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Saturday, October 31, 2009

X Factor Live Blog - Week 4

I'm not quite sure what Cheryl was thinking about tonight, but she should have looked in the mirror before she wore that outfit. Never mind, the X Factor is about to start. Here's hoping the acts perform better than last week.

1. Joe McElderry - A solid start to this week's show. He doesn't quite have a rock voice. A little too much 'boy band' for me. He'll be safe tonight. 7/10

2. Lucie Jones - I was worrying about Lucie tonight, especially at the start, but she has an edge to her voice when its needed and she is showing this tonight. She is the one to beat. A great performance. 9/10

3. Danyl Johnson - His confidence has taken a knock from last week and this is very evident. A boring performance from a singer I usually like. The big notes don't sound that big on the television. Maybe they sound better in the studio. 6/10

4. Lloyd Daniels - I think Cheryl is deliberately trying to get her acts kicked out. Terrible song choice and a dreadful performance. Absolutely awful. 3/10 (and I'm being generous.)

5. Stacey Solomon - For someone who usually has an opinion on just about everything, I'm finding it difficult what to make of this performance. As my late father would say, it was like the curate's egg; good in parts. 6/10

6. Jamie Archer - I'm sure I heard him at the pub the other week. Nothing special. 5/10

7. Rachel Adedeji - She keeps on getting better as her confidence grows. I like this girl. A great performance. 9/10

8. John & Edward - I know it's Halloween, but come on. Not only do they look frightening (which I suppose is understandable on October 31), but they sound frightening too. They will never rock me. This really is awful in the extreme. Will the great British public please put them out of their misery? 1/10

9. Olly Murs - A great 'Beatles' song. He doesn't rock my boat. This is a pop performance of a rock and roll classic. 5/10

The standard was not very high tonight. John & Edward deserve to go, as they were easily the worst of all the acts. Here's hoping they go.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Iain Dale & Anne Atkins 'in conversation'

I've just listened to a very heated exchange between Iain Dale and Anne Atkins on the Jeremy Vine Show.

It seems Anne Atkins believes Christian forgiveness does not extend to those who have had an extra-marital affair. I know affairs wreck lives and I am not for one moment condoning Elizabeth Truss' actions, but the affair was in the public domain, it ended four years ago and if her husband forgave her, what problem should we have? Having an affair does not mean you cannot discharge your duties as an MP. It means you are a flawed human being, just like the rest of us.

Scroll in 33 minutes and listen to the exchange.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parents banned from their kids playground in Watford

There are times when I wonder what sort of a country I am living in. Common sense goes out of the window and is replaced by an excessive need to regulate and protect.

Watford Council has decided to ban parents from entering the playground their child is playing in unless they have been CRB checked. Instead they must leave them in the care of play rangers. I kid you not. Play rangers? This sounds like another non-job to add to a growing list of non-jobs created under Labour.

Although it is amazing no-one spoke out against this nonsense when it was proposed, I am not amazed Watford Council thought it may be necessary to adopt this approach. This is a result of the last twelve years of a Labour government who finds it necessary to control and micro-manage every aspect of our lives. In his leader's speech in Manchester, David Cameron spoke of how we need to stop treating children as adults and adults as children. Roll on that day, but this culture seems embedded in officialdom in this country and it will not disappear overnight.

Hat Tip: Dizzy

UPDATE: It seems as this story is not true. Click HERE to find out the real story.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Liz Truss - selection referred back to the full association

Anyone who has any sense in South West Norfolk Conservative Association would have looked up Liz Truss on the Internet. They would very easily have found out she had an affair with Mark Field. For the association now to show they have no confidence in her, is nothing short of disgraceful.

Liz Truss has my backing. What she did or what she does in her private life has nothing to do with me or anyone else. She is a hugely talented woman and will be an asset to Parliament. As the stone age relics from Norfolk don't realise this, the party must intervene, although at the moment I wouldn't blame her if she resigned. How can she have any confidence in the people who selected her a few days ago when they don't seem to have any confidence in her?

Brown to campaign for Blair

The breaking news tonight is that Gordon Brown is going to actively campaign for Tony Blair to become President of the EU.

The EU is a socialist superstate and I am sure Blair will fit in well. He will continue to grab more powers from nation states. He will continue to interfere in our lives, in very much the same way as he did when he was prime minister. The EU is a hopelessly inefficient organisation, very much in the same way as Blair's government was hopelessly inefficient.

I am certain Blair will feel at home, as would Brown if he was free to run for the job.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bridlington Renaissance Partnership

On the Politics Show today in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, one of the topics for discussion were Quangos. I recorded a piece on Wednesday and had a 30 second slot on the programme.

In the studio, one of the guests was Martyn Coltman, from the Bridlington Renaissance Partnership. If only I can have a ten-minute slot with him on either television or radio. If you want a prime example of how not to use public money, then take a look at Bridlington.

