Tag Archives: paul walter

Nick Clegg averted the axe from over-16s’ child benefit

Paul Walter has spotted an under-reported point in the child benefit coverage of the past few days: that payments for children aged 16 to 18 were originally intended to be stopped, but that this plan was dropped after Nick Clegg intervened.

Paul spotted this in a “deep trawl” of the Telegraph:

The controversial decision to “pre-announce” the child benefit decision was made 10 days ago by the key Conservative power-broking trio of David Cameron, Mr Osborne and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, it is understood.

A couple of days later they informed Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, and his party

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Police yet to contact Mike Hancock following newspaper allegations

Odd story as Paul Walter recounts:

The Portsmouth News carries some more comments concerning the reports of a police “investigation” into alleged/reported allegations concerning Mike Hancock MP. I am somewhat astounded that the police have not actually contacted Mike Hancock concerning this matter, according to his spokesman. You would have thought that, with the papers bandying about words such as “police investigation” and “sex”, the police would have at least contacted the MP.

More over on his blog.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 29 March 2010 (with added poster spoofs)

Happy Monday morning afternoon, everyone, on the day in history when the Royal Albert Hall was opened by the Royal Victoria (1871), Dr John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia (1886), and voters in Washington DC became eligible to vote in presidential elections (1961).

And now let’s move forward half a century, to the present day …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Labour launch 5 pledges; Lib Dems attack 13 wasted years

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In the spotlight: Anna Arrowsmith and Paul Walter

For the delectation of LDV’s readers, you might be interested in clicking on the following two links:

1. Mark Thompson interviews Anna Arrowsmith

The Mark Reckons blog carries an interview with the Lib Dems’ candidate for Gravesham in Kent, Anna Arrowsmith, who shot to prominence last week owing to her successful career as the UK’s first female director of pronography.

2. Total Politics interviews Paul Walter

The Lib Dem blogosphere’s very own Burbler-in-Chief Paul Walter is profiled here by Total Politics magazine. Find out Paul’s least favourite blogger, his political idol, and what would be the one thing above …

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Daily View 2×6: 25 March 2010

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake up and find that, despite the fact I am doing the Daily View, it is indeed Thursday and not Tuesday! In celebration of yesterday’s Budget, there’s riproaring inflation of the number of posts featured in today’s Daily View. Don’t tell Vince! Is it sustainable? I doubt it, so enjoy while you can..

Thirty years ago, the British Olympic Association (BOA) voted by a large majority to defy the government and send athletes to the Olympic Games in Moscow.  The Conservative government has pressed the BOA to boycott the event in a protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Sir Denis Follows, the chairman of the BOA, said that whilst he was sympathetic to the government’s stance, “We believe sport should be a bridge, and not a destroyer”. 

On this day in 1655 Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, the largest natural satellite of the planet Saturn.  During their 1969 honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

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Daily View 2×2: 15 March 2010

Happy Monday morning, everyone, and welcome to the Ides of March edition of the Daily View. (I hope David Cameron is watching his back: the Tories don’t do loyalty).

Alongside the assasination of Julius Caesar today marks the anniversary of the first Test cricket match between England and Australia (1877); the registration of the first internet domain name, symbolics.com, 25 years ago; and the 70th birthday of Frank Dobson. O frabjous day!

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Posted in Conference and Daily View | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 29 December 2009

May I be the first to wish you, “Happy That Bit Between Christmas and New Year.”

Whether you’re at work, at home, working from home, or none of the above, here’s your Daily View for Tuesday:

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal statesman and four-times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (By the way, remember to nominate your Liberal Voice of 2009 here.)

It’s also 34 years since the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force, legislation which now faces overdue modernisation and streamlining by the Equality Bill.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Cameron’s potted plants underline the difference. Peter Black’s post (a late contender for my favourite blog post title of 2009) features a video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tory candidate for North East Somerset, “a key Conservative candidate who reflects the views of many in his party that he is a member of the ruling class with a God-given right to be in Government and that as far as he is concerned the rest of us are just potted plants.”
  • Is photography the new crime? Andrew Reeves takes a photo of the police taking a photo of the protesters.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Fury as China executes British drug smuggler

China was this morning condemned for its human rights record after a British man who, his supporters say, had mental health problems, was executed for smuggling drugs.

