The news that we may now well see a televised leaders debate in the run up to the general election is excellent. Too often on the campaign trail and when generally meeting people I think we all hear complaints from people that they don’t know what the parties stand for. To me there is great value in giving all three party leaders equal opportunity to set out their positions. I do however have two concerns when hearing this news.
The first seems to be assuaged by John Ryley’s piece in the Times. It is vital that the debate be available to everyone throughout the country, regardless of the system they use to watch tv. This must go further however and include proper streaming over the internet, although I do not doubt that this would be in place.
My second concern is that one debate misrepresents our political system. We elect a party, not a leader, and there is far more to a party in the commons than purely its leader. One debate will not by any means show all the differences in policy present, or allow focus on some of the issues which are of vital importance in this country. I would therefore like to see four debates. One debate each between the holders and ‘candidates for’ prime minister, chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary. In this way not only could we increase the level of debate being held but I believe we could better represent our parliamentary system. What do you think?
I imagine that anyone reading this who grew up in Scotland in the last twenty years or so knows all too well what HEBS is. The Health Education Board for Scotland made some bizzare adverts in my youth, all aimed at getting us to be wonderful and healthy. These adverts always seemed to get new catchphrases into our heads, but that may have been about it. Still, I think these are worth seeing. I therefore present for those who are unaware of HEBS, a brief tour of what freaked me out in my childhood.
Not feeling freaked out yet? Well then I give you the song which we were all taught in primary school, although I make no comment on its value as I haven’t a clue: My Body
I’ve always loved ‘That Mitchell and Webb look’ along with Peep Show and basically any time David Mitchell is on television. But this new series of their sketch comedy show is in fact absolute genius. I’ve been loving the post apocalyptic quiz show, among other things. But after watching the last episode I can honestly say I’ve never been more impressed. Now I despise spoilers so I’m going to give you half an hour to go away and watch it.
Done? Good. the blatant smack at homeopathy and alternative medicine is the best thing I’ve seen on telly (iplayer, transmitting images over radio waves is so 1978) in a long time. Truly, truly funny and yet hammering home an important point. That point being ‘whats this load of tosh? bugger off, people need doctors’. Later in the program the recycling as a tribute to the gods sketch was also wonderful. I was astonished to find these two sketches in what had for the most part simply been an irreverent piece of (great) fun, but hope to see more in the future.
Said travels having taken place entirely on my laptop.
Guess who turns out to be an artist and a rather good one at that. Then again I’m probably the only person who didn’t realise this. Mr Mousavi’s work is discussed in the article linked. (Hat tip to the FP blog, see the roll)
Finally, whereas there are companies that get the internet and companies that don’t it appears that habitat kind of got it a bit and then pissed off everyone using twitter. There should be some kind of stupid use of hashtags award.
No sooner do I post, than I see this. Judi Dench swearing is apparently amazingly offensive. I think the wonderful Dame Judi should tell them to bugger off, and dream of a recursive* chain of complaints.
I was reading my good friend Callum‘s blog tonight and was reminded of a thought I had earlier today. I’ll quote Callum here for context (allthough this is not the entirety of the post, and you should click through to him nonetheless).
“Story number 2, the BNP.
Not much to say on this really. Black people aren’t allowed to join the party, but Nick Griffin thinks that’s perfectly legal. A*se. Of course it’s illegal, you tosser. His argument for them being excempt is essentially that the BNP are a pressure group on behalf of “the white minority”, not exactly the “don’t mention the racism” strategy employed in the run up to June the 4th.”
Now I noticed this story in the news today, and I instinctively agree with Callum’s viewpoint I must confess. There is however a part of me which wonders whether this will only allow the BNP to tell everyone how repressed they are by the ‘establishment’. Now I understand that there is an issue here of the BNP breaching electoral law. I can see how there is a clear avenue for legal action, and I will state again that my instinct is to smile at the idea, however I am reminded of Josh Lyman in the West Wing. In the episode ‘And its surely to their credit’, having been hit in a shooting aimed at another character by a white supremacist group Josh decides to refuse to agree to enter into a lawsuit against said group.
I don’t by any means think this is the same situation here, and that this is not strictly a lawsuit, but in the back of mind I can hear Josh Lyman saying:
“but mostly I just, I just think a lawsuit is… too small.”
We must fight the BNP tooth and nail, we must seek to reduce their vote share to zero. I’ll confess that I still suspect that I’d grin ear to ear if this went had a detrimental effect on the BNP, but would it really do any good in the long run? And is it too small?
I’m a Liberal Democrat. Now I’ve been one for a while, but I’m concerned its taking over my life. I seem to have two options, try and get some sort of a cream for it or to go back to the pub and argue policy minutiae over beer. It’ll almost certainly be the latter. I must confess that I’m lucky in that my girlfriend rather than complaining about my time going away has decided to be proud of me, its strange.
I have until now however failed to be a Lib Dem blogger. I got keen briefly before Scottish conference, and then rather forgot to be keen. However Stephen got on the case of my failure to blog. Seeing as he has succeeded in forcing Ruaraidh and Callum into blooging once again I’m informed that if I fail to blog once more I will be considered a failure.
I suppose I’m meant to talk about lib dem stuff here. Well, I’m gonna do you one better and talk about both lib dem stuff and Liberal Youth Scotland stuff also.
Ruaraidh has already posted about the Scott Rennie protest in Edinburgh, but I thought I’d note town a few personal recollections about it. It all started in a very strange manner when whilst webbing about I came across a news article talking about how the Westboro Baptist Church were planning on picketing in Edinburgh, at the debate over the seating of Scott Rennie. I seem to remember getting rather self righteous, first on the phone and then at the pub with Ruaraidh, in fact I’m almost certain I slammed my hand on the table at least once, it was very dramatic. Needless to say I informed Ruaraidh promptly that we would be counter protesting, and that he ought to do something about it (as he is President and all official). A facebook group went up, and over five days grew rather large. And then lots of people turned up, and fun was had.
The moment I really remember was I think when we arrive on the mound realised that people were actually coming. We unloaded the placards we had prepared, and left most of them bundled together, expecting not to need them immediately. Ten minutes later I had to tell people that we had run out. Over the course of the evening, both at the protest and the pub, we started to hear from those at home the results, we were shown on (UK) national news on at least two different channels, Scott Rennie won the vote and we generally felt rather good about ourselves. It all goes to show that all you need is people who believe in a cause and people who have cable ties.
Following conference I have suddenly realised that I have never actually looked at the full constitution of the party. I am now doing so. Or about to, as coffee has now arrived.
I should note that the federal website has a wonderful amount of information to paw through which I intend to do over the next few hours, however it seems that starting at the constitution makes sense.
The constitution is here http://www.libdems.org.uk/assets/0000/7925/Constitution.pdf. I shall return to comment at some point hopefully. What wonders will I find?