Tweets on 2009-04-24

  • @tompearson at the moment I mostly ring at Daybrook, but the ringing community in Nottm is friendly, and I ring elsewhere when I can. #
  • Buggrit, miscalculated at a parking machine and have ended up with a ticket. #
  • @libdems Ich bin mit Ihr Deutschkenntnisse sehr beeindruckt. #
  • @timprater Unfortch the £9 Travelodge rooms don’t seem to include Bournemouth in mid-September 😦 #
  • Watching video of Clegg talking about the budget but only really thinking “the hair’s grown back since #ldconf” #

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Interview with Paddy Ashdown

Iain Dale, the Tory we all love to hate, has transcribed a long interview he did with Paddy Ashdown on behalf of Total Politics magazine.

A brief extract follows after the break, and the full interview is available over at Total Politics. (Aargh! Columns?! On a website?!)

Paddy is currently also promoting his book, “A fortunate life” – and if you buy it from Amazon using the link on the side, the party gets a little percentage of your spend, at no extra cost to you.

ID: Have you found the role of ex Leader rather trying? You have generally resisted temptation to make any intervention.

PA: There are three kinds of ex leaders. Those who say ‘I’ve been a brilliant general and to prove as much I will wreck things before I go and throw in hand grenades afterwards’. They think what they are doing is improving their standing as leader but they almost always diminish it. I fear that happened to Margaret [Thatcher]. The second type is ‘Thanks very much, I had a great time, I’m off to do my garden, please don’t trouble me again’. The third is ‘I’m off to do my garden, call me when you need me’. That’s what I have tried to be. I have tried to be for Charles, Ming and Nick the same kind of leader as David Steel was for me. He was always available when I needed him. I could always ring him up and say, David, ‘I need a comment from you; I really need to win this battle’. He would always come out and do it and that’s what I do too. Being a model ex leader is also part of being a leader.

ID: How do you think the LibDem membership views Paddy Ashdown ten years on?

PA: Probably more kindly than they once did. People often asked me why did I stand down? The truth is I was getting grumpy with them, they were getting grumpy with me. Perhaps the party has been lucky in that it gets the leaders it needs at the time it needs them. It would not have been a good thing if I had stayed on. I would have almost certainly tried to persuade them that the position they took on the Iraq War was wrong, and I would have found myself at loggerheads with the party and have had to resign. I wrote Blair a private letter a week before the invasion and said ‘I think you’re right’. With the benefit of hindsight that looks like a mistake. The war was not the problem. I personally think the war was probably justified – still. It was over quickly. It was a success. It was what happened afterwards that was the problem. That does not excuse me very much because the truth is that I, of all people, should have known the war wasn’t the problem but our complete failure to prepare for what happened afterwards was. I should have spotted that and made more of it at the time. I believed the Weapons of Mass Destruction stuff and maybe I shouldn’t have. History will bless this with a slightly different view from the one we see at present.

Tweets on 2009-04-23

  • Yay, home to a postcard from Russia! #
  • @markpack let me deal with the post / email / diary / leaflet backlog and buzz me after the weekend 🙂 #
  • OMG. The ringtone on my phone called “Bach” is by sodding Beethoven! WTF? #
  • Just back from early morning bellringing to mark St Georges Day. We were on Radio Nottingham! #

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Tweets on 2009-04-08

  • Spinvox tells Matt is going to Athens. Returning the call reveals Anette is going to Essex. Which makes more sense. #
  • Dark, portentous clouds blotting out the sun. #
  • @alixmortimer I always suspected you were not well acquainted with chocolate, but how can you be ignorant of Drifters?! #
  • Grief, this week’s Law and Order: UK was hard hitting. #

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Tweets on 2009-04-07

  • Rats. Just seen this jumper in the mirror in daylight and it’s covered in detergent-proof grease spots? Do I need a hotter wash? #
  • Can’t help but laugh at the evil bunny cakes. #
  • At a park friends group starting to think about designing new playground. Asking adults how they used to play. #
  • @gesinegesine I think World of Goo is fab, frustrating, but yes, bizarre. Love the tubular bells. #
  • @chriskeating I think I know what this means: 4:00 Cineva difuzeaza dintr-un elicopter melodia “Go west” a trupei The Village people #

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Tweets on 2009-04-06

  • Escaped more or less unscathed from the Newstead Abbey wedding fayre. #
  • Just finished ringing for Evensong. That makes four times in three days and my shoulders are killing me! Should never have rung tenor up! #
  • Trying to talk Bridezilla down from a 500-capacity marquee. #
  • @radinden if I could commandeer, I’d be requisitioning as well. #
  • Did you know that Google Docs spreadsheets are limited to 100 lines? Me neither, until I tried to make a collaborative guestlist. #
  • @helenduffett SCOOT is dead! #
  • @mpntod – ah – there’s an “add rows” button at the bottom I was overlooking. #
  • @mpntod – hmm, but if you click on it, it doesn’t actually add any rows… #
  • @sarabedford our garden is bigger than all our neighbours’ gardens, but triangular and slopey… #
  • How to put it. Just made the one way trip to the vet that will halve our cat food bills. 😦 #

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Lord Bonkers on squirrels

The next instalment of the Diary of Lord Bonkers has hit doormats on the back page of Liberator, and his diary secretary Jonathan Calder is posting them up day by day on Liberal England.

Today’s gripping instalment covers squirrels. As we have previously learned in these pages, Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale is trying to eliminate grey squirrels – first from Northumberland, then the rest of the country.

Lord Bonkers gives the compelling reason why this effort is so urgent:

Whereas our native red likes cricket, morris dancing and good ale, and understands the principles of queuing, the brash American Grey chews gum, flashes its money about and demands good service in hotels. Clearly, it must be extirpated from these islands.

I wonder, if when in Morpeth, he heard the local ringers ringing Morpeth at Morpeth? As the new Northumberland County Council becomes unitary with the Lib Dems as largest party, Castle Morpeth Borough Council shuts down. This has ended traditions that link ringers with civic life there, including a peal for each new Mayor, and five minutes of ringing before each council meeting. To note this, the Morpeth ringers learned a complicated and difficult method named after their town: Morpeth Surprise Minor.

The method is here (click Morpeth in the table at the intersection of Canterbury and Wells). News report here. The record of the quarter peal is here. And interestingly, Nottingham University Soc of Change Ringers scored a quarter of this at Clifton last month.