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Posted by Paul Walter

MedwayCLPBob and Big Ben

The BBC reports:

Former Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews has defected to the Lib Dems after describing Jeremy Corbyn’s party as a “political basket case”.

Mr Marshall-Andrews told The Times he had jumped ship in light of the Brexit campaign and Labour’s refusal to stand aside in the Richmond Park by-election.

The QC and barrister was MP for Medway from 1997 to 2010.

A Labour spokesman said: “Bob Marshall-Andrews has not been a member of the Labour Party for some years.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said he was “coming over to the only party that is offering a credible opposition to a divisive Tory Brexit government”.

Mr Marshall-Andrews used to sit with the socialist group of Labour MPs alongside Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Bob Marshall-Andrews was a thorn in Tony Blair’s side for many years and has been an excellent panellist on “Have I got news for you”. Also, by strange coincidence, I once sat behind him and his family on a beach in Cornwall one afternoon.

Welcome to the party, Bob!

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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Posted by Ars Staff

Enlarge (credit: Owen Duffy)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our regular series on tabletop games! Check out a complete listing of all our board and card gaming coverage.

On first inspection, Cry Havoc looks like any number of similarly grim and gritty science fiction board games. It comes with a stash of plastic soldiers, robots, and aliens, and its artwork paints a world in tones of mud, fire, and gun metal. If you’re expecting a quick fix of hectic, dice-chucking combat, though, you’re going to be disappointed, because the game offers a much more thoughtful take on the concept of planetary conquest.

(credit: Portal Games)

Cry Havoc hands players command of rival factions competing to colonise a newly discovered world. Playing as aggressive and expansionist humans, merciless and powerful machines, or elusive and enigmatic aliens known as the Pilgrims, you’ll attempt to claim victory by seizing control of territories and exploiting them for their resources (in the form of shiny plastic crystals).

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Posted by Will Stroude

Rihanna might be known a pop’s queen of fashion, but the singer has shown her love for another kind of royal after photoshopping Queen Elizabeth II into some of her most iconic outfits.

The ‘Diamonds’ singer clearly had her mind on the Crown Jewels as she shared a series of pictures of the nonagenarian monarch wearing several extravagant designer outfits on Instagram last night (April 22).

Queen Elizabeth, whose position as head of the Commonwealth means she has close links with Rihanna’s native Barbados, celebrated her 91st birthday on Friday (April), though it is unknown whether the pop star’s posts were designed to mark the occasion.

The first image showed the Queen, who began her reign in 1952 and has since become Britain’s longest serving monarch, dressed in the green fur coat and match thigh-high leather boots Rihanna wore to the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards, with the caption “be humble”.

be humble.

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

The second picture showed Liz decked to the nines in the red Yves Saint Lauren fur heart coat Rihanna was pictured in last October.

The 28-year-old singer captioned the image with an iconic line from Mariah Carey’s 2005 track ‘It’s Like That’, writing: “y’all chickens is ash and I’m lotion.”

y’all chickens is ash and I’m lotion. 😂

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

The next picture saw the Queen dressed in the diamante Gucci bodysuit Rihanna wore to Coachella last week, alongside a lyric taken from Gucci Mane and Drake’s track ‘Both’.

“cause u f*** like a grandma f***, u just an amateur. #gucci”, Rihanna wrote, before later removing the explicit caption.

“UPDATE: Mumz said she won’t too happy bout this post so I had to edit”.

#gucci UPDATE: Mumz said she won’t too happy bout this post so I had to edit

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

The final image saw the Queen edited onto a picture from the ‘Work’ singer’s recent shoot for Paper magazine.

“It’s not that deep,” Rihanna captioned the image.

it’s not that deep.

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

We’re not sure what the hell’s going on, but frankly we’re loving it. Happy 91st birthday Liz; here’s a message from Rih-Rih herself…

More stories:

Former Clean Bandit star Neil Milan left in tears over homophobic incident on train

[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Will Stroude

Former Clean Bandit star Neil Milan has revealed he was left “crying” following a homophobic incident on a train to Bristol last night (April 23).

The musician, who quit the chart-topping group in October last year, took to Twitter after suffering homophobic abuse and threats from a fellow passenger who apparently felt “uncomfortable” about Milan’s sexuality.

Recounting the incident, Neil wrote: “im on a train to Bristol and a man started telling me (I’m paraphrasing for everyone’s benefit) how my sexuality made him uncomfortable.

“and the ‘conversation’ got less and less friendly until he started hinting at physical threats.

He continued: “and my chest was tight and my heart was beating so fast and I felt so fucking angry and I hate how homophobia gets at me in so many ways

“through so many different channels in my mind and eventually I had to move because I couldn’t let it go and it was only escalating.”

Venting his anger, the 27-year-old ‘Rather Be’ hitmaker added: “I guess I’m just tweeting in lieu of kicking his fucking face in or something I dunno but fuck this and fuck straight white men’s comfort.”

Despite being left shaken up by the incident, Chelsea football club supporter Neil remained in good enough spirits to mock the man in question, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, over his club’s defeat in last night’s FA Cup Semi-final match, which Chelsea won 4-2.

“I hope he cries himself to sleep when we win the double,” Neil wrote.

“I’m crying in another carriage now but 4-2 fuck u.”

More stories:
Former Clean Bandit star Neil Milan strips off for steamy bathroom selfie
Clean Bandit star ‘hasn’t heard from Neil Milan’ since he quit the group

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Paul Walter

The Telegraph reports:

The Liberal Democrats have drawn up a hit-list of pro-EU Tory MPs who they want to unseat as they plot a Brexit purge for the election campaign.

The Telegraph can reveal that four Conservatives in parts of the country which most voted to stay in the European Union have been singled out.

Among those targeted will be Tania Mathias MP, whose Twickenham constituency overwhelmingly backed staying in the EU at last year’s referendum.

According to Lib Dem party analysis just one in three voters in Twickenham wanted Brexit – something the Tories are now promising to deliver at this election.

…The Lib Dems will also seek to challenge Nicola Blackwood, the Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, along with Anne Main, the MP for St Albans and Ben Howlett, MP for Bath. All three are going into the election supporting Brexit despite a minority of their constituents voting for Brexit at the EU referendum.

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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Posted by Jonathan M. Gitlin

After single-handedly tarnishing the diesel engines it had spent so long championing, Volkswagen Group's corporate redemption strategy involves a commitment to building a lot more electric vehicles. There's an all-new modular architecture for EVs—called MEB—that will be the basis for new models throughout the brands in VW's portfolio, but that won't be ready until 2020 with the VW I.D. In the meantime, Porsche and Audi have been working on long-range battery EVs that should start appearing next year. And at the Shanghai Auto Show on Friday, Audi announced a second long-range EV will go on sale in 2019: the e-tron Sportback.

The e-tron Sportback is built around the vehicle's 95kWh battery pack, giving it a range of 310 miles (500km). The battery pack is bookended by a pair of electric motors that provide a total of 430hp (320kW), although with a boost function that gives up to 500hp (370kW) for short periods. Atop this skateboard chassis is a sleeker body than the more upright e-tron SUV first seen in 2015. But as BMW's X6 has ably proved, the "four door coupé" effect is rather undermined by the huge wheels and lofty ride height.

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Rennie: Liberal Democrats have the momentum

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 07:55 am
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Posted by The Voice

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has  declared that momentum has given the Liberal Democrats the upper hand in the snap general election.

