Reevesey's recommended reading

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Ice hockey in Edinburgh - Go Capitals

Last weekend was a four team mini ice hockey tournament, the Gardiner Cup at Murrayfield ice rink including the Edinburgh Capitals, the Belfast Giants, the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Toronto Marlies.

There was an average 3,000 people there for each game according to the stewards whereas a normal home game for the Capitals brings in around 600 people.

I missed the Thursday night but was there for both games on Saturday and again on Sunday.

The Edinburgh Capitals had a much smaller squad than the other three but their fighting spirit was fantastic. Currently they have 3 netminders, 5 defenders and 11 forwards so I really do hope their squad will increase in size, it is a great team.

Unfortunately the Capitals came 4th, the Giants 3rd, the Toronto Marlies second and the Hamilton Bulldogs won overall. A great event though.

I used to follow the Nottingham Panthers for many years and even used to attend the games and the general ice skating sessions as a first aider with St. John Ambulance and very rarely missed a home game, but then I was hooked and started attending the away games.

So, after a weekend of ice hockey I am once again again hooked, so Edinburgh Capitals, you have a new fan! See you all on the 11th October at Murrayfield.

The Sun - flip flop or just a sales decision?

So, The Sun is no longer backing the Labour Party and once again is switching to back the Conservative Party. Is this The Sun flip flopping or nothing more than jumping off the ship before it sinks, or a more well thought out sales plan?

I go with the third option personally. The timing was too stage managed to believe it was either of the other two in my mind.

But, yes there is a but - the Scottish Sun has not come out for the Conservatives as they remain unconvinced, you can read more on Brian Taylor's blog - blether with Brian. David Dinsmore the editor of the Scottish Sun has said he is "yet to be convinced" that the Tories are the best party for Scotland.

Brian Taylor goes on to rule out The Scottish Sun endorsing Labour or the SNP, and even suggested the Liberal Democrats - for just a wee while. However Brian should remember that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are the second party in Westminster across Scotland so it is not as bad a suggestion as he perhaps first thought.

Now, does The Sun or any newspaper have that much sway with it's readers to persuade them to vote differently, we have very mixed views on this in the office today but generally we are of the view that no, they cannot.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The speech - did Gordon win it, yes he did

I was actually less impressed by Sarah doing the warm up act than by Gordon Brown himself, he actually looked like he was enjoying himself for a change and relishing the election about to hit us, whereas Sarah sounded a little flat today.

I also enjoyed his speech because it did feel like spot the Lib Dem policy, there were enough to choose from, here are just some of them;
  • Recalling MPs guilty of fraud
  • free personal care
  • Cracking down on bankers bonuses
  • House of Lords reform (again)
  • Voting reform referendum (again)
And you are abolishing compulsory ID cards (in the next Parliament) Gordon was a step in the right direction and now you have taken that first big step, you could just go all the way and cancel them full stop. They do not stop terrorism as the awful train bombings in Madrid proved.

Gordon, yes it was a good speech, yes you stuck your two fingers up to the media who said you had to pull your best speech out of the bag, and you did, but I am afraid some of this is too little, too late and the fact you have copied and pasted so many Liberal Democrat policies into your election manifesto shows that both you and the Labour Party fear the Liberal Democrats more than you let on.

Because we are the only opposition party to fully cost our proposals you know you can copy them well this sort of flattery is fine but as today's polls showed, the good folk of Britain are starting to see through your policies because they aren't your policies, they are Liberal Democrat policies.

So, it is time for a change and the change is not the Conservatives, it is in fact the Party with the ideas and the vision - Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.

Postal strike - who is benefitting?

So, the strike by Royal Mail employees in London, now in it's 14th week is continue to spread like a rash. Today postal workers in Ayrshire have joined in, the strike has already affected other parts of Scotland - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Bathgate, Dunfermline and Cumbernauld.

This action taken by workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) comes ahead of the ballot for a nationwide strike due next week.

Who actually benefits with these unofficial and official strikes though?

According to the CWU website they acknowledge that Royal Mail needs to modernise but that they need to do it with CWU Members, Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "Without agreement there can be no successful change in Royal Mail. This is a simple message which Royal Mail management needs to take on board. Postal workers are striking to defend future services as well as for jobs and modern conditions.

"Modernisation is crucial to the future success of Royal Mail, but the implementation of change must be agreed and it must bring with it modern pay and conditions.

"Postal workers deserve to be rewarded for change. We want to see a new job security agreement which will help people through this time of change for the company."

In my eyes what the CWU are saying is yes, we agree the company needs to modernise but pay us more for working within that framework - to be honest I don't quite get that side of an argument because then that costs more on top of the modernisation costs which equals more debt and therefore counteracts the overall modernisation argument.

Royal Mail Managing Director Mark Higson said: "The ballot further underlines the CWU’s determination to renege on the existing 2007 agreement on Pay and Modernisation which the union’s leadership signed in the presence of the TUC. It beggars belief that CWU chief Dave Ward says today that the disruption caused by the CWU strike is hurting customers yet at the same time calls a national strike ballot to step up the damage they are already inflicting on customers big and small.

"The CWU leadership is well aware that it has already agreed all the changes Royal Mail is making and we urge them to recognise the tough economic conditions faced by all our customers and Royal Mail itself and to live up to their claims to support modernisation and to focus - as the company is doing- on delivering the postal service on which so many customers depend."

You can read fully what Royal Mail and the CWU say.

I represent the good folk of Britain and I will be honest, I have sent mail via other means now and it was easy and sometimes cheaper, certainly if I need to get something to London I will look in detail at other ways of doing this.

More and more companies are moving to other companies such as DHL and TNT, what will CWU Members do when even more companies do and when the public start searching out these other alternatives? Royal Mail accept a 10% drop in mail over the last year, surely these strikes don't help to change that?

Surely what the CWU don't get is that there are more mail companies popping up all the time and while they currently rely on Royal Mail for the final point of delivery, how much longer will that last while the majority of workers continue to strike?

Finally we see the CWU doing a national ballot but what is there view on the wildcat strikes? I couldn't find anything obvious on their website.

There are also over 2.4million people unemployed looking for a paid job, one that pays more than the state benefits of around £60.50 per week, how does that compare to a postal worker?

If working for Royal Mail is that bad stand aside and let someone else have a go and you can then go and do something you enjoy.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Gay and unmarried couples in Scotland can now adopt

I don't know exactly why it is today, but from today, gay and unmarried couples in Scotland will now be able to adopt and also have exactly the same adoption rights as married couples.

This finally brings Scotland into line with England and Wales.

Gay people have always been able to adopt but only as individuals but the new law that comes into force today under the Adoption & Children (Scotland) Act 2007 will give legal rights to both partners.

