Saturday, December 29, 2007

Honours for Lincs people...

Congratulations to Lincolnshire people named in the New Year's Honours List - including:

* Gary Brown, a Police Sergeant who has created more than 30 community projects,
* Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and
* John Sharman, Secretary of UNISON in Lincolnshire.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Police to investigate Tory donations...?

The astonishing revelations that David Cameron's local constituency party received illegal donations are sure to be of interest to the police...

It seems that while the Tory Leader was lecturing others on party funding just a couple of weeks ago, Whitney Conservative Party has received thousands of pounds from donors who were not even British voters!

Hypocrisy or what?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Who'd like a 9.8% pay rise...?

Fantastic news: Lincolnshire County Council is to receive a whopping 9.8 per cent more cash next year from the Labour Government.

The Tories who run our county council are desperately trying to find ways to avoid saying it's a hugely generous settlement.

But they can't wipe the ear-to-ear Cheshire cat grins from their faces.

That's not surprising.

It means the Labour Government has delivered an above-inflation grant to our county council EVERY year since coming to office - in stark contrast to year-on-year cuts in budgets - and services - Lincolnshire had to deal with last time the Tories were trusted to run the country.

Now we just need to sort out funding for Lincolnshire Police!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cameron frustrated at 'lazy' Boris...?

So says Peter Oborne in today's Mail.

The story rounds off an awful week for Boris:

His poor judgement came under fire when he backed Tory peer Conrad the Crook who was jailed for six years for multi-million pound fraud.

Then the Daily Telegraph business diary (no link - not on line) reported Greg Dyke on Boris, saying:

‘He’s a great guy, but I wouldn’t let him run my bath, let alone London’

Remember Greg Dyke?

He was the David Cameron's real choice for London Mayor.

But Cameron completely botched his attempt to sign up Mr Dyke as a joint Tory/LibDem candidate.

More red-faces later this week when the pro-Tory Economist magazine revealed that staff at Conservative HQ
...are concerned that a lazy campaign ending in a heavy defeat by Ken Livingstone, the Labour incumbent, would reflect badly on Mr Cameron. Some believe a victory for Mr Johnson would be even worse, if he turned out to be a shambolic leader of Britain's capital.
So now even Tory strategists realise that Boris winning could be the nightmare result...!

Who's faking now...?

Tory hypocrisy or what...?

You couldn't make it up!

Never mind global warming, look who's on telly...!

As world leaders grapple with climate change, LibDem leadership are worried about something much closer to home...the number of repeats on TV this Christmas.

All politics is local, of course and it may - sadly - be true that more of us are interested in what's on telly over the next few days than saving the planet for future generations.

But as usual, the LibDems face both ways at the same time...

As their culture spokesman Don Foster whinged about what's on the box over the festive season, he revealed that one of his personal favourites was the most repeated shows ever.

The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special!

Good to see there's nothing wrong with Don's sense of humour...

No doubt he'll be singing along with the rest of us when Eric'n'Ern sing us out once again with their signature song...Bring Me Sunshine!

More hot air from the US on climate change...

Sadly, but oh so predictably, as the world grapples to tackle climate change, George 'Dubya' Bush seems intent on derailing any positive plan for global action.

BBC Newsnight reported from the crucial climate change talks in Bali tonight (Friday) with news that the Americans have forced the European Union nations to give up on hard targets for nations to reduce CO2 emissions in coming decades.

As Environment Ministers - including our own very capable Hillary Benn - work through the night to try to prevent total collapse of the talks, the most optimistic outcome likely to emerge from the summit is a watered-down communique with nations agreeing to do 'not a lot' and certainly not enough.

Here's one view of what's going on (or not...)

It seems the Americans, who refused to sign Kyoto, are insistent that the porrer developing nations must cut emissions before the richest nation in the world takes action themselves.

As someone said on Newsnight, it's like Bush happily enjoying the comforts of the first class cabin on an airliner convinced that a catasrophe in tourist class won't affect him...

With the clock ticking, failure at Bali means another two years before there's another chance to replace the Kyoto Agreement.

And the longer the Americans refuse to show real leadership, the more urgent and more drastic the eventual action will have to be.

Let's hope that Al Gore is right and the next US President is more positive than the current one who's now entering his final year in office.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chameleon Cameron flip-flops on mortgages...

