Monday, May 29, 2006

Rooney watch............ 

Monday 29th May 2006 - Is anyone else already sick of hearing about the build up to the World Cup?? Or am I the only one tired of hearing what Wayne did next.................hold the front page Wayne managed to go to the toilet today all on his own.....the medical team reported this was great news for Sven and the boys..................come on surely to goodness there are more important things happening in the world......................oh well.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A great night in Halewood!! 

Sunday 7th May 2006 - We're back now the elections are over and how with one seat held and another gained last Thursday in the local council elections.

As well as defending my own seat we won Halewood South from Labour with Dot Birch winning with a majority of 43 in a tight fought contest.

Now the biggest party in Halewood, the Lib Dems are justifiably well chuffed with those resuts!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A spring in Ming's step! 

Sunday 19th March 2006 - New Lib Dem Leader Sir Menzies Campbell MP was at our Regional Spring Conference in Rawtenstall yesterday and gave a rousing speech to delegates as we prepare for the coming local elections in May.

Ming took time out to launch our "Police not Plastic" campaign and Sarah and I joined him for a photo opportunity to promote the issue in the coming campaign.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Harrogate in the spring!! 

Saturday 4th March 2006 - Spent the day at the Party Spring Conference in Harrogate and spoke in the debate on Education reform, citing Knowsley as an example of good practice in delivering Lib Dem policy, even though it is a Labour controlled council!!

Good to catch up with old friends and familiar faces and all the post leadership contest gossip!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mixed emotions........ 

Thursday 2nd March 2006 - Delighted with the news this afternoon that the new Party Leader was Sir Menzies Campbell who I had been campaigning for during the leadership contest, but disappointed this evening with the result from the Whiston Town Council by-election result where our candidate - Mike Lappin - lost by only 12 votes.

However, 19 postal votes were not allowed to be included by the Returning Officer due in the most part due to a mistake on behalf of the Council so this result may well yet still be open to a legal challenge!! Watch this space.!!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Don't forgert to vote!! 

Sunday 26th February 2006 - Just three days to go in the Liberal Democrat Leadership election. Ballot papers for the election must arrive with the Electoral Reform Society by 12 noon on Wednesday 1 March 2006. So, today is probably the last day to post your vote.

Let's hope members use it wisely and I hope Ming is our new Leader next Thursday!!

Meanwhile back on the ground here in Knowsley we have a by-election on Thursday for a vacant seat on Whiston Town Council's Delph Ward, we have a very good candidate in Mike Lappin and we are confident we can win there as well!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Forum date 

Wednesday 22nd February 2006 - An additional Halewood Area Forum has been arranged for next week to discuss the development of our new approach to neighbourhood management and neighbourhood service delivery.

This is an opportunity for local people to shape the way the Council tackles their problems and issues, no doubt there will be some good debate!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Busy week almost over! 

Friday 17th February 2006 - Apologies to regular readers for the lack of updates recently, it has been a very busy week.

It all started with a trip to the Police Authority on Monday to discuss the police budget and precept for next year, the final decision to be taken by the Authority on Thursday.

On Tuesday we had a very lively Area Forum in Halewood with lots of concerns and complaints about the lack of progress with the regeneration of Ravencourt, it is something I intend to raise at the next Council meeting.

Wednesday's Cabinet meeting went smoothly with the Cabinet recommending a 4% increase in Council Tax for next year, to be confirmed by full Council on March 1st.

I also collected my latest leaflet from the printers Wednesday and will start delivering it this weekend around Halewood North ward while preparing for the meeting next Monday of the three Lib Dem leadership candidates in Manchester.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Police merger plans 

Sunday 12th February 2006 - As some regular readers of my diary will know, I write a regular column on local topical issues for another site www.knowsleyonline.com.

Pay a visit and you can read my views this coming week on the proposed merger of Merseyside Police with Cheshire Police.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Our Willie Won It!! 

Friday 10th February 2006 - In his victory speech Mr Rennie said: “Tonight the voters of Dunfermline and West Fife have sent a powerful message to Downing Street that will rock the foundations of both No 10 and No 11.

“Labour has taken the people for granted up and down the country for too long. It is time Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both got the message — too much spin and not enough delivery. The Lib Dems are now the major challenger to Labour in their heartland.”

Need I say more?!!!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Campaigning experience needed?? 

