The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for August, 2012

Two girls charged with DUI, road rage, urinate in police car. Their license plate: YAY ME

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I am not a police officer. I will never be a police officer. Sometimes we get annoyed at the police but most of the time we are thankful for them. However one thing we often fail to consider is some of the bad things – well not bad but maybe insanely mad things – that they have to face with. Today I saw a tweet pointing to a story with the headline above. It was enough for me to click and boy it is an absolute doozy.

The story in the Montgomery County Police Recorder is about women who weren’t overly pleased with a fellow driver and decided that they needed to hurl abuse at the driver, not once but on several occasions. The driver and her passenger were drunk so that probably didn’t help but they made a fatal mistake and did it in plain view of an off-duty cop. So the cop intervenes and they decide to run him over. Yeah bright. The passenger decides she wants to video the incident or her friend running over a cop so jumps out of the car and does as such.

After he gets run over the passenger flees. They find her a while later and after a struggle arrest her and because she is so pissed at the law she decides to urinate in the back of the police car. Not through being that scared just because she is annoyed that they arrested her. This is all a wonderful little story but the funniest bit (well in my view) is yet to come but is hinted to in the headline.

Yes the license plate on the vehicle spells out ‘YAY ME’ in pink with a big star on it. Seriously enough to make my head explode that a) someone would actually have this as a license plate, b) that in was in pink and c) that someone would actually have it as their license plate (I know that I have already said that but it was so important that I said it twice – joke c/o Red Dwarf season six).

I mean having ‘YAY ME’ as a license plate is so pretentious that it beggers belief but to have it and then seemingly perpetrate several crimes including urinating in a cop car, running over a cop and videoing such an incident (which isn’t a crime but flat out stupid) is just sheer madness. I haven’t even mentioned driving under the influence of alcohol yet.

Just wanted to blog this as I thought it was mad and shows that being a police officer is probably rarely overly dull…

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August 17th, 2012 at 11:31 am

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Tony Nicklinson denied the right to die but surely it is as important as the right to life?

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Today has been a very sad day. No not because Julian Assange has been granted political asylum to Ecuador (there is a lot to play out there and many twists and turns) but because a man suffering from locked-in syndrome has been denied the right to die – and that is a truly depressing situation that we have found ourselves in.

Tony Nicklinson today heard that the court has decided that it isn’t for them to decide and is one for parliament and therefore they would not grant him and one other person the right to die.

Mr Nicklinson said the following in a statement to the high court:

“I have no privacy or dignity left. I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are, after all, still strangers. You try defecating to order whilst suspended in a sling over a commode and see how you get on. I am fed up with my life and don’t want to spend the next 20 years or so like this.”

Adding, “Am I grateful that the Athens doctors saved my life? No, I am not. If I had my time again, and knew then what I know now, I would not have called the ambulance but let nature take its course.

“I was given no choice as to whether or not I wanted to be saved. However, I do concede that it was a fair assumption given that I had asked for the ambulance and associated medical staff. What I object to is having my right to choose taken away from me after I had been saved.”

“I’m not depressed so do not need counselling. I have had over six years to think about my future and it does not look good. I have locked-in syndrome and I can expect no cure or improvement in my condition as my muscles and joints seize up through lack of use.

“Indeed, I can expect to dribble my way into old age. If I am lucky I will acquire a life-threatening illness such as cancer so that I can refuse treatment and say no to those who would keep me alive against my will. By all means protect the vulnerable. By vulnerable I mean those who cannot make decisions for themselves. Just don’t include me.”

I don’t sit on the fence on this issue. I don’t even sit near the fence in all honesty. The man is of sane mind and does not want to live any more yet he is unable to end his own life. Therefore he needs assistance to end his life and I fully believe that people should be able to provide that assistance without threat of criminal charges following them. The right to life is as important as anything but the right to die is part of that.

I have seen bits and pieces on twitter that there will be a motion on this at Liberal Democrat Conference next month and it is certainly something that I would fully support. If someone feels that they have no dignity in life then surely they should be allowed dignity in death. When there is no question about a person’s sanity then for me there shouldn’t even be a debate. I am very disappointed by the decision of the high court today and hopefully it will be overturned either on appeal or by a change in the law. Either way this man (and others) deserve the right to die with dignity.

