28 February, 2006
Tony Blair has, in the past, given his unreserved support for the following ministers: Peter Mandleson, Stephen Byers, Peter Mandleson (again) Beverly Hughes, David Blunkett, Estelle Morris, David Blunkett (again). Being supported by TB is like getting TB, not good for your future prospects.
This is why Tessa Jowell should be jumping for joy. Tony is going out of his way not to give her any public support. Apparently he does not want to pre-empt the findings of any future investigation into Mrs Jowell’s conduct, like he did with Mandleson (twice) and Blunkett (twice).
With Tony's track record of backing the wrong horse in these matters Mrs Jowell may come away from this smelling of roses. Only don’t put your house on it.
The speaker affirmed he was not surprised by the cartoons the Danish newspaper published... for the west has started a series of attacks against Islam, some years ago. They began by insult, then military occupation and now they are offending the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). This incident is more serious than the 9/11 attacks on the US and those of London. Muslims so have the right to express their anger and to defend themselves and their religion.
The full article can be read here.
27 February, 2006
The decision was quite hotly debated and there were some compelling arguments on both sides, no binding decision was made. I clearly felt that it would prove counterproductive, splitting the "save the pool" vote and letting Bullock back in through the back door.
I will continue to fight for the pool irrespective of whether a pool candidate stands or not.
Podcasting is taking off in a big way, a number of newspapers are getting involved as are a some politicians, David Cameron was the first major party leader to have a go. I have to confess that it wasn’t as good as the thoroughly good “Thoroughly Good Radio”.
The most recent podcast was dedicated to the Save Ladywell Pool campaign. Give him a listen.
I am glad that we have had the guts to discuss this because for a long time we seem to have highlighted the importance of mothers spending time with their children and forgotten about the importance of earning enough money to pay the bills.
There are lots of women who would love to stay at home but just cannot afford to, I am sure that there are also women at home who feel that perhaps they are letting the side down and are retreating from the victories of the women’s lib movement.
I will say this now and hope I will not have to repeat myself. The Conservatives have never been against working women, we had a rather high profile one leading the party for quite a while, remember? We have been guilty of letting ourselves be caricatured as being against working mums, that was our fault and now we are setting the record straight.
I have seen both sides of this argument, Susie went back to work after Freddy was born and was very unhappy about how little time she had to spend with him. After Rupert came along she gave up work and is much happier, as am I. We both are much poorer.
These are the kind of decisions and compromises that couples make every day up and down the country and it is important for politicians to understand that. For many parents this is a much more important issue than the balance of payments deficit or even taxation levels.
Voter turnout has been falling and no one involved in politics is happy about it. I have written on this subject and it is something that I feel strongly about, particularly as seats like those in Lewisham tend to have lower than average turn out.
I am not going to comment on these recommendations yet because I want to have proper think about them. It is too easy to come up with a knee jerk reaction on issues such as votes for 16 year olds and changes to the voting system but something has to change and some of these ideas may just do it.
Watch this space.
Hospitals have been told that they have to cover their debts by spring next year, not an easy task. I think that this is particularly harsh as it is in large part this government’s meddling that has created this situation.
26 February, 2006
There are good schools and there are bad schools, and while everyone would like there to be only good schools we are not at that place yet. So what do parents do in the meantime? The answer is that they pay for a better education for their children, some do it directly at private schools and some do it through house prices. The people who suffer the most are those who cannot buy their way out of the problem.
Pretending that this doesn't happen is the biggest barrier to changing the situation. I get very frustrated with parents who passionately oppose private schools and then spend thousands moving next door to the good local state school.
We need much more choice in schools, this means real choice for every parent and that means a surplus of school places. The only way to get a surplus is to allow a much wider range of providers, the state, charities, faith groups, companies even parents groups. Only when we have radically changed the way we provide education will we give real choice to the parents who do not have the money to buy choice at the moment.
24 February, 2006
I hope this changes his attitude to his office, I fear it will not
They haven’t shirked from their responsibility and they deserve credit for this. It will be very interesting to see what punishment they give him.
My origional comments are here.
Who have I got my money on in the Conservative leadership race? I think that David Davis is making a very strong showing and would be the most logical place to put a flutter, which is why I dot think he will get it. The party seems to have a habit of not picking the obvious contender.If you need me to tell you about tall, dark, handsome strangers just pop a few silver pieces into out campaign funds.