This piece of legislation is from the days of the Labour/Liberal Democrats administration.

Predictably the Church of Scotland has criticised the move, saying gay relationships are "profoundly unstable".

I've been with my partner for 16 years and neither we or our relationship are unstable. But seriously, how on earth can the Church of Scotland say that gay relationships are unstable as a cause for a child not to be adopted, surely a gay couple (or an unmarried couple) is way better than an individual parent, gay or straight? Is the Church of Scotland really thinking about the children here or just being narrow minded?

Scotland’s director of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering said: "BAAF sees this act as recognising the need for a social care framework that is sensitive to the needs of children and not hung up on legalities.

"Finally, the act is ensuring that all those working within adoption in Scotland are striving to put the needs of children first. It is trying, wherever possible, to shape the legal process around the needs of children with speed and sensitivity and without harming the rights of the birth parents."

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Conservatives are complete hypocrites on LGBT issues as Section 28 raises its ugly head again

Do you remember Section 28, Clause 28 or even Section 2A? That awful piece of legislation introduced by the Conservatives back in 1988 prevented the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Thankfully it was repealed in Scotland on 21 June 2000 and then across the rest of the UK on 18 November 2003 – although living in Kent in 2004 was bad enough when the Conservative controlled County Council introduced their own mini-version of Section 28!

To be precise, the Act said; “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Blimey, still after all of these years just reading this is making my blood boil and reminding me why I really do hate the Conservative Party so much. They caused so many people from the LGBT community to take their own lives, including young people who were still at school who were battling with discovering their own sexuality.

I cannot begin to even think how I would have dealt with that on top of the pressure of coming out, telling your closest friends, your family, worrying about the ridicule at school, college or even work. I was lucky, by 1988, when I was 20, I had come out to my family and friends and on the whole everyone was very accepting. It is funny now to think back and recall just how camp I was then – thankfully that was just a phase I was going through.

Now, you maybe wondering where this blog post is actually going?

Well Lithuania’s national Parliament has amended some of its legislation titled ‘Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information’ in order to ban and even criminalise material that ‘agitates for homosexual or bisexual relations’ or ‘defies family values’ from schools, youth clubs, public places and media likely to be viewed by children.

Homophobia is alive and well in the world we live in and while there are those of us intent on campaigning for better human rights related to sexual orientation discrimination and to stamp out bullying, including homophobic bullying there are always those who won’t vote for these things.

Including David Cameron’s Conservatives.

Firstly, it is absolutely appalling that an EU Member State thinks it is acceptable to introduce such blatant discriminatory legislation that will only exclude the LGBT community further.

Secondly, it is even more appalling that the British Conservative MEPs abstained from this vote.

WARNING – the blood is really boiling now!

How can people in this country trust the Conservatives? How can any gay person vote for them or even worse be a paid up member? How can anyone from the LGBT community trust Cameron or any of his candidates? They don’t practice what they preach.

Like the SNP in Scotland they will say anything to get elected, but they should be judged on their actions and here their actions are clear, they do not support they LGBT community, rather than send Lithuania a clear message that their homophobic attitude will not be tolerated in this day and age the Conservatives decided really to back it, because by abstaining they have sent a message of support. Is this because of their new grouping in the European Parliament? Are they frightened of their new Group throwing them out if they don’t support their extreme views?

Our own MEPs as always were on the button and sponsored the resolution in which the European Parliament voted by a large majority to condemn this new anti-gay legislation introduced in Lithuania. However, the British Conservative MEPs abstained in the vote, showing their sheer hypocrisy on gay issues.

David Cameron really is putting the Con back into Conservatives.

I urge everyone who reads this to email David Cameron direct on and tell him what you think, challenge him to state why yet again his Party is split on gay issues and as we can see here the window dressing is not covering up what they really believe.

Tell David Cameron what you think. I have already.

This blog post is also on Lib Dem Voice.

SNP to increase number of DNA samples held (with support of Labour)

When I was doing my Sunday morning trawl of the news and newspaper websites I was somewhat shocked when I saw the headline "Call to retain more DNA samples" on the BBC website.

In Scotland, if you are given a fine or a work order (direct measures) your DNA is not taken, in other words if there is not a criminal conviction they don't take your DNA - sounds good to me.

I have to be honest though, the fiscal fines do cover an array of potential law infringements. These direct measures can be used as an alternative to prosecution for crimes such as vandalism, breach of the peace, theft and assault.

Now, as I am not a lawyer I don't know whether the theft also covers burglary? For me, burglary and assault cases should have the DNA samples taken, I know some people within my own party will disagree, but I think serial burglars need locking up, they destroy people's lives and assault can kill people.

In Scotland most DNA samples are destroyed if the individual is neither charged nor convicted, unlike in England and Wales where DNA samples are retained.

What amazes me is that the SNP and Labour are going to join together to push this through and yet are still sniping at each other with claims and counter claims on who's DNA policy is best.

Let us ensure that Tavish Scott and the team uphold the human rights where applicable and ensure the guilty criminals are dealt with swiftly and effectively.

I am now convinced that between the SNP and the Labour Party the objective is to get everyone's DNA on a register - let us hope this never, ever happens.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

T-Mobile - what's the advantage of being on a contract?

Am I the only T-Mobile customer getting sick of seeing adverts with great deals for pay as you go customers?

Free laptops was an older one but now they are offering free texts for life if you top up with £10 per month.

My bill averages over £110 each month so where's my bloody freebies and loyalty gifts?

My contract costs me way more than that and what do I get? Sweet FA.

I have had no laptop, no free sim cards, no free dongles etc etc

Okay, I get a great discount on my blackberry but then pay a monthly charge for 18months so actually, I pay for it - through the nose.

I'm not entirely sure what the benefit actually is for staying on a contract opposed to pay as you go where you get freebies and loads of benefits?

So, come on T-Mobile, I challenge you to explain here on my blog.

Homosexuality is not really acceptable

So says the United Nations General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki, Libya’s Secretary (Minister) of African Union Affairs, who as the Assembly President, the equivalent of the Presiding Officer in Holyrood or the Speaker in the House of Commons, does hold a position of power.

I am utterly appalled and I appreciate you need to read his whole piece to get the full context, but it clearly shows a level of ignorance from very senior people within many organisations.

This all came about at a press conference to start the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly where one journalist asked about the UN resolution which calls for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

One thing he did say which makes me really think this is pure homophobic hatred is "there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy."

What a load of crap, so because I am gay and this country sees diversity and equality as a good thing, they only let me because it is democratic? Balls.

Again another big I am who does not understand, who probably has never met a gay person, well Ali Abdussalam Treki, let me know if ever you are in Edinburgh, or I will let you know when I'm next in New York and perhaps we can meet?

