Monday, December 26, 2005

Baffled of Rayleigh

Thanks to the encouragement of Martin , Tristan James and Ryan I am attempting to set up a Wordpress blog on 1&1.

Well, so far I've upgraded my 1&1 account to their business package and downloaded Wordpress from the web. I've set up a database at 1&1 through "MySQL Administration", , set up a wp-config.php with the info from MySQL Administration and downloaded a trial version of Ipswitch ws_ftp .

I've actually succeded in uploading the Wordpress files into my 1&1 webspace! I've then located wp-admin-install.php, and hoped I was only a few minutes away from finishing the set-up.

Trouble is , I can't figure out what to do next. When I open the wp-admin-install.php file with wordpad I get a lot of discouraging stuff which begins:

define('WP_INSTALLING', true);
if (!file_exists('../wp-config.php'))
die("There doesn't seem to be a wp-config.php file.

So clearly I've not set up the wp-config-php file correctly, or it's not being found (I have uploaded it).

Offers of help, and advice, greatly received.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Season' s Greetings

Christmas Greetings to one and all.

I really enjoyed watching the "Greatest Store in the World" this morning. Splendid performances , a very good script and the real Christmas Spirit.

"People were buying everything that money could buy, in the hope they would get what money couldn't buy as well".

"Having adventures is more important than being tidy"

Monday, December 19, 2005

Margaret Thatcher (1975), Harriet Jones (in Dr Who) and .... ?

I was struck by a comment on Political Betting tonight by Zebidee:

"26. Estelle Morris seems to have Blair over a barrel over the education issue. if he doesn’t cave in he will end up trying to get his silly bill through with the support of Cameron and more Tories than labour MPs than Labour and Lib Dem ones.

Brings me to the Labour (Blair) succession. Former education Secretary, come out of nowhere, no hope of winning at all. . . .
Well didn’t it happen once before?"

Could this guy be right?

A couple of downloads

Celestia is a free, interactive 3D space simulation program that lets you roam around the solar system and beyond. It's great fun and full of features. You can save images and videos.

Decades of Darkness is a chronicle of an alternative history that you can download - there's a lot to read. The point of departure for this scenario is that Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States dies in office from natural causes in Jamuary 1809. His successors in this timeline do not repeal the Embargo Act, a law restricting trade with France and Britain. I hadn't heard of this act before, but in our timeline it had the New England states seething as it was bankrupting their merchants.
James Madison, the 4th President , keeps the Embargo Act in force and New England (plus New York) eventually secedes from the union. The end result is that the rump of the United States recovers by expanding south-west, and without the influence of New England , remains committed to slavery even into the twentieth century...

29 January 1909
Fremantle, Western Australia
Kingdom of Australia

Life, it seemed to Brian McMahon, could be described as a series of journeys between pubs. Sometimes you saw good things outside of the pub, so you wanted a drink. Sometimes you saw bad things outside of the pub, so you wanted a drink. Sometimes, you went too long without a drink, so you wanted a drink.

This time, he just felt like a drink. When he entered the pub in Fremantle, he took his hat off and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“You look like you could use a drink,” the bartender said.

“Sure could,” Brian said. “Your best beer, please.” He’d learned from painful experience never to ask for anything stronger than that in an Australian pub. “Vodka’s for Russkies, wine’s for Poms, rum’s for Jackals, sake’s for slant-eyes and beer’s for men,” or so he had been told.

“There you go, mate, a nice cool glass of Swan. That’ll be ninepence,” the bartender said as he handed the glass over. He raised an eyebrow at the one-pound note, but eventually passed back a handful of shiny silver coins.

Is it always this hot here? Brian wondered. Though tempted to press the glass to his brow, he settled for drinking it.

“You a Yank?” the bartender said, after a moment.

“Canadian,” McMahon replied. He’d noticed plenty of Australians had trouble telling the difference between the accents [5].

The bartender shrugged. “Yanks, Canadians, you both sound the same, you both burn the same.”

Brian held up a red hand. “Seems to be that way, yes. Never known heat or sun like this before.”

