Account suspended – for the final time?

Our alert readers will have noticed we had another outage this morning when our site was unavailable for a number of hours.

The reason for this was a traffic spike – and despite the jokes, it could well have been because the van-maker LDV was in the news, and we’re a top-ten search result for the term LDV.

Our current hosting arrangements mean we share a computer with several other websites. When we get a big traffic spike, our performance affects the other users of the computer, and our host sometimes turns us off to make sure the other websites are not unfairly affected. Although this is frustrating for us, it’s generally a Good Thing that web hosts make sure all their users get what they pay for.

We have been looking at our financial position for the past few months, and we think we can just about afford to move onto a different hosting plan – called a Virtual Private Server – where we don’t share facilities with other websites. This will mean that when the site is under heavy load, it will slow down, but hopefully never again fall over permanently. It does, of course, cost more, and there will be a learning curve for our technical staff (aka Ryan) as the new hosting arrangement will work in a slightly different way.

There will also be planned outage, with a warning beforehand, whilst the changes are made.

One further point – the end of Lib Dem Voice’s financial year comes at the end of February, and once this is passed and I’ve knocked our accounts into a bit of shape, I’ll publish the income and expenditure summaries in the members’ forum.

Tweets on 2009-02-22

  • @mitchbenn have you ever had a lift from @bobbyllew ? #
  • @earthcalling you mean you DIDN’T get the mandatory sash and epaulettes when you registered with Twitter? #
  • @austinrathe you know all the shortcut keys, specially what the + does? #
  • Going bellringing on Wednesday nights #
  • Wondering if @rfenwick will quieten down about the people he fancies now his dad’s on Twitter 😀 😀 #
  • Does anyone know if I can use Oyster card on Thameslink trains between St Pancras and West Hampstead tomorrow? #
  • @jetsetbaxter that looks good. Do I hand my card to the guard? Can’t think where I’d touch in! #
  • @Toranika I live in Nottingham and have a prepay I haven’t used in about 18 months… #
  • Incidentally this old Oyster card won’t work with their website any more and their helpline isn’t open now. Bah! #
  • @austinrathe call me if you want to discuss, but yes, apply same data > apply to list of poll numbers in district #
  • @austinrathe this method only applies to marked registers in the same year as current electoral data – is total pain to do it following yr! #
  • Getting on the #uktrain to go to London for a fundraiser and #ldvmeetup. #
  • Sunday service to London takes 3 hours and stops everywhere. It’s a long way off Nottingham in 90. #Uktrain #
  • Listening to @mitchbenn #
  • Left backwards from Leicester and now passing Melton Mowbray. No wonder this #uktrain takes 3hrs. #
  • Where can we be? Lots of tunnels and pretty countryside. Hard to upload video… #
  • Ooh, not just long tunnels, long viaducts too. It’s really time to upgrade to a Nokia with built in GPS. #
  • @markpack hmmm, I am srsly at risk of being punched in the face. #
  • Ooh! Kettering! Can’t think of anywhere better for a pointless 12 min station stop. #
  • Heading to buffet car for bad coffee just to ease the boredom. Troubleshooting boiler by phone. #
  • 12seconds – Kettering? Only Kettering? Bah. Still hours form London. #
  • 12seconds – Kettering? Bah. Still an hour from London. #
  • @edfordham see you shortly. #
  • Buggrit, internet on way to London has completely flattened battery. Can someone bring Nokia charger to #ldvmeetup? #
  • Impressed at personal service from @lordbonkers #
  • 12seconds – St Pancras #

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Catchup 22/02/2009

Welcome to catchup, featuring only the crumbliest, flakiest posts from the last week, with no Flake wrappers stopping up the plug.

Most read this week: Mark Pack using David Cameron’s own words to prove that David Cameron is cheap, lurching to the left, and not sensible; yet another post about bloody Derek Draper; another wind-up post from the monstrously offensive Laurence Boyce; an excellent piece from Stephen defending Clegg’s piece about fathers in the recession and still more comments on “Just Exactly How Wrong Was Chris Huhne?”


Your comments this week were recorded in great numbers on several of the most read threads (that’s why so many people kept refreshing them, after all) and also “Could the Lib Dems eclipse Labour?” and my response to being lovebombed by Iain Dale.

This week, we also had some excellent posts on the Voice from guest writers, including Colin Lloyd responding to a rather one-sided view of the party evidenced by the Liberator collective (who just last week told us about their new edition); Bernard Salmon gave us his perspective on events North of the Border; and I shoe-horned in a photo of my roof into a post about energy efficiency.

Our Conference coverage began in earnest this week as Lynne Featherstone responded enthusiastically to the news that Howard Dean will be addressing conference and we brought you a whole slew of other exciting conference related news including the LDV fringe at Harrogate, two trips to Birmingham, and an opportunity to sponsor LDV in Bournemouth.

