The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for September, 2012

A three-part dream? Yes it seriously happened and boy was it fun.

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I have several blogs in my mind to write but they keep getting bumped by other things. This is an example of that. Dreams. We all have them. Whether they be daydreams, dreams of how our future will be or actual dreams that we have in our sleep. This is a blog about the latter.

Wikipedia dreams dreams as the following:

Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest, throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.

Well I have dreams like we all do. However I have never had what I had last night/this morning. I had a three-part dream. Straight up. This isn’t made up because I think it’d make a semi interesting blog post but this actually happened. I had a dream then woke up, then I had another dream that was linked to the previous dream then woke up and then I had a third dream and woke up and it concluded the story from my previous dream. I was in amazement when I woke up.

First of all we’ll start with the first dream. I was house-hunting on the Isle of Wight. Now I never foresaw moving back to the Isle of Wight. Heck it’s about as likely in the real world as me thinking that Ed Miliband would make a great statesman. By the way Ed Miliband would never make a great statesman. So that dream seemed strange but I had decided to move back and I was looking around this rather nice town house in Cowes. At this point I woke up.

I didn’t think much of it apart from ‘bugger why I am awake when it’s still dark outside’ but I quickly drifted off again. This time I’m packing my stuff to move house to the Isle of Wight. For some reason I was packing my stuff up from the back room of Hart Plain Church where I used to go as a kid. Weird. I’m clearly not living there (or am I…?) but even more bizarre was my step-brother was helping out and was getting impatient at how long I was taking because I was busy talking to someone. Someone I haven’t seen nor spoken to in maybe 11 years. Someone I went to school with and we were getting on rather well. It was like we were flirting. Weird (again) and then I woke up.

‘Why did turn up in my dream considering I’ve not spoken to her since I was 18?’ was the thought ringing through my head when I woke up. I know every so often you dream about people you haven’t seen in ages but it is always strange. I woke up and was greeted with the sound of a very heavy shower attacking my balcony. However I would drift off once more.

This time the same girl was there and she was helping me move into my new place. Wait a minute this is strange and then boom – we kissed and I woke up. It was like me waking up was the advert breaks in an evening drama on ITV. Heck it’d be better than half the rubbish they shove on to our screens. I woke up thinking ‘well that was weird’ and obviously not only the fact I was kissing said girl (which was way weird) but more interesting to me was the fact I actually had a dream which carried on from the previous dream. I have never had such a thing and if I could instruct my subconscious then I’d like more of them please.

I found the whole thing thoroughly entertaining and I do wonder if anyone has ever experienced the same thing before. Not the dreaming of kissing a girl bit as I suspect we’ve all done that but actually have a series of dreams one after the other that seem to be the same story? How unusual is that? To me it seems extremely unusual.

So to sum up. Please subconscious more of this. More. I loved it!

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September 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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Men with a lack of self-confidence and a one-way ticket to the friend zone I have some dating advice for you…

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Men of the world who find themselves regularly making a permanent trip to the ‘friend zone’ need to listen up. I’m going to give you some advice and background for how not to find yourself in this particular position time after time. Now I know I’m no expert at not being in the friend zone. Heck I always make it there but I have actually had a bit of a crash course over the past year or so and you know what – the reason for repeated trips to the friend zone isn’t because someone doesn’t find you attractive but more you are too much of a wuss to bite the bullet and go for it.

Now I know what you are thinking ‘being friends is better than nothing’ but here’s a home truth that men with little self-confidence might not understand. A friendship will slowly wither and die once the object of your affections has found someone else. Women (and men to some degree) in general do not keep up active friendships with people that they were once interested in or dated. They remove you from their day-to-day life pretty quickly as they get all wrapped up in their new relationship and seeing someone socially they that had interest in (or had interest in them) isn’t happening. It just isn’t happening. So if you fancy a girl men then go for it. You don’t actually have that much to lose.

Now of course either a) asking someone out or b) kissing them on a date isn’t easy for guys like us. We worry about doing the wrong thing etc… Well as I’m an open character I’ll let you into my world and tell you the stories of all the girls I have actually asked out and how I did it and what I could’ve done differently that may well have resulted in a different result.

For the purposes of this blog I am ignoring all internet dating beaus as obviously you are going to ask them out by e-mail/message. Sadly whilst in bed last night mentally writing this blog post I realised that I think I have only asked out three people outside of internet dating – and I’m 29. Oh god that’s a depressing statistic but I won’t stop for a little cry. I shall persevere.

