Reevesey's recommended reading

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tut tut - Kerry McCarthy breaches election law on Twitter

Naughty naughty Kerry McCarthy, the Labour candidate in Bristol East - who earlier today tweeted figures from the opening of the postal votes in her Bristol East seat.

This is very clearly a breach of electoral law.

Now, to be fair to Kerry McCarthy, she has now deleted the figures but it does show despite councils and the electoral commission providing very clear advice on this that people do still make mistakes.

I remember my first count and many subsequent ones where I was made to sign a secrecy document.

Perhaps that needs to be reiterated to candidates and counting agents alike.

For those who want to know the correct wording of Section 66a, 1983 Representation of the People Act see Mark Pack's blog.

Neil Kinnock admits defeat

In an interview with the New Statesman, prior to "bigot" gate, Neil Kinnock has said it "doesn't look like" his party can win the general election.

That is quite a bold statement for the former Labour leader to make, and heaps yet more pressure on Gordon Brown ahead of this evenings final Prime Ministerial debate.

Today's daily YouGov tracker poll for The Sun - shows the Conservatives up one point on 34%, the Liberal Democrats up three on 31%, and Labour down two on 27%.

Neil Kinnock was the Leader of the Labour Party when they lost the 1992 general election,  and said he would not speculate on the possibility of a coalition between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.

On the BBC Neil Kinnock said:
"The likely outcome of this election is more difficult to predict than any other in our political life," he added. 
So, if Neil Kinnock didn't think it likely Labour could win before yesterday, what does he think now?

Banksy and the Liberal Democrats

Here is what appeared on the garden wall of the Bristol North West Liberal Democrats office a few nights ago.

The virtual Liberal Democrats poster

We all know in the Liberal Democrats that posters matter in election campaigns, because they show people that our party has plenty of support.

So, whether it's a window poster, last Sunday’s Daily View via Lib Dem Voice was a poster special with one you can print off and put in your window, garden poster or just a virtual poster, they all count.

Knowing that a party has lots of support in turn encourages other people to vote for that party.
Today it’s the turn of the virtual poster.

Take this graphic below – also at – and use it as your Facebook profile picture / Twitter avatar etc.

That way we can help turn the 49% who say they would vote Lib Dem if they thought we could win into a reality.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Not a good day for the Conservatives - one former candidate endorses the Liberal Democrats as one candidate is suspended

Not a great day for the Scottish Conservatives today, firstly Chris Walker, the former Conservative candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk comes out to back Liberal Democrats Michael Moore to win and then only hours later North Ayshire & Arran Conservative candidate Philip Lardner is suspended over his homophobic views.

Chris Walker has been very brave to come forward and publicly support another party's candidate and it is great to see his obviously sincere words about Michael Moore.

John Lamont heard the news from BBCs Richard Gordon apparently, just as Lamont was about to welcome SamCam.......ouch!

You can read about Chris Walkers endorsement of Michael Moore here.

Then onto the appalling attitude of primary school teacher and Conservative candidate Philip Lardner.

Thanks to Pink News the shameful content of the Conservative candidates website has not just been brushed aside and swept under the carpet.
"The promotion of homosexuality by public bodies (as per 'clause 28′/section 2a in Scotland,) was correctly outlawed by Mrs Thatcher's government. Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another."

This just shows that the deep vein that runs through right wing Conservatives is still there, alive and well but now covered up by a brushing of foundation to hide the blemishes.
Philip Lardener goes on;
"Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between 'unfortunate' and simply 'wrong' and they should not be penalised for politely saying so – good manners count too, of course.

"The current 'law' is wrong and must be overturned in the interests of freedom as well as Christian values."
From the BBC News website;
Mr Lardner had been reinstated to the party in 2008 after a previous suspension over claims he made racist comments by portraying former leader of white-rule Rhodesia, Ian Smith, as a hero.

This line obviously begs the question why and how was this person allowed to go through and represent a Party (Yes, I would the same about a Lib Dem too) with these awful views?

Unfortunately for the good people of North Ayshire & Arran, Philip Lardner will still appear as the Conservative candidate on the ballot paper on May 6, despite the swift suspension of Lardner by the Conservative Party.

Recently, Tory MP Chris Grayling was recorded saying he agreed bed and breakfast owners should have the right to bar gay couples if they wish.

Meanwhile, Julian Lewis, the incumbent MP for New Forest East and shadow defence minister, told a constituent that he was against equalising the age of consent for gay men as he believes gay sex carries a high risk of AIDS - full story here.

If you want to read about the Conservatives record in the House of Commons then you can do so here.

They haven't changed, just trying to cover it up to get votes.  The support for the Conservatives has dropped from LGBT people, while support for the Liberal Democrats has soared.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Scottish Westminster TV debate plus Alex Salmond

The title isn't meant to antagonise the SNP supporters, I still cannot get my head round why he wants to participate in one debate, snub another and threaten court action on the Prime Ministerial debates?

Anyway, back to The Hub Sunday 25th April at 10.30am - the Sky debate live.

As a mere audience member (I know how to enjoy a little time off from the general election campaign) I was to be there at 9.30am, I arrived by taxi, no buses at that time of morning from home, to find the Conservatives handing out playing cards - was very disappointed to see Annabel Goldie wasn't portrayed as the Queen of whatever, but the big question was, who would be the joker, so many to choose from?

No-one, they all had policy statements on and quite a few of them with appalling grammar and a fair few spelling mistakes.

Anyway, after being ticked off the list (there is always a list at such glamorous events, so I am told) I grabbed a coffee and headed to colleagues and friends who were making up the Liberal Democrats section in the audience.

