Daily View 2×2: 23 July 2009

Good morning. You join us here on LDV as we wish happy birthday to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michael Foot, and as the nation of Egypt and the Rastafarians commemorate the birth of Haile Selassie.

It’s also polling day in Norwich North. Will April Pond become the 64th Lib Dem MP? Will we make our second by-election gain in the 2005 Parliament? Find out first on twitter – as the blogosphere’s reporter on the spot Nich Starling will report, live from the Norfolk Showground.

Two big news stories

Kingsnorth tactics criticised
The Guardian reports the report into police behaviour at the environmental protests earlier in the year at Kingsnorth, with Lib Dem MP David Howarth quoted:

This is yet another example of the disproportionate use of stop and search, and shows how, even on the report’s own narrow terms, this tactic is totally counterproductive.

Battle to save Britain’s wind industry
The Independent leads with a story of a coalition of trades unionists and green campaigners attempting to save Britain’s only major wind turbine plant, on the Isle of Wight.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: “This closure exposes the hollow truth of Labour’s climate change strategy.”

Rebuilding a stable green economy, presumably including green collar jobs in the wind turbine industry, is the first of the major strands of Nick Clegg’s Fresh Start.

Two must-read blog posts

What’s the point of FPC? Ask Nick Clegg!

A frustrated Lindy Loo reveals Nick Clegg has gone a little off-message in his presentation of the pre-manifesto. Another big bust up due at conference?

Mark Reckons chats to Brenda Barbara Tucker

Not the character from the Archers, but a staunch anti-war protester currently living in Parliament Square:

She explained that as far as she is concerned, the entire political system has failed. She thinks that we are led by war criminals and all who support this system are also complicit. She said that parliament does not have legitimacy and that the whipping system is anti-democratic. Eventually she hopes that enough people will decide to opt out of the system and then things will have to change.

Daily View 2×2: Monday 13th July

Fresh and refreshed from the weekend, here’s our picks for Monday morning.

Two big news stories

Two from the Guardian today: firstly most papers are leading with further details of the soldiers who died in the last few days with six new names and photos to illustrate – the photos serving as a stark reminder of how young so many of our uniformed personnel are. There’s in-depth coverage of their service and the wider questions raised by the recent British deaths in Afghanistan, including, in the Telegraph, praise from high ranking military officials for Nick Clegg’s contribution to the debate.

And in the States, news emerges of a secret project run by the CIA, authorised by Dick Cheney, but kept secret from Congress.

The revelation in the US press on Sunday that Cheney played a primary role in keeping the programme secret suggests that it would have been highly contentious. Attention has focused on reports earlier this year that he oversaw an assassination programme.

One member of an intelligence committee who was briefed on the secret operation last week said that Congress would have been unlikely to have approved it.

The lack of information available on the topic does not stop the Guardian speculating about secret assassination rings.

Two must-read blog posts

Daily View 2×2: 9 July 2009

Happy Independence Day, Argentina! And happy birthday to Paul Merton and Tom Hanks.

Two big stories

Murdoch Papers hack phones
The Guardian has the story of Murdoch titles doing dodgy things with mobile phones – and it backfiring on them to the tune of at least £1m. There are clear links to current Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson.

There’s an awful lot of this story on the Guardian’s site – including an interview with hack victim Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes.

I hope this story has legs. This was shoddy journalism that should have serious consequences.

Darling’s banking reforms attacked
The FT looks closely at yesterday’s announcements about how the government will regulate banks in future. Says Vince Cable:

“almost all of the important recommendations” made by Mr Darling would not happen until after the next election, rendering the white paper the equivalent of a “living will for the chancellor”.

Two must-read blog posts

Today I’m picking this story about Leominster’s MP Bill Wiggin for no other reason other than Leominster (pronounced Lem-ster) was the town where I did half of my growing up, and it doesn’t get mentioned very often. And Bill Wiggin is the MP I wrote to urging him to vote to equalise the age of consent for young gay men, an age ago. He responded after the vote to tell me that I would no doubt be pleased with the result, as it passed. He neglected to mention voting against the measure.

And I rather enjoyed this rant from Bracknell Blog about the irritating self-service tills many supermarkets are introducing. I find them irritating, because having been a cashier in a supermarket, the self-service tills are much slower at reading barcodes than real checkouts.

On LDV later today

It’s Thursday, so look out for our regular Question Time open thread. The programme is on BBC1 at the usual time of 2235, but is also available on a one-off basis live at 8pm on BBC3.

