Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iain Dale: Carelessly Smearing Labour Bloggers

In the course of his story Labour Blogger Found Guilty of 'Paedo' Smear Iain Dale's Diary suggests that three named Labour Bloggers have not covered the verdict in the Miranda Grell case.

I had covered it THIRTEEN HOURS and TWENTY FOUR minutes earlier. At midnight Friday going on Saturday. Soon after finding an anonymous comment on Iain's blog in fact. Using exactly the same words as Mark Pack's story at LDV.

There is more to come on this case. And I think the reporting has been diabolical. And it was so easy to check. Stick Grell in one of the search boxes on the blog, hit return, find you are mistaken.

Let's have an apology this time Iain. No excuses. Just apologise.

UPDATE: Sunday 11:10. Meanwhile on the substantive matter. Have finally found some proper court reporting. Will give this a new post.

Fibdemologists: It's Official - Calculations Do Not Compute

Channel 4 and the IFS alike think the Lib Dems "90% better off" calculations are awry. Strange that. they are normally spot on. (Fib Dems)

Blogger Solidarity: Let's Nail Gangsters Throwing Weight

To update this story Chicken Yogurt has an expanding list (171 at the time of writing) of Bloggers of All Creeds united against the arse who wants to take on the Arse. And take down blogs that disagree with his wicked ways. Or simply have the same webhost. Got a blog? Post, link and comment at Yogz. Join the throng.

Ellee Seymour provides this delightful picture of the oleaginous crook, stumble bum bully, and now press relations expert - the thieving Oligarch Usmanov:

You couldn't buy publicity like this! Well done Alisher my son! On me bloggerhead! Rude Buttons (ever so sorry) from Winking Walnut.
[a href=""][img width="155" alt="" src="" height="162"/][/a][img width="153" alt="" src="" height="135"/] (replace brackets with angles).

Ellee's Russglish entreaty:
Пожалуйста спросите, что ваши законоведы reinstate эти blogs, вы не имейте никакую потребность быть испугано они говорят если вы будете правдивой персоной.

LOL offer:
блогь? or блогз? = blogs? Восстанавливате? (Vosstanavlivatye) = reinstate?

Sunny Hundal swimming willingly but uphill against the MSM tide:

Download Quicktime MP4

UPDATE: Alisher Usmanov is feeling so very guilty and sorrowful and shot in his own foot that he is reposting Craig's articles on his own blog.

Lacklustre Libdemology: Triumphalism, A Tad Premature?

Still not quite built up the enthusiasm to watch the Mingster's speakage in full. 48 hours without doing, and counting. Perhaps those highlights were just too exciting to risk anymore? Perhaps just a case of places to go, things to do, people to see and all that. Very much like Dizzy's cartoon gallery which I reproduce in full without permission or further comment:


Daily Telegraph

The Times


Steve Bell Merchandise HERE. Try the respective respected organs for any equivalent shoppage for the other inky scribblers.

Miranda Grell: £4,000 Poorer, Career At Best On Hold?

According to an anonymous comment at Dale's :

Waltham Forest Labour councillor Miranda Grell has been found guilty of falsely smearing her Liberal Democrat opponent in the 2006 elections as a paedophile. She has been fined £1,000, ordered to pay £3,000 in costs and banned from public office for three years.

UPDATE: Yes, but no but. The Times seems happy at that. Without being there or seeing the transcripts, on the basis of this Times report only, LOL feel Miranda Grell should (a) sue the Times for more shoddy reporting and (b) if there is no strict liability, on the milder points she has admitted, possibly appeal. The comment at Iain's IS A LIE as it ups the ante from what she has been convicted of - saying a man was gay and getting his partner's age wrong I think, to far more serious comments she was accused of. The Times is onto the same shoddy trick.

Ms Grell seems to have EITHER been convicted on the basis of demonstrably partisan hearsay of various very serious smears rehearsed in the piece. OR she has been convicted of saying her opponent was gay and getting his lover's age wrong. Which she admitted. If this is strict liability then the verdict is surely correct. But the comment and the Times report, which also again drags in some other hate figures of theirs: Cherie Blair, Jesse Jackson and John Reid, well these are WRONG.

Murdoch's Lot also run a Cherie Slide Show nearby. And they actually used to be a paper of record?

UPDATE: Does anyone know where a copy of the judgement can be found? BLINK has this. The fight goes on. MSM are reporting the more lurid accusations without distinguishing these from those of which she has been convicted. LOL do not condone the smearing of opponents. LOL also do not condone judges majoring on hearsay evidence. Or bloggers and MSM alike being careless.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Newsnight: Michael Crick Has Noticed RESPECT Schism

Twenty days on Newsnight Newshound Michael Crick has finally caught up with the news about George Galloway's hectoring of his party comrades as the cracks widen in an always politically rather absurd coalition.

Respect's finest hour may well be a foray into the Hit Parade rather than any adding of meaning or value to our electoral politics.

Dale's Diary: Consequences of Letting Knee Follow Jerk

UPDATE: Report of earlier Bolton Inquest (MEN, 15 Sept) Don't swim signs had been vandalised. PCSOs are not mentioned. Jordon was under water for an estimated 30 minutes before being dragged out. The kids were unaccompanied and unrelated anglers helped save the girl. The "pond" is a flooded mine subsidence. There are many of these in Leigh and Wigan. Many of the pit villages and overspill estates of the 1940s and 50s - like Higher Folds where I've spent time - are surrounded by wild country, capped works, ditches and hazards. I've been impressed with the discipline of the kids - in general - staying safe.

Thanks to Matthew for pointing in comments to one picture at BBC Manchester. This one is from Times Online taken by Martin Ricketts of PA Online.

ORIGINAL POST: Sadly a young boy from the Wigan area drowned on 3 May this year. Two PCSOs were nearby. When they arrived he could not be seen. They did not attempt a rescue themselves. One was attempted soon after by an experienced career police officer and by the boy's father and uncle.

Iain Dale perhaps knows or understands even less of the details than I do - though I've now read the Standard linked below - but slams this as The Consequences of Letting Procedure Rule. Perhaps he is wrong about that.