Grandiose schemes abound such as planting trees that won't grow. Spending £100K on welcome signs. Spending £6.5 million on paving around the Spa Complex with an amazing half a million pounds being swallowed up in consultants fees. They are just three of a catalogue of examples of how public money is being wasted by a largely unaccountable body supposedly regenerating the seaside town.

I'm not saying public money should not be spent in Bridlington, but it should be given to the council who can then allocate it to projects it feels are worthy. If the public disagrees then they can always show their dissatisfaction at the ballot box. This way there is accountability.

What Quangocrats like Mr Coltman fail to realise is the only way to get business booming is to lower taxes and reduce regulation. High taxes and increased regulation are the main drivers against economic success. Their disincentivising effects can been seen throughout the country.

Meanwhile Quangos continue to dole out public money in the hope trade will be increased by grandiose projects. They may have some effect, but they will never be the solution. Successful economies are low tax and low regulation economies and when public money is being spent, the public have a right to hold those responsible to account. It's called democracy. In Quango-run Britain, this is something sorely lacking.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

X Factor Live Blog

1. Olly Murs: A solid performance with a song that's not well known. I think I've only heard a couple of times before. He seems to having fun with the dancing girls. Well, who wouldn't? 7/10

2. Lloyd Daniels: An obvious choice as Simon said. Weak. He really doesn't have the voice to power over the band. He doesn't understand the genre either. Not surprising really. Better at the end. 4/10

3. Miss Frank: Well 'That's Life.' There's only one member of this group who can really sing and that's the one in the middle. Another performance that gets better towards the end, although why the hell she decided to rap in the middle is anyone's guess. Like the curate's egg; good in parts. They looked better this week though. They looked like a group, although I think they could be in trouble again. They haven't connected with the public yet. 6/10

4. Rachel Adedeji: Someone else who has not connected with the public yet. This is not big band and although her legs aren't too bad, her outfit looks rather 80s. This is a much stronger performance than the last two weeks though. She should be safe tonight. 6/10

5. Jamie 'Afro' Archer: Not big band. He does know how to strut around the stage though. I've been told he doesn't have his good luck charm on him, however, I think he doesn't need it. It was a good performance and will secure him a slot next week. 6/10

6. Stacey Solomon: At last, someone who has the look for Big Band Night. Unfortunately, she is not connecting. I don't know what's wrong with Stacey, who I like very much. Sorry to have to do this but she gets 4/10.

7. Danyl Johnson: He has the look and he has the sound. The best performance tonight by far. I can't say much else. 9/10

8. Joe McElderry: He doesn't look like he wants anyone to hold him and squeeze him. It's an okay performance, with drama at times, although I think he will get the votes from the teenagers. There's nothing wrong with his performance as such, but there's something about him that says no to me. I can't put my finger on it. 7/10

9. Lucie Jones: A beautiful Rodgers and Hart Song. Absolutely beautiful song and an absolutely beautiful performance. She is the one to watch. 10/10

10. 'cough cough', John and Edward: Okay, they have something about them. May be they can become the new Ant and Dec. Otherwise they are dreadful. If they don't go tonight, then there's no justice at all. My message to the British public is vote them out. 2/10 (and I'm being generous)

John and Edward have to go tonight. They are entertaining, but they don't have the X Factor. Lucie and Danyl were the best. Unfortunately, Stacey may be in trouble, as she really didn't shine, but having said that, I think the public are on her side. The bottom two tonight will probably be Miss Frank and Lloyd. I wish it was the twins, but I think they will survive.

Nick Griffin's response to Question Time

Below is Nick Griffin's response to his appearance on Question Time. He thinks the programme was a lynch mob. Well he would, although my response to him would be when you try and defend the indefensible, you end up looking shifty and nervous. This is exactly how Mr Griffin looked.

Having said that, the Question Time format should have remained the same and there should have been questions about issues of the day affecting all of us, such as the postal strike. The BBC made the right decision to allow Mr Griffin on Question Time and expose him for what he is, however, it was wrong to change the format and give him the opportunity to claim he is a martyr.

A repeat performance for him? Perhaps.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Labour's real immigration policy

After Nick Griffin's performance on Question Time last night, I am hoping his performance will have succeeded in turning voters away from the BNP. There is a chance, as I wrote yesterday, many working class people who feel they have been failed by politicians will feel sympathy for Griffin. Did anyone on the panel last night address their concerns about immigration?

Tonight I found out Labour deliberately allowed uncontrolled immigration. If this story is true - and I don't have a cause to doubt its veracity - then this could easily be the final nail in the coffin for Labour in its traditional heartlands.

