Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Apprentice 2007

(Wikipedia.org)

Have not been following it as much as last year, but I know several things.

I know I want Simon to win and, as competent as she is, to see Katie lose (It was her comments on Northerners and the way she has been unkind about her fellow contestants that annoyed me, plus I find her a bit snobbish, arrogant, and superior, although I imagine she is under some pressure). I know that I think these people are better than me in what they do, but sometimes I feel like putting my head in my hands over the choices they make (Even in the celebrity version for Comic Relief, I was surprised to see that Piers Morgan didn't seem to have contingency plans should those on his invite list of celebs to the Fairground fall though), but I like some of the tasks given to them and it does make interestingdrama at the end.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sgt Pepper - It Was Forty Years Ago On Friday

(EMI/Peter Blake)
And it doesn't seem that long ago that it was the Twentieth Anniversary.
I have to say though that whilst I think it's a great album, it's not my favourite (that honour goes to Abbey Road), but I certainly think it marked a milestone in musical innovation as part of what was going on. I still enjoy the opening guitar solo of the title track, enjoy the little nods to the past, such as She's Leaving Home and When I'm Sixty-Four, and find A Day in the Life creepy, et compelling.
And McCartney is still churning out music. Next week he has a new studio album out! And below is the video to his single "Dance Tonight", featuring Mackenzie Crook and Natalie Portman.
I have to say it seems strange though, that Macca would let a postman into his home and demand a cup of tea!

(MPL)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One of those things you could make up as satire, but sadly turn out to be true!

A new programme from the Netherlands (a lovely nation, but whose rampant liberalism sometimes makes me feel uncomfortably like a dyed-in-the-wool Home Counties Tory), where a dying woman decides which out of three paitents should receive her kidneys.
It's just one of those times where you wonder how to get across to these people that what they are doing is unethical, stupid, and unbelieveably cruel!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Help Find This Person

Help Catch Felicity Jane Lowde
Felicity Jane Lowde is wanted for arrest, having been convicted of harrasment. If you see her, do not approach her, rather call the police. More details of what has happened can be found here.
I have to say that whilst I don't know Rachel from North London , from what I do know about her, I have to say my admiration is almost boundless. She is a survivor of the July 7th bomb attacks and has come through and has been dealing with all that, only to have this horrific campaign of harrasment which she has dealt with in a noble and dignified fashion.
There are many bloggers out there who I like and respect, whom I like to think I would readily help in a time of need, but if there is anyone I am only too happy to help out here it is Rachel.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Unflattering Political Cartoons


Kerron's recent post on Tribune's political cartoons have reminded me that there was one of me somewhere.
So a quick rumage around and here it is! It was done for me as one of those charitable things at the 2003 Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth and just took about five minutes for Rog to do.
I am okay with it, although it makes me look a bit self satisfied, but my family (esp my mum and my sister) are not so keen, hence why it ended up in a boxfile in my bedroom. Anyways I thought I would share it for reasons of, er, vanity, so perhaps the smug expression was justified :/

Not the Nine O'Clock News on Unlikely Rock Stars

One of those brilliant pieces of mixed editing. The song is The Rocker by Thin Lizzy.

(BBC)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sack Margaret Hodge

(Press Association)
There is a group on Facebook I recently joined called "Sack Margaret Hodge", given her recent comments.

What sticks in my throat is that last year she mentioned her worries about the increase in BNP votes in her area, which was a stupid thing to mention in public as it certainly increased the amount of BNP activists campaigning in her area. She has also made it clear that she is appeasing some of her Barking constituents. Not only that she is wrong. Housing needs are allocated by need.