Since the announcement on Tuesday of a snap election 8,000 people have joined the party with membership more than double than what it was before the election in 2015.  The party also raised £500,000 in just 48 hours.

In an email to members, Willie wrote:

Nobody was expecting the announcement on Tuesday but the calling of the general election has given the Liberal Democrats real momentum. A staggering  8000 new members joined the party in the 48 hours after the election was called as people have flocked to us in a bid to change the direction of this country. No other party has seen such a surge.

The upcoming election comes on top of the 30 council by-elections that the Liberal Democrats have gained since last year, including in Scotland. And who could forget that historic by-election victory in Richmond, overturning a Tory majority of 23,000 to be the voice against the Conservative hard Brexit.

Former Labour and Conservative MPs are considering joining us and some indeed have. Our crystal clear platform of being pro-UK and pro-EU puts us on the side of the majority of Scotland. No other party occupies that position. On the doors I have seen household after household dismayed at the constitutionally obsessed SNP and switching to us for a better future.

The next seven weeks are our chance to see the fantastic result we gained in Richmond replicated across the whole of the country. Let’s show the world that Britain is open, tolerant and united.

Panelbase and Survation Scottish polls

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 08:18 am
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Posted by Anthony Wells

There are two Scottish polls in Sunday’s newspapers – Panelbase for the Sunday Times and Survation for the Sunday Post. Voting intention figures, with changes since the general election in 2015, are below:

Panelbase/S Times – SNP 44%(-6), CON 33%(+18), LAB 13%(-11), LDEM 5%(-3)
Survation/S Post – SNP 43%(-7), CON 28%(+13), LAB 18%(-6), LDEM 9%(+1)

The two polls have very similar shares for the SNP – still showing a large lead, but not at the heights they enjoyed in the 2015 election. Both polls show a major increase in Conservative support, putting them in clear second place (though the scale of that increase differs). Both show Labour sharply down, though against the scale differs – Survation have Labour losing a quarter of their support since 2015, Panelbase almost half of it.

The polls appear to be continuing a trend we saw at the Scottish Parliament election last year – the Conservatives gradually taking over the mantle of being the main opposition party to the SNP. My own best guess of what is going on is that we’re seeing Scottish politics increasingly become something where the main cleavage is Independence vs Unionism (rather than the normal economic and class cleavages that have dominated British politics), with the SNP and the Conservatives the main flagbearers of the two sides.

Anyway, that aside, what would these sorts of figures mean in terms of seats at the general election? The Survation poll would represent a 10 point swing from SNP to Conservative, the Panelbase poll a 12 point swing. Looking down the SNP defence list, these would see the Conservatives take 7 to 9 seats from the SNP: Berwickshire, Renfrewshire East, Dumfries & Galloway, Aberdeenshire West, Aberdeen South, Perth & Perthshire North, Moray – perhaps East Lothian & Edinburgh South West. On the Panelbase poll the Tories would also take Edinburgh South from Labour.

Of course that’s just a uniform swing. In reality the vote won’t be so evenly spread – for example, in his write up for the Sunday Times John Curtice notes how the Conservative increase in support is almost static amongst Scottish Remain voters, it’s concentrated almost entirely among those who voted for Brexit, so we may see a larger swing in more Brexity areas (all of Scotland voted Remain of course, but there are larger Brexit minorities in places like the Borders and the North East than in highly Remain places like Edinburgh). It will also be interesting to see if there is an across the board increase for the Tories, or if in practice Unionist voters are willing to vote tactically for the most viable Unionist candidate in their area.

No Coalitions, no compromises

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 08:30 am
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Tim Farron yesterday, positioned the Liberal Democrats as an independent force determined to fight for the country's best interests by opposing a hard Brexit, without being shackled to the interests of any other party.

As the Observer reports, Farron ruled out any form of coalition with the Tories or Labour after the general election. Instead he set out a bold ambition to attract enough Remain voters to form the main opposition party in parliament:

In a dramatic shift of strategy for a party that entered coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 in the “national interest”, Farron said in an interview with the Observer that there will be “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances.

He insisted that both the Tories and Labour were intent on driving through a hard Brexit, which would include taking the UK out of the single market, and that his party had a duty to offer a distinct alternative, including a policy that would keep open a possibility of the UK staying in the EU.

“There is no way we can countenance any kind of arrangement or coalition with the Conservative party and likewise with the Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn,” Farron said. “He [Corbyn] accepted hard Brexit, he voted for it. He enabled it. It has put us in the situation we are now in.”

His message positioned the Liberal Democrats as the distinctive champion of remainers: “If you want to prevent hard Brexit, want to prevent us leaving the single market, if you actually want to give the British people the final say on the terms of the as yet unknown deal, which of course would allow people to vote to remain should they wish, and if you want actually a decent, proper opposition party in this country then we have this wonderful opportunity of an incredibly clear message that nobody else has. Those people who were on the losing side need someone to speak for them.”

This statement finally puts to bed all the speculation about what happens after the election and allows the Liberal Democrats to concentrate on their core messages.

We need game design tools that work for everyone

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 08:05 am
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Posted by Ars Staff

Enlarge (credit: WarioWare DiY)

The following is an excerpt from the essay collection Offworld, which focuses on gaming and culture. Edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, it's available from indie game publisher Campo Santo. Check it out if you'd like some fresh perspectives on gameplay and design.

In 2012, I wrote a book called Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, and in the back I listed all the accessible, no-programming-required game-making tools I could. Recently, I’ve been surveying the current landscape of similar tools. Spoiler: They all suck now.

Many of the tools I suggested as possible options for a budding game creator with no programming experience—Game Maker, Construct, Stencyl—have shifted towards marketing themselves as professional, commercial game-making tools for Capital I Indie, Capital D Developers. In today’s market, that means accommodating touch screens and mobile games, and it also means filling every tool with so many options that I get overwhelmed and feel lost—and I’ve been making games for ten years. How would I teach these to someone who’s never made a game before?

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Encouraging poll news for the Liberal Democrats

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 07:01 am
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Posted by Caron Lindsay

The first Scottish opinion polls since the General Election was announced have been published and there’s mixed news for the Liberal Democrats.

Panelbase has us on just 5% (but that’s still up since January) and Survation has us up 1 from the 2015 election at 9%. If we go up at the rate that we have done in every election other than 2015, we could be on for a fair few gains up here. Edinburgh West and North East Fife, both gained from the SNP at Holyrood last year are the top targets but seats like Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and Charles Kennedy’s old seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber are definitely in play. Winning back those highland heartlands from the SNP would be a marvellous thing and it is eminently doable.

On a UK level, we’ve gone up 4 points to 12% in a YouGov poll.

And there has been another important development:

UKIP are on the way down, and they certainly don’t seem to have learned any lessons about candidate approval, if one of their Glasgow council candidates is anything to go by. It’s quite something when being in favour of the guillotine and flogging are the mildest of your bizarre views. From the Herald:

She said: “I am not anti-gay – but how can you call that a community? Sex life is everybody’s private affair. You do not come out and declare openly. Do you think I am going all over the city and saying my idea of a sexually-attractive creature is a gorilla? When I go to a zoo and I see a gorilla my hormones go absolutely crazy. I find a gorilla very attractive.”

