Thursday, March 29, 2007

Electoral Commission Guidance for candidates and agents

The Electoral Commission have produced Guidance for people who may be candidates or agents at the local government elections in England on 3rd May 2007.

The guidance can be downloaded either as a whole document (pdf format) or in sections, from The Electoral Commission

Guidance for candidates and agents available as pdf at:


Thursday, March 22, 2007

World Water Day 2007

As readers may know today is World Water Day. Living in the UK where we have little difficulty finding clean and safe water we can sometime forget the importance of water.

There are those who are less fortunate then us. I was surprised to hear that there are still more than one billion people in the world who lack access to a safe supply of water and instead have to drink from contaminated sources. As a result they face the prospect of illness and even death. 5000 children die every day as a result of drinking dirty water.

If you wish to help improve the situation you can contact your MP to encourage them to sign the Early Day Motion 1113 or you can donate money to WaterAid an international charity dedicated to helping people escape from poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation.


Monday, March 19, 2007

ID cards

Dear Khalid Mahmood MP,

You may have seen in Daily Mail of 12th March 2007 that the Government is planning to sell access to our personal data once the ID cards scheme has been introduced.

The story mentions that when ID cards are introduced, we will be expected to produce them in banks, shops, libraries, post offices. The Government will then charge these organisations to check we are who we say we are.

It is bad enough that the government insists on gathering vast amounts of information from the British people, and charging us for the privilege. The fact that they will be making vast sums of money out of charging people and businesses to check that data merely adds insult to injury.

Since the parliament passed legislation imposing this utterly unnecessary ID cards scheme information has come to light about the increasing costs which each and every one of us will have to bear for this unnecessary ID cards scheme.

I hope that this continued news about the rising costs of this utterly unnecessary ID cards scheme will get you to change your mind on the needs of this scheme and I hope that you will ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to give Parliament another chance to discuss introduction of the ID cards scheme once all the costs of the scheme are known.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Nazir Ahmed Teladia


Thursday, March 15, 2007


Last night I met up with some friends and went to the National Indoor Area to see Ricky Gervais who is in Birmingham as part of his third live show Fame.

Most of the content covered in last nights show was based on Ricky Gervais’s he made jokes about the work he has done with Cancer Charities which led him into a few jokes about obesity. He had a pop at Dawn French and took the piss out of The Vicar of Dibley. He did a fair bit on how disgusting public toilets can be but his best moment was he was trying to impersonate an African but just couldn’t get the accent right. He tried a couple of times and then finally managed it. As always with Ricky Gervais some of the jokes were close to if not actually un-PC but the fact that he does it with no hesitation is what makes them great.

Two other things I really enjoyed was the warm up act, I can’t remember the guys name but I think he has been on previous Ricky Gervais tours, unfortunately he was only on for about twenty minutes but was good and Ricky Gervais’s entrance on to stage was good too. He appeared from behind a curtain with RICKY in lights behind him wearing a Crown and red cloak (like the one Peers wear in the House of Lords).

It was a great night and I would recommend Ricky Gervais - Fame! To anyone if it is coming to a venue near. Tickets are still available for the NIA events on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th April.

Colin Ross shares his thoughts on the night in his post Ricky Gervais - Fame!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Liberal Democrat Peers call for public to be heard on Lords reform

On Tuesday Liberal Democrat Peers launched a consultation website encouraging members of the public to have their say on reform of the House of Lords.


Monday, March 12, 2007

The House of Lords

I have just been spending sometime sending the message below out to the Liberal Democrat Peers for whom I could find email addresses.

Dear Lord / Baroness,

I am sure that you will be aware that later today Monday 12th March 2007 the House of Lords will discuss the White Paper The House of Lords: Reform.

I hope that during the debate and votes you will take into account that last week the House of Commons the democratic arm of the UK legislature supported the options of 80% elected / 20% appointed by a relatively large majority of thirty-eight and that the option for a fully elected second chamber passed by a massive majority of one hundred and thirteen.

In the twenty-first century there is no need for a liberal democracy like the United Kingdom to have any legislators who are not elected by the public. Our laws are currently being passed by a chamber of aristocrats, bishops, businessmen, charity workers, judges and ex-MPs.

