Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tories in turmoil...(not my headline)

It's direct from the Messenger newspaper in Manchester where the Tory Leader of Trafford Council - who has high hopes of toppling a cabinet minister at the next general election - faces a massive political crisis in her own party.

Susan Williams sacked two members of her Executive for having the temerity to vote on a matter of principle. Now a third Executive member has quit over her lack of leadership.

You might just remember the name Susan Williams from my report of an embarrassing court case in August in which a former Mayor of Trafford won a historic discrimination ruling against her own council - costing local ratepayers over £100,000.

Yep, the very same council 'led' by the very same Susan Williams.

And the very same Susan Williams who wants to be MP in the Bolton West, the currently held by cabinet minister Ruth Kelly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

British Youth Council attacks Police for 'trick or treat' warnings...

I don't normally subscribe to the 'Political Correctness Gone Mad' view of events, but came close when I read about a youth charity attacking Lincolnshire Police for trying to prevent anti-social behaviour on Halloween and Bonfire Night.

The British Youth Council claims police and local councils are being 'killjoys', discriminating against youth and 'demonising' young people by issuing warnings about 'trick or treating' and firework abuse.

What complete tosh.

Police warnings about "trick or treating" are a proper response to widespread public concern, particularly by elderly people who dread this time of year.

One totally out-of-touch BYC spokesperson makes this astonishing claim:

"I don't know what the figures are but I suspect the percentage of young people who cause trouble is tiny - about the same as the percentage of adults who cause trouble."

She's wrong. As she admits, she doesn't know the facts.

The best thing the BYC could for youth is back the Police when they are trying to do their job of protecting all of us.

Recycling incentives not 'binned' after all...

When I picked up my Bourne Local newspaper last Friday, I was surprised to see they splashed on 'news' that the Government had binned plans to allow local councils to charge residents to 'pay to throw'.

As I reported at the time, the Government responded to the rumour mill by making it clear that 'pay to throw' was in fact still being actively considered - but no mention of this in the Local's story which seems rather curious.

Now, three days on, Environment Minister Hilary Benn has announced that the draft Climate Change Bill will indeed give power to local councils to provide financial incentives for recycling.

Under the proposals, the financial incentives will be revenue-neutral and are expected to help save between two million and six million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through landfill emissions in 2020.

Last week South Kesteven District Council told the Local they had no plans to introduce charges.

Now it has been confirmed that 'pay to throw' is in the draft legislation - which could become law by next Spring - the Conservative Party nationally has slammed the idea.

I wonder whether Conservative controlled SKDC will become one of the first councils in the country to adopt it - assuming of course that the proposals announced today survive scrutiny by Parliament and become law.

Watch this space...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cameron's cap doesn't fit...

Two massive holes in David Cameron's promise to cap immigration. First, he refuses to put an actual number on the cap he would impose. Second, whatever number he eventually plucks out of the air, it would have no effect on European nationals, overseas students and dependants who made up four out of five of Britain's incomers last year.

So is Tory policy now to shut the door on Canadians, Australians and Americans who want to come to Britain...I think we should be told!

It seems as dodgy as suggesting UK should build a camp for immigrants on a remote but un-named island (which rather bizarely is current Tory policy...)

Meanwhile, new blogger Hopi Sen provides a detailed fisk of Cameron's speech.

British Youth Council attack Police for 'trick or treat' warnings...

I don't normally subscribe to the 'Political Correctness Gone Mad' view of events, but came close when I read that a youth charity was attacking Lincolnshire Police for trying to prevent anti-social behaviour on Halloween and Bonfire Night.

The British Youth Council claims police and local councils are being 'killjoys', discriminating against youth and 'demonising' young people by issuing warnings about 'trick or treating' and firework abuse.

What complete tosh.

Timely warnings about so-called 'trick or treating' and firework abuse are a proper response to widespread public concern, particularly by elderly people who dread this time of year.

An out of touch BYC spokesperson makes this astonishing claim:

I don't know what the figures are but I suspect the percentage of young people who cause trouble is tiny - about the same as the percentage of adults who cause trouble.

She's wrong. As she admits, she doesn't know the figures.

The best thing the BYC could for youth is back the Police when they are trying to do their job of protecting all of us.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Labour holds one point lead...

Labour holds a one-point lead over the Tories according to an opinion poll in tomorrow's Observer.

The Ipsos MORI poll puts Labour on 41%, Conservatives on 40% and the LibDems on 13%.

The findings show David Cameron's party closing the gap since the last Ipsos MORI poll for The Observer, which put Labour on 41%, the Tories on 34% and the Lib Dems on 16%.

Weighing up the recycling options...

A recycling rebel and regular commenter to this blog is celebrating this weekend following reports that the Government has dropped 'pay to throw' proposals.

Brynley Heaven removed the chips implanted in the twin bins rolled out earlier this year and posted them back to SKDC, so they couldn't measure the amount of rubbish.

Earlier reports suggested that the Government was about to give local councils the power to charge residents for the amount of rubbish dumped in their bin.

But now it has been claimed that Gordon Brown has scuppered the plan - though the Government says the idea is still being considered.

In any case, the story provided the Bourne Local with a front-page splash yesterday.

Watch this space...!

Suffer the children...

