blog


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When I was one
I had just begun
When I was two
I was nearly new
When I was three
I was hardly me
When I was four
I was not much more
When I was five
I was just alive
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever;
so I think I’ll be six now
for ever and ever

By A. A. Milne

Yes it was indeed six years ago that I first sat in front a keyboard and wrote this. It was the aftermath of my first General Election as a Parliamentary candidate something readers would have got a sense of last year when I did it all again.

>Polls are now closed across the country and in Northern Ireland where I’ve been working since early November to secure a Yes vote in today’s referendum.

Over that time there have been many party political stories that I have read about and wanted to make comment about here on my blog, but I’ve been working with people of many parties and felt that my doing so wouldn’t be right. Well as from now I’m expected my blogging to regain that edge that has been lacking over recent weeks. I’m going to be saying what I as a Liberal Democrat (and no those are not dirty words) feels about things that are going on.

The gloves are off, I’m unchained from the shackles that have been holding me back. It may not be tomorrow as I’m at the count or Saturday when I am at a dear friend‘s ‘wedding’ but soon, and maybe there will be time in between those two events, I’ll be back writing what is really on my mind.

You have been warned.

“Here’s Stephen!”, back in full glorious bloggery.

I’m now back.

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Over on Slugger O’Toole I’ve posted the following earlier to day.

Is it right that only three of Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs had the backing of over 50% of those who voted last May? Or right that another three had only one in three people vote for them? That is the situation that Northern Ireland found itself in last May after the only election that we place an X on our ballots rather than ranking our candidates by order of preference.

You can read the rest here it even contains my word of the week ‘promiscuous’.

> It’s that time of year to see just what you have been reading on my blog in 2010.

Normally this would be an easy task. Not this year, as well as blogging here, I was also blogging at the old address as well as the potential shift to WordPress which although didn’t happen did get some hits.

To make things worse in July I changed the template on the old site and forgot to reattach google analytics. So I have almost a month of missing data.

However, I’ve spent so much of my life working with numbers, so I can work this out right. Here are the top 15 (as far I can tell).

  1. Chinese Deathly Whispers (2494 views) from March 2009 but the picture is still scoring high on Google Images
  2. Fife Council: Child Snatchers (856) in January
  3. One Small Step for Sinn Féin: Why Iain Dale is Wrong (827) Yeah the days of taking on the blogfather when he gets things wrong and him linking back to you to up your views may be gone. This one from October may be the last time I can rely on the Dalester to boost me.
  4. Applying for a postal vote deadline (797) Being ever the helpful candidate I was keeping people informed of the deadlines on the way to the election. Sadly not all of the people who read this could have voted for me they were from all over the country.
  5. A is Airbrushing Part ii (731) Remember the days when us Lib Dems were at the Tories throats all the time? Well when David Cameron said in his New Year Message that he would spell out just what the Tory policies were I start a series looking at just that. This was a little bit of ‘after’ work done on a campaign poster.
  6. About me (711) Yeah I added pages to the blog this year and quite a view people looked up my profile. Which tells you a little bit about who I am. I’m guessing the No 2 AV looked this up too, but just forgot how to spell my name.
  7. 15 Albums (633) One of those Meme’s that sometimes allow us bloggers to fill a spot without thinking. Although for the blogpost I did go the extra mile and pull images of the 15 Albums that inspire me.
  8. Tory Bear Pop Pyschiatry Gone Political (528) When Harry Cole was still hiding behind a blue bear rather than a man pretending to be an 18th Century Terrorist he did sometimes go off on one. So I took him to task.
  9. Who I am not (509) This is a fun page I added. This is all the other Stephen Glenn’s online that I am not. Yes there is one that more of me, or at least named like me.
  10. Where’s the Reader’s Digest Draw When They Need it? (472) With the news of the demise of Readers’ Digest I asked where was the letter from Champagne to announce that they had won the prize draw to pull them out of trouble.
  11. Kong Hei Fat Choy 2010 (449) My annual look at China’s Human Rights record on Chinese New Year always seems to make this list.
  12. ***BREAKING*** Ashok Kumar MP Found Dead (370) Never a nice occasion when you look on one of the news websites and see a Breaking headline that you know is going to dominate. As a top blogger you urge is get something out on your blog, but then knowing you will have to update as more facts come along. Seeing this blog was in its infancy when this first happened in similar shocking circumstances I knew just what to do and how to do it sensitively.
  13. Short List for Livingston Labour (311) following on from the above was the fact that the shortlist to replace the disgraced MP for Livingston Jim Devine was getting drawn up. He’d been one of the top stories on this blog in 2005 (see above).
  14. Prime Minster Clegg (295) When someone joked about the possibilty of Nick Clegg being Prime Minister, I said why not? Of course we have seen him at the dispatch box during PMQs since as Deputy Prime Minister Clegg. 
  15. Comedian Jason Wood Dies Aged 38 (282) Another of those sad occassions.

