Thursday, November 30, 2006

Petitions to the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has been receiving petitions have for a long time and some of the readers may have even sent signed ones in the past however now allows people to create and sign petitions on the website.

I have so far signed three petitions, and

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Local Voices Survey

Local Works and Unlock Democracy are compiling a survey to monitor people's views on the state of their local community, as part of our campaigning for the Sustainable Communities Bill. The survey should take just a couple of minutes to fill in and can be completed online:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

European Citizens' Initiative Campaign Launches

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) campaign was launched on 9 November. The goal of this campaign is to collect signatures of people from all member states, demanding the introduction of the ECI by a regulation into European law. Such a regulation would require the European Commission to respond to a proposed change in European law signed by at least one million EU citizens.

When implemented, the ECI will be the first transnational tool of participatory democracy. It would enable European citizens to directly influence the political agenda of the EU for the first time in history.

As the petition in support of the One Seat campaign has shown already it is possible to get a million citizens from across the EU to unite on a single campaign. The petition in support of the One Seat campaign passed the one million mark back in September ( The problem is, currently the Commission has no formal system in place to respond to such initiatives.

Unlock Democracy will be coordinating activities for the ECI campaign in the UK. You can sign up to the campaign directly yourself by going to:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Elect the Lords

Over the last week I have been trying to get a message to my local MP about House of Lords reform using however for some reason I have been unable to send the message. So today I made the decision that I should write to my MP using snail mail.

The letter I have written is copied before. I wrote to my MP on this issue sometime ago and his view was very different to mine then I am hoping that his views will have changed since.

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

Monday, November 20, 2006

On this day 20 November 1990

I almost didn’t realise this but found it on the BBC News just before I was about to switch off my computer.

Thatcher failing to win the election outright by four votes is amongst my first memory of politics.

I remember having a discussion with my great grandfather about who we thought should be the next leader of Conservative party and Prime Minister.
Baywatch in Birmingham

Friday, November 17, 2006

Recall demand after cloning of new biometric passports

The government is facing demands to recall three million micro-chipped biometric passports since a Guardian investigation found that they could be electronically attacked and cloned with a £174 microchip reader.

This serves as a reminder about the sorts of problems Labour's plans for ID cards will run in to.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Advance preview of new Liberal Democrat TV broadcast

Tomorrow evening BBC and ITV will be showing the next Liberal Democrat TV broadcast (BBC1 18.55; BBC2 17.55; ITV 18.55), which is about how the Liberal Democrats offer a real, substantive alternative to the spin of David Cameron and the failings of Gordon Brown.
Inspiring Women

An entertaining and thought-provoking celebration of women’s achievements, guaranteed to light up a dark November night!

Jenni Murray, presenter of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, will be in conversation with four remarkable guests, hearing about the challenges they have met and the women that have inspired them.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, double Paralympic champion

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

Jocelyn Jee Esien, BBC’s “Little Miss Jocelyn

Wednesday 22 November, 7.30 - 9.15pm

Cadogan Hall, London. Nearest tube: Sloane Square

Tickets cost £15 (£10 Fawcett mem / conc), and include a glass of wine or a soft drink.

To book, call 020 7730 4500 or visit

Inspiring Women is presented by the Fawcett Society, in partnership with The Guardian, and with the generous support of Lloyds TSB

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Liberal Democrat Muslim Forum Annual Conference & Annual Eid Dinner

The Liberal Democrat Muslim Forum will be hosting an afternoon of debate on The Impact of War on Global Terrorism on British Muslims and the Responsibility of British Government and The Role and Responsibility of British Muslim Community.

The event on Satyrday 2nd December 2006 starting at 1pm will be held at The Mogal-e-Azam, one of Nottingham's best Indian Restaurants.

The afternoon debates will be from 1pm to 5pm, Speakers invited include Dr Gaysiuddin Siddiqi (Muslim Parliament UK), Dr Abdul Bari (Sec. General of British Council of Muslims), Zulfi Bukhari (Director of MPAC UK), Lynn Featherstone MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Affairs Spokesperson), Mark Hunter MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Affairs Spokesperson), Bill Newton Dunn MEP (member of EU Citizens Freedoms Committee)

All information and registration forms are available on the Liberal Democrat Muslim Forum website

Sunday, November 12, 2006

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

The European Movement, Chatham House and the Federal Trust will hold a major conference on 22nd March 2007 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

More details are available from the European Movement or

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democrats seal US Congress victory

With Republican George Allen admitting defeat in the Virginia race for the US Senate the Democrats can now celebrate the mid-term victories in both houses of Congress. Jim Webb victory gives the Democrats a 51-49 majority in the Senate along with their 229-196 majority in the House of Representatives.

The Republican loss of both houses of Congress will make President George W Bush's last two years in office difficult. He will need to secure the Democrats' approval for any proposals that require the backing of Congress.

The Senate victory will also give the Democrats key posts on powerful congressional committees - and will also gain them more control over the Bush administration's purse strings.

The Democrats will have the right to hold hearings and approve presidential appointments, including those to the Supreme Court and Donald Rumsfeld replacement Robert Gates.

Colin Ross uses his post on the US mid-term elections to say what most liberals must be thinking that its great that Donald Rumsfeld is sacked/resigns as Defence Secretary, Bush should have accepted Rumsfeld resignation after the Abu Ghraib or sacked him then if he was at all serious about improving the situation in Iraq.

Lynne Featherstone uses her post to discuss the election of Keith Ellison in Minnesota who will be the first Muslim member of the Congress.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bollywood at its best

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Merchants of Bollywood

Last night I met up with my friend Ann and we went out to the theatre and manage to get some dinner.

We met at Birmingham New Street and thought that we should head to The Mailbox in Birmingham given that it is not too far from the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham City Centre.

We decided to go to Red Peppers Restaurant & Bar for dinner I ordered Potatoes Skins and I ordered a Pizza for my main course. I must the Potatoes skins were really nice and the salsa sauce they came with were not too bad too however the Margarita Pizza I ordered with Olives and Tuna as extras was really bad and I would say that if anyone ever happens to end up at Red Peppers Restaurant & Bar they should avoid the pizzas as Ann thought her pizza wasn’t that good either. We didn’t manage to get any desert as we were running late for the theatre.

The Merchants of Bollywood is a theatrical dance spectacular from Harvey Goldsmith, the man behind Live Aid and Live8 steps into the Bollywood arena. The Merchants of Bollywood uses Bollywood movie music to chart the history of the world’s largest and most productive film industry, as well as some of its stars.

The Merchants of Bollywood features a cast of forty or so dancers, singers and actors. As they tell us the story of Ayesha Merchant, her grandfather Shantilal Merchant and the clash of the two generations in India's Rajasthan region. The story is a mixture of dreams, sacrifices, family rebellion and romance.

The stage show is produced by Mark Brady, directed by Toby Gough, choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant with music composed by Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant.

The stage show features Carol Furtado as Ayesha Merchant, Arif Zakariya as Shantilal Merchant, Deepak Rawat as Uday along with Tony Mirchandani, Chander Khanna, Parmod Pathak and Romi Jaspal.

The show is on at the Birmingham Alexandra Theatre until 4th November after which it is t Manchester Opera House from 7th November until 11th November, the show them moves to the Newcastle Tyne Theatre from 13th November to 18th November, it will then be at the Glasgow SECC from 21st November to 26th November and then the show goes to the Bradford St Georges Hall from 28th November to 2nd December. In December you can catch this show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange from 5th December to 9th December and then at the Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre from 12th December to 17th December. Finally the show will be at the London Hammersmith Apollo from 21st December to 7th January.