This is the Lincolnshire headteacher who actually owned a private school in Boston. He is now spending his first weekend at Her Majesty's pleasure after being caught with more than 100,000 images of child porn.

As the Judge says, real children were degraded to get the indecent images in his possession.

(photo from the BBC who ran the court case on their national headlines).

The Tories favourite airline...

Political Penguin has turned up some interesting information on an outfit called Flying Lion, which appears to be the Conservative's favourite airline - judging by the number of freebies supplied to David Cameron and other Tory MPs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

If you see a man with two legs and two arms, call the police.

Almost six months after their daughter tragically disappeared, Gerry and Kate McCann have released a sketch of the man that they believe abducted their daughter.

Recalling the pasting I was subjected to when I expressed sympathy with the McCanns a couple of months ago, (I was reported to the police and social services for refusing to condemn them for leaving Madeleine in their holiday apartment while they went for a meal) I thought carefully before commenting again...

No doubt Gerry and Kate are under huge emotional pressure - specially having to deal with being officially named as suspects in their daughter's disappearance by Portuguese Police.

But the heart-wrenching Madeleine McCann story has become more bizarre by the day, and I can't resist commenting on the latest twist...

I can't begin to imagine why it has taken six months for this artist's impression of the abductor to be released.

The image shows a man of European or Mediterranean appearance walking away with a child in his arms. His face is blank.

Sky News reports that the sketch was drawn by an FBI-trained forensic artist who took all the information from Jane Tanner, an eyewitness who was with the group of friends who dined with Madeleine’s parents on the evening that she went missing.

So there we have it.

If you see a man of European or Med appearance with two arms, two legs and a blank look...don't call me.

Would you vote for a teenager to be your MP...?

Would you vote for a 19-year-old student to be your MP...? Ok, would you prefer Tory stalwart David Curry or a teenager who shares Labour's vision for a better Britain....

Paul Routledge in the Mirror
has the story.

For the record: not even close. Mr Curry, from Thatcher's era, is the past: Claire, with youth on her side, is the future.

Until recently, you had to be at least 21 to stand for Parliament, but I reckon that if we can send teenagers to fight for their country in Afghanistan, it's about time they had a voice in Parliament...

What do you think?

Gordon was right: Cameron did mislead the House...

Gordon Brown was in the firing line on Wednesday when he accused David Cameron of misleading MPs...but now the evidence shows the PM was absolutely right...

New blogger Hopi Sen has a revealing post today. I doubt that you'll see much on this story in the redtops, or elsewhere.

Isn't the blogosphere wonderful...!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

LibDum devious plot spectacularly backfires...

This is a newspaper's view of the LibDums after a devious plot they hatched to embarrass the Tories went spectacularly wrong: Would you believe it, the hapless LibDum plotter mistakenly left his plans on his opponent's answer phone...!!

Now the Tories on Tynedale Council are demanding that the bungling local Leader of the LibDems falls on his sword after his spectacular gaffe, which is helpfully explained blow-by-blow in today's Newcastle Journal.

As well as the specially commissioned cartoon ripping the mickey out of the LibDums, the Journal also carried a full transcript of the telephone message left on a Conservative councillor's answer machine by mistake.

The Journal is, of course, the local morning paper in Newcastle where the LibDems run the local city council.

Bet they don't see the funny side of their colleague's cock-up.

Lincoln below the line in the Great North-South divide...

Lincoln is a southern city, according to research published today.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Aussie Judge says 'No Can Do' to barmaid's bare-breasted performance...

This from the only in Australia file...A barmaid from down under who demonstrated her ability to crush beer cans between her breasts to entertain her customers has been fined more than £400 for breaking local licensing laws.

And a colleague who helped her show off her other party trick of hanging spoons from her nipples was fined £200.

It gets better (or worse). The pub's manager was also fined after pleading guilty to failing to stop the women perform the act.

David Parkinson, local police superintendent in the town south of Perth, said,
It sends a clear message to all licensees that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour in our licensed premises.
Bet the talented barmaid doesn't give a XXXX...

Cameron's hollow demand for an EU referendum...

David Cameron's hollow demands for a referendum on the EU treaty hit the buffers - at his own press conference.

The Tory Leader exposed his own hypocrisy by repeatedly refusing to say whether he would hold a referendum on the amending treaty if he ever became Prime Minister.

Wednesday's Torygraph says Cameron's referendum fight questioned.

And The Times goes further, saying:

David Cameron risked inflaming his party yesterday when he tacitly admitted that it would be too difficult to hold a referendum on the EU reform treaty once it comes into force.

The Tory leader is under pressure from MPs and activists to pledge to give the British people a vote on the treaty even if it has been ratified by all 27 EU member states. So far more than 40 Tory MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for a referendum “before or after ratification”.
Inside The Times, Peter Riddell talks of

Cameron's contortions about whether he will promise a referendum on the EU treaty at the next election. He talks of all sorts of uncertainties, when it is clear that there will be no referendum.
Cameron is clearly anxious to keep the Euro-sceptics on board by not ruling out a referendum if he were ever to become PM.

But his dilemma demonstrates once again that the Tory Party he attempts to lead is as divided as ever over Europe.

And of course, every member of current Tory front bench who was also there during the Maastrict votes actually voted against a referendum then!!

