Friday, March 30, 2007

Flip-flop Cameron's windmill taken down...after a week!

The windmill erected on the side of David Cameron's Notting Hill house has been taken down - just a week after it was put up to demonstrate his green credentials.

Of course, it's not the first of his environmental stunts which has backfired.

So which was most hypocritical?

Was it the photo-stunt of Dave saving the environment by riding his bike to the Commons - with his shoes in a following car!

Or how about his jet-flight to the Arctic for a global-warming photo-opportunity posing with huskies...

Or the windmill that lasted just a week?

A Channel 4 documentary shown this week revealed that in 2005 Cameron mocked the idea of wind turbines - calling them “giant bird blenders”.

The programme Toff at the Top accused Cameron of being a right-wing hardliner and an "out and out opportunist".

Now, where did I put those flip-flops?

Tory meltdown in Stoke over allegations of missing cash...

Half of Tory members in Stoke-on-Trent South have resigned from the party in a bitter inter-factional row between former political allies.

The split involves allegations of mismanagement of city council funds. Authority managers, the police and the Standards Board for England have been asked to launch inquiries.

Sleaze watch-dog finds Cameron guilty in cash for access row...

Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has ruled that David Cameron and his MPs are guilty of widespread abuse by using House of Commons and Lords dining rooms to raise cash for party funds to fight marginal seats.

I previously posted on Cameron's sleazy scam HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Parliamentary dinners with Cameron and other MPs were offered in exchange for hefty donations to Tory Party funds - clearly against anti-sleaze rules.

As well as ruling that Cameron and other Tories flouted Palace of Westminster rules over 'cash for access' dinners, the Parliamentary watch-dog also rebuked them for producing leaflets which advertised regular meetings in Cameron’s Commons office in exchange for a political donation of £50,000 a year.

The Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled that the Tory leader, had been "ill-advised" in entertaining members of £50,000 a year Tory donors' clubs.

There's a full report on the ruling - and the embarrassing apology Cameron has been forced to issue in today's Independent.

Given the ruling, Labour MP John Mann (Bassetlaw) is now calling on Cameron and the Tories to donate to charity all the cash they raised through the scam.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Iran now refuses to release British Wren...

The Iranians are complaining that the British Government are putting too much pressure on them to release the British sailors they kidnapped last week.

As punishment for Britain not behaving correctly, they now refuse to free their only female captive - that's according to Bloomberg news agency.

This is despite strong hints yesterday by the Iranians that they would free Leading Wren Faye Turney today. I refuse to post the humiliating image that the Iranians released yesterday of their young captive with her head covered and smoking a ciggie.

I prefer the photo of a trained Wren ready to do her duty for our country. At 26, Leading Wren Turney is younger than my youngest daughter and I'm sure all our thoughts are with her family - and those of the male sailors held captive inside Iran.

The Iranians are guilty of outrageous international thuggery - particularly after their claims that the Royal Navy had infringed Iranian waters has been shown to be absolute rubbish.

The first coordinates the Iranian provided were not even in Iranian waters, so they quickly made up another set of coordinates. And all the time, the ship the Royal Navy had boarded - on behalf of the United Nations - was at anchor almost two miles inside Iraqi waters.

I'm sure every Brit agrees that our Government are absolutely right to pile the pressure on the Iranians to get our sailors back safely.

We must also totally isolate Iran on the world stage and show them it is their behaviour that is unacceptable.

Imagine if we Brits were holding Iranian sailors...?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Isn't it time we paid Special Constables...?

A celebration on the weekend of the work of 'Special Constables' makes me wonder whether they shouldn't be paid for the valuable contribution they make to keep our communities safe.

We rightly pay those who serve us as part-time soldiers, so why not pay Special Constables too?

In any event, it was well worth celebrating the valuable contribution to policing by the Special Constabulary over the past 175 years and to thank those who give their time freely to protect the rest of us.

About half the 168 Specials serving within the Lincolnshire attended the event, along with Lincolnshire Chief Constable Tony Lake.

They heard Cheshire Chief Constable Peter Fahy's keynote address in which he spoke of the amazing role of the Specials.

Mr Fahy, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on Special Constables said:

...We give these volunteers the same powers and the same uniform as full time officers. Across the country we are seeing the number of Specials increasing as more local people want to play their part in keeping their neighbourhood safer.

We realise that we need to bridge the gap between police and public and the Special Constabulary is a powerful way of doing this as it gets members of the public involved in the very heart of policing.
Should they be paid? What do you think?

Guess who says Cameron doesn't believe in anything...?

The former Head of the Conservative Party Research Department, that's who!

Attacking Cameron’s lack of sincerity, Robin Harris told Channel 4's Despatches programme last night:

I think that David Cameron is an out and out opportunist, and although Michael Howard was accused of opportunism and I think practised it a bit over the Iraq war, he was not at heart an opportunist. He did believe things.

I don’t believe that David Cameron believes anything.
Obviously a man who'd done his research!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nasty Party still for the privileged few...

