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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Calling political bloggers in Hull and the East Riding

Searching for political bloggers in Hull and the East Riding is not an easy task. I'm beginning to wonder if there aren't more than about half a dozen of us. There must be more though and if you are one of them, please get in touch with me, so I can give you a plug and a link.

Diana Johnson - MP for Hull North - attacks our rights and freedoms

Diana Johnson, my hopeless Labour MP, is trying desperately to cling onto her seat against the LibDem onslaught. One would think she would be trying to come out with public utterances that would make her popular with her constituents. Not Ms Johnson.

Last week, the LibDems at their conference in Bournemouth, announced they want the DNA of all people arrested but not convicted to be deleted from the database. They also want the maximum a terror suspect can be detained without charge reduced from 28 days to 14 days. Naturally, these are policies any libertarian like myself support.

In this post on her website she attacks the LibDems and tows the Labour Party line. Not very popular with the voters, but very much true to form for her. She has a habit of shooting herself in the foot. More of the same Diana. We may just get rid of you yet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brown's Speech

Thanks to a very busy working day, I have not yet managed to watch the prime minister's speech. I hope this will be remedied this evening, however, I have read extracts from it and heard snippets on the radio and television and was given regular updates via my twitter feed.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Just when you think you have the measure of the man, you realise he is more deluded than you thought possible. It was a speech from 'Gordon in Wonderland.' Yes the British people have a choice at the next general election. They will make it and confine his premiership to the history books. He may spout out endless statistics, as he always does, but he seems incapable of admitting mistakes. Yet another Machine gun performance from the man who talks about courage, yet displays very little of it himself.

I could go on, but I won't. I really can't be bothered to work my way through the endless Brown drivel. I will refer you to another blogger, Carl Minns, who will guide you through Brown's policy on young single mothers. I don't agree with everything he says, but he does make some valid points. Put it this way, Brown seems to think more about his electoral fortunes than the rights of our citizens. You should attack the root causes of problems not the people who have the problems, without taking away the rights of individuals to control their own destiny. A tricky conundrum at times, but one that Brown doesn't understand. He has social policies akin to Stalin and Hitler, yet his wife insists he spends all his working hours thinking about others. How to screw them more like.

No announcement today from Brown on leaders' debate

According to Sky News, Gordon Brown will not be announcing he is going to take part in a leaders' debate today. Labour feel his speech will be overshadowed if makes that announcement, as the prime minister wishes to concentrate on crime and antisocial behaviour.

Brown will have to concede and take part in debates with David Cameron and Nick Clegg. His mind is already made up. It is now only matter of the timing of his announcement.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Come to 'The Freedom Zone' in Manchester

As the Labour Party Conference resembles the 'Marie Celeste' at the moment, my thoughts have turned to the Conservatives next week. I will of course be there. I am also looking forward to The Freedom Zone, organised by the Freedom Association, in conjunction with the Taxpayers' Alliance.

If you have some time to spare and are in the Manchester area, come along to the Bridgewater Hall and enjoy some excellent debate. If you do not have a conference pass, the good news is you don't need one to enter the Freedom Zone. It is truly free and outside the secure area. What is more, if you bring your laptop along, you can blog to your heart's content using the comfortable surroundings of The Blogging Zone, with free wi-fi.

It all promises to be a great couple of days.

Why the ComRes poll was correct

Yesterday the latest ComRes poll put the Conservatives on 38% and both Labour and the Liberal Democrats on 23%. Some think this is rather odd. I do not.

For the past few months I have been getting a strong feeling the next general election will show the biggest anti-government vote in British political history. I don't say this lightly and although I have a gut feeling I am correct, I also base this on evidence.

