St Pancras


St PancrasOriginally uploaded by nilexuk.

21092006(001).jpgDelighted to see, on passing through St Pancras, that so much progress has been made on the channel tunnel rail link project. In 2007, St Pancras will become the Eurostar terminus, which means that there have been works and improvements in the station for years now. Midland Mainline passengers for stations to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have in the mean time been moved onto a rather spiffing interim platform 200 yards down (up?) the line.

An outward sign that work is progressing is that a new ticket office has been opened under the banner “Domestic Tickets.”

A further sign is that the canopy over the station is gleaming new.

MPfight

MPfight: Looks like it might be interesting, but for me, the text version just crashes after the first input.  Will have a longer experiment when I’m not relying on battery. (via)

I’m a *bad* Lib Dem

I’m really sorry, but I simply cannot be bothered to go to the Leader’s Speech this morning.

I will listen to what he has to say later on the radio, or I will download his speech, but this morning it’s not important to me to go and sit in the conference hall and listen.

Two factors influence my decision:

  1. The conference appeal
  2. My bags

Shortly before the Leader speaks, they pass buckets around and get delegates representatives to dig into their pockets, fill in credit card slips and donate, donate, donate.  If the leader is late, they keep on doing this for a long time.

I’m sorry, but I’m skint.  I have spent a considerable amount of money to be here, as will have most people here.  Anyone staying in the conference hotel will have forked out the best part of £1000 for their accommodation alone, without thinking of the expense of getting here or eating here, or provisioning oneself with the empty calories that make conference so convivial.  But the appeal is a big, big money spinner for the party, so they are not about to stop it any time soon.
And the issue of bags.  You can’t take suitcases into the conference hall.  I’ve been here a week with a lot of luggage (even my daily kit has been extensive: laptop, recorder, mobile, camera, paperwork…).  In order to go to the leader’s speech, I would have to leave my pricey gadgets with my hotel, walk the miles along the seafront to the conference centre, sit in the hall being bullied into clapping, then walk the miles back to my hotel, then walk the further miles from there to the station.

Instead, I’ve chosen to take a leisurely stroll through the lanes (with my bags) find a wifi hotspot, and sit out the length of my battery.  (This means relying on books for my train journey home)

Anyway, I interviewed Sir Menzies earlier in the week for the LDV podcasat.  Well, almost.

I'm a *bad* Lib Dem

I’m really sorry, but I simply cannot be bothered to go to the Leader’s Speech this morning.

I will listen to what he has to say later on the radio, or I will download his speech, but this morning it’s not important to me to go and sit in the conference hall and listen.

Two factors influence my decision:

  1. The conference appeal
  2. My bags

Shortly before the Leader speaks, they pass buckets around and get delegates representatives to dig into their pockets, fill in credit card slips and donate, donate, donate.  If the leader is late, they keep on doing this for a long time.

I’m sorry, but I’m skint.  I have spent a considerable amount of money to be here, as will have most people here.  Anyone staying in the conference hotel will have forked out the best part of £1000 for their accommodation alone, without thinking of the expense of getting here or eating here, or provisioning oneself with the empty calories that make conference so convivial.  But the appeal is a big, big money spinner for the party, so they are not about to stop it any time soon.
And the issue of bags.  You can’t take suitcases into the conference hall.  I’ve been here a week with a lot of luggage (even my daily kit has been extensive: laptop, recorder, mobile, camera, paperwork…).  In order to go to the leader’s speech, I would have to leave my pricey gadgets with my hotel, walk the miles along the seafront to the conference centre, sit in the hall being bullied into clapping, then walk the miles back to my hotel, then walk the further miles from there to the station.

Instead, I’ve chosen to take a leisurely stroll through the lanes (with my bags) find a wifi hotspot, and sit out the length of my battery.  (This means relying on books for my train journey home)

Anyway, I interviewed Sir Menzies earlier in the week for the LDV podcasat.  Well, almost.

It’s true

It’s true. Charles Kennedy did say

The British public are too thick to understand how to operate a proportional system of voting

But put the quote in context – it went something like this:
typed from memory, I don’t have the text or a recording to hand.

People used to say that PR could never be introduced in the UK because people would not understand it.  Is that really what critics of proportionality believe, that the British public are too thick to understand how to operate a proportional system of voting?  People are using PR in elections to the European Parliament, to the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, and to select their London Assembly Members.  And they are using their proportional votes to hold their elected members to account in new an interesting ways that the politicians never envisaged.

My experience of counting PR public elections in this country has not been good.  I have observed Euro election and Mayoral election counts.  There are a higher number of spoiled ballot papers, particularly under AV when people don’t make the mark that the instructions tell them to.

It's true

It’s true. Charles Kennedy did say

The British public are too thick to understand how to operate a proportional system of voting

But put the quote in context – it went something like this:
typed from memory, I don’t have the text or a recording to hand.

People used to say that PR could never be introduced in the UK because people would not understand it.  Is that really what critics of proportionality believe, that the British public are too thick to understand how to operate a proportional system of voting?  People are using PR in elections to the European Parliament, to the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, and to select their London Assembly Members.  And they are using their proportional votes to hold their elected members to account in new an interesting ways that the politicians never envisaged.

My experience of counting PR public elections in this country has not been good.  I have observed Euro election and Mayoral election counts.  There are a higher number of spoiled ballot papers, particularly under AV when people don’t make the mark that the instructions tell them to.

Brighton blogmeet report

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Three pictures above of some of the attendees at the Brighton blogmeet last night at the wonderful, but a-trek-from-conference Evening Star. The pub was very close to the station, however, for those who were joining us from further afield.

The evening was well attended, but not quite so crowded as the Bloggers Awards earlier in the week.

For a few worrying moments after my late arrival at 1905 I was there on my own worrying about spending hours there by myself with a pint in my hand and egg on my face. Thankfully, I was soon joined by Jonathan from Liberal England and promptly thereafter by lots of further people. We countermanded two outside tables and were variously joined during the evening by bloggers and bemused locals who didn’t necessarily even realise we were Lib Dems, let alone computery types.

The attendance list, I think was:
If you were there and I missed you, let me know

Liberal England
Simon Preston
Alex Wilcock (Spell it carefully or you get smutty jokes)
Daddy Richard
Rationale I
Tristan
Either Forceful OR Moderate from Forceful and Moderate
Steve from Bristol
Oliver from Islington
Chap from Bournemouth
After wide-ranging conversation at the Evening Star, three of us repaired to an excellent Chinese restaurant around the corner and variously ate vegetarian duck, roast meat and noodles and some rather alarming looking squid with leek.

Thanks to all who attended. A good time was had by all, I believe and there were calls to have another meet, outwith conference time, maybe in Central London, maybe even in Leicester.

Nic Robinson

I just secured an interview with BBC political correspondent Nic Robinson! He was wandering around, and the throng of Lib Dems around him cut him off from his cameraman. So, voice recorder at the ready, I pounced, thrust the recorder into his face and got my oar in.

And, dear reader, you know, it wasn’t just me that had questions for him, so I found myself standing there with the recorder whilst everyone else muscled in on my interview!

The interview is here and the delegate vox pops I was doing at the time are here.