In any case that is not the only reason I want her to go. She has a history of being a walking liability (see here and particually here) and has repeatedly shown herself as someone who lacks proper judgement, she should go at the earliest oppurtunity

Phil Sheldrake - Musical Legend

Alongside the occasional new link, such as to BaldockBaldrick , I am adding a new one, which is Phil Sheldrake's website.
Phil is an old friend of mine from University, and is one of the few people around who I would qualify as a totally decent guy (well, almost totally ;). The fact you never once intervened in the dustbin incident Shellers has never been forgotten!). Not only is he a Liverpool fan who enjoys programmes like Alan Partridge but he is a talented musician and gifted songwriter as well.
Well worth looking into if you are interested in hiring a worship band

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Prestige

Having finally seen the whole film last night, I recommend that you see it. It's a film about two rival magicians in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era who go to great lengths to try and outdo each other. It's also the old tale of greed, revenge, lust and all the misery that it brings. The narrative also contains a magic trick in itself which, like all such showmanship (esp in fiction with detective novels) has the workings of it just staring at you in the face. To say more would give it away, suffice to say what simple and logical, yet fantastic solution is there to Borden being seemingly able to transport himself from one large box to another large box across the stage in a fraction of a second?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CSM Deputy Leadership hustings

Well it was fairly well attended, although due to one or two problems getting there, I was late and so missed Hilary Benn's Q and A bit (was told afterwards that he made an emphasis on reconnecting the Party with the electorate), which was a pity. The others had some interesting things to say. Harriet Harman mentioned Women's Rights, Peter Hain mentioned the importance of campaigning for a Fourth Term and economic responsibility, Jon Cruddas mentioned the Party structure and the importance of the Deputy leader being outside the Cabinet (I see his point, but that job can equally be done by the Party Chair). I didn't hang about afterwards, as I felt I didn't have anything unique to ask the candidates and am glad I did because there were problems getting home.

With hindsight I felt the evening was okay, with broad agreement between the candidates about what the Party needed to do to move forward and it has left me with the feeling that, provided we can show that we are capable of renewal as a Party and show up the shallowness of David Cameron's campaigning style then we can win the next general election.

Apologies BTW for the poor quality of the photos, was struggling with the flash and I didn't want to cause a distraction
















Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Deputy Leadership hustings in Lambeth

Will be attending that this evening and will be blogging on it in the next day or two, and if either of you are planning on being there it will be good to see you

Monday, May 21, 2007

Grammar Schools

The one political subject where I tend to have an almost schizophrenic attitude towards. The reason being that I have seen both the benefits and pain that the existence of these institutions can cause.
On one hand they are possibly elitist, have prevented many intelligent children from an education which would have afforded them great benefits, and can encourage snobbery. On the other hand they have helped children from many deprived areas have a head start in life.
I do have a vested interest in this subject in that, whilst I never went to grammar school, rather a decent secondary modern, my parents came from working class backgrounds and went to a grammar school, a well known one in fact (Although King Edward VII is now a seconfdary modern and is probably only famous because Graham Chapman was also a pupil there, and yes my parents were there at the same time and knew him). It probably helped them in all sorts of ways and I certainly wonder where we as a family would be now if one or both failed their 11 Plus. Not least the fact that they met at school! ;)
But what I do object to is the 11 Plus. Children have enough to contend with SATS tests without this, and it's unfair to stigmatise a child for life over one exam hurdle at such a young age. There can be other ways around this such as perhaps raising the age of Grammar School entry to 13 and having a form of Pre-Grammar School set up, although I can see the arguments against that.
Would be interested to know what you think?

BAFTA Night 2007

The usual night. Some wins I wanted to see (Mitchell and Webb getting best comedy), but only one award for Life on Mars! This was one of those nights where I was a tad more disapointed than usual with the results :(

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Prince Harry and Iraq

A bit behind on this I know, but I think General Dannatt is spot on here and I was never comfortable with the idea of him being there. If anything, because his men would have to protect him as well as doing their job and the thought of him being kidnapped (bearing in mind he is third in line to the throne) was untenable.
Some say that this gives comfort to terrorists, I can sympathise with that, but it's worth bearing in mind that in the 1970s, an elderly man used to go on an annual holiday to Ireland. Given the fact that he was a well known figure and a relative of the Royal Family, he was considered a possible IRA target, but every year officials used to encourage Lord Mountbatten to go to Mullaghmore, County Sligo, partly in the belief that to not go was a victory for terrorism. This led to one of the most horrific and evil acts of IRA violence.
Like it or not, Prince Harry is a possible future Head of State and unless there is a change in the laws of succession ,or even the constitution we have, he must be treated as such whether we like it or not. There is the possibility of working in a staff role or in a less dangerous combat zone (this isn't unprecedented), in any case we have to see the situation and it's risks at face value and act accordingly and that is what General Dannatt has done.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Deputy Leadership Nominations

