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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Smoking - the government needs to come clean

I am a smoker. To some that makes me a social outcast. Every time I am outside a pub, I always call it the leper colony. Not surprisingly every other smoker agrees with me. Smokers tend to take every raft of government legislation on the chin. We may moan, but we don't do anything about it.

Now we are expected to buy cigarettes under the counter. Perhaps I should try and buy cigarettes with a paper bag over my head? After all, as a smoker, I am someone who is not entitled to the same freedoms as everyone else.

I have long argued that the government should come clean. Are they more interested in the tax revenue from smoking or do they intend to make smoking illegal? I know the answer, so why don't they let smokers get on with our lives? Again, I know the answer. They are more interested in doing something that will appeal for votes. Once again they have misread the public mood. They don't understand the British people value their libertarian tradition. They don't understand we have had enough.

Unfortunately we have to endure another two years of this. We live in a democracy, however, it does make you wonder what sort of democracy we live in.

I do like to be beside the seaside

Taking advantage of the warm weather, we decided to take a drive to the seaside. This afternoon we ended up in Bridlington. I am impressed with the improvements that have taken place in this old seaside town. For starters, it is amazing what a lick of paint can do, although they have done more than that. The marina is lovely and the Spa Theatre Complex has been refurbished and opens today.

We called in at Audrey's cafe, where we had the best fish and chips I have tasted in some time. The prices were reasonable too. Just over £15 for two portions of fish and chips, one sausage and chips for the bairn, a pot of tea for two and a glass of cola.
Below you can see Becky and Gregory after they had built a sandcastle.

My contribution was occasionally to help the sandcastle come out of the bucket. The rest was their handy work.

I must say the camera on my new mobile phone impresses me. Even though I say so myself, I have always had an eye for photography. I inherited it from my grandfather. He would have loved all the new technology we have these days.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The cost of rising oil prices

A pupil asked me this week if I thought there would be any fuel blockades soon. My hunch is there will be towards the end of the summer and this time I will be there.

There are some filling stations who are putting up the price of fuel twice a day. Certainly every time I fill up with diesel, I pay more. This trend has continued now for weeks and there doesn't seem an end in sight.

We have the cheapest diesel in Europe, however, after the government has been involved, we have the most expensive. Putting it in simple terms; for every £50 we spend at the pumps, the cash registers at the Treasury take £29. If the government postpones the 2p per litre increase in duty for six months, it will cost £550 million. That means for every penny of duty levied, the government tax us £550 million a year. Since the budget, the government has had a windfall of £1.3 billion, thanks to the rise in oil prices. Brown and Darling clearly have scope to substantially reduce taxes on fuel; even more so considering every analyst predicts the price of oil rising to $200 a barrel. That, however, is just the start.

There should be an immediate investigation into the petroleum industry. Somewhere we are all being taken for a ride. There is no justification for all the price increases we are suffering. Cast your mind back to when the cost of fuel was hovering just below the £1 per litre mark. Retailers knew this was a psychological level. Since it rose above that level, the cost of fuel has soared. Although the price of oil has risen since then, the price rises cannot be justified. A barrel of oil cost around $100 a barrel last December. Currently, crude is trading at just below $130. There is an anomaly there, and this needs to be investigated.

If the government reduce fuel tax and petroleum industry stops - what I think is - profiteering, direct action will not be taken later this year. If this does not happen, expect direct action. It will happen in greater numbers than in 2000, and could possibly bring the country to a standstill. If this does happen, the government will have no-one to blame but itself.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tories 24% ahead

I know a few bloggers have already posted this story, but I am going to because it shows how far the Conservative Party has come.

The YouGov poll in The Daily Telegraph has the Conservatives on 47%, Labour on 23% and the LibDems on 18%.

There have been so many polls of late that are showing the Tories well ahead of Labour, that there is no doubt the electorate are warming to David Cameron. Yes, there is an anti-Labour vote here, however, most people would rather favour the devil you know if they are undecided. Gordon Brown is incompetent as prime minister and more and more are liking what the Conservatives have to offer. If that was not so, the polls would not be as much in our favour. The evidence is there during the Blair years. Even though he was unpopular, the voters still favoured him as they did not trust what we had to say or offer. Any Labour blogger who thinks different is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Question Time and Geoff Hoon

After watching Question Time this evening, I have to say I feel sorry for Geoff Hoon. I know he wasn't much cop as Defence Secretary, but he did have at the time - probably - the most difficult job in government. Now he has the impossible job of keeping Labour backbenchers in line, when many of them are staring at the dole queue.

I don't think he is out of touch with the ordinary citizen. I think he knows what is going on. He must long for the halcyon days of Tony Blair; at least you knew you had a prime minister who could relate to people. I don't think he is all that short of a bob or two, so my advice to him is resign from the government before you are fired. You will be fired as you will be accused of not doing your job properly. You will be a scapegoat and you will know - as the rest of us know - it is an impossible task keeping all those twitchy backbenchers in line.

The most immediate net benefit will be not having to appear on national television putting in a performance you did tonight.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MPs' expenses

In the Daily Mail today, Richard Littlejohn asks the question, 'What's the difference between MPs' expenses and stealing?'

