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Month: December 2012

Hey Baby…I think I wanna marry you…

Romance. It is all a mystery to me. However some people are a little bit better than myself and they certainly have a lot of good friends and family who can help them out if they want to do a big gesture. I’m not entirely sure how this video passed me by in 2012 but it did and when I saw it last night I cried. I genuinely cried at the beauty of it.

Embedded below is a video of Isaac as he proposes to his girlfriend Amy.

To watch on YouTube so you can go full screen then please click here.

I watched it again today as I was writing this blog and I cried again – out of both eyes. If you can watch the above video without crying then I’ll be mightily impressed. If a stone-hearted cynic like myself blubs at romance then I’m pretty sure everyone would. I suppose it is just the sight of seeing genuine happiness and deep down we all love true romance no matter what we portray. We want to be happy and we love to see other people happy.

Amy’s reactions are just wonderful and how would anyone react to seeing all their friends and family take part in an event just for them?

Now the likelihood of me ever proposing is a long shot. The fact is I don’t believe in marriage and obviously the whole getting a partner thing is also an issue but if I did – and yes I know that is a big if – I would love to do something that was truly memorable. I’m sure any proposal is romantic and memorable but doing something truly out of the ordinary, original and special. Yeah that is how I’d like it to be.

Beautiful. I hope they have a long and happy life together. I truly do.

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I expected Hot Dog Heaven but what I got was a sense of slight disappointment.

I got a bit excited the other day when I was surfing just-eat to decide what I was going to get for takeaway as I found a place that made custom burgers and hot dogs with a plethora of sauces and toppings. The idea that I could have a chilli dog was immensely appealing but more than that it seemed to be a real alternative from Chinese, Indian, Chippy, Kebab or Pizza. In all honesty I very rarely get a kebab or a pizza but having an extra option appealed.

So last night I took the plunge and gave it a spin and thought I’d write a review on it. Well I said I would as I had been ordered to by a big bad New York based banker. Well he’s neither big nor bad but the other words are accurate. He also wants a review of the Millennium Trilogy in Swedish but that probably is going to have to be in English as my Swedish is a bit rusty.

So I ordered some onion rings, a chilli dog and a hot dog smothered in chicken curry. I thought it was a tad expensive but if they really impressed then it’d be worth it as a change-up from my usual takeaway experiences. I must add here that the reviews were excellent on the site – like really really good so I was expecting great things – not good things – great things.

An expected delivery time of an hour was no surprise as it was Saturday night but my buzzer went just 22 minutes later which wasn’t too shabby at all. This is what I received:

Onion Rings
Onion Rings

I thought the onion rings were more than adequate. Exactly how you’d expect onion rings to be. Crispy with real onion. Yeah I can’t say anything bad about them so good solid start. Then I had my chilli dog…

Chilli Dog
Chilli Dog

I unwrapped the chilli dog and first thing I noticed was it was nice and big and had a very soft bap – exactly how I like it. I hate places that make hot dogs with baguette bread. I like my baps soft. The taste wasn’t exactly what I’d call chilli but it wasn’t bad. I maybe expected more because of the awesome reviews but it was a perfectly edible hot dog. As for the chicken curry dog…

Chicken Curry Hot Dog
Chicken Curry Dog

Well the chicken curry did not taste like any chicken curry I had eaten before. Again it wasn’t bad but I just wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be.

I’ll probably try it again at some point – a hot dog with crab meat sounds enticing and I want to give their burgers a shot as everyone says they are the best in town. However I wasn’t bowled over by Lunch in a Bag but more than willing to give it a second shot. Nothing was bad about my food but I didn’t sit there afterwards and think ‘dang I really really want another one’ which is what I thought I would be feeling.