“You get used to it,” the barman said. “But beats being back in Canada these days, I bet.”

“That’s what I’ve heard,” Brian said. The newspapers from Stirling [Perth, WA] spoke of little from elsewhere in Australia, let alone North America, but life anywhere in Canada sounded harsh. What the Jackals were doing in British Columbia, now... Some things, he’d thought, were beneath even Americans. He’d been wrong there.

“Why’d you come for, then, if not the sun?” the bartender asked.

“I’m from Vancouver Island,” Brian said. That got him only a blank look. “Now full of Nephites and lemonade.”

The bartender laughed. “So you’re just another godless heathen like the rest of us?”

“Yup. I’m amazed they didn’t stone me for buying a drink.”

“I heard about that,” the bartender said. “No beer, no smokes. Hell of a boring way to live.”

“No tea or coffee either,” McMahon said. “The only thing which keeps them interested is seeing how many wives they can get.”

“Bloody hell, isn’t one mother-in-law bad enough?” the bartender asked, which made Brian spray beer across the bar. “”Scuse me, mate,” he added, as he went to serve another customer.

Brian sat alone for a while, watching people come in and out of the pub. It was a spacious building, certainly bigger than any bar he’d seen back on the Island. So close to the docks, he heard a variety of accents from across the Empire, and even some from outside it. The humidity still clung, despite the westerly sea breeze which came in every afternoon. McMahon didn’t want to stay here for very long; his interest lay more in the giant trees which were reported to be found to the south-west of here. For now, though, he enjoyed being here.

Until he heard two voices speaking in drawling accents. He turned to see four men walking into the pub. They looked like any other merchant sailors, but what were Jackals doing here?

Before the Jackals could reach the bar, two bouncers and the bar manager smoothly intercepted them. “Americans are not welcome here,” the manager said.

“We’re just after a drink, mate, not a fight,” the lead American drawled.

“Americans here will cause fights whether they want them or not,” the manager replied.

“Throw the shits out!” a voice called from somewhere behind Brian.

“You see?” the manager asked.

The American scowled. “You damn cons forget who won the war.”

“Australians made it onto American soil. None of your lads made it to ours any time in the war. Now, will you walk out or be thrown out?”

The lead American spat at the bar manager’s feet. “Fine! We’ll find somewhere else to drink.” The Jackals walked out, ignoring the taunts aimed at their retreating backs.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Jane's View of Vultures

Former Labour MP Jane Griffiths has some definite views on the Lib Dem leadership question that are worth reading:

The vultures are circling round Charlie Kennedy. He is a nice bloke seemingly and is an effective leader, though I would say the LibDems have peaked for the foreseeable future, though they might have a more important role in the hung Parliament we are likely to get at the next general election.

This happens all the time in politics. Those who don't have the courage to put themselves forward for office start undermining the person who has and who has done a good job. Much good it does them in the long run. As Keynes nearly said, in the long run we're all dead. I think that Ming Campbell wants taking down a peg or two. How about a ringtone, or of course a Mingtone, along the lines of Crazy Frog, for a Christmas Number One? All together now, a Ming-Ming-Ming-Ming-Ming-Ming-Ming! Charlie is being bullied by his own party boys and they will regret it.

Advice, please

I could do with some advice from the more technologically knowledgeable Lib Dem bloggers!

The other website I help write , , is important to us for communicating with our local residents. I have used 1&1 Internet Ltd for hosting it and have used their own 'website creator' for producing it. It's worked reasonably well but at over 100 pages is definitely cumbersome.

I'd like to change over to something more blog-like. I would keep the domain and manually copy over some of the old content. I'd like a set-up where:
- residents can comment on each post
- posts can be classified under several headings - such as council ward, subject and month.

Wordpress seems suitable, and it seems that I could probably host a Wordpress site with my current host.

However does anyone have any suggestions for alternative hosts? How easy would it be to set it up? (I managed to set up "Moonlight Over Essex" without any assistance)

All comments welcomed...

And They Need Us More Than Want Us

I don't want to comment yet about the Lib Dem leadership.

