Random Thoughts for 21st October 2013: An insomnia fuelled catch up

Not much blogging going on here at the moment. There are reasons for that, although we won’t go into that now, and I am wondering if I ought to change my approach. There doesn’t seem to be much focus or direction to this blog when I do post. However, (and as if to handily illustrate…

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Barnfield by-election announced

This week my good friend Martin Pantling has resigned as a councillor on Luton Borough Council which means that there will be a by-election in the Barnfield ward. Martin is resigning so he can take up a new career opportunity which is incompatible with his role on the Council. As he himself says (in a…

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Dad’s 70th Birthday MixTape

Last Monday was my Dad’s 70th birthday and on the Saturday before we organised a big party for family and friends. It was a really successful event and a big part of that success was the music. We had a live band in the shape of The Window Trees — the band my sister sings…

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Voting in the 2013 Electoral Reform Society’s Council Elections

The ballot for the elections to the governing Council of the Electoral Reform Society is currently underway and I have been deciding who to vote for. These elections take place every two years, using STV obviously, to elect a council of 15 members with responsibility for the governance and administration of the Society. The ballot…

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Who are the Lib Dem spads?

Back in July I came across this blog post from UCL’s Constitution Unit that was critical of the level of transparency around the numbers of government special advisers: ‘Return to the dark: the continuing lack of transparency over spads‘ It seems that the last official publication of the names of special advisers and their salaries…

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Good start for public health in Luton as Council looks at infant mortality

Some praise for Luton Borough Council — it looks like it has made a good start at taking on its new responsibilities for public health. Since April (2013) local authorities have had a new responsibility to provide leadership for public health in their areas, alongside some new statutory functions, with the local Director of Public…

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Thoughts on the mass membership of political parties

I’ve been thinking a fair bit lately about the role that membership of a political party plays in the democratic process. I found that this article by Andrew Rawnsley from last month helped me to crystallise my thinking, as much for what it doesn’t say as for what it does: The numbers that add up…

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Luton Council ignores calls to censor Councillors use of Twitter

Last month the local press reported that the most recent meeting of the full council of Luton Borough Council was going to debate some guidance on how Councillors should use the social networking service Twitter. This is the paper that was presented to Councillors at that meeting on the 16 July 2013: The paper is…

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Random Thoughts for 31st July 2013: hats, elephants and things to celebrate

This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts posts with links, things found on the web and other stuff that has occurred to me between 17th July 2013 and 31st July 2013: Residents offered chance to speak about town’s outdoor sports facilities Back when I was a councillor and a portfolio-holder I remember…

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Council to decide on the future of Luton’s libraries

This evening (Monday 29 July 2013) the Executive of Luton Borough Council will consider the results of the recent public consultation on the future of the town’s library service and make some decisions on what shape it will take in the future. How libraries are provided in Luton is a little bit complicated, although I…

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Book review: Pure by Andrew Miller

I think the trick to writing good historical fiction is probably to do extensive and wide ranging research, to really immerse yourself in your period, and then to forget about it all and tell a story. The last novel I reviewed here demonstrated a rich understanding of period but was at root a story of…

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Random Thoughts for July 2013: Social Liberal Forum conference, Pratap Chitnis & Boney M

In this edition we have some posts inspired by the Social Liberal Forum conference, some history, and a couple of (contrasting) music videos. My last post was a catch up of Random Thoughts for June. This post brings us up to the middle of July. This is the latest in my series of Random Thoughts…

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Random Thoughts: A catch up for the rest of June 2013

In this edition we have a birthday chimp, a couple of Russells, and a lot of Boyle. Another unscheduled gap in blogging and a fair bit to catch up on. Although we are (to my surprise) well in to July, here is a catch for June. This is the latest in my series of Random…

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My report of the June 2013 meeting of the English Council

My report of the June 2013 meeting of the Liberal Democrat’s English Council was posted on Liberal Democrat Voice this morning. This is a somewhat delayed report. I’d intended to write it up soon after the meeting but I was away visiting relatives the following Sunday and last week I was busy with work and…

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Video: Lecture by Lord O’Donnell on Building a Better Government

Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is spending some time as a visiting professor at the department of political science of University College London. This video is of his inaugural lecture in that post. Anyone interested the direction of public policy and the way that decisions are made in government will find it useful watching. In it he looks…

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