In my mind; not a lot. I have met many MPs over the years. I know that many of them couldn't believe how lax the regime for MPs' expenses is. When you are in business, you have have to keep your receipts in case the tax man wants to have a look at them. It seems MPs can claim for anything, including their TV licence, and nothing is said. Speaker Martin has tried to stop the public from finding out the truth. Some MPs use the argument that for security reasons their addresses should not be made public. I think some of our elected members have an overinflated ego and think they are more important than they are. In any case, if someone was desperate to kill you, it wouldn't be very difficult for them to track you down. Just following you home from the Commons would solve that problem.

It cannot be right for MPs to cream off millions of pounds of our money. I'm not talking about legitimate expenses like travel and the costs of running an office, however, buying another property and letting the taxpayer fund the purchase and then selling it off in the future for a personal profit is seen quite rightly by the taxpayer as politicians will their noses in the trough. Although they are not doing anything that is illegal, surely a moral compass and some political savvy should enter their minds. MPs need to get their act together and embrace a transparent system whereby they claim expenses that would be regarded as legitimate in the business world.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alan Johnson

I have just been watching the Andrew Marr Show from yesterday. During the interview with the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, I couldn't help wondering yet again why on earth Labour chose Harriet Harman as deputy leader. Alan Johnson is the sort of bloke you would go down to the pub with. You couldn't say that of Brown or Harman. If I went down to the pub with Hazel Blears the police would have to be called as I am sure I would murder her after a few minutes. Alan Johnson is one of the few electoral assets Labour have. One of Andrew Marr's questions was if Brown asked him to be his number two, what would he say? His reply was no. Whether Brown thinks this necessary, or perhaps the PM may have this thrown on him, Johnson is the obvious man for the job. From a Tory perspective, I wouldn't want to see him have more air time.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Calum Carr's quest for better mental health care for all.

Calum Carr has been having a one man crusade with the NHS. There are a number of bloggers who are supporting his campaign for better mental health care from the NHS. Calum is not just interested in getting help for his wife. He is interested in better care for all. Read his latest post here. It is an eye opener.

Hull City - premiership team

When Manchester United defeated Chelsea on Wednesday, a colleague said to me the following day all I needed was a Tory victory in Crewe and Nantwich to put the icing on the cake. Well, I am not a supporter of Man Utd, however, I would rather have a northern team win, so I suppose he had a point.

Today Hull City entered the premiership, after beating Bristol City at Wembley. They say things come in threes. This really is a big thing for the people of Hull. As many of you know, I am not a native of these parts, however, I am delighted my adopted city's football team will be playing on the top-flight of English football next season. We couldn't get tickets for today's match, so instead we went to the pub. Although our view was restricted by the lights hanging from the pool table, we had a great time. Well done to all the players and the manager, Phil Brown. He is a very talented manager who has the knack of bringing out the best in his players. It sounds very simple, but we all know it is not. The art of a coach is an art form. Just ask all those managers who have failed.

I just say to all those who believe the media description of Hull as this deprived, appalling city, to come and visit. Yes, it has its bad areas- maybe more than its fair share, but it is also a welcoming city. The people of Hull are very direct, but at least you know where you stand. Give me that any day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why Crewe and Nantwich became a Tory seat

The good people of Crewe and Nantwich have been deafening in their criticism of this discredited government. Labour fought a lousy campaign. Poking fun is one thing; down right nastiness and lies is another. I don't think the wheels were ever on the Labour campaign and all they have done is show the country what they will resort to when the going gets tough.

The 'toff' campaign was fundamentally flawed. Edward's father - John - is the most unassuming millionaire you could want to meet. He is a highly successful self-made man. Him and his wife have fostered over eighty children. Edward takes after his father. His family are ordinary people who have worked hard for their money. If the party in Crewe and Nantwich had picked an upper-class twit, who had his head up his arse, the toff campaign would have probably worked, and you could have seen why they ran it. The Timpson's are not like that.

Labour never addressed the issues affecting ordinary people. There is only one post office in Nantwich. The post office closure programme is something that is uniting everyone from all political persuasions and none. Labour cannot win on this. If a Labour MP says nothing they are accused of not caring and if they stand up campaign against closures in their constituency, they are quite rightly accused of hypocrisy. They only have themselves to blame. There are very few MPs who have the guts to stand up against their own government in the same way Gwyneth Dunwoody did. The voters in Crewe and Nantwich knew that Tamsin was not a chip off the old block. She was going to vote with the government all the time. They were not fooled.

Labour is also still championing Chancellor Brown's wonderful handling of the economy, when everyone knows that Brown has overspent, over borrowed, left us with no money for a rainy day and wasted billions of our money. The government cannot be blamed for the credit crunch or the high price of oil, however, they can be blamed for leaving us with no money to see us through this lean time and they can be blamed for the record amount of taxes on the motorist that make the agony of high fuel prices worse for the ordinary citizen.

