Sunday, April 30, 2006

Majestic Reading break record

Reading finished off the season with a 2-1 win over QPR. Their football was not quite the flowing stuff we have been used to and they failed to get the third goal which would have made them the first team ever to get 100 goals and 100 points in the same season. They did however break Sunderlands record for the highest number of points in a league season finishing on 106. The last goal of the season was a penalty scored 7 minutes from full time by Graeme Murty readings Captain and right back and the only first choice outfield player not to have scored this season. As we left the ground after the presentation of the Championship trophy my son and I agreed that were unlikely to ever see such a season again. We have been truly privileged to see such a side and watch some awesome football.

Meanwhile the Leeds United manager seemed determined to worry only about the playoffs and not about who had the home leg first. He made numerous changes effectively playing a reserve team by dropping Rob Hulse, Sean Derry, Eddie Lewis, Liam Miller, Gary Kelly, Stephen Crainey and captain Paul Butler. It remains to be seen whether or not this will pay off in the play off semis. On the plus side some key players will be rested and on the down side confidence may have been damaged and home advantage for the second leg has been forfeit.

Update on Reading records this season taken from Hob Nob

League Records Records beaten Highest points 106
Consecutive games unbeaten (outside top tier) 33
Consecutive away games unbeaten 17
Earliest promotion to top tier 25th March
Fewest defeats in a season (46 games) 2

Records Equalled

Most home wins in a season (2nd tier) 19
Highest away goal difference(2nd tier) 23
Highest points at home (2nd tier) 60

In addition to the above there were club records as well

Club Records Records beaten

Highest goal difference 67
Highest away goal difference 23
Fewest goals conceded in a season 32
Fewest away goals conceded in a season 18
Most wins in a season 31
Consecutive games scoring more than 1 goal 13
Consecutive wins by more than 1 goal 8
Fewest games with more than 1 goal conceded 6

Lazy and deceitful - Mr Clarke that is

So says Rachel from North London. I have been reading her blog on and off for a while now and she is linked from my blog as well. She was caught up in the 7/7 bombings when a bomb went off in her tube train very close to where she was. She has been blogging about all sorts of 7/7 related stuff ever since and I take my hat off to her. She has met Mr Clarke and appears to have finally reached the end of her tether with him.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Blogging Against Disablism Day - 1st May 2006

See this link for an interesting idea to get people talking about an issue. I for one have signed up and will post something on Monday

Thailand - Courts suspend elections

The top judges from the three main judicial institutions in Thailand (the Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional courts) met yesterday and decided to suspend todays by-elections in the 14 unfilled seats. According to this piece on BBC online they may nullify the whole election process and order a complete rerun of the April 2nd elections.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Labour on the ropes

What a day yesterday was. The Lib Dems on 24 % or as much as 28% in the areas that will matter next week according to Bob Worcester.

Then the Labour Party starts to self destruct in front of our eyes.

The "two shags" story will probably disappear as fast as it appeared unless there are further revelations. Prescott is in any case (in my opinion) a bit of an exception. Partly because nobody takes him that seriously, partly because everybody assumes he will go when Blair goes and partly because a lot of people seem him as a quite amusing "jack the lad" who can be relied upon to mangle the English language at the drop of a hat.

The issues surrounding the NHS are unlikely to go away quite so easily despite all the extra money put in by this government. Patricia Hewitts reception at the Royal College of Nursing conference in Bournemouth was hardly surprising but add to the overall picture of an embattled government in crisis. And this issue will run and run. The cuts in staffing and the resolution of the deficits in the National Health Service will take some considerable time to resolve.

As for Mr Clarke he is being urged to resign. He should resign if only because of the 288 foreign offenders that were released after he knew about the problem in July 2005. However he shows no signs of being willing to go and it looks as if Tony Blair wants to hang on to him.

What Next?

Tag Politics

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thai judges to meet to resolve crisis

It now appears that the judges will not await the outcome of the run off on Saturday. Instead they will meet on Friday at the request of the King who has asked them to resolve the constitutional crisis

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lib Dems up to 24%!

Excellent news when you consider where we were just some three months ago. Also at last it appears that all Labours recent woes (The Mills scandal, Loans for Peerages, the problems with various pieces of legislation and the troubles in the NHS) are starting to be reflected in the opinion polls.

