Friday, 30 April 2010

Another truely bad review

I'm almost tempted to watch this so-called Dr. Who DVD after reading this totalscifionline review!

It finishes by giving it a 0/10 and saying:

"If we could give it a score lower than zero, we would. "

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Can the LibDems get a fair hearing from Dimbleby?

We saw how Adam Boulton tried to bend his role as an impartial chair last week. I'm worrying by the prospect of a debate with David Dimbleby in the "impartial" role.

Dimbleby is one of the worst offenders. Every week on Question Times (when they deign to let us on), he repeatedly allows smears on the LibDems from other panelists to go unanswered. He just doesn't let us back in to respond (and this happens a lot more frequently then with the establishment parties).

Having been spoilt be the leader' debates in which, by and large, a direct smear can be directly responded to by the smearee soon after, Dimbleby's "impartial" chairing on Question Time is even more apparent.

I don't wish to repeat that Ghandi quote that we have been seeing a lot lately but he used to just dismiss/ridicule us with a quip and then move on with no right of reply but now he's come out fighting for his establishment and now actively smears us himself!

The last Question Time, was a disgrace. I was hoping to get a screen shot of the smug anger and disdain with which he laid into Ming (I love Ming but seriously he should really stop doing Question Time, we need more than affable now) over the Michael Brown donation but trawling through the episode on iPlayer is hard going! Towards the end of the programme, he also made an unchallenged claim that the LibDem manifesto was full of double counting which he didn't allow Ming to comeback on.

I hate the fact that he pretends to be this reasonable, cuddly character and is giving the big political jobs despite his feeling for us being clear to see (am I paranoid?).

Let's hope he sticks to the rules of the debate and reigns himself in!

UPDATE: Here's a screenshot:

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Another twitter election error (this time from a Tory)

The Tory deputy mayor for Bishop's Stortford, Keith Warnell, has been caught out being offensive to local six formers on twitter (wlll they ever learn!).

Mr Warnell saw two sixth formers out campaigning with the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate and tweeted:

“Bloody sixth form canvassing in town today, good grief whatever next”

Oops! The sixth formers in question saw the tweet and complained to the paper. Mr Warnell did not apologise for the tweet instead saying "he did not realise comments were public"

The Bishop's Stortford Observer has the full story.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Jo Swinson is "another observer"

Just now on Newsnight's summary of tweets from tweetminster, they had tweets from Alistair Campbell, Ed Balls and Eric Pickles and then one from "another observer" but the author's name was clearly one "joswinson".

I know that name from somewhere. Doesn't she have something to do with politics?

Argh! McAfee destroyed my computer!

Last night after my McAfee anti-virus downloaded some updates, I got a message saying my XP machine was going to reboot in 60 seconds. Being annoyed by this (as I was doing stuff) I didn't really read it and just cursed McAfee for forcing a reboot on me so issued the "shutdown /a" command (to abort the shutdown) then a minute later it happened again and all my desktop theme disappeared (start bar went grey).

(If you are looking for a solution please go the end of my ramblings.)

I thought I'd better let it reboot if it wanted to so I closed what I could.

When it rebooted there wasn't even a taskbar and not much worked (including the internet). PANIC!!

After a lot of fruitless tinkering I decided to go to bed.

This morning, with a clear head, I worked out that the system file svchost.exe was missing (this is needed for a lot of system services to run including the one that provides the pretty themes). Luckily I had another computer of the same XP version around so I took the file from there and transferred it. Success, after a reboot if all seemed to be working but then I get the reboot message again. This time I read it and it said the RPC service had stopped working so the machine was rebooting.

Much googling on the other machine let me to believe it could be a virus (but the ones referenced were "fixed" in 2003).

Much disk checking and "virus fixing" ensued.

However, I eventually found that McAfee itself was the problem.

There had released a new virus definition file which was erroneous marking the vital svchost.exe as a virus and quarantining it!

I downloaded the "SuperDAT Remediation Tool" (from the link above) and ran it in safe mode (press F8 before Windows startup) and it fixed the problem. (Then I updated McAfee) Phew! I only installed McAfee after coming to the end of my tether with Norton, I guess now I should try the free AVG which has had rave reviews (even from my Dad after being recommended to him by Sony for his new laptop) and isn't a system hog.

Just thought I'd put this up there so people might find it if their computers have stopped working (assuming they can get to the internet, not sure what I would have done had I not had a second computer handy!)