The 10p tax fiasco was the straw that broke the camel's back. The voters realised that not only can this government not be trusted on anything, the country is governed by a prime minister who doesn't have the guts to get a mandate from the people. Brown hates elections. He hates having to justify himself when the going gets tough. The voters of Crewe and Nantwich know they are being governed by a sleazy, dishonest and weak government.

Yesterday they voted for an MP who will stand up for them against Labour; not for someone who will side with Brown and plunge the country into even more trouble.

Humble Pie

I am eating humble pie again. From what I gleaned on the doorsteps of Crewe last weekend, I didn't think such a large swing was going to happen. I said that the voters had decided to give the prime minister a bloody nose, but they hadn't decided how they were going to do it. Well, they certainly made up their minds this week. It is an absolutely fantastic result and very well deserved. I am pleased all my predictions were wrong - although I was certain we would win the seat.

My attempt at some live blogging last night didn't go to plan. At around 1.30am I realised I was not going to be able to stay awake any longer and just closed the lid on my laptop and went to bed. Sorry for those of you who were staying with me. I was so tired I forgot to sign off.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crewe and Nantwich by-election

23.56: It looks like the polls have been right, although the LibDem vote is greater.

23.59: Conservative Home are predicting a substantial Tory victory.

00.08: The BBC has just reported that the Conservatives have polled 50%. If this is true, this is an amazing result. We'll have to wait and see.

00.34: Michael White, the political editor of The Guardian, appears on BBC News as p***** as a newt. We really are going to win handsomely.

00.52: The turnout for this by-election is 58.2%. Although this is very high for a by-election, I still wonder why nearly 40% of voters still can't be bothered to vote.

01.05: Steve McCabe, the Labour election supremo, says this result is just a mid-term bloody nose. I think he has forgotten to look at the rest of the data that is available. Gordon Brown's government is toast.

01.22: Edward Timpson has arrived at the count. He is a very humble man. He is certainly not a toff. We are going to win the seat big; much bigger than I thought.

Hazel Blears - God save me from her.

I'm watching Question Time. Hazel Blears is true to form. She is typical of the type of socialist I can't stand. She believes we should all stay in our boxes and let people like her make decisions on our behalf. After all, she knows better. The leftish rubbish that emanates from people like her - quite frankly - makes me want to vomit.

Brown is crewesin' for a bruisin'

Sorry, but I couldn't resist the title.

I read in the Telegraph today that the bookmaker Paddy Power have already paid out on an Edward Timpson victory. When a bookie does that you just know it's going to be a good Tory day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My predictions for Crewe and Nantwich

Usually when I make predictions I wait nervously to see whether I will soon be dining on humble pie. This time though I am going to put my neck on the line and say I am pretty certain I will be right.

Edward Timpson will tomorrow be elected the MP for Crewe and Nantwich with a majority of around 3000. The LibDem vote will not be as low as the polls predict. There were too many people on the doorstep telling us they were going to vote for them. I also think at the next General Election, Crewe and Nantwich will be a three-way marginal. Edward Timpson will have to prove himself in the next two years as a good MP. Although I don't think Labour will win the seat back in two years' time, the LibDems will plough resources in to the constituency and give Edward Timpson a run for his money.

I am basing these predictions on what I gleaned from the doorsteps of Crewe last weekend and from what other activists told me. I am not basing them on what I have read in the newspapers, listened to on the radio or have seen on the television. I hope I'm not eating humble pie on Friday!

A by-election in Winchester?

Conservative Home is reporting that Mark Oaten may resign his Winchester seat and take up a job offer in the US.

It looks like we about to see more by-election fever. Can anyone tell me if the LibDems have the resources to fight both Winchester and Henley?

Sen. Edward Kennedy - facing the biggest battle of his life

Whatever you think about Sen. Edward Kennedy - and I can hardly say I agree with the majority of his political views - there is no doubt that he is a tremendous force in US politics. I have admired the way he has crossed party lines and brought Democrats and Republicans together on important issues - the most recent being Pres. Bush's 'No Child Left Behind' education bill.

Politics will be duller and not as much fun without him and although the prognosis on his brain tumour does not look good, I wish him a speedy recovery and I am sure Conservatives across the world will echo my words.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

LibDems are fighting to win in Crewe and Nantwich

The LibDems are saying they can still win in Crewe and Nantwich. Whilst I think this is a highly unlikely prospect, I do believe they will poll more votes than the polls suggest. When we were out canvassing at the weekend there were voters willing to admit they were switching from Labour to the LibDems. Some wouldn't commit. Although I still think we are going to win, there is every chance the voters might turn the seat in to a three way marginal.

Hat Tip: BBC News

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lack of posts and Crewe & Nantwich

Sorry for the lack of writing today. I took Becky out tonight and we have just got in feeling rather tired. I am working on a piece, however, I can't see me getting it finished tonight. Tomorrow is another day.

PS: The campaign in Crewe and Nantwich has been going well again today. Edward Timpson is continuing to rise above the Labour nastiness. Good on him. He'll make a fine MP.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday in Crewe

This morning I leafleted a street with just under 200 houses. It was a typical, traditional Labour area of terraced housing. A few years ago this street would have had wall-to-wall Labour posters in the windows and gardens. Out of almost 200 houses, there were three households displaying a poster for Tamsin Dunwoody. There were three with LibDem posters and one Tory.

