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Month: June 2012

Vince Cable or Tim Farron for next leader? I’m not too sure about that…

So the members of Lib Dem Voice have spoken and the write up today on the websites says that they want either Vince Cable or Tim Farron to be the next leader once Nick Clegg stands aside whenever that may be.

I don’t get this. I really don’t. Vince Cable would be a fantastic leader but he is also 69 and whilst that shouldn’t be an issue does anyone remember what the public thought of – to give him his full name – Sir Walter Menzies “Ming” Campbell when he took up the leadership and he was only 64 at the time? The likelihood is that Nick Clegg will lead the party into the next election so that’ll be another three years so Vince would be 72 by this point. Vince is without a doubt one of the most respected Lib Dems around and if you did a poll amongst members on ‘who do you think is the smartest Lib Dem?’ then I’d put significant money of Vince being in the top three at least. However at 72 surely his opportunity would have passed?

Next up we have the darling of the Lib Dem twitterati in Tim Farron. I have nothing against Tim Farron but I don’t get the love that he appears to have amongst the membership. I get the feeling it is because is doesn’t have a ministerial role and therefore has more leeway to speak his own mind compared to others but also is very much interactive with the twittersphere. He arguably uses twitter more than any Lib Dem MP with only Julian Huppert really being in the mix. The accessibility of Tim Farron is part of the reason people like him but is that a good enough to believe that he would be a good leader?

He put his name to a letter regarding the ‘prayer can heal’ issue but that got a lot of people upset but he backed away from his comments quirk sharpish and it blew over. Then he also put his name to the piece about why accreditation is vital for Autumn Conference. These are deeply unpopular issues and ones that he has successfully been able to not take the hit that others would surely have done.

For the first time in our lifetimes we have Liberal Democrat Ministers in cabinet and these people will have gained an extraordinary amount of knowledge from this. This knowledge will surely help the Lib Dems going forward but looking around the names in the cabinet I’m not sure any of these people would get the membership – let alone the electorate as a whole – excited. Danny Alexander, Ed Davey and Michael Moore all have cabinet positions but none of them are going to be the next leader of the party. They just aren’t.

So now we are searching around to find other names who could step up and first and foremost unite the party. Unity is without a doubt the most important aim of the next leader whenever they take over. The Lib Dems are fractured and bringing home some of the natural liberals who have either defected to Labour or the Greens or just left party politics altogether would surely be the A1 goal for the next person.

I haven’t hidden my admiration of Jo Swinson. I think she’s intelligent and speaks well and I would be surprised if she is not the second person on the list of people ready to step up to cabinet (David Laws is surely the first) but it is another name who has impressed me more and more as the months go on. I know he’s only been an MP for a couple of years but Julian Huppert really speaks to me as a liberal who sways towards Green issues as a large part of my politics. You never hear a bad word about him and I don’t think he’d be torn to shreds by the media or by any opposition leader.

Sadly we all know that politics is important but in this day and age personality has a larger part to play than it did in the past. John Major would struggle to win an election in this day and age and the reason Nick Clegg was doing so well in the polls in 2010 before the other parties flexed their financial and media muscles was primarily that he spoke well and people looked at him and thought they could trust him. Being adapt at public speaking – certainly with the Prime Ministerial Debates – has changed the game significantly.

The next leader will need to be trusted, respected, liked and be able to withstand a barrage from the media and the general public. That has long been the case but now if you don’t have those things then the likelihood of winning is greatly diminished. Margaret Thatcher was hated by great swathes of the nation but she was respected enough by the other part of the country to continue winning. These days fewer and fewer people are entrenched into the party that they would vote for so there are more votes up for grabs in any election time.

So the Lib Dems need to find someone who can hit all those points. Not exactly an easy job but whilst I love Vince and respect Tim I don’t see either of them as the man. Vince would be respected but would a 72 year-old really want to take on that role and Tim for me tries too hard to be all things to all men (and women). Here is the full results from the members survey on Lib Dem Voice:

28% – Vince Cable
21% – Tim Farron
6% – Jo Swinson
5% – David Laws
4% – Edward Davey
4% – Simon Hughes
4% – Steve Webb
3% – Chris Huhne
2% – Danny Alexander
2% – Norman Lamb
2% – Lynne Featherstone
1% – Michael Moore
5% – Other (please specify)
13% – Don’t know / No opinion

Jo has long been my horse in this race but Julian is starting to really pick up steam. The rest of the list shows a couple of men who’d be brilliant but sadly other issues will make it highly unlikely they can (or would even want) the job in David Laws and Simon Hughes.