UPDATE: Arrghh! It's happening again svchost has gone! This is not over! (Clearly their "fix" doesn't work)
UPDATE": When I tried to run their standalone dfinition update in safe mode it said "Error: No qualifiying McAfee products found". I have now uninstalled McAfee and installed AVG. The world is a better place...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

David Camerwrong presents a new vision for Britain

This is quite an amusing cut-up version of a Cameron speech (warning: contains strong language):

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Populus: Con 32%, LD 31%, LAB 28

A populus poll for the Times just released shows a LibDem surge of 10%.
Initial details here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

We've even silenced Dale!

Things must be bad at Tory HQ. We've given Iain Dale writer's block!

Surely there must be some pro-Tory spin you can think of to post today, Iain?
Have CCHQ really not sent you anything usable recently?

I thought the news about Cameron pledging a nationwide school talent show was jolly exciting. Maybe try that?

BBC live coverage promotes flirting!

I've just been watching Nick at a student Q&A on the BBC election website and just for a few seconds the live feed was replaced by a cable channel running adverts for flirting services. Come on BBC, sort it out!

The Sun reports majority support for electoral reform

The thing that stood out for me (about from me worrying about whether the party has sorted out a way to neutralise our poilcy negatives - not that they're are not right but can be easily misrepresented in one line - see The Sun!) in this Sun article bashing us for our liberal policies is that their poll reported that 54% supported our policy to bring in STV! Time to shout it proud! Electoral reform is no longer a minority subject!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Get your LibDem election posters here

Ever since I blogging about the possibility of Esther Rantzen stealing our posters, I have had a trickle of people alighting on that post after searching for a place to get LibDem posters. Well, LibDemVoice have sailed to the rescue and let it be known that you can download the pdf of a LibDem window poster here and print it out yourself. Go on, stand proud amongst your neighbours!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Cameron pledges school talent show - winner gets to record a song with Gary Barlow

No really!! I'm not making this up. This isn't some spoof story. I'll be very pleased for the BBC to use it's normal fawning Tory slot on the news to extensively cover this initiative.

A warning to us all

A man in Stroud has been jailed for shouting at political programmes on the TV.

The man explained that shows like the BBC's Question Time made him angry!

The BBC has the story here.

We need to start talking about the Tax Switch again

I'm not sure at what point we stopped talking about our "Tax Switch" and it became focused on the "Tax Cut" element but we need to go back to the switch.

I think the "A £17bn tax cut? That's an awful lot of money and in a recession...moving on" attack first used and honed by the BBC on their News after our manifesto launch(what that impartial news organisation, should they be trying to mislead? Yeah, you would have thought!) and now used by Cameron during the leader's debate is, I fear, an effective one.

Also, it doesn't help responding to it with our costed list if they're only going to let you mention one thing before cutting you off and then claim that it silly to think you can raise all that money from that one thing.

In this situation all you can do is don't do a waffle-filled introduction (Nick!) and just list the measures as fast as you can.

However if we start referring to it again as a £17bn tax switch (which will cut tax for the lowest earners...) then you've already got the idea of how it will be afforded in the public mind (even saying revenue-neutral which we used to say will help).

We mustn't let it be framed in tax cut...funding terms as the traps outlined above are difficult to escape in this soundbite culture.

UPDATE: One further thought, if we start talking about the switch in its entirety this also helps to neutralise that rubbish Fabian argument about the only most of the "cut" going to those who are not poor.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

How will The Sun spin this?

The poll commissioned specially for the Sun has 51% saying that Nick won. How are they going to spin that?

LibDem's pull wool over voters' eyes?
Style over substance win for LibDems?

Should be interesting...

UPDATE: They went for "Cameron voted 'Best PM' in Sun poll"! Gotta love 'em!

Mark Prisk: The Hertfordshire Tory MP who spends his time campaigning in Cornwall

Mark Prisk is the Conservative MP for Hertford & Stortford (a currently safe seat). He is a "a born and bred Cornishman" (in his own words). Indeed, before becoming MP for a Hertfordshire seat he tried and failed to win a seat in Cornwall in 1997.

Fortunately for Mr Prisk, all the seats in Cornwall are held by the Liberal Democrats and consequently there are no Conservative MPs. So to boost their campaigning presence, David Cameron made Mr Prisk "Shadow Minister for Cornwall" in 2007 (somebody set up a local PriskWatch site then but it doesn't seem to have been updated since). This meant he could spend a lot of his time in his beloved Cornwall.