I was talking to an activist this afternoon who leafleted a similar street and had the same story. I can't say we are winning in Crewe, but Labour aren't either.

This afternoon I was out canvassing on an estate with new, private housing. Here the message was not clear. I spoke to many voters who have voted Labour all their lives. It is a tradition and traditions can be hard to break. What I do think may be happening, based on my experiences both today and yesterday, is that there are many who may find swallowing the whole pill and voting Conservative too difficult. They may be prepared to swallow half a pill and vote LibDem. I did speak to some who are Labour voters who will abstain and there are loads of Labour undecided voters. I did ask many if they voted Labour last time because of Gwyneth Dunwoody and I was surprised to hear that none of them had done. She did have a big personal vote, but I haven't been speaking to any of those people.

Labour are going to get a bloody nose on Thursday; there is no doubt. Voters are simply deciding how they are going to do it.

Saturday in Crewe

I had intended to publish this yesterday, however, it was not possible. I was told by a journalist that the wireless broadband wasn't very reliable at the Ramada Hotel and he was right. I certainly couldn't get it to work. Anyway, below is what I wrote in the hotel bar last night.

You could be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t an election going on in Crewe. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a buzz on the streets and there aren’t that many posters displayed in windows or gardens. The by-election hasn’t captured the public mood in a way I have seen before.

Having said all of that, please don’t think I don’t have any positive news from Crewe; far from it. It is fair to say though that the electors are getting tired of all the attention they are getting. Most of them understand that during a by-election there will be activists coming from all parts of the country, and they know they will have to put up with government ministers and senior members of all the political parties walking the streets. After knocking on doors this afternoon, I do have some sympathy with voters who have already become election weary. Some houses I visited managed to get four election leaflets today and I imagine the volume will increase. Roll on Thursday is a view that is picking up momentum.

The positive news from Crewe is that the Labour vote is crumbling. A group of us canvassed – what should be – a Labour area. Voters are switching to the LibDems in general and there are those who are going the whole hog and voting Conservative. Labour activists are looking down in the mouth. They have nothing to celebrate and are staring down the barrel of a Labour loss. I saw Jack Straw and Tamsin Dunwoody, flanked by supporters with balloons and goody bags, doing a route march this morning. Poor Jack looked miserable along with Tamsin. You can always tell how an election campaign is going by the body language of activists. The Tories are happy, ready to go for a night out on the town. Labour wants to go home, order a pizza, and have an early night.

Tomorrow, the News of the World will be publishing a poll that puts the Conservatives on 45%, Labour 37%, with the LibDems trailing in a poor third place. As long as we get the vote out, this should be a Tory victory; however, it is a fool that takes anything for granted in politics. We still need to get the vote out. I will be here tomorrow trying to ensure we do, and I know there will be many hundreds of activists here next week, following up what we have done this weekend.

So, the news is positive. If we work hard, we should be toasting a Tory victory in the wee small hours of Friday morning.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crewe and Nantwich: A day with Dunwoody

As I am such an egalitarian chap, I thought I would post the latest campaign video from Tamsin Dunwoody. About two and half minutes in to the peice, you will see a group of pensioners interviewed. I wonder what their response would have been if they were asked about their state pension, rising energy prices and the cost of a weekly shop at the supermarket?

I'm looking forward to this weekend discussing these vitally important bread and butter issues.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A cocktail anyone?

Gordon Brown waited in the shadows and sniped, plotted and planned. He was champing at the bit to get the top job. Now that he has it, you would have thought he would be brimming with ideas. After he unveiled his proposals for the Queen's Speech yesterday, Brown showed how bereft of ideas he is. It is now clearer than ever that this government is on the way out. When you start lifting opposition policies the electorate quickly realise they might as well elect the real thing, rather than a poor imitation.

Meanwhile, across in Crewe and Nantwich, the constituency is getting invaded by Tory activists. There is such a positive feeling in the party at the moment. There is no doubt that the Tories are back in business.

A Labour government bereft of ideas and a Conservative Party fighting fit. One of the best cocktails you can get.

Crewe & Nantwich

Not only will I be in Crewe & Nantwich on Saturday, but I will be staying at the Ramada Hotel on Saturday evening so I can do some more work on Sunday. If anyone wants to meet up with me, drop me an e-mail.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All change at Crewe

Like many Conservative activists, I am going across to Crewe & Nantwich to help with Edward Timpson's campaign. I will be there this Saturday from around 10.30am - 5.oopm. If anyone wants to catch up with me, then send me an e-mail. Hopefully there will be many people there.

Putin and Medvedev - guess who has the power?

With all the troubles facing Gordon Brown at the moment and the human catastrophes in Burma and China, I have taken my eye off the ball when it comes to Russia.

When Vladimir Putin first came to power, I made two observations about him. Firstly, once a KGB man, always a KGB man. Secondly, I wouldn't like to meet him in a dark alley. Eight years on, and my opinions of him have not changed.