There is a funny side - only just - according to his CV, he is a veteran of diplomacy!

Seriously, what worries me with this chap, is what are his views on women's rights, violence against women and the spread of AIDS in Africa as well as his views on LGBT rights, what other things are we to learn about this man and how much power does he actually wield?

What does the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon think of his new General Assembly President and his homophobic views?

I the eyes and mind of Ali Abdussalam Treki homosexuality is not really acceptable, in my mind homophobia is not really acceptable either.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Army General quits over Afghanistan

Another senior Army General has quit after apparently criticising some aspects of the war in Afghanistan including a lack of equipment for the troops.

Major General Andrew Mackay, was the General Officer Commanding Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England and however the Ministry of Defence tries to play it down by saying the resignation was for "personal reasons".

Major Nick Haston, who was Major General Mackay's deputy chief of staff, resigned from the army earlier this year in protest at policy and equipment shortages.

Officers such as Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Tootal and Major Sebastian Morley had expressed concern about equipment shortages.

Brigadier Ed Butler, of 16 Air Assault Brigade, also voiced concerns when he resigned, and General Sir Richard Dannatt stepped down as head of the army after repeatedly speaking out to highlight what he said were equipment shortages and poor pay and conditions.

How many more troops and senior officers have to resign and give up their incredible careers over equipment shortages? The right answer should be none, it really shouldn't need the grandstanding from the Prime Minister we have seen, or even Nick Clegg to have to call on the Labour Government to properly equip our brave men and women who serve in the armed forces.

Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have also gone one step further and are demanding fair pay for our troops, you can read all about the campaign on Nick Clegg's website.

No expenses spared - the mole out the hole

We now finally find out why the mole who revealed all of the MPs expenses did it, according to the Daily Telegraph.

In a book released today "No expenses spared", we find out that the lack of kit for our armed forces was the motivation behind the leaks.

We also find out that the mole was working in a secret office in South London for the Stationery Office photocopying all MP receipts ready for the initial publication, and obviously something snapped after discussing with servicemen who were guarding them the lack of kit according to the Telegraph.

I do get the motivation of the mole in some respects and am sure they will be satisfied given the number of high profile scalps they eventually had, and also the fact that the MPs expenses have had the most radical overhaul for over 300 years must be a little satisfying. I am still not sure that it was the most responsible way the Telegraph could have handled it, but sales is sales.

I was annoyed however by the clear lazy journalism in some cases when every MP was tarred with the same brush and when particular MPs were hung out to dry when clearly they hadn't actually done anything wrong but journalists in London didn't know the geography of parts of Scotland or when MPs or their staff submitted receipts and only claimed for some items and the paper alleged the whole thing had been claimed for - that in my eyes ruined what was the truth versus laziness. As the saying goes, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

This doesn't take away though that many MPs, the majority of which were Conservative, were claiming for things not only against the spirit of the rules but not even remotely connected to their work as an MP - such as the moat cleaning, mortgage overpayment's, the famous duck house, manure and the second home flipping (in effect meaning tax avoidance)!

Although now we know the full story of what motivated the mole, it is ironic (in my mind) that the kitting out of the troops and insistence on better and more equipment has been pushed (without any knowledge of this) by the politicians. I do hope the mole is also happy?

The Daily Telegraph is describing the book as "No Expenses Spared is a real-life political thriller and the definitive account of a scandal which will reverberate around Westminster for decades to come."

To purchase your copy please go to or ring 0844 871 1514 (reader warning - I searched for it here and couldn't find it).

I have to be honest, I will be buying my copy through Amazon. Where it is available.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

British Forces Post Office

So, Gordon Brown's Labour government is going ahead with it's cost cutting, and that is fine cuts have to got be made and all the political parties are currently setting out their stalls on this.

However, this in my opinion is one cut too far.

All members of our Armed Forces have now been advised that the British Forces Post Office facilities in mainland Europe will be shut down in September 2010.

What this means in reality is that any armed forces personnel and their families who currently enjoy the same postal rates as the UK will no longer be able to send things through a secure and cheaper network.

Withdrawal of this long established tradition will further erode personnel's ability to communicate with their families in the UK and guarantee the safe receipt of parcels.

Come on Gordon, for crying out loud, what have you got against the Armed Forces? This cannot cost that much in the scale of things?

So, as Christmas approaches next year we shaft our troops who are based in mainland Europe once more.

Sign the petition today and add your voice to nearly 30,000 others who think this is bonkers.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Baroness Scotland - the law maker turned law breaker

So, Baroness Scotland breaches very clear immigration employment rules with her cleaner, is subsequently fined £5,000 and despite being the Labour Government's legal adviser is not sacked!

Her defence was that she had no reason to suspect that her cleaner, Loloahi had overstayed her student visa and therefore working illegally.

The defence put forward by the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland quite frankly is pathetic and wouldn't be tolerated from anyone else.

When I worked in hotels and then the contract catering industry the rules were as clear then as they remain today. It is down to the employer to prove the person is eligible to work here in the UK so I don't accept the defence offered by Baroness Scotland and as she has been fined £5,000 by the UK Border Agency, neither do they.

Stephen Hesford MP has quit as her Parliamentary Private Secretary and said in his letter to the Prime Minister "My decision comes about because as an aide to the Law Officers, whilst I have great personal regard for the Attorney General, I cannot support the decision which allows her to remain in office."

Mr Hesford told the BBC that he saw the issue as "a personal honour situation".

Yet again we see the Prime Minister having to get involved in a situation which could easily have been resolved by Baroness Scotland doing the decent thing and resigning.

A conference comedy moment

The professional training put on by different parts of the Liberal Democrats was provided this year in 4 different venues as there was so much.

The Campaigns Department training was mainly provided in the Connaught hotel, which is where we were last year also.

Now, the Connaught hotel is where the Poole Conservative ladies have their monthly lunch on the third Sunday of every month.

So, in the run up to lunch we witnessed many blue rinses and could certainly smell the hairspray although I was shocked there was no toast to HM The Queen or Dave "I'm taking the voters for granted" Cameron.

I did hear one lady say "there's an awful lot of yellow here" and I said back "to stop the blue tide".

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Liberal Democrats conference in Bournemouth

Another year, another conference, another seaside town, although that changes big time next year when we go to Birmingham and Liverpool.

This is day five for me, however conference only officially opened on Saturday. The sunshine is beaming down on the record number of conference delegates here and the general mood is a good one. Apologies for the lack of blogging but I am here working and generally up and working from 8am through to well after 10pm.