Click here, to see how many nominations each of the candidates got and which MP's supported each of the candidates.
Am just pleased Hilary Benn got through as there was a moment the other day when I was a bit unsure of his chances

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jerry Falwell

I did wonder about blogging on this, as he was such a controversial figure. Suffice to say that I just about always found him an irritating embarrasment. Some Christians, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, C. S. Lewis, and Mother Teresa make you feel proud to be part of the same faith and even somewaht wistful in the fact that you feel that you lack their decency and commitment. Others, like Falwell, can make you feel ashamed and embarrased. His initial comments over 9/11 were not only disgusting, they were stupid and showed the vicious cruelty and the lack of love that he had for those he disagreed with and it's funny, but for someone who hated liberals, gays etc.. and claiming to speak Biblical truths you would have thought that at the least the bit about "Loving Your Enemies..." would be something he would notice a bit more, given it's prominent mention.But whilst I wouldn't want to see him rot in Hell, I hope that in his dying moments he saw himself for what he was and accepted God's forgiveness. Something which we all need


*This post also appears on the CPF Blog

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why Hilary Benn Should Be Deputy Leader

  • Exemplary record at the Department for International Development
  • Has a long history with the Labour Party, especially at grassroots level, where he is popular
  • Is personable, thoughtful, and is respected across the political spectrum
  • Gets on very well with Gordon Brown

Listens to people, even when he doesn't agree. Thinks through issues carefully and gives consideration to all aspects of political argument

Whilst there are some good candidates for the post of Deputy, Hilary Benn would be a major asset to Labour and I think we would lose a valuable oppurtunity if he fails to get those 44 nominations

Newspaper Review

Basically these are stories that I have come across in the papers over the past forty-eight hours but have not got around to blogging on

Evening Standard

Yesterday's edition had an endorsement of David Cameron from Norman Lamont, who then went on to slate Gordon Brown's chances of being a succesful Prime Minister. Well they are two different posts and Gordon has seen the PM's Office at fairly close quarters over the past ten years. His record as Chancellor is exemplary, and (whilst the Express seems to think differently to everyone else) certainly better than Lamont's. I wonder what Cameron thinks of this endorsement from his old boss?

The Independent

The interview with David Baddiel made me smile, esp this bit:

The ideal night out is ...

A premiere, maybe of the latest Brit gangster flick, then ChinaWhites, topped off by Spearmint Rhino or Stringfellows. Oh no, my mistake, that's a night out in the seventh circle of hell.

Be Very Careful..

This is primarily directed at those teenagers who have political aspirations

1) Be careful who you have conversations with about them

2) Never, ever (golden rule this), say something so crass and vulgar like "I want to become Prime Minister", because that just helps ensure it doesn't happen. The classic example being Robert Kilroy Silk's comment in 1974 that he would be Prime Minister in fifteen years. It also leaves you to ridiclue. I remember one Young Conservative once being on Have I Got News for You and Ian Hislop asking him if he saw himself as a future leader of the Conservative Party. With slight over confidence the young lad brightened and said it was possible, to which Hislop replied "Or do you want to be Prime Minister?". Guys I know how you feel, when I was a teenager I could easily see myself as a future Foreign Secretary. Thankfully my comments were never recorded for public consumption at the time and as a wise old man I suggest you temper your ambitions

3) Don't say anything stupid like "I want to kill for my country!", it just helps fuel our prejudices, you show yourself as someone who doesn't really know much about the World you live in, or indeed your country, and, if anything, makes you look a little sad.

