The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for February, 2012

Daniel Radcliffe no longer loves the Lib Dems. I’m unsure if I can get out of bed and face the day.

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Last night whilst up late watching the New York Giants somehow beat the New England Patriots I saw a curious tweet pass through my timeline only to get retweeted by various Lib Dems. Oh Yes. In a quite dramatic development that could change the course of future elections it has come to light that Daniel Radcliffe has ended his support for the Liberal Democrats.

*smash*

That is the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

* squelch*

That is the sound of me walking through my tear soaked carpets.

*whoosh*

That is the sound of me pulling over my 15-tog duvet and shutting out the world. It is all too much.

Clearly I’m taking the mick here but do ‘celebrity’ endorsements actually do anything? Did the fact Colin Firth and Daniel Radcliffe came out for the Lib Dems bring in any votes? Did Gary Barlow supporting David Cameron get all the Take That fans out to vote last summer? Does Sir Alan Sugar’s backing of Labour bring home the marginals? I have to think not. Are the British electorate so politically naive that they vote on the basis of what their favoured celebrity says?

I chose to believe that the electorate are smarter than that.

Wenen asked in the piece whether he was happy with the Lib Dems role in government, the Harry Potter actor replied, “No, of course not. Nick Clegg asked to meet me after that Attitude interview and we talked about issues such as gay rights and faith schools.

“I was initially supportive. For me it was good that the Lib Dems would be fighting our corner. But he has become a whipping boy and it seems to me that he has been totally used by the Tories – anything they don’t want badly reflected on them they reflect on to him.”

So he thinks that (like the majority of the electorate) and yet all the right-wing politicos and twitterati are getting more and more annoyed at the Lib Dem influence in power. So someone has to be wrong. Either the Lib Dems are indeed whipping boys and are totally useless or they are in fact doing a fair bit and punching above their weight and the media are not reporting this. I’ll let you to decide which I believe.

But what next for the former Lib Dem? “From what I’ve seen of Ed Miliband, I really like him and he speaks for what I believe in. I think he’s genuine, genuinely leftwing, and will act as such if he gets in.”

Guessing Daniel doesn’t really have his finger of the pulse of the UK political scene then…

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February 6th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Posted in Politics

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Southend Lib Dems rally against the Thames Estuary Airport scheme

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‘The City of London needs a new airport like I need a mushroom risotto covered in fried egg’ – Neil Monnery 5th Feb 2012.

Yes that is right folks the time is now (or indeed a few days ago but it was embargoed for a few days) for the people of Southend to raise their voices and start campaigning against the proposed Thames Estuary Airport which is set to be an issue throughout South East England over the coming months.

Boris Johnson thinks it is a great idea. The PM is ready to have a public consultation on the issue as we look for a way to cram yet another unneeded airport into our capital city. Did that sentence read as though it had no bias? Good.

The local Lib Dems will be taking part a public meeting concerning the proposed Thames Estuary Airport to be held at Southend Adult Community College, Lower Hall, Leigh Centre, in Elm road on Friday 10th February starting at 7:45PM. If you live in or around Southend and are concerned about the proposed airport then do pop along and speak with the four Lib Dems who’ll be taking part in the event and talking to residents and listening residents views on the plans.

The four of them are technologically savvy too. They have started an e-petition against the Thames Estuary plans which you can sign behind the link.

Just for a change I’ll throw in a bunch of quotes that are in the Press Release on this matter. I should know as I just wrote it (those three years studying Journalism were worth it although it is being amended but still…):

Alan Crystall – Lib Dem councillor for Leigh – “I first got involved in local politics to fight the Maplin scheme. I am convinced that this mad idea is wrong on all counts.”

Peter Wexham – Lib Dem councillor for Leigh – “The last thing the Estuary needs is a huge expanse of concrete.”

Chris Bailey – Lib Dem candidate for West Leigh and former councillor – “We are already facing excessive aircraft noise in this part of Leigh on Sea. These proposals would make things much worse.”

Peter Welch – Lib Dem PPC for Southend West in 2010 – “It is important for people to speak up now and voice their opposition to these ideas.”

So there you have it. If you are against these proposals and live locally then please do pop along to the public meeting on Friday and sign the e-petition before that. If you aren’t local but are still against yet another major airport serving London then please also sign the e-petition.

