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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Queen should be in Normandy on June 6

Her Majesty The Queen has served this country with tremendous honour for over 57 years. She served in the war effort during the Second World War. The UK suffered enormously, both in the loss of life (both military and civilian) and the economic hardship we had to face during and after the war. Britain stood up to Hitler. Whilst France caved in, Britain held strong. If it was not for this strength, D-Day would never have happened. There would never have been an Allied assault on the Normandy Beaches. Europe would have remained under Nazi tyranny.

It is inexplicable as to why the Queen has not been invited to the 65th D-Day Anniversary Commemorations. Jerry Springer in The Andrew Marr Show this morning said, 'How can you not invite the Queen?' Quite. It seems as if Americans are as perplexed about this issue as we are. Gordon Brown refers us to Buckingham Palace, so he is not prepared to take responsibility. No surprise there. 

My late father told me when I was a child the French have never forgiven us for liberating them. There is more than a kernel of truth in that statement. They perceive themselves as a proud nation, however, the reality is they wave the white flag before someone else points a gun at their heads. The French - in general - have never been truly grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of many nationalities who gave their lives so Europe - including France - could be free. The fact the Queen has not been invited is an insult to Britain and Canada. It is unforgivable. 

Gordon Brown on The Andrew Marr Show

The reason Gordon Brown appeared on The Andrew Marr Show this morning was because he knew he was in for an easy ride. The prime minister's pet interviewer was up to his usual standard; pathetic. Every time Marr started asking a question that was remotely challenging, Brown would interrupt with, 'Hold on, hold on', and Marr would let the prime minister say whatever he liked (which certainly meant he never answered the question) and then the interview would continue as if nothing had happened. Even when Marr tried to push him on when the House of Commons would be discussing constitutional reform, Brown dodged the issue. 

It was an interview the prime minister needed. It did not answer questions and it didn't challenge him. I would like to see him being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, but of course, Brown would never agree. 

We're having a great weekend

I hope you are all enjoying the good weather. We had a trip put to Whitby yesterday - travelling by a steam train from Pickering - and there will be some pictures to follow.

Today we are busy in the garden - or rather the bomb site it resembles at the moment. It has been weeding and fence painting so for and over the next few weeks some gravel will be taken up and borders planted, a patio area designed. Becky is the one who oversees such things. Anyone who knows me will vouch I am completely impractical at gardening and painting. My jobs today include hanging washing out and ironing. A complete role reversal some would say.

I hope to be blogging again later today. There are a couple of things I want to talk about, particularly the Queen's non-invitation to the 65th D-Day Anniversary Commemorations. 

Now back to the kitchen. Some bacon sandwiches to be made...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Elliot Morley faces the music

Elliot Morley will have to justify himself to his local party in
Scunthorpe today. How many of them will believe he forgot he paid his
mortgage off? Not many, I bet.

It is widely believed he will announce he is standing down at the next
general election. Just like all the others who have been forced to
quit, he will get a very nice golden handshake and a subsidised
pension. Of course, if he did the honourable thing and resigned now,
he would not be as well off. Don't expect any by-elections soon. Those
who have been forced to call it a day will have their snouts in the
trough until the bitter end - and beyond, if they can get away with

UPDATE 20:25: He has announced he will stand down at the next election. More dosh this way.  

Sent from my mobile device

This Blog goes Mobile

After just reading Iain Dale's blog, I too have decided to make this blog easier to read on a mobile browser. Click on the following link - - to read the mobile version of this blog.

I know many readers use Google Reader for this purpose, however, if you don't use Reader, this is another way you can read what I have to say.

Bill Cash should be the next one to go

You would have thought MPs would have got it by now, wouldn't you? When you are caught, you put your hands up. When you are in the 'you know what', you don't wriggle. The voters will not put up with the tired line, 'All my claims were within the rules and approved by the fees office.' How many times have we heard MP after MP utter those words?

Bill Cash says he has done nothing wrong. Rubbish! Yes, he has acted within the discredited rules, but he can't say claiming £15,000 of our money for a second home that is further away from his other home in London is a justifiable expense. This, though, is what he is attempting to do, although he has announced he will pay the back the money. No doubt David Cameron will be having one of his little chats with Mr Cash. Another veteran MP will be retiring, with a nice golden handshake and a subsidised pension, at the next general election. If he has any honour, he will announce he is standing down before Cameron forces him to. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

** Margaret Moran and Julie Kirkbride to stand down at the next general election **

Perception is everything in politics. Whatever the rights and wrongs
of each case (and Moran's case was far worse than Kirkbride's), the
public perception was they were on the make, grabbing taxpayers'
money. It is right both of them should stand down.