First of all I wrote a letter to a girl I went to school with when I was 15 (Year 11) and we were friends. We were in the same social group. She wrote back saying some nice things but there was a ‘but’ in there and basically she was infatuated with someone else. I used the term infatuated. She didn’t. Anyway on reflection there is probably little I could have done on this one no matter how I played it. She liked someone else and was holding out for him and him only (well until a couple of months later when she got together with another member of our social group but still – lets not split hairs).

Now we fast forward seven years to the age of 22. Yes I didn’t ask anyone out between 15 and 22. Loser. Anyhow for about three or four months I had seen this girl working in a shop that I frequented most days. She had the most wonderful smile. I would describe it to people as a smile that would still shine brightly even in a power cut. I finally plucked up the courage (and boy did I pluck it up from somewhere) to ask her out one day when she was working. She said no but I walked out of there elated that I had plucked up the courage and was not deflated in the slightest.

Now of course I would have to go in there again (well I wouldn’t but I still did) and I remember telling myself that if it was awkward the next time then I’d never go in there again. Well the next time I went in there she was just leaving but she saw me and swooped behind the till telling her colleague that she’d serve me and apologised and explained that she had been asked out just a couple of days before and had felt bad all weekend. Whilst it wasn’t explicitly said that she would have said yes it was implied. I felt good about that. However also it shows that if I hadn’t been such a wuss that I took ages to pluck up the courage I may well have had that date. So time is of the essence folks. I will say this though. Even if I never see her again she’ll always have a small corner of my heart cornered off for her for the way she acted. She will never understand just how much I appreciated that and how highly I think of her for that.

Fast forward just a year and a half now and we get to the third girl I asked out. She was a work colleague and we got on very well. There was that quote/unquote ‘spark’ but I sat on my hands privately (or not so privately – it wasn’t the biggest secret in the world) lusting after her. It took me three months to make my move and how did I do it? By e-mail. Yugh. I actually just went back and looked at the e-mail and in all honesty I couldn’t even read her reply in full. I had to strike whilst the iron was hot as it were and that was months before. Do I think timing was an issue? Maybe as had I made my move (not by e-mail although she did say it took courage to write that e-mail – which to be fair it did but still…no) a couple of months before things might have been different. I say might as I genuinely don’t know. All I know (or I should say I’ve been told by those in the know) is she had some interest at some point.

So two out of the three timing and doing nothing either could or did make a difference. So my advice would always be don’t worry about rejection and be brave. I always thought that girls would laugh at me if I asked them out but heck I’ve asked out three and all of them took it well. Now two of them I was friends with before I asked them out but am I still friends with them now? Well no. No I’m not. Is that because I asked them out and they felt awkward? No. No it’s not…

Girl one got with another member of the social group and didn’t really hang out with me at school or outside of school any more. Girl three chose another guy (she had three offers basically on the table) and decided that she wanted me out of her life completely (which wasn’t easy considering we worked in the same room). I remember a few months later I said to her that I was walking into town and would walk with her after work and she told me no. After she got together with her new we did not see each other once socially unless he was there as well. Not go for lunch or anything. I was completely cut out.

I quit that job and my last day was to be a Friday. On the Thursday I left as usual and then on the Friday she had booked the day off. So we never even said goodbye. We’ve not spoken since. It still rankles with me. We were close friends at one point but once she decided she wanted to put all her energies into another guy she literally did not want to even know me. That hurts but it shows you that even friendships will change between two single friends when one of them gets into a relationship. Nothing wrong with that per se – it is just the way it is. Single friends with see their friendships evolve (and when I say evolve I really mean go on to the back burner) when one gets into a relationship with someone else.

So whilst friendships are all well and good. Friendships between people where one or both people fancied one another at some point are unlikely to ever be serious long-term friendships. So what is there to lose? Guys if you fancy someone – even if they are a friend then go for it. There is actually very little to lose.

Also kissing. When you’ve successfully got a date and then had several dates you need to kiss. Girls don’t generally have a date with a guy and then have several dates with them over the next few weeks unless they are at some level interested. Now if you are shy and have little self-confidence then kissing someone is a nervy experience. Now I have kissed a grand total of three people. Yeah I know. Big time. Two of them pretty much threw themselves at me but the third was clearly waiting for me to make the move and I did on the fourth date and she was very happy that I had gotten around to it. Apparently she was more than willing to kiss from the second date.

So men of the world who have actually got to the date stage and have had a few without kissing them then they will feel that you aren’t interested. I will put in this caveat that as long as both parties know that these are actual dates obviously. Not just two people meeting up. If it is clear that these are dates and yet you still haven’t made a move after say four or five dates then the other party is going to think that you never will and will in turn mentally move you towards that dreaded friend zone.