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February 5th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Politics

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In defence of Nick Clegg regards to promoting Ed Davey to the cabinet

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So Chris Huhne had to go. Well he didn’t have to go but he did have to go. You know what I mean. The next big question was who would replace him as the fifth Liberal Democrat in the cabinet. Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander are already in. All white men. The clamour was clear amongst the grass roots. They wanted a woman. We are the party of diversity or so we proclaim. How can we live with the situation of not having a woman in the cabinet if we are allowed five members under the coalition agreement?

As a brief aside why do I never read about the lack of Lib Dem MPs from ethnic backgrounds in the party let alone in the cabinet?

I digress.

Anyway I have read a plethora of reasoned posts on the subject from the very flffy elephant to the standard bearer for Liberal Democrat blogging to arguably the most vocal voice in Lib Dem blogging. They are all worth reading if you have a spare ten minutes or so.

In the interests of showing my colours and thoughts I wanted either Lynne Featherstone or Jo Swinson to get the promotion. People will probably not believe me as I have been pigeon-holed by many within the Lib Dem blogosphere as hating women. Therefore here is a screenshot from Facebook in the Essex Liberal Youth group on Friday morning.

Neil Monnery Lynne Featherstone Jo Swinson

My thoughts on Friday morning.

You can also go back through my twitter history if you really want to. My position on this subject has been the same all the way through.

So whilst I was disappointed in the Ed Davey decision I also note that I’m not in the best place to judge. I don’t know these candidates personally. I know of their jobs and what they do and what they are trying to do but that is it. Nick Clegg knows them all personally. He also knows what they would all bring to the job. So he is clearly in the best position to judge.

So there are two pertinent questions. Firstly who is the best person for the job of Energy Secretary in Nick Clegg’s eyes and secondly if that person is a white male should they be overlooked just for diversity reasons? I can’t answer the first question because I don’t have enough insight and only Nick Clegg really does so I move straight on to the second part. Nick has decided Ed Davey is the right person for the job so should he be discriminated against because of his gender? The answer to that in my opinion is no. To discriminate against him for that reason is sexist and as a party we do not believe in sexism.

Of course there is one caveat to this. The above maybe a moot point is Nick Clegg himself is a sexist and is determined to keep women down. Does anyone truly believe that is the case? *surveys the landscape and sees a few hands but chooses to ignore them* No doubt some of you actually believe that. I can’t say he isn’t but really. I choose to believe that Nick Clegg is not a sexist and doesn’t think women are inferior. I would implore you all to follow my lead on that.

So here we are. A lot of us didn’t get what we wanted but we have to concede that we weren’t equipped with all the facts. I firmly believe that Nick chose the person he thought was the best fit for the job no matter of their creed or gender. That is what I believe. I don’t believe in positive discrimination. I just don’t therefore if Nick decided that Ed was the right person for the job then I’m happy to go with that.

There is no big conspiracy. I’ll back Ed Davey and hope he does a great job. The likes of Lynne Featherstone, Jenny Willott and Jo Swinson will have great futures within the party. As will many women who will be elected in the coming years. Just because their time isn’t now in the top jobs doesn’t mean that the hierarchy of the party is sexist and all wrong.

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February 5th, 2012 at 11:28 am

Posted in Politics

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Take Me Out Chelsea ‘wins’ a date with Damion

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If there are any fans of the ITV1 show Take Me Out who haven’t seen the moment male contestant Damion shot himself in the foot and repeatedly did so then you’ve got to see this. You have to feel for poor Chelsea who eventually ‘won’ a date with him.

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February 5th, 2012 at 10:43 am

Posted in Random Stuff

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The endless struggle to find that feeling of belonging

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Sometimes I sit here (or in other places – mostly other places like at the beach or on the loo – why do so many man think on the loo – I digress) and think about my place in the universe or more reasonably my place in my little world. There are two schools of thought that people should conform to the norm or be individual and I sit squarely in the latter. It is a choice I make because I’m more comfortable that way. However I note that it at times has made me feel left out and that I don’t belong anywhere. It is something I struggle with all the time.

The last time I felt that I truly belonged was probably when I was 18. I was comfortable with my social group and had been throughout high school and VI form. They weren’t easy times. Our social group was a mix of boys and girls and in all honesty I was the least liked of the boys by the girls. The reasons for this have never been made clear to me. I’m guessing there was a reason. If someone pointed a gun at my head and asked me to guess I’d probably guess right. I remember one girl at one point fancied every single member of our social group throughout those five years bar me. I’m not saying this upset me but it is something I remember noting at the time. You wonder why it is. You look yourself in the mirror and try to work out what is wrong with you. It hurts.