I would like you think about how we Liberal Democrats 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 part of its national legislature should be appointed by the head of government and political leaders because of their wealth, religious affiliation or support of their political leaders in the past. As Liberals Democrats we would have rightly questioned if that was quite the commitment to democracy that we were hoping for. So should we not now reinforce our commitment to democracy by only supporting a predominately or wholly elected second chamber in our country?

I hope that when given the opportunity to vote you will only support options that the House of Commons approved and do all in your power to get your fellow Liberal Democrat Peers to do the same.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Nazir Ahmed Teladia


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Belsen survivor's death mourned

I have only just read on the West Midlands section of the BBC news website that Paul Oppenheimer a Holocaust survivor died on Thursday, aged 78.

Paul Oppenheimer survived five years under Nazi rule in Holland including time spent in the concentration camp at Belsen.

After his experiences of the Second World War Paul Oppenheimer came to live in the West Midlands and became an engineer however it was sometime until he started to share his experiences with others. His story which became known in the tale The Last Train From Belsen was told in book From Belsen to Buckingham Palace which was publisher by Beth Shalom Ltd in September 1996.

I met Paul Oppenheimer in 2004 when he attended a Holocaust memorial event organised my Zabir Ali and myself after our visit to former Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

My memory of Paul Oppenheimer will be of a polite man who was helpful to young people trying to understand what Nazi Germany was like and what life in a concentration camp was.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nearly there

As you will have heard the House Of Commons supported the options of 80% elected / 20% appointed second chamber passed by a simple majority (ayes: 305; nos: 267) and the option for a fully elected second chamber passed by an absolute majority (ayes: 337; nos: 224).

I didn’t get the chance to read or watch much of the debate that took place in the House of Commons with regard to House of Lords reform last week so I was very surprised to hear that the House of Commons had only supported the 80% elected and 100% elected options. I was almost certain that the 20%, 40% and 50% options would fail but I also expected the 100% appointed and 100% elected to fail. I thought that if any would pass with a majority they would be the 60% and 80% and I thought that the majorities would be small, maybe even in the single figures.

As time has passed I have become a stronger supporter of a fully elected second chamber but I didn’t think we would get to this point so soon. I thought that we may get a partly elected second chamber soon and wait for it to push for an increase in its elected proportion.

Even with the success that supporters of reform enjoyed on Wednesday we can become complacent, relaxed and satisfied just yet. The battle for a democratic second chamber is not over yet.

The House of Lords will be debating its future this coming week and the call for a democratic upper house is likely to be met with defiance, opposition and resistance in the House of Lords. Not only from traditional opponents of reform but also from those who now enjoy their privileges as an unelected member of the legislature and do not wish to give them up.

If the supporters of reform become complacent, relaxed and satisfied now the success of Wednesdays vote will remain unfulfilled for years, even decades.

If you are a supporter of reform I would like to urge you to contact as many peers as possible urging them to support the Commons will when they have the chance to vote on reforming the House of Lords on Wednesday.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Question Of White Supremacy

Thanks to Chris Black for this


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lords Reform

Today the House of Commons started debating on how we should reform the House of Lords (the vote is tomorrow).

In an email to supporters Unlock Democracy said "we have significant grounds for optimism, but not for complacency. 9 cabinet members have written to Labour MPs urging them to vote for the 50%, 60% and 80% elected options, while Liberal Democrat support appears to be holding firm. Our main concern however is that despite David Cameron's pledge to personally support the 80% option and despite a manifesto commitment for a 'substantially elected second chamber', Conservative support is not as firm as we would like it to be". I would like to urge David Cameron to call on his parties MPs to vote for its own policy.

The vote tomorrow is on the principle of reform, not the details of the Government's White Paper. If the democratic options are defeated tomorrow, the prospects of reform will be put back by a generation, it has taken us ages to get another chance to have parliament discuss the reforms since the proposals made by Robin Cook didn’t win sufficient support. So please encourage your local MPs to support an elected House of Lords.


Monday, March 05, 2007

David Blunkett @ University of Wolverhampton

Former Education, Home and Work & Pensions Secretary David Blunkett was at the University of Wolverhampton today to talk to staff and students.

David Blunkett's talk was entitled Can Democracy Live Up to the Challenges of the 21st Century.

David Blunkett spoke for just over thirty minutes laying out what he thought were the cultural, economical, political and social challenges to democracy in 21st Century GB.

Having spoken to two colleagues we were all surprised at how open David Blunkett was. We were all expecting him to be a bit of an arse but found that he was actually a lot nicer then we expected and thought he would be.