Sent from my mobile device

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How do you solve a problem like North Korea?

How do you solve a problem like North Korea? The answer is simple. You can't. President Obama knows this and so does Kim Jong-il, the nutter in charge if this new nuclear power. North Korea has the fifth largest army in the world (1.1 million strong), 180,000 strong special forces (the largest in the world) and has military hardware that can obliterate most of South Korea and Japan. (Figures from Nourishing Obscurity).

If we try and use force we will fail miserably. We enter a protracted war with no end in sight. We can continue to condemn Kim Jong-il and no doubt the UN will go down this route for many months, but we all know that toothless organisation will achieve what it always does; precisely nothing. We can threaten, but we all know Kim Jong-il will laugh at us behind our backs and raise the stakes in public.

What we are left with is a cold war standoff. Harsh words occasionally, backed up with occasional threats, but basically no direct diplomatic communication. There is no other route. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

David Cameron announces radical change

David Cameron has today proved he has radical ideas. His plans for parliament will revolutionise the way the institution works. Fixed term parliaments, something I and many others have argued for, will become a reality under the next Conservative government. Free votes for MPs in the committee stage of bills and members being allowed to elect the members and chairmen of select committees, are also due to be implemented. Fewer MPs will become a reality. All these changes should make sure backbenchers have more real work to do, rather than being lobby fodder. 

What Cameron has done is put Brown firmly on the back foot. The prime minister is the leader of the dinosaurs. Where Cameron leads, Brown tries desperately to catch up. Cameron is imaginative and radical. Brown is firmly in the past and does not hear the rallying call for change. 

I agree with Iain Dale, when he mentions the forces of conservatism will be trying to block these changes. The Houses of Parliament and Whitehall are full of Sir Humphrey's desperately trying to maintain the status quo. Cameron will have a battle on his hands, however, observing him over the past couple of weeks, he is looking more prime ministerial by the day. He is not Tony Blair Mk II. He is aware of public opinion, but he is not afraid to lead. He will not squander a mandate on the altar of focus groups. 

More of the same please, Mr Cameron. I have argued many times the next Conservative government needs to be radical. I feel my prayers are starting to be answered.  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

David Cameron is a prime minister in waiting

David Cameron continues to impress. He is a prime minister in waiting and has proved this once again during his interview with Andrew Marr this morning.

Conservative Home has a precis of what he said here

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nadine Dorries' Blog taken down by the Telegraph

Server Error in '/' Application.

The resource cannot be found.

Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please review the following URL and make sure that it is spelled correctly. 

Requested Url: /blog.aspx

If you are trying to read Nadine Dorries' blog, the message above is what you will see. Iain Dale has more on this.

Is seems as if there is one law for the Daily Telegraph and one law for the rest of us.

Andrew McKay must stand down

Last night, Andrew McKay listened to his constituents in a packed church hall in his constituency. In a television interview after the meeting, Mr McKay, said three-quarters of those present were on his side. Others who were there had different ideas and told him, whilst the cameras were still rolling, he was misrepresenting the mood of the meeting.

He looked uncomfortable, as well he might. Michael Martin left it too late to resign as Speaker. One can only hope Mr McKay will not leave it too late to announce he is standing down at the next general election. After the Daily Telegraph's revelation that both him and his wife were claiming for second homes when they didn't have a main home between them, he decided to put himself on the altar of public opinion. There he was sacrificed. There is now only one honourable thing to do. He must announce he is standing down at the next general election. Time will tell, however, I suspect his wife, Julie Kirkbride, will suffer in the same way. 

I am currently visiting my mother in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham. The Northern Echo's letters page was full yesterday with voters' views on the expenses scandal. My mother told me it has been like this for days and today is no exception. There are twelve letters printed today and eleven are from irate voters. Politicians must realise this subject is not going to go away until the public has their scalps. Nadine Dorries can whinge that there is a possibility an MP may commit suicide, such is the pressure they are all feeling at the moment. Those MPs who have acted dishonourably have brought this on themselves. No-one asked them to milk the system for all its worth. I am sure Nadine Dorries realises there are consequences to our actions. If she can sleep easily in her bed knowing she claims a second home allowance for her constituency home - from where she commutes to London - whilst having her main home a hundred miles away from Bedford, then so be it. Legally she has done nothing wrong, but morally... I leave it up to you to make your mind up.