Still that was one part of it. The male side of the social group and myself were solid. We had good times. However when I went to university I would never settle back down on the Isle of Wight and you drift apart. I have not seen any of those people since a wedding in July of 2010. I hadn’t even spoken to any of them in about 16 months until the other day. My best mate at the time and his partner are expecting so I got in touch to say well done, good luck and you’ll be a great dad etc…

I don’t yearn for those days again. I have moved on but it did get me wondering about my place and finding somewhere where I truly felt I belonged. I didn’t at university. I had friends but I never belonged. There are many reasons for this but two of them are at the time I drunk but never ever to get drunk and I didn’t really enjoy going out much. These are two things that I have had to struggle with all my life. People not drinking is not normal and people think that there is something wrong with you.

Another issue is that of self-confidence. Now these days I don’t struggle from a chronic lack of this. I won’t say I’m brimming over with it but that isn’t an issue that keeps me awake at night any more. In my teens and early 20s though my lack of confidence was terrible. I couldn’t see that having a lack of confidence in itself put people off knowing me. It was a spiral that I couldn’t pull myself out of. Confidence is a strange foe. How do you get it when no-one gives you the opportunity to get any?

In the end on that front it was a charity shop that dragged me out of it. Volunteering and people actually thinking I was worth something. Who would have thought that seeing a Crimewatch reconstruction one evening would lead me to getting some self-belief and a sense of self-worth. Well that is what happened as there was a robbery on a charity shop and I hadn’t really thought about doing anything like that. All I was doing was moping about trying to work out my next step in life and there we have it.

I suppose you could argue that I kind of felt I belonged there. However I was moving out of the area and the two managers both left at the same time so things would have been different anyway. I suppose you could argue I feel like I belong when I do Hospital Radio. I have done it for so many years and with the same core of people that it just works. So maybe I belong there.

However that is but a small part of my life. I started this post by decreeing that I made a choice that I’d be an individual and I’d live by my rules no matter what. This has without a doubt led to some sad times and certainly many feelings of inadequacy. Not going with the crowd is tough when deep down all you want is to be liked and wanted by people. When you swim against the tide it is easier to stand out but you are also easier to dismiss.

It took me many years to understand who I am to the level that I understand myself now. I think it is fair to say that I have not been this contented in a long time. I have no more feeling of belonging than I did when I was in my late teens or early 20s but I have found that the need to belong isn’t actually that important.

In the past 48 hours I have had to sit down with a close friend to help him make an extremely tough decision with regards to his first proper relationship. I myself have also felt the sting of seeing my first proper relationship end with a surprising jolt as well as have someone else on the phone to me in tears as someone she loved had passed away. Not the most straightforward of periods but that’s life.

What it showed me is that people I care about come to me if they have issues. That makes me feel good as a person. I have always said that I have no delusions of grandeur and that if on my death bed I can look back and say that those close to me felt that their lives were enriched by having me in it then that is all that I can ask for.

So maybe I don’t belong anywhere but you know what? I think that is actually ok. Maybe one day I’ll feel like I’m truly wanted and that I belong somewhere or with someone. Until that day though all I can do is carry on down the journey of life. Where that will take me I have no idea. All I can say with any assurance is all I want to be is a positive influence on those close to me. If I can do that then I think that is good enough for now.

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February 5th, 2012 at 6:55 am

Posted in Personal

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Why do people think bullying on the internet is ok?

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The internet is largely anonymous. It is easy to make judgements on people we know and it is even easier to make snap judgements on people on the television. In this age where celebrity is a concept that has been diluted because of reality TV it has coincided with the explosion of social media.

Therefore people on the TV and in the papers are more regular than before. Newspapers will run stories and photos of reality TV stars causing people to have more vocal opinions on said people. A few months ago Jesy Nelson was getting bullied over her looks and today in The Sun Cher Lloyd is talking about internet bullying. It just makes me shake my head.

I was talking this morning to one of the girls on the ITV1 dating show Take Me Out and she was saying she hadn’t received anything too bad but other girls had received a lot of hate via social media. This hate isn’t just hate but it directed at them personally and that to me just seems bizarre. Did no-one teach the social media generation that internet bullying is still bullying? Saying personal and mean things to people for no apparent reason – certainly people who are strangers is just not right.

