The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for December, 2013

Take Me Out Girls 2014

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For the latest series photos and gossip then please follow the link for Take Me Out Girls Photos for Season Seven – 2015.

In exactly 168 hours time (that is this time next week for those too lazy to work it out) at the time of publishing, the Take Me Out theme tune will be playing on ITV1 and ITV1HD announcing the start of season six of the dating show. Paddy will say ‘Bring on the girls’ and thirty women will descend those twelve stairs hoping to ascend them with a hot guy and a date on the Isle of Fernando’s.

This season has a new twist though, if a guy has one or two girls left in the final round then he’ll have the option of taking a mysterious girl who’ll be hidden in the love lift. He won’t be able to see her but will be able to hear her speak. Will he chose the unknown voice over the women stood before him with their lights left on? We’ll find out in the ‘Frisky or Risky’ round – in my head I said that in a Roy Walker voice.

Reading the notes sent out you wouldn’t believe the amount of accessories used by the girls for the series, from foundation to false eyelashes to hairspray to nail varnish. Last time I was on TV I was in make-up for less than two minutes, but I suppose I wasn’t looking for a date and I doubt even with several hours I’d have looked that great. This season the preferred wardrobe trends were neon and pink.

As for communicating with the girls, in general most of them over the past few series have been fine with follows/tweets but prefer not to be contacted via Facebook. Most of them will have twitter accounts so feel free to search for them and tweet them, however I’d recommend not trying to get in touch via other social media platforms as in general they prefer them to be kept more private.

Anyway I suspect all you want really is the photos and the details. You’ll find them all below. I hope you enjoy my lighthearted take as I take you through the original flirty thirty and enjoy the sixth installment from Saturday 4th January at 20:50.

Please click on the photos to go to their specific pages and from there you can view them full size.

Flirty Thirty Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Flirty Thirty

Amanda Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Amanda

Age: 26
Job: Support Worker
Location: Barnsley
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Nearly a Year
Random Fact: Her family have nicknamed her ‘Bungalow’ as there is ‘nothing upstairs’
Reason why I think she’s great: Smile
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is good looking, has a six-pack and a great sense of humour. I might get half a mark for the humour section but the other two…epic fail.

Amber Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Amber

Age: 19
Job: Dinner Lady
Location: Bristol
Length of being single before Take Me Out: 19 years…
Random Fact: Her great-granddad was Norwegian and came to England in a rowing boat
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s terrified of lifts and would prefer to walk up 25 flights of stairs, we have something in common!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal celebrity is Danny Dyer. I’m pretty sure I’m the polar opposite to him.

Bethany Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Bethany

Age: 19
Job: Media & Journalism Student
Location: Coventry
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She once had a date where the guy was told the wait for a table was 90 minutes, her date was adamant they went there as it was free for students. He also ordered tap water and I thought I was a lousy date…
Reason why I think she’s great: Look at her degree, as a Journalism grad I am naturally attracted to Journalism students.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: The degree is looking good but she wants to be a fashion journalist. I know more about the Japanese language than I do fashion but I do think my Nike Air Max 95s Limited Edition Sunset Trainers are pretty damn cool…

Chloe Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Chloe

Age: 22
Job: Call Centre Worker
Location: The Wirral
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She’s related to the lead singer of Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I think we all just sang ‘Come on Eileen’ in our heads there…
Reason why I think she’s great: She likes to keep dates engaged with her intelligent side. I like this!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: The notes ITV have sent out don’t include anything about the kind of guy she likes, so I guess we’ll have to watch and find out!

Coryn Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Coryn

Age: 18
Job: Trainee Dental Nurse
Location: Liverpool
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She makes her own clothes
Reason why I think she’s great: Just look at her…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: This could be a long one, her best date picked her up in a white lambo and whisked her off to see Beyonce, her ideal date in on board a luxury yacht, whilst sipping champagne, and and she can’t stand bad teeth. I think I’m possibly not her ideal date somehow…

Danielle Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Danielle

Age: 22
Job: Customer Services Advisor
Location: Isle of Wight
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eight Months
Random Fact: Her special talent is making origami birds
Reason why I think she’s great: Well I lived on the Isle of Wight for many years so we could converse about Isle of Wight things
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Tom Hardy because he’s ‘rugged, with a great smile, good body and tattoos’ 0/4 for me…

Dolly Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Dolly

Age: 21
Job: Globalisation History & Politics Student
Location: Brighton
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Months
Random Fact: she wants to work for the UN or Amnesty International when she graduates
Reason why I think she’s great: Well that hair for one thing. Seriously I’m being wooed by that alone but she describes herself as a ‘crazy little hippy child’ and deep down I love that
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is impressed by a guy who can play acoustic guitar and sing. Fail.