Picking a leader is not an easy job but it is one of the most important. Labour made the error of Ed Miliband over his brother two years ago and whilst the polls say it wasn’t a bad decision today. I still can’t see Ed standing up to the pressure of a General Election campaign. When it comes down to it I think a lot of people would struggle to vote a man into the top elected office in the land who in your heart of hearts you know isn’t even the most capable of doing the job within his own family.

One day the Lib Dems will cross this bridge but I don’t think it’ll be before the 2015 Election so in a way this 1,159 word (to date) ramble is pretty pointless because many things could change between now and then.

Still it gave me something to do…

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The (quite) interesting and bizarre world of online dating EXTRA!

Did you see what I did there? I capitalised the extra to make it sound more exciting and important than it really is. Yes folks following the worldwide acclaim* of my first entry on this subject entitled The (quite) interesting and bizarre world of online dating I was asked if I had any more stories to tell. Well actually I do.

After I wrote the first piece I noticed I had in fact missed out on a few stories and in this era of putting my deepest darkest secrets** on the blog I thought ‘what the heck?’ and decided to come forth and actually write up the second part.

First of all let us go back just under two years. I had not long lived where I do now and had been conversing with a girl via and she thought I was the bees knees. Anyway once she had found out my name she decided to Google me and came across this old blog here. She read a fair bit of stuff and came to this entry entitled Just like they say – it is a small world and came across the line where I spoke about the fact I was a virgin and boy that put the willies up her.

She stopped conversing with me and a few days later sent a message to say that she wanted a man not a boy and the fact I was a virgin was just wrong and basically she didn’t want to know me any more. Charming I say. I have to admit I didn’t exactly lose any sleep over that one slipping through my grasp but it does go to show that when you have an internet presence then anything you write may be read by anyone.

Next we’ll jump forward a few months and another young lady seemed to be rather into me online and we arranged to meet. Sounding good so far but then disaster strikes. She had been struck down by a family emergency. Oh noes. Never a good thing but with the family emergency came no speaking to me any more and within a week that also led to her relationship status on Facebook changing from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’. Some might call me a sceptic in thinking that there was no family emergency but someone wouldn’t lie to me – would they?***

If you clicked on one of the links above you will have read a couple of other stories which I shall briefly write up here. There was a single mother in Thundersley who wasn’t put off by my virginity and despite having never met me thought that I should go over there so she could – and I quote – ‘sort me out’. It might surprise you that at this point I decided she might not be the one for me. Also the story of the girl who arranged to meet me one day but pulled out that morning and then promptly blocked me from MSN for no obvious reason. However before she deleted me from Facebook her profile picture did change to one of her and a man looking rather happy with each other so maybe that had something to do with it.

Here is an example where I have stopped conversing with someone and they weren’t sure why. She seemed pleasant enough but there is one thing that puts me off women more than anything and that is being clingy. Now being clingy and needy is one thing but being clingy and needy before we have even met is another thing altogether. This person if I didn’t reply in five minutes to a text would text again asking if they had done anything wrong, then if still no reply would text again apologising if she had done anything wrong and within the half hour two more texts asking what they had done wrong. That type of behaviour is a quick way to my bad books and me losing any interest.

Who now wants an update on the girl who wrote this on her POF profile?

It amazes me where people get their confidence from on here… come on we all know roughly where we stand in life- just because you’re online it doesn’t really mean you can suddenly start messaging people out of you’re league. I don’t mean to sound harsh but the amount of people punching well above their weight seizes to amaze me. I sound like a complete ****… I’m really not just sick of time wasters 🙂

Well her tag line is now Looks can be deceiving….! the first paragraph of her profile is now the following:

I would describe myself as quite a confident person, im outgoing & friendly when it comes to meeting new people. Although when it comes to myself & my appearance confidence it is not my strong point. Im sensible when i need to be but i know how to have fun 🙂 Im honest infact maybe too honest at times, i say what i think but never in a nasty way. (I think this is quite a good trait, not everyone will agree)

So now she says that she doesn’t have confidence in her appearance whereas a month ago she was telling everyone who wasn’t in her league not to bother messaging her. I know I’m stupid but that is crazy isn’t it?

Someone that I follow on twitter tweeted the following last week:

Dear denizens of Guardian Soulmates! By indicating you would like an attractive GF you are missing out on some hot low self esteem action.

She makes an interesting point. I will not message anyone who says that are looking for any traits that I do not have. If they say they want a tall guy, or a strong guy, or a manly guy, or an attractive or anything like that then I automatically move on. I don’t exactly have bundles of self-esteem dripping from my pores and if people are saying that looks are vital to them then that is a put-off straight-away as I believe that I won’t be someone that they would be interested in knowing so I don’t see the point conversing with them as it would only be a waste of time.

