Question Time – open thread, 21/05 #bbcqt

BBC’s Question Time is on tonight at the earlier time of 9pm.  As I write this, the BBC’s QT website says

Question Time, the BBC’s premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be in Salisbury on Thursday 21 May, for a special edition going out at 2100 BST on BBC One.

The panel will include Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, Conservative shadow foreign secretary William Hague, treasurer of UKIP Marta Andreasen, former independent MP Martin Bell and one other guest to be confirmed.

Here’s hoping the “one other guest” will be a Lib Dem.

If you’re tuning in, you can join the simultanous online Twitter debate here at #bbcqt, or the LDV debate in the thread below. Meanwhile Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson will be liveblogging events via CoverItLive at his own blog.

Daily View 2×2: 21 May 09

What’s up in blogs and news.

In the media

The expenses row continues to rumble with the MP for my ancestral  home of Leominster getting scalped by the Telegraph alongside Ruth Kelly and a duck, if the pictures are to be believed.

Meanwhile over the Daily Mail has been working hard to bring you this extreme comparison with Cornish MP Andrew George – they’ve found one of his constituents who commutes to LB Barking & Dagenham, but whose weekday residence is a £30 tent.  There’s some grass left in Parliament Square, isn’t there?  We could have a tent city for MPs right in front of the House.

In the blogs

Normally at this point an LDV staffer would pop over to LibDemBlogs and pick up some highlights of the Lib Dem blogworld from the last 24 hours.  Unfortunately, the last 24 hours saw LDB hit a funding crisis and the service has been temporarily withdrawn as programming whiz Ryan Cullen first raises the necessary cash to continue, and then migrates to a host more able to cope with the server load necessary to herd Lib Dem bloggers.  Bloggers themselves have rallied to the cause with posts by Jennie Rigg, Charlotte Gore, Mark Reckons, Jonathan Calder amongst others.

In barely 12 hours, Ryan has raised almost all of the £300 he needs to continue the project, which is a testament both to the usefulness of the service he runs, and the community spirit his aggregator website has fostered in the Lib Dem blogosphere.

In other blog news, Charlotte Gore has worked fast to set up a Lib Dem Blogs Yahoo Pipe thingie. The link is here – it needs to be plugged into  a feed reader rather than being human-read. (And if that means nothing to you, wait a few days for the aggregator to be back online!)

Coming up later today

It’s Thursday, so later today comes BBC’s Question Time and our related Open Thread – at the earlier time of 9pm.  We’ll have more answers to our members’ survey and news of Mark Reckons’ correlation analysis showing up on one of my favourite current BBC podcasts / radio programmes, More or Less.

Tweets on 2009-05-18

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Open letter to Speaker Martin over #MPexpenses

Fifty-six Lib Dem PPCs have put their name to an open letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin:

Dear Mr Speaker, 

As Parliament continues to be dragged down by the allowance system, and its rules, the role of those in public service across the country is being undermined. 

We are Liberal Democrat candidates seeking to be elected to Parliament and yet we find ourselves disappointed, and frustrated, at the way in which this matter is being handled. Every day our residents are telling us loudly that this must stop and this must stop now. 

Three things stand out:

• The resistance to the releasing of these documents and the attempt to exclude Parliament from the Freedom of Information requirements 

• The way in which Norman Baker and Kate Hoey were treated when they sought to raise legitimate concerns 

• The fact that, through you, Parliament could now release the information into the public domain and cut short this parade of drip-fed news and empower MPs and citizens through a new transparent relationship. 

It is vital that Parliament must become transparent and accountable now. We call on you, as Speaker of the House, to do everything within your power to force the full publication of all expenses immediately. We also call on you to accept the independent review of MPs expenses and salaries chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly. 

If you are unable to do this we then ask you to consider your position. Time is running out for politicians of all parties to repair the damage to our democracy. 

