a clear stand on being bisexual and not gay (e.g. on Question Time). Also his inability to understand that (at present) the vast majority of the general public do not differentiate between gay and bisexual.

Huhne Pros

Experience as an ecomomist, journalist and MEP.

Great on Taxation and Economy.

Good on policy generally.

Has created a credible campaign seemingly from nowhere.

Huhne Cons

Lack of experience as an MP.

Small majority (maybe his profile as leader will help but it will also make him a target).

Came across as weaker in non areas other than the economy.

Lacks passion and charisma in presenting his case.

So what does everyone else think? Are there other strong arguments for or against Simon or Chris that I ought to weigh in the balance before casting my vote?

Tag Lib Dems

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Slough Hustings Report

Here is my personal view of the hustings in Slough this morning.

The meeting got off to a great start as we were addressed by our 63rd MP Willie Rennie although the meeting got underway a little late as we were waiting for Simon Hughes!

All three candidates did a speech.

CAMPBELL– He made a reasonable speech, good on poverty and the war in Iraq but seemed weak on environmental issues. Score 7/10

HUGHES – He was very clear that there should be no move to the right on the public services. Talked about the connection between local control of services and democracy and the propensity to vote. Also talked about the need for a Bill of Rights and a written constitution all good stuff. He was also very strong on being anti nuclear energy and pro renewables. He was also supportive of the need for a higher tax rate and the need to take people out of tax at the lower end whilst tackling pensions and debt. He also stressed that we have to very aware that we do not become seen as the tax and spend party. Score 9/10

HUHNE – He was a bit questionable about Iraq. Very good section on public services and the need to devolve power and control. He was also very good on the need to reduce our Nuclear deterrent and that fact that when it came to replace Trident we need to ensure that we do not continue to fight the cold war. Score 8/10

After a break we moved on to a question and answer session


CAMPBELL - Came across as concerned on global warming but weak on specifics. Not keen on Huhnes policies and worried about the impact on electors in rural constituencies who rely on the Motor Car. Score 4/10

HUGHES – Came across as very strong on green energy and on the need to reduce our energy consumption Score 9/10

HUHNE – Address Campbells concerns on taxation very well I thought and stressed that the size of the problem meant that we could not let the rural tail wag the urban dog. We had to be aware of these issues and find ways to ameliorate the problem but that should not stop us from going forward Score 8/10


CAMPBELL – Key issues were to ensure that there was no selection and to oppose any privatisation of the schools system. Early Years education was vital and we should continue to be opposed to Tuition Fees. Score 6/10

HUGHES – A common admission systems was vital. We should stop legislating so much as it half of the problem. It is far more critical to have a good well trained head teacher and staff. We should introduce a power of general competence for local councils. It is also important to ensure that school buildings were used as a genuine community resource was also a priority. He was also very strong on the need to support and fund the Youth Service and appropriate facilities. Score 8/10

HUHNE - It was vital that we supported Comprehensive education. This must be under local control. Schools should not be allowed to select their pupils. It was also important to open up avenues of a more practical nature for kids who are not engaged by the academic side. Score 7/10


CAMPBELL – Concerned about the differential in life expectancy – in fact where he comes from has the lowest life expectancy in the UK!. Getting rid of VAT on renovations of properties would help people to live in healthier conditions. Local education authorities should stop selling off playing fields. Score 5/10

HUGHES – Equality of Income and wealth was very important as this tended to lead to three things. 1.Greater equality of health. 2. Greater equality of educational opportunities. 3. Lower levels of crime and disorder. The balance between provision of acute services and education / prevention needed to be addressed and shifted towards prevention. Information on health issues needed to be provided to the general public in more easily understandable forms such as “five pieces of fruit and veg per day” Score 8/10

HUHNE – Preventative medicine was very important – but that seems to be where cuts strike first Score 3/10


CAMPBELL – Supported the 50p top rate. But it was important for everyone to remember that party conference makes such decisions. The purpose of taxation should always be defined and we did not want to talk up taxation issues too much. “Careless talk costs votes” Local income tax was very important but we needed to explain it better. Score 6/10

HUGHES – We need to be robust about our own policies. It was important that the tax commission has as wide a remit as possible. We need fairer taxes not higher taxes although we should consider windfall taxes in some areas. Example was windfall increase in land values due to the Jubilee line in London. There should be a higher rate of tax above 40p but the exact rate and where it cuts in should be decided nearer to the next general election. Presentation of Local Income Tax at the last general election was poor and across the board we need to look at the way we target and present our message to different groups so that it is understandable. Score 7/10