Warm words today from David Cameron on mortgages have a distinctly hollow ring. They also demonstrate he hasn't given up his love of flip-flops.

With Dave's economic record, it's a bit rich hearing him demand measures to protect people with mortgages.

Myself and millions of other mortgage holders remember the disaster last time he was allowed anywhere near the Treasury...

On Black Wednesday, Dave was at the heart of the Treasury, as Special Advisor to the bungling Tory Chancellor who disastrously announced interest rate increases of five-per-cent in a single day.

By contrast, thanks to Gordon Brown's delivery of a stable economy, for the past decade we have enjoyed interest rates that Tory Chancellors can only dream of: a third of what they were in the dark Tory days of boom'n'bust. And these days, when changes are necessary, they are usually a difference of just a quarter of one per cent - not FIVE per cent in one day.

Despite Tory scare-mongering predictions of economic collapse round the corner, interest rates are still under six per cent - not the 15-per-cent Black Wednesday rates. And remember, the last change was down, not up!

Meanwhile, David Cameron, the man who wants to run Britain still can't add up. The unexplained £6 billion black hole in his latest tax and spend promises and unfunded tax cuts would risk a disastrous return the dark days of boom'n'bust.

And the flip-flops?

Today, Cameron called for extra measures to protect people taking out mortgages.

Yet just a few months ago he heaped praise on a report by his Conservative Party Economic Policy Commission which recommended scrapping every regulation protecting people taking out mortgages.

What David Cameron called a great report in August said this on Page 59:

We see no need to continue to regulate the provision of mortgage finance, as it is the lending institutions rather than the client taking the risk.
In October, Georgie Osborne told the Tory Party Conference that the report by John Redwood was a blueprint to cut government regulation, planning restriction and red tape.

So Dave, is it less regulation or more...?

Flip-flop, flip-flop.

UPDATE: I see today's FT agrees with me and headlines Dave's latest comment!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tory Boris backs Conrad the Crook

No surprise to see Boris Johnson backing convicted crook and Tory peer Lord Conrad Black. The former media tycoon was told by a Judge today that he faces eight years in jail when he is sentenced for multi-million pound fraud.

Boris, Tory hopeful in next year's elections for London Mayor, apparently provided Lord Black with a character reference.

Labour MP Karen Buck has lodged an early day motion questioning Boris's judgement in backing someone convicted of stealing on such a massive scale.

You can read Karen's EDM HERE.

There's also this live blog with a blow by blow commentary as the sentencing drama unfolds...

Meanwhile, look out for Boris backing other jail-birds such as former Tory high-flier Jonathan Aitkin, former Tory Leader in Lincolnshire 'Honest' Jim Speechley...or maybe even Boris's predessessor as Tory candidate for London...

Yes, step forward the one and only 'Lord' Jeffrey Archer.

UPDATE: C4 News says the Chicago court has sentenced Black to six-and-a-half years in prison...while the BBC asks "Did he get off lightly?"

Al's truth will be more convenient under next US President...

The man who used to be the next President of the United States collected his Nobel Peace Prize today - and said humanity was now waging war on the earth itself...

And what a different place the world would be today if only the occupant of the White House had been decided at the ballot box rather than in the Florida courts.

Of course, the US would have signed up to Kyoto if the real winner became President rather than Dubya - and I've no doubt that Al Gore would have handled the war on terror rather differently.

Accepting his well deserved Nobel Peace Prize for work on climate change today, Al Gore predicted that whoever becomes next President, the US is likely to adopt a 'more constructive' approach to climate change...

Let's hope so.

Support our local heroes...

With Gordon Brown visiting British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, our local paper has launched a special appeal to make sure local service personnel are not forgotten this Christmas.

The Stamford Mercury devoted its front page to an appeal for people here in south Lincolnshire to support British troops.

With Wittering and Luffenham military bases close by, many families locally will be watching today's news from Afghanistan of some of the fiercest fighting to date with more than a passing interest.

And don't forget the part-time professionals from my old TA unit on London Road, Peterborough who have been serving Queen and Country in both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Free the Sudan teddy...

Good news that teacher Gillian Gibbons is home on Merseyside after she was jailed in The Sudan for allowing children in her class to name a teddy bear Mohamed (no offence meant if that's the wrong spelling!).

At a news conference after landing in UK today, Gillian was able to joke that she went to Sudan for an adventure but found a bigger one than she bargained for...