The mother-of-four was also adamant that mothers should stay at home and look after their young children, adding that councils should withdraw nursery funding.

She said: “When you have very small children it is advisable that you look after them yourself. If a woman is a dentist or a doctor, or in any career important to the community, we should do our best to get her back to work as soon as possible, because such careers shouldn’t really be interrupted. But if somebody sits in an office at a computer, I think her place is at home until the children are bigger.”

This week has seen us rise from the 7-8% levels where we have languished for too long to some consistent 11-12% showings. I’d rather see a slow and steady increase than a massive surge that evaporated.

Tim Farron is playing a blinder in the media at the moment. This morning he’s on Peston on Sunday at 10 am on ITV/STV.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Dan Tentler)

Security experts believe that tens of thousands of Windows computers may have been infected by a highly advanced National Security Agency backdoor. The NSA backdoor was included in last week's leak by the mysterious group known as Shadow Brokers.

DoublePulsar, as the NSA implant is code-named, was detected on more than 107,000 computers in one Internet scan. That scan was performed over the past few days by researchers from Binary Edge, a security firm headquartered in Switzerland. Binary Edge has more here. Separate mass scans, one done by Errata Security CEO Rob Graham and another by researchers from Below0day, detected roughly 41,000 and 30,000 infected machines, respectively. To remain stealthy, DoublePulsar doesn't write any files to the computers it infects. This design prevents it from persisting after an infected machine is rebooted. The lack of persistence may be one explanation for the widely differing results.


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Posted by Mike Smithson

Head to head: Fillon-LePen

Head to head: Melenchon-LePen

Head to head: Macron-LePen

Today the people of France are going to the polls in the first round of the Presidential Election. The polling stations close at 1900 BST and we should get the first exit polls shortly afterwards.

If the exit polling is close then we might see some delay before any figures are published. Unlike the UK where there is one single exit poll in France several media outlets have their own polls.

Since BREXIT and the election of Trump the big focus has been on whether the far right anti-EU Marine Le Pen could win.

For much of the time in the past year she had led the first round polling but in France coming top is not enough – the top two in today’s elections go forward to the run off two weeks today on Sunday May 7th.

The tables above show the hypothetical second round match ups covering the top four in the polling for today’s election.

As can be seen the person that Marine Le Pen least wants to face is the 39 year old independent who has been the huge surprise of this election. The French Republican party candidate, Francois Fillon, who has been very troubled during the campaign by a financial scandal would probably be a better opponent for her.

Before that scandal broke Fillon looked to be in with a very strong chance and the talk in the closing days of the campaign has been of “shy” Fillon supporters understating his polling strength.

In the betting Macron remains the odds-on favourite.

This has been the biggest non UK/US political betting event ever.

Mike Smithson

[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by TSE

Judging by the polls, the political mood, the intuition of most political watchers, and pretty much everyone in the country, sans the Corbynites, are expecting Mrs May’s Tories to win so comprehensively the only thing in doubt is which three figure number will be the size of the Tory majority, but today I’ll explain why that might be wrong, and why Mrs May could end up with just a modest double digit majority.

But here are the reasons why I think the Tory majority won’t be as massive as people think

1) Tory complacency

It seems every day new record breaking polls come out implying that the Tories are going win a stonking landslide on June the 8th, whilst Jeremy Corbyn and Labour would suffer less punishment if they booked 400 dominatrices concurrently that night and chose ‘mower’ as their safe word.

This is likely to depress turnout as voters, especially Tories think the result is in the bag. This could see Labour holding on to seats they should be losing if the polls are accurate because of low turnout.

2) Shy Labour voters

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader, you can see why Labour voters would be shy about admitting voting for Labour, this isn’t just conjecture on my part, there’s actual evidence for it.

ICM’s spiral of silence adjustment is reducing Tory leads on a regular basis by a few per cent each time. It is entirely possible that ICM are underestimating it because of 3)

3) The Love Labour, hate Corbyn voters.

If you’re a long standing Labour voter who hates Corbyn but like your local Labour MP, such as Wes Streeting or John Woodcock for example, who happen to be a vocal critics of Corbyn, what are you going to do? A) Let in a Tory MP, or B) back that anti-Corbyn MP? It’s B isn’t it, a no brainer as some would say.

These are the sort of people I suspect tell pollsters they won’t vote Labour as way of trying to force Corbyn out.

4) Labour could get the ‘sympathy shag vote’

This is  the antonym of 1) There are lots of voters out there who like the Labour party as an idea, as a concept, as a force for good and who whilst might not like Jeremy Corbyn want neither a result so bad that Labour can’t ever recover from/or take decades to recover from, nor do they want the Tories to have such a huge majority so they can do whatever they wish. So these voters pity Labour’s plight in the polls and give them their vote out of sympathy.

5) Whisper it very carefully, Mrs May might not actually be that popular

First of all there’s the polling that shows her popularity is equally down to her not being Jeremy Corbyn nor would she be losing the majority of the Tory gains from the Lib Dems that her election strategist found, a PM with polling leads of 25% really shouldn’t be doing that.

People compare her to Mrs Thatcher, but what has Mrs May really achieved that is comparable to Mrs Thatcher had prior to her 1983 and 1987 landslides? No war won, no massive reform of the UK, so far only a slogan, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

Plus Mrs May’s a crap campaigner, no wonder she’s frightened to meet real voters or to debate Corbyn, given her failure to consistently crush him at PMQs. Macavity May hid during the EU referendum, as PM she can’t hide during a general election campaign. Mrs May is a crap campaigner, this is a narrative I and others expect to develop, especially if she refuses to debate Corbyn and the other party leaders.

6) Sir Lynton Crosby might not have enough time to work his magic at this general election

In 2015 Sir Lynton spent two years polling, focus grouping, and message testing the hell out of what strategies and memes would win the election, such as the long term economic plan. This election he might have only a few weeks to do all that, and his end product might not be his best or even a match to his 2015 work product.

7) Perhaps Sir Lynton is overrated and not the master strategist we think he is

Yes he did help win the 2015 general election, and oversaw Boris Johnson’s two wins as London Mayor, but he also oversaw the Tory election defeat in 2005, and the less said about the his contribution in Zac Goldsmith’s unsuccessful campaign to be London Mayor last year. Even Zac’s sister criticised the whole approach, that’s how bad a campaign it was, with many describing it as “dog-whistle racism.”

Perhaps 2015 was won purely down to Cameron’s leadership, Osborne’s magnificent stewardship of the economy, and the fear of a Labour/SNP coalition government.

8) No Lord Ashcroft constituency polling to blindside the Tory opponents this time

One Tory activist I spoke to in the aftermath of the election victory in 2015 said the party owed Lord Ashcroft a debt of gratitude for his constituency polls, which inadvertently led the Lib Dems to feel more confident (and possibly) overconfident about their chances of holding their seats from the Tories.

Whilst the polls also reinforced Labour’s belief in the ground game, where the polls indicated Labour was doing better in the Lab/Con marginals.

This allowed the Tories to campaign under the radar and win whilst their opponents believed the Ashcroft polling.

9) That expenses saga might be game changers on two levels which doesn’t help the Tories

Given allegations from last time, I suspect we won’t see Tory activists being bussed in to key seats, this  might make the Tories  to lose seats they hold and fail to take the seats they are expected to gain.

Secondly if charges are brought during the campaign, as Hillary Clinton found out, things like this can change the polls.

