Daily Archives: 25 April 2007

Qapla’!

I was about to go to bed, only to discover that this blog is the top Google result for the search “similarities korean klingon” and that someone actually found me that way.

I’ve also been impressed by the number of people finding this blog over the last 48 hours because of my post about Kryptonite. It’s good to see people grappling with the really important issues of the day.

Finally, I still get a significant number of visits from Konnie Huq fans. Disgracefully, I suspect this is because of the promise of seeing her “modelling the latest in tweenie fetish wear“.

[OPEN THREAD] Reforming privacy laws: a little help?

A plea for help: as I’ve mentioned before, I’m sitting on the Lib Dems’ Better Governance Working Group. I’ve been tasked with coming up with some detailed policy on what the Lib Dems would do on the thorny issue of privacy. Specifically: would we reform data protection? What is our response to the Regulatory of Investigative Powers Act? Should we legislate for a privacy law and thus potentially subject the media to a regulatory regime? How do we protect privacy in an internet age when anyone can violate an individual’s privacy within seconds by revealing personal information on a blog or forwarding an email? How do we roll back the ever encroaching state while being mindful of security issues?

All tricky issues. I have some idea about what to right, but I have an open mind here and would appreciate input. Please email me at semajmaharg@gmail.com or just post a comment below.

Thanks!

Bin Spin

Today has clearly ‘bin’ a rubbish news day. The Daily Mail are crusading to stop councils from moving to fortnightly collections. Outgoing leader of the LGA and Tory Peer Gideon Sandy Bruce-Lockhart has been defending fortnightly collections (and can I take a moment to reflect on the wonderful name that is “Doretta Cocks”?).

Meanwhile, in bloggerland, Ryan Cullen has been pointing out that moves to fortnightly collection can lead to improved hygiene, while Iain Dale has been moaning about those perfidious Lib Dems taking opportunistic policy positions from one council to the next on the issue.

Unfortunately, he does have a bit of a point reading Camden Lib Dems’ rather po-faced response to the issue:

“Labour run councils such as Reading, Corby and Barnsley have moved to bi-weekly collections and the Labour Party in inner city areas like Liverpool is campaigning for such a change. I challenge Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Cllr Alison McGovern to state that she would not bring in such plans in Southwark if they were in charge.”

“Our success in increasing recycling rates in Southwark has meant that there is less waste to be collected each week. But we are not proposing to wait until bins are full before we will collect them. We believe that will lead to more mess on our streets and will raise concerns about hygiene and vermin.”

Er, maybe that’s true, but pioneering Lib Dem councils like Eastleigh were leading the way years ago and have just been lionised on our last PEB on the environment.

There is certainly a case that fortnightly collections will suit some areas better than others. Inner London, in particular, has a bit of a vermin problem and thus councils should certainly look before they leap on this policy (although I really can’t see how a rat can climb into a wheelie bin unless it is provided with some pretty impressive abseiling equipment and has been taking anabolic steroids for six months). But Camden’s press release has completely over-egged the issue by implying it is an evil Labour policy when it certainly is not.

It’s fair enough that Camden Lib Dems have the right to adopt a policy that best suits Camden, but this press release is packed full of ammunition for our rival parties to lob at us in any local authority where fortnightly collections are being considered. By insinuating that Labour councils are all the same, they are implying that Lib Dem councils have to be also, and that we should all go along with what suits Camden. Thanks a bunch.