Saturday, 30 April 2011

AV event Bracknell

I decided not to cover the proceedings. This is because this event was attended by councillors and politicos and not by many undecided voters.

The event at times descended into an argument where each side of the debate were not going to waiver.

As Phillip Lee appears to of believed some of the lies told by the No campaign. This was a shame, although he is a good speaker and made a good case for no.

Fiona McTaggart, Labour MP for Slough did a good and fair job for Yes. She admitted that the system was not perfect and admitted that some of the Yes leaflets where not to her liking. I was impressed with her conviction as a independent minded politician.

But no one won the argument as the audience would attack the various lines of the MP's because they had already made up their minds (me included). You find yourself getting so angry with what you believe to not be the clear truth on an issue that you become yet another voice shouting in the dark.

Still saying that, it was worth while for myself and an enjoyable debate. But perhaps not so worth while for the undecided who attended in lesser numbers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sony's Bank holiday PR disaster on PSN

The Paystation Network (PSN) has now been down for almost a week, world wide. This effects PS3 PS2 and PSP's plus blue ray updates. Now this would be a disaster for any gaming network at anytime but in the UK bank holiday weekend which would of been for some, a big gaming weekend, its a growing nightmare for Sony.

The PS3 message (Network is down for maintenance), yeah right! Why not just admit it, your have been hacked.

Now I don't have the time to play games anymore but if I did, this would mean no online gaming, no downloadable films, no music videos and no downloadable games. You see PSN is not just about games, its about entertainment. Some games won't even work without an updated online PS3 (I discovered this myself). I imagine Sony have lost millions in lost sales.

But the real issue here for me is that Sony have just released information today that users idenities and more importantly, credit card details have been accessed. Wonderful, so now I have to cancel my credit card. But why not inform their users stright away, they must of known sooner than six days? It could already be to late!

Well done Sony, a total public relations cock up. Good job Xbox isn't free, oh dear I see it's free all bank holiday weekend. Oh dear!

It seems to me that Japanese companies are particularly bad at PR (ok I'm thinking of Toyota here).

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bracknell #Yes2AV #No2AV debate date reminder

The AV referendum debate between DR Philip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell and Fiona McTaggart, Labour MP for Slough will take place at Easthampstead Baptist Church Centre on 28th April this Thursday at 8pm.

Attendance is free. It will be held at South Hill Road in Bracknell RG12 7NS.

I will be there to cover the event, do come and say hello.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Christopher Jefferies suing

Christopher Jefferies (who was arrested for questioning on the murder of Joanne Yeates) is suing a ton of newspapers including the Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star.

Quite right too, just have a look at some of the stories about him in my blog Not the nutty professor.

His treatment by some papers was disgusting, simply I think because he seemed a little too different to our press. I wish him luck.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Legality of Bracknell Conservative party leaflet


From Bracknell Liberal Democrat Press Release;


'The Bracknell Liberal Democrats believe the election manifesto leaflet published on behalf of Bracknell Conservative Association breaches election regulations. It by giving the impression that Bracknell Forest Borough Council is supporting the Conservative Party in the forthcoming local elections on 5 May 2011. 


Not only is the leaflet entitled 'Bracknell Forest Borough Council' but it also contains  a letter from Paul Bettison as Leader of the Council. During this period of 'purdah' councils are expected to distance themselves from the elections taking place in their areas and to maintain an even-handed and impartial approach to the proceedings. 


Campaign publicity material is subject to a number of restrictions under electoral law  and is also subject to the general civil and criminal law relating to published material.' 


Oh dear, and this after some Conservative leaflets where acidentally distrubuted with council news letter a few months ago. The above if taken to its full conclusion could lead to the disqualification of every Conservative councillor.
I will try to get hold of a copy of the leaflet in the next few days.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Can the Liberal Democrats survive another coalition?

Also posted today on LibDem Voice here as part of Liberal Burblings bloggers takeover.

We already know how hard a coalition is with the Tories. So what would happen if we get another choice of forming a coalition with this Tory party or Ed Miliband’s Labour at the next general election?

At the moment, perhaps the most likely scenario is a coalition with Labour with less Liberal Democrat MPs. On the plus side Ed Milliband will be wanting to put his new ‘radical’ (maybe) mark on Labour’s story in power. Now this is something we can help him with. We have learned a lot from our coalition with the Tories. We will also prove to the electorate that we are not an offshoot of the Tory party, although some Labourites will return to their belief that we are an offshoot of Labour.

In this coalition I believe we will have a job of holding back the authoritarian tendency of the Labour party. We will have to fight that battle as hard as we can. Otherwise we will lose our Liberal distinctiveness in this new coalition. We would also have trouble dealing with poverty. Labour believe in throwing money at the poor while we believe in giving the poor a hand out of the situation rather than making them feel a bit better off.

In a coalition with Labour we would need to avoid Labour not allowing us to implement some of our policies. Labour will believe that Lib Dems have come home to Labour. We will need to remain progressive and ensure Labour are more so (than they are at the moment). There would be just as many challenges in a coalition with Labour as there are with the Tories.

Scenario 2 would be the Tories, again. By now we understand each other, we can work together. The problem is that this will look really bad with the electorate. It will install the idea in many minds that the Liberal Democrats are on the side of the Conservative party. We will give the impression that we are perhaps a right-leaning party rather than a left-leaning one.

The Tories are, of course, more likely to have less MPs than they do now and if this is the same for us then the coalition will be more fragile and open to attacks from the Tory right and unhappy Liberal Democrats. Negotiations would be much easier, as will the working relationship. The danger from a second coalition with the Tories is from the electorate rather than the Tories themselves. If the electorate didn’t understand why the Liberal Democrats are a party of a coalition and what we stand for they certainly won’t after this coalition. Unless….