It was the Tories of course who signed away powers from Westminster to Brussels under Maastrict.

Unlike Maastrict, before signing the current treaty, Gordon Brown insisted on winning red line opt-outs to protect Britain's interests.

Now, where did I put that pot and kettle...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Tory hypocrisy...

Cameron's sidekick George Osborne was on the telly earlier tonight suggesting it's wrong for Labour's Douglas Alexander to hold two jobs - Secretary of State for International Development and Labour's General Election Coordinator...

I thought wee Georgie's comments had a hollow ring. So I looked up his own website where he helpfully informs us that as well as Shadow Chancellor and MP for Tatton, he has another job...Would you believe he's the Conservative General Election Coordinator!

Pot and kettle...?

Deepings man admits £70k post office theft...

from today's Lincs Free Press.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dancing in the streets as Hamilton dream ends...

Not everyone cried in their beer as British driving sensation Lewis Hamilton failed by a whisker to become World Champion in his rookie year. Bizarely, Spaniards danced in the streets at the news - even though their own hero Fernando Alonso was also beaten.

Spanish fans celebrated Hamilton's failure: they were delighted that Alonso's team-mate at McLaren had not won.

The rancour was the result of Alonso spending the season whinging publicly - specially in the Spanish media - that he and Hamilton were being treated as equals by team-boss Ron Dennis, despite Alonso's credentials as former world champion.

Talk about politics.

I have to admit that when Hamilton's dream was shattered yesterday, the thought did cross my mind that at least it was not Alonso who had beaten him.

But you'll be glad to hear that I didn't dance in the streets - or dive into a fountain...

Anyway well done to the flying Finn, ice-cool nice man Kimi Raikkonnen.

Of course it's disappointing that Hamilton didn't quite make it this year, despite setting F1 alight with one of the most determined and skilful rookie seasons ever.

His time will surely come.

Watch out, there's a car thief about...

Swift police response to reports of attempted car thefts in Market Deeping resulted in the arrest of a man in the early hours of Friday.

The window of one car was smashed and the door of another forced.

A man who was disturbed at the scene, fled the area before he managed to start one of the cars.

A police search of the area around Black Prince Avenue led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man from Orton Goldhay. He was taken to Spalding Police station on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tory hypocrisy on schools...

New blogger Hopi Sen exposes the hypocrisy of the Tories who are calling for a central edict to impose blazers in every school - at the same time as demanding less Whitehall interference...!

Same Old Tories.

Keep 'em coming Hopi...

Well played England...

England played with the courage of lions...but couldn't quite become the first nation to defend the Rugby World Cup.

The game seemed to turn on two moments - England's decision to kick for goal when attacking (and then miss) rather than run in the try (isn't hindsight wonderful!)...

And of course that disallowed England try.

I was watching in the Waterton pub and was in no doubt it was a try...but the expert fourth official said a foot was on the line...

An inch and a foot turned the match...

That's rugby I guess.

Well played England.

Well played South Africa.

Well played France for hosting a great tournament.

Sick pervert has lost everything, well not quite everything...

The deeply depraved behaviour of a sick paedophile living right here in The Deepings serves as a disturbing reminder of the need for vigilance to protect children.

The wicked 43-year-old Inland Revenue worker gave a 13-year-old girl a teddy bear with a secret camera in its glass eye so he could secretly film her undressing. He also gave her a pen fitted with an electronic device to relay images to a video machine where he could spy on the girl.

He even installed a software on his victim's computer which allowed him to read all her e-mails.

Police seized his laptop from his Market Deeping home - together with a briefcase full of surveillance equipment.

His solicitor told Lincoln Crown Court:
These offences have cost him everything. He has lost his home, his relationship, his work, his friends and his family.
Thankfully, he has now lost his liberty.

And I have to say, he should count himself lukcy that's all he's lost...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bluetongue: it's a kick in the shins says NFU...

The bluetongue outbreak won't affect your Sunday dinner says Peterborough National Farmers Union is a plea for public support.

Stuart Bish, local spokesperson for the NFU sums up the blow for local farmers after a ram was confirmed with the disease this week with these words:

"It's a kick in the shins...What people could do is get out and buy British Lamb. It is 110 per cent safe...The ones that go for slaughter will be the ones that are perfectly healthy."
And don't forget the mint sauce.

UPDATE: Bluetooth may well be a kick in the shins - or even the ear. But whatever it is, sheep don't have it...I confused my bluetooth with my bluetongue in my haste earlier. Hope it brightened up your Friday...Thanks to Hawkeye Brynley for spotting my slip..!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Guess who says: 'I've had my shot...'

Which former LibDem Leader gave this answer on Question Time tonight when asked if he'd be a candidate to follow Ming Campbell?

It could only be Charlie Kennedy, who stepped down as Leader after having rather more shots than was good for him.

Ant and Dec not really exec producers: it's another ITV con

Even though Ant and Dec were 'Executive Producers' of their Saturday Night Takeaway show, ITV boss Michael Grade now says they did not know that millions of viewers were being cheated out of their money.

How can Michael Grade clear the pair?

Wait for it...

Grade now tells claims that Ant and Dec were shown on the credits of the show as 'executive producers' simply for their 'vanity'.

In other words, they weren't really in charge at all.

Another con - on top of the one I reported on earlier.

