Category Archives: Something for the Weekend

Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green, Ruby Wax and others talk about their mental health issues

Over the years, here at Liberal Democrat Voice, we have strongly publicised Time to Talk day. On the same theme, the charity campaign Heads Together are publishing a series of videos on YouTube where famous and not famous people talk about their mental health issues.

It really is good to see role models opening up about their problems. Below, you’ll find three of the videos. In the top one, Stephen Manderson (aka Professor Green) and Freddie Flintoff talk. Next down, Ruby Wax talks with her husband, TV producer Ed Bye.

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A longer read for the weekend: Tributes to Lord Eric Avebury

Eric Reginald Lubbock, Fourth Baron Avebury, died last month aged 87. The House of Lords held a memorial meeting for Lord Avebury last Tuesday, 22nd March. Here are some recollections of the meeting, and a personal note, from Keith Porteous Wood, who was Lord Avebury’s honorary researcher the last 15 years. For his role over the abolition of the blasphemy law, Eric was co-awarded Secularist of the Year by the National Secular Society of which he was an Honorary Associate, and of which Keith Porteous Wood is Executive Director.

Relatives, parliamentarians, friends and other admirers of Lord Avebury gathered to pay their respects at a meeting led by Baroness Hussein-Ece. The meeting was convened at the request of Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, chairperson of International Imam Hussain Council of which Eric was a patron and trustee. The family will be arranging a memorial meeting on 30 June.

Eric’s eldest son, Lyulph, now the fifth Baron, made clear that he had not followed the family tradition of being a politician. Six of the eight past family members who had been had been parliamentarians were Liberal or LibDem.

John William, Eric’s youngest son, spoke movingly of his Father and gave a spectacularly long list of Eric’s many campaigns, but even this proved incomplete as speaker after speaker added yet another worthy feat.

My strongest impression of the meeting was the number of people who said that Eric had made them feel “really special”. One who said this amused everyone by saying that she had almost felt jealous on discovering how many other people she had to share this with.

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Something for the weekend: the great and glorious Lib Dem game of “what if?”

At the Glasgow conference in October 2014, there was something of an organisational snafu surrounding the BOTYs (Liberal Democrat Voice Blogs of the Year) awards ceremony. At the start of the session, the actual awards themselves, were not in the conference room where they needed to be. They were in a room upstairs in the hotel. The snag was that the room in question was locked. And the only person who we knew had a key was inside the room sleeping the sleep of the righteous – no doubt smilingly cuddling up to all our shiny BOTYs.

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Opinion: I disagree with you. You must be stupid, incompetent or a liar…

I have to admit that, after nearly two years of being involved with Liberal Democrat Voice, I find the level of ‘debate’ a bit disheartening sometimes. Personal attack, accusations of the basest of motives on the part of the people with whom an individual disagrees, avowed certainty based on wilfully partial and selective use of the available data, all of these tend to make for a rather depressing window on what is said to represent political debate in this country. Add to that the presumption of motive on behalf of someone who is unknown to the accuser other than via …

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Something for the Weekend: Hail to the Chief

Tuesday sees the culmination of the latest US presidential election. With three days until polling day, Something for the Weekend returns for a one-off video – yes, I did say a video.

The sound you can hear at the beginning is hail – much better to be inside spouting a load of old nonsense for you than being pelted with ice. So make yourself a cup of tea and watch away…

Watch the featured videos in full:

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Something for the Weekend: The wheels on the bus

As my roast cooks away in the oven, there’s just time for a quick Something for the Weekend. OK, I’ll probably do this blog post and then start cooking, but it sounded better the other way. Anyway, enough culinary procrastination. Let’s see what this week’s mélange has for us.

Boris wants your lack of expertise

Boris Johnson’s stock is falling, but you can help him out by submitting your design for the new Routemaster bus. This, you’ll remember, is Boris’s popular but expensive and largely pointless project to turn the clock back to the imaginary golden age of the 1950s.

Through the meduim of an exciting-looking website, Mayor Boris invites you to submit your “fun ideas for a future bus design”. In case you’re worried that you know nothing about the subject, the site is ready to reassure you: “No expertise required!”

Good fun though a competition sounds, with a top prize of £25,000 (of taxpayers’ money?), I can’t help wondering if actually getting someone with some expertise might have been a better long-term plan.