Tory Shadow Minister Michael Gove's answer to Channel 4 when quizzed about the huge number of Old Etonians appointed to David Cameron's Front Bench speaks volumes.

Michael Gove's reply:
Well all that tells me is that their parents thought well enough of their children to want to invest money in their education. End of story as far as I’m concerned.
What a pity the Tories don't think well enough of ALL our children to support the Labour Government's massive increase in schools spending for the vast majority of children who are NOT educated at Eton (or Stamford Endowed!)...

Even under Cameron in the 21st Century, it's clear that the Tories remain welded to policies to benefit a privileged few, while Labour look after the many.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cameron gets more Marks than women...!

Good to see Anne Snelgrove, MP for Swindon South, highlighting the Conservative Party's lack of progress at selecting women candidates, despite endless bluster from David Cameron.

Anne told the House of Commons:
I was very proud to be elected to this House in 2005, particularly given that I joined a 98-strong group of Labour women MPs...

Does my right hon. Friend think it time for a debate on how to increase the number of female MPs in this House, and does he share my disappointment at the fact that so far this year the Conservative party has selected 17 men and no women?
Leader of the House, Jack Straw replied:
A debate on this issue would be very important. I note that more people called 'Mark' have been selected as Conservative candidates than have women.
Currently the Labour Party has 97 women MPs (27% of the party), the Liberal Democrats 9 women MPs (14% of the party) and the Conservatives 17 (9% of the party).

At the current rate of change, it will take Labour around 20 years to get to 50-50 women and men, the Lib Dems around 40 years and the Conservatives around 400!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spanish Practices: another Tory councillor resigns

Where does your "local" councillor live? For many people in Hastings, the answer is a long way from the area he was elected to represent. In fact several hundred miles away. In another country. In Spain.

Tory councillor Michael Lambrech has apparently explained that he lives in Spain 'for health reasons'. Ah, that's OK then.

But today, after months of farce, he's finally resigned his seat.

And that's sent the Tories in Hastings into panic: Without him the Tories didn't have enough support to force through their budget. So the oh-so-green Tories flew him back from Spain - just for the vote in the council chamber.

The Tory council leader was said to have accepted Mr Lambrechs' resignation 'with regret'.

Unfortunately (for them), he's the second Tory councillor in Hastings to resign in as many weeks. Another wishes to persue his career in London.

So the Tory majority on Hastings Council has been lost in a fortnight.

Ah well. At least the voters in Hastings didn't have the same problems as the good people of Crowland:

When Jim Speechley, former Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council refused to resign after he was convicted of wrong-doing, Crowland residents who wanted to see their elected councillor had to apply first for a prison visitor's pass!

The currants have gone and the bun is see it on TV!

A hot cross bun baked in Deeping St James which has survived 186 years in a cardboard box is to appear on national TV after a story in this week's Free Press.

If, like me, you missed the star bun's appearance on Yorkshire TV's Calendar news the other night, there's another chance...

I understand from colleagues on Deepings Exchange that the bun will be on Channel Four's Richard and Judy Show, which goes out at 5pm on Friday.

Loved this extract from the Free Press story:

The currants have gone and the bun is brittle...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The truth behind Brown's Budget...

Now that the Gordon Brown has delivered his 11th Budget, it's worth looking behind the headlines and what it means for ordinary taxpayers.

A closer analysis reveals that today's Budget sets out increases in spending on public services; raises education spending to its highest ever levels; reforms the tax system to reward work, support families with children, and takes 600,000 pensioners out of income tax.

Full text of today's Budget speech HERE

Measures include:

· Further support for families, by increasing Child Tax Credit by £150 a year, over and above the commitment to increase it in line with earnings to the end of this Parliament. This raises the child element to £2,080 a year lifting 200,000 children out of poverty;

· Increasing the threshold for the Working Tax Credit by £1,200 to £6,420 to improve work incentives (resulting in almost £2 billion extra invested in tax credits as a result today's Budget).

· Child Benefit to rise faster than inflationin three stages to £20 per week. Child Benefit, just £575 a year in 1997 will be over £1,000 by 2010.

· Education spending to rise by £90 billion to 2010-11 the highest ever level, increasing UK education spending from 4.7 per cent of GDP in 1997 to 5.6 per cent by 2010-11.

· 600,000 pensioners taken out of paying income tax through an increase in pensioner tax allowances.

· Simplifying the tax system by aligning the upper earnings limit for national insurance with the higher rate threshold and over indexing both to avoid people losing out.

· Corporate tax rate cut from 30 per cent to 28 per cent from April 2008 together with other significant reforms to the corporate tax system;

· Measures to encourage energy efficiency and tackle climate change including an increase in fuel duty rates from October and increasing Vehicle Excise Duty on the most polluting cars, while cutting it for the less polluting.

· Extending the Financial Assistance scheme from its present budget of £2 billion to £8 billion so that all those who lose pension rights if their company goes bust will now receive help for the first time.