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Sunderland kick out fans who stand and suspend them from the Stadium of Light

It has been an issue that has rumbled on for all of my football going lifetime. Some people like to stand to watch games but they simply are not allowed to. When I was a Season Ticket holder in the Fratton End every so often you’d hear rumours about the club clamping down on persistent standers and kicking them out. The stewards had no heart for it and would put in a cursory and half-hearted effort to tell people to sit down but it was never going to happen. However things are not the same up at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland have decided that the time was right to evict people who continually stood and suspended their Season Tickets. Speaking on the Official Sunderland Website head of Safety & Security Paul Weir said:

“The figure for fans ejected due to persistent standing last season as a whole was just 20 so we can see that there has been a significant increase in the early part of this season. We certainly don’t wish to spoil the enjoyment of any supporters, we want a vibrant lively match-day atmosphere just as much as the fans do, but we also have legal obligations that we must be seen to be adhering to.

“We also have a duty of care to all of our supporters, including elderly and disabled fans who have contacted us very concerned that their enjoyment on a match-day is being compromised because people around them stand throughout the game. Naturally we want to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone at the Stadium of Light and we’d ask supporters to listen to requests from stewards and help us to eradicate persistent standing for the sake of all fans.”

This is the same guy who has publicly stated that he wants to see safe standing areas in football grounds but he’s decided enough is enough and has taken a hard line against fans. My opinion on this is unsurprisingly that the man in question is an idiot who has gone way too far. The problem seems to have stemmed from the club moving away fans to a new areas and therefore displacing the standers to various areas of the ground.

Standing isn’t for everyone. I know that and everyone knows that. However there are many who do enjoy standing and fans know in general where these people are housed. As I stated earlier I had a Season Ticket in the back on the centre of the Fratton End. I knew it was an area where people stood and I prefer to watch games standing up. It worked for me and for all those round me. These unofficial standing areas are around in most clubs. I have never felt unsafe standing in a sitting area and I doubt many other have either.

Football needs to address this issue. Safe standing areas need to be brought in. It just has to happen because if clubs are actually going to start evicting and banning them from coming into the ground because of this then things have gone too far. You can stand at sporting events and be safe and the sooner the English football authorities understand this the better for everyone

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Have yourself a very Neil Christmas

If you know me then you know one thing. I’m boring. No wait not that. If you know me then you know one thing. I use far too many full stops instead of commas. No not that either. Get a grip Monnery and get this blog under way. Ok if you know me then you’ll know one thing about me – I’m not Christmassy at all. In fact I’m extremely anti-Christmas. I have been for many years.

I just feel that Christmas just brings stress and you are expected to act in a certain way and I don’t like that. The thing I hate above all in life is the feeling of being expected to be happy when in fact I’m not. I keep my emotions under such a tight leash that I wonder who the last person to see me genuinely happy was. I don’t even recall a time where I was genuinely happy. Of course the flip side to this is I am also rarely genuinely sad although this year gave me around nine days of hell in the Spring.

So instead of going to my Mum’s today I stayed here and spent the day on my own like I spend the majority of my life. It was well and truly my choice so I don’t want any pity for being alone at Christmas. I’m 29 not a teenager but even now people look down on you with those eyes when you tell them that you’ll be alone at Christmas. Like Christmas is different to any other day in the world. If you are not religious then Christmas has no real significance and as much as I am a Chris Kamara fan I’m not going to celebrate his birthday.

So here is a look into my world today. I woke up late in the morning. Got up just before the India v Pakistan T20 international and watched that (which Pakistan thoroughly deserved to win I must say). I had leftover Indian from last night and then this evening I scrolled through my Sky Movies library and downloaded and watched The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo (English version) and here we are I’m writing this and the Boxing Day Test Match is about to start at the MCG. This is my life and this is what I’ve chosen.

It has been interesting to read Twitter and Facebook all day as people speak about what they’ve got with a mix of excitement and disappointment. I just haven’t done the whole present thing for many a year as I think so many things are bought and then not used and I (unsurprisingly) don’t like the expectation of the whole process. The only thing I actually like is the food but it’s essentially just an elaborate roast dinner and I love roast dinners.

I wonder if I’ll ever celebrate Christmas like the rest of the world ever again. If I had kids that would be different (but I’m not having kids) so yeah so that as they say is that. I wonder what things will look like come this day 2013. I wouldn’t be too shocked if things are very similar and the Boxing Day Test next year with be an Ashes Test. Christmas is a strange beast but for me it is just another day.