As regular readers will know normal service will not be resumed on this blog for the first third of 2011. However, if I can stay off party politics something that is bigger than that may lead me to my keyboard.

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Ok I had a little bit of an excursion because of World AIDS Day which carried over into the FIFA World Cup announcements yesterday.

But just at this moment my employer* for the last 9 years, 1 month and 1 week is no longer my employer. I am now working full time on the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign.

Therefore as one friend said to avoid me getting out my “Lib Dem thing” and waving it about while I am part of a campaign that is reaching across political divisions I am parking this blog once more.

It will also affect the way I use Twitter and Facebook, somebody else pulled me up on that earlier as well.

I’ve given my reasons previously more fully in case you haven’t already read them.

So long, see you all again on 6th May 2011.

* Yes this is the first time in all the public utterances or writings as a politician either here on this blog or elsewhere that I have actually revealed who they are.

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Zaphod Beeblebrox entered the foyer. He strode up to the insect receptionist.
“OK,” he said, “Where’s Zarniwoop? Get me Zarniwoop.”
“Excuse me, sir?” said the insect icily. It did not care to be addressed in this manner.
“Zarniwoop. Get him, right? Get him now.”
“Well, sir,” snapped the fragile little creature, “if you could be a little cool about it …”
“Look,” said Zaphod, “I’m up to here with cool, OK? I’m so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat inside me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis. Now will you move before you blow it?”
“Well, if you’d let me explain, sir,” said the insect tapping the most petulant of all the tentacles at its disposal, “I’m afraid that isn’t possible right now as Mr Zarniwoop is on an intergalactic cruise.”
Hell, thought Zaphod.
“When he’s going to be back?” he said.
“Back sir? He’s in his office.”
Zaphod paused while he tried to sort this particular thought out in his mind. He didn’t succeed.

From The Restaurant at the End of the Universe chapter 7.

I’m hoping this post will help you all to sort out your own particular thought.

There has of course been rather a lot going on in my life over recent weeks, in will culminate in two weeks time when I will have left the employ of the company I have worked in for over nine years. I’ll be taking on a short fix term role with a set end date. Scarily there is also a clause in my contract that something that has yet to happen, if it fails to happen, will immediately initiate a very short notice period for me and my colleagues.

Why take such a risk? Because the job is for something I really believe in, bringing about fairer votes. It is something that is happening in a place where there are a factors that are important to me right now, people who will look out for me in a transition, people who will help me relax (especially two who are not yet 10) and it is a step that I have been trying to make for a number of years but somehow never quite found the way to do so.

However, as all this is happening there is something else that I feel with have to happen in this little quarter of sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha*. I have already said that blogging here will be light, I’m going further today. This blog is being parked on the side of this vast highway that is life. Over the past week to 10 days I have caught myself on at times. There are things I wanted to blog, comments on Facebook I wanted to rebutt, Tweets I wished to make. However, I’ve come to realise that I can’t do that an keep my focus unto the one message that I am charged to deliver over the next five and a half months.