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August 16th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Posted in News,Politics

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How would the media and public react if Nick Clegg quit to spend more time with his family?

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I read a fine piece earlier today (yes I know it was posted eight days ago but I hardly ever check my google reader) by Louise Shaw entitled Don’t Menschn the kids…. now apart from being a first rate play on words and far better than any I have thought up over the years (damnit) it has a very interesting and pertinent point to it.

Louise Mensch resigned as an MP last week and blamed the strain of juggling a family life along with her work as an MP as the main reason. In general she has been taken at her word and we saw a spawn of articles about how difficult things are for women juggling a family life and a career but why do we not recognise that it is also difficult for men? We talk about equality all the time but when it comes to this issue things are still perceived to be harder for women than it is for men. Why is this?

She puts forward the question of if Nick Clegg resigned citing the same reasons then would the media or the public at large believe him? The answer as she hypothesises is no and she’s correct of course. He has spoken before about his difficulty of juggling the two and in particular the school run caused a wave of opinions last summer when it came out that he shared the school run with his wife.

But the idea that the second most senior politician in the land is belting back from breakfast meetings at Westminster, where he is wading through the quagmire of a looming £43 billion bunga bunga disaster if the wobbly Italian economy collapses, in order to take his three sons to school, is risible verging on terrifying.

Ah the words of The Telegraph’s Judith Woods there in her oh so wonderful piece entitled Nick Clegg should run the country, not the kids to school. Yes dropping kids off to school or picking them up isn’t the be all and end all of being a parent but whatever happens – in any family – you look after them first and foremost. Same for David Cameron or any other MP or anyone in any job. Having a settled and happy personal life whether it be a family or not will lead to that person being a better worker. The happier we are the more positive we are.

However there is a stigma attached to a man doing the school run here. If Nick said ‘sod this’ and decided to do another job that would help his family more then would the media and public say ‘bravo Nick’ – would they heck. They would say he was a weasel and left politics because he was a spineless so and so. Imagine if his wife moved back home and he went with her to support her career choices the whole media would fawn over themselves to make him out to be a bad guy even though he was putting the happiness of his wife and family first.

Of course we aren’t expecting that to happen but it is a theoretical possibility. Even though attitudes are slowing changing with regards to traditional bread winners and men having more of a hands on approach to parenting these barriers have not exactly caved in.

I think that whatever happens people should put the well-being of their families and themselves first and foremost. Louise Mensch decided that the best thing for her and her family was to resign and move to New York to be with her husband. I read many people saying that she couldn’t he quit his job and move to the UK to support her? Well no doubt he could’ve done but aren’t relationships all about partnerships and they decided together that this was the best way forward.

If we are to take women at their word when they talk about family life and the stresses of it then we need to say the same for men when they talk about it. All families are different and all people are different. Some men want to be more hands-on, some don’t. Some women like all the responsibility and some don’t. Family life is different for everyone and people should never be ridiculed for putting their family and personal happiness first – whether it be a woman or a man who does it.

Sadly stereotypes and perceptions means that this isn’t the case and if Nick Clegg did quit to back his wives career or for family reasons then I suspect the media’s perception would be a complete 180 to how they covered Louise Mensch in exactly the same situation.

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August 14th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Politics

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More PE each week is good but it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ problem

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I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone that knows me that I was would enjoy two hours of PE a day. In fact not a lot would’ve made me happier at school than spending ten hours a week playing sport. Yes I said playing sport and not doing Physical Education. I think there is a distinct difference between the two and one that should not be ignored.

When the Mayor of London said last week that he thought two hours of PE a day was a great idea then he’s right. It is. However great ideas in theory don’t always equate to being great ideas in practice. If there was compulsory two hours of PE a day then most schools would need to either find eight hours extra a week or cut time from other subjects. Now if you were to ask me whether PE was more important than algebra then I’d say it was but many would disagree.

