Sunday, January 29, 2006

Possible new Shanade Band

Alan Beddow: Shanade

Some of my many severals of readers may remember this post from October, no? well since the legendary gig in the Roebuck I have come across Shanade again a few times in various musical venues around the area. I learned that she was looking to get a band together and that I know her Mom from about 10 years ago when Kelly's in Leamington was the place to be for music.

I arranged a Jam session yesterday as I felt that this was a project worth putting some effort into to get started. I invited my good friend Neil (The sacked drummer) and Shanade and any musicians she managed to get hold of at her end. Initially it looked as though we may not have a Bass player, though Shanade managed to get hold of one, not sure where as they seem to be in short supply around here.

A very positive afternoon and I am convinced that a band will form from this. We managed to record a rough demo of a song that developed and after doing a rough master this morning it sounds really good. Shanade has a fantastic voice which will place any band she plays with right out there, coupled with competent musicians I have a very good feeling about this.

Nice one Cyril

Liberal Democrats : Former Conservative MP Sir Cyril Townsend joins Lib Dems

I'm sorry that is such a good headline someone had to do it...

Just had to check this was true for a moment, that really is excellent news, best news all week. I expect a full front page coverage on this one in all the papers. I shall even allow the Sun to use my 'Nice one Cyril' headline.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another defection to Tory Party.

In a shocking announcement from Tory Central this afternoon, David Cameron paraded the latest defection from the Lib-Dems.

Peter Jackson a Lib-Dem voter in the Stockton on the Fosse Parish Council by-election made the surprising move earlier this morning shortly after breakfast. "I voted Lib-Dem in the by-election because all the other candidates looked too stuck up," said Peter in a press conference on the Village Green this afternoon. "Since David Cameron has stopped wearing a tie, I shall be voting Conservative from now on" he added.

Sir Ming Campbell the acting leader of the Lib-Dem's said that he was campaigning on issues rather than collers and ties. Cameron was more skeptical "It remains to be seen whether the British Public can be swayed by putting Policies before Cheap Gimmicks, and fashion statements" he commented.

The former Lib-Dem Voter pictured watching the three legged race at a recent village fate.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Leadership nominations close and Colin Ross is running

That is how I saw an email subject from Colin Ross this evening as I scan read down my emails.

'Colin nipped in under the wire,' I thought!

What the subject line actually said.

"Leadership nominations close and is up and running"

Colin's website contains interesting comment on his work as a campaigner and the Leadership Contest and can be found at.


Quote from the Independent re Adrian Graves.

"Mr Graves is the first prominent Liberal Democrat to defect to the Tories since Mr Cameron became leader last month."


I think 'Prominent' is a bit strong.

The 'Independent' item should read. "Mr Graves is the first Paper Candidate Liberal Democrat to defect to the Tories since Mr Cameron became leader last month."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Nailing my colours to the Mast.

OK, time to nail my colours to the mast. I have decided to support Chris Huhne in his leadership bid.

I think Chris has fresh ideas the right balance of Liberal Policies and approach to become an excellent leader.

Besides which I have my 20 Quid investment with William Hill to protect. And who says I don't have integrity.

Under Media Siege

Angus J Huck commenting on my previous post re Oaten.

"The tabloids had a raft of stories about David Cameron lined up last Autumn, but none of them appeared. That was because Murdoch and his friends decided that Cameron, not Davis, was their man. Other senior Liberal Democrats should watch their backs."

I agree, whilst I have never known such publicity it does seem that we are under media siege at the moment. Daily Telegraph "Lib-Dem's in Free Fall".

Had Mark Oaten not withdrawn from the leadership race last week, when would the story have broken?

If Oaten stood a chance of winning, wait till after the new leader is announced, unless by some quirk of fate Mark won the contest, break the story on March 3rd to sully the new leaders honeymoon period and the Spring Conference. The more likely scenario would be to break the story on the 1st March, when all the postal votes are in yet uncounted.

All this is a campaign to undermine and discredit the party to shore up the Conservatives. Given that no publicity is bad publicity perhaps this will backfire.

We can expect more of this I fear in months to come.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Story close to its sell by date.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Oaten resigns over rent boy claim

My theory on the latest Oatengate.

The News of the World had either been sitting on this for a while perhaps some years waiting for Oaten's political value to increase, or they dug the dirt during the past few weeks on the off chance that he may win the leadership.

Either way when Mark withdrew this week the story became a ripe pear about to go past its sell by date. They had to publish this weekend before Mark Oaten slides out of the front page news.

Now this makes me wonder what they have on the other candidates, stories waiting for their moment to come.