· An updated economic forecast, which shows that the UK economy is stable and growing, and that the Government is meeting its strict fiscal rules for sound public finances over the economic cycle.

And of course, the best news for years: the basic rate of income tax cut from 22 pence to 20 pence from April 2008 with the 10 pence starting rate removed.

It was heartening to see the strength of Gordon Brown, in firm command of the nation's growing economy, versus light-weight David Cameron, who's never taken a tough decision in his life...

Beware the fake 'jewels for fuel''s here!

Gangs operating a dispicable scam are fleecing kind-hearted motorists in Lincolnshire.

Five Romanians have already been arrested and one charged with fraud - but Lincs Police are warning motorists that more than one gang is operating in the county.

Over the past few days, Lincs Police have investigated more than a dozen cases of people parting with cash in exchange for ‘gold’ rings and necklaces that turn out to be poor quality fakes.

The scam plays on people's natural desire to help those in need: Motorists have pulled over, or been flagged down, to help a group of people whose vehicle has apparently broken down.

A member of the group then asks for cash to buy fuel and offers gold jewellery in exchange.

There have also been reports of people at petrol stations and supermarkets in the city, trying to off-load the jewellery onto unwitting motorists.

So far all the incidents reported are in the Lincoln area.

But police are warning motorists to be on their guard as more than one gang is operating the scam.

The five arrests were made after when two officers in plain clothes and an unmarked car stopped to speak to the occupants of a parked black Audi estate with its bonnet raised on the A15 north of Lincoln. One of them was charged with two counts of fraud by false representation.

Brown's big tax cut drowns Cameron...

Gordon the Iron Chancellor Brown saved the best 'til last...

Basic income tax down from 22 pence to 20 pence from next April.

The lowest for 75 years.

Follow that Dave...

He couldn't.

Andrew Pierce of the Daily Telegraph, speaking on FiveLive:

"It's the most radical tax cut since the early 1980s and David Cameron did a good impression of a drowning man when it was announced by Gordon Brown.

"David Cameron has been completely outmanouvred by Gordon Brown."

Tory Navy cuts sent strong signals over Falklands...

Talking of Tory cuts, I wonder if the movie planned about Margaret Thatcher’s role in the run-up to the Falklands War will mention the wholesale cuts to the Royal Navy announced just a few months before Argentinian invasion.

In 1981 the Thatcher Government revealed plans to cut a fifth of all destroyers and frigates, axe assault ships, and scrap the aircraft carrier HMS Bulwark.

The South Atlantic patrol ship Endurance was also to be scrapped. The news sent a strong signal to the Argentinians that the long-disputed Falkland Islands would not be defended if they were taken by force...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vote Tory to slash your local services...

The real Tory agenda on public services is revealed in an article by Polly Toynbee in today's Guardian.

Despite Cameron's warm words, she finds that where Tories take control of local authorities, the result is cuts to local services.

In Hammersmith & Fulham, she exposes how the Tory council shut down a mental health day centre, cut vulnerable children’s budget and youth services, and cut occupational therapy visits for the sick and old.

She writes:
Plainly these ambitious young leaders still reckon cuts are the way to Tory success - and they are not hugging hoodies but cutting youth services by £317k. They are not green or clean, but cutting nearly £1m from street cleaning; nor caring for the weak, but charging £200 more a year for meals on wheels.
In Croydon, Polly Toynbee explains how the Tory council have just cut support for the voluntary sector and slashed a massive £6 million from social services.

In Harrow, the Tories have introduced a £12 daily charge on day centres for the frail.

In Havering, the Tories have just stopped school uniform payments for poor children.

In Westminster, the Tories are shutting down sheltered housing.

And after listing cuts in Camden, run by a Tory-LibDem coalition, Polly Toynbee asks:
Are they green? No, they have cut all night-time cleaning in Camden Town and Covent Garden.
If Polly Toynbee came to Lincolnshire, she could have mentioned that the Tories recently increased home care charges for some from £40 to £120 a week.
Had she gone to North Lincolnshire, she'd find Scunthorpe residents asking the Tories: where's my £40 rebate which they promised four years ago but never delivered.

Same old Tories eh...?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hypocrisy charges as Cameron takes aircraft for 90-mile trip...

David Cameron who last week unveiled proposals to tax unnecessary flights has been criticised for taking an aircraft for a 90-mile journey from Oxford to Hereford.

The Tory leader flew from Oxford airport, near his Witney constituency to the home of wealthy businessman Richard Smith in Shobdon near Hereford. The Oxford-Hereford train would have taken a couple of hours.

As Treasury Minister John Healy said tonight:

What David Cameron has shown is that even while he's proposing massive tax hikes on ordinary air travellers he's using planes to travel the 90 miles between Oxford and Hereford - a simple two-hour journey by train.

It just shows that Cameron believes there's one rule for him and his Tory friends, and another for the rest of us.