How many students would like the school day lengthened by an hour each day so extra PE time could be taught? Not many I suspect and those who don’t like PE anyway would be distraught but maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing. We have a very short school day as it is so what is there to stop the school day going on an extra hour each day?

I remember in Year 8 we had double Games and double Geography back-to-back between morning break and Lunch. Our Games teacher was also our Geography teacher so it was ok as we often came in late all hot and bothered when the girls were sitting there waiting for five minutes for us to turn up (he often overran the Games lesson as a) we liked it and b) he’d forget the time) and we had no issues being late as he knew why. However this also happened in Year 7 but this wasn’t the same teacher. Luckily he was a good teacher and was understanding. I know other kids didn’t have that understanding. I do think PE and/or Games should preferably be taught in a period where there is a natural break after it or preferably at the end of the day although a whole school having PE last thing doesn’t really work.

I can hear the tens of you that will read this yelling out ‘but I didn’t like PE so I wouldn’t like this’ but the reality is most of us didn’t like most of our lessons anyway. The important thing is to give options. At school we didn’t really have many PE options. The choice was made for us. Also looking back I think at both my senior schools there were only four full-time PE staff at both so that doesn’t leave to much wiggle room for multiple choices. So staffing levels need to be addressed if this government are genuinely keen on making PE a vital part of the curriculum again.

Personally speaking I think there are many things that students need to learn but don’t and I like the Japanese model of after-school clubs that cater for all. Whilst Japanese classes may finish at say around 3, kids won’t go home until nearer 6 as they have a variety of after-school clubs that they have to attend but they get the choice of what to attend but I’m digressing away from just the PE aspect and into the whole make-up of school days and that is probably not the way to go at this juncture.

Back at PE. At my first secondary school we had both PE and Games. So PE was things like Gym and working on general fitness and Games was whatever sport you were playing that half-term so Rugby, Hockey, Basketball, Cricket etc… – we were a Rugby school and not a Football one. Lots of talk about Indian dance and I do recall somewhere in the annals of my mind that we did do dance for a half-term at some point. I see no problem with dance being taught in a PE lesson. PE should mostly be about getting kids active.

PE is not a ‘one size fits all’ lesson but to be blunt neither is any subject taught in school. Schools are often about things you enjoy and then things you endure. Technology for me was something I had less than zero interest in. Whether it be graphics or woodwork or design or cooking I just didn’t care. I possibly could have used that cooking skill now as I live off microwave meals and bunging things in the oven but I still had to do it for two hours a week. The same should be levied at PE.

I have read so many people saying that they had bad experiences of PE at school and that we shouldn’t force it upon those that don’t like it because they didn’t. Well that’s crap. We can’t pick and choose what we do at school until we are 14 pretty much and PE is not only part of a broad education it is part of making this country a healthier one. PE can inspire just as much as Maths or English can. Reading Shakespeare or Dickens will inspire a writer but running around a muddy field will inspire someone else.

Physical Education can and should become part of the Olympics legacy. They want to inspire a generation well this is the opportunity. If I was Michael Gove I would find a way to extend the school day and get an hour of PE at least three days a week and community projects in two days a week. Education isn’t just about learning stuff but also about maturing and getting interested in things. After-school clubs were in my day pretty much limited to sporting endeavours but how good would it be if lots of other interests were catered for? Building robots or making a community radio station or fashion design or whatever. We need to inspire kids and get them interested in things after school that aren’t going home and watching cartoons, playing on the games console, surfing the internet or wandering around the shops.

PE can be a big part of this but there are other things that will inspire people. Yes this would involve more work for teachers but for me the onus on teachers now to fill students brains with useless information to pass exams and to get up league tables. Teachers should be there to inspire kids in whatever interests them. All teachers have hobbies that they are interested in and no doubt they’ll be many students who would also be interested in that.

So to conclude as I have again waffled off subject. I think the school day should be extended. PE options should be wide and varied. However inspiring a generation isn’t just about sport it is about everything. Students need inspiring or they’ll do nothing and a motivated student in one capacity will lead to doing well in others.