It is not just about Gordon Brown and the economy, important though the two factors are. Britain has changed in the last 12 years. Labour would have you believe it is all for the better, yet the British people know this to be different. Tony Blair's mantra in the run-up to the 1997 general election was: education, education, education. What he should have said was: legislation, legislation, legislation, as more of our rights and liberties are taken away from us. Take the case of two female police officers who have fallen foul of OFSTED for looking after each others children. If anyone thinks looking after your own child and a friend's child is a child minding operation, they must be mad. Yet again the nanny state intervenes in our personal lives. Councils around the country are snooping in our bins. Parents are being spied on for perhaps trying to get around the catchment area rules to get their child into a better school. The list goes on and I am sure you can add to it, but the facts are Britain has changed, and changed for the worse. We know Labour has wrecked the country's finances, but they are wrecking our whole way of life too. Economies recover, but trying to change Britain from a tolerant, liberal democracy, into a place where petty bureaucrats snoop into our lives and more and more laws our introduced to restrict our freedom is something that can take decades to reverse and in some cases, may never be reversed. This is the one thing I can't forgive Labour for. I knew they were going to wreck the economy. I didn't predict the all-out assault on our way of life.

It is for those reasons I am not surprised at the findings in the recent poll. If you live in a Conservative/Labour marginal, expect an increase in the Conservative vote. If you live in a LibDem/Labour marginal, expect an increase in the LibDem vote. Results around the country are going to be extremely localised as the voters do all they can to unseat Labour. Cameron has not 'sealed the deal' with the voters and neither has Nick Clegg. Labour has failed and broken the trust it had with the voters and people will run to any party other than Labour. This is one of the reasons why the smaller parties and extremist parties will do better than they have done in the past and probably will in the future. The ComRes poll is not a one-off. It is a reflection of the state of mind of the British electorate who will do anything to consign this government to the political scrapheap.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Total madness under Labour

If you want to know how life has changed under a Labour government in the last twelve years, read this. I will be blogging about it tomorrow, and linking it to the ComRes poll that puts the Conservatives on 38% and Labour and the LibDems on 23%.

Hat Tip: Carl Minns and Iain Lindley.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Should Hull plan to have fortnightly bin collections?

Many councils around the country now operate a fortnightly bin collection. This is something I have been firmly against and have spoken about it many times. My views are changing at the moment, but firstly I want to remind you why I have always been in favour of a weekly collection service.

The bin for our home is full every week. If we had a fortnightly collection we would have rubbish coming out of the bin, plus there is a public health issue. Do you really want to have stinking bins with rotting rubbish standing in the heat of summer for two weeks? Of course you don't.

For me, the new recycling system in Hull has removed my objections. Click on THIS link and find out what can be put into our new blue and brown bins. We are trying to work out what exactly will go into the standard black bin. Nothing much at the moment and with food waste going into compostable bags, there isn't a chance of stinking bins in the middle of July; that is if everyone decides to use the system on offer.

I recycle for a number of reasons. I don't want anymore landfill sites constructed than is absolutely necessary and let's face it, who wants to live next to an incinerator? Plus, recycling is good for the economy. Money is to be made here and therefore jobs are created.

Fortnightly collections will not be right everywhere, but in Hull I can see it could be justified, although it has already been commented to me by the council leader there would be a riot if this was suggested. If the majority of people in Hull try to make this work we will vastly reduce the tonnage of waste going into landfill. This is good news for all of us.

New laptop

My new Compaq mini laptop arrived yesterday. So far, I am impressed. It is amazing how technology can be packed into such small spaces these days. It is also ideal for blogging whilst in Manchester, assuming the dongle will work in the conference venues.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hull City Council

In my work for the Taxpayers' Alliance, I am regularly quoted criticising councils and councillors. Some would say I never have a good word to say about any of them, although I hope the councillors I do work with think differently.
Today though I am writing this post to commend Hull City Council. Yesterday all our recycling bins were emptied and taken away. Today we received a new blue bin and a new brown bin. The amount of products you can place in your recycling bins has increased and we also have a small, unobtrusive caddy sitting in the kitchen in which we can place food waste in a biodegradable bag. Hull City Council handled the changeover in a very professional manner and have made recycling very easy. Well done to them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Should this man be the new Shadow Chancellor?

If George Osborne's days as Shadow Chancellor are really numbered, perhaps his replacement lies here. For me, clearly the best man for the job.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A new laptop from '3' for £17.50 a month

Last Tuesday, I received a call from '3', telling me of a wonderful deal they have for me. I was cynical at first, but after hearing I could have a dongle and a new laptop for £17.50 a month, I decided it was a good deal and signed up.