We gave you all the latest about our housing proposals; we got on the extranet; we posted about the Lord Ashcroft investigation within minutes of hearing about it from Sky News; and Mike Tuffrey AM explained why James Cleverly is wrong.

In CommentIsLinked@LDV
Vince Cable is bewildered, for now, then angry
Nick Clegg is seeing opportunities for stay-at-home dads NB this was not a gaffe
Norman Baker was trenchant on expenses abuses
And Vince (again!) was trapped in a time warp of tribal politics.

In our Members only Forum
Some of the top discussion topics this week:
Who should be made new Lib Dem peers?
Chris Huhne on Geert Wilders
Vote for Melanie Phillips
Taking photographs in public

Tweets on 2009-02-21

  • Enjoying the not-altogether-serious questions for David Cameron from readers of the Brighton Argus #
  • Ooh @lembitopik becomes second male Lib Dem MP on twitter – after the laconic @TombRake #
  • @toastthemost Phoned Laterooms in the morning and booking wasn’t available so phoned better, cheaper, closer hotel direct and booked that #
  • Hmmm, interesting… “Podcasts on Alex Foster’s iPod cannot be synched as all of the podcasts no longer exist.” Someone tell the Beeb! #
  • @helenduffett – Wow, that igloo is seriously impressive #

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Tweeting uniform national swing

A tweet arrives:

@NickAnstead Just found an excellent way to break British constitution: Enter: LD – 33, Cons – 31, Lab – 29 = MELTDOWN

The link takes you the UK Polling Report swingometer, and if you put in those polling figures it makes an estimate of how many seats in Parliament that would net you at a General Election, assuming that there was uniform national swing – a highly dodgy statistical notion that means there is no individual campaigning in individual constituencies, and that every voter in the country behaves exactly like the 1,000 or so people who were polled in the first place.

Anyway, key in those polling figures and you get the following seat distribution:

Party Poll % No seats
Tory 31 213 (+15)
Lab 29 281 (-75)
Lib Dems 33 125 (+63)
Others 7 13 (+1)
Northern Ireland 18 (nc)

Hung Parliament, Labour 45 seats short

Now those polling figures are unlikely, but not impossible. Labour’s numbers are about right, but we’d have to gain 11 points over our most optimistic recent polling, and it would have to be at the Tory’s expense. (Well all we need is a few more voters like the ones in Brighton…)

But the scariest thing in those numbers is the repeated reflection of just how unfair the voting system is, and what an uphill battle it is for the Liberal Democrats.

It’s not as if pushing the Labour party into third place is completely impossible. We did it at the last local elections, and now some (well, one) serious political commentators are suggesting it might even happen in the next general. The excellent Stephen Tall looks into that here.

But if the Lib Dems were to actually beat the Labour party into third place in terms of popular vote, if we were to beat them by four percent, we still be hundreds of seats behind them. The Labour party on 29% get more than double the number of seats the Lib Dems get on 33%.

The starkest illustration of that is to put into the swingometer 32% for each of the parties. On exactly the same percentage vote, the Lib Dems get 106 seats, the Tories 208 and the Labour party a massive 305, 21 short of a majority. There’s some information on that in the UK Polling Report’s “Electoral Bias” page, but itself with a bias in favour of the big two parties. There’s something in the tone of the writing that suggests the Lib Dems are only there to help one or prevent the other large party from forming a majority.

Tweets on 2009-02-20

  • Eek. A slip of the keyboard almost leaves me referring to Nick Clegg as “our dead leader” before I spot it and correct. #
  • @mpntod are the things you want available on Amazon? They sell surprising things. #
  • Trying to book a hotel for Harrogate via Laterooms. Will have to phone them in the morning. #
  • @rfenwick Ed Richards you say? Not unreasonable, that one. #
  • @RichardJenkins I just had a 3.5 hour Skype conversation with a friend. I think you win. #
  • @hughmcguire Dear Hugh, you can have a car radio with a USB plug in it. Yours ever, the World. #
  • @edfordham for dates post 1952 there’s also for singers and hit records. #
  • Apparently, Notts firefighters miss average of 10 meals a year because of fire calls. #

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Tweets on 2009-02-18

  • @markpack @libdems So when did James Graham get his knighthood then? #
  • Council email kicks me out halfway through writing a response and refuses to let me back in. Again 😦 #
  • @jamesgraham Unfortch with Boycie it’s only a matter of the time it takes for him to bite through the restraints. #
  • OMG LOLcat stuffed toys. Whatever next? #
  • @having steak noodle salad with cuke and raw red pepper, mangetouts, chilli/garlic/lime dressing with banana and apple to follow. #
  • @hughmcguire Woo! Orange is pretty big in the UK too. #
  • Still humming “One you, one me, Guan-Di / Guan-Di was his name!” #

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