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Holly-Ann Battye a month on – when will the country learn?

It was what around six weeks ago that Holly-Ann Battye was without a doubt the most famous Liberal Democrat candidate standing in any election on May 5. This is because the Daily Mail found her DeviantART website and decided that posing in sexy photos is not what prospective councillors should do and they decided to make a huge fuss over the story.

I said there and then that it was a mountain out of a molehill and the story just seemed so incredibly pointless and stirred up a lot of fuss over nothing. Young woman posing for photographs and oh my gosh – a ball gag – this type of woman surely cannot have a valid opinion of what the people want.

If you can’t tell I’m being sarcastic.

Well it turns out that she had hired Max Clifford to do her PR. In the piece Holly’s dad told the local rag, “They are actually working on an exclusive with national newspapers. Obviously the newspapers get something out of this in terms of circulation, and it is right there is something for Holly.”

Well it has been a month or so since the local elections and I have seen no story. Her star had faded and now her value to any tabloid is next to nothing. She did continue to stand but lost in the incumbent Tory councillor Ian McCord who got 548 votes to her 202. A resounding defeat but still she tried although she did not attend the count according to a local newspaper report

She has not updated her journal or art page seemingly since this whole thing erupted and you have to wonder how she has been affected by the media storm. It is sadly an indication of the society that we live in. We all have skeletons in our closets to some degree and running for office will give opportunity for those skeletons to find their way into the media and suddenly you are seen as a legit Public Interest story. If I posed today in ‘raunchy’ gear and posted it on the Internet no-one would care and those who saw it might have a nervous breakdown but if I did that and then ran for the local council then suddenly in the media’s eyes it comes under the guise of Public Interest.

Whilst there is no question of intrusion into privacy in this case as the pictures were on an open website, it does question the type of people who’ll both run and get elected into office. The country as a whole is still very stiff upper-lip and the majority of people do believe that for example a person wearing a suit is more intelligent and capable than a person wearing tracksuit bottoms and trainers. Appearances and first impressions play too much of a role in our society as a whole and even more so with our politicians.

I couldn’t give a damn if my local MP or councillor had the kinkiest private life imaginable. We elect them to do a job and if they do that job to a high standard then who cares what else they do as long as it is within the law. Sadly I know I’m not in the majority here. Will people with shall say we ‘non-vanilla’ personal lives run for public office and face the scrutiny of the media when they jump all over a small thing like this?

I doubt it somehow. Until the country becomes more sexually free then our elected officials with be either vanilla or privately perverted and when it comes out the nation will recoil. A sex life is a sex life. A private live is a private life. Should we care what others get up to when they are not on the clock? No we shouldn’t. The law is the law. Stay within that then you are good to go me. Until we relax our stiff upper-lips and stiffen up other parts of our anatomy then we’ll be destined to seeing the same types of people run for power and the same decisions being made.

I hope the experience hasn’t left Miss Battye feeling down on politics but if it has I wouldn’t blame her. I know the media have a job to do but really is this a story? It might be in Middle England but I’ll tell you this – Middle England is as perverted as the rest of us and if not more so and that my friends is saying something.

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Lib Dem election candidate Holly-Ann Battye in sexy photo ‘storm’

Holly-Ann Battye in standing for council for the Lib Dems in the South Northants Council ward of Cosgrove and Grafton. She has a few rather sexy photos up on her personal website and it is newsworthy according to the right-wing media.

The Lib Dems are a pretty laid back sort. Sexually liberal I would say (I hope they are anyway…) and I don’t see this being an embarrassing episode at all but maybe that’s because I’m extremely liberal. Let’s see what the Daily Mail thought about it.

The opening paragraph sums it up:

A Liberal Democrat local election candidate has left her party red-faced after she posed in fetish gear in provocative pictures which she then posted on the internet.

Oh dear.

If the Daily Mail really believe that the party are red-faced then they are dumb. If they really think a couple of photos in a ball gag is think kinky then boy they must be vanilla and boring. I wouldn’t even call those photos that provocative. The story actually says she is a councillor when as far as I can tell she’s only a candidate but who cares about accuracy when you can throw mud.

Just because someone poses in sexy photos doesn’t mean that they cannot be a good councillor. Anyone who thinks otherwise is what I’d call a moron. Good on the local party for standing by her.

Jane Hollis, chairman of the South Northants Lib Dems who is standing in the Castle ward in Northampton, stood by her candidate.

‘At the end of the day she is an artist and she sells images as a business,’ she said.

‘She is young and what I want to see is a refreshing change to all the elderly Tories sat on the SNC council.’

I can tell you one thing for sure and that is this young lady gets my full backing and thumbs up. She hasn’t shied away when these photos came to light and believes that the local stuck in the mud Tories (who are in general as kinky and perverted as the next person but don’t like it to be known) are using it to cast her in a bad light. Well to young people it will cast her in an extremely good light and they’ll not be impressed that some people think this is an issue to attack her with.

Good on her and I hope she sweeps into the fuddy-duddy council and ruffles a few feathers. Oh and if she wants any help in any photo shoots she needs to get in touch as they rock.