The dongle arrived last week - although we have one already - and today the laptop arrived. Readers who are on the '3' network will know it's not always easy understanding the accents of the Indian call centre staff. They are always polite - I don't have a problem with that - but their accents can be rather strong. The laptop they sent me was a Compaq, as promised, but a mini, not a full size laptop computer. I'm not bothered as I've been wanting one for a while. It's handy for events such as the party conference. If you get a call from '3', remember what I've told you so you won't be disappointed, although the computer they sent me has to be returned as the space bar is faulty. You can't have everything, can you?

Complaint against Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North - Update

After some correspondence from the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, today I sent the commissioner a copy of the letter, questionnaire and the envelope they came in. They should reach him tomorrow morning and the decision will be in his hands. I will keep you informed as and when there are updates.

The reasons why Baroness Scotland has not lost her job

The real reason why Baroness Scotland hasn't gone yet? Well, there are two.

Firstly, Labour MPs are so lacking in talent, Gordon Brown has his hands tied behind his back. Replace a third-rate attorney general with a fourth-rate has been? A definite problem, me thinks.

The main reason though is because members of the government know the prime minister hasn't got an honourable bone in his body. He shows no leadership or moral fibre, so why should they?

There was a time when I would have predicted the resignation of Baroness Scotland within the week, but in today's climate we all know this is not going to happen.

The 'far from liberal' Liberal Democrats

Last Sunday, Nick Clegg wanted honesty in politics. Tell the voters the truth was the mantra. Then Vince Cable embarked on a smear story.

He told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth that a Conservative government is likely to increase the rate of VAT to 25%. What proof do you have 'Dr' Cable? None, but why let that get in the way of a good story?

Then the good doctor decides - without a great deal of consultation, if one can believe PM on Radio 4 - to tax the mansions of the rich. If you thought the politics of envy only had its place in the Labour Party, think again.

All of this is really conjecture, as we know the Liberal Democrats don't have a chance of forming a government, but it does make you think that the alternative to Labour is either more Labour - and certainly not liberal - or the Conservatives. Now I know there are some classical liberals still left in the LibDems. Where are you?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Clegg calls for honest politics. Honesty begins at home, Nick

I didn't hear Nick Clegg's speech yesterday, but I did watch his interview with Andrew Marr this morning. Naturally, you would not expect me to agree with his observation that David Cameron is a con man. I could say the same of Nick Clegg though after his interview with Marr.

Clegg is calling for grown-up politics. Whenever a politician says something like this, I always feel there is going to be a trick somewhere. I wasn't wrong. Clegg would love to honour the Liberal Democrat pledge to abolish tuition fees, but he can't. There isn't the money. This is him being honest? What he didn't say was whether his party would continue with this policy in a few years' time, when the lean years are over. Indeed, you can say this about any policy. You would love to do X,Y,Z, but unfortunately there isn't the cash available.

Voters to want to know in advance of a general election exactly what each party proposes. I hope I will hear more of what the Conservative Party proposes in Manchester and the beginning of next month, but to say you would do something, knowing full well you are not going to be able to do it, is not grown up politics; it is trying to con the electorate in thinking you are a better, nicer person than your opponents.

What is interesting is the way the LibDems are writing off Labour. There can't be many Labour members who truly believe Brown can turn this mess around, but what Clegg cannot afford to do is channel all his energy into fighting the Conservatives and forgetting to fight Labour. Here in my constituency of Hull North, the LibDems are the only party who can remove Labour. There will be contests like this around the country and with such a massive anti-government vote expected, there are going to areas where the Tory vote collapses and the LibDem vote collapses as people vote tactically to remove an incumbent Labour MP. I firmly believe if the Tories and the LibDems strategically place their activists, ie. forget any local squabbles and bus your supporters into key seats and more or less leave the other seats alone, we could make political history and wipe-out Labour for a very long time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hull North MP, Diana Johnson, wastes more public money

Diana Johnson, the useless waste of space masquerading as the MP for Hull North, has learned nothing from the expenses fiasco. When it comes to spending taxpayers' money, she is brilliant.