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August 14th, 2012 at 11:08 am

Posted in Other Sport,Politics

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So who will make the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist? Lets have an early look…

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Last year many people were up in arms that there were no women on the SPOTY shortlist. Well this year that won’t be the case but I thought I’d have a look at how things stand for the annual event in December:

The following are in without any shadow of a doubt:

Bradley Wiggins – The guy became the first British winner of the Tour de France. He didn’t need to win Olympic gold to get on this list but he did anyway. Wiggins is a no doubter and is the favourite and rightly so. The TdF is an insane event and his performance was just as mad. Seriously impressive.

Jessica Ennis – A woman. Rejoice. She was one of the faces of the Olympic Games and not only did she win Gold but she did it in style and started off the Saturday night of joy that was quite something for us Brits. Any multi-event athlete in Athletics won wins Gold in an Olympic Games or World Championship deserves to – and would make the top ten.

Mo Farah – Again no shock here. Mo did the 5k, 10k double at the Olympic Games. Yeah he’s in.

Rory McIlroy – Whilst everyone was watching the Olympic Games come to a close Rory was winning the final golf major of the year. Any golfer or tennis player who wins a major will make the shortlist – even in an Olympic year.

They are the four who are no doubters take it to the bank top ten.

The following are probably in:

Andy Murray – I want to say he is certainly in but he could still miss out. He got to the final both in Australia and Wimbledon before winning Gold and a Silver at the Olympics.

Ben Ainslie – He may have been a bit lucky to win his Gold but he won it and having won Gold in his fourth successive games that puts him in the ‘probably’ list and closer to certainly in than ‘in the mix’

Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny – I have lumped these three in together as they are an interesting one to see how it’ll turn out. All three won two Gold medals in the Velodrome but who do you pick as not all three are making the list surely? You’d lean towards Laura Trott because she won a multi-event event but we’ll see.

Charlotte Dujardin – She won a couple of Gold’s is the Dressage and two Gold’s in two different events always gets you noticed. Even though above Sir Chris and Jason also win two gold’s in two different events they are probably outshone by a fellow sportsman and there are only ten spots up for grabs…

Katherine Grainger – She won one Gold just like many other rowers but she was the one with the back story. She had been so close yet so far away before. If there is one thing that Brits like then that is someone who finally wins after being so close so many times. A rower will surely make the list and if one does then she’ll be the one.

The following are what I’d say are ‘in the mix’:

Alistair Brownlee – This is a very interesting one. He dominated triathlon this year and it is a sport no-one usually even notices but being an Olympic year they did – and he won it. Triathlon is quite something but will it be enough?

Nicola Adams – She won Gold but unlike the other Gold winners she is a she and not a he – this is a story in itself. If any of the boxers get the nod it will be her.

Tom Daley – He didn’t win Gold but he has a back story and had many people hooked for his final. That is enough to get him in the mix.

Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button – If either driver wins the F1 World Drivers Championship then they’ll get there. No doubt. However as we know we are months away from that but worth acknowledging that they are around.

I don’t expect to see any footballers make the grade as the star footballers of 2012 in the UK are both foreigners – Robin van Persie and Didier Drogba. Also I don’t see any of the England cricket team having stood out in 2012 but I suppose it is possible one makes the shortlist but unlikely.

No doubt many will disagree but the top four are in and the others are probably around where I’ve placed them. I know there are other Gold medal winners that I haven’t mentioned but I don’t think they’ll make it. I don’t see more than one Olympic rower or boxer making it or the winner of the clay-pigeon shooting or the kayak sprint.

Remember you can always gamble on who’ll actually win SPOTY and you can get some of the best free bet offers around at FREEbets.org.uk

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August 13th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Other Sport

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Welcome to Neil’s Fruit and Herb Patio

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I have changed. They say a leopard never changes his spots but I am living proof that they can. Well maybe. Welcome to my fruit and herb patio which has become my pride and joy over the past couple of months. I have never had any interest in gardening. Like none at all. However I have a plethora of pot plants on my patio now and I am keenly watching them grow and produce sweet smelling herbs as well as fruit.