David Cameron is the party leader who has come out of this sorry episode in the best light, although he did make one claim for clearing wisteria from his garden. He has since paid the money back and apologised, however, he only did so because he had been caught out. He will escape criticism as this was the only frivolous claim he made in the previous four years. Those with a track record of frivolous claims will not be so lucky.

The case for the prosecution is clear. Every Member of Parliament who has been caught charging the taxpayer the cost of non-essential items, should either retire or face a party selection panel in their constituencies. If they have the trust of local party workers, then they will be adopted again as the candidate. If they do not have their trust, they will go. This will begin the attempt to restore trust in politics, however, there is an awfully long way to go. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nick Brown drops a tweet

Tory Bear has been very eagle-eyed today. Apparantly this is a genuine reply to Austin Mitchell and the twitter account has now been closed. What does this say? Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Michael Martin Resigns

Short and sweet, direct and to the point. In just over 30 seconds, Michael Martin conceded to the inevitable and resigned as Speaker of the House of Commons. His final day will be the longest day, June 21. 

Now there is a breathing space and chance for reflection. Members will have to think long and hard as to whom they want to succeed Michael Martin. Personally, if I was an MP, I would favour Frank Field. There may have been two Labour Speakers in a row, but this is not a time to think about such things. The House of Commons needs the right man (or woman) to lead itself forward. It needs a reformer. It needs someone who is not tarnished. This rules out Sir Alan Haslehurst, for example. 

Yesterday was a bad day for parliament. Today was much better. A new Speaker will be elected on June 22 and MPs will no longer be allowed to bill TVs, furniture, food, moat cleaning, gardeners, etc., to the taxpayer. All that needs to happen now is for Gordon Brown to ask the Queen to dissolve parliament. It is necessary. After an election we will have a new government, with a new mandate and parliament can move forward, with new blood, and restore its reputation with the electorate. 

Is Nadine Dorries being truthful?

A reader has left this comment and it is rather enlightening with regard to Nadine Dorries' defence. Make up your own mind. 

David Titchmarsh has left a new comment on your post "Nadine Dorries responds to her critics. I respond ...": 

If any further proof were needed that the Member of Parliament for Mid Bedfordshire is being less than open with her so called 'explanation', then the following is from her website, 22nd September 2005. It speaks for itself.

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Beds, and her family are to make their new home in Woburn.

“The decision was very much taken out of my hands by the kids” said Nadine. “They fell in love with the town and it didn’t matter where else we went they kept coming back to Woburn.

As any parent will know, a move is a huge thing especially 3 lively girls. It helps with the process when the children have a big say and feel they an input in to what is happening.

It also makes sense logistically. My constituency office is in Shefford and I am in the House of Commons four nights a week so it is manageable”. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parliamentarians need to regain Parliament.

Today has been the lowest day for parliament I can remember. It has never crossed my mind we would ever see the day the Speaker of the House of Commons would be treated in such a way. Normally, members who shout at the Speaker, or across the Speaker, would have to apologise for their actions. Not today. Michael Martin has lost the confidence of the House and it was painful to watch. I love the House of Commons. It is my chamber. It is where people I elect represent my concerns. At least this is how it should be. Today - more than any other day - has proved this is a chamber not fit for purpose.

There are too many MPs who have milked the taxpayer for everything they can. There are too many of them who do not have a useful purpose. Since 1997, parliament has been sidelined. The government much prefers to announce policy initiatives to the media first, rather than on the floor of the House, where my elected representatives have the chance to speak. Too many laws are decided by bureaucrats in Brussels. Parliament has become a sideshow. Now is the time to change all of this.

A new Speaker must now be elected by those MPs who know the candidates. A general election must then be called. The public has lost confidence in their elected representatives. If this parliament goes on - or rather limps on - for another year, parliament itself will be holding the British electorate in contempt. 

Hopefully the electorate will then give parliament a new mandate. A mandate for real change. We need a renegotiation of our membership of the European Union. We need to take back our sovereignty. It is the job of our parliament to enact laws that affect us. It is not the job of faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. Parliament needs to once again become the forum where the great debates of the day take place. Parliamentarians need to regain parliament. Until this happens, we cannot move forward. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My 1000th Post. A Big Thank You to Everyone

This is my 1000th post! I didn't have a clue what I was doing when I started writing this blog in November 2006. I knew I had something to say and thought if others can, so can I.

Back then, we were coming to the end of Tony Blair's premiership. Gordon Brown had been scheming for years and he was desperate to get his hands on the top job. Blair had been resisting for years, and now we know the reason why. He knew what a pig's breakfast he would make of the job. Blair has many skills. The weight of the world could be on his shoulders, but he still had a capacity as prime minister to smile and look relaxed. He could bat away criticism easily. Brown is exactly the opposite. Thank goodness he bottled out of a general election a year and a half ago. I think he would have won that election. If he had, we would be facing another three and half years of his premiership, rather than just one year. Thank heaven for small mercies. 