These are perhaps not too well remembered. But here goes, You'll get a flavour:

First rule of rescue: Don't become a victim yourself.
Second rule: Coach, Reach, Throw, Wade, Swim in that order. And in the latter two cases with lifeline or buoyancy is possible.
Third rule: Be absolutely clear where the victim is and have a plan.
Final rule of rescue: Don't become a victim yourself.

In this particular case my understanding is that the lake was the size of a football pitch not some imagined minor pond. The missing child was not visible to by-standers or potential rescuers by the time the PCSOs arrived. The PCSOs did immediately seek skilled help. Although Iain reports this lake to be around 6 feet deep I'm not sure that was widely known at the time. Even so would that make it a wading situation for most PCSOs?

And I also know from various environmental workouts and water adventures that binding weeds, tree branches and stumps, cars bikes and assorted junk, jagged things, broken glass, semi-submerged objects, other submerged objects, unknown currents and deeps, all these and more can be very hazardous.

Whatever has snagged or injured the victim may get potential rescuers too. Large numbers of people die every year trying to effect rescues. Sometimes through lack of skill and knowledge. Sometimes by unfair bad luck.

There are occasions when the victim gathers themselves and gets out. And some where they are not really in the hazard at all. In fact reading the Standard report, beyond partisan headlines, pull outs and captions, this case is one of a rescuer becoming victim.

The dead boy had rescued his step sister Bethany but at the expense of his own life. He had heroically carried her on his shoulders until she was grabbed. But being shorter than six feet tall he was under the water for much of this time, disappeared and was drowned. We will never know whether she would have survived without this rescue.

PCSO's in Greater Manchester, as elsewhere are out on the streets with far less training than modern police officers. If they are strong swimmers, knowledgeable about rescue and risk assessment, then this is not from their induction training.

On Monday 10 September Chris Maclure a PCSO in Greater Manchester - also in fact in Wigan - DIED in the course of using some equipment for which he had not been fully trained. That equipment? A push bike. He was hit by a wagon. As a result a minimum of 12 months familiarity or specialised training is being required for officers, including full officers, patrolling on bikes. Fair enough.

The very same Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable - Dave Thompson - that is dealing with the lake tragedy said the force was "deeply saddened" by that death.

It is all very well for by-standers and commentators in possession of or reading only half the facts to pummel away. But everyone has their own limits of courage, experience, hard skills, local knowledge and so on. We decide whether to try and help - whether it's a loose or injured animal, a child running into a road, a motorist in a crash (as attended by CP three days ago), or an invisible child that may be in a lake.

If we decide to try and rescue someone and succeed we are heroes, If we fail and die ourselves opinion could go either way really. But if it seems very dangerous, if there is not enough information, or if sensible safety rules need broken if we do act then we should not be lambasted by bloggers for trying to help in other ways.

These PCSOs may well be feeling uncomfortable or even, probably without cause in my view, ashamed. But what about the younger child who decided to jump in? What about the parents? Was either kid trained in water safety and a strong swimmer? Was the lake a permitted swimming site? What on earth were the parents thinking? They are lucky to have only lost one child.

INQUEST: We have inquests to find out as far as possible what happened and what lessons can be learned. The Standard's report is made especially unbalanced by the sub edited elements. But there are enough facts there to know that this was not a case of anyone standing idly as a child drowned before their eyes.

Tory Payola: Sharpen Pencils for Wednesday 26 September

LOL have been following the Bris for Mayor campaign with some interest. In fact we broke the story about premium lines votes payola.

Yesterday we urged any stragglers to book your vote and today we remind those Tories, fellow travellers, and fun seekers alike that Wednesday the 26th of September is the last day for voting.

As far as we know there aren't any further payments involved in voting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Payola: Getting Paid to Blog About Hotel Reservations?

There's a thought. Stick something on LOL for pay? Give it a whirl. After all in Political Conference Season finding a decent hotel at an affordable rate can be difficult and time consuming.

Only a couple of days ago we were warned that Liverpool was almost sold out hotel-wise for the weekend of the Lib Dem Spring Conference 7-9 March 2008. Our informants those Lib Dems, who famously do get things wrong from time to time ... so let's give this Hotel Reservations service the once over.

With a passable interface and a much much quicker server than most of these things the site finds me hotel options for all budgets. From a triple room on the Albert Dock for just £49 a night, through the Lord Nelson at £73 for a twin with full english breakfast - 200 yards from Lime Street and two miles from the Albert Dock, how's that work then? - to the Marriott at £120 and beyond.

Plenty of hotel options still available. Now there's a surprise ... those Libdemologists are completely wrong, again! And they supposedly run Liverpool?

Of course for Labour at Bournemouth next week even the most sophisticated service could be stumped. But no, what's this? the Tower House Hotel in Westcliff Gardens a snip at just £534 per night for a double. You get full english thrown in naturally.

And what's more it's looking rather like Fawlty Towers!

More civilised by far is The Dorchester (est 1756) a mere 29 miles away. But with four nights and a lot more class for the price of one night at the Tower House ... in fact you can have buses in the mornings and taxis at midnight there from your change.

Next week but one in Blackpool, for Cameron's Tories-all-at-sea, also offers an excellent range and good availability considering the time proximity. The Tariff at the Norbreck Castle Hotel shows what a ramp conference prices are. £128 on Tuesday, just £43 on Wednesday.

The best deal in a few minutes smart searching is the Tickled Trout near the Motorway on the outskirts of Preston - 10 miles away. Good availability on twin rooms from £69. Once again full english. And enough saving on equivalent promenade hotels for taxis both ways. Limo and uniformed chauffeur even.

All in all Hotel Reservations provides a user friendly service, has freephone numbers in all territories or online booking, chucks up some real bargains and a few turkeys, and once again proves the Lib Dems inaccurate in the extreme. Can't be bad. I'd have written this without being paid $1 a minute. That's cool too.

Why not get paid per post too?

Manchester Confidential: News in 250 Words etc

Manchester Confidential is quite good. And their new News in 250 Words features around four cherry-picked Manchester stories to save you wasting your life trying to find anything worth reading in the monopoly press. Bit harsh. But non-state monopolies are a sin!

Manchester Confidential is the heir of City Life (another thin wiki page) but being free and virtual it works better commercially. This thing rather than the Evening News will stop Time Out succeeding in the rainy city.

