Reevesey's recommended reading

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries loses the plot

Over on Nadine Dorries MP's blog, she questions whether you can be addicted to Twitter?

Firstly though, she plugs the fact that she has written an article for Iain Dale's book, before she then questions whether you can in fact be addicted to Twitter, she writes;

In the article, in which I very clearly define the reasons why MPs should not blog or Twitter (yes, I know ) I mention someone who has posted 22,000 tweets in four months.

Today, someone has emailed my office with the details of a political/personal Tweeter who has posted 35,000 tweets in a similar amount of time.

I'm going to have to set up a Twitter account again so that I can check this out for myself!... Not.

Is there such a thing as Twitter addiction?
I think this is funny given Nadine has given up on Twitter (although it was always funny how she blocked people who didn't agree with her) but still blogs - what's that old saying?

Don't do what I do, do what I say.

It seems appropriate for Nadine Dorries on this issue.

Anyway, I digress.  What is wrong with posting 22,000 comments over a period of four months?

Nadine explains;
Surely these people cannot be in employment because if they are, how can they work? if they aren't then it's time they got a job which involves being sat at a key board because there's nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!!

Oh my god, it is stupid ridiculous comments like this that remind me despite being in coalition, our two parties are so far apart.

Anyway, if that comment from Nadine Dorries wasn't enough to drive you to drink, then hold on to your hats folks.
In the meantime, do you know of anyone else who has Tweeted more than 35,000 times in less than six months? If so, email my office and let me know. Or, better still, if it's someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.

Honestly, you really could not make it up could you?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The other 49 Labour MPs who want to be in the Shadow Cabinet

Here is the full list of the 49 Labour MPs who want to be in the shadow cabinet. Labour's MPs will vote to elect 19 of them, and then, the new leader Ed Miliband will choose the jobs they get.

Some of them I have never heard of and then there are some of the old school such as Alan Johnson, who I thought was taking a back seat.

There is in fact 50, but Harriet Harman is automatically on the list so, don't panic.

1. Diane Abbott
2. Douglas Alexander
3. Ed Balls
4. Hilary Benn
5. Roberta Blackman-Woods
6. Ben Bradshaw
7. Kevin Brennan
8. Chris Bryant
9. Andy Burnham
10. Liam Byrne
11. Vernon Coaker
12. Yvette Cooper
13. Mary Creagh
14. Wayne David
15. John Denham
16. Angela Eagle
17. Maria Eagle
18. Rob Flello
19. Caroline Flint
20. Mike Gapes
21. Barry Gardiner
22. Helen Goodman
23. Peter Hain
24. David Hanson
25. Tom Harris
26. John Healey
27. Meg Hillier
28. Huw Irranca-Davies
29. Kevan Jones
30. Alan Johnson
31. Tessa Jowell
32. Eric Joyce
33. Barbara Keeley
34. Sadiq Khan
35. David Lammy
36. Chris Leslie
37. Ivan Lewis
38. Ian Lucas
39. Fiona Mactaggart
40. Pat McFadden
41. Ann McKechin
42. Alun Michael
43. Jim Murphy
44. Gareth Thomas
45. Emily Thornberry
46. Stephen Timms
47. Stephen Twigg
48. Shaun Woodward
49. Iain Wright

Well, only 19 of these will get a job in the Shadow Cabinet, 30 will be unhappy.  Let's see how far Ed Miliband goes introducing the new generation, I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Conservative candidate Gill Dykes claims she is an MSP, but she isn't

Next May, voters across Scotland will be heading to the polls to elect their constituency and regional MSPs.

The Conservatives, like all other parties are already campaigning, but one of their candidates is already claiming she is the MSP, seven months before a vote has actually been cast.

Perhaps she is a medium, or has at least consulted Mystic Meg or the like?

Gill Dykes has sent out a campaign postcard to residents ahead of next May’s polling day which is headed: “Gill Dykes MSP for Dumfriesshire.”

However, Gill Dykes is not an MSP, for Dumfriesshire or anywhere else for that matter!

The current MSP, Labour's Elaine Murray has reacted angrily to the leaflet.

She told the Dumfries and Galloway Standard:
“It is very concerning that another candidate is trying to pass herself off as the MSP. It shows extraordinary arrogance.”
The other side of the campaign postcard features a photograph of her and the words “Gill Dykes for MSP” – a statement Gill Dykes insists proves the postcard is not misleading.

She said:
“You have only looked at one side of the postcard, when you look at both sides it shows that I am the candidate.”
Gill Dykes has denied that the statement on the other side was misleading.

What a lot of pish, everyone knows any leaflet through your letterbox has 10 seconds before it hits the recycling box, so for Gill Dykes to say she thinks overall with people reading both sides of the postcard it isn't misleading, is quite frankly nonsense at best.

Let's hope it is a genuine mistake and not an attempt to mislead the public?

Mrs Dykes is currently a Conservative councillor for Mid and Upper Nithsdale and is also a parliamentary assistant to Galloway and Upper Nithsdale MSP and presiding officer Alex Fergusson.

Elaine Murray MSP added:
“People expect honesty from politicians and it is highly unfortunate that the Conservative candidate appears to be trying to mislead the public.

“I understand that this has been reported to the Electoral Commission and I think it is important it is investigated.”
This is a highly embarrassing mistake for the Scottish Conservatives and especially for Gill Dykes.  And given Gill Dykes beat Derek Brownlee by just one vote to get the nomination, mistakes like this will not be tolerated within the Conservative Party either.

David Mundell MP quizzed by police over election expenses

Following the announcement of David Mundell's election expenses mistake - Police probe David Mundell election expenses complaint - and then the news - David Mundell MP set to appear in court over election expenses probe - well, it appears now that the Police have in fact finally got around to this case.

David Mundell MP was apparently questioned by the Police two days ago on Monday.

I still don't think this will come to anything more than a fine, although the fine can be as much as £5,000.

Scotland's only Conservative MP entered a newspaper bill on the long campaign expenses that was really meant to have been entered into the short campaign section, but that would have meant a complete overspend on the legal limit.

Let us wait and see what the Police recommend.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

David Miliband quits conference; Shadow Cabinet next?

So, David Miliband has quit the Labour Conference early following a spat with Harriet Harman.