I’ll also be bringing you two pieces on the LGA conference last week.

Daily View 2×2: 25 June 2009

How fitting that while Ricky Gervais and Phil Jupitus share a birthday with Michel Tremblay, a Canadian writer I studied as part of my degree, the US should be celebrating National Catfish Day.

Two big stories

Another climbdown for Brown as the Government backs off plans to bolster MPs’ pensions. Just hours after Clegg took Brown to task at PMQs for being wrong about Gurkhas, wrong about expenses and the Iraq enquiry. Now he’s admitted to being wrong about MPs’ pensions too. A planned increase had been accepted by all parties in March but the government now says it will accept a Lib Dem plan to freeze the amount from public funds. The proposal would have seen MPs’ own contributions rise by £60 a month, but the Lib Dems said taxpayers would have paid £750,000 more than last year.

And a curious story from the Guardian: Tory plans for emergency cuts cabinet – one of those headlines you have to look at backwards for a few minutes to work out the sense. Is it a Tory, planning for an emergency, deciding to cut cabinet? Ah, no, as we read the story, it is about an emergency cuts cabinet the Tories are planning. Scant seconds after wresting the reins of power from the disgraced Labour party, it seems the Tories would be careering the sleigh into the Forest of Slash and Burn, at least as far as the Guardian is concerned. So is this a real story? the scant attribution makes one wonder, but it is too detailed to be more Labour spin, so presumably Tories must have been briefing journalists at some point. And there’s the small matter of Dave winning an election first before George ever gets any opportunity to haul cabinet ministers over the coals for their spending plans.

2 must read blog posts

Stop the world, Andrew Reeves wants to get off. Or at least stop the madness that is 4 year olds having their own mobile phone. Fair enough, say I.

And the newly co-opted Cllr Lady Mark is getting to grips with his new representative role by looking into the vexed question of bus stops in Creeting St Peter. For the uninitiated, Lady Mark’s title is a protest at inequity: he’s married to Baroness Ros Scott, the fair president of this good party. Whilst female spouses of male peers get the courtesy title “lady”, male spouses of female peers and civil partners of peers do not have the courtesy extended to them.

Daily View 2×2: 18 June 2009

Welcome to Daily View. Happy birthday to Delia Smith CBE. Today is also Autistic Pride Day.

2 Big Stories

And it’s good news for Burnley Liberal Democrats as sub-editors across the spectrum studiously avoid the headline “The Fall of the House of Ussher

Miss Ussher said that she was leaving the Government “with the greatest regret” but would remain as MP for Burnley until the coming election, when she will stand down from Parliament “for family reasons”.

Burnley PPC Gordon Birtwhistle, who has steered the party through taking outright control of the borough council last year, and gaining five of the six county council seats in the constituency just two weeks ago, has called on Kitty Ussher to resign her seat immediately. As if Norwich isn’t enough.

And secondly Iran, where unrest continues following the disputed election result. The word is fleeting out through tweets and social media, with some striking photos gracing the newspaper front pages. If you’re wondering why people are turning their twitter profile photos green, this story is the reason.

Reformists fear the regime is trying to weaken protests by silencing their leading voices and Mr Atrianfar’s arrest signals that people with powerful connections are not immune. The intelligence ministry said 26 alleged “masterminds” of the post-election unrest had been detained yesterday alone.

2 must read blog posts

Jam-maker Jonathan Wallace is joining the exodus and leaving Cowley Street with the aim of becoming self-sufficient in Gateshead. Seriously folks, what’s with all the leaving at the moment? Pack, Wallace, Crozier… Comrades, we’re so close – one last push and we’ll be in power, so why leave now?

And my second link goes to Costigan Quist, who’s masterly take-down of the Digital Britain report focussed on exactly the bits of it that annoyed me when I heard about them on the radio, and thus saved me from having to write anything of the sort.

Daily View 2×2: 11 June 2009

Ah, another day, another daily view. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, polling day is a whole week behind us. Lives are being lived, new councillors swearing the oath of office and new groups working out how to work with each other in future.

Two big stories

And unlike m’colleague Alix who could trumpet an end to expenses stories, sadly today they’re back with a vengeance, as the Telegraph digs into Shahid Malik.

But never fear – “the recession has ended” ! The Independent is so confident of its analysis that it feels the need to put the headline in quotes. And the rentaquote business people float the unhappy spectre of a W-shaped recession and a lame duck government.