Yesterday the residents of Kingwood, in her constituency, received a letter and questionnaire from her regarding road links and public transport. Blatant electioneering, in other words, and guess who picks up the bill for the House of Commons notepaper, envelopes and postage? You've guessed it; we do, as she used her MP's communications allowance. All MPs receive £10K of our money to tell their constituents how wonderful they are. This is bad enough, but to attack the LibDem run council and ask people to send in a questionnaire surely has to be misuse of public money.

I will be contacting the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and asking him to investigate any wrongdoing. It's bad enough being represented in parliament by her without having to pay for the Labour Party campaign to re-elect her.

UPDATE: Click here

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brown's speech to the TUC

Simply awful. His speeches just get worse. All we get is an endless
litany of statistics, delivered in a stumbling way. Who the hell
writes these speeches for him? Is this the best Labour can come up

If I was Peter Mandelson I would round up ministers and get them to
speak to the prime minister and urge him to keep as quiet as he
possibly can. At least with Mandelson the government has a spokesman
who can communicate. We have an embarrassment of a prime minister and
things can only get worse.

Sent from my mobile device

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mandelson tries to con the voters once again

Archbishop Cramner has a quote from Sir Winston Churchill on his sidebar.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

When Peter Mandelson tries to con us Labour is not the big spending party, remember that quote as it sums up Labour in the most erudite way.

Taxpayers' Alliance proves how we have all been fleeced by Gordon Brown

Taxpayers' Alliance research has revealed Gordon Brown's disastrous mishandling of the economy has cost £3 trillion. This works out at £50,000 for every man, woman and child in Britain. To find out more, click HERE, and to order the book 'Fleeced', click HERE.

Same old TUC

I was listening to an interview with TUC General Secretary Brendan
Barber on Radio 4 this morning. In a nutshell, he says no to cuts in
public services, yes to tax increases for higher wage earners and
somewhere along the way he says this is progressive. These dinosaurs
will never change.

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm going on a diet.

It seems as if political blogging is conducive with putting on weight. Iain Dale and Tory Radio have both announced recently they are going on a sponsored slim. I am not planning to do that, but I have put on some weight over the summer. I am not someone who weighs himself at regular intervals; I don't even own a set in bathroom scales, but judging from how tight my trousers feel at the moment and looking at my expanding waistline in the mirror, I reckon I've managed to put on around 14 pounds. As I do not plan to go out and buy new suits for the party conference, I am hoping to lose about 9 or 10 pounds the next three weeks. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: I've just bought some scales. I weigh in at 12 stones 7 pounds. Putting that into a BMI calculator, my BMI is 25.7. If I want to be in the mid range, I will need to lose around 20 pounds.

Durham County Cricket Club - County Champions (again!)

I was born and raised in Co Durham and yesterday saw Durham County Cricket Club claim the County Championship title for a second year in a row. I am a member - although I haven't made it to a match in the last three years. I sat through some very dismal times during Durham's early years as a first-class county. Yesterday was another vindication of the faith we had. Well done to the boys and here's to next year.

Hull Freedom Festival

Yesterday, we spent and enjoyable (and very tiring) day at the Hull Freedom Festival. We arrived at Humber Quays at around 11.30 am to watch many live acts perform, including Pixie Lott, Bad Lashes (of X-Factor fame), and the rapper, Ironik. I can't say all of it was my cup of tea, however, this was a free festival for anyone and everyone and the atmosphere was great. This wasn't the only gig going on. To find out about all of the events, click HERE.

The Freedom Festival coincides with the launch of the Round the World Clipper Race, so the marina area was packed with people and vessels, eagerly anticipating the launch of the race today. I have to admit to getting overwhelmed with nostalgia, thinking back to the days when Britain really ruled the waves, with the largest navy and the largest merchant navy in the world. I tried to imagine the days when Hull was one of the largest ports. A hub for trade coming in from around the world, with raw materials ready to to be manufactured, then shipped around the world. The reality of today though is somewhat different. Nothing in life stays the same, nor should it, and the challenge for each generation is make the best of the resources available.