Now of course we all want an attractive partner. That is a given. Even distinctly average (at best) looking guys like me want to look at a beautiful face in the morning but beauty is really in the eye of the beholder and what I identify as beautiful would be different to what someone else would. However if someone says openly that they are looking for looks then you think that they are looking for the stereotypical type of good looks. Well I do anyway.

For example on Sunday I was in London Town with a few of my uni mates and in the pub we were in there were three girls with three guys on another table and the three guys I was with were all lusting after one girl (whose arse was being shown off by a very tight hooped pair of trousers) but I thought one of the other girls at the table was by far the most attractive of the three. There was actually a girl on a date with another guy another table who was one of the most beautiful people that I have ever seen. I mean if I was to draw up looks then she would’ve had it but none of the other three thought she was too much kop.

So it goes to prove (well not really but it is some evidence) that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Heck a small percentage of these people who are looking for an attractive guy might actually think I am good looking. I know a few of you just laughed at that but they might. However my self-esteem doesn’t think I’d be worth their time (and vice versa).

I had something I wanted to write from a profile but it seems as though she has deleted it and like an idiot I didn’t save it. I am paraphrasing here but it was essentially (and all in capitals) something like ‘Message me because I’m just a friend that you haven’t met yet and we can’t have enough friends and know enough people in our lives’ so I did and she looked at my profile but didn’t reply. So what she seemingly meant was that she wants to get to know anyone and everyone – as long as they fit into her opinion of attractive (well that is what I took from it anyway).

Online dating is a strange beast. I haven’t received a message in weeks. It has been nearly 90 people who have viewed my profile since my last message. Which isn’t exactly a fantastic ratio. I haven’t had a date this year since my brief relationship ended and the bookies now have 2013 as the favourite for the year of my next date. I think I might get in on that. I shall continue to blog about the fun and games of internet dating should I have any more interesting stories to tell. I was about to say I was going to go look through OkCupid but Deadliest Catch is on in 14 minutes so I shall have to forgo that pleasure.

* = Well twenty people ‘liked’ the post on Facebook…

** = My deepest darkest secrets are not on here. I’m not that stupid.

*** = Yes. Yes they would lie to me as I have found out women think lying to protect feelings is better than the truth.

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The story of my (very real) UFO encounter and my (quite possible) alien abduction

Ok gather round kiddies because I am (for the first time) going to publicly write about my (very real) UFO encounter and my possible alien abduction.

I cannot believe that it has been over ten years since the events that I am about to blog about. A bit of background information first that it was during my gap-year between sixth form and university. I say gap-year but I had no plans to actually go to university but it turned into a gap year when I realised the Isle of Wight was rather limited as to how I could kick start my chosen career. I had a dull cleaning job and spent most of my time with two mates who I won’t name – but those who know me will know who I’m talking about. We would drive down to Compton Bay and just chill out.

We were there one night in December 2001. It was either Tuesday 4 or Tuesday 11 December. I remember it was a Tuesday but can’t be sure which one it was. We were out extremely late – much later than usual. One of the three of us was lamenting about his love-life as usual (for once that wasn’t me) and then fell asleep in the back. The other member of the trio and I were in the front just talking and doing what we usually do – not a lot – but it felt good to just be away from everyone. We had seen many things in our time down at Compton Bay but the next twenty minutes would be strange but what was to happen two nights later would be even stranger.

We left at dead on three in the morning. The driver said it was three and we should head on home. The root we took home would be along the Military Road, which as locals know is the coast road. We turned out of the car park and chatter was at a minimum – we were all tired and looking forward to bed. We all noticed a light on top of the hill which seemed a bt strange that late at night but thought nothing of it. We assumed it was a car. We didn’t think at the time that there was no road there. At this point I should point out that the cloud cover was 8/8 and the moon was not visible in any way whatsoever.

Several minutes passed and the driver asks to the two passengers which we could see the light still and we turned to our left and the light is now very bright and it is coming towards the car. Within a few seconds it was whooshed past the rear of the car and instead of doing what it should have done and plunged over the cliff into the sea it was hovering and tracking us on our right hand side. We were all shouting and screaming at this point and deciding what the hell we were going to do.

We parked up outside what is now the Grange Chine Auto Centre just outside of Brighstone and decided after ten or so seconds that we were going to get out of the car and try and get a closer look. Looking back this was a rather brave act which is surprising as I’m a wuss. At this point the light was hovering to our right around 200 foot or so away and was the brightest thing I had ever seen but it didn’t dazzle the eyes which was the most shocking thing.