There was a block for each of the four parties plus a larger block of voters, some who were going to be asking the questions.  I saw fellow blogger Yousuf on the Labour benches, but didn't get chance to say hi, so Yousuf - Hello and sorry for not saying hello yesterday!

There were some strange questions, some good questions and a couple of great questions.

The four politicians were Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats), Alex Salmond (SNP), Jim Murphy (Labour) and David Mundell (Scotland's only Conservative MP).

There were some good points made by all four which I had hoped to do some live tweets about, but after the first one I had to turn the Blackberry off, which was a great shame, but given how many times the camera seemed to pick me up when I watched the show back last night, I am quite glad in someways lol.

Alistair Carmichael had a great soap box moment on the Iraq war (and rightly so) and really had Jim Murphy on the ropes, so much so he had a ten second stare out after having a real go at Murphy and Labour for not having even the decency of counting the number of civilians who died in Iraq.

Hamish Macdonell writes for the Caledonian Mercury:
Mr Carmichael was the only one to show real passion, when he got worked up over the war in Iraq, berating Mr Murphy for the Labour government’s failure to show “even the decency of counting” the number of Iraqi dead.
Alistair continued his thread of anger on civil liberties as well as the illegal war in Iraq.
Indeed, Mr Carmichael was particularly effective – as expected given this was a question about civil liberties – when he said: “When we erode these freedoms we do the terrorists’ job for them.”

Hamish Macdonell writes a good summary of the debate bar one line, where he gets it very, very wrong:
Mr Salmond appeared the more statesmanlike of the three simply by not getting involved in the shouting matches against Mr Murphy...
Erm, Hamish why don't you watch the debate again and concentrate on the section where Murphy accuses Salmond of sleeping for Scotland - that is a shouting match?

Anyway I will leave the last word to Jamie Livingstone of STV:
The Liberal Democrat’s Alistair Carmichael may be most satisfied having painted himself as a measured alternative to the other three panelists. To my mind both Alex Salmond and Jim Murphy under performed...

Saturday, 24 April 2010

STOP - put the chicken sandwich down, move away, it could turn you gay!

That is according to the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales.

Ten out of ten to Pink News for spotting this one.

Speaking to a climate change conference President Morales said;
"The chicken we eat is loaded with female hormones. So, when men eat it, they tend to deviate from their manhood."
He added that he only eats non-genetically modified chicken to avoid becoming gay or effeminate.

And wait for it, it gets better.

President Morales also argued that eating treated chicken could also turn men bald.
"Baldness, which seems normal, is a disease in Europe. Almost everyone is bald and it's related to the food they eat. Among the indigenous people there are no bald men, because we eat different things."
Almost everyone in Europe is bald?

Honestly, have you ever read so much crap in your life?

I don't remember eating that much chicken growing up, our family favourite was mince and mash - take from that what you will........

Either there will be massive queues in the supermarket aisles this weekend or everyone will think the President of Bolivia is, well, just very mis-informed.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Was the YouGov poll fair last night after the Sky Prime Ministerial debate?

So, the second TV debate on Sky for the Prime Ministerial debates took place last night, I didn't watch it live, but thanks to Sky+ watched it soon after.

I was sort of following it via Twitter as I was writing target letters.

What was interesting is despite the UK media turning it's guns and might (not as honestly as you would have thought) on Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, we wnot only withstood it but yet again Nick Clegg came out as the winner of three of the five polls last night, not as clear a victory as before, but still showing the voters of the UK that there is a real choice at this election.

Nick Clegg was shown as the winner with ComRes, Angus Reid and ICM  and David Cameron with YouGov and Populus.

However, should it have actually been four of the five polls for Nick, because YouGov published the results before Nick Clegg's final speech according to some on Twitter (someone I trust) - was that fair or balanced?

I wonder if they had held off and done it fairly, rather than just trying to rush it out, would the result have been the same?

It seems obvious to me that the Conservatives are in panic mode now.

Two weeks ago the Conservatives were riding high in the polls, with Labour closing the gap.

Now it is the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives fighting for first place with Labour languishing at the bottom, out of the race.

With two more weeks to go it is clear the voters of Britian have had enough of the traditional two party politics as portrayed by the media. 

In Scotland the voters are used to a four party system and understand it as well, so although the polls show Labour in the need it is the SNP being squeezed by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives a long way behind in fourth place.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Scottish Liberal Democrats launch their manifesto

This morning Tavish Scott, Alistair Carmichael and Kevin Lang launched the Scottish Liberal Democrats manifesto on a launch in Forth Ports, Leith.

Elections that can really make a difference don’t come along very often. But this is one of them.

This May, you have an opportunity to shape the future of our country for the better. We’ve had 65 years of red team, blue team politics: the same parties taking turns and making the same mistakes, letting you down.
They have taught people to expect little from politics, and get less.

It is time for something different. It is time for something better.

Doesn’t it make you angry that after 65 years of red-blue government, a child’s chances in life are still more determined by their parents’ bank balance than by their own hopes and dreams? Doesn’t it make you angry that the banks have been allowed to ride roughshod over our economy, and are still handing out bonuses by the bucketload? That politics is still the plaything of wealthy donors and corrupt MPs? That despite endless warm words from politicians, our climate is in danger? That the poorest are the ones who pay the biggest chunk of their income in tax?

Liberal Democrats believe that the way things are is not the way they have to be. We think that you should fight for what you believe in, and fight for change. So our message for you in this election is simple.

Don’t settle for low politics and broken promises: be more demanding. Set your sights on the Britain – and the Scotland – you want for your children and your grandchildren, and use your vote to make it happen. 

Only the Liberal Democrats have the big ideas for fundamental, structural changes in the way our country works to make it fair.