And try “the recession has ended” for size with the 40,000 graduates the Guardian tells us will be joining the jobless roll. (I don’t mean to be flippant about such a serious topic, but those words do sound like they should be sung to the tune of the Lambeth Walk – “joining the jobless roll, OI!”)

Up to 40,000 of this year’s graduates will still be struggling to find work in six months’ time, according to figures compiled for the Guardian that reveal the scale of the recession’s impact on the class of 2009.

The number of new graduates out of work will double compared with last year if unemployment trends follow those of the last recession, careers experts predict.

This will cause a spike in unemployment figures this summer as graduating students fight for a job, and could help tip the number of under-25s who are unemployed over the 1 million mark

Two must-read blog posts

Costigan Quist finds a more than usually illiterate purveyor of barcharts, and points the finger at the Tories who perpetrated it.

Three bars of equal size. One showing the Tories increasing their number of councillors by 285, the second showing “Greens & Others” increasing by 37 and the third, for no adequately explained reason, lumping together Labour and the Lib Dems and showing their combined loss of two-hundred-and-something seats.

I’m itching to link to Jonathan Calder’s top tip that Viz’s top tips are now available on Twitter – or at least a parody / homage thereof. But that might be a little lightweight for such an early hour in the morning, so I shall instead pick Mark Pack’s top tip – a reason to be on Facebook at 5.01 on Saturday morning. Surprisingly, it’s not to upload the previous night’s drunken karaoke cameraphone vids, but the release of all-important easy-to-remember short URLs.

Daily View 2×2: 04 June 2009

Today is polling day, which means scores of Lib Dems across the country will be having an exhausting day from Good Morning leaflets before dawn right through to election count verifications beyond midnight.

Good morning!

We’ll be reminding people of the all important facts about the electoral process:

  • You do not need your polling card to vote (but it might speed things up a bit if you have it)
  • Polls are open from 7am to 10pm
  • If you had a postal vote, but haven’t returned it yet, don’t put it in the post, but take it along to your local polling station.  You can’t have another ballot paper, so the one that was sent to you was all important.
  • The returning officer now has more discretion than previously to put right obvious mistakes, so if something wrong happens, get in touch with your district / unitary council’s elections office.

And of course we’ll be standing on our record, reminding you of three key things, pointing out we’re stronger together, poorer apart, and hoping for a good outcome at the end of the day.

All the very best to all of you from all of us, and we’ll meet back here tomorrow (World Environment Day, natch) to see how things went and celebrate and commiserate.

2 News stories

Gordon Brown is fighting for his political life as his cabinet resigns en masse around him days from a major election – the Guardian has ten questions for the Labour party – all process, no convictions.

And the Times reports on the Science minister’s pearls of wisdom for green campaigners: sack cloth and ashes are not too inspiring.

2 blog posts

James Graham on why being in favour of there being an EU does not necessarily mean that you are in favour of everything it ever does.

Anders Hanson – even the Greens think some of their policies are moronic.

Daily View 2×2: 28th May 2009

2 big stories

LDV’s daily glimpse into the world of media and views.  Our biggest story today has already made the news here at LDV, but it’s too good for us not to trail again: Nick Clegg has launched a campaign for 100 days of proper discussion about real reform.

It’s the front of the Guardian: the main story; the article by Clegg himself, and the version of the story where Clegg mocks Cameron’s pathetic attempts at real reform.

There’s been a wide variety of responses to the article here and in the comments over at the Guardian – ranging from praise to  ”aim lower – you might get something done” – but my favourite response so far has been the approving words from Felix Cohen – he of the (very strongly worded) openlettertothelibdems.net.

While we’re on the subject of reform, don’t miss my second pick – Matthew Norman in the Independent calling for a written constitution.  He’s not exactly complimentary about the Lib Dems but he reserves his truly scathing commentary for the other two main parties. So that’s alright, then.

2 must-read blog posts

There were some good instapundit reactions to the Clegg news including:

But for my two picks, I’m choosing Mark “Star of Radio 4’s More or Less” Thompson’s latest revisiting of the correlation between safety of seat an MP’s seat and the likelihood of him or her abusing expenses. After all, the first outing of this just ten days ago is arguably what has boosted electoral and constitutional reform so high up the agenda.

And my second pick, an unhappy Jo Christie-Smith is narked at unkempt Boris’s unkept promises – South-East Londoners still can’t use their Oyster cards on trains.

Coming up later today

On Lib Dem Voice today – we’lll have news of UKIP’s tenuous grip on reality – and I’ll be donning my Bursar’s hat and  publishing LDV’s accounts for members of our forum to investigate.

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.