Apart from anything else I'm probably one of the least-informed of any of the bloggers on this issue - I think I've only ever met one of the current Lib Dem MPs, and that was Andrew Stunnel about 15 years in a pub in Somerset (the first Liberal MP I met was Clement Freud in Rayleigh in about 1972!) At the moment I'm taking particular notice of what James Graham and Jonathan Calder are saying.

However I've had two thoughts. One is that I've seen a lot of anti-Lib Dem bile this week - for example in the Daily Mail , and some comments on the Guido Fawkes website. There are some people out there who really hate the Lib Dems, and don't want us to exist.

But we do exist, and we have such a large wedge of MPs - and public support - that Cameron is making it his first immediate priority to woo us over. He needs us desperately.

Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman comes to mind:

"And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time until the next election "

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Our local Conservatives in Rochford seem really disappointed that David Cameron has become the new Tory leader. We've only found one councillor who actually voted for him, all the rest wanted somebody more right-wing. (we'll keep his name a secret to avoid him being de-selected). When I mentioned in a council meeting that Cameron wanted a more compassionate, modern and inclusive Tory party, this was all too much for one Tory lady who called out "Tosh". She clearly doesn't approve of that kind of Conservative Party...

By the way, when was the last time anyone heard the word "Tosh" being used?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vitriol or Antiseptic?

The Council Chamber in Rayleigh , where my District Council meets, seldoms sees any real nastiness. A few months ago I made a somewhat barbed (but not nasty) speech concerning a broken pledge by the Conservative Group and some time afterwards one of the best of the Tories made the comment that he had now seen some vitriol in the Council Chamber. My response was that you have to be able to distinguish between vitriol and antiseptic....

However if you are looking for vitriol have a look at this blog from Jane Griffiths , ex Labour MP for Reading East. Her "About Me" section is a good starting point: "I was Labour MP for Reading East from 1997-2005. Some boys in the Reading Labour party decided they had had enough of the uppity girl who wouldn't do as they said so they sacked me. The seat is of course now Conservative, which is what they, especially the Reading West MP Martin Salter, wanted"

Vitriol or Antiseptic?

The credit goes to Iain Dale for providing a link. (He's not had a good political year himself, but seems to have avoided any bitterness !)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Resurgent Essex

Many thanks to Martin Tod for constructaregion ....

Using it I have found out that an Essex-Southend-Thurrock region would have only 50,000 people fewer than Northern Ireland and be bigger in population than 2 German Lander, 12 US States and 4 EU members!

I'm now looking at Freethink's local heroes, which seems worthy of detailed study.

With hindsight...

I tried to find libdemwatch today but apparently their account has been suspended!

However I stumbled across something from the Guardian's Election 2005 blog from last April where someone was belittling the Lib Dem campaign in Leeds NW:

"Witnessing the Lidbem campaign strategy on the ground can leave you wondering which way is up.

Libdemwatch has picked up an example of this in their LeedsNW campaign - where, despite coming 3rd in the last two general elections - they are STILL claiming they are set to win. How do they do this? Well certainly not by showing their share of the vote in '97 or '01.

They do this by showing their share of the vote increased between 1997 & 2001... erm leaving them in 3rd place again!

Witness this is all it's glory from a scanned 'Focus' newsletter here:"

Some interesting comments - both pro Lib Dem and against - follow.

After reading this I thought to myself, "Wait a moment ... Didn't we...?" and yes, there it is

Leeds North West
LibDem gain
Mulholland G.T. LibDem 16,612 37.15%
Blake J. Ms. Labour 14,735 32.96%
Lee G.A. Conservative 11,510 25.74%
Hemingway M.F. Green 1,128 2.52%
Knowles A.D. English Democrats 545 1.22%
Sutton J. Ms. Alliance for
Green Socialism 181 0.40%

Electorate: 71,650; Turnout: 62.40%;
Majority: 1,877 (4.20%)

Not one of libdemwatch's finest moments...
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

I write this blog in a private capacity , but just in case I mention any elections here is a Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Ron Oatham, 8 Brixham Close , Rayleigh Essex on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 8 Brixham Close.