A Timely Reform by Ian Ridley

Blog & web site of Ian Ridley

December, 2005Archive for

A Festive Legacy

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

At Christmas we generate more waste than at any time of the year. But the availability of local recycling and composting schemes mean that we can do much better.

Where I live I can recycle or safely dispose of the following:

  • kerbside collection: Card, tins, cans, paper and some plastics (Types 1, 2 & 3 also known as PET, HDPE & PVC)
  • Glass in bottle banks
  • Civic Tip: Clean aluminium foil/takeway containers, used batteries, garden clippings, wood
  • Home compostiong/kerbside collection: garden clippings, old tea bags, uncooked vegetables & fruit and peelings

There simply is no excuse for throwing everything into a landfill. The irony is that we are damaging our legacy to the very children who enjoy Christmas so much.

Leadership Blues

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Key points for Lib Dem supporters to think about:

  • David Cameron is just another Tory. He has a very long way to go to take the centre ground of British politics and even further to travel to overlap Lib Dem policy and philosophy.
  • Charles Kennedy is not Paddy Ashdown. They both have different styles that happily produce high approval ratings from voters. I am as guilty as the next Lib Dem in judging Charles by Paddy’s criteria. Yet Charles has led the Lib Dems to better and better General Election results. You can’t really fault his performance during these campaigns. Any missed opportunities (i.e.; gaining more seats from Labour and the Tories) are more likely the result of strategic and campaigning errors or the excessive financial campaigning resources of the other parties, not due to Charles.
  • To Lib Dem MPs and Peers: if you want a change of leader, anonymous media briefings are not the constitutional method to do it. And they have the nasty side-effect of possibly damaging the party.

PMQs: The Distracted Media

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Whilst the new Tory leader grabbed the headlines trying to out-do Blair on selection for schools, an under-reported exchange took place between Charles Kennedy and the Prime Minister at PMQs yesterday (video feed – go to about 8 minutes in to see this bit) :

Mr. Charles Kennedy: …..to what extent, therefore, have the Government co-operated in the transport of terrorist suspects to Afghanistan and elsewhere, apparently for torture purposes?

The Prime Minister: …..The practice of rendition as described by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been American policy for many years……However, it must be applied in accordance with international conventions, and I accept entirely Secretary of State Rice’s assurance that it has been.

Mr. Kennedy: Given that assurance, can the Prime Minister therefore explain why the published evidence shows that almost 400 flights have passed through 18 British airports in the period of concern? When was he as Prime Minister first made aware of that policy, and when did he approve it?

The Prime Minister: In respect of airports, I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman is referring to…..”

Am I the only one worried by this? Furthermore:

Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): Why?

The Prime Minister: …..It is as well to remember that we need to detain some of the people we are talking about for reasons of action against international terrorism. Some of those people are highly dangerous, and some of them can provide information that is of fundamental importance in preventing terrorism. Of course, there should be proper treatment of anyone who is detained…. “

So why are these suspects being flown around the world, possibly to countries with questionable judicial processes and human right records? Something is not quite right here and if the UK is allowing these flights to use our airports then we are an accessory to human rights abuses.

Back to the C*m*r*n media love-in. I am astounded at what some of the TV channels are getting up to on this one. OK, so the above story got a spot on C4 news but they didn’t exactly make it clear that the Lib Dems had asked the question at PMQs – even though Kennedy was interviewed about it.

I tried to watch the repeat of PMQs usually available on BBC News 24 interactive or Sky News but all they had was the Blair-C*m*r*n exchanges. Back to the nice and easy imaginary two-party world that journalists like so much because it means they don’t have to think as much.

The item on PMQs during ITV’s “News” at Ten-something was so slanted to be biased in favour of the Tories that I’m sure it qualified as a PPB. Let alone the awful shallowness of the reporting.

I am more and more convinced that Chris Morris invented ITV News a decade ago. It was called “The Day Today”.