10) After all the polling failures in recent years, is anyone 100% confident that the polls are accurate.

Just look at that (in)famous Guardian front page from two years ago, during the last general election campaign, and the failures some pollsters had during the EU referendum, is anyone truly confident the polling problems have been entirely sorted out, especially with the reasons listed above? Last night’s polls and the reactions therein had a similar feel at times, or even the Cleggasm, and we all know how those turned out.

I expect Mrs May will win a decent majority, and I know a few PBers who last night bought the Tories at 378 seats for £30 a seat, I’ll be joining them in the morning, but if come June 9th that bet becomes a loser, it’ll be for the reasons listed above. Success equals performance minus anticipation. Right now the anticipation is for a three figure majority, anything less will feel like a disappointing night for Mrs May, she should help lower expectations.



Three apologises after network problems

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 02:19 am
[syndicated profile] bbc_technology_news_feed
The mobile phone company says some customers were unable to send texts or make calls on Saturday.

St. George's Day 2017

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 12:21 am
[syndicated profile] googledoodles_feed

St. George's Day 2017

Date: April 23, 2017

Legend has it that he rode to the town of Silene in Libya on a white horse, saved a princess from her untimely end, and slayed a dragon in one fell swoop. Today, that Roman soldier is remembered on St. George’s Day.

In 1415, St. George’s Day was pronounced a national feast day and holiday in England. In modern times, he’s commemorated with parades and dancing and the waving of flags. His insignia, a red cross against a stark white background, became England’s flag, and is omnipresent at English football, cricket and rugby matches.

Our Doodle captures the magic of St. George as he courageously crusades against the mighty dragon, surrounded by boughs of beautiful roses. The illustration is by guest artist Marina Muun, whose colorful, fanciful work has been featured The New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, Wrap Magazine and V&A, among many others.

Location: United Kingdom

Tags: National Holiday, History, Dragon, Roses, Knight, England, Literature, Guest Artist

France Elections 2017 (Part 1)

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 10:49 pm
[syndicated profile] googledoodles_feed

France Elections 2017 (Part 1)

Date: April 23, 2017

Today in France, voters head to the polls for the first round of the presidential election. French citizens will choose from 11 candidates — a record-breaking number. If no candidate wins a majority (the typical outcome), a second round of voting will take place in May.

Location: France

Tags: elections, voting, democracy, ballot, Current Event

National Sovereignty and Children's Day 2017

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 10:49 pm
[syndicated profile] googledoodles_feed

National Sovereignty and Children's Day 2017

Date: April 23, 2017

Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day connects two important pieces of history; it’s when the Grand National Assembly of Turkey convened for the first time in 1920; and when the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dedicated the fledgling Republic to the children who would inherit it.

Happy National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, Turkey!

Illustrated by guest artist, Ipek Konak

Location: Turkey


107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 09:20 pm
[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Cathleen O'Grady

Enlarge (credit: flickr user: 派脆客 Lee)

The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn’t the journal’s first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals— 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason.

It’s possible to fake peer review because authors are often asked to suggest potential reviewers for their own papers. This is done because research subjects are often blindingly niche; a researcher working in a sub-sub-field may be more aware than the journal editor of who is best-placed to assess the work.

But some journals go further and request, or allow, authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. If the editor isn’t aware of the potential for a scam, they then merrily send the requests for review out to fake e-mail addresses, often using the names of actual researchers. And at the other end of the fake e-mail address is someone who’s in on the game and happy to send in a friendly review.

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Lib Dems will not go into coalition – Farron

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 09:31 pm
[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Caron Lindsay

Tim Farron has done what I’d been hoping and ruled out the Liberal Democrats going into coalition with either Tories or Labour.

This means that the Tory argument that Corbyn, Sturgeon and Farron will get together and do a deal with the Loch Ness Monster to crash the stock exchange (ok, maybe the last bit of that was an exaggeration) is shown to be nonsense. People can vote Liberal Democrat with confidence knowing that we will do everything we can to oppose the Tories and Labour on Brexit.

It also has the advantage of putting to bed at the earliest stage of the campaign the endless questions about who we would go into coalition with and what would we compromise on. This has dominated questions to Lib Dem leaders in past elections and it is good that we have eliminated it. There is no way that we could credibly do a deal with either. Providing serious issue by issue opposition is what we will be doing.

Here’s what Tim said in an email to party members:

I want to make this clear.

The Liberal Democrats will not enter into any coalition deal with either Theresa May’s Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

On Thursday 8th June, every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to change the direction of our country and stop a hard Brexit.

The reasons for this decision are simple.

Under no conditions can we sign up to Theresa May’s Hard Brexit agenda; a hard Brexit will be a disaster for Britain. It risks crashing our economy and leaving us isolated on the global stage.

And Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for the country – he has no plan for the country, our economy and offers no leadership – and as Labour leader, every time it has mattered he has given Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.

Over the next 46 days, we’re going to offer the British people a real alternative and a vision of a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.

Together, we are going to elect more Liberal Democrat MPs and change the direction of our country.

Let’s make it happen.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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Posted by TSE


The polling that made me swear out loud. Scotland could have 12 (Twelve) Tory MPs

Betting post – William Hill: Total Conservative Party Seats In Scotland Over/Under Over 9.5 at 20/1 – FILL YOUR BOOTS

The real story of tonight is the cratering of UKIP which is helping the Tories, for those in Labour who think things can only get better…..

There are some other polls due tonight, I’ll try and update the thread when they come out.


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Posted by Paul Walter

The Observer reports:

The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has ruled out any form of coalition with the Tories or Labour after the general election as he sets out a bold ambition to attract enough Remain voters to form the main opposition party in parliament.

In a dramatic shift of strategy for a party that entered coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 in the “national interest”, Farron said in an interview with the Observer that there will be “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances.

He insisted that both the Tories and Labour were intent on driving through a hard Brexit, which would include taking the UK out of the single market, and that his party had a duty to offer a distinct alternative, including a policy that would keep open a possibility of the UK staying in the EU.

“There is no way we can countenance any kind of arrangement or coalition with the Conservative party and likewise with the Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn,” Farron said. “He [Corbyn] accepted hard Brexit, he voted for it. He enabled it. It has put us in the situation we are now in.”

You can read the full article here, and there is a full interview with Tim Farron in tomorrow’s Observer here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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Posted by Paul Walter

Campaigns, of course, are already up and running across the country for the May 4th local elections, but Theresa May’s announcement has given even greater impetus to Lib Dem activists across the country.

Here’s a round-up of some of today’s action via Twitter – please let us know about any other team action photos in the comments field below!:

Caroline Pidgeon was up in Cambridge lending her support to Julian Huppert in his campaign to regain the city’s parliamentary seat and also to Rod Cantrill in his bid to be the first Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:

Jane Dodds and the team have been out in Montgomeryshire:

Layla Moran in OXWAB has been briefing a batch of new volunteers:

Clare Pierce and team have been out canvassing for Dawn Barnes in Hornsey and Wood Green:

Joshua Dixon also tweets good news about the strength of Dawn’s campaign:

Carole Ford and associate was out in the heart of Glasgow finding unprompted support for Jo Swinson:

There was standing room only at Ed Davey’s campaign launch:

Tom Brake tweeted a photograph of a very fulsome team about to go out in Carshalton and Wallington:

Vince Cable and team took advantage of the sunny afternoon to pioneer outside stuffing!:

And Claire Young was out in Thornbury and Yate:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

YouGov, ComRes and Survation voting intentions

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 08:02 pm
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Posted by Anthony Wells

As well as the Opinium poll I’ve already written about, there is also a ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times tonight. In addition there’s a Panelbase poll of Scotland for the Sunday Times.