4) When you are warned about what you are doing, don't say "Fair enough!" Think very, very carefully because you have been warned, esp when you don't know who the guy with the camera is

5) Don't give your full name

6) But points on the Uniform and enthusiasm, and indeed the campaign, which seems noble

----------------------------------------

Now you could argue, for those who know this story, that Recess was being a bit cruel here. Poor young and impressionable teenager being taken for a, well er monkey, and I can sympathise with that view. But it should be pointed out that Alex was fair, polite, and didn't ask any incriminating questions. Anyways it's an interesting little piece, and let me know what you think

(Recess Monkey)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

McDonnell Short of Supporters

Does this mean that within the week, Kerron will be receving some money

Last Night on 18 Doughty Street

Click here to watch last night's episode of Blogger TV, where I appeared with Stephen Tall, Charlie Beckett, and Helen Szamuely. According to Stephen's blog post this morning, we discussed

  • why journalists blog
  • how independent political blogs can be
  • the Blair legacy
  • the Labour leadership race, and
    breast-feeding in public
  • Plus Stephen becoming Oxford’s deputy Lord Mayor (This was brought up by me, not Stephen, I hasten to add)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Scooch Off

For the first time in a no of years I deliberatley missed Saturday's Eurovision. Why? Because I was convinced that many other countries that were involved would have better entries than ours. Gone indeed are the 1970s when we could be a bit smug and feel superior when we looked at some of the other contributions (which in itself, may not be a bad thing perhaps)
But this year I found I was really not too keen on the band making their entry. The song wasn't original, neither was the band, and their whole act, to paraphrase a comment one newspaper columnist made some months back, was as camp as a row of tents.
Now Eurovision needs a bit of camp, a bit of kitsch, and there have been some brilliant acts over the years which exemplify that, such as ABBA. In fact I would have been very happy if the
Scissor Sisters were the UK's entry this year. They would have been far more original and less cheesy.
But Scooch were a bit of an overkill and I am still surprised that they won against entries like, say, Justin Hawkins, who has a bit more clout about him. It's one of the few times where I think the British public got it wrong and the critics got it right.
Eurovision is a great musical concept, but in order to reach new fans and widen it's appeal, it needs to branch out and grow and develop with the times

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yet Again on 18 Doughty Street


Once again, I will be on the 18 Doughty Street Internet channel at 9PM tommorrow night, on their Blogger TV programme. My fellow interviewees will be Stephen Tall, Charlie Beckett, and Helen Szamuely, where we will be gently (one hopes) grilled by Iain Dale
For reasons of personal ego, I mean, er insisive political discussion and debate ;), give terrestial and satelite/digital/cable TV a miss and have a look at this instead, if you haven't already, because if you are the teeniest bit into politics, it can make compelling viewing.

Those Lovely Tories

Like some hero facing an arch enemy in fiction, my attitude to the Conservative Party, whilst primarily seeing them as opponents, is a rather convoluted one. I tend to respect the old Macmillan/Heathite sort, not because of their politics (although Harold Macmillan is the only Conservative Prime Minister who I regard myself as being closest to politically), but because of their stereotypical gentleman-like attitude to doing things.
There are still many individual Tories whom I do respect, at local, national, and indeed at blogging level. I have said before that if I was ever at the same election count as, say Iain Dale or Tim Roll-Pickering and the Tories were having a bad night. I would certainly not commiserate, but I would certainly be courteous enough to buy them a drink and give some kind words.
But then you get the other sort. The sort who remind you why you personally dislike the Conservative Party, let alone professionally or politically. Those who remind you why they ended up with the nickname "The Nasty Party". The sort who if you came across them at election counts where Labour were winning, there would be a huge temptation to verbally rub their faces in it! Those bovver boys who lack that small, but vital political necessity called Good Manners which has nothing to do with being a "Middle Class snob" as some of the self made among them like to think.
Kerron describes them well here, and indeed Kelvin Mackenzie said something similar in his Sun column on Thursday. For all David Cameron's talk of the Tories penetrating "No go areas", he seems to have little control over the many Conservatives who make nasty and rude comments about Scotland, Liverpool, Wales and anywhere else where they find it hard, if not impossible, to win seats. The problem for the Tories is, that people in those areas tend to have very long memories.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Social Disfunction Quiz

Well I can sleep safe tonight then! ;)













Your Social Dysfunction:
Normal



Being average in terms of how social you are, as well as the amount of self-esteem you have, you're pretty much normal. Good on you.
















Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com


Please note that we aren't, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

The Last Ten Years

A short film on what Labour has done over the past decade.


So Farewell Then, Prime Minister.

(BBC Online)

I won't deny that I feel that it is time for Tony Blair to go, that I have been less than happy with him in recent years, but one cannot deny that he helped give the Labour Party the confidence in being a natural party of government and in giving Gordon Brown the leeway he needed as Chancellor to make those important reforms.

Now's the time to prepare for a new Prime Minister, a new Deputy leader of the Labour Party, and those further reforms that will hopefully bring us that fourth term in office. Remember, things can only get better! ;)

BTW I knew I said I would be less political, but I hope I will be forgiven in saying that this past week has been somewhat unique.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fantasy Blog Cabinet

A no of bloggers have been trying to second guess Gordon Brown's first cabinet. I think it is safe to say that this is interesting but I think we will all get a bit of a surprise, plus there are ministers who we all want to see promoted, demoted, sacked, to stay where they are etc.. and yet none of us are Gordon Brown.
So, instead of giving my views, I thought that as it was last year that I did my Fantasy Blog Cabinet, I ought to have a "reshuffle" and see if, unlike last time, this will catch on. So for this year my cabinet will consist of:

Prime Minister: Paul Burgin (obviously)
Deputy Prime Minister: Kerron Cross (with extensive powers overseeing the Cabinet Office and catre blanche over cabinet committees)
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Andrew Regan
Foreign Secretary: Andrew West
Home Secretary: Damian Counsell
Constitutional Affairs/N.Ireland/Lords: Andrew Brown
Trade and Industry: Mike Ion
Defence: Tom Hamilton
International Development: Aaron Heath
Leader of the House of Commons: Jonathan Cox
Enviroment and Rural Affairs: Alex Hilton
Culture, Media, and Sport: Miranda Grell
Transport: Neil Harding
Communities and Local Government: Luke Akehurst
Education: Tom Freeman
Health: Andrew Skudder
Work and Pensions: Antonia Bance
Minister Without Portfolio/Scotland/Wales: Lisa Rullsenberg
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Cllr Kris Brown
Chief Whip: "Barry Beef"

Again, apologies to those who feel missed out. Obviously Iain Dale is still Leader of the Opposition, and whilst my heart would like to see Louisa Willoughby as Leader of the Lib Dems, my head suggests Stephen Tall. Who knows, maybe I will do a Fantasy Shadow Cabinet, although a) that is taking this fantasy a bit too far and b) It's not really my place! ;)

Day of History

(BBC Online)
This is quite a day, but there is also a long way to go. You know, fifteen years ago, if you told me that (without any other information) that Ian Paisley would be Northern Ireland First Minister, or that Martin McGuinness would be Deputy First Minister, then I would have been angry and felt that Northern Ireland was going to be sold woefully short! But what has happened here is nothing short of a miracle, and for that both McGuinness and Paisley should be commended.

This is a culmination of a process, began by John Major and nurtured by Tony Blair. Now, hopefully, we can expect another big political announcement within the next forty-eight hours.

Bernard Weatherill

(BBC)
Have just read that he died yesterday. I actually met him once. Before I joined the Labour Party some years ago, I went to see him at the Lords for an interview with the vague idea of me working for him and three other Peers. Thankfully for my small political prospects it didn't work out, but he was a gentle but firm man who will be missed

Starter for 10

(HBO/PlayTone)
It's not often I see a film for the first time and like it so much that I decide to blog on it, but this is one of those times.

Starter for 10 is set in 1985/86 and is about a young first-year student at Bristol University called Brian who is a working-class boy made goodand a whizz at general knowledge. So much so that he ends up on the team representing Bristol on an episode of University Challenge. Along the way he finds himself heavily attracted to two girls (one a fellow teammate, the other a left-wing political activist), attends a Vicars and Tarts party, inadvertently gets stoned, and incurs the wrath of Bamber Gasgoyne himself. Oh and he ends up with the right girl!