I wouldn't have a problem with Davis, I don't subscribe to the hard line caricature of him at all. He takes a tougher line on some social issues than I do but I agree with him wholeheartedly on idea that the state should be small, efficient and discrete. I also think that as a party we should have the courage to make the moral case for lower tax and less state interference, and not bowing to the emotional blackmail of the big state brigade.
I generally feel more politically affinity with David Cameron but I think that his relative inexperience in the house and a desire to update the party's image may cause difficulties. I would hope that the more experienced heads in the party stand shoulder to shoulder with him if he does win and not throw him to the wolves.
I think that as a party we have grown up at last and will accept that whoever get the top job needs the support of the whole party to succeed. The real battle is with the Labour party not with other Conservatives
23 February, 2006
The great thing about this article is that it blows away so many prejudices about the Conservatives. I wish that the media would spend a bit more time talking to grass roots Tories who are much more down to earth than most people think.
Despite all of the above and despite the fact that we officially went metric decades ago I still don’t like the idea of ditching miles.
Under the guise of a simple bill to cut a bit of red tape, the government is trying to pass a law that will fundamentally change the relationship between government and the governed. If you think that I am a bit paranoid have a look at this letter from a number of legal professors at Cambridge Uni.
It is really important that this legislation does not go through unchanged. I know what the Labour line will be ….. “You Conservatives call for less regulation and when we try to simplify the system you oppose it, you flip, flop Tories”.
Don’t let them get away with it.
We are at a tipping point, stay and try to minimise the damage done in a civil conflict or pull out at let Iraq battle its way to a standstill. Neither option is appealing and I have to confess I don’t know enough about the area to decide on which is least destructive.
One thing is clear, if we stay we will lose troops. Iraq is about to become a lot more dangerous and the relationship between the British and the local communities is at a low ebb. Now is not a good time to be a British soldier in Iraq.
21 February, 2006
One of the reasons that I and many others are opposed to so much of the Governments home affairs legislation is because it can so easily be distorted and misused. This is a classic example.
I am not defending fraud or fraudsters but the three former Nat West employees facing fraud charges are not terrorists. They may be criminals but they are not terrorists. Yet the Extradition Act is being used by the Government despite their alleged crime being committed by British citizens against a British company in Britain and no prima facie evidence needs to be produced by the US to justify their request.
Either stand up to the government on this issue and others like it or hope that they don’t come after you. You may find that you are held for almost a month without charge, detained without trial, tried without a jury or extradited without evidence. And if you think that these things can only happen to terror suspects then please remember David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby are accused of stealing from a bank.
Brown now wants to drape himself in the union flag and come over all patriotic, a bit weak if you ask me.
If anyone has any examples of Brown thanking our brave boys (and girls) please let me know.
People like the Liberal Democrats for example.
It is completely understandable that they have trouble finding their bearings and their way around the borough; their mayoral candidate has lived in Lewisham for just a few weeks.
Their lack of local knowledge has come to light in their latest newsletter. They express great concern and promise great action over the closure of the New Tiger’s Head pub at the Lee Green crossroads.
The problem is that the New Tiger’s Head is in the London Borough of Greenwich. I’ll buy you all a map after the election.
It is well known that NHS trusts are performing all sorts of slight of hand to hit government targets, the issue about booking GP appointments was well covered in the run up to the last general election. To find out that Doctors are encouraged to avoid blood tests for fear of adding a case to the MRSA total is on a different level.
Blood tests are a core part of the medical profession’s arsenal and to ask to reduce the number of tests cannot be good for patient care. No one likes bad results, and I would imagine the Lewisham NHS Trust is no different but to massage the figures is no way bring about real improvement. What kind of government is it that forces hospitals to take such measures?
I will be writing to the Chief Executive of Lewisham to find out the full picture.
20 February, 2006
I hope that we can be grown up enough to let Murray develop without loading him up with a nation’s unrealistic expectations. He will do well, he may well even win Wimbledon but only if given time to build on what he has accomplished.
The same can be said of David Cameron, he has got of to a great start and if given time he will turn the fortunes of the Conservative party around. We should not expect that this will all happen overnight. Change is never easy.
19 February, 2006
More money without a fundamental chance in social attitude will not change a thing. I am a big believer in the importance of families, not the clichéd mum, dad and 2.2 children, but a much larger network of family, the traditional extended family. This network provides support and assistance and could provide an answer to the problem of work vs childcare.
