Monday, April 18, 2011

Bring back the Harrier - and save us millions!

More evidence millions of pounds of taxpayers money wasted through government incompetence and the wrong cuts exposed today.

I've always thought that the Conservatives decision to scrap the versatile Harrier jump jet was a false economy - and not just because of the Harrier's close association with our part of the world - with RAF Wittering near Stamford long known as 'The Home of the Harrier'. RAF Cottesmore - also close to Stamford - provided what turned out to be last UK base for the Harrier.

Years ago, as a TA soldier on exercise, I recall being enormously impressed with seeing the Harrier close-up, and with the RAF ground-crew who kept them air-worthy, replacing engines in the middle of a forest in a couple of hours.

I bet you can't do that with your new fangled Typhoon jets!

But even I was shocked at reports today's Sun newspaper that 60 Harriers had just been given a £750 million revamp before they were decommissioned and stored in hangers at RAF Cottesmore near Stamford.

What a waste of our cash!

Even worse, as I have always believed, scrapping the Harrier would prove to be at best to be a false economy - and at worst a down-right incompetent decision.

It seems that experts believe that instead of sending RAF Harriers to help enforce the NATO no-fly zone over Libya, what are described as 'inappropriate' Typhoons have been sent.

Typhoons are operational as air defence assets - and can't be converted to an air-to-ground role until 2016.

Even worse, the RAF is forced to operate long-range at huge expense from bases in Italy as UK has no carrier to use as a platform to launch operations over Libya.

When Cameron committed UK in support of the NATO role in Libya, Tory politicians lined up to say we didn't need a carrier off Libya - even if we had the option of sending one, which we don't).

So why has France sent a carrier - and twice as many aircraft as UK.

Sadly, the most galling (forgive the pun) aspect of the whole debacle is the Sun's estimate that - despite massive cuts to public services across UK - we're shelling out £30 MILLION A WEEK to do the business in Libya against an estimated cost of 'only' £40 million a YEAR if we sent in the Harriers!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Standing up for DSJ

I believe that Deeping St James has been the forgotten corner of Lincolnshire for far too long.

As chairman of DSJ Parish Council for the past two years, I've seen how poorly our community is served by Grantham based South Kesteven District Council.

So I've decided to stand up for DSJ and stand for election on May 5th.

For more information, see my leaflet in this week's Advertiser...and watch this space..

Promoted by Fair Deal Phil Dilks, 24 Church Street, DSJ, PE6 8HD

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Questions our MP must answer...

South Holland and Deepings MP John Hayes claimed more than twice as much as any other MP for mobile phone charges in the first four months of the new Parliament, according to the Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph which blew the lid on the scandal of Parliamentary expenses by exposing abuse by MPs,reports : "John Hayes spent £1,556 on mobile phone bills, twice the next-highest amount."

The period covered expense claims by MP from May 7 to August 31.

Almost £100 a week on phone bills sounds like a staggering amount, even for an MP.

But when the money is claimed from the public purse by a member of a Coalition Conservative-LibDem Govermment that keeps telling us 'we're all in this together'...surely those who are paying the bill are entitled to ask questions.

For there appears to be more than a whiff of hypocrisy in an MP spending more in a single day on phone bills than most of us spend in a month:

At the same time, Mr Hayes' Government is TREBLING tuition fees to make Uni students pay up to £9,000 a year, SLASHING funds for local policing by a staggering 20 per cent (despite Mr Hayes personally campaigining for more money for policing in Lincolnshire and getting re-elected on a promise of 'more police on our streets...').

Then there's the eye-watering 28 per cent CUTS to local councils here in Lincolnshire - on top of SCRAPPING the world renowned school sports partnership hailed by teachers here in south Lincs and across the country as achieving fantastic results.

Could this be the same Mr Hayes who launched a shameful personal attack on me a couple of years over 'expenses'.

In a desperate attempt to stop me being elected to South Kesteven District Council, Mr Hayes personally deliver disgraceful leaflets down my street the day before polling.

The wholly misleading leaflets suggested that as county councillor for DSJ, I had claimed a staggering amount in expenses.

As Mr Hayes well knows, unlike most county councillors - and unlike him - I never claimed a penny over eight years despite regularly driving the 90-mile round trip backwards and forwards to the council's offices in Lincoln.

I was entitled to thousands of pounds over the years. In fact, the public record shows I never claimed a single penny.

And by the way, in my seven or so years as a member of Lincolnshire Police Authority, I never claimed either for travel expenses, or the £20 an hour on offer that others claimed for doing the job.

Not looking for plaudits, but under false personal attack, it's important to me that the truth is known.

Sadly, the truth didn't stop Mr Hayes delivering his eve-of-election leaflets smearing my personal character.

If I was rich, I could have sought legal remedy in the courts. To be frank, I would have accepted a simple apology.

It never came - despite Mr Hayes claiming in his leaflets at this year's General Election: 'I'll never attack my local political opponents personally...'

Not sure what he would call his unjustified personal attacks on me over 'expenses'. I'm fairly certain that a court of law would call it an personal attack on my character made without justification.