Only the Liberal Democrats will shake up the tax system to put £700 back in the pockets of tens of millions of low and middle income families, paid for by ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share.

Only the Liberal Democrats will break up the banks and start Britain building things again to create a sustainable economy.

Only the Liberal Democrats will give schools the investment they need to give every child, no matter their background, a fair start in life.

A strong vote for the Liberal Democrats means the end of red-blue, blue-red politics. It means the end of the stitch-up between the two old parties. It means the opening up of our rotten political system. It means the beginning of real change that works for you.

So don't hope for the best: vote for the best Choose the Liberal Democrats.

Download the manifesto.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Annabel Goldie in wee Borders rant (getting it all wrong)

So, despite knowing that there were no flights David Cameron missed the Scottish Conservative manifesto launch (I say Conservative as there is only one Westminster seat they hold up here in Scotland) in Melrose, a beatiful town in the Liberal Democrat constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

There are trains "Dave".  But "Dave" was in fact still in London.

Anyway, Annabel fell into a trap yesterday, and spent around five minutes of her speech ranting and attacking the Liberal Democrats (you know you have them rattled once they start attacking you) with a mild dose of hypocrisy and nonsense.

Perhaps a change by the Conservatives following Nick Cleggs performance on the Leaders debate and recent polling.

"If you vote Liberal Democrat, then you will get Labour." said Annabel.


If on May 6th you vote Liberal Democrat Annabel, then Michael Moore will be re-elected as the hard working MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk.

Annabel and call me "Dave" Cameron insult the voters intelligence when they peddle this stupid line.

She then said to John Lamont MSP - "John, you have won this seat once now go and win it again."


John Lamont MSP won the seat of Roxburgh & Berwickshire - which as any person in the Scottish Borders will tell you, is entirely different to Michael Moore's seat.

Ironically, Annabel then went on to talk about the thousands of people who have lost their jobs in the recession, BUT failed to justify why John Lamont MSP is then seeking a second job and will NOT stand down for twelve monthsafterwards as the MSP.

Two jobs John and Annabel?

When thousands of people have lost their only job? 


David Cameron claims he wants to clean up politics and yet two of his MSPs (obviously already bored of their jobsas MSPs) are seeking a second job and have no intention to stand down immediately but will try and do the two jobs part-time for at least one year.

John Lamont is clearly an embarrassment to both of his leaders, Annabel Goldie and David Cameron as they are both on the record now accepting the Kelly report in full - will either of them be telling John Lamont to drop one or other, or have they changed their minds?

In fact the Kelly report states that this practice of sitting in two legislatures should end before the 2011 elections so in fact John Lamont should decide to either (a) quit as an MSP now and fight the general election or (b) quit as a candidate now and focus on what he was elected to do which was a be a full time MSP.

Annabel Goldie has constantly hassled Alex Salmond about this dual mandate issue for a while but is now on the back foot and looking rather stupid because of both John Lamont and Alex Johnstone (another Tory MSP who wants two jobs).

The only people that lose out with these "Tory two job types" are the voters who deserve a full time MP and a full time MSP - not a part time one trying to do both jobs.
Annabel Goldie also defended rates relief for businesses yesterday, great I hear you all cry, then why did John Lamont, Annabel Goldie and the other Conservatives in Holyrood vote against the rates relief package just last week that would have save hundreds of businesses in the Scottish Borders thousands of pounds?
Yet another case of don't do what I do, just do what I say from Annabel Goldie and the Scottish Conservatives.
Annabel went into rant and attack mode against the Liberal Democrats yesterday saying we cosy up to Labour.
So, Annabel Goldie I ask you this why, have you spent the last three years as Alex Salmond's Holyrood bedfellows?  You support them in so many votes instead of standing up for the Scottish people it is nothing more than shameful.
The Scottish Conservatives are just propping up the SNP minority Government in Holyrood, nothing more and nothing less.
If people want change then it is time for Nick Clegg and the Scottish Liberal Democrats - already the second party in Scotland in votes and MPs (more MPs than the SNP and Conservatives combined).
It is the Liberal Democrats that challenged the Labour Government and Conservatives over the Iraq war.
It is Nick Clegg who led the campaign to clean up politics and put forward proposals to Parliament - voted down by Labour and the Conservatives.
It is Nick Clegg who first demanded the right to sack your MP for the voters - voted down by Labour and Conservatives.
Whose Party are the hypocrites Annabel?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cameron's Conservative candidate Peter Lyburn misleads the public

We all know there are banana skins during an election - from other parties helpers trying to infiltrate under false pretences (I recall from the Brent East by-election a Conservative member of staff pretending to be a journalist) or even the media just trying to catch a candidate out on policy or the like.

But, when you create your own banana skin, there is very little sympathy out there.

Peter Lyburn is the Conservative candidate for Perth & North Perthshire and he has made a major mistake this week.
David Cameron has made a major issue of getting business men and women to sign a letter agreeing with him that should he get the keys to 10 Downing Street he will scrap the Government's proposal to raise National Insurance.

Well, I wonder how Cameron feels about his Perth & North Perthshire candidate 'making up' a list of his own of local businesses claiming to support the very same policy?

The Courier have the full story.

Despite The Courier having contacted quite a few of those listed on Peter Lyburn's and the majority not being happy about being included, Peter Lyburn was then quoted responding to The Courier;
Mr Lyburn responded, “The Conservatives have been very clear in press releases and interviews that we welcomed support from businesses for our economic plans. Every business person on that list supports Conservative plans to scrap Labour’s jobs tax.”
This quote just shows how completely arrogant the Conservatives are being about this.