Yours sincerely 

56 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates
Ed Fordham, Hampstead and Kilburn
Sal Brinton, Watford
Andrew Simpson, Northampton North
Bridget Fox, Islington South & Finsbury
Duncan Borrowman, Old Bexley and Sidcup
Steve Goddard, Oxford East
Adrian Collett, Aldershot
Adam Carew, East Hampshire
Gareth Epps, Reading East
Sally Morgan, Central Devon
Sue Doughty, Guildford
Rebecca Hunt. Chatham & Aylesford
Sarah Carr, Hereford and South Herefordshire 
Guy Voizey Canterbury and Whitstable 
Jo Shaw, Holborn and St Pancras
Liz Leffman, Meon Vallley 
Merlene Emerson, Hammersmith
Sandy Walkington, St Albans 
Richard Burt, West Worcestershire
Caroline Pigeon, Vauxhall
Kevin Lang, Edinburgh North & Leith
Andrew Dakers, Brentford and Isleworth
Andrew Duffield,Hexham
David Kendall, Brentwood and Ongar
Ann Haigh, Epping Forest
Simon Wright, Norwich South
Liz Simpson, Tonbridge and Malling
Sam Webber, Bromley and Chislehurst
Rabi Martins – Luton North
Greg Stone, Newcastle East
Theo Butt-Philip, Bridgwater and West Somerset
Dave Radcliffe, Birmingham Selly Oak
Richard Clein, Sefton Central
Mike Cox, Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Andy Stamp, Gillingham & Rainham
Stephen Lloyd, Eastbourne & Willingdon
Mark Blackburn, Westminster North
Denis Healy, Hull North
Robin Lawrence, Wolverhampton South West
Alex Feakes, Lewisham and West Penge
Andrew Falconer, Brighton Pavilion
Dave McBride, Orpington
Nigel Quinton, Hitchin & Harpenden
Alan Beddow, Warwick and Leamington
David Goodall, Southampton Itchen
Ryk Downes, Leeds Central
Chris Took, Ashford
Peter Wilcock, Saffron Walden
Karen Hamilton, Birmingham Perry Barr
Qurban Hussain, Luton South
Keith Angus, Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Stephen Robinson, Chelmsford
Mike Bell, Weston-super-Mare 
Dave Raval, Hackney South and Shoreditch
Fred Mackintosh, Edinburgh South
Munira Wilson, Feltham and Heston
Paul Zukowskyj, Welwyn Hatfield

The letter is here, on Facebook. No word yet whether the Speaker is also on Facebook. Although Jonathan Calder has found his blog.

Tweets on 2009-05-17

  • @markpack are they .jaypgs? http://tr.im/lwc2 #
  • Mark V’s question: Q What do Bahrain, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Japan, Nigeria and Suriname have in common? A http://tr.im/lwjL #
  • @mithomas20 Only just finished my leaflets! But I had a break over lunch for ringing’n’rain. #
  • @markpack the joke was a felicitous coincidence I doubt will reoccur. #
  • I will not be tweeting #eurovision because I did that last year and actually found it hard to keep up. #
  • What is #twumpet? #
  • Yay, no nul points for us! #
  • Ooh a progress bar! How geeky. #Eurovision #
  • Blimey, sacrily bad showing for Germany. #Eurovision #
  • Actually, Graham Norton has not been as bad as I feared. #eurovision #BringBackTerryWogan #
  • @stephentall Germany really was robbed. #
  • Where can we find the Eurovision final scores online… anywhere??? #
  • @willhowells Ah. You can now. You couldn’t when I asked and was all important for correctly awarding trophy. #
  • @madamemish, so there’s only one, and Bill Bailey has it? No wonder straight men struggle to find it. #
  • @adamrio http://twitpic.com/5bsec – That’s pretty impressive. #

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Tweets on 2009-05-16

  • Our surgery today has become a “Save Our Library” meeting. #
  • Watching Hancock’s Half Hour. “To be or not to be. Arrr. That is the question, jimlad.” #
  • @stephenbarker Western Boulevard library in Beechdale. #
  • @mithomas20 pls bring your spare leaflets back when you’re done! #
  • About 20 people showing up for leafleting morning. #
  • @gesinegesine excellent number! #
  • Hareing across town to ring for a wedding at Daybrook #
  • Bride on time. Hymns are Jerusalem and As I Vow to Thee my Country. #

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Countdown swears

Last night, I watched Question Time, and found it profoundly depressing. Then fired up the Virgin box to see what was interesting on iPlayer and 4OD. Firstly there was Extended HIGNFY, which was fun (not least for spotting the extra bits, since I’d already watched the shorter version). Then ideas ran short.

By this point P was home, and jokingly, expecting him to object, I fired up an edition of Countdown – previously I had no idea you could get Countdown on 4OD.

We were quickly captivated. I have no idea who the new host is or the numbers-and-letters woman is. Thank heavens for Susie Dent (( my goodness what a woman of mystery – look at the Discussion page on WP – when was she born? Is she married? who knows! )) !

The first numbers and letters game came perilously close to swearing, and you can see pretty much everyone involved struggling not to giggle.

“Please try for better than 5 letters.”