Unfortunately for Mr. Prisk, there was and is no Minister for Cornwall to shadow and this got him in to trouble when it turned out that he had been claiming expenses from the taxpayer for his jaunts to Cornwall for his "fictional minister" non-job. He was reprimanded by the speaker (but typically for our useless system there were no sanctions).

Recently, Cameron announced that under a Conservative government, that he would create a permanent Minister for Cornwall. Mark Prisk has refused to rule out becoming that Minister in response to a letter in the local paper from the LibDem candidate Andrew Lewin. So, it looks like the people of Hertford & Stortford can look forward to another 5 years of neglect!

To add insult to injury to the people of his Hertfordshire constituency, they can catch him on how he's doing occasionally via reports from Cornwall on the TV news. This was on Channel 4 yesterday:

For those of you you don't want to watch the full report, here is a screenshot of him enjoying campaigning in Cornwall:

Whether the local LibDem, Andrew Lewin (who was "born & bred" in the constituency) can make a significant dent in his majority remains to be seen. (Labour seem to have given up)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Excited about the manifesto launch

Now the Labservatives have launch their two manifestos which seem be high on waffle and gimmickry but low on actual policies, I'm now quite looking forward to the launch of our policy-centric and fully costed manifesto.

Unless, the media really do go all out to mislead (they have form) I can't see how this won't be good for us.

The preview already released shows how we are highlighting our 4 big changes and keeping things simple and straightforward. Unfotunatelty we still have to use that awful slogan and Nick has to, yet again, shoehorn it into his introduction but you can't have everything...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Same "ordinary member of the public" used in Conservative broadcasts 6 months apart

Can you give me your opinion on this? Are these women the same person?

First in this Conservative broadcast from November 2009 (at 1:02):

And second in tonight's election broadcast (starting at 10 seconds in):

she even has the same lovely blue coat (shown at 1:01 in tonights broadcast).

In the first video she is at a CameronDirect event, an ordinary member of the public explaining why she is considering voting Conservative (Brown hasn't done very well, looking for a change) and in tonight's broadcast she has made the decision to go blue.

Now this could be a great Tory success story of an undecided who has been persuaded by Cameron's charisma to come into the fold or maybe she wasn't an ordinary member of the public (with a nice blue coat) initially at all! Or maybe she isn't the same women at all and it's just my eyes...

A election broadcast with absolutely no policies

I just watched the Conservative election broadcast on BBC2 to coincide with their manifesto launch.

Is it just me or did it contain no policies whatsoever? Extraordinary!

Has Esther been stealing LibDem posters?

Having been directed to this ITV News report from Strange Thoughts, I was intrigued to to see the final shot of the film which was of Esther putting up one of her own campaign posters in a shop window. However in the pile of her posters behind her was clearly a Liberal Democrat poster for our candidate there, Qurban Hussain!

 Something fishy?

Has Esther been "liberating" LibDem posters?
To be fair, it is also possible that this is an example of TV fakery and they probably found a shop window which already has a LibDem poster in but took it down as it would have ruined the story they were trying to tell. But did they put it back? Or was it just there in the middle of Esther's pile?

Enquiring minds need to know!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Phew! The boy done well

After my initial concerns, worried old Hector that I am, I am feeling mightily relieved and not a little impressed that Nick acquitted himself well in the face of Paxo's grilling.

My fears about Paxman's general approach were borne out, he was obviously trying to pigeon hole and re-enforce establishment lies with his general "so, you are in favour of murdering the first-born, moving on..." tricks.

I think Nick generally coped with these well but I would have appreciated greater push back on the "LibDem MPs saying different things in different part of the country" lie that he was trying to make stick. Nick did well on the hospital version of this but with the schools version, after answering well, he petered out a bit when Paxman again tried to leave the accusation hanging there. (Disclaimer: This is my recollection, maybe he was better!).

However I think we really need to push back hard on the common myths peddled by our opponents as if these are heard enough coming from supposed "impartial" (ha!) journalists there will have more staying power in the public mind (obviously that is the establishment strategy and always has been, nothing new in that).

Having said all that and considering the interviewer I'd give Nick a A-.

