Friday, August 31, 2007

Canny Gordon's not frit of Cameron...

What are the Tories who are predicting a snap autumn election up to...?

Tonight, Iain Dale among others is reporting 'rumours in Westminster' of an October 4th General Election - following another favourable poll for Labour and Gordon Brown today.

The latest poll reported in the Daily Telegraph suggests a landslide defeat for David Cameron if there were to be a snap General Election.

Strange, perhaps that the Tories are talking up the odds of an early General Election and crying 'bring it on' - when even they must realise that that on today's ratings, they have no chance of winning the trust of the British people.

Personally, I thought Call-me-Dave's performance on Newsnight earlier this week was the first real sign that he finally realises he's no match for Gordon Brown and that he now sees his task to shore up the core Tory vote.

Could it be that the Tory grandees are predicting an early General Election in the safe knowledge that there won't be one - and then claim Gordon is frit of them?

Surely not!

Weighing up what's in your wheelie-bin...?

Now that 110,000 micro-chipped wheelie bins have been rolled out across South Kesteven, Grantham-based SKDC are starting to focus on the data revealed in those controversial chips.

According to this morning's Stamford Mercury,SKDC will shortly start using the information collected from the chips to support residents who are not taking full advantage of the system provided.

No quote in the Mercury from bin-rebel Brynley Heaven who removed SKDC's chip from his bin, complaining that it was part of a secret agenda to make people pay according to the weight of rubbish in their bin...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Scotland, Wales and England...

Sorry no blogs for past few days - after Edinburgh Festival, I managed to grab a couple of days with family down in Tenby - thanks to my niece recently investing in a new caravan.

Travelled up to London this morning - a horrendous seven-hour journey and two cancelled trains - no thanks to First West Railways but that's another story.

Working in London today and looking forward to getting home, as ever, to DSJ tomorrow...just in time for the weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Yasmin to be first Muslim woman MP...?

London barrister Yasmin Qureshi could become the country's first Muslim woman to be elected to Parliament after winning Labour's nomination for the Bolton South East seat last night.

She beat more than 50 candidates in the process for the right to be Labour's candidate in a seat where Dr Brian Iddon who is retiring secured a majority of more than 11,000 two years ago.

Full story in tonight's Bolton Evening News

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The magic of the Edinburgh Festival...

Up at Edinburgh for the last hurrahs of the amazing three-week summer Festival. Worth the trip just to soak up the atmosphere of street theatre along the Royal Mile.

Also seen loads of comedy and Jeremy Paxman's no-punches pulled critique of his employers the BBC...

But the night is young. Much more to see and do before the fat lady sings...

Will post more tomorrow...!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mayor wins landmark case after Tory council bans baby...

A Labour councillor won a landmark victory in court today after a judge ruled she was discriminated against by her own Tory-run council.

When Dr Pauleen Lane CBE was Mayor of Trafford in Greater Manchester, a civic vehicle carried her chain of office to official events - while she drove behind in her own small car while struggling with her newborn son Oscar.

Months earlier, Cllr Lane had informed the Leader of the Tory run council that she was pregnant and would be a nursing mother during her Mayoral year. Cllr Lane's decision to breast-feed was supported by doctors who advised her that it would aide his recovery from surgey.

She provided suitable safety seats for the official cars. But when she became Mayor, the Council banned baby Oscar from the official car. Later they decided he could travel in the car but only if accompanied by a second carer.

The Judge ruled that a second carer was "wholly unnecessary". He said that breast-feeding was a decision only a woman could take and that as a consequence, it was reasonable for Cllr Lane to have her baby with her on council duties.

The Bishop of Hulme gave evidence for Cllr Lane. He described his horror at witnessing two Mayoral attendants arrive at a function and ceremoniously remove the chain of office from the large civic car. But he said the Mayor herself was left to struggle from a small car with Oscar.

The Bishop had advised Cllr Lane to go the media to expose the Council's actions, but Cllr Lane refused, saying she was wanted to get the matter sorted out with the Council privately and with as little fuss as possible in order to protect the dignity of the Mayoral office.