Eleni Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Eleni

Age: 20
Job: Wedding Videographer
Location: Wirral
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eleven Months
Random Fact: She has a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu
Reason why I think she’s great: She knows the dance moves to many terrible pop songs
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by short men. Is 5ft9″ short…?

Emily Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Emily

Age: 25
Job: Classical Singer
Location: Fulham
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Six Months
Random Fact: She is a direct descendant of Guy Fawkes
Reason why I think she’s great: She has the nickname ’22 slice’ because she once ate a whole 22 slice pizza on a night out. I am impressed.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Bradley Cooper. Why can’t some of these ladies have celebrity crushes on traditionally non good-looking guys like Ian Beale, Arnold Rimmer or possibly even Father Jack?

Gemma Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Gemma

Age: 22
Job: Trainee Accountant & Face Printer
Location: Leeds
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seventeen Months
Random Fact: She can speak gaelic and do the splits
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date is going to a water park. Yep totally down with that.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She’s always ‘up for the craic’ whereas my weekend evenings highlight is deciding what takeaway to have. I’m cool but maybe just a tad less cool than Gemma.

Grace Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Grace

Age: 21
Job: Trainee Teacher
Location: Barnsley
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: She’s a big gamer, loves Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, however she doesn’t want to date another gamer.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her nickname is Smiley Face Gracey because she smiles so much. Who doesn’t love smiley people?
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by guys under six foot…now where are my five inch high-heels again?

Kate Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Kate

Age: 30
Job: Flight Attendant
Location: Liverpool
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She loves ‘hot yoga’ – whatever that is and has mastered the ‘Scorpion’ position, again whatever that is…
Reason why I think she’s great: She was once offered a place at Oxford. Can’t not like intelligence.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She doesn’t like pets. I don’t have any but still one day I want a kitten and he/she will probably be my best mate…

Kayleigh Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Kayleigh

Age: 23
Job: Accounts Student & Farmer
Location: Sheffield
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Ten Months
Random Fact: She lives on her dad’s farm and has reared lambs
Reason why I think she’s great: She would be impressed by anyone who was charming and a gentleman, however…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be like a ‘barbarian’ – manly, tall, rugged, assertive… yeah I think I’m not a runner in this race somehow…

Kelly Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Kelly

Age: 27
Job: Online Boutique Owner
Location: Newcastle
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She recently dated a footballer who only spoke French so had to use Google to translate what he was saying. Newcastle United have had an influx of French players recently, anyone want to guess as to who it might be?
Reason why I think she’s great: Look at that baseball cap. I think that’s seriously cool. Oh and she’s stunning.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is looking for a man over six foot, with a strong jawline, blue eyes and curly hair. Well I have the blue eyes…

Kirsty Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Kirsty

Age: 29
Job: Client Relationship Manager for a Pensions Company
Location: Birmingham
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She is fluent in Cantonese, Chinese and Mandarin and likes to belt out her favourite rocks tunes in Mandarin
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s had a seven-year long relationship. That shows she has commitment in her.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Oh my. Here is her criteria for guys looks wise – Masculine, hairy, toned, muscly, sharp facial features with big shoulders – not even in the ballpark.

Laura Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Laura

Age: 24
Job: Sales Assistant
Location: Manchester
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She often gets guys chatting her up at work – and she loves it! I once asked someone out whilst she was at work…and moving swiftly on…
Reason why I think she’s great: She would be impressed if a date could perform a disappearing act like Dynamo
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Joey Essex. Well I’m currently living in Essex…

Leanne Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Leanne

Age: 21
Job: Law Student
Location: Leeds
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: It says that she is often forgetful and once cooked a meal and left it in the oven for half an hour before she realised she hadn’t switched it on. We’ve all done that haven’t we…haven’t wehaven’t we? *rocks slowly back n forth*
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s scared of clowns. All good people are scared of clowns. They are unnatural.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date would be something swimming related so she could get into her bikini and impress the guy. Two things. In that scenario I’d be in swimming shorts and that wouldn’t impress anyone and secondly she’s a law student – that is enough to impress any guy, surely? No need for this bikini lark (although I will admit it would be impressive but knowing legal stuff is far sexier – maybe this is why I’m single. Moving on…

Lee Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Lee

Age: 29
Job: Physiotherapist
Location: Essex
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: At the age of twelve, she declined the opportunity to meet the Queen as her hands had jam on and didn’t want to get it on the Queen’s gloves
Reason why I think she’s great: She has tried online dating, blind dating, even meeting guys on the bus. I bet we’d have plenty of bad experiences to discuss
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off if a guy is too geeky or shy. Am I smart enough to be considered a geek? I hope so. I need more opinions on this.