Hat Tip: Man in a Shed

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The trial of Nick Griffin

Nick Griffin is struggling and wriggling tonight on Question Time, but it's hardly surprising. Everyone is against him and this worries me. There is a real and present danger those who are tempted to vote BNP will see this as a stitch up and it may garner support for him. I hope not. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Watch me on the Politics Show this Sunday

I recorded an interview for the Politics Show this afternoon on behalf of the Taxpayers' Alliance, which will be broadcast on Sunday, but my bit will only be available in the Yorkshire region, which is on Sky Channel 976. We discussed QUANGOs and Regional Development Agencies.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More garbage from the SNP

I've just found out through my Twitter feed the SNP want to build an
'Arc of Recovery' with Iceland. I know Alex Salmond & Co are
difficult to take seriously at the best of times, but this policy is
incredible even for those who have a very fertile imagination.

Face the facts, Alex. Scotland is not in a position to go it alone. It
gets a great deal from the English taxpayer through the Barnett
formula. Your future for Scotland is based on more handouts from the
socialist superstate commonly referred to as the EU. A deal with
Iceland is as likely as getting Sir Fred Goodwin to waive his pension
rights. You would lead Scotland out of the Union on narrow ideological
grounds, rather than what is best for Scotland. Isn't it about time
you came clean with the Scottish people, instead of feeding them your
usual garbage?

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The truth about European Socialists

Labour attacks the new Conservative grouping in the European Parliament with lies and innuendo. If you want to know the truth about the some members of the socialist group, Tory Bear has more information for you. It's well worth a read and for those of you who will be knocking on doors in the run-up to the next general election, there are a few points worth remembering.

Conservative Party Political Broadcast - 1955

I've been looking through some old party political broadcasts. Below is one from 1955, introduced by Harold Macmillan, who was Foreign Secretary at the time. How the broadcast media has changed, but politics hasn't. Look at some of the things to go in the bin and you can bring it up-to-date for life in Britain in 2009.

Dr Phillip Lee chosen to represent Bracknell for the Conservatives

As many will be aware, Iain Dale was unsuccessful in his bid to become the Conservative candidate for Bracknell. I'm sure Iain will go on and win a nomination for another seat and Bracknell's loss will be another constituency's gain. Dr Phillip Lee was chosen to represent the party at the next general election

Iain has briefly blogged about his experience and the Bracknell Blog gives an excellent report of the open primary.

Frank Field fights to clear his name

Last week I wrote how I felt Sir Thomas Legg had done Parliament and the country a disservice. Here are two more examples explaining why my view has not changed.

The Liberal Democrat MP, Julia Goldsworthy, received her letter from Sir Thomas. Read it here. She has been asked for mortgage details before she became an MP.

Frank Field, the former Labour minister, who was not branded a cheat when the Telegraph revelations came to light, has been told to hand over £7,000. He is fighting against this, and so he should. Legg should have been rooting out the fiddlers and cheats, rather than branding all MPs as fiddlers and cheats.

Frank Field is fighting to clear his name. He feels - quite rightly in my opinion - he has done nothing wrong. You cannot legislate in retrospect. What's happened has happened. Those accused of fraud should be dealt with by the courts. Tighter rules need to be put in place, so every MP knows what can and cannot be claimed. Transparency is needed and an entirely independent body should regulate MPs' pay, allowances and expenses. This is the way forward. Tarnishing the reputations of honest people is not.

Royal Mail to hire 30,000 temporary workers

If you type 'postal strike' into Google, the top two sponsored links are from private couriers offering businesses the chance to avoid the strike and send parcels with them. I would also like to bet they are more reliable than the Royal Mail and in some cases they will be cheaper. It's not just private firms turning to private couriers though. When I renewed my passport earlier this year, my old passport was sent via the Royal Mail and my new one was sent using a private courier. When the Passport Agency feels it cannot trust our postal service, why should anyone else?

The postal service in Hull is variable, to say the least. There are days when nothing arrives and then there's a thud on the mat. If you examine the dates on the post mark, you will see they are all different. There are many occasions when we receive mail for our neighbours and vice-versa, but now the latest wheeze from the Royal Mail to beat the strikes is to hire 30,000 temporary workers. If the existing postmen and women, who are supposed to know their areas like the backs of their hands can't get it right, what confidence can we have in the reliability of the service if our mail is delivered by practically untrained temporary workers?

Postal workers are shooting themselves in the foot by voting for strike action. More and more businesses are turning their backs on the Royal Mail and this trend is going to continue. By taking strike action they are effectively swallowing a cyanide pill. They are turkeys voting for an early Christmas. Unless management and the communication workers union sit around the table and negotiate their way out of this mess, the Royal Mail will have to lay-off thousands of employees as customers turn their backs on them for good.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Climate Change Protesters try to break into a Power Station

One of the many freedoms we enjoy in this country is the right to peaceful protest. Today, however, once again we see this right abused by climate change protesters. Police resources are being diverted to take care of this rabble when they could and should be targeted towards fighting crime. Read more HERE.

Recycle for Hull

You may have following my posts about the new recycling bins in Hull. The problem - if you want to call a problem - is so much of our rubbish is going into the recycling bins that there's only a couple of bags a week going into our black (non-recycling) bin.

I have received a message from Carl Minns, the leader of Hull City Council. Apparently from December - when specialist new wagons will come into use - residents of Hull will be able to call 300300 and request a smaller bin. This is something we will do as our black bin isn't a quarter full after two weeks. We don't see the point is putting it out for collection with so little in it. After all, there isn't anything rotting inside. All the food waste goes into biodegradable bags and placed into the brown bin. I think readers in Hull may find this information useful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Housekeeping: Updating Blogrolls

My blogrolls are getting hopelessly out of date. I intend to remedy this over the weekend. If you link to me and would like me to link to you, please drop me a line.

LibDem Dave Hodgson is the new Mayor of Bedford

Unfortunately, Conservative candidate, Parvez Akhtar, failed in his bid to become Bedford's new mayor. The LibDem Dave Hodgson won the fight after second preference votes were taken into account.

Labour was pushed into a dismal last place. I wonder what Bedford's Labour MP, Patrick Hall thinks of all this? Nadine Dorries says he is not a happy bunny. I imagine he has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp!

Geert Wilders arrives in the UK

A great day for those of us who believe in free speech. You don't have to agree with him, but he has every right to express his opinions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Andrea Jenkyns re-elected for Boston North-West

I'm pleased to report Andrea Jenkyns has been re-elected as the councillor for Boston North-West. No more details as yet, as she has just texted me. Well done, Andrea. Congratulations!

UPDATE: Here are the figures:

Conservative - 597. BNP - 581. Labour - 204. LibDem - 160.

Very close as you can see on a 21.25% turnout.

David Wiltshire to stand down

David Wiltshire has made the right decision today. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this sorry mess, the public mood has changed towards Parliament and MPs. I cannot understand why Mr Wiltshire thought it would be appropriate to pay his own company for services provided and paid for by the taxpayer. Even in the very lax regime of the Commons fees office, surely some alarm bells should have been ringing inside his mind.

Unfortunately, he will leave Parliament will a very nice pay-off and a great pension. Being on the make does pay. Not an example I would recommend to our young people.

Jacqui Smith faces a backlash from her constituents

Jacqui Smith is facing a backlash from her constituents, as the video from Sky News highlights. Perhaps David Wiltshire should think about this. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, John Lyon, may find him innocent, but it makes no difference if he is found innocent or guilty. All you can do in these circumstances is fall on your sword and exit gracefully. Otherwise his constituents will give him the order of the boot, in the same way the people of Redditch will deal with Jacqui Smith.

UPDATE: No sooner do the words leave my mouth and I find out Wiltshire is standing down at the next election. Was it something I said?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Gordon Brown about to be knifed?

In his youthful days, Tony Blair was part of a group called 'Ugly Rumours.' Perhaps the gossip circulating around Westminster tonight are ugly rumours, however, it appears Labour MPs are once again ready to knife their leader. The tipping point has not been on the prime minister's woeful handling of they economy. No, it has everything to do with MPs expenses.

Meanwhile, Charles Clarke is lurking in the shadows, armed with sharp knives, everyone of them destined for Brown. Under the guise of a forum called 'Labour Future', tomorrow he will make a fresh bid to oust the prime minister.

I think Brown will survive, but once again jittery Labour MPs seem ready to plunge the knife in, but when and if they will is anyone's guess. I think they won't.

The price of crude oil reaches a one-year high

Crude oil prices are now at a one-year high of $75 a barrel. Last summer the price rose to $147 a barrel. Last January the price collapsed to $35 a barrel. Why all these statistics? Well, have you noticed any significant changes in the petrol and diesel prices when you fill-up your car? The cost of fuel did drop below £1 a litre, but at the time I thought the oil companies were keeping the price artificially high. I still think the same now, although I bet we will see further rises in the coming weeks.

It's worth noting during this recession the oil companies are making damned sure their profits are as high as possible, at the expense of motorists struggling to make ends meet.

My X Factor predictions

The X Factor live shows have started. I have to admit I am an avid viewer and although those I predict to win never seem to, I'm still putting my head above the parapet and hoping for better luck this time. I just hope I haven't put the kiss of death on these two singers.

The next two videos are from the live show last Saturday. The first singer is Lucie Jones, from South Wales. She is my hot tip. I think she will win. The second singer is Stacey Solomon, from Dagenham in Essex, who will be in the final three.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We've been ripped-off to the tune of thousands of pounds

Today I found out we have be ripped off to the tune of thousands of pounds. Let me explain.

In March of this year we decided to remortgage our home. We needed to bring our spending down, which we did, plus by re-mortgaging we could save a few hundred pounds by getting rid of an existing loan and some credit card debt. We studiously worked out what we could afford and used the services of an FSA approved mortgage broker. The latter is probably the worst decision we could have made.