In case any of you are thinking of entering, I should warn you that you’ll be up against some stiff competition from yours truly:
Routemaster design
I’m afraid Tfl can’t return your drawings.

Meanwhile, in the London Assembly…

Apologies to readers everywhere else, but it’s not time to leave London just yet.

Hampstead and Kilburn PPC Ed Fordham went along this week to see Assembly members put questions on crime and policing to Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse. With the issue of the estates strategy – and the closure of Hampstead police station – on the agenda, Ed was shocked to see his Assembly Member Brian Coleman (he of the bling and the expenses) leave the room when this was discussed.

As a picture paints a thousand words, Ed captured the moment by photographing Mr Coleman’s empty chair. You can see the photos and read more on his blog.

In the news

The White House has apologised for inadvertently briefing the press that Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is a political “amateur”, “hated by many” and “one of the most controversial leaders” of a country “known for governmental corruption and vice”.


Something for the Weekend: A day in the life

Afternoon. Welcome to this week’s collection of odds and sods from the twin worlds of Politics and Not-Politics. Just step this way…

If you see Doug, tell him

Labour MP Doug Henderson wants your views – if you’re one of his constituents in Newcastle North.

Doug Henderson MP - Tell Doug !

His household survey is a mix of leading questions (“Should tougher penalties be imposed on those who deal in drugs, blighting our communities and inflicting misery on individuals?”) and absent proofreading (I know, I can talk).

The pièce de resistance, though, is question 6, which I present for your delectation:

Voting intention question

Meanwhile, in Tyne Bridge…

Doug’s local Labour colleague David Clelland, the MP for Tyne Bridge, also takes an unorthodox approach to dealing with his constituents’ voting intentions.

In a textbook example of the drawbacks of the safe seats producted by the first-past-the-post electoral system, 23-year MP Mr Clelland responded to criticism from a constituent thus:

I accept your offer not to vote for me again I do not want your vote so you can stick wherever best pleases you.

The constituent in question, IT salesman Gary Scott (who was around four years old when David Clelland became an MP), had written a letter to Mr Clelland complaining that he was supporting an out-of-touch and authoritarian government.

You can read the full exchange on Paul Walter’s blog.

Book him, Dannie

Wales’s culture minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas took a leaf out of Terry Wogan’s book this week when he announced the wrong winner of the Wales Book of the Year award – before announcing the correct winner, 84-year-old writer and poet Dannie Abse, for his memoir The Presence.

Another gong for Vince

While we’re on the subject of awards, congratulations to our Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader Vince Cable who was recognised again this week for his sterling work.


Something for the Weekend: Shame, Shame, Shame

It’s taken all day for me to get over last night’s Doctor Who cliffhanger. So now that’s done, let’s get on with this.

Beanz Meanz Bigotz

Heinz have got themselves lots of free publicity this week by first releasing and then withdrawing this ad:

So the controversy surrounds the footage of a man kissing a man – or, rather, a man kissing a woman played by another man. 207 outraged idiots complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, under the impression that if their kids saw the ad they’d have to explain homosexuality to them. Perhaps they should ask their kids to explain the ad to them as they’d clearly missed the point.

Heinz now face the embarrassment (aka more publicity) of more people complaining about their pulling of the ad than complained about it in the first place. In their attempt to avoid losing business from a minority of vocal homophobes, the food giant risks losing the custom of, well, people with brains.

Hurrah for the tenacious Nick Clegg for writing to Heinz thusly:

The decision to withdraw it has not only offended many gay, lesbian, transgender – and straight – people, it also represents a backward step in attempts to combat homophobia in Britain today, not to mention a collective loss of humour.

I am asking you to reverse this decision and reinstate the advert.

(The Daily Mash reports: Television to be controlled by 200 latent homosexuals)

They should have been more discreet

Kissing on TV is, of course, a very good way for gay men to draw attention to themselves – so exactly the kind of thing the Home Secretary helpfully recommends to those in Iran.

Responding to a letter from our own Lord Roberts of Llandudno, who has called for a moratorium on deportations to Iran for all who fear execution, Jacqui Smith dismissed the idea that sexuality alone was an issue:

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Something for the Weekend: Here is the news

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Something for the Weekend. Allons-y…

There’ll be bluebirds over…

Tory MEP Den Dover has been back in the news again amid claims that he bought two BMWs using parliamentary expenses. He’d already been accused of channelling public money into a company run by his wife and daughter. Fellow Conservative MEP Giles Chichester has also been accused of paying hundreds of thousands of pounds of expenses to a family business.