Lisa-Marie Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Lisa-Marie

Age: 30
Job: Psychic & Life Coach
Location: Brighton
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Five Years. Five years people…
Random Fact: She is petrified of thunder, so much so that her flatmate has to sing her a ‘thunder song’ to calm her down and to stop her crying. Isn’t that from the movie Ted?
Reason why I think she’s great: I love thunderstorms. I would actually have some use to her!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She believes there are two potential matches for her on the show, one with a silver car. I don’t drive.

Lucy Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Lucy

Age: 20
Job: Hairstylist
Location: Essex
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Almost a Year
Random Fact: She once broke her leg trying to impersonate Superman. Now we all hope that story comes out on the show don’t we? If not please tell us…
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s happy-go-lucky and easy going. Isn’t that a personality trait we all like?
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She would like a man with awesome hair and shoes. Are my Nike Air Max 95s Limited Edition Sunset trainers any good? Hello…? Hello…? Oh, there’s no-one there.

Marley Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Marley

Age: 18
Job: Make-Up Artist
Location: Guildford
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: As of either the time of filming or the first show she has been single for seven months, two weeks, four days, twelve hours and counting. If it’s from the time of the first show that means she broke up at 8:50AM – who breaks up at 8:50AM? – Also I have to add in she has an irrational fear of tissues…I need not say any more on this.
Reason why I think she’s great: Totally superficially – she’s stunning. Personality wise she has a ‘hippy-esque’ spirit. Also her ideal date would involve getting messy…time to call Pat Sharp, Melanie & Martina and get that Fun House project restarted!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She looking for the 3T’s in a man, Tan, Tattoo’s and Tub. I presume that is a hot-tub or possibly a tub of ice cream. Whatever she means as Peter Jones would say ‘I’m out’

Michelle Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Michelle

Age: 21
Job: Accountant
Location: Sunderland
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Nine Months
Random Fact: She represented England in Skiing from age nine to sixteen.
Reason why I think she’s great: I have to be honest, the notes ITV have sent out about Michelle are very much up my street. I could superfically say ‘glasses, glasses, glasses’ but I won’t (by the way glasses are hot). She doesn’t like people stealing her food, damn straight. She describes herself as smart-ish, sexy and spontaneous. Her ideal man would have a good job, preferably lives on his own, can make her laugh and have an inny belly button, otherwise she isn’t interested. On paper I’m very much the type of guy she’s like but…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Two little bits I missed out about her ideal man, dark and tanned. Bugger.

Nicole Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Nicole

Age: 22
Job: P.E. Teacher
Location: Leeds
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Never had a serious relationship.
Random Fact: She loves to play with other people’s feet and toes.
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s ginger. Everyone knows gingers are hot. No seriously redheads…*daydreams*
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is a ‘Real Life Action Man’ – I once fixed a drip on my boiler and learned how to change spot lights, impressed? No? Oh…

Nina Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Nina

Age: 22
Job: Cocktail Waitress & Psychology Student
Location: Aberdeen
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She has a fear of velvet. Is that weirder than Marley’s fear of tissues?
Reason why I think she’s great: She wants to become a forensic psychologist when she graduates. Got to like a woman with a plan
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her perfect date would be sky-diving. God no…

Olivia Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Olivia

Age: 19
Job: Voice Over Artist
Location: Surrey
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Been single all her life.
Random Fact: She has never had a serious relationship, her only brief one lasted for two weeks when she was in Year Eight
Reason why I think she’s great: She doesn’t like tattoo’s, finally a woman who doesn’t!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is a good Christian man. Well I am the son of a (now retired) Methodist Superintendent. Does that count for something? What do you mean I have to believe as well? Damnit.

Poly Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Poly

Age: 29
Job: Beauty Model & Speech Therapist
Location: London
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Only a few weeks…
Random Fact: She can speak five languages, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali and English. No I hadn’t heard of the second one either…
Reason why I think she’s great: Enrique Inglesias as a celebrity crush. Someone who isn’t a film star or a reality TV guy!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She has a fear of anything slimy. So I won’t be taking her to a Fun House revival then…

Sadie Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Sadie

Age: 20
Job: Dance Student
Location: Kingston
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She is a body painter amongst other things
Reason why I think she’s great: She isn’t interested in a guy if they believe working out is a talent. Finally! Also another cracker of a smile.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man’s profession would be a pilot. Relatively sure the fact I can’t even drive a car is a black mark against me here.

