General Election 2015: Susan Ryland (Green)

Post length: 570 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Susan Mary Ryland
Party: Green Party


Susan Ryland is a locally based artist standing in South West Surrey on behalf of the Green Party. However it seems that this leaflet does little to convey these significantly positive points to the reader. The whole of the inside is national Green Party policy, and even the front cover carries the same design as a large number of Green candidates standing in this election around the country. A quick search on shows just how many copypaste Green Party leaflets are out there nationally. This is a real shame for a party which prides itself on it’s membership of creative individuals.

The back page carries the candidate’s only personal input: her personal statement. [read more]

Posted on Thursday 30th April, 2015 at 8:57 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: Patrick Haveron (Liberal Democrats)

Post length: 804 words, about 3 and a half minutes.


Full name: Patrick Haveron
Party: Liberal Democrats (suspended)
Website: (currently offline)


Before we begin, it’s worth noting that Haveron has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats due to claims he falsified council nomination papers. At this time his Twitter account has been closed and his campaign website is not working (it is still available via Google cache at the moment). However it is my understanding that he will still be on the ballot papers for both the constituency and council elections and therefore I will continue to review the election communication I received last weekend.

Haveron’s leaflet, below, was the second of the main parties’ freepost communication to arrive. [read more]

Posted on Wednesday 29th April, 2015 at 8:57 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: Howard Kaye (Labour)

Post length: 719 words, just over 3 minutes.

This post has been updated with some feedback from the candidate via email. I’ve added footnotes where appropriate, or you can jump straight down to them. I’m grateful to Howard for providing the feedback which clears up a few of my questions and assumptions.


Full name: Howard James Kaye
Party: Labour


Howard Kaye’s leaflet dropped through my door early last week and is the first of the three major parties’ communication to arrive. There are no fewer than two statements apparently written by the candidate — on the first inside page and on the back — but neither of them say much about the candidate himself. It tells us that Kaye has worked in both the public and private sectors for 35 years; it is only on further investigation of his campaign website that we learn Kaye has been a train driver for this time and that it is the era of British Rail which accounts for the public sector claim.1 I do wonder if this is intentional — the socioeconomic makeup of the constituency doesn’t suggest, to me, it might be sympathetic to someone in this line of work.

With this knowledge of Kaye’s background a little more light is shed on why his leaflet includes a small section2 on transport. [read more]

Posted on Monday 27th April, 2015 at 9:26 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: Louise Irvine (NHA)

Post length: 507 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Louise Irvine
Party: National Health Action Party


Louise Irvine is a GP standing in the South West Surrey constituency on behalf of the National Health Action Party. The NHA is a small party fighting on one basic issue: to save the NHS. The NHA are fielding 12 candidates in the 2015 general election and, as South West Surrey is the current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s constituency, we have one of them. Presumably the other 11 candidates are contesting other high-profile seats.

I have seen more posters and garden signs for Louise than for any other candidate while out and about (for me that’s Farnham town centre and the roads to the east towards Aldershot). This might be a sign that she’s well supported or could simply indicate that the campaign is very vocal. [read more]

Posted on Friday 24th April, 2015 at 8:51 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: Mark Webber (UKIP)

Post length: 576 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Mark Adrian Webber
Party: United Kingdom Independence Party


We’ve been recieving leaflets and information from UKIP for a long time, well before any of the other parties started campaigning. We’ve also seen them about town — in person and in the form of a poster van — as well as noticing they have been putting flyers under windscreen wipers in nearby car parks. Given that South West Surrey makes up part of Nigel Farage’s South East England European Parliament constituency, it’s not a big surprise to see a lot of UKIP coverage in the area.

Mark Webber himself is not a resident of the constituency, his home address on the nomination notice is Poplar and Limehouse constituency (London). Indeed, at the AGM on 3rd March he was elected chairman of the Tower Hamlets branch of UKIP. [read more]

Posted on Wednesday 22nd April, 2015 at 8:44 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: South West Surrey

Post length: 207 words, almost 1 minute.

With the 2015 General Election looming ever closer, nominations closed, polling card received and occasional election communication dropping through the door, I thought I’d spend some time taking a look at each of the candidates standing in my constituency of South West Surrey. Over the course of a number of blog posts I intend to take a look at each of the 7 candidates and their policies as presented to me specifically.