Will David Miliband even bother to serve in his brother's cabinet, the signs are not looking good, with only 19 hours until nominations close there is no sign of any paperwork from David, now back home in Primrose Hill, London.

Although David stayed in Manchester for Ed's speech, he was spotted by an ITV camera apparently snapping at Harriet Harman.

As Ed Miliband criticised the war in Iraq at the podium, David turned to the party's deputy and said: "You voted for it, why are you clapping?"

Harriet Harman apparently replied: "I am clapping because as you know, I am supporting him."

The Ed versus David saga is not going away and it will take labour's best spin doctors to sort this one out.

It's time for Stonewall's Ben Summerskill to resign

I have written a piece on gay marriage for Liberal Democrat Voice today and my final piece is calling on Ben Summerskill to resign.

I believe his position is now untenable.

You can read the article here Opinion: What does Stonewall want if it isn’t gay marriage?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy First Minister, Nicol Stephen, has announced that he is standing down next May

Nicol Stephen MSP has announced today he is standing down 28 years after first being elected a councillor, then an MP and latterly an MSP.

Following the announcement, Nicol Stephen, former Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Deputy First Minister of Scotland said:

"I have decided to stand down after serving in the Scottish Parliament for 12 years. It has been a great privilege to represent the city where I was born and grew up.

"Over the years I have been involved in many successful campaigns, such as saving Garthdee and Cults libraries from closure, securing the building of new schools in Aberdeen, and sanctioning the re-opening of Laurencekirk Station. But the greatest satisfaction has often come from helping local constituents on a whole range of planning, transport, health and education issues.

“At the national level, being an MSP and a Minister also gave me the opportunity to make a difference – such as the abolition of student tuition fees in Scotland, the drive for more renewable energy, introducing enterprise education in our schools, and the setting up of the Calman Commission to give more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“I could not have achieved any of this without the help and hard work of many people. I would like to thank everyone who has given me such strong support over the years.

“However, I will be staying very much involved in local politics. And I have a few campaigns still to win – such as saving Harlaw Academy from closure, building a full Olympic-sized swimming pool in Aberdeen and getting a fair funding deal for our city. So there is still a lot to do over the next seven months.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott MSP paid tribute to Mr Stephen’s contribution, saying:

“Nicol has made an enormous contribution to both the North East and to Scotland.

“I've known and worked with Nicol since his seminal Kincardine & Deeside by-election win in 1991and we've shared many exciting political times since.

“The first Scottish coalition in 1999 was put together by Nicol, after he won the Aberdeen South constituency in the Scottish Parliament. He played a huge role in Ministerial life, ultimately as Scotland's Deputy First Minister.

“I will miss his presence, strategic approach and sense of humour as a colleague and above all a friend in Holyrood. I wish Caris and the entire Stephen tribe all my best wishes and happiness for their future.”
I first met Nicol in January 2007 when only days after being appointed as the Lib Dems Campaigns Officer for London I was dispatched to Inverurie, Aberdeenshire to assist in Nora Radcliffes campaign against Alex Salmond.

Nicol was driven to win and keen to stand on the record of the eight years of successful coalition with Labour (you see readers, coalition isn't that new in the UK, just the media down south didn't realise) but Scotland wanted change and the SNP were offering it.

Three years later the voters of Scotland have realised that the SNP have let them down and have u-turned on their 2007 election pledges.
Nicol Stephen has been the MSP for Aberdeen South since the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999. He was Deputy First Minister of Scotland from 2005 to 2007 and leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 2005 to 2008.

He has held a number of ministerial posts in the Scottish Government, including:

- Minister for Enterprise & Lifelong Learning (2005 to 2007)

- Minister for Transport (2003 to 2005)

- Deputy Minister for Education & Young People (2001 to 2003)

- Deputy Minister for Education, Europe & External Affairs (2000 to 2001)

- Deputy Minister for Enterprise & Lifelong Learning (1999 to 2000)

He has taken a major interest in renewable energy and as Scottish Enterprise Minister encouraged the commercialisation of wave and tidal power by introducing a banded green credits system that gave extra support to marine renewables for the first time in the UK. He won the award as Green Energy Politician of the Year in 2006. His citation stated: “For his passionate support in Scotland and abroad for renewable energy and recent commitments to 100% green electricity in Scotland by 2050” (As Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats he set a target of 100% of Scotland’s energy being generated from renewable sources by 2050.)

In 2007 he helped to initiate the Calman Commission – a major review of Scottish devolution, which recommended extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament. The current UK coalition government is now committed to implementing the key recommendations of the Calman Commission.

In both 1999 and 2003 Nicol Stephen was a member of the Liberal Democrat negotiating teams which entered into coalition agreements with the Scottish Labour Party.

In government, Nicol Stephen has been involved in several high profile positions. In 1999 he was the Minister who instructed the abolition of student tuition fees in Scotland. He chaired the Scottish Qualifications Authority review committee, which was formed after the Scottish exams crisis in 2000. He was chairman of the review of Enterprise Education in Scottish Schools, which resulted in the “Determined to Succeed” recommendations and major new funding for enterprise in schools. In 2002-03 he chaired a major review of physical education in Scotland’s schools. He also led the Government’s drive for improved school meals in Scotland as part of the Hungry for Success initiative.

He has also been responsible for piloting several important pieces of legislation through the Scottish Parliament, including improvements to the delivery of major transport projects and the creation of Scotland’s first National Parks. He was chair of the Forum for Renewable Energy in Scotland from 2005-07.

In government, Nicol Stephen has also given strong support to Scottish business, promoting key sectors such as energy, life sciences and electronics internationally in countries such as China, Japan, India and Russia.

Nicol Stephen attended various EU Council of Ministers meetings - and was the first Scottish Minister to lead for the UK Government at such a meeting. He was formerly a full member of the EU Committee of the Regions and is currently an alternate member.

Nicol Stephen has been a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit committee since 2008.

Nicol Stephen was the MP for Kincardine & Deeside from 1991 to 1992 following the by-election win. During this period he was a member of the Liberal Democrat Treasury Team in the House of Commons and his party’s spokesman on small business.