The national media love to knock Hull. Whenever the want some 'evidence' of deprivation, out come the camera crews heading for some of the most deprived parts of the city. What they invariably fail to do is come to the best parts of the city. When Tim Aker - who has just left the Taxpayers' Alliance - visited the area for an action day, I took him for a drive around the city, killing some time before he had to catch his train. Driving around the Victoria Dock development - a modern, private housing estate - he remarked that you wouldn't think you were in Hull. His image, like so many who have never visited the city before, is one of deprivation. What I never had the chance to do was walk him around the Old Town and the Marina. There, I am sure, he would have said again that you wouldn't think you were in Hull.

Yesterday showed the best the city had to offer. Apart from a few rowdy people at another concert in Queen's Gardens - whose language was rather choice considering there was many children present - everyone was well behaved and enjoyed the entertainment on offer on one of the warmest September days you could wish for. I cannot claim Hull is one of the most fashionable places to live. I cannot claim it is the best place to live in the country, but I can say it is far from the worst and for the last 8 years I have called it home. I am proud my city offers a warm welcome to visitors and boasts some of the most beautiful countryside in England around it. There are many who come here and stay and would not wish to leave. If you haven't been here before, you may be surprised.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11 2001

To all my American readers and for anyone who had a loved one die on
this day, my thoughts are with you.

Lest we forget.

Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hull Labour Councillor wants higher council tax

Hull City Council has recently advertised for a new chief executive. The outgoing chief executive earned over £200K last year. Thankfully, his replacement will be paid a salary of somewhere between £155-165K per annum. This represents - roughly - a 25% pay cut. In these strained economic times, this is welcome news; isn't it? It seems not everyone is happy, and I don't mean those who are queueing up to get the job.

Labour haven't quite worked out what to do in opposition. Labour councillors held the reigns of power for so long, they thought it was their god-given right. The voters think otherwise and we now have a Liberal Democrat run council. To their credit, the LibDems have tried to right many Labour wrongs and have brought down the costs of running local government; hence the reduction in the chief executive's pay. Labour councillor, Mary Glew, thinks taxpayers' money is there is be thrown around and this morning called for the acting chief executive to be paid the same wage as the outgoing one. If she had her way, council taxpayers would have to stump up thousands of pounds extra.

The one thing Labour is always good at is spending other peoples money. If Cllr Glew had to pay the acting chief executive out of her own pocket, I don't think she would have made her suggestion in the council chamber this morning. There again, if Labour was still in power, the salary would probably have been increased, rather than reduced and they would probably have made sure their allowances were increased too.

New Labour - same old fiscal irresponsibility.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Save General Election Night

On Sunday I wrote this about how some councils have decided to start their general election count on the Friday morning, rather than immediately after the polls have closed.

Jonathan Isaby has been busy setting up a successful Facebook group campaigning against these proposals and seems to have been constantly in the media ever since. Conservative Party Chairman, Eric Pickles, has backed the campaign, as has Adam Boulton, the political editor of Sky News.

To join the group, click HERE, and please find out if your local council plans to ruin one the most awaited election results in recent years.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Alan Duncan sent to prison

I suppose Alan Duncan had it coming to him. Getting demoted to Prisons spokesman will hardly have been one of his objectives at the start of the year, but he seems to be taking it with good grace, which doesn't surprise me at all. I have a lot of time for him. He knows he has screwed up. He knows Cameron had to do something. One thing I am sure of is he will be back and in a cabinet job after the next election. Despite his recent cock-up (no pun intended), we need people of his calibre at the top of government.

