Monday, 18 August 2008

Going for Gold

Politics and Olympics - maybe some parallels to be drawn? Years of hard work punctuated at regular (or irregular!) intervals by a huge competition, scrutiny over spending and debates over whether to keep politics out of it altogether!

In keeping with the current Olympic mood, just wanted to share an inspirational sequence from the BBC - Dan Snow calls it "the greatest piece of television ever made". I think it captures the supreme effort and sacrifice required to excel in any field, with mind over matter being the final hurdle:

(Sir Steve Redgrave won gold medals for Britain at five successive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000)

Friday, 8 August 2008

Lib Dem Presidential Contest: Result

Lib Dem Presidential Result 08

I'm at Cowley Street, at the election count for the next President of the Liberal Democrats.

The count has just been completed and the result is as follows:

Ros Scott: 20,736 votes (72%)
Lembit Opik: 6247 votes (22%)
Chandila Fernando 1799 votes (6%)

Commenting, the new Liberal Democrat Party President, Ros Scott said:
I'm really proud to belong to a Party in which every member has a chance to vote for the person they want to run the internal management of the Party.

This campaign has given Liberal Democrats the opportunity to have a robust dialogue within the Party about the role of the President and how the Party should be run.

Our Party is a genuine grass roots movement, and the job of the President is to ensure that we stay that way - that our members and activists remain at the heart of everything we do.

Many of the problems this country faces today are a result of successive Tory and Labour Governments failing to face up to the need for strengthening international institutions, failing to regulate the financial services sector and over centralising public services.

Only the Liberal Democrats have offered an alternative to this old tired thinking and as we approach the next General Election our Party needs to rise to the challenge of demonstrating that a vote for either the Labour or Conservative Parties simply means more of the same.

I am proud to be able to play my part, alongside Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, in increasing Liberal Democrat representation at all levels of Government in all parts of the country.

Nick Clegg said:
I would like to congratulate Ros Scott on her election.

The role of President in the Liberal Democrats is a vital one for the organisation and management of the party. I know that Ros will do a fantastic job of representing the membership and upholding the wonderful tradition of internal party democracy that sets us so apart from other political parties.

Ros Scott will take up office on 1st January 2009, succeeding Simon Hughes.

A total of 60,357 ballot papers were issued and the turnout was 47.8% (+0.4% on last time). 49 ballots were spoiled.

Further details, including more comment from Nick Clegg, on the party's website.

Crossposted from Liberal Democrat Voice, an independent, collaborative website run by Liberal Democrat activists. Helen is a contributing editor at the site.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Liberating lyrics!

Printed song lyrics are rarer than they used to be. Who remembers when they appeared on the inner sleeve of vinyl LPs? With the advent of music downloads, that small pleasure is now history.

New research published by the National Year of Reading campaign suggests that people's appreciation of songs is affected by a lack of accessible lyrics.

According to the survey:

"Despite a staggering 90% of respondents feeling that reading lyrics helped them gain a full appreciation of music, half (50%) felt they were less accessible than just five years ago.
62% of respondents felt that despite the huge variety of websites storing lyrics, they find these sources unreliable and often incorrect.
77% of people feel download sites should be offering definitive and accurate lyrics as part of the download experience."

Reading song lyrics was felt to be an important part of the overall enjoyment of songs, especially when affecting moods and inspiring memories. Love songs were found to be particularly inspiring.

While it is often enlightening to be able to read song lyrics, let's not forget the liberating feeling of belting out your own, made-up words. Especially when you have to substitute your own because the singer is unintelligible.

That's when you get something as wondrous as this: