Archive for Campaigns

Islington royalty

With matters Royal all over the media, this post on the estimable Jane’s London blog caught my eye.

She points out the sheer number of pubs in this part of town named after royalty and nobility. It was traditional to name pubs after the local landowner, or a patriotic hero of the day. Royalty were popular choices, especially around the time of royal weddings.

The Marquess pub is named after the Marquess of Northampton, the hereditary landowner of much of the land to the east of Upper Street (Canonbury and Angel areas). The first Marquess was formerly the Earl of Essex. The family surname is Compton which also features in a local pub, the Compton Arms.

Much of this land was developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, and the pub names reflect that period.

Many of the Dukes named (Sussex, Cambridge, Clarence, Richmond, Kent and York) are ‘Royal’ Dukedoms, given to the various sons of King George III. The Duchess of Kent was daughter-in-law to George III and mother of Queen Victoria. The Regent is George III’s oldest son who went on to be George IV.

Wellington, Clyde and Wolesley were military heros of the day who were ennobled as a reward for their victories. The Duke of Wellington was the hero of Waterloo. Lord Clyde was the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India. Lord Wolesley led armies in India and Africa.

At one time, such pub names were the norm, before they were reinvented as something like Purple Barracuda, Fat Louis’, or the Dugout.

Will next year’s royal wedding see a revival of traditional pub names? And if so, will any be named after the Popham Princess?

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Lighter later and longer

It sounds like another diet plan, but actually something much better! The Lighter later campaign is part of the 10:10 initiative to help us all reduce our carbon emissions by 10% this year, and further in future.

They’re calling for us to shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year, putting us in the same timezone as our near neighbours in the Netherlands and France. This would give us longer lighter evenings, combatting darkness-related depression and making our daily journeys brighter.

Campaigners reckon that by reducing dark hours in the daytime, we could cut at least 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution – equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world – each year.

There’s an economic case for it too. According to one report, London’s economy could be boosted by more than half a billion pounds if the clocks were not turned back, with tourist attractions staying open later and businesses saving time in their dealings in Europe.

Scotland may well want to stay an hour behind, but with their own Parliament, etc, that’s their privilege.

If like me you support the campaign for longer lighter later days, in England at least, then join up here.

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In the lists…

It’s official – I’ve been shortlisted as a candidate for the Liberal Democrat London-wide list for the London Assembly.

Now party members in London have their say, ranking each of the candidates to determine the final order on the list. Liberal Democrats have always got at least three members elected to the Assembly, but even in an exceptional year would not get all eleven. So the order of names on the list is vital.

In medieval times, the lists were where knights jousted before the crowd: it’s not quite like that in the Liberal Democrats. Although we don’t yet know what the hustings organisers have in store….

The ballot papers are going out on 3rd November, to be returned by 2nd December. Results will be announced at the regional conference on 4th December, an extra incentive to go along (you can register here).

Now where did I put my lance?

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Facing the future – your chance to shape party policy

Liberal Democrats are generally proud of our democratic policy-making process, and the quality of its content – if sometimes also bemused by its sheer quantity.

Policy documents tend to have imposing but vague titles, inviting a bit of a guessing game as to their real subject, like “The Power to be Different” (local government), or a recent favourite “Are we being served?” (consumer policy).

One where the title definitely fits is “Facing the Future”, one of two policy groups on which I currently serve. The party usually has a general policy review after each General Election. This time we have the additional challenge of the coalition, making developing a distinctive policy programme for the next election more important than ever.

Our remit is not so much to come up with answers as to define the questions that our next round of policy papers should address. I’ve been particularly keen to include questions on responding to climate change, and on the social impact of new technology. Comments welcome by email, by 31st October.

And my other policy working group? It’s the one on information technology and intellectual property, set up in response to the emergency motion I proposed at the Spring 2010 conference, and ably chaired by Cambridge MP (and motion seconder) Julian Huppert. Contributions to the policy debate are welcome by email .
Comments should reach Julian as soon as possible, and no later than 31st October 2010. Fancy names not needed!

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On your Marx for Fair Votes

The next Fair Votes campaign stall, organised by the North London group of Take Back Parliament, will be this Sunday 19 September at Archway tube station, from 1pm.

The station is just down the hill from Highgate cemetery where Marx is buried. So what might Karl make of Fair Votes?

Well, in the “Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League”, Marx said
“Even when there is no prospect whatsoever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces, and to bring before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection they must not allow themselves to be seduced by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and making it possible for the reactionaries to win. The ultimate intention of all such phrases is to dupe the proletariat. The advance which the proletarian party is bound to make by such independent action is indefinitely more important than the disadvantage that might be incurred by the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.”

Not a big fan of barcharts and squeeze messages, one senses. With AV of course, such ‘split the vote’ arguments become irrelevant. Reformist or revolutionary, you can bring your dialectic to the Archway on Sunday.

For more information join the Facebook group, follow on Twitter, or email group organiser Martin Lake.

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LibDem Blog of the Year nomination – thank you!

This weekend I’ll be off to Liverpool for LibDem conference, leaving Richard in charge of the kittens. Or vice versa.

Conference will be different this year. With LibDems in government, we’ll be mingling with Ministers – once we’ve got past the extra security. Recent conferences had become dominated by candidate training and networking. Now I’m looking forward to having more time to join the debate, and relax with fellow campaigners.

Nothing could have been less relaxed than Spring conference. By the time we got to March 2010, I hadn’t intended to go at all. Then came the campaign on the Digital Economy Bill, and a last minute dash to Birmingham to get our emergency motion passed.

Most of that campaign was done online, using this blog, as well as LibDem Voice, Facebook & Twitter – the medium aligned with the message. Now my blogging’s been shortlisted in the LibDem Blog of the Year awards.

Thank you to everyone who nominated me. Even more reasons to look forward to conference!

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Say Yes to Fair Votes

The official campaign for a Yes vote in next year’s Fair Votes referendum launched today. And with impeccable timing, the North London group of Take Back Parliament were out this afternoon with our latest street stall at the Angel.

It’s a cross-party campaign; my fellow LibDems Marisha Ray and Emily Fieran-Reed joined the team, alongside Labour party members, Greens and others, all united in donning purple and promoting fair votes to passers-by.

The official ‘no’ campaign is likely to be backed by the big guns of vested interests and the Murdoch press.

Grass-roots campaigns like ours will be crucial to saying ‘yes’. If you support Fair Votes, get involved.

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