The mortgage went through and the appointed solicitor duly paid our new mortgage provider. I was paid some money to pay off the loan, but was advised by the mortgage broker that they would act on our behalf to get a lower settlement figure on the loan. The solicitor also paid the mortgage broker over £10K, which was to cover the credit card bills. More than enough in fact. Here is where we went wrong. We should have checked with the FSA that they were licenced to act on our behalf. It turns out they were not and they have since gone into liquidation. I am now preparing a legal case against the solicitor as I did not authorise them to hand over my money to the mortgage broker. This is only half of the story.

The money paid to me has dwindled because we have not only had to pay more for the mortgage but we have had to pay an additional £650-700 a month to cover the other debt, the debt that would have been paid off if the solicitor had paid all the money to me. I am not covered by the government compensation scheme and my only hope is taking action against the solicitor, something I wish I had done immediately. I also wish I had rejected the offer to reduce the settlement figures too, but when you are presented with an opportunity to save some money, you tend to take it and everything seemed legal and above board.

My advice to you: Check with the FSA that any company you use is licenced to offer you that service. We knew they were licenced to offer mortgage advice and broker a deal for us. We wrongly assumed they were licenced to offer other services too. I knew if the company went bust we would be covered by the compensation scheme, but of course if they are not licenced in a particular area, you are not covered. This is something we are now living to regret.

Sir Thomas Legg has done parliament and the country a disservice

I'm about to do something very unpopular. I'm going to defend MPs. My reasoning is very simple. There have been some MPs who have been downright dishonest. There are others who have claimed everything they could, but have stayed within the rules. The vast majority - lest we forget - have been honest. They are the people I am defending.

If I was told by HMRC that something I had claimed for the past five years was no longer allowable and then they presented me with a bill, I wouldn't pay it. I would take them to court. It is a basic principal of natural justice that rules and laws cannot be used retrospectively. What Sir Thomas Legg has done is precisely this. The party leaders are falling over themselves to show how tough they are. David Cameron has told Conservative MPs to pay up or be sacked. This grandstanding sounds good and smacks of firm leadership, but Brown, Cameron and Clegg are missing the point by wanting their MPs not to make any fuss. Brown wants to draw a line under this and knows some of his MPs will challenge Sir Thomas, but when some MPs speak out and say this simply isn't fair, they are correct. It's not and none of us would put up with it in our daily working lives.

We can argue all day if it is right or wrong for MPs to claim for a cleaner or a gardener, the facts are it was legal and proper to do so under the old rules and the amounts claimed were deemed reasonable too. Yes, the rules were very lax. Yes, the public was quite rightly outraged at the antics of some 'honourable' members. Yes, new, tougher rules need to be put in place to protect the reputation of parliament. I don't disagree with any of that, but Gordon Brown should not have to pay back £12,000. The prime minister has his failings and no-one can accuse me of being a fan of his, but I know Gordon was not trying to fiddle his expenses. I imagine he is very fastidious in these matters. Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has received a bill for £241. She has been told by Legg she claimed for a telephone bill, twice. She has been through her accounts and says she has not. What is she to do? Fight her corner and risk the wrath of the leadership, or pay-up knowing she is not guilty of the crime?

Sir Thomas Legg has done parliament and the country as disservice. Instead of trying to identify the fiddlers and cheats, he has labelled the majority of MPs fiddlers and cheats. It may be for political expediency that Gordon Brown decides to dig deep in his pockets and wants his MPs to do likewise. The same applies to David Cameron and Nick Clegg, however, it is wrong. If I was an MP today who has carefully filled in my expenses form and was then told to pay back money I had legally claimed for, I would be hopping mad. Many of them are, and who can blame them?

Happy Birthday, Lady Thatcher

It's Lady Thatcher's 84th birthday today. I'm sure readers would like
to join me in wishing her Many Happy Returns. Have a great day.

Sent from my mobile device

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brown to sell off £16 billion of assets

Gordon Brown is about to sell some government assets to presumably bring down the amount it is borrowing and reduce the debt repayments. This was inevitable, although I am sure the prime minister will hail this as responsible government, making the tough choices, etc.

What we need here is some perspective. Iain Dale commented on this yesterday and aptly reminded us that in August government borrowing was £16.1 billion. Therefore the £16 billion raised from selling assets will pay for August. The mess the country's finances are in cannot be underestimated. Recessions come and recessions go. They are part of life. On the other hand, Brown was the man who claimed to have abolished boom and bust. He claimed to be prudent. He claimed to have brought some form of economic miracle to Britain. What we have instead is the usual mess at the fag end of a Labour government. Higher taxes, higher borrowing and a debt mountain needing to be cleared by an incoming government.

At the Labour conference last month, Brown recited his list of achievements. At last week's Conservative conference, William Hague came up with a list of his own. For all the money thrown at public services during the last twelve years the UK has managed to dramatically slip down world league tables in literacy, numeracy and science. We are the worst place in Europe to bring up a child. We have shiny new hospitals that aren't cleaned properly leaving patients with MRSA and C-Diff. Labour has legislated like no other government. Rights and freedoms we take for granted are under threat.