I arrived on Thursday evening where I started with our Departmental meeting took place, most of Friday I was training delegates and then Nick Clegg came along to the Campaigns Department rally later that evening. Then on Saturday again I was training most of the day and then in the evening there was the main conference rally and Sunday morning at 9.30am I made it in to the conference hall to watch the Devolution debate.

Some great speakers included Kevin Lang, Beverley Hope, Alistair Carmichael and George Lyon from team Scotland. Tavish Scott then addressed conference yesterday afternoon, unfortunately I couldn't attend as I was doing a mammoth three hour training session.

I then attended a fringe event in the evening - so far a fantastic conference, but a busy one for me, people don't understand why we always come back year after year, conference is a great motivational event and long may they continue.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Richard Branson – sort your train company out, it’s a disgrace!

I travel a lot by train now, although I will be learning to drive again shortly, so increase your life insurance especially if you live in Edinburgh. I digress; the difference in standards between different train companies is massive, especially when it comes to customer service and cleanliness.

Although many Scots will disagree I think Scotrail is one of the best rail companies out there, although I can hear the people already screaming, why?

You have to understand, I lived for 14 years in Dartford, Kent where we had to endure Connex South East, their trains were constantly late, if not cancelled and were more often than not dirty and if there was one drop of rain, or snow all hell broke out and then we often had the wrong types of leaves on the line.

So in comparison Scotrail is just awesome. The trains are clean, on time, comfortable, have staff, catering facilities and on the whole are quite regular. I know in parts of Scotland there are battles to increase services because of sparse timetables, certainly when my Mum and Sister lived in Ardgay, it didn't have the most frequent service. On the whole though they are a good company.

Today I have travelled from Edinburgh to Bournemouth, and therefore used Virgin Trains and Cross Country Trains (which obviously used to be Virgin Trains as the branding and colour schemes, even down to the carpet are exactly the same). It was like spot the difference.

I also use the National Express East Coast mainline service quite a lot so the following comparison is based on the three companies first class service in the last few days.

National Express East Coast mainline
Date of travel - Monday 14th September 2009

General cleanliness was good, although the toilet was absolutely filthy so I actually walked to the next carriage (yes, it was that bad), the little white trays on the tables that hold the sugar bowls etc I don't think they had been cleaned in months.

The complimentary newspaper was The Scotsman and that was handed out, the complimentary drinks were being served throughout the journey, although the complimentary refreshments range was very limited - tea, coffee, water, orange juice and shortbread.

The staff are all regulars, I recognised most of them from previous trips, that to me is a good sign, staff tend to stay with a company that looks after them, all helpful and polite.

Virgin Trains
Date of travel - Thursday 17th September 2009

The general cleanliness was awful, despite the first class section only being three quarters of one carriage, the tables were dirty and hadn't been cleared properly or wiped down, there was food debris and rubbish all over the floor and cups and glasses had only been placed on odd tables here and there.

The complimentary newspaper was The Times, these had just been left in a pile at the back, so I only noticed them when I went to the toilet, nothing was handed out but this was probably because the second member of catering staff just stood in the buffet car propping up the counter. If you wanted a drink you had to go to the buffet car and fetch it yourself, although I had no problem with that.

Where Virgin excel is with the range of complimentary products available for first class passengers - tea, coffee (in smaller cups than paying guests), a limited range of alcoholic drinks, crisps, newspapers, chocolate brownie and sandwiches.

The staff in the buffet car were very polite, but never came near first class. The member of staff from the cleaning team was excellent but this was let down by the fact that the carriage had not been cleaned at Waverley.

Cross Country Trains
Date of travel - Thursday 17th September 2009

Although the first class section was very busy the general cleanliness was excellent. The member of staff was fantastic, very attentive and was with you as soon as the train left the station with newspapers and refreshments. The member of staff from the cleaning team was very chirpy but discreet.

Although the member of staff was round with the trolley quickly and frequently, I was never sure what the complimentary range was apart from tea and coffee.

My only complaint was that the air conditioning was on too cold and my nipples stayed hard from Wolverhampton to Bournemouth.

Final assessment

Top of the class was Cross Country Trains with 9 out of 10, second place went to National Express East Coast mainline with 7 out of 10 and bringing up the rear, was bottom of the class Richard Branson's Virgin Trains with just 2 out of 10.

Virgin Trains must try harder, look at sorting out the cleaning operation at the turnaround stations and generally improve their customer service and cleanliness. I challenge Richard Branson to join me on Wednesday 23rd September on the return run to see what we, the paying customers actually have to endure on his trains.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lib Dems radical reform versus Labour's 10% cuts versus Tory Defence & job cuts

So, finally the "C" word is out in the open, cuts, cuts, cuts.

We all knew it was coming. Vince Cable was first out of the blocks with his pamphlet 'Tackling the Fiscal Crisis: A recovery plan for the UK'. Vince outlined nine specific areas of potential savings that are identified as a start to a radical programme of reform, with the emphasis on controlling public spending, not higher taxes.

Today's Scotsman has a fantastic editorial where it says "....we can only hope that both Mr Brown and ....David Cameron, are as honest as Mr Cable has been." "....the Liberal Democrats, has been the most candid with voters."

Yesterday saw Gordon Brown outline his latest vision at the TUC conference in Liverpool, outlining spending cuts had to be made, but fell short of actually stating where the axe may fall - "Labour will cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower-priority budgets."

Then the Tories, the same old Tories, I am astounded about the way they have got away with their sheer arrogance on MPs expenses, moats, duck houses and hundreds of thousands repaid because they over claimed.

In today's Scotsman we see that they will treat Scotland with sheer contempt, try and win a handful of seats up here and then along with their independence obsessed bedfellows the SNP they will crap from a great height.

4,600 jobs in the Clyde shipyards are dependent on the construction of the aircraft carriers, but this contract may be under threat if the Tories win George Osborne suggested yesterday. He is will also look at the euro fighter, which will be based at RAF Leuchars in Fife, so more jobs threatened there then.

Instead of these stupid suggestions why not be bold as Nick Clegg has been and declare that we will not renew Britain's trident system - and spend that money where it is needed not where politicians think it is needed.

Cuts, cuts and more cuts - fine but let us see a well thought out spending review and proposals.

At the current time, it is only Nick Clegg and Vince Cable who are daring to think, and then talk about the unthinkable. That is brave.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Queen has a vigorous sex life

The Queen normally mates with a dozen at a time but has been known to mate with 100 in the space of a few minutes, reports The Scotsman.

Oh my god, you've come here to read about that Queen, no, no, no. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is not that kind of girl, I am talking about the Queen Honey Bee, obviously. You naughty people.

Researchers all over the world are very worried about the fall in number of honey bees, the honey bee plays a vital part in the overall food chain so the dramatic fall in numbers is concerning scientists.

