Thursday, April 29, 2010

Extremists to the left of me, fundies to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with Evan

It has been a very hectic campaign here in Oxford West & Abingdon for weeks. We were already getting a tremendous response from local voters even before the first TV debate, and it has got even busier since.

I can't remember an election like it since 1997 when we got Evan in for the first time, and with the ease of email we are now being flooded with even more offers of help, poster requests, Garden Poster sites etc.

Two days ago we completely ran out of boards, and we had quite a big stock to start with!

During the last few days things have got even busier.

Online donations are pouring in (from here) and we are getting requests for Garden Posters at about twice the rate we can possibly get them up.


Because the extremists have attacked.

As many readers of blogs like this one will know, Evan is a pretty straightforward politician who goes out and argues for what he believes to be right.

Like the majority of people, he believes that scientists and researchers should be allowed to conduct properly regulated medical research within the law without facing threats of violence against them and their children.

As a result he is facing this.

Like the majority of people, he believes that competent adults with terminal illnesses facing pain and misery should have right to ask for assistance if they want to die with some dignity.

As a result he is facing this.

Both leaflets are riddled with inaccuracies and untruths and misrepresent Evan's views on many of the issues mentioned.

Now I happen to agree with Evan on most issues, but I am happy to accept that some people don't. Evan has always been more than willing to debate these issues with just about anyone and always does so by putting a reasoned and rational case.

The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, has responded to the leaflets by saying:

"I have worked with Evan on social issues in Oxford, in Parliament on legislation, and outside Parliament on ethical issues.

"We do not always agree, but he takes a responsible and intelligent position on what are always divisive and controversial matters to do with the beginning and end of life.

"I greatly respect him as a Parliamentarian"

I understand that there are people who honestly believe that life starts at conception and that abortion is the equivalent of murder. I disagree with them, but I believe they should have the right to state their views and campaign to change the law, which is what most of them do.

But to produce and distribute leaflets tagging someone with the nickname 'Dr Death' - a name usually associated with Nazi torturers and serial killers - is simply disgusting.

And the really good thing is that the vast majority of local voters seem to agree.

We have had a flood of emails and phone messages backing Evan, including many from mainstream Christians.

Donations are flooding in as a direct result of these smear leaflets and several people have said the leaflets have firmed up their vote for Evan.

If you would like to help defend Evan against attacks like these, please go here and donate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Doctor Who = Excellent, BBC = Idiots

I thought yesterday evenings episode of Doctor Who was absolutely top notch. (And a big step back up after last week's below par effort)

Dranatic, well-scripted, exciting, thrilling and full of suspense.

The build up to the end of the the episode, the first of a tw-parter, was exceptional.

Until, that is, the BBC decided that it would be an appropriate moment to inflict a cheerful cartoon that I assume was meant to be Graham Norton bouncing across our screens, in a feeble effort to get Doctor Who viewers to keep watching whatever rubbish they had scheduled after the top quality TV drama that is Doctor Who.

The reult in our house was that the suspense of Doctor Who was ruined for a few minutes and we switched straight over to Doctor Who Confidential, as we always do anyway.

No further BBC was watched after that.

I have sent the following complaint to the BBC:


As we do every Saturday I sat down with my two younger children to watch Doctor Who yesterday evening.

It was a fantastic episode, a real scary thriller, and we were loving it.

And then just a few minutes before the end, you ruined it.

Against the backdrop of a gloomy cave, with the Doctor, Amy and their companions trapped as the weeping angels advanced, up pops a brightly coloured graphic telling us that some Graham Norton fronted talent show would be up next.

Which idiot at the BBC authorised this to happen?

Have they been thrown off the top of Television House yet?

Has a full grovelling apology been sent to the Doctor Who production team and cast yet?

Will there be an apology to the viewers?

The BBC is at its best when it concentrates on producing quality television, like Doctor Who.

It is at its worst when it come sup with cheap stunts like this in a feeble effort to boost its audience for whatever cheap rubbish follows.


Monday, April 19, 2010

In defence of 'Dr Death' - a riposte to 'Odious' Odone

Torygraph writer Cristina 'Odious' Odone has an article today which makes for a pretty unpleasant attack on the candidate I am Agent for in the election, Dr Evan Harris.

She attacks Evan for his position on abortion (broadly in line with the current law but making it easier for women to access abortions earlier and with less stressful processes) and assisted dying (where he is broadly in line with the vast majority of people).

She apparently believes that Evan's stances on these issues somehow make the Lib Dems 'creepy' and that he deserves the tagline 'Dr Death' for his efforts.

Setting aside the childish nature of such name-calling for a moment, it is worth noting that nowhere in her article does she put forward any actual arguments against Evan's views.

Nor does she put forward any reasons why taking a stance on such issues is a bad thing, or inappropriate.

I wonder if she, like many people, just finds the idea of having a rational debate about the rights of people who are terminally ill and living a life of pain to decide their own fate a bit unpleasant.

I don't agree with Evan on everything, but I think we need more MPs like him.

We need more people in the House of Commons who look at the evidence before coming to a decision on an issue, who can string together a rational argument to back up their position, and who are willing to discuss and promote sensitive issues which have a real impact on the lives (and dignified deaths) of their constituents.

If you find the views of 'Odious' Odone as ridiculous, petty and childish as I do, please pay a small visit to here.

And do read the comments. There is one from Evan himself and several from constituents of Oxford West & Abingdon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This says it all really ...

From my good friend Nich.

About the Tory policy which is an insult to married people.

And to quite a lot of unmarried people to.

Well done Nich.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Time to kebab Lord Adonis

Back when Lord Adonis was an Alliance councillor in north Oxford he was nicknamed 'kebab' having fought his election on the basis of defending a threat to the city's kebab vans.

For this campaign I am grateful, if not for much he has said and done since.

I suppose it is good news that he apparently believes that there is not much to choose between Labour and the Lib Dems policy wise.

Personally I don't agree with him, but if he and other Labour types do believe that then there is a simple solution, and one with more chance of success than his proposals.

If every Labour supporter, from Lord Adonis down, votes Lib Dem, we will definitely beat the Tories the length and breadth of Britain. We will be in a position to implement our policies (which the good Lord broadly supports) and there will be no risk of the boy George getting his hands on the economy.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Have Labour got any members left?

Labour Party members in Stoke are apparently a bit miffed at the lack of a local candidate on the shortlist for their candidate selection, reported by the BBC here.

I noticed the story because Oxford Labour Councillor Saj Malik (who defected from the Lib Dems) was one of the unlucky candidates.

I always wondered whether Saj's defection was as much down to his parliamentary ambitions as his principles. If it was, he won't be chuffed at this result.

But the most startling thing about the reported result is that, in total, only 63 people appear to have voted at all.

This is a seat Labour presumably expect to hold, yet only half of the local party's membership of 140 bothered to turn up, and 140 members is pretty low to begin with!

If that is the level of enthusiasm amongst the Labour grassroots then they really are in trouble.