Rising 'Blogshares' - the price of fame
Noticed Stephen Glenn's posting about listings on Blogshares and current share values - saw his reference to my name. Thought what the heck, what have I done now? How I came to be listed I've honestly no idea either. Been racking my brain wondering if I did something to add my blog back in February. The most likely explanation is that somebody added it. The site looks impressive but likewise, I've no idea how it works. Hope somebody will explain even by adding a comment.Often wonder who apart from Lib Dems reads my blog anyway. The only thing I noticed is that the counter jumps up after each posting. My friend is very good at checking it periodically for grammar and spelling mistakes. I've become very conscious that as postings remain on the web, anybody can read them. Feel a right Charley at times when he points out the most elementary mistakes.It's all fun all the same........
New rules are coming.....
Saturday: Rushed off to attend the Bi-Annual English Council. The meeting's where party representatives from all the Regions get together and vote on decisions affecting the English Party Lib Dems.
St Albans Centre- Holborn - the regular venue.Took time to re-read the mammoth amount of documents before I left. It's a strategy I've adopted when envisaging a complex meeting. I've been a London Rep for three years and this was the most interesting and certainly at times the most rowdy session I've attended so far - my intuition was spot-on.
We updated the rules on Parlimentarty candidates selection and drastically revised the rules on party membership and internal party voting procedures. The object being to hopefully prevent problems of entryism and cronyism which have evolved in some areas due to the rapid growth of the party. Having so many different sections to vote on evoked a lot of strong feelings amongst delegates.
The 'wilderness' delegates (I like that term) obviously live in cuckoo land. They put up a good fight to retain the status quo but they are really out of touch with reality. At times they were irritating (we have to follow the democratic process) but in the end sanity prevailed and the changes were agreed upon by a wide majority.
I am absoluted delighted - all the work (masses of writing) on internal committees paid off. Wouldn't like to upset the apple cart by mentioning the changes because they are certainly going to shock or rather annoy some party cliques, especially at local levels.
Had to present my G8 report to the council. It was short and sweet. Was advised afterwards to try speaking louder. Must remember to practise 'intercostal diaphragmatic breathing' before my next stint on the podium
The Council is mostly made up of the ordinary members - few movers and shakers attended. Have to admire many of them who travelled so far in bad weather conditions - it's so cold. My face is now known so there was no need for polite conversation. Delegates just talked freely amongst themselves, which I prefer. The day over-ran so unfortunately two presentations had to be scrapped. Was invited for winding-down drinks but gave it a miss this time. With so little time to go shopping these days, my mind was set on finding a large wall calender to fill in my meetings before I forget them - already have lots for Jan /Feb next year.
A classic moment in time
Friday, my son Sule called round with my grandson Naim (babysitting night). Of the two safety gates I purchased on eBay, he insisted on setting up one by the kitchen door. Great I thought, saves me the trouble.The bits were in a box which I'd put in a corner out of the way. Could he wait whilst I finished what I was doing. Oh no! In his usual manic way, he started searching. All of a sudden we heard him shout out in pain. Couldn't believe my eyes. He'd found the box behind the TV cabinet and in his haste to pick it up, his 'bum' clashed with one of my cactus or Cacti (to be posh) - Had to be the one with the sharpest needles. It was one of those slapstick comedy moments in time. He was in so much pain but all Natasha & I could do was keep laughing. Tears came out of my eyes - it was so hysterical. Even Naim wondering what his mother and I were laughing at, joined in.Wish I'd had a camera to hand. If looks could kill, Sule had to make a quick exit to the bathroom to check his posterior.
Labour on the attack
Find Labour Watch blog very interesting, especially when it comes to analyzing election results. There are always comments from other bloggers to read. Some are very constructive but others are a load of cobblers.