Their candidate has made a major mistake and not only misled these Perth businessmen by not telling them explicitly their names would be given to the media, potentially damaging their local reuptation but this then misleads the public who quite rightly will assume these people knew.

The President of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, Paul Shields, a local hotelier, said;

“I’m disappointed that I’ve been misquoted and disappointed that I’ve been used for political games.”

I think Peter Lyburn needs to think about his political career, nominations close tomorrow!

Caron's musings carries a very good part two to this story, here is a little snippet;

Anyway, here are Mr Lyburn's pledges to the people of Perth....
Pledge 1 "To show by our actions that politics need not be a dirty game"
Pledge 2 "Not to mislead the public"
Pledge 5 "To fight a clean, honest and positive campaign."
It looks like the Scottish Conservatives, with just one MP in Scotland won't be making a breathrough in Perth & North Perthshire.  So, that 'list' of eleven target seats is now down to ten then Dave?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Lib Dems second in YouGov poll, Labour third

Putting aside the euphoria of the aftermath of the first of the Leaders (wanting to be Prime Minister) TV debates, it appears the good news keeps on coming. Below are the latest results of the YouGov polling;

Conservative: 33%
Liberal Democrat: 30%
Labour: 28%
Others: 9%
Fieldwork: 15-16 April.

This is week one of the campaign so we do need to keep things in perspective.
However, this is great news and shows what we in the Party are always saying, when we get our fair share of the media, and can put our Leaders out there in the public viewing area, they like what they see and are persuaded to vote Liberal Democrats.
What Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats are proving is that we have the policies and manifesto to stand up for the UK and the people; we have the team to do so and now the public are believing us.
When your postal ballot arrives, or the polling stations open on May 6th, remember what you saw and heard over the weeks preceding it, and make that change, a positive change and vote for the Liberal Democrats.
The other parties are running scared and just attack the Liberal Democrats for the sake of it, this is the time to see through that blue/red mist and vote for real change.
The Labour and Conservative Parties have governed the UK for 65 years between them - it's time for change.  Change that worls for you.  VOTE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Leaders (for Prime Minister) debate

I sort of had an evening off from the General Election campaign last night, to watch the Leaders (for Prime Minister) debate on ITV.

The reason I quantify the Leaders debate with the (for Prime Ministers) part is because of the lack of SNP and Plaid (who appear to be acting as one one anyway) in these debates, but very simply wee Edinbugh 'Eck (Alex Salmond - for my English and Welsh chums) is not standing for this election, cannot therefore be Prime Minister so who should he be on?

Anyway, I was extremely impressed with Nick - as I've said before, I didn't vote for him in the Lib Dem Leadership race, I was firmly in the Huhne camp - last night, he carried himself well, his body language was always open and honest and he was just generally what you would expect from the Prime Minister of the UK.

To hear the panel from Bolton praise Nick at the end was fantastic.

The ITV viewers poll of 4,000 correctly weighted come out 43% for Nick Clegg, 26% for David Cameron and 20% for Gordon Brown shows this election is NOT a two horse race for Number 10 Downing Street.

However, the race for Number 10 is not what people vote on.  People vote to elect an MP who will stand up for them in Westminster.

Across Scotland it was the Liberal Democrats who were second to Labour not just in number of MPs but also in the share of the vote.

So, if you are seriously thinking of voting Liberal Democrat on May 6th, just do it and here are some poll figures from last night for you to show you, you are not alone;

COMRES ITV (4000 voters) - Most authoritative
Nick Clegg 43%
David Cameron 26%
Gordon Brown 20%

COMRES ITV (4000 voters) - Best on immigration
David Cameron 37%
Nick Clegg 35%
Gordon Brown 20%

COMRES ITV (4000 voters) - Best to deal with Public Service cuts
Nick Clegg 36%
David Cameron 36%
Gordon Brown 20%

YOUGOV for The Sun
Nick Clegg 51%
David Cameron 29%
Gordon Brown 19%

Angus Reid
Nick Clegg 44%
David Cameron 22%
Gordon Brown 20%

After watching the debate, would you say you are more likely, just as likely, or less likely to vote for the Liberal Democrats in the General Election?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Cameron's Conservatives in NHS hospital hypocrisy

I know it is no great shock to learn that the Conservatives say one thing and then do entirely the opposite but it is important that voters understand that this is coming from the supposed Prime Minister and Government in waiting.

Now, let's overlook the fact that the Conservatives are being completely arogant and most of them actually think they have already won this election.

Just last week we saw David Cameron campaigning in Kingston hospital, this is the very same hospital that the Conservatives attacked the Liberal Democrats for scaremongering about it's closure - as I say why should that stop the Conservatives saying one thing and then do the opposite?

Liberal Democrat MPs Susan Kramer (Richmond Park) and Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton) have vowed to fight the secret Labour plans to close both A&E and Maternity services at Kingston Hospital.

Picture shows Susan Kramer, Nick Clegg and Edward Davey campaigning to save Kingston Hospital.

Senior NHS staff have blown the whistle on Labour proposals to close both Accident & Emergency services and Maternity services at Kingston Hospital.

The two MPs have been told this information by 5 senior NHS staff, including 4 chief executives and 1 senior clinician, at 4 separate meetings.

You can now read the leaked pages from the South West London Strategic Plan which was due to be published in December, but was pulled at the last moment over on Susan Kramer's website.

The Conservatives however accused the Liberal Democrats of electioneering and scaremongering but eventually realised that Suan Kramer and Edward Davey were in fact right and with their tails firmly between their legs they joined the Liberal Democrats campaign.

Now let's fast forward to yesterday.