Jenny Watson of the Equal Opportunities Commission said that “we don't have a very family-friendly culture”, it should be the job of government to change this. It is very easy for political parties to be intimidated out of support for the family by people claiming that it discriminates against those who do not have a family. This argument is vacuous, firstly everyone has a family. Secondly, support for the family can happen as well as support for other groups, it is a matter of where the priorities are set.
Our aging population is a big issue, if we want good health service for the elderly, good pensions and decent social services they need to be paid for, and it has to be the working population that pays the bulk. If we do not breed in enough volume we are in trouble. You know what you have to do, now go and have fun.
17 February, 2006
Overall crime is dropping mainly because of better security features in houses, cars and shops, local or central government can claim no credit for this fall. The area where people are less able to protect themselves is where crime has risen. Street crime is on the increase because we do not have enough police officers on the beat. I have pushed for more local policing and I will continue to do so if elected.
Allied to more police we need to find ways of keeping young people out of trouble, much of this street crime is committed by young people on young people. If we can break the cycle of criminality it will make a huge difference to the quality of life in the borough.
Still, the picture of the family is nice.
Despite all of the above I cannot help but think “nice tray”.
The truth behind this situation is twofold. Firstly, Blair is desperate to look tough on this issue, it gives him a cover story if there is another terrorist attack. He can claim that he had done everything to prevent it, even though there are a number of far more effective options. Secure borders, phone-tap evidence, a minister for homeland security and more police would be a good start.
Secondly, it gives him a stick to beat us with. There was cross party support for this bill until Blair insisted on putting in this meaningless and counterproductive clause. This is a cynical move by Labour and needs to be highlighted as such; thankfully a lot of the media are already seeing through this ploy( see here and here), I hope that voters do so too.
14 February, 2006
David Davis made a strong speech against the cards and the database that goes with them. Some of the key points are have been distilled down by Tim Mongomerie from ConservativeHome.com
THE GOVERNMENT'S SUGGESTION THAT ID CARDS ARE
Referring to the provision that would make ID cards obligatory on renewal of a passport...
"Not if your work takes you abroad, they aren’t [voluntary]. Not if your parents live abroad, or your spouse or partner is from abroad, they aren’t. Not if your children travel abroad and get sick or into trouble,
they aren’t. And it is a novel interpretation of voluntary that the price of a foreign holiday is a requirement to be put on the National Identity Register."
GOVERNMENT ABUSE OF DATA IT HOLDS
"Now, after the way this government treated Martin Sixsmith, Pam Warren, Rose Addis and others, seeking information about them and using it to destroy their reputations, I would not trust them with data about my life."
"THE PLASTIC POLL TAX"
"Even on the government's figures, the price of passports for a family of four will go from £134 today to £372. On the LSE’s figures, the cost could be as high as £300, per person, or more than £1,000 for a family of four. A plastic poll tax that no one will volunteer to pay."
"Even simple databases are beyond the Home Office, such as the firearms register which they were asked to set up 8 years ago which is still not operational. If they are incapable of setting up a firearms register in eight years, why should we imagine that they are capable of setting up the register required under this Bill in an acceptable and workable way?"
THE FACT THAT THE ID CARDS DATABASE WILL HAVE 20,000 ACCESS POINTS
"Microsoft’s national technology officer has said that a central identity database could worsen the very problems it was intended to prevent, such as terrorism and identity theft. He said that “ministers should not be building systems that allow hackers to mine information so easily.”
ID CARDS ARE CONSISTENT WITH OTHER ATTEMPTS TO RESTRICT BRITISH CIVIL LIBERTIES
"The way the government has gone about trying to deliver this Bill is of a piece with so much of what they have done to then hard-won rights of British people. The gradual erosion of jury trial. The attempt to criminalise free speech. Stopping some people making peaceful protests, while ignoring others inciting violence. Locking people up for months without charge or trial. The increasing retention of more and more data on innocent people – even DNA samples of innocent children."
13 February, 2006
I am reading Jeffery Robinson’s book (The Unconventional Minister) at the moment and there is a short passage which says it all. It relates to the decision not to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia, the plan was first given to the press and then three days later an announcement was made to the house. This was not written with an ounce of embarrassment or contrition, it was written as if it was the proper way to do things.