The ball is in your court men. Women may not give you explicit signs but several dates is probably – no not probably – it is flat out a positive thing. Make some sort of move if you like a girl you are having dates with within a handful of dates otherwise she’ll already mentally be moving on. There are always other men who will catch the eye and if you do nothing the boat will sail on by and you’ll regret it. Trust me you’ll regret it.

So if I teach you one thing men it is this. You are not as bad as you think. American teen sitcoms where girls laugh in the face of nerds doesn’t actually happen. Most women think it takes a lot of courage to ask them out and they appreciate it. It will bring a smile to their face. Trust me on that and if you’ve already done the hard bit and got the date – and then one a second, third, fourth… then if you like them then go in for the kiss. Someone on a fourth/fifth date is not going to brush off a kiss and slap you and if they do then what the fuck are they doing on a fourth or fifth date anyway?

Ok I think I’ve sorted out relationships. I think I’m going to get dressed and go and buy the local rag and settle down to watch my boy Nick Clegg’s speech. Rock n Roll boy and girls…

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

September 26th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Dating

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The best thing about being a Liberal Democrat is pretty clear cut…

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It isn’t the social life. It isn’t the fact that we are just awesome. It isn’t even the fact that being a Lib Dem with the looks of Mike Hancock means young attractive eastern European girls will fancy you. No the best thing about being a Liberal Democrat is that the membership actually dictate party policy and not the leadership. That my friends is why many of us even with coalition frowns don’t leave and know that by staying on the inside we can still influence what we do in government.

This evening we saw F41 voted on by those in the hall in Brighton. It was about Secret Courts. The leadership wanted wriggle room to negotiate with the Tories and make the bill the best it could possibly be but the rank and file said no. They didn’t just say no. They bloodied the leaderships nose with how hard they swung their voting cards up in the air when they were asked if they wanted party policy to be that they wanted Secret Courts to be bill that never saw the light of day.

The leadership wheeled out the big guns to try and get the amendment passed that would grant the leadership that wriggle room. Heck when Julian Huppert is standing in front of Lib Dems who were frothing at the mouth and delivering a speech that he knew would be unpopular you knew that things were bad. Julian’s emotive speech didn’t sway the vast majority in the hall and the likes of Jo Shaw, Jo Hayes and Ruth Edmonds’ impassioned words were more than enough to ensure that party policy on this issue is very clear. No to Secret Courts. No way, no how and more importantly no wriggle room.

This is one example why I still have no doubts about how I want to identify myself politically. Many people are broadly liberal out there in the country but only a fraction of those are members of the Lib Dems. The majority aren’t because they have no interest in actually getting involved but some of them aren’t members because they are disaffected with the leadership of the party. Well to those people I say join or rejoin and influence what is going on. Leadership can be defeated and leadership will adopt the policy that the party as a whole has voted on.

So well done to all those in Brighton who voted down this bill. Not only have you done (in my opinion) the right thing but you have also yet again shown that members can influence what the party does. This doesn’t happen in the other parties where they debate but leadership make all the decisions. Being a Lib Dem is different because we do debate and decide as a whole. That is something we should all be extremely proud of and that is why being a member of the Liberal Democrats is not just a status issue – it gives you the opportunity to vote on party policy and debate issues.

Fan-bloody-tastic.

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September 25th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Politics

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The day the BBC approached me for a new TV show asking if I wanted to get ‘more manly’

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I could be a TV star. I’m terribly excited. When you get an e-mail entitled ‘BBC America’ it will grab my attention. When the e-mail is about being part of a new TV show then you think ‘yeah I could do that’ but then some details become clear and the TV show opportunity that has excitedly presented itself is a chance to be more manly. Yes folks I’ve been offered the chance to try-out for a new TV show called ‘Man Camp’ which is designed to make single guys like me who can’t get a girlfriend well you know…be manly and get a girlfriend. Rock on.

The thing is though is I have zero interest in taking part in a TV show like this. I don’t want to be more macho. I fixed my boiler once and that is enough for me. Just because I don’t go to bars and try to pick-up women it doesn’t mean that I want to be able to do that. Lord no I’d hate to be that type of guy. They are the types of guys I don’t look at with envy I look at with pity that whilst they are busy at bars having a good time playing the dating game I am at home in my underwear watching Match of the Day eating takeaway food. I know which situation I’d prefer to be in and it doesn’t involve booze and chat-up lines.

