Monday, December 24, 2007


The Man from Hope, Part II

I'm getting more than a little concerned with the rise to prominence of Baptist preacher turned gay-bashin' gun totin' US Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee. According to a recent poll he has taken the national lead among Republicans for the first time, which occasions me to ask this question: haven't any of our American cousins noticed that he is in fact Bob Roberts?

The other interesting fact about Huckabee, other than his chilling similarity to said fictional guitar-playing evil politician, is that he shares a birthplace and a profession with none other than Bill Clinton. Both were born in Hope, Arkansas and served as Governor of that state.

Clinton's TV ads portraying him as "the man from Hope" famously propelled him into the national limelight. This blogger will be hoping that history doesn't repeat itself.

Monday, December 17, 2007


The Big Smoke

I will be travelling down to London to join Team Clegg tomorrow so I will be unable to react to the news when our new leader is unveiled. Well, obviously I will react - but being sadly disconnected it will not be on this blog. You'll all have to wait a few hours at least!

I'm feeling nervous, but quietly confident. Just a few short hours to go!

Congratulations in advance to whoever is declared the winner tomorrow, and more importantly - GOOD LUCK! May the spirit of liberty guide him well, may he find his cup runneth over with Riso ink, and may he smite our enemies in closely-fought by-elections for years to come.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Google maps fun with Church Parishes - wheeeee!

I don't know why, but I found this utterly fascinating: A Church Near You is a website where you can not only find out where the Anglican churches are near you, but browse their Parish boundaries in a Google Maps window.

I'm unlikely to use it for the purpose for which it was intended, but it was quite addictive finding out which parts of Sheffield are in the catchments for what churches!

You can also look up contact numbers for each church, times of communion, even details of coffee mornings that are happening! It's a superb website that would be worthy even of the mighty MySociety.

Now all we need is a website that lets you keep track of your local vicar and e-mail them questions. But what to call it? Well, TheyPrayForYou springs to mind...

Friday, December 14, 2007


The romance of the leadership election result?

Liberal Democrat Voice have started a leadership prediction competition today. I think that people's guesses are quite revealing. Most people seem to have Clegg winning by 5% or Huhne winning by 0.1%, but hardly anyone has Clegg winning by a fraction of a percentage point.

My guess is that people are making their predictions based on which of the two "stories" they subscribe to. I suppose Nick Clegg scraping home wouldn't be a very romantic outcome for anyone!

My own personal guess? Clegg 54.9%, Huhne 45.1%. I have faith!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Yet more lost data - this time in Sheffield

BBC news has the story:
Hundreds of forms containing personal and confidential information about members of the public were lost by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Staff were told that 800 budgeting loan applications have been lost in transit between Sheffield and Newcastle.

It gets worse:

Interest-free budgeting loans are available to people who claim benefits such as income support so they can spread the cost of one-off expenses, such as household appliances.

So now the details of 800 people, most of whom will be vulnerable people on income support, have been lost by Labour?

Are they determined to keep repeatedly shooting themselves in the head?


Cable zings Brown again

Let this be a lesson: never try a vacuum-packed put-down on someone who is ready for it.

In his last hurrah at PMQs today, Vince Cable cheekily decided to ask Brown which of the disasters that had befallen him in the last few months would haunt him the most as he took his Christmas break. Gordon thanked him for his service and then decided it was time to get back to his well-worn tradition of pithily forgetting the name of our party:
"Given the history of the Liberal party it might not be long before he is back in that place."
Unfortunate for Broon - because his old Glasgow pal Vince was, as so often in the last few months, one step ahead of him:
"Given his own position, the prime minister might not be wise to speculate on leadership elections."
Vince's appearances at PMQs have been a veritable masterclass. The next leader, whoever it might be, would do well to take note.

Thank you Vince - the Lib Dem blogosphere salutes you!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Blue Horseshoe loves Nick Clegg

Those of us politico-anoraks who have been trying to call the Lib Dem leadership election by the political equivalent of sticking a wet finger in the air can put away the divining rod, scrub out the scrying bowl and stick Mystic Meg on the number 83 bus home. For finally we have rejoined the world of science, with these cold hard numbers courtesy of Sky News and YouGov.

The result of the poll of 678 Lib Dem members was as follows:

Clegg: 43% Huhne: 33% Undecided: 24%

Despite a 10PM news embargo, the numbers had leaked throughout the day thanks to a combination of a butterfingers moment from Iain Dale (he's right, the buttons are right next to each other) and the never-blinking electronic eye of Google Blogs Search.

All this of course sparked the inevitable reaction from wannabe City spivs and sharks Betfair punters, who had by midnight pushed Huhne out to 4/1 and tightened a Clegg win to 1/5.

Poor Iain will be anxiously waiting for the knock on his door tomorrow: "'Ello Mr. Dale - we're from the Gambling Commission..."

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