Recently there's been a flurry of anonymous postings from obvious Labour supporters. I wish people would have the courage to be up-front about who they are - very annoying to see such arrogant comments 'posted by anonymous'. Found a couple on mine which I refuse to respond to. Feel like punching somebody's lights out but that's not the decent way to behave. Nevermind! It's not illegal to have thoughts.
Our Regional secretary, Mark Valladares (he's been re-elected and will no doubt continue to be the secretary), has started his own blog liberalbureaucracy. It's the same Mark who travels a lot and has been reading my blog on his exotic trips.
Should be a good blog to read. Mark always describes himself as a faceless bureaucrat. He's fair and doesn't take sides. He is very good at rules and regulations. Very quick to pick up mistakes and point them out. I like that in a person instead of the normal backstabbing or trying to score points. He has a dry kind of humour which sometimes borders on sarcasm which I find rather refreshing.
The result I been waiting for
Have been waiting for the Region election results. Just been notified I've been re-elected back on to the London Region executive. Could have gone one way or another as there were so many people who stood as candidates. In the words of one of the other candidates " looked like a bit of a bloodbath and, to be frank, anything might have happened so I'm relieved to have got back in". Given the opposition, I'm proud of the achievement and the opportunity to serve for a 3rd term. I have some enemies but it's like water off a duck's back - must have done something right for people to vote for me.Didn't stand for so many party elections this year. Didn't win them all either but who cares, it's a democracy. It's the local council elections in May 2006 that have to take priority. There are only so many hours in a day. The Region however is very important to me and I've worked so hard on some issues especially the Regional Conference.
Southwark a day to remember with pride
The venue for this years London Regional Conference was given to us free of charge just because of Simon Hughes MP. They just love him in his constituency.
The college pulled out all the stops with everything organized down to the smallest detail. They even arranged a last minute 'meet their team' meeting so that everybody knew what they were expected to do. The premises are not normally open on a Saturday and the staff on duty really have my heart-felt thanks. The Estate Manager said that it looked like I would be the one to take on the load - all I can say is that it was a pleasure to work with such a co-operative team - they certainly lightened the load. Two of them remained from before 8 am until lock-up, after 6 pm. One of my better skills is organizing and logistical planning but I still had butterflies in my stomach hoping nothing would go wrong. I had given an undertaking on behalf of the Conference Committee, that we would meet all the college's conditions about health & safety and security concerns but that made me feel more responsible. Had to leave home at 7am to meet them. On a Saturday with all the tube delays lugging a bag with conference items wasn't easy. So happy to meet Gary Glover, Southwark's local party Chair and the catering members already there, setting up the kitchen like busy bees. Early delegates started to arrive but not to worry they all set about helping me stick Blu Tack on all the signs. Relieved when Flick, our administrator arrived with all the badges. A big thank you to Simon (another Simon) who went round putting up my printed signs and arrows. He used the map and followed the corridor routes - I was getting cross-eyed - so was pleased somebody else took on the task. Didn't have much time for the main conference hall during the morning - just appeared when I had to vote. The cooked lunch supplied by Southwark local party was delicious. I was first in the queue - didn't care what anybody thought about me - I was so hungry after being on duty so early. Caroline Pidgeon was manning the queue like a Sergeant Major - no ticket or money, no food. I loved that - she's such a cool lady. Made sure the two college staff had lunch - they were quite surprised somebody thought about them. Having a quiet after-lunch smoke outside and Lynne Featherstone arrived smiling as usual. She is still the same lovely person.