But I didn't spot the poor old teddy bear on the TV pictures...?

Are the Sudanese holding teddy hostage...? Will teddy now be getting the lashes from which the teacher was thankfully spared...?

That would be cruel indeed. I think we should be told.

UPDATE: Just seen Gillian interviewed on Channel 4 News. No bitterness at the way she was treated and hoping no-one would be put off visiting the beautiful country of Sudan! What a lovely lady!

But still no sign of teddy.

Blogging again...almost

Sorry it's been almost a week since my last post. And yes, what a week it's been...normal service will resume later today...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Problems at Deepings Recycling Centre...

Big problem at Deepings Recycling Centre. I understand our home-grown recycler Ian Prentice is being forced to charge for dropping off wood, glass and green waste following a sudden decision by Lincolnshire County Council to withhold recycling credits.

As county councillor for Deeping St James, I'm trying to get to the bottom of what's going on but so far I've been unable to find out what the problem is.

I shouldn't be surprised: I'm sorry to say it took the County Council almost two years of dithering to decide they were unable to contribute towards a regular rubbish skip after they withdrew the much-valued fortnightly service at the Rainbow car park.

Now they appear to have pulled the plug on Deepings Recycling Centre too, with no notice at all.

Watch this space...!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Best ham and bacon is on our doorstep...

Good to see our home-grown Grasmere Farm here in Deeping St James featured in The Times guide to the best ham and bacon this Christmas.

Here's the full listing, the only entry for Lincolnshire:

Stuart Stables of in Deeping St James, Lincolnshire, is one of a committed bunch of producers who cling to the traditional method of dry-curing ham and bacon. (Industrial fast-curing methods in which the hams are injected with brine means that when you cook the whole hams they shrink dramatically, or in the case of bacon, leach out the excess liquid into a white puddle in the pan).

Stables’ family also rear all their own pigs, which are fed on meal milled in their own water mill.

As well as the hams and bacon, you can order sausages (including the famous Rutland sausage), fruity stuffings and every cut of pork.

A whole, unsmoked, uncooked bone-in ham (minimum weight 8.6kg) is £45.95, online, or check the website for details of farmers' markets (01778 342344;

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tories dump the trusty sword of truth to deny jailbird Aitkin is advising them...

Convicted criminal Jonathan Aitkin returning to the Tory fold to advise on prison reform raised eyebrows this week. So I had to laugh at Edward Garnier MP today trying to put blue water between the Tory Party and his former colleague (to be clear, they were colleagues on the Tory benches in the House of Commons in the Thatcher/Major years, not fellow lags in HMP Belmarsh of course!)

Mr Garnier, MP for Harborough, Leicestershire, was on the East Midlands edition of the BBC Politics Show and couldn't help jumping on a comment about former Tory high-flier Jonathan Aitkin now advising the Tory Party.

"Not the Tory Party, the Centre for Social Justice," says Mr Garnier, as if there was no relationship between the two - and not wishing to be reminded that Aitkin served time at Her Majesty's Pleasure for perjury...

Writing in today's Sunday Times, on Aitkin himself trying to make the same distinction, journalist Rosie Millard says:

What humbug: Duncan Smith is a former Conservative leader...the Centre for Social Justice advises David Cameron on social issues, does it not? I’d say that’s rather near the hot spot of Tory influence.
And I'd say you don't need a trusty sword of truth to know that's a fair cop...

Now, what were those famous Aitkin words again...

"If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of honesty, then so be it..."

Did you see the LibDem leadership duo squabbling on live TV...? UPDATED

LibDem leadership hopefuls Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne apparently squabbled like kids when they came head-to-head on today BBC's Politics Show on BBC1...

Missed the spat myself as I was on the way back from the national Labour Students conference in Grantham where I was honoured again to be a speaker...

I caught the end of the Politics Show, when presenter Jon Sopel says if you want to see today's broadcast, including the Clegg-Huhne fallout, go the the Politics Show website.

I just have done, but frustratingly the 'see again' feature hasn't yet been updated and still repeats last week's Politics Show...Very annoying.

Did anyone see it worth repeating?

UPDATE: The clip is now on the BBC site and they go at each other like rats in a sack: Huhne accuses Clegg of 'flip floppery', trying to face both ways, allegations that Clegg is a 'calamity' and Clegg fighting to defend himself.

