Tag Archives: humour

The Lib Dem Press Office celebrates Eurovision

It’s become something of a tradition for the Lib Dem Press Office to offer a bit of a random and amusing commentary as Eurovision unfolds.

Here are some of the highlights:

One country making Brexiteer level of promise:

The thing is that unless you are watching this live, it’s not always clear what they are talking about. Anyone want to hazard any guesses …

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The lighter side of Brexit – why we staged our April 1st satire

“The town that wants its own Brexit” was of course a spoof story, but the people are real enough. For Dick Vos read Richard Vos, Liberal Democrat party organiser for Stratford- upon-Avon. Jack Prince, in case you didn’t guess, is myself. We are members of Stratford4Europe, one of the more active and dynamic of the regional pro-European groups.

What we were aiming to do was to inject a bit of humour into the Brexit debate, which has got somewhat bogged down in sterile circular arguments. Humour can cut through the ice where intellectual arguments fail. It can also be therapeutic. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say. So in healing the wounds of a deeply divided nation, it should have some value.

We have certainly found that is true in the case of the Brexit café, a local initiative pioneered by Sophie West which has brought together Remainers and Leavers for friendly discussions. Whilst not comedy, this relies on good humour. At the national level there are initiatives such as the ‘Number 10 Vigil’ – live songs and entertainment featuring a lookalike Boris Johnson, which is no longer confined to Downing Street but has been travelling around the country on the Brexit Truth Bus.

Satire is often the best way to make serious points. For example, the folly of the First World War was poignantly highlighted by the film “Oh! What a Lovely War”, and with no loss of respect for the great fallen. Similarly “The town that wants its own Brexit” highlights the constraints of parochial thinking, with no loss of respect for Leavers.

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“Cook along with Miriam”

Spotted in Saturday’s Guardian, an article in a series of celebrity cooking with a difference, where Stephen Bush attempts to cook meals suggested by celebrities and comments on how he got on. It would be fair to say that he wasn’t impressed with Paul Newman…

Miriam González Durántez, on the other hand, seems to have been rather more convincing;

On Wednesday I make meatballs. Because González Durántez – or “Notorious MGD” as I have taken to referring to her – is a badass, her recipe for her children’s meatballs includes a glass of white

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Coffee break fun: Kate Hoey airbrushes out her Lib Dem rival

Kate Hoey must be feeling threatened by her local Lib Dem candidate George Turner. As one of the most prominent advocates of Brexit in a heavily Remain voting constituency, (not to mention having to campaign on Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto), her jacket is, shall we say, on a shoogly peg.

The other day, she tweeted a photo of an event at a school in her constituency. If you look in the back row, you will see Sarah Olney. Next to Sarah Olney is a pair of legs without a head. They belong to George Turner who has been airbrushed out.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, George Turner said:

“I saw Kate tweeted and I thought it was a bit strange as I remembered standing on stage next to Sarah Olney. I was thinking: ‘Did I move?’ But all the time Kate spoke I was stood next to Sarah.

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Fun on the Campaign Trail #2: “Smell my spaniel”

Paul has already shown us the pictures of Bonnie, the gorgeous cockapoo who delighted everyone on Tim Farron’s visit to Cambridge the other day.

But Bonnie had a starring role in one of the funniest events of the week:

From ITV

Video footage showed Mr Farron approaching the dog, which was wearing a yellow Liberal Democrat rosette, before saying: “Smell my spaniel”.

Mr Farron owns a black and white springer spaniel called Jasper, and often posts pictures on social media of the two of them together.

It appears Mr Farron may have been suggesting that the campaigner’s dog could smell Jasper’s scent on

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The best of today’s fake news

We hope you enjoyed our little bit of April 1 fun – although from the comments it seems that some took it seriously. Anyone want to have a guess as to which member of the team came up with this? I got it wrong when I read it for the first time. I then asked the rest of the team and got a variety of answers – but with two main suspects. The author has, since I first wrote this,  revealed themselves on Facebook – so if you’ve seen that, don’t spoil it.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem that the Government’s Brexit strategy was a slow-burning April Fool after all.