Some interesting motions: The main one about BME candidates had already been picked up by the Evening Standard as well as generating an internally heated debate from one of the BME members. It is better to refer to Mark's posting on his blog Didn't we have a luverly time, the day we went to Southwark! to understand the whole saga. Fretting is very apt to describe feelings especially amongst those of us who knew what had gone on. Conceivably the motion wasn't radical enough but I'm proud that Mark put it on the agenda. At least now the Party is full aware we in London are serious about the issue and have set a benchmark. After being on the stage all smartly dressed with Kishwer and the guest speaker Shami Chakrabarti, felt like a steward picking up and bagging all the rubbish at the close of day. Had to close my eyes, ignore the strange looks and get on with it as this was one of the strict conditions given by the college. At the time I felt annoyed that nobody bothered to help. Some people think I'm strange because I can't be bothered with the need to be seen - unless it's appropriate. I know who likes and respects me for what I do for the party. I get enough high profile invites to events so there's no need to crow about it.Simon Hughes spent the whole day at the conference and closed the show, predictably well over time. Some of the Conference Committee weren't so sure he would make the time for the whole day but I knew he would. How - the less said the better. Least he was pleased with the way the day had gone.The emails and telephone calls I have received since are a testament to the success of the conference. On reflection, it was one of the best Regional ones I've ever attended. Positive feedback from the college is gratifying.
It's Chico Time - A hit in the making
The X-Factor is certainly not really about talent but who the public warm to. The contestant Chico Slimani is just a natural showman - a real laugh. His entertaining performance on Sat. electrified the audience - by including the children on stage it added the sentimental touch.
Can't deny his song 'It's Chico Time', written by vocal coach Mark Hudson - the man with the beard of many colours - is catchy and will probably be a hit record when it officially hits the shops.
Here are the words They're going round and round in my head.
Shami Chakrabarti packing punches
Shami Chakrabarti, the director Liberty of was the special guest at the London Region conference yesterday.
Her talk "New Rules of the Game? - defending civil liberties after 7/7".
What a feisty lady - she really packs punches. Her passion for protecting Civil Liberties and promoting Human Rights is electric. The whole hall was riveted. To a stilled audience she started by reading out That chilling message from beyond the grave - the words of suicide bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan. She described herself as the "angry conscience" of liberalism in Britain. She urged Liberal Democrats to shout "louder and prouder" in their defence of civil liberties.
My friend Baroness Kishwer Falkner arranged the speaker. She chaired the session with myself as her aid. Even after over-running time there were still many delegates who wanted to ask her questions. Some people followed her out to continue the debate. Had to help her make a tactical exit.More about the conference - watch this space....
That naughty calendar
Keep reading about a naughty Cherie Blair calendar doing the rounds in Westminster. Came across it this morning by chance on Gido Fawkes' Blog. It's not just naughty but downright pornographic and disgusting. Gido has chosen the tame February page as his reference.
Cherie Blair is not my flavour of the month but I wouldn't wish this kind of insult on my worst enemy. Personally I don't find it amusing. It seems a male thing to debase women in this way.
What is your Carbon footprint?
I was fascinated when I heard the comment Carbon footprint. Seeing Colin Ross's posting on the issue jogged the old grey matter - my curiosity was aroused when I saw that there's a test one can do.What is your Carbon footprint?
We all produce carbon dioxide (CO2) in our daily activities, this all contributes to global warming as carbon dioxide is one of the so called "greenhouse gases". The average UK household produces 10 tonnes of CO2 a year (households in the USA produce 19 tonnes). My household produces 4 tonnes. Tried the test 3 times just to be sure. Can't see how I can reduce it at the moment (matter of finance) and I'm ashamed to brush it off by saying it's at least less than half of the UK average.
Islington - Building Schools for the Future programme
Welcome news for Islington residents. £130 million is set to completely rebuild or refurbish all of their secondary schools over the next few years. Highbury Grove, Holloway and St Aloysius schools have been identified as the first three schools to benefit from the multi-million-pound cash boost. The money is largely is being provided by Building Schools for the Future programme.
Islington Council’s Safe and Warm grant scheme has won theGreen Apple award from The Green Organisation – an international non-profit environmental group whose annual awards recognise environmental best practice.The award was presented at the House of Commons on 8 November. The North West London Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (part of Islington Council) administers the council-funded Safe and Warm scheme...
Charlie is our darling
Not seen any new caricature's from Gaffa's Blog recently. Reviewing some of his old messages came across this one of Charles Kennedy.