They are just a few examples of Labour's catalogue of failure. What next? A few more billions in asset sales to cover September? What a mess.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The return of David Davis?

When David Davis resigned as an MP last year to force the by-election, many thought this would be last we would see of him on the Conservative front bench. Perhaps not, or at least that's what Hickey thinks in the Sunday Express. Perhaps Chris Grayling's gaffe during the conference will make David Cameron think again. Could this be the return of David Davis?

Campaigning for change in Brigg with Andrew Percy

This morning I was out leafleting in a mainly sunny Brigg, helping Andrew Percy, the prospective Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole.

As the next general election draws nearer, it is very much all hands to the pump to get out the Conservative message of change. If anyone would like to help in the campaign, Andrew will be very happy to hear from you. Click HERE to visit his website.

Although it's important to have footsoldiers pounding the streets, I understand it is not always possible for those with limited time or limited mobility. If you can help by displaying a poster at election time, Andrew would also love to hear from you. Visit his website and see what he has been campaigning on and see why he will make such a great MP for the constituency.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Recycling our rubbish

Two weeks ago I wrote about the new recycling bins provided by Hull City Council. I thought a progress report was in order.

Last week we didn't bother putting out our normal rubbish bin as there was only two bags in it. By thinking about which piece of rubbish goes in which bin, and by using the kitchen caddy provided to put food waste in, I don't think our normal bin will need emptying for a month. There is nothing rotting in there, so no public health issues. If you are still sceptical, think about these three points:

1. For every tonne of waste put into landfill, local authorities have to pay the government a landfill tax.

2. Do we want more of the countryside of this beautiful country turned into landfill? Do you want to live near an incinerator? If the answer is no - which I suspect it will be - the only option is to recycle.

3. Local authorities receive income from private companies who wish to purchase our rubbish to recycle. Jobs are created. It is good for the economy, especially through this current recession.

I think they are good reasons and they are why we are recycling as much as we can.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Support Andrea Jenkyns in the Boston North West by-election

One of the great pleasures of attending the party conference is meeting new people. I met up with Andrea Jenkyns, who was elected a councillor in Boston, Lincolnshire in June. Unfortunately, she was not in post very long before Labour complained she was not eligible to stand and was forced to quit.

Andrea worked on a part-time basis for Lincolnshire Music Services and before she completed her nomination papers she asked officials if this would disbar her from standing. They told her she could stand, however, they were wrong. For more information click HERE.

She has since resigned from her post with Lincolnshire Music Services and is standing again at a by-election next Thursday. She won the seat four months ago with a narrow majority over the BNP, so much effort has gone into the campaign to get her re-elected.

Any readers who would like to help her in the latter stages of the campaign please click HERE for contact details. I wish her well. She is a very pleasant, likable and determined woman who deserves to win.

Conservative Friends of Israel

Whist at the Conservative Party Conference I joined the Conservative Friends of Israel; something I have been meaning to do some time, but never got around to it.

To find out more about their excellent work, click HERE.

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Rather than writing a long post on Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, I would like to say only one thing, and it was said by a reporter on Sky News this morning.

Barack Obama has won the prize for not being George Bush.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Conservative Party Conference - Discussing the Economy

After looking at the queue for the leader's speech, I decided to return home from the conference a few hours earlier than anticipated. My plan was to beat the traffic, but instead I got stuck in jams in Manchester and on the M60. A journey that should take under two hours took nearly three hours instead.

I listened to David Cameron's speech on the radio and I will blog more about my experiences in Manchester and on his speech over the next few days.

Two days ago - along with James Higham - I attended a fringe meeting discussing the economy. The speakers included John Redwood. James has written about the meeting here. Please go along to his blog to find out more. For me, this was the best fringe meeting I attended during the conference.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Chris Grayling's 'gaffe' over the appointment of Gen Dannatt

I heard Chris Grayling last night at the 'Liberty' fringe meeting where he spoke very well on human rights. He spoke pretty well to the conference this morning, although I think many delegates didn't realise his speech had ended.

His gaffe this afternoon over the appointment of General Sir Richard Dannatt as a Conservative advisor, was a first class one. If he had listened to the question, he would have given the appropriate answer. He didn't and he has paid the price.

This is not a resigning matter, although he will probably be on the equivalent of a written warning from Cameron. One more gaffe like this and he'll be out.

Conservative Party Conference - Manchester - Day 3 - Education

I used to be a school governor. For reasons I can only describe as a mixture of ill health and apathy, I didn't attend a meeting for six months and I was summarily dismissed as the law states.

I think every school governor must have these feelings of apathy. It is one of the most frustrating jobs in public life. Almost everything is rubber stamped and you are bombarded with such technical jargon that the jargon busting guide runs into around twenty pages.