So, a team of researchers at Leeds University are looking into whether the lack of choice of mates for the Queen within a colony is actually part of the problem, obviously if she isn't mating with enough of the males then the breeding slows right up and the numbers begin to dwindle.

There are many other reasons for the numbers of honey bees going down including the loss of habitat and food, but the team at Leeds Uni believe they've hit another fairly sensible reason and on the face of it I would agree. Let us hope that the three years the project will take won't see another dramatic fall in honey bee numbers, we don't want to see if the theory is correct that if bees die out completely then we are likely to do so as well.

Long live the Queen and may she fornicate early and often!

Same old Tories - not as gay friendly as "Dave" would like

So, the Leader of the Conservative group on Bristol City Council, Councillor Richard Eddy has criticised a local LGBT group for receiving a Big Lottery Fund grant.

Instead of being thankful the money has in fact come into Bristol he described it to the Bristol Evening Post as "mistaken and misguided" and "an outrageous waste of money."

So here we see the same old Tories slagging off gay groups getting monies to fight homophobic bullying - it is about time that people like Councillor Eddy went and saw for themselves how hard it is coming out and the damage that homophobic bullying does, it can lead to suicide so surely if this stops one young person in Bristol from going down that path it is in fact money well spent.

I had it easy when I came out, I was 18 when I moved out of home and then told my Mum and stepdad - although me and my Mum didn't talk for three years we became closer and actually the best of friends, those three years in some ways were a price worth paying. I had known for years I was gay but did suffer bullying, not at school, but outside, a local thug just didn't take to me and a battle ensued.

If I had actually had access to something like the scheme in Bristol it would have saved me some sleepless nights but as usual when homophobia and bigotry get in the way it blocks the good work of schemes such as this.

Councillor Eddy should go and see the work the scheme actually does first before slagging it off, try educating himself rather than being ignorant, you never know, he might actually learn something.

Scottish Lib Dem blogging goes from strength to strength

Well the Total Politics top 300 political blogs have now been announced, I was again astounded as my little blog has come in at 193 with a new entry - certainly my reading figures are definitely up and the best three days have been in the last 10 days.

My little blog is in the top 50 Scottish political, top 75 Lib Dem and now in the top 200 political blogs, I am so honoured and humbled - thank you everyone for voting for me.

Anyway, it goes to show that Lib Dem blogging in Scotland is going from strength to strength with Willie Rennie MP coming in with a new entry at 299, Bernard Salmon's sound of gunfire comes in at 292 also with a new entry, then there is me at 193 as said before with a new entry, then there is Stephen Glenn's Linlithgow Journal who climbs 46 places to 101 then Caron's musings (please note the use of the apostrophe) go and do it again and shock the blogging world with a new entry at number 67.

Then if that isn't enough excitement for the day then Lib Dem Voice publishes the nominations for the Blog of the Year Awards.

Both Willie Rennie MP and Councillor Fraser Macpherson have been nominated for "Best blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office (The Tim Garden Award)".

Jo Swinson MP has been nominated for "Best use of blogging/social networking/e-campaigning by a Liberal Democrat".

Will Patterson of J. Arthur MacNumpty fame has been nominated for "Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog" - it also appears that both Caron and I voted for Will. I did for many reasons, I don't agree with his political views (no great shock) but he does write a bloody good "page scrolling" posting.

Finally our very own Caron has been nominated for the "Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year".

The results will be announced at a sequin covered cushion event in Bournemouth on Sunday, now Caron cannot make it but I am sure Stephen and I will be there cheering Caron on.

Well done to all the Scottish Lib Dem bloggers and let's hope 2010 we go from strength to strength.

Monday, 14 September 2009

SNP to tax cyclists? Pedestrians afterwards?

So, the SNP minority government, always on the eye out for a way to make a quick buck are considering taxing cyclists.

Give me strength.

The draft Cycling Action Plan for Scotland which had been released for public consultation contained this daft proposal.

Don't get me wrong, this Plan does contain some positive objectives such as setting a target that by 2020, 10% of all journeys in Scotland are by bike - let's see if SNP ministers start the trend?

Only if the ministerial car has a bike rack?

However, a cycling tax is one of the most stupid things I've heard from the SNP so far since they formed their minority administration.

Let us hope this is one draft policy u-turn they do announce.

What is next for the SNP, pedestrian tax? The more you walk the more you pay, lets do it the Salmond way.

Brendan Barber scaremongering with "riots on the streets"

Bizarre as it may seem I used to be in a Union, not only that I was the Health & Safety representative for NALGO when I worked for Nottinghamshire County Council.

I was appalled then at the "jobs for the boys" approach that the Union worked to and still am today. I saw blatant discrimination by other Union reps which ended up in me resigning not only as the Health & Safety Rep but also from the Union itself.

I crossed a picket line too, again because the strike was only benefiting the full time shop stewards and main union reps who were still getting paid their full salary while the actual workers who were striking about an actual grievance got nothing.

I wasn't prepared to be part of such hypocrisy.

As the TUC conference begins this week in Liverpool I see Brendan Barber is criticising the Labour government (good) but only in saying that public sector job cuts could raise unemployment to four million and lead to "riots on the streets".

Hardly constructive nor particularly helpful really.

Hmmm, a little Union scaremongering there I feel Brendan.

But then Brendan Barber is no John Monks!

Let's see how the TUC conference unfolds this week and if Brendan grows up a little.

Serena Williams - bad loser?

So, Serena Williams was one set down and badly losing the second to Kim Clijsters in the US Open semi-final, she was 15-30 down and on a second serve, when it all went wrong!

Badly wrong.

The line judge called a foot fault and that was that, Serena turned and said "If I could, I would take this ball and shove it down your throat and kill you" - now the real quote has lots of F words in between as well.

If you want to see the full effect there is a YouTube video, posted within minutes apparently.

Anyhow, the umpire, the referee and the WTA tour supervisor reviewed the evidence before them and told Serena Williams that this violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour meant the end of the Championship.

Rightly so, in some sports its hard for the referee as everything is only available in real time like football, but tennis and cricket have more than one referee in addition to modern techniques.

I'm afraid Serena Williams came out of this nothing more than a bad loser, not a great player having a bad day - Serena I hope you get fined big for this and I hope it proves to you that being a cry baby isn't the best way to handle losing.

UPDATE - Thanks to Jeff for pointing out my obvious error, now amended. I blame the time of the day and the fact I was blogging from my Blackberry.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Product placement - sponsored by

So, the Government is likely to perform a welcome major u-turn later this week and allow product placement, this reflects a major shift in Government policy and will also only affect commercial broadcasters.

