I may come up with a less psuedy title if I can think of one.
Most of the people or organisations I am involved with are interested in people being nice to each other in some way. The Lib Dems believe in a society where we balance the values of liberty, equality and community, and where no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance and conformity.  Which basically boils down to lets all get along and be nice to one another and encourage people to improve and grow. The Scout Association believes in encouraging the physical, spiritual and mental development of young people , and the ways it does this is by encouraging them to help others, be aware of the world around them, and to understand other cultures. This seems to boil down to more or less the same thing.
Sometimes I wonder though, whether I’m reading my own values into the stated values of both organisations and imagining stuff that isn’t there. It is true to say that there are many in both who don’t fully subscribe to the values of the organisations they are members of. Some Lib Dems who are really socialists not liberals, or indeed join the party because it’s nicer than the others. Some Scout Leaders are just in it for the outdoor activities and look down at those who provide a broader programme at the expense of the summer expedition to Mount Everest. In Scouting I will sometimes see leaders with a severe right wing outlook and wonder how they get on with the whole “helping others” ethos behind the movement that takes up most of their free time. And I wonder if my own view of what the association stands for is filtered by my own values.
A notable deviation from the official line of the Scout Association’s message of inclusiveness is that it doesn’t quite stretch to atheists, although it includes just about everyone else. And given this I’m sure that Britain being Britain there are one or two Scout Leaders and Commissioners who are culturally Christian, but are really closet atheists. Indeed there are probably many members of the association who told the right kind of truth in the warrant interview.
Because of my beliefs I often find I’m the one pushing the global and environmental side of the Scout Programme to make sure they are adequately represented. This has been dismissed as “hippy cr*p” by some of the leaders I have worked with. Recently a quick review of the unit programmes locally showed that the programme our unit was running was a lot closer to the values and ideals of Scouting as promoted in the literature and training materials, than the programmes of the ambitious types in the district. And yet these ambitious types, with their unbalanced programmes, were the ones sneering at the quality of ours.
I tend to look on politics as service to community through other channels, and feel that gaining control of any public office is no good if you make no effort to help others through it. It does worry me to see people who lose focus on why they want to win in order to concentrate on winning. It jars with me when more extreme political types have bad things to say about Scouting when fundamentally it is trying to achieve similar ideals through different means. Yes, I can see that it’s fair that some have an image of Scouting as a white middle-class Christian club, even though that is not accurate. The truth is one in three members of the world Scout Movement is Muslim, and the representation in this country fares well when compared to the population as a whole. As a liberal I don’t believe there should be any law against having such prejudices, it’s what you do about them that really matters.
I often question whether I am confusing my sets of values when I hear an argument from a member of the movement beginning “I’m not racist, because…” or speak to Lib Dems who would rather take pictures of piles of litter to shame their opponents, than put on some gloves and clear it up.
It could be that for all the waffle the fundamental values of both organisations are quite generic Good Things that most people would subscribe to, and that many of us see more than is actually there. Both organistaions are in their own way a broad Church in which the members do their best to make the world a better place.
Oh hang it all I’ll just try and do the right thing.
 Preamble to the federal constitution
 Not a direct quote of POR
 The leader who said this is now a born again Christian. That’s probably not relevant.
There’s one niggling little detail of the punitive parking charges story I have a problem with. Green taxes- love them. You want big useless things- you pay for the privilege, no problem with that. There are ways of doing it though. Tiered road fund license- good idea so long as its not too disproportionate. Fuel duty, good idea also, can we get other countries not to set theirs so irresponsibly low though.
It’s right that people are penalized for driving needlessly large vehicles. My problem is the notion that the council are charging for residents to use something that’s already theirs. Bear with me I’ll explain. The council do not (usually) own the street outside your house. They are just managing it for you, and the management charge is part of your council tax. It’s perfectly fair that the additional administrative cost of a scheme to protect parking places for residents is passed on. But does it really cost more than a tenner to log a registration in a computer and issue a paper disk?
Got to hand it to David Cameron, he knows a good idea when he sees one.
Two recent examples are him following not so hot on the heels of the Lib Dem webcasts with Webcameron. Essentially Webcameron is the ideas we pioneerd only with added spin and fakery.
The other being taking on our green tax agenda, only perhaps a bit more luke warmly. Still luke warm, saving energy, good for the planet y’know.
I’m the sort of person who supports the lib dems because I think they want to run things the way they should be run. My main desire is to see the world becoming as good a place as possible, so it’s pleasing when others begin to “get it”. OK I have nagging doubts that the substance of Cameron matches the style, but praise where praise is due.
Which shows that I too can nick a good idea…
I missed this last night for various reasons, not least of which was the fact I hadn’t gone to Brighton for the conference. But on the today programme this morning I caught it, and an interview with Stephen Tall, the winner, and Iain Dale, an ex-bookseller from Norfolk who the BBC seem to think is something big in political blogging. Iain did make a good joke about Tom Watson though, so he can’t be that bad.