When City Life was picking up and surviving in 1984 and 1985 the Manchester Evening News purchased a vast advertising campaign orchestrated by J Walter Thompson with an Absolute Beginners' vibe. Seemed like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. But we had news and views and we survived. "There ain't no stopping us now" we cheered, with DJ Mick Hucknall at the wheels of steel. Or later Andy and Lou who didn't go on to be quite so rich and famous.

The "News" is now free in the City Centre, even in some places outside the ring road, and they are porting lots of their business to the web, or hoping to. And just to show they're rattled they have adopted an icon of a loudhailer ... remarkably like the one above used by the Manchester Confidential crew.

But a bit pathetic really isn't it?

Manchester Confidential also do Liverpool Confidential. City Life's equivalent there was called Next 14 (or sometimes Next 28) and it didn't achieve even half the advertising base we had, or last for 23 years.

Blogger Solidarity: Save Us From Former Soviet Criminals

Tim Ireland gets Iain Dale's heartfelt support. Half a dozen blogs have been silenced. Assassinated using a silencer called Shillings. Alisher Usmanov being the gangster who likes his press press-ganged or gagged or both.

13 Minutes to Midnight: Get Your Tory Primary Vote Now

Boris Johnson told a great stonking fib this morning. According to my confidential source. He emailed his whole crew and told them that today was the last day for VOTING him in. This was a lie. But it is the last time to spend £1.50 or so and get a vote in the London Primary. Here's how according to the liar Boris Johnson. Highlights with one correction in line one:

To vote get-a-vote in the Primary call 0906 555 5050.

The phone lines will be open: Until 9 pm and then it's all over 'til next time.

Calls cost £1.00p per minute from a BT Landline, other operators & networks may vary. Calls should cost no more that £1.50 (run by iTouch (UK) Ltd. EC2A 4PF)

The last day/time to register to receive your ballot paper is TODAY at 9PM.

Injudicious Juxtaposition: Someone's Up To Something

And in this case it's Iain Dale. First he brings us some useful, judicious and amusing juxtaposition with news that Job Centre Plus are holding a seminar at Stamford Bridge. Just as Jose Mourinho departs.

More to the point Iain finally sets our minds at rest:

I shall be back in the chair from tomorrow morning. I'm off to do another theatre show with La Widdecombe in Cheltenham tonight, so will no doubt have something to report from that.

Not sure whether that means Iain's monkey Shane Greer gets his cards too? We'll see. But onwards and upwards to this post asserting the probability of an autumn election, called on Thursday next:

Everything in my gut tells me that an election will be called next week. There will be another couple of opinion polls in the next few days which will probably confirm a 5-8 point Labour lead.

Mmmm. This is more poll bait. But a poll is not as easy to bait as a link! The master Organ Grinder continues:

Just do what I have done and draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write down the arguments for an against an autumn election from Gordon Brown's perspective.

Now, let's see. Excitable Iain. High good humour. Looking forward to seeing friend Ann Widdy. Suggesting something to report. And shortly afterward ... insisting an Autumn election is probable.

How are these juxtaposed factlets and observations related? Well as LOL reported earlier this month, following the Pendennis column in The Observer Widdy has gone from possibly going through probably going to definitely going ... unless that is there is an Autumn poll:

Her decision to stand down from her Maidstone and the Weald constituency will only be reversed if there is an election called this autumn, which, she says, 'my bones tell me there won't be'.

Well, my bones tell me that there won't be too. For the nth time it will be June 2009. But they also tell me that if there is A Widdy has decided to go anyway. They also tell me that in the event of a 48 hour selection process a certain well known political blogger, resident in Tonbridge Wells, will have an even greater chance of success in securing her most attractive Maidstone and Weald seat.

No wonder there is a skip in Iain's step and a cheery wave for one and all as our hero motors his sparkling Audi Cabriolet 3.0 Sport (convertible natch) down to Cheltenham with Ms Widdy.

Well done Iain. Shane can run the blog during your campaign. Just a quick reprise for the unconvinced and to hush Iain's protesting too much:

Iain Dale was of course Ms Widdecombe's accomplice and chauffeur on various conversational theatrical engagements.

He boosted her as a London mayoral candidate, and has conspired on various audio publications.

And he has been an unashamed plugger of Ann's wares (right).

DISCLAIMER: No! This is NOT stalking.

UPDATE: Mr Dale and Ms Widdy are in fact thundering down the M4 in a chaffeur-driven Peugeot not a Dale-driven Audi. And in the extremely unlikely - (agree myself and Widdy to Iain's glee) - event of an Election in a few weeks time Ms Widdy will selflessly offer herself to the electors of M&W once more.

Libdemologists: Say Ming Was Fantastic, They're Fibbers

Ming Campbell and Warren Bradley helped police with their enquiries over Liverpool's economic miracle. "In a hole? Keep digging!" said Warren.

Sadly I missed seeing Ming's magnificent speech. Somehow walking the dogs seemed more pleasant and more important.

Lib Dem Voice have a bit of a review and some comments. The first of these is anonymous. Possibly from Ming himself and refers to "Dave".

Simon Hughes’ hilarious Presidential turn yesterday also went: "Dave wouldn’t do this, Dave wouldn’t do that, Dave could not say that etc."

This leads me to think that the Lib Dems have triangulated. They have decided that taking votes off Tories or giving the impression that that is the game is much more of a priority than off Labour. So they're after nailing "Dave".

In Labour areas this might keep some tactical Tories on board, if losing some of the lefties. And it could work in Tory areas where it is a straight fight. Then again perhaps not.

Clearly I should read or watch the whole speech as I know Ming has also asserted that only Lib Dems can sort out the economy. On the face of it we only have to look at the hole in Liverpool’s finances to know that it ain’t so.

But it will be interesting to hear him trying to make the case.

UPDATE: Still not seen the whole thing in its entirety. Just bits. Strange that Iain Dale's Mini Me has given it a better review than the LDV crowd. Perhaps in his unsureness about the boy Cameron he is reaching out to a land of make believe?