The Liberal Democrats are geared up for a fight in Hull

The silly season is almost over and those of us involved in politics are now looking forward to the party conference season. This year's conferences will be the last before a general election. Although the main fights across the country will be between Labour and the Conservatives, there is an interesting fight going on in Hull between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

There are three parliamentary seats in the city: Hull East, Hull West and Hessle, and Hull North. The first two will undoubtedly return Labour MPs. Hull East is John Prescott's seat and his replacement was picked last year. He is Karl Turner, a local lawyer, with whom I have met briefly. He is an amiable chap who hit the jackpot and won the nomination for one of the safest Labour seats in the country. Osama bin-Laden could wear a red rosette in this constituency and get elected.
Hull West and Hessle is Alan Johnson's seat. He seems a popular MP locally and his seat is completely safe. The same, however , cannot be said of Hull North, the constituency where I reside. The MP is Diana Johnson, who can only be described as a complete waste of space. She has been representing the constituency (if that's what you want to call it) since 2005. The previous incumbent was Kevin McNamara who won the seat in a by-election in the 1960s. It was during this by-election Barbara Castle gave the voters a bribe by promising to build the Humber Bridge.

Back to Ms Johnson. She campaigned recently to save post offices in her constituency. When the Royal Mail decided to close them anyway, she then voted in favour of closing post offices in other parts of Hull and the East Riding. Why? Because it didn't effect her constituency. In other words, she only campaigned in the first place to save face with her constituents. She certainly doesn't believe local post offices are a vital part of community life. She got her reward though and she is now an education minister.

The Liberal Democrats in Hull are salivating at the prospect of unseating her. On paper, it looks virtually impossible and I would have said at the beginning of this year it was too steep a hill to climb. Now I am not so sure. She didn't come out the expenses debacle very well and if Conservatives decide to vote tactically, the Lib Dems get more votes from those who stayed at home four years ago and the core Labour vote that comes out of the woodwork at GE times, decides to abstain, we could be in for an interesting result. I also feel almost anything is possible at the next general election. Brown is unpopular and lackeys and toadies such as Ms Johnson will also bear the brunt of the voters wrath.

There is one thing for certain, Diana Johnson will not be taking her seat for granted in the same way she did in 2005. This time, she'll have to put in some work if she wants to continue as an MP.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Councils threaten to ruin election night

Iain Dale has reported election nights may never be the same again. Apparently, around 25% of councils may opt for starting the count on Friday morning rather than the usual Thursday night. Chief Executives will quote how tired staff are and the costs of employing staff, however, we have managed in the past, so there is no reason why we cannot manage now. Election nights will lose their thrill and it could easily ruin the electrically charged atmosphere of a potentially thrilling general election result. Lobby your council now if they are planning to ruin your enjoyment of election night.

Link: The Times

Friday, September 04, 2009

CCHQ backtracks on Farage

If you are going to be dishonest it is always a wise decision to stick to your story. This morning Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ) stated Conservatives in Buckingham were free to vote for Nigel Farage. Tonight CCHQ states the party's position is to support the Speaker.

They must think we are stupid. Cameron would love Bercow out of the House of Commons. He has been a thorn in his side throughout his leadership. He didn't want him to be Speaker, but of course, he doesn't want UKIP to win its first seat in parliament, and certainly doesn't want someone as articulate as Nigel Farage elected an MP.

The British people have never had a say on Britain's membership of the EU. If you had the chance to vote on our membership of the Common Market, you are fast approaching retirement age. Although I believe if the majority of those who voted yes had realised what they would be voting for, they would have voted no.

Europe is once again going to dominate a Conservative government because the leadership has failed to articulate the views of the rank and file membership of the party who are strongly opposed to the EU. As there is not a Conservative candidate standing in Buckingham at the next general election, I hope Nigel Farage is elected.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Farage to stand against Bercow

When a friend called me earlier today with the news Nigel Farage intends to stand against John Bercow at the next general election, I laughed. The voters in Buckingham will not be able to elect a Conservative MP as the Speaker stands as an independent, however, it can be argued the voters in Buckingham have not had a Conservative MP before Bercow was elected in that sham of an election a couple of months ago.

I don't like Bercow. I don't like what he stands for and I don't like him as a man. He is an arrogant little shit and politics in general and the House of Commons in particular will be a better place without him. I wonder how many Conservatives in Buckingham will openly campaign for Nigel Farage? If I lived in the constituency I know I would.

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