The national/Yorkshire treasure that is Jennie Rigg

Embed from Getty ImagesI would recommend reading this Christmas message from Jennie Rigg. We should all be nice to each other – is the message.

Jennie really is a National/Yorkshire treasure, font of gritty wisdom and general all-round good egg to boot!

This particular passage had me cackling with hysterical laughter:

(I wish) That my fellow bloggers, tweeters, and commenters on Lib Dem Voice start to give each other a bit of a break. You don’t NEED to leap in all guns blazing and straw men a-gogo every single time someone says something that slightly bothers you. Sometimes it’s better for all concerned just to let a thing slide.

Favourite inspirational speaker of the past – Donald Soper

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Living in London in the late 1970s, I often whiled away a Sunday afternoon by going along to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.

It gave, and continues to give, fantastic enlightenment and entertainment.
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Great documentary about the great Kenny Everett

Embed from Getty ImagesWell done ITV! The World According to Kenny Everett is a superb portrait of the great man. There have been several cut-and-paste documentaries about Kenny Everett in the past, but this one uses a wonderful selection of previously unseen home movie and other footage. It is very special. You can see the full programme here until it expires.

The story of 10CC – sublime documentary of a remarkable band

Embed from Getty ImagesBBC4 have done it again. I’m Not In Love: The Story of 10CC is an absolutely sublime documentary. The remarkable range of footage and interviews tells the fascinating story of one of the most innovative and under-rated bands ever.

I often struggle with answering the question: “Who’s your favourite singer or what’s your favourite band?”. After years of reflection it’s “David Bowie” and “10CC”. I know the album “Sheet Music” like the back of my hand. It is one of the most elaborate and ingenious albums in the history of pop music.

After watching the BBC 4 documentary I finally managed a feat which has been eluding me for 40-odd years. I finally managed to explain to someone (my wife, as it happens) which one’s which – Godley, Creme, Stewart and Gouldman. It is a mark of the great teamwork in the band that one has to pause to work out which is which.

You can watch the programme on BBC iPlayer here until it expires.

The painful dilemma at the heart of the US Republican party

To win the Republican nomination you need to be a very right wing. The Republican base who vote in primaries tend to be very right wing. The influence of the Tea Party has exacerbated this situation. So Donald Trump is doing very well in the GOP (“Grand Ol’ Party” = Republican party) polls for the 2016 Presidential nomination. The more he says that Muslims need to be tracked on a database, the border needs to be closed to them and a border wall needs to be built by Mexico, the more the Republican core adore him.

I’ve lost count of the number of times commentators have expected a “Howard Dean moment” to befall Trump. It’s not going to happen. He’s like Boris Johnson. The more he makes embarrassing comments, the more a certain constituency of people love him. He can talk himself out of any corner. – Even if he uses the verbal equivalent of a 12 bore shotgun. Continue reading

Syrian air strikes decision – stirrings of unhappiness in the party

Embed from Getty ImagesThe Independent on Sunday has pulled together a good number of quotes from party members who are not happy about the decision this week to support air strikes in Syria.

The report quotes Federal Policy Committee member Gareth Epps, who has written a critical piece on the Liberator blog entitled: “Is there any longer a point to the Liberal Democrats?”. The blog post includes this:

It seems Liberal Democrat MPs have learned nothing of the mistakes of action in Iraq and more recently Libya; nothing of their mistakes from the Coalition Parliament; and have understood nothing of the gaping chasm in opinion between them and the party members that have worked hard to get them elected. The reaction of those members – many of whom didn’t receive a single email from the party on how it would approach the issue – is of utter dismay. Continue reading

Peers input on the Syrian air strike question

Embed from Getty ImagesWe’ve heard a lot about the Commons debate on the expansion of UK air strikes into Syria. There were also some very good speeches on the subject in the House of Lords, during a discussion held at the same time as the Commons’ one, plus good peers’ input elsewhere.

You can browse the Peers’ debate here both in video and text form.
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Can we learn from the Pirates leading the polls in the home of the world's oldest parliament?

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Postcard from Reykjavík

The photo above shows the location of the world’s first parliament, which was established here in Þingvellir, Iceland in 930. Interestingly, the Alþingi or Althing was held in the fissure (like a plain) between the edge of the European continental plate (on the right) and the end of the American continental plate, which is out of shot to the left. Continue reading