Tweets on 2009-07-31

  • What did we used to do in supermarket queues before mobile internet? #
  • Assessing the conveyor belt for nutrition. Nope, hardly any. #
  • – Steve had his second jab today. Four weeks and his nuts are toast. #
  • Yay, Evening Post reports Nottingham on track for new tram. #
  • Finance presentation. "The govt want to get rid of Floors. Ceilings have already gone." #

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Interview with Bristol Councillors

Earlier this month, LDV took a road trip to Bristol to see Banksy – which, if you can stand the two hour queue, is definitely worth seeing.

While we were there we met up with Stephen Williams MP and councillors and campaigners working for Bristol. Yesterday we brought you the interview with Stephen Williams; today’s podcast is a discussion with three councillors from the authority: Cllr Jon Rogers, transport and sustainability supremo with a twitter and e-campaigning twist; Cllr Anthony Negus, now enjoying his second month as a councillor, but many more years as a Lib Dem campaigner, and Cllr Dr Mark Wright, PPC for Bristol South, councillor for Cabot ward and the cabinet member for housing, ICT and service improvement.

You can listen to the sound file right here on the web, or you can download it for use with your MP3 player. Why not listen to the conference next time you’re out delivering leaflets? If you use iTunes you can search the podcast directory for Lib Dem Voice; for other podcast software, you can use this RSS feed of LDV’s audio content.

Tweets on 2009-07-30

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Interview with Stephen Williams MP

A few weeks ago LDV had a mini-break in Bristol to go and see the Banksy exhibition.

While we were in town we met up with Bristol West MP Stephen Williams and Cllrs Jon Rogers, Anthony Negus and Mark Wright as they held a street stall to gather signatures against the expansion of the local airport.

We taped a couple of interviews – the first was with Stephen Williams, sitting over enormous slices of cake in the Lovely Tart café on the Gloucester Road.

Look out for the councillor interview here on the Voice at the same time tomorrow.

You can listen to the sound file right here on the web, or you can download it for use with your MP3 player. Why not listen to the conference next time you’re out delivering leaflets? If you use iTunes you can search the podcast directory for Lib Dem Voice; for other podcast software, you can use this RSS feed of LDV’s audio content.

Tweets on 2009-07-29

  • Closing all the windows and belting along to Frank Ifield. #
  • Seeing Bill Bailey Live tonight, looks like he's sold out an entire week at the Royal Theatre. #
  • RT @susioneill: At google event at nottm council, glorified sales pitch. Stats:19p per £1 in uk spent online,70% broadband is necessity #
  • @alanfleming is that the gorgeous A85? That road is amazing. #
  • Leaving Bill Bailey humming "Tiptoe through the tulips." Which wasn't in the show at all. #
  • @meryl_f Zetnet are doing something to their email servers, but I don't know if it affects us. #
  • This rain has a bit of a determined air to it. #
  • – Next to no-one on the sand in the rain. #
  • Buying shirts in the sale. Judging by how squelchy my feet are, I need new, waterproof shoes too. #
  • Sheesh, 10 mins on #WATO about the weather? #

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Nottingham’s Arkwright Station

One line in Jonathan Calder’s blog post about Frog Island jumped out at me. “Nottingham Arkwright Station”

Where was that? I don’t think I’d heard of it before. In these information days, I can find out all about it from all over the internet.

It was a station on a railway line that was removed in the late 1960s, entering the city of Nottingham over the Trent, crossing the Old Meadows on viaducts, crossing the Midland station at a higher level than the remaining tracks, onto a viaduct over Canal Street. After that, I think it went into the tunnel under the Lace Market to go to Nottingham Victoria Station – that too was demolished in the 70s and replaced with the Victoria Centre.

The Canal Street viaduct is now in use for the NET tram, which currently terminates abruptly before the station, but which should continue at a high level over the railway station when Phase II gets going. The tram doesn’t use the tunnel, but runs at street level left through the city streets.

The tunnel is essentially unused now. When they were talking about “bridge strengthening works” in Parliament Street, it wasn’t the pedestrian link to the Victoria centre they meant, but the tunnel beneath the street. You could briefly see corrugated metal under the road as they took up the tarmac for the works.