Here are some delights of the day that I’ve found. Feel free to add any others that tickled your fancy in the comments.

First up, I always knew that Neil Fawcett was a rascal, but how dare he seek to deprive us of the gently soothing rhythm of the risograph producing our leaflets.

Secondly,  Mark Pack is very good at challenging our core assumptions. He suggests here that we may be about to campaign FOR potholes. 

Iceland Foods are now doing frozen flowers, apparently:

And Aldi Scotland has health and safety in mind.

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The other songs the Lib Dems could have chosen at the end of Tim’s speech…

This was the song that played as Tim Farron left the hall today.

An inspired choice.

The performer is referenced in his speech here:

Patriots love their country, nationalists hate their neighbours.

I am a patriot.

The fact that in 1990 I kissed the TV when David Platt scored against Belgium in the last minute of injury time doesn’t mean I hate Guy Verhofstadt…or Tin Tin…or Plastic Bertrand, or any of the other large number of very, very famous Belgians.

Of course, looking at this list of Top Ten Famous Belgians, it would have been equally appropriate to have something from the musical My Fair Lady, as its star, Audrey Hepburn, was born in Brussels.

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Well that’s one way to say goodbye to your colleague….

Clarkey Cat Carmichael onesieAdam Clarke, the Scottish Party’s rugby playing Director of Communications left this week. We will miss him.

Normally when you leave, you get a present and lots of kind words are said about you. That all happened with Adam, but his colleagues went one step further.

They gave the Herald newspaper the rather fetching photograph of Adam in his going away present from his previous job,  researcher for Alistair Carmichael. You can only hope that the Orkney and Shetland MP gave him something more than a onesie with his face on it. Let’s hope it was to cushion the many bottles of Orkney whiskies Scapa and Highland Park that accompanied them.

The photo of Alistair was, I think, taken for Liberal Youth’s Bears for Belarus campaign back in 2012.

One particular colleague grassed up to the Herald another memorable Clarke moment.

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Nick Clegg helps children learn budgeting skills

I’m reading David Laws’ Coalition at the moment and one of the recurring themes is the drama and tribulation around virtually every budget and Autumn Statement. Pulling all the measures together involved tortuous and protracted intrigue as both coalition parties tried to advance their own policy priorities – and the Liberal Democrats usually came out on top.

So it amused me when I saw an article in his local Sheffield newspaper showing Nick practising some different but no less important budgeting skills – helping young children learn financial skills at a primary school in his constituency.

It had been a Lib Dem priority to get some sort of financial skills education on to the curriculum. The Star has the details:

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Wounded Liberal Democrats (Canine injury branch) founded #libdemsbiteback

tony and pw2Here’s a photograph of a very special occasion on Friday evening. At Newbury’s Corn Exchange (a venue which may well go down alongside the Norbreck Castle hotel, Blackpool in Lib Dem history) there was the inaugural meeting of Wounded Liberal Democrats (canine injury branch).

Our photo shows Tony Ferguson (eve of poll dog bite in Portsmouth while campaigning for Gerald Vernon-Jackson’s highly successful team) and Paul Walter (dog bite while pushing in a “We called on you today” leaflet in Elizabeth O’Keeffe’s victorious gain from the Tories in Newbury Victoria). These two have over sixty years Liberal party/Liberal Democrat campaigning experience between them (so perhaps they should have known better before annoying my fellow hounds – Newshound)

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Ten ways Willie Rennie made Scotland smile during #sp16

Many of the defining images of the election in Scotland have come from Willie Rennie. He has had a lot of serious points to make during this election, highlighting the need to invest in education, transform mental health, stand up for civil liberties, protect the planet from climate change and stop the SNP’s suffocating control and centralisation of public services, but he’s had tonnes of fun illustrating them.

In 2006, his by-election victory in Dunfermline was helped by an image on the front page of the Courier from the top of the Forth Rail Bridge. He’s had some similarly fantastic photos and videos this campaign.  On Monday he went go-karting and his photo on the podium afterwards, doing the “Schumi Jump” that Michael Schumacher always used to do when he won, made it into virtually every paper.