Tag Politics Lib Dems

More by-elections in Thailand

The latest from Thailand is that 13 seats were unfilled last weekend and there will probably be run offs this weekend according to the BBC. According to The Nation (see here) There will be a further election in the 13 seats on Saturday after which the Electoral Commission will declare the election over regardless of the outcome. Only then will the political parties approach the Constitutional Court for a ruling.

Monday, April 24, 2006

New Blog Design

Having fiddled about a lot myself I have brought in an expert to gave the blog a professional makeover

Changes include : -

  • The new header
  • A move back to one sidebar
  • A consolidation of all the links into drop downs
  • The introduction of categories or tags

Hope everyone likes it - let me know what you think

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thai elections still deadlocked

Today was the day for the rerun in those constituencies which failed to elect an MP on 2nd April. Many voters stayed away again and according to the BBC it looks as if at least 10 constituencies have failed to elect an MP this time round. This is a problem because parliament is supposed to convene within 30 days of an election but it cannot do so unless all 500 seats have been filled.

However a report in The Nation indicates that the election commission may consider its job done and refuse to hold further elections leaving the political parties to petition The Constitutional Court about convening the House of Representatives without all the seats filled.

Tag Thailand

The new Fatboy

This is my wifes new Fatboy which should be with us soon. As you can see it has been repainted in Pink and Blue and as soon as the Sportster is sold we will have room for it. Somebody is bouncing around the ceiling in anticipation.

Tag Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Three cheers for Lembit

Great piece in this weeks Lib Dem News by Lembit Opik on the issue of how we supply our energy needs in the future. For me he hits the nail on the head with his three key points although I am willing to admit that I was not aware of his second point (see below)

His key points were

1. We need to use less and a carbon tax would help. He also rightly points out that we are all guilty of this and need to be vigilant in switching things off

2. Power needs to be generated and delivered locally. Apparently two thirds of the energy we generate is lost through transportation before it reaches the consumer. That figure is absolutely stunning. If we could generate and deliver power more locally we would need a hell of a lot less of it.

3. Switch to renewables. He also points out that we need to explore the full range of renewable options and stop focusing on wind turbines

Finally he mentions the Centre for Alternative Technology. Ok ok it is in his constituency. But this place is amazing. I have visited myself and can highly recommend it to anyone who is in the area. Otherwise visit their website by clicking here

Tag Politics Lib Dems Environment

Friday, April 21, 2006

Voters Revolt

I was sent a link to a relatively new site this morning.

The site is called Voters Revolt and claims that it "was born out of deep anger and frustration at a political establishment which over the decades has increasingly treated the British public with contempt"

I have not yet explored the whole site but I find much there that I agree with.

If you want to see their site click here.

Tag Politics

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why people vote

Psychologists have come up with this formula as part of the Electoral Commission's attempts to get more people to vote in the local elections this year. Anything which can get some of the very low turnouts up has to be worth a try I guess.

Tag Politics

Why a Harley Davidson Fatboy?

We are somewhat fans of the Harley Davidson Fatboy in this house. I have owned one for four years and my wife is in the process of acquiring one (pictures to follow sometime soon). If you read this review from American V you will see why.

Tag Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My own town for a mere $1,750,000

Now all I need to do is win the lottery and get pre approved to bid. No problem then! What an amazing ebay auction. Just click here to see it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reading reserves easily beat Stoke

In some senses this was a nothing game. Reading had already secured Premiership status for next season and the Championship title for this season. On the other hand there was still much to play for as Reading went into this game on 99 points and having scored 93 goals this season. The all time record of 105 points is within their reach and they could still become the first to do a double 100 by reaching 100 points and scoring 100 goals in the process.

Reading started the game unusually in a 4-3-3 formation with what was in effect a reserve team with 6 first choice players not starting many of whom were not even on the bench. Once the three substitutions had been made Reading were down to two first choice players on the pitch and three players who were making their league debuts. Despite this Reading looked comfortable throughout the game with the fans in party mood as they cruised past Stoke.

Reading now sit on 102 points with 96 goals. A win and a draw and four goals from their next two games and they will have broken just about every record going!