We got out and the light stayed there but we then realised it wasn’t making a sound. It was silent and we could clearly hear the sea crashing against the cliffs. We were out of the car for maybe half a minute before the light suddenly switched off and we were left confused and slowly got back in to the car and drove home. The other two would later tell me that they felt that we were being followed on the way home but I will be honest when I say I didn’t have that feeling.

So yeah a bit weird but the weirdest bit is yet to come.

One of our party went on holiday and disappeared to the Caribbean on the Wednesday. In the early hours of Friday morning I woke up with a start and was so cold. I couldn’t move except for my eye lids and all I could see was a flashing red and blue light. I was so cold and I can only describe the feeling that I was ‘floating’ in the air. Then moments later I felt enveloped in warmth – like the feeling after you get up in the middle of the night in winter and then then get back into bed. That feeling of warmth is a wonderful one and one we all distinctly know. I was still unable to move.

This lasted for what I’m going to guess was around two or three minutes. The red and blue flashing lights were constant and when the lights switched off suddenly I could move and I jerked over to my left to look at the clock at saw the time was 03:15 AM. Very very weird I thought but I didn’t link it to the events two nights previously. I thought I had just had a dose of sleep paralysis and didn’t think more of it until that night when without prompting the other person in the car spoke to me and relaid a very similar tale to the one I just told you. The cold then warmth, the floating, the red and blue flashing lights and when he looked at the clock it was 03:17 AM.

Now I hadn’t spoken to him about it. The only person who I had told was my dad where upon he quipped that I had been abducted by aliens. I said that was unlikely and didn’t think about it too much but when the other person in the car relaid the exact same tale – knowing that he hadn’t spoken to me nor my dad about what I had experienced at the same time left me cold. He commented that I had ‘shit a brick’ in the street and he knew immediately that I had experienced the same thing.

To this day I have no idea what happened on those two occasions but I can say this for sure. The light we encountered moved and was not something that we could comprehend. The light was the brightest thing that I have ever seen but was not dazzling. The light did follow us and it wasn’t random phenomena. What it was I cannot tell you but I can tell you that if it was human then it was way beyond what the general public understand technologically.

As for the events two nights later well to this day I remember distinctly what happened. I cannot explain it and I suspect I never will but the feelings and sensations I felt were very real and the fact the other person in the encounter (the one who wasn’t in the Caribbean) had an identical encounter is to me very surreal and stretches the possibilities of it being a coincidence to quite an inconceivable level.

I have no idea why I felt I had to write about it on here but I think it is time I actually put the event into prose and what better place than on my blog? At least now whenever anyone asks me if I have had any experiences I can point them to here. I have had real encounters with ghosts (multiple) but those stories may be for another day…

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You Cannot Be Serious! Review as Alistair McGowan’s new show falls short – drastically, woefully short.

So I thought I’d give You Cannot Be Serious! a try this evening following the lacklustre England v Belgium game. The only saving grace doing such a thing has done is give me something to blog about and let’s put it this way – very little or possibly none of it will be positive.

First of all any dig at Roy Hodgson for his speech impediment is just not funny. I know he says he doesn’t care but that really isn’t the point. When you are using someone else’s disabilities as a source of humour then you have a problem making up your own comedy. As for the song that ended the show regarding the butterfly being called the fly with Duncan Goodhew just standing around. I mean seriously where was the humour in that? I look for it. I really did but it just wasn’t there.

How about the ‘I need to Check the name of the Chelsea goalkeeper – oh yes it’s Petr Cech’ joke that he didn’t do once folks. Oh no he brought it out again later in the show because it was just too darn funny the first time. What about the Jedward sketch of them in ‘Paris’ covering the French Open?

We are really struggling with any quality but how about a video showing the Williams’ sisters dad after he saw both his daughters bounced out of the French Open early – that has to be funny? Oh wait the video was just some black dude smashing his head against watermelons. Yeah. Also a video showing how Petr Cech warms up for penalty shoots with just some dude kicking someone in a helmet.

I could go on but I think I have got my point across.

James Corden’s show wasn’t funny two years ago and ITV haven’t got a show right in this genre for international tournaments since they bough the rights to Fantasy Football League from the Beeb and gave Frank Skinner and David Baddiel the slot. Those two guys are funny and Fantasy Football would still work now. I know the two of them might not want to do it any more but if they did then it is a no brainer.

This latest attempt at a comedy sporting show for the football tournaments for ITV is about as big of a success as my online dating history. Yeah that bad folks. I will be writing a second blog on that shortly with several stories I had forgotten to put in the first time but yes this is about You Cannot Be Serious! the show that is as funny as racism and sexism put together in the same sentence.