This time last year I was seeing someone and they told me they would force me to be more Christmassy next year. I told her that is would be an impossible task but she was adamant and that she was never wrong. Well she met someone else and promptly stopped talking to me. Looking around I think I can now prove that she was wrong and I was maybe even less Christmassy this year than last which is quite something.

Ok I’m hungry (and really fancy a roast dinner) but I don’t have anything for one. I’ll go find something to eat and leave to you it. I hope you all enjoyed the day whatever you did and if you didn’t have the ‘stereotypical’ Christmas then don’t worry – I know a considerable amount of people who didn’t and remember – it is just a day.

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BBC drop Monaco GP to pick up Canadian GP – Full BBC/Sky F1 Coverage for 2013

The BBC and Sky have started to make announcements about their coverage of Formula 1 for the 2013 season. Sky basically have announced that it is very much status quo. David Croft & Martin Brundle remain as the voice and face of the sport as expected. Simon Lazenby keeps his spot as presenter despite criticism. Damon Hill and Antony Davidson remain and Johnny Herbert returns to the channel after joining early in 2012 and becoming a firm favourite. Georgie Thompson stays as well and Ted Kravitz leads the pit team with Natalie Pinkham getting drivers interviews. So as expected Sky very much have kept with its team from 2012 with only Herbert added to the opening race team and he had become a mainstay since early in 2012.

Over at the BBC though decisions had to be made as Jake Humphrey quit the BBC to become the face of Football on BT Vision. Well they’ve made their first decision as surprisingly Suzi Perry has replaced him as the anchor. Most thought Lee McKensie would be promoted but they’ve gone for Suzi Perry – who has worked on Moto GP for the channel although she quit that role in part because of the excess travel involved – so coming back to do F1 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but of course presenting Moto GP and F1 is two very different things – with two very different salaries.

No word yet from the BBC on whether Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard will be returning but with Sky having named their line-up there doesn’t seem to be room for them unless they went to a three-man booth and personally I wouldn’t like to see that.

The other thing we now know is which channel will be showing which races. The full calendar is below:

17 March Australian Grand Prix – Sky
24 March Malaysian Grand Prix – Sky
14 April Chinese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
21 April Bahrain Grand Prix – Sky
12 May Spanish Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
26 May Monaco Grand Prix – Sky
09 June Canadian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
30 June British Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
7 July German Grand Prix = Sky
21 July ‘A.N. Other European Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
28 July Hungarian Grand Prix – Sky
25 August Belgian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
08 September Italian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
22 September Singapore Grand Prix – Sky
06 October Korean Grand Prix – Sky
13 October Japanese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
27 October Indian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
03 November Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sky
17 November United States Grand Prix – Sky
24 November Brazilian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky

The biggest difference is that the BBC have used their first three picks on Britain and Brazil again but Monaco has gone with Canada having gone to the Beeb. An interesting choice as the Canadian Grand Prix has long been one of the very best and is held in prime-time. The Italian GP also goes to the BBC this time around (guessing Australia, USA, Monaco were Sky’s first three picks) but overall you’d probably say that the BBC are getting a better quality of race this time around.

The July 21 race is expected to be either Turkey or possibly a return of either the Austrian or French Grand Prix. I’d love to see the Austrian race return as I think the A1 Ring brought us a few really good races as the track as several really good overtaking opportunities. This race has been added to the calendar because the second race in the United States (New Jersey) has been postponed until 2014.

Last year was a thriller for Formula 1 fans and if next year can be as good then we’ll be in for a fantastic year of Motorsport. Whether you watch on the Beeb or on Sky the coverage should be some of the very best in the world.

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In defence of the now ‘truly independent’ independent councillor Dr. Vel

In May I got mullered in the local elections. I got a beating that was so bad that an expert dominatrix would have been embarrassed at the markings left on my body (that is a lie – she would be proud) but the defeat at the hands of Dr. Vel was to be expected. Dr. Vel has is now in his third term as an independent councillor for the Westborough ward on Southend Council. He had previously served as a Labour member on the council.

Well Dr. Vel has ‘officially’ now left the independent group on Southend Council and now considers himself a true independent. We have long known that this was going down as the relationship between Cllr. Velmurugan and the leader of the independent group Cllr. Terry has been strained for some time. We aren’t talking weeks here we are talking months. So a parting of the ways officially was in reality a Fait accompli.

