Monday, January 29, 2007

Muharram and Ashura

I don’t usually mention my religion and religious activities on this blog and I don’t wish to make this blog about Islam or Muslims but I will now be using this blog to try explaining and helping create a greater understanding of what Islam is and how Muslims live their lives.

First I would like to point out that there are a number of different Muslim groups, their views on Islam and the way Muslims should live their lives are very different in some cases. There is also the fact that the different cultures Muslims come from also influence the way in which people follow Islam. Therefore I ask that people who read about Islam and Muslims on this blog do not take what is said to be the views beliefs, views and way of life for all Muslims.

We recently entered into the first month of the Islamic calendar which is Muharram. The word Muharram comes from the Arabic word meaning sacred and it is one of the four months mentioned in the Quran (Holy book for Muslims).

Muslims believe that Muharram is a month of great reward and virtue. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.” it is also reported that the Prophet Muhammad said “The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast.”

The Tenth day of Muharram (29th January 2007) is known as “ASHURA”, some Islamic scholars state that before the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory the fast of Ashura was compulsory for Muslims however after the fasts of Ramadan were made compulsory this fast became optional. The Prophet Muhammad continued to fast on this day himself and also encouraged his companions to do so. When asked the reason for this fast the Prophet Muhammad replied “It is a compensation for sins of the past year.” i.e. the sins of the year that has gone will be forgiven. Muslims also believe that this is the day when the Prophet Moses and his followers gained freedom from the pharaoh.

On the day of Ashura Muslims should be generous towards their family & dependants and spend more on them then what is normally spent. The Prophet Muhammad said “One who generously spends on his family on the day of Ashura, Allah (God) will increase his provisions for the whole year.”


Friday, January 26, 2007

Talk Democracy launches

Electoral Reform Society, Hansard Society, Make Votes Count and Unlock Democracy have come together to launch Talk Democracy. Talk Democracy is an open space for people to share their views and co-ordinate their work in the area of democratic renewal and reform.

Talk Democracy also provides users with a series of forums on topics.

There is also a space for people to promote activities and initiatives for things going on around the country.

To register go to


Reception in the House of Commons

Last night I was at a reception in the Members Dining Room of the House of Commons. The reception hosted by Liberal Democrats Leader, Sir Menzies Campbell was for members from the black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

My invitation said that the event would start at 7pm so I arrived a little early and was in the Members Dining Room in time but not many people were there then so I waited for a short time before Dan Rogerson (MP for Cornwall North) arrived, I know him from by-elections and conferences so we spoke for a bit about how his time in Parliament is going and what I am currently doing. After Dan left I started talking to Alistair Carmichael (MP for Orkney & Shetland) who is the Liberal Democrats, Shadow Transport Secretary. I have spoken to Alistair previously but we had a good discussion on what Alistair is doing now and how it is different for since he had always been involved in the Home Affairs team. While I was talking to Alistair Lorely Burt (MP for Solihull) came over to say Hi. I know Lorely from being on the West Midlands Liberal Democrats Executive. Lorely didn’t have much time as she was trying to meet as many people as possible before she left to make sure she got home last night as she had constituency work today. I then found myself talking to Andrew Stunell (MP for Hazel Grove) who I know from by-elections, conferences and from a Policy Working Group that we were on together. After many years in the Whips office Andrew is now the Liberal Democrats Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, an area in which we share an interest. So we spoke about the situation with Your community, your choice and the work that is happening to rewrite that. While I was talking to Andrew we were joined by Cllr Qurban Hussain the Deputy Leader of the Council in Luton where the Liberal Democrats have minority control.