Blair feels that the Houses of Lords and Commons are an annoyance and I am sure that if he felt that he could get away with it he would get rid of them.
By the way, if you are going to pepper someone with a shotgun and American lawyer is not the person to do it to. Still Dick has a couple of $ million in the back, I am sure he can afford it.
YOUR double-page article on loos represented much which is good about journalism - an important story with good pictures dealt with in an amusing way but raising issues of concern.
Over the last 20 to 30 years, the reduction in the number of public loos has been a disgrace, and where there are loos, they often charge 50p a visit - as the ones in the centre of Westminster do. Loos are extremely important, and not only for the elderly but for the young as well. Areas like Lewisham Shopping Centre with its market need better facilities.
I can assure you that Labour's campaign team for central Lewisham will ensure that this matter is dealt with the utmost urgency by the new council in May 2006.
Anthony Kendall, Labour campaign team for Lewisham Central ward
Apart from his desperate attempt to ingratiate himself with the paper, the correspondent seems to have forgotten that his party have been responsible for Lewisham’s public toilet provision for the last few decades and if the reduction is a disgrace it's Labour's fault. Jumping on the bandwagon now and promising to look into the “issue” after the election is a bit weak. If he does get in I will check to see how much of a loo champion Anthony turns out to be.
I would have expected the Lib Dems to champion this kind of thing, they are usually the party of spurious "local" campaigns. I wait with bated breath for the Lib Dems newsletter claiming that the "Liberal Democrat campaigner looks into local loos"
From: Moore, Cllr Gavin
Sent: 24 January 2006 20:08
To: Alexander, Cllr Heidi; Onuegbu, Cllr Crada; Owolabi, Cllr_Sam; Maslin, Cllr Paul; Padmore, Cllr Sabina; Padmore, Cllr Stephen; Adefiranye, Cllr Obajimi; Johnson, Cllr Darren; Scott, Cllr Terry; Brown, Cllr Andrew; Addison, Cllr Jackie; Garcha, Cllr Singh Gurbakhsh; Scott, Cllr Sylvia; Bodimeade, Cllr_Dave; Long, Madeliene; Hastie, Cllr Colin; Hastie, Cllr Jane; Till, Cllr Alan; Best, Cllr Chris; Carlisle, Cllr Liam; Nisbet, Cllr Marion; Whiting, Cllr DaveCc: Donnelly, Cllr Katy; Mayor
Subject: RE: Motion at Council Meeting tomorrow
It goes without saying, but we need to ask you all not to have dialogue
with the New Schools Campaign who are opposing the Group motion to Council
This was sent by Gavin Moore, the Deputy Mayor of Lewisham, to the Labour councillors on purpose and Cllr Darren Johnson (Green) by mistake.
Lesson to be learned from Labour, don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with you, heaven forbid, they might change your mind.
Please, voters of Lewisham, do not let this arrogance continue.
12 February, 2006
The coronation of a political leader is not something that I feel comfortable with. We did it with Howard but under a very unusual set of circumstances. The seemingly inevitable handover from Blair to Brown just stinks of Nu Labour centralised control.
There are some intelligent young people on the Labour benches who, I am sure, would like to have a crack at the leadership, they should have a chance.
There are now a number of Conservative oriented websites which are giving a very active arena for debate within the party, I have looked out for the Labour equivalents and there seem not to be many. Is independent thought not happening in the Labour party?
Currently he is trying to plant a punch on David Cameron, metaphorically speaking. The day that I have arrived in politics is when Presott takes a swing at me, metaphorically or otherwise.
These are the same people trying to persuade us that the replacement for Ladywell will be up and running in a few years.
I want to make it clear that these comments in no way reduce the disgust and horror that I feel when I see headlines and pictures like those in today’s News of the World. If the video is found to genuine (and it seems to me that it is) the soldiers involved must be brought to justice.
It must be remembered that there are thousands of British troops in Iraq and they have to deal with dangerous and volatile situations every day. Maltreatment and abuse happen, but these activities are very much the exception. Indeed the video was given to the paper by a disgusted colleague of the soldiers.
10 February, 2006
What does this mean for the Conservatives? Well I have been trying to look at this result and I can only come up with one conclusion, in Dunfermline we were not regarded as being in the game, the voters wanted Labour out and the Lib Dems were in the best place to make it happen.