What I would like to do is thank bloggers who were kind to me when I first started. Martine Martin has not blogged for a long time, and I wish she would start again. We have become friends. We have campaigned together and she has been our guest in our home too. James Higham is another great source of encouragement and he too has stayed with us. The first person to point me in the direction of Blogpower, was Ellee Seymour. One of these days we will meet up. Her son attends Hull University. Another to give me encouragement was Praguetory. Croydonian and I stayed with him last year during the Conservative Party Conference. 

Blogging has also opened doors to me. Thanks once again to Pragutory, I met up with Andrew Percy, the Conservative PPC for Brigg and Goole. This lead me into campaigning in Haltemprice and Howden and a whole host of new friends have been made. Hopefully my writing has entertained and edified you. Some have been infuriated, however, I am someone who is not frightened to speak his mind. Over the years, this has got me into all sorts of difficulties, but I wouldn't change anything. There are three principals that underpin my life. I do not always succeed, however, I strive to be loyal, to be honest and have integrity. If I get into scrapes along the way, then so be it. 

Finally, a big thank you to all my readers and please keep the comments coming in.

Michael Martin is the roadblock to change

When the Leader of the Liberal Democrats publicly calls for the Speaker of the House of Commons to go, the Speaker knows he is trouble. Nick Clegg would not have made this announcement if he thought Michael Martin was going to survive his latest crisis. 

Reading between the lines, I can only assume Douglas Carswell has been receiving some high profile support for the motion he intends to place before the House of Commons tomorrow. The Tories seem to be coming around to the opinion Martin should go now and David Miliband - interviewed on The Politics Show -  said it was not an issue the government should get itself involved in, as it was a matter for the House of Commons. It is a matter for the House, but he could have said he personally supported the Speaker. His silence says it all. 

Michael Martin is the roadblock to change. He is far more interested in keeping to the status quo. He is far more interested trying to find out who the scoundrel was who leaked the file to The Daily Telegraph. The Commons can not move forward with him in the Chair. He needs to go now, not at the next general election.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nadine Dorries responds to her critics. I respond to her.

Nadine Dorries has delivered a forthright and vigorous defence on her blog. I urge everyone to read it. Whilst I have some sympathy for her (I know she is a hard working MP) and I can see she has acted within the lax rules laid down by parliament, I have some issues.

Nadine chose to live in the Cotswolds, far away from her constituency. She could have moved, like any ordinary person would have done. No-one likes uprooting their family, however, there are times when you have to. One would have thought this was one of those occasions. I understand that after her marriage broke down in 2007, child care would be a problem for her. It seems her and her ex-husband have an amicable relationship when it comes to the care of their daughter. They are to be praised for that, but I have to ask the question: What has this got to do with the taxpayer? It appears the taxpayer is fully funding her childcare costs. If only the rest of us were in such an advantageous position.

Nadine Dorries has not done anything illegal. She is perfectly entitled to have her main home in The Cotswolds and have a second home in Bedford, and commute from the Commons to Bedford and pay for the cost of a hotel in London herself if she is working late. The problem is the system that allows her to do that. She says she has not only acted to the letter of the law, but she has acted in the spirit of the law. I take issue with her on the latter. There are many hard working couples who have to juggle their lives around work and looking after their children. There are many single mothers who have to do the same. They go out to work and if they cannot find a friend or relative to look after their child, they have to pay for childcare, and this is expensive. What other option do they have? Their employers will not pay for the kind of arrangement Nadine Dorries has. 

I'm sorry to have to say this, but I think Nadine should think about her position. Acting within the rules is one thing, but I am sick and tired of listening to this excuse emanating from the mouths of 'honourable' members. The Nurenberg defence does nothing for me. We need a clear out in Westminster and we need it soon. I want a general election in the next couple of months and let the public decide who they want. People like Nadine Dorries who have acted within the very lax rules will let the public decide. Those who have done much worse need to be deselected. We might then, finally, be able to draw a line under this sordid affair.

Honour in politics

There was a time when there was honour in politics. Here is an extract from the Wikipedia entry for the late, former Speaker of the House of Commons, Bernard 'Jack' Weatherill.

