Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Friday, 23 April 2010

Nom de plume.

So Pete Ruheman is denying that he wrote the lies in the Reading Banner printed about Daisy Benson.

Here's an internal Labour Party email that tends to suggest otherwise:

From: Roger Sym [mailto:Roger@######.#####.co.uk]
Sent: 02 April 2010 14:15
To: Roger Sym private
Subject: Actions from the EC Meeting on 1st April 2010

Dear EC Member

a) Election Base at 128 Oxford Road: People are needed to man it all day every day. Contact Harry Gregson on ###########.

b) Reading Manifesto: The final version will be prepared by Trish Thomas, Ben Zielinski, Andrew Dunn and Pete Ruhemann, then announced in a Press Release.

c) Robert Owen has been able to submit Nomination Papers for nine wards so far.

d) Pete Ruhemann is producing the next Reading Banner to go to the Borough Wards.

e) Members are urged to keep writing letters to the press.

f) Ben Zielinski will continue to negotiate for the use of the Unison franking machine.

g) If the General Election is announced on Tuesday,
- members are asked to go to 128 Oxford Road on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with the first 48-hour campaign.
- there will be a demonstration of support for Naz and Anneliese around 5-6pm in Reading Town Centre (details to be announced).

Best wishes

Reminder: Party members are requested to ensure that they will available to help on the next council elections day - Thursday 6th May 2010 - all day.

Roger Sym
R&DLP Secretary

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Alternative Lib Dem Web Chat

[Comment From MArkus: ]
Kirsten, a Labour candidate told me when he knocked on my door last night that Labour will still be in charge if there is a hung Council as the Lib Dems would support them. Why aren't you doing your own thing rather than let Labour use you. Surely your voters deserve better?

One, if you can tell me which ward that was, I would like to know. It is a "he" so that narrows it down a bit. It is a lie and I would like to see that Labour candidate pay the price for lying to the electorate in an attempt to get elected.

I can only think of two occasions in two years when the Lib Dems voted with Labour against the Conservatives. I can think of dozens of occasions when the Conservatives voted with Labour against the Lib Dems.

And not widely reported for some reason at the last Annual Council Meeting the Lib Dems voted to stop Labour running Reading. The Conservatives, everyone of them, voted for Reading to suffer another year of Labour. I think it is Tory voters who deserve better.

[Comment From sue: ]
Do you condone your fellow councillors creating websites 'Muckspreading' to slag off other councillors in Reading.

I did not create the web site when I was a councillor. It had been running for 18 months before that. There is a difference between satire and slagging and it was not created to slag off councillors. Muckspreading's only purpose was to poke fun and I made myself the butt of gags as well.

It was also enormously popular with members in all parties and numerous council officers; I won't name them to spare their blushes. Only yesterday at the FSB Hustings completely out of the blue (so to speak) a Tory supporter told me that she was a huge fan and very disappointed that it had stopped.

All party leaders and senior council officers knew that they could contact me in total confidence and that I would remove anything they felt anything was beyond the pale and there were about three items that fell into this category. However, instead of contacting me Richard Willis and Tim Harris preferred to report their complaints direct to the local Standards Board who threw them out.

I think the place is poorer for its mothballing, but it was unavoidable if I was to take over my current spokesperson role. I still retain the domain name and the site and who knows, it may return when I cease to be a councillor.

[Comment From Margaret: ]
Your concillors in Katesgrove - who seem not to like each other very much - have failed utterly to keep their promise of cleaning the ward up.

Odd that. We get attacked by some people for putting in numerous "trivial" items of casework and by others for not cleaning it up. Everything is reported as per our promises. If it isn't cleared up then you should ask the Labour run council why that is.

As for the drive-by slur... pretty poor effort. I shall be out on the doorstep again tonight (as I was last Sunday) urging everyone to vote for Gareth who, now that Labour have clearly dropped to third in the running, is the best placed candidate to beat Rob Wilson if Labour voters wake up and smell the coffee. The Tories know that which is why I expect more of this sort of rubbish from them.

The Media's Dirty Little Secret

This was broadcast in September 2008.


To fit it on You Tube, this is an edit of the full 13 minutes broadcast. You can see the full video here.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Incredible Sulk

So the Tories have changed their tack, whining on about hung Parliaments like a spoilt child.

Cameron is throwing a tantrum because he thinks that Nick Clegg has taken his toys away. Dave mate, they weren't your toys in the first place. No one had promised them to you and you have not done anything to deserve them. Your supporters should have been a little less arrogant as they waited what they believed to be their turn to govern.

Even at the height of Tory popularity... or more accurately the depths of Brown's unpopularity, they never had the backing of more than 50% of the population. What Cameron is really asking for is for the electorate to return a minority opinion with a majority mandate. It is what is rotten and stinking with the current system where a minority dictate what majority have to suffer and we laughingly call it democracy.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Same old patronage

I am not a Guardian reader... but this is one of the reasons why people are sick of Tories and Labour.
Tories Honours National Insurance Letter

Bouncing of the Walls

The funny thing right now is watching reporters squirming for an explanation of the Clegg bounce, when it’s the BBC editors who need to be hauled up in front of the cameras.

What a coincidence that the first time that Nick Clegg is given an equal platform, not filtered through either the press or the broadcast media and his words resonate with the public.