In any case, it is surely reasonable to ask Mr Hayes why he now thinks it is right that taxpayers have paid his rather large phone bill.

Some might even say his bill is 'staggering'.

Of course, there may be a simple explanation and I'm sure that in the interests of transparency and accountability, Mr Hayes will now wish publish the offending phone bills.

Watch this space...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Police numbers to be cut in Lincs

Police numbers in Lincolnshire are likely to be cut as a result of the draconian ConDem Coalition austerity package.

So what does Tory MP John Hayes for South Holland and the Deepings have to say about that, I wonder.

I distinctly recall him promising MORE police not less in his general election leaflets which dropped on my mat only a few months ago.

Mr Hayes and his gang can't say they didn't know there was a big deficit - after all they campaigned on that very issue to get elected.

And after the election, official figures showed that the deficit was not as big as forecast before the election.

So will Mr Hayes be campaigning against the austerity package which is resulting in his election promises being broken within months...?

Let's hear it Mr Hayes!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is Construction Company casualty of Coalition Cuts...?

D. A. Green's are a well-respected local construction company which has a record of delivering prestige projects in both the public and private sector.

Or at least they were - until they were forced to call in the receivers this week, throwing 80 people on the dole.

No doubt our MP John Hayes who cheered on the age of austerity in the House of Commons this week will tell the jobless workers we're all in this together.

Friday, October 08, 2010

I have a dream...

Women fill half of posts in Ed Miliband's cabinet - headline from tonight's London Evening Standard.

I have a dream that one day the gender of those in top jobs is not news.

The gender agenda has made leaps and bounds in almost three decades since I became the proud father of two beautiful daughters - now both teachers.

But there's clearly a way still to go...

How to save millions on teacher redundancies and supply teachers...

Lincolnshire County Council spent more than £2 million in redundancy payment for teachers in the past year.

In the same period, the same Conservative-controlled authority also spent £3.5 million to hire supply teachers and agency staff in the county's schools.

Could I suggest some joined-up thinking at county hall that might just save a few million quid of our money...?

Instead of sacking teachers when schools close or merge, would it not be possible to create an internal 'supply team' to fill in for sickness and some of the other inevitable emergencies faced by schools?

They could also be used as a team to assist head teachers in schools which need extra help raising standards...

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cameron talking Balls...

David Cameron spoke much about 'fairness' in his speech today. Sadly the Prime Minister failed to practice what he preached...

His attempt to ridicule Labour's Ed Balls doesn't stand up to scrutiny and in my humble opinion, was disgracefully unfair.

Judge for yourself.

Here's verbatim what Mr Cameron said about Mr Balls:

"I want to give you an idea of the mentality we're fighting.

"Ed Balls, the man who used to be in charge of education in our country, said one of the dangers of our schools policy was that it would create 'winners'.

"Winners? We can't have that.." said Mr Cameron. He went on: "Anti-aspiration. Anti-success. Anti-parents who just want the best for their children. What an unbelieveable attitude from the Labour generation..."


Tonight, BBC Newsnight asked Central Conservative Office for the source of the PM's attack on Mr Balls.

Newsnight then played the tape of what Mr Balls actually said.

Here's the transcript:

"The danger is there will be some winners but it's dishonest to say their will not be losers as well."

If Mr Cameron thinks his attack is 'fair', isn't our Prime Minister even more out of touch with reality than he demonstrated with the unfairness of scrapping child benefit for families with an income of £44,000 while continuing to pay child benefit to families with an income of £87,000...

What do you think...?

Cameron on the back foot...

First, in the backlash of the child benefits debacle, he was forced to apologise that axing benefits for more than a million families was NOT in the Tory election manifesto.

(In fact, the Tories spent the general election campaign accusing Labour of scurrilous scaremongering after the Tories' secret plans to cut child benefit were exposed).

And secondly today, the Prime Minister was forced to defend his Chief spindoctor, former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson after more revelations in the phone-hacking scandal.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's the 'End of' as Tories go on the run...

Just 24 hours after the ConDem axe fell on more than a million families, Tory Children’s minister Tim Loughton has come up with the understatement of the year...

In the face of the storm and as the Mail splashed today on "Fury of Stay at Home Mums", Mr Loughton admitted that the move 'could be in need of more work...'!!!

The Tories are so out of touch with normal people that they thought their back of a fag packet ruse would get positive headlines for their Conference...

But hitting women and children first is not even popular with their own MPs.

A backbench revolt is already brewing as Tory MPs realise the move squeezes 'middle England' and threatens their survival at the next election. The revolt is likely to be led by David Davis, the MP who callenged David Cameron for the leadership of the Tory Party.

Today, he went on the airways to hightlight the unfairness. He says it cannot be right that a family with a single earner on £44k a year and a partner staying at home to look after the kids loses their child benefit while neighbours with both partners each earning £40k - a total income of £80k - KEEP their child benefit.

LibDem Susan Kramer dismissed suggestions of Coalition unfairness saying "That's the way the tax system works"!!

It's astonishing is how the lackey LibDems support scrapping the principle of universal benefits for children. They sold their principles for a taste of power...

Labour's Yvette Cooper hit the nail on the head when she said cutting child benefit for over a million families gives the lie to the ConDem's justification that deep cuts are needed now to protect the future generation.

The ConDems are making the next generation pay now.

I also heard London Tory MP Mark Field admit earlier today that the ConDems would have a political price to pay to cut child benefits. Her admitted that the £44k threshold would hit many 'ordinary' hard working families in the capital.

Even Tory Children's Minister Tim Loughton told Channel 4 News the move could be in need of more work.

He said: "If there are ways we can look at compensating measures for those genuinely in need, that will be looked at in future budgets."

But the prize for most entertaining piece of telly today has to go to Sky who broadcast Loughton desperately trying to escape the media spotlight who wanted to clarify his thoughts on a rethink.

Fast-trotting through Birming convention centre trailed by a media scrum, he didn't want to take the opportunity to explain what he meant.

Later, when the cameras caught up with him, Mr Loughton said:

I am very happy with the policy that George Osborne announced yesterday. It’s tough, it’s a difficult choice but it’s fair. End of. End of.

And to every other question, Mr Loughton replied: End of. End of.

Question: …does that imply you’re going to try and bring in measures to mitigate this?

Tory Minister: End of. End of.

Question: End of what?

Tory Minister: End of.

And that was the end of

Monday, October 04, 2010

Women and Children first for cuts...

The unfairness of detail in Tory cuts in child benefits shows that while the Conservatives claim to support the family, they haven't got a clue.

Despite promising to keep universal child benefit BEFORE the election, they've come up with a complete dog's breakfast to force families and children to pay for the deficit.

Under the plan announced today, if one parent earns over £44k a year and the other stops at home to raise the kids, the Tories will take all the child benefit away - over £30 a week if they have two kiddies.

But if they put the kids in day-care so and both go out to earn £43k each - a household income of £86k, under the Tory plan the family will keep all child benefits.

Crazy or just Conservative?

Tory heartlands 'pissed off' over latest cuts...?

The Tories are 'pi**ing off' the Conservatives core vote by cutting universal child benefit.

Not my words, but those of a Tory Minister, according to Channel 4's CutsCheck blog fronted by Cathy Newman.

She says CutsCheck is:

'...getting wind of a ministerial revolt over George Osborne’s announcement this afternoon.

One minister told me just now he had four emails from constituents complaining about it within an hour of the chancellor leaving the stage. He said: “We’re p***ing off our core vote.

We’re supposed to be the party of the hard-working family.” He went on to protest that the chancellor had sprung the decision on ministers, and that it appeared to have been hurriedly put together.

A cabinet minister has just told me the cut was a “complete bombshell” – he hadn’t been given any advance warning either....

Tune in to C4 at 7pm!!

UPDATE: Among those urging the ConDems not to make children pay off the deficit today was the Centre for Social Justice.

The think-tank' chief executive described the cuts announced today as a 'dirty' way of paying off the deficit and urged a re-think.

As the BBC reports, the Centre for Social Justice was founded by Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative's Welfare Minister!!

Swimmer on the run...?

More daft misuse of words from lazy journalists - this time by a BBC sports commentator at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli who should surely no better.

He's just broadcast on Radio4's PM programme that a particular swimmer was so fast that "she has stolen the medal - and I do mean stolen the medal".

How unsporting!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Tory Baroness backs off on allegations of voting fraud...

Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi came out all guns blazing against Labour this week, claiming that voting fraud had cost the Tories three seats at the general election.

But having achieved the headlines, under scrutiny she now appears to be backing off from her allegations.

I hope anyone who abuses our democracy by attempting to deceive voters is prosecuted. And I welcome the fact that some ex-members of the Labour Party - and incidentally, Liberal Democrats too - who were guilty of voting fraud have felt the long arm of the law.

But why Baroness Warsi's attempt to dilute her comments from earlier in the week...?

Could it be that someone has told her the facts: that the worst ever case of electoral fraud prosecuted in this country resulted in SIX guilty people going to prison - for their part in a scam to oust a former Labour Mayor and replace him, by...wait for, a Conservative!

Glasshouses and stones come to mind...

Tory MPs attack LibDems...

A Tory MP says she would 'rather die' than form an election pact with the LibDems - an idea recently floated by Nick Boles, the newly elected Conservative MP for Stamford and Grantham.

It seems Mr Boles' suggestion of the Tories getting even more familiar with their LibDem Coalition partners has gone down like a lead balloon among both Tory grandees - as well as rank and file members of both parties.

Meanwhile, I had to chuckle at Tory MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone was on the Politics Show at lunchtime attacking the LibDems, saying they couldn't be trusted.

Self-confessed right-winger Mr Bone generously said he thought he could trust Labour, but not the LibDems!

Well, with friends like Mr Bone (once dubbed the meannest boss in Britain - after bragging of the poverty wages he paid his staff), who needs enemies...?