Now we wait to see if the other party leaders agree to a Paxman grilling and if they do, whether it is a grilling and whether it will be up against Coronation Street! (If they do refuse do the BBC have to give them equal time elsewhere?)

I'm nervous about the Paxman interview

Well, I shall be watching the 30 minute Paxman interview of Nick Clegg on BBC1 tonight at 8:30pm but I approach it with trepidation.

Whilst I have confidence in Nick, Paxman is a scary prospect. Firstly his recent treatment of LibDems has been utterly appalling which has been noticed by other bloggers (can't find the links sorry) but also noticed by my aunt who randomly compained of his sneering at LibDems on the phone just now!

Also, a "gaffe" at the beginning of the campaign could haunt our campaign throughout. Now I'm not saying that Nick will make one but it has been the modus operandi of BBC political interviewers on radio and TV for a while now, not to get information out of a politician or to inform but to induce some "gaffe", or some words they can twist into one that they can then run in the next set of headlines. Depressingly this seems to define success for a political interview these days (Should the BBC be doing this I wonder?).

Anyway, I'm probably worrying about nothing...fingers crossed, touch wood...

Shock super-fast broadband for all pledge in Labour Manifesto

The Labour Manifesto contains a pledge to give every household in the country a broadband speed of at least 16.8 megabits! Unfortunately this is just the result of those tech-savvy Labourites confusing megabits with megabytes. The Register has the full story.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

They don't like it up 'em - Vince has the Tories on the run

Having just read this article on LibDemVoice about the usual Tory mouthpiece suspects (I'm looking at you Dale) crowing over Vince Cable's supposed bad performance on the politics show, I also followed the link to the iPlayer with trepidation. However what I found was Vince being reasonable and coping in a calm way with Jon Sopel's constant interruptions and agenda (is this really what the BBC should be doing?) and coming over well.

Interestingly, Vince's very reasonableness was forcing Sopel to stay his interruptions slightly as they now made him look bad (lesson in how to deal with aggressive interviewers I think - others take note!)

Party Mouthpiece Iain Dale also posted about a Today interview with Vince in a similar vein:

"It was good to hear Justin Webb give him a hard time on Today just now. About time someone did."

I again (like a true obsessive - maybe this is how football fans feel?) dug out the link to the interview and listened with trepidation only to hear Vince coming across well as per.

Yes, this may be my partisan bias affecting my judgement but I am well used to and prepared to hear LibDem representatives screwing up (IMHO!) and this was not happening.

Whilst reading Dale and their ilk during election periods is rather pointless if you are in pursuit of any sensible insight (of which he can be capable occasionally), it is very good (and amusing) in giving you a quick real-time guide as to what has the Tories wind up. And I can tell you Vince clearly has!

Anecdotally, they are right to be worried as I and others have noticed that he plays well on the doorstep.

They can't abide the cold steel!

That awful slogan

I feel a bit churlish bringing this up now as we seem to have been playing a blinder recently but I'm still bugged by THAT slogan.

When I first got the email two months ago from the Director of Election Communications revealing the new slogan and branding I though it was some kind of joke. And when we were asked to use it as "widely as possible in campaign material and elsewhere", my immediate response was "not if I've got anything to do with it". I had a look around LibDemBlogs but didn't see the anger/disappointment I expected to see. Indeed some seemed to actively like it. (Update: But I did find it later in the comments of this LDV piece)

My opinion on the subject hasn't mellowed since. It's just awful and worse, it undermines our excellent labservative campaign (I'm waiting for the "Don't vote LibDem, they'll only change things" poster!). It's more difficult to complain that the other two are the same and we are different when we have an equally vacuous slogan. It looks like the branding on a cereal box!

 Our New Slogan

A Cereal Box

Having said that every other campaign thought I was too lazy to commit to a blogpost seems to have been implemented as if by magic, so it looks like this may have been an early misstep (like having no party insignia behind Nick's conference speech in the close-ups used on the news coverage or making a three minute video for Channel 4 about our tax policy without mentioning our tax policy!) but it's a shame we're stuck with it as I can feel the votes floating away every time we have to use it. Despite Mark Pack's twitter protestations (was the good Dr. involved in creating this duck-billed platypus of a slogan?), by far the weakest parts of Nick's otherwise excellent leader's speech at conference were where he tried to shoehorn in this ungainly and deeply unconvincing slogan.

Glad to finally get that off my chest! Now for some positive post-Easter break blogging...