Thursday 9th February 2006 - The Leadership campaign has generated a lot of material for Lib Dem blog sites and some very interesting entries and debates on the merits of all three candidates.

Reading one this morning that was criticising one of the contender's efforts it struck me there may well be a good reason for some of the criticism I have read about the campaigning efforts of all three.

Under the rules for the election Party staff are not allowed to pro-actively become involved in the contest and none of our paid campaign officers are allowed to work for any of the candidates.

So the next time I hear someone criticising the excellent efforts of our Campaigns deparment I will remind them of how bad things could be................................!!

Finally good luck to Willie and our team in Dunfermline today, I'm sure many of our campaigns team will have been seconded to Scotland in recent weeks and have done a great job!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ming visits Liverpool! 

Friday 3rd February 2006 - Sir Menzies Campbell MP called into Liverpool to meet members today during a whirlwind visit to the North West region.

It was a good opportunity for some local media interviews as well while also providing an opportunity to update Ming on how well the canvassing was going on Merseyside.

Dinner with Simon Hughes MP again this evening, the second time in a week, hope he doesn't press me to hard on who I am voting for!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Canvassing going well!! 

Thursday 2nd February 2006 - Have been canvassing members and colleagues this week to get them to support Ming's campaign in the leadership election and am getting some very positive feedback.

There is a lot of support and sympathy for Simon among colleagues as well but many feel Ming is the best choice and a lot of people saying are they do not know enough about Chris Huhne.

Many are waiting until the hustings event at Manchester Town Hall on Feb 20th before they make their minds up though.

Interesting times!!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Impressed with Ming 

Monday 30th January 2006 - caught up on the press coverage and web feedback of the candidates' performance at the first official hustings event in Plymouth at the weekend.

Good performances by all three I understand, with Ming cracking a very funny joke at George Galloway's expense.

Read the full text of Ming's speech here http://www.campbellcampaign.org/2006/01/28/this-movement-has-been-fighting-for-liberalism-for-a-century-and-a-half-such-a-great-cause-is-not-going-to-be-destroyed-in-a-month-and-a-half/

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Two President's in one room! 

Sunday 29th January 2006 - Attended a very enjoyable North West regional dinner on Friday night to celebrate the success we have had over the last two years in the region and it was a great way to put the events of the last couple of weeks out of our minds and talk about more positive things.

We were joined by party President and leadership candidate Simon Hughes MP and our own Regional President Cllr Maureen Fearn, not often we have two Presidents in the same room!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh Simon!! 

Thursday 26th January 2006 - Another day another exclusive story about someone's private life. But as I wrote the other day senior elected political figures have to accept they face the glare and scrutiny of the press when they choose to stand for high office and they have to be honest when questioned about themselves however intrusive they may be.

I do not care one hoot whether Simon Hughes has had gay relationships or not, it is his business and his choice and as a single man he has not been leading a double life or deceiving a partner or family.

But why did he not admit it last week??

When he was challenged about his sexuality by the Telegraph last week Simon denied it. OK so he has now admitted that was a mistake.

However, coming clean now may be too little too late.

Simon has put himself in a position where his judgement and integrity can now be questioned and sadly for someone challenging to be the Leader of a mainstream political party that mistake - which is nothing to do with his sexuality - may totally undermine his otherwise worthy credentials for the top job.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Reflecting Britain 

Wednesday 25th January 2006 - An interesting campaign has been launched - "Reflecting Britain" - designed by a number of Liberal Democrats to coincide with the current leadership contest.

They are concerned that the party needs to better reflect 21st century Britain and want to see the leadership contenders (and eventual winner!) take their issues on board.

I think this is a very valid and important issue and one that should be raised with all three leadership candidates because as a Party we must do more to ensure our elected representatives do reflect the society in which we live. I have pledged my support to their campaign.

However, we must also be careful not to alienate good quality people by leaning too heavily towards positive discrimination, it is important we get the balance right to provide training and support for those who want to become candidates but not at the expense of those who are best suited for the job whatever their colour, race, religion or gender.

Ming visits Eden Project 

Wednesday 25th January 2006 - I was pleased to see leadership candidate Sir Menzies Campbell setting out his environmental agenda during a visit to the Eden Project.

Ming is right to highlight environmental issues as a key concern during this leadership debate, the Lib Dems have been the leading political party out of the main three to address these concerns and it gives us a distinctive difference.