Tag Reading Football

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ming sticks it to the Tories

Ming laid into the Tories in an interview on (see link). I feel this is good ground to be on. Cameron drafted the last Tory manifesto and the Labour Party and the Conservative Party are squabbling over who can run the shop best. If we can sharpen up our act and get our alternative message across we can make some headway.

Tag Politics Lib Dems

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Britain is eating the planet

Rather like the day on which we start earning money for ourselves as opposed to for the tax man today is the day on which the UK stops living off its own resources and starts depending on imports from elsewhere. This is according to a report from the New Economics Foundation showing how dependent we are on resources from elsewhere in the world. Fairly stunning if not totally surprising and fairly indicative of the sorts of things we as a nation need to do if we are to change this. Growing and selling more of our own food and supplying it locally would be a good start. As would make use of natural sources of energy.

Tag Environment

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sheffield Up but Leeds draw with Champions

Congrtaulations to Sheffield United who are up thanks to Leeds only drawing against the Champions Reading. According to Sky this was a fair result. Leeds still need to find an edge somewhere if they are to finish in third. Still a goal was good news and a draw against the champions should give the team some confidence as the play offs approach.

Tag Leeds Reading Football

Friday, April 14, 2006

Generals want Rumsfeld to go

I would be happy about this if it were not for two things

1. He probably won't go.

2. If he does he will probably be replaced by someone just as bad

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Government climb down over abolition of parliament bill

The government appears to be climbing down over some of the provisions of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. Well at least they have started to realise that they have a problem with this one. However, as David Heath points out giving the power of veto to a select committee which will itself be packed with government back benchers is not sufficient. There needs to be something with some real teeth to prevent any abuse of this legislation. Even better just drop the whole bill

Tag Politics

Harley-Davidson moves into the Chinese market

They have just opened their first dealership in China on the edge of Beijing. It will be interesting to see how sales go given the price of the bikes. Still I am sure that it is a market that HD will be desperate to crack given its size and long term prospects. Also another country to try and get a Harley-Davidson T-shirt from

Tag Harley-Davidson

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Non Tories to help select Tory PPCs

Brilliant! Whatever next. They are just so desperate. It will be fascinating to see how this one pans out in reality. I somehow suspect that not many local constituency parties will want to take up the Central London option. So that leaves the "primary style" selection. Candidates will be questioned by local community leaders and the public and this session may be moderated by a local journalist. Then an executive panel of local Tories will make the decision. Cue dissatisfaction from party members who will be disenfranchised from the process and great opportunity for local opponents to make mischief with the process and argue about who performed better on the night of the selection.

Tag Politics

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Are we due a stockmarket crash?

The FTSE 100 is back over 6,000 points for the first time since 2001 and people are charging £85 for a sandwich!! Yes for a sandwich not for a three course meal for two. And people are foolish enough to pay it. I am just waiting for bar staff and shop assistants to start tipping shares.

And the Tories have not moved on either

Yesterday I was blogging about the Labour Party fighting like ferrets in a sack. I also mentioned that the honeymoon was over for the Tories and that they were failing to make real progress. No wonder when you read this article (see link). The candidate concerned says she does not believe what she said. So thats ok then. Cameron says she is in the wrong party - but noticeably has not taken any steps to remove her from his party!

Tag Politics

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ferrets in a sack again

The Blairites hate the Brownites and Milburn might stand (although I doubt it). The Brownites hate the Blairites. The two of them just managed to be polite to each other for their local election launch before civil war broke out again. At least (from their point of view) Brown is out of the country. It is starting to look like a plan to ensure that one or other of them is out of the country at all times. Hattersley has helpfully weighed in over the weekend with his opinion and the unions are now getting stuck in as well. Meanwhile the Tories are struggling to make any progress. Life is looking up!

Tag Politics

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Having seen this meme via various people who have posted and who feed into Lib Dem Blogs ( I couldn't resist - You type in your birth date (but not year) and it then comes up with a whole host of events that happened on your birthday.

My list includes the following :


490 BC - Athens defeats Persia at the Battle of Marathon

1609 - Henry Hudson discovers the Hudson River.

1953 - Nikita Khrushchev is elected first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

1953 - John F. Kennedy marries Jackie Bouvier.

1962 - President John F. Kennedy declares the USA will get a man on the moon, and bring him back, by the end of the decade.