The Judge awarded Cllr Lane £7,000 in personal injury damages and full legal costs - which could top £200,000.

Cllr Lane said: "I'm very pleased with the judgement. I hope it means no-one will ever have to endure the nightmare they put me through.

"But I'm also hugely saddened at the way I was treated. It was a nightmare.

"All I wanted from the council was an apology and a donation to my Mayoral charity. It's very sad that they consistently refused to act in a reasonable way."

Following the judgement, Trafford Tories read out a statement to the press which said the court case was part of a "politically motivated vendetta".

Labour's Deputy Leader and Paty chair Harriet Harman MP said: "Trafford Tories should have graciously accepted the judgement of the court. Instead they are adding insult to injury by launching a party political attack."

Having taken legal action last year to successfully sue the Mail on Sunday for libel, I know something of the stress that Cllr Lane has been put through in the past two years.

But I'm chuffed to bits that she's won.

Typical of Pauleen, she has decided to donate the £7,000 damages awarded to her to her Mayoral Charity - ironically it's Victim Support!

ADD: The action was taken under the supply of goods and services section of the Sex Discrimination Act.

UPDATE: Tonight's Manchester Evening News says the court ruling has implications for local authorities across Britain. They also have a lovely photo of
Pauleen and Oscar.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

FIVE UPDATES: Cameron crap in his own backyard...

As if this morning's headlines weren't a disaster for David Cameron, his dissembling document on The NHS cuts that never were is now disintegrating even in his own back yard. Here's the facts:

Responding to angry claims by the David Cameron's own local hospital that the Conservatives had got their facts wrong, Tory health spokesperson Andrew Lansley denied ever claiming that A&E services were under threat.

He told 5Live:
we wouldn't get that wrong, blimey, it serves David Cameron's own constituency.
That was yesterday. This morning the BBC Today programme showed that the Tory document DID wrongly claim that A&E at the Horton Hospital, Banbury was under threat. Blimey indeed.

But it's even worse for Cameron. The Today programme has clearly demonstrated that Cameron's claims that maternity services in his own constituency are under threat is more scaremongering rubbish.

Sir William Stubbs chairman of the Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust told the Today programme this morning:

As far as the A&E is concerned, there is no threat, indeed it's rather the opposite, the board has agreed to invest additional funds in improving both the consultant provision and the nursing provision at the A&E, so that is not something that people need to be concerned about, indeed people living locally can to be reassured.
That's more investment, not less Mr Cameron.

So what's left is the claim in his NHS cuts document that maternity services serving Mr Cameron's constituency are also under threat.

Sir William said changes to maternity services were taking place - but to improve, not cut the service. Change driven not by financial pressures, but by clinical need to modernise the service!

Sir William said it was a pity Opposition parties didn't check their facts before shooting nonsense from the hip. Indeed.

If the Tories had bothered to Google before publishing their damaging document, they would have found this Oxford and Radcliffe NHS Trust press release from just last month which includes the following information which would have saved a lot of egg on their faces:

(Since 2003)... a number of significant developments have taken place within the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals. These include:
* the opening of the new Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital;
* the opening of the Children’s Hospital, Oxford;
* the transfer of adult services from the Radcliffe Infirmary, to state of the art facilities within the new West Wing at the John Radcliffe Hospital;
* the construction of the new Oxford Cancer Centre (which will open in the Spring of 2008), at the Churchill Hospital;
* considerable investment in the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, including the opening of a new Medical Assessment Unit, the installation of a new CT scanner, and the refurbishment of many areas of the hospital
Sounds like more NHS investment not less in your own back yard Mr Cameron. Check it out.

Or this which took me three seconds to find on Google (italics are mine):

At its meeting in public yesteday (26 July 2007), the Board of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals accepted the recommendations of two clinical groups, and the Executive Board of the Trust, to implement changes to the way in which some of the services at the Horton General Hospital will be delivered in the future, including the expansion of some services. In making this decision, the Board also took account of the report and recommendations of the Stakeholder Panel.

Chairman Sir William Stubbs said: “The need to consider changes at the Horton General Hospital reflects our growing concern that we could not continue to run some services safely or to the highest current standard. We have a duty to our patients to do both.