Therefore I was heartened to hear Michael Gove's speech this morning. A Conservative government will accelerate the amount of schools turning into academies. This will allow headteachers to decide the curriculum and the standards they set in their schools. Being a governor in an academy would be a worthwhile job. You can truly make a difference to the future of your school.

When you look at someone in the eyes you can generally tell whether they are telling the truth. Michael Gove is passionate about the education of our children and I know he will make a fine Secretary of State. Unlike Labour, he believes in a challenging syllabus for our children, teaching traditional subjects to give them the broadest education they can receive. He is tired of failing schools and will work hard to drive up standards. I don't think you will read another post from me like this one, because I have not seen another shadow minister speak with such passion and commitment. The education of our children is safe in Michael Gove's hands.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Conservative Party Conference - Manchester - Day 2 - Debate on Libertarianism

I've left the last session in the Freedom Zone early. The speakers were Jesse Norman and Bruce Anderson and the question was, "Is there a place for Libertarianism in David Cameron's Conservative Party?"

I get rather weary of categorising people. Are you a classical liberal, a social conservative, a libertarian, a liberal conservative? We all have differing views on different subjects. I regard myself as a libertarian, although that doesn't mean I regard as a right to play music at the highest volume possible at 3.00am. This will infringe on the rights of my neighbours to have a good night's sleep without being woken up by loud music. Most would regard this as common sense.

What I do believe is we have the rights not given to us by any government. We were born with these rights and freedoms. It is not the job of any government of any political party to interfere in my life without a good cause. It is not the job of government to endlessly legislate and take more of the things I take for granted and turn them into an illegal activity.

The smoking ban is a prime example. Why should I have to go out into a wet Manchester day to have a cigarette, when in the Bridgewater Hall - a very spacious building - a room could be turned into an area where I can smoke without infringing on others rights not to breathe my cigarette smoke? As a smoker, I support the smoking ban in general. I am not asking to be allowed to smoke anywhere. I understand those days have gone, but it is not unreasonable to ask to be allowed to smoke - which is still a legal activity, of which the Treasury benefits enormously - in reasonable comfort.

Instead of placing tags on people, we should be fighting to protect basic rights and freedoms. This is the essence of any free, liberal democracy.

Conservative Party Conference - Manchester - Day 2 - Debate on the EU

An excellent session on the EU. It was chaired by Tim Montgomerie, co-editor of Conservative Home. The speakers were Roger Helmer MEP and Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers' Alliance.

The question is not can we afford to leave the EU, but can we afford to stay in the EU. It's not only the billions of pounds it costs the UK in contributions, it is also the rules and regulations emanating from Brussels that stifles our economy, freedoms and way of life. Perhaps it was not the most representative audience, however, only four people in the room wanted Britain to stay in the EU. The rest of us have come on a journey over the years and have decided the only option is we are better off out.

Conservative Party Conference - Manchester Day 1

A very busy day here in Manchester yesterday and today promises to be just as hectic.

Briefly, yesterday I was in the main conference hall to hear the opening remarks from Eric Pickles, a presentation from Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude. Then followed Boris Johnson, George Young, Annabelle Goldie and William Hague. If you have been following the news you will have heard what was said.

Then I went to the Freedom Zone discussing the bully state. Speaking were Alex Deane and Douglas Murray. Then a meeting on the EU with David Trimble and Ruth Lea. After that, some socialising and onto the the Chairman's reception and to the Yorkshire reception.

I have many thoughts to write down, but at the moment I am listening to Tim Montgomerie. We are about to discuss the Lisbon Treaty. More later.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monday at the Conservative Party Conference

Just about to get off for breakfast. A long day awaits. I am going to go the main conference hall this morning to watch the opening and catch speeches from Boris Johnson and William Hague. Both are good value for money and command a high following. I'll have to get there in plenty of time.

I will then be in the Freedom Zone for the rest of the day. Click HERE for the programme.

Updates later.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Conservative Party Conference - Police Reform

At fringe meeting at the moment organised by the Centre for Social Justice. The event was due to be chaired by Iain Duncan Smith, however, his wife is undergoing chemotherapy and therefore he is unable to attend. We all wish his wife, Betsy, well.

The first speaker was Ray Mallon, a former senior police officer and currently the Mayor of Middlesbrough. It was a highly entertaining ten minute speech. Ray speaks from the heart. He spoke about the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour and attacked the government for its abdication of responsibilities. He said he was trying to reduce anti-social behaviour in spite of the government and wants the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) removed. One thing I agree with was his analogy that it was easier to intervene in the case of two police officers' child minding arrangements, rather than tackle anti-social behaviour. Towards the end of his speech he said a Conservative government will be judged by its leadership.

David Ruffley, the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, then spoke for ten minutes. A good speech, but he certainly doesn't have the charisma of Mallon. He said what we all knew. A Conservative government will reduce paperwork and amend health and safety legislation to let the emergency services use their discretion. He said the police authority in Leicestershire was not holding the chief constable to account. Elected police commissioners are what is needed, which I agree with. Mr Ruffley also agreed anti-social behaviour has been ignored for too long and ended by saying ho no-one trusts the crime statistics. Well, there are lies, damned lies and statistics and does anyone believe anything any government says?

