In the media today, April 1st

spiralThe Guardian reveals plans for Scotland to switch to driving on the right after Independence. The article includes a video (which we can’t embed here) and uses a natty Lego model to explain how the crossover from left to right at the border will work .

To ease the transition, Scottish transport planners, under strict conditions of secrecy, have begun drawing up plans for a series of spiral interchanges at the major border transport nodes. These will transition drivers to the correct side of the road – whether travelling south–north or north-south – and avoid cross-border crashes – “a PR disaster worse than horsemeat in haggis”, according to one planner.

It is understood that another proposal involving traffic light sequencing has been rejected. Instead of red, amber, green, it would have become red, amber, blue. But there was a fear that this would be adopted south of the border by the Conservatives and so lose any distinctiveness.

Still in Scotland, The Telegraph reports that the Queen will be replaced by a portrait of Alex Salmond on the proposed Scottish pound coin, and features the new design.

Within months of a “yes” vote, all Scottish coins in circulation would be replaced with “Salmond Sterling”.

The designs were being honed at a facility funded by Sir Sean Connery.

According to The Huffington Post, Nick Clegg has recruited Piers Morgan as a media adviser for the 2015 election campaign.

Not only is Morgan expected to use his extensive Fleet Street and TV connections to secure Clegg favourable coverage, sources at ITV indicate the former Mirror editor host has already sounded out Simon Cowell to see if the deputy PM can be a guest judge on next year’s Britain’s Got Talent.

“Only a fool would think we could win it,” said the senior figure, “but recruiting a man of Morgan’s gravitas and veracity is likely to give the party a clear advantage in the media campaign.”

Online media also provide some interesting stories today, such as the news that the Department of Health is running a pilot scheme to outsource maternity services to Mumsnet.

This groundbreaking scheme – the first of its kind – sees the NHS moving to harness the reach and expertise of a prominent fourth-sector organisation to provide a crowd-sourced solution to the provision of services.

Mumsnet was chosen to pilot the scheme after an extensive 5-step tender process. “The Mumsnet bid stood out because of their innovative proposal to marry a patient-led birth experience with sustainable income generation via the provision of paid-for service upgrades and exploitation of other commercial opportunities”.

Brassiere finger and jalaproctitis (“A notorious burning sensation in the bottom, caused by eating hot curries or fiery jalapeno peppers, which may affect fans of highly spiced foods”) are featured in the Daily Mail’s roundup of bizarre health conditions. On second thoughts, maybe that shouldn’t feature in this post after all.

Please add your own snippets in the comments below.

My favourite video of the day is this one from, of all places, King’s College Choir:

Finally, here is a challenge some of you can’t refuse:

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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13 Comments

  • You forgot to mention Vince Cable’s appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning. He said taxpayers had got a “good deal” from the Royal Mail sell=off!

    Not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

  • Big piece on the Royal Mail story on Daily Politics today, saying basically that The bankers etc dd a number on Vince and he followed their advice unthinkingly. Reminds me of two Telegraph journalists ‘doing a number’ on Vince a few years ago. Where is the ‘wisdom of Solomon’we are supposed to expect from him?

  • Same woman on Boulton &Co now ” on Day 1 the fund management came in with such big orders, there was massive demand but Vince chose not to reprice it” .

  • Richard Dean 1st Apr '14 - 4:36pm

    Cable is vastly over-rated in my opinion. Even so, hindsight seems to be being used here unfairly. Whatever price had been decided, there would always have been those who would predict it’s too low, and always those predicting it’s too high. There was obviously an astonishing naivety in assuming that those who had most to gain by deception would not actually deceive. Were there alternative processes available to avoid such conflicts of interest?

  • Stuart Mitchell 1st Apr '14 - 6:30pm

    @Richard Dean
    “Even so, hindsight seems to be being used here unfairly.”

    Hardly – plenty of people, including Chuka Umunna, were saying this before the flotation. Cable’s supposed reputation for competence has been torn to shreds by this fiasco.

  • Julian Dean 1st Apr '14 - 6:42pm

    Spot on, there should be accountabilty and public scrutiny of this botched privatisation of such a striving and profitable public service.

    I’d also love to learn more about the 12 or so preferential purchasers of RM shares, it absolutely stinks amd reeks of corruption. Who are they, what profit have they made of the back of the public, what affiliations/relationships do they have with this government?

    It comical that this has happened.

  • This will be brought up every time the line ‘Labour can’t be trusted with the public finances’ is brought out,.

  • Richard Dean 1st Apr '14 - 7:08pm

    @Stuart Mitchell: Did you manage to get as far as my third sentence?

  • Nick Collins 1st Apr '14 - 7:18pm

    Yesterday the privatised Royal Mail increased the price or a first class stamp by 2p and a second class one by 3p.

  • Stuart Mitchell 1st Apr '14 - 7:21pm

    @Richard
    Yes, but what’s the relevance? It isn’t “hindsight” that makes Umunna right – he said before the flotation what was going to happen.

    “Whatever price had been decided, there would always have been those who would predict it’s too low, and always those predicting it’s too high.”

    Who was saying the price was too high? Plenty of people were saying it was too low. Here are some more of them :-

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-2418900/Royal-Mail-privatisation-Should-buy-shares.html

  • Richard Dean 1st Apr '14 - 7:30pm

    Umunna’s no sage. He got it wrong by about a billion and a half, while Cable got it wrong by about two.

    “Royal Mail shares have soared more than 70%, trading at 565.5p on Tuesday, since their stock market debut at 330p a share in October” http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/01/royal-mail-sell-off-chuka-umunna-urgent-question

    “Taxpayers could lose out on more than £500m in the controversial privatisation of Royal Mail, Labour has warned”
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/04/official-royal-mail-valuation-too-low

  • Stuart Mitchell 1st Apr '14 - 7:48pm

    Richard, have you read the full Guardian piece? Labour’s report valued Royal Mail within the range £3.7bn to £4.5bn. Hence Umunna’s reference to “more” than £500m. Labour said the government had undervalued Royal Mail by up to £1.2bn – I’m sure you will agree this is not an insignificant amount!

    In fact, the government had plenty of access to these kinds of valuations – and even higher ones – but sold Royal Mail off dirt cheap regardless :-

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/investing/article-2567691/Huge-5-8bn-gulf-Royal-Mail-shares-valuation-revealed.html

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