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The despatch box

We're you thinking what the Conservatives were thinking? Did you believe the Lib Dems were the real alternative? Is Labour moving forward not back? This blog will focus on all things political. It will be irritating, agitating and maybe just maybe it will get you thinking.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Right Grinds to a halt

No its not the right wing of the Tories under the Cameron revolution, but the right sided hand rail on the escalator in Portcullis House. Nearly sent me A over T. Do not fear! Engineers are on the case!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Please be seated.....but not yet

Now my recollection may not be what it used to be - or is it that I am so gobsmacked that I cant remember the exact words that made up the "story" in the Daily Mail on Saturday.

Apparently, not only has a certain fire service paid considerable amounst of money for reclining seats for the firemen to sit/sleep in (do nurses on call get such luxury?) - but apparently they arent allowed to use them until.... wait for it.... they have been trained to do so.

Surely everyone knows that blokes need no training using either reclining seats, remote controls, or opening bottles....... no those vacuum cleaners are another story.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Radio Ga Ga?

The Guardian diary have picked up the imminent (well not hours away - give me chance) launch of Tory Radio today.

Hugh Muir writes,

"There comes a time when every invention comes into its own. Radar in the second world war; television during the coronation. Rejoice, then, about a meaningful use for the MP3 player with the advent of Tory Radio, a weekly podcast of interviews and news covering the progress of the Cameroonian revolution. It will be informative and modern, incisive and modern, provocative and ... well you know. This is surely what the iPod was destined for. Think about wandering down a country lane as John Redwood explains macroeconomics. Sheer bliss."

Sheer bliss indeed!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

May I draw your attention to

A little something that is going to be launched properly post honeymoon.....


Scandals (not sandals) a plenty - and not just Lib Dems

Spurred on by my "new entry at number 19" position in Iain Dales top 25 political blogs I decided to do a little update on my time in Portcullis House today. I had a good chat with a current Labour MP who informed me that at the 97 election there was an agreement between Labour and the Tories to keep a story of a similar nature to the Oaten one out of the papers - as someone high up in both parties could have "come a cropper" (my words not theirs). My political history leaves me with absolutely no clue who they were on about, but it did intruige me.

I do wonder how many scandals are stored up for just the "right moment".

Two of my skeletons were being the second youngest candidate in the 97 election - for Jimmy Goldsmith, and also backing Lord Archers Mayoral campaign - not sure if they both equate to errors of judgement.

One good piece of judgement is getting married in 10 days time! And if you're reading this Julie - don't we have wedding songs to choose?

That will be me in the dog house again...... I probaly wont be allowed near a computer until after my honeymoon now!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bright idea?

Apparently the All Party Group on climate change are going to recommend that in an effort to encourage the use of energy efficient bulbs, taxes on those which are less efficient should gradually rise.

So a pensioner can soon look forward to paying more for their light bulbs - along with increases in electrcity prices.

Now here's a bright idea... why don't we look at ways of producing energy efficient light bulbs cheaper - and encourage their use that way....

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sheppard in the running....

....But not for the Lib Dem leadership.

Someone much wiser than me said there was a reason that people ran for office in the United States - wheras over here we stood for Parliament.

In a moment of madness some time ago I said I would be prepared to enter the next London Marathon - well I won't have anything else to do on my bithday.

Several stone heavier than my last foray into the world on long distance pain (see picture opposite) I suddenly find out that I am once again going to be stamping - no waddling along the streets of London - this time for Asthma UK.

What was I thinking?

Lid Dem leadership (part deux)

Apparently Simon Hughes has said the Lib Dem leadership race is "no beauty contest".

No kidding.

Friday, January 13, 2006

And then there was four

The SDP had its original "Gang of Four" and now there is a new one - this time each acting as individuals fighting their own corner for the leadership of their party.

I remember speaking to a very senior Lib Dem at their Conference who told me there was no way the party would be allowed to swing further to the Rright - so Orange bookers be warned.

Does the fact that Ming is overtly state that he will take the party to the left tell us where the votes are withing the Lib Dems.

Perhaps if Mr Campbell becomes leader the party will need more than Flash Gordon to save the party!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Lib Dem intruige (part one)

There I was sitting at "The Despactchbox" cafe - having my morning Americano (required after catching the 5:30 train to London) when who should I see but Ming Campbell. He looked to be enjoying breakfast.... when who should enter by Mark Oaten.

Would it be pistols at dawn, or abuse over a latte - unfortunately not. It look like the meeting of the two contenders was fairly amicable and what could have been a tense situation had passed.

Ten minutes later whos should appear looking as though he was searching for friendly colleagues - none other than Simon Hughes. It took a while but he eventually found a coleague to share a coffee with.

Oh isn't the Lib Dem leadership race fun!

Friday, January 06, 2006

ASBO time - but not before research

How intruiging that Downing street send an email out effectively asking for people's views on the Governments new Anti Social Behaviour proposals which will be coming out.

The email reads, "Over the next few months, we will be consulting widely on these proposals. Louise Casey, who heads the Respect Taskforce will, in particular, be speaking to people across the country to get their views."

Isn't this the same Ms Casey who openly criticised the Governmenst stance,

"I suppose you can't binge drink anymore because lots of people have said you can't do it. I don't know who bloody made that up, it's nonsense."

Apparently she said some ministers might perform better if they "turn up in the morning pissed".

And according the a report on BBC News Online, her strongest criticism was reserved for Downing Street, which she suggested was "obsessed" with conducting extensive research before formulating policies.

It seems Downing Street hasn't changed much then!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Kennedy faces new challenger

As a fellow Derbyshire man I want to congratulate 12 year old Amber Valley Lib Dem President Oliver Smith on his recent appointment. Could he be the next leader of the Surreal Alternative?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The season of goodwill

I received chastisement - and rightly so from an un-named source for my last post of 2005 in which I highlighted the campaign to remove lovable Charles Kennedy from the Lib Dem leadership. As its a New Year, I feel somewhat obliged to redress this unfairness and as such would urge all those who want CK to remain leader of the Lib Dems and wish then to continue as the Surreal Alternative for many months to come:-
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