Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Steve Webb is popular as well as real

Steve Webb's experience with Facebook has sent some ripples of laughter round the blogosphere. it is quite ironic that they booted out their biggest Lib Dem proponent. Thankfully he now appears to have been rightfully restored. I can imagine the Facebook press office groaning at the sight of 200 e-mails all saying "I know Steve Webb and he's really nice."

Anyway, it shows how popular he is because in just a few hours, the Steve Webb is real amassed almost 200 members.

Commiserations to Chris Huhne

We all know how it feels to lose an election, particularly by a very small margin. I was very impressed with the graceful way in which Chris Huhne congratulated Nick Clegg this afternoon. It must have been a very difficult speech for him to make and he did so with customary skill and authority.

He ran a strong campaign and I am sure he will be given the chance to continue his excellent economic and environmental policy work.

Confident Clegg vows to reach out

Unsurprisingly, since I've been waxing lyrical in his support for some weeks now, I am delighted that Nick Clegg has been elected leader today. His warmth and genuine and engaging manner will bring many to consider the Liberal Democrats as a serious contender. His intellect and sharp wit will be put to good use in debate against Brown and Cameron. His inclusive leadership style will allow all the talents in our party to be showcased so that people can see what an experienced and high quality opposition we provide at national level and how well we run our Councils up and down the country.

There's a lot of work to be done but I feel happy and confident about the future direction of the Party.

I was pleased to see Vince Cable have the chance to reflect on his brief inter-regnum, even if he spent longer talking about Strictly Come Dancing than anything else. Who can blame him for mentioning his dance with Alesha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Best Street in the World

The street I live in has to be one of the best in the entire world. Tonight 30 of us went to see Joseph in Edinburgh. On Saturday, we are having our street Christmas Party. This year we have celebrated four 40th birthdays and numerous other parties together, and we all get on so well.

In a country where many people don't know their neighbours, I have to thank mine for being such good fun.

Joseph opens in Edinburgh

This time last year, Keith Jack was working in Tesco, Dalkeith, directing irate shoppers to the sausagemeat and wrestling with huge piles of Christmas baubles and selection boxes. I can't imagine that he realistically thought that a year on he'd have a key role in a major production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat which opened at the Edinburgh Playhouse tonight to a wildly cheering 3000 strong audience, including 30 from my street.

We supported him all through "Any Dream Will Do" and were delighted to see him become runner up.

His role in Joseph is that of the Narrator, which is actually a bigger and much more vocally demanding role than Joseph. He did a marvellous job, and I think he will get even better as he settles into the 8 show a week routine. There were some points at the beginning when his vocal and his general demeanour was a little subdued, but the range in his voice is amazing. By the second half, he looked more comfortable. I remembered how the judges during "Any Dream Will Do" kept slating him for his diction. He perhaps over compensated in places tonight in parts but he's certainly been working on it and improving in the intervening months.

The role of Joseph was taken by another Any Dream Will Do finalist, Craig Chalmers. He did well in the role, bringing light, colour and humour in places. He made a little heartfelt speech at the end saying how proud he was to be playing in Edinburgh and introducing Keith and the other reality musical show finalists, Wayne from Grease is the Word and Chris Barton from Any Dream Will Do.

To have had such entertainment for £8 a ticket (albeit we did get altitude sickness from our position looking down on the gods) was amazing. However, my friend Anne and I have decided that we want to go back and enjoy it all from the Body of the Kirk. If you haven't got tickets already, book them now. It's well worth seeing.

Another Ten Reasons to vote for Nick Clegg

Linda Jack has given her 10 reasons to vote for Nick Clegg, all of which I can agree with. I doubt I can do it as eloquently as her, but I feel I should have a try:

He is a Liberal who knows how to communicate Liberal values to the very many people who have not yet voted for us; he has already done this on a smaller scale in the East Midlands and can do so now across the UK;

He is brave enough to risk prison to protect our civil liberties; he was brave enough to give up a secure job in the European Commission to go for a Euro-seat that was marginal to say the least; he then had the courage to give up that safe seat to stand for Westminster.

He will lead by inspiration, not diktat, bringing people with him. He understands the Party and how it works;

He is capable of listening to other points of view;

He understands what devolution is all about and how things work in Scotland and Wales;

He has a rare ability to connect with people, whether individually or as part of a greater audience; he is able to empathise and is made angry by injustice, poverty and abuse of power;

He can make the most complex policy come to life so that the listener not only understands what he's saying but can relate to it;

He has a very good sense of humour - great for PMQs;

He speaks with credibility and authority and has the intellectual capacity to very quickly understand complex issues; I can see him on the international stage promoting liberal values;

I like him and trust him as a person as well as a politician. He is a proper human and what you see is what you get with him. I honestly believe we would soar as a party with him as leader.