Strangely enough he seems to think I’m something in Lib Dem blogging as he’s ranked me 59th out of the top 100 Lib Dem bloggers, which given my recent lack of activity on the political front is both strange and flattering.
Yesterday I also missed the LDO AGM, which is a shame as I may have motivated me to stand for the exec, or at least speak at the meeting. However I probably would not have been able to do much to justify the position, given my commitments outside the party.
The Today programme, asking Hunter Davis what “4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire” was about brought me back to the subject of general knowledge. It struck me as an odd question, for surely it is common knowledge that it was taken from a newspaper article, and anyone who doesn’t know, probably doesn’t care. Hunter skillfully turned this inane question into one about which particular newspaper article inspired the verse.
This reminded me of the weakest Link, in particular an edition when all the men had been voted off with 3 female contestants left. Before I get accused of sexism, I will say that was probably a coincidence. Anyway, they were asked several general knowledge questions, about song lyrics, TV shows and politics as I recall. After getting each one wrong, the contestants would roll their eyes as if to say “how do you expect me to know a stupid bit of trivia like that.” It seems knowing things has ceased to be something to be proud of. Or even expected. Heaven forefend that on a quiz programme your ability to remember facts is tested. It also reminded me of an episode of the Golden Girls, where Bea Arthur’s character failed a game show audition for being bright. I’ve heard this about UK game shows too, which is surely a sad indictment of human attitudes.
This also reminded me of a conversation I had with someone who was giving me a lift once, about the Reflecting Britain project. My chaufeuse (one of two people I would nominate for a diamond but for the fact neither is a member of the Lib Dems), opined that few women went into Engineering because few kids knew what it really was, and few women go into politics, because they don’t feel the need to be right. *
Anyway, I am firmly of the opinion that knowledge and intelligence is to be respected, certainly more than surgically enhanced looks or a forceful personality.
* I was writing an article about gender balance in Engineering and politics, but it’s trapped on the hard drive of my old PC.
Yes I know I’m late to react, but what with my leg and everything I’ve been out of the loop. To be honest I would have been happy with any of the three, even though Ming was my number 3 vote.
The weekend just gone was the party conference, of which I have been blissfully unaware, but surfing the blogs of those in attendance, seems that people had a good time.
Many online Liberal Democrats are nailing their colours to the mast regarding the leadership contest. While I am inclined to put higher numbers against some candidates, and lower against others, how precisely I will vote will probably not be fixed until I see the ballot paper in front of me.
I will be waiting to see what the contenders have to say for themselves, which is difficult as given only Chris Huhne has put up a campaign website, everything I hear is filtered through the media. OK this is not a new situation, but I am sort of used to living in the 21st Century and associating with people that are more intelligent and forward thinking than the other lot.
One comment on the election though, regarding the pronunciation of Menzies. My mother seems to be in the minority of people who doesn’t think of Ming The Merciless when the name of the deputy leader of the Lib Dems is mentioned. In fact she thinks of “mingers”.
Though some can take the Flash Gordon thing too far.
Edit: Great minds think alike, when I was writing this, other bloggers were putting up their “Not declaring yet” messages.
The Doctor Who episode broadcast tonight called World War III that is.
There were some particularly naughty political allegories in both episodes that had me giggling like a loon. For example the cliffhanger to Aliens of London had the Depty Prime Minister misusing ID cards to deadly effect. And this episode had some rather more obvious parallels to British premiers warning of threats from non-existant weapons of mass destruction.
So the moral of the tale is vote Lib Dem. As well you should.
Over the hills in Tameside some people are not happy. In Audenshaw, where my parents live, many residents were so fed up with the council intent on paving over any green space available in the name of development, that the entire ward turned Lib Dem. Unfortunately this is just 3 Lib Dems, with hardly more Tories against almost an entire council of Labour councilors.
As per national instructions of a few years ago Tameside council has been streamlined to a cabinet with several local assemblies. Audenshaw has been lumped together with Denton to form the Denton and Audenshaw district assembly. And according to my father’s experience things have got a bit childish.
Denton is, in terms of council wards at least, three times larger than Audenshaw. Denton is represented by 9 Labour councilors, Audenshaw by 3 Lib Dems. The mentality of the Labour councilors is such that they will automatically vote against anything that the Lib Dem councilors support, no matter how sensible. If there is any issue relating solely to Audenshaw, the Elected representatives for Audenshaw are outnumbered, and so the affairs of Audenshaw are in the hands of the electorate of Denton.
It seems that the Labour councilors of Denton are trying to punish the residents of Audenshaw for having the temerity of voting for a party other than Labour.