Trying to read too much into this result is a bit futile as this prediction shows.
Based on the vote changes in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election, here are the results of a General Election:
Liberal Democrat Majority 140
L D 38.24% 393 MPs
Con 30.74% 220 MPs
Lab 19.30% 1 MP
(thanks to Dan on PoliticalBetting)
09 February, 2006
However, the Home Office has been far from squeaky clean with regard to crime figures and their accuracy. It seems that old habits die-hard and these new figures are not as robust as we would like.
The biggest problem for the government is that no matter how hard they try to persuade us that crime is falling, people’s experience indicates otherwise. No amount of statistics and advertising will convince you that your fear of crime is unfounded if your motorbike has been nicked and your car broken into within a couple of months, as mine were.
08 February, 2006
You are Iron Man
|Inventor. Businessman. Genius.|
From Lt. Colonel Mendonca of the Queens Lancashire Regiment to the young Paras whose cases were thrown out due to lack of evidence our troops have been faced with enemies on both sides.
I have absolutely no sympathy for soldiers who abuse prisoners; they should be brought to justice. But soldiers sometimes have to kill people in the line of duty, they need to make the decision to kill under intense pressure and often in a split second and it is never an easy decision. If they are not supported when they make those decisions the whole system will fail, the moral of our soldiers is being deeply undermined by the litigious attitude of the very Government that sends them into these dangerous places.
To hear a representative of the least supportive, most condemning government tell us to be more supportive and less condemning is truly sickening. The Government needs to say less and do more to support our troops.
I’ll stop writing now before I say something that will lose me my commission.
The news that the hospital was rife with MRSA first came to light just as Susie (my wife) was giving birth to our youngest son, not the kind of thing that you want to hear. At one point Lewisham was one the worst hospital in the country for infection rates.
Something needed to be done and there was lots of talk about investment, hit squads, targets, disinfection machines etc. etc.
Now Lewisham is heading towards the top of the tables and this turnaround has taken little more than a year. It is very good to see that rather than waste time and money on expensive distractions Lewisham has broken the MRSA problem by simple and effective hand washing. Nothing complicated, just making sure that everyone washes their hands.
I think there is a lesson to be learned there.
Capping cuts in at 5%, which means that the current proposals must be looking close to or even over this figure. As inflation is running at about 2%-2.5% we could be faced with council tax increases twice the rate of inflation.
These tax increases hit the low paid and those on fixed incomes hardest, and the £200 rebate for the elderly was only an election year sweetener, they won’t be getting in next year.
We do not need these excessive levels of council tax to provide excellent services, in Conservative controlled Wandsworth public services are rated as “Excellent” and their council tax is almost half that of Lewisham.
Conservative run councils dominate the top of the local government performance tables and generally do so at lower cost than Lib Dem or Labour councils.
The levels of waste in Lewisham are unforgivable, just off the top of my head I can think of almost two million pounds spent on Ladywell Pool just months before announcing it would be demolished. Thousands of pounds on each road hump in Catford on roads that need to be re-surfaced soon anyway. Millions of pounds spent on external consultants instead of using the skills of council officers. There are many more I am sure, feel free to send me any examples.
It is very interesting to see that Matthew Hunchback (former Lewisham Lib Dem leader) feels that council tax increases should be higher. Care to visit the real world for an afternoon Matthew?
07 February, 2006
They didn’t need to. If they wanted the bill on the statute books they could have had it, the Conservatives were willing to support the legislation because it moved in the right direction. There was no chance that they could have lost.
It is very telling that Blair would rather have a battle with the Tories over something that he doesn’t believe in than with his own backbenchers for something he does. Weak.
The first of these profiles is of the Conservative Group Leader on Lewisham Council, Councillor Barrie Anderson.
Barrie is one of the councillors for the Grove Park ward in the south east of the borough. As a long standing Councillor Barrie has held a number of senior positions on the council despite being a member of the opposition group, he is currently the Vice Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the most powerful of the council committees.
Barrie is well known locally and is heavily involved with a number of local projects and groups. He has supported the local fight against the planning application from Yellow Box in Grove Park and has quizzed Steve Bullock over the closure of Ladywell Pool and the building of the new school.
He is a professional writer and was a member of the TA for many years. Barrie will be seeking re-election in Grove Park on May the 4th and will be a senior member of the team if I become Mayor of Lewisham.