The ComRes poll has topline figures of CON 50%(+4), LAB 25%(nc), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 7%(-2), GRN 3%(-1). It echoes the same pattern we’ve seen in every other poll conducted since the general election was announced – UKIP dropping, the Conservatives increasing, and a huge lead for the Tories. The fifty point share for the Conservatives is apprently the highest ComRes have ever shown for anyone, though the last time any poll showed it was, I think, MORI giving the Conservatives 52% in 2008. Full tabs are here.

UPDATE: YouGov‘s Sunday Times poll has topline figures for Great Britain of CON 48%(nc), LAB 25%(+1), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 5%(-2) – changes are from the YouGov/Times poll in the week. UKIP are continuing to fall, 5% is the lowest YouGov have shown them for five years. According to Tim Shipman the Panelbase/Sunday Times Scottish survey is also very strong for the Tories, I’ll update when it appears.

UPDATE2: There is also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday. Survation topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 29%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%. Changes from the last Survation poll in January are Conservatives up two, Labour unchanged, the Lib Dems up one and UKIP down two. The hyperbolic Mail on Sunday headline about the Tory lead being halved appears to be based on comparing it to the ICM poll conducted straight after the election was called. As ever one should only compare polls from the same company conducted using the same methodology – otherwise it’s just as likely that any difference is down to different methodological approaches (there are significant differences between how ICM and Survation weight their data, model turnout and deal with don’t knows).

However, ignoring the Mail’s write up and taking the Survation poll on its own merits, it is showing a tighter race than the other polls – Labour and UKIP are a couple of points higher than other companies’ figures, the Conservatives lower. The fieldwork was a little later (conducted on Friday and Saturday), but time will tell if it’s because the Tory lead has peaked and dropped or just because of methodological differences. Tabs for the Survation poll are here.

Meanwhile the Survation/Sunday Post poll of Scotland has topline figures of SNP 43%(-7), CON 28%(+13), LAB 18%(-6), LDEM 9%(+1). Changes are from the 2015 general election – if repeated they would reflect a drop in the SNP lead and a very significant advance for the Scottish Tories, making them the clear second party in Scotland. A Panelbase/Sunday Times poll of Scotland is also due out overnight – I’ll update on that tomorrow.

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Posted by Joe Mullin

(credit: Department of Justice)

Russian hacker Roman Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison today. He was convicted of causing more than $169 million in damage by hacking into point-of-sale computers.

Seleznev, aka "Track2," would hack into computers belonging to both small businesses and large financial institutions, according to prosecutors. He was arrested in the Maldives in 2014 with a laptop that had more than 1.7 million credit card numbers. After an August 2016 trial, Seleznev was convicted on 38 counts, including wire fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft.

The sentence is quite close to the 30 years that the government asked for. Prosecutors said Seleznev deserved the harsh sentence because he was "a pioneer" who helped grow the market for stolen credit card data and because he "became one of the most revered point-of-sale hackers in the criminal underworld."

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The election battlegrounds

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 06:40 pm
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Posted by Anthony Wells

Realistically there are four main battlefields in the general election. First is that between Conservative and Labour, which is the battle that will really determine how large the Conservative majority is (and how badly Labour are damaged by an election fought when they are at a historic low). Next there are the Lib Dem battles, against Labour and against the Conservatives – polls and by-elections suggest the Lib Dems are staging a recovery, but what is the potential to convert that into seats? Finally there is the position in Scotland, which these days is a wholly distinct battle from the rest of the UK: will the SNP repeat their almost clean sweep of Scottish seats?

Note that EU referendum results weren’t actually counted by constituency – the figures here are all the estimates produced by Chris Hanretty of UEA.

Conservative vs Labour battleground

This is the largest, and the real show in this election. How many seats will the Tories take off Labour, how deep into usual Labour territory will they stretch?

There are forty-two Con-Lab seats that would fall on a uniform swing of five points (including Copeland which the Tories have gained in a by-election already), eighty-two that would fall on a swing of ten points. To explain that to those who I know find talk of swings at elections baffling – a swing of 5 points is the equivalent of one party going down five points and another going up, so if a party has a majority of ten percentage points, their opponent would need a swing of five points to defeat them. This means a five point swing is the equivalent of a seventeen point Tory lead in the GB polls (ten points up from 2015), a ten point swing would be a towering twenty-seven point lead in a GB poll. A victory by twenty-seven points is, of course, a fairly outlandish prospect, but in reality the swing will not be uniform. Labour will hold some seats against the tide, and the Conservatives will take some seats that needed swings beyond the national average.

Looking down the list there are a couple of inner London seats that are heavy with young professionals and voted strongly Remain… but these largely have very small majorities, so might fall to the Tories despite that. There are also those seats that Labour took off the Tories in 2015, largely ripe for being retaken on modest swings – places like Brentford, Chester, Dewsbury, Enfield North, Wirral West and Wolverhampton SW. Birmingham Edgbaston, a perennial Tory target that people assume has remained Labour due to the personal popularity of Gisela Stuart is there (Stuart is not, she is stepping down)

The small number of Labour holdouts in the South outside London are almost all on the list – Hove has a majority of only 2%, though was heavily Remain. Labour’s last seat in the South Hampshire conurbation – Southampton Test – falls on a four and half percent swing, as does Bristol East. Exeter would need a swing of six and half percent to fall. Luton South and Bristol South fall on seven percent swings. That leaves only Slough (a 15% Labour majority and a high BME vote that the Tories would struggle with, though Labour lose any incumbency vote from Fiona Mactaggart’s retirement) and the probably impregnable 22% majority in Luton North.

Most of the list is, however, made up of seats in the suburbs and provincial towns and cities of the Midlands and North. The outskirts of the West Midlands conurbation are well represented, with seats in Dudley, Coventry, Northfield, Walsall and Wolverhampton on the theoretical target list, as is Greater Manchester, with plausible targets in Bury, Bolton and Worsley. There’s another group of marginals in North-East Wales and the Wirral – Wirral South and West, Ellesmere Port, Wrexham, Delyn and Alyn & Deeside. The great Northern cities themselves aren’t there – the Conservatives are not viable in Liverpool, Manchester or Sheffield; Tynemouth is the only seat on Tyneside.

Looking down the list of Labour MPs at risk there are pro and anti-Corbyn MPs in the firing line: John Woodcock who is standing but refusing to endorse Corbyn is in the 8th most vulnerable seat, Corbyn ally Cat Smith is in the 14th. Mary Creagh and Vernon Coaker have only 6% majorities to defend, Lindsay Hoyle – a favourite to be the next Speaker if he survives – has a 9% majority in Chorley.

Conservative vs Lib Dem battleground

The expectation is that the Conservatives will win seats from Labour, but that this will be blunted to some degree by losses to the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems have staged a modest recovery in the national polls and a strong recovery in local by-election contests. On a straight national swing we shouldn’t necessarily expect them to win anything from the Tories – the Tory vote has increased as much as the Lib Dem vote. In practice, however, I would expect the Lib Dem recovery to be concentrated in places with a history of recent Lib Dem support and places that voted against Brexit.

