Centrefold model in election

I have written a piece for later today on LibDemVoice.org about the senatorial by election in the US state of Massachusetts.

There will be helpful and proper discussion of the issues later on LDV, but there are a few less sensible things that occurred to me while writing.

Firstly – the Dem candidate is called Martha Coakley. Probably best not to refer to the former state Attorney General as Martha “Hokey” Coakley.

Secondly the Republican opponent. Was once a Cosmo centrefold, and is certainly a potential rival to Congressman Studly. Has certainly aged well.

So, this is entirely fluff and not important at all. Read the sensible stuff over on the Voice tomorrow.


Tweets on 2010-01-17

  • Stag do. Go karting. Eek. #
  • Woah. Wasn't expecting my car to feel so weird after the car #
  • Do NOT DAMAGE THE TOWELS http://flic.kr/p/7w6TSM #
  • Medics on stag do trying to resolve some technical difficulties with a catheter bag and a pint of lager #
  • Catheter now dispensing mulled cider http://flic.kr/p/7w9puB #
  • The more you talk to drunk medics, the less you ever wanna get sick. #
  • Mole showed last tweet to medics. Medics claiming not to be any where near drunk. Erk. #
  • Going to komedia comedy club, where bouncers told us we're not allowed to heckle. WTF? #
  • In a scary nightclub with strange goth teens dancing to stuff I remember from the first time round. #
  • Eek. There's a better than evens chance most of this crowd really ARE teenage dirtbags #
  • Wow. Seamless switch from that Glee song to Queen Medley. #
  • Every now and again they play 2 songs I recognise. They've just home from Parklife to Dolly's 9-5 #
  • It can't be…? Grease medley? #
  • There's a certain fascinating in what comes next. Surely it's inevitable… Oh yes… Come on Eileen #

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Tweets on 2010-01-16

  • @LloydieJL what were you singing? in reply to LloydieJL #
  • Bought Animal Crossing off eBay. But it keeps crashing before I get to first save opportunity 😦 #
  • I make a small monthly donation to our local LGBT switchboard charity. It shows up on bank statements as NOTTINGHAM LESBIAN – £2 #
  • Giving some juicy quotes to Evening Post about Beechdale Library closure. Hope they use them! #

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Tweets on 2010-01-15

  • Scrutiny discussion diverting into the wide variety of nefarious uses to which a wheelie bin can be put. #
  • Apparently on occasion bin lorries even EAT wheelie bins! #
  • RT @CMRLee: Is Yoda editing the LibDems' political material in Streatham? (from their circular) http://twitpic.com/y1pts #
  • Can I get home, preheat oven, bake rolls, eat dinner and get back to Liberal Drinks in under an hour? No, apparently. #
  • That Was A Typo But I Liked It (twatbili): @libdemvoice likely to have a dymanic fringe event at conference. #
  • Pub quiz at Liberal Drinks going to tie break… Sadly neither Lib Dem team is still in. #
  • @LloydieJL keep hoping it CAN end well right up until it doesn't. It's always poss it's your turn for a happy ending! in reply to LloydieJL #
  • @beng it used to be routine to stand in more than one constituency, and cause a by-election if you won more than one. in reply to beng #
  • @LloydieJL well, I'm crossing my fingers 🙂 in reply to LloydieJL #
  • @beng so how does your mp twitter project differ from @tweetminster ? in reply to beng #
  • Discussing what SpinVox renders as a combustible toilet. #
  • French Anti-Piracy Organisation Hadopi Uses Pirated Font In Own Logo | The FontFeed http://bit.ly/8zPOQY #

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Empty homes policy launch

Details arrive at the Voice of a launch of our General Election housing policy:

The Liberal Democrats today set out plans to bring a quarter of a million empty homes back into use, making homes available for people who need them and creating 65,000 jobs.

There are over 760,000 empty properties across England which are no longer used as homes but can be brought back into use with some investment. People who own these homes will get a grant or a cheap loan to renovate them so they can be used: grants if the home is for social housing, loans for private use.

The plans form part of the economic stimulus package outlined as a core principle of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto. In the first year of the new Parliament, the party would redirect over £3.6bn of spending to create jobs and build up Britain’s infrastructure. In the following years this money will be redirected to other Lib Dem spending priorities and reducing the structural deficit.

This is excellent news, and win-win-win-win territory. Homeless families win – increasing the housing stock makes it easier to find a home. Owners of empty properties win because it helps them turn a burden into an asset. It’s good for the environment because restoring existing properties is more carbon-efficient than building new homes from scratch, and because it can help councils resist green-belt development and new land take for housing. Providing more housing in existing communities also helps with transport and infrastructure planning. Local authorities win because occupied homes pay council tax, whilst empty ones often don’t. And it’s a win for employment and jobs since getting 750,000 homes up to standard is going to take a lot of employees to do.

And as well as all those wins, it’s a good thing for all those of us living in streets with empty homes that make our streets look deserted. And if, like me, you’re living in a semi-detached house with no neighbour, it would be good news for my heating bill not to have a cold empty house leaching my heat by conduction through the party wall!