Akmal Shaikh, 53, was shot dead by a firing squad at 10.30am local time (2.30am British time) after frantic last-minute pleas for clemency by the Foreign Office failed.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem Bloggers Christmas stocking fillers … Part II

If you could choose up to three items for your Christmas stocking, what would they be? That was the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with all their choices added to the Amazon carousel widget featured on our home-page, referral fees from which will help support Lib Dem Voice: so get clicking and ordering. You can read Part I here. In part two, four more bloggers – Jonathan Calder, James Graham, Alix Mortimer and Paul Walter – give us the low-down on their Xmas faves.

Jonathan

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 29 October 2009

Good morning and welcome to October 29th. Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the birthday of Boswell, the biographer of Samuel L Jackson, and the anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh (he was executed – I didn’t know that.)

It’s also the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which first set up a Constitution for Europe.

2 Big Stories

The postal strike is on
Read all about it on the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian:

Both sides blamed each other after three days of talks mediated by the TUC collapsed without a deal being reached. As late as evening there had still been some hope that this week’s strike action could be called off to relieve the pressure on Royal Mail.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 28 September 2009

2 Big Stories


Germany elects new centre-right government to be led by Angela Merkel

The Financial Times reports:

Germany is on course for its first centre-right government in 11 years after voters gave chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and her Free Democratic allies a majority in parliament.

The victory of the conservative-liberal alliance – which had campaigned for tax cuts and a return to nuclear energy, but also social justice and tougher rules for finance – in Sunday’s poll ends four years of awkward co-operation between the CDU and its rival Social Democratic party in a grand coalition. …

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 23 August 2009

The rest of The Voice’s Daily View team may have decided to have a lie in each morning during August, but we’re made of sterner stuff here on the Sunday slot. And as it’s a Sunday, it’s also time for the now traditional bonus musical extra.

Big Stories

The release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has blasted Scotland for releasing Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi saying the decision “gives comfort to terrorists.”

In a letter to Scottish Minster Kenny MacAskill dated August 21, FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was “outraged” at the decision to release Megrahi, who is dying of cancer, on compassionate grounds.

“Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice,” Mueller wrote. “Indeed, your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

“Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man’s exercise of ‘compassion.'” (AFP)

Fraud allegations over Afghan elections

Reports of widespread and systematic fraud and intimidation continued to emerge amid delays in the counting of votes in the Afghan elections, raising the spectre of turbulence when the results are announced.

Allegations of ballot-rigging were particularly prevalent in the southern Pashtun belt. The region, which holds the key to the contest, also suffered from drastically low turnout due to Taliban violence and threats. There were accounts of the insurgents’ retribution against voters, including fingers being chopped off. (The Independent)

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

  • Paul Walter explains how his views of the party’s Real Women policy proposals are changing.
  • Simon Goldie’s post is probably the shortest that’s been highlighted in these round-ups, being basically just a link through to a provocative and thought-provoking article in the Financial Times.

(Both of these posts have been selected from those which appeared on Lib Dem Blogs on Saturday. To read more from other Liberal Democrat blogs, take a look at the Lib Dem Blogs website and to see what Lib Dems have been saying on Twitter, take a look at Liberal Tweets.)

Sunday Bonus

It’s Sunday. Ready your vocal chords. Hit play and sing along. You know you want to.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Lib Dem bloggers’ summer reading (Part I)

For me, it’s the most difficult decision of the year – which books to take with me on holiday. So, I thought, what could be better than to pick the brains of my fellow Lib Dem bloggers, and ask them to select just two: one should be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other should be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old). Here’s what they said:

Posted in Books | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2009

2 Big Stories

This morning’s two big stories are being combined by most of the newspapers: the European election results and what they mean for Gordon Brown’s leadership of the Labour party.
From the Guardian:
European elections: Brown faces leadership battle amid Labour meltdown and BNP success

Gordon Brown today faces a make-or-break challenge to his leadership after Labour looked set to slump to just 16% of the national vote in the European elections and the far-right British National party won two new seats.

In a devastating result for the prime minister, Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, was elected to the

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

NEW POLL: was the BBC right to ban Carol Thatcher from The One Show?

I’ve avoided for as long as possible the uber-hyped ‘nowtrage’ over Carol Thatcher’s off-air-but-in-the-studio comment that a still-to-be-identified tennis player looks like a ‘golliwog’.

