January 31, 2015
by Paul

Nick Clegg on The Last Leg

Nick Clegg on the Last Leg2
We quite often watch Channel 4’s The Last Leg on Friday evenings. I’m a particular fan of Adam Hills, who is a very funny and articulate anchor man for the show.

Until this week, I didn’t realise the connection between the show and disability. Yes, of course, I did know that Alex Brooker has disabilities. But I didn’t realise that Hills has a prosthetic leg and that the show started during the Paralympics. You learn something new every day. But perhaps my ignorance is a good thing – I have just watched the show because it is really funny.

Anyway, there was quite a build-up to Nick Clegg’s appearance last night. In particular, his showdown with Alex Brooker was hyped up. In the event, I suppose I got a bit confused. I expected Brooker to ask really tough questions about disability benefits, for example. In the event: “Do you prefer David Cameron or George Osborne?” was about as tough as it got. Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected so much – it is a comedy programme after all.

There was on nugget of insight. Alex asked Nick Clegg how he felt about the tuition fees episode on a scale between one meaning “couldn’t give a toss” and ten meaning “can’t sleep at night because of it”. After some thought and clarification of the scale, Nick said “nine and a half”, which I thought was very telling – even if it wasn’t his honest opinion and was instead what he thought people wanted him to say.

And it was very funny. Full marks to Nick Clegg. He really entered into the spirit of the thing.

And who thought we’d see the Deputy Prime Minister throwing a melon onto a prosthetic sword?

You can watch the programme here on Channel 4’s On Demand service.

January 31, 2015
by Paul

Campaigning in Hungerford today

hungerfordIt was great to get out with the team in Hungerford today. We got a great reaction with many survey responses and signatures for our petition against cuts to Childrens’ Services by West Berkshire Council.

Sadly, the overnight snowfall had cleared, so we couldn’t qualify for one of Caron’s “Liberal Democrats campaigning in the snow” posts!

I’m really enjoying all this heightened campaigning in the run-up to the general election. And certainly, the warming Heinz Tomato Soup at the end of the trail today was very welcome!

January 28, 2015
by Paul

A quiet word in defence of Alex Carlile

alex carlile2 from bells yard
I fully support the decision of my friend and colleague Caron Lindsay, Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, to initiate a debate on the actions of Lord Carlile in connection with the Counter Terrorism Bill and an amendment (which apparently is still hanging over parliament like the sword of Damocles) which would effectively bring in the Communications Data Bill (or “Snoopers’ Charter”) by a back door/shoe-horn.

I strongly disapprove of those actions, taken by Lord Carlile and a few other peers. Continue Reading →

January 24, 2015
by Paul

Somerton and Frome action day


Today was a truly glorious and inspiring day. With friends Sue and Steph, I went down to Somerton and Frome constituency to help out old friend David Rendel and his team. It was a glorious sunny day with a clear blue sky. The beautiful “Tamara Drewe-esque” villages of Holcombe and Coleford were breathtaking.

It was great to be amongst young and young at heart enthusiastic volunteers and to receive a very friendly welcome from residents.

January 23, 2015
by Paul

Topographical sat nav

About 15% of the causes of global warming come from transportation. A major portion of that comes down to trucks on our roads – which play a major role in keeping our economy going.

Therefore anyone with an interest in reducing carbon emissions must applaud any efforts to increase truck fuel efficiency. This webpage contains a host of advice for truck drivers along those lines. One interesting new development is topographical sat nav:

Topographical (TOPO) satellite navigation systems will not only inform you of road markings, but also elevation in the geography, which can help you plan ahead more efficiently. For example, a peak in elevation could prompt you to increase the throttle and gain more momentum. In addition – like most GPS devices – they are able to calculate the most efficient route for your journey. If the purpose of your newfound interest in fuel economy is environmental, there are also solar powered options available.

January 18, 2015
by Paul

We should be very grateful to Sarah, Duchess of York

We should be very grateful to Sarah, Duchess of York. She has pioneered a unique combination of royal communication and commerce.

This week, we have been able to benefit from her wise insight into various issues, only because her views are brought to us courtesy of the Fusion Xcelerator. This remarkable device, which most of us would call “a blender”, is available for only $99.99 plus $9.99 P&H (whatever the “H” stands for – I don’t know).