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Southend Hospital Radio on Wednesday Nights

Those who know me will know that Hospital Radio has been a significant part of my life since the autumn of 2006. There was a two-year hiatus whilst I was living and working in Aldershot but I still did the odd show when visiting my Mum but in 2009 I moved back to the area and have been a regular ever since.

The show I primarily do is the Wednesday Night Request one and the cast of characters have changed over the years. Seems a long time since it was Lyn, Nick and myself. I still wonder what happened to Nick Holmes. He must be around 22 or so and living in the Westcliff-on-Sea area of Southend. If anyone knows his whereabouts or if he himself is reading this then please get in touch.

These days the cast list is longer and deeper but Lyn is still there ans the shows are just as entertaining. I have uploaded many of the shows on the right hand side of this page should anyone ever want to listen. The shows are all dated. However I thought I’d point out a couple of the more interesting shows for the curious. The show that caused Rhi to dream about Care Bears for several days is the 10th November Show. A few weeks ago Will shall we say had a ‘funny five minutes’ on the show dated 23rd March.

The week before last the lunatics were left in charge of the alyssum. I must say I thought the Request Show that night was first-rate and as a Brucie Bonus I also did a rare solo show covering the 60s Show. The latest show is the 13/04/2011 one.

I know I still hate the sound of my own voice on radio and think I’m awful when I listen back (although I think I’m amazing whilst on air – listening back I just cringe). However people say we do a decent job and they enjoy what we do and I have been requested for downloadable versions from more than a handful of people so what the heck – can’t be all that bad.

Anyone with any interest have a listen and if you are interested in volunteering in Hospital Radio then get in touch with your local Hospital Radio station. I’m sure they’ll be appreciative and you’ll be doing a good thing that really makes an actual difference and meet a few people too!

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Lib Dem Ministers make the right call

So the Lib Dem ministers are going to back and vote for the Tuition Fees Bill that’ll be discussed and go before the House of Commons on Thursday. They are defying a pledge they made and in some eyes snubbing the electorate. So why are they making the right call? Because when push comes to shove – this isn’t the bill where we should draw a line in the sand.

Look I think university students should get a free ride. I believe tuition fees are bad. However I also do not think it is the biggest issue facing the country today. This is what really filets my Chilean Sea Bass (if you get that reference then you are awesome). If the Lib Dems make this the bill that they stand up to the senior partners in the coalition and vote the motion down then morally we have to leave the government benches and return to the opposition. Technically the coalition could survive but morally we would have no right being in government voting down a bill – a bill we even have a right to abstain on no less.

Also if we do not vote for it then we are perceived as weak but the electorate – and quite frankly the Lib Dems look weak today. They look like a fractious party not sure which way to turn. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they vote for it they are defying a key pledge – never a good thing. Abstaining is weak. Voting it down would move us away from government and would show the party unable to make the big decisions and would slow down other bills that government are bringing in that are Liberal.

So vote against this bill and should we leave the government benches (which I think morally we would have to do) then we would be walking away from House of Lords Reform, Political Reform, the Pupil Premium (which is fantastic) and other bills that have yet to be announced. Do we want to walk away from all those for this?

Now I know if we left the government benches we would be in the majority in opposition – the thing is – none of these bills would get through. The Tories would pull them out or they would re-write them and make deals with the nationalists to get them through in different formats. The government would not have to pander to the Lib Dem voices around the cabinet table.

When Nick Clegg and the team were discussing what to do after May 5 this year everyone was protesting to ensure the leader and the party knew they wanted fairer votes. Fairer votes was the most important thing. We won a referendum on AV from the Tories as part of a coalition. So all is good. However now Lib Dems don’t care about this so much – tuition fees are the buzz word of today.

Well listen to this folks. If (and I am making the assumption here that we leave the government benches if we voted en masse against the Tuition Fees Bill and honoured our pledge) If we vote against the bill and leave the government benches then would the Tories still allow a referendum on this subject? Even if they did with enough Labour backbench support and localised support the country will probably vote the referendum down. The Lib Dems will be seen as weak and that only Labour or the Conservatives can form a strong government so why vote for a political system that would allow the leafy weak Lib Dems a larger say in the HoC?

The Lib Dems are junior partners in a coalition. I’ve said it on more than one occasion and people just don’t seem to see it. The big mistake was clearly the party and their prospective MPs signed the pledge. That was the big error of judgment. I know that some MPs may have felt it would sway them votes but remember the student vote is neither the strongest nor the biggest turn out around.

Many students aren’t registered and many don’t bother to vote as they are busy watching Hollyoaks and getting drunk. Many are registered to vote at their home address and not at their uni one and therefore don’t vote whilst at university as they don’t have the foresight to sort out a proxy or postal vote. So pandering to the students is not a great idea in terms of votes.

Are those who protested for Fairer Votes the same as those who are protesting for Free Universities for all? If so then these two issues might well be mutually exclusive at this point in time. That is the way things are and that cannot be changed at this juncture. If the Lib Dem ministers vote this down on Thursday then tuition fees will stay – just not at the higher threshold – but they would also lose the higher repayment threshold and the scholarship scheme – oh and universities would get shitter as the money would still be coming out of the budget. So everyone’s degrees will be worse and will have less value.