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Why Labour are the backup Quarterback of politics

For those who us who grew up on cheesy American teen sitcoms and/or films we got that perception that the most popular kid in high school was all the quarterback on the football team. He got the girls and he had the looks. At high school that might be the case but once these young people moved on to university then everything changed. The most popular kid on campus is rarely the quarterback – it is the backup quarterback.

Over in the states college sports are nearly as big as professional sports – certainly when it comes to football and basketball. I’m not just talking about the buzz around campus I am talking about really being under the national spotlight. Casual sports fans in California will know the college Quarterback of most of the big colleges on the east coast and they will know who Anthony Davis is and who Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is. They will know about the quarterback battles at various colleges and then of course there is recruiting and where 17 year-old kids decide to go to university is big business and kids make decisions on live television. It is the most bizarre concept to anyone who has never seen it before.

So why am I blabbering on about this? Well when it comes to college sports it is very rare that a college has no issues at quarterback. Last year LSU was undefeated going into the national title game but still no-one knew who should be the quarterback and fans despite winning wanted the backup in because the starter wasn’t playing very well. So when you consider most teams weren’t winning every week you can see how their fan base wanted someone else is. It is a bit like in 2010 when Gareth Barry became the greatest midfielder ever because he was injured and out of the team. When he got back into the team he was as distinctly average as ever but absence made the heart grow fonder and absence gave us hope that he could actually make the difference.

Labour spent 13 years in government until 2010 when they were voted out of office by the electorate. No-one was really voted in to replace them but the people wanted change. Two years later and the polling suggests that the electorate are desperate for Labour to return to office but it isn’t because anyone trusts them or likes Ed Miliband – it is solely because they have decided the incumbant isn’t who they want. It is the same as the backup quarterback – they don’t actually want the backup quarterback it is just that they do not want the starting QB.

People aren’t saying they will vote Labour because of they believe in their policies. They are saying they would vote for them because they just don’t like the policies of the current government. So I think Labour activists who are predicting landslide in 2015 and that the country has once again ‘gone red’ should take a bit of a step back. The country has most certainly not gone red but it most certainly has cooled off from the colour blue and the colour yellow is certainly not as fashionable as it was two years ago. People see red as the best of the three options not because they believe in red but because they disbelieve so strongly in blue and yellow.

There is one big problem though that Labour have yet to face. When the backup QB comes in they often don’t match up to the hopes and aspirations of the fan base and quickly they want the next backup QB to replace the new guy. This is part of the ebb and flow of college football and it is the same in politics. Labour won three successive elections not because they were popular but because of two simple things – firstly the economy was booming and secondly the backup QB wasn’t one that the electorate liked the look of.

David Cameron was the highly touted backup QB who has now stepped up to the job of QB and is making a pigs ear of it. Ed Miliband was the walk-on who got the backup job over the popular and highly recruited David Miliband and now he is thought of as a better option than Cameron not because of anything he is saying or doing but because of Cameron’s mistakes. There was another young QB called Nick Clegg but he’s not in the running any more after he decided he could play Running Back with Cameron and even though that got both he and Cameron on to the playing field at the same time which seemed on paper to satisfy the fan base/electorate in reality they are not happy with this arrangement at all.

Ed Miliband may win the job in 2015 but not because the country are fully behind him. They are just pissed off with the lot of them at the moment and he is seen as the best of a bad bunch. With such a disillusioned and unrestful fan base Ed would need to start strong or they’ll turn on him quickly.

It is a very hard job being the Quarterback of a team that can’t play all it’s star men and it’s even harder being a Prime Minister in turbulent economic times both at home and abroad. Cameron isn’t doing a great job that is for sure. Osbourne his long time to go guy is also having a stinker but they are not being helped by off the field issues regarding neighbours economies that are creating issues for the home team.

The fan base aren’t calling for Cameron’s head just yet but they aren’t far away. Unless he can turn it around soon then they’ll do anything just to get rid of him and by do anything what I really mean is give Ed Miliband a chance. He has shown nothing. Wasn’t recruited by anyone and wasn’t highly touted coming in to the Labour party but now he’s the only alternative and it is getting to the point where an unknown alternative is better than the known incumbent.

Labour and Ed Miliband are like the backup quarterback. They are wanted by the electorate not because of who they are and what they stand for but because they just aren’t who we have at the moment and people don’t like what we have right now. It is a bit like a girl leaving a boyfriend who treats her badly and just getting with a nice guy who’ll respect her but after a while realising that isn’t exactly who she wants and then moving on again. If Labour are going to win in 2015 and grow after that then they’ll have to have some substance and not just say ‘well we aren’t them’ and sit back on that.

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