Russia now has a puppet president in Dmitry Medvedev. Putin still has the real power in his new role as prime minister. During his presidency he made sure his prime ministers had about as much power as a lackey. After making sure the 'right' candidate stood for the presidency and with remarkable foresight, predicted the result of the election with amazing accuracy, he has ensured all the power has moved out of the Kremlin and into his office in The White House. He - not the president - has appointed the cabinet - with many former KGB agents given senior jobs - and still sits in his old seat around the cabinet table.

Russia is effectively becoming a dictatorship again. With their large reserves of oil, this does not bode well for the future.

Hat Tip: The Daily Telegraph (sorry I couldn't find a link)

The government makes you cough up £20,700 a year

The Taxpayers' Alliance - of which I am now a member - has revealed that the government now take 51% more of our income in real terms than they did in 1997. Families are now paying £20,700 a year on average to the Treasury. The government takes £517 billion a year off us in taxes and a staggering £101 billion is wasted. Why doesn't this surprise me? Do any of us feel that the government can justify a 51% increase in taxes? Are public services significantly better in 2008 than they were in 1997?

When a Conservative government is elected, one of the first tasks will be seek out waste - which shouldn't be very difficult - and get it down to a minimum. Perhaps then we will be able to get the country's finances back on an even keel, after the years of mismanagement by Gordon Brown. Take a look at the Taxpayers' Alliance website and lend your support.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A round of applause to the blogosphere

Sorry for being rather quiet today. There are so many political stories around, one could keep writing all night. Instead, I have been doing something I haven't done in a while - and I say this to my shame; I have been visiting all the blogs on my blogroll and have been reading what fellow bloggers have to say. I have left a few comments here and there, and I have enjoyed reading such high quality writing. Keep it up everyone.

Brown's rabbits will not help him

Gordon Brown thinks he can win back the support of the British people when he unveils his plans for the Queen's Speech later this week.

This morning, I have read stories in the Telegraph with the following headlines: Surviving heart attack 'is a lottery'; Fresh threat to 3000 post offices; Thousands of cancer beds 'could be lost' to save £500m; and War veteran fighting for injured troops.

This prime minister couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag. I think the British people will continue to judge him on the evidence of over a decade of Labour rule; not on what rabbits he pulls out of the bag.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Boris Johnson

There are times when you feel even more proud than you usually do to be a Tory. Those on the left love to attack Boris Johnson. He's a toff; he's a bumbling idiot. He's make a mess of London. God help us if there is a terrorist attack on his watch. All of these things and more have been levelled against him. They have underestimated Boris and because he is a hugely intelligent man, I am certain he will have the last laugh.

The Telegraph reports how Boris has immediately got to work slashing bureaucracy at City Hall. After eight years of Ken Livingstone, he has great scope. Ken could never be described as frugal. Read more about what he is doing here.

Edward Timpson - Campaign Video for the Crewe & Nantwich by-election

John Prescott - the mediator

What did John Prescott achieve in ten years as Deputy Prime Minister? Andrew Marr on his show on BBC1 this morning summed it up; he kept the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer talking.

I do have one important observation to make though. Most of us know that Gordon Brown is not a very popular politician amongst politicians. There are many in the Labour Party who detest him. You can't climb up the greasy pole and not expect to stand on others a few times along the way. Brown though seems to have made more enemies than most and they are coming out of the woodwork one-by-one. Cherie Blair, in her autobiography has stated how Tony would have left office before the 2005 general election, but he never trusted Brown to see his reforms through. John Prescott in his book explains that he told Blair to fire Brown and that he told Brown he should resign from office and attack Blair from the backbenches. Lord Levy again reiterated on the Andrew Marr Show this morning that Brown did know about loans to the party in 2005.

Perhaps all of this is a coincidence, however, when there is a growing feeling - not only in the Labour Party, but in the country - that Brown is a dead duck, perhaps there is some orchestration going on here. Either way, Brown must have given up looking at the newspapers of late, as the dithers from one crisis to another.

Help Calum Carr in his campaign

Calum Carr has being to battle with the NHS on behalf of his wife. She recently visited a pychotherapist and the treatment she received was nothing short of disgusting, however, Calum's battle has been going on for a long time. He has tried everything he can to help his wife and make sure she gets the treatment she deserves.

PLEASE go on to his blog and join in the publicity campaign. Together we can make sure this story gets the national media attention it deserves.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brian Paddick - how he was hung out to dry

Brian Paddick has revealed some of the entries in his diary to the Daily Mail.

It proves what a complete and utter mess the LibDems are at the moment. They have a leader who makes gaffe after gaffe. His political immaturity is visible for all to see. I don't care how many sexual partners he's had. I don't care if he is millionaire (although apparently that would rule him out standing for Crewe and Nantwich after his latest gaffe attacking the Conservative candidate for being a millionaire.)

Brian Paddick was hung out to dry. He never stood a chance of being elected Mayor of London, but you would have thought they would have tried to put a professional team around their candidate. Why didn't they try some mock Q&A sessions in order to get him to relax? Why wasn't there sufficient funding of his campaign? The whole debacle makes Michael Foot's leadership of the Labour Party look like the epitome of a slick operation.

