Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I've been caught out!
I have been very quiet on the posting front recently. The truth is, I have my assessment day date through - the 17th April.
This is the stage where the Lib Dems grill me for a day and decide if they think I'm good enough to be a candidate. So I have been spending every spare minute swotting policy etc. The basic principles come very easily as they are as much a part of me as the Liberal Democrats. But the nuances of the policies are difficult to take in en masse.
Plus I have been up to Scotland for three days to visit the nephew, who just happens to be the most handsome little man ever made. He's three months old and just starting to become aware the world around him. It's such a pity that we don't remember those days, being pushed or carried around, doing nothing but drink milk, unconstrained by the rules of society.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I can't believe it - the end of an era.
I shall listen to the Biggest Show tomorrow with a tear in my eye and sadness in my heart. I have grown up with Mark and Lard and they have brought me great joy throughout the years.
When I was but a fledgling teenager, trying to learn how to be moody, aggressive, but most of all, cool, Mark and the boy Lard were there for me, 10pm every night, to tell me what the best music was. I shall never forget hearing Aquiesque by Oasis for the first time and thinking it was just the coolest thing on the planet. (Oasis went rapidly downhill from there, but that's a different story)
Through my student days they were there, mostly in their ill-fated breakfast slot, waking me up to another hangover.
I will never forget moving house, my friend driving a huge, furniture laden van, and M&L making him laugh so long and hard he had to pull over for a good 10 minutes.
And these days they soothe my afternoons at work with Great Moments in Pop.
I wouldn't be so upset if they were staying together. But the BBC has been cruel and sent one off to Radio 2 and one to BBC6. I shall listen with interest and hope that the shows live up to expectations. And thank God the boyfriend bought me a digital radio for Christmas!
This is nothing to do with the theme of my blog I know, but I just couldn't let this occasion pass without a mention. Biggedy biggedy bong.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Wow, Southport was great.
It was my first Federal conference and I had no idea what to expect. I attended some useful training, sat in on some fierce debates, met some inspirational people and generally had a good time. (Whilst learning, of course).
I thought Charles Kennedy looked very ill and I felt sorry for him. According to the official line it's food poisoning, in which case I wholeheartedly sympathise. I had a similar thing about 6 months ago, lost a stone in a week and was generally very poorly. However, I could take a week off work to recover and carry out the unpleasant task of being violently ill in the privacy of my own home. If a Party leader has a similar thing, suddenly there's speculation that he's unable to lead! I think we need to take the explanation at face value. If it's not food poisoning we will soon find out, as he will still be ill in two weeks time - and then questions really need to be asked. In the meantime, I think we need to give the poor man time to get better. Politicians, Party Leaders, even Prime Ministers, are not made of steel. They are human, and human beings get ill.
After a long drive home and very little sleep I took it easy last night, to prepare for the week ahead.
Tonight we have the Licensing committee. We are discussing Worthing's draft licensing policy, in preparation for the change in law - this is the legislation which will allow pubs to open for 24 hours, if they so wish. Which will happen in October, next January, next October or next November. Whenever Mr Deputy Prime Minister decides it will happen. (It would be nice if he could choose a date and stick to it, as the start date has been pushed back and back, which is really annoying. I personally thing he'll wait till after the election as there will be a lot of adverse reaction when it's all put into place, and it's best to push through unpopular policies at the beginning of a new government.)
When the new policy becomes effective, it will be very, very interesting to see what happens.
It doesn't really matter who thinks it's a good idea or not, we just have to get on with it. But something is telling me, it's going to be a long night.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Budget Day, oh what a laugh.
I see the average Joe (Jodie?) like me has little to fear but 8p on a pack of fags, which is fair enough. I'm trying to give up anyway. My tipples of choice - Cider or sparkling wine - stay unaffected, hooray! Fuel rises will come later, joy of joys.
I noticed that Mr Brown has offered 'help' to the over 70s to assist them in paying Council Tax.
Surely this is the best indicator yet that even Mr Brown thinks that Council Tax is unfair - if he admits that retired people can't pay it without help! What is the point in the exercise of giving 'help' from one branch of government and another branch of govermnent taking it away immediately?
So why not cut the crap and only tax people on what they can afford to pay in the first place? Local Income Tax. Then single person allowances, student allowances, and now 'help' for the over 70s would all be built into the system, negating credits and allowances and complicated systems.
As it would also cut down on needless administration, I fear this plan may be far too sensible for either of the two major parties to take up. Mind you, the Tories are good at nicking our policies, so maybe we'll see Michael Howard advocating LIT soon. At least he'd *have* a policy then.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.
It's an LGA conference on young people and democracy. I was given the responsibility of last year's Local Democracy Week events - I'd never done anything like that before and I was new to the Council, so the organisation of it was pretty scary. Needless to say, our Local Democracy Evening, with local school bands (rock, not brass!), pizza and stalls for council departments was met with mixed reactions.
So i'm off to see how other authorities did it, get guidance for future events, and discuss the thorny issue of young people and democracy. So hopefully Worthing can expect something better this year for Local Democracy Week.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Last night was a school governor's meeting, nothing much to report there except the school is doing well and putting on a lot of community events for parents and children. It's also interesting to learn about the ins and outs of school life from a teacher's point of view.
Tonight was our bi-weekly surgery - every first and third Wednesday of the month we go to the pub to talk to people about their problems etc. Not Dear Diedre problems, of course, but broken street lights, noisy neighbours etc, (and even noisy street lights on one occasion).
Tomorrow I finally get to go to the cinema. Huzzah!

Monday, March 01, 2004

I've been asked what I'm doing to create a 'Cleaner, Safer Worthing', which is the promise by which the Lib Dems were elected in 2003.
Well there's no better place to start than today - the meeting I've been at this evening, whose purpose is to promote better recycling in the Borough. We realised that there were shortfalls in our recycling scheme, which is borne out by a 27% participation rate. So we invited Residents' Associations in to the Town Hall to seek their views on how we could improve the scheme so that more residents would be encouraged to recycle.
We had some productive discussions and came up with a number of avenues to investigate, including considering differences in the design of the free grey box (a deeper box, and a lid, were some suggestions), greater capacity for flats to recycle, and different types of material that we could consider recycling (toner cartridges, CDs and textiles, for example).
It's only a little thing we're doing to help create a cleaner environment for Worthing but with any luck it could make a real difference.
On a personal note, that's the first public meeting I've ever chaired. I was absolutely terrified! I think I was fortunate in that it was a meeting about a cause most people agree with - it would be hard to argue that recycling is bad. It's just how we do it that needs looking at.
Increased participation in recycling helps the town, the county, the country and the world environment, and I thank everyone involved for putting party politics aside and working for Worthing.
In the future I will bear in mind the comments of Anonymous, and try to keep a 'Cleaner, Safer' theme throughout my posts, when talking about local issues.

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