Monthly Archives: November 2007

Vince Cable flutters his eyelashes at Bruce Forsyth

On GMTV this Sunday, Vince Cable will declare his ambition to appear on Strictly Come Dancing:

Steve Richards: …as many of the newspapers have commented in recent days, you enjoy a bit of the ballroom dancing. Are you watching Strictly Come Dancing?

Vince Cable: I watch it religiously…

Steve Richards: I thought you did!

Vince Cable: …every week. Yes, it’s a wonderful programme. Bruce Forsyth is of course just over the top but actually the judges are great, the dancers are great. I’m backing Alesha, this very beautiful and very talented dancer.

Steve Richards: Right.

Vince Cable: No, it’s great entertainment.

Steve Richards: Would you like to be on it?

Vince Cable: Well… you’re tempting me! If I received an invite I’d find it very difficult to turn down.

Steve Richards: Right, well there’s another series in the pipeline I’m sure, so you could be there! OK, well if not leader of the Lib Dems after this very successful period, perhaps victorious candidate in a future series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Vince Cable: Yes, that’s a real ambition, a serious ambition! [laughs].

Well, that’s settled then.

More PRS balls

As a follow up to my blog post a couple of weeks ago, ‘Ron‘ from Linksway Hotel has written the following:

I have just been contacted by this society and been advised that I need to pay some £1800 per annum for hotel guests to view and listen to music in their rooms.

We pay for a Television Licence for the hotel.

The law states that once you have reserved a room in a hotel, it becomes your private residence,so any viewing of tv or listening to radio is deemed to be private.

It seems to me that someone at the PRS has gone a bit bonkers. I also received an email from an MP a couple of weeks ago saying that they had received a considerable amount of casework about this issue and was pursuing it further. Watch this space.

Vince Cable’s sharp elbows

See if you can spot the remarkable thing about this BBC News story:

Discs ‘worth £1.5bn’ to criminals

Two missing computer discs containing the personal details of 25 million people could be worth up to £1.5bn to criminals, say the Lib Dems.

Acting leader Vincent Cable told MPs an “enormous amount” was still at stake, after discs containing the entire child benefit database got lost in transit.

Ministers say there is no evidence they have been intercepted by criminals.

But in a Tory-led debate on the issue shadow chancellor George Osborne asked if the “whole truth” had been told.

Did you spot it? Yes, that’s right – the debate was Tory-led, yet it is the Lib Dems who got top billing.

What I don’t understand is how Vince manages to do this so effortlessly while his predecessor (and Kennedy for that matter) always had the opposite problem, with the Tories stealing our press.

To be fair on Chris Huhne, his sharp elbows are on full display today as well. Rumours that he has affected a soft Western Isles accent and started voting for homophobic legislation have yet to be confirmed (joke).

Richard Allan on Nicolas Blincoe

I got this message from Richard Allan, Nick Clegg’s campaign manager, today:

Dear James,

A little earlier this afternoon, my attention was drawn to an article by Nicholas Blincoe on the CommentIsFree website. I have not met Nicholas before and he is not a part of the Nick Clegg Campaign Team. I understand that he has been one of a number of people to advise Nick on speeches previously, hence his self-description.

The contents of the article are a personal viewpoint and in no way associated with this campaign. I have therefore contacted Nicholas to request that he makes this clear in a posting on the Guardian site. He has agreed to do this and I hope that a clarification will appear in short order.

All the best,

Blincoe himself has now issued a qualification. I’m pleased to see that Team Clegg have treated this with the seriousness it deserved and reacted promptly. Good show.

Another YouGov survey on the Lib Dem leadership contest

…and this one was more in depth, suggesting it was probably commissioned by a newspaper or other media outlet.

Lots of leading questions that pissed me off, but there you go. One question is factually wrong. The Liberal Democrats have not had four leaders since their formation. They have either had three or five depending on whether you include Acting Leaders Vince Cable and Robert Maclennan. To leave off the latter is rank ignorance. He may not have set the world on fire, but he made more impact in six months than Iain Duncan Smith made in two years.