Less than edifying, and certainly fiercer than anything we ever saw between the two Davids - Steel and Owen - when the Libs had two leaders, and a rare but real insight behind internal tensions and disunity in today's LibDem party...

Who said come back Ming Campbell or Chas Kennedy...?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nigel 'Enoch' Hastilow is still Tory candidate as Cameron dithers and dithers...

Conservative Party members have declined to accept the resignation of Nigel Hastilow as their parliamentary candidate following the dithering and lack of leadership by David Cameron in the row over the 'Enoch was right' comments.

Almost a fortnight after he apparently resigned, according to the official website for Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative Party, the disgraced Mr Hastilow is still their parliamentary candidate.

David Cameron failed to either sack Mr Hastilow or condemn his comments and instead sent Caroline Spelman to have a word with him.

Ms Spelman later admitted on television last Sunday that she tried to persuade Nigel Hastilow to stay on as a Tory candidate - but he resigned.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Tory High Command tried to keep Mr Hastilow as their candidate, but he resigned after refusing to be gagged.

There's also this Mystery as Party backs Hastilow story in his local paper, the Express & Star.

A week on, Nigel Hastilow's own website also declares that he is the candidate.

In contrast to Cameron's dithering, his predessessor Ted Heath acted decisively and immediately to sack Enoch Powell after his infamous 'rivers of blood' speech which he made to rally Tory support against anti-discrimination legislation brought in by the Labour Government of the day.

Breakfast in Peterborough, Lunch in Paris with new high speed rail link

Peterborough to Paris for a day out is now feasible thanks to the massive investment in the St Pancras international terminal which opened this week. A Peterborough ET reporter was on the first historic journey and tells his story.

Bonjour indeed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Four die on county roads in two hours...UPDATED

More carnage on Lincolnshire's roads today as four die in two separate crashes. Three died in an early morning head-on smash between two vehciles on the A52. A couple of hours later a female motorcyclist lost her life in an accident near Lincoln.

UPDATE: In response to a comment asking for news of the injured, here's extracts from the updated police log:

Skegness triple fatal accident: Police investigating a road traffic collision at Croft Bank, near Skegness in which three people died have arrested a 43 year old man from the Skegness area on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He was kept in overnight at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital under police guard and is expected to be discharged from hospital later today. Once discharged, the man will be escorted by officers to Boston Police Station and interviewed.

Police are continuing their investigations into the collision involving the vehicles - a white Leyland Sherpa van, a black Rover 600 and a blue Renault Megane. The Leyland Sherpa van and the blue Renault Megane were travelling south on the A52 at Croft when the van collided with the black Rover 600 travelling in the opposite direction towards Skegness. The Leyland van, carrying six people, was being followed by two Ford Transit vans and all three vehicles were carrying foreign nationals.

Those in the Leyland van are all believed to be Polish nationals. The black Rover 600, containing five people, was carrying Lithuanian nationals. Police are now able to confirm the details of the three fatalities from the collision. The passenger of the Leyland Sherpa van was Irena Polak, 47 years old, a Polish national from Roman Bank, Skegness. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The driver of the black Rover 600 was Zenonas Buza, 22 years old, a Lithuanian national from Wrangle, Boston and the front seat passenger was Sandra Bredelyte, 22 years old and also a Lithuanian national from Wrangle, near Boston. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Post mortem examinations on the deceased are expected to take place Thursday 15 November 2007 and inquests are likely to open following these. Five other people in the Leyland Sherpa van were injured as a result of the collision. Four were taken by ambulance to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital where they are continuing to receive treatment. A woman was airlifted to Lincoln County Hospital where she remains under observation. Three back seat passengers from the black Rover 600 were taken by ambulance to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital and are described as having life-changing injuries. One of the men is in a critical but stable condition.

Police are continuing to appeal for any witnesses to the collision, which happened at around 7.00am Tuesday morning, on the A52 at Croft Bank. They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who was driving on the A52 around 6.45am to 7.00am who saw any of the vehicles prior to the collision.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Witness Hotline on 01522 558855. Sergeant Dave Kay of the Roads Policing Unit has confirmed that the man referred to above is now at Boston Police Station and will be questioned today (Thursday) about the incident.

Sgt Kay also says there has been no change in the conditions of those still in hospital. He says that several witness statements have been taken in which they say that a number of cars and a HGV drove round the wreckage and continued on their way. Police would like to speak to those drivers just in case they may have seen anything that witnesses so far have not mentioned. He is urging anyone with any information to contact the witness hotline.

