Friday, 15 August 2008

Liberal Legend 2 Currently Available in China

I've had a bit of a shock. Either someone has cocked up somewhere or maybe, just maybe, someone has been listening and realised that censorship is not really on!?

This is my first post ever from Shenyang, China and the first time I have ever been able to read my blog here.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Hats Off to the Beijing Games Organisers

I have to say that that was one of the most spectacular Olympic Opening Ceremonies I can ever remember.

Congratuations to the organisers of the Beijing Games.

Lord Coe, I think you have your work cut out Sir!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Crossing the Line - Former Tory PPC for Watford Ian Oakley Pleads Guilty

Ian Oakley, the former Tory PPC for Watford has pleaded guilty to a significant number of charges related to intimidation of Sal Brinton, the Liberal Democrat PPC for Watford and a number of Liberal Democrat Councillors, activists and supporters.

There are a number of grave concerns here which need to be addressed:

Firstly, who knew what in the Tory campaign HQ in Watford and beyond? Was it really possible for an individual to act alone and wage a war of intimidation against political opponents and not be detected? Did some people in the Tory camp know what was going on and turn a blind eye or worse? Will there be further action against others?

Secondly, why has Conservative HQ sought to wash their hands of the affair when all the intimidation was undertaken whilst Oakley was both a Conservative Campaign Manager and a Parliamentary Candidate? Does David Cameron really believe that just because Oakley quit the party after he was arrested "that's OK then?".

Politics can be a very high pressure activity as those who have been involved in intensive political campaigns when you are fighting to win know all too well. Sometimes the ambition of certain individuals runs beyond their reason (and their ability) and the temptation to take short cuts (such as postal vote farming) or to attempt to intimidate political opponents (which was attempted on me at one point over a sustained period of time) and their supporters can go on.

The real tragedy of this sorry affair is that decent people might develop an even greater sense of alienation and apathy from the political process. Politics is supposed to be about people but if there are other Oakley's in political parties who is going to want to stand up and be counted? Do we really want a cut down form of democracy where the choice available to the electorate is limited and campaigning is stunted due to a small number of psychologically disturbed individuals, anti-democrats or thugs?

David Cameron and his Conservatives cannot wash their hands of this matter. If they truly are democrats then they must help all of us, of all political parties and none, who believe in democracy and pluralism to ensure that another Oakley cannot emerge and do it again. All political parties have had bad apples but it does no one any favours if we fail to learn lessons from this sorry affair.

How I Feel Sometimes......

I think this sums up my feelings from time to time.

Monday, 4 August 2008

You Were Warned!

I've been waiting for a public apology from a certain individual who made a generalised falsehood concerning myself in the 17th July 2008 edition of the Folkestone Herald, it's two other editions in Hythe and the Romney Marsh and on the internet. I believe that I have been generous and patient in waiting more than two weeks for a retraction and an apology to appear in a public format (e.g. the Folkestone Herald).

The individual concerned had already received a public warning from me that I would investigate taking further action. I have researched the laws of libel and believe that I would have a very strong case against you and also potentially against the newspaper concerned which clearly failed to check the accuracy of the statement before it was published. Indeed, the newspaper has, in my personal view, acted unfairly in not asking my side of that particular story and giving me the opportunity to reply to the statement that was made. I know that the Editor is not a foolish man and I suspect that he realises that an error has been made which would leave the paper open to legal action. This can be easily remedied through a simple act of goodwill on the newspaper's part. As a lifelong Liberal I am a strong believer in freedom of expression and only insist that statements made with regard to myself are fair and accurate and that when statements are made about me I am offered a right to reply.

Unfortunately, in light of the fact that this falsehood is both on the internet and has been discussed and brought to the attention of others in the public domain I am now left with no option but to take further action against the individual who made the statement concerned. I had already warned you about my views on the statement. In my view the statement is defamatory and needlessly and falsely damages my personal and more importantly, my professional reputation. Frankly it is downright malicious and I cannot for the life of me understand what you were thinking? Were you really unwise enough to think you were speaking "off the record"?

I will therefore be making a formal complaint in writing this week to Shepway District Council since I believe that the Code of Conduct for Councillors has been breached (after all, even though I am a member of Bromley and Chislehurst Liberal Democrats I am still a Shepway District Council Taxpayer and on the electoral roll in the town and run a business in Folkestone), lodging a complaint against you with Cowley Street and contacting the Editor of the Folkestone Herald in writing to ask for an apology and a retraction of the statement and its removal from the appropriate internet site.