Barrie can be contacted by email here.
Omar Khayam became one of the “faces” of the cartoon protest and has since been exposed as a convicted drug dealer. I am not an expert but I doubt that peddling addictive and dangerous drugs is consistent with the teachings of the prophet.
This young man was clearly looking to make a statement; I imagine he was drawn to the demo because there was a good chance that it might get violent or destructive. If the response of these protesters was to sit quietly in prayer outside the embassy or to write to the Danish paper expressing their concerns, I am sure he would not have got involved.
My concern is that much of the so-called Islamic extremism is in fact just disillusioned young men looking for a fight. We cannot ignore the genuine grievances of committed Muslims but neither should we assume that everyone involved is doing so for genuine religious reasons.
Also while reading the above article I found myself dumbstruck by the response of Mr Khayam’s local MP, Patrick Hall. He jumped straight to the defence of My Khayam without getting any details about him, this desperate attempt to ingratiate himself with the sizable Muslim community in his local area may well backfire, badly.
06 February, 2006
BBC: Cameron 'to curb PMs' war power'
The Guardian: Queen's powers should be removed, says Cameron
Which is the most accurate? I will leave that judgement to you.
The decision to print the cartoons in the first instance was unwise; the relationship between western nations and Muslims could not have been improved by their release. I do however completely defend the paper's right to publish them.
Free speech is important and has to be defended; this is why I completely support the Conservatives' opposition to the incitement to religious hatred bill. As you will see from my post about the Gerry Springer play, I do not feel that any religion is above parody. I believe that if your faith is strong you can and should rise above such things. The Danish government has done the right thing in standing by its press freedoms.
The ensuing attacks on Danish embassies are completely unforgivable, if depressingly predictable.
What has been most worrying for me is Labour's appalling lack of courage in dealing with this issue. The half hearted criticism in the Number 10 statement is pathetic.
"We understand the offence caused by the cartoons depicting the prophet and of course regret that this has happened. Such things help no one.I find the use of the word "unacceptable" in this context unacceptable. I think that the word they were looking might be criminal. Compare this response provided by the Conservative home affairs team.
It is always sensible for freedom of expression to be exercised with respect for religious belief. But nothing can justify the violence aimed at European embassies or at the country of Denmark.
We and our EU partners stand in full solidarity with them in resisting this violence and believe the Danish government has done everything it reasonably can to handle a very difficult situation. The attacks on the citizens of Denmark and the people of other European countries are completely unacceptable as is behavioriour of some of the demonstrators in London over the last few days.
The police should have our full support in any actions they may wish to take in respect of any breaches of the law, though again we understand the difficult situation they had to manage. We also strongly welcome the statements of Muslim leaders here who are themselves tackling the extremists who abuse their community's good name."
The most worrying element of this whole incident is the reaction to those members of the London demonstrations who carried banners advocating murder. The acceptable boundaries of free speech clearly stop at incitement to murder.
The police have a duty to prevent and detect crime and to arrest criminals. Those protesters who crossed the line from protest to incitement should be arrested, if they were members of the BNP saying similar things about Muslims they would have been.
Griffin of the BNP made a number of detestable remarks about Muslims and was taken to court and tried accordingly. I think that he and the party he represents are sickening, however he stopped well short of incitement to murder. I hope that we am not seeing the emergence of, politically sponsored, relative morality it will only play into the hands of racists if we are.
05 February, 2006
Why is there never a Welshman around when you need one?
It is very interesting that the line of attack that they have come up with is that DC is just like Bush. This is a very weak line for two main reasons; firstly New Labour is so completely in bed with George W that trying to paint him as an ogre will be rather counter-productive. Secondly George has won, twice.
Must try harder guys!
The story itself is factually accurate but it is the message that it puts across is deeply deceiving by omission.
I am sure that the four gay Conservatives listed in the article received a letter with the wording quoted in the article. I assume this to be the case because I received the same letter, indeed everyone on the Conservative candidates’ list received the letter.
Gay Conservatives are not being targeted for special treatment, neither is anyone else. What really annoys me about this is the fact that some people will assume that if successful in their attempts to find a good/safe seat for the next election it will be because they are gay. The four people named are all very well thought of as candidates and would be deserving of a place on the , so called, A list purely on merit.