Now some of the plants are not flourishing – for example I am deeply suspicious of how the cucumber plant is doing and the chilli plant just seems like it is doing nothing. One of my bell pepper plants had four peppers growing on it but all but one seemed to just fade away into nothingness. However on the flip-side the tomato, gooseberry and winter squash plants are doing just fine – the winter squash in particular looks happy and interesting. My strawberry plants have already produced one crop of strawberries and a second is on its way.

It has been – and continues to be – a very interesting and worthwhile experience. Maybe one day if I have a home with a garden I might make a giant fruit and vegetable patch and wile away the days working in it. Obviously that is extremely far off but you never know. If you’d even hypothesised just a thing a few months ago everyone that knew me – including me – would’ve scoffed. Now that might not be the most bizarre thing to have ever happened.

I shall leave you with the photographs of my hard work (and that hard work of water, the sun and all the other things that actually deserve far more praise for the growth than I do.

Pepper Plant

Pepper Plant

winter squash plant

Winter Squash Plants

Bell Pepper Plants

Bell Pepper Plants

chilli plant

Chilli Plant

Tomato Plants

Tomato Plants

Gooseberry Plants

Gooseberry Plants

Rhubarb Plants

Rhubarb Plants

Strawberry Plants

Strawberry Plants

Cucumber Plants

Cucumber Plants

Chamomile Plant

Chamomile Plant

Golden Marjoram Plant

Golden Marjoram Plant

Oregano Plant

Oregano Plant

Rosemary Plants

Rosemary Plants

Thyme Plants

Lemon Scented Thyme Plants

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August 12th, 2012 at 11:44 am

Posted in Random Stuff

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Lib Dem run Portsmouth City Council approve £1.45m bridging loan in attempt to save Portsmouth Football Club

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In news that isn’t a huge shock Portsmouth City Council this afternoon voted unanimously to approve a £1.45m bridging loan to the Portsmouth Supporters Trust as they attempt to save the football club from being consigned to the history books.

Pompey City Council have long been supporters of the football club and have historically been pretty good to them. This includes planning permission for Parkway for the Brent Geese got involved and the stadium plans for the dockland stadium would also have sailed through but the club shut down these plans due to the credit crunch and the owner finally realising that he didn’t actually have any money. A small problem but one that owners of Portsmouth Football Club have had in the past few years.

This news leaves two offers on the table for the administrators, one from Balram Chainrai who has owned the club before but I wouldn’t trust as far as I could drop-kick him and one from the Supporters Trust who want to get the fans to takeover the club. These are (unsurprisingly) the guys that I am backing fully and should they be successful it will undoubtably be the best news to come out of Fratton Park in a long while.

Portsmouth (and the surrounding suburbs) is a bit of a strange place compared to many other towns and cities across the UK. When I was young you didn’t really see any Manchester United or Liverpool tops around – you only saw Pompey ones. A bit like Newcastle and Sunderland – if you were born in the city then you were a Portsmouth fan. That is just the way it is. Even if you didn’t like football you’d get caught up in Pompey fever if the club had a cup run or a promotion push. The club has always been an integral part of the city.

However a series of owners of dubious quality have left a lot of fans – me included – extremely disillusioned with the club. However if the supporters are able to take over the club then hopefully many of these people will once more come back into the fold. I know that if the Pompey Supporters Trust do takeover the club then my interest will be piqued once more. I hope they win and the club will be embedded into the community once more.

I have this idealistic scenario of money being spend on the foundations of the club from the youth upwards as there are extremely talented kids in the Pompey area who go elsewhere because of our lack of facilities. I also dream of players going into schools on a semi-regular basis doing coaching sessions. Giving out free tickets to schools to give to excelling pupils. The next generation of Pompey fans need to be wooed and the best way to do that is getting into the schools and having current players doing coaching say one afternoon every other week would be real progress. Maybe that is an idealistic hope but it is one I have.