I intend to cover each candidate as their election material drops through my letterbox, although based on previous experience (admittedly not in a general election in this constituency) I suspect I might not get information from all 7 candidates. If this is the case then I will take a look at the remaining candidates in the final couple of weeks of the campaign from my own research. Of course I will update anything I’ve already written with any additional information I receive. [read more]

Posted on Monday 20th April, 2015 at 9:10 am in Obiter dicta.
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How About a Round of Applause?

Post length: 621 words, almost 3 minutes.

Am I the only London theatregoer left who thinks that a standing ovation should be reserved for only the very special — for time when you really have been blown away by a performer or cast — and not for West End productions which are the same day-in, day-out? Of course there will always be special cases, and everyone has a different opinion of what is good and what is astounding, but why is it increasingly the case that the whole audience feels the need to leap to their feet?

Monica and I went to two West End musicals last weekend as an Easter treat. First The Phantom of the Opera, and second Cats. Both very different, and both good professional productions, well executed and totally immersive. There is no doubt that we enjoyed them both and that the skills of all involved were excellent, but they weren’t, for me at least, anything groundbreaking.

That opinion was not, apparently, shared by the majority of the audience. As the curtain came down large swathes of the audience jumped up. More followed as leading actors took their curtain call. I suppose both audiences must have regarded the performances they had just seen as the best piece of theatre they had ever experienced. Or was it something else? [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 14th April, 2015 at 8:58 am in Obiter dicta, Theatre.
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Narrated Blog Posts

Post length: 255 words, just over 1 minute.

I’ve been experimenting recently with creating some voice recordings of the content of this blog and adding them to the bottom of each post. By the time you read this post it will, all being well, have it’s own narrated version at the bottom. Give it a try. As well as recording my recent more substantial posts, such as this one and this one, I have jumped back in time and recorded some posts from my Open Diary days which I have been slowly adding to this blog, such as this one.

I’m really doing it for two reasons: firstly it gets me back up to speed with audio editing software, something which I knew better when I was at university thanks to my time with Bailrigg FM, and secondly because it gives me practice narrating. I’ve been looking at doing some voice over and narration work recently and have voiced a couple of advertising videos in the last month or so. Given that practice makes perfect I set off looking for content which I could narrate. After looking for a while, and trying some bits and pieces out, it struck me that I have a whole load of content here on my blog and that, given it’s written by me, should be pretty easy to translate into my own voice. I will at some point soon graduate to reading other people’s work perhaps by choosing a book to narrate from start to finish but that’s a little daunting so I won’t make any promises.

Posted on Monday 9th March, 2015 at 9:49 am in Blogging.
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We’re being painted

Post length: 133 words, about 0 and a half minutes.

At least I think we’re going to get painted. And at least the outside of the house.

We did notice recently that the fascias of the house have started to look a bit shabby, in fact on the two highest points on our house and the one next door have started to totally peel off. Given the note we received said that they won’t be using scaffolding and the decorators did indeed arrive yesterday with a set of ladders on the roof of their van yesterday, I’m a little skeptical that they’ll be able to reach, let alone effectively paint, the higher points on our house which stand at over 3 stories high.

It’s also interesting to learn, two years after moving in, that we have a management company for the mews. [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 3rd March, 2015 at 5:22 pm in Home.
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Desktop Wallpapers

Post length: 160 words, about 0 and a half minutes.

For a few years now I have been keeping my eyes peeled while out with my cameras for images which I think would make nice computer wallpapers. I use a few computers and I like to keep the wallpaper fresh by changing it occasionally. While I haven’t amassed a lot of images, 24 at the moment, I have quite a nice selection.

The images have always been available on my website if you knew where to look, but I thought I might as well make them a little easier to get to. So I’ve created a page with all 24 images, and will add the new ones to it as I create them. As they are generally for my computers they’re mostly cropped to 1920 x 1080 and I won’t be making different resolution versions. Feel free to use them for wallpapers yourself if you like them, but they are all under copyright and you will need a commercial license for any other use.

Posted on Monday 26th January, 2015 at 8:26 am in Photos.
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