Sharon Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Sharon

Age: 32
Job: Casino Croupier
Location: Glasgow
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: Her celebrity crush is someone I have never heard of – James Franco.
Reason why I think she’s great: She’s recently taken up Burlesque dancing…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She would love a pet tarantula. I’d just cower in the corner…

Siobhan Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Siobhan

Age: 22
Job: Beauty Therapist
Location: Cornwall
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Never had a serious relationship
Random Fact: She is part Native American.
Reason why I think she’s great: She still checks under the bed for monsters. Either that is just flat out weird or cute. I’ll go for the latter.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She’d be very impressed with a guy who can cook. I can cook two things. A basic curry and a basic chilli. Beyond that…

Stacey Take Me Out 2014 ITV1

Stacey

Age: 25
Job: Dog Kennel Worker
Location: Oldham
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Ten Months
Random Fact: She spends a large proportion of her time worrying about whether her quiff will go flat and if she’ll run out of hairspray
Reason why I think she’s great: She thinks she gets on better with animals than she does humans. I often feel this.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by a guy with no fashion sense. As an example I’m currently wearing jogging bottoms about three sizes too big for me and a hoodie with Penn State and a logo of a Nittany Lion emblazoned across it. Yeah not exactly a fashion guru…D’oh.

All photos © Thames TV – a part of FremantleMedia UK.

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

December 28th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Media

Tagged with ,

More on legalising prostitution and why the Lib Dems should take this baton and run with it

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Just before I left for a long stroll to our local AGM last night, there was a bit of a furore on Twitter about a new piece up on Lib Dem Voice. The palaver wasn’t really about the piece as such but more the title. The original title by the author was to be As Liberals We Must Stand Up For Sex Workers but instead the editorial team used the title Opinion: As Liberals, we must stand up For sex workers instead. Now I didn’t get to read too much more for a couple of hours so I don’t know if the contents of the article ever got truly discussed.

The basics of the article seem to be about standing up for sex workers and allowing them the freedom to do with their own bodies what they please without the state calling them a criminal for it. I have long been a supporters of legalising the prostitution business and ensuring safer practices for both the buyer and seller as it were. I wrote about it three years ago in a piece entitled It is time to fully license and legalise Prostitution which essentially nobody read, but that isn’t exactly an abnormality for my blog. You come here for pictures of Take Me Out Girls, to agree that Yodel sucks, to find out what happened to Nick Halling and Mark Bolton and then maybe, just maybe you’ve come here for political opinion.

I firmly believe that if a woman (or a man) want to sell their own body for sex then they should be free to do so. However I am a strong advocate of street prostitution remaining illegal. This cannot be regulated and it can be dangerous for both parties. It is also decidedly uncomfortable for people. I was accosted at Liberal Democrat Conference in 2011 by a prostitute asking is I was looking for her services. I can tell you this for nowt, it left me extremely uncomfortable.

Regulating prostitution and having centres where people can buy and sell sex in safe environments is surely a step-forward in allowing people to trade in their bodies of free will, but also with legal sex being available it will push the illegal sex slave trade to the fringes. If people can buy sex without fear of criminal prosecution then why would they go to someone where they wouldn’t be immune from this. The sex slave trade would surely overnight become far less profitable for gangs who force people into this line of work and they would then have to look elsewhere to earn a criminal dollar.

James in his piece references Australian states that have legalised prostitution and I remember seeing a documentary on this a few years back. Everyone who comes into the brothel is checked for visible signs of STIs (or STDs as they were in my day) and anyone who fails this inspection is turned away. The girls are regularly screened for these infections and if they are found to have one then they are unable to work until it is cleared up completely. If it is an STI that doesn’t go away then they will be unable to work as a legal prostitute any more. This surely helps with public health as STIs are rapidly growing as people (apparently) like having sex and are becoming more flippant about the health dangers.

The truth is people are going to have sex. People are going to want to buy sex. People are going to want to sell sex. That is the long and the short of it. Many of us probably can’t comprehend the idea of selling our bodies for a living but there are people out there who do it by choice. Not every prostitute does it because they were forced into it by criminals or by circumstances. Some people do choose to do it of their own free will and at what stage do people not have control over their own bodies for fear of breaking the law?