FACT 1: The Great Train Robbery netted a couple of million pounds for the crooks.

FACT 2: ITV have already admitted they wrongly raked in over £8 million from innocent viewers.

Police must investigate theft and fraud on Ant'n'Dec's rigged TV shows...

Yet another multi-million pound ripoff of the viewing public exposed today. This time it's ITV in the frame.

ITV boss Michael Grade makes the astonishing admission that some of the biggest shows on TV are guilty of conning millions of pounds out of their own viewers.

Grade holds his hands up, says sorry and promises to pay the money back to viewers who can be traced - and donate the rest to charity.

But questioned by Channel Four news tonight, Grade denies any evidence of criminality.

Well, I'm not sure what else you would call it: In just one of the many scams exposed, viewers of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway were invited to pay premium rates to decide the location of a giant piggy-bank and have a chance of riding it to win the cash.

Turns out the location had already been decided by the producers - who also selected the winner. Those who responded to Ant and Dec's appeal to phone in - and part with their money - had no chance of influencing anything.

The X-Factor and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here - also hosted by Ant and Dec - have also been routinely fleecing viewers.

Theft. Deception. Fraud. Robbery.

Whatever you call it, it's criminal.

Crime is a matter for the police, not for Michael Grade or even for the so called "regulator" (who clearly failed to protect the public from being ripped-off).

Ant and Dec - and ITV - have laughed all the way to the bank on the back of these shows.

The viewing public has been treated like mugs.

It's time the Police were called in to investigate a crime that has netted more profit than The Great Train Robbery.

Bluetongue hits local farms...

Bad news for local farmers as a case of bluetongue disease has been confirmed in a ram at Fitwilliam Farm, Milton Estates in Bretton, Peterborough.

A 20km control zone has been declared around the affected farm (that's 12 and a half miles in real money). The zone includes all The Deepings and stretches west beyond Stamford, east past Thorney and as far north as Bourne.

No movement of ruminating animals is allowed out of a the zone unless for slaughter, for which a licence is required. Licences are also required for movements within the Control Zone.

The remainder of Lincolnshire is in the Blue Tongue Protection Zone, as is much of England. Ruminants can be moved within the Protection Zone, but cannot be moved out of it except to slaughter under licence.

Spread by midges, bluetongue is damaging to the farming industry though nowhere near as deadly as foot-and-mouth. It's a disease traditionally associated with Africa, with the first ever UK case detected only a couple of months ago.

More evidence of global warming...?

When will we let the train take the strain...?

How about a blog in support of those excellent citizens who are campaigning to reopen Littleworth Halt at Deeping St Nicholas on the criminally neglected Peterborough-Spalding train line?

This was the request I received from Brynley earlier this week as a comment on one of my posts. I had to confess I'd totally missed the story about the campaign to reopen Littleworth Halt.

But thanks to another prod from Brynley, I've discovered the story HERE at the Lincs Free Press.

And I'm glad to give the campaign an airing.

Isn't it ridiculous that half-empty trains never stop at some of our larger villages, leaving would-be passengers to cope with ever busier roads as we create ever more commuter-dorms along the A16 and A15 roads.

A decade or so past, a few of us here in The Deepings campaigned - without success -to get our local rail station re-opened. It's one (non) stop on the same Peterborough-Spalding line as Deeping St Nick.

Unfortunately, the former St James Deeping station is rather remote, being a country mile from The Deepings. It's also on the 'wrong' side of the centre of population which doesn't help the case to get it reopened.

That didn't stop a bunch of rail enthusiasts dreaming up fancy drawings for new rails to be laid for a branch line to bring trains nearer The Deepings (I recall checking my diary at the time to see if it was the first day of April...)

But sadly, our efforts to even get the old St James Deeping halt reopened came to nought. The so-called experts said it would cost millions and would be an expensive white elephant.

Funny isn't it how traditionally, public money for public transport is 'subsidy' yet cash spent on laying tarmac is termed 'investment'...?

But I haven't given up on St James Deeping. It may be a slow-burner, but I believe it's an idea whose time will surely come.

At some point, ever-increasing road congestion will force affordable advances in technology to improve public transport - which will hopefully include increased use of our existing and neglected rail network.

Already in London, the new Docklands Light Railway carries millions of city-commuters from new unmanned stations on computer-controlled trains that don't even need a driver!

You may have to 'watch this space' for a while yet for the London experience to filter to rural Lincs.

But locally how long can we go on building hundreds more houses along the A15 and A16 corridors, creating more cars on the roads, with ever longer, more polluting journeys, and growing parking issues in Peterborough...?

Some day, surely the penny will drop...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Low Voltage Cable switched off...

Chief LibDem backstabber Vince Cable seemed to have trouble staying awake just hours after he took over temporary leadership following Ming's resignation.

He appeared to doze off on The Daily Politics Show while being questioned by Andrew Neil.

The exchange went like this:

Andrew Neil: The leadership campaign has started and it’s only the prospect of an election that shut it down?

[Long pause]

Vince Cable: Sorry, what?

Andrew Neil: The leadership campaign had already…I know you’ve only been leader for a day but you’ve got to listen to the questions. That’s how it works.