As we were talking Sir Menzies Campbell started to the proceedings and welcomed us all to the Houses of Parliament. After for a while about how he wanted to see the Liberal Democrats benches in Westminster and Brussels reflect the make up of society. Sir Menzies Campbell then introduced former TV presenter and campaigner, Floella Benjamin who will spoke about how far the BME community had come in the UK and she spoke of her experiences as a young child when as she played in the back garden of her house the neighbour through a bucket of urine over her and her brothers & sisters. After Floella Benjamin, Sir Menzies Campbell called on Simon Woolley, National Co-ordinator of Operation Black Vote. This was the first time I had heard Simon Woolley speak he talked about the frank discussion he had with the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary party on Wednesday night and said that he was serious about seeing better representation of the BME community in Westminster and so would ensure that the Liberal Democrats took the issue seriously too.

After Simon Woolley, Sir Menzies Campbell introduced Lord Dholakia who became a Liberal Democrat Peer in 1997 and has served as an assistant whip between (1997-2002), sat on the recent panel that selected cross-bench peers, was Party President from 2000-2004 and in November 2004 was elected joint Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. The final speaker of the night was Sajjad Karim (MEP for North West England) the only elected BME Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian. Sajjad Karim spoke about how it was difficult in the past for members from the BME background to get selected for elections but that things are getting easier.

After the speeches were done I had a chat with Hong Ling Dyer who I know from when I was involved in the Liberal Democrat Youth and Students, we were joined by Sir Menzies Campbell press officer Puja Darbari who spoke about how this had been a busy week for Sir Menzies Campbell and his team with the launch the Liberal Democrats ‘We Can Cut Crime’ campaign on Monday, followed by the debate on Iraq in the House of Commons on Wednesday when Sir Menzies Campbell outlined the Liberal Democrats strategy to bring troops home from Iraq by October and then there was a lot of press work to do promoting last nights event. Later I spoke to Mike Girling of the Liberal Democrats Press Office. One Mike’s responsibilities is to get the Liberal Democrats message out through the BME media. We spoke of some of the obvious outlets there are and how and where he look to find others he could target.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Papers

Yesterday I was looking at The Independent and The Guardian website and found some articles and blogs which I thought readers may be interested in.

There was Taking liberties by Conor Gearty and Variations on a theme by Sir Hayden written by Edward Pearce on comment is free.

Then there was Hain in plea for power shift by Andrew Grice the Political Editor of The Independent and Huge majority say civil liberty curbs a 'price worth paying' to fight terror by John Carvel and Lucy Ward on The Guardian.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Make It An Issue

Earlier this week the Power Inquiry launched the make it an issue campaign with the aim of encouraging people across Britain to call for the rules of democracy to be decided by the people and not politicians.

Make it an issue will shortly announce a series of events and meetings across the country where people can join the campaign and debate the priorities for democratic reform.

Inspired by the campaign in the USA, make it an issue will use the web as a space for action and debate. launched on Monday with a series of films and blogs.

Key supporters include Saira Khan of The Apprentice, Philip Pullman, Billy Bragg and Greg Dyke.

Organisations and individuals can join the campaign and contribute ideas by signing up at


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How will politics change in 2006

I have been reading How will politics change in 2006 by Nick Assinder BBC News website, Political Correspondent from 1st January 2006 and found that he predicted that:

For Britain's three big party leaders (plus one), 2006 will without doubt be interesting. And, as far as politics is concerned, it will be all about them.

He seem to have got that prediction pretty spot on however I would say that David Cameron's early promise has still not been tested and Nick Assinder seem to be more tolerant of Charles Kennedy then some Liberal Democrat MPs giving him a few months of probation.

Nick Assinder predicted that in the budget Gordon Brown "will be forced to raise taxes, cut spending or increase borrowing, this may present the first real challenge to his reputation and leadership hopes". What we got was Tax rises 4p on wine and 1p on beer in line with inflation, but no increase in Income Tax or VAT. Spending promises from Gordon Brown included raising investment in schools from £5.6bn now to £8bn a year over five years, £600m to fund world-class British athletes, a new national sports foundation with £34m from the government, another £2m for evening sports clubs for young people, £1bn for a new energy and environmental research institute, Child Trust Funds to get an extra £250 or £750 when the children reached seven-years-old, child care vouchers increased to £55 a week, By April next year, to increase the number of community support officers from 6,000 to 16,000 by April 2007, free off-peak national bus travel for pensioners and disabled people from April 2008, £1m for Britons injured in terrorist attacks at home and abroad, £200m to promote international peacekeeping and an extra £800m for the armed forces. Gordon Brown said net borrowing would be £37bn in 2006-07 and £36bn in 2007-08.

