Stephen Fry – get over yourself

Oh dear. I love Stephen Fry dearly. Yesterday I had a W.H.Smith’s voucher from last Christmas to spend. Sadly, I went through all the shelves and couldn’t find a single book to buy. OK, I wasn’t in the mood. But what really made my stomach turn was to see all the self-satisfied faces of celebrities on books brought out for Christmas. And chief amongst the celebrities who turned my stomach was Stephen Fry.

He’s got a book out so he talks total todge about sexuality.

Stephen (who I am under no delusion will read this, but I’ll write it to him directly anyway) you are brilliant, rich and fatastically witty. I greatly admire the way you have struggled with bipolar condition and helped to get its sufferers more accepted by the public. We love you. You don’t have to do any more. Just enjoy yourself.

Now shut up.

…Or in the words of Clement Atlee:

a period of silence on your part would be welcome.

Bob Russell MP is hereby elevated to the Liberal Burblings Sainthood

The Mail on Sunday reports a furious row between Bob Russell and Nick Clegg over the housing benefit cuts. Apparently Bob Russell left the room (where the discussion was taking place) in such a fury that he “took the door off its hinges”. The next morning, Mike Hancock MP returned to the scene, presumably wearing overalls and carrying a DIY box, and attempted to repair the damage before it was noticed by the Commons authorities.

Did the LibDems pick the wrong weekend to call for curbs on anti-terror measures?

Cross-posted from Liberal Democrat Voice

James Lyons of the Daily Mirror tweeted last night to say “Oh dear – lib dems picked wrong weekend to call for curbs on anti-terror measures”.

He referred to a Guardian story about LibDem backbenchers calling for the scrapping of control orders and the limit to detention without charge to be reduced to 14 days.

Well yes, I suppose if you have a hangover this morning and, therefore, impaired thinking faculties, it is easy to hear the news (of the discovery of the toner cartridge bombs on their way to the US) and think “silly, woolly Liberals” for raising their heads above the parapet at precisely the wrong time.

Except, surely we, as a society, have learnt the lessons of acting in a red mist of anger to put in draconian measures left, right and centre, have we not? Labour did that for thirteen years and got us into a mess.

Surely a democracy can do more than one thing at once, can it not? Can we not ensure we have tight security controls while making sure we don’t throw the baby of freedom out with the bathwater?

And can we not actually think things through? From a cursory first glance, the disocovery of the bombs in Leicester (yes, dear old Leicester!) and Dubai came about, it appears, as a result of something which has been lacking in recent years. Good old fashioned, ears to the ground in the Arab world (specifically Yemen). It is doubtful that the sort of connections which allowed MI6 to flag up this plot are going to be fostered in future by knee-jerk Jack Strawism here in the UK.

The cigarette lighters that wash up on our beaches

Here’s an example of one of the many thousands of cigarette lighters – all pretty similar in shape and colour – which have washed up on Cornish beaches for several years.

Perhaps a container of them was washed over board from a ship several years ago…

It reminds me of the 29,000 yellow plastic ducks, blue turtles and green frogs that have spent 15 years travelling 17,000 miles around the world’s oceans.

It's not just Obama who has sunk in the popularity stakes – so have his rivals

Obama 020
Creative Commons License photo credit: Neon Tommy

We keep hearing that Obama’s approval ratings have decreased. However, YouGov have done some fascinating polling that shows that his likely rivals for the Presidency in 2012 have lost popularity just as much – if not more. So Obama is still well ahead of all the 2012 contenders:

Obama still wins in contests between all three of the Republicans we asked about – Romney, Palin, and Gingrich. Against Romney, Obama’s loss in vote share from 2009 is seven points, from 48 to 41 percent — so yes, Obama has lost votes this last year. But so, too, has everyone else. Romney’s share of the vote is down 10-points, from 42 to 32; and Gingrich’s dropped nine points, from 39 to 30. Palin loses the fewest votes, but she was starting from an already low baseline – 35.2 in 2009 to 32.4 in 2010.

Voters like all the candidates less than they did a year ago, not just Barack Obama.

…Obama has his work cut out for him, but he’s still ahead.  The interesting question is not whether he can he get his popularity back, but whether he can hold on to what he has.

You can read the whole article here.