1913 - Jesse Owens, American athlete (d. 1980)

1951 - Bertie Ahern, Irish politician


1977 - Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist (b. 1946)

Leicester crush Palace

Leicester (currently in 18th place) beat Crystal Palace (currently in 5th Place) 2-0 on Friday night. It now looks increasingly likely that the playoffs will be contested by Watford, Leeds, Palace and Preston. For anything different to happen now would require a phenomenal collapse by probably either Preston or Sheffield United who now look almost certain to secure 2nd spot and automatic promotion.

Tag Football Leeds

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thai Rally celebrates and protests at the same time

The rally in Bangkok today was celebrating Thaksin Shinawatras resignation but was also protesting and demanding his full removal from the national political scene. He remains leader of his party in parliament and the protestors are worried that he will continue to pull the strings. Remember however, that his party won 57% of the vote and according to the latest report some 87% of Thais now want the protests to stop.

Tag Thailand

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Correction - Thai stand off may not be over

A couple of days ago it looked as if the problems were over and peace was starting to break out. The Prime Minister had agreed to stand down and the opposition parties had agreed to stop the protests.

The Prime Minister has temporarily handed over to the Deputy Prime Minister but he in turn will not be able to become Prime Minister as he is not a member of parliament.

Thaksin Shinawatra also remains leader of his party Thai Rak Thai and the opposition parties are clearly concerned that he will remain in power and in control even if he is not the titular Prime Minister.

If and when all 500 seats are filled then parliament will need to choose a new Prime Minister but this looks under threat as it now looks as if the by-elections will also be boycotted by the opposition.

Given that Thai Rak Thai won 57% of the vote the democratic process in Thailand is starting to look very shaky

Tag Thailand

UK offshore wind at crossroads or should that be sea lane?

At least according to this article on BBC news online

Offshore wind energy is unlikely to reach its full potential unless there is additional support from the government. Well what a surprise.

The study says the fledgling industry is at a "critical stage" and economic and environmental opportunities could be lost without further assistance.

According to the article the study warns that "only about 2,000 MW is likely to be built without further support from the government" but then goes on to say "There is a huge amount of activity in the sector with more than 8,000 MW of schemes in development"

Confused - I certainly am.

Whatever lets hope that the government takes this sector seriously in its energy review and presumably offshore is better than onshore as it may keep the turbines further away from the nimbys.

Tag Environment

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Berlusconi Mills Jowell scandal rumbles on

David Mills claims he was used as a stick to beat his wife but then goes on to attempt to give everyone else some sticks to beat him with. According to the article he describes the saga as "very exciting". "It's like a thriller, all of this" I wonder whether his wife feels the same way about these events as they unfold.

He then goes on to talk about a payment of £2m from a Berlusconi company. I must have missed this one along the way and become focussed on the £350,000.

Anyway yet again poor Mr Mills seems to be confused. He is quoted as saying that he saw this £2m as a "windfall" for him but says he had intended to give £50,000 or £100,000 to each of his three partners. Nice windfall. And why the uncertainty over how much he proposed to share with his partners? Was it £50,000 or was it £100,000?

Never mind what is £50,000 between friends.

He then goes on to claim that his other partners insisted on treating the payment as partnership profits as a result of which Mr Mills was left with less than £500,000. Oh dear how sad.

As an international lawyer one would assume that he would know which work would count as work done by the firm in which he was a partner and which work would not. Indeed one would assume that the documentation for the partnership would make this clear.

In fact I assume that it did as a result of which Mr Mills had to split the profits with his other three partners. It all comes back to the documentation again - an area which Mr Mills seems to have some trouble with!

Tag Politics

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thai stand off may be over

The Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has just gone on Thai TV and announced that he will not take the premiership in the next government.

He said his decision was aimed at restoring unity in the country.

He apologised to the 16 million people who voted for him in the election on Sunday.

He will however remain in the position as caretaker Prime Minister until the Parliament is able to select a new prime minister.

This should allow the by-elections to go ahead on 23rd April in the 38 unfilled constituencies and hopefully after that all 500 seats will be filled.

This should allow a new Prime Minister to be selected following which discussions on reform can begin.

Opposition parties appear to have agreed to stop their protests and have agreed to take part in the next set of elections following reform.