Cllr. Terry though has fired a broadside at Cllr. Velmurugan telling him via the local rag that he should quit and open up a by-election in Westborough ward if he wants to serve as an independent councillor. What horse shit says I.

The whole role of the ‘independent group’ on Southend council is one that is to be frank – quite laughable. They claim to be independent and spend most of their time raging against party politics but yet they are themselves a recognised group on the council and in doing so they get facilities at the Civic Centre and their leader takes home extra money based on the fact that he is the leader of their group. If I’m correct this decision now means that the independent group are now not the official opposition to the Conservatives on the council and therefore financially Cllr. Terry is hit by this as now both Cllr. Longley (Lib Dems) and himself lead a group of people on the council with the same number of councillors.

If Cllr. Velmurugan sees himself as a ‘true independent’ then so what? The ballot papers that the people of Westborough faced on May 3 had the line ‘Dr. Vel – Independent’ on them not ‘Dr. Vel – Member of the Independent Group’ (as shown below) therefore I have zero problem with him staying on as long as he puts in the work that his fellow Westborough councillors (Cllr. Terry and Cllr. Collins) do for the people of the ward. If he doesn’t sit on any committees that doesn’t diminish his right to be a councillor. He hasn’t hoodwinked the people who voted for him by going to another party. He was elected as an independent and is still an independent. Just not part of the independent group on the council.

westborough ward ballot paper
Westborough ward Ballot Paper

I’d have so much more time for the independent group if they labelled themselves as something else. Maybe the ‘Southend First’ group or the ‘Southend against Party Politics’ group but they aren’t independent and this is a case in point. Someone leaves the group but stays as an independent and they are getting attacked by their group leader. Yes the group can (and do vote) in different ways but so do other councillors and groups. The Thorpe Bay three went into a voting pact with the Tories to get the best deal for their constituents in Thorpe Bay (although their failure to act on getting Christmas lights down The Broadway despite collecting money from all the shopkeepers along The Broadway hasn’t exactly gone down well amongst the shopkeepers down the parade of shops).

If the independents are truly independent then they would have no issue with Cllr. Velmurugan not being part of their group and being a ‘true independent’ but as they clearly do then I think it is safe to say that they aren’t truly independent. A lot of people like the idea of having independents involved as they see that they will not have party politics to answer to but the independent group on the council do have party politics and that is becoming all the more clear by the day.

Edit 21/12/12: As Cllr. Ware-Lane points out in the comments. The numbers are now 10/9 not 9/9 and therefore my financial points are not relevant about group leader salaries/allowances are not valid.

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They pre-empted a football game for an Obama talk on guns at a memorial service? Are they are reals?

Damn straight they are buckos.

In case you were unaware we saw a genuine tragedy in the United States last week as a young men went mad in an elementary school killing 27 people including himself and it is 28 when you add that he killed his mother before reaching the school. 20 of those that died were young children.

This is a huge story and it has really made a dent in the psyche of the American citizen but when the tragedy impacts the number one football game of the week then it becomes too much.

Yes last night the networks all opted-out of regular scheduled programming to bring President Obama’s speech at the Newtown Memorial Service. The issue for many was that the speech was just after 8:30 EST and at that time there is the number one weekly sporting event on network TV – the NBC Sunday Night Football telecast. So a few minutes into the game the announcer Al Michaels said they were stepping away from the game to take the President’s speech and NBC opted out. The game did continue on their cable network NBC Sports.

However far too many people thought this wasn’t good enough and took to twitter to complain about the decision to opt-out of the NFL game. Deadspin takes up the story with the quoted titled story – “Take That Nigger Off The TV, We Wanna Watch Football!”: Idiots Respond To NBC Pre-Empting Sunday Night Football.

So many of the tweets are just insane. You have to wonder if these people have a brain in their heads. This is also the reason why I think the likelihood to gun law changes in the US is so unlikely even though to sane observers it seems like the obvious thing that needs to happen. I won’t quote them all but here are a handful of the tweets of anger that the President was talking when there was an NFL game on:


Obama can eat shit, trying to make a speech during the football game. Unacceptable

You have got to be fucking kidding me Obama, you stupid motherfucker. It’s football time in America not you to give a speech you fuck!