The BBC will not be allowed to do any product placement, although I have a big issue with the Beeb as they advertise so many of their shows etc when they aren't supposed too. That is another blog post for another day.

Anyhow, I am wondering if the change in policy is a back door approach to the tax breaks the film industry have been campaigning for to enable more films to be produced in Britain.

The product placement is going to have some restrictive guidelines and I don't see anyone on the government benches who will be able to do so without ballsing it up so I do hope they get some serious advice from the professionals out there.

Anyway, let us see how this policy change progresses this coming week.

Labour's borrowing is £5,500 per second this year

Ouch, I cannot say much more than that. Labour is hurting the national pocket and our individual pockets.

Nick Clegg is writing in today's Scotland on Sunday and as usual for Nick Clegg, it is a good piece picking up the key points and setting out our stall for the annual conference in Bournemouth later this week.

One thing Nick has sensibly highlighted is the astronomical debt that this Labour Government has got this country (and therefore us) into. Labour this year is borrowing £5,500 per second!

So, in the next minute, that will be more debt £330,000 and in the next hour a mere £19,800,000 - that is right, just short of £20million pounds.

Whoever wins the General Election will have some serious financial decisions to make over the coming years. The Tories aren't really making any major policy announcements on things like this, they have said about abolishing quango's but in reality that is only going to save peanuts, don't get me wrong it is all going to help - although all those people that currently work for the quango's will all then be claiming benefits of course.

Beaten, tortured and left for dead - just for being gay in Iraq

There are a few things in life that upset me enough to make me so angry I could scream and explode in anger, this is one of them. How does anyone have the right to end someone else's life just because they choose to sleep with someone else of the same sex?

Well done to my colleague Alan Muhammed for spotting the story and circulating it on Twitter.

The story, in today's Observer, talks about the destruction of Islam by the gay people in Iraq! It is such a load of crap, honestly, but it does show that gay people in Iraq were safer when Saddam Hussein was in power and that during the 1960s and 1970s there was more of a liberated gay scene.

This horrific violence towards gay people really started increasing after 2003 when militias groups started targeting gay people and the journalists have interviewed a man who targets gay internet chatrooms so he can select his next victims - it is times like this I wonder how journalists do their job with a fair and freehand, but thankfully they do and can in order to show us these stories although I do wish sometimes they would then turn these people into the authorities.

The article goes on to describe one mother who was taken to see and identify the body of her son with the police once a note had been pinned to her front door telling her where the body was, who had been tortured, having his anus glued and his genitals chopped off, she is quoted as saying "I will carry this image with me until my dying day" - no parent, in fact nobody should ever have to witness that or suffer that torture just for being gay.

The government claim the police would never help these groups that target the LGBT community but that certainly is not what the journalists have uncovered.

These people, are not people but despicable bastards for doing this to any other human being whatever their sexuality but actually going out and targeting gay people and luring them out is just - in fact I am now so angry and upset I cannot find the right words to describe these people at all.

I know there are homophobic people in this country, in fact sometimes I have to talk to them and I do pity them, even recently as some of my work colleagues know I had to email a response to one but I would never let them win, I will continue to try and educate their bigotry and ignorance - I certainly wouldn't torture them just because they didn't understand.

We have to stand up to these people not just because they are homophobic, but because they have such a warped mind they feel torture and murder is an acceptable way to deal with people that are different to them. I wonder what they would do if someone slept with their wife?

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Chelsea FC beat Stoke City (only just mind)

So, the mighty blues, Chelsea FC keep up their 100% unbeaten record in the 2009/10 season with another victory away at Stoke City.

It took a last minute goal from Florent Malouda to get the deserved win for Chelsea, despite a bad first half for us when we went behind after 32 minutes with a goal headed in by Abdoulaye Faye, fortunately Didier Drogba was on hand to equalise just before half time (in injury time).

Read the full match report.

This fifth victory in a row means we sit pretty at the top of the league still and good on Manchester City for giving Arsenal a good 4-2 kicking.

Will Howells sings about Derren Brown

As you may have heard by now Derren Brown was predicting the lottery balls on Wednesday, like many people I thought it was a load of pish as it obviously cannot be done.

Will Howells set this blog up for me and now he is a true phenomenon in his own right, comedian, singer and a Doctor Who fan so - take it away Will.

Le Grand Bleu Yacht update

As many of my regular readers will know I blogged in August about this fascinating boat, and if you scroll under the actual blog posting many of you have been keeping us all up to date with the future travels of Le Grand Bleu after it left Leith Harbour here in Edinburgh.

No sightings though since it left Sandown Bay 5 days ago, so if anyone knows where it is please let us know as there are a few of my readers following it, if only for fun.

Bigger condoms and now, better groomed

At the start of this month I blogged about the average manhood being 8inches, and that Glasgow is king of above average in the UK coming in at 8.5inches when it comes to condom sales across the UK.

This morning I am here to tell you that Scots are also the best groomed in the UK (in case you are wondering why I am up at this unearthly hour, my little cat, Zennor, woke me up and then insisted I got up, non animal lovers will think I am bonkers and animal lovers will know exactly what I am talking about).

Anyway, apparently us Scots (I claim this as I liver here and intend staying here) spend 20% more on deodorant and 15% more on toiletries than anywhere else in the UK and in fact, nearly £10 per year more than anyone in Wales so it isn't a Celtic trend, just a Scottish one.

On average, according to Scots spend £76.24 per year on looking good with all of their grooming products, Londoners just £73.29 and the Welsh, well only £64.50.

Now, has London slipped into second place since I moved here? Who knows, and I know what you are thinking, who cares!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Bank charges reduced by Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest Group

So the Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest group have decided to reduce their bank charges for various items, now I welcome this and wish my bank, Lloyds TSB, also partly state owned will not only follow suit, but also then refund me for everything they've overcharged me.

Has this decision been made before the House of Lords and Office of Fair Trading ruling that dictates these charges are unlawful or at the very least well over the top and force the banks to drop the charges and force them to refund all those previous charges highlighted.

I saw the story yesterday but the full page advert in today's Metro caught my eye and reminded me of the story, the news was also covered on who really started the campaign to slash bank charges, so the first round goes to Martin Lewis of although Brian Hartzer the Chief Executive Officer, UK Retail Banking of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group will claim it is all his idea - obviously!

So, the unpaid items charge has gone from £38 to £5, the guaranteed card payment fees have gone from £35 to £15, paid referral fees are reduced from £30 to £15 and the maintenance charge has been cut from £28 to £20. These reductions come into force on 1st October.

So well done to The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, but did they jump before they were pushed by the House of Lords and Office of Fair Trading?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Rations MP sacked from the Shadow Cabinet

Back on the 12th August I blogged about Alan Duncan MP and his moaning about living on rations, you can read it again here.