Libdemologists: Come on Cleggy Light Ming's Pyre

You know you want to. The man who would be Ming Nick Clegg has confessed in an alcoholics anonymous amusing Lib Dem fringe meeting to being a teenage twisted fire starter and little prick botherer. Carrying a drunken torch for a collection of prize cacti. Setting them alight. Getting gardening as punishment.

Only question is:
How many law and order minded voters, troubled with drunken 16-year-olds torching their stuff and mashing their gardens to buggery will now say: "Ah, bless!" and "Everyone has a little bit of menace in them!" and "Public school boys will be little buggers at times."

Not quite the same as empathising with a right Charley who likes a wee dram as Hugo Rifkind would have it.

Meanwhile in something of a shock to his feisty wife Elspeth, who had just handbagged the troublesome Cleggy the fire-starting, prick-teasing delinquent, Ming Campbell claimed: "I love young Turks." Or something like that. "I used to be one". He added: "And I have promoted them."

The Scotsman has more detail of the story (no sorry not of Ming's young Turk loving) - IT WAS TWO WHOLE GREENHOUSES OF CACTI - amazing.

OUR EXPERTS ASK: "not easy to set cactus on fire without serious accelerants, what did they use?" arson consultant; "likely to produce a Peyote style trip, had they been er smoking?" narcotics consultant; "more likely to occur if the perpetrators are high than flat drunk, what were they on?" alcoholics anonymous.

Plus, in the Scotsman, shock news that Charles Kennedy's baby was accosted and accused of looking rather like him. Which was hopefully no news to mum Sarah even if it is a bit of an ugly stick to take to a baby of Donald's tender age.

Also some endearing nonsense from Susan Kramer who claimed that the conference agenda booklet was so stuffed with newsworthy material that it would keep the press pack going until next year ... if only.

MEANWHILST: Should any reader wish to share any stories of the youthful (or not so youthful) enterprises of our Parliamentary finest please do drop me a line in strictest confidence.

Can any match two greenhouses of torched rare specimen plants. Can they?

Osama's Message to America: Made in America?

After a certain amount of banter about the state of Osama Bin Laden's beard the MSM and the MSBs alike dropped the subject. The underbelly of the web and blogosphere however has stories left, right and centre asserting that the video is 100% forgery. Originating from US Intelligence to keep TWOT ticking over and back surging and limited withdrawal elsewhere. Hat tip: Ummah Pulse.

The key points they make are (a) that the supposed 9-11 suicide bomber whose last will and testament is featured is in fact allegedly alive and well in Saudi Arabia and (b) that all the current commentary is effectively audio only. I don't know. What do you think? Was this thing made by people in the USA with a Grecian 2000 gimmick just so much beardwash? Somethingly like having an imaginery friend who sends mail. The video is here:

UPDATE DOH! 8:00AM: I need to get out more. the Daily Telegraph had a story with the CIA identifying "Azzam the American" as the author on 9 September 2007. But as so often the retraction/reveal has far less coverage on the MSM/MSBs than the trick itself. Though the CIA were still saying it was 100% Bin Laden audio. And using headline: "US loner helps bin Laden to taunt Bush" not possibly more accurate; "US loner helps Bush to taunt USA on TWOT".

Makes the absence of noddies on C4 news - have you noticed? - easier to bear now doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Liverpool Libdemologists: Warren Bradley, Oh Dear

Oh dear. Warren Bradley was on the platform today. That's it. Oh dear.

Libdemology: Tuition Fees or No Tuition Fees?

Oh dear. Andrew Neill has Sarah Teather in a complete and utter Lib Dem dither. David Laws says Tuition Fees will definitely be scrapped in his big speech. Andrew asks Sarah how much this will cost. She does not have a clue. In fact she says that there is a review going on. the policy may get changed in March.

Neill later gave Ms Teather the policy document he had but which she had neither seen nor had any input into. She was a bit pissed off at that. This is sadly a mimicster who is very much on the slide. Already lost her grip on the portfolio. About to lose her seat. Which is a real shame, isn't it?

Charles Kennedy in particular will be crying into his mineral water.

Chris Paul: My Big Secret is Out 1, Fossils Book

You can run but you cannot hide. Thanks to the detective work of fellow entrepreneur Ian Barrett one of my many dark secrets is out.

Ian is registered number 0185 in IMCA - The International Meteorite Collectors Association (who should surely have gone Meterorite International Collectors Association?) - and as it goes he's rather sadly interested in fossils.

And so he's found one of my learned books on eBay.

As I recall this was deadly boring to write. I guarantee that it will be deadly boring to read. If however you should win the auction and become the proud possessor etc then I'll gladly autograph the item. Completely free and gratis too.

This is some of Ian's 99% pure silver jewellery. Featuring some REAL Nantan meteorite. As opposed to resin imitations presumably? Anyway, Mr Barrett is a fellow Chorltonian here in Manchester.

So, despite his spilling the beans LOL say:

Fly Thee to the Moon
Play Among the Stars
Get Yourself a Meteor, Right
From Jupiter or Mars ...

WARNING: Order early for Christmas. Some of this stuff takes millions of years to make.

Tameside By-Pass: More on This Too Please

A week or so back when we first put the Google banners up we had continuous adverts headlined "James Purnell MP" that were not for Screen International or indeed for James Purnell MP's excellent homepage. We resisted these - just as we did the laughable German language "test" and "don't click" effort.

Still, news is coming in from Tameside and I've found some old running pics from the area also. Sufficiently slim at 43 to see me on to a diet and exercise routine to take me through to my 50th when I again change age category.

Anyway, keep the story leads coming is the message. We will get to them when the time is right.

Libdemologists: Kennedy Wipes Floor With All Comers

Better than Ming on Newsnight. Also probably better than Huhne and Clegg to be honest. He had a point that neither of them managed which was the international aspect of our C21st British politics. And although the question wasn't put to him he was better on cross party working (or "coaliting") because he realises that it is the people served that matter more than the party.

Yes, Charles Kennedy - despite the ruddy complexion and the doubts this may distill - could well be a more formidable leader than the incumbent or any of the identified challengers.

Another friend of mine of a ca Ron Hill era is a Surrey-based Scot who regularly travelled on the same flights as Charlie. Formidably discrete, as a fellow tippler, about CK's drinking excesses he was clear about the problem.