Just like when we discovered his chauffeur was following behind his bicycle carrying his shoes, we all know his commitment to the environment is all for the cameras.
Almost as good as the time he stressed his green credentials by flying to the Arctic Circle for a photo-opportunity...

UPDATE: The Sunday Telegraph is running this story under the headline Cameron: Do as I say, not as I flew.

The Telegraph includes this quote from Joss Garman, of the environmental campaign group Plane Stupid:
If David Cameron wants to show he is serious about climate change then he needs to take action in his lifestyle as well as trying to exert influence on other people's.

The News of the World doesn't pull any punches when it accuses the Tories of being 'Plane Greedy'

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Burglar uses lost keys in Deeping house-break

A Deeping St James woman was suddenly woken in the middle of the night by a strange cat jumping on her bed.

Puzzled by how the cat had managed to enter her house, the Buttercup Court resident went to investigate and found her backdoor wide-open.

She also found that her rucksack, wallet, Sony Erricson mobile phone and an Optronix OP315 laptop was missing.

There were no force marks on the door and the owner was sure that the door was secure before going to bed.

Then she remembered that a few days earlier she had lost her keys.

As well as appealing for information, Lincolnshire Police are advising people to get locks changed immediately if keys are lost.

It is also vital that your house or address cannot be identified from a key fob. It may help get them back if a kind and considerate member of the public finds them. But if they find their way into the hands of some less scrupulous you are giving the crooks an open invite into your house...

Jail for trucker who caused death of Lincoln grandad...

A newly qualified truck driver who drove his lorry too fast with defective brakes has gone to prison for four years after pleading guilty to causing the death of a Lincoln grandad.

Determined burglars used boltcutters and crowbars...

Allotment holder Alex Chambers says 16 sheds were broken into by thieves when they stole a rare rotovator, as posted yesterday.

Alex says on dsj exchange:

Actually the shed in question has three inch square frames and one inch thick cladding - they dismantled part of the shed to get the rotovator out. It was locked with a very good padlock and a heavy duty hasp and staple - which they cut.

The rotovator was securely chained to the frame of the shed. They used crowbars and boltcutters as well as very considerable amounts of force. A total of sixteen sheds were broken into and tools removed to neat piles on the roadways, but they left these behind once they had my rotovator.

It is an import, and very uncommon in this country, so there is a (VERY) small chance it might turn up - made by craftsman and dark green in colour.
Hope police catch the toe-rags and make them dig the allotments!

World's shortest St Paddy's Parade...

I had to chuckle at this newsclip on the world's shortest Paddy's Day Parade...just 100 yards from one village pub in County Cork to the next.

How sensible of the Irish to come up with a march that wastes as little drinking-time as possible on such an auspicious occasion.

So Happy St Pat's to my former work colleague Deirdre who I know will already be supping proper Dublin Guinness - and to everyone else celebrating as only the Irish know how...

Of course, in New York, the American-Irish celebrate St Patrick even bigger than the Irish-Irish. Among the internet razamataz, I found this gem of a money-spinner: you too could own a pair of these rather fetching St Paddys slippers...

How William Hague earned £30,000 during general election...

Revelations that William Hague was lining his own pocket during the last General Election rather than campaigning will rock the Conservative bandwagon as it rolls into to the East Midlands this weekend.

Despite promises to focus on getting a Conservative government elected and offering to 'drastically' reduce his speaking engagements,The Yorkshire Post reveals that Mr Hague took time out from the 2005 General Election campaign to act as a paid speaker at five commercial functions, netting himself more than £30,000.

At the time the former Tory leader had taken on the job as the party's cheer-leader-in-chief for its target seats in the North, the Midlands and Wales.

Conservatives at this weekend's Tory Spring bash in Nottingham will not be pleased to learn that Mr Hague has also raked in up to £400,000 for himself from after-dinner speeches since he returned to front bench politics as David Cameron's de-facto deputy leader.

The YP says despite assurances that he would slash his personal business commitments, Mr Hague has not only kept all his non-executive directorships and advisory posts, but added another position during the 15 months since Mr Cameron appointed him Shadow Foreign Secretary and de facto deputy party leader.

The register of MPs' interests shows that since his return to the political front line in December 2005, Mr Hague has starred at 27 functions and earned between £265,000 and £400,000 from them.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thieves target Deeping diggers...

Worth checking security of your garden shed after burglars stole a £500 rotavator from Deeping St James allotments earlier this week.

The thieves forced open two sheds on the allotments at Hall Meadow Road in Deeping St James and took a Craftsman Reartine rotavator.

The allotments, provided by Deeping St James Parish Council, were opened a couple of years ago by gardening expert Daphne Ledwood and have been a huge success.

Our Police Community Support Officer Chris Clark (also partly funded by DSJ Parish Council!) is advising local residents to invest a small amount of money in security measures to protect yourself from becoming the next target.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More from the Very Modern Nasty Party...