The meeting is continuing with a Q&A session. I think we all agree on one thing; a Conservative government will have to be radical and let the police take charge, reduce the paperwork and tackle anti-social behaviour head-on. All of us at the meeting voted in a straw poll and wanted Ray Mallon as our elected police chief. If only!

The Eve of Conference

When you originally register to attend the conference it seems a long way off. You have to register months in advance and the same goes for booking your hotel. Looking for reasonably priced accommodation can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, this year I did find somewhere close by - a ten minute bus ride from the conference centre - and it was reasonably priced at £53 per room, per night.

I will be arriving in Manchester at around 3.00pm and will be attending a fringe meeting tonight at the Jury's Inn focusing on police reform. It is organised by Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice and the mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, will be speaking. I will blog later with my thoughts.

Look out for regular tweets from the conference too. It promises to be a fantastic few days in Manchester.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Irish vote yes

The Irish have spoken and 67% have voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. Perhaps - as Nadine Dorries has suggested - there should be another referendum, to see what the result will be on a best out of three.

All of this goes to prove what a completely undemocratic institution the EU is. If you don't like the vote the first time, keep on asking and keep on badgering until you get the desired result. The yes vote in Ireland doesn't mean the treaty has any democratic legitimacy. It does not as the majority of those eligible to vote across Europe were not given the chance to express their democratic views. Instead autocrats like Gordon Brown decide they know better than the voters. Always a dangerous road to travel down, but one the left in particular are used to travelling.

If this treaty is ratified it will be a sad day for those of us who love democracy, not only in the UK, but across EU countries as a whole.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Conservative Party Conference - Manchester

Just one driving lesson to give tomorrow morning, then it's all systems go for Manchester. The legend that is James Higham will be joining me for the first couple of days of the conference in 'The Freedom Zone.' I hope to meet up with as many bloggers as I can, along with other friends from around the country. Remember, if you come to 'The Freedom Zone' bring your laptop with you and you can blog in 'The Blogging Zone' which is equipped with free wi-fi.

I can't wait. Hope to see you there. - I wish I could access it

I would love to know what all the fuss is about, however, I have been unable to find out. I tried to sign up this morning, but it wouldn't work. Chris Hawes of the Thunderdragon blog helped me with a link and I signed up. Nothing came in my e-mail, so on Chris's advice I clicked on 'forgot password.' Still nothing.

I have tried again tonight and even though it says my e-mail address is registered, it says my e-mail address is not registered when I ask it for a new password. It does accept my user name, but still nothing in my e-mail.

If anyone has any ideas, please leave a message here or contact me on twitter.

Hoping the Irish say NO to the Lisbon Treaty

True democracy is about letting the people decide. This is an anathema to the EU. Last year the people of the Republic of Ireland decided to reject the Lisbon treaty. If they had voted yes, do you think they would be voting again today? Of course not. If anyone needs any proof of how undemocratic the EU is, this is a prime example.

I dearly hope the people of Ireland vote no for a second time and consign this awful treaty to the dustbin, where it rightly belongs.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Smoking and Smoking Officers

Health and Safety; risk assessments. Two phrases that will no doubt get your blood boiling, but it seems these phrases have come to the aid of smokers in Swindon.

Great Western Hospital in common will the majority of hospitals operates a non-smoking policy on its grounds. If you want a crafty cigarette, you have to venture outside onto a busy road, risking life and limb from what I can gather. The site management company has said enough is enough and has decided to re-erect two smoking shelters so staff can smoke in safety; monitored by cameras, of course, all in the name of safety. Good news; yes, but there is a sting in the tail.

The hospital employs two smoking officers whose job is to make sure no-one smokes where they shouldn't. This has to be one of the Taxpayers' Alliance non-jobs of the week. Next time you are told your operation is cancelled or there isn't enough money for this and that, remember your taxes are spent employing people to wander around hospitals and their grounds snooping to see if they can catch anyone smoking. If you wonder how Labour has managed to increase the number of people employed in the public sector by 800,000, this story begins to explain how many non-jobs there are and why this country's finances are up the creek without a paddle.

A small victory for those who work in the hospital and are not frightened of the health fascists, although there should be a closed smoking room inside the hospital so they don't have to face the elements. As for the smoking officers, I think they should find alternative employment.

Hat Tip: Carl Minns

The hash tag is: #cpc09

For those who like to tweet, the hash tag for this year's Conservative Party Conference is #cpc09. Tory Bear suggested #cpc, however, myself and others discovered this hash tag related to the Canadian Conservative Party, although #cpc09 is also being used, but not by a political organisation. I'm sure they will stop using it when they are drowned with all the Tory tweets.

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