CK was too parochial and small town by far. Not metropolitan. Not hardened up. That's about right. But the electorate may like their Liberals soft as sugar. So beware the return of Charles Kennedy (link to LDV You Tube).

ASIDE: Does anyone else notice that Nicholas Clegg has the public school vocal ticks and expressions of a David Cameron? With Chrissy Huhne having the air of the more Grammarly Billy Hague?

Libdemology: Cracking Stories Coming in from Liverpool

More soon. Please keep tales of Libdemology at its very worst coming in.

Libdemologists: Telling Tall Tales from the Riverbank

Oh dear. Party conference broadcast. Here's some fuddled old bezzer - bit like the man on the left above - in a grubby-looking mac muttering and pretending that the recent floods are somehow related to global warming.

Even though he almost certainly personally remembers the last two occurrences that these were nearly as bad as.

In last week's unseemly Lib Dem motivated flood of letters to the South Manchester Distorter about Marie Louise Gardens there was even one stating that such a humungous development "in the flood plain" would be followed by deluge and devastation.

Environment action now! said the old chap's graphics. Let's have some Lib Dem Truth action first please Ming Canute. While you cannot turn the tide you can stop your team fibbing so fluently. If it's the last thing you do.

UPDATE: The laughing assassin Nick Clegg has been caught out in Brighton. At it. Denies everything but. Did they stick this poor conference broadcast out on purpose? Are they doing Ming in with tricks, hoaxes and fibs?

Here is the actual Video seeing as you don't believe me. Drowning not waving.

LabourHome: Open Thread on General Election Timing

LabourHome have started an Open Thread on General Election Timing.

My punt is for June 2009. The first weekend. As I have been saying from the get go. 100 weeks as PM then annihilate both the Tories and the Liberals. Hold if not gain in EU even on reduced seatage. Swamp the BNP with a general election. Kick off a 50-year dynasty of post-Blair social democracy or, we can dream, eventually democratic socialism.

Libdemologists: Leadership Contenders Glib on Camera II

Prediction: Both will say "not really" to both questions.
Reality: Both said "not really" to both questions.

Oh really. Why don't the pair of them join Cameron's big flapping blouse? What is the point of the Liberal Democrats?

Guido Fawkes: A Conspiracy Behind Every Windmill

The right-leaning, ex-Tory libertarian Quixotean quester Mr Guido Fawkes (GuF) really has given up trying on quality control. Today he has this story alleging that Northern Rock - now offering by far and away the best and most secure savings punt on the high street AND good winnings for city boys - have donated MASSIVE (sic) amounts of money to a think tank.

Fascinating stuff from Mr GuF. But are we really talking "donations" as in good causes or would these more properly be called "sponsorship" on which VAT may have been charged and for which there is a business purpose for the sponsor? Or "commission" or "support" as in paying for some research that you'd like to see completed as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

To help readers decide:

Nationwide sponsor League and International Football. Their logo goes on stuff, they get an agreed list of benefits such as tickets, food and drink, advertising, press stunts and photo calls, VAT due, tax deductible. And they aim to sell more of their "never better" ironclad savings accounts - 6.7% with a full guarantee.

The Nationwide Foundation (a separate entity) donate some money to a local charity to build a scout hut. They still benefit in a warm fuzzy feeling kinda way. But no VAT, no list of benefits, tax can be reclaimed using Gift Aid, no names on shirts in 8" high letters, no tickets to games, no champagne.

Nationwide Community and Environmental Affairs also support the IPPR. This is by way of commissioning and/or generally supporting the work of the organisation as part of the company's commitment to CSR.

So was this transaction between Northern Rock and IPPR warm and fuzzy with gift aid and all that? Was it even from the Company itself?

Did the mortgage bank then get a green light to manage themselves very poorly as a result of a few quid for some thinking?

Or was this commercial sponsorship or perhaps a CSR contribution from the Northern Rock Foundation?

I think probably the latter. Yet another non story from the Old GuFfer.

Fiona Ellis, Director, Northern Rock Foundation does serve on IPPR's Commission on Public Sector Reform in the North East. Northern Rock are listed among 180 supporters. But here's one for Dizzy Thinks ... the columns on the IPPR are totally unequal. Some of the supporter names in the right hand column break onto two lines. New Labour-related IT gauche at its worst.

REMEMBER REMEMBER: Guido: "Be funny, be fierce, be fearless" and let's not forget Fawkes ... be fuckwitted.

Libdemologists: Leadership Contenders Glib on Camera

LOL are not sure why anyone would want to watch Lib Dem Voice's recording of paint drivelling, I mean drying, when there is live paint drivelling on their telly. But here goes:

What do Lib Dems stand for?:

Huhne - the old list of three principle. Freedom, fairness, greenery. Things which other parties are thankfully against. Helping Lib Dems make their mark as a distinct and worthwhile project.

Clegg - very polished 60-second "elevator pitch". This being the sales pitch one might make if travelling in a lift with a "mark" for one minute. Or just a way of getting to the next level of Snake Oil Sales. His is all about freedom. Fairness and greenery can take a hike.

Who should the Lib Dems coalite* with:

Huhne - silly question. But the Tories and Labour are coaliting* merrily.

Cleggy - complete evasion. For the people to decide.

Can't wait for today's instalment: Are you an Orange Booker? and Do you want to be Lib Dem leader? Prediction: Both will say "not really" to both questions.

* "Co-a-lite": v.i. to make a coalition. No smoke without fire.

Luke Akehurst: Thinks the National Policy Forum is Great

Luke has (see last post) vented a pile of steaming doo doos about Labour Party democracy. Have commented at length over there.

Historic Warwick: Comrades, Sisters and Brothers, Colleagues - What Has Been Delivered?

That prize clown Luke Akehurst believes that Trade Union Turkeys have again voted for Christmas. This is based on BBC Report which suggests that Harriet Harman is going to make a tub thumping Prezza-like speech at Bournemouth to send delegates home happy.

Luke and Harriet were ecstatic that they had fooled the Unions

But they have also voted to axe "Contemporary Resolutions" at Conference. One of the ways party units can seek to change or make the Party's policies. Others being through lobbying MPs and Ministers on the quiet with the odd EDM or petition thrown in (perhaps the most successful) and the National Policy Forum (NPF) - a delegate body so far effectively ruled by PM and TPTB.