Here is the e-mail I received just now:

Dear Neil,

I hope that you’re well and don’t mind my getting in touch after reading the interesting blog on your website. I work for a TV casting company and I’m looking to cast people for a new TV series for BBC America and wanted to get in touch to see if it is something that may be of interest to you.

It’s a series called ‘Man Camp’ and we’re looking for a group of Brits who feel that in some way they would like to become more traditionally ‘macho’ and boost their confidence, whilst taking part in a fun, light-hearted TV competition to win a significant prize.

The group of men who wish to become more ‘manly’ in the traditional sense will be sent to America in the new year to take part in a range of American ‘macho’ activities such as hunting/DIY etc. to compete to learn new skills and prove that modern men can still be macho.

The show is meant to be good fun but we also want people who genuinely think they could have something to gain from taking part as well, and I know that your comments about lacking confidence in social situations is something that strikes home with a lot of people.

I don’t know if this is something that would appeal to you but if it would I’ve attached some more information for you to have a look and would be happy to talk about this further.

Either way thanks ever so much for you time.

Kind regards,

[redacted]

This is the attachment text he sent through:

Do you need to Man up?

Or do you know someone who just isn’t masculine enough?

We’re looking for men who are desperate to be more manly, to be a part of a new American TV series. You’ll be flown to America to be taught to be more macho by the nation that brought us Cowboys, Pick-up trucks and the Harley-Davidson.

Do you know someone, or are you…..

• Far too metrosexual for your own good
• Too old to be living at home…and still being looked after by your mum
• A computer geek with not enough friends or chat up skills
• Camp, but not gay
• Too in touch with your feminine side
• Unable to be one of the boys, talk about sport, or hang out with the lads

If this is you, or someone you know, we can help. This show will transform men who desperately feel that they are missing something that makes other men manly.

Filming will be in America in the New Year AND there will be a significant prize for the biggest transformation.

To apply please fill out this form and return it with a photo, your CV and if possible a 60second video clip (you can use your phone) of you telling us why you are right for this show, to [redacted]

If you want to e-mail the guy then I’ll pass on his details if you contact me.

Do I need to man up? Well it depends on what you mean by man up. Some may say yes but who wants to be overly macho anyway? I live on my own and look after myself easily enough. I’m certainly not metrosexual. I have friends (but few chat up skills) and I’m really not camp. I am in touch with my feminine side but there is nothing wrong with that but I love my sport but hate going out on the lash.

So all in all I really don’t fit in with this show and I’ll respond telling him that I am not really what he is looking for. However I absolutely loved getting the e-mail out of the blue and thought it was hilarious. These TV people are trawling the interwebs trying to find people for all these types of shows. It shows in this day and age we could all have our fifteen minutes but I’m waiting for a better opportunity.

Seriously imagine me trying to be manly and/or more macho. Oh the hilarity. Actually I think the real losers here will be the public not getting to be me try and shoot a gun or whatever. Watching me try to chat up a woman. Oh boy that would be cringeworthingly awesome TV. It is so bad in my mind’s eye that I even made up a word for it but people of the world I will not be appearing on ‘Man Camp’ for the BBC any time soon…

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.

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September 24th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Media,Personal

Tagged with ,

I am not your Lib Dem Blogger of the Year but I know a worthy man who is.

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Last night the annual Liberal Democrat Blogging awards took place and the results as they say are in. I was short-listed once again for Best Lib Dem Blog this time probably less of a surprise than my short-listing last year. Seriously I had no idea anyone actually read the blog.

Anyway your winner was Mark Thompson for his blog Mark Reckons and I must admit his style of blogging hits my spot as it were. Often very thought-provoking with a mix of factual and opinion based blogging. I love me some opinions. Also on the shortlist were Caron Lindsay with her Musings and Richard Morris who has A View From Ham Common.

I don’t know when Caron caught Marcus Trescothick and Somerset T20 disease (only a small handful of people will get that reference) but her blogging is legendary around Lib Dem circles and needs very little further comment. Richard Morris is known for two things – writing excellent blogs and how can I put this – being forthright in letting people know on twitter that he’s written a blog. If you follow Richard on twitter you’ll know what I mean. Richard you need to chill about telling everyone you’ve written pieces. Your work stands up for itself without constantly reminding us ;o)

So congratulations to both Caron and Richard for being up there and further congratulations to Mark whose prize is not only a naked statue with a very pert bottom but also a one-on-one interview with Nick Clegg which he’ll have later today.

Last year we had a group interview with the big cheese and I told him about how he needed to apologise for tuition fees and he told me why he couldn’t do it. Had the prize been the same as last year then I’d have enjoyed quoting him and the reasons why he said he could never apologise and then sit back, stroke a black cat on my lap and simply ask, ‘so Mr Clegg…what’s changed?’ Alas I will not get that opportunity. Seriously it would’ve been darn cool. Curses.