Question: Why did 30 Tories pack a hearing in Parliament this week of a Statutory Instrument Committee...?

Clue: The statutory instruments under consideration were new laws to protect people in the supply of good and services against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation...

Answer: The Tories were there to try to stop regulations on sexual orientation from becoming law.

The thoroughly modern Conservative MPs who packed the committee included Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve, 'Vulcan' Redwood and former Tory Leader Iain Duncan-Smith, who is apparently in charge of Cameron's family policy.

Isn't it good to know that the Tories are no longer the Nasty Party...?

Chron re-union not to be missed...

Sad to hear that after 170 years of publication, the Lincolnshire Chronicle is no more.

But tonight (Thursday) the distinguished life of the old Chron will be celebrated in style, thanks to former colleagues who have arranged a re-union at Lincoln City Football Club.

My earliest memory of the long-demolished Chronicle print works on Waterside North were as a long-haired teenage trainee reporter in 1969 – some 37 years ago.

The newsroom was a world of clapped-out pre-war manual typewriters – I was given the one with a dodgy carriage return and set about learning one-finger typing: (in the school I’d just left, only girls did typing!)

The late sixties were also the dying days of hot-metal printing, with linotype and even more ancient monotype machines (which were already museum pieces) operated by ‘inkies’ who swiftly re-keyed the words of reporters into lead-typefaces ready for ‘the stone’ where the solid type was loaded into broadsheet ‘chases’…

After weeks of running endless errands and mashing the tea for senior reporters, I graduated to slowly tapping out wedding reports, and was eventually allowed out into the city to collect material for the Chron’s obituary columns…

Aged 19 - and still very green and hairy – I reached the dizzy heights of reporter in charge of the newly-opened Market Rasen office for the Chronicle.

I later moved on to be 'Chief Reporter' of the Sleaford Standard and then 'News Editor' - no less - of the Louth Standard, both sister papers in the Lincolnshire Standard Group (LSG) stable.

Experience at LSG led to me emigrating in 1974 to work on the Bermuda Sun newspaper.

Five years later I was back in UK – with wife and new-born baby – and went back on the Lincoln Chronicle for another spell which coincided with the first ever national strike by provincial journalists.

I was FOC - Father of the Chapel – through the six-week pay strike and a few months after we settled back to work, I moved on to work for Peterborough-based EMAP newspapers.

I often recall the look of horror on the face of the careers officer who came to my secondary school when I told him I wanted to be a journalist.

“That’s a career for Grammar School boys, not you,” he told me.

Thankfully, no-one had told Gerard Perriam, Group Editor at the Chron who later interviewed me and gave me a chance.

Looking forward to meeting many colleagues I’ve not seen for three decades…

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A billion pound boost keeps rail on right lines...

Today’s announcement that 1,000 extra train carriages are to be rolled out from 2009 to 2014 is good news all round. I hope many will be built right here in the East Midlands by Derby-based train makers Bombardier.

With rail passengers in Britain at their highest for 60 years, there’s a real strain on parts of the network, particularly commuter routes like Peterborough-Kings Cross.

The announcement by Labour’s Transport Minister Douglas Alexander is in stark contrast to the total moritorium imposed on train orders year-on-year by the last Conservative Government.

Today's news is worth in the order of £1 billion and means extra funding of £100 million a year in the rail network from central government.

The Tories privatised (botched) rail, but today's Labour Government seems to invest more than ever before in modernising the network...

Cameron finally moves to the left...

Dave 'the Spliff' Cameron today briefed the media that he had made the biggest change to date to persuade us the Tories are no longer the Nasty Party - he’s swopped his hair parting from the left to the right, which is apparently more feminine.

That should do the trick!

Can you spot the difference...?

Three identical bulky info packs tell me how to cut waste...!

My district councillor has sent me a third bulky info pack about wheelie bins - but that's no consolation for not taking my rubbish away this week.

Last month, when twin info packs turned up telling me I'd received two new wheelie bins, I contacted the council at Grantham to let them know I hadn't.

But now, good news: weeks later, after the third wheelie-bin info pack was stuffed through my front door, I went outside to find a pair of smart new twin-wheelie-bins abandoned on the main road nearby, one silver, one black.

I carefully wheeled them, one at a time into my back garden, and looked for the first two info packs to start filling them up...

But then I remembered the following the instructions in the earlier packs - which warned me not to actually use them until I get another letter from the Portfolio Holder responsible, Ray Auger, who happens to live round the corner from me.

Well, inside the third info pack is another letter from Ray, but I've checked it carefully and guess what: I still mustn't use the new wheelie-bins until I've received yet another letter from Ray.

I'm really chuffed that Ray and his colleagues at SKDC have apparently at last woken up to recycling: I recall being at a council meeting some years ago when Ray said recycling was totally impractical in an area like South Kesteven.

Well, I suppose it depends on how big the threatened Government fines are for not recycling!

But back to Church Street, DSJ...3 info packs, 2 wheelie bins outside my door...but still no wheelie bins for my neighbours on either side.