Well now this evening as reported on the BBC website, Alan Duncan MP has been sacked demoted from the Shadow Cabinet, he is now prisons minister.

Apparently Alan isn't commenting on his demotion, I don't understand why, he usually comments on everything else, just one question for David Cameron, why has it taken you so long to deal with this and why announce the news today?

Election Night Fever - a thing of the past?

The first election that I got deeply involved in the campaign management for was Vince Cable's 2001 General Election campaign when I was his Agent. I remember it like it was yesterday for very many reasons, the main one was that this was very likely to be Vince's wife Olympia's last election. It turned out to be right, she lost her fight against breast cancer just days after Vince's victory.

Anyway Councillor Stephen Knight, who was the literature guru and I didn't finish the printing of the Good Morning leaflets until 2.30am on what was now polling day (Stephen and I made a great team) and then I recall Malinda knocking on the office door at 4.30am to get me out of bed (yes I was sleeping in the office for the final week) and to get the office ready for everyone coming in to start the deliveries.

Then the day continued on until before you know it, it is 10pm, polls are closed and then the count team was off to the college where both counts were taking place, for Twickenham and for Richmond Park. We had issues with Polling Station staff during the day, there was a war of words between the Tory Agent and myself - I won - but it is all part of the day.

This was my first count so I was a little nervous although I had a great and experienced team with me. Both BBC and ITV were trying to get the result first and both were desperate to persuade me to tell them - the BBC won that evening and had the win up on screen a good 5 minutes before any result was discussed with the Agents!

Jonny Oates was in the other half of the college sports hall as Jenny Tonge's Agent, we then all piled back to the Twickenham office to celebrate after Vince had finished all of his interviews and a visit home to see Olympia. Jonny and I then went over to Kingston & Surbiton where Ed Davey and his Agent, Belinda Eyre-Brook had pulled off an amazing result, although I was happy that we had reduced the Tories to their worst result since the second world war.

Belinda, Jonny and I sat in Fishponds Park in Surbiton supping champagne at 8am in the morning and by then we had all been up around 28 hours. We had sat up all night (I drifted off, allegedly) watching the results coming in, cheering the Lib Dem gains contemplating whether we would hold Romsey - we did - and made other gains, plus some losses, it is emotion at its very best.

You maybe wondering what the hell this is all about, well election night is under threat, it is under threat from Councils who feel it is better to wait until the Friday to count the votes, I have never heard such nonsense.

There are already Councils with reputations for being slow, this is taking the biscuit. The General Election result is important for many reasons, whether it be political parties in individual seats or watching the formation of a new government.

It is traditional to have the results announced on Thursday night and can you imagine the news coverage, it would start pre the polls closing on the Thursday night and not end until sometime on Friday lunchtime. Where on earth will the commentators and politicians come from for that length of coverage.

If you support the call to keep the traditional election night on the Thursday and you are on Facebook, join the cross party group now and add your voice.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Spending cuts and Council Tax rises from the SNP on the way?

The Scotland on Sunday has the screaming headline "Scots facing tax hike and £1.5billion cuts" with a sub headline of "Leak reveals top civil servants' plans".

The story comes from a leaked set of minutes.

So, we now find out that civil servants and the SNP are looking at cuts, in fact even showing that blanket cuts across the board, which would save £1.5billion, would be only part of the solution.

It is showing that the SNP government are likely to consider increasing Business Rates and even Council Tax - that would be a pledge broken if they do. I like the point where it is discussed that these tax rises and spending cuts will be difficult for the ministers to implement so the group also discussed ways of helping ministers pave the way.

I see there is the potential there to bury the bad news on a day when a major political announcement is made such as the General Election result announcement or just the SNP avoiding making difficult decisions as we have seen over the last two and a half years.

I do hope they don't bury bad news on days when peoples eyes and ears are elsewhere.

John Swinney as always blames Westminster - that's grown up politics for you.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Afghanistan - strategy or back of a fag packet idea?

I hate it when on the news, via TV, online or even Twitter (yes, I know that's online) I hear that another one of our gallant servicemen or women have tragically lost their lives in Afghanistan.

I feel for their families and loved ones, however their families also need to realise they lost their lives to secure our safe future. To ensure a better Britain.

Before everyone jumps up and down and screams it's another woolly Liberal going on about the war, I could well have ended up in the RAF back when I was 17, but I didn't pass the medical because of my heart disease, the RAF was where I was aiming for and was gutted I didn't make it. I wanted to be in the RAF for as long as I can remember.

Yes, I believe we should be in Afghanistan and yes, I believe Nick Clegg was right to highlight the lack of equipment for our troops there, and I do hope he will continue to do so. These two things can work together.

So yesterday, I listened to Gordon Brown outlining the strategy for Afghanistan, explaining why we are there. I wanted him to get the country behind him and our troops, unfortunately the words were there but he just isn't the greatest public speaker when it comes to emotion.

Paddy Ashdown makes the same point.

I had wanted one extra thing from Gordon Brown yesterday, a commitment that a Government Minister would be in Wootten Bassett to honour our servicemen and women who have been killed in action. I believe, it is the very least that should happen, the very least. I did welcome the fact he met the families of those servicemen and women who have lost their lives.

I also welcome the move by Her Majesty The Queen that a new medal the Elizabeth Cross will be given to the next of kin for those who served and were killed in Afghanistan.

What Gordon Brown did explain, was that we are there as part of a multi national strategy, in fact 40+ countries are involved and yes they are all there with the same objective to rid us of terrorism and deprive the Taleban and Al Qaeda of a permanent base, not just in Afghanistan but Pakistan as well. The Taleban and Al Qaeda must realise they are not welcome and nor do they have a place in our society today.

Gordon Brown goes on to say: "There is nothing more heart-breaking in the job I do than writing to the families of those brave servicemen and women, or meeting them, as I did this morning. Or standing by the bedside of a 19-year-old who may never be able to walk again, as I did earlier this week.

Each time I have to ask myself if we are doing the right thing by being in Afghanistan. Each time I have to ask myself if we can justify sending our young men and women to fight for this cause…And my answer has always been yes.

For when the security of our country is at stake we can not walk away. When the stability of this volatile region, spanning the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has such a profound impact on the security of Britain and the rest of the international community we cannot just do nothing and leave the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan to struggle with these global problems on their own.

But while it is right that we play our part - so too must others take their fair share of this burden of responsibility. 42 countries are involved - and all must ask themselves if they are doing enough. For terrorism recognises no borders. All of us benefit from defeating terrorism and greater stability in this region - and all members of our coalition must play our proper part."

