Daily View 2×2: 31 December 2009

A windmill made of the flags of Europe with the slogan "whatever the weather, we must move together"Good morning on New Year’s Eve 2009 as we here at LDV Towers celebrate the passing of the year and indeed the decade. There’ll be fizz spilled on the Night Desk for sure, and I’m cooking beef wellington canapés and a chocolate/chestnut torte.

But what, I hear you ask over the hubub, happened on this day in history? Well, did you know that until the 1750s, the new year actually began on Lady Day (no, not her) in March? And in fact that’s why the tax year is still based around that time of year?

New Year’s Eve is the day on which, in 1951, the Marshall Plan ended (did you know the UK got more money out of it than any other nation? It didn’t help we still had the vestiges of empire to spend it in). In 1960, the farthing ceased to be legal tender; and in 1998, the value of the Euro was first establised.

Birthdays include Ben Kinglsey, Donna Summer, Val Kilmer and Alex Salmond – together at last!

Don’t forget Lib Dem Voice is still seeking your nominations for Liberal Voice 2009.

And one more thing – today there will be a Blue Moon – the second full moon within one calendar month. This won’t happen again until full moons either side of the London Olympics, in August 2012

But, finally, what of the newspapers and blogposts? Read more, after this:

NYE Bonus

And it’s over to the Telegraph, where David Cameron’s New Year message has not found favour with Simon Heffer:

David Cameron opened the batting on Monday with his New Year message, at a time when most of us simply wished to get on with Boxing Day in peace. It was a ludicrous document – ludicrous in its content and the pomposity of its self-regard – which you will forgive my not repeating here. Masochists will find it on the Conservatives’ website, complete with video. Two features of it stood out. The first was a lecture detailing some (but not all) of the attributes of contemporary politics and politicians that we find so distasteful. These included the adversarial nature of our democracy and the inability of those who participate in it to admit error. Since it already defied credibility that Mr Cameron was going to reject such behaviour for his own part and on behalf of his colleagues, I was not sure whether I was relieved or disappointed when he not only said he was guilty of such things, but would no doubt do them again. As messages of hope go, it was not of the first rank.

Read the rest here.

2 Big Stories

Russia plans to stop asteroid crashing to Earth

In news bound to please Lembit, the Russians are looking into plans to save humanity from the rapacious asteroid with a 1 in 125,000 chance of hitting the planet.

Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russia’s space agency, said it would assess the difficulties of knocking the asteroid Apophis out of harm’s way. The 885-foot-wide asteroid was first discovered in 2004. Astronomers estimated the chances of it smashing into Earth in its first flyby in 2029 were as high as 1-in-37, but have since lowered their estimate.

New Year partygoers told to keep a cool head as temperatures dip below zero

Wrap up warm, y’all.

Police chiefs, who will be trying to ensure the safety of huge crowds seeing in the new year in town and city centres, urged revellers to wrap up warm, but to keep a cool head. People should plan their route home before they start drinking, and be prepared for sleet and snow, they said.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • A comfortable place: what a waste!
  • Rob Parsons reports on recycling in Lewes:

    In this part of Sussex we face a waste crisis. LibDem controlled Lewes District Council would like to recycle more of its waste than it does. But it’s not allowed to.

  • Caron Lindsay: Labour undermines Royal Mail by using its competitors
  • Caron reports on parliamentary answers to questions of postage:

    The Government claims to care about Royal Mail’s future, yet Liberal Democrats have learned, through answers to Parliamentary Questions, that no fewer than eight Government Departments use its competitors. Three of these departments, Culture, Media and Sport, Communities and the Foreign Office don’t use Royal Mail at all, while the other five, Children, Schools and Families; Health; Justice; Transport; and Work and Pensions use other services for part of its mail.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

And if you’ll excuse me, these mushroom duxelles won’t make themselves.