On the local council elections Nick Assinder predicts "Labour can expect losses", we saw on 4 May 2006 was the Conservatives gain 11 councils, Labour loose 17 and the Liberal Democrats gain 1.

Nick Assinder also predicted that "the issue of the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and the developments in that country, will continue to have a direct impact on domestic politics" I'm not sure how wrong or right he was on the issue but one thing we are seeing is the distancing of British policy in Iraq from that of the USA. President Bush recently announced an increase in the number of US troops in Iraq but we hope to start seeing the withdrawal of British troops in Iraq soon.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Celebrity Big Brother and racism

I was watching This Week last night, usually I switch of straight after the My Moment of the Week. However last night I continued to watch as they discussed the situation in Celebrity Big Brother.

Now I’m not a fan of Celebrity Big Brother, the last time I watched Celebrity Big Brother was when Jack Dee was in the house, so unless I’m mistaken that was back in 2003. Therefore what I have posted in this post comes from just what I saw on This Week last night.

I came to the conclusion that Danielle, Jade and Jo’s behaviour towards Shilpa was a consequence of their lack of information, knowledge & understanding of other cultures rather then racism.

My reasons for believing this are first the discussion that This Week showed between some women (one was Jo from SClub7, I didn’t recognise the other) about whether Indians eat with their hands, showed that they had some knowledge of this occurring but they weren’t even sure where this occurred. One of them mentioned it possibly being China. From my knowledge in the “eastern” world it is the norm for people to eat with their hands. I know that as Muslims we are told to eat with our hands since that was the way the Prophet Muhammed ate.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy mentioned during the discussion that came after his report that Shipla was not participating in the alcohol drinking and discussion about sex that occurred in the House. Now from what I remember of watching Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother in the past those two activities take up some amount of time since people having nothing better to do. I don’t know why Shipla isn’t participating in these activities however I do know that in some Indian cultures these are still things which are not done or at least not done in public. People may have a drink from time to time but will only do it at home or in place where they are not vulnerable. The talking about sex is more a case of a sexual relationship being between the people in the relationship and it being a private matter. In the same way that most people would not invite others to watch them having sex with their partner why would you discuss it with someone else?

I think that the majority of the people who think what has been occurring in the house as racism will be the “educated” and “intellectuals” who can sometimes be over PC and they have a desire, hope or wish that British people were as appreciative, knowledgeable and understanding of other cultures as they are.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unlock Democracy launch new website

Unlock Democracy has launched its new website. As some of you may know Unlock Democracy is name under which Charter 88 and the New Politics Network will be working together to progress their aims and objectives.

The new website has publications published by Charter 88 and the New Politics Network in the last few years, information about local groups and information about Unlock Democracy latest campaigns and projects.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Just some interesting reading

I have been going through some blogs and newspaper websites and have picked these articles and posts as I found them interesting.

There is an easy answer to the West Lothian question by Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, Matthew Taylor (the Lib Dem one) is off by James Graham and History of the Union by Gavin Whenman


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

TV's dramatic political year

I have just been reading TV's dramatic political year. I watched some of those programmes like any one who knows me will know that I am a massive fan of The West Wing and it is being repeated on More4 and I have the all 7 series on DVD so there is nothing that stops me from watching and adoring what great television it was especially Series 1, 2 and 4.

However in 2006 I missed most of The Amazing Mrs Pritchard and found that when I spoke to blogers, classmates and lecturers no one seemed to impress and one of the complaints from the political and apolitical was the idea of the Purple Alliance winning a general election was just a little too much.

I like watching Spooks but find that I usually miss it for some reason or the other. The times I have watched they have done some good stories. I happen to miss all the exciting things like the attempted coup, the siege in London's Saudi Trade Centre, Juliet's car exploding in Westminster and Ruth faking her own death. However I did catch the attempt to flood London by sabotaging the Thames Flood Barrier which I thought was a good episode.

Like I said before I am a massive fan of The West Wing and was very disappointed when President Jed Bartlett stood down after eight years in The White House, I was standing there screaming four more years. I was really pleased when I heard that Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) was coming back to the White House to work for President Santos but was very disappointed when that just got us a few minutes of TV time. The most disappointing moment was when John Spencer who played Leo McGarry the Democratic Candidate for Vice President at the time died following a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital. His character died of a heart attack on election night. What was really spooky was that in the first episode of series 7 The Ticket, Jimmy Smits character Matthew Santos the Democratic Candidate for President says something like "you want out, you're gonna have to drum up another heart attack" and Leo replies “Thanks, that's a beautiful sentiment". The story involving China and Russia was fun and the Wedding episode featured some vintage Bartlett but Series 7 was all about the election and for me there wasn’t enough Bartlett while Santos was good he was no Bartlett.

I watched Geena Davis as Mackenzie Allen in Commander in Chief, where as a mother of three she goes on to become the first woman to occupy the Oval Office after a sitting President dies. I think Commander in Chief like The Amazing Mrs Pritchard made the mistake that the person in office was an independent. People just can’t envisage a world where that happens.

I don’t think I ever watched The Thick of It but when they had the Christmas special on I enjoyed that. I'm not sure if it will be returning to our screens any time soon but I would recommend that as one to watch.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Birmingham Ladywood Liberal Democrats IGM and Training handover

Yesterday I attended the Birmingham Ladywood Liberal Democrats IGM we are a new local party as part of the reorganization of local parties in our region. Having previously been part of the Perry Barr team I am now in the new Ladywood constituency. The IGM was fairly straight forward and our Parliamentary selection passed without much difficulty as well.

Ayoub Khan has been re-selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate as our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Ladywood constituency which is being vacated by Clare Short.

Ayoub Khan is the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Aston ward. Ayoub stood last time recording one of the best swings in the country from Labour to Liberal Democrats of over 20%. The current Labour majority is 6,801 but as I said above there are boundary changes to the constituency and I am sure whichever candidate does the work he/she will win their votes, having been a Councillor for Aston, Ayoub should already have an advantage.

After the IGM I met with Colin Ross (my predecessor as West Midlands Liberal Democrats Training Officer) for a handover as Stuart Ritchie (the new Regional Chair) was free he joined us and the advice, ideas and information Colin and Stuart shared with me yesterday were really helpful and I hope to be acting on them soon.

I have known Colin since 2003 or 2004 I’m not too sure and I have got to know him a number of capacities as West Midlands Liberal Democrats Training Officer, Liberal Democrats Agents and Organisers Executive, a former Liberal Democrats Youth and Students Executive Officer and as a Liberal Democrats Youth and Students Vice President. Colin also happen to study Politics (combined with Law) at the University of Wolverhampton where I am currently doing my Politics and Social Policy degree. Having so much in common with Colin we have become good friends over the last couple of years and he is great at advising, encouraging and supporting me when I need it.

Colin has done a great job as the West Midlands Liberal Democrats Training Officer delivering training over the entire region, he has delivered training or arranged training in all areas that we cover in the Liberal Democrats and ensuring that more people are accredited as trainers in the region. Colin will be very difficult to follow in the role but I will be doing my best. I don’t plan to be another Colin Ross as the Training Officer something’s will have to change and we will have to adopt a new approach in certain areas of the work of the Training Officer but I hope that levels of satisfaction are just as high when my term expires as they were when Colin finished his term.

If you have any concerns or queries with regard to training in the West Midlands, please do not hesitate to email me on


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Facebook Profile

I was updating my Facebook profile this morning and thought I should copy it on here for readers to see.

Political Activist, Student

Comedy, Drama, Education, Entertainment, Politics, Radio, Reading, TV and watching Athletics, Boxing, Cricket, Football, Formula One, Tennis

Favorite Music:
U218 Singles

Favorite TV Shows:
Bremner, Bird and Fortune, Desperate Housewives, Dinnerladies, ER, Fawlty Towers, Friends, Goodness Gracious Me, Judge John Deed, Little Britain, My Family, My Hero, Only Fools And Horses, Scrubs, Teachers, The Catherine Tate Show, The Office, The Vicar of Dibley, The West Wing, Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister

Favorite Movies:
A Few Good Men, Casino, Crash, Hotel Rwanda and My Best Friends Wedding

Favorite Books:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr

Favorite Quotes:
"Hard work never killed anybody" . . . . .but why take the risk!

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom"
Malcolm X


Saturday, January 13, 2007

2007 and what may be yet to come

I saw an advert for a Graduate Training Scheme which I want to apply for which got me thinking about what has already happened and what may yet happen in 2007.

On 3rd January my older brother Bashir turned 30 and I made a number of jokes about him getting old. On 5th January my nephew Muhammed Uwais and his mother Fadila (my cousin Suleman's wife) came to stay with us for a short time and I have had a great time playing with unfortunately him and his mother will be off to Malawi soon and so I don’t know when I will have a chance to play with him again but as they are in England for a couple more weeks I hope to make the most of it. On 6th January I gathered with all my cousins in Birmingham for our Eid party this time we tried something new rather then ordering the food from Take Away, Restaurants or having a Bar-B-Que we decided that we would all make one dish each for the party. On 9th January I handed in the last two essays I had left for Semester 1 work at university.

Still to come this month is the Inaugural General Meeting of the Ladywood Liberal Democrats and the selection of the Liberal Democrat PPC for the Birmingham Ladywood constituency. This meeting is tomorrow and I will try to report back soon afterwards. After the meeting I will be having a sit-down with Colin Ross the former West Midlands Liberal Democrat Training Officer to have a handover. On Monday (15th January) I have the first meeting in 2007 of the Liberal Democrats' Better Governance Working Group. We should be finalising the consultation which should be published soon. On 18th January I will be visiting Highfields School in Penn to speak the students in Year 11 (about 240 15 yr-16 yr) about the Votes at 16 campaign. On 25th I hope to be at reception in the House of Commons hosted by Sir Menzies Campbell. The 27th of January is my friend Jamie Hamilton's Birthday Party. Then on 29th January Semester 2 starts at University. On 31st I hope to be attending some Agents Training which has been put on by friend Mike Dixon which will be trained by Mike Dixon and Colin Ross.

In February on the 7th I hope to be at some Targeting Training which will be trained by Mike Dixon and Colin Ross and then on 8th I hope to be going to watch Thatcher the Musical with some friends at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton. On 17th I hope to training at a Candidates Breakfast in Birmingham. 26th February sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight 2007. I don’t have any plans for what I will do that fortnight but I am sure something will turn up.

As I hope to graduate later this year come 1st March 2007 I hope to start looking for jobs to start on 4th June 2007. If you see anything please get in touch. On 2nd March the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference which is being held in Harrogate again this year starts. So far I have only volunteered to help with Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association stall and have a meeting to go to on Sunday after the conference has finished. on 22nd March the European Movement in association with the Federal Trust and Chatham House will holding a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which I hope to attend. On 24th March I will be at the West Midlands Liberal Democrats Spring Conference where I will be busy making sure all the training goes ok. The NUS Annual Conference 2007 will be on from 27th March to 29th March, I'm not sure if I will be going along this year. Then finally 30th March will be the last day of Spring Term.

April doesn’t hold much for me at the moment only that on 16th Summer Term will start this could be my final term as a full time student.