Cher Lloyd is quoted in the piece linked to above talking about Jesy Nelson, “I went to a party and noticed that Little Mix were there, but Jesy wasn’t.

“So I called her up and she said, ‘I just don’t feel good about myself’.

“And that’s down to cyber bullying.

“That made this girl not go out and see all the crazy stuff that she could be doing, because of comments. She missed a great night. She’s such a bubbly girl — the type of girl I wanted to be friends with at school.

“So it was so hurtful to see her so down when she had this massive opportunity just beginning to open up in front of her.

“After going through the highs of the audition process, she was brought down to the bottom again because of someone being nasty about her.

How can that be right? I know that David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd quit twitter a few months back because of a handful of muppets who kept sending him abuse and swearing at him and he decided that it just wasn’t worth it. He has since returned to twitter but still that is why he stopped for the best part of a year. Does being mean to people that you don’t know make these people feel big?

I remember when Cher Lloyd was on The X Factor the amount of abuse she got was something else. A lot of it not directed at her personally but some it is was. Commentating in your twitter timeline that in your opinion she doesn’t have a voice is probably fair cop but tweeting her and calling her a no talent whore is certainly not. Yet this is what she had to face.

Putting yourself out there in reality TV terms means that you are opening yourself up to abuse. Yes that is the way it is but it doesn’t make it right. When it comes to people that you don’t know then why be so personal? If you don’t have something nice to say about people you see on TV then why say anything at all to them?

The social media generation seem to be more open to bullying. It is something that is a real concern. It isn’t just with reality TV but school bullies can bully outside the school and at evenings and weekends. Bullying is a real problem for the future moving forward.

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February 4th, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Neil Rants

Jo Swinson is Nick Clegg’s new PPS

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Hot off the press from the Lib Dem Press Office

‘Following the appointment of Norman Lamb as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, Jo Swinson has been appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the Liberal Demcorats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.’

This to me is terrific news. So both Jo Swinson and Jenny Willott have had promotions today. It might not make up for Chris Huhne going but it could have been a lot worse. A lot worse.

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February 3rd, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Politics

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Chris Huhne Charged. Chris Huhne Resigns. Everyone forgets you are innocent until proven guilty.

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I am just so bored of this story. I am even more bored that people still think that charges is a presumption of guilt. We have seen in recent months people just being arrested is enough for the mob and the media to presume guilt and yell it from the roof-tops. Look at Rebecca Leighton. Everyone said she was guilty because she was arrested and described as the saline nurse killer. Turn out she wasn’t guilty and was in fact totally innocent. Look at Chris Jefferies. Arrested over the murder of Jo Yeates and you know what – he wasn’t guilty. I could go on and on and on…

The system we have is really quite simple. The presumption should be of innocence until proven otherwise. That is how the legal system is set up. Seems simple enough yes? However when it comes to the media that premise has disappeared and as for the mob they are extremely fickle. What is the difference between Rebecca Leighton, Chris Jefferies and Julian Assange? The only difference is the mob like Julian Assange and even though his charges are that of rape the mob are happy to overlook this. Well they were when the bandwagon was rolling anyway. Less so now.

So here we are on a Friday morning and the CPS have ended their nine-month long investigation into the Chris Huhne/Vicky Pryce speeding points affair. It has cost the taxpayer a bomb of dosh and it hasn’t been in the public interest but they have finally filed charges. Chris Huhne has had to resign this morning because it is the thing to do. His case would be a distraction and the opposition would crow about it all the time. No innocent until proven guilty in the media or the mob and in politics it is even worse. It is most childish.

Unsurprisingly I have no idea if he is guilty. If he is then what a stupid man. Also his wife must be pretty gutted as she tried to bring down her husband in a fit of pique only to find herself in the dock for the same charges. That must have hurt. I’m guessing she doesn’t want a criminal record and if she could go back in time she would keep her gob shut whether she was telling the truth or not.

The CPS will need to prove that Chris Huhne was not driving the car. The fact it took nine months to decide whether they are going to file charges or not makes me think they are struggling with this. Maybe the e-mails between Price and The Times were the key factor but of this I doubt as what evidence is that? Scorned lover speaks to newspaper to try and get him vilified in the press. Yep sounds like good unbiased primary evidence to me.