I would say more but it would spoil the film if you haven't seen it. One more thing though, which I hesitate to mention, and it's that Brian reminded me of Kerron (apart from several of the misadventures that happen to Brian obviously ;)).
Well, I mean, look at the photo, just imagine him with glasses!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Thanks Iain

(BBC Online)


But it is Bank Holiday Monday, I have things to do and I saw the event live and first time experiences are always unique :)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Drop the Dead Donkey on Ethical Reporting

(Hat Trick Productions)

Weddings

As I said earlier, I have been a bit quiet during the weekend as I have been to a wedding (involving going down on late Friday and leaving first thing Sunday), where I was one of the two Ushers. Never been an Usher before and there is a lot more work to it than you realise, such as knowing where everyone roughly is throughout the day for things like photographs etc.. (which is interesting when you don't know everyone) and here is me thinking it just involved standing at the doorway and directing people where to sit for the ceremony.
But it was all great fun and one of the best weddings I have been to, and I got a bottle of whiskey and a tie out of it as well :).
One minor surprise however was when my fellow Usher and I "Trashed the car" with confetti, balloons, party strings and a"Congratulations" banner. One of the brides friends heard what had been done and wanted to see the result. I was then asked if my name was Paul and did I have a blog called "Mars Hill" as she found out through looking at my friend Aidan's blog (Aidan being the groom). Still a bit strange, if pleasant, being recognised though! I think she found it a bit too political though and that charge has been laid at my feet before. So I will say now that I am hoping to change some of that by mentioning more diverse things
So now it's Sunday and I am now safetly back home, albeit after train journeys involving delays, bus services and the usual stresses that almost boil one's blood. So on this note, after checking emails, my Facebook account, and blog I shall now go in for a few hours of being lazy in front of the telly.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Maxwell

(BBC)
Will miss tonights programme (am away this weekend as I will be at a wedding) but am looking forward to the chance of catching a repeat. One of the most charismatic and intelligent men of his time, who used his formidable talents to get where he was from almost nothing and yet he constantly abused those rare gifts. When my Dad worked in London he had the misfortune to meet Maxwell and has since said that there were three famous men who he met through his work who he found to be an unpleasant bully and Maxwell was one of them.

A man who fascinated and angered and disgusted us in turn.

BTW If you ever come across Tom Bower's bio of him, I recommend it.

Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury in biopic

(Teh_definance)

And did I not mention something along these lines! ;) For more see here.

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnston banner
As you can see, I have added this image to the sidebar in support of those who are concerned about Alan Johnson's whereabouts and support the efforts made to secure his release. The BBC have this image on their website and are greatful to any blogger who uses it