That said, the Liberal Democrats will have pull out some impressive swings to get more than a modest number of gains. There are only ten Conservative seats with the Lib Dems in second that have majorities under 10%, another fifteen with majorities under 20%. Few of these seats were strongly pro-Remain: Kingston & Surbiton and Twickenham voted heavily against Brexit and are high on the target list, but the Lib Dem targets in Cornwall and the South West mostly voted to Leave. All of these seats are places that had Lib Dem MPs recently, and I would expect many of those former MPs to seek a rematch – the most prominent, Vince Cable, has already confirmed he is to stand again in Twickenham.

Labour vs Lib Dem battleground

Given the catastrophic performance of the Lib Dems in Labour areas in 2015 there are actually very few Lab-Lib Dem marginals on paper. In many seats that we are used to thinking of as Labour held Lib Dem targets (Sheffield Central, say) the Lib Dems collapsed to such an extent they are no longer in second place. There are plausible places where they could come from third place to win if they do particularly well, such as Bristol West and Norwich South. While there are Leave seats on this list, the most plausible Lib Dem pick ups are the mix of inner-city and university seats that voted overwhelmingly for Remain – the sort of young, well-educated areas where the Lib Dems have traditionally excelled like Cambridge, Bermondsey and Manchester. Again, these are all seats that the Lib Dems previously held and in some cases former Lib Dem MPs will be standing again – Julian Huppert and Simon Hughes are confirmed as the candidates in their former seats.

The SNP Defence

In 2015 Scotland was a crushing victory for the SNP, sweeping almost all before them. It was an effective lesson in what happens under the First Past the Post system when a new political cleavage becomes dominant, people on one side have a clear main party to vote for and the other side is split between three different parties: the side with a united vote utterly smashes the other side.

In terms of support the SNP are in the same sort of dominant position they were in 2015 and I think we can be relatively safe in predicting another easy SNP victory. The interesting thing in terms of seats will be the behaviour of the other parties. The defence list of SNP seats is below – but don’t just look at the majorities, look at the shares too. For example, in both Dumfries & Galloway and Paisley & Renfrewshire North the SNP has a majority of 12%. However, in Paisley that represented an overall majority of the vote, in Dumfries the SNP vote was ten points lower, but the Unionist vote was split.

The SNP will almost certainly win the vast majority of seats, but whether they manage another almost clean sweep depends on if the Unionist vote remains split, or whether Unionist voters vote tactically for the party best placed to beat the SNP. Since 2015 the Scottish Parliament elections and the subsequent polls suggest that the Scottish Tories have sneaked past Labour to become the most popular Unionist party in Scotland… whether Scottish Labour voters are willing to vote tactically for a Tory is an interesting question.

Other interesting seats

Besides those main battlegrounds there are, as always, various other seats that are interesting in their own unique ways and worth keeping an eye on:

  • Thurrock was an extremely tight three way marginal between UKIP, Conservative and Labour in 2015. If the UKIP vote collapses towards the Tories it should be safe for them.
  • Richmond Park was a Conservative seat in 2015 but has already been won by the Lib Dems on a huge swing after Zac Goldsmith’s resignation. Can they retain it without the focus of a by-election and a proper Conservative candidate against them?
  • Brighton Pavilion is currently the Green party’s sole seat – with Labour in retreat they should hold it.
  • Bristol West and Sheffield Central both have the Green party in second place. In Bristol the Greens are very clearly the main challenger, 5000 ahead of the Lib Dems in third place. Sheffield Central meanwhile is a very pro-Remain university seat where the Lib Dems have traditionally done very well.
  • Manchester Gorton was due to have had a by-election, cancelled because it was overtaken by the general election. The Lib Dems were reporting a strong performance there and they will, of course, already have done a lot of leafletting and campaigning there.
  • Ynys Mon and Edinburgh South are the two Labour seats at most risk to Nationalist candidates – Plaid in Ynys Mon and the SNP in Edinburgh South, their sole remaining Scottish seat
  • In Southport the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh is standing down. Given their reliance upon the personal vote of their Members of Parliament the Lib Dems have sometimes struggled to pass on seats when an MP retires (though they have done so in Southport before, retaining the seat when Ronnie Fearn stepped down in 2001)
  • Orkney and Shetland is the Lib Dems sole seat in Scotland, a Liberal seat since 1950. Alistair Carmichael survived a failed legal challenge to his election in 2015, concluding that he had not committed any illegal practice, but that he had lied. Whether that saga has any impact on Carmichael’s support remains to be seen.
  • Finally there is Clacton, UKIP’s sole constituency at the 2015 general election. It was held by Douglas Carswell at a by-election when he defected from the Conservatives and again at the general election. Carswell himself has since left UKIP and endorsed the Conservatives at the next general election, though will not stand himself. That may mean it is an easy Conservative gain, though Arron Banks is still to confirm whether or not he will go through with his intention to stand there now Carswell has stepped down.
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Posted by Kelly Fiveash

Enlarge / Smile, you're in the middle of a grief tsunami! (credit: Simon Ridgway/BBC)

This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Smile. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who broadcasts on Saturdays at 7:20pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Emojis aren't only the future of language for us doomed earthlings, but we're also the only poor saps throughout the universe who use them. This is one of many things that the Doctor's ace new companion Bill Potts learns from her intergalactic tutor in Smile, the second instalment of series 10 of Doctor Who.

While Nardole (Matt Lucas) is left back at base grumpily guarding the mysterious vault in the bowels of the university and making a brew (NB: for our American readers, that's a cup of tea), Bill (Pearl Mackie) tells the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) that she wants to travel to the future. "Why?" he asks. "I wanna see if it's happy," she says.

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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

(credit: Ed Araquel/FOX)

Grab your flashlights: Mulder and Scully will be back for 10 more episodes of The X-Files during the 2017-2018 season. Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will revive the iconic 1990s-era roles that they briefly resumed during a short 2016 run.

The pair traded fun tweets on Thursday.

"Iconic characters, rich storytelling, bold creators—these are the hallmarks of great TV shows," Fox Broadcasting Company President David Madden said in a statement. “And they are some of the reasons why The X-Files has had such a profound impact on millions of fans worldwide.”

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Posted by Neil Tollfree

Michael-Gove-faceThe genuine horror of another General Election campaign finally became apparent to millions of voters yesterday after Michael Gove appeared on the news.
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Posted by Lucas Wilde

man-thumbs-upThere was nationwide joy today as hordes of uneducated dullards revealed their plans to simply draw a massive cock on their ballot papers this June.
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Posted by Sam Machkovech

(credit: Adult Swim Games)

Roughly one year into commercial VR's lifetime, two of its games have emerged as the funniest: Job Simulator and Accounting. The former, made by Owlchemy Labs, is an elaborate toy playset set in a dystopian future, while the latter is an off-the-wall humor experiment that hinges on its VR characters shouting ridiculous things. The first is funny because of how it lets you play around; the other is funny because of its endless stream of spoken jokes (helmed largely by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland).