David Cameron's Conservatives attacked the Labour Party for launching their manifesto in an NHS hospital, that's right, last week David Cameron was campaigining in an NHS hospital and now has actually attacked both the Liberal Democrats and Labour for campaigning in NHS hospitals.

Bloody hypocrites.

It just shows that despite Cameron's rhetoric that underneath the teflon (borrowed from Tony Blair and Edinburgh 'Eck) it is the same old Tories, just more arrogant and hypocritical than ever before.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Labour targeting of cancer victims shallow and appalling

When I was scanning the blogs and online headlines this morning, as I do every day, I saw Jeff Breslin over at SNP Tactical Voting had done a good post about this with a link to the story in The Times and I was so angry after reading it, I could not actually write this blog post until now.

The Labour Party have done a mailing to around 250,000 women, many appear to be cancer victims or who have only recently had scans for various forms of cancer reading all of the different newspaper stories covering this.

Labour have strongly denied that the mailshot was specifically targeted at cancer patients, the rest of the story is covered in The Mirror;
"cancer was sadly so prevalent in society that some of the 250,000 people were likely to have suffered from it."
Honestly, what a load of crap, they must have known what they were doing, in an election you do not randomly write to a quarter of a million women voters and hope the message might just resonate!

If the Labour Party have targeted women with cancer, or have been screened for cancer then that is utterly outrageous and Health Secretary Andy Burnham should apologise for the Labour Party stooping so low and campaigning in this manner.

As the Liberal Democrats Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said;
"However, it's all too easy for the Conservative Party to dismiss this campaign as nothing more than dirty tricks.  Andrew Lansley cannot escape the fact that Tory policy to remove the NHS targets means people have no guarantee of access to cancer services within any timeframe."

Personally, I think Gordon Brown has to intervene here to find out the facts and then act accordingly.  In my view this mailing was nothing short of shallow and appalling.

As I know from painful personal experience with my Mum being diagnosed with and then shortly after passing away with pancreatic cancer only last year, cancer hits people and their families hard, and having a political party write direct in this manner can only cause upset. 

If Mum had received that mailing oh my god would Gordon Brown have known about it.

When I was Vince Cable's Agent in 2001 we did a general health mailing that was specifically about HPV screening, and we wrote to men and women, but every single household, not a small selective group and remember at that time during the actual 2001 election campaign, Vince's first wife, Olympia was losing her 13 year battle with breast cancer.

It does appear that Labour may have scored an own goal on this one.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Breaking News: Stuart MacLennan sacked by Labour

Jim Murphy has done an amazing and swift (ish) u-turn and has now sacked Stuart MacLennan as Labour's candidate for Moray.

So, not long after my initial blog post, the first candidate of the campaign has gone.  Is Stuart the first candidate to be sacked because of twitter?

A message to all of those candidates on Twitter - your thoughts and comments are no longer your own!

Here is the official statement by the Scottish Labour party:

"Stuart MacLennan has been sacked as Labour's candidate for Moray for the totally unacceptable language which he has expressed online. On reading the comments in full, the Scottish Labour Party was outraged by their content and Scottish Labour's General Secretary took the decision to suspend his membership of the Labour Party. Stuart MacLennan is no longer a Labour Party candidate nor eligible to hold office as a Labour Party representative."

Labour candidate in Moray, Stuart MacLennan in Twitter ranting shame

If you want to read in detail the shameful expletives of the Labour candidate for Moray, Stuart MacLennan then you have lost your moment, as his twitter account has now been removed.

His rants were even aimed at those from his own party, plus voters in Moray.

He described fellow Labour Party Member, MP, Diane Abbott as "a f****** idiot".  In today's Sun, it goes on;
In one post the 24-year-old complained of being in a pub full of "depressed teuchters" then poked fun at elderly voters by branding them "bloody coffin dodgers".
And despite calls for his resignation Labour are keen for him to stay on according to the most recent tweet of Laura Kuenssberg from the BBC.
Jim Murphy says Stuart MacLennan will continue to be Labour candidate in Moray despite Con and SNP calls for him to go.
 You can read the full story here.
Ironically, ranting MacLennan - a policy researcher for Labour at Holyrood - also hinted his own political hopes could be ruined by using the internet to discuss politics.

He wrote: "Iain Dale (Tory blogger) reckons the biggest gaffes will likely be made by candidates on Twitter - what are the odds it'll be me?"
 The Evening Standard's Paul Waugh, has more including the screen grabs here.

Jamie Paterson, the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for the Moray seat, added: "I don't know how the Labour candidate expects to get elected using this language."

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The human side of the general election campaign

Voters generally see the politicians on TV, on their doorstep or at local hustings and events.  However there is another side of the election campaign that voters don't see, that's the huge amount of work done by our staff and volunteers across the UK.

My sincere thanks to all you do to my team in Scotland - they are the very best!

Take my last twelve hours as the (Federal Deputy) Director of Campaigns in Scotland:

8th April 4pm - 4.30pm - conference call with senior staff in London and Scotland then checking artwork and emails.

4.35pm - telephone call with Scottish Party Convenor

4.50pm - catch up with Scottish Party Chief Executive before he heads off

5pm - one member of the Scottish HQ staff went out on a chocolate run

5.10pm - chocolate safely back in the HQ, unwrapped and devoured

5.11pm - back on the phone and replying to emails from candidates, colleagues and staff

6.15pm - telephone catch up with one of our key seat organisers (great team in Scotland, talented, experienced and very motivated).