The LibDems are good at mounting local campaigns in certain parts of the country. At a national level they don't have a clue. They are tired, uninspired and lacking any coherent political ethos. It is no wonder that voters are switching to the Tories in record numbers with both the LibDems and Labour in such a mess.

Do you link to this blog?

I have said this before and I make no apologies for saying it again: If you link to my blog and I do not have a reciprocal link back to you, then PLEASE tell me. There are new blogs I am discovering every day, and I see my blog linked to some of them. Unless I know you exist, I can't possibly link back to you.


The recent devastation and the on-going humanitarian crisis in Burma, has once again put the country in the world spotlight. There is an excellent article in the Telegraph today by exiled activist Pascal Khoo-Thwe. To read it click here.

The evil military junta in Burma have showed the world they don't give a damn about the Burmese people. While they are living the high life, people are dying. The delays in visa processing has doomed thousands more to misery and death. No doubt the world will expected to give aid to Burma for many years to come. This will have to given with strings attached. The junta has to be told that whilst we will help the Burmese people, we do not have any time for their tyrannical regime.

Friday, May 09, 2008

And on, and on.

Some readers may remember a televsion advert from the 80s, advertising Ariston. The jingle went like this, AR-IS-TON and on and on and on. This was to tell you that their washing machines were worth buying.

What is not worth buying in to is Hillary Clinton's election campaign. Although Hillary Clinton goes on and on and on and on and on...zzzzzzzz. Time for bed!

Michael Portillo

In the past I have had a lot of time for Michael Portillo. Now, however, I have lost all the respect I had for him. He constantly snipes at the party that allowed him to be a cabinet minister. Apparantly 44% of the popular vote last Thursday wasn't good enough. Perhaps he is more impressed with the 49% rating in the YouGov poll published by The Sun today?

His snipes and apathy towards the party have annoyed me, however, his latest admission that he did not vote for Boris Johnson in the Mayoraly election has been the straw that has broken the camel's back. I cannot see how such a high ranking Conservative can come out with an admission like that and still retain his party membership. He has to go. He has been sacked from his job as a writer for The Sunday Times and judging by their performances of late, I can see both him and Diane Abbott being replaced as the regulars on This Week.

If you disagree with your party so much, then the honourable thing to do is get out; the sooner, the better.

Activists in Crewe and Nantwich

A friend reminded me last week after the local elections that Labour will have probably lost around 1000 activists as a result of losing over 400 councillors. Those councillors who have lost their seats will not feel like campaigning for the party for a while and those helpers they brought with them - such as friends and family members - will no longer want to leaflet and canvass.

It's an interesting observation, as today around 20 MPs were out on the road in Crewe and Nantwich; activists from all over the country are helping out. The Conservatives will have more people on the ground than any other party. As well as the momentum we have got nationally, the sheer amount of activists helping will be a deciding factor as to who wins the by-election. Although the media are trying to make out the result is a forgone conclusion - and although I would like to believe that, there is much more work to be done if we are to secure victory.

I am looking forward to going there next weekend and hopefully I will meet up with many of my readers and fellow bloggers.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

If Scotland leaves the Union - are we bothered?

Is anyone really bothered if the UK splits up. Politicians say they're bothered, however politicians will say anything they think we want to hear.

I personally couldn't give two-hoots if Scotland decided to go it alone. Perhaps they will also take back their deep-fried Mars Bars with them too. Alex Salmond said many years ago that he wanted independence for Scotland, in Europe. What he means is he knows Scotland is not a viable independent country on its own, however, if Scotland gets plenty of freebies from Brussels, it can survive. Good luck to them. At least we will be shot of interfering Scottish MPs voting on English matters - and of course we will also have the added bonus of getting rid of Gordon Brown. Let's have the referendum early, and I will campaign with the SNP.

Sun Poll puts Tories 26% ahead

YouGov got the London Mayoral result right, but do they have their finger on the national political pulse? If they have then the Conservatives are on a massive 49%, with Labour trailing on 23% and the LibDems on 17%. It means the Tories are 26% ahead of Labour and 9% ahead of Labour and the LibDems combined!

The cynic in me says these figures cannot be right, however, after last week's amazing results, perhaps all of us are underestimating just what the British people think about Labour. After yet another week where Brown has stumbled and fumbled, the bad news for Labour is that if anyone else was leading them - including Blair - the result would be even worse. Read the full story from The Sun here.

Why won't Hillary go?

Hillary Clinton is going for broke; and in her case there is a possibility it is literal. Last week she loaned her campaign $6.4 million and for what? She may may not realise that she has lost, but surely her campaign team do. In fact everyone knows she is not going to win, however, Hillary is still urging her supporters to keep fighting and also keep contributing financially too, I suppose.

It reminds me of Japan during World War 2. Thankfully for all of us, a decision will be made as to who the Democratic nominee will be by August at the latest, otherwise I think the nuclear option of getting Mrs Clinton to surrender might have been seriously considered.