One use the tunnel does have is to carry the steam main that feeds the district heating system. It heats the entire Victoria Centre – the shopping centre and all of the flats – before heading north to St Anns.

The south end of the tunnel has recently been blocked by the new Nottingham Contemporary art gallery.

When the Nottingham Arkwright station closed it was demolished, much of the Old Meadows with it, and replaced with “Radburn” style development. This happened about ten years before I was born and twenty before I came to Nottingham. And now thirty years later the area has attracted £199,000,000 in investment to renovate those houses, and undo some of the unforeseen problems the non-standard layout caused.

Loads more information about the line, and the station on these blogs, including masses of interesting photos. It’s raw and real – the stations look neglected; tracks give out suddenly. Viaducts are brutal and imposing and dominate the landscape.

Tweets on 2009-07-28

  • "handrails would adversely effect (sic) lateral movement if adjacent vomitory obstructed" #
  • @adamrio do they shoot laser beams? Is there a matching utility belt? #
  • @dr_nick the Bruno trailers were too cringeworthy for me, let alone going to see the film. #
  • I thought shaking Sven's hand was impressive, but everyone else is treating it as a #lameclaimtofame #
  • Refreshing the tea tray. #
  • @documentally my Zoom H2 audio recorder is the bees knees. #
  • Erm, why are they using a picture of Long Eaton on this story about Nottingham's "South Side"? #
  • @qwghlm it's 18% beer, not 8%! #
  • RT @willhowells RT @MarkReckons: How 31 Year Olds Consume Media : Dan Wilson's Blog [] #

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Tweets on 2009-07-27

  • Bought cats expensive cat to play with while we're out. They completely ignored it until we bribed them with kitty treats. #
  • Off ringing for evensong so will have to upload the ukulele videos later. #
  • 12seconds – Flying V pink Mahalo ukulele #
  • 12seconds – Bohemian rhapsody on open Uke strings #
  • @helenduffett what are we practicing for #ldconf, already? #
  • @helenduffett I'm not nearly cool enough even to satirize that song. #
  • @helenduffett how about "Wake me up, when this conference ends" ? #
  • @adamrio Watching Tina Fey. She's v good. #
  • @helenduffett not sure I could actually get to London for t'prom, August and Sep are expensive enough already! #BBCR3 FTW! #
  • Really having a Greenday day. Trying to learn Uke "Wake me up when September ends"; Blvd of Broken Dreams on #bbcr4… #
  • Clickety-clickety. Hmm. Both Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent seem to think they hold the biggest Freshers' Fair in the country. #
  • On the annual council safety inspection of Meadow Lane football ground. No sign of Sven Goran Eriksson yet. #
  • Cor. Was kidding before but I have actually just shaken hands with Sven Goran Eriksson. #
  • – Bleurgh. Just got completely soaked through in cloudburst. #

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Speech to Nottingham Gay Pride

I was very happy to be invited to be one of the speakers at Nottingham Gay Pride’s Speaker’s Corner. Here’s what I had to say (minus the inappropriate jokes I ad-libbed on the day).

Hello, my name is Alex Foster and I am one of Nottingham City’s Lib Dem councillors.  If you live near the Beechdale Baths, it could well be that I represent you.  I’m also gay.

In fact, I’m in politics BECAUSE  I’m gay, not in spite of it.  Let me explain.


The first political thing I ever did was write to my MP about the age of consent.  I’m 31 next week, so when I was in school, Parliament was having its great debate about whether the age of consent for gay men should be lowered from 21 to 18.  I had found out all about this in the pages of Gay Times, and read about the Stonewall campaign, and it was because of them that I wrote to my MP.

I got a nice letter back – my Tory MP then was Peter Temple Morris – and although he didn’t agree with me he told me he respected my position.

There was a great debate going on at this time about this issue, and I got quite involved.  I saw that the Lib Dems were arguing in favour not just of lowering the age of consent to 18, but of equalizing it with heterosexual people at 16.  It was there in black and white in their 1992 manifesto:

Guarantee equal rights for gay men and lesbians through changes to criminal law, anti-discrimination legislation and police practices. We will repeal Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. We will create a common age of consent regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

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