It does of course pose lots of interesting questions for liberals: the conflict between freedom of speech, and the offence that may cause; to what extent unbroadcast behind-the-scenes remarks should be regarded as private; whether remarks that cause offence are best dealt with by individuals at the time, rather than by being referred to an ombudsmanperson.

The Lib Dem blogosphere has wrestled with many of these issues and more, and given more time to …

Posted in Voice polls | Also tagged , , , , and | 15 Comments

Causes of the credit crunch: if you’re going to try to blame David Bowie, you really should also blame fifteenth century knights

David Bowie: the case for the prosecution

The idea that the credit crunch can in part be blamed on David Bowie is the, um…, slightly unusual thought thrown in the air by Evan Davis ahead of the broadcast of his TV documentary on the City. As Evan Davis put it in The Mirror:

Even when it comes to finances Bowie leads the way – and back in 1997 he did something called “securitisation”.

He thought, “I have a lot of money coming in over the next 10 years from my back catalogue, but I’d rather have the cash now and not have

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Welcome back to Gavin Webb

The Lib Dem PPC for Burton is once again a fully-fledged party member. Lib Dem bloggers Alex Wilcock and Paul Walter have the background.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show

Following Tony Blair’s appearance on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has made his debut in clips of his successful conference speech. Nick appears 1m 20s into the clip:

(For what it’s worth, the Andrex puppy is the Charmin puppy in America).

Update: For more US TV humour, this time on the Presidential election, see Paul Walter’s Liberal Burblings.

Posted in Humour and LDVUSA | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Total Politics list of top 50 Lib Dem blogs published

You can see the full list over at Iain Dale’s blog, but here’s the top 10:

1. Liberal Democrat Voice
2. People’s Republic of Mortimer (Alix Mortimer)
3. Norfolk Blogger (Nich Starling)
4. Quaequam Blog! (James Graham)
5. Liberal England (Jonathan Calder)
6. Lynne Featherstone MP
7. Millennium Dome, Elephant
8. Peter Black AM
9. Love & Liberty (Alex Wilcock)
10. Liberal Burblings (Paul Walter)

Thanks to those who voted for LDV, and congratulations to all the blogs who made the list. And for those who didn’t, remember: it’s just a list.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | 11 Comments

Paul Walter’s shocking confession

I have an appalling confession to make. I didn’t touch either of the books on my summer reading list on Lib Dem Voice last month. In fact, I didn’t even take one of them with me. I don’t even possess them!

Should I do some sort of penance? You know the sort of thing. Should I compile an encyclopaedia of Bob Shaw’s blog titles? Or act as Lembit’s celebrity appearance booker for a month?

In place of the two books I listed, I read instead Running Mate by Joe Klein, which I recommend. It was loaned to me by an …

Posted in Books | 8 Comments

Bloggers’ summer reading (Part I)

Imagine you were going on holiday this summer: which two books would you take with you? One would be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other would be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old).

That was the scenario I put to some of the Lib Dems’ leading bloggers. Here’s what they said:

Paul Walter – Liberal Burblings

1. Asquith. by Roy Jenkins I have now read Jenkins’ Churchill (wonderful), his

Posted in Books | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Seven Tories face sleaze probes

So says The Sun. Paul Walter has helpfully done a round-up of the latest Conservative sleaze stories in today’s papers, including more news on Alan Duncan:

A second member of David Cameron’s shadow Cabinet faces a Parliamentary sleaze investigation after it emerged that his office is secretly funded by the head of a controversial oil company…

Vitol, which was Iran’s largest petrol supplier until last year, has been prosecuted after admitting paying bribes to Saddam Hussein’s government in exchange for valuable oil contracts from the Iraqi regime. It was fined $17.5 million (£8.8 million) by an American court.

The firm was

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

That Telegraph story: true or false (or somewhere inbetween)?

At lunchtime, I posted my take on the Telegraph’s exclusive claiming the Lib Dems would be prepared to back – or, at any rate, not vote down – a minority Tory administration if David Cameron’s party is the biggest single group in a Hung Parliament.

Of the 40 comments so far posted in response, opinion seems divided between those, like me, who think this would be shrewd politics; and those who think it would be absolutely barking mad. I prefaced my LDV piece with a big caveat:

The first question we need to ask is, is the story true?