Blincoe-ing idiot

As people know, I’ve now come out as a Nick Clegg supporter (indeed I’ve already voted for him). Speaking therefore in the spirit of collegiality, could Team Clegg please lean on their “advisor” Nicolas Blincoe and get him to shut the fuck up?

Apart from anything else, his latest intervention is a week out of date. We’d actually nipped this one in the bud; surely the last thing that either campaign team needs right now is to turn the temperature up again?

That he is one of the people who before last week’s Politics Show was actively trying to lower the tone of debate is one thing; for him to suggest that Huhne is a liar is quite another. I would personally gain no small amount of personal satisfaction in seeing Huhne go on to sue him for libel (I’m surprised the Guardian is confident enough of his claims to publish).

If blinking idiots like this are the brains behind the Clegg campaign, it is no surprise that it has been widely criticised for its ineptitude. Definitely time to Move On, folks.

Why does the Oxford Union think that freedom of speech only applies to fascists?

One thing I didn’t realise regarding the latest Oxford Union debacle is that this comes just a month after those heroic defenders of free speech denied Norman Finklestein a platform to criticise Israel:

Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians surely cannot be described as balanced by any stretch of the imagination. The Biblical injunction of “an eye for an eye” is grisly enough, but Israel goes even farther by its habitual practice of exacting an eye for an eyelash! As Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians becomes more heavy-handed and violent, the very notion of balance needs to be re-examined. Luke Tryl displayed neither wisdom nor courage in dealing with these broader issues and he eventually caved in to the pressure. On 19 October, four days before the debate, he curtly informed Finkelstein that his invitation was rescinded.

Perhaps Jonny or someone could explain to me why they appear to be supporting one rule for Jewish anti-Zionists but another rule for people who would happily march them into the gas chambers?

UPDATE: Mea culpa – I goofed. In the original version of this article I portrayed Norman Finkelstein as a Zionist, which was completely, 180 degree arse-over-backwards, something which I knew at the back of my mind but at the time had my mind on another article (ahem). With that said, far from weakening my argument, this actually makes it stronger as it shows how the Oxford Union is only a fair weather friend of freedom of speech. Thanks to Barry Stocker for pointing this out and letting me minimise the degree by which I managed to make a tit out of myself.

Tooth Review: 1564 (Obligatory Spoiler Warning)

A really scrotnig issue as the storylines begin to slot into place.

Prog 1564Cover: A Peter Doherty-drawn montage of the main characters in the current Mandroid storyline. Well drawn and timely if a little underwhelming.

Doherty is currently doing colourist duties on Dredd and in that respect is woefully underutilised. When will he resume artistic duties? He doesn’t seem to have drawn anything of substance in over a decade.

Quote of the Week: “Amassed! The man was a bloody menace! You couldn’t put anything down for a minute without him whipping it! Half the lost treasures of the ancient world ended up stuffed down his trousers!” (Erebus, The Red Seas)

Spoilers below… Continue reading Tooth Review: 1564 (Obligatory Spoiler Warning)

Coca Cola corportation launches homeopathic Coke brand

I’m sure that readers will have already seen Diet Coke Plus Vitamins and Diet Coke Plus Antioxydents in the shops by now. What you may be unaware of is that they are planning to expand this range of health conscious drinks:

Coca Cola and the Society of Homoeopaths are delighted to announce the launch of Coca Cola Pure.

The Coca Cola Corporation have worked with a team of homeopathic practitioners to develop this new variation of classic Coke, based on the success of our leading worldwide brand Dasani. Diluted in pure water to the precisely measured proportion of 1:1060, Coca Cola Pure contains the taste of Coke in a zero-calorie drink. What’s more, operating on the principle that “like cures like,” Coca Cola Pure is a homeopathically certified remedy for tooth decay.

I have to admit that I’ve tried a bottle (they were handing them out outside Charing Cross yesterday) and found it a little tasteless. Also, it is a bit flat, possibly due to the statistical improbability of it containing any carbon dioxide molecules in it. Each to their own I suppose.