Perhaps we could go a little further? Currently there is no statutory responsibility for councils to tackle empty homes in their areas and for many, this is not a priority. Where they exist, Empty Homes Officers can often have a huge workload and have to concentrate their efforts into the worst, most dangerous properties in their areas, whilst the more easily relettable ones lie empty. And the longer they’re empty the harder it will eventually be to bring them back into use.

Existing powers such as Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) are unwieldy and seldom used. They have numerous failings as this piece by Peter Black from Freedom Central explains. And even when councils are minded to use them, they are an expensive tool which must be funded from existing resources. Manchester councillor Iain Donaldson has called for greater central funding to be available to help use EDMO legislation more widely.

One final useful link: if there’s an empty home in your street, you can report it using Shelter’s ReportEmptyHomes.com website. It will take details from you about where the home is and pass them onto your local authority. If your council is on the ball, they can respond with what they are doing about that property to bring it back into use.

Daily View 2×2: 14 January 2010

Good morning afternoon and welcome to Daily View on a largely uneventful day in history. 152 years ago today, Napoleon III wasn’t assassinated. It’s the day Martin Niemöller was born, the author of the words about Holocaust victims, “First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.”

Today Richard Briers, Faye Dunaway and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are celebrating birthdays, and we remember Lewis Carroll’s death.

2 Big Stories

Haiti victim search

All the papers lead today with news of the continuing search for survivors amongst the debris following the massive earthquake in Haiti.

Times: Race against time for Haiti earthquake aid
Telegraph: Race to save thousands of lives
Daily Mail: Haiti razed to the ground: Horrifying new pictures reveal extent of earthquake destruction
Guardian: International teams join Haiti rescue operation

Ten years of Popbitch

The Indy reports how a cult internet newsletter changed gossip magazines forever.

In the site’s early years, the Beckhams were quinteIn the site’s early years, the Beckhams were quintessential Popbitch fodder. Known to the mailout’s recipients as “Derek” (David was introduced as “Derek” at an event in the US in 2003 and the name stuck) and “Skeletor”, Posh and Becks produced some of the site’s most famous – and notorious – scoops. In 2002, Popbitch was the first to report that Victoria was pregnant with the couple’s second son, Romeo. It published allegations of David’s infidelity 18 months before the tabloids. And a regular Popbitch poster broke the news of the footballer’s move from Manchester to Madrid more than four months before the mainstream press had the story.

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:

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.

Tweets on 2010-01-14

  • @cllrtim I know we have a RIEP and that it keeps sending me emails… #
  • @cllrtim just been to check – they organised training event, colleagues not terribly impressed as completely unclear what/who event was for #
  • LOLing at James Graham's astute observation that David Cameron = Star Trek's Data http://tr.im/KhWS #
  • Spent part of afternoon helping hoik a riso down a flight of dodgy garden stairs. Mensch, those things are heavy. #
  • Right, back into battle. #
  • Cor, time to switch the fingerless leaflethog gloves for the hardcore Thinsulate. #
  • @Alexander_Ball it was predictive text fail the first time, but that's how I generally refer to it now. in reply to Alexander_Ball #
  • Area Ctte thronging with well behaved young people here to tell us about their successful reading project. #
  • Typing carefully… Going home to duck. #
  • @meryl_f keep planting the sunflowers! #
  • TheOnion: Gay teen worried he might be Christian http://tr.im/KmPH #

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Tweets on 2010-01-13

  • 4 of my #5aday by lunchtime. Goodness me! #
  • RT @charltonbrooker: Newswipe returns to your TV on Tuesday 19th Jan, 10.30pm, BBC4. #
  • One of those frustrating days when mobile internet will load first page then refuse all subsequent ones. No twitter catchup. #
  • Just finished chairing my first big scrutiny committee. I'm vice-chair, but our chair slipped on ice and broke her arm. #
  • I think it went quite well, but some people thought I let people go on for too long. #
  • @chriskeating pilaf! #
  • Donning fluorescent jacket and safety boots for a morning spent with building control officers. #

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Tweets on 2010-01-12

  • Steve the Kitten poses for the SLR http://flic.kr/p/7v2JKE #
  • Arise Sir Offspring! RT @miketd I do love this photo on our village blog: http://bit.ly/5iYDgG #
  • Today's bread is wholemeal sourdough rolls and the soup is hearty italian vegetable. http://flic.kr/p/7uYsse #
  • RT @normanlamb: In H of C this eve – deafening thump of desks on floor above – display of unity at PLP meeting – all support Brown now! #
  • RT @joswinson: getting ready to lead debate in Parliament on body image at 10:45pm for anyone still awake& interested in watching BBC Parl #
  • @philipfh that's interesting, I too have had a long group meeting… in reply to philipfh #
  • Suddenly on the brain: BAD NEWS, BAD NEWS! I heard you're fixin' to leave! Came running right over – just couldn't believe it! #
  • Waiting for midnight whim chutney to get to wrinkling point. Then Only Connect on iPlayer! #

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