I can only assume that Ray and his team will return yet again sometime soon with another delivery...hopefully when they collect last week's rubbish which is starting to pong in the green plastic bags...

I'm tempted dump it in the new bins: despite Ray's third dire warning not to!

The third info pack includes another ten (that's 30 so far then) separate printed items as follows:

1. a third eight-page colour-coded brochure titled Using your Black Bin.

2. a third eight-page colour-coded brochure titled Using your Silver Bin.

3. a third (ie, the ninth) eight-page (that's 72 pages so far) leaflet titled Slim your Bin, A practical guide to reducing your rubbish (same colours, but not to be confused with the second leaflet Using Your Silver Bin (see above).

4. A third A4 sticker for me to attach to my silver bin listing items to place inside it.

5. A third A4 sticker for me to attach to my black bin, with a more detailed also list of items that are also to be placed in the silver bin, not the black bin.

6. A third gimmicky wheel thingy which tells me where recycling sites are in Ancaster, Allington and Asda's Grantham and a host of other places that seem rather a long way from the Deepings. (Maybe now I'm getting cynical...but there's more)

7. A third A5 card with details of a competition if I reply before August using the prepaid presumably by me Freepost Plus address.

8. A third sticky-backed A5 calendar titled Your collection dates that doesn't do what it says on the "tin": It doesn't actually tell me when my bins will be emptied!

9. A third covering letter from Councillor Ray Auger, Executive Member for Waste Services telling me how the new wheelie bins will cut rubbish along with a third warning me not to use the new wheelie bins until he writes me another letter...

I'll gladly recycle all three info packs I've so far received into my smart new wheelie bins (once I've worked out which one they're supposed to go in.

Can anyone beat three?

How Tory Ted treats Cambridgeshire "wogs..."

Tory Councillor Ted Pateman has reportedly resigned from South Cambridgeshire district council after telling colleagues last month that

there are all sorts of wogs here - I don’t differentiate between them but treat them all as if they were English.
Councillor Pateman apparently explains that he was not being racist and that his remark was meant to show what a tolerant place South Cambs is.

And the Tories are no longer the nasty party...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gone with the wind...whoomph, whoomph, whoomph...

All in favour of wind power, but surely we need to find a solution to stop blighting lives of people whose misfortune is to live too close to the modern windmills at Deeping St Nicholas, as featured in my favourite paper (not), the Daily Mail...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Unlucky for some: young driver is 13th to die this year

The thirteenth person to die this year on Lincolnshire roads was a driver of just 17-years-old.

Soft-on-crime LibDems train new generation of grafitti kids...

Do you think local councils should take tough action against the graffiti vandals…? Well, guess how the soft-on-crime LibDems are spending thousands of pounds of public money in Newcastle…?

Rather than cracking down on the spray paint louts who lower the tone of neighbourhoods, the LibDems who run Newcastle City Council are running special classes for teenagers in graffiti arts skills.

When they've taught kids how to do graffiti properly, no doubt they'll claim a rise in the quality of their vandals...

Friday, March 09, 2007

A woman's place is in the House...doing the ironing!

David Cameron keeps trying to convince us the Tories are no longer the 'nasty party', but the mask slips daily - this time over women MPs.

It seems Tory MPs entered the spirit of International Women’s Day in the Members’ tea room in the House of Commons in their own traditional way...

Check out this account by Nadine Dorries, which demonstrates how comfortable existing Tory MPs really are with woman MPs:

Nadine Dorries - pictured here - writes in her own blog diary:

TV interview at 8am in Millbank; then back down to the members’ tea room for breakfast. I don’t know why I bothered – I walked right into a trap.

The men started talking to me about International Women’s Day, and I of course, being the earnest person I am started talking about how there are more women in the Afghanistan and Iraq parliaments than there are in Britain, when one said “yes, but can they keep on top of the ironing?”

It went on and on in that vein, much laughter at my expense, again.
Nadine Dorries is Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire.

Here's an interesting fact: Cameron keeps on telling us he wants to see more women in Parliament.

But guess how many of the last 15 Tory parliamentary candidates selected by Conservative Associations have been women...Five, three, two....?

Nope. None. They've all been men. Every one of them.

Meanwhile, Cameron has clearly been irritated by Labour MP Dawn Butler’s hounding over his membership of the exclusive all-male gentleman’s club Whites.

A thoroughly modern party then Dave, eh...?

Bringing back complete sentences for murderers...

Still trying to get my head round the comments by Lord Chief Justice Phillips that convicted murderers are having to spend too long in prison.
Er. Wrong m'lud.

But his comments somehow reminded me of this American anti-Dubya-Bush bumper sticker I saw in the 2004 election campaign which I thought was rather amusing...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Name rip-off TV company accused of cheating...

What’s the name of the TV production company accused of making up fictitious winners and getting a member of the floor crew to pretend to be a winner on one of those awful phone-in quiz shows?