Lincoln fatality: This is an update in relation to the fatal collision involving a motorbike and a refuse lorry which occurred at 8.51am on Tuesday 13 November. The rider of the motorbike, pronounced dead at the scene is named as 29 year old Rebecca (known as Becky) Elaine Smith from Lincoln. A post mortem will be held today (Wednesday 14 November), and an Inquest is due to be opened early next week. Matt Chapman, Becky's fiancé...says "She was a lovely, caring person and an inspiration to all who knew her."

Have you seen Roger...?

Police are increasingly concerned about a Deeping St James man who has been missing from his home for over a week.

Roger Beesley, 56, has not been seen since Sunday 4th November when he disappeared from Hereward Way, Deeping St James where he lived with his sister and her husband.

Roger is white, medium build, 5’8” tall, with blue eyes and short grey hair. It is believed he may have been wearing a grey zipper jumper, blue cotton trousers and a dark coloured walking coat.

Roger moved from Leicester to live with his sister in September. He is described as a very quite, private individual.

He is not believed to have taken any money with him and left his car parked on the driveway of his sister’s house.

He has however taken a tent and a sleeping bag with him and it is possible that he has gone to Lake District in Cumbria where he has previously spent time as a keen walker.

Police are urging Roger to contact themselves or his sister to let them know that he is safe and well.

Anyone with any information or sightings of Roger is asked to contact Lincolnshire Police on 01733 752222, quoting incident number 312 of the 5th of November.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Police support officer saves drowning motorists: but LibDems join Tories in attack on police...

Sad to hear LibDem peer Shirley Williams' cheap and wholly unwarranted attack on the police on Any Questions this weekend.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 programme, she said:
It would be nice if Neighbourhood Policemen actually saw themselves as responsible for saving drowning seems extraordinary that they think they can stand to one side and watch it happen.
It was a disgraceful reference to the actions in the summer of two community police officers called to a Wigan lake where a young boy had drowned.

As I reported following a similar attack by David Cameron in his Conference speech, it has been established that the police officers did not stand to one side and watch.

The inquest heard that sadly, the boy was probably dead before the officers arrived and there was nothing they could do to save his life: No-one knew which part of a lake the size of a football pitch he was in, and visibility was nil in the black water.

Of course, the real problem for both the Tories and the LibDems is that they opposed the very idea of police community support officers when they were introduced by Labour - and now they can't bear to admit they were wrong.

PCSOs - and neighbourhood policing - have been an enormous success.

Maybe either David Cameron or Shirley Williams will find it in their hearts to recognise the bravery of the PCSO officer left injured in a 'hit and run' as he attempted to talk to a driver.

What about honouring the PCSO praised in tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph who waded into flood waters and saved two people trapped in a car..?

Don't hold your breath...

For Dan's sake buy a poppy this weekend...

Hats off to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph for their front page coverage of a local soldier's story which highlights why should all pay our respects this weekend not only to those who died for their country, but also those who survived.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Did Treasury 'mole' leak Labour's inheritance tax plan to Tories...?

Treasury documents released to the Daily Telegraph tonight prove that Labour was planning to cut inheritance tax months before the Tories announced it as their idea.

The Tories claimed that Labour's budget announcement last month which cut inheritance tax was an ideal 'stolen' from the Tories.

In the Commons, David Cameron challenged Gordon Brown to look me in the eye and say there were plans to cut inheitance tax before the Tory announcement.

But Treasury documents from as early as last January show how the plans to cut inheritance tax were developed and completely vindicate the Prime Minister.

The papers have been released under the Freedom of Information Act (itself delivered by Labour!!)

Meanwhile, Channel Four News reports that a senior Tory has admitted that they have a 'mole' deep inside the Treasury.

So if anyone's guilty of 'theft', it's the Tories!

Will David Cameron look Gordon Brown in the eye and apologise...?

No. Didn't think so.

Cameron's Conservatives Coop Cheek...

David Cameron has a brass neck claiming Conservativism as the heir to the Cooperative traditions at the heart of the Labour movement.

I liked the comment by straight-talking Salford MP and Communities Minister Hazel Blears:

Conservatism and Cooperation go together like chalk and cheese...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Peoples Post Office moves with the times and so do I (well almost...)