David Blunkett was the most high-profile speaker at the university since I have started and his speech was certainly interesting.


Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2007

I was at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Harrogate this weekend, I had planned to do a number of things while at conference but unfortunately only managed to do a few.

I arrived in Harrogate later then I had originally hoped for which meant that I missed the bulk of the Better Governance Working Group Consultation, however I caught the last section of the session which was lead by Jonathan Marks QC.

Following the consultation session I met with Simon Drage with whom I was training first thing on Saturday and we found that the handouts which we were supposed to use on Saturday had not printed so well, so we then spent the next few hours printing and sorting our handouts. On Friday evening I went out for a meal with the York University Liberal Democrats group, always a pleasure as I now know some of them and always a good chance to meet recent recruits and discuss what they think about the party policies etc.

On Saturday I had a 9.15 start as I was training Winning the youth & student vote with Simon Drage, this was a well attended session once again.

That was followed by training Your local party checklist which I was training with Dave Hodgson of the Membership Department. This was the first time I trained for the membership department and the first time I trained with Dave Hodgson who I now known for a couple of years. This session was not so well attended but that was to be expected as it was running at the same time as the policy debate on Trident. Unfortunately my friend Colin Ross was not called to speak in this debate which was a shame since I had suggested some minor changes to text he had sent me earlier in the week.

After I was done with the training I was on the Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association's stall as an executive member I try to help out at every conference with the stall. Unfortunately this year the exhibition didn’t seem as busy as in the past so I spent most the afternoon reading and talking to people on the neighbouring stands. I did get a visit from Elspeth Campbell who was interested in some of the changes in electoral law coming in at this election. Later Sir Menzies Campbell also came by and he wanted to discuss the development of training.
On Sunday I was hoping to get into the hall to list to Simon Hughes MP, President of the Liberal Democrats and Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats speeches which were scheduled for 9:15 and 11:45 however I felt very lazy and tired so decided to just waste my time doing nothing.

After conference I spent a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon in an Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association Executive meeting which discussed various issues.

We left Harrogate at 4pm but I only got home at approximately 8:30pm since the weather was not the greatest the drive back involved a number of traffic jams and speed restrictions.

All in all not a bad conference as I got to do some training and meet a number friends and people I know who I only get to meet at conference.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2007

I am going to be at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference this weekend, I have a rough timetable for the weekend but like most conferences its not set in stone and will most probably involve me not getting to everything I want to get to.

Tomorrow I hope to get to the Better Governance Working Group Consultation in Harewood 1 at The Holiday Inn. This should start at 3pm and finish by 5:30.

On Saturday I have a 9.15 start with Winning the youth & student vote which I am training with Simon Drage in Queen’s Suite 4 of HIC. That is followed by Your local party checklist which I am training with Dave Hodgson of the Membership Department. This session runs from 11 in Queen’s Suite 4 of HIC and finishes at 12:30. Your local party checklist is a first for as previously I have only trained for the Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association and Liberal Democrat Youth and Students.

After I am done with the training I should be free for the rest of the day so I have volunteered to help out on the Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association's stall.

In the evening I would like to get to the Liberal Democrats Training Task Group fringe What’s new in training which starts at 6:15 in Queen’s Suite 8 of HIC.

On Sunday I would like to get to Simon Hughes MP, President of the Liberal Democrats and Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats speeches which are scheduled at 9:15 and 11:45.

After the conference we have a meeting of the Liberal Democrat Agents and Organisers Association Executive planned.

I am quite looking forward to conference especially as this time I have chance to train for someone who I have not trained for previously and as always conference is a good chance to meet up with colleagues and friends who I don’t get to meet that often.


"proper job"

As you may know I am hoping to get a "proper job" come June as I hope I will be done with education by then.

So recently I started looking at the recruitment pages of newspapers and so on. Yesterday I sent off an application form for the post of Administrative Assistant, External Training Services at the Royal National Institute of Blind.

I would be very grateful if people would let me know of any vacancies they hear, know or see advertised.

My ideal job would involve working for a not for profit organisation as a Fundraiser, Policy Developer/Researcher or Conference & Events Co-ordinator/Planner.

I would ideally like to be based in the West Midlands but would consider moving to Leeds, London or Manchester and the Salary does not bother me too much (the job I applied for yesterday starts at £11k).

Please get in touch if you hear, know or see something, I would very much appreciate it.