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The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

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  • Two Buzzards Circling
    Article: Mar 26, 2020

    We've always had buzzards up in the Chilterns where we live. But as when larger, elegant kites arrived, our plumper friends, the buzzards, seemed to gradually get fewer in numbers.

    Then, after 10 years or so, just as gradually, we seemed to be noticing them more frequently - sometimes catching a glimpse of one sitting on a branch, or hearing their mewing calls in the woods.

  • Tring Farmers Market Fruit and Veg 2
    Article: Mar 24, 2020

    Tring Farmers Market has been in need of a regular vegetable stall for some time - which is a pity since vegetables are an important attraction is any market. In the case of Tring Farmers Market would provide a good complement to goods offered at the other stalls.

    Caroline Hendry-Smith, one of the market organisers said,

    "We are very excited to announce that Dunsley Farm Shop will be joining us selling a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Dunsley Farm Shop has recently been taken over by 'Fruity Tooty' who also run a vegetable shop in Aylesbury.
    Ashton Smith from 'Fruity Tooty' plans to bring as much local vegetables as possible when available."

  • Rosemarie's Birthday 2020
    Article: Mar 17, 2020

    Went for a nice meal at Lussmanns in Tring, just the two of us.

    Delicious food, though a bit rich to our now usually modest tastes.

    Rosemarie had Linguini with Rabbit (may contain shot!) followed by Tuscan (allegedly) Chicken with Winter Vegetables.

    Nick had Aubergine Broschetta followed by Ox Cheeks (beautifully tender) with Spinach and Creamed Nutmeg Sauce.

    Everything absolutely delicious and the house red was just right and good value for money.

    Tables for two, well spaced out (more than 6 feet apart!), warm and friendly, staff aware and careful to the epidemic situation.

    It was altogether a very nice evening.

    However, we did discover on the morrow that elderly livers are not *quite* as good as they used to be in coping with a full-bodied Gascon wine!

  • Nick with Stewart in Northhampton
    Article: Mar 16, 2020

    Northamptonshire County Council was controlled by the Conservatives from 2005 to 2018.

    Their disastrous administration resulted in early 2018 in the council having to declare that it "was effectively insolvent".

    Commissioners had to be brought in by the government to run it.

    In March 2018 inspectors concluded that the problems at the council were so deep-rooted that it was impossible to rescue it in its current form.

    To do so, they said, would have been "a reward for failure".

  • Stevenage Platform 5 Testing (Steve White)
    Article: Mar 15, 2020

    Two rail replacement bus service has been operation Mondays - Fridays on the Hertford Loop while Network Rail complete a major upgrade to Stevenage Station.

    • Between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone - served by a people carrier
    • Between Stevenage and Hertford North - served by a double decker bus

    This involves not only Stevenage Station but also the track that connects Stevenage with Watton-at-Stone and destinations further south on the Hertford Loop. A major element in the upgrade is the construction of a new fifth platform at Stevenage. However, extensive work to the track, signalling and other infrastructure is required to connect services to the Watton-at-Stone line.

  • Welsh Group St Davids Day Dinner
    Article: Mar 14, 2020
    Clwb Cymraeg Ardal Chiltern is a self-organised Welsh language reading and conversational class that has been meeting in Leighton Buzzard on term-time Tuesday evenings for 30 years - first at the Riverside Centre and lately in the Leighton Buzzard Theatre and Library Building.
    The group is a mix of Welsh-speaking English members and first language Welsh speakers. The meetings are a mix of conversation, grammar and discussions about Welsh media articles, both printed and radio. The group also reads modern Welsh literature and is currently reading "Y Bwythyn" by Caryl Lewis.
  • Urbos Tram in Birmingham
    Article: Mar 3, 2020

    Despite the scaremongering and misunderstanding that's around, the situation is clear. Vehicles of all sorts will be powered less and less by the internal combustion engine as time goes on. Diesel engines will probably remain the power source of choice for the larger lorries, but any smaller vehicle could use electric power from batteries - and anything larger with more space to spread the weight, such as a train or a boat, could do the same thing using cheaper and simpler batteries.

    Now trams are the latest form of transport to start using batteries in a big way, and for the simple reason that in crowded city centres tram operators can save a lot of cost and maintenance by restricting those overhead wires to the more spacious outskirts and suburbs.

    CAF, a Spanish engineering company with over a century of experience since they made their first tram in Zaragoza in 1897, produced their first tram capable of running without wires in 2009. This was a modification of their flagship product, the Urbos tram. 21 Urbos trams were supplied to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in 2012 for use in Birmingham. In 2018 CAF were asked to fit these trams with batteries and the trams have successfully demonstrated their ability to be used on stretches of track where there are no wires.

    Now the company has won another contract from WMCA to supply a second tranch of 21 more Urbos trams - this time already fitted with battery electric storage - with an option for a further 29. They are to be used on the Midland Metro between Birmingham and Wolverhampton and including the new Centenary Square extension which was built from the start without overhead wires.

    Meanwhile, rather further afield, CAF's subsidiary company, Solaris, has won a contract in Venice, for 30 of its Urbino 12 electrically powered buses which will replace all of the diesel powered buses operating on the Lido and Pellestrina islands

  • Document: Mar 2, 2020
    591.43 KiB drawing or desktop publishing document

    General Election Thank You Democrat from Sally Symington and an Introduction to the Liberal Democrat Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate, Lara Pringle.

  • CLLr Adrian England at Dacorum Borough Council
    Article: Mar 1, 2020

    In a motion to Dacorum Borough Council at its Budget setting meeting on 25th February, 2020, the Liberal Democrat Borough Councillors, without opposing any of the Conservative proposals, sought to amend the budget for the coming financial year by the addition of 10 items, mainly aimed at strengthening existing measures to mitigate Climate Change.

    The motion was proposed by Group Leader, Cllr Ron Tindall and seconded by the Deputy Group Leader Cllr Adrian England.

    They took note of the council's Medium Term Financial Strategy and only proposed new services and initiatives that could be paid for out of existing resources and reserves. The amendment implied an increase in Council Tax of £5.00 but they considered that the need to amplify the council's response to Climate Change more than justified this trivial per annum increase.

  • Similar houses (yourlivingcity.com)
    Article: Feb 22, 2020
    Alas, the Law of Jante is applied not only in Scandinavia.
    Its baneful influence is strong in England - diminishing, and destroying when it can, those who excel, are popular (even people we are happy to be entertained by), are prominent in some way or who are experts (remember them?).
    It is launched against those who try too hard, are "too clever by half" or "should know better" or "no better than s/he ought to be" or are "swots" (especially "girly" ones!) and against those who are lucky enough to have some special skill or talent.
    You know, people who "don't know their place".
    It sets out to punish achievement, to undermine any pretence of moral authority and any attempt to suggest improvement or (especially) that we should act differently.
    Think about Greta Thunberg.
    It is always trying to catch people out, to try to find a flaw, an inconsistency, a "hypocrisy". It is good to test those in the public eye, but not unfairly and not to destruction.
    Its assiduous, ruthless and implacable application is however meat and drink to the tabloid press, to the media, to the "gossip magazines".
    It is the deep vein of psychology that they tap into and a massive source of revenue to the wealthy proprietors. And it devours its victims for the delight of the spectators. It is the spectacle in the Coliseum.
    Think Meghan and Harry... and so on.

Nick Hollinghurst