Yes folks this isn’t ideal but this system is actually fairer and more beneficial long-term for young people. LEA’s will still pay the fees for the poorest students and the repayments would start kicking in when people are earning a good wage. Do you want to pay £4k a year for an average degree with badly funded universities with no resources or pay 6k a year (yes i know 9k is the limit but they’ll be for the rare circumstance) and get a good degree from a well taught course with excellent facilities and teaching?

The tuition fees bill is the best way forward for young people today. I firmly believe that having read in detail what the alternatives are. Free education for all is not affordable at the moment and even if it was – the Tories have no desire for it and therefore it would never go through parliament. We are breaking a pledge which is not good – not good at all – and many will rightly feel hurt and betrayed by it – but I put forward the PoV that we are not a one-issue party. The good the party are doing in government is out weighing the bad and if they do not make a law better and fairer because it goes against their utopian view then we would be doing the country a disservice.

The Lib Dems will go through the fire whatever they do. Might as well go through the fire and make a positive difference. So vote for the Tuition Fees Bill and do it with your heads held high Lib Dem MPs. It is better than the alternative and as a party we should do things that make life better for the people of this great country and not condemn our young people to substandard education which will mean their prospects for employment will be even worse. Better to pay good money for a great degree than pay money for a poor one.

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The Interwebs

Things have been going on in my life over the past few days and one thing has struck me – no matter how hard you try – in this era of the World Wide Interwebs there is very little secrecy. Now I work on the Web, it is my domain, so I should probably have realised this a long time ago. The URL to my blog is my name so anyone searching for me will come across me and will come across me in various other forms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc…) so it is hard to have secrets.

I have chosen to be this way but at times it has come back to bite me in the bum. Several years ago there was an incident shall we say where I wrote about someone else that I knew and a situation they were in. I named names and someone we both knew saw it, forwarded it to the person and let’s put it this way, not a good situation. Now when all is said and done I was in the wrong. Had it been in a diary where no-one else could’ve seen it then I’d of probably been ok but as it was in a public forum then I had strayed over the line. I have since apologised for this and have been far more guarded with aspects to my online presence.

However having my own blog and website no matter how small has once again shown me that writing on the interwebs can be dangerous. I have not written anything on here that I think would offend anyone I know in any way. Yet by seeing who is coming into the blog and the entry paths they have taken to get here it is a bit certainly a of an eye-opener!

In this day and age nothing is secret…

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Wednesday is Hospital Radio Night

Today is Wednesday. Wednesday brings many challenges but it also brings me to one of my favourite events of the week – my Hospital Radio show. I say ‘my’ but in fact there are several presenters but I’ll be in the big seat pushing all the buttons and the knobs. Some people, I will say mostly young people as it’s true, think that Hospital Radio is pointless. When they go into hospital they watch TV or listen to their iPod or play on their iPhones or whatever. However for the older generation they sometimes can’t afford the outrageous prices for the TV and half the time they don’t even know of Hospital Radio.

What we do is go around the wards before the show and collect requests from patients. Obviously many won’t listen and don’t care but often you’ll find people who will listen and enjoy the show. I might often find that we are the only people they’ll see in a day (non-staff wise) as they might have no family, or no family who live near at the very least.

Last week towards the end of the show we got a phone call down from a patient (they can ring a free number to contact the studio) thanking us and saying that he had just had his blood pressure taken and it was significantly down on earlier in the day and he attributed this to listening to us for the past couple of hours. It is at times like these that you know you are making a difference, it might not be a huge difference but to some people we are making their stay in hospital better than it would’ve been without us.

This is why I think we do a darn important job. I have made friends and become more confident in myself as a by-product of this volunteering but it isn’t about me. Tonight no doubt I’ll speak to someone who hasn’t had a conversation worthy of the name all day. Hopefully they’ll have a request and listen in and enjoy the banter.

My shows are never here’s a request, that was a request, here’s another request. I try to make it entertaining. I run quizzes between the other hosts and randomly talk about stuff that is going on. A fortnight ago I commentated live on the Men’s 100m Final at the European Athletics Championships just because it was there. Last week we had an excellent quiz on Eurovision – the question was ‘There have been 13 countries who have won Eurovision more than once – name them’ – Lyn & Bobby beat out Brenda & Will 8-5. Tonight I already have a quiz safely tucked away in my wallet and hopefully everyone will enjoy it. The best one I ever did was after I contacted Walkers Crisps and got them to send me a list of their Top Ten Most Sold Flavours. That was a good ‘un…

So Hospital Radio is still relevant in the 21st Century is what I’m trying to say. Whether you want Matt Monro, Pavarotti or Susan Boyle. We have over 22,000 songs and we do our best to play your exact request. Sometimes we can’t as we don’t have it but we’ll play a song by the same artist if possible or the same song by a different artist or if neither are possible, one in the same genre. It might not be walking up a mountain raising money but it is doing something, albeit small, that is making a difference to people’s stays in Hospital and for that, despite what a lot of people say, I am proud to call myself a Hospital Radio DJ.

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