His bright and exuberant campaign has had loads of coverage and has caught people’s imagination. You know you are on the right track when people start repeating your campaign messages on the doorsteps. From a very challenging outlook, he has brought the party to the very real possibility of gaining a constituency seat against the SNP tomorrow. The media is watching Edinburgh Western and Alex Cole-Hamilton.

A lot of these photo-ops were very risky. Some could have been disastrous. Imagine the headlines if the canoe had capsized. Of course, one did go memorably wrong, but a few packets of Percy Pigs later, the journalists were laughing with rather than at us.

The manifesto launch was bright, exuberant and unforgettable. He got interviewed on a slide, for goodness sake.

There was the day they let him fly a plane.

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WATCH: Obama’s final White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Obama’s rocked all of his 8 speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. This year is full of occasions that will be his last in the White House. It took me a while to warm to him, but he’s certainly been one of the best US Presidents of my lifetime. He hasn’t got it all right, by any manner of means, but his tenacity in getting his healthcare reform through despite everything the Republicans threw at it was particularly commendable.

Anyway, this speech doesn’t quite have a Lion King moment, but the bit where he has a go at Prince George was hilarious.

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A surprising gap in David Laws’ knowledge

Last night, Biteback Publishing held a party to celebrate the launch of David Laws’ book, Coalition.

The Times (£) has an amusing anecdote from the event:

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Which shaggy dog story made you laugh the most?

On Friday, we couldn’t resist boosting the signal of Ben Rathe’s hilarious post about how he ended up unknowingly arranging a visit at what by night is a notorious dogging site in Glasgow.

A fair chunk of the country’s press found Ben’s article worth reproducing, from The Sun, to the Herald, to the Metro, the Huffington Post, the Spectator and the Daily Record. Some of the accompanying photos of Nick are hilarious.

Again, there’s more reason to love our press team:

A spokesman for the Lib Dems said: “As media coverage of the event shows it was the perfect spot, being a well-known nature reserve, to launch our policy.”

He added: “Whatever people get up to in their own time, is up to them.”

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Tim Farron and his Christmas cards

The press have been commenting on the various leaders’ and parties’ Christmas cards.

The Independent was pretty scathing about all of them apart from Tim Farron’s, with a headline “All of the political leaders’ Christmas cards are rubbish (apart from Tim Farron’s). “

His card is this one, designed by 11 year old Ami Woodburn from a school in Tim’s constituency.

Tim Farron's sleigh Christmas card 2015

 

This is where the mystery really begins, though, because the Guardian shows a different card for Tim:

Tim Farron's penguin christmas card 2015

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The #libdemFRIGHTback is go: The 2015 Liberal Democrat Voice Pumpkin Parade

It’s Hallowe’en. It’s dark. The streets are starting to fill with witches, goblins, ghouls, zombies and all sorts of scary creatures.

It’s time for the 2015 Liberal Democrat Voice Pumpkin Parade. What have talented Liberal Democrats round the country been carving? Have a reminder of what they produced two years ago.

Don’t for a minute think that we invented that hashtag, by the way. It came from Lib Dem organiser Alice Megan and it’s for that reason that she’s kicking off our festivities:

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The first key difference in the Liberal Democrat leadership race emerges

So, we have a key difference between the two contenders in our two horse leadership race.

While settling down for Eurovision last night, I asked both if they were watching. Tim was going to watch with his family today as his kids are a bit too young to stay up that late. Norman was making his way back home after a day of campaigning in London. When that was established, I asked them a question of interest to many Liberal Democrats. Doctor Who – yes or no. Here are the responses in the order in which they were received:

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There’s a whole load of hat eating going on in the world

Paddy Ashdown will probably never live down his statement that he’d eat his hat if the exit poll was right. On Question Time last night, they made him actually do it. Sort of. Here’s the video, from the Telegraph:

He’s not the only one who has eaten a hat in the last day or so. Remember that nice Mike Beckett, candidate for Scarborough and Whitby whose cartoon we featured a couple of months ago? He had a bit of a special birthday during the election and decided to celebrate it with a hat-shaped cake.