In has recently been revealed that in 1979, Weatherill played a critical role in the defeat of the Labour government in the vote of confidence. As the vote loomed, Labour's deputy Chief Whip,Walter Harrison approached Weatherill to enforce the convention and "gentleman's agreement" that if a sick MP from the Government could not vote, an MP from the Opposition would abstain to compensate. The Labour MP Alfred Broughton was on his deathbed and could not vote, meaning the Government would probably lose by one vote. Weatherill rightly said that the convention had never been intended for such a critical vote that literally meant the life or death of the Government, and it would be impossible to find a Conservative MP who would agree to abstain. However, after a moment's reflection, he offered that he himself would abstain, because he felt it would be dishonorourable to break his word with Harrison. Walter Harrison was so impressed by Weatherill's offer - which would have effectively ended his political career - that he released Weatherill from his obligation, and so the Government fell by one vote on the agreement of gentlemen

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nadine Dorries is implicated by the Telegraph

Nadine Dorries has been 'outed' by the Telegraph as having made questionable expenses claims. Her rented home in her constituency is classified as her second home, for which she claims the usual bangs and whistles at taxpayers' expense. Her main home is 'somewhere else.' She goes 'somewhere else' during free weekends. During parliamentary recesses, she also stays at her holiday home in South Africa. Therefore, it appears she uses her constituency 'second' home more or less all the time when parliament is sitting. 

I hope this is not what it seems. I like Nadine and because of this I will wait for the investigation by the panel set-up by David Cameron to report before I say anything else on this subject. 

Justice Minister Shahid Malik steps down pending an investigation

After Malik's appearance on Sky News this morning, he should have been
fired. He showed a breathtaking arrogance trying to justify his claims
for flat screen TVs, an iPod, a massage chair... The list goes on, but
he has not been done over by these revelations. Whilst charging the
taxpayer for all his luxuries, he benefited from a cut-price deal on
the rent on his constituency home. His landlord has been prosecuted
for renting out sub-standard accommodation. What he may have done is
break the Ministerial Code by accepting such a deal.

Hopefully he will be gone for good very soon. He is the epitome of
what is wrong is politics. He is arrogant and shameless with his snout
deep in the trough. Another MP facing deselection? I hope so.

Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, May 14, 2009

MPs' expenses scandal continues relentlessly

Running a one-man political blog is not easy these days. I find I am about to write a post and then there is more breaking news. By the time I have digested that, there is more, and the Telegraph promise more tomorrow. Why Michael Martin didn't publish the full list to save us from this drip-feeding, I don't know. He must go and go now. He is useless, incompetent and brings disgrace to the office of Speaker.

Elliot Morley is going to be toast. He will be deselected by the Labour Party in Scunthorpe. Who would want to pound the streets in an election for him? He will also face criminal charges. Andrew McKay and Julie Kirkbride have been fools. Both of them need to go. I predict an avalanche of selection meetings across the country in the coming months. There are so many MPs who have lost the trust of their constituents. Activists in all parties will not be prepared to risk losing seats because no-one trusts their candidates.

Harold Wilson famously said a week was a long time in politics. It was true then and it is true now. Politicians have never come top of popularity polls, however, this time last week no-one would have predicted the public outrage and hatred of MPs; and it is getting worse, rather than better. Never in the history of this nation, have so many political careers been destroyed in one week.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Elliot Morley should be in the slammer

The latest revelations in the Telegraph will have to be investigated by the police. The most serious case is that of Elliot Morley who managed to claim for mortgage interest when he had already paid off the mortgage 18 months earlier. He also embarked on some flipping, declaring his London home as his second home, even though he wasn't living there. Ian Cawsey, MP for Brigg and Goole, was renting the property for £1000 a month. 

Labour's Fabian Hamilton declared his mother's home in London as his main residence, pocketing thousands of pounds of our money for his family home in Leeds. Conservative Deputy Chairman, John Maples, declared his club in Pall Mall as his main residence, ripping off the taxpayer again on claims for his real home and Tory Stephen Crabb said his main home was flat already rented by another MP.

These low lifes should be investigated for fraud. All of them should have the party whip taken away from them and deselected. Whilst the rest of us work hard to pay the bills, these greedy, robbing bastards couldn't give a damn about their constituents. They are a complete disgrace. 

Speaker Michael Martin

I have just e-mailed my MP - Diana Johnson - asking her if she has confidence in Michael Martin. It will be interesting to see if I get a response. 

Dear Ms Johnson

It seems Douglas Carswell's proposed no confidence motion in the Speaker is garnering support from MPs in all parties. I am sure you have read some of the comments left on newspaper websites and on blogs in connection with the Speaker's future. It is my belief he has lost the support and respect of many Members of Parliament and of the country at large. May I ask you if you still have confidence in the Speaker and if you do not, would you consider voting for the no confidence motion?