Legalising and licensing prostitution is never going to be a popular policy even if their is overwhelming evidence that it will help on many fronts. Drug addicts will be less able to turn to prostitution for money and therefore will have more incentive to get off drugs. Illegal sex workers who are forced into it will become a less profitable venture. Red light areas will be cleaned up as street prostitution would go down if there were licensed brothels for people to work in. The spread of STIs would in theory be slowed down. Liberals would rejoice as we allowed people to do what they wanted in a safer environment and think about this, if it was fully regulated and licensed then the tax man would get his cut!

It is time to stop thinking of prostitution as bad and that people who buy or sell sex are bad people. We are all free to make our own judgments in life and if it doesn’t directly effect you or me then who are we to decide how someone else should live their life? Sex will always be bought and sold. No-one will ever stop that until the concept of money is in the past. So until then lets find the best way forward to this problem that will ensure the safety and freedoms of most and that is not by keeping the status quo.

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

December 18th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

The likelihood of a by-election in Richmond Park just keeps growing…

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My learned colleague Richard Morris has been banging on about this for as long as I’ve been reading his work (well near enough) but what would be a very interesting by-election could happen in the autumn of 2014. Richmond Park is your typical two-horse race in the South between the Tories and the Lib Dems. Both parties can win it on a good day with a strong campaign. Both therefore can of course lose it on the exact opposite. It is the type of seat that the Lib Dems must at the very least stay competitive in come 2015 if they aren’t be just become a party who defends seats.

Well after 13 years of Lib Dem occupation, the Tories came in and won it in 2010 with Zac Goldsmith being elected MP for the constituency. He has been relatively quiet in office, however he has really been a strong constituency MP, with everything you ever hear from him being about local issues. The main focus of that has been on Heathrow Airport and its possible expansion. To cut a long-story short, he’s against it, dead against it and if it becomes government policy he was reiterated that he’ll stand down and trigger a by-election.

This morning the airport commission unveiled three options regarding airport expansion and two of them are at Heathrow, the other being at Gatwick. The ‘Boris Island’ scheme that is certainly not playing well in my neck of the wood was not as option, however the aforementioned airport commission will decide next summer whether that is indeed a viable option. If it does not then essentially they are green lighting Heathrow expansion and should the government make it policy that the preferred option is to expand Heathrow then Goldsmith will resign.

The most interesting question though about all this is would Goldsmith run again as the Tory candidate, but resign on principle so his constituents knew he is against this polixcy and would be an active voice against said policy if they reelected him? Would Goldsmith run as an independent ‘Against Heathrow Airport Expansion’ candidate? Would the Tories even place Boris in that seat to give him a route back into the House of Commons?

By-elections are notoriously harder to predict than regular elections because parties can concentrate on issues more without the national narrative getting in the way. Also by-elections lead to those with a great ground game doing better than they would normally because feet on the ground really does help with these things.

A by-election in the autumn in Richmond Park would be fascinating for all the politico geeks out there as there would be so many questions going into it and arguably very few answers off the back of it. Should government policy be that Heathrow should get bigger, then I firmly predict two things, firstly that the coffers of all Richmond Park sandwich shops, coffee places and public houses will go up significantly for a four-week period as press and activists descend into the area and secondly that A View From Ham Common’s readership will go up mightily.

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

December 17th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

The bad name of the Liberal Democrats

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Ah the Lib Dems. The sandal wearing, beard loving, irrelevance of a political party. When Millwall chanted ‘no-one likes us, no-one likes us, we don’t care’ they did so as a badge of honour. For the Lib Dems it was all very different, it was ‘no-one worries about us, no-one particularly dislikes us, no-one cares’ as the party bumbled along being relatively popular at local level across the country but when it came to national governance, people wanted to see the two big parties battle it out. There was no third way.

Then things changed.

In the space of a few weeks the Liberal Democrats suddenly became relevant and when they did so they got tarred with a big brush, the big brush of disappointment and that stain is one we find hardest to cope with.

The long and short of it is as we all know, a significant proportion of people who voted for the Lib Dems in 2010 nationally did so as a bit of a protest vote. They public were not convinced about Gordon Brown and Labour, nor were they enthused by David Cameron and the Conservatives. They looked for that third way and the fresh faced Nick Clegg provided that hope and aspiration that things could be different.