Its a dirty game at times.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Investing a score and perhaps even my vote.

I have been observing the leadership campaigns for the past few days with an open mind. There has been no need to force a decision yet, knowing that it would become clear to me over time who I would vote for.

Whilst I may still change my mind, one candidate does impress me, Chris Huhne. Perhaps I have a perverse sympathy for the underdog, as a child I was never one to switch allegiance to which ever team was winning, something I observed on the school bus each season. Perhaps Chris' race will gain in a party who's members are not known for backing those in front rather are prepared to work hard for what they believe.

Why have I been impressed by Chris. Reviewing the notes I made at the conference on Saturday, Chris was the candidate that had some interesting ideas, rather than trotting out the usual mantra's about localism, fairness and playing to the crowd.

Chris is one to watch over the next few weeks. I am not a betting man however I may stroll into town later on and invest a score.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A long week in Politics

A week is a long time in politics. Especially this week.

This weeks unanswered question comes from Tony Blair. In response to Sir Ming's question regarding the problem of finding head teachers for schools, Tony admitted that it was difficult to find leaders for failing organisations.

I would like to know what the Government is going to do to address the problem of finding heads for all the failing schools they have been responsible for all these years.

I would also like to know why after the lessons learned from the Soham enquiry this government is unable to tell us how many sex offenders we have working in our 'failing schools' or how it is that they are working there in the first place.

I would also like to know how many other failing organisations Tony Blair is going to admit to being responsible for.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Left, Right and Centre.

Well things are developing much as expected in Lib-Dem land. It is likely we shall have Campbell, Oaten and Hughes to choose from perhaps even Hemming if he can round up the remaining MP votes.

One thing we MUST not get drawn into which the Media, lacking imagination would love, is for us to get dragged into the Left vs Right debate. This would of course centre around Oaten and Hughes. We must not allow that to happen. We must use this leadership contest to showcase what we stand for as well as allowing healthy debate and the election of a strong leader.

I once read a book comparing the wisdom of Sun Tsu and the art of warfare in business. I guess it applies well to politics as well. "We must fight on ground of our choosing". The other two parties and the media cannot see past the old two dimensional left right political model based on first past the post and two party politics, they feel comfortable with it, this is dinosaur politics.. This is not ground of our choosing.

We stand for a proportionally Represented Multi Party, decentralised, centre ground, with a balance between Market Economics and Social Justice. Lets debate this leadership election on these terms, on our turf and not allow us to get drawn into the Left Right debate at all.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Power of the net - during all of this.

I was just thinking how the power of the internet has been harnessed during the developments in our party over the past few days. Not only have I been able to express by thoughts and feelings on the subject I have also been able to read first hand accounts from some of our MP's who were there at the time. This has enabled me to have a more informed view of events.

I hope some of the people who make the decisions for our party are reading the discussions going on here and on some of the lists. Here is an opportunity for them to pick up on what people right across the party are thinking and some solid oberservations and suggestions from many.


How to turn this situation around.

Earnshaw Palmer posted the following on the Lib-Dem online discussion list. I felt this is worth a wider audience as there are some valid point here.


The recent events have placed the Liberal Democrats in the limelight and we should welcome the publicity that we have received.

There are three things that we should achieve.

a) The debate for a new leader must not be put on hold. The reason is that it will give us new impetus and more media coverage (publicity! publicity! publicity!) and this will slow down the advances that Cameron. Moreover, the analysis of David Cameron’s 100 days as party leader will not be relevant as the Lib Dems leadership elections will be dominate the media and will be the talk of the town.

Federal Executive must not hasten the contest so that we have the election concluded before the spring party conference. The spring party conference must be used as a platform to showcase our candidates and the diverse stands of liberalism that we as a party embrace.

We must have a new leader just after Easter so he has enough press coverage before the May elections and this will nullify any policy pronouncements that the Tories have.

The Lib Dems would be the most dominant party in the media in the run up to the local elections.

The New Leader can then assert his/her authority by focusing on Liberal Values, Liberal principles, integrity in politics and the future direction of the party.
He/she will need to highlight the failures of both parties and what we have to offer as an alternative. (who we are, what we stand for and what is it in it for Joe Public)

We can also use the opportunity to demonstrate how Liberal Values and polices have shaped the changes in 21st Century Britain. These are the areas we have territorial advantage and undoubtedly will reinvigorate Lib Dem appeal.