If I were to do this on this blog it would become boring and mundane for you dear reader, as quite often it would be referring you to the Yes to Fairer Votes website or page that is relevant to the story in question. One thing I will continue to do is write however, though it may not be publically available, it is one of the things that I have always done to help me relax, unwind, recharge or indeed decharge. So no doubt there will be writing going on, I’m just not sure in what format that will take outside of the work productivity that I will be doing.

However, I do love blogging and the fact that I am parking this blog does not mean that I am never going to do it here ever again, I’ll be chomping at the bit no doubt on very many days. But key people kow that they are to bind my hands, lock me in a store room without a laptop, or just glare at me (which will most likely work) if when there is something that is crying out to be said, it need not come from me. Other friends may be getting ideas for stories that I really want to write, indeed this has already started to happen. It does all feel a little bit like I’m entering a Bloggers Anonymous meeting. There is one thing though, I know that I will take up the keyboard once more and write here at some point on May 6th, and it won’t be considered falling off the wagon, but merely as steering it once again.

There is one blog post that will appear between now and May 5th and that is my New Years Eve post rounding up the year of 2010. As you can imagine this will be far from a boring read. In the meantime I leave you with the opening lines of the book Mostly Harmless again by Douglas Adams.

Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.

I’ll add may not happen in the chronological order that you yourself may have set out, but when it happens cease the day.

So like Zarniwoop the editor of this blog is going to be on an intergalactic cruise, I may well be in my office, I may well not get outside of Northern Ireland, but you know what I mean. See you all in May.

*Yes this is a popular cultural reference that Michael wouldn’t get #PCRMWG. I’m hoping at some point in our friendship’s future that I will be able to enlighten him.

>Ok folks I dropped the teaser last night. Promising to keep you informed I am doing so now.

Regular readers will know that was in for a job interview at the start of this week. Last night just after 6pm I was offered the position and took no hesitation in accepting it.

The role is as the Northern Ireland Campaign Manager for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. Yes if you told me at 3:30 on the morning of May 7th as my votes were being read out that I would be doing this and doing it here I would have laughed at you.

However, I totally agree with the words of Margaret Ritchie MP, MLA the leader of the SDLP from 6th July:

“The British Government is right to give people the opportunity to choose a fairer system for electing their MPs. The current system is completely unfair as it favours the larger parties and discriminates against smaller parties who can get hundreds of thousands of votes but no seats in Parliament.

“My preference would be to extend the STV system of Proportional Representation to Westminster. This system is much fairer and we are already well used to it in Northern Ireland in our Assembly and Council elections.

“The ‘alternative vote’ is, nonetheless, a clear step forward and I hope that people will support it in the referendum next year. In Northern Ireland this would have the effect of rebalancing politics towards candidates of the centre and away from the extremes.

“Given the kinds of stalemates and brinkmanship we have endured in our politics in recent years, anything that supports parties in the centre is to be warmly welcomed as it is in the best interests of our people.

“The SDLP will campaign vigorously in favour of progressive electoral reform.”

I look forward to working with Margaret, the other candidates for the position I now hold and everyone in Northern Ireland who believes in getting fairer votes for Westminster over the next six months. That will be people from all parties or none, across each of the 18 current Westminster constituencies.If you haven’t already sign up through this link, if have invite your friends, if you’ve invited them all make more, or start to ask your neighbours or the people on the bus beside you. Start talking about AV and why it is fairer and lets go out and win this on 5th May 2011.

Indeed one of my first roles, even before I work my current notice period will be attending the SDLP’s party conference this weekend. Shows that this really is cohesion, sharing and integration in action and how cross communities this campaign here is. That the first party conference in Northern Ireland from this son of a man raised in Derry’s Fountain area and attending First Derry Presbyterian should be to the party that owes a lot of its founding to the struggle of the other community on that side of the Foyle.

As I said last night this will obviously have an impact on the blogging that I do here, probably over the whole of the next six months. I will try and do updates here from time to time, just to give me some down time, but don’t expect the same alacrity of posting.

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