Andrew Allison

Is time up for Michael Martin?

According to The Times, ministers are urging Downing Street to put
pressure on the Speaker to stand down. The end is nigh, Mr Speaker.

Can't give you a link as I'm using my smartphone.

Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ming Campbell's life of luxury

If what the Telegraph is reporting is true, he should resign forthwith. 

David Cameron hits the right note

Having had time to digest what David Cameron has done today, I have to admit I am impressed. I was talking to a friend of mine a few days' ago and they told me they didn't think much of Cameron's leadership. I hope today they will. He has shown true leadership and asserted his authority of the parliamentary party in a way Brown could never do.

I wrote earlier today that unless Conservative MPs can come up with a genuine reason for claiming certain expenses, they should have the party whip taken away from them. He has not gone that far, but he has come very close and I think what he has suggested is very good long term solution. 

All Conservative MPs' expenses will be reviewed by a panel. If an MP disagrees with the panel's conclusions, they will have the whip taken away from them. No more claims for plasma TVs, food and furniture. Conservative MPs will no longer be able to claim for cleaning out their swimming pools or for the horse manure to spread over their roaming acres. 

Cameron has seized the initiative and has put Brown firmly on the back foot. The public are not in a forgiving mood and they want some scalps. James Gray would be good scalp. Claiming for Remembrance Day wreaths is beneath contempt, as is cheating on your wife when she is being treated for cancer. The House of Commons needs some new blood. There are too many MPs who do not contribute anything significant and have been there too long. They should be persuaded the next general election is the most opportune time to hang up their boots. I would not be surprised if David Cameron has plans in this direction.  

Cameron must take a firm stand

I hope David Cameron is going to show real leadership. He cleared his diary this morning, chaired an emergency meeting of the Shadow Cabinet. Rumour has it he intends to ask Tories whose expenses claims were not in the spirit of the law, to repay the money back. A good start, but he needs to go further.

Clearly, some MPs have milked the system to such an extent, they should not be Conservative MPs. Unless they can come up with a reason for the expenses, they should have the party whip taken away from them and they should be deselected as a party candidate at the next general election. Like many activists, I give up my time freely for the party and incur costs I cannot claim for; not that I would want to claim for them. I am sick to the stomach at some of the claims MPs have made. If David Cameron can seize the initiative and show he is not prepared to put up with such money grabbing behaviour, he will come out of this as the party leader who can be trusted. This is the best - as a party - we can hope for.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Michael Gove 'flipped' his home for genuine, family reasons

When I heard Michael Gove had 'flipped' his home, I was surprised. I like Michael. He is a highly intelligent, gifted man, who has much to offer in public life. 

Thankfully, Michael was not on the fiddle, and has a genuine reason for the change. Fraser Nelson explains here

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Margaret Moran, the dishonourable member for Luton South

I watched the last couple of minutes of an interview Margaret Moran gave to the East of England Politics Show. Remorse for her actions? No; instead justification. Being with her other half at weekends means she can function and give the voters of Luton South the 110% she gives them.

Iain Dale has already informed us that her partner is registered as a voter at 109, Alexandra Avenue, Luton. His business is also registered there. So, his main address is not in Southampton. The other occupant at that address also happens to be Margaret Moran.

No matter how much she tries to wriggle, she must know there is no justification for spending £22,500 of taxpayers' money, treating dry rot at one of her homes in Southampton. When is Gordon Brown going to step in and withdraw the Labour Whip from her? When is her local party going to deselect her? This 'dishonourable' member needs action taken against her; now. 

Saturday, May 09, 2009

My message to Margaret Moran

I have just sent the following message to Luton South MP, Margaret Moran, using the messaging facility on her website:

When are you going to change the slogan on the top of your website to: Making Margaret Moran's holiday home a better place to live? I would then suggest you resign. I would also prosecute you for fraud, but it is not up to me. 

All of us should send her a clear message. Changing her second home to her holiday home 100 miles away from her constituency and then claiming £22K of our money to cure her dry rot problem, is probably the most outrageous of all the claims made by MPs, thus far. She needs to go and go quickly. 

Hat tip: Iain Dale for giving me the slogan idea.

MPs' expenses. I am shocked.

Very little shocks me in politics. It can be a very dirty business. I am used to lies and innuendo. I am used to misrepresentation of policies and taking words out of a sentence to make it seem you have said something else. What has shocked me is the revelation in the Telegraph of the details of some MPs' expenses. 