Most important in this, of course, is that we get more of Den Dover in the news and the chance to hear his great name over and over again.

In the news

Following on from last week’s news about top secret documents being left on a train, annoying minister Hazel Blears has had a computer containing “restricted government information” stolen from her constituency office.

A United airline flight from Salt Lake City to Denver was cancelled after the pilot was left too upset to fly by an argument about his hat.


Something for the Weekend: The Sun Goes Down

It’s been an exciting week in the Westminster Village, with MPs pulled this way and that (it was the annual Commons-Lords tug of war) and a shocking House of Commons resignation (Andrea Simmons has stood down after fifty-six years as chair of the Palace of Westminster Parking Regulations Committee). Oh, and Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis (a man from the Paddy Ashdown school of BEING ABLE TO KILL YOU WITH ONE FINGER) has announced he’s going to fight a by-election in his own seat on the issue of 42-day detention without charge. So welcome to Something for the Weekend’s 42-Day Seaside Special.

The answer to the ultimate question of pre-charge detention

Members of Parliament voted this week to give police the right to lock up terrorist suspects for up to six weeks. There was a distinct smell of pork barrel politics in the air as the nine Democratic Unionist Party MPs voted with Government – turning a potential loss by nine votes in a majority of nine for Gordon Brown. The DUP insisted they voted on principle, but it’s not entirely clear which principle.

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Something for the Weekend: UK Visa Versa

Despite the excitement of a power cut in this bit of south London earlier on, this week’s Something for the Weekend is here. Right here. Just carry on reading from here.

We’re all going on a summer weekend of enforced Britishness

Labour Minister Liam Byrne put his foot in it with the Scots this week, being forced to backtrack before he’d even made the speech he was promoting.

He had floated the idea of turning the August Bank Holiday into the festival of Britishness Fife MP Gordon Brown’s been so keen on – and what could be more Labour than attempting to instil patriotism through centrally-dictated celebration.

But it was quickly pointed out that the August Bank Holiday in England and Wales is at the end of the month while Scotland’s is at the beginning of the month. (The BBC’s clumsy turn of phrase: “the August holiday is on a different date in Scotland to what it is in England and Wales.”)

According to the Beeb, the Minister said he had just been doing what Labour Ministers seem to spend much of their time on: trying to “get the debate started”. And according to theguardian, he believed that a weekend of Britishness would “help frame the progressive case for controlled immigration” – something to which the British population would no doubt love to dedicate a weekend.

MP cautioned for climbing over van

Liam Byrne’s West Midlands Labour colleague Rob Marris, the MP for Wolverhampton South West, has also been in the news this week.

Readers of Colin Ross’s site may recall that Mr Marris – Colin’s MP – had been arrested in April and charged with causing criminal damage after climbing over the bonnet of a parked van to get to a bus.

Mr Marris has now admitted the offence and accepted a conditional caution. My favourite quote is from the CPS’s district prosecutor: “The van was not parked to his liking.”

I’m opening… I’m closing…

Readers up-to-date with all the latest in exciting internet technology and stuff like that will probably already be avid users of Twitter. For those that aren’t, here’s something to make you change your mind: Twitter updates from Tower Bridge.

The sick…

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd easily wins headline of the week with Vomiting Australian PM blames pie.

His pale appearance at a conference in Sydney last month prompted reports that he might have cardiac trouble.

He said he had been hit by a vomiting bug after watching a rugby match, and blamed a pie he ate.

On Friday, he told Sydney’s Nova Radio: “We’ve all had to drive the porcelain bus at some stage.”

…and the dead

The inventor of the Pringles tube, Dr Fredric J. Baur, has died aged 89. I promise no contrivances about popping and stopping.

His ashes have been buried, at his request, in a Pringles tube – his “proudest accomplishment”.

Quote of the week

From an episode of The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom about geeks (which, coincidentally, I enjoy): “1234 is not a secure password!”

If only someone had told Grant Shapps.

Blogging the latest by-election

If you’ve not already seen it, I recommend taking a look at the Henley by-election blog which, in a by-election first, the Acting Returning Officer David Buckle and his team are using to explain their vital role in the election and their work in the run up to polling day on June 26th.