Nicol Stephen was a founding director of Grampian Enterprise, the local enterprise company for North East Scotland. He was the first chair of CREATE (the campaign for rail electrification from Aberdeen to Edinburgh.) He also founded the STAR Campaign to save Tor-na-Dee Hospital and Roxburghe House (a local hospice in Aberdeen). He was the first chairman of the Grampian Initiative – a business and political partnership formed to promote the economy in North East Scotland. He was made a “Grampian Ambassador” by the former Grampian Regional Council for his efforts to promote the region. Following the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, he became chairman for a time of the Friends of Gomel.

Nicol Stephen was elected as a member of Grampian Regional Council from 1982 to 1991 and was chair of its Economic Development and Planning Committee from 1986 to 1991.

Nicol Stephen is the Honorary President of the City of Aberdeen Swim Team (COAST) and is leading the campaign for an Olympic-sized 50m pool in Aberdeen. He is also a member of the cross party political advisory group of Reform Scotland – an independent think tank. He is also involved in a number of not-for-profit initiatives to promote science, sport and enterprise amongst young people across Scotland.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Liberal Democrats Conference in Liverpool was a disaster

for the majority of the 1,500+ journalists who attended.

Hundreds and hundreds of the journalists who turned up in Liverpool, whether they were in the conference hall, the stunning exhibition, the many bars or even trying to sneak into the member only training were there to report on the great divide in the Party.

Unfortunately for them, it never existed and to be honest, I don't think it ever will in the way the media want.

One senior journalist said to me on Wednesday morning, "there have been some grumbles though".  As I then replied, how does a few grumbles equate to the masses of column inches that appeared throughout the week.

I think journalism is an art, but many now report their opinion rather than the news.

As I was at conference this year as the Exhibition Manager and running the VIP tours and lounge, I spoke to many if not all the exhibitors and the message was the same, if you read the newspapers you assumed you were at an entirely different conference.

One of the commercial exhibitors, who I won't name as they are at other Party conferences as well said that she was "appalled by the complete rubbish the papers were writing", especially on the alleged splits which just simply did not exist in the way you read about.

Overall, a great conference, in fact one of the busiest I have ever attended, certainly the one with the best atmosphere ever and to be honest the one I have been the busiest at, lots of working not a lot of socialising.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Doctored photo of Barack Obama and Hosni Mubarak

I know this came out last Friday, but given I have been working at the Liberal Democrats conference in Liverpool I am only writing about this now.

Once again thanks to a blogger, Wael Khalil, the truth came out and fraud exposed.

Recently Egyptian President was on a visit to the USA, a picture was taken at the White House.

However, the Egyptian State newspaper Al-Ahram doctored the photo to show the Egyptian President leading the delegation of Barack Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas walking down the red carpet.

Whereas it was Barack Obama leading the group.

I think it looks really obvious but that didn't stop Al-Ahram doing it.

The fact that the elections are looming shows the low level the state run newspaper is prepared to stoop to to hood wink the Egyptian readers.

Hopefully this appalling story will shift a few more towards the independent newspapers in Egypt.

Original photo

Doctored photo

Friday, 17 September 2010

Clinton Cards answer back

Following my second blog post about Clinton Cards I received a strange, badly written and spelt tweet from someone claiming to be the Marketing Director of Clintons.

We then made contact, after a round or two of answerphone message table tennis.

It appears, allegedly, that my first message to Clinton Cards (first blog post) via their online contact system didn't arrive!

I say allegedly because I could see via Site Meter that the Clinton Cards website/IP address was used to read the first blog post.

Therefore, even if as they claim they didn't receive the message, why did their PR team not act on the blog post once they had read it?

I'm pleased that Brett Smith, the Marketing Director made contact and at least listened to my concerns, however I'm not entirely sure they will be acted on or developed.

Brett Smith stated it's a demand led market, to which I said its a chicken and egg situation though, no one will buy a product if you don't sell it!

I went on to explain that I'm not convinced that if I asked a member of Clinton Cards staff for their Civil Partnership range of products when they were out of stock, they would alert their store manager and then head office - to which he agreed.

So I asked how do we resolve that?

Brett explained they have a new exciting range coming out before Christmas, in what he claims is their wedding season.

In other words, we will take the money anyway.

I also asked about the Mr and Mrs branding, I didn't get an answer on that one.

So, all in all, I still remain unimpressed.

I think Clinton Cards don't understand the LGBT market, or community. I don't thing they see it as potentially lucrative otherwise they would invest more and not be so stereotypical in their wedding branding.

I give Clinton Cards 5/10 for belatedly replying, I give Brett Smith 10/10 for responding.

Overall Clinton Cards, 3/10, must do much better if they want to succeed in their LGBT goals and their website needs the overhaul it is apparently about to receive.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Pope Benedict's Adviser pulls out of UK visit after describing UK as third world country

A senior adviser to Pope Benedict, Cardinal Walter Kasper has pulled out of the Pope's UK visit after saying arriving at London's Heathrow airport was like landing in a "Third World" country.

Cardinal Walter Kasper
Across at the BBC News website;
The German-born cardinal was quoted as saying to the country's Focus magazine that "when you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country".

The article goes on;
Vatican sources said Cardinal Kasper - who stepped down in July as the head of the department that deals with other Christian denominations - was suffering from gout and had been advised by his doctors not to travel to the UK.

The Vatican go on and said his "Third World" comment referred to the UK's multicultural society.

Hmmm, I am not sure that line helps him, it actually makes it sound even worse, possibly bordering on racism but as the Cardinal is no longer coming to the UK with the Pope, the media won't get to actually ask him what he really meant.

The Cardinal is conveniently suffering from gout, allegedly and has therefore been prevented from travelling to the UK with the Pope and his team.

What a lot of pish and yet another bloody cover up by the Catholic Church and it's Department of cover ups.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Conservative Minister to address the Liberal Democrat Conference this weekend

The Housing Minister, Conservative MP, Grant Shapps is to be the key note speaker at a fringe meeting hosted by Shelter and CentreForum called, What will the legacy of the economic downturn be for housing?

This will offer a real insight to what the Conservative Party is really thinking (I hope), well certainly on housing anyway.

Has the economic crisis really made us think any differently about the housing market, is it time we started to take the private rented sector more seriously, and will house-building ever recover?