On a personal level I was just delighted to make the shortlist. My mum rang me to congratulate me earlier but asked a semi-pertinent question of, ‘how do you get short-listed when your blog isn’t political?’ As far as I’m aware the Lib Dem Blog of the Year is open to anyone who is a Lib Dem and on the Lib Dem Blog aggregator. I assume at least a decent percentage of the blogging has to be politically based but I’m unsure. This blog was never set up. to be solely political but more of a reflection of my thoughts on my life and the wider world around me. In the past year I have developed a small following which is nice and helps make it feel a bit more worthwhile as it were.

We’d all lie if we said we didn’t get down if we wrote blogs of 1000s of words and then only a handful of people read them. However blogging isn’t about the numbers (but they are cool and make you feel cool) but for me it’s just about having another medium to broadcast my thoughts. I’d love it if it ever got to the point where 1000s of people read me everyday but that takes time and talent. Time I have. Talent maybe a smidgen.

I’m just glad some people enjoy my ramblings and enjoy the variety that I like to write about. Whether it be politics or sports coverage or the Penn State sex scandal my dating woes. As long as it either brings a smile to someone’s face or makes people think then I’m more than happy. Here’s to another year of blogging about random stuff that I become interested in writing about.

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September 24th, 2012 at 5:45 am

Posted in Politics

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Nick Clegg says yes to releasing autotune remix of his apology for charity

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The Rambles of Neil Monnery feels like it should change it’s tag-line from ‘Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interwebs’ to ‘All Nick Clegg. All the time’ as the past what 18 hours or so has seen quite a dramatic shift in Nick Clegg’s attitude to both governing but also towards his own party.

His apology was unsurprisingly autotuned and ThePoke website cheekily asked if they could release it as a charity single and lo and behold the Lib Dems and Clegg himself have agreed as long as the money raised goes to Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital. Yeah who saw that coming?

Now whether you like Clegg or not – he’s allowing himself to be ridiculed to make money for his local children’s hospital and that is something everybody would respect. I know Nick Clegg has become the most divisive figure in mainstream UK politics since Margaret Thatcher – and that isn’t a good thing for the Deputy Prime Minister – but at least he is willing to poke fun at himself. Isn’t that why everyone loves Boris Johnson?

Now Clegg is no Boris – not by a long shot – but Clegg has decided to draw a line in the sand. This is his last stand and it’ll either pay off handsomely or he’ll have allowed his successor whoever it is to start without the biggest monkey on his back. I was just tweeted to tell me that money is piling on Clegg to not lead the Lib Dems into the next General Election which surprises me somewhat.

The next few days in Brighton will certainly now be far more interesting than we all expected. Looking around my politicosphere (that isn’t a word but it really should be) the general consensus was that people were fed up. They are fed up of being in coalition but more than that they were fed up of defending the accusation that we are a bunch of liars who cannot be trusted. That allegation is of course still there but a very public apology from the top means defending it becomes easier on the doorstep.

The big question is will this translate to more positivity within the party. If people once more feel that we aren’t heading to election oblivion then maybe they’ll be wiling to put in that extra ounce of effort and go that extra mile to do more leaflets, more surveys, more doorstepping. Lib Dems all over the country work hard and care but like all humans if they think they can’t win then they’ll find it harder to play the game as it were.

I respect Clegg for finally apologising and his decision to allow the autotune remix to be released as a charity single is a very brave but correct one. If people laughing at or with him makes money for his local children’s hospital then who cares. If it sells well then it can make some serious money and make kids stays at hospital that little less awful and that is something I think we should all applaud and respect.

Next up get Clegg in the stocks or maybe gunge him? Sit him in a bath of beans whilst students pour tomato sauce over him? The possibilities are endless but I suspect this will be it…fr now.

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Written by neilmonnery

September 20th, 2012 at 11:33 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

Nick Clegg the future pop star?

with one comment

So who knew that Nick’s apology yesterday would result in various mash-up videos on YouTube? Oh. Everyone. However who knew that it would turn out better than many of the wannabe stars that go on The X Factor et al?

I mean Frankie Cocozza or Nick Clegg autotuned?

Exactly.

Some of the comments on the video though aren’t exactly the nicest though:

Fuck off and die, Clegg. Good song but too soft on him.