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As if Scottish Labour weren’t in enough trouble….

This is what popped into my inbox at 13:34 this afternoon:

Labour 72 hours email

 

72 hours? That’s Friday! A bit late for those few Labour voters who remain to get to the polls. 

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Norman Baker’s genius response to David Cameron: David, I need you to stop sending dishonest and patronising letters

Norman Baker by Liberal DemocratsThe Tories don’t seem to have got the hang of excluding the opposition from their target mailings. This may be a good thing as we wouldn’t have had the joy of reading our Norman Baker’s fantastic and hilarious response to a missive he received from David Cameron, in whose government he served until last November.

Here’s the Prime Minister’s letter:

David Cameron Letter

And here, in full, is Norman’s pithy response. Enjoy.

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It’s the knitwear election in Edinburgh West

People say that the election in Scotland is pretty hostile. They are right a lot of the time, but in Edinburgh West, where Mike Crockart’s campaign HQ is next door to the SNP base, things are much more civilised, as this Twitter exchange between Mike’s campaign manager and the SNP candidate Michelle Thompson shows:

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The news story of the day

Prince William and Nick Clegg have chosen very similar attire today. Quite uncanny.

Nick Clegg Sheffield

 

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Lib Dems react quickly to Cameron’s “brain fade” West Ham moment

David Cameron had one of those moments on the campaign trail this morning. This is what happens when you are too used to reading your speeches off an autocue, I guess. He was talking about how he wanted to see Britain at ease with multiple identities.

From the Guardian:

Where you can support Man Utd, the Windies and Team GB all at the same time.

Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham.”

Asked to clarify his loyalties after his speech, which he read from an autocue, Cameron replied: “I had what Natalie Bennett described as a brain fade.

I’m a Villa fan … I must have been overcome by something … this morning.

But there we are, these things sometimes happen when you are on the stump.

It’s the sort of gaffe that anyone could make and it’ll make us all laugh for 30 seconds and move on. Although I do wonder if Conservative peer Karren Brady, who’s vice-chairman of West Ham, had anything to do with it.

Those digital geniuses at Lib Dem HQ have reacted quickly though to give that amusing moment a little extra traction. They’ve done a few amusing “page not found” jokes before. Here is today’s:

David Cameron Aston Villa

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The lighter side of the election

There is a bumper crop of funny election related things today. I hope that this cheers you up as you come in, tired, from the campaign trail.

Bizarre headline of the day

Clown seen running off with Liberal Democrat poster from the Telegraph:

In a Stroud Life article, Adrian Walker-Smith, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the Stroud constituency, said: “Our supporter was hanging out her washing in the garden when she heard a crack and saw a young man wearing clown trousers dashing along the street with the board.

I think Adrian may have been a little harsh with his suggested penalty, though:

We will replace the poster and will not be troubling the police, but if the culprit is identified we suggest the use of the historic Bisley lock-up.

Fancy turning Ed Davey into a scottie dog?

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Lib Dems on 48% in poll… really!

The Liberal Democrats are on 48% in a poll with the closest rival, the Greens,  trailing in our wake with just a third of that total.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change anyone’s vote. It’s in the Big Beard Poll on Keith Flett’s blog. Keith runs the Beard Liberation Front which earlier this year announced our Julian Huppert as the Parliamentary Beard of the Year.

The campaign says that it is entirely up to voters to decide but a key criteria is how Parties are prepared to go in signing up to the BLF Beard Friendly Britain Manifesto (below)

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, “Of course the LibDem leadership is as clean shaven and suited as other parties but the LibDems still do retain some of their traditional hirsute following. The LibDem candidate for Cambridge Julian Huppert, for example, is a former winner of the Parliamentary Beard of the Year Award.”

The Beard Liberation Front manifesto is as follows:

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Paddy and the hen party…

Over at the Staggers blog, Kevin Maguire recounts an encounter between Paddy Ashdown and a hen party on a London bound train after the first leaders’ debate:

…the former Royal Marine met his match on a train to London after the 2 April TV debate. Outgunned and outnumbered, the Lib Dem peer was forced to surrender to a Yorkshire hen party in fancy dress. On this occasion, a radar-lugged snout was settling down to hear Ashdown discussing campaign strategy on his phone when the carriage filled up with shrieking lasses. Captain Paddy hastily terminated the call with a giggly: “Save me! Save me!”