The speakers will consider how, in a tight public spending environment, we can justify spending money on housing and how, in a competitive political environment, we can push housing up the agenda.

In my opinion as one of those trapped in the private renting sector currently while house prices in Scotland continue to rise, housing is one of the topics that needs to be addressed by the Liberal Democrats in Government, so this is a fringe meeting I certainly hope to attend.

The speakers at this fringe meeting on Sunday 19th September, 8pm - 9.15pm held in the ACC, Hall 1C are Grant Shapps MP, Conservative Housing Minister, Campbell Robb, Shelter and Councillor Richard Kemp, Local Government Association with Chris Nicholson, CentreForum in the Chair.

Hopefully this will be interesting for people to have a chance to hear and question one of the Conservatives within the Coalition at our own conference.

I may well add to this post when I am a little more awake.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

David Miliband does not understand the Liberal Democrats or their voters

The Labour leadership race has highlighted the sheer hypocritical views that the five contenders have.

They voted for the illegal war in Iraq to take place and for the billions of pounds to be spent wasted on that same war and yet now they want to be leader some of them have distanced themselves so far away from the decision you would think they voted with the Liberal Democrats at the time.

More recently we have seen the blatant lies and sheer hypocrisy about the reorganisation of NHS24, being replaced by NHS111, despite this being a Labour Party manifesto pledge both John Prescott and Andy Burnham went on the attack against the Liberal Democrats/Conservative coalition government.
They are taking people for fools in opposition in much the same way as they did in Government and unfortunately many people are still believing their shameful lies.
How do these Labour politicians live with themselves when they blatantly try to deny the last thirteen years when they were in government?

Well today we see David Miliband interviewed on and already we see he has no understanding of the Liberal Democrats nor of their core supporters.
Mr Miliband believes Lib Dem tensions hold the key to bringing down the government, but his comments may come as a surprise to the party's left-wing figurehead Jon Cruddas, who endorsed David Miliband over Ed Miliband last month.
Jon Cruddas said just last month;
"Attacking the Liberals is wrong. There's a danger of us spraying too much lead across the forecourt and not really thinking about how we need to regroup,"
Liberal Democrats and their voters know that they disagree with some of the announcements made by the conservative part of the coalition government, however they also know that things would be much, much more right wing if the Liberal Democrats were not part of this coalition government.

900,000 people will no longer pay income tax, the ending of child detention and reform of the political system with a referendum on fairer votes for starters.

Going into the election the Liberal Democrats made clear that they had four key priorities: fairer taxes; a fair start for children with extra funding for disadvantaged pupils; a comprehensive clean up of our politics, including a fairer voting system; and a green, sustainable economy.

Thanks to Lib Dem involvement, the Coalition Government will deliver on each of these.

There are also a large number of other Lib Dem policies and pledges that will now begin to make a real, positive difference to people’s lives because of our role in the Coalition Government.
These include everything from rolling back the surveillance state and giving people back their civil liberties, to prison and NHS reforms, fairer pensions, the ending of child detention and the scrapping of the third runway at Heathrow.

You can read more about what the Liberal Democrats in Government have achieved HERE.
So, David Miliband we will not take lessons from you with your 13 years amnesia problem nor will you split our Party.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Edinburgh Capitals versus Newcastle Vipers

The ice hockey season has started again so I have another non political hobby to concentrate on for a change.

So, this evening I went to Murrayfield ice rink to support the Edinburgh Capitals, they were playing a challenge match against the Newcastle Vipers.

The rink needs money spending on it, especially on the decorating such as the ceiling but I am happy to support the Capitals, it's great now that we have a dedicated Coach in Brad Gratton.

It was a great game this evening and I am looking forward to the rest of the season and hopefully an away game to the home of the Belfast Giants so I can catch up with Stephen Glenn.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Lothian Bus driver refused a lady and young baby in a pram to board

Far be it for me to stand up for the rights of women with children but on Thursday I was waiting for a bus into town and when the 16 pulled up, I moved to the side to let the lady and her baby on first.

However, the driver said "does that fold?"

"No" replied the Mum laden with bags of shopping as well.

"You can't come on then" he responded.

After a little bit I also waded in to ask why, I was told the rules clearly state it must be a foldable buggy or a wheelchair in that space.

Now, I knew a wheelchair passenger took priority, I didn't know about the foldable buggy rule and in the two and a half years I have lived in Edinburgh I have seen hundreds of Mums and Dads board buses with buggies/pushchairs and prams that were not folded.

So, I thought I will check out the Lothian Buses website.


We want as many people as possible to be able to use our buses in safety and comfort. All our buses have a dedicated wheelchair space while some buses also have a space for a buggy.  If there is no wheelchair user on the bus, other passengers including those travelling with a foldable buggy or with bulky luggage may occupy the wheelchair space. Whenever the space is needed by a wheelchair user, other passengers must move to make it available. On those buses which also have a designated buggy space, an unfolded buggy may occupy that space.

Please note that mobility scooters are NOT permitted on our buses.
That is fairly clear, although it doesn't actually mention unfoldable buggies etc.
However, the rules go on;

Accompanied luggage is carried at the driver’s discretion and the passenger’s risk. The Company will not be liable for any loss of, or damage to, luggage. Luggage must not be placed on any seat or cause any obstruction.
The following items may NOT be taken onto the Company’s buses:

a) any weapon or explosive or any article which is dangerous, offensive or excessively cumbersome

b) prams

c) bicycles other than folding bicycles which are folded and fully enclosed in a suitable carrying bag

d) non-folding wheelchairs, except where the designated wheelchair space is unoccupied

d) mobility scooters

f) any battery from which corrosive liquid might leak
So, prams are now excluded but an unfoldable pushchair gets no mention, unless Lothian Buses are treating those just as prams.
However, what is the actual difference?
The pushchair in question would have easily fitted in the allocated space and as the lady in question said, she had got the bus there in the first place, the driver wasn't having any of it.
I think Lothian Buses need to review their rules and use a little more discretion.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ros Scott not standing again for Party President - please not Lembit

So with Ros Scott announcing today that she will not be seeking re-election, despite being eligible to stand for a second term.
All right, I know it’s a cliché, but time really does fly when you’re having fun! My two year term as Party President is coming towards its close, and the hectic schedule of meetings, conferences, Party business and local Party visits has ensured that I’ve been kept pretty busy. With the European and local elections of 2009, the General Election of 2010, and the amazing aftermath which saw Liberal Democrats in national Government for the first time in decades, it’s been pretty eventful.