Public consultation closes in four days on Post Office plans to close 77 branches across the East Midlands - 23 of them here in Lincolnshire.

They are the first of 2,500 branches earmarked for closure across the country as the national network of post offices is set to shrink from 14,000.

It could have been worse. Without a massive Government cash investment of a staggering £1.6 billion, thousands more post office branches would be for the chop.

The march of technology over the past 40 years has led to a collapse of customers and a halving of the number of post offices since the 1960s. It's still the biggest retail network in Europe.

But in today's world, more and more people find it more convenient to have their pensions and other benefits paid directly into their bank accounts. You can even tax your car online these days.

Over the past two years alone, the number of customers using Post Offices has lost four million customers a week alone: losses have risen to almost £4 million a week.

Fewer than 16 people a week use some of the smallest post offices - at a cost to the taxpayer of £17 per transaction!

Tonight, I attended a lively 'consultation meeting' in Lincoln, as a pair of Post Office executives attempted to answer a series of questions from elected councillors across Lincolnshire.

* More on the meeting later...meanwhile, hope you can see that despite being a total luddite I've managed to post a video from U-tube. Ok, so I haven't yet perfected the art of embedding comments to appear with the moving picture but it's a step forward from the quill pen...Maybe next time!

If the Post Office think the answer's Joan Collins, they're asking the wrong question...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Royal game sparked Skinner's 'who shot 'arriers?' Queen's Speech quip

The Queen's Speech wouldn't be the same without a prepared aside from stalwart Labour MP Dennis Skinner. But commentators seemed non-plussed by today's offering from the so-called 'Beast of Bolsover'.

In a pregnant pause as Black Rod relayed Her Majesty's summons for her MPs to attend her in the Lords, the unmistakable voice of former working miner Dennis Skinner chirped up:

Who shot the 'arriers..?
It seemed an obscure comment which totally missed its target...

But a couple of hours later the mystery seems to have been solved with this story about a police investigation into the shooting of two 'protected' wild birds on the Royal Sandringham Estate.

Prince Harry, a mate and a local gamekeeper were on a shooting party on the same day as the birds were shot. Allegedly.

The Royal party say they didn't shoot the 'arriers.

And police say there is not enough evidence to bring charges against anyone. Anyone convicted of shooting the protected birds risks a £5,000 fine or six months clink.

Seems we'll never know the answer to Dennis's rather timely intervention...

Monday, November 05, 2007

One permanent unsightly scar replaces another...

Bemused to read the Lincs Echo story tonight of two Lincoln women complaining that they have been left with permanent unsightly scars after attempting to have tattoos removed in a High Street procedure advertised as cheaper than the laser alternative.

Permanent unsightly scars...excuse me, but isn't that the definition of a tattoo?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Race row Tory says 'no regrets...'

The Tory who says Enoch Powell was right on immigration says he could have remained a Conservative candidate if he had apologised for his remarks.

But Nigel Hastilow has not withdrawn his comments and has resigned rather than apologise. Tonight he told the BBC he has 'no regrets'.

Earlier, his local Conservative Association chairman said he had done nothing wrong.

All of which says much about David Cameron's lack of leadership and failure to change the values of rank and file Conservatives.

Last time Nigel Hastilow hit the headlines was when he wrote on his website that the Conservative Party was a "lost cause".

He was right then.

He's wrong now.

Tory candidate resigns over Enoch remarks...but questions remain

I see a Tory parliamentary candidate in the West Midlands has been forced to resign this afternoon after suggesting that Enoch Powell was right in his infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech.

While David Cameron may claim that he is changing the Conservative Party, this story demonstrates that the grassroots of the Tory Party haven't changed.

Same old Nasty Party.

Two questions:

1. Why did David Cameron not sack Nigel Hastilow immediately for unacceptable comments rather than dither for 24 hours?

2. Why has David Cameron not condemned Nigel Hastilow's comments?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Welcome aboard the Tory's fave airline...?

Today's Guardian expose speaks volumes about the difference between Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Teenager from down our street killed on local roads...

Just heard that the 18-year-old driver of a car who died in a collision with a school bus on Maxey High Street lived here in Church Street, Deeping St James.

Another local tragedy - only this week our local papers have the awful news - and photo - of a beautiful 18-year-old woman killed on the roads the day after passing her driving test.

UPDATE: see Peterborough Evening Telegraph

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?