In the latest instalment, the writ has arrived.

Surely no-one involved in politics could be geeky?

Speaking of geeks and of blogs, as we were, Liberal Democrat Voice’s own Mark Pack, finding he had some time on his hands, has joined the team of bloggers at PoliGeeks. Mark’s first post is here.

CCTV is everywhere

Courtesy of Popbitch comes perhaps the least appropriate place in Barcelona for a CCTV camera:
CCTV camera sign in Pl. George Orwell

Facebook groups of the week

Fans of Jo Grimond may like to join The Jo Grimond Appeciation Society

BBC Parliament General Election Specials – Weekends Only Please! is campaigning for free wombats at rural Tesco Metros. No, hang on, it’s for General Election specials on BBC Parliament to be shown only at weekends.

And if you’re cynical about political Facebook groups, there’s always Ill-thought out, ill-informed Facebook protest that will achieve nothing.

Coming up

Prime Minister’s Questions is on Wednesday at noon. Our representative on Question Time on BBC One on Thursday is Shirley Williams.

And finally

To play us out, a celebration of British/Englishness (he blurs the distinction) from American nerdcore rap artist MC Lars. I warn you now the sound quality isn’t great. But it is the only song I know that mentions Guildford.

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Something for the Weekend: Town Called Malice

The Crewe and Nantwich by-election has been and gone but there are still stories to tell. And here they are (thanks again to Tim Harkchild), with assorted other bumpf in your mostly-weekly Something for the Weekend.

The by-election’s been and gone
But thoughts of it still linger
A dog behind a letterbox
Has anyone seen my finger?

Saying different things in different places

The Chancellor borrowed £2.7 billion on behalf of the UK as he attempted to convince the people of Crewe and Nantwich to vote Labour. While in London the Government was denying that this was a “by-election bribe”, the party’s own leaflets in Crewe proclaimed candidate Tamsin Dunwoody’s role in securing the tax tweak.

She was challenged on Radio Stoke by someone not impressed by claims that she’d rung up Alistair Darling and talked him into the fiscal fudging. Her response? “You’re only jealous.”


Here’s a tip, courtesy of Labour’s campaign. If you’re putting a web address on thousands of pieces of literature, on flyers, on posters and on stakeboards across the constituency, it’s only sensible to check that it’s actually correct.

Take a look:
Labour stakeboard in Crewe

Unfortunately, – without the “www.” at the beginning – is not a live website. Bonus points to Labour for going through the entire campaign without noticing.

It’s nice to be recognised

An MP visiting Crewe and Nantwich to support the campaign was recognised in the street by a local voter. The voter told the MP – who shall remain nameless – that his photograph had been in the picture round of the pub quiz he had taken part in a few days earlier.

“I’m afraid I didn’t know who you were,” the MP was told. “Actually, I still don’t. Sorry.”

One person who would expect to be recognised – beyond Edward Timpson and Elizabeth Shenton, whose faces were on stakeboards across the borough – was Miss Great Britain, the “sexy not sleazy” candidate, flaunting her manifesto on the front cover of Zoo (so I’m told). But despite hoping to poll well (fnarr fnarr), she got roughly half as many votes as the Monster Raving Loony candidate.

Labour activists in the constituency may have preferred not to be recognised. The story goes that a group of comrades from Merseyside were actually chased out of a housing estate by angry residents.

The final word on the by-election comes from Flying Rodent:

“Today marks the beginning of the end for New Labour,” Mr Cameron said. “Britain is tired of Labour’s faceless, bureaucratic, authoritarian government, and the people are recognising the Conservatives’ brand of faceless, bureaucratic authoritarianism as the way forward.”

Farewell Nantwich sign

Meanwhile, in other news…

A tinplate image for Margaret Thatcher has sparked a row after it was installed in the Senedd building in Cardiff. (My south Wales Howellses used to work the tin mines, incidentally.)

Never quite prying enough into our lives to satisfy itself, the Government now wants to know about every phone call we make and email we send. At this rate, we’ll soon have to log each time we speak to a neighbour. If you like the idea of the Government spying on us, I recommend you get yourself a copy of The Lives of Others asap.

Send him a cheque, mate

Earlier today, Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black took on former world chess champion Boris Spassky to raise money for Childline. Spassky simultanously played against 19 other opponents, including comedian Dom Joly.