May as normal since 2003 for me starts off with the elections. This year they happen to be on the 3rd. Last year I spent election in Wolverhampton where we came so close to wining in Park Ward I hope that this year we can get Robin Lawrence elected. Since the Football League season finishes on 6th May, if Birmingham City haven’t been promoted automatically and find themselves in the play offs I could be going to a football match at some point. 14th May will see the start of two weeks of Exams at University. On 23rd my eldest brother Umar turns 33.

In June I hope to start work as Campaigner, Charity fundraiser, Policy Developer, Researcher or Conference & Events Co-ordinator/Planner however I don’t want finish at uni and spend time unemployed so I would be prepared to accept any job as long as it pays the minimum wage. On 25th June my Results Published which I hope are good and don’t involve any retakes.

I have nothing planned for July all I know is that I will be turning 24 on the 20th, so I might do something to mark my birthday.

Again like July I have nothing planned for August.

Again like July and August I have nothing planned for September too but 10th September 2007 will be 210th anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft death so I imagine there may be some events about feminism or Mary Wollstonecraft which I may attend. On 15th September the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference 2007 will start unfortunately this year it will be during Ramadan (which I think will start around 12th September) and so I wont be able to go.

I have nothing planned for October, November and December however events I know or hope will occur are Eid probably around 12th October, so I will probably have a cousins party around 13/14 or 20/21, West Midlands Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference on 20th October, my mothers birthday will be on the 23rd October, my fathers birthday on 11th November and then our second Eid which will be around 21st December.

Other stuff I hope to do within 2007 are organise training session for the Liberal Democrats as Training Officer for the West Midlands Liberal Democrats, apply for a position on the Liberal Democrats Policy Working Group Panel, get approved as Liberal Democrat PPC, Move out of my parents house, work with James Graham on Reflecting Britain.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Conference on 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome - 22 March 2007

Major conference organised by the European Movement in association with the Federal Trust and Chatham House to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Speakers include Peter Sutherland (Chairman, BP), Geoff Hoon MP (Minister for Europe), Peter Mandelson (European Commissioner), Kenneth Clarke MP and Charles Kennedy MP.

Click here for more information and a booking form:


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

As a fan of Aaron Sorkin I was really excited when I saw that after a break he was coming back to TV and had started work on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I saw an advert for the programme on More4 on the night that they showed the last episode of The West Wing which said coming soon however since then I have not heard or seen anything. Did I miss it?

As people may know Aaron Sorkin was involved in the first four seasons of The West Wing and also did the screenplay for A Few Good Men, wrote The American President, created and did the teleplay for Sports Night.

Aaron Sorkin has also adapted George Crile's best-selling book "Charlie Wilson's War" the true story of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson and a CIA operative who together manipulated the congress and the CIA into helping to arm the mujahideen in their fight against Afghanistan.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Christmas is over, bring on Easter

I was reading Colin Ross's blog and found out that today is the twelfth night of Christmas (the official end of Christmas). Colin seems to be complaining that whilst Easter is still three months away Easter related products are already been seen in the shops already and says that in his opinion its far too early for Easter Eggs.

As someone who loves Easter Eggs can I please ask that if you see Easter Eggs on sale any where could you please let me know either by posting in the comments box or sending me an email. I can't wait till I can start eating Easter Eggs.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

In our right minds: what works in mental health?

A CentreForum event

6:15pm-7:45pm Tuesday 6th February

Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, Westminster SW1A 2JH

Speakers Prof. Paul Bartlett - University of Nottingham
Angela Greatley - Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
Baroness Julia Neuberger
Lord David Ramsbotham - former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales.

In our right minds will debate current issues related to mental health.

To reserve your place, email or call 020 7340 1160.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So you think you know your American states?

I just tooke the So you think you know your American states? test on the BBC Politics Show website and I have to admit that I am sad enough to have got all ten questions right.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sometime ago I wrote to my local MP with regard to the reform of the House of Lords. I have not had a reply from him so far so I will be sending the letter below again on Wednesday.

