Tag Archives: uk

Keith Vaz singing Grease

17 Feb

Slipping under the media radar

17 Feb

A most interesting opening to yesterday’s blog post in UK Polling Report:

    “ComRes’s monthly online poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out and has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%.

    The changes from last month are bit complex. As regular readers will know, there has been a bit of a back and forth in ComRes’s methodology. For most of last year ComRes treated likelihood to vote for minor parties differently to how they did it for the main parties – for the big three they included people who said they were 5/10 or more likely to vote (weighted proportionally), for minor parties they only included those who said they were 10/10 certain to vote. In their December online poll they experimented with treating all parties the same on turnout, producing a substantial jump in UKIP support. In January they used their old method, which dropped UKIP back down by 4 points. Unfortunately this wasn’t flagged up in media reporting of the polls, giving the impression of UKIP increasing in December and then dropping back down in January after Cameron’s EU referendum pledge, when actually much of the movement was due to methodological reasons.

    Anyway, the back and forth seems to be behind us – ComRes have now shifted to treating all the parties the same when it comes to taking account of likelihood to vote…” [Emphasis my own]

Unfortunately for the Lib Dems the numbers remain worrying, even if they win the Eastleigh by-election, which by the way is looking increasingly likely!

And naturally, what would a British politics post be without the requisite clip from Yes, Prime Minister. This particular one should be titled The Perfect Balanced Sample and contains one of my favourite-ever Humphrey Appleby quotes: “What’s that got to do with it? Things don’t happen just because Prime Ministers are very keen on them! Neville Chamberlain was very keen on peace.” Enjoy and I hope you’re all having a good weekend.

2012: Vintage British tennis

14 Oct

After decades in the doldrums, British tennis has returned with a vengeance. And unlike previous purple patches, it’s a joint-effort on the part of both sexes. The success of Andy Murray (age 25), Heather Watson (20) and Laura Robson (18) bodes well for several years to come. That it took 76 years for the lad from Dunblane to emulate the last British male grand slam singles champion, and 24 years for the lass from Guernsey to emulate the last British female WTA tour title winner, is beyond comprehension. But finally the weight of history has been lifted and hopefully their success will usher in a potentially golden-age of British tennis in the Open/modern era. The three mentioned above have not been alone in their success. There was victory in one-half of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon and Liam Broady‘s path to the US Open final in the Junior competition, to go along with his success earlier in the year in the Junior doubles at the Australian Open. In a year of general British sporting success, it has been a treat to watch the tennis players coming to the party. Much will be expected of them next year, particularly Mr Murray!

House of Lords Reform

9 Jul

(HT Unlock Democracy)

Seven Years, Never Forgotten

7 Jul

James Adams, 32
Samantha Badham, 36
Lee Baisden, 34
Phil Beer, 22
Anna Brandt, 41
Michael Stanley Brewster, 52
Ciaran Cassidy, 22
Rachelle Lieng Siong Chung For Yuen, 27
Benedetta Ciaccia, 30
Elizabeth Daplyn, 26
Jonathan Downey, 34
Richard Ellery, 21
Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 26
David Foulkes, 22
Arthur Edlin Frederick, 60
Karolina Gluck, 29
Jamie Gordon, 30
Richard Gray, 41
Gamze Gunoral, 24
Lee Harris, 30
Giles Hart, 55
Marie Hartley, 34
Miriam Hyman, 31
Ojara Ikeagwu, 55
Shahara A Islam, 20
Neetu Jain, 37
Emily Rose Jenkins, 24
Adrian Johnson, 38
Helen Jones, 28
Susan Levy, 53
Sam Ly, 28
Shelley Mather, 26
Mike Matsushita, 37
James Mayes, 28
Anne Moffat, 48
Colin Morley, 52
Behnaz Mozakka, 48
Jennifer Nicholson, 24
Mihaela Otto, 46
Shyanuja Parathasangary, 30
Anat Rosenberg, 29
Philip Russell, 28
Atique Sharifi, 24
Ihab Slimane, 24
Christian Small, 28
Fiona Stevenson, 29
Monika Suchocka, 23
Carrie Taylor 24
Mala Trivedi, 51
Laura Susan Webb, 29
William Wise, 54
Gladys Wundowa, 50

Asians on Desert Island Discs

5 Jul

You can’t filter the DIDA results by ethnicity so here’s an up-to-date chronological list of all the programme’s South Asian castaways. Surprisingly there have only been twenty so far, so I’ve added two “honorary” South Asians.

Ravi Shankar*

V.S. Naipaul
Zubin Mehta
Gayatri Devi
Ved Mehta
Madhur Jaffrey
Ben Kingsley
Ismail Merchant
Salman Rushdie

Imran Khan
Hanif Kureishi
Saeed Jaffrey

Meera Syal
Gulam Noon
Karan Bilimoria
Satish Kumar
Tariq Ali
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Shami Chakrabarti

Vikram Seth

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala [24 Jan 1999]
Mark Tully [15 Jun 2003]

(* Unfortunately there is no audio available for this episode but you can still see his choices of music, book and luxury.)

BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs archive expansion

4 Jul

It’s one of the best radio programmes ever devised and now all of you (including those outside the UK) can access free official audio versions of episodes dating back to 1951. Most can be downloaded as mp3s directly from the website or as podcasts through iTunes. Due to copyright issues (involving the creator Roy Plomley’s wife) the programme had not initially been available on the iPlayer, but once these issues were resolved, the Beeb gradually uploaded all of the complete programming from its archive (a total of 1565 episodes).

For the uninitiated the programme follows a simple but effective interview format, in which a guest (or “castaway”) is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item for their imaginary stay on a desert island, while discussing their lives and the reasons for their choices. Originally devised and presented by Roy Plomley in 1942, it is one of the longest-running radio programmes in the world. And although it celebrated its sixtieth anniversary earlier this year, only four people have ever presented it! Besides Plomley, who hosted it until his death in 1985, the other presenters are Michael Parkinson (1985-88), Sue Lawley (1988-2006) and Kirsty Young (2006- ).

Since I was introduced to it four years ago, I have spent many hours listening to the archive and its current broadcasts. I can’t think of any other weekly programme that brings out as much emotion in the listener as Desert Island Discs. As a national treasure it must be preserved in cotton wool for current and future generations to enjoy. I only wish many more of the archive episodes which have probably been lost forever, particularly those from before 1975, could somehow be recovered. As a rule until 1976, the music was edited out of the majority of the programmes and only the speech was archived.

But all is not lost. The Beeb’s archivists have kindly uploaded a user-friendly database of every episode listing the castaway’s eight pieces of music, book and luxury item. The database is searchable by name, year, occupation, presenter and gender. There’s also access to four specials that have been recorded since 1992 and other random useless information (aka trivia) in the About section.

Official Website on the BBC
Wikipedia Page