Vince Cable: Well I was baffled by you…, you weren’t terribly clear.
Poor Vince. Well, he is 64 you know, only two years younger than Ming who was seemingly judged to be past it by his colleagues at 66.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Order of the Boot for Wilkinson...

The Queen praised Jonny Wilkinson's kicking ability and said she hoped England win the World Rugby Cup Final on Saturday, when she hosted the New Zealand Rugby League team to tea at Buckingham Palace this afternoon, according to the Press Association...

The 'All Golds' as they are known, treated Her Majesty a performance of the haka at the tea as a mark of their respect.

Bet that gave the Corgis something to think about...!

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Shafted by a complete shower of shits..."

How LibDem MP Mike Hancock tonight summed up why Ming Campbell resigned as party leader.

And you can see what he means, as Ming wasn't even at his own resignation announcement.

And tonight, what an appalling TV spectacle we are subjected to, as Deputy Leader Vince Cable and Party President Simon Hughes appearing as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, together astonishingly mournful on Newsnight and other media faking surprise and shock.

They looked like a pair of guilty schoolboys, caught red-handed by teacher.

Astonishing that both Ming's Deputy Vince, and Party President Simon were forced to admit that neither of them had even spoken with Ming today.

As I posted at lunchtime today, Dick Taverne put the knife in, claiming that Ming at 66, was just too old...

So Vince has stepped into the breach.

He's only 64...!

So who do BBC Newsnight turn to for comment...?

Step forward Mark Oaten, who was forced to drop out of the contest for rather unsavourary reasons 18 months ago when their last Leader was stabbed in the back...

Have the back-stabbers actually thought that their problem might not be their Leaders...?

It might just be them!

Deepings MP wins principal amendment...

MP for The Deepings, John Hayes, has welcomed an amendment which he proposed to the Further Education and Training Bill currently going through Parliament. The amendment restricts the Learning and Skills Council’s ability to sack college principals without needing consent from a Minister.

Details at Conservative Home.

79-year-old LibDem Lord says Ming, 66, is too old...!

LibDem knives are going public to topple Ming Campbell now there's no prospect of a General Election until 2009. And leading the charge of the back-stabbers today is former Lincoln MP Dick Taverne.

Baron Taverne of Pimlico as he now prefers to be known, was on BBC's World at One programme to be first in the queue to call on Ming to do the decent thing.

With LibDem poll ratings down to as low as 11 per cent, Lord Taverne told unless Ming was replaced as Leader, the LibDems would go "down the drain" at the next election.

He also complains that "no-one takes any notice of us" with Ming as Leader.

LibDems were desperate for an early election. hoping they could replace Ming following the result. As predicted, as soon as Gordon Brown made it clear there would be no early election, the LibDem knives have appeared.

Lord Taverne was the first LibDem I've heard publicly say that Ming was too old to be Leader. He said the Libs needed someone with more "energy" and when asked if he meant a younger Leader was needed, he replied: "Yes".

A bit rich coming from a peer who will be celebrating his 79th birthday this week!

Ming's age - a mere 66 - is not and should not be the problem. It his lack of judgement and lack of ability to lead that's the problem.

Meanwhile, LibDem Deputy Leader Vince Cable hardly helped Ming's predicament by confirming that his position was "under discussion".

Ming's dilemma reminds me of what Councillor Jim Speechley said when he was finally forced to fall on his sword as Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council:

The Opposition may be facing me across the Chamber, but my real enemies are behind me...

Judge rules businessman who left fortune Tories must have been mad...

A wealthy businessman must have been suffering from delusions when he left the Conservative Party more than £8 million in his will, a High Court judge ruled today.

Surely, it didn't need a High Court Judge to work that one out...!

Story at BBC.

Hat-tip Iain Dale's Diary

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Deepings girl conkers all...

Full marks to the Head Teacher at Linchfield School for keeping the great British tradition of conkers alive and well.

It's all down to Head Teacher St John Burkett who organised the Battle of the Golden Conker at the Deeping St James Primary School - drilling thousands of conkers which children collected.

Ten-year-old Sophie Langan was crowned champion - with a garland of conkers - after beating fellow ten-year-old Dylan Knowling in the tense final.

Dylan told the Bourne Local he was chuffed to get to the final and felt like England winning the rugby until he met Sophie (picture from the Local website).

Hope that's not an omen for the final of the Rugby World Cup!

What about your own village Ray...?

Bemused to see more controversy over a recycling centre for Stamford reported in the Mercury.

We also need recycling facilities to serve the Deepings and we have an ideal privately-run site here on Station Road - away from residential areas yet convenient for the 12,000 residents.

But trying to get local authority support for our own home-grown site over the past couple of years has been like knocking my head against a brick wall - despite the fact that it wouldn't cost hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money which councillors seem to want to throw at Stamford's problem.

I notice that district councillor Ray Auger was chairing a meeting about the controversial plans for a Stamford site...

Ray lives here in Deeping St James.

As a resident, Ray benefits from the weekly skip which is now paid for by Deeping St James Parish Council after total frustration at lack of support from South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

I look forward to the day when Ray puts as much effort into getting recycling problems sorted in his own village as he does for Stamford...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Free Saturday skip...

Free rubbish skip all day Saturday at Deepings Recycling on Station Road for all DSJ residents - you'll need a utility bill or similar to show you're a local resident.