HUHNE – Capping of pension relief would be a different way of taxing high earners as an alternative to a higher tax rate. High rates of marginal tax for those coming off benefits etc is a real issue. He would use the income from further green taxes to take the poorest out of the tax system altogether. Those on a minimum wags should not be paying tax. Score 8/10


CAMPBELL - Why does he keep saying things that make me not want to vote for him? He will not connect with people if he continues to talk as if he is from a bygone era by referring to “The Motor Car” etc. His reference to party conference (whilst true) came across as a bit of I don’t know how to answer this one so I will defer to the members. On his good issues such as International affairs he is very good but on other topics he comes across as someone who is a bit behind the times. I have also been concerned that his large number of MP’s is in part explained by those who have an interest in having another leadership contest five years down the road. This has two problems. Firstly people may not be genuinely supporting him because they believe that he is the best candidate and secondly we are in danger of facing a Blair / Brown type situation where there are constant stories about when the next leadership contest will be and who the contenders might be. For me I am sad to say that he has slipped to third choice.

HUGHES- Was the real surprise package for me. I had written him off altogether but (despite being late) he came across really well across a broad range of subjects and seemed the most passionate of the three. Maybe his long experience in parliament and the large range of portfolios which he has held has some benefit after all. Time keeping is clearly an issue and were he to become leader then someone will need to be appointed with a ruthless brief to keep him on schedule.

HUHNE – Clearly demonstrated that he is a real contender (as he did on Question Time) and is not just making up the numbers. On some areas such as the economy and taxation he comes across really well and if he doesn’t win the parliamentary party needs to make more use of his skills. The key question is whether or not with time, briefing and experience he can command respect over a wide range of topics.

So my current order is :

    1. Hughes or Huhne
    2. Hughes or Huhne
    3. Campbell

Tag Lib Dems

Royals beat Saints

Reading cruised to victory over saints tonight winning 2-0 and never looked seriously threatened. They are now 13 points clear of 2nd and 24 clear of third.

Now just hoping that Leeds can overcome Derby and that Sheffield Utd slip up away to Plymouth before facing Reading on Tuesday

Tag Football Reading

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thoughts on Question Time

First off I was glad to see that Campbell was asked the question about having a hand in Kennedys fall although of course he ducked it completely.

Clearly some of the audience felt that Hughes had lost some credibility over the revelations of his sexuality. Hughes response looked fairly nervous and flaky and seemed to have a touch of desperation about it although a later comment got a more supportive reaction from the audience.

Hughes made an aside about the decision on the Iraq war and the fact the Huhne had not yet joined the parliamentary party at that point which was I felt a little below the belt. Campbell was very strong on the Iraq withdrawal question and his response was well received by the audience. Huhne made a better case for withdrawal than Hughes I felt. The Huhne line being that we are in danger of being part of the problem whereas the Hughes line seemed to be that we had to withdraw following the election otherwise we might be there for ever.

The redistribution of wealth issue was interesting. I thought Huhne was good and I liked the linking of taxation and redistribution of wealth in with pensions policy which is a big area for us to address. Hughes started well on this question but his statement about the increase in the property values near a new station will have left many people cold.

The Hung Parliament / Coalition Question. Campbell would banish the words hung parliament. Huhne wants to get our policies through. Hughes said we need to get a larger number of MPs so that every vote is decisive and people can see how Lib Dems affect things. All seem to concur that Electoral Reform is a critical precondition to entering coalitions. Hughes was also very strong on elected regional government and removing powers from Quangos.

Experience in Parliament . Huhne argued that he has other experience as well as being an MEP good point but Hughes also made a valid point about long experience of holding governments of different hues to account. Huhnes comeback about journalists having the skill to ask pithy questions went down well. Campbell said that in order to take advantage of Kennedys legacy it was vital to have that long experience. Hughes stated that the general public feel that MPs are out of touch and make laws that are not needed. Parliament needs to better reflect the UK society as whole.

Hughes was questioned about his digs at Ming being a safe pair of hands and Huhnes lack of campaigning experience and denied it all.

