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!

» Good Week

It’s been a good week for Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Ed Davey. He gained headlines and coverage for the Liberal Democrats’ position on the European Union referendum by standing up against what Nick Clegg called “clapped-out 19th century procedures” and leading a walkout of Liberal Democrat MPs.

He also gave an interview to a group of bloggers, one account of which can be read on Millennium Elephant’s blog.

» Bad Week

It’s been a bad week for market-dominating software company Microsoft, which was fined £681m by the European Commission for “defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour”.

Microsoft lost its appeal against the original 2004 ruling last September.

» Also in the news

Mark Boyle, who planned to walk from Britiain to India without any money, relying on the kindness of strangers, was scuppered when he reached Calais because he can’t speak French.

Pakistan has restored access to YouTube. The country had attempted to restrict the site due to “blasphemous” content.

Robert Mugabe strikes almost as low as some Labour party campaign literature, calling opposition politicians “witches, prostitutes and charlatans”.

And The Sun helps us lower the tone with the headline OAP admits goat sex bid.

» When did HM last send no telegrams?

Each day, the Queen sends around 20 birthday messages to people turning 100. But which was the last day on which there no recipients at all?

The answer is eight years ago, on 29th February 2000. No-one turned 100 on that day because there was no 29th February 1900. (Hat-tip.)

» Who runs Wales?

If you know that Wales is governed by a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition, you’re doing better than 60% of the Welsh population, according to a BBC Wales poll.

26% of those polled believed that Labour still ran Wales alone, and 10% thought they were still in coalition with us. 3% believe that Wales is run by the Liberal Democrats alone – a particular success for our “Liberal Democrats Winning Here” message.

» Fun on the web

Two amusing websites spotted by Lib Dem bloggers.

Mary Reid points us to the somewhat unhelpful HMRC website, that answers the question “What to do if you suspect or discover fraud”:

HMRC web page

Bridget Fox meanwhile has found an unusual job title advertised by Manchester City Council:

Guardian Jobs web page

While we’re on the subject of websites, we must return briefly to the increasingly long-running saga of the Boroughs section of Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign website. Regular readers will know that in early January this section was “To be launched on 14 January” and since then has been due “later this month”. Today?

To be launched later this month

At least Boris is consistent.

» The first female Liberal MP

Pop fact: the first woman to sit for the Liberals in the House of Commons (and the second woman to take her seat) was Margaret Wintringham. She succeeded her husband Thomas Wintringham after his death, winning the 1921 Louth by-election with a majority of 791. Thomas himself had only been elected in a by-election a year earlier.

You can see a photo of Margaret on the National Portrait Gallery website.

» Facebook groups of the week

Earthquake groups have sprung up in the light of the week’s sudden tremor. I survived the great Leeds earth[quake|tremor] 27/02/2008 01:00ish on the Leeds network has 28 members; I survived the Quake! has 62 members; and I felt the earth move early on Wed 27 February has 85 members. I survived the febuary 2008 earthquake! is significantly in the lead, boasting 7,178 members.

A fairly steep challenge is set by the group Can we find 1 MILLION people that DO want smoking back in pubs?, which has made it 8% of the way; the rival Can we find 1 MILLION people that DON’T want smoking back in pubs? is leading, 13% of the way towards its target.

If David Cameron paid me £500,000, I STILL wouldn’t be his friend, apparently set up by the National Secretary of Labour Students, lampoons the Tories’ recruitment drive.

And if you’re looking for something to support on Facebook, why not become a fan of a fan?

» Coming up

Lynne Featherstone will be on tonight’s edition of The Westminster House from 10pm on BBC Radio 4.

Shirley Williams is due to appear on Thursday’s Question Time (which could be interesting), and Chris Huhne will be on Friday’s Any Questions?. PMQs is on Wednesday at 12pm.

» And finally…

Apropos of nothing, a short clip from Armstrong & Miller, with apologies to those in the profession.

* Something for next weekend, live from Liverpool? Drop us a line at [email protected]

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