Well they like the song at least Nick. Nine thumbs up for him to go and die. Lovely.

fuck you clegg……. you and your party will get no vote from students and future students for ever spineless prick

Well that is a lie as I know students who have voted for the Lib Dems since this episode and plan to do so again.

I’ll only ever consider voting lib dem again once that emotionless twat has resigned from leadership

Lewis Robinson is out until you are Nick. Emotionless? Well that isn’t true and twat? Harsh.

This is a terribly produced song. Guys even if the Lib Dems didn’t support the motion it would have passed through the Commons at some point anyway.

Nick. Fire your producers now.

Fucking shithead

Big fan…?

An awful artist, but a brilliant song… hilarious !

I’m smelling Rebecca Black…

ahaahh TOSSER!!!!!!!!
a f8ckin ars*hole
Haha. What an arse.

Oh. *sad face*

The thing is I bet just half an hour max after Clegg delivered this speech. He changed his mind and decided he wasn’t sorry Lmao

People who laugh are their own comments are lame. Also when they know very little about the situation it just makes them look dumb but they are cool in their own world so that is all that matter. ROFLOL.

if this gets in the charts i will die laughing

Bit extreme.

Maybe the best thing I’ve ever seen. Maybe.

Clearly not seen Man V food then…

Skeevy arse-piece. At least Judas had the grace to hang himself!

And we’ll end with another person wishing him dead. Oh the youth. They are the future you know…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 20th, 2012 at 9:20 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

Nick Clegg finally says sorry just twelve months after I implored him to

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So I’m there showering and thinking of witty lines to use on the air this evening (I couldn’t think of any) and by the time I got back to the PC to check e-mail and twitter before I left everything exploded.

Nick Clegg had apologised. What had he apologised for exactly? Well he had apologised for signing the pledge that said the Lib Dems would not back any rise in tuition fees. He didn’t apologise for being in government and raising the tuition fees upper-limit. Is this significant? Yes. Did he apologise for the right thing? Undoubtedly.

Last year I got to the opportunity to interview Nick Clegg and I got the killer quote from him in response to my question about whether he needs to apologise for just this, ‘I think about saying sorry every day’. To quote from my own piece:

He doesn’t think he can openly say sorry because people will retort ‘well you were in Government so you could not have done it’ and that it would do no good. I got the sense that he deep down wanted to apologise but either he thinks – or his advisers think – that is just wouldn’t be credible.

I think today he finally got that monkey off of his back. He didn’t do this because I implored him to. He probably doesn’t even remember me. He did it because finally he either felt that it was time to do the right thing or he knew if he didn’t he was finished. I am unsure as to which it was but I choose to believe that it is the former rather than the latter.

You see the thing is I do really like and respect Nick Clegg. I think he’s a very intelligent man and he is a passionate liberal. I don’t believe for one iota that he’s just a Tory in liberal clothing. I’ve listened to the man speak and he believes in liberal ideology. He believes in a fair society and ensuring that those who don’t have the chances of others are not ostracised and kept down. He doesn’t think that the poor need hand-outs to survive but he does believe in helping hands and if hand-outs are needed to help them get on their feet then he believes that is the way forward.

True Tories essentially don’t care and believe that the vast majority of people on benefits are there because they choose to be. Whilst some are the majority are not. This is where Nick Clegg clearly differs from the Tory party and that is why I have no qualms whatsoever that he’s a true liberal and why I get very annoyed when people lazily claim that Clegg’s a Tory without any real thought.

The apology was needed but it is way later than it should have been. Will it change minds of people up and down the country Probably not but it does give Lib Dem activists up and down the land a response to being told how they can’t trust the Lib Dems any more. The thing is politicians lie. All parties had Lords Reform in their manifestos but backbench Tories and Labour scuppered that bill but are they called liars?

All manifestos have things in that aren’t fulfilled. Didn’t the 1997 Labour manifesto have a referendum of the House of Lords? I do believe it does. Here is the paragraph:

The House of Lords must be reformed. As an initial, self-contained reform, not dependent on further reform in the future, the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords will be ended by statute. This will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative. The legislative powers of the House of Lords will remain unaltered.

So a lie or was it just a mistruth?

The reason the Lib Dems pledge and subsequent backtracking on it was news – serious news – was essentially because it was the Lib Dems and for the first time in several generations liberals had some say in how the country was won. We were the great hope that things could be different and we failed. Oh boy did we fail.

Do I think that people will trust the Lib Dems again? Maybe, maybe not but for others to trust the Lib Dems then first of all Lib Dems need to trust the Lib Dems. Hopefully as a party we can start to move forward from this whole affair and start uniting once more. A genuinely apology goes a long way with me personally and I think it has gone a long way with many fellow members. Even some of Nick’s strongest critics have felt a sense of relief that he has done this. Whether that relief is short-lived I don’t know but at least it gives us all the opportunity to move on.

