Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Lib Dem Women MPs "Face Electoral Wipeout"

The Liberal Democrats face the prospect of having no female MPs after the next election if their current poll ratings continue, the Fabian Society says.

Only seven of the 57 Lib Dem MPs are female, including five in the party's 10 most vulnerable seats. There are no women in the party's 20 safest seats – those with the largest majorities.

The report authors Katwala and Malhotra suggest that "If the current polls were even half right, not a single Lib Dem woman MP would survive" and that the prospect of an all male parliamentary party is now very real.

In his speech to the Lib Dems' spring conference in March, Nick Clegg told his audience "Our party is too male and too pale. I wish it wasn't the case, but it is."

Monday, 25 April 2011

Bread Of Heaven

With the cessation of politicing over Good Friday and Easter Sunday I was able to find time to have a go at baking bread.

I had tasted Nigel Slater's Lazy Loaf at a friend's a little while back and was impressed with this lovely soda bread - and that it didn't require any messing about with yeast.

Well, it worked! Try it for yourself with cheese or soup, it was really easy - and thanks David!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

How To Be Taken Seriously In Politics 2: Follow Your Leader

Cripes! What lengths will one go to to show your undying devotion to your leader?

Well, if he dyes his hair, as Clegg's hair turns "from greyish brown to a rich auburn" then obviously you must follow! Serious matters.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How To Be Taken Seriously In Politics: The Lib Dem Way

1.01 Champion being local: even though you have never lived in the ward you represent and, in fact, have recently moved further away.

1.02 Claim credit for things other people do: such as saving flower gardens.

1.03 Make decisions without consulting residents, them claim no decisions will be made without public consultation: parking on kerbs, introducing parking meters, replacing bins with bin bags ...

1.04 Be an uber Clegg loyalist no matter what: publicly support the top-down changes to the NHS that everyone else rejects.

1.05 Be utterly superficial: change the colour of your hair and tell people its in an effort to be taken seriously.

(image: Get Reading / Reading Post)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

AV: What Churchill Actually Said About "First Past The Post"

Despite the rather thin claims of Cameron, Osborne, Reid et al, this is what Winston Churchill actually said about the current "first past the post" method of electing MPs:

"The present system has clearly broken down. The results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious representation."

Under the present system, if you are a Tory voter in the Rhondda Valley or a Labour voter in Surrey Heath, you can vote all your life and never make a difference - your vote is amost worthless. Are those fair votes? No.

And, by the way, isn't AV used by both Labour and Tories to elect their party leaders?

Yes to AV.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Nick Clegg 'airbrushed' out of Lib Dem leaflets

The Daily Telegraph reports that Nick Clegg's image was reportedly removed from Lib Dem leaflets in his own Sheffield Hallam constituency as councillors attempt to save their own seats ahead of next month's local elections.

There is a view that the Lib Dem leader has become so "toxic to his own party" that his fellow party members "don't dare" include him in their campaign material.

Just checked the latest "Focus on Redlands" - nope, no sign of Clegg there either!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Freud & Willis

Sigmund Freud developed the theory of "Psychological projection" which he said was a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed or displaced to the outside world, including to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others have those feelings.

An example might be blaming another for self failure. It is said that the mind may avoid the discomfort of consciously admitting personal faults by keeping those feelings unconscious, and by redirecting libidinal satisfaction by attaching, or "projecting," those same faults onto another person.

Is it a coincidence then that ever since Cllr Richard Willis was told by Reading Borough Council's Standards Sub-Committee that his blogsite was "misleading and inaccurate" he has been in overdrive accusing others of the same thing?

And at a recent Council meeting Willis described the Labour candidate in Redlands Ward as "Cllr Gavin" - I understand that psychological faux pas wasn't lost on Lib Dem Kirsten Bayes who is trying to retain the seat for the first time.

Does Cllr Willis need to lie down, or am I just projecting too far?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lib Dems Bring Back Rubbish Bags: Foxes Delighted!

In another ill thought out scheme, lacking any consultation, the Lib Dems have once again decided that "they know best" in Redlands and decided to introduce the collection of rubbish in bags instead of bins in some streets.

While this move will delight the local foxes - and encourage more to roam Redlands' streets at night, ripping the bags open - as the official council report notes it will actually contribute to a reduction in recycling in the town, so pushing up charges on the council.

Neither does there appear to be any consistency in the selection of the streets listed, let alone pre-discussion with residents.

I understand, though, that Kirsten Bayes was still referring to "bin collections" at last night's council cabinet meeting.

Ah well, only a matter of days now until May 5th, when we can throw out this Lib Dem rubbish!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Clegg: Another "Toe Curling" Magazine Interview

The Daily Telegraph describes Jemima Khan's piece with Nick Clegg as "his latest toe-curling" interview.

Even Khan described the interview as “excruciating” adding that Mr Clegg “looks very, very sad,” and was “Pale-faced, pale-eyed and so tired he appears taxidermied.”

Make up your own mind - full article here.

(image: Getty Images)

Good To See Emma Back

It is good to see that Emma Warman has revived her blog.

I don't agree with much she has to say, but her blog has often been an interesting read in the past.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Desperate Clegg Orders Rebranding Of Lib Dems

I held back on this for a couple of days in case anyone thought it was an April Fool story. But it's not.

Nick Clegg has ordered a rebranding of the Liberal Democrats amid signs that he could face a challenge to his leadership if his party continues to slump in the polls and rumblings about his stewardship at the highest level.

Rumours about Mr Clegg's leadership have emerged after mounting discontent among party members in the country who are furious at the direction the party has been taking in government.

The rise in university tuition fees and the speed and depth of cuts to public spending are particular bones of contention.

The rebranding exercise due to get under way next month will involve a total rethink of the party's direction and could even include changing the name and logo, insiders said.

Some party strategists believe the name should change to include the word "social", in order to reassure members and voters that it is more left wing. The image of a bird in flight could go in favour of a new logo emphasising fairness and social justice, such as a scale.

Mr Clegg is particularly worried about his own personal ratings and has asked for ideas about good news initiatives he could be associated with.

David Cameron is said to be increasingly concerned that Mr Clegg will be fatally weakened if there is a "no" vote in the referendum on voting reform on May 5.

Many Liberal Democrat MPs and grassroots members have only been prepared to swallow the major concessions made to the Tories since because they want to secure AV. Without voting reform, the Lib Dem grass roots might decide to try to trigger an end to the coalition.

It is also feared the Lib Dems could lose up to 500 council seats in the local elections, further destabilising Mr Clegg.

One senior Conservative strategist said: "If it's a 'no' we are going to need to shore Clegg up a bit. If it's 'no' and heavy Lib Dem council losses, we are going to have to shore him up a lot. We might need to throw him quite a lot of concessions to keep this going."

Locally, Tory commentators have begun to tweet their discontent "@CllrRWillis Do we have to be so friendly w/ the LibDems? I know their our coalition partners but feel like we should be standing our ground". (11:01 AM Mar 31st via Twitter)

Full story here.

(image courtesy of Tory Cllr Dave Luckett)

Friday, 1 April 2011

The NHS Is For Sale

Contact: Cameron, Clegg & Lansley.