The thing is deep down the likelihood of things being different because the party were never going to either win a majority in the House of Commons and nor were they going to be the largest party in any governing coalition. The party could only prop up a Tory or Labour led government or sit in opposition. In essence they couldn’t ever be the party that people hoped they would be after 2010 because whatever way they went they were stuffed. Either they propped up an unpopular party or they showed they didn’t have the cojones for government. A lose/lose situation.

Why am I bringing this up today?

Well I read this piece entitled I am not a “Liberal Democrat” and it sums up the problems that, we as activists, and the party in general face. The good, unsullied name of the Liberal Democrats is now not so pristine and that is quite the understatement. A lot of people are angry that the Lib Dems didn’t change everything when they became the junior member in a coalition, a lot of people are just angry and aren’t exactly sure why.

The thing is, more people sit in the ground occupied by the Liberal Democrats on the political spectrum than any other political party. If people voted solely on ideological principles then the Lib Dems would be the ones to beat, but people don’t do that. They vote based on a multitude of things including trust, who they like/dislike personally, policies, ideologies, tactically, historically, I could go on and on but ideology has been pushed further and further down this list as the years and decades have gone by.

Now, in an age where people can learn more about the people on a ballot paper and the parties they represent, people actually learn less. The electorate are not as switched on as they were in the past. Now it is a lot to do with personalities and not policies and that brings us to the Nick Clegg issue. Nick Clegg is not toxic but his name certainly isn’t exactly helping the situation. He might actually be doing a pretty good job of steering the Lib Dem Westminster ship but if people refuse to listen to someone then what can you do? I am positive that there are people out there who would disagree with Nick Clegg if he did everything they wanted from a politician, quite simply because of who he is.

So that leads me to wonder what the best way forward is, not for the party per se for members of the Lib Dems to not feel as though they’ve killed puppies and kittens for fun. I speak to people who talk about the Lib Dems with more disdain than they would talk about murderers, I wish I was joking but it sometimes just feels that way.

The fact is that more people sit in the centre ground of the political spectrum than do any other and yet that advantage doesn’t equate to people going out and voting for the party that sits in their ideological spectrum. That is the biggest problem the party faces today. Nick Clegg isn’t exactly an asset but until we can get people to vote for policies and vision first and foremost above personalities, then we will struggle. Moving what a political party actually wants to do to the forefront of the debate and things will look much rosier at the ballot box and Lib Dems won’t feel as though they are pariahs.

They say one thing you shouldn’t do on a first date is talk religion or politics, I don’t need any help in screwing up first dates but the fact I’m a Lib Dem certainly doesn’t help, and if you think that is conjecture then I can assure you it isn’t, I’ve been told bluntly that is an issue, not because of the policies (bar tuition fees) but mainly because of the notion that the Lib Dems are now just Tories by another name.

Many people don’t get the nuances of a coalition government and there is often very little chance they’ll allow you to talk about it (by the way this isn’t my dating spiel, I don’t talk religion or politics on a first date, well unless they bring it up). The thing is many Lib Dems don’t get the nuances of coalition government. They think that if we disagree then we should stop it and only back Lib Dem policy. Wouldn’t that be a Liberal Democrat government and didn’t we only get 57 MPs at the last General Election?

Coalition isn’t easy and even harder than actual governing is trying to tell people what you are doing as the junior member of a coalition. Coalition has cost the party their innocence and their good name but on the other hand it has shown the party has matured and now isn’t just an ‘anti-everything’ option. Some people will acknowledge this but sadly many many more will now not touch the Lib Dems – or their candidates – with a ten-foot barge-pole, just like the vast majority of the female species with me.

So maybe the Lib Dems and myself are in the same boat. I think the bad name of the Lib Dems will sink them in percentage of the vote nationally but I don’t see a wipe-out. I see resources being very targeted and where the Lib Dems hold, they are actually well liked, both on councils and in Westminster. Elections are becoming increasingly localised and that is why I take little notice of national polls and projected national swings. They deep down mean jack and are just there to give politicos something to talk and write about.

The bad name of the Lib Dems won’t be vanquished overnight and may well stick around well beyond Nick Clegg’s departure – whenever that maybe. Still Labour now lead the polls just ten years after going into a very unpopular war and five odd years after overseeing the tanking of the economy. They are doing that with a leader who has zero personality or political nous and a shadow Chancellor who is, to be frank, vastly out of his depth. That says a great deal about how politics can ebb and flow…

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Written by neilmonnery

December 12th, 2013 at 5:24 pm