Obama instead of Football are they nuts? Who cares what the twerp has to say. #@whitehouse #POTUS #NBC

Yes the shooting is sad but Obama is ruining millions of kids lives daily & i want to watch some damn football, fuck you Obama

Just a quick reply to all of these tweets one on one. Someone doesn’t give a fuck about the shooting because the ‘PATROITS’ are playing. Classy and he can’t even spell Patriots. Yeah unacceptable that the President is making a speech during an NFL game. If someone nuked American soil on a Sunday night should the President wait to tell the nation they are at war until after the NFL? Football over lives is a stupid position to take. Lots of people care very deeply about what the President has to say and lastly if you want to watch some damn football then just change the freaking channel dumbass. I have noticed several of the people quoted in that piece have deleted their twitter accounts.

I’m cynical on whether the President has the guts to take on the gun lobby. I hope he does. I really hope he does. He is a second term President and therefore has a bit more freedom but taking on the gun lobby is a different kettle of fish. A friend of mine said last night that the biggest issue isn’t even the NRA but those anarchists who think that they need an easy supply of guns in case they ever need to overthrow the government. Just how scary is that?

Personally the fact no-one even hinted at any gun discussion after the Virginia Tech massacre appals me but it seems that when the people slain are of elementary age people care far more than they do when those gunned down are of university age.

Writing just a couple of weeks ago I wrote Bob Costas uses his Prime Time TV audience to talk gun control laws after NFL murder-suicide. It is something that America as a nation has to look at if they want to stop so many senseless deaths. After 9/11 so many laws were changed after 3,000 people died but nearly one third of a million people have died as a direct result of gun related crime this century in the United States and yet nothing has happened nor even been discussed.

When that poor girl asked Will McAvoy at Northwestern University, ‘what makes America the greatest country in the world?’ the answer certainly had nothing to do their views on guns. Guns alone may not kill people but if people have a free and easy access to a gun then they’ll be more likely to use it to harm another. Gun control is what Americans deserve because they deserve the feeling of being safe but when people say that this episode shows that teachers should in fact be armed it says a lot about how deep the gun culture is in the USA and that is the battle the anti-gun brigade face.

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The Diary of my Common Cold

As you may have noticed I haven’t posted anything in a week. Well this is due to both my PC dying last Sunday and the fact that I’ve been laid low with the dreaded and deadly man-flu – which is also known as a bit of a weak common cold. I’m pretty bad when ill as I think the world is going to end. I won’t pretend I grin and bear it. I just moan and sulk and become the most cliché person ever however this time I persevered and acted a little bit better than usual. So lets look at how the week (and the cold) went.

Day One – Tuesday

I woke up Tuesday morning with more phlegm lining my throat than I thought existed in nature. However after a drink or two of squash and a coughing or two I felt fine. I had no inclination that I had a cold but clearly in retrospect I was going to suffer. My nose was stuffy but a blast of Olbas Oil and it cleared and I felt good to go. I had to go out on Tuesday night as I was covering a radio show and all was fine Tuesday afternoon and evening. I thought maybe I had just slept a bit funny – or with my mouth open – leading to a dry throat as by lunchtime I was genuinely feeling fine.

Day Two – Wednesday

I woke up with a sore throat but no other issues. No phlegm lining my throat. Just a rawness. However it wasn’t that bad and after more squash it was fine and again I was out on the Wednesday. In retrospect I’d have cancelled as I was doing Hospital Radio and ward liaison with patients. I was feeling ok until the show started and my throat got more and more raw as the show went on. I was starting to feel pain when I swallowed.

When I got in this pain was certainly getting more pronounced and I was coughing up phlegm at an unhealthy (literally) pace. I decided to eat something. Feed a cold and starve a fever so they say. I coughed up most of my food. Not good. I was clearly now coming down with something. I didn’t like this.

