Thought for the day: "Solutions are not the answer" - Richard Nixon

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Give me an L...

This weekend saw the joy, excitement and general lib demmery that is LDYS conference. It was my first conference in two and a half years but it only took a couple of familiar friendly faces and one person asking 'so what do the Standing Orders say about...?' before I felt right back in the thick of things. Amongst the several highlights of the weekend was Saturday night's karaoke - believe me when I say that it was nothing if not highly skilled; and it was not highly skilled. No seriously folks it was in fact highly comedic, and occasionally this was even intentional. My personal top five though would have to be:

5. Being called a bloody idiot in my first ever bash at chairing a session of conference.

4. Spending most of Friday night conducting seven different counts by STV in order to produce an ordered list of eight policy motions. Hey we all gotta have hobbies...

3. Narrowly managing to break up an imminent bout of fisticuffs during a fringe on re-nationalising the railways.

2. Apparently I withdraw procedural motions in a manner reminiscent of Conrad Rusell. Pretty much the nicest thing anyone has ever said about one of my speeches...

1. The fire alarm went off the middle of a debate. I rapidly trundled down five sets of stairs only to discover that I had left my wallet but remembered my copy of the constitution. Oh it sums up so much.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


This is the week that is

The coming week sees not one but two momentous political events that will no doubt shake the world to its very core. The first is the autumn conference of the Liberal Democrat Youth and Students which is happily being held in the very town in which I am currently deployed, affording an opportunity to meet old friends, drink small sherries and do Lib Demmery, and yet not sleep on the floor of an ice-cold gym. The second event is of course Sunday's Ukrainian Presidential elections, in which as we all know Viktor Yushchenko is challeging the sitting President Viktor Yanukovych, an event horrific in the certainly that whoever wins, some imaginative columnist somewhere will use the headline 'Viktor the victor!'.

Oh, I also gather one of the colonies is electing a new leader on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Since last we spake...

Haven't written for a while for the extremely insufficient reason that I've been vaguely busy: school, university, lib demmery, finger slicery etc. etc. Of course because I've been up to so much since last I wrote I don't have enough time to cover it all, so a short summary:

1) Am on my first school placement, going pretty well, apart from my general dopiness-induced tendency to forget stuff. Pupils seem pretty good, and keen to assist me in my chosen field with helpful tips ("If you want to be a teacher Sir, be nice and be funny"). Also had a really good morning in another school with some fellow student teachers - we were teaching sixth formers about the House of Commons and had a full panto style theatre thing going (shame! resign! hear hear! etc.): when asked what they had learned that morning the consensus was 'politics isn't boring'. I didn't have the heart to tell them :-)

2) Been elected co-chair of the student staff committee for my course through the usual democratic processes (two of us said we wouldn't mind doing it, we went through a very British 'after you, no after you, no I insist' routine, and then we agreed to share it). Am also on the course steering committee: the things I find to do in my copious spare time...

3) Went to a meeting of the Bristol University Japan Society and had an even more freaky encounter than usual with the phenomenon of small worlds: the two Japanese I talked too were a) a girl who once shared a house with my Logic tutor at Oxford b) a girl whose mother was from the town I lived in Japan (that's a town of 9,000 in a country of 130 million)

4) Waded through the websites of various education establishments attempting to uncover when they elect their NUS delegates (and most of them do seem unduly anxious to keep it a secret)

5) Had my finger unstitched, and now have a fine scar to remind me not to slice myself with bottle openers

6) Went home for the weekend and returned with clean shirts and polished shoes (I'm not that lazy or dependent you understand, my Mum's maternal instincts just have a life of their own when it comes to scuffed shoes and dirty shirts)

One or two other bit and pieces, which I shall sit on for now, but will release when to do so will no longer be tempting fate...

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Surrealism: A Case Study

I can safely say that this weekend was one of the more surreal of my existence: I have on previous occasions carried bathtubs through town centers and attempted to invade whole oxford colleges, but on a scale of one to surreal this weekend was a tap-dancing dodo in a pink tutu presenting university challenge. It is after all not every weekend that you get to shake an ex-prime ministers hand and then have to go to casualty to get four stitches in it. I should perhaps explain that the two incidents weren't actually related, save that they both occurred at the same function, but nevertheless.

You see this weekend I headed back to my old college for the Balliol Society Annual Dinner. This being an Oxford college there were all the no-doubt standard offices of such occasions: tea and cakes, followed by At Home with the Master, pre-dinner drinks in the buttery and a three course dinner in full black tie. Included amongst the various dignitaries was Sir Edward Heath, who despite looking quite frail, and it being made clear in advance that he probably wouldn't speak, in fact did made a very interesting speech. His speech, and his turning up to make it, impressed me so much that I went up to his table afterwards to basically say so, at which juncture the shaking the hand of an ex-Prime minister part of the evening occurred.

Unfortunately about an hour later I was trying to open a bottle at after-dinner drinks when the &^!$%# bottle opener slipped covering the immediate vicinity in a certain amount of blood, most or all of which appeared to be my own, necessitating a swift trip with a friend to the minor injuries department of the local casualty, still by the way wearing full black tie. Three hours later I was cast oft into the night carrying said four stitches in my finger and reflecting that it had been a slightly odd evening. I should say that the staff at the casualty were excellent, and although it took a longish while to get treated the service was very professional. There was a moment of darkish bureaucracy directed comedy though when I had to provide all of my address and GP details before being asked what the problem was: call me old fashioned but they used to check how serious it was first…

The surrealism wasn't quite over though since the cabby who took us back to the city proved to have a very broad oxford accent and a desire to rant about students (which we weren't but presumably might have been), drunks (ditto) and Muslims (which we clearly weren't but still). Once Mr. Happy Happy Joy Joy had dropped us back it remained only to reflect that it had been a very strange evening indeed...


you are tiberius
Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome. His
mother wanted it more than he was. He had to
leave his wife to marry Julia, the daughter of
Augustus. He never really cared much for
politics. Later on in life, he moved to the
island of Capri, turning it into an island of
depravity and sex.

What Julio-Claudian Roman Emperor are you?
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My inner child is ten years old today

My inner child is ten years old!

The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether
I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost
in a good book, or giggling with my best
friend, I live in a world apart, one full of
adventure and wonder and other stuff adults
don't understand.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
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No animals were harmed during the making of this blog. Apart from any cats kicked by the author whilst frustrated at his inability to work out this bloody hmtl gunk.

With the exception of the author, this blog does not contain any nuts.

As a firm believer in the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, the author would like it to be known that if anything whatsoever in this blog happens to offend somebody, he is happy not only to retract it but also to deny ever having written it.

This blog can help weight loss only as part of a calorie controlled diet.

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