Peter reports that he lasted 23 moves. You can reward him by helping him reach his fundraising target.

This week’s telefantasy news

Russell Tiberius Davies is leaving Doctor Who to be succeeded for the 2010 series by the marvellous Steven Moffat, who said:

“I applied before but I got knocked back ‘cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.”

If you missed last night’s smashing trailer for the remainder of Doctor Who series 4, here’s YouTube to the rescue:


Something for the Weekend: We didn’t start the fire

With polling day in the parliamentary by-election just five days away, there’s an extra Crewe and Nantwich slant to this weekend’s collection of random stuff (with thanks to Tim Harkchild for emailing from Crewe). So if you’re sitting comfortably, we’ll begin.

Leaders on the line

Nick Clegg and David Cameron both returned to Crewe on Wednesday, and both were affected by train problems. It was Nick, though, who was doing a phone-in on Radio Stoke when this was mentioned and quickly pointed out that it was Cameron’s party that privatised the railways.

DC himself had been on Radio Stoke a few days earlier, when he referred to the by-election in “Crewe and Nuneaton”. Well done, Dave.


The Lib Dems are taking the by-election very seriously, of course, so a mass text message from Nick went out to members encouraging us to head to Crewe to help Elizabeth Shenton’s campaign. At least one recipient didn’t need the encouragement: Elizabeth was out campaigning with Nick himself when the text message arrived on her phone.

Public Whip gets cracking

The Public Whip, a site set up to track parliamentary voting records, is using these data to help undecided voters choose who to back in the by-election. It’s a little flawed – it makes a big deal about issues of interest to the geeks behind the site, like ID cards, the right to protest near Parliament and Freedom of Information while omitting to ask about healthcare and schools – but it’s worth having a go. It told me I was closest to the Liberal Democrats, surprisingly.

On the fringe

Of course, it’s not just the big three parties fighting it out in Crewe and Nantwich. Our old friends then English Democrats are here, with another video to delight and entertain:


Something for the Weekend: Ticket to ride

We’re back after the parliamentary recess and positively brimming with news, so let’s jump right in.

Tony Blair, Fare Dodger

Former president Tony Blair has been caught on the Heathrow Express without a ticket. He was, as the First Post puts it, “doing a Queen” and travelling with no cash or cards, but had forgotten the £24.50 pocket ticket money that an aide had given him.

Heathrow Express said that even former prime ministers – including Blair, who opened the £550m Heathrow Express service in 1998 – must pay for the train service. “Our policy is that everyone pays regardless of who they are.”

So, of course, the ticket inspector waived the fare and let the cash-strapped former PM travel for free.


David Cameron whipped out one of the most awful puns ever committed to Hansard this week.

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Something for the Weekend: Country House

There’s snow outside and protesters on the streets, which must mean that it’s time for Something for the Weekend. I have a cold, so apologies for any typos.

Carrying the Something for the Weekend torch today: baggage handlers; overage drinkers; the Egg McMuffin man; taxpayers’ money; and more!

» Good Week

It’s been a good week for me. From the beginning of the new financial year, which is today, I get a small income tax cut. Thanks, Gordon. The biggest winners, though, are those earning around £35k.

It’s been a less good week for those earning under around £18,000, who will see the amount of tax they pay go up in order to fund the tax cuts of people who earn much more. See, Labour do believe in redistribution – just not in the traditional direction…

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Something for the Weekend: On and on and on

Dreary weather outside: check. Nice cup of tea and some biscuits: check. ABBA: The Definitive Collection on random shuffle: check. Then let’s rock and roll.

Loading up on the Something for the Weekend DVD player today: Norman Baker gets musical; MPs bring the pork home; flippertygibbets; a couple of bears; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: Long-haired lover from Liverpool

Welcome to Something for the Weekend, which this week comes to you live from Production Office 1 in the Artists’ Village, deep in the heart of Liverpool’s new Arena and Conference Centre.

On the Something for the Weekend speakers’ podium today: bikinis; a liberal singalong; the steam pipe trunk distribution venue; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: I feel the earth move

Welcome to this week’s fun-packed Something for the Weekend, looking back over the last week from a Liberal Democrat perspective with a squint glint in our eye.

Storming out of the Something for the Weekend chamber today: two by-elections in Louth; more from HMRC; witches, prostitutes and charlatans; and more!