Day Three – Thursday

I woke up several times in the night as I was drenched in sweat. My internal thermostat was all over the shop. Another sign of being ill. I was woken up by the doorbell and I went to say thank you to the postman but no words came out. I had no voice. Disaster. I had a stint commentating on Southend United v Bradford City on Saturday. No voice and live radio commentary do not make a good match.

I went into full blown cliché mode. I was drinking soup, drinking a pint of squash every hour or so, eating Ice Cream and having two hot showers a day. All these things I believed either helped speed up the healing process or soothed the symptoms. I think you drink as much liquid as possible to flush your system. It is lucky I woke from home as I was blowing out snot and peeing at a vast rate of knots.

It was like my penis and my nose were having their own internal competition to see who could dispel the most stuff from my body. My throat was trying to play but just couldn’t keep up. Day three was the first day the nose had become involved and clear thin nasal fluids were free-flowing. At this point I was pretty sure I would not be sitting in the Radio Commentary Box at Roots Hall on the Saturday.

Day Four – Friday

My hopes of commentating on the match were now back on as I felt a lot better on Friday meaning because I couldn’t feel my throat. There was no rawness or pain coming from it. There was a voice there but I was still resting it. If I could talk then I had a shot of being well enough to go.

As a general rule I don’t do medicine as I think it weakens the long-term effectiveness of your immune system. So basically beyond the odd lemsip I won’t have anything. In this instance I stuck to that with lemsip being the only medicine that I ingested and still only two a day. Lemsip and Olbas Oil were my weapons that I had at hand in an attempt to control the symptoms as I awaited for my immune system to start winning the war on the rhinovirus that was living and trying to flourish inside of me.

My nose was now in full on liquid disposal mode. It didn’t seem to be clearing anything apart from it’s own fluid as it was crystal clear and showed no sign of clearing any bad stuff with it. This was disappointing as I knew the moment this fluid became thicker and yellow then I’d be well on the way to victory as that was a sign the virus had lost and the body needed to get rid of it.

Day Five – Saturday

Woke up way too early and decided to give myself an hour to decide if I had to phone in sick for the radio to give them time to get someone else in. I had no headache to speak of. I had nothing wrong with my throat which was important but my nose was still free flowing. Apart from the annoyance over my nose I actually felt ok.

Decision was made to not call in sick. I was just going to deal with it and go dosed up with Olbas Oil and tissues in my bag. I didn’t think about getting actual tissues and went with bog roll. This is not good for the nose. In future I need to ensure I get lotioned tissues. I was lucky I only used bog roll whilst I was out and bought a box of proper tissues when I got back.

Day five though had brought something new to the party. Sneezing. I was sneezing like I had never sneezed before in my life. Yet another stage of the common cold as clearly my body wanted to expel things and decided that sneezing was a good idea.

Decided that I’d got a hot curry and onion bahjis to help sweat out the final bits of the virus. Only ate a bit of it and left some for a second dose on Sunday. Also washed and changed all my bedding on day five as I always do when ill. I clean and wash when I know I’m on the upswing as otherwise I just drench the sheets and duvet cover with sweat.

Day Six – Sunday

Humanity. I feel human. No headache. No dicky throat. No sneezing fits. No cough (apart from a few coughs to clear the throat of gunk first thing) and the nose had changed. Instead of running faster than Usain Bolt on acid it was clear and I could breathe. As the day has gone on I have had to clear it a few times but I was clearing thick gunk and that is the final sign of victory. Also didn’t wake up once in the night and woke up at a normal time for me. That is a huge sign of victory.

There is no doubt that it’ll take two or three more days to get back to 100% but I know the worst is very much over. I never know what the worst part is as I hate having a cough, I hate a runny nose but I think the sore throat is my Achilles heel. As I work from home I can clear my nose all the time and it isn’t a big issue but that sore scratchy throat is a right pain.

So to summarise the first day I woke up feeling a bit grot but quickly got over it. Day two I had a sore throat that wouldn’t go away but was never too bad until late in the day. Day three was the worst day as I felt really quite under the weather. Day four I knew I had turned the corner and by day five I was on the upswing. Day six would be the first day I have felt like I could go out and wouldn’t worry about snot going everywhere and when you worry about snot you know you aren’t in a good place.