I am genuinely delighted by Nick’s decision to apologise. He (along with the other people in the decision making loop) screwed up big time and I mean big time. If you make a mistake then you need to apologise before you can truly move on. He should’ve done it ages ago but the old adage ‘better late than never’ is still applicable in my eyes. I hope this leads to a more united future for the party and revitalises the grass roots. If the people on the ground start feeling that the sky isn’t falling in any more then maybe they’ll start believing in themselves and the party again.

This apology to me seemed aimed not only at the country but at his own party. He knows his party is haemorrhaging support not solely from the electorate but also within the Lib Dems. Membership has fallen and even those that have stayed are doing so with an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs. This should help and heck if there’s one thing we know from all this is that suddenly Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton from Saturday is going to be a whole lot more interesting…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 19th, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Politics

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Jake Humphrey quits BBC Sports programmes to be the face of BT Sport

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There had been some speculation around the interwebs for a while as to who would BT bring in to be the face of their new sport channel ever since they grabbed live EPL games from the start of next season. The general thought was that Gary Lineker was the man for the job as his contract was up with the BBC and his contract is rather large so the Beeb would probably want it off their books but BT have gone in another direction and caught most of us off guard with today’s announcement.

BT today announced that Jake Humphrey had signed on to be the face of their new channel. The 33 year-old had won universal praise for his anchoring of Formula 1 when it returned to the BBC after an absence of 13 years and has quickly risen the pole at the corporation as one of their biggest stars. He came all the way through the BBC from CBBC to be in position to be courted by a rival network and no doubt offered an extremely tasty contract.

Humphrey wrote terrific insightful blogs for BBC Sport and without a doubt one of the most interesting was his one showing an unedited version of his open talkback system showing what he hears in his ears because a broadcast. I can’t embed the video as it’s a BBC Sport one but it is extremely interesting and a good lesson for all those who think presenting a live television show is easy. I’ve not presented live television outside a studio at university but open talkback is really disconcerting and takes ages to get used to but you do.

As for what the BBC will do their F1 coverage whilst not in shambles has some real issues now. They decided to get out of their contract with Bernie Ecclestone which led to Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham jumping ship to Sky’s coverage of the sport. Now Jake has left and David Coulthard is out of contract and is widely believed to be of interest to Sky for next season. Does Eddie Jordan really want to carry on doing it without his buddies? Lee McKensie will surely step up to present the coverage and there is no dramatic drop-off there but this is a blow to the BBC of that there is little doubt.

As for BT they get one of the rising talents of live sports presenting in the country. Live top-level football will now be presented by Adrian Chiles, Ed Chamberlain, David Jones and Jake Humphrey across the channels (not including Gary Lineker as it isn’t confirmed he’ll still be around in 2014 at the Beeb) whereas in the recent past it had been Gary Lineker, Des Lynam, Steve Rider and Richard Keys. All of whom had long broadcasting careers behind them (although Gary and Richard’s careers were mostly just in the jobs that they became known for).

This shows both a change in philosophy for broadcasters as they have moved away from the same faces who were mostly of the older generation. Sky’s decision to replace Richard Keys with the two-headed presentation team of David Jones (Saturday’s and midweeks) and Ed Chamberlain (Sunday’s and Monday’s) showed they wanted to keep it in house. The BBC now only have live football at the tournaments and don’t have Lineker signed up as yet although it now seems likely they’ll keep him as going into the 2014 World Cup with Colin Murray as the face of the tournament is rather scary. ESPN had Ray Stubbs who was solid enough but he’ll continue with darts and other presenting duties you’d suspect with them.

This leaves the BT Sport venture as the new challenger to the dominant Sky. BT’s huge victory was getting a share of first pick games over the course of the next football contract. They paid top dollar for them and know it’ll not be easy to make it pay but they are already getting other sports rights to compliment their EPL coverage as last week they got domestic Rugby Union rights. I have no idea if BT will be successful but it’s certainly an interesting opportunity and now is the time to jump ship as London 2012 is over and Jake got to be one of the faces of the BBC’s coverage of that spectacular summer.

In jumping ship he is giving up World Cup presenting duties (as well as possibly fronting the coverage) but that major football tournaments happen once every two years and in this gig he’ll get a live football match most weeks throughout the football season. I’ll probably get BT’s new sport channel when it comes out because I like to watch all the games. Thanks to the EU for making sure I have to pay even more money than I should for this privilege but that is a rant for another day.