The Conference has long gone but CK is still going as strong as ever. On the other hand...
We are all waiting for the result of the Tory leadership race expected 6th Dec. D vs D, not much choice.
Following the 'Movers and Shakers'
Surrounded by rebels
My patch seems to be surrounded by Labour's rebel MPsJeremy Corbyn (Islington North)Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury)Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras) - CamdenGlenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate) - CamdenDiane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington)All 62 Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the plan to allow police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days.
Winners & Losers
Just had a run though the Party internal elections published on the Website
It's interesting how the STV voting process is calculated. Took me a while to get my head round it (some years ago now) - I remember sitting with a calculator going over and over the formula.
Shame there's no betting - could of made some money this time around. Some of the results are so predictable - know there's definitely going to be a few bruised egos.
A round-up of a couple of days.
Not been able to post this last few days. Had a lot of stories in my head but work overload caused Blog block. I like that phrase.Sunday: rushed back from an official meeting in the rain. A question asked at the meeting - What was the most important issue in my area? Easy answer - the state of the pavement along the main road where I live. Had to help an elderly man who tripped up by the station. He really hurt himself and to made matters worse he was all wet from the puddle on the ground where he fell.I know renovation plans are in the pipeline and it's all down to funding but must find out when it's likely to be done. Evening: had to help my friend prepare the stock order for the shop. Her husband has gone to India and she needs support. Not very complicated but could have done without the additional work.Night: a Liberal Democrats online meeting. Started at 8pm but it didn't end until nearly midnight. Managed to eat, listen to news, answer emails, finish an artwork and answer the phone whilst the text was running. I find the whole thing very funny. The nerd concept of people sitting chatting online for hours. Not sure if it really is productive but it's only every couple of months. Least it was a relief from the noice of fireworks which have continued. Thought the rain would put a stop to it - seems not in this area.Monday: My friend's son Alex cycled up to me. He seems so much happier now we manged to get him transferred to Holloway secondary school. He looks so smart in the uniform and less intimidating than the bad boys style he normally wears.Best news is our Regional secretary Mark Valladares is back from another of his trips overseas - this time Bogotá. So many things pending and the one person who I depend on for factual answers.
Islington - Armed men take law into own hands after rampage
Least I now know why last Monday night police cars were racing round the block, coming from all sides and people were shouting. A report in the local paper Vigilantes go after teen gang
In all the confusion and kids "running riot", couldn't even get across the road to get in my gate.
How long are the fireworks going to continue?
The last few days it's like living in a continual lightening storm. The fire-works haven't stopped.
Yesterday I attended a Lib Dem GLA members reception at the London Assembly building - 9th floor. Not a bad do for networking with other London Lib Dems. Good thing I know so many people to chat to or better still people who want to chat with me but the interesting part were the fag-breaks on the veranda which runs along half the floor. With a panoramic view over London, the firework displays were beautiful. From up there the noise didn't really have any effect. The sad thing is the telescope which was so useful last time I was there is now broken. Seems such a shame.
I'm not one to go up to people just to be seen. Did the polite rounds - quite surprised so many people know of me by name - I suppose it's a political plus-point and I am a chatty person.
Had a good giggle with Councillor Jill Frazer from Camden who commented about the remarks said about her on the Labour Watch blog. Glad she thought it funny because I was getting quite irritated with some of the statements - obviously Labour voices trying to score points.
Before I left home, the firecrackers locally were really irritating me - the flashing lights disturbed my eyes. With all the dogs barking, the noise was deafening. Must have affected me more than I realized because I got on the wrong branch of the Northern line going and had to change to the Jubilee line at Waterloo to get back to London Bridge - felt quite disoriented. On my return journey if it wasn't for GLA member Graham Tope who pointed out I was going the wrong way I probably would have gone miles out of my way - surprised he knew where I lived but I was so grateful to him for mentioning it.