We need to emphasize the importance, relevance and universality of Liberalism in Britain today and this has to be the task of our new leader. Continuity of core beliefs and principles in a new direction and with new impetus.

b) Sir Menzies must not be a coronation candidate. He must be challenged. Paper candidate or not! We have already washed our dirty linings in public it is now time to display our fineries. An open and philosophical debate must be an integral part of the leadership election process. This will broaden our appeal and we cannot afford to miss out on this golden opportunity, given the fact that media interest will be focused on us and acres of publicity that the election will generate.

c) We must now address as a matter of urgency the fundamental issue of the processes to be instituted in the removal of the party leader. This is a salutary lesson we need to learn from.

Earnshaw Palmer


Saturday, January 07, 2006

On a brighter local level.

On a local level, far away from Westminster, the town of Warwick has a steady increase in members and activists. I was greatly encouraged by a talk given by Lynne Featherstone at the autumn conference about how she built up a derelict constituency. This is the situation we faced in the Warwick part of the Warwick & Leamington Constituency. However in the past year we have more than doubled the number of activists, have a strategy (its secret, if I told you it wouldn't be secret would it) and plan to put out our first Focus by the end of the month.

This follows a number of sessions surveying. This really is an excellent way to meet people on the doorstep and the response we get is very encouraging. I would recommend this to anyone starting in a new ward. Each time we go out two things happen. 1/ It rains and 2/ We pick up a new member or deliverer.

Finally a personal view on Focus. I firmly believe that we should broaden the appeal of the Focus to include some stories from Westminster. We need to present the view that we are a serious party of government not just litter bins and park benches.

I welcome any comments and advice any of you have to give to a new group of activists starting out in virgin territory.

Much has been said.

Well much has been said about the developments today. So where next.

It is clear we need a leader that not only has the support of the grass roots membership we need a leader that has the support of the Parliamentary party, someone who can provide energy and direction.

I notice that in John Hemmings Blog he threatens to stand. The thing with John is I can never work out whether this is blind arrogance or a warped sense of humour.

Menzies Campbell has thrown his hat into the ring. Probably the candidate everybody hoped would stand. I cirtainly would be happy if this was the outcome.

As to whether anyone else stands, we shall have to see.

Political Stalemate.

And so we leave the first week of the new year with a political stalemate.

The key players of the Parliamentary Party want Charles to do the honorable thing.

Charles wishing to take it to the grass roots members in a leadership contest.

No one willing to stand against him.

I count myself as one of those who reluctantly conclude that there is no way that Charles position can be tenable. Even if someone could be found to stand in the leadership poll and even should he win, this does not solve the fact that the majority of the parliamentary party no longer have faith in him. Should Charles not win then we have elected a leader that is not really anybodies choice as the key candidates would not stand against him. Perhaps this is why no one has thrown their hat into the ring yet. For anyone to stand would add validity to the contest.

Better for the field to be cleared, Charles to honorably step down and the contest to be opened to those that feel they can rise to the challenge. The members can decide. Plus look at all that free publicity the Tories got as they stage managed their latest leadership contest!!

Who would I like to see in the contest. How about some new names rather than the usual suspects.

How about Nick Clegg, I have heard him speak and I believe he is more than capable of giving Cameron a run for his money.

Then again we need someone who can maintain cohesion between the Economic Liberal and Social Liberal values. This is VITAL as we are being attacked on the right by Cameron and yet it is vital that someone stands up for social justice seeing as it has been abandoned by New Labour. We need to stick to our guns that Liberal Free Market Economics can sit side by side with Social Liberalism.

Lynne Featherstone has been suggested in more than one blog. I have massive admiration for her and have heard her speak, plus of course she is a bit of a babe. (sorry not that politically correct but what the heck, if its OK to secretly brief the press against your leader then it seems nothing is taboo)

My sister fears I may stand and have to face the inevitable embarrassment that would cause the family. Odd really as most families would consider that to be something to be proud of, not so my family. Fortunately as I explained, I am not an MP and therefore not eligible. (yet)

Lets see how this pans out on Monday.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Well here we are, 2006. I am quite optimistic about it. I have a few resolutions, Stop Smoking, actually I am quite pleased with this one, I had read the book ‘how to stop smoking’ I actually stopped on the 28th as I ran out of cigarettes and thought what is the point of buying some more just so I can go on smoking for a few more days. This is an improvement on the normal half hearted new years eve resolution, where you smoke like a trooper whilst out in the pub partying and wonder why you get withdrawal symptoms the next day. This would be like giving a Heroin Addict an overdose the day before he gets checked into the clinic for cold turkey.

Other than that, the usual stuff, exercise more, eat better food (OK, so the cooked breakfast this morning was a hangover cure), and a list of things I want to achieve and general approach to life that I always review around this time.

So happy new year to anyone reading, lets hope it is a great one.