“The decision of the Board to accept these changes is based on extensive evidence and advice from clinical experts, including staff running the services, and national clinical leaders in their fields. Changes in medical education, restrictions on the hours which doctors can work, and best practice guidance which indicates the need for fewer more specialist centres to provide services such as paediatric s and obstetrics, have all been factors which have been taken into account.

Non Executive Director Caroline Langridge said: "As a resident of North Oxfordshire, I want to ensure the best possible services for local people at the Horton General Hospital. Over the past two years, I have become convinced of the need for change in the paediatric, obstetric and gynaecology services. I have wanted to ensure that the changes were used as an opportunity to develop some first class services at the Horton, and were not simply a series of cuts. I am extremely pleased at the enhancements to the original proposals, as these allow for a number of important developments.

I am a keen supporter of birthing centres, and believe that the extra investment which we have agreed for the Horton will enable us to develop a first rate facility for women in North Oxfordshire. I also believe that the new children’s service will quickly be established as a real asset to the area. I have advocated the establishment of a women’s surgical ward at the Horton for some time, and am pleased that this is now possible.
Blimey indeed.

UPDATE 1: The Daily Mirror reports that 15 - more than half - of the hospitals on Cameron's list have now complained that he has got his facts wrong.

UPDATE 2: The Tories have now apologised to hospitals in Telford and to the Horton in Banbury - in his own backyard.

UPDATE 3: The Tories have issued a press release refusing to back-down.

UPDATE 4: Half an hour after their press release in UPDATE 3 (above), journalists were pointing that it contained a major error. A new corrected press release has now been issued.

UPDATE 5: Bizarely, the Tories have now withdrawn their apology to the Telford Hospital, saying it was a mistake by a junior researcher. Channel 4 News reports that Telford Hospital say they have not been informed that the apology has been withdrawn.

Further Background:

See yesterday's posts Tory MP says sorry to hospital

Cameron battered in first eight rounds

Major's aide tells Tories to do more homework

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lincs fighters shadow the new Russian Bear...

Two of the RAF's newest jets were scrambled from their Lincolnshire base last Friday to shadow a Russian bomber over the North Atlantic ocean - as shown in this photo.

They were two of the dozen new Eurofighter Typhoon fighters based at RAF Coningsby which went operational last month on round-the-clock active duty to provide protection against hijacked airliners and other threats from the skies.

Friday's sortie came just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced long-range flights by bomber aircraft would resume.

While the incident did not threaten British security, it no doubt sent the muscle-flexing Mr Putin a clear signal.

The Ministry of Defence said tonight that the Russian Bear-H aircraft turned back before reaching UK airspace - and they released this photo.

Britain has ordered 144 of the £67 million Typhoons, which have a maximum speed of twice the speed of sound and accelerate from standing to take-off in less than seven seconds.

The Typhoon programme supports thousands of UK jobs and continues a proud tradition of Lincolnshire's role in the security of Britain. In the Cold War of the 1960s, English Electric Lightnings based at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire regularly intercepted Soviet bombers over the North Sea.

My late father who was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Medal served in the RAF for 36 years - retiring from RAF Coningsby in the mid-1970s.

Major's aide tells Tories to 'do a bit more homework'...

Sheila Gunn, press secretary to John Major when he was PM, has some sensible advice for the Conservatives after David Cameron's NHS gaffe which she describes as 'depressing'.

Interviewed on BBC R4 news tonight, she said 'a bit more homework could have saved a lot of's basic' after what she called 'a series of self-inflicted wounds have added to the grief.'

Cameron's self-inflicted wounds are top story on Newsnight which is just starting...

UPDATE: NOW IT'S 12...Cameron battered in first eight rounds of bare-knuckle fight...

Blundering David Cameron only started his 'bare-knuckle' fight over the NHS yesterday. But he already has two black eyes and a bloody nose - all self-inflicted.

ROUND ONE: Cameron admitted Altringham Hospital is not under threat as he claimed yesterday. UPDATE: Cameron campaigns to save non-existent maternity unit