I’d like to say on a personal level a huge thank you to the Trust for keeping my love of the club just above life support. If your hard work pays off then I really do think many fans will back you – and the club – and whilst many won’t buy shares I suspect they’ll be a sharp uptake in Season Ticket sales if they knew the money wasn’t going to Chainrai. Also a big thank you to the Lib Dems – and the council as a whole who unanimously backed these plans. As was said today the club itself brings in around £300m of business to various Portsmouth based businesses just by being there so this loan will help secure that business and no public services will be put at risk unless the Trust fail to repay the money but the business plan shows that a failure to repay this loan isn’t likely.

Today in the Council Chambers in Portsmouth might have been the best day in the recent history of Portsmouth Football Club. It cannot be understated and all parties – from the supporters trust through the fans and the councillors deserve credit for giving the club a real chance – not only to just survive – but to get back on its feet and finally put the past few years behind us and move forward with long-term planning.

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August 9th, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Football,Politics

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My Top Ten moments of London 2012 so far…

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Inspired by the Queen of Lib Dem blogging thoughts on the matter. I have decided to put together my top ten list of the Olympic Games so far. She says that boys running fast for a few seconds doesn’t do it for her. Maybe it is a man thing, a cave-man instinct to know who is the fastest person on the planet. It is like how many people describe Man v Food as a man thing…I suspect the 100m will rank highly for me but let’s go…

Well Caron and myself agree on the number one as the Queen’s acting debut in a scene with James Bond was kick-arse. I didn’t see it live as I had a visitor and he wasn’t interested in the opening ceremony but when I saw it I thought it was just amazing.

However the excellence of women athletes isn’t number two for me. Oh no. The Men’s 100m Final is still – and always has been – and always will be the grand-daddy of the whole games. The fact that NBC were not showing it live in the States was sheer madness as they were showing a pre-season NFL game instead but still the fastest person on Earth. Yes. There is a reason over 20million people watched it in the UK. I had Bolt losing until I saw him in his semi-final and then I was all in on Bolt and he didn’t disappoint. Awesome.

Thirdly words that will resonate with me and it should with us all, ‘I am proud to get a bronze, there is nothing to be embarrassed about,‘ – Becky Adlington after getting bronze in the 800m freestyle. Damn straight. I think that is something we all need to remember. Not being the best on a particular day doesn’t mean you are a failure. Not by a long shot. I was always a Becky Adlington fan but after that she went even further up in my estimations. Really impressed.

On to number four and this is a hard one because it was so painful but it was so gripping – in a horrific way. Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase taking silver in the lightweight double sculls final. First of all a seat broke in the boat but they were allowed to take part in the restart and then they led for the whole 2000m course apart from that final 50m and sadly that is the most important. The race was dramatic enough but their interview with Sir Steve Redgrave and John Inverdale was just heartbreaking but it is something that will stick in the mind for many years to come.

Next up I have to say that the infectiousness of Laura Trott. I’m a sucker for happy people as happy people make others happy but this girl has overcome serious physical issues to become a double Olympic Champion at just the age of 20. Serious talent but also someone with a seriously infectious personality.

We are on to number six and Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium. As the night start we knew Jessica Ennis was going to win Gold. We had high hopes for Mo Farah but Greg Rutherford came from nowhere to grab that Long Jump Gold. It made you proud to be British. It really did.

At number seven I’m going with Chad Le Clos’s Dad. We’d all be proud to have a kid win an Olympic Gold medal but boy was he proud. An exceptional interview made him the biggest star who wasn’t a member of the Royal Family who wasn’t actually an athlete of these games.

One of the men he beat was Michael Phelps and I personally have to mention him. I truly love the swimming and that and the athletics are my favourite part of the games. Phelps was truly great after he got that monkey off his back and a pleasure to watch one final time.

The whole cycling team needs to be mentioned so here they are at number nine. We tuned into the velodrome and basically we got to learn pretty damn quickly that Gold medals were in the offing. They were all terrific and so many Gold’s and World Record’s. Sir Chris Hoy finished it off but they were all out of this world.

Lastly the BBC’s reaction to Mo Farah winning Gold. That is quite simply what sport is all about.

