Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

The last post of the year and it's for such a horrific reason.

The South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog

BBC News In Depth, The Guardian, Leicester Mercury, The Hindu.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Keith Vaz votes on ID cards

Results are in and Keith Vaz has joined the vast majority of MPs and voted in favour of ID cards at the Bills second reading. Check TheyWorkForYou.

News from the BBC including the legislation and links to news stories. BBC iCan has some debate, links and action ideas. More information, ideas and resources from

Commentary from Bloggerheads, Europhobia I, Europhobia II, the Yorkshire Ranter and all their various links.

The above sources are mostly biased against ID cards which I don't apologise for. If there is any reason why I shouldn't be heavily biased against them please enlighten me in the comments below. Think about it.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Asian of the Year - not Keith Vaz

Alas, not a second win for our esteemed MP but Ramola Bachchan for her successes - a copy of the artcile is below. The award is covered by five online Indian papers, but - even when searching directly for the award or Ms Bachchan's name - no British papers have. Which is nice. Keith Vaz has previously been a winner, but I couldn't find for what year.

In case you were wondering, this is the 'evergreen' Dev Anand. The 'evergreen' prefix is remarkably popular, but, I think, deserved.

LONDON:Ramola Bachchan, socialite and sister-in-law of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has won the Asian of the Year Award for 2004.

At a gala ceremony attended by evergreen Bollywood star Dev Anand, leader of the House of Commons Peter Hains, NRI businessmen S P Hinduja and his brother G P Hinduja and the elite, Kartar Lalvani, winner of the Award last year presented a gold-plated plaque to 57-year-old Ramola for her outstanding achievements and her work towards charitable causes.

A former air stewardess, a TV presenter and now a solicitor, Kolkata-born Ramola has successfully raised funds for several organisations, including the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, CARE International, SAARC Foundation, Cancer Relief, Macmillan Fund and Pratham UK.

Accepting the award, Ramola said, "I am deeply honoured to be given this award this year, catapulting me to a very luminous category of award winners."

Noting that she was the only third woman to get the award out of 17 recipients so far, Ramola hoped the imbalance in favour of men would be redressed in future.

Prominent award winners include Lord Swraj Paul, Lord Navnit Dholakia, Baroness Shreela Flather and Keith Vaz.

Raj Loomba launched the 17th Edition of the Asian Who's Who International, edited by J S Sachar, on the occasion.

Ramola came to live in the UK with husband Ajitabh and their children in 1987. In 1995, she set up her own public relations firm to promote business and culture between India and the UK.

From the Central Chronicle, but same as everywhere. Why is this Keith Vaz news? Well, because it came up in a search on his name I had a look, but then my interest was piqued by it not being picked up in the British press. I guess I'm not not only a fan of Keith Vaz but of Ms Bachchan too.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Keith Vaz and Europe

European debate should focus on three-point reform agenda from the Scotsman has some thoughts on Europe and the recent comments by Denis MacShane, current minister for Europe.

Vaz and Peter Hain's difficulties with the post are given some room, with this on our Keith:

For instance, the job involves many junkets to Brussels, inviting the incumbent to go native. Thus did Keith Vaz turn overnight from eurosceptic to Brussels partisan. His subsequent fall from grace had a lot to do with his entanglement in the affair of the Hinduja brothers, but it also reflected the extreme ire of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a junior Foreign Office minister had presumed to make EU policy, and the wrong policy to boot.

MacShane's comments, given at a university, are interesting, The Scotsman sees them as being something of a breath of fresh air.

I wonder sometimes how much of an effect Vaz's entanglement with Europe would impact on Leicester East in a Euro referendum. It's still something bandied about fairly regularly, it's what non-constituents remember Vaz for (is being well known for all the wrong reasons better than being unknown?), will it ever be forgotten?

Keith Vaz in Leicester

What has our MP been up to in Leicester recently? I turn, reluctantly, to the Leicester Mercury, the Daily Mail wannabe of Leicestershire. Somewhat unbelievably it has been attracting praise for a recent moralising campaign and writing letters to President Chirac.

MP delighted: Keith Vaz has been celebrating the new Labour control on the council with an EDM, signed by an impressive 36 MPs outlining the 'disastrous' work of the Lib Dems in Leicester. Ross Wilmott returns as leader with Mary Draycott as deputy.

A last goodbye to 'remarkable man': the funeral of the former Lord Mayor, Councillor Ramnik Kavia was held this week.

Residents welcome nursery: Some good news for Hamilton with the opening of Hamilton Hilltop Nursery School, which Keith Vaz attended.

Mr Vaz said: "This nursery will be a great asset to Hamilton. Local residents with children will now have the opportunity find work or training and at the same time benefit from childcare provisions in their local area.

"I want the council and local developers to continue with their successful efforts to equip Hamilton with many more facilities."

Eastender at switch on in memory of Merlyn: The winter holiday lights were switched on by a soap 'star' in memory of Merlyn Vaz and a school has put up a tree in tribute, with soundbites from Vaz and the Lord Mayor, Piara Singh Clair.

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