I don't think Democrats will be in a mood for forgiveness, even if Barack Obama is elected president. She had split her party in a completely unnecessary way. All the Republican candidates realised that the writing was on the wall for their campaigns and got behind John McCain. Clinton should have done the same for Obama weeks ago. Instead, she has diverted his focus and effort away from November's election, and has probably worn him out mentally for no other reason other than her vanity. I am also wondering whether she regards herself as some form of Messiah. Does she really believe that America cannot do without her? Does she believe that God has sent her for this moment and that at the eleventh hour there will be a dramatic turnaround for her?

Whatever her reasons, she is a fool. One of the basic skills you need to have in politics is the ability a read a situation and know when the writing's on the wall. I wish she would go so I don't have to pick up the newspaper and see her photograph staring back at me every day. I think I know how Bill feels. It's no wonder he they spend most of their lives apart.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Scottish referendum

Now that Labour - in Scotland at least - seem to think they can decide the fate of the union unilaterally; can England, Wales and Northern Ireland now have the same right?

This wholly discredited government refuses to allow the British people a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, however, they think it's fine to allow the Scots a referendum on whether they want to stay part of the United Kingdom. There aren't many times words fail me, but this is one of them. Brown is so weak, he cannot control his Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament. How many more beatings can he take before someone decides he needs to be put out of his misery?

Goodbye Hillary

It's all over for Hillary Clinton, although she still says she will continue her fight. She won't be able to as the money will soon run out. It seems everyone apart from her and Bill knows she is dead in the water.

It is going to be John McCain v Barack Obama in November.

Hat tip: BBC News

You can normally rely on Ronnie

Yesterday I quoted three Labour backbenchers who have been openly critical of Gordon Brown. One of them was Ronnie Campbell. I was thinking earlier today about Ronnie. Some of you will tell me I should go out more and others will be wondering who on earth Ronnie Campbell is.

For the initiated, Mr Campbell comes from the Labour heartlands. He is probably the first person to admit that he doesn't have the intellect to be ministerial material, but he is loyal to his party. For him of all people to come out and be openly critical of his leader proves how much Gordon Brown's authority is on the wane. Mr Campbell is the sort of lobby fodder you can rely on - you can look at his voting record here - and he represents a safe Labour seat. If he is getting twitchy, then most of his colleagues must be in panic mode.

Sat-nav in refuge trucks? They have them in York

Thanks to Donal Blaney, I have discovered that York City Council have installed state-of-the-art sat-nav systems to all of their refuge trucks. These systems have up-to-date mapping for not only the UK, but Europe too.

I find it hard for anyone in authority in York to think that this was a wise use of council taxpayers money. Who on earth thinks up these little wheezes? There must be quite a number of people who are sitting at their desks, twiddling their thumbs and think they must come up with something to justify their existence. If I was a resident of York - with the memory of my recent Council Tax Demand still fresh in my mind - I would be fuming, and rightly so. Someone in York City Council deserves to be fired. At least that would save the council taxpayer some money.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A new blog

I received an e-mail from Tommy Rayder who has just started a blog called, 'The Irish Tory.' Tommy comes from Dublin and is a fan of the British Conservative Party. He intends to blog mainly about Conservative politics. Go and check him out.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Brown with Andrew Marr

I have just been watching Gordon Brown's interview with Andrew Marr from yesterday. All I can say is Brown couldn't enthuse a convention of undertakers. It was waffle from the beginning to the end. In fact I switched off for most of it.

Crewe & Nantwich - let's make things more beautiful

The one thing I like about by-elections is that you have to be prepared for anyone and everyone to stand. I saw this in the Telegraph today.

Gemma Garrett is apparently Miss Great Britain. We don't seem to follow beauty contests anymore, ever since someone decided they were not politically correct. Miss Garrett has decided to stand in Crewe & Nantwich for the Beauties for Britain Party. Her primary aim is make the House of Commons more beautiful; not sleazy.

I hope to meet up with her on the election trail. She certainly will brighten up the day, however, I don't think I will join her party. I can't see that being very popular at home!

The knives are out for Brown

The following are quotes from Labour MPs, as reported in The Daily Telegraph today.

Ronnie Campbell, the MP for Blyth in Northumberland, said that under Mr Brown even Labour's traditional strongholds in the North East were no longer safe.
"If Gordon Brown can't handle it, he should get out and get somebody in who can handle it," he said. "I didn't always agree with Tony Blair but I was always confident in him. With Gordon I'm not so confident."

Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, said the Prime Minister had failed to set his own agenda, merely offering voters a pale imitation of his predecessor. "Gordon has tried to be Tony Blair MkII but he's never going to be as good at it as Tony Blair. He has to carve out a clear identity for himself, to explain his own agenda."

Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Manchester Blackley and a former minister, exposed the discontent over Mr Brown. "If anyone thinks that MPs are not obsessed with talking about whether Gordon should be leader they are sadly mistaken," he said. "They are talking about nothing else."