There’s no job description for the Party President, and each incumbent has done the job differently, depending on their own areas of interest and expertise, and the political climate at the time. When I ran for election two years ago I didn’t make extravagant pledges but focussed on the areas where I knew the Party President could really deliver and where my experience in local government and business could make a difference. In the run up to the General Election, I felt that internal Party development was a key priority for us, and I have concentrated my efforts on that aspect of the job.

I’m pleased at what we have achieved together. The Chief Officers Group has been created, bringing together key players from the various elected Party bodies and leading to a whole Party business planning process for the first time. Ensuring that the State Parties and the Federal Party work more closely together has been an essential part of an ongoing process to improve our candidate approval and selection. The fund raising board was established and, along with the employment of our first professional fund raiser, ensured that the 2010 General Election was better funded than ever before. The new Audit & Compliance Board has given us the confidence to know that there is an independent view not only of our accounts, but of all major donations. We raised our game in the field of new technology and are recruiting more people on line, keeping members informed by regular e-mail updates, and mobilising them using Lib Dem Act. I am especially delighted that after several years of decline, membership has risen. Federal Executive has developed into an effective scrutinising body and has looked in detail at a number of important topics – including the most thorough review of a General Election campaign ever.

The dramatic events of May have meant that we have all had to move quickly to deal with the challenges of entering into Government, and establishing of new ways of working has been a key task. In Liverpool we will have two significant consultative sessions, on policy and strategy. These will form the backbone of our work going forward, designed to ensure that there is a strong Liberal Democrat presence both inside Westminster and beyond.

In reflecting upon what is needed in a Party President for the next two year term, I have concluded that the focus on internal matters needs to change. The President needs to articulate the liberal values which make us unique, and ensure that we retain our own identity. Could I do this job? Yes, I believe so. Am I the best person to do it? To be honest, I don’t think I am. It’s up to you of course, but in my view, what we need now is a President who is a strong media performer and tough campaigner. It’s not an easy job – you have very little actual power, no office or staff, and a tiny budget which barely covers the travel costs. But nevertheless, it is possible to make a real difference.

It’s been an exciting and eventful two years, and I have especially enjoyed getting to meet members and activists right across the country, but the time has come to pass on the baton.
Even though I ran Simon Hughes campaign in 2004 to be Party President, I have been truly bowled over by Ros Scott's term and what she has achieved, both from a Party Members view and that of a member of staff.

I am truly disappointed that Ros is not seeking the second term to finish what she has started.

As my readers know, I am not keen for Lembit Öpik to be the Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate (read my blogpost here) but I really don't want him to go for the Party President's post either - he is not what the Party needs at this time.
So, thank you Ros for everything in the last two years but please don't hand the reins over to Lembit!

Chris Bryant MP tells Sky's Kay Burley she's a bit dim

As everyone knows, I am no fan of Labour or the Labour Party, however I do have time for Chris Bryant MP - yes, he is in my opinion the best looking MP in the Commons.

To add balance, I have no time whatsoever for Kay Burley, she does not get the situations she is placed in by her employers.

I have blogged before about Kay Burley's unprofessional attitude - Sky News Kay Burley - reporter, presenter, journalist or bully? - do go and have a read and then watch the video.

Now you have done that you can watch this one, where Kay Burley is interviewing (badly) Chris Bryant MP and see Chris attack Kay even calling her a bit dim.

Kay Burley is clearly out of her depth, yet again.  When will Sky act?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Public meeting on fairer votes for Edinburgh North and Leith voters

I'm working from home today putting together a training session for the Liberal Democrats conference in Liverpool, the first one since we formed a coalition government.

An email from my Labour MP, Mark Lazarowicz pops into my inbox.
"As you may know, the new Coalition government has made a wide range of proposals for constitutional change. The first of these is the proposal for a referendum on a new voting system (‘the alternative vote’), as well as reductions in the number of MPs and reorganising constituency boundaries for the election of MPs. There was a debate on these proposals on Monday. Next week Parliament will be discussing the plans for ‘Fixed Term Parliaments’, and there are likely to be a lot more debates over the next couple of months."

Mark wants to discuss the fairer votes issue with voters, so is holding a public meeting, and I welcome this initiative, as long as Mark encourages debate and listens, not tell us what he will do irrespective of the views of those at the meeting.

The fairer votes public meeting will take place on Wednesday 22 September at 6.30 pm, in Stockbridge Library.

To book a place, please email

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Losing a parent is never easy...

...whether you are the Prime Minister or not.

So, my heart felt condolences go out to David Cameron and his family tonight.

Last Thursday was the first anniversary since my Mum died, they say time is a great healer, well I need more time.

I miss our chats, the laughs, the tears and most I just miss my Mum.

The photo shows the oak tree we have had planted in Windsor Great park to remember my Mum, the two roses at the bottom are from my Sister, Jenny and I to remember Mum one year on.

Mum's Oak Tree

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Labour MSP Karen Whitefield in data protection storm

Karen Whitefield MSP - previously of email gaffe fame - is now embroiled in a major data protection row involving the names of primary school children each year for the last six years.

The Information Commissioner is now involved and has started an investigation into how Labour MSP Karen Whitefield obtained the personal data from a number of local primary schools.

Each year for the last six years Karen Whitefield, MSP for Airdrie and Shotts has sent personalised letters to around 1,000 children after obtaining the information which she wasn’t legally entitle to ask for or receive.

There is the small side argument of the cost of these letters plus associated postage being paid for by the taxpayer, but that really is not the main issue here.

If the data was passed to the Labour MSP by the headteachers as is understood, this places them as well as Karen Whitefield in the firing line.

What were these headteachers thinking of?

Surely their priority is the safety of the children in their care?

Why did they not question Karen Whitefield about this?

There is also the concern that staff in her office had access to it and then there is the question, where is the data now?  How was it used, has it been destroyed?

Under 13 years of Labour government there have been numerous breaches of data protection.