This is a good move for Jake I think and a blow to the BBC. It should be pointed out that Jake is set to become a father next spring so leaving the F1 travelling circus and staying in the UK must be a very attractive proposition. The BBC haven’t got anyone what you’d call ready to step up to his all-around role in the sports department. Colin Murray is not a live sport presenter and as it stands he’ll have a significant role to play in Brazil in 2014 and that does worry me. F1 will survive and do fine if DC and EJ stay to backup Lee McKensie but if they leave too then BBC’s award winning coverage will have none of that on air talent either still with the corporation or in the same role and that is quite a dramatic fall from grace in under two years.

Time as they say will tell…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 18th, 2012 at 10:59 am

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Do you know that if you are poor you can’t be expected to hold a pen for three hours?

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I’m fuming. Just fuming. I love the blogosphere as it gives people a chance to air their opinions and even though many are vastly different to mine I often find them very interesting. I like seeing other points of view and debating them. I’ve even been known to change my PoV based on these debates. It is one of the reasons that the blogosphere is just fantastic. However I today read a paragraph in a blog post on the new exams for 15/16 year-olds that made me just go mental.

Stretching the length of an exam to 3 hours also makes the examinations more unequal. Poorer children with less nutrition will struggle to maintain mental stamina. Children who grow up in high rise flats from birth will have much weaker fine motor skills than children who have enjoyed healthy outdoor climbing and active pursuits from birth. Expecting inner-city children to hold a pen for 3 hours and write furiously to reach that mythical gold standard will punish those who over the years do not have the necessary endurance due to health and income inequalities.

Now of course the fact the author used the numerical 3 instead of the written three did annoy me a tad. The rule of thumb is single figure number are written and double digits and above the numerical form is used but that was small-fry compared to the sentiment.

Basically if you are poor then you won’t be able to sit still for three hours or hold a pen. If you don’t have your butler or maid serve you a fresh green salad each night and instead have a diet of Iceland frozen fish and chips then you won’t have the ability to concentrate. I seem to recall that I didn’t have a maid or a butler and in fact grew up on a council estate and didn’t get to do such things as outdoor climbing but I was one of the very best in my school at exams. One of the very best.

You see exam ability has nothing to do with your diet or your income or what you do in your spare time. It has far more to do with your ability to think on your feet (or sitting down but you know what I mean) and recall information and be able to get that information written up in the best way possible. Some people are better at exams and some are better at coursework. That is a fact but there isn’t a shred evidence to say it has a thing to with diet or income or anything else.

I was pretty awful at coursework because I was a lazy arse. I preferred to watch TV or play football in the evening’s than sit and work. For example I have an A-Level in Geography at a B grade but in the five exams I got five A’s, three of them above 97%. That shows just how awful my coursework was. I actually started my coursework at 12:07PM on the Sunday before it was due and finished at 07:40 on the Monday when it was due to be handed in. So I worked for 19+ hours straight (bar dinner and many drinks/loo breaks). Is this because of my diet or background or is it because I was a lazy so and so?

Yes if you have a better home life then you’ll have a better chance to succeed but heck rich people have bad home lives and poor people can have amazing home lives. It depends far more about on the parental interest and situation than it does on money. If a rich parents are always at each others throats and having affairs then the kid may not have a great home life and be forgotten and left to his/her own devices. If a single mother or father is there showing a strong interest in their son/daughter and helping them closely through life then they’ll have a stable home life.

Background has zero to do with an ability to sit a three hour exam. Zero. To suggest such a thing is effectively writing off a large percentage of society and belittling them and telling them they’ll amount to nothing if we go to an all examination system. This is a disgraceful stance to have. Disgraceful isn’t a strong enough word. Lets go to a thesaurus to see if I can find a stronger word. I’m going to go with opprobrious and even vulgar would do.

You may not like these proposals. A lot won’t (but on the other hand a lot might). I know I’d have done far better in an all exam based system because I relished the challenge. I never ever failed any examination at any level because of this. It won’t be for all but it would’ve been for me. It would’ve fitted in with my psyche. However my diet wasn’t great but to say this would’ve effected my ability to hold a pen for three hours is madness. Sheer and utter madness.

I’m still livid and it’s been nearly half an hour now since I read it. How dare someone effectively say that inner-city children don’t have the ability to sit still and hold a pen and concentrate for three hours. Of course they can and many get amazing exam results. Many people living in posh households get rubbish exam results. To just tarnish a whole section of society like this is egregious.

I need to go calm down a bit…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 17th, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Politics

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