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.

CU@by-election

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:

UKIP meanwhile have been distributing a marvellously swivel-eyed newspaper. Here’s a choice snippet from page 2:

Nelson or Kempenfelt?

If you remember the works, 5A, 5B and Gresty Lane.
If you remember the ‘Peg on the Main.’
If you copped Frobisher on the turntable
Or were on the footplate of Inpreg-nable
You’ll never forget the permament way
I wish it pleased as much today.
Keep the Station where it is!

The markedly more sane Monster Raving Loony candidate, The Flying Brick, is proposing policies including these:

I would open a huge Train-spotting University sited in the Crewe station Basford Hall shed.

Crewe and Nantwich would be declared a ‘no-car’ zone with every residence connected with their own private rail network.

The ten pence tax rate would be scrapped we would replace it with a two shilling tax for everybody.

Pop fact

People from Nantwich (not Nuneaton, Dave) are known as Dabbers.

Meanwhile, in other news…

Three newly-elected British National Party councillors in Wales have quit the BNP to sit as independents.

Paul Harley, Susan Harley and the BNP’s North Wales organiser John Oddy were elected (unopposed) to Bay of Colwyn Town Council.

Mr Oddy said he had fallen out with the Welsh branch of the BNP. The Harleys appear to have left after noticing the BNP are a little bit racist.

Case law: you may gaze at moobs (if you really want to)

Excuse us for lowering the tone, but in one of the more unusual court rulings handed out recently, the judiciary has determined that ogling a men’s chest is different from ogling women’s breasts. (Their next case was, we understand, ruling on the religion of the Pope.)

Lawyers…argued that the man’s chest did not constitute “private parts” under the act, which referred only to women’s breasts in such terms.

This was the case even if the man in question was obese, and had “man breasts” or “moobs,” they said, cited by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Read the full bizarre story on Yahoo! News.

Fact of the week (1)

You need a licence in order to operate any telecommunications sytem – including a telephone. It’s a criminal offence to use a telephone without a licence, under the Telecommunications Act 1984.

Fortunately, we’ve all been granted a group licence to have a phone by Ofcom – and we didn’t even have to apply.

Discovered: something that wasn’t Gordon Brown’s fault

Back in January, the Daily Mirror unsensationally reported “Gordon Brown just 25ft from death in Heathrow crash“.

The good news for Mr Brown (not a phrase you read often) is the headline “PM’s car did not cause crash landing“.

The Prime Minister’s car was not the cause of a plane’s crash landing at Heathrow in January investigators say.

It had been suggested radio signals from Gordon Brown’s motorcade interfered with the plane causing it to land short of the runway narrowly missing a busy road and leaving massive skidmarks in the grass.

Fact of the week (2)

Spermology is the study of trivia. And also of seeds.

Fire up the Cortina

Not remotely politicky, but… The US remake of hit BBC TV show Life on Mars continues apace. The US Gene Hunt is played by Colm Meaney (Chief O’Brien off of Star Trek amongst other roles), with fellow Irish actor Jason O’Mara as Sam Tyler.

There are cast photos on the Zap2It website.

Facebook groups of the week

Nick and Margaret – The True Stars of The Apprentice honours Siralan’s sidekicks Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford.

Stop messin’ about and honour Kenneth Williams with a blue plaque is encouraging members to write to English Heritage to get Kenneth Williams a blue plaque in King’s Cross, London.

Should you be so inclined, One Final Tube Booze Party wants to mark the end of drinking on London Underground.

I bet I can find [X] people who [DIS]LIKE [POLARISING FIGURE] is designed to condense a whole host of other groups.

And the marvellous Pop songs are best represented by graphs offers hours of entertainment. So don’t look at it until you’ve been to help in Crewe and Nantwich.

Coming up

Simon Hughes will be on Question Time on BBC One on Thursday at 10.35pm, with Sarah Teather on Radio 4’s Any Questions? on Friday at 8pm.

Nick Clegg will be grilling Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Questions at noon on Wednesday, live on BBC Two and BBC Parliament.

Lynne Featherstone is on Any Questions? as I type – that repeat of last night’s programme is on until 2pm today (and you can Listen Again on the Radio 4 website).

And finally

They never had this problem at the Glee Club.

Plans for a national songbook for primary schools have been dropped after “experts” could not agree which songs should be included, the Telegraph reports.

Ministers wanted a definitive list of 30 songs that every 11-year-old should know. But that has now been rejected as too “culturally imperialist”. Instead a “national song bank” is to be created containing 600 songs.

Any suggestions for songs that should go in the song bank? We reckon every 11-year-old should know “Wuthering Heights” (as part of the literacy programme), “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (essential history), and “Fairytale of New York” (kids love Christmas). And “The Land”, obviously.

* Something for next weekend? Email us at [email protected]

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7 Comments

  • “the geeks behind the site”

    Seriously?

  • So Non-Geeks wouldn’t be interested?

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