So from beginning to end it has been six days but only late on day two to the middle of day four would I say I was seriously unwell. I hope no-one who saw me in the past week goes down with a cold as if they do I’ll feel terrible. I hate being ill. I really do. It is amazing how much Googling I did to read about the common cold to see what I could do but from first sign to feeling human again in less than six days is a pretty average time period but only two days of being really down with it I’d take every time I get a cold.

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Do The Mobot – Charity Single for the Mo Farah Foundation

Mo Farah brought us more drama on consecutive Saturday nights on the BBC than we’ve seen in years. Yes a lot of people like and watch Strictly Come Dancing religiously and Doctor Who has a huge fan base as does Casualty but live sport is always more dramatic and the Olympics caught the imagination of the country – even those that don’t like sport and Mo Farah was arguably the face of the games for GB athletes.

Well Mo Farah set up the Mo Farah Foundation that helps provide life saving aid in East Africa. His success on the track has helped give his foundation a much better profile and on this front has led to him recording a charity single which you can view below and follow the instructions to download it from the foundations website.

The ‘Mobot’ was suggested by arguably one of the other faces of the Olympic Games – although in a very different capacity – Clare Balding. The Presenter who fronted the swimming for the BBC at London 2012 came up with the idea of the Mobot on the Sky One show ‘A League Of Their Own’ and it more than stuck.

The video for the single shows many famous faces doing the Mobot as well as Mo’s various stretches as part of his warm-up routine. Boris Johnson is pretty cool in it but Tom Daley’s performance on top of the diving board is also pretty darn cool.

Look lets be honest. The single is awful but it is a bit of fun and for a good cause so if you want a giggle watch the video and give something to the Mo Farah Foundation.

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Liz Cohen wins the Shenfield by-election for a second Lib Dem gain in the ward in seven months

I wrote last month that Liz Cohen and the Lib Dems had a legitimate chance of making a gain in Shenfield on December 6 2012. Well it is now December 6 (at the time of writing – probably December 7 by the time I post this) and they have indeed fulfilled my expectations as Elizabeth Clare Cohen was this evening duly elected as one of three councillors for Shenfield ward on Brentwood Borough Council with a majority of 171.

The full results are as follows:

COHEN, Elizabeth Clare 728 – Liberal Democrat
MAY, Stephen Edward 557 – The Conservative Party Candidate
MILLWOOD, Richard 31 – The Labour Party Candidate
WATT, David 119 – UKIP

Here in a photo of the result being read out courtesy of the ‘Liz Cohen for Shenfield’ Facebook page:

Liz Cohen Lib Dems Shenfield
Liz Cohen winning the Shenfield by-election. A Lib Dem gain in the ward. One of several across the country tonight.

Shenfield last saw a Liberal Democrat councillor in 1996 if I recall correctly before the real shock of victory in May by young Graeme Clark and when this by-election was called after the Tory candidate quit to look after his sick wife then it became a Lib Dem target due to their win in May.

Well the team did good and have got another Lib Dem councillor on to the borough council. The old Lib Dem adage for the Lib Dems is ‘where we work, we win’ and in all honesty this victory is testament to that. I was getting many e-mail from Karen Chilvers et al from the team to help with the campaign but due to working full-time and the shocking train service between there and here I was unable to help but they have a great organisation and showed that working hard actually leads to good results.

Apparently the Lib Dems are kicking ass tonight and showing that reports of the death of the party may have been exaggerated and whilst council seats in by-elections don’t mean a lot in the great deal of things I think most Lib Dems – and most politicos – will admit that the strength of the Lib Dems has always been at local level. This took a huge hit in 2011 and another hit in 2012 but maybe people are starting to listen once more and if that is the case then maybe local election results might not be as depressing in the future as they have been the past couple of years.

From all I’ve read about Liz she’s an exceptional candidate and should be an exception councillor. I think a lot of Lib Dem groups could have a long hard look at Brentwood Lib Dems as a template for how to be successful. I’ve said it before but it is worth saying it again. A lot of admiration for the team there and I hope they toast their hard work tonight or over the next couple of days. They’ll have thoroughly deserved it.

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