They were asked about their biggest mistake. Huhnes was slagging off a German MEP and then realising that he needed his vote on another issues and that you had to learn to respect other points of view. Campbells was believing that rational argument will always prevail – you need battalions (of MPs) to win votes. Hughes did not provide a personal mistake and opted for the party making a mistake by missing out a core statement of values at the last election –freedom fairness and trust should have been in the manifesto

My overall thoughts were as follows : When Hughes was strong he was better than the other two but at several points he looked shaky and worse than the others. He also ducked the mistake question and there is clearly a problem about what has or has not been said by his campaign about the other two candidates. Huhne I felt did well and is definitely in the running from being a complete outsider. Campbell seemed to start a little nervously although he got better as it went on. He ducked the Kennedy Assassination question and also bizarrely repeated the fact that he had been in hospital during the anti war march two or three times. I will be interested to see how they do on Saturday but my current leaning is as follows

    1. HUHNE
    3. HUGHES

Tag Lib Dems

Great Result for Willie Rennie in Dunfermline

Congratulations to Willie Rennie and the Lib Dem team in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election.

What a great answer to all those critics who said that recent weeks had seriously damaged the partys standing.

and the few quid from the bookies won't go amiss either!

Tag Lib Dems

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Huhne marginally but....

Huhne is marginally ahead in my book but only based on 3 wonderful posts on Alex Wilcocks blog (see link). If I had to make my decision on this basis then I would probably plump for Huhne but still worried about his majority and the chances that the tories will throw the kitchen sink at Eastleigh

However I am not making my mind up on this basis so I am off to watch Question Time in a minute and then I will go to the Hustings in Slough on Saturday

Tag Lib Dems

Hughes & Huhne campaigns go AWOL

The lack of e-campaigning from the Hughes and Huhne campaigns has puzzled me. I registered with all three campaigns in their different ways in the hope that I would get to see what each candidate had to say and make my mind up accordingly.

So far I have had 11 electronic contacts from the Campbell campaign, 3 from Hughes and 3 from Huhne. In addition to this I have had 3 printed communications from Huhne, 2 from Campbell and 1 from Hughes plus the booklet with my ballot paper.

Now lack of printed communications I can understand as it is expensive to produce and send out but I am baffled at the lack of email communications from the Hughes and Huhne campaigns.

Tag Lib Dems

The Jurys still out

At least according to the Guardian it is. The article goes on to say

Yet this contest is primarily about the manner, approach and tactics of the
contenders, not their political direction. The candidates' programmes are
remarkably similar and offer little to challenge the views of grassroot Lib
Dems, who are determined to defend their power in deciding what they stand for.

and I would concur so far. As has been said elsewhere I shall wait for tonights Question Time and Saturdays hustings in Slough before marking the candidates and seeing where that leaves me

Tag Lib Dems

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Huhne Credibility shot to pieces

Just as I was coming round to the idea that Chris Huhne was serious contender I saw the article in the Times on line (see link).
He lives, he tells The Times after some prompting, in his Hampshire constituency
and Clapham, South London, is married with three children and two stepchildren,
drives an environmentally friendly hybrid car and supports Chelsea and
Southampton football teams.

How someone can support two teams is beyond me. I just hope that this is normal journalistic inaccuracy and that he supports Southampton and follows Chelsea (or vice-versa). To me it is impossible to "Support" two teams. I support Leeds and follow Reading. My son supports Reading and follows Leeds. Neither of us support both teams and when they play each other we are in different ends.

Tag Lib Dems Football Leeds Reading

Campbell and Huhne Square Up

Judging by the reports in yesterdays Guardian Campbelland Huhne now see themselves as the main rivals to win the leadership battle. I guess that may make the 2nd preferences of Simon Hughes supporters critical to both candidates as to who will ultimately win this contest.

I guess I am also slightly concerned about the tone of some of this although I guess it is entirely natural. I just hope the entire parliamentary party will get back on an even keel following the election and give their wholehearted support to the new leader (whoever it is)

Tag Lib Dems

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Reading (reserves) lose

Reading lost 2-1 in the FA cup tonight to Premiership Birmingham.

Having watched the game on Sky I felt that Reading, with eight changes from the first choice team, pretty much held their own.

I guess Reading will not be too disappointed given that the result now leaves them free to concentrate on getting to the Premiership.

Meanwhile last night Watford beat Sheffield United 4-1 leaving Leed 11 points behind 2nd with a game in hand. I can dream I guess. It seems unlikely but the perfect finish to the season would be for Leeds to sneak into that 2nd automatic promotion spot!