Is it:

a. Cheetah Television?
b. Cheetah Television?

You couldn't make it up...

Ex-Colonel Tory MP right to fall on his sword...

A couple of days ago I posted details of two Conservative councillors in hot water over racist remarks…

Today, Newark MP Patrick Mercer has been forced to resign from Cameron’s front bench in another row over racist comments.

Tories are rushing to his defence to say he’s a victim of political correctness and has done nothing wrong. Vice-president of Newark Tories says its "political correctness gone mad" and that Cameron is guilty of knee-jerk politics.

I don't think Mercer's a bad bloke and was probably an excellent Colonel of the East Midlands based Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Batallion.

But I don't think he can complain at the storm sparked by his inappropriate words. He told the Times newspaper that he had met a lot of idle and useless ethnic minority soldiers who used racism as a cover.

He said: I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.

He said being called a black bastard was a normal part of Army life.

His remarks will cause widespread outrage and it’s right that he’s been forced to fall on his sword.

UPDATE: Political Correctness gone mad or outrageous unacceptable racist comments? Here's the full article from The Times which cost Patrick Mercer his job on the Tory front bench today.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Is it a flip-flop or a EU-turn...?

As Call-Me-Dave Cameron stumbled to launch a new right-wing grouping in the EU, his Europe spokesman Graham Brady was stumped when challenged to name names.

The hapless Mr Brady was grilled by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics Show...

AN: Who are your allies on this reform movement, how many have you got?

GB: Well our closest allies as you know are the Czech Civic Democrats who are in government in the Czech Republic…

AN: That’s one.

GB: We’ve just signed up the main centre-right party in Bulgaria this morning, the UDF…

AN: A powerful force for European reform!

GB: Well it will be, and we never said this would be an easy process..

AN: Anybody else? We’ve got the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Anybody else?
GB: Well there will be…there will be others Andrew and the important thing here…

AN: Who?

GB: We never said it would be easy, er...

At the same time, over on BBC Radio Four's World at One, Tory MEP Caroline Jackson was happily predicting despite her Leader's huff and puff, the Conservatives would stay in their current political grouping, the more moderate EPP.

When he was running for Tory Leader, the only policy Dave committed his Party to was removing them from the EPP.

If he succeeds, he would leave the British Tories a bigger laughing stock in Europe and even more isolated among our partners than under his predessessors.

And that would be going some!

Just when Dave thought it was safe to talk about Europe…

David Cameron managed to highlight Tory isolation in Europe yesterday when he visited Brussels to meet up with the new right-wing fringe grouping he is setting up with the Czech ODS party.

Cameron has committed the Tories to pulling out of the EPP grouping because of its moderate views on the future of Europe

He was in Brussels to meet the ODS leadership and call for a greater focus on global issues such as globalisation and climate change, rather than internal politics.

But the rug was immediately pulled from under the Grand Tory Alliance with their new-found-friends in the ODS when Cameron's Foreign Affairs spokesman William Hague appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Interviewer Jim Naughtie pointed out a gap in Cameron's strategy bigger than the hole in the ozone layer...

Er, isn't it a problem Mr Hague that your new allies, the Czech ODS party believes global warming is 'a false myth...?'

Ah, yes, replies Hague before admitting that Cameron doesn't agree with his new partners about global warming...

Great start to cementing a beautiful political relationship. And remember why Cameron is doing concentrate on global issues like global warming!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mad, utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly bonkers...

This car is faster than a Formula One racer. One just like it was smashed up on Sunday - on an ordinary 40-mph section of a Surrey road.

A pregnant woman who was in an Astra van it collided with was taken to hospital after the smash but later went home.

You can see the result HERE.

Two blokes were in the handcrafted Bugatti Veyron: Police have booked the driver for driving without due care and attention.

I have no idea what speed the eight-litre Bugatti Veyron - or the Astra van - were being driven at the time of the collision.

It is highly unlikely that it was anything near its top speed of over 250mph (that's the Bugatti, not the Astra van).

Just imagine travelling in a car that can do 250 mph: The Bugatti produces an astonishing 1,000 horsepower and can roar from 0-to-60mph in 2.5 seconds.

It also has a price-tag of £800,000.

Anyone in any doubt whether such an incredible machine should be allowed on British roads (in the hands of anyone except a professional racing driver at least) should read Jeremy Clarkson's review of the Bugatti Veyron.

Here's an extract:

At 200mph you can feel the front of the car getting light as it starts to lift. As a result you start to lose your steering, so you aren’t even able to steer round whatever it is you can’t see because of the vibrations.

Make no mistake, 200mph is at the limit of what man can do right now. Which is why the new Bugatti Veyron is worthy of some industrial strength genuflection. Because it can do 252mph.

And that’s just mad — 252mph means that in straight and level flight this car is as near as makes no difference as fast as a Hawker Hurricane.