Since this ourageous scandal broke the Labour MSP has tried to laugh off the matter as trivial but this is a major breach of trust and the data protection laws.

Given that Karen Whitefield is the Chair of the Parliament Education Committee, there have also been repeated calls for her to resign which so far she has resisted.

If found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act 1998 her position as chair of Parliament Education Committee would be untenable.

It is clear that in the six years that she and the headteachers have done this, no parent has ever been asked.

What she should have done was ask the school to write to the parents and ask their permission, there are very clear rules we have to deal with when filming children, or doing visits to schools so how this breach of data protection has taken palce is amazing.

The Children Act 1989 designates who is a ‘responsible’ adult in regard to the protection of children.

Karen Whitefield's position as an elected MSP doesn’t cover this as it has absolutely nothing to do with her duties as an MSP.
Karen Whitefield insisted she did nothing wrong because headteachers had been giving her the information for years.

How Karen Whitefield thinks this is an acceptable form of defence is well beyond me.

She told the Daily Record:
"Each June, I enjoy writing to primary seven pupils who will move to high school after the summer break. This is a long established practice.

"Over the years, I have received nothing but positive feedback from parents, teachers and pupils."
A North Lanarkshire Council spokesman said to the Daily Record:
"We are concerned by these allegations.

"Comprehensive guidance to headteachers is issued on the subject of personal data and all headteachers are expected to adhere to this guidance.

"We will now conduct a full investigation into the circumstances. It will not be complete until the headteachers return to work at the end of next week. Thereafter, we will take any appropriate action required."
Now, the Labour MSP for Airdrie and Shotts - the Scottish government 's education committee convener - and the headteachers involved are being investigated by North Lanarkshire Council over an alleged breach of data protection.

Conservative former Councillors jailed over postal vote scam

From The Independent who have followed this story;

Five men, including two former Conservative councillors, were jailed today for their parts in a failed postal votes scam aimed at getting a Conservative Party candidate, Haroon Rashid elected in the 2005 general election.

A judge heard at Leeds Crown Court that a newspaper investigation and police inquiry unearthed a plot to try to get Tory candidate Haroon Rashid elected in the marginal Bradford West seat using hundreds of fraudulent postal vote applications.

The Court was told detectives examined about 900 suspicious forms - many from people who did not exist or had no idea an application had been made on their behalf.

The plot was foiled before the conspirators had the chance to convert the applications into votes and, in the end, Haroon Rashid was defeated by the sitting Labour MP Marsha Singh who won with a majority of more than 3,000.

Prosecutors said that if the press had not intervened back in May 2005, "the plan may well have been successful".

Today former Bradford city councillor Jamshed Khan, 65, of Russell Street, Bradford; another former councillor Reis Khan, 40, of Whetley Hill, Bradford; Mohammed Sultan, 52, of Toller Lane, Bradford and Mohammed Rafiq, 70, of Cecil Avenue, Bradford, were each jailed for 21 months for their part in the conspiracy.

All four denied a charge of conspiring to defraud the electoral registration officer of Bradford City Council but were found guilty at a trial earlier this year.

Another defendant, Alyas Khan, 52, of Hilton Road, Bradford, admitted the offence and was jailed for 11 months.

Finally the Courts are starting to act on this corrupt practice - yes I would say the same of any Lib Dem found doing it too - we have to stamp down on this nonsense, irrespective of which political party conducts the postal vote fraud.

Rugby star Gavin Henson strips off to raise awareness for male cancer

Gavin Henson, has completely stripped off for a special photo shoot for the October edition of Cosmopolitan magazine.

It was for the Everyman campaign to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer and encourage men to get themselves regular checked.

Everyman's mission is to stamp out testicular and prostate cancer. We can achieve this by making everyone recognise the tell-tale signs, and understand the importance of treating them. By increasing this awareness we also hope to raise money to fund our life-saving research.

A survey conducted by Everyman in 2006 revealed that only 28% of men check their testicles regularly for signs of testicular cancer. A similar survey conducted by Everyman a few years ago also revealed that only 19% of men checked their testicles regularly.
So whilst the number of men checking themselves regularly remains low, there are signs that awareness in men is increasing.

Now boys and girls, get ready for the picture - yummy!  Lucky husky.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Total Politics Top 75 Lib Dem Blogs - top ten

Bloody hell.

Thank you all so much to every single person who voted for my little blog in the Total Politics poll.

Honestly, I was so chuffed last year to be voted in 19th place in the top 75 Lib Dem blogs, but this year you have voted me at 10th place!

With three Scots in the top ten and nine in the top 75, Stephen Glenn leaves a great legacy in the Macblogosphere - and although only over the sea, we miss him loads.

So, here are the nine Scots in order, with the 2009 position in brackets;

Caron's Musings - 3rd place (7th place)
Stephen's Liberal Journal - 7th place (11th place)
Andrew Reeves' running blog - 10th place (19th place)
Councillor Fraser MacPherson - 18th place (31st place)
James Taylor - 42nd place new entry
Liberal Youth Scotland - 54th place (57th place)
Councillor Paul Edie - 69th place new entry
Councillor David May - 72nd place new entry
Councillor Ian Yuill - 73rd place new entry
Sanjay Samani - 75th place new entry

Congratulations to everyone in the 75, we have all done incredibly well.

The list is the result of more than 2,200 people who voted in the Total Politics Annual Blog Poll during the second half of July.

All of the lists, together with articles from leading blog commentators, will be published in the TOTAL POLITICS GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING, in association with APCO Worldwide. It will be published in October at £14.99. You can pre-order your copy HERE.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Tony Blair pelted with shoes and eggs

As Tony Blair appears in the political spotlight once more, to launch his pension collection book, A Journey: My Political Life.

The reception he received in Ireland was not quite what he had expected, his security team (which we are still paying for) kept him in the car until they had put up their missile blocking special shields - umbrellas - and then he suddenly appeared surrounded spectacularly by about 8 or nine of his protection team.

Given he was doing a public book signing and there did appear to be a lengthy queue, one can only assume that they were either invited from a special list or screened in advance and then searched on the day.

Again, I am assuming that we the taxpayer are funding all of this additional security on top of what we are paying for as the basic protection for Blair as the former warmongering Prime Minister?