Even as I got off the tube at my stop, the noise and the flashing continued well into the early hours. Tonight as soon it became dark it started again - it's just about finishing now. I suppose today is November 5th but it's getting too much.
It will start again at Christmas through to New Year - not looking forward to it.
Sourcing a Ministry of Talents
Seems the world and his dog were watching BBC 1's Question Time last night. David Cameron and David Davis's light-hearted "head-to-head" confrontation was riveting. It certainly highlighted their differences in strategy and style of leadership.
Some of the senior members in the audience were on the ball and really packed punches.
From a man in the audience to David Cameron - seemed planted - as it's been said before. " I have listened to you. You are good on your feet. You are good at waffle and you tell us what you would do, but you don't tell us how."Wonder how anybody can realistically predict tax and spending years in advance.
David Cameron's comment about sourcing a "Ministry of Talents" if selected as the Conservative leader is certainly a realistic approach considering his age.David Davis's crafty comments about comparing his opponent to Tony Blair wasn't helpful. At times he sounded quite patronising.The whole programme seemed to be more like the American style of politics with the handshaking and the exaggerated curtsy towards one another.
A battery messed up Mark Oaten's busy shedule
Took over 45 mins to travel to the Town Hall by bus last night because Arsenal were playing at home. It was tail to tail with traffic along the Holloway road. Wednesday night was Islington's local party AGM - I didn't want to be late but shouldn't have worried as the whole programme stated late anyway.
The formal bit over, we all waited for the guest speaker Mark Oaten MP our Shadow Home Secretary. In his usual style he was brief and straight to the point explaining the Lib Dems objection to the Governments plans to detaining terror suspects for 90 days without charge. Unfortunately he had to rush off due to a media engagement so there was no chance for members to ask questions. Everybody was please he took time out to speak to us. For some local party members it's the only time they get to meet to an MP.
The fun part of the evening was the auction and raffle. Raising a bit of money for campaigning is the norm for any Lib Dem meeting. Quite surprised that I actually won a prize. Moroccan seasonings in a huge clay pot. The pot will be very useful in the garden. The bid for tea with Charles Kennedy was won by Councillor James Kempton - rather the bid ended at him as he wanted it most. James is a good laugh at the best of times.
The evening over and it was drinks all round. Social drinking is not my scene so waiting for my lift home I went outside for quick a fag. I enjoy watching people going past and that part of the borough is always alive into the early hours of the morning. Suddenly noticed a familiar walk and a recognisable tie waving in the wind as the owner rushed to put his take-away food container in the bin. Watched as he rushed back to his car. One could sense his impatience. Noticed an AA van parked alongside. Suddenly thought as I walked closer it can't be - yes it was, Mark Oaten. Couldn't resist it - just had to go and speak to him. Least he knows me through working in the party so it wasn't like going up to a stranger.
All that rushing about and his car had died on him. It needed a new battery and he was waiting for the men to bring him one. For somebody who was supposed to have left in a hurry over an hour earlier - talk about rearranging a shedule in haste. Mark let down his formal guard to chat. Least he was far more interesting than in a political environment. Was able to tell him that I've not had a chance to before and that I wish he would smile a bit more when he's on the television. That made him laugh. Said he'd think about it and I should watch next time.
Told him I'm going to write about it on my blog - least he gave me permission with a smile.
The battery eventually turned up so I went back inside looking for my lift. Cllr Graham Baker who lives in the street behind my house is a kindly soul but he enjoys a drink after such occasions. I usually end up waiting for him but it's safer than travelling home in the dark on my own.
Mark was still outside sorting out his car when we eventually left. Felt the polite thing to do was to introduce Graham to him before driving off.
When the powers that be speak, the minions will obey
The party has developed a website No ID Cards and is encouraging all members to add the link to their websites or blogs. Well, when the powers that be speak, the minions will obey. I've done it.
Anybody else supporting the Liberal Democrat stand
[Sign our petition against ID cards now]