'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday, 13 January 2014

New Statesman readers have described my latest effort as 'utter bollocks', 'utter crap' and 'excrement'. Its probably worth a read...

Here's my latest contribution to the New Statesman, which seems to have upset a few folk...

So Nick Clegg suggests George Osborne is on the verge of making a monumental mistake, next thing you know Ed Balls is describing Nick as a man of integrity,suddenly there’s a Twitter love-in going on, and everyone acts like we may as well not bother with the 2015 general election, as a Lib-Lab coalition is a done deal. Coaliscious
Or is it?
Well, as Labour figures get increasingly nervous about whether it will be able to achieve a majority in 2015, you can see why they are suddenly making rather kinder noises about Nick than ever before. They’ve been positioning themselves as more Lib Dem friendly for a while now, with their adoption of policies like the Mansion Tax and low carbon energy targets, partly to secure the 2010 Lib Dem voters that have moved to them already, but also just in case the next election result leads to coalition negotiations with the Lib Dems. As it seems increasingly likely that Nick will be leading the party into that election, a softening of attitudes towards him was also inevitable.
But is the feeling really mutual?
I suspect the true feelings of the Westminster Lib Dems are better expressed when you look at the press release put out on Tuesday by the red-hot favourite to be next deputy leader of the party, Lorely Burt, where she said:
“I would also stand up for the Liberal Democrat Party’s core values of fairness and economic responsibility, which the Conservatives and Labour are incapable of delivering on their own.
“As we draw the battle lines for the next General Election against both the other major parties, I want to see the Liberal Democrats continuing to deliver more jobs, lower taxes for ordinary workers, and a fairer start in life through free school meals and help with childcare.”
In other words, a plague on both your houses.
The Lib Dems have consistently refused to say which side they would jump to if a repeat of the 2010 result happened. Rather, we’ll be talking to the largest party first – but not necessarily uniquely. And let’s not even get into the scenario where the Tories have the most votes but Labour have more seats.
Sure it's lovely when Ed Balls starts making cow eyes in your direction. But if the votes fall for a coalition, we’ll be looking for whichever partner gives us the most liberal government. We’re a way off deciding whose Prom invite we’ll be accepting just yet.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Europe's leaders in negotiation

H/T to @beatricedeDante for this wonderful image (click to enlarge)

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Heathrow Consultation is just utter madness

So, local residents in and around Heathrow are to be consulted by the airport which of the 2 expansion plans for Heathrow they prefer - a new third runway ( offering more respite periods for individual communities but bringing new aircraft noise to loads more residents) or an extended second runway (which will not bring new areas under the flightpath but will reduce respite as the runway will be used for both take off and landing).

As John Stewart of HACAN has said, the choice was like being asked "whether you prefer being murdered by the Boston Strangler or Jack the Ripper.

Of course, the real problem is this - residents are being asked which of the 2 evils they find 'lesser'. There is a danger that the results will be presented as which of the two routes has greater support - whereas in fact neither are required.

Frankly - especially as the survey is being carried out, not by the Davies Commission but by Heathrow Airport - the whole thing looks, to me, like a bit of a fix...

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Oh go on then. Everyone else is making predictions...

Here are my 2014 predictions for the world of UK politics.

1. We currently have 12 MEPs. Post the Euro elections in the Spring we will have 3 or less (I take no pleasure in  this)
2. However, I don't think we will come 5th on the popular vote. I think we will come fourth.
3. I think UKIP will not come top in those elections in the popular vote
4. Despite that, Farage will still be their leader by the end of the year
5. The Scots will not vote for Independence.....but the margin of victory will be less than 10%
6. Lorely Burt will become Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems
7. The Tories will be leading in the opinion polls by the end of the year (though it will be tight)
8. There will be at least 5 new Lib Dem Peers announced in 2014
9. Zac Goldsmith will remain an MP but will not hold the Tory Whip by the end of the year.
10. One of Clegg, Cameron or Miliband will no longer be their party leader by year end.

See you back here in 12 months.

Things that look like David Cameron

Post the Catherine the Great thing - seems there's a ton of stuff that looks like David Cameron...

1. Catherine the Great

2. Cardboard Boxes

Yes, Buzzfeed found 10 Cardboard boxes that look like David Cameron...

 3. Gordon the Train from Thomas the Tank Engine

Yep, he's the spitting image...

4. Stingrays

Yes, the Poke found a load of Sting Rays that look like him...

5. Biscuits

Come on - separated at birth.....

6. Odo from Star Trek

Hat tip to  http://cheezburger.com/4393968128

Where will it end? Well, there I think... Hams that look like David Cameron IS REALLY GOING TOO FAR...

Liberal Voice of the Year - my rank order

So, the shortlist for Liberal Voice of the Year has been published over at Lib Dem Voice and I have voted.

I was pleased to see 4 of my 5 nominations make the list - and not entirely surprised that the 5th (Ed Miliband) didn't make the cut....

So here's my rank order (I ordered all 10 tho I feel exponentially less bothered as we go down the list). A note of explanation for my choices follows...

Malala was my first choice both this year and last (when she really should have won) and I genuinely hope she wins (though I fear the vote will be more evenly split this year with many fine candidates).

I didn't nominate either the Coalition for Equal Marriage or Jo but felt they  had strong cases for winning, especially the former, given the fundamental change that has been delivered. I rather wish I had nominated them both.

Jose Mujica was one of my nominations and isn't it fantastic to see an elected leader being both so radical and so liberal? What a fantastic signal it would be were he to win.

I thought Tom Daley was incredibly brave in coming out and what a great role model he is for young people.

I love the way the Pussy Riot prisoners came out of prison unrepentant and vociferous.

I had to put Nelson Mandela above Edward Snowden. I just had to.

Pope Francis was another of my nominations. No, I am not saying that Catholic Church is now the world's most liberal organisation. But I do think he is moving it in a direction that should be applauded and encouraged. I know others profoundly disagree,

The remainder I could have moved around a fair bit to be honest - except, while I am full of admiration for Birgitte Nyborg - she is, ultimately, fictional. So she had to be last

So there's my reasoning. But feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.