Just to balance things, he is not perfect - he, like Willie Rennie, has taken the mickey out of my driving and got away with it - just:-)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snow Poem

As it's approaching Christmas, I thought I'd share with you a sweet poem written by my daughter Anna and her school friend Caitlin (both 8):

Snow Poem

You can......
Slide down the slippery slope
Sink in the soggy sllush
Smile at the splendid scene
Ski on the soft snow.

You can.......
See the splendid sight
Sing a song on the hills
Shake off the silver snow
Sigh at the silent mountains
and feel your senses tingle in the snow.

The fact that I like this shows how a mother's love is completely unconditional - I hate snow almost to the point of phobia, yet reading this made my heart sing:-)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Clegg v Huhne on Fatherhood

I've just watched this excerpt from the YouTube hustings.

By (reasonable) Decree of Borrowman, I am quite upfront about being a Cleggie and this exchange is one of the reasons why.

They both said pretty much the same thing - flexible working, supporting families, whatever shape they come in is a good thing, etc. However, Nick did it in 20 seconds, Chris took 1:42. Nick looked straight at the camera and was positive and clear, Chris was a bit wandered - and I now get to have a go at his tie, in the interests of equality, as I had a go at Nick's after Question Time.

It sums up for me why I feel that Nick is the best person to reach out and communicate our values and policies.

What defines distress?

I am horrified at OFCOM's decision not to uphold more than 750 complaints against the Channel 4 programme "Bringing up Baby".

This programme compared different schools of thought regarding child rearing, including the ideas of self-styled expert Claire Verity, based on the ideas of Truby King. These practices involve not having eye contact with the baby, and as little physical contact as possible and not being responsive to the baby's cries.

Many viewers were horrified to see a tiny baby left in a room to cry, without its needs being attended to. This makes the OFCOM view that there was no evidence that children were being mistreated or in any distress pathetic and laughable.

No wonder we have so many mental health problems in this country if it is accepted that isolating and ignoring vulnerable babies is reasonable.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

David Whitton - what was his role in Wendygate?

The role of David Whitton, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden comes in to the spotlight after the alleged secret list of donors to Wendy Alexander's campaign mentioned him in connection with a donation for £995.

The facts, as reported by the Sunday Herald:

David Whitton was treasurer of the Alexander Campaign;

David Whitton, prior to his election, had First Group as one of his PR clients;

The document states that a "David" was responsible for securing a donation of £995 which was pencilled in against the name of Moir Lochhead, Chief Executive of the First Group. Interestingly, the name to be used "for Electoral Commission purposes" was that of John Lyon, former MP for East Dunbartonshire beaten by our own Jo Swinson in 2005 who now works as a consultant to the First Group.

Taken at face value, this could be evidence of a deliberate intention to misinform the Electoral Commission about the source of a donation, which is clearly against the law.

What a complete mess. And all for an unopposed election.

If Wendy Alexander is ultimately forced out, this will not be the end of the matter. We deserve to know the roles of all her key advisers in the planning or committing of any acts which were against the law.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vince Cable, Superhero

Isn't it fantastic that Vince Cable has received positive write ups in practically every newspaper over the past few days? The Sunday Times has a lovely series of photos of Stalin morphing into Mr Bean.

He has now blasted himself into the stratosphere of superherodom as far as I'm concerned by repeating his wish to be considered for Strictly Come Dancing

If Letitia Dean, Alesha Dixon and Kelly Brook, with their prior dance training, can go on, why not Vince even if he does have prior ballroom experience? He'd be the new Bill Turnbull who, 2 years on, still has a cult following on the forums.

Come on, BBC, offer Vince a place on next year's show. And give him Flavia as a partner.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sarah Brown and Reading

I see Gordon Brown's wife has called for children to be encouraged to read

Clearly this is a very good idea. I am lucky enough to have a complete bookworm of a daughter who loves to read a huge variety of stuff, from books, to newspapers, to blogs. This one is one of her favourites.

It's very important to encourage children to read more and play with the Playstation less.

However, I think Sarah Brown's efforts could just as easily be concentrated on adult literacy, and particularly those people in the Labour Party who appear to be unable to read and understand the law on donations to political parties.......


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