If Luke had been there - at the Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) - his position and his gurning face might well have swayed some of the craven idiots stuck on the NEC by Unions to actually vote for their Union's policy or if they could conjure up the vaguest idea of what this means: for their members' interests.

If what the Unions have achieved through Warwick (a particularly "Historic" NPF session) surpasses all that has gone before - as Luke happily claims - then that really is a VERY SAD indictment on party democracy.

What exactly has been not only agreed but also delivered from the "historic Warwick" agreement? Government hegemony over the unions?

Which admittedly is lovely triangulation to attract support from those who want the unions smashed.

Luke may well argue that whatever has been achieved is more than X years of resolutions and he may even be right. But that means he is saying that for X years the parliamentary party has been riding roughshod over party policy decisions.

Now, don't get me wrong. It is just possible that the NPF or similar IS a better way of making policy IN THEORY. But that's all. IN PRACTICE it is widely derided as undemocratic, unaccountable, manipulated, unlistening, and at the end of the day railroaded by the government.

At this point the undemocratic conclusions are put before conference for an all or nothing vote. That is heavily whipped by the platform's agents in the crowd. It is beyond belief really that only half a dozen people will vote against say a Britain in the World document (in 2005) which says "business as usual" over the likes of Iraq. Even if it does say "onwards and upwards" over international development.

Iraq incidentally which we were not allowed to discuss due to manipulation of the contemporary resolutions list to exclude it.

The ballot would have been rigged in any case.

Contemporary resolutions have not delivered. That much is true. But the National Policy Forum is going to be a whole lot better than it ever has been if the heart and soul of the Labour Party is to find its way onto the page.

Painting the Town Red: Where On Earth Have You Been?

Create your own visited countries map. Seems I have only bagged 9% of them so far. Numerically. Twenty one or twenty two. Not sure about spatially. It is updateable and serves up your latest itinerary. Hat tips appreciated.

TRIVIA: My friend Dr Ron Hill MBE - the champion marathoner, world record breaker, textiles and training innovator, designer of tracksters and union jack shorts - is well over 90 countries visited AND competed in.

Ronnie is aiming for 100 before his 70th birthday, September 2008. He has also run at least once every day since 1964. Twice a day - Monday to Saturday - for the first 26 of these long hard years. Ron's wiki is very scanty indeed and needs serious updating.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dale's Diary: Monkey and Organ Grinder in Two Hander

Dale's Monkey Shane Greer has realised that all is not well with My Society's methodology on their WriteToThem survey. LOL pointed this out last evening.

Meanwhile the Old Organ Grinder attempts a fisk of the Sunny Hundal provacation covered here. Perhaps there will be a retraction later?

Thatcherism: Donal's Being Barmy and He Knows He Is

Having made a complete idiot of himself over Nelson Mandela Donal Barmy suggests that always rather fashionable soviet imagery is in the same bag as unfashionable since 1945 nazi regalia. He's barking mad that Donal, he really is.

Comment is Free: BBC Balance Needs Left Muscle Too

Sunny Hundal has written a piece about BBC Bias and right wing whingery and provided his own summary at Pickled Politics.

The right wing MSM and MSBs are trying to cripple the BBC's independence. Alternative bloggers need to keep on their case.

Last Legs Liverpool Libdemologists: Dutifully Facing Both Ways on Rat-Arsery

Will Alsop's Fourth Grace - which I rather like ... but what a disgrace - selected despite being fourth of four in the public referendum

Thanks to Lib Dem Voice for reporting that Liverpool is going to run out of hotel space as it is "double booked" with (a) a home football game (there's one of those every week) and (b) a minor Spring Conference. Fortunately a change of local government is planned for May 08. Meaning an uber mayor may not be necessary. Whatever. Libdemologists, it's certainly your last chance to get rat-arsed in Lib Dem Liverpool. Book your rooms here.

If that is you're not out binge drinking in Brighton with Liverpool twossock, Lib Dem councillor, sadly wasted opportunist Cllr Richard Kemp (right).

Though then again here he is trying to clamp down on bars!. And not let other people get rat-arsed.

Whoever said you cannot have it both ways? With these Lib Dems ... facing both ways is a daily duty says Blogger Paula Keaveney, a co-campaigner with binge drinker Kemp.

Libdemology: Chris Davies MEP on Bottled Water

That nice Chris Davies MEP has apparently been on the blog over-reacting to some comment about the Lib Dems being wild-eyed. This caused me to follow his link and find a post on a subject dear to my heart. Sadly no hat tip Chris? Never mind. You can buy me a drink or two when you come to put the Middle East to rights at an upcoming Greater Manchester Fabians event.

Next Lib Dem Leader: Nick Clegg MP Exaggerates Ten Fold. Is it Deception? Or Gross Incompetence?

James Graham's Kway Kwam* Blog is rather good. In fact I am going to add it to my blogroll and visit more often.

Today James has been over here to defend the inutterably indefensible. Nick Clegg made an error in statistics and claims something has risen 16-fold. Mr Graham changes one of the reference years and claims on the back of this that it has risen eight-fold.

In fact, doing things properly it has risen by 67% not 700% or 1500%. The thing being proportion of the electorate not voting for either of the main parties in 1951 and 2007. The first of these being a general election with an 80% plus turnout, the latter local elections, turnout around 29%.

It was a Lib Dem apologist calling themselves Tim Kinsella was also here a while back I think giving a press reference (a Guardian blog) for the Lib Dem's disgraceful age "error" in relation to Virendra Sharma in Ealing Southall.

These defenders of all things statistically and arithmetically awry, Mr Graham and Mr Kinsella both, also think Mr Clegg and Ealing Lib Dems respectively were not engaged in spin.

I agree. Spin is taking a real situation and making the best of it for presentation of your interest. This was not spin. It was either (a) humungous deliberate deceit, or (b) humungous accidental incompetence.

* Quaequam, which is "liberati" for Everyman or Anyone I suppose. As in "Anyone can see this bar chart is accurate".

Conservationists: More Tory Banner Innovation

Another Tory banner from Bloggerheads. Just like the unsinkable Titanic.