Dear Mr Khalid Mahmood MP,

I am sure that you will have recently seen that there was a leaked discussion paper by the Leader of the House of Commons Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and that in the recent Queen's Speech the government announced they "will work to build a consensus on reform of the House of Lords and will bring forward proposals."

However unfortunate it maybe the government must be prepared to compromise in an effort to build a consensus for House of Lords reform. The government must accept the overwhelming consensus amongst both MPs and the public that a reformed second chamber should be predominantly elected. Opinion polls have consistently shown that a vast majority of the public support a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber. When the issue was last debated in the House of Commons, the option for an 80% elected House of Lords received the most support falling just a few votes short of the required amount.

The government does not need to build a consensus on this issue, it needs to accept that one already exists. The government cannot continue to insist as it currently does that no more than 50% of the second chamber should be elected.

The last time I wrote to you on this issue on 10th February 2004 your reply dated 19th February 2004 said "I support the Government proposals as the elected House of Commons will remain the Sovereign Body and can be removed by the electorate" there is no reason why even with a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber the House of Commons can not be the sovereign law making body in our country. There is no reason why a predominantly or wholly elected second chamber should be a threat to the sovereignty of the House of Commons.

On a final note I would like you think about how the UK government would have reacted if the Afghanistani constitutional convention had decided that some members of the legislature should be chosen by their Head of State and political leaders or if the Iraqi constitutional convention had recommended that half of its national legislature should be appointed by the head of government and political leaders. Our government would have rightly questioned if that was quite the commitment to democracy that we were hoping for.

It is disgraceful that we as a liberal democracy have more legislators who were not elected by the public than there are elected members. Our laws are being passed by a chamber of aristocrats, bishops, businessmen, charity workers, judges and ex-MPs.

I hope that you will take sometime to reconsider your position and ask the government to do the same.

If as I hope you do change your position on the issue can I ask that you sign up to the Elect the Lords campaign by visiting or writing to Elect the Lords, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Nazir Ahmed Teladia


This Life + 10

As some of you may know This Life + 10 will be on at 9pm on BBC2 this evening. Ten years ago when This Life aired I was only 13 years old and not so interested in programmes such as this therefore I can't remember it and happen to miss it when it was repeated on BBC2 before Christmas however I plan to watch the programme tonight to see what it is all about.

When I woke up this morning I switched on to bbc radio 5 live and they were asking people to call, email or text and let them know what they were doing ten years ago and whether they are doing the same or how their life has changed since.

This got me thinking what was it that I wanted to be doing now ten years ago. I am finding it really difficult to remember but as far I can recall ten years ago I wanted to grow up to become a sports agent or a football commentator. As anyone who knows me will know none of those are true now and I doubt that I’ll ever end up doing any of those any time soon.

I also started thinking about what I wanted to be doing ten years from now which really worries me as ten years ago I had narrowed my list down to two and now I have no idea at all about what I want to do. Back in November 2004 I listed Academic, Campaigner, Charity fundraiser, Fair Trader, Journalist, Peace Advocate, Policy Developer, Refugee Advisor, Regeneration Worker, Relief Worker, Researcher, Strategist, Sustainability Advisor, Sustainable Tour Guide and Teacher as possible careers for me. Given that I may be just six months from finishing my academic life I have to seriously start thinking about what I want to do because if I don’t think I could just jump at the first opportunity of employment and end up doing that for the rest of my life.

From the list the jobs that really interest me are Campaigner, Charity fundraiser, Policy Developer and Researcher from the list above and the one that I wish to add to that is Conference & Events Co-ordinator/Planner.

If anyone has any advice, experience or knowledge that they wish to share please do not hesitate to contact me.


Monday, January 01, 2007

new years resolutions 2007

Becoming fitter by excercising more

Get a job

move out of my parents house


You Belong in the UK

A little proper, a little saucy.
You're so witty and charming...
No one notices your curry breath