Then when he said this and I got bloody angry, but I do have to say a big well done to Nick Clegg for getting this in the public domain and therefore speeding up the process to get helicopters and better equipment out to Afghanistan to help our troops.

Gordon Brown: "And the first Merlin helicopters - which I saw being adapted for Afghanistan at RAF Benson in July - will now be flying in Helmand within two months and together with enhancements to other types, by next Spring compared to 2006 we will have doubled the number of helicopters, and increased flying hours by 130%."

So, what Gordon Brown is saying, he saw these two months ago in July but yet it will be another two months before they are ready for Operations, so November is when they will arrive in Afghanistan - I am sorry but this simply is not acceptable. By all means review the Budgets, review your Government spending plan but get the money to our troops and get them the equipment to do their jobs and to do their jobs effectively.

Gordon then went on to say "In recognition of the debt we owe to our forces as well as the need to properly equip them, we are increasing pay for our forces at a faster rate than for other public servants."

Only this week Nick Clegg launched a campaign for better pay for the Armed Forces, go and read about the Lib Dem proposals supported by many troops. I am slightly suspicious that Gordon Brown has just copied what Nick Clegg has proposed because when Nick Clegg launched it there was an interview on the BBC where a Labour MP, possibly a Minister (I cannot remember) saying this could not be afforded and wasn't what the troops were saying.

So, if you want to read Gordon Brown's speech in full - speech. Feel free, because I believe the strategy is right, it does appear thought out but Gordon Brown and Bob Ainsworth are not the right people to sell it to the people in the UK. Gordon 10 out of 10 for content, but only 4 out of 10 for delivery I am afraid.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Leaders TV debate - Salmond can go kiss ass

So, Sky News launch a campaign to have a televised Leaders debate for the General Election. Absolutely fantastic and about bloody time.

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, wrote to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to invite them to take part telling them all that faith in politics and politicians has been shaken, and a debate during the forthcoming election campaign would offer a unique opportunity to re-engage disillusioned voters.

Nick Clegg and David Cameron have already replied saying yes.

I am completely for this and always have been. I have signed the online petition already and ask all my readers to sign it here.

So, it all appears quite normal and then up pops Alex Salmond demanding a spot on the TV debate for the Leaders. Alex Salmond is a complete egomaniac in every sense, I saw him operate during the 2007 elections so am not entirely surprised, but he will have no right up there.

This debate is about the Leaders of the three main Parties, those who are going to play a key part in the next Government. The next Government is very likely to be formed by either Labour or the Tories (god help us). With the Lib Dems only having 63 MPs it will be too big a leap this time perhaps, although given how poorly the Labour Party are doing governing the country, who knows?

However, in the event that we have a hung Parliament, it will be Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who will have the balance of power not the SNP or the MSP Alex Salmond!

So Alex, no, you shouldn't be on the televised Leaders debate. I understand he is not ruling out court action to get his way, what a bloody pathetic response. If you can't take the heat.......

Upside down, with his head in a bucket - obviously!

Well it has to be seen to believed so here it is, a man who is upside down with his head in a bucket on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Chelsea blues after FIFA decision

Although we have an amazing squad, the decision by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) today banning Chelsea FC from signing any new players for the next two transfer windows up until 2010 is not great.

The ban from FIFA is resulting from Jose Mourhino's days when French star Gael Kakuta was persuaded to break his contract with Lens back in 2007. Lens claimed it was a breach of contract and as you can imagine a row ensued.

FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber ruled that there had been a contractual breach and has ordered Gael Kakuta to pay £682,000 in compensation, although he and the club are liable plus Chelsea FC has been fined £113,000 in addition. Read the details in full.

Kakuta has also got in effect a four month ban on playing in official matches.

I am sure there will be smiles on some managers faces within the Premier League especially in Liverpool, Norf' London and Manchester as they know if the appeal by Chelsea isn't successful that this could mean easier games for them next season - but my advice to them is don't smile too much!

Chelsea Football Club has issued the following statement:

Chelsea will mount the strongest appeal possible following the decision of FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber over Gaël Kakuta.

The sanctions are without precedent to this level and totally disproportionate to the alleged offence and the financial penalty imposed.

We cannot comment further until we receive the full written rationale for this extraordinarily arbitrary decision.

Glasgow North East candidate in u turn shock

I cannot claim this blog posting, it is a good A+ for Scottish Unionist who saw this fantastic u turn by the SNP candidate for the Glasgow North East by-election.

Read here what he said about the al-Megrahi decision on the 21st August and then the complete kind u turn only 4 days later.

8 inches is average - Glasgow is above average

One of my colleagues spotted this yesterday, and we just knew it would get picked up by someone, lo and behold the Metro on page 12, well in the Scottish edition anyway, with the super headline "It seems size matters to big city boys".

Yesterday Tesco announced that more of its supersize condoms had been bought in Glasgow than any other city in the UK.

The durex condoms are 10mm longer and 1mm wider than their standard versions. A standard version is for 8inches and supersize is 8.5inches, so Glasgow is the city of the above average boys, well half an inch above average anyway.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Total Politics Top 75 Lib Dem blogs - in at number 19

Okay, I had a little gloat there, and why not, you voted for me and for that I will be eternally grateful - thank you so much.

Again the Lib Dems in Scotland have done well with 10 of us making the top 75, that's a good 13% of the top 75. For the full list of 75, visit the list on Lib Dem Voice here.

A fantastic well done to Caron Lindsay who's musings came in at 7th this year up 37 places from last years 44th. Stephen Glenn's Linlithgow Journal moves up to 11th place from 15th, just hovering outside that top ten spot.

Third top Scottish blog goes to me, yes my little blog has done it again coming in at 19th place as a new entry.

In at 25 comes Bernard Salmon with the sound of gunfire who moves up from last year's 42nd place, right behind Bernard in 26th place with a new entry is Willie Rennie MP with what Oor Willie did next.

Now, the next placings are all one number better than they show on the list at this current time as there is a rogue blog in there which is not a Lib Dem blog.

So Scotland's only Lib Dem blogging Councillor, Fraser Macpherson comes in with Dundee West End in at 30th place a little slip of 2 places on last year.

Iain Dale, no, not that one, the Lib Dem one comes in at 40th place again a little slip of 8 places on last year but Iain has had a quiet year so it is great he is still in the top 40, with anything Caron can do.

Next comes our second blogging MP, John Barrett in at number 53 with a new entry with his Barrett's blog, followed closely at 54 by top Lib Dem candidate Katy Gordon with another new entry and bringing up the rear for Scotland is yet another brand new entry (5 for this year), in at 56 is Liberal Youth Scotland's blog and with such a great team writing for them, this is one to watch.

So, all the Lib Dems in Scotland in fact came in the top 60 - well done to one and all.
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