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, then, is VR comedy's chocolate and peanut butter—because it really does squish the aforementioned games together. The bonkers designers at Owlchemy teamed up with the writing and production staff at Rick and Morty, including Roiland, to give the Adult Swim animated series its first VR game (and, arguably, its most full-blown video game altogether). True to its source material, Virtual Rickality is hilarious and weird, and series fans will want to experience it. But it's also a reminder of VR's limits as an entertainment medium, a fact that the series' fans will more easily forgive than anybody who lands on this game as a newcomer.

How many clones can he kill?

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Opinium/Observer – CON 45%, LAB 26%, LD 11%, UKIP 9%

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 04:47 pm
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Posted by Anthony Wells

Opinium have a new poll in the Observer this evening. Topline voting intention figures with changes from a week ago are CON 45%(+7), LAB 26%(-3), LDEM 11%(+4), UKIP 9%(-5).

Like the YouGov and ICM polls in the week, UKIP’s vote has fallen sharply to the benefit of the Conservative party. With all three polls conducted since Theresa May’s announcement showing this same pattern I think we can be confident it’s a real trend. On the face of it a significant number of people who were saying they’d vote UKIP when asked about a hypothetical election appear to be saying they’d vote Conservative now there is an actual election just seven weeks away.

Full tabs are here.

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Posted by TSE

Since Theresa May announced the general election, we’ve had three polls, with leads of 21%, 24%, and now 19% for the blues. The trend is not Labour’s friend. We might need to come up with a new adjective for  just how rubbish Corbyn is.

This poll presages an absolute shellacking for Labour. If Labour had any sense they’d depose the voter repellent in the next week.

In the write up

Separate analysis by Opinium, which has been tracking the same 2,000 voters throughout this parliament, found that only 53% of those who had said they intended to vote Ukip in February are still planning to do so in the 8 May election, with 30% of them saying they will transfer allegiance to the Tories.

The crumbling of backing for Ukip appears to be the main reason for the dramatic surge in enthusiasm for May’s party. Labour’s fall may be the result of voters who were strongly in favour of Remain in the Brexit referendum last June deserting the party for the anti-Brexit Lib Dems.

When those who now choose the Lib Dems were asked to give the main reason they are deciding to back Tim Farron’s party, 50% said that it was because of its stance on Brexit. Just 6% of Labour voters said Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit was their main reason for backing Labour.

For me one of the most interesting aspects of this poll is the Lib Dems are on 11%. Due to the house of effects Opinium, the Lib Dems do quite poorly with this pollster, they had the Lib Dems on 4% last summer. So 11% with this pollster is very impressive for Tim Farron’s party.

Depending on the right odds I might fancy a bet on whether we will have at least one poll from a BPC registered pollster to see the Lib Dems ahead of Labour.

Tonight I’m also expecting a GB wide YouGov poll in The Sunday Times and a Scottish poll in one of the Scottish papers.


Table for Two | ‘We had a little kiss’

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 04:21 pm
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Posted by Attitude Magazine

Daniel (left)
Age: 24
Occupation: Account Manager

Conor (right)
Age: 27
Occupation: Writer

What were your first impressions?

Daniel: Immediately I knew he wasn’t my usual ‘type’ but I hate it when people say that, and we started chatting straight away. We were laughing and seemed to get on from the start so I knew it wasn’t going to be an awful evening!

Conor:  Relief. While not my usual type, Dan is an undeniably handsome man and I’m only human. Nice smile and good teeth. Good teeth are always important.

How was the conversation and what did you talk about?

Daniel: I can’t remember most of what we spoke about but he was so easy to talk to and there was hardly any silence the whole night. We both shared a love for crappy reality TV and the Sugababes so there was plenty to discuss.

Conor:  Conversation was relaxed and flowed well. He maintained eye contact, made me smile and I was never made to feel uncomfortable. Subjects ranged from ourselves, our music tastes (he’s a Britney Gay but I can work around it) and [New Zealand reality show] The GC.

What was the most interesting thing about him?

Daniel: He recently got made redundant, which he was surprisingly calm about. He’s a writer and really creative so was interesting to hear him talk about that.

Conor:  Despite not sharing many of his interests, he was invested, passionate and cared about his own which is an important and extremely attractive quality for someone to have.

What do you think they thought of you?

Daniel: I hope he thought I was nice! We got on really well so hopefully he also had a good time.

Conor:  Opinionated and obnoxious yet charismatic. Beautiful eyes and smile. And funny. I am funny.

How was the food?

Daniel: Really good. We were both a bit clueless when it came to ordering good wine but managed to muddle through.

Conor:  Delish! I had a fillet steak with black truffle because I’m an opulent cow.

Any awkward moments?

Daniel: Only when he said he was really into horoscopes. But I think I handled it with the correct amount of sarcasm.

Conor:  When we first met I went in for a hug and patted his back like a heterosexual. So that. Having our photos taken was also painful after having only just met and I’m dreading seeing them in print.

How did the night end?

Daniel: We had a little kiss, exchanged numbers and went our separate ways.

Conor: He asked for my number and we shared a kiss goodnight.

Daniel and Conor dined at M Restaurant, Victoria Street, London.

Snog, marry, avoid?

Daniel: Snog

Conor:  If I believed in marriage, I’d consider.

Will you meet again?

Daniel: Hopefully. With me living in Brighton and him in London, things may be difficult but I’d definitely be up for hanging out again

Conor:  I hope so. I want to.

Date Rating

Daniel: 9/10

Conor:  10/10

If you’re in London and would like to go on a blind date for Attitude’s Table For Two, email chris.godfrey@attitude.co.uk.

You can see more Table for Two in the latest issue of Attitude’s May issue. Buy in printdownload or subscribe.

More stories:
Guardians of the Galaxy to feature an LGBT+ character?
Gay men in Chechnya give harrowing accounts of abuse – WATCH

General Election Webinars 2017

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 03:48 pm
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Posted by Natalie Chindipha

We will be hosting a series of webinars for party members in the run up to the 2017 General Election. These sessions will arm you with essential skills needed during the campaign, including media training, fundraising and campaign skills.

Full details below:

How to get confident & in control with the media

Tuesday 25 April 2017|Time 5-6pm| Trainer: Laura Shields – Media Trainer, Director of The Media Coach & chair of Brussels Lib Dems.

This session will cover:

  • How to understand a journalist’s mindset
  • Tricks of the media
  • How to build effective messages
  • Staying in control

Register here


Wednesday 26 April 2017|Time 5-6pm| Trainer: HQ Fundraising Team 

  • How to identify campaign donors
  • Making your case for funding
  • Increasing your resources

Register here

Winning Young Votes | Date TBC

The session will cover:

  • Tapping in to policy priorities for young people
  • Communicating effectively across generations


Get in touch at candidates@libdems.org.uk for more details!

* Natalie Chindipha has been Diversity & Talent Support Manager since July 2016. She works within the Diversity Team at LDHQ to support and encourage diversity initiatives across the party.

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Posted by Cathleen O'Grady

Enlarge (credit: flickr user: Richard)

There has been a lot of talk about the millions of people worldwide whose homes will be at the mercy of rising sea levels. Within the US, a 1.8-meter rise in the oceans by 2100 could displace as many as 13.1 million people. Worldwide, up to 180 million people could be at risk.

There has been less talk about where exactly those people will go when they leave their homes. Research on climate migration has painted sea level rise as “primarily a coastal issue,” writes Mathew E. Hauer in Nature Climate Change this week. But the inland regions that absorb climate change migrants will need to have sufficient transport, housing, and infrastructure to absorb the migrants.