It's the second week of a new service paid for by Deeping St James Parish Council as an alternative to the popular fortnightly skip at Rainbow car park which was suddenly withdrawn by Lincolnshire County Council almost two years ago.

Ian Prentice who runs Deepings Recycling Services says it will be a success if the landfill skip is empty at the end of Saturday - and instead that everything that people take is properly recycled.

As it should be!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Boston Bypass Independents split after secret deals...

The so-called Boston Bypass Independents who spectacularly came from nowhere to take control of Boston Borough Council in May are in chaos tonight after being accused of doing a back-room secret deal with Lincolnshire Tories.

The story is the splash in today's Boston Standard

Thursday, October 11, 2007

People who own homes are 'neat and tidy...'

A couple of people phoned me over the past few days asking if I'd heard the astonishing attack on council tenants made by Tory front bencher Chris (not Tony as I called him earlier!) Grayling on BBC Radio4's Any Questions last Friday.

I hadn't and frankly couldn't be arsed to use the 'listen again' facility on the BBC's website to check it out...

But Tom Watson now has a transcript of the complete exchange with Jonathan Dimbleby - and LibDem Ed Davey which started with Chris Grayling saying:

...I walked down a street in Chesham in Amersham and I looked at one of half of the street that was privately owned and one half that was publicly owned and the side of the street that was privately owned was neat and tidy and looked after and I think owning your own home gives people a sense of pride.
Do Cameron's Tories believe that people in council houses can't have a sense of pride or be 'neat and tidy'...

I think we should be told!

Hold the Front Page: Prime Minister wears socks: Shock: Horror

Channel Four News have just devoted a whole package to what the Prime Minister wears on his feet. The main evening news programme dragged some city slicker stuffed shirt - in garish pink- striped - and plonked him in front of Parliament to say that Mr Brown's wife Sarah probably advises our Prime Minister what to wear.

So I Googled Prime Minister Socks (as you do) and found Pandora in today's Indy exclusively breaking the news? that Gordon Brown has recently purchased 14 pairs of new socks.

Clearly, nothing more important happening in the world today...

We all know of course why Gordon needs so many socks - he keeps working them off!

Art on the map in DSJ...

Local artist John Lincoln opens his new studio - Art on the Map - in Deeping St James this weekend.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Failing Lincs social services have 'lost their way... say auditors

Elderly and vulnerable people across Lincolnshire and their carers are suffering from a catalogue of failures at the heart of Lincolnshire's social services.

The latest damning indictment of local social services is revealed in the an indepdendent auditor's report which finds service provision for the 66,000 carers in Lincolnshire is "patchy and mostly inadequate with minimal availability and choice of respite care".

The Lincolnshire Echo reports tonight that the report was commissioned after councillors recognised that services had "lost their way".

It contains 54 separate recommendations on how to turn the service around.

For years, my Labour colleagues on Lincolnshire County Council have been exposing the failings.

And for years, the Tories responsible for delivery of the services have been claiming that things are getting better.

This latest report nails the lie once and for all.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New skip service starts for DSJ...

A new service started this weekend to provide residents of Deeping St James a way of getting rid of non-recylclable waste.

As county councillor for the village, I've been trying for almost two years to get an alternative to the much-missed 'bring to vehicle' service which was withdrawn by Lincolnshire County Council in December 2005.

Unfortunately, it's been like banging my head against a brick wall.

Incredibly, the multi-million business that is our county council took well over 18 months to decide whether they could provide a weekly skip at the privately-owned Deepings Recycling Centre.

I managed to get the Councillor Lewis Strange the Executive Member for Waste Services and senior officer to visit DSJ on several occasions, and each time there was much promise but no delivery of an alternative to the service they pulled.

I'm pleased to say that Deeping St James Parish Council took a more enlightened attitude than our county council.

When it became obvious that the county council were not prepared to help, the parish council agreed to fund a skip each Saturday from now until the end of March 2008 as a trial service.

I was unable to get down to Deepings Recycling Centre on Station Road yesterday to see how things went yesterday.

But I understand that parish council chairman Councillor Jim Blessett was one of the first to use the new service.

Ian Prentice who runs Deepings Recycling Centre tells me that the service proved popular on its launch day and that many items were recycled rather than ending up in the landfill skip.

Good news.

Street pastors take to the streets of Lincoln...

Church volunteers started late-night patrols in Lincoln this weekend to try to reduce criminal activity and improve safety.

The team of street pastors intend patrolling Lincoln from 10.00pm to 4.00am every Saturday and alternate Fridays. It's an interdenominational church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to listen and offer advice and assistance.

To become a Street Pastor you need to be over 18, a church member and able to commit to a 12 session training course. The course includes counselling skills, drugs awareness, sociology, community knowledge, role and responsibility, conflict management and street safety.

Street Pastors work in groups of four walking the streets, talking with people and developing relationships with them.

The Rev Ian Brown, project coordinator said:
Christians in Lincoln have a genuine care for our city and want to see it as a safe place for people to enjoy. We hope that Street Pastors will provide a calming and reassuring presence on the city streets during busy periods of the night-time economy.

Sounds like it's worth a try...

what do you think?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Editor stands up to LibDem tricks

MP Tom Watson praises the editor of a local paper for standing up to a favourite LibDem dirty trick.