6.30pm - telephone catch up with colleague in London on leaflet artwork

6.45pm - conference call with departmental colleagues around the UK

7.15pm - back to plans and details for tomorrows campaign launch with Nick Clegg, Tavish Scott and Charles Kennedy in Glasgow

9pm - finally leaving the office after arriving there at 8am

9.10pm - quick call home to say I am on the way

9.15pm - telephone call with key seat staff member

9.27pm - on the 16 bus heading home

10pm - dinner - chicken, pasta, olives, mushrooms, cherry tomoatoes in green pesto

10.15pm - fuss with Zennor and catch up with Roger

10.50pm - bed

4.02am - alarm goes off - new day off we go again

That is a fairly typical snapshot of what I will be spending my hours doing over the coming weeks, for obvious reasons I cannot go into great detail - too many of the opposition, including John Prescott read this blog!

No, my salary isn't as high as my counterparts in Labour or the Conservatives, in fact it is around half - so why do I do it I hear you scream - why, because I love my job and I love being a Liberal Democrat and campaigning for Liberal Democratic values.

If you believe in it, then join or volunteer and make a difference, you put in the time you can afford, but the rewards are truly amazing.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Liam Fox in Scottish city gaffe

Cameron's Conservative defence chap Liam Fox proved the Conservatives were still out of touch with Scotland.

When he arrived in Edinburgh South, where the Conservatives are in third place, Liam Fox said "We're here in Aberdeen South" before correcting himself – "Edinburgh South even".

Spot on Liam, the Conservatives are in third place in both seats!

It is a good job that the Liberal Democrat challengers, Fred Mackintosh (Edinburgh South) and John Sleigh (Aberdeen South), who are both in second place know their seats well enough unlike the Conservatives.

Labour sneak new East Lothian candidate in on Palace day

So, is the East Lothian Labour Party versus Anne Moffat MP saga finally over?

Anne Moffat MP and Iain Gray MSP traded insults and counter insults over recent weeks.

Anne Moffat MP threatened legal action, where is that now?   Maybe more to come?

Then yesterday amongst all of the razzmattazz of the election being announced a smaller announcement was sneaked out by the Labour Party in Scotland that Fiona O'Donnell had been selected as the new candidate.

Over on the BBC, Fiona is described as;
The 50-year-old mother-of-four was previously a campaign specialist with the Labour Party based in the Lothians.
Which means in plain speak; The 50 year old mother of four children used to work (paid or unpaid) for the Labour Party in the Lothians (probably Edinburgh) and lives elsewhere.

Fine, no problems there for the local party then, one assumes?

So, the battle on May 6th in East Lothian is between Fiona and Stuart Ritchie, the Liberal Democrat candidate as it is we who are in second place here.

3rd place Conservatives select new candidate for Aberdeen South and they.....

......promptly went campaigning in another seat where they won't win either.

Amanda Harvie has been parachuted in as the Aberdeen South candidate following the shock resignation of Mark Jones.

Given their placing in third, over 6,500+ votes behind the Liberal Democrats we always knew this was a long shot for the Conservatives, as is any seat in Scotland, but they have written off their chances here long ago.

It isn't on their list of 11 target seats and given it is the Liberal Democrats who are just 1,348 votes behind the Labour Party, they have realistically just shut up shop and moved elsewhere.

So, John Sleigh is the best bet to take this seat from Labour for the Liberal Democrats.

Monday, 5 April 2010

LGBT voters switch from Cameron's Conservatives to Clegg's Liberal Democrats

Finally, the LGBT voters of Britain, well the ones that read Pink News anyway are starting to see that perhaps the Conservatives and David Cameron are not quite what they thought they were.

The recent Pink News poll shows that David Cameron's recent Gay Times interview and Chris Graylings comments about bed & breakfast owners having the right to turn away gay customers are having an effect on the views of LGBT voters.

The Conservative record on supporting gay rights is nothing short of shameful. David Cameron cannot pretend a quick apology for Section 28 will make up for the entrenched and often bigoted views of his hand-picked frontbench colleagues in the House of Commons.

David Cameron and the Conservatives like to pretend that they have changed but they remain the same old Tories.

The Liberal Democrats are now the most popular political party among the LGBT community.
Last month, 25% of the LGBT community said that they would vote Conservative at the upcoming general election, 25% said they'd back the Liberal Democrats and 28% said they'd vote Labour.

However, this month, just a day before a general election is expected to be called, counting only the votes of those that had taken part in the March poll, 20% of the LGBT community have said that they will back the Conservatives, a fall of 5%. Support for Labour remains unchanged at 28%, while support for the Liberal Democrats has increased by 5% to 29%.

The Conservatives still remain the most popular party among those aged 23 and under, but at 35% this month, this is 5% down on our poll a month ago. 32% of those too young to vote at the last election said they would vote Liberal Democrat and just 13% said they'd vote Labour.

Labour's record over the last thirteen years has not convinced that particular group. found that 30% of LGBT people felt less favourably of Mr Cameron following an interview broadcast on Channel 4 News, where Mr Cameron was unable to answer questions about votes in the European parliament and the decision to give MPs and peers a free vote issues relating to gay rights.
Last month, 25% of Pink News readers said they'd like to see David Cameron become Prime Minister, ahead of Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg. This month, just 20% of our readers backed David Cameron, 29% backed Gordon Brown and 28% backed Nick Clegg. An increase of 5% for both Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg.

57% of respondents said that the economy is the most important policy issue they will consider when casting their vote, 16% LGBT rights, 9% healthcare, 6% education, 5% foreign policy, 4% immigration and 2% crime.

The poll had already begun prior to The Observers story of comments by the Conservative MP Chris Grayling where he backed the rights of bed and breakfast owners to ban gay couples.

But the swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat did increase markedly in the early hours of Sunday.