To get a picture of what this might look like within the US, Hauer combined two different sets of data in a predictive model. This kind of model relies on a lot of different assumptions, but it provides a starting sketch of what the impact on inland areas might be.

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Posted by Megan Geuss

Enlarge (credit: Juisir)

A cold-press juicer maker called Juicero found itself at the centre of a lot of unwanted attention this week when Bloomberg reporters discovered that they could press juice out of the company’s proprietary juice bags with their bare hands—without the help of the accompanying £400 appliance.

But Juicero apparently still wants to be the only company to offer this type of appliance, as it filed a complaint (PDF) in federal court against another cold-press juice bag squeezer called Juisir earlier this month.

Juicero claims that Juisir, developed by Chinese company iTaste and marketed and imported with the help of Australian company Froothie, infringes on a patent Juicero was granted in November 2016. Juicero said in its April 6 complaint that Juisir also violates the Silicon Valley company’s trade dress and trademark rights.

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Labour says it would introduce legislation to tackle the "public health emergency" if in power.
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Posted by Paul Walter

Responding to reports Donald Trump will put the EU ahead of the UK in trade talks, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

This is a devastating blow to Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans.

Yet another claim by the Brexiteers, that Britain would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal with US, now lies in tatters.

Theresa May should now make clear she will prioritise a trade deal with the EU over one with Trump.

It’s not too late to prevent a hard Brexit and keep Britain in the Single Market.

This election is a chance to change the direction of our country.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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Posted by Chris Lee

Enlarge (credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns/Getty Images)

I think everyone is aware of the trick with invisible ink. Write your message in lemon juice on paper, and when the juice dries it cannot be seen. But if you heat the paper, the lemon juice reacts with it and turns brown, bringing forth your shining prose for all to read.

That's so old school—I want laser powered invisible writing (and, no, I am not paid to make sense. Why do you ask?). Since lasers are what make life worthwhile, others evidently felt the same. Lo and behold, there has now been laser-powered invisible writing.

Watching glass glow

To create laser powered invisible writing, we need to delve into how light interacts with matter. Imagine a glass plate. If I shine a laser through the glass plate, pretty much nothing seems to happen. But internally, there is a whole lot going on. The electric field from the laser beam grabs hold of the electrons surrounding the atoms in the glass and gives them a good shaking. As the electrons shake up and down, they absorb and re-emit light from the laser. The color doesn't change, but the light slows down a little.

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Posted by Valentina Palladino

Note: YouTube TV isn't available in the UK, or indeed anywhere a select few US cities. It might launch here one day. But we're still waiting for YouTube Red, which launched way back in October 2015.

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

YouTube TV is now available in a couple of cities across the country, marking Google's first push into the live-TV streaming market. Many cord-cutters' ears perked up when the service was announced; it provides about 40 channels for $35 per month, including all major broadcast networks and a bunch of sports channels. But while the initial reaction was positive, we now have a clearer picture of what YouTube TV offers and the pros and cons of choosing it over another live-TV streaming service.

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Posted by Paul Walter

St Stephen’s Hall, Houses of Parliament – some rights reserved by UK Parliament

Despite understandable security measures, it is still easy to visit the Houses of Parliament and watch the proceedings.

I went there this week. You basically present yourself at the Cromwell Green entrance, which is halfway along the building by the big statue of Oliver Cromwell. At the gate, they tend to ask you why you want to come in – but you just have to say “I want to go to the public gallery of the House of Commons (or Lords)” and they’ll let you in (having checked that the queues are not too long). You then get given a green card and are seen by a policeman who gives you a little briefing. You then go through the inevitable airport security check and you are in.

It’s worth noting that it is your right as a citizen to enter Parliament and ask to see your MP at the central lobby. You are advised to book an appointment with your MP for such a meeting, but you don’t have to. Of course, he or she might not be in Parliament if you turn up unannounced, but all UK residents have a right to walk into parliament for such a purpose or to watch proceedings.

Once you are in you do have a surprising amount of freedom to linger and wander through the place, without any “shooing along” from officials. There are officials and security guards around, but it is really quite surprising how free you are to “mooch about” and admire the various paintings, plaques, ceilings etc. You get to stroll through Westminster Hall, which is magnificent and the most historic part of the present Parliamentary buildings. Charles I was tried there.

You eventually arrive at St Stephens Hall, which is used now as a corridor or waiting room, but in its own right is a most magnificent room. On this site was St Stephen’s Chapel, which was used as the Commons chamber until 1834. The historical murals are outstanding. It’s a good place for people spotting, as many of the great and good walk up the corridor to get to the chambers and committee rooms. In half an hour this week I spotted: Bill Gates (Yes! Bill Gates!), the Home Secretary, Eric Pickles and various Labour MPs. Dr Liam Fox walked back and forwards down the corridor about five times over the period, perhaps indicating that he has a lot of time on his hands.

Having rested on the comfortable benches and admired the murals, you are eventually given a pass for the gallery, having signed a pledge not to create a disturbance therein.

Some very nice people usher you up the steps and remove anything which might do any harm to our elected representatives or other people in the gallery, like sharp instruments or, in my case, a hardback book (?).

You are then sat in the Commons chamber with only a multi-million pound piece of perspex between you and….well it happened to be Treasury Minister David Gauke speaking from the dispatch box when I got in there.

Witnessing some of the less enthralling moments of the Commons is all part of one’s education as a citizen, I think.

Dear old Gauky had the unenviable task of getting approval for a report to the EU telling them that we are trying very hard to make our economy converge with other EU countries’ economies, even though we’re leaving the EU. I kid you not. Peter Dowd replied for Labour with an excellent speech – if you read it. Unfortunately he read it very badly – making what I think is called a “fluff” about twice a sentence. Oh dear.

I then witnessed an adjournment debate. This was a debate on the need for justice for the Ballydugan Four led by Jim Shannon MP.

We were then asked to stand in the public gallery as “Madam Deputy Speaker” declared the session terminated, and the grand golden mace was ceremonially removed from its position at the dispatch box.

Yes, this is all a bit arcane. But it is only right that citizens see Parliament at first hand, if they can spare the time and expense to get to London.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Will Stroude

A talented young singer bullied for his love of make-up gave those who’ve made his life a misery the proverbial two fingers on The Ellen Show this week with a stunning performance that left the studio audience on their feet.

12-year-old Reuben de Maid, from Llandaff, Wales, delivered a stunning performance rendition of ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ from Dreamgirls before opening up to Ellen DeGeneres about his love of singing and make-up.

The British schoolboy who is currently appearing on US talent show Little Big Shots, produced by DeGeneres. During the interview, the pair discussed his passion for make-up and how bullying forced him to leave his school in Wales,

“Before I used to get bullied a lot, I had friends but not a lot and in my drama group I used to get hit, punched and kicked”, Reuben said.

“It went on for two months and I tried to brush it off but it didn’t work.

“I stepped up to them and told my mum and it stopped because I transferred to another school.”

The youngster, who hopes to one day perform profesionally and launch his own make-up range, was supported by Ellen, who told him: “Good for you for not stopping being who you are. That’s really tough”.

In true Ellen Show style, there was also a surprise in store for Reuben during his appearance. Watch the performance and interview below:

More stories:
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Heroic policeman killed in Paris shooting was gay rights activist with civil partner

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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