I've seen the LibDems pull this stunt in a number of by-elections to try to fool the voters and agree with Tom that they need to be challenged.

Well done, Mr Editor.

Light aircraft crashes near Sleaford...

A light aircraft crashed tonight in a field near near Sleaford, south Lincolnshire. Police say two men in their 30s were injured when the two-seater civilian aircraft they were flying in came down.

It is understood the pilot suffered minor injuries and the passenger was taken by ambulance to Lincoln County Hospital.

Electricity cables were also hit, causing power failures in Anwick and the nearby Ruskington. Crews are working to restore electricity to both villages.

Has Mark been gagged for attacking new Tory candidate...?

I've searched the website of leading Lincs Tory Mark Horn for his comments attacking the newly selected Tory candidate as "out of touch with ordinary folk" as reported in the Bourne Local.

Found some personal attacks on me, but strangely, I can't find his attack on Nicholas Boles who won selection last night to fight Stamford and Grantham at the next election for the Tories.

Surely, Mark hasn't been gagged...?

His website is titled:

Let Your Voice be Heard

Ironic. Or what?

Game up for the Mingers...?

Could Ming Campbell be the first casualty of Gordon Brown's decision not to hold an early general election...Could have been a Contender thinks so.

LibDems were gagging to get the general election behind them so they could move ahead, sack Ming and hand Nick Clegg the poisoned chalice.

Lewis Shanghai's the rest...

Sensational driving in the final lap of qualifying in Shanghai puts Lewis Hamilton on his sixth poll of his rookie season for tomorrow's China GP.

Lewis had a poor start to qualifying but took poll in a blistering final lap, finishing quicker than both Ferrari's.

His team-mate Alonso, leading challenger for the world championship could only manage fourth.

Could Lewis become World Champion tomorrow...?

Tory claims new Tory candidate is 'out of touch...'

A leading Lincolnshire Tory claims the newly Conservative selected for Stamford and Grantham istotally out of touch with ordinary folk.

The Bourne Local newspaper says county councillor Mark Horn claimed on his website that all four shortlisted candidates as "wealthy, metropolitan, privileged, breight young things...totally out of touch with ordinary folk."

He adds: "None of these 'A listers' have any local connections. They are simply looking for a safe seat.

Tories select candidate following Quentin's defection to Labour...

Conservative Home is reporting that Nick Boles has been selected as Tory candidate for Stamford and Grantham following the defection of Quentin Davies to Labour.

UPDATE: More about Mr Boles at the Grantham Journal who posted the news late last night, following the selection meeting. Nothing yet on the Stamford Mercury site.

Prime Minister sets out his reasons

Gordon Brown has set out his reasons for not calling an autumn election tonight - saying he wanted to be judged on "vision" not "competence" at dealing with crises.

The Prime Minister has told the BBC: "I will not be calling an election, and let me say why.

"Over the summer months we have had to deal with crises - we have had to deal with foot and mouth, terrorism, floods, financial crises.

"And yes we could have had an election based on competence, and I hope people would have understood that we acted competently.

"But what I want to do is show people the vision that we have for the future of this country in housing and health and education and I want the chance, in the next phase of my premiership, to develop and show people the policies that are going to make a huge difference and show the change in the country itself."

England expects...

Stunning victory by England's rugby team over the World Cup favourites and arch-rivals Australia this afternoon to win a place in the semi-finals in France - against all-odds and after the shakiest of starts to the tournament.

All we need for a perfect weekend is a Lewis Hamilton win tomorrow in the penultimate Grand Prix of the season which I believe could confirm him as World Champion in his rookie season...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What else can we do?

Cameron battles to stave off election...

That's how the Torygraph interprets David Cameron's 'bring it on' speech. Meanwhile, The Times prints Dave's speech notes - just in case anyone believed the Tory spin that he didn't have any!

Fair spin on Cameron speech...

Fair Deal Phil couldn't resist smiling at this blogger's spin on Cameron's speech.

Hat-tip to Bob Piper.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The police hero Cameron chose to ignore...

David Cameron could easily have featured Peterborough police officer Christopher Baker, praised by a judge as a hero for his quick-thinking which saved a man's life.

He didn't.

He chose instead to spin a disgraceful and unfounded attack on two police community support officers.

'nuf said.

Will the last Tory leaving Blackpool turn the lights out...?

This was the headline on the leaflet which gets my Award for the Best of Conference Season. It was distributed this week by members of Blackpool Labour Party who are clearly worried that the John Redwood agenda adopted by David Cameron would threaten the future of Blackpool Illumninations.

The leaflet also features a photo of David Cameron lurking in the shadows behind his then boss, the Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont.

Mr Lamont and Mr Cameron had just emerged from Number 11 Downing Street. It was taken as the hapless Mr Lamont announced that it has been "a difficult day"£ on the international markets so he was hking interest rates by another three per cent (on top of a two per cent hike earlier in the day) to take rates to a record 15 per cent.

It was of course Black Wednesday.

No wonder that in a poll last week, 59-per-cent of those asked said they trusted Gordon Brown to run the economy. While less than 20 per cent trusted David Cameron.

Tory on Tory...again!

Grateful to Labour First, a blog for Wirral, for this sorry tale of Tory infighting.