Tag Football Reading

Ming to stand for re-election

This is great given that the result of the election will not be known until March.

Sadly this highlights one of my major concerns about Ming. If he is 65 this year then he will be 68 or 69 by the time the next election is called and therefore assuming he was to be re-elected as Leader in 2009/10 he would be 73/74 by the time of the following election. Even assuming he is fit and healthy I think there will be a big problem with the public perception particularly going into the second election.

The other problem with this statement is that it is difficult to know where Ming stands and what he is standing for. Is he standing with a view to still being the leader in 2013/14 or is he standing as the safe pair of hands candidate to take us through to the next election following which we may have a wider choice of more experienced candidates? I am not clear.

I have revised my list of criteria slightly as follows :
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Safety of own seat
  • Appeal to electorate
  • Support of MP's in Parliament
  • Environmental Policy
  • Policy on coalitions
  • Economic/Taxation Policy

I will hopefully get to the hustings in Slough on Saturday and see how they all perform.

Tag Lib Dems

Monday, February 06, 2006

Talking about my generation

Interesting piece from the BBC about respect and the attitudes between generations. Congratulations to Liberal Democrat Councillor Jane Hollis for getting involved in this discussion and it was good to see her quoted on the Conservatives decision to contract out.
Liberal Democrat councillor Jane Hollis calls the local Conservative led
council's recent decision to contract out the services an "absolute

What was even better was to see that all involved in the panel young and old unanimously opposed the cuts in the funding for youth services.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Which sex are you

Went to a great wedding this weekend (hence no other updates to my blog)

It was a wonderful day with lots of friendly people, a beautiful bride and a blushing bridegroom (at least after the speeches)

I took the opportunity to give the kilt an outing. There was some great country dancing with a caller. It was an absolute hoot. We were not very good although this was aided by the mix of people dancing. When the caller says "Now the man swings the woman" and your group consists of one married couple, one lesbian couple and two gay couples things tend to get rather confusing. Still a brilliant time was had by all!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

BNP leader should resign

I fail to see how the BNP leader and his colleague could be acquitted but there you go its a funny old world

If the BNP leader is not a racist and is not guilty of stirring up racial hatred then (presumably) he should resign as the Leader of the BNP for failing to lead his party!!

Tag Politics

How to decide 1-2-3

I am still pondering the question of how to vote in the leadership election. I guess the matter is not yet pressing as I have a few weeks before I have to make my final decision and as we all know a week is a long time in politics and a lot can happen between now and then.

I can see strengths and weaknesses for all three candidates. I have spoken to supporters of Ming, Chris and Simon who have all made strong arguments for their candidate.

Maybe I should draw up a table, list the factors that are important to me and then score each candidate out of 5 for each factor. Add up the numbers and vote accordingly.

So what factors might be important (to me) in deciding how to split the three candidates - following a quick brainstorm I have come up with this initial list

  • Experience
  • Gravitas
  • Age
  • Safety of own seat
  • Appeal to electorate
  • Support of MP's in Parliament
  • Environmental Policy
  • Policy on coalitions
  • Economic/Taxation Policy

Maybe there are some others but that is my initial list

Tag Lib Dems

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The promised land awaits!! [Amended]

I know at least one reader of this blog is going to be very disappointed as Reading thrashed Norwich 4-0.

A weird game as Reading had handed out plastic cards with "Be Proud Be Loud" on one side and "Bring It on" on the other before the game. These were waved before the game and then seemed to descend into a barrage of paper darts some of which only narrowly missed the players on the pitch.

Reading were absolutely rampant throughout this game and looked like scoring more as they bombarded Norwhich with wave after wave of attacks.

To be fair if Norwich had someone who could hit a barn door then they would have scored at least one and possibly two. Etuhu was the main culprit but Huckerby was a shadow of the player I saw in the Championship two seasons ago.

For the final 15 minutes the Reading fans were urging the players to pass to Murty (Readings Right Back), urging Murty to get in the box, urging Murty to shoot from the half way line and threatening to invade the pitch if Murty scored. All this because Murty is the only Reading outfield player not to have scored this season.

Reading are now ten points clear of second with a +50 goal difference and are 21 points clear of third. The promised land awaits!!

Amended to add link to report of the match in the Guardian

Tag Football Reading