Firstly, let’s understand that we will lose some voters forever especially if we are in a coalition again with the Tories because many Labour voters will find it hard to support us.

So with fewer MPs do we have less power? Well, maybe at first, but as the coalition continues, then no. It all depends on the numbers. If it is still our vote that ensures legislation is passed or not and if we still have MPs in key ministerial positions then we will have almost the same influence as we enjoy now.

What we need to do in any second coalition is remain distinctive, we need to change the system so the Deputy PM or Ministers can have open discussion defining where each party is coming from and make it clear that we, along with our partners have agreed a way forward. We need to demonstrate what difference we have made. We need to be better at communicating and reacting to the test of government.

Thanks to Paul of Liberal Burblings and to Liberal Democrat Voice

Conservatives say yes to AV

Friday, 15 April 2011


In the last few weeks I have been blocked on Twitter by someone very much to the right of politics and someone very much to the left. Does this mean I'm to far in the centre?
Sometimes I get a bit fed up of politics. I know that people in all parties at the end of the day generally want to help others and believe that they know the best system. In most cases the best way to improving our lot could fall between the different views and involve good ideas from people in all parties.
But so often in politics the issue degrades into an argument where no one listens and no one compromises. Your accused of doing something for ideological reasons or your a 'bloody leftie'. Even though I have done it myself while defending us 'Yellow Tories' ,Condems, Libcons or whatever the current name calling tag is. I just get a bit fed up of it now and then. So I need a rest from politics in general.
Because it should be ok to have open disagreement in parties and within government, coalition or not. So I'm a bit fed up of the arguments and I have decided to give myself the weekend off to recover from all this political noise.
See you next week as I'm turning off until then (TV included)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Not an impressive Yes to AV broadcast

As a supporter of voting Yes in the AV referendum I was most unimpressed with the pro Alternative Vote film broadcast on Monday. I thought it was not professional and did not explain enough of the reasons why alternative vote is a better system than fFrst Past the Post. An opportunity missed I feel.

Have a look for yourself.

I think there are many better films on You Tube explaining why AV is a better system like this one;

and the system explained here;

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Bracknell Yes to AV , Yes to Fairer votes stall Today

The Yes to the alternative vote campaigners are at the Bracknell bandstand today. Please do pop along and have a chat.

Picture taken from Mondays pro AV banner display.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Jobcentre staff are not robots or battery hens

I don't always agree with unions when they declare a strike. However I believe Jobcentre call centre staff are quite right to kick up a fuss about being monitored so closely.

It's wrong to monitor staff in the way done by job centre management. For example recording how long and often you go to the toilet and how long your call takes when not all calls are simple to deal with. Staff are dealing with people that may have complicated queries and require emotional assistance for there stressful situation of being out of work and needing a job. So the targets set do not allow for the human needs of both customer and provider. People are not battery hens or robots.

Link here to the story at the BBC, which interestingly doesn't appear to cover the real problem which is not having targets in themselves but what those targets are and how unrealistic they are.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

European debt crisis - a film

In view of Portugal's impending bailout, I thought this video seemed quite appropriate.

H/T to Kata_basis on Twitter.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Isn't listening better than a u-turn?

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced yesterday that he is to delay the Health and Social Care Bill. Because of the concerned over it expressed by GP's and by Lib Dems at the conference and others. Some believe this is a a u-turn.

However this is what coalition government is all about, compromise and being forced to listen. This government is not run by a few at the top because it has to compromise with the rest of the MP's in two coalition parties and indeed the voting membership of the Liberal Democrats.

Surely a listening exercise is a good thing and I welcome it. I agree with Rosie Cooper Labour MPwho said 'It was time for the government to take a deep breath and have a re-think over its plans".

There is nothing wrong with that, it will in the end produce better policy. So I'm pleased that Andrew Lansley and the coalition is being brave enough to listen to the concerns of the many.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Yes 2 AV should be more careful

So No to AV have accused Yes to AV of air brushing out a black celebrity from their leaflets see here.

This is because black poet Benjamin Zephaniah was not on some pro AV leaflets in some parts of country.

The "Yes to AV" campaign used his picture on literature used in London but featured the actor and time team presenter Tony Robinson in the West country. I'm informed by AV supporter Andrew Emmerson that 'The leaflets were changed to put more local celebrities to local areas, hence why Tony robinson went on West country leaflets'. Yes to AV also state that there are to many celebrities endorsing Yes to AV to have them all on the same leaflet.

This maybe the case and it's clear that Yes to AV is not a racist campaign. However in this day and age perhaps they should of simply included all the celebrities on all the leaflets, even if this meant smaller pictures because in these days of PC politics Yes to AV should really know better.

It's a shame that even a referendum on how we vote for our politicians has to decent in smears and scare stories rather than arguing out the various facts and detail behind AV and FPTP.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

UN workers are not to blame for Koran burning

Clerics in city of Mazar-e Sharif had urged people to protest over last month's burning of a copy of the Koran by small time US pastor Terry Jones after this was shown on TV. Resulting in the murder of 14 people at a UN compound.

Pastor Terry Jones is a total idiot. He has some issues that need to be looked at starting with a good hard look in the mirror. I hope he's happy with himself as he he partly responsible for these deaths.

However why did this crowd think that some unrelated staff at the UN were somehow to blame. Why kill innocent people when they had nothing to do with this foolhardy act.

It's just Stupid. Just stupid. Sometimes I just despair at how people can just follow others direction without any thought as to the actual acts they are doing. get some prospective people and stop and think about what you are about to do.