Although ‘Here comes what his name’ comes close to being just as good.

I haven’t put in the coverage by the BBC yet because it needs a whole section of its own. From wonderful presenters (bar Gary Lineker) to having every single event live online or through the red button or on dedicated extra channels on Sky and Virgin to excellent commentary teams and pundits. I’m a Sky guy but the BBC still know how to cover sport. I might say that Sky have the better football and F1 talent but seriously the Beeb have nailed this.

Sue Barker is supreme, Clare Balding is wonderful (will she front Horse Racing on Channel 4?) Hazel Irvine is solid enough and Gabby Logan was underused in the highlights show. Lineker is clearly the weak link. He’s not even good at football presenting and he’s been doing that for nigh on two decades. Ian Thorpe, Michael Johnson, John McEnroe – the BBC still have fantastic pundits. They might all get handsomely paid but boy do they deliver.

The BBC is paid for by us but with the Olympics they are starting to pay some of that money back in the form of outstanding Olympic coverage.

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August 7th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

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Nadine Dorries leads (or at the very least significantly influences) some Lib Dem activists thoughts

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Nadine will love that headline but it is true. Yesterday Nick Clegg decided that enough was enough and he had to make a stand against the Tories for not pushing through with Lords reform. The Prime Minister couldn’t control his party and therefore the dreams of a more democratic way forward. Most Lib Dems agree this isn’t the worst thing ever but there is one thing that has got people foaming at the mouth…

Nadine Dorries’ seat of Mid Bedfordshire will still exist.

Now we all know that a parliament without Nadine Dorries is probably a good thing. However is this really that important in the grand scheme of things? I sat here yesterday and saw Lib Dems on twitter bitch and moan about Dorries and how she’d survive and that it pissed them off. It pisses us all off but some were actually saying that we should carry on with the boundary changes just to get Dorries out.

Surely that is going a bit too far? Dorries would be delighted that she is despised so much that a section of Lib Dems (a not insignificant section) would actually want boundary changes to go through just to get her out. Of course it would also mean tat many Lib Dems would also lose their seat but that is just acceptable collateral damage to get Nadine out.

The other thing is of course that Nadine could possibly stand in another seat. Now I’m no rocket scientist but I’m pretty sure people can be selected to represent another ward. No doubt there would be several local Conservative Party associations who’d love to have such an outspoken Member of Parliament. Some of these might even have been safe Tory seats in the boundary review with incumbants retiring.

The boundary changes would not have meant the end of Nadine Dorries’ career as an MP. It would have made it less plain sailing but if she wanted to carry on she could have easily found a way. I’m as much of a Nadine dissenter as most of my fellow Lib Dems but in the grand schemes of things who really gives a stuff about what she says? She is an insignificant Tory backbench MP who gets more airtime than most because she’s controversial.

Boundary changes are a good idea but as presently constituted they weren’t ideal. Although I suppose getting them ideal would be a thankless nay impossible task. However having another voting system – maybe STV or maybe even PR would make everything a whole lot fairer but that isn’t happening. It is sad that we haven’t been able to deliver fairer votes but the country decided they didn’t want them because they were in a strop with the Lib Dems for not just being an ‘anti-Tory’ party. Shit happens.

However having a policy that is basically ‘Do watever to piss off Nadine Dorries’ whilst it sounds a lot of fun, isn’t exactly the sign of a grown-up party…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

August 7th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Politics

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Nick Clegg has a pair of bollocks – fires shots at the Tories – finally disproves that he is a closet Tory?

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No doubt by now you’ll have read that House of Lords Reform has been ‘paused’ to use Nick Clegg’s terminology. Also as part of this the Lib Dems will not be backing the boundary review. It is a bit tit for tat but I suppose that is part of coalition politics. To read Nick Clegg’s statement in full you can do so here.