Something for the weekend: Hen Wlad fy Nhadau

Hello from Llandudno, North Wales, where you find me wi-fi-ing away in Venue Cymru, the conference centre currently hosting the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ spring conference.

Rare bits in today’s innuendo-packed Something for the Weekend from Wales: Jenny Willott’s future; David Steel’s past; Nick Clegg’s tongue; Vince Cable’s underwear; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: I hear talk

As the Police seem to have forgotten the Wilson doctrine recently, I’ve decided to overlook the Monkhouse doctrine which bans bugging of comedians. As a result, all of the humour in this week’s Something for the Weekend was stolen from Joe Pasquale’s latest script meeting. As a result, this week’s Something for the Weekend is not funny.

In the Something for the Weekend serious selection box today: Nick Clegg gets international; Bigfoot gets interplanetary; Boris Johnson gets fingered; and more!

» Good Week

It’s been a good week for fans of Afflecks Palace in the centre of Manchester, whose future seems to have been secured. The lease on the shopping emporium was due to expire later this year, but new landlords Bruntwood have struck a deal to keep it trading, according to the Beeb:

In a joint statement, Bruntwood and Afflecks’ management team said: “After 26 years of trading, Afflecks management has sold their company to Bruntwood in an agreement that protects the future of Afflecks.

“Bruntwood will manage Afflecks while they look for a new owner.”

A Bruntwood spokesman added: “Never in our 30-year history have we bought one of our customer’s businesses but Afflecks is a Manchester icon that we wanted to protect.

“We aren’t however expert in managing markets, so will look for a suitable long-term owner.”

» Bad Week

Mitt Romney posterIt’s been a bad week for “Oven” Mitt Romney, who has abandoned his bid for the White House. In a relatively poor showing on Super Tuesday, he lost out in particular to frontrunner Senator John “Oven Chip” McCain. Arkansas Governor Mike “Fire and Brimstone” Huckabee remains in the race.

Pop fact: Mitt Romney’s father George launched his own presidential campaign in 1967. He didn’t win.

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Something for the Weekend: Money, money, money

I was planning to pay my son thousands of pounds of public money to write this week’s Something for the Weekend for me. Unfortunately, he didn’t do any of the work. And then I remembered that I don’t have a son. Or access to thousands of pounds of public money. So I done it all myself.

In the Something for the Weekend swag bag today: Boris overlooks 32 small things; Ken asks the questions; Derek says sorry; another cheap Peter Hain gag; and more!

» Good Week

It’s been a good week for those like me who hate “credit-squashing” on TV shows. The BBC has followed ITV by shrinking programme credits into the corner of the screen so that it can plug other programmes. But the credits are so small as to be illegible, which defeats the point of showing them at all.

The good news is that the BBC said yesterday that it would review the situation following complaints from viewers that the names of cast and crew members are now too small to read.

Tiny credits join irritating and entirely redundant on-screen channel logos in my list of modern TV annoyances.

» Bad Week

Derek Conway MP hasn’t had the best week. First he was suspended from the Commons and ordered to return thousands of pounds of public money paid to his younger son; then payments to his elder son were brought into question; Dave Cameron flip-flopped and, having said Conway had been punished enough, decided a day later to withdraw the Tory whip; Conway faces a possible police investigation; and he’s had to announce that he’ll stand down at the next general election. But he can at least look forward to take £60k a year of taxpayers’ money until then.

The BBC reports a Westminster Village gag:

Derek Conway has announced he’s going to stand down as a MP in order to spend more time with his staff.

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Something for the Weekend: My lovely horse

Welcome to January’s final Something for the Weekend, which comes this week from a kebab shop in Peckham. Fortunately it has wi-fi. And is hypothetical.

In the Something for the Weekend closet today: the smell of Barack Obama; the fetishes of a Labour MP; the women playing with balls; and more!

» Good Week

Saudi football supporterIt’s been a good week for the Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University’s female football team. They won a rare inter-college women’s football match in Saudi Arabia on penalties in front of a large female-only crowd in the university’s stadium.

According to

The match is the biggest such event hosted by Prince Muhammad bin Fahd University and the first ever to see the home team playing against another team from Riyadh. The University has introduced women football some 18 months ago.

Suggestions that 16 of those 18 months were spent explaining the off-side rule are not to be entertained.