As I blogged last December - Protecting Tony Blair - who should pay the £115,000 each week? - I still believe now as I did then that Tony Blair should contribute towards the security costs when the event or trip he is on is personal, such as a book signing!

He is a top terrorist target because he took us into an illegal war in Iraq, a war that he believed we should have taken part in, whatever the reason, so therefore he must pay his share of the personal events, if he is on Government business then we pick up the tab for him as every former Prime Minister.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

No word from Clinton Cards on whether they are homophobic or just plain lazy?

Last Sunday I wrote Clinton Cards - homophobic or just plain lazy? and had also contacted them, their auto response email stated my email would be responded to within 48 hours.

Almost a week later, my email still remains unanswered.  I know they have read the blog post as well.

I have emailed them again today using the contact form HERE.

I am somewhat disappointed (although not shocked) that I have received no reply but maybe I have discovered Clinton Cards flaw, they haven't worked out how to deal with civil partnerships, or worse the Board of Clinton Cards is homophobic, I do hope it is not the latter?

So, my message to Don Lewin, Clinton Lewin, Barry Hartog, Stuart Houlston, Debbie Darlington, John Robinson and Paul Salador is this - at least have the balls and decency to reply to my email, if your marketing team doesn't know how to deal with this change in the "wedding" market then ask the gay community for help and advice.

Continued silence will not help you - I will pursue this.

Brazilian referee stabs player to death during a match

A little warning to all football players out there.

Brazilian referee stabs player to death.

Brazil police are searching for a referee after he allegedly stabbed a player to death during a soccer match in Barreira in Ceara state.
Apparently the referee, Francisco Chaves, was attacked by a player, Francisco da Silva, after blowing for a foul against the visiting Boa-Fe team. Francisco da Silva kicked the referee who pulled out a knife. When Francisco’s brother Jose da Silva went to his sibling’s aid, he was stabbed in the chest and killed.

Francisco da Silva is in hospital with knife wounds to his ribs.

The refs in Brazil must be attacked on a fairly regular basis by players for them to start carrying knives to officiate at games.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Nigel Farage to contest UKIP leadership (again)

Former leader of UKIP Nigel Farage who failed earlier this year in yet another bid to become an MP has now decided he wants to be leader again.

Former Conservative, Lord Pearson of Rannoch indicated just last month that he was planning to stand down as leader of UKIP concluding he neither enjoys, nor has an aptitude for, conducting party politics.

Last month I predicted that Nigel Farage would throw his hat in the ring again, despite at the time saying;
"I'm not going to say I'm absolutely not going to do the job again but I've got to decide, in the wake of that accident, whether I'm strong enough to take the job on."
I said last month of Nigel Farage;
I think given the size of Nigel Farage's ego, he will contest it again, and UKIP will continue to be nothing more than the single issue party they are.

Anti European but their MEPs seem happy to take the salaries. Very strange.
Well, two more of those MEPs are joining Nigel Farage in trying to leader of UKIP, David Campbell Bannerman and Gerard Batten have also said they will contest the leadership contest - expected to take place in November.
Party officials meeting at UKIP's annual conference in Torquay have chosen Jeffrey Titford to take temporary charge.

Nigel Farage declared his candidacy today, saying he was best placed to communicate UKIP's policies to the media and public and get more party representatives elected at local level.

"I believe I can lead the party from the front as a campaigning organisation," he said.
The BBC's political correspondent Ross Hawkins said Mr Farage had asked delegates assembled in Torquay whether they wanted him to stand for the top job and they had responded enthusiastically.

Mr Campbell Bannerman said UKIP had to improve its organisation, since it had the potential to win 20 seats at the next election if the public backed changes to the voting system at a referendum next May.

"We have got to get more professional to seize the opportunities of the future," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Mr Batten - who came second in the 2009 election contest - said he was popular with party members and would make UKIP "more radical" and broaden its electoral appeal.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

No reply from Conservative Council leader Kay Cutts over her snub of gay activist

On the 5th August I blogged about the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Kay Cutts snubbing Ian Campbell who was to be presented with a youth citizenship award for his work promoting gay rights and fighting bullying and anti homophobia in schools.

You can read the original post HERE.

As I wrote at the time Ian is the youngest Mayor in the UK, aged just 23.

You will see from the original post that Councillor Cutts spokesperson claimed that she didn't have her photo taken with Ian Campbell because he was a Labour activist, nothing to do with him being gay.

Ian wasn't at the awards as a Labour activist, he was there for his work on LGBT rights and homophobic bullying.

Well I then emailed Councillor Kay Cutts on the 5th August and have yet to receive any acknowledgement or reply, I will be emailing again today and will continue to do so until I receive a reply.

I also wonder if Ian Campbell ever got an apology from Councillor Cutts - I suspect not.

Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an investigation into Councillor Cutts conduct and it was referred to party chairman Baroness Warsi, I wonder what conclusion she came to?

The reason I am pursuing this issue is this, there are not enough people in this country who take LGBT rights seriously or who for various reasons will put their heads up above the parapet and defend their sexuality.
Ian Campbell did just that at a young age, after coming out he was thrown out of his home but still that has not deterred him and he has campaigned in schools about homophobic bullying.
That deserves support!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Total Politics Top 50 Scottish Blogs - the only way is up

So, Total Politics are starting to drip feed the results of this year's Total Politics Best Blog lists and today was the turn of the Top 50 Scottish Blogs.

There are 23 new entries, just 8 blogs went up from last years position (including mine), 2 stayed where they were from last year including Tom Harris MP who retains the top spot and 17 slipped down the pile.

So, thank you to everyone who voted for my little blog.

Congratulations to Tom Harris for holding the top spot, Caron Lindsay for moving up to 4th position, Stephen Glenn for finally ridding himself of the dreaded 11th position, he now finds himself in 7th position, Councillor Fraser MacPherson for moving up to 18th position and Liberal Youth Scotland for coming in as a new entry at 34th position.

So, Caron, Stephen, Fraser and I all have blogs that went up this year, so of half the blogs that went up the Lib Dems account for 50%.

I am also really pleased to see Subrosa appear in the list, a new entry in at number 9 - one blog that I am somewhat surprised has been missing before.