So anyway what did I read from his statement? Well mostly that Nick Clegg despite what every single Labour supporter says with such vindication – Nick Clegg isn’t actually a Tory. I know it’s hard to swallow and that these people may have to grow up and actually work on things like policies instead of lazy political insults but if Clegg was actually a Tory he wouldn’t do things that you know – the Tories don’t want him to do. It is like he is the leader of another party. Wait a minute…

Yes Clegg has gone a bit tit for tat but the important thing is he has clearly said the the Tories are the one that have broken the coalition agreement – and he is right. This is something that we can’t use enough on the front line. The Lib Dems entered into a coalition in the national interest and both sides signed off on the coalition agreement. However the Tories have decided that they don’t like something therefore won’t follow through with it despite saying that they would. Naughty, naughty…

Also another thing has come out of this. The Lib Dem leader can control his party whereas his Tory counterpart could not. I don’t think this is something that should be overlooked. Cameron was fully behind House of Lords Reform and he was unable to get enough of his backbench MPs to back the idea. They didn’t want change and dug their heels in and that was that.

Nick Clegg even offered a referendum on Lords Reform on election day in 2015. This would have minimised the cost and done what a lot of people wanted in letting the people decide of these proposals but that wasn’t accepted.

Now I back House of Lords Reform but I must say as written these proposals weren’t exactly screaming out to me. I didn’t think it was the greatest bill ever to be put in front of parliament but there was room to make adjustments to it. The thing was the backbench Tories were just never going to go for it – in any guise – and that left the bill dead in the water. All parties kinda want House of Lords Reform but the big two know that any changes might loosen their traditional power and as everyone has said many times before – Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas.

Things brings us on to boundary changes. I actually back the idea of boundary changes in principle. I do think that MPs should represent roughly equal amount of constituents. However I also note that places like the Isle of Wight cannot be tacked on to Portsmouth or the New Forest. Here in Southend for example the boundary review would have taken Leigh and West Leigh away from Southend on a parliamentary level but those wards would still be part of Southend Council. Madness. So the boundary review wasn’t perfect but a good idea in principle but there were genuine issues. A bit like the House of Lords Reform Bill I suppose.

So now neither of these are going through at this juncture and as presently constituted. I’m not distraught over either. I want both but both have too many issues for me as it stands. However I am happy that Nick Clegg has both found his dangly bits between his legs and not laid over and let the Tories blow raspberries on his tummy. I am lso happy that he is not considering leaving the coalition over the issue. He (and the party) remain committed to the coalition and when all is said and done the Lib Dems 2015 result is related to the economy. Leaving the coalition now with the economy not flourishing would be a suicidal move. The old adage that Bill Clinton’s team reiterated many a time to Bill was ‘it’s the economy stupid’ and that was true in 1992 and it is still true in 2012.

People will not vote en masse in 2015 over whether boundary changes got through or whether the House of Lords are reformed or not. In general people care about the economy, public services and taxes. That is the bread and butter of people’s lives – everything else is just filling.

The coalition can survive and I fully expect the Lib Dems to continue to try and make it work. As for whether the Tories will I do not know but even though publicly it may look like the Lib Dems were defeated on this, it should also show that they won’t be walked over. If the Tories don’t want something then they can stamp their feet and beat their chests and it won’t become law. However if the Lib Dems don’t want something then they can do that as well – we have finally realised this. It may be too late for many people but better late than never.

Being in coalition was never going to be easy and at times we have been naive in the extreme. However we are learning fast and politics as we all sadly know isn’t all sweetness and light. So many people are in parliament are stuck in their ways and doing things differently will take time – a lot of time. Slowly the Lib Dems are wising up and hopefully this event has shown that they can stand up to the Tories on an issue and they can be as stubborn as their coalition partners and if they do – they can’t be beaten.

In 2010 the Tories didn’t win the General Election. Some of their MPs should remember this. Those pesky Lib Dems are the reason you get anything through in parliament at all. That is the way it is and without the Lib Dems then nothing happens. When the backbench MPs realise this then everything will be hunk-a-dory. Until that happens though stalemate can happen. Nick Clegg has showed that he won’t be walked over and do everything the Tories want and whilst House of Lords Reform being paused hurts, the fact that Nick Clegg showed he has a pair of bollocks softens the blow – a lot.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

August 6th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Politics

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