Posted in News | 24 Comments

An audience with Nick Clegg

“Good evening Mr Haw!” I said cheerily as I wandered past the assorted tents and placards still disfiguring the east side of Parliament Square; but the legendary peace campaigner studiously ignored my outstretched hand. I thought this just a touch rude, but reasoned afterwards that he must have taken me for a member of the ruling classes. An easy mistake to make – I was, after all, most finely tailored from head to toe for the latest in a series of blogger interviews, most kindly organised by the Millennium Elephant, this time with the leader of the Liberal Democrats himself, Nick Clegg! Here’s all I remember of the evening:

Jo Christie-Smith asked Nick about our much-heralded “narrative” and, on a related theme, Helen Duffett questioned Nick regarding our media profile, or rather lack of it. To reinforce the point, Helen produced a pair of “media goggles” with a red lens on one side, and blue on the other – the point being that the media tend to view politics in terms of a straight divide between Labour and Conservative, thus marginalising the Liberal Democrats. Nick acknowledged the problem and assured us that we have people on the case in Cowley Street, but I was heartened to learn that he is not obsessing over the media. Nick says he doesn’t even read the newspapers every day, and tends to think that their influence is on the wane.

Somewhere along the line, Nick and I got into a mild disagreement over David Cameron. I quite like Cameron, seeing the deeply reactionary forces on his backbenches as being more of the problem as far as the Conservatives are concerned. But Nick is not remotely impressed with Cameron, whom he regards as superficial and deeply conservative, notwithstanding some obvious movement towards a place of sanity which has taken place under his watch. I will naturally bow to Nick’s better judgement, but a brief survey of some voting figures from last week serve to highlight the point I was trying to make:

The evening before we saw Nick, David Howarth and Evan Harris were busy seeing off the oppressive, defunct, and frankly embarrassing crime of “blasphemy” in the House of Commons. The division was never in doubt; nevertheless 57 MPs voted in a desperate attempt to retain blasphemy legislation in the 21st century – virtually all of them Conservatives. So while both Cameron and Clegg were among the Ayes that evening, it would appear that at least a quarter of the Conservative parliamentary party are completely mad! In short, there is a rich seam to be mined here, if only Liberal Democrats could be persuaded to openly embrace a more radical secular agenda. But I digress!

Paul Walter wanted to know whether, what with Labour steadily losing confidence by the hour, there might be any scope for applying pressure on electoral reform for Westminster. Nick was adamant that he has no intention of flirting with Labour on this, or indeed any other issue. But Jo wanted to know why we are so bad at fighting PR elections (echoing a point made recently by Jonathan Calder). The sad truth is that proportional representation in Scotland, Wales, or London has not thus far led to a dramatic change in Liberal Democrats fortunes. The reasons may be various, but some aspects of the recent mayoral elections might give us pause for thought:

For example, Helen may want to get away from the red and blue “media goggles,” but how are we to prevent the media from asking the obvious (and entirely legitimate) question as to where one is intending to cast one’s second preference vote? Brian Paddick resisted this up to a point, but was unable to avoid letting out a few hints along the way, before eventually “declaring” for the Left List after the close of poll (the less said about that the better).

Posted in Blogger Interviews | Also tagged , and | 90 Comments

And the winner is…

Thanks to those Lib Dem Voice readers who submitted entries for yesterday’s competition to win a copy Susan George’s book, Hijacking America – by providing a suitable epitaph for George W. Bush’s presidency.

The standard was extremely high – I heartily commend the comments thread to those who missed it – which has made judging the winner extremely difficult. (Not helped by the LDV editorial collective all choosing different favourites: typical bloody liberals.)

Among the best of the runners-up were:

GWB, we are forever in his national debt (Andy Mayer)

Daddy made me do it (Paul Walter)

2001-2009: (interregnum) (Bibliophylax)

We apologise for the

Posted in Books | 1 Comment

Opinion: Ditch PR in favour of weighted votes

One Liberal Democrat policy area I can never get out of bed for is proportional representation. Don’t get me wrong; there is so much at fault with our present constitution – starting with the simple observation that we don’t really have one as such, through the farcical arrangements pertaining in the Commons and the Lords, and never forgetting the fact that, bizarrely, we still appear to be subjects of a Monarch ordained of God, named Betty Windsor.

