Diary

For the perfect Christmas gift, forget the latest album by Rod Stewart, The Killers or Jake Bugg and instead buy your loved one the new release from the Town and Country Planning Association.

The campaign group's "Love Life and Liberty" album contains poetry and music that "tells the story of the planning movement", according to a TCPA spokeswoman. The association says it will also explore the links between figures such as Ebenezer Howard and Raymond Unwin, and radical thinkers like Edward Carpenter, William Morris and Prince Kropotkin.

If we all encourage our friends and family to buy copies, maybe we can deny the X Factor a Christmas number one!

Planners across the country are sprouting hair from their top lips as part of this year's Movember shenanigans: the annual fund-raising event to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.

Among those taking part are the chaps at Telford & Wrekin Council's development plans team and the dashing gents from consultancy Boyer Planning, who have no fewer than ten staff members taking part.

You can find details of how to donate on the planningblog at http://planningblog.planningresource.co.uk.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has been accused by his shadow, Hilary Benn, of becoming the very thing he claims to despise: a "cigar-chomping Commie".

In a Commons debate on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, Benn recounted Pickles' admission that he had a photo of Che Guevara to remind him that, without "constant vigilance", the "cigar-chomping Commies will take over".

But Benn said: "The powers he is asking the House to give him in clause 1 are enough to make any self-respecting democratic centralist slap him on the back in gratitude and give him a cigar to chomp on."


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