With 23 new entries I have some new reading to catch up on.

This list is the result of more than 2,200 people who voted in the Total Politics Annual Blog Poll during the second half of July.

All these lists, together with articles from leading blog commentators, will be published in the TOTAL POLITICS GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING, in association with APCO Worldwide. It will be published in October at £14.99. You can preorder your copy HERE.

William Hague's special adviser Christopher Myers quits

Guido Fawkes ran a story yesterday,  Exclusive: Hague Shared Night in Hotel Bedroom with SpAd on his blog just yesterday.

Hours later Guido then ran this follow up story, FCO Says Hague/Myers Relationship Professional.

Then first thing this morning Iain Dale posted this story on his blog, Guido Fawkes Should Cease & Desist.
I wasn't going to say anything about this for fear of breathing new life into the story, but I can't stay silent any longer. However, I'll keep it brief.

The campaign against William Hague on the Guido Fawkes blog is nothing short of reprehensible. The lies, smears and innuendo are pathetic.
Then this afternoon William Hague's Special Adviser, Christopher Myers resigned.

Hours later William Hague issued this very personal statement:

“I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press and internet speculation over the last ten days. Earlier this year a Sunday newspaper began questioning whether my marriage to Ffion was in trouble, and last week another media outlet asked whether there was a statement about our supposed separation. This seemed to be linked to equally untrue speculation surrounding the appointment of Christopher Myers as a Special Adviser. Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last eighteen months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds. Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man.

This speculation seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher.

He has now told me that, as a result of the pressure on his family from the untrue and malicious allegations made about him, he does not wish to continue in his position. It is a pity that a talented individual should feel that he needs to leave his job in this way. Ffion and I believe that everyone has a right to a private life.

However, we now feel it necessary to give some background to our marriage because we have had enough of this continued and hurtful speculation about us. I have made no secret of the fact that Ffion and I would love to start a family. For many years this has been our goal. Sadly this has proved more difficult for us than for most couples. We have encountered many difficulties and suffered multiple miscarriages, and indeed are still grieving for the loss of a pregnancy this summer. We are aware that the stress of infertility can often strain a marriage, but in our case, thankfully, it has only brought us closer together.

It has been an immensely traumatic and painful experience but our marriage is strong and we will face whatever the future brings together. Several years ago one Sunday paper reported that Ffion was three months pregnant, without ever checking the story with us. This made even more difficult the fact that we had only just experienced another disappointment. We have never made this information public because of the distress it would cause to our families and would not do so now were it not for the untrue rumours circulating which repeatedly call our marriage into question. We wish everyone to know that we are very happily married.

It is very regrettable to have to make this personal statement, but we have often said to each other ‘if only they knew the truth…’ Well, this is the straightforward truth. I will not be making any further comment on these matters.”

The final word then goes to Iain Dale who wrote this post - A Bleak Day For Political Blogging.

UPDATE 07:12am 2nd September
This morning I spotted on my blogroll a posting from Norfolk Blogger titled Stunning hypocrisy from William Hague?
"Now today William Hague has released a statement making clear that false allegations made against him are untrue and have no basis in fact. This must be very upsetting for William Hague. So why won't William Hague or his department do the same for Craig Murray and clear his name?"
Although William Hague isn't responsible for what happened to Craig Murray, he could actually have responded himself to Craig's letter and therefore ensure people are aware that Craig Murray has been cleared of all charges and draw a line under this episode of Craig's life, allowing him to move on.

UPDATE 07:34am 2nd September
A great post by Stephen Tall on Lib Dem Voice called Half a defence of Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes), this is seriously worth a read.  Some very good points put by Stephen that make you sit up and look again.

Andrew Reeves running blog stat porn for August 2010

So, continuing my monthly stat porn figures for anyone who is remotely interested (I am so there), the monthly summary of my visitor stats according to google analytics is as below for August 2010.

The busiest day on my blog last month was Tuesday 31st August and the story was about the coalition replacing NHS Direct but highlighting Labour's hypocrisy and lies on this as it was in their election manifesto, to do the very same thing - many thanks to Guido Fawkes for linking to the story.

Last month I had 4,661 absolute unique visitors, nearly double the numbers from last month. They made 5,665 visits and 7,141 page views.

15.92% of the visitors were through direct traffic, 63.55% from referring sites and 20.53% via search engines. 
So, my top 10 referring sites for the last month (with previous position in brackets) were;

1. (New Entry)
2. Twitter (2)
3. Facebook (1)
4. Lib Dem Voice (3)
5. Lib Dem Blogs (4)
6. SNP Tactical Voting (6)
7. (5)
8. (7)
=9. (21)
=9. (30)

Last month I wrote 34 blog posts, keeping up the momentum from the month before.

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

1. John Prescott, Labour and the truth about NHS Direct
2. Clinton Cards - homophobic or just plain lazy?
3. BNP close to extinction as Richard Barnbrook resigns
4. Charles Kennedy MP and Sarah Gurling to split
5. Conservative Council leader Councillor Kay Cutts snubs gay activist
6. Conservative Councillor Neil Rockcliffe calls his ward "Chaffrica"
7. NHS Direct to be scrapped
8. Glasgow Labour Councillor Gilbert Davidson arrested over lewd text and voice messages
9. X Factor winner Joe McElderry: I'm gay
10. Ed Miliband MP lays out welcome mat for Lib Dems and concedes defeat in leadership race

So this month has an eclectic mix from the very sad news of Charles Kennedy and his wife Sarah splitting up, to Labour's lies about NHS Direct, a Conservative Council leader snubbing a gay activist because he was Labour, a Labour Councillor gets arrested over lewd text messages, Clinton Cards and their snub on civil partnership products and for the second month Joe McElderry the X Factor winner announced he was gay.

Slightly disappointing that National Orgasm Day didn't make it into the mix, but there's always next month.

The visitors to my little blog came from 68 countries this month, up from 57 last time, the top ten were as follows;

1. United Kingdom (1)
2. United States (2)
3. France (12)
4. Belgium (4)
=5. Canada (3)
=5. Ireland (5)
=7. Australia (=7)
=7. Germany (=7)
9. Netherlands (10)
10. Spain (=7)
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