I spent yesterday canvassing and I never dodge supposedly ‘difficult’ issues for the Lib Dems like the EU or immigration because they are not difficult. I spoke to one man who brought up immigration as a reason not to vote Lib Dem. After only 2 minutes both he and his wife were definite Lib Dem voters. The British people aren’t stupid. When they hear our policies, and more importantly why we they are what they are, they like them.

But that's not news. In 2008 Newsnight did an item using a sample of "don't know" voters on their reactions to the leaders. The sample started with a “Who’s Nick” opinion for the Lib Dems. It finished with him as the most popular leader with the voters in the panel. Why? Because when they heard what he had to say, they liked it. The trouble is that it doesn't fit in with journalism by numbers that mascarades as news today so brilliantly exposed by local boy Charlie Brooker's Newswipe.

Whilst the newspaper media have an excuse being owned in the most part by either Conservative supporters or cynical opportunists like Rupert Murdoch the BBC has no excuse. Just look at the balance of Question Time panels since the start of the year, were quite often for weeks in a row there has been no Lib Dem.

The BBC's current mode du jour for adversarial reporting where you wheel in the Labour guy or gal, then the Tory guy (invariably) to attack him or her doesn’t leave room for any other opinion, yet in most cases the real facts are that by and large the Labour and Tory positions are not normally that far apart and the real opposition is the Lib Dems.

And if you want a reason why Nick did so well, for the last two years he has been travelling around the country holding open public meetings where anyone can turn up and ask any question. David Cameron on the other hand ‘appears’ to do the same, but hand-picks the audience and questions. Gordon Brown prefers to conduct Stalinist rallies. Get them off their pre-prepared briefing and Cameron and Brown flop about.

Now that they have been found out, their only tactic left is scaremongering which I expect to be the only message from them both from now on. Vote Lib Dem, you’ll get Tory, or vote Lib Dem you’ll get Labour. There is now a much simpler version for the door steps. Vote Lib Dem, you’ll get Lib Dem. As Nick Clegg said at our spring conference, we’re the only political party left in this country. The other two are just slick marketing machines. It’s just been a shame watching the BBC of all organisations implicated in a huge telemarketing scam on the British people.

Lib Dems have known for a long time that if all the people who had voted or thought of voting Lib Dem and would if they thought we could win did, we would win. It is now my job to ensure that that happens.

The other two parties just don't get it. The public are sick of the sight of them.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Mean and Clean

I've heard that Anneliese has now signed up to the no dirty campaigning pledge. Good for you. If you could also add a small apology for the Reading East Banner article, we'll call it quits.

Contrast Anneliese's actions with Naz Sarkar who told me personally on Tuesday that he was refusing to sign it. I guess as he's comfortable with the fact that his campaign rests on diseminating lies about his political opponents and not prepared to distance himself from them then he's also happy for the electorate know that and make a judgement as to the character of the person they are being asked to vote for.

For those of you who would like to know who is to blame for the Labour campaign...

The Reading Labour Manifesto is being written by Trish Thomas, Ben Zielinski, Andrew Dunn and Pete Ruhemann. I remember Trish. A real blast from the past and former Katesgrove councillor. Her most recent contribution to local politics was to call for a recount to keep Dave Sutton's defeat out of the ITV lunchtime news.

Pete Ruhemann is producing the next Reading Banner for the RBC wards. Now, does this mean that he wrote the last one? I think we should be told if he wasn't the person responsible if only to clear his name. After all a sitting councillor deliberately lying in a leaflet about another councillor would surely be bringing his office into disrepute and warrant the attention of the local Standards Board (Ah, the irony!)

Then just when you thought the Post couldn't get more pro-Labour if it tried, Labour members are also being urged to keep writing letters so expect the usual toadying from the usual suspects... except more of it. I make that no 'First Person' in it from a Lib Dem for over a year and they wonder why I think it's biased. Only judging on the evidence.

And whilst the Tories are shipping in cash by the boat load, we discover that Reading Labour are negotiating for the use of the Unison franking machine - so remember that Unison members next time you complain to other parties about your pay and conditions. It is your union that is bankrolling them and it is you who are paying for it. I hope you're planning to declare the results of those franking machine negotiations Ben?

I'm pleased that the phoney campaign is now over. I've got by far the best candidate and I only wish I had the money the others can throw at the campaign. It doesn't seem to be making much difference though if the amount of times we've been told that Reading Banners make excellent kitty litter are to go by!

It's been amazing to see just how quickly Jo Lovelock and John Ennis react once they hear that Daisy has been in contact with a voter, but then I welcome that. The most important thing, certainly from my point of view, is that problems are sorted and people are listened to. If it takes a full blown political panic for Labour to do something in places they have taken for granted for years about things they already know about and should have done already then good.

It really has come to something when the biggest attack that anyone can throw at Daisy is that she is a hard worker. Yes. the people know that already and what they are doing is contrasting it with the years of being ignored by Labour.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Oh-bees

Farewell to the brewery, the last of the three bees, or so we are told. At various times I've heard the Bs described as pick three from Bricks, Bulbs, Beer, Biscuits and with it really being a factory rather than a brewery is today really the day that brewing stopped in Reading?
Still, there goes my excuse of telling the real ale snobs that I was supporting my local brewery when I insisted on getting them to buy me lager.