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Live Blog Election 2007

(BBC)
22:12 A bit late and my apologies, but now we are on track

22:14 Well a brief intro is in order. voting seemed a bit quiet in my own ward today, where there were just a Liberal Democrat and Conservative standing. Yes I did vote, and no I am not saying who for, suffice to say I voted with my political instincts and avoided hypocrisy. As for now, no results yet and not even any sexy graphics (a la Peter Snow) to show us the possible results and what this might mean at the next general election, but if I come across any it will be mentioned here
22:20 Behold we have a graphic (courtesy of the BBC). The BBC are predicting heavy losses, but we will wait and see. Election results have been celebrated and commiserated in the past before the well-proportioned lady sung and the same goes for now.
22:25 Have now 18 Doughty Street on in the background. They don't have champagne bottles so that's a good sign perhaps!
22:35 Left a message on the 18 Doughty Street e-mail thingy. I should have mentioned this earlier, but from what I have heard we shall see a couple of surprise Labour and Lib Dem gains in Conservative-held North Hertfordshire. A buck of the trend hopefully :)
22:48 BBC Prediction, Scotland: SNP 45, Lab 41, Lib Dem 18, Con 17, Green 5 among others. If, if that is true, who would be prepared to join the SNP in a coalition
22:50 What have I let myself in for. Head in a whirl with Newsnight on the TV, 18 Doughty Street on the computer loudspeakers and BBC website being periodically delved into
22:53 Alex Salmond taling about "Historic moments" steady Alex
22:57 With regards to Baldock Baldrick, I am predicting just two Tory losses in North Herts. Would be nice if there were more, but am being careful and realistic (one hopes)
23:09 A bit quiet, and Newsnight are doing a piece on Northern Ireland. Donal Blaney on 18 Doughty, crowing on possible Tory gains
23:15 Eh up! Hull seems to have gone Lib Dem. 18 Doughty Street are doing graphics. Consensus seems to be a net loss of NOC which must be good news to all concerned (depending who benefits of course)
23:17 Hull is not confirmed yet, but I think it is now a fact that those of us who are Labour must brace ourselves for a kicking tonight. Please let me be wrong here!
23:20 Poll on the BBC, Brown is trusted over the economy slightly more than Cameron. This is obviously encouraging, but don't forget Cameron was an adviser on Black Wednesday
23:31 Four alleged Tory gains in South Ribble. Am having a short break, will be back within twenty
23:48 Am back, and Tim Roll-Pickering (see comments) says that the Lib Dems have denied Salmond, Gordon. The things you miss when you leave the engine room that is the study
23:52 Lib Dems have apparently gained some more seats. This looks like it might be their night. If so, then that is as much a statement against the Tories
23:54 The avalanche of results have started. News every two minutes or so. Tories gained some seats in Tamworth, SNP surge of votes alleged in Scotland. Tories gain Pembury (previously Liberal Democrat)
23:57 Jack McConnell's seat shortly to declare
23:59 Hold the presses, Iain Dale is about to Live Blog!
0:00 Lib Dems gain Kingston Upon Hull from Labour. This is not good
0:04 Tim (see comments), it's all slightly unconfirmed at the moment, we are all relying on info and intuition
0:09 I see Emily Mathis is in my favourite Westminster local, St Stephen's Tavern, along with Portillo, Oaten, Oona King etc..
0:16 Tories keep Peterborugh, Brentwood, and Broxbourne. No surprise :/
0:18 Tories failed to make a breakthrough in Luton. Yessss! :)
Thing is, if they need to make a headway for the next election, Luton is where they need to pull through
0:24 BNP has lost it's only seat in Broxbourne :)
0:27 Low turnout in England but high in Scotland apparently
0:30 Key results so far. 127 key wards are in. Lab up 1%, Con up 1%, Lib Dem down 2%. This is not as bad as I feared then :). These results are changes from 2006.
0:31 Motherwell result. McConnell in again :)
0:39 This is a bit of a strange night. Small nudges rather than the waves the media predicted, but that is no bad thing :), although it would be good for Labour to make some waves
0:50 Will turn in shortly. A small return will be made first thing in the morning, but hey I do work and I am going to London for the weekend tomorrow evening
0:52 Looks like the disaster predicted for Labour isn't so bad. We have gained some seats in Bristol and Harlow for example
0: 55 No of Councillors so far. Lab 163, Con 212, Lib Dem 76, Oth 34
0:58 In 2004, the Tories made a 3% gain and then lost the next election, failing to break the 200 seat barrier. This year it looks like just a 1% gain. There is the pearl of wisdom that I leave you with tonight. Am now very tired and as I have said earlier, I need my beauty sleep, so all the best and I shall return at around 8-9AM this morning
8:48 Just found out how bad it's been in Scotland with thousands of spoilt ballot papers, because of, from what I have heard, the Council and Scottish Parliament ballot papers are on the same paper. If true, then I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of the person who dreamed this ill-thought out scheme.
More results to come through as some councils (inc the one in my area, North Hertfordshire), have their results today.
8:56 The results for Labour are clearly not as bad as the attacks the Tories suffered in their last years in office. There is hope yet, but we do need to pull our socks up, stay alert, and remember that we are being carefully assessed
9:11 Cameron hails "stunning results", well the Tories have not got such a clear lead as they need and he fails to publicly take into account the poor council results the Tories had in the 1980s.
9:13 Yes, Wales was a difficult night and we will have to grit our teeth and go into coalition with the Lib Dems, but we are still in power and in that sense, we have not done badly.
9:17 Just looked at Iain Dale's blog. If Tories have switched votes towards the SNP it shows that for all their posturing ten years ago, they care far less about the Union than many Labour Party members (inc myself) have done. George Osborne being annoying and smug on BBC News 24, crowing over the results. Claims the Tories will win the next general election. In 1997, Labour had the humility not to do that
I think I shall leave it there for now, but for those who have been following this live feed, thanks for dropping by :)