If I get on the list I would not want anyone to think it was for any reason other than merit. Unfortunately there will be people who will assume it is because of my skin colour and I am already bracing myself for that.
I can’t really complain as I, like thousands of other bloggers, get this all for free.
02 February, 2006
Did he/does he support the war? I doubt that we will ever know.
These two qualities make it a very useful fuel and because it is made from cow it doesn’t pump petrochemicals into the air. The really ingenious thing is that tallow can be used as the fuel for the rendering machines that make tallow, ingenious. The tallow that is left over can be sold to make soap and supplement the pitiful income of beef farmers.
This seems like one of those lovely self sustaining practices that should be left alone to get on with it. Which is probably why the Government want to mess it about.
The European waste burning regulations insist upon specific and expensive furnaces for burning waste. “So what has this got to do with tallow?” I hear you ask, “Surely tallow is a fuel,” you say.
According to the European directive it is, but DEFRA (Department for the Eradication of Farming and Rural Affairs) who have Gold Plated the directive now define it as waste. Being waste it has to be burned in a special incinerator, using diesel. USING DIESEL.
If this directive is enforced it will make beef more expensive, farming less efficient and will increase the levels of pollution.
This little story tells you everything that you need to know about this government. Interfering, thoughtless, ineffective and clueless. Get them out, soon.
The report basically absolves anyone from any blame and indicates the inherent difficulties in delivering major capital are the reason for the delays. I have to say that I am also far from happy with this, I will have a look through the report and post a more detailed response.
Upon entering a multi story car park I lowered the window of the car to get the ticket from the machine and was then unable to make it go back up again. I didn’t have enough time to do anything about it before my meeting started so I had to leave it wound down, in a public car park for two hours.
I came back to find that nothing had happened, nothing at all. 10 points to the people of Leeds. I then went off to find a garage to sort out the window before my drive back to London, at 5.20 I found one. They were in the process of closing up but were sympathetic to my plight, ten minutes later the window was secured and I was heading down the M1 to London.
They charged me absolutly nothing, and not only did they do the work for free but they also gave me a can of de-icer. Top work.
The trip home would have been a real high for me because of the kind actions of Leeds’ mechanics had I not been driven into by a truck. I now have lovely scratches and tyre marks down the offside of Susie’s car. Photos to follow.
This is good advice for anyone, but especially so when your boss is one of the highest profile people in the world. Hillary Armstrong, the Labour Chief Whip, made the most basic of political mistakes, screwing up in public and forcing the Prime Minister to screw up at the same time.
The Religious Hatred Bill has always been a very contentious piece of legislation and a wide range of organisations have opposed it. Neither the Conservatives nor the Lib Dems supported the bill, despite this the Labour whips thought that they could easily ignore the 20 or so Labour back benchers who stated that they would not support the bill either. They were wrong.
Apparently the whips’ office had no idea that the defeat was coming, not good when you remember that gauging the outcome of votes is the whips’ offices primary function. Having lost the first vote Ms Armstrong compounded her error by telling the PM that his vote would not be needed in the second of last Tuesday’s votes. Labour lost that vote by 1, it seems that Mr Blair was needed after all.
How could the whips get it so wrong? The answer is simple, they have had a huge majority for so long none of them know how to do the job. The Labour leadership have no idea how to win the argument, either with the nation as a whole or with their own backbenchers, and their old threat of “vote for me or let the Tories back in” is much less powerful now that we are no longer seen as the bogyman.
There is a reshuffle in the wind and if I were a betting man I would not put much money on Ms Armstrong keeping her job.
I have done some work with him off and on over the last few years and he took me under his wing the first time that I went to a Conservative conference, he is genuinely one of the nicest guys in politics.
Being nice has not however limited how effective he is, he has been in the driving seat against the 90 day detention plans and the overly harsh Religious hatred bill. The Government has only lost votes on two issues since coming to power and Dominic has been instrumental in both those defeats. Watch out for him, he is on his way up.
Under the new plans it could become a pleasant, pedestrian focussed area with a park, river and shopping area. A huge improvement.
The plans also include four or five tower blocks of up to twenty stories. These will be higher than the Citibank building that currently dominates the skyline of northern Lewisham.
The population density of this area will be increased dramatically and the knock on effects could be felt for decades to come.
I will support this development, but only if the residential element is kept in proportion to the infrastructure of the area.