It has been reported that many Labour MPs regard the Crewe & Nantwich by-election as Gordon's last chance to prove he is not an electoral liability. As we all know he is an electoral liability, Conservatives will be hoping he is not removed as leader. As for Labour MPs, headless chickens spring to mind.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Labour choose Tamsin Dunwoody to suceed her mother

Conservative Home has just reported that Tamsin Dunwoody has been selected as the Labour Party Candidate to fight the Crewe & Nantwich by-election on May 22.

Tamsin - the late Gwyneth's daughter - is the wrong choice. Although she will have visited the area on numerous occasions, this is a blatant attempt by Labour to get the sympathy vote. They moved the writ for the by-election before Gwyneth's funeral, which was distasteful, to say the least. They now know it will be difficult for opposition parties to attack Tamsin as this will be seen as heartless.

There was no need to rush this by-election through. A decent period of time could have elapsed before it was called. The Conservative candidate is a local man and will be fighting the by-election on local issues - as well as national ones. If you click here, you will find the story on Conservative Home and details of how to help Edward Timpson win this seat for the Conservatives. I'm sure the people of Crewe & Nantwich will see through this Labour game and elect a local candidate will a strong record of defending local people.

Where now for Labour and the Conservatives

The Labour Party are still suffering from their political hangover. They knew things were going badly wrong for them, but the hammering they had to endure throughout England and Wales was worse than they could ever have imagined. So where now for Labour and the Conservatives?

For starters - thinking back to 1997 - as far as the share of the vote is concerned, things can only get better. It is inconceivable that Labour could poll less than 24%. They have hit rock bottom and now have to find a way out. They are in power and governments can usually pull rabbits out of the hat when they need to. Whether there are any more rabbits available is another question. The other question on Labour activists' lips at the moment, is whether Gordon Brown is capable of weathering the storm and lead his party into calmer waters. He is an experienced politician, but one of his greatest flaws is not predicting the stormy seas ahead. When the storm arrives, he acts like Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, from Gilbert and Sullivan's 'HMS Pinafore.' He seeks the seclusion that the cabin grants. In all fairness to Sir Joseph, he was not and never pretended to be a sailor; he was simply the Ruler of the Queen's Navy. Brown on the other hand is the Captain and you expect him to take charge, not retreat and then after the storm tell everyone he is the man to steer the ship and make tough decisions.

The only option Labour has is to ditch its leader. In his - so far - short tenure as prime minister, he has been a spectacular failure. He is divorced from reality. He doesn't understand the problems facing ordinary people. He hasn't walked into a supermarket lately and seen how much prices have increased. He hasn't filled a car up with fuel. He hasn't felt the pinch of rising gas and electricity prices. He still thinks tax credits are the political equivalent of penicillin - even though the rest of us can see they are a bureaucratic nonsense, costing the taxpayer a fortune. We know the best solution is to not tax people as much in the first place, but that means Gordon wouldn't be able to tell us what a nice chap he is giving us back all this money. He is a rabbit caught in the headlights. He is completely and utterly out of his depth. He is the Anthony Eden of modern politics. The Conservatives, of course, want him to stay. The last thing the Conservative Party needs is a new prime minister who might do a half decent job and win Labour a fourth term. For Labour though, there is only one course of action. MPs in marginal constituencies are staring at the dole queue. The question is; do they have it in them to bite the bullet and do what is necessary for their party? I think not.

The Conservatives on the other hand are in the box seat. At last, they are seen as a government in waiting. Although 44% of the popular vote is great news, the protest votes in that figure has to be turned into positive votes. David Cameron knows this, however, he also knows that although more meat is needed on the bones of Conservative policies, it is dangerous to come out with too many firm proposals this early. It is a delicate balancing act, but one that has to be executed with the utmost accuracy.

For the first time in many years, I am looking forward to a general election. The electorate will have a real choice. That will be the first time in many a long year. This is healthy for democracy and should get more people turning out and voting. Just as there was a mood for change in the air in 1997, May 1st 2008 will be seen as the critical day when Gordon Brown lost his first test at the polls in the most breathtaking way imaginable.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mayor Boris

Boris has won! This has crowned off a wonderful two days for the Conservative Party. Boris' acceptance speech showed what sort of a man he is, and we also saw what sort of a man Ken Livingstone is. It also shows what politics is all about. You can have a robust- and sometimes - personal debate, but you can still have respect for your opponent.

I will blog tomorrow on my views about where we go from here. Tonight I am just happy that the Conservatives have had a great result in London and throughout the country.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Lib Dems triumph in Hull

It has been a very good night for the LibDems in Hull. They have gained five seats and are well and truly in-charge of the Guildhall. I managed to get 47 more votes than I did last year. I totalled 197 votes this time.

In the 1990s, Labour held 58 out of 59 seats on Hull City Council. What a sorry state they are in now. Back in the 1990s, Labour held all the seats on Lincoln City Council. Now the Conservatives have control of the council.

The BBC have just predicted the national share of the vote as: Conservative 44%, Labour 24%, LibDem 25%. This rather sums up the state of affairs. The country is going down with Gordon Brown, and so is his party. It was just a year ago commentators were talking about the 'Brown Bounce.' It lasted for a while, however, it doesn't matter who Labour decides to lead them; they are on there way out.

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