The Picture Says It All :)


All the best to all Labour candidates standing today

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mars Hill Blog Stats (April 2007)

Top Ten Cities listed (from where people visit Mars Hill)


London, Nottingham, Chicago, Illinois, Bristol, Kazan, Plano, Grenoble, Santa Clara, Lagrange


Top Ten Countries listed (In order of most visits to my blog)


United Kingdom

United States

France

Russian Federation

Spain

Germany

Canada

Poland

Ireland

Norway

For those who have started reading my blog in the last month, or who have returned after an absence, a warm welcome to you all!

Top Ten Blog/Web Visitors

1) The Done Thing (+3)

2) Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left (+8)

3) Conservative Mind (NEW)

4) Iain Dale (NEW-ish)

5) My BlogLog.com (NEW-ish)

6) Bloggers4Labour (NEW-ish)

7) Paul Linford (-4)

8) Tim Roll-Pickering (-7)

9) Baldock Baldrick (NEW)

10) Brighton Regency Labour Party (NEW-ish)

Out of the Top Ten are Facebook.com, The Bushey Chronicle, Mike Ion, Political Opinions, Evie Winter, and Cally's Kitchen

Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog


life on mars final episode

chris burgin

mayor miguel grima

tommy hunter mars hill

political heroes

paul mars hill

life on mars last episode repeat

rob newman -site:http://robnewman.typepad.com

mars hill church official site

john witherow

Live Blogging

Like Iain, I shall be running a live blog (intermittent as I need some sleep) on Thursday evening, giving my views on the council elections and their results. You can even flit between our blogs in order to get a Labour and Conservative perspective! Any Lib Dem takers? ;)

Ten Glorious Years

Ten years ago today, millions of people went to their local Polling Station, finally fed up with the thought of the Conservatives having another term in office.
Admittedly, many of us who voted Labour, or who were in the Party, didn't expect such a big majority (the wounds of 1992 put paid to that), at best we thought we would get a majority of about thirty, so what a pleasant surprise the result was.

Itwas the one general election I stayed up all night to watch (apart from being at the count at North East Herts in 2005)and it was probably the best ever.


I remember going back home (I was at a friend's house) at about 5:30 in the morning, seein a glorious sunrise (in fact, looking out of the window, we have some lovely weather now) and it felt like a new dawn.


And what a wonderful ten years it has been. Admittedly there have been some awful moments, but like any marriage it has it's ups and downs. Hopefully we have instituted a pace of quiet reform that, should the Tories ever get back in, they will find difficult to dislodge. Among our achivements we have had:




1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s


2. Low mortgage rates


3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.35


4. Employment is at its highest level ever


5. Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries


6. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time


7. Restored city-wide government to London


8. Record number of students in higher education


9. Child benefit up 25 per cent since 1997


10. Created Sure Start to help children from low income households


11. Introduced the Disability Rights Commission


12. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & extra £100 for over-80s


13. On course to exceed the Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2010


14. Negotiated the historic Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland


15. Over 30,000 more teachers in England schools


16. A million pensioners lifted out of relative poverty


17. 800,000 children lifted out of relative poverty


18. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents


19. Free TV licences for over-75s


20. New Deal - helped over a million people into work




And much more, and what did the Tories offer to combat these policies at the last general election? Negative, simplistic poster campaigns which bordered on what was acceptable and insulted the intelligence of the average voter. I myself rather preferred Unisons response


Here's to working for better things :)