The voting records of current Conservative MPs who are standing in the coming general election show that:

  • One in six, voted in favour of Section 28 in 1988. A sixth voted against its repeal in 2003 including David Cameron and a third of the Shadow Cabinet
  • One in ten voted against dropping the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18 in 1994
  • Almost one in five, voted against the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill in 1999 which aimed to reduce the age at which anal sex was legal from 18 to 16
  • One in three voted to allow only heterosexual, married couples to adopt in 2002 including seven members of the Shadow Cabinet
  • One in three voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in March 2007 which allows the Secretary of State to make regulations defining discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. This included thirty-three, or a third of frontbenchers and four of the Shadow Cabinet
  • The Conservative Party opposed The Equality Bill 2008-09. Nineteen members of the Shadow Cabinet joined attempts to block the bill which will introduce a single 'public duty' requiring all publicly-funded bodies to pro-actively promote equality across the board and remove barriers to fair service provision
More stories you can read about the Conservatives and their LGBT record, or lack of it;

Tory LGB group in turmoil over Cameron's catastrophic gay times interview
Cameron crashes as Popplewell asks about Conservative Gay Rights record
Cameron slips up on gay equality - Channel 4 News
Cameron's Conservatives tells Republicans in USA to embrace gay rights
Gay friendly Tories are just wolves in sheep's clothing

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Cameron's Glasgow South West candidate, Heather MacLeod quits over party’s ‘nest of vipers’

Only the day after David Cameron admitted he does not expect the Conservatives to do well in Scotland, one of his leading candidates has quit the Conservative Party.

In today's Sunday Herald Heather MacLeod, who has resigned after a “bitter and bloody” feud with fellow Conservatives, said she felt “complete and utter disgust” with a section of the Scottish Conservatives.
She also accused the Scottish party of failing to match leader David Cameron’s progress and said she had concerns about an allegedly inappropriate relationship between two senior Tories.
Heather MacLeod’s problems with a group of fellow party members started last year when she and another Conservative candidate, Fiona Houston, set up the Social Justice Scotland think tank.

The pair then fell out over the organisation’s direction, and the row was made even worse when some fellow Conservatives raised questions about Heather MacLeod’s financial background.

According to Companies House, Mrs MacLeod has been a director of companies that have gone into liquidation.
However, Mrs MacLeod has told the Sunday Herald that a “nest of vipers” in the party had tried to “discredit” her to seize control of Social Justice Scotland.

The row is a blow for a party whose senior strategists expect to win only a handful of Scottish seats at the election.
One senior Conservative source said he feared Mr Cameron could be deprived of an overall majority due to the under-peformance of the Scottish Conservatives.

As I said yesterday though, when the leader, David Cameron and senior Conservatives like Tim Montgomerie don't believe in you, then it doesn't leave many who do and certainly the Scottish voters may well just turn their back on the Scottish Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats have more MPs in Scotland than the Conservatives and SNP combined.

With just one MP in Scotland (who is at risk anyhow from David Steel's daughter, Catriona Bhatia for the Liberal Democrats), Cameron's Conservatives are in fact the fourth party in Scottish Westminster politics and their boss, David Cameron has finally admitted that he doesn't actually think they will win many more seats in this election.
With daily catastrophies such as this story hitting the Scottish Conservatives it is hardly surprising they won't win many seats here in Scotland.

I will leave the final word to Heather MacLeod;

“The Scottish party really needs to look at itself. It needs to understand why it is not electable. It is becoming more reactionary, rather than learning about how to become more successful.

“The party down south has moved on, but the Scottish Tories have not.”

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Conservative Chris Grayling MP in homophobic comments interview

Only two months ago Sir Michael Scholar warned Chris Grayling MP that the way he used the figures for violent crime were "likely to mislead the public".

Well, now Chris Grayling is embroiled in a homophobic row.

Last month a gay couple were turned away from a B&B run by a Christian couple as reported in the Guardian, well now Conservative MP Chris Grayling has defended this and is in fact urging other B& B owners to do exactly the same, but not hotel owners!

From today's Observer;
The row will alarm David Cameron as he prepares for a general election that looks certain to be called on Tuesday. The Tory leader has gone out of his way to win over gay and lesbian voters by stressing his new-look party's liberal credentials. Last year, he apologised for section 28, the law passed by Margaret Thatcher's Tory government in the late 1980s that bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Cameron has also voted in favour of civil partnerships.
However, his progress in attracting the gay vote has been halted by a series of disputes involving his own MPs and MEPs. Tory MEPs last year refused to support a motion that condemned a new homophobic law in Lithuania.
Cameron was also left embarrassed during a recent interview with Gay Times, broadcast by Channel 4 News, in which he admitted he did not know his party's position on a series of votes involving gay rights issues in the UK and European parliaments.
Chris Grayling said in the interview to the Centre for Policy Studies;
I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences," he said. "I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home."

Sorry Chris, it really doesn't work like that, irrespective if it is their home or not, once they decide to open a business, in this case as a bed and breakfast they have to comply with the law.

And being homophobic is clearly against the law!

This is clearly yet another example proving that the Conservatives are not gay friendly, they are still the same old Tories, Section 28 and homophobia is in their genes I'm afraid.  Whatever rhetoric David Cameron comes out with, they are still the same old Tories with their old and out of touch views.

It is time for David Cameron to act, sack Chris Grayling for his outdated homophobic views.

Cameron admits defeat in Scotland

Last November top Tory blogger Tim Montgomerie, of ConservativeHome fame said: "The Cameron effect has not reached Scotland like it has in Wales or the north of England. If the progress in Scotland is as limited as it looks like it might be, we should revisit the idea of creating a Scottish party with its own identity. It would help them break free from the Thatcher years."

