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.


WED: Green Lib Dems annual conference

News reaches the Voice of the Green Lib Dem’s annual conference, unfortunately just a little too late to promote it in time for the early registration rates:

SESSIONS INCLUDE: “The Great Nuclear Debate”; “Greening Your Council”; “Transition Towns”; “Eco Housing”; “Green Campaigning Workshop”

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Simon Hughes MP; Chris Huhne MP; Heather Kidd PPC; Donnachadh McCarthy, Media Environmentalist; Lembit Opik MP


Registrations received after 5th June

GLD members £22 (for both days) £14 (single day rate)

Non members £28 (for both days) £18 (single day rate)

Conference fees include lunch. A separate Saturday evening event is also being planned

New collection of leaflets

A strategically hashtagged tweet brings an interesting new site to the attention of The Voice. It is being built by people with some connection to MySociety, who are responsible for the excellent non-partisan sites intended to improve how politics works, such as WriteToThem, PublicWhip and FixMyStreet.

The new site is intended as a repository of the leaflets that are routinely delivered by local political activists day in, day out up and down the country.  Whilst similar sites have tried to do this before – particularly for the bigger by-elections – no-one has really got a site together that works quite as well as new one before us today.  Built from a modern web perspective, it allows the grand publique to upload whatever is pushed through their letterboxes, and to tag it and comment on it.

Its first snag is that it’s only just arrived, and so far sums up the state of British political campaigning – in this election period – in just five leaflets, which are the only ones to have been submitted so far.  But their site is open to all and they are keen to see many more leaflets uploaded. The more there are, the more interesting the site will become.

Liberal Democrats are often accused of inconsistency from one area to another, so it will be interesting to see how national patterns emerge from all parties.  One of the first leaflets to be uploaded featured a Labour opposition criticising a Lib Dem council for losing money in Iceland.  I’m almost tempted to see how those Labour words go down on my own authority, where a Labour controlled authority lost the second highest amount in the country to the crisis.  Do Nottingham Labour believe, like Cambridge Labour, that the money is unrecoverable? Or that losing it is a sign of mis-management?

Finally from a Lib Dem perspective, there’s the name of the new site: The Straight Choice.  Ouch.  A blog post attributes the name directly to the Bermondsey by-election controversy, and links to the Wikipedia page about the battle.  Happily the Wikipedia page (at time of writing) is rather more LibDem friendly than the way the episode is described on their own blogpost.

For all that, the site will be useful once people start using it, so I urge our readers here to send in whatever leaflets they have knocking about.

See also: Matt Wardman’s review