Libdemologists: Nick Clegg Liberally Distorts Statistics?

Lib Dem Voice have a Cleggy vignette where he (gulp) quotes some dodgy statistics. I know, I know. Very strange from them Libdemologists isn't it? He's trying to pretend that 16 times as large a proprtion of the electorate don't vote for Labour or the Conservatives now as in in 1951.

Comparing voting in 1951 (a General Election, turnout 80%+) to 2007 (Locals - my estimate average 29% - plus Scotland Parliament and Wales Assembly - c 60%) he conflates "the electorate" with "those who voted". And doesn't even specify his geographical remit at all. For either statistic. And as we know these may be different anyway.

One side of the compare and contrast is carelessly, or very likely deliberately, slashed in size while the other is in effect increased 250% by the much lower turn out. The 2005 General Election is ignored.

The absolute figures are in any case completely wrong as Lib Dem Clegg claims only 2% voted for anyone but the main two parties in 1951 and this is utterly head-over-heels Lib-Dem fallacious. [Though he might have made an interesting point about the Liberal vote dropping from 1950's 9% plus to 1951's 4% across two schismic sections.]

This was it. Extracted from an Independent You Ask the Questions interview:

Under Ming Campbell, the party has been slowly sliding into electoral irrelevance. What is your strategy for making people take notice again? Allan Forrester, Orkney

If you look at the big challenges in British politics today – the environment, Britain’s role in a globalised world, the balance between freedom and security, accountability and transparency in politics, the importance of social mobility – they are at the heart of what the Lib Dems are all about. We can hardly be irrelevant when the whole political debate is moving onto our home turf. The age of two-party politics is gone: only 2 per cent the electorate voted for a party other than the Conservatives or Labour in the 1951 election;
32 per cent of the electorate voted for other parties in the 2007 election. Voters want more choice in politics, not less. Lib Dems must always be straight talking, and willing to ask the questions that no one else will.

That's right Lib Dem Nick Clegg. Straight talking. You know all about that. I may be back with some bar charts later.

The figure I'd estimate for English* Seats in 1931 was 7% of 81% equalling 5.6% of the electorate. If Clegg's figure is the actual figure for English* Councils 2007, at 32% of 29% this equals 9.3% of the electorate.

Hardly the 2% versus 32% difference Young Nick suggests. Rather than being up by 1500% it's about 67%. Very liberal. He has reduced one end to a third, and more than trebled the other end. Now that's what I call straight talking! Apparently he's done a deal with Ming to be nice to him, then inherit the earth. He (Clegg) was spectacularly overconfident in the Q&A shown last night.

* A comparison between England and England is clearly more manageable than some permutation of unequal territories. And it is also fair to say that a massive boom in small and medium parties has largely been in Wales, Scotland and the Six Counties.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Libdemology: Today at Conference

Half an hour? How would BBC2 fit all those highlights in?

Truth was that it all seemed a bit thin when stretched to a full 30 minutes. Chris Huhne humbug on environment. Chris Davies going nuclear. Vince Cable going told-you-so. Nick Clegg utterly oblivious to reality.

The Ming and Sandy show? Pants, as Kerron reported earlier.

My Society: Brilliant eDemocracy Projects, but Write To Them May Be the Weakest?

LOL love They Work For You and would agree with Iain Dale's Monkey that if in fact this survey is right then there are more Labourites among the stragglers in terms of answering correspondence - through the Write To Them site at least.

But of all My Society's projects Write To Them is perhaps the weakest. And the survey especially is not great and intrinsically likely to attract whingers. Particularly towards the representatives of the party of government.

Naturally Iain's Mini-Me has his own piece of statistical selectivity. He chooses to focus on those MPs who fall into the bottom 100 with almost three-quarters being Labour. If instead he'd taken the top 20 he'd have caught nine Labour, seven Tories and two each for the DUP and Libs. In the top 50 the numbers are 18, 24, 3 and 5 respectively.

My Society's other projects include Fix My Street with the Young Foundation, Pledge Bank, Not Apathetic, the world famous Number 10 Petition Site, and Hear From Your MP too.

My Society are now looking for an interface developer.

K Cross Clan: Bacon Slicer - Ming Campbell's Hams

Councillor K Cross Clan is renewed and invigorated and even including some politics - in this case taking a bacon slicer to Ming Campbell's prize hams.

Libdemology: Ministry of Truth on Waltham Smears

We've taken an interest in smear-ageddon or smear-arama, though as Unity thoroughly expounds this is a very serious matter. Whatever is resolved on Friday Miranda Grell admits to having been a silly gossip at least once.

And the Lib Dems will still be as akin to Scientologists as ever. With their misery and crazy charts both.

A Tom Cruise - Nick Clegg double act is what we need now to cement the deal.

This is a bar chart produced by the Lib Dems (right) and recreated accurately by Unity (completely right). Right in both senses of the world.

For both linked posts Unity uses the tag "Libdemology".
LOL first used this when the Libs first started complaining that the other conferences had Scientology stalls while they did not.

First in print in January 2007 I think. Were there any earlier uses of this valuable concept or its Fibdemologist variant?

I explained this coining was because the Scientologists could see their approach was already being taken by the LD crew. Small comfort I know.

Perhaps they too have some religious nutters at their conference exhibition this year? Information please.

Not sure what happened with the announcement of a solution to the apparently Tory Norman Lamb smearing activity. But now he's doing it to himself.

Tarantara: A Policeman's Lot is not an Happy One

Clearly there is not much point in nicking criminals and being so careless with record keeping, breath tests and taking the piss that they escape conviction when they get to court. Then again there is clearly room for efficiency improvements.

A couple of years ago I visited a new PFI police station at Pendleton. This is in Salford but perhaps half a mile outside the inner ring road. And Greater Manchester Police are storing alleged miscreants nabbed in City Centre Manchester there too. Well designed, spacious, and aimed at making the process slicker than at the ancient and congested Bootle Street cells.

There had been some inevitable protest at the idea of optimising the use of a modern facility and discontinuing use of an early Victorian rabbit warren. I was impressed and had a positive letter printed in the Manchester Evening News.