Well, now David Cameron has admitted himself that the Conservatives will not do well in Scotland.
He told a caller during a radio show call in that “in Scotland, however well the Conservatives do, we're unlikely to get a very large number of seats”.

You can read the full sory in the Press and Journal.
Mr Cameron, however, refused to predict how many seats the Tories – who hold only one precarious Scottish seat – would win.

David Cameron then went on to show his ignorance of Scottish politics, or was he just confirming what Tim Montgomerie was saying about a breakaway party in Scotland, when he appeared to come close to equating the United Kingdom with England after making it clear the Scots are entitled to chose the Scottish Parliament and first minister they want.
He said: “We can now see it’s perfectly possible to have a different government in Scotland, an SNP government, and the government in Engla . . . in the United Kingdom, which is a Labour government.”

Well, David Cameron has admitted what we already know in Scotland, that the forthcoming general election is not a fight between Labour and the Conservatives, but in fact between the Liberal Democrats and Labour, who have the most Scottish MPs between them.

The Liberal Democrats have more MPs in Scotland than the Conservatives and SNP combined.

With just one MP in Scotland (who is at risk anyhow), Cameron's Conservatives are in fact the fourth party in Scottish Westminster politics and their boss, David Cameron has finally admitted that he doesn't actually think they will win many more seats in this election.

Should pupils be on the interview panel for teachers?

The Teachers' Union, the NASUWT are meeting this weekend in Birmingham for their annual conference.

One of the main concerns of the Union this weekend is the involvement of students or pupils in the running of the school, in fact they are so concerned that they are considering industrial action!

A dossier being discussed at the NASUWT conference suggests steps to improve the student voice within some schools have gone too far and have over 200 cases to prove it.
The paper reveals that schools are using pupils to answer questions about teachers' competence and to help interview them for promotions, which the NASUWT says is completely unacceptable.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates told the BBC;
The dossier was "littered with examples of demeaning, embarrassing and humiliating practice".
Many were grossly unprofessional and stripped teachers of their professional dignity, she said.
"To be effective in their roles teachers need to feel confident and empowered to act with authority.
"Involving pupils directly in making judgments about the suitability for posts and competence in the classroom places these considerations in jeopardy."

Ms Keates added: "It is clear that too many schools are engaging not in student voice but in the manipulation of children and young people to serve the interests of school management and its perspective."
So readers, what do you think?  Personally, I think if the sudents have a professional and active student body then they should be involved in the running of the school, to be honest we were back in my day (cough), yes I know that's some time back now.

The student body ran the tuck shop, had input on menus and played a major part on the schools annual Summer and Christmas Fayre's - that was when I got involved.

Would or should I have been involved in interviewing staff, if I had some staff would not have had a job and I certainly would have objected to their selfish calls for strike action and work to rule sessions back in the 1980's affecting many students one to one tuition and then finally affecting their exam results.

However, was I at 15 and 16 really qualified to interview a 25 year old student teacher?

This latest aspect of students being involved in the interviewing of staff is not a new thing, pupils at the George Mitchell school in Leyton, London have been doing this since 2003, read more here.

Personally I have never had a great deal of time for teaching unions given my experiences at Rushcliffe Secondary school in West Bridgford, where year after year the teachers went on strike for one reason or another.  I still believe that the management of unions are out of touch and are often so blinkered to what they they want themselves that they forget why they are in the job in the first place.

So, is this the NASUWT overreacting or is this a much bigger issue?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Reeves review of the stat porn for March 2010

I am going to continue the monthly summary of my visitor stats according to google analytics now I have mended the broken link, so preventing me for the last two months doing so.  So here are the results for March 2010.

The busiest day on my blog last month was in fact Tuesday 30th March when the story about Aberdeen South Conservative candidate Mark Jones resigning broke.

Last month I had 2,702 absolute unique visitors, up from 2,549 in October and way up from 1,311 in September. They made 4,010 visits and 5,327 page views.

So, my top 10 referring sites for the last month (with previous position in brackets) were;
1. Facebook (4)
2. Twitter (3)
3. SNP Tactical Voting (7)
4. Lib Dem Blogs (2)
5. Lib Dem Voice (5)
6. Conservative Home (new entry)
7. Blogger (6)
8. (37)
9. Planet-Politics Blogspot (19)
10. Caron's-Musings blogspot (11)

Last month I wrote 39 blog posts.

The top 10 stories by direct page views that you've read most were;

1. Aberdeen South Conservative candidate Mark Jones quits
2. East Lothian Labour Party in complete disarray as Anne Moffat MP deselected
3. Exclusive: ‘Stressed’ city leader Councillor Steven Purcell to stand down
4. Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods in email gaffe
5. SNP candidate for Glasgow North East David Kerr quits
6. Tory LGB group in turmoil over Cameron's catastrophic gay times interview
7. Conservative election campaign is too complicated admit the Conservatives
=8. Labour seek new MP for East Lothian as Anne Moffat MP's appeal fails
=8. Labour select Ian Murray to replace Nigel Griffiths MP as their candidate
10. Jack McConnell MSP applies for job with Cameron's Conservatives
So this month's mixed bag is about resigning candidates, many many problems with Anne Moffat MP and East Lothian Labour party, the Tory LGB groups defence of David Cameron's car crash interview & the complicated Conservative campaign amongst others.
The visitors to my little blog came from 45 countries this month, down from 52 last time, the top ten were as follows;
1. United Kingdom (1)
2. United States (2)
3. Canada (3)
4. Germany (9)
5. France (6)
6. Ireland (5)
7. Netherlands (10)
=8. Australia (7)
=8. Belgium (4)
10. India (8)
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