» Bad Week

Before we pick this week’s poor soul, it’s only right we spare a thought for the man who graced this section just two weeks ago. Yes, Peter Hain has shuffled off to spend more time with his lawyers, and has been replaced as Secretary of State for Work and Pensioners by James Purnell, whom you may remember from such blogs as this one. (James Purnell’s reaction to his promotion? Speechless.)

KebabTempting thought it is to give Mr Hain a second starring role, I’m going to risk reprisals from her minder to declare Home Secretary Jacqui Smith this week’s unfortunate. When she isn’t sneaking off to Peckham with her bodyguard for a (donor?) kebab at teatime or labelling a large chunk of the population as not-we, she’s trying to justify bad laws by inventing new words:

It won’t be hypothetical if and when it occurs. We are not legislating now on the basis that we are bringing it in now for something that might happen in the future; we are bringing it in now for something that might happen in the future; we are bringing in a position for if it becomes unhypothetical.

Another one for the New Labour Doublespeak Dictionary.

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Something for the Weekend: Islands in the stream

Something for the Weekend comes this week from my secret bunker, where I’m hiding from Lord Rennard.

A group of Lib Dem colleagues and friends went on a birthday trip clay pigeon shooting yesterday where I broke the cardinal rule of office politics: don’t beat the boss. And saying Chris Rennard is a little bit competitive is like saying David Cameron is a little bit posh or Peter Hain is a little bit orange. Last I heard, the chief exec was enquiring whether duelling is allowed in the House of Lords.

Freshly shot for Something for the Weekend today: David Heath gets photographed; Hasbro gets 11 points, or 33 on a triple word score; Jack Straw gets Sarkasm; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: Running up that hill

Recess is over, Parliament has returned from its Christmas break, and so has Something for the Weekend. Thank goodness it’s Saturday. You find me relaxing on a beach, sipping a mojito and catching some rays. And not in Cowley Street, oh no.

In the Something for the Weekend goody bag today: we reveal the secret of Hillary Clinton’s problems in Iowa; we discover Yorkshire England Area; a plethora of chickens; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: Little Saint Nick

In the words of the legendary Noddy Holder, IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

I love everything about this time of year: angels playing in the snow, logs atop the Christmas tree, kids on the fire. And everyone struck down with wintry viruses.

Still, it’s Saturday so I’ve dragged my flu-ravaged self from my sickbed to bring you 2007’s penultimate Something for the Weekend.

Under the tree today: Christmas comes early for Nick Clegg; Christmas comes too late for Queen Victoria; Santa breaks the news that Steve Webb doesn’t exist; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: Santa Claus is coming to town

It’s Saturday, it’s Lib Dem Voice, it’s Crackerjack Something for the Weekend!

We’re edging closer to Christmas, the weather’s getting colder and the inter-office Cowley Street decorations competition is hotting up. Fingers crossed that the Campaigns Department doesn’t burn down in a faulty fairy light induced fireball.

In the Something for the Weekend grotto today: David Cameron flees the country; Iain Dale moves in next door; Vince Cable meets Santa; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: Back for good

Welcome, one and all, to our second helping of weekend cheer free from any mention of you-know-what, as the race between you-know-who and you-know-who nears its end.

In this week’s bulging package: an impermissible donation for the Tories; some good news for Alistar Darling; why Mark Pack could be moving to Stockton; and more!

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Something for the Weekend: I bet that you look good on the dancefloor

It’s the first day of December, so I’m munching on an Advent chocolate (courtesy of the Doctor Who Chistmas & New Year Countdown Calendar) as I welcome you to a leadership election free zone.


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  • Ruth Bright
    I liked what Daisy Cooper did about the D-Day/Rishi controversy. Reading from her Grandpa's war diary was high risk because it is so easy to sound mawkish - but...
  • Jenny Barnes
    "Every member will have had many communications by now asking them to prioritise their efforts in a specific seat." No, I haven't had any, let alone many....
  • nvelope2003
    Whatever the reason for the move to the right in some states maybe the British have seen where this leads and will reverse the trend here. One can but hope....
  • expats
    The Conservative manifesto launch was far more like the funeral for an unpopular corpse than a christening... Little about past achievements much on 'future sna...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Simon R: Comments like these are populist right-wing tropes: "The liberal left has become a shill for a failed EU establishment…" ...