However, though our democracy may be somewhat imperfect, it remains a democracy nonetheless; and the notion that we are labouring under some colossal electoral …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 60 Comments

Paul Walter on Nick’s first 100 days

At the tail end of the leadership campaign, I wrote for Lib Dem Voice about what our new leader should do during his first 100 days. That boiled down to a media blitz – hitting the ground running, etc, etc. Never mind shadow cabinet appointments or internal party anorakking, the new leader had to be on the front foot with the media before he got consumed by them.

I am delighted to report that I think Nick Clegg deserves 10/10 in the hitting the ground running/media blitz stakes. Therefore by the key measure I set (and still set) Nick Clegg has started his leadership brilliantly. He and his team deserve pats on the back and triples all round.

For evidence to back up this, I could do no better than point you to Fraser MacPherson’s excellent round-up of positive coverage for Nick. There was also a glowing leader article in The Guardian.

Basically, Nick has shown that he has sharp elbows and has managed to wedge himself into many media stories on an almost daily basis. Just take the last week. He championed the cause of the Gurkhas. This almost brought tears to my eyes. Normally, championing the cause of veterans would be the exclusive preserve of the Tories. That well known too-smooth operator and law-breaker David Cameron would normally have been presenting the Gurkhas’ case. So well done Nick for turning that old paradigm on its head.

Then, later in the week, Nick managed to get liberally quoted on the subject of Derek Conway MP and the scandalously lax House of Commons expense rules. Another example of sharp elbows. It looks easy, but I am sure there have been sleepless nights and long hours for Nick and his team in order to achieve his high level of media visibility (for a Lib Dem leader).

Of course, the Lisbon treaty thingy has been the main test of Nick’s leadership. Call me an old-fashioned leader sycophant if you like, but I think he rode out that storm with considerable élan and skill. All party leaders face that sort of week. The crucial test is how they handle it. Nick handled it on the front foot, with considerable grace, humour and equanimity. I was particularly impressed that he did the media rounds on the day of the vote (eg, a particularly energetic appearance on Channel 4 News) and appeared relaxed, rational and human.

You only have to look at what hasn’t happened to see what a great success Nick’s first 100 days have been.

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

David Cameron’s brush with the law

Here’s a sample of what David Cameron has said before:

David Cameron will unveil plans tomorrow for a new “three strikes and you’re out” rule (January 2008)

For persistent offenders, the public deserve a break from their behaviour (April 2006)

Now here’s the thing. Can you guess who was caught cycling through a red light and without a helmet in 2007? And was then caught again cycling through a red light, with an eye-witness reporting “instead of apologising, his whole attitude was one of arrogance”? And then we have today’s news, complete with photos:

The Tory boss

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Jacqui Smith: our very own Donald Rumsfeld

You know, I think the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is turning into our very own Donald Rumsfeld.

After the previous entertainments caused by her rather odd pair of views (here and here) on walking and the little problem over the timing of her kebab purchases, we had this morning something right up there in the Mr Rumsfeld class.

On being challenged on the Today program that she was wanting to introduce detention without charge for 42 days only in order to cover hypothetical situations (rather than to deal with any current problem), she retorted:

It won’t be hypothetical if and when

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Guardian joins Clegg in savaging ID scheme

The Grauniad’s leader column is inspired by Nick Clegg’s New Year message to launch an eloquent polemic against ‘a pernicious piece of plastic’. They say:

Mr Brown previously let it be known that he saw big problems with Tony Blair’s pet ID card project. But when he moved into No 10, polls showing strong support for the scheme deterred an immediate change of course. That support has now slipped thanks to concern about lost data; it will slip further as the costs become stark. After a battering few months, Mr Brown must use the new year to define his government

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Reshuffle reactions: your essential guide

Much reaction on the blogs and elsewhere to yesterday’s Lib Dem shadow cabinet announcements. Here are the links:

* Home Affairs for Huhne on Peter Welch’s Eastern/European blog.

* Clegg keeps Compo! on Martin Land’s New Model Army blog.

* Steve Webb given environment role on David Nikel’s The Golden Side of the Moon

* Great role for Chris Huhne on Paul Walter’s Liberal Burblings blog.

* A strong team astrologically on John’s Liberal Revolution blog.

* The New Shadow Cabinet – The Scottish Perspective on Stephen Glenn’s Linlithgow Journal

* All change please on The Bombastic Bedouin.

* …

Posted in Best of the blogs and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments
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