If you want to read more about what Ming had to say visit his campaign web site at http://www.campbellcampaign.org/

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Shocked and stunned - more *^%$ hits the fan!! 

Sunday 22nd January 2006 - I was shocked and stunned to learn of Mark Oaten's resignation as Home Affairs spokesman last night.

Let's be clear from the outset I have no issue whatsoever with anyone's sexuality or what they do in their private lives, I never will have and I agree with the many views I have read this morning regarding people's private lives.

However, a high profile public figure with such a prominent front bench brief - and until only 72 hrs ago a contender in the leadership contest - has to recognise that their own judgement and integrity will always be under intense media's scrutiny.

The timing is unfortunate to say the least given other recent events and the Party's image will suffer further from these revelations, it is vital we do not loose sight of the bigger picture though.

But that is now an issue for Mark and his family to deal with out of the media's glare and I hope they are now given the privacy they clearly need to deal with this matter in their own time.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Leadership gossip!! 

Saturday 21st January 2006 - I had to go to London today for the first meeting of the Lib Dems English Council Executive (ECE) of the new year and needless to say much of the general chit chat between the "official" business centred on the Leadership contest.

People appeared to be generally guarded about who they were backing, not surprising given the number of senior Party officers present, but I had a very embarrassing moment when my mobile went off during the meeting when Saj Karim MEP called me to say he had decided to confirm publicly he was backing Ming!!

I was delighted to hear that news, having had supper with Saj and his wife Zahida at their house only two days ago, spending most of the evening debating the merits of the candidates and encouraging Saj to get on board sooner rather than later!!

Feels like the momentum is swinging in Ming's favour!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Day three - still determined to quit! 

Thursday 19th January 2006 - The start of my third day in my effort to quit smoking, going well so far but I have to admit I have had to have the odd puff over the last couple of days.

But after 30 years of smoking 40 a day I guess stopping overnight was always going to be extremely difficult, I ahve cut down to almost a quarter of that in my first 2 days which is quite a significant step forward.

My aim is to stop having any cigarettes at all within 7 days and am confident I can reach that target, messages of support always welcome!!!!

Thanks to those who have already sent comments.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

That's it - I quit!! 

Tuesday 17th January 2006 - After a visit to the local pharmacy yesterday for some advice on quitting smoking I was given a prescription for NiQuitin patches and have now started my determined fight to quit smoking. Today is the first day!!

I will keep you posted on my progress!!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ming the front web runner? 

Monday 16th January 2006 - I have just visited the campaign web site of Sir Menzies Campbell which so far as I can tell is the only one of the four candidates' sites up and running right now.

In keeping with his Olympic sprint credentials it looks like Ming has once again got off to a flying start!!

Looking forward to see what the others look like when they go live and to read what they have to say; whatever your views about this contest we have four very capable candidates who will ensure the debate internally is lively and thought provoking.

But I am still backing Ming to win the race, even if it is a marathon and not a sprint!!

Link to the site http://www.campbellcampaign.org/

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Big Bother in the House!! 

Thursday 12th January 2006 - No I am not talking about Gorgeous George and the Big Brother escapades, although I can forgive you for thinking that was the topic of this posting!!

But events yesterday in the House of Commons and the way the other two parties turned Prime Minister's Question Time into an opportunity to have a knock about at the Lib Dems expense!!

Yes actually I thought it was very funny and the PM gave a good performance, but a lot of water has still to pass under the bridge before the outcome of the Leadership contest is known and no doubt it is going ot be an interesting contest to say the least!!

But I am 100% behind Sir Menzies Campbell and I am not in the habit of backing anyone who comes second!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Let the contest begin 

Monday 9th January 2006 - What an incredible start to the new year this has been already!

When I resolved to try and maintain my blog more regularly as the fireworks exploded above my head at midnight on 31st December I had no idea that another fuse was about to be lit that would result in the resignation on Saturday of Lib Dem Leader Charles Kennedy.

Whatever your views abut his leadership style or his personal problems, there can be no doubting in my mind that Charles was a terrific leader of our Party whose legacy is best represented by the record number of MP's we now have in Parliament.

Personally I will be backing Sir Ming Campbell to become the new Leader but it is right we have a contest and Ming is given the backing of the membership as a whole and I suspect both Simon Hughes and Mark Oaten will join the race. I wish them both good luck and I know whatever the outcome the Party will unite around its new Leader when it is resolved.

Let the contest begin!!

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