Daily Archives: 30 January 2006

Willy Waving

The Huhne and Campbell camps are having a pissing contest at the moment over who has the most council leaders supporting them. Anyone with more time on their hands than me want to work out who has the most according to population size?

Clearly, the fact that they are spending all their time on such important matters explains why neither of them has thus far made any response to the Reflecting Britain campaign. Good sense of priorities, guys. Real leadership qualities shining through.

The S-word

You’ve got to wonder.

Both Nick Assinder and Guido appear to think the phrase “straight choice” is a reference to a candidate’s sexuality and not a common term to mean “simple”.

Given that the Labour candidate in the Dunfermline and West Fife is 8 months pregnant, I don’t think anyone is suggesting she hasn’t had sex with a man at least once in her life.

The fact that both of them seem to think this is even noteworthy would rather suggest that they aren’t entirely au fait with what the fuss was about in the first place. Give me strength.

Catching up

I’ve spent the last few days running a workshop in Cardiff. A lot of fun, a lot of ideas, some of which I may talk about here.

Haven’t been to The ‘Diff since 1999 and its interesting to see how it has changed, particularly the Bay area. The Millennium Centre in particular impressed me and I was disappointed not to get to see the new assembly buildings from the inside.

Delighted to see that Question Time will be holding a Lib Dem leadership hustings. Given the speed with which they announced the Any Questions programme, one presumes there has been a lot of frantic negotiations going on behind the scenes about this, and I like to think that the dozens of people who I encouraged to write in played a part.

Speaking of Question Time, for some reason it goes out in Cardiff 30 minutes later than anywhere else in the country. Apparently, this has something to do with the rift in time that it is understood to sit on.

A straight choice?

Simon Hughes bar chartI was wondering which candidate would be the first to succomb to the temptations of the bar chart. In the end, I was unsurprised to discover it was Simon Hughes on his new (vastly improved) website.

It is a shame however that the Hughes Campaign have chosen to endorse data which is statistically meaningless, methodologically dubious and, in other parts of the dataset, actually quite damaging for the party. Presumably, they agree with the Guardian that the “Findings are bad news for all three candidates .”

But please. Spare me this guff about the election being a two-horse race. In a first past the post election this is a perfectly legitimate tactic, albeit a negative one. In an AV race, it becomes wholly meaningless. People who want “anyone but Hughes” can legitimately vote for their first choice with no fear of splitting the vote. Simon’s campaign would do well to remember that.

There you are, bringing class into it again

Reflecting Britain is a certainly Good Thing, but it makes me wonder how the Lib Dems can encourage more people who aren’t… how can I put this… middle class, to get involved.

Of course, the advantages of being middle class are not only (or even mainly) financial, but relate to an amorphous system of cultural capital, social networks, aspirations etc, that can’t be deal with in the same way as relatively less complex identities like gender or ethnicity. So I don’t think that Reflecting Britain should just extend its remit, in any case its BME work is likely to have a positive ‘class’ side effect.

But this is something worth thinking about.

In a recent mailing to federal conference reps, the guidance on submitting a motion suggested asking a ‘teacher, journalist or civil servant’ in the local party to draft it. On that basis, none of the 12 working-class Liberal MPs in 1885 would have been asked…

(Note from James: this is the first of, hopefully, many posts from fellow member of the Liberati Bernard Gowers. Be gentle with him :)).