That was the end of the hoo-ha. As far as I know, despite that righteous fuss, the move has been a complete and utter success. Police HQ is due to move from a falling down site on Chester Road in Tory Trafford - the scene of many a nefarious deed exposed in City Life - into the City of Manchester. That too is a good move.

This lovely lad is Stuart Davidson aka PC David Copperfield the whistle blowing blogger. He is the star turn in BBC Panorama's Wasting Police Time which will be broadcast on BBC One on Monday September 17 at 2030 BST. Tonight.

Stuart is to be permanantly transported to the colonies. Off to work for the Canadian Police. To be blunt if I were them I wouldn't take him. He's clearly a bit of a twat.

No doubt some of the people making Panorama would rather be out and about all day with their cameras and lights and microphones and the rest. But the programme would not get made without many hours preparation and post-production in the editing suite. That's life.

Some MPs would no doubt prefer to be doing PMQs all day every day. But alas there are mountains of paperwork for them too. That's life too. Evening all: Inspector Iain Dale.

TRIVIA: Your blogger once played a Copper and acting Sergeant in a production of the Pirates of Penzance at school. One of the performances was on the evening of his 18th birthday and he went with his girlf of the time - Lucia, where are you? - to the pub in which he quaffed and played darts and pool on many a lunchtime and free period.
This became the first and only time he was refused service.
It must have been the stage slap. To add insult to injury, but also provide refreshment, the girlf (16) was served.

Altogether now:
With constabulary duties to be done, to be done
A po-leece-man's lot is not an happy one, happy one!

Libdemologists: Doublespeak on the Lunatic Fringe

CODED MESSAGES: It's Tuesday 18 September, 1pm in Lancing 3 at the Holiday Inn ... and it's apparently really about flooding your campaign literature with fibs, dishonesty and exaggeration. Then you can simply swan into Westminster.

Lady Thatcher and Gordon Brown: Burying Dave-id

Before he went off to test the Beer Police of Derbyshire Dizzy underlined his view that Maggie Thatcher was using Gordon Brown and not vice versa as say BBC Online and a Tory front bench nutjob name of Rob Wilson.

Quite a fuss in the usual places. Seems to work quite well for both of them really.

Cameron wounded but not ousted. Lady Thatcher twisting the knife. Tories six foot under.

Clever Old Norman Lamb: One More for the Road

Lucinda: Ten bottles of fizz and four slabs of lager Mr Lamb. Just yourself and Mr Kennedy? Do be careful won't you!! Don't want to be a burden on the taxpayer, now do we sir?! Norman the Red Nose Oh Dear: I said 12 bottles.

How will the maverick Norman Lamb's "pint police", "beer bobbies" and "spirits serjeants" distinguish between people who happen to be drunk - rat-arsed or otherwise - for different reasons and have different causes for being in hospital that are more or less their fault.

A is rat arsed for the first time in 20 years following the funeral and wake of their partner. They trip on a raised paving stone in Lib Dem Liverpool. Or an ex-fireman politician who has just lost five seats takes a swing perhaps.

B is rat arsed because they have had their drinks spiked in the course of a social drink. They are a quiet drunk and doing no harm until they are set upon by BNP supporters in Cheadle near Stockport.

C is rat arsed because they are a new student trying to fit in the weirdly beardly run city of York and happen to a long way off calibrating their capacity for drink.

D is rat arsed because a sexually predatory councillor has been plying them with drinks at an election celebration as a prelude to a pounce. Successfully accomplished. They are beaten up by his more regular partner who is very upset. Location withheld on that one I think.

E is rat arsed because they are a long term alcoholic protected by their colleagues from a proper course of treatment or recognition of their problem. They sprain their ankle in the Newsnight studio tripping up on the way out.

F is a rat arsed millionaire who has been driving the Roller under the influence and killed a couple of pedestrians without stopping on the way to driving themselves to A&E for a minor ailment. By the time they are seen under triage they are no longer rat arsed.

G is a rat arsed homeless and penniless person who has ended up on the streets after prison/Iraq PTSD/domestic fall out/brereavement/redundancy ... who falls out with a comrade in the local wet garden facility.

H is one of twenty rat arsed fun seekers in Lib Dem Restormel in Cornwall who find it hilarious to wear hijabs and carpet squares and pretend to be muslim page three girls. People from non Lib Dem areas boo and hurt their feelings so much they check in to A&E.

J is a senior politician who bumps his head on a light aircraft gull wing door and would cost the taxpayer millions if ever elected to anything serious.
I could go on ... The Mirror, the BBC, The Guardian and the Times do so. Lib Dem Duncan Borrowman thinks that unusually Norman Lamb is chatting fart. Read the great man's thoughts (PDF).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Prisoners' Voice: Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

Mr John Hirst is considering changing his masthead. What do you think of the above? Meanwhile the stats have gone bonkers. Days are making old weeks look sad. Weeks surpassing months in spades.

Streets of London: ANL "Boris to be Physically Sick"

The Anti Nowhere League (above) have a message for Boris Johnson.

The parody punks - still pogoing the boards incidentally - tell Boris that they'll show him something: "you'll never understand" and what's more "that'll make you really sick". i.e. London.

Because that's right. After five or six weeks from launch when he managed to visit just one London Borough Bojo's Bus is adding valiantly to the congestion he would like to un-tax.

Just over a week ago, I embarked on a whistle-stop tour of London, getting a real sense of how vast, and diverse our capital is. I owe huge thanks to those around the city. Every day, I learn more about London - some of it wonderful, some harrowing.

It is amazing what a razzler dazzler in a hurry can miss after just 40 or so years in the world. Over the last week he has visited "over fourteen" boroughs. Fifteen? Sixteen? Or was it fourteen? Isn't it good that true to his word he is spending "a good deal" of time on his mission to be mayor?

You can watch a video of Boris at the internal Tory hustings in Ilford here. Or see a spiffing set of touristy blicks of Boris' horrors and delights that have left Londoners cold.

Obviously wherever Boris goes, the press follows. Or at least The Telegraph, The Bexley Times and The Standard, er twice.

Edwyn Collins: An Extraordinary Will to Entertain

Welcome back to Edwyn Collins. This is his return after a long and very serious illness. Lots of goodies to be found on You Tube.