You might point out at this juncture that the McLaren F1 could top 240mph, but at that speed it was pretty much out of control. And anyway it really isn’t in the same league as the Bugatti.

In a drag race you could let the McLaren get to 120mph before setting off in the Veyron. And you’d still get to 200mph first. The Bugatti is way, way faster than anything else the roads have seen.

Utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly brilliant...


Still think we should be hugging hoodies, Dave...?

bbc news...

Still the same old nasty party...

A Tory county councillor faced a disciplinary hearing today into complaints that she racially insulted a group of young Asian women.

Councillor Gail Kenney (right) who represents Sawston on Cambridgeshire County Council, allegedly accused one young girl of wearing the Muslim hijab head covering because it suited her.

According to the Cambridge Evening News, she also faced complaints that she said a youth worker should intervene before another member of the group was 'married off to some illiterate man from back home'.

Today's hearing came two weeks after a separate incident when another Tory, Councillor Ted Pateman (left) resigned from South Cambridgeshire District Council after making a racist remark during a council workshop.

The case against Councillor Kenney has added significance as she chairs Cambridgeshire's committee which scrutinises children and young peoples' services. She also sits on adoption and fostering panels.

An initial investigation ruled that Councillor Kenney had been 'unintentionally' racist but had breached the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in failing to treat people with respect.

The complaint was made by a Young Asian Women's Group after the councillor visited them last June. The group of 16- 18 year olds claimed that the Tory councillor was
'racist, arrogant, prejudiced, judgmental, patronising and did not listen'.
Sounds to me like an accurate description of the nasty party...

Chairman of Midlands Industrial Council back in the news...

Bob Edmiston, chairman of the secretive Midlands Industrial Council which funds Cameron's Tories, is back in the national news - this time over contracts apprently given to companies he runs by Academies which he has sponsored.

Last year Mr Edmiston's nomination by the Tories for a peerage was blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Committee.

The Guardian previously reported that before he was put forward for a peerage, Edmiston loaned the Conservative Party £2 million. He has since been interviewed by police as part of the 'cash for honours' inquiry.

Mr Edmiston is multi-millionaire car dealer and property developer and was later revealed as life member and chairman of the MIC - whose registered offices are in the sleepy village of Bassingham, near Lincoln. He was included in my dossier on its members which I published HERE last autumn.

Yesterday, the Guardian ran a front page story on Mr Edmiston's involvement in an Academy school in the West Midlands.

The newspaper reported that The Grace Academy in Solihull - sponsored by Mr Edmiston - has awarded three contracts worth £281,000 to the IM Group, a company which he owns, without apparently asking for bids from other organisations.

Hat-tip to Brynley...

Monday, March 05, 2007

National appeal for this Spalding robber...

Low-crime counties like Lincolnshire don't often warrant a special mention on TV’s Crimewatch. But tonight, Spalding officers will make a national appeal to try to catch a robber who used a gun to frighten staff at a Spalding bookies.

It happened at 6.25pm on Wednesday 29th November at Ladbrookes on Sheepmarket. The robber used a black handgun, thought to be a semi-automatic pistol, to threaten staff. They then put some cash in the white plastic bag he provided.

The robber is described as a thin white male, aged between mid 40's and early 50's, about six feet tall. He was wearing a green 'fisherman's' hat, black glasses, a three-quarter length coat, gloves and a checked scarf pulled over his face.

No-one was physically injured in the robbery but the three Ladbrookes staff on duty at the time were badly shaken by the experience of looking down the wrong end of a handgun.

Let's hope that the CCTV footage to be shown on Crimewatch will identify the robber or at least jog someone’s memory about the incident.

Crimewatch is on BBC 1 at 9pm tonight.

A life sentence...?

A Deeping St James teenager whose mindless violence ruined a man’s life has been told he will be going to prison “for a very long time”.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t be as long as the life sentence the yob gave 46-year-old Paul Machin who has been left unable to speak, open his eyes, eat, move or even recognise the woman he was planning to marry.

Details at Stamford Mercury.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Police willing to tackle weighty problem...

Police officers enforcing weight restrictions through Stamford town centre stopped 25 lorries in just a few hours during a crack-down on Wednesday.

Sixteen drivers were issued with a £30 fixed penalty notice and the other nine lorries were turned back.

Hopefully, the drivers who were stopped will spread the word to other hauliers that the clear weight restriction signs are there for a reason: there's a price to be paid for using Stamford as a shortcut.

Anyone who thinks trained police officers should be out catching criminals will be pleased to know that's exactly what they were doing...

The entire operation was run by one Special (unpaid!) Constable and one Police Community Support Officer.

The officer in charge at Stamford - Inspector Gary Stewart - says he will continue to use the resources of a Special and a PCSO to conduct these 'stop checks' to allow regular officers to deal with the other issues that affects our community - such as burglaries.

Keeping heavy lorries out of Stamford helps protect the environment and make life more pleasant for visitors and townspeople alike.

An example of the excellent value offered by both Specials and PCSOs!