Saturday, 24 March 2012
Thursday, 22 March 2012
How weird. I've not seen this post until now. Your email was used on the No to car parking charges in Breckland petition via Petition Buzz - and everybody that signed up to support it received this follow up email from myself. Regardless, I am glad that it assisted with your insomnia, please do let me know if you need any further help with that. I wouldn't have thought that it would have been an issue, what with you being a Lib Dem. Best wishes, Terry
Posted by TJUK2011 to Matthew Harris at 22 March 2012 17:14
Sunday, 18 March 2012
To declare a disinterest, although some of my best grandparents were Anglicans, I am myself Jewish, leading a largely secular lifestyle and not being 'shomer shabbat' (observant of the Jewish sabbath). Of course, I shop on Sundays, and actually nothing makes me grumpier than when all the newsagents in New Barnet shut (for lack of custom) on large parts of Sunday afternoon, just at the time when (to select a purely hypothetical example at random) a man matching my description might want to buy a copy of The Observer and sit reading it in a public house.
So praise be to the much-maligned supermarket convenience stores that now mean that I can buy a Sunday newspaper in Barnet. However, I do buy the idea that we can arguably do with one day when we take a break, or at least a relative break, from the pressures of consumerism, so I understand the arguments of Keep Sunday Special.
The Sunday trading laws are not an inseparable package, so we ought to be able to suspend some without suspending all of the others. The law allowing Christians to opt out of working on Sundays is a form of anti-discrimination law. We don't suspend anti-discrimination laws for the sake of the Olympics. There may be a case for suspending those Sunday trading laws that relate to opening hours, etc, but not those that relate to employment and Christians' right not to work on Sundays.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Friday, 16 March 2012
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Sunday, 11 March 2012
I am confused - they (we, although I'm not there) voted to reject the changes to the bill that the Lib Dems had secured (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-politics-17330939); I thought the changes were the bits that we actually liked? And I thought that Shirley Williams was the patron saint of critics of the bill, and that if she was now happy with it, they were happy too?
The electorate punishes divided parties. Sometimes, even in a democratic party, we should allow the leadership to lead, instead of giving the public the impression that we are a disorganised rabble that opposes what its own ministers are doing in government. Why would anyone vote for a party if that party is going to try to stop its leaders from doing the things that the leaders say that they will do?
If even the massive concessions secured by Nick Clegg and Shirley Williams were not enough for these activists, then the activists concerned look like spoilt children demanding another ice cream when they've already (as a special treat) been allowed two today.
And who is this man who, having voted against Nick Clegg's line in the debate, claims to have put a weapon in Nick Clegg's hands in his negotiations with David Cameron? A weapon that Nick Clegg specifically asked not to be given, but for which he is now supposed to be grateful? That is what offends me most: that those who vote against the leadership claim that they are doing so as a way of supporting the leadership, when the best way to support the leadership is, you know, to actually sometimes agree with what the leadership is doing.
Having said that they believe that the revised Health Bill is good for the NHS, are Nick Clegg and Shirley Williams now supposed to pretend that they have changed their minds and don't believe in it after all? We've basically voted to say that we think Clegg and Williams are wrong, and we are presumably inviting the public to agree with us on that - how does that encourage people to vote for the party that Nick Clegg leads?
These activists think that they are "the party", but they are not - they are the party's fans, and this was their equivalent of being at a Doctor Who convention. Just as Doctor Who is not owned by its fans (it is owned by the general viewing audience, most of whom are not 'fans'), so the Liberal Democrats are not owned by activists, but are owned by the millions of people who vote for us, and the millions more who seriously think about voting for us but have not yet done so. Those people don't have politics as a hobby and have a sense of perspective that puts the activists to shame.
I realise that this will offend people, and I am writing here in a personal capacity.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Emergency motion 3: Violence in Syria
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal slaughter of his own people and his repeated targeting of civilians, resulting in the loss of over 7,500 lives.
Syrian government officials, including Bashar al-Assad, who are responsible for ordering crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations, including executing deserters and torturing detainees, as reported by the United Nations-appointed independent international commission of inquiry on Syria.
Continued Iranian, Russian and Chinese backing of the Assad regime.
The Russian and Chinese veto in late January of a UN Security Council Resolution, proposed by the Kingdom of Morocco on behalf of the Arab League, which called for a peaceful end to the crisis in Syria.
The Assad regime hindering humanitarian organisations reaching those Syrian civilians caught in the violence and in need of food, water, sanitation provisions and medical attention.
A. The diplomatic effort the UK Coalition Government is making to coordinate pressure on the Assad regime, particularly in working with the European Union, United Nations, Arab League and Friends of Syria group.
B. The appointment of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the joint Special Envoy to Syria for the UN and Arab League.
C. The Government's decision on 29 February to suspend the services of the British Embassy in Damascus and withdraw all diplomatic staff.
Conference calls for:
1. Continued political momentum and peaceful international pressure, with support from the Arab League, for an immediate ceasefire and unhindered access to the Syrian men, women and children affected by the violence and in need of humanitarian relief.
2. Continued support for the Syrian National Council to encourage a more united and representative Syrian opposition toward a peaceful and more democratic Syria.
3. The Government to support the UN High Commission for Refugees in its efforts to assist the thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
4. The Government to engage more actively and directly with our NATO ally Turkey to address this situation on its borders.
5. The Government to build on the EU sanctions agreed on 27 February, which further restrict the Assad regime's sources of revenue.
6. Those Syrian officials accused of crimes against humanity to be brought to justice.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
I just came out of recording a discussion programme for a radio station called Voice of Russia (http://english.ruvr.ru/), discussing Israel, Iran, AIPAC and the Palestinians, and then who should walk past me in the street on a sunny St James's Square? None other than BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen. Anyway, it goes out at nine o'clock tonight (Wednesday 7 March 2012) and the website (http://english.ruvr.ru/) says that it can be found on UK digital radio on DAB, 23/7. It is broadcast through their website as well, although I'm not sure whether that includes the variant of the station that I was on - they're putting it on YouTube, so I'll post that when I have it.
I went on as a "pro-Israeli Liberal Democrat" and was therefore speaking for myself and not for Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel or for any other organisation. When I arrived, participants in the discussion turned out to include "Israel Shamir" (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Shamir), on the telephone from Moscow. I strongly dissociate myself from Israel Shamir and from the disgusting things that he frequently writes. I was on the programme to oppose his views in debate and I deplore all that he stands for.
Also, Professor Rosemary Hollis (http://rosemaryhollis.com/) said that she believes that it is increasingly unlikely that a two-state solution can be achieved, at which point the programme ended - had we gone on, I would have explained why I disagree with her on that. There was also a chap on from the Stop the War Coalition and I disagree with most of what he said too...And Michael Fish just walked past me in the street. Perhaps I agree with him on something. Yes, I agree with Nick Clegg, Michael Fish and myself.
Monday, 5 March 2012
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Friday, 2 March 2012
"I have removed the link to your blog as I will not be held responsible for aiding people to read such nonsense. I can see I will have to tightly moderate further comments."
It is interesting to see that Mr Epps' impassioned defence of free speech only extends to nonsense with which he agrees, and not to nonsense (like mine) with which he disagrees.