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!

» Good Week

Vince Cable and Father ChristmasThis week has gone especially well for Father Christmas. He made it along to the Liberal Democrats’ staff party on Wednesday where, between canapes and wine, he managed to catch a moment with the man of the hour, Dr Vincent Cable MP.

Santa declared that Vince has been a good boy, especially over the past couple of months, and promised to get him and the rest of the party a brand new leader in time for Christmas.

Alas, the party’s Chief Executive Chris Rennard was unable to make the party, but Father Christmas delivered his apologies.

» Bad Week

The Home Secretary’s not had a good week. Her proposals for 42-day detention without charge haven’t won her any plaudits, with the Director of Public Prosecutions refusing to support the measure even though his support would be needed to use the powers. (As an aside, interesting to see that the DPP has been chastised for taking that position while it’s apparently OK for the equally apolitical Sir Ian Blair to back the move.) Anyhoo, despite the Met Commissioner liking this policy, the police have called for Jacqui Smith’s resignation. This is part of an ongoing pay row that’s lead them to ballot for strike action.

What will no doubt have upset her most, though, is featuring twice on the Liberal Democrat Voice Advent Calendar.

» You can’t choose your neighbours

Who should we run into on Cowley Street this week but top Tory blogger Iain Dale. It turns out that Iain’s latest venture is setting up shop next door to Liberal Democrat Headquarters.

The party HQ’s security level has been increased to puce.

» Rich ornamentation

Speaking of 4 Cowley Street, here’s the official line on the building from the Westminster World Heritage Site Management Plan:

An early neo-Georgian exercise in C.17th style, a terraced town house and offices in dark red brick and Portland stone with a tiled roof. The building is a little oversized for the surroundings but has fine Arts and Crafts detailing and much rich ornamentation.

The document also reveals that the architect was Horace Field and the building was constructed for the North Eastern Railway in 1904/5.

I hope you’re taking notes as there’ll be a test next week.

» Is Cameron running scared?

The new Leader of the Liberal Democrats is set to be unveiled on Tuesday afternoon. The Conservative Leader is heading to China on Monday and so will be halfway around the world at the time. That’s certainly one way to try to get out of the firing line.

(Meanwhile Haringey blogger Matt Davies, himself halfway around the world, wonders if our most recent Leader has found a new career already.)

» Top 10 campaign gaffes

As the US presidential election rolls towards primary season, Time has identified its top 10 gaffes of the campaign so far. These include John Edwards’s expensive haircuts, Rudy Giuliani’s phone calls from his wife, Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping on hunting and John McCain bombing Iran to a Beach Boys backing track.

» Facebook groups of the week

Gotta Catch Dem’ All celebrates its creator’s slightly stalky plan to photograph every Liberal Democrat MP:

Taking pictures of every single liberal democrat MP may sound a little crazy, and yeah I admit it is a bit, but if i didn’t do it i’d probably die, i love Cleggo and the Big Libby D’s so much that i have to catch dem all, no matter what.

Good luck with that. Getting into the festive spirit, meanwhile, is Ricardo The Christmas Riso. Well done, Ricardo.

» Coming up

The Flock Together elves tell me that there are a couple of radio appearances we know about this week:

  • Sunday: Vince Cable (ITMA) in one of his lasts appearances as Acting Leader, The Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4
  • Friday: Sarah Teather will be a panellist on Any Questions, BBC Radio 4

» And finally…

Lucky old Dr Cable. As if meeting Santa wasn’t enough, being Acting Leader has led him to dance on the telly, and with no less than Alesha Dixon, his favourite celeb off of Strictly Come Dancing. Here’s looking at you, Vince.

* Something for next weekend? Drop us a line at [email protected]

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