Full story in today's Liverpool Daily Post.

Tories lose control as Cameron speaks of comeback...

David Cameron claimed in his speech that the Tories were "back" in the north. As he was spoke, two Tory councillors on Barrow Council in the north-west quit his party. It means the Conservatives are no longer in control of Barrow Council.

Cameron's disgraceful attack on police...

Disgusted and saddened to hear David Cameron use the tragic drowning of a Wigan lad in an attempt to score a cheap political point.

In his make-or-break speech to Conservative Conference, the Tory Leader has just suggested that two community support officers stood by and watched ten-year-old Jordon Lyon drown "because the rules wouldn't let them" dive in and save him.

This is simply not true and it is a disgraceful and unfounded attack on the two police officers involved.

Read the facts for yourself, as reported by the Press Association.

Greater Manchester Police have made it clear that the two PCSOs DID NOT stand by and watch Jordon die as Cameron suggested.

In fact, the original call to the police gave the wrong location as there were a number of similar lakes in the area. When the two officers arrived at the right location, they could see no sign of Jordon in the lake, which was the size of a football pitch.

Two fishermen had waded in to rescue Jordon's sister, but Jordon had not been seen for a number of minutes. The water was black, with no visibility.

The PCSOs immediately summoned extra help by radio and made sure emergency services could locate the scene. Their actions have been entirely supported by their Chief Constable. They did the right thing.

The inquest into the tragedy established that Jordon had most likely died before the PCSOs arrived at the lake.

The facts are there was nothing those two officers could have done to save the lad.

But Cameron's not interested in the facts.

Very sad that a man who aspires to lead our country should attempt to attack the integrity of our hard-working police officers simply to gain political advantage.

Another example of Cameron's lack of judgement and leadership.

What do you think?

Tories savaged non-domicile tax plan they have now adopted...

Tory hypocrisy has hit new depths over their much-derided domicile tax plan unveiled this week.

It turns out that the idea was first proposed by the LibDems a few years ago - when it was ruthlessly savaged as unworkable by, er, the Tories!

Blogging MP Tom Watson has discovered the incriminating Central Conservative Office document which explains why it's a non-starter.

Where did Tom find the document that leaves David Cameron with egg all over his face as he prepares to try to save his bacon with a make-or-break speech later today?

Er, would you believe on the Conservative Party's very own website!

I hear the sound of Cameron's flip-flops...

So are our 9,000 11-plus failures sheep or goats...ask the Tories!

According to the Daily Torygraph, the Conservatives made clear yesterday that there would be no return to grammar schools.

Michael Gove, shadow spokesman for the children, schools and families signalled that there would be no revival of the two-tier education system that split pupils into the "fortunate and the forgotten".

He told the party conference: "Instead of two nations, instead of the educationally rich and the knowledge poor, sheep and goats, the fortunate and the forgotten, we should have an education system which overcomes disadvantage, unlocks talent and unites our country. That is my vision and it should remain our mission."

Well that's clear then.

Of course, Mr Gove was anxious not to re-kindle the self-inflicted Grammar Wars within the Tory Party. So he didn't mention that following Cameron's priceless u-turn in the summer, official Tory policy is for MORE Grammar Schools to be built in places that already have them.

Like here in Lincolnshire, for example, where more than 9,000 children attend 19 Secondary Modern schools because they failed their 11-plus.

Are these the sheep or goats, Mr Gove?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thief nicks bobby...

A cardboard cut-out of a police officer used to deter shoplifters has been er...nicked.

The life-size image of beat bobby PC Bob Molloy was stolen from a Co-op in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. Police say a man has been captured on CCTV walking away with the picture under his arm.

Derbyshire Police have been placing cardboard cut-outs of PC Molloy in shops for the past two years in the hope that thieves would take a quick glance and think the image was a real cop.

And before you laugh the idea out of court, Derbyshire Police point to recent figures which show a fall in thefts from stores which have the two-dimensional officers.

But this time they'll have their work cut-out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wee Georgie gets his sums wrong...

Georgie Osborne's mum may think he's in cubs: but actually he's in Blackpool swotting up on his Ladybird Book of Sums.

In a desperate measure to save David Cameron's Tories, wee Georgie told a massive £3.5 BILLION porkie today.

He pledged that if the Tories win the next general election - whenever it comes - they would raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million.

Georgie claimed he'd make up the £3.5 billion a year shortfall to the Treasury caused by this proposal with plans on residence and domicile.

But within hours, a £2.9 billion BLACK HOLE has been exposed in his uncosted plan, clearly demonstrating why Britain could not afford to risk to our stable, strong economy by putting Cameron and Osborne in charge.

They couldn't be trusted as bankers on a monopoly board, let alone the nation's finances.

Alistair Darling, the real Chancellor of the Exchequer says:

"Initial costings by the Treasury show that George Osborne's proposal would raise a maximum of £650m, leaving at least £2.9 billion short. So George Osborne cannot afford the promises he is making. He cannot afford to cut inheritance tax.

"Their sums simply do not add up. There is a gaping black hole at the heart of their tax and spending plans. Today's commitments come on top of £3 billion in tax credit changes, which Mr Osborne admitted today might not be fundable in the next parliament, as well as their commitments on stamp duty and business taxes."
Wake up Georgie, it's time for school...