Tag Archives: sandy walkington

Memories of the Chester-le-Street By-election

Reading of the death of Giles Radice reminded me of the 1973 Chester-le-Street by-election, the first time I ever canvassed.  The constituency put the rotten into borough.  It was run by Andrew Cunningham, father of Jack, effectively a Soprano to the main Labour mafia family led by T Dan Smith in Newcastle.  Cunningham went to jail in 1974 for his role in the Poulson affair, former Labour MP Eddie Milne wrote a graphic account of his experiences in Blyth in his book ‘No Shining Armour’.

I have to say that Winchester-educated Giles was in no way associated with this.  He was a charming and intelligent man whom I got to know much later.  In 1973 he had been parachuted into Chester-le-Street  as Labour candidate by the GMB union where he was head of research.  The Tories had Neil Balfour who campaigned with his wife Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, who later married Richard Burton – you couldn’t make it up.  The Liberal candidate was George Suggett, an antiques dealer from Berkshire who had at least been born in the constituency and was a miner’s son.  He became ‘Geordie Suggett’ for the campaign.

The Labour council owned all the property.  Initially they refused to let any premises to the other parties to use as headquarters.  The Tories ended up in a caravan parked in a lay-by on the edge of town.  Labour had the ground floor of a redundant library building.  There was an empty upper floor accessed by a separate stair and Andy Ellis as campaign manager demanded that we be allowed to let it.  As soon as we moved in, a banner across the front proclaimed ‘Liberals are on top’.

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Hello again Sandy, farewell Ed and David – Parliamentary selection news

Three pieces of news on the selection front for the 2015 general election: congratulations to Sandy Walkington, reselected from a field of five in St Albans, and farewell to Ed Fordham and David Rendel, who have decided they won’t go for re-selection in, respectively, Hampstead & Kilburn and Newbury.

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The Weekend Debate: What’s wrong with making membership of the second chamber a lottery?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The debate about what a reformed House of Lords should look like has been defeating legislators for well over a century — and here’s a novel proposal from Sandy Walkington, who stood for the Lib Dems in St Albans at the last election:

Greece is not exactly in fashion at the moment. But we could learn a thing or two from ancient Athens. They chose their office holders by lot from amongst the citizens, who then had to serve for a

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What Liberal Democrat Bloggers are saying about the Budget – Part 2

The Liberal Democrat blogosphere is continuing to talk about the Budget, so here are some of the latest offerings.

Sandy Walkington thinks that the Budget is a dish best observed cold.

I tend to aim off from all instant, hyperbolic reactions to the Budget.  When I worked as a press officer in the oil industry, Budget Day was a time for synthetic outrage at the latest iniquity heaped on the long suffering motorist or on the plucky explorers of the North Sea.  And then the sun continued to rise and set.

In the current global economic circumstances which only compound the reckless public

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Daily View 2×2: 24 January 2010

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for one of Microsoft’s best adverts (no, really) and the bicycle lane of the week but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

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

  • Really interesting health discussion: Sandy Walkington doesn’t got for hyperbole in his description of a public meeting addressed by Norman Lamb but do read through to the end – which has an excellent account of the problems facing anyone trying to come up with policy for the NHS.
  • Snow joke: Residents demand grit bins as Labour stop debate: Haringey councillor Richard Wilson is on the case to get more grit bins so residents can do more to take care of their own streets during future snow falls. Haringey Labour’s response? Waffle. (Words rather than food, that is.)

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

‘Sarah’s Law’ sex offender alert scheme may be expanded

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Daily View 2×2: 12 January 2010

On this day in 2001, Sven Goran Eriksson took over as manager of the England football team. On the same day, the carers of eight year old Victoria Climbié, who died after being tortured and fed like a dog, were found guilty of her murder, leading to questions being asked of Haringey Social Services.

Today is the 281st anniversary of the birth of Edmund Burke. It’s also the 59th and 56th birthdays respectively of  US radio ‘personalities’ Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.

2 Big Stories

Four steps to a fairer Britain

Yesterday saw Nick Clegg set out the priorities which will be at the heart of the party’s …

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Daily View 2×2: 30 August 2009

2 Big Stories


Sunday Times: Lockerbie bomber ‘set free for oil’

Today’s Times has the big story:

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal. Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release. The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

The Lib Dems Ed Davey – who has been leading the campaign for full disclosure over Mr Al Megrahi’s release – is quoted by the paper:

This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”

Brown’s surprise Afghanistan trip scuppers Cameron

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Anne Main sparks row among St Albans Conservatives

From the St Albans and Harpenden Review: (Hat tip: Jonathan Calder)

The future of MP Anne Main has sparked a civil war among St Albans Conservatives.

Chairman Seema Kennedy and her two deputies, Matt Peck and Mary Zambra, asked Mrs Main to step down, and have now called a meeting of the local party’s 300 members on August 13, to vote on her de-selection.

But an opposing faction is backing the MP and trying to remove Mrs Kennedy and Mr Peck from their posts ahead of the crucial vote.

Defying clear advice from the party’s regional campaign director that

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