As I said I have no idea if he is guilty or not but I do know that the CPS are not on top in this case and it is by no means a slam-dunk. It took them nine months to get to the point where they think they have enough evidence that Huhne was driving the car. They need to prove Huhne was elsewhere at that exact moment or so far away a few hours before that it is impossible he could have been in Essex. It took them nine months to get to that point? That troubles me.

Huhne denies all guilt and unlike most I will reserve judgement. I’m an innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law kinda guy. I think everyone should follow my lead on this one. Sadly the media and the mob have spoken and in this day and age sadly that is often more than enough for most people.

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February 3rd, 2012 at 11:16 am

Posted in Politics

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Damian Green’s new plans for immigration. Awful or disgusting? You decide.

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It has been a while since I have had a real bee in my bonnet on something political. My blog has been filled up with other interests including the ‘lighty lighty’ show as some people call it but no more (well at least until the next blog) as Damian Green is proposing some new rules for immigrants and they are shall we call it flat out repugnant. Yes I like that word. Let’s call it that.

The immigration minister utters these words, “We need to know not just that the right numbers of people are coming here but that the right people are coming here. People who will benefit Britain, not just those who benefit by Britain,” so let’s look at those two sentences for a moment.

Firstly I’d argue that there is no ‘right number’ but who are exactly the ‘right people’ of which he speaks. People who will benefit Britain sound good but we need more context. Does Mr Green have anything more he’d like to add?

Well according to various reports he does. People who will be allowed into the country will be able to demonstrate that they can earn upwards of £31,000 a year. Yes this is the criteria he wants us to work by at border control. To benefit Britain you must be able to earn a good to very good salary. How Tory. Deciding that money is the key factor in all of this. It makes me want to vomit in my own mouth.

Nurses don’t earn over that salary so they clearly won’t benefit Britain. Teachers don’t earn over that salary so clearly they don’t benefit Britain. Etc. Etc. Money is not the be all and end all and these proposals are more abhorrent that most the government have drawn up recently. It panders to Middle England who don’t like the foreigners because they just don’t and think that they all live on benefits and also to other areas who believe that the foreigners are taking all their jobs.

Well here is a fact that many overlook. We are still in the EU. That isn’t changing any soon. No siree Bob. So anyone from the EU can and will continue to move over to the UK whenever they so desire. That isn’t changing. The only way that changes is if we leave the EU and that is about as likely as fans of Portsmouth Football Club waking up tomorrow to hear that Sir Richard Branson has bought the team and invested 100s of millions of pounds and is planning a new stadium floating in the middle of the Solent which fans will have to get a Virgin Ferry for. Not happening folks.

So we have to deal with those coming from outside the EU only. Benefiting Britain is not just about the economy. The economy is not the be all and end all. Do we turn away artists who want to relocate to the UK and live a quiet life? Many of them won’t be able to demonstrate that they earn over a certain threshold. Life is about more than money but woe betide anyone actually saying that in this current economic climate where the government are trying to scare us into thinking the end of the world is nigh. Oh no. Everything is all money, money, money.

Am I finished? No.

There is another proposal on the table. Another idea Green and his staff have cooked up. How about the idea that no British person can bring their spouse into the country if they are from outside the EU unless they earn a minimum of £25,700. That sounds like a great idea does it not?

Oh wait. No. No it does not. It sounds extraneous. That is what it sounds like. So to live in Britain you must be able to either fall in love with a) a Brit, b) an EU citizen or c) a non EU citizen who can earn a good salary. Are you freaking kidding me? This is completely nuts. Completely nuts. Love is what love is. You fall in love with who you fall in love with. Whether they earn money or not shouldn’t come into the reckoning. I know of several couples who are married where one isn’t an EU citizen and who wouldn’t have fulfilled this criteria. So for that reason should they not be allowed to be happy and settle in this country?

I despair sometimes. I really do. This to me is not good on any level and should it become law then it will be a sad day for us all. We like the foreigners in the good times as they can do all the jobs that we don’t want to do but in the bad times we want them gone. We still don’t want to do those jobs as we prefer not to demean ourselves for a pittance of a wage but we still blame the foreigners. It is all their fault. Everything is their fault. Sometimes we should look at ourselves in the mirror and think and wonder where our drive has gone.

At the end of the day we are all human and no-one is better than the next person. When you start ranking prospective immigrants on potential salary then you are basically saying that you are a better person if you earn more and I simply can’t abide that sentiment.

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February 2nd, 2012 at 11:51 am

Posted in Politics

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