Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Too hectic...

Just found time to blog about conference so far. I've barely had time to sit down and actually take in the debates. But what I heard of the tax debate yesterday made me proud to be a LibDem. All the speaking MPs brought out their grade A speeches, with most of the best lines they could muster. This started with the proposal from Vince Cable, thru to the summation by Huhne.
Apart from that I've been following MPs around getting photos of them with stuffed animals or tossing pancakes while blindfolded! Its hard work, but quite enjoyable when the MPs also get into the spirit of it, rather than being a chore to meet and greet the sponsors.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No 53

I didn't get the time to blog yesterday, but should blow my own trumpet by letting you know that this blog is no 53 in Iain Dale's LibDem Blog list!
Got to dash as the tax motion is just about to start...
PS Photos can be seen here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blogging in Brighton

Well, I've managed to find some internet, and so able to blog from the bowels of the Brighton conference centre. Not only that, but I'm in the company of Liberal England blogger, Jonathan Calder, and the party's internet wizz, Mark Pack, who's been blogging to LibDemVoice.
Hopefully I'll get some photos up here later when things really get going.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is Clare Short going?

Much speculation over the last 24hrs since The Daily published their story of Clare Short discussing her retirement from Parliament at the next election.
I'm surprised that she has not commented further yet, as Clare is not one to shy away from being the story.
As has been commented on elsewhere, the LibDems recorded the second best result in the country in terms of swing and increase in votes. Given that Brent East was at the top of this ranking, a creditable performance!
Politics in Ladywood constituency is very "interesting". It includes the ward of Aston where there was wholesale postal vote fraud in 2004 committed by Labour candidates. The 2004 result was overturned through an elections court, with the LibDems winning the subsequent election.
I hear reports that there are several factions within the CLP, so selecting a new parliamentary candidate could be quite divisive. My tip would be on the saintly Dr Jones MP jumping from Selly Oak to Ladywood. With the current 3 seats of Sparkbrook, Hall Green and Selly Oak being reduced to just two, one sitting Labour MP has to lose out on defending a seat. With there being no pay off for retiring MPs, it makes sense to stand somewhere else (losing MPs do get a pay off though). But will the control freaks that are the Lab WM region let someone as outspoken and rebellious as Lynne Jones (who has previously hinted at standing against Brown if noone else did) head up an all women shortlist?

The shortlist is decided, the golden envelope being prepared...

We've probably all seen the shortlist already. I thought it was an interesting selection by the judges. In deed, the only blog on the list that I regularly read is Liberal England. But, I'm going to pop along to Millenium Elephant more often.
It would be interesting to know what other blogs were considered by the panel, although I'm sure that noone would have nominated this blog. (Not least it doesn't really fulfil the criteria). My previous experience of winning things goes back to when I used to play rugby, and would regularly win the clubman prize, or most improved player (which is code for the guy who turns out every week, isn't very good, but gets better through persistence).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lose the helmet, don a blonde wig

Latest research from the boffins in Bristol suggest that passing vehicles are further from a cyclist when they have long flowing locks, and no hair.
Should I invest in extensions, and ditch the helmet? Probably not: having had my life saved by a helmet when a car hit me I rarely go out without it. I doubt that a wig would have had the same ability to absorb the impact of hitting tarmac at 25mph.

Barking - bells on bikes

I see that the nanny state has now proposed that all bikes must have a bell fitted.
What evidence is there that this will help prevent the annual average 2.4 deaths of pedestrians caused by cyclists?
My normal reaction when avoiding a pedestrian, who has wandered into the road without looking, is to shout at them while I brake and/or steer away from them. Trying to fumble with a cycle bell while steering and braking is an accident waiting to happen!
If this comes to be, will it apply to all cyclists using our highways, such as the Tour de France in July next year?
I'll probably end up attaching my bell to somewhere useful, like the seat stem.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Nothing to blog about here...

Move on, nothing to see here.
OK, I can't help but mention the Labour leadership shenanigans. You can't help but notice something going on!
Is there something in the West Midlands connection between Tom Watson, Khalid Mahmood and Siôn Simon. Or is it that they all feel threatened by potential deselections by hacked off local memberships?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The finishline

Originally uploaded by Radders.
I got to Millenium Point in plenty of time, although there was already a good crowd lining the barriers.
I decided to get take an arty set of photos, rather than trying to get a head on shot. The photo is of Mark Cavendish of T-Mobile, who came in 2nd on the stage. I'd guessed at the shutter speed I'd need to get a blur, but over did it (this was at 1/40), I could have got something better at 1/100, but you don't really have time to change your settings...
The riders were probably doing about 60 kph as they crossed the line (they'd averaged 44.9kph for the stage!), so you don't get to see much...
Better book somewhere to stop over in London next year.

The Peloton in Shifnal

Originally uploaded by Radders.
Came through about 2mins 20sec behind the leaders, and they'd only gone about 25 miles!
The picture shows the CSC team leading the peloton, with Martin Pederson, the leader, wearing the yellow jersey. The rider next to the yellow jersey gave me quite a stare as he went past (not sure why as I was safely sat on the pavement).
The cyclist waving his hand and chatting to his QuickStep team mate is Tom Boonen wearing the world champions rainbow jersey.

Where do you want to go today?

As others have done this, I thought I'd give it a go as well. I've also been to the states, but I've just shown the European map.

create your personalized map of europe

Tour of Britain flies through the region

Originally uploaded by Radders.
Yesterday I took the day off work to watch the Tour of Britain as it whizzed through the West Mids.
The route started in Wolves, but I decided to hop on a train to Shifnal, and then get back to Birmingham to see the riders cross the finishing line. As it was a "normal" race, rather than a timetrial, I rationalised that I'd actually only see them fly past for about 5 secs, so decided to try and see it twice! As it was, there was a break away by 7 seven riders, who eventually finished 5 mins ahead of the peloton, so I got to see about 20secs of the tour, rather than 10!
I took my camera, and got some nice shots of the leaders and peloton coming through Shifnal, and also at the finishing line.
The photo below is the break away group, with the eventual winner leading.