And that was before he was recognised:

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Is this really news? The strange things that make the headlines during an election

It’s amazing what passes for news during an election campaign. Here are some of the best “non-stories” of the campaign:

You know, buses break down sometimes. It happens and nobody goes and asks rival companies for comments. Except during an election, as the Standard writes about the Lib Dem bus breaking down in Brixton:

Party officials said the vehicle developed an electrical fault as it made the trip back to central London following a campaign visit to East Sussex.

Political rivals had little sympathy for the Lib Dems’ plight, with the Conservative press office tweeting: “So it’s true … Lib Dems’ campaign

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Well that’s different! Boyband broadcasts and Nick Clegg going ape

So what do you make of the Greens boy-band broadcast?

I love the idea. It’s something a bit different. However, it is not fair to put the Liberal Democrats in the same group as Nigel Farage and UKIP. I really object to that. I don’t like being lumped into the establishment with Tories and Labour, but Farage is going too far. Lumping any of us in with a party whose leader thinks demonising people with HIV as part of his “be shocking and awful” strategy is really unfair.

We can be sure that everyone’s going to watch it. I suspect there will be many people who hadn’t realised what an old-fashioned socialist bunch this lot were. Nationalise the railways? How much is that going to cost?

It’s interesting that they’ve done a broadcast that doesn’t even have their leader in it.

It’s all a bit unconventional.

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Opinion: We don’t duck things in OxWAb

duckFollowing on from our April Fool’s Day prank a large yellow Duck has appeared in the Abingdon HQ for the Oxford West and Abingdon Liberal Democrat Campaign.  Already he has become a big hit with the activists.

Typically for Lib Dems, a discussion ensued as to what to call the duck.  A quick internet poll was held, and we now have the results:

Duck a L’Orange (write in suggestion from Neil Fawcett): 69%

Shirley Williams: 15%

Paddy Ashdown: 8%

Evan Harris: 8%

Lembit Opik: 0%

Result: Duck a L’Orange gain.  Majority: 54%

On hearing the news, the newly elected Duck said:

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The cuteness of the lambs….

Everyone’s arguing today about who is responsible for the raising of the tax threshold, a policy the Conservatives railed against at every opportunity but are now trying to claim as their own. This has been around as a Liberal/Liberal Democrat idea for a very long time. Malcolm Bruce told me last year that he had introduced it as a policy way back in 1997. Its current incarnation came to fruition in 2009 thanks to Liberal Democrat member and (then) Women Liberal Democrats Executive member Lizzie Jewkes who persuaded the leadership to adopt it as policy. It was passed at Conference in 2009.

But the Mirror has this afternoon revealed another instance where the Tories have snaffled our idea and passed it off as their own in the most dastardly fashion. Remember these pictures of David Cameron down some lamb snuggling over the weekend? Well, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie had done that four days before.

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  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 24th Oct - 1:07am
    Peter Martin Yes, you should stick to this sort of thing rather than peddling Europhobe myths! Because I'm afraid you're right about EZ governance, and...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct - 11:45pm
    Agree with the really useful press info we see here now, a welcome move,yet the party must not be so overtly dramatic only on Brexit,...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 23rd Oct - 11:01pm
    'it’s not a “so-called People’s Vote”.' Wasn't there, going back a few months, a Lib Dem directive that its shouldn't be referred to as a...
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    The Tories did not have any debates as far as I could see. Just speeches by "important people". And Labour seemed to be back to...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Oct - 9:42pm
    Uncertainty kills economies and even after Brexit day the uncertainty will continue nay it will increase. Brexit needs to be stopped because if it isn't...
  • User AvatarRob de Nazar 23rd Oct - 9:02pm
    I hope we will move forward on the 'supporter' details via webinars and surveys - and agree as much as possible within those. Please bring...