You know things are bad when even your own wife supports your recall

Pro-Labor Rally - Madison - March 12
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lost Albatross 

 Protestors outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison

In the aftermath of the disgraceful removal of collective bargaining rights by the State of Wisconsin, 56,000 signatures have been collected to recall eight Republican state senators involved. 

Raw Story reports on an interesting twist:

Protesters who marched at the home of Wisconsin state senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) were met with something of a surprise on Saturday. Mrs. Hopper appeared at the door and informed them that Sen. Hopper was no longer in residence at this address, but now lives in Madison, WI with his 25-year-old mistress.
…Mrs. Hopper intends to sign the recall petition against her husband. The petition has already been signed by the family’s maid.


Being a PPC – complete madness of the highest order

Stephen Tall has posted an excellent piece on Liberal Democrat Voice entitled “Can politicians ever aspire to a real work/life balance?”. It revolves around the case of Nick Radford ,who has said he will not stand again as a PPC in Salisbury. He quotes Nick as saying:

… it was never the “cut and thrust” of the politics that stimulated me, in fact I really didn’t like that side of it. … In all the 5 years that I was in politics, I never met a single person involved who came across as content, peaceful and happy in life. Everyone in politics is strained. I just don’t think it is an occupation which puts you at peace. There is constant conflict, drama, hyperbole and everyone is always in a rush. You’re always being attacked or attacking someone – it’s just not good karma. It leaves you nervous, paranoid, hollow. There was no time for the simple things in life. These days I feel like a different person. I have a quiet, wholesome happiness right at my core. I know it sounds cliched but I have an “inner peace” which I never had at any point in the last 5 years. I get to read books, go for runs, make good food, research obscure topics that interest me, spend time with my family and with Eeva, dream and make plans for the future – it’s like a whole new lease of life.

I have appended this comment to the article:

Nick did an excellent job in Salisbury and was a fine PPC. We should be grateful that he gave five years of his life to the party.

His comment about karma, and having time to read books etc is very good. It strikes a chord.

I think those involved in politics should ask themselves constantly: “When I am on my deathbed, will I say “I wish I had spent more time in meetings” or am I more likely to say “I wish I spent more time with my family” ?”

I have known several people whose marriages have broken up as a result of one of the partners being a unitary authority councillor. It is a bit like a drug. Sometimes, I am grateful I have a strong partner who has helped me steer away from too much politics.

As to what we can do as a party, I think we should constantly reach out for new people and accept that we can’t have lots of time from people for year after year without it extracting a toll on their lives. We should be more content with less time from more people, rather than lots of time from a few people.

By the way, very often it is those who are not fully paid who have the problem. Perhaps when you are an MP with a salary and staff, the problem is eased to an extent – although then you have the madness of toing and froing from/to Westminster. But being an unpaid PPC and trying to hold down a job and a family is complete madness of the highest order.

By the way, I am sure Nick will make a great contribution to the party in future in some way, and that contribution will be all the more valuable given that he will be strengthened and broadened by having that elusive thing – a life.

Has Christine Odone ever watched "Midsomer Murders"?

I only ask because today she wrote:

…for 14 years the programme has used an all-white cast to portray an all-white English village.

Anyone who has actually watched the programme for more than just one episode will tell you that it is certainly not based on one village. The “Midsomer” refers to an area or county and the murders are portrayed in a whole selection of towns and villages in that area. Indeed, here is the full list of the towns and villages which have featured in the series over the years:

Aspern Tallow
Badger’s Drift
Bow Clayton
Burwood Mantle
Calham Cross
Causton / Causton Town
Ferne Basset
Fletcher’s Cross
Ford Florey
Goodman’s Land
Great Pelfe
Little Upton
Little Worthy
Lower Warden
Luxton Deeping
Malham Bridge
Malham Cross
March Magna
Marsh Wood
Martyr Warren
Midsomer Barton
Midsomer Chettham
Midsomer Deverell
Midsomer Florey
Midsomer Holm
Midsomer Magna
Midsomer Malham
Midsomer Mallow
Midsomer Market
Midsomer Mere
Midsomer Morchard
Midsomer Morton
Midsomer Newton
Midsomer Parva
Midsomer Priors
Midsomer Sonning
Midsomer St. Michael
Midsomer Wellow
Midsomer Worthy
Milton Cross
Monks Barton
Morton Fendle
Morton Shallows
Newton Magna
Upper Warden

And not a single Indian or Chinese take-away or other ethnic minority business in any of them….

"Midsomer Murders chief suspended over claims show is a hit because there are no black characters"

Oh dear me. It’s no surprise to learn that there have been no ethnic minority actors on Midsomer Murders. But it is quite a shock to hear Brian True-May, who seems to have been the driving force behind the whole series, saying:

We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them. It wouldn’t work. Suddenly we might be in Slough. They (fans) love the perceived English genteel eccentricity. It’s not British, it’s very English. We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.

But it is basically based on Buckinghamshire, which has a 9% ethnic minority population. So, it seems strange not to have a single ethnic minority actor involved.

I suppose I should be outraged. Part of me is. But it would be rather sanctimonious and hypocritical for me to be too outraged. I have, after all, enjoyed the programme for many years.

It just makes the whole programme seem rather soiled and tarnished now.

If the programme was set in 1970, fair enough. But it isn’t. It is set in the present day. Even places like Newbury, which used to have a very small ethnic population, are now seeing a big increase in its ethnic population – and thank goodness for that.

We can’t all live in an (alleged) “English” bubble for ever. “Bastion” – says True-May. The thing about “bastions” is that they end up falling in the end.

Even the Archers has been including a reasonable number of ethnic minority voices:

Usha Gupta became the first Asian character to appear in The Archerswhen she arrived in Ambridge in 1991.

Other ethnic minority characters to have featured are Lucas Madikane, a black South African married to Kate Aldridge, Amy Franks, the mixed race daughter of the local vicar, and her Jamaican grandmother, Mabel Thompson.

Usha’s aunt and brother have also appeared