Tag Thailand

Tories want to ban abortion

At least according to this bill (see link) which according to my research was introduced by the Conservative MP for Tewkesbury - Laurence Robertson. Many politicians and religious leaders have suggested that it is time to have a review of the current situation and for parliament to have another look given that is is over 16 years since parliament last voted on the issues. Most of these suggestion seem to centre on the idea that the debate should centre on whether or not to reduce the time limit for an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. This bill suggests that all abortions should be banned unless the womans life is at risk or the pregnancy was caused by rape. Luckily this has virtually no chance of becoming law as a private members bill but it is important that people think through the logical consequences were such a piece of legislation to be passed. According to LibertyCentral "one of the immediate effects of South Dakota's new prohibitionist law on abortion was a massive surge in Google searches for advice on how to carry out DIY abortions, a consequence that most reasonable people would prefer not to have to contemplate"

Tag Politics

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thai election problems continue

The election commission has announced that enough results are in to declare the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra the winner. However, they have already determined that by-elections will need to be held in 38 constituencies where candidates failed to win the 20% vote threshold. As all the seats need to be filled for a government to be formed there is likely to be a mexican stand off unless a compromise can be reached between the Prime Minister and the opposition parties. The election commission says there is enough time to run two rounds of by-elections in the 38 constituencies but if the opposition parties continue to adopt the same stance then the results may be the same. The commission claims to have a plan in the event that the 38 seats cannot be filled but has not disclosed what that plan might be!

Tag Thailand

Scotland seems a nice place to live

All in all this article about plans to provide free eye tests in Scotland got me thinking. Why is it that in Scotland they do things so much better?

Tuition fees were abolished in Scotland.

Free personal care was introduced for the elderly.

The system for buying and selling houses is so much simpler.

Now they are introducing free eye tests and have a plan to introduce free dental checks next year.

Yes I know the answer about devolved power and the Lib Dems being part of the administration and the sort of policies we have been pushing but I guess I just wish we could get some common sense into English politics and start delivering some improvements in the quality of life for people down south.

If it wasn't for the fact that my family and employment are all in the south I would seriously think about moving to Scotland where quality of life seems to be a real political issue.

Tag Politics

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thai Polls close

The polls have now closed in Thailand and according the BBC article preliminary results will be available later today with full official results not expected until Tuesday.

The BBC also produced a Q&A guide and I have reproduced some key bits from that below :
The Thai constitution technically allows for a one-party election. But to
win a seat the sole party contesting has to show it has won at least 20% of all
eligible votes.

Observers say the outcome of the previous general election, held in
February 2005, shows the Thai Rak Thai party may have difficulty in reaching
this target in at least 60 constituencies.

Under the constitution, all 500 parliamentary seats must be filled for the
lower house to convene, and there is no precedent for what happens if this does
not take place.

The constitution only states that a full parliament must convene within
30 days of the election. All parliamentary seats must be filled for a prime
minister to be elected and a government to be formed.

The Election Commission Secretary General Ekachai Waroonprapa recently
warned that the election might not produce a parliament. "We have prepared
several options to be ready for whatever the election results are," he told a
local Thai TV station.

It looks as if we are headed for an inconclusive election result and I would love know what the options are but I guess we will have to wait and see.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Champions -at a canter and in some style

Back from the Reading game. Reading are promoted as champions and they did it in some style after battling away for 60 minutes in a fairly even contest the flood gates opened. Reading took Derby apart and absolutely battered them for the final 30 minutes running out 5-0 winners. The fans celebrated in style as the mexican waves circled the stadium with even the Derby fans joining in. The final whistle saw a massive pitch invasion and huge celebrations. The players could not get back out onto the pitch but eventually appeared in the directors box along with Steve Coppell and John Madejski as the champagne was cracked open. Meanwhile Leeds screwed up and missed a good opportunity to gain ground on Sheffield United - Its looking like the playoffs for them.

Tags Football Reading Leeds

Elections tomorrow - Uncertainty continues

The general election in Thailand is tomorrow and it looks as if this may leave the country no nearer to resolving the political crisis. The Prime Minister seems determined to stay on providing he believes that he has a mandate. The election or at least parts of it may be declared unconstitutional. This means that the lower house may not be able to sit as not all 500 seats will be filled. As I understand it the lower house is the body that will elect the prime minister and form the government and for this to happen all seats must be filled! Interesting times.