So, with Sarah, Duchess of York, you get a great package, bristling with different services. She goes onto NBC’s Today show and you are not only informed about the wonderful Fusion Xcelerator, but you are also informed about Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Where else would we find out that he is a “a humongously good man”?

Later she went on to the “Meredith Vieira Show“, again as part of her tour to advertise the Fusion Xcelerator, which you can buy online and is excellent. Here we benefitted from her wisdom. “I believe in love” she tells us. What a sage! But, thank you, Sarah, Duchess of York, for also opening up and revealing to us that Princes William and Henry “really are extraordinary boys and Catherine is incredible”.

Sarah, Duchess of York, may I say, on behalf of a grateful nation, “thank you” and thank you also to the Fusion Xcelerator – buy now while stocks last!

PS. That price of $99.99 plus $9.99 P&H reminds me of this rather amusing sketch from Harry and Paul:

January 6, 2015
by Paul

Liberal Democrat Voice article submissions: Let’s move on from the protests, based on a feintly ludicrous assumption – LibDemBlogs is a perfect outlet for views

I’ve written and published nearly 6,500 posts here since 2006 and had over 600,000 views from readers. I have, thereby, been able to fully exercise my right of free speech. I have said some controversial and off-the-wall things, but it is my blog and I can say what I like.

Occasionally I have also submitted articles to be published on LibDemVoice, but I realise that there is only a certain type of article which I would submit to that site. Others (like this one) I know are best published here on my personal blog.

Personal blogs, advertised through LibDemBlogs, Twitter and Google, are a perfect way to express views. So, no one in the Liberal Democrat community has a realistic excuse to protest, on the feintly ludicrous assumption (it seems) that there is no alternative publication route, when their article is politely declined by Liberal Democrat Voice. LibDemVoice have a right to decline articles. IT’S THEIR BLOG!

So instead of exclusively protesting in the LDV comments threads, talking about “suppression of dissent”/”censorship”, I challenge anyone who has a post declined by LibDemVoice to simply set up a blog (it takes a few seconds) and get it added to the LibDemBlog aggregator (with a simple email). Publish your article there. That way, if it has, indeed, any literary or other merit, people will click on it and, who knows, your post may appear on the Golden Dozen (LibDemVoice’s weekly pick of the most popular posts on the LibDemBlog aggregator) and you could even be nominated for a Blog of the year award.

January 6, 2015
by Paul
1 Comment

These people who are protesting about Ched Evans….


Did they protest when, for years they watched Leslie Grantham (convicted murderer) playing Dirty Den in Eastenders for years?

Do they protest when they listen to or read Johnny Vaughan (convicted drug dealer)?

Do they protest when they watch David Dickinson (convicted fraudster) on Real Deal?

There should be some forgiveness once people have done their time. As Jonathan Aitken said this morning, Ched Evans’ story is a good role model because it tells young people that if you commit a crime you get put in jail and then have to struggle to get back into society.

January 3, 2015
by Paul

The Theory of Everything – just go! It’s the best film ever!


We went to see The Theory of Everything last night. As I wrote on my Rotten Tomatoes review:

Fantastic film. Just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

I would add that if you get the chance to see it, go, go, go!

The metamorphosis of Eddie Redmayne in front of your eyes is astonishing. Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking is mind blowing, Harry Lloyd as Brian is superb, Charlie Cox as Jonathan Hellyer Jones is wonderful, and I love Simon McBurney as Stephen Hawkings’ dad.

The period setting is just exquisite. It’s all so English! All those wood-lined Cambridge corridors and Mini Clubmans. All those wonderful tweed-jacketed physicists.

This is just the best film ever!

January 2, 2015
by Paul

Comedy bits which crack me up – No 4 – I normally don’t make castle calls in the middle of the night….

The dentist scene with the nitrous oxide from “The Pink Panther strikes again”. Two fantastically funny performances from Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom.

“Rearranging the furniture in order to give you the full effect of the anaesthetic….” is the bit that kills me. Especially the way Sellers says “anaes-the-tic”.