Some MPs should be thinking about resigning this weekend. Constantly changing the status of a second home to get properties renovated, is seen - quite rightly - by the public as fraud. Claims for second homes when your family home is nearby is also seen as fraud. What amazes me more is how out of touch some MPs have become. This can be the only explanation for some of these expenses. Anyone with any political savvy would have realised that if any of these expense claims was made public, they would face the full force of public outrage. They would have realised they are going to lose votes in droves. 

The Commons' authorities are now calling on the police to investigate the Daily Telegraph. Instead of feeling guilty, they are trying to brazen it out. This sums up the situation perfectly. I have no doubt some MPs will not be standing at the next general election. I am sure the national and local press - and bloggers too - will make sure no-one forgets their actions until they do the honourable thing. Some of the more serious cases should be investigated and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service. Some MPs think they are above the law. Now is the time to send a clear message they are not. 

The Freedom Zone in Manchester

During the Conservative Party Conference last year I had a great time at the Freedom Zone. It was organised by the Freedom Association and was just a few minutes' walk away from the main conference venue. There was a variety of speakers and it was much better than the fringe events taking place at the main conference.

At this year's conference in Manchester it is back and it promises to be bigger and better than last year. The venue is the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and the Freedom Association has teamed up with the Taxpayers' Alliance and Conservative Way Forward.

I haven't decided if I am going to the conference this year, however, I will go to Manchester for at least one day - perhaps both days - the Freedom Zone is running. If you are a Facebook user click here for more information, or click here to go to the Freedom Association's website. 

Friday, May 08, 2009

Taxpayers' Alliance

Last night I sent an e-mail to the Taxpayers' Alliance to inform them
of my new e-mail address. I received a reply at 9.55 this morning. How
about this for service. If only government departments were this

Sent from my mobile device

MPs second homes

A question for you all: If re-designating your second home to charge the taxpayer the bill for renovations is not fraud, what is?

Labour's failed education policies

I am passionate about education. Maybe it is because I didn't receive a great education myself. I didn't get great 'O' Level grades and it was the same story for my 'A' Levels. Looking back, I can see the subjects that interested me the most are more or less the same that interest me now; Music, English, History, Geography and French. I never studied politics, but I did have a couple of teachers who were always willing to talk politics with me. Both of them always said I would become an MP one day. These days I will settle for being a councillor.

You could say I am an arts and humanities man, and that would be right. Maths and science never appealed to me, however, the teachers I had were largely responsible for my interests. My music teacher was great and is a passionate musician. My French teacher was equally passionate about everything Gallic. Those two teachers regularly talked politics with me. My English teacher presented her subject imaginatively and always kept our interest. She was good looking too and all the boys fancied her. The history I studied was varied and the sheer range of the Geography syllabus kept my attention. 

As for the other subjects, the teaching of them was pretty appalling, starting from primary school. I have always been very numerate, so I excelled in arithmetic. Other branches of Maths confuse the hell out of me, and the Maths teachers I had were poor teachers, who gave up on anyone who didn't understand the subject quickly. My chemistry teacher only wanted to teach those who were naturally scientifically gifted. When I couldn't understand atomic theory, I can still remember the look of exasperation in his face. He was a nice guy, and he used to produce the school musicals, but he didn't have the patience for those pupils who found chemistry difficult.

One of the reasons I became a school governor was because I wanted to get actively involved in the education of our children. I have been hugely disappointed with the job. I don't have a real say in what happens with the school, even though I was on the interview panel for a new headteacher last year. Governors' meetings are full of educational jargon and endless statistics. This government's preoccupation with statistics and league tables is breathtaking, but more of that later.  

Yesterday, Gordon Brown made a speech about education. I have no doubt he made the speech to divert some of the heat away from him and his government, however, what he said resonated with me. It was yet another example of why I could never be a socialist. 

The National Curriculum has been a disaster, and before anyone tries to inform me, I know it was introduced under a Conservative government. It takes away the choices from teachers, parents, governors and most importantly, pupils. It is micro-managed education. Instead of the government setting the standard that needs to be achieved by the time our children reach school leaving age, it sets out in great detail the route that needs to be taken. It is the worst form of government meddling and interference you could possibly want to witness, but Labour has built on this and has made the situation much worse. 

In his speech to the last year's Conservative Party Conference, David Cameron quoted David Miliband who said you have yourself and then the state. Nothing in between. If I really thought this, I would start organising a joint suicide jump from the Humber Bridge for as many people who wanted to join me. This ethos, though, sums up Labour's education policies. Labour thinks the way to drive-up education standards is to take good schools, lump them together with failing schools, and hey presto, all is well with the world. Hogwash. We all know that it only takes a few disruptive students to completely ruin a lesson for the rest. We know those who under perform tend to drag down the standards in the school. The only way to improve standards is to hand to headteachers and governing bodies the right to permanently exclude disruptive pupils, allow schools to develop their own curriculum (thereby scrapping the national curriculum), totally scrapping SATs (there are other ways of measuring success, such as parents' beating down the door of the school to get their children on the roll and inspectors' reports), scrapping GCSEs and 'A' Levels and replacing them with an internationally accepted Baccalaureate and finally, stop the endless intrusion and policy changes emanating from Whitehall.

There are good schools and there are bad schools. 'Twas ever thus. The same goes for good and bad teachers and good and bad teaching methods. Give parents the real choice of where to send their kids, including a voucher if necessary as part payment in a private school. All these things will drive up standards. What Gordon Brown announced shows the bankruptcy of ideas that dogs this government. We need to take a radical approach, rather than stale policies reheated and presented as the best thing since sliced bread.

MPs' Expenses

Thanks to the Telegraph some of the waiting is over. We know Jack
Straw is hopeless at accounting, Hazel Bears has a penchant for plasma
TVs and Gordon Brown pays his brother to organise a cleaner at our

Tories are quite rightly not getting too excited. I am sure there are
more embarrassing details about to be revealed about Conservative MPs
expense claims. I wonder how many careers are going to be cut short?
Or will many of them brazen it out?

Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mobile Blogging

I have had a Nokia E71 for two weeks and it has taken me a while to
work out everything, but I can heartily recommend it to anyone.

What I have done is change my e-mail address to one with google mail.
My account was not working as well as it had been, plus there
is an application I found that very easily allows me access to google
mail. I write an e-mail, send it off and it gets published as a blog
post. Very easy.

I have found it has revolutionized the way I communicate and keep in
touch with the world. If you are thinking about upgrading and getting
yourself one of these little devices, my advice is do it.

Sent from my mobile device

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Prezza on the Beach

Just stopped off for a coffee and bought a copy of the local newspaper. On page 3 there isn't a picture of a topless, female beauty. Instead there are two pictures of John Prescott. In one of them he has a croquet mallet between his legs on Bridlington beach. In the other, he is holding on to a donkey. He resisted the urge to place a red rosette on the poor beast, although I can imagine some of the voters in Hull East may see the irony of the photograph..

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Raise a glass to Margaret Thatcher

Not much time for blogging today, although I cannot miss the opportunity to mark the 30th Anniversary of the general election that put Margaret Thatcher in to power. Thursday 3 May 1979 was one of the most historic dates of the 20th Century and heralded the advent of one of the greatest premierships this country has ever seen. 

I am raising a glass to the Iron Lady this evening. 

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A victim of Fraud

Yesterday afternoon, I received an automated call saying it was from the Fraud Department at Abbey. I didn't believe it, so hung up. I then called the bank to inform them of the call. To cut a long story short, it was the bank calling me. Apparently, there are so many people who they suspect as being victims of fraud they do not have the staff to cope with the demand; hence the automated call.

It transpires that someone has been having fun spending my money. It has been going on for some time, although the amounts have been small and I have missed them when checking my bank statements. A mistake which I will not repeat. Yesterday the fraudster used my card twice - and got a little greedy - more or less at the same time as I was filling up with diesel. I assume this is the reason the bank thought there was something amiss. 

I think the fraudster has taken somewhere between £150-200 out of my account in the past few months, using the telephone and the Internet to 'buy' goods and services. I imagine I am not the only victim of him/her/them. A very nice little scam. 

Although I am annoyed someone has done this, I know the money will be refunded to my account. The worst part about it is the inconvenience. Because my debit card has been cancelled, I had to drive 6 miles into Hull City Centre to visit the branch in order to get some money out. It is Becky's 30th Birthday on Tuesday and my Mum is staying with us for the weekend. Other family members are meeting up with us this afternoon and we are going out for a meal tonight. There are gifts to buy. I know I can put it in my credit card, however, I have the cash and by using my credit card I will be charged interest. You will also get some strange looks tying to buy a couple of beers with a credit card! There are times you need cash and we have all become accustomed to using the 'hole in the wall' to access our accounts.

My message to all readers is this: If, like me, your bank statement runs into around three pages every month, ensure you check every transaction. I became complacent. For years, every time I checked my statements, everything was in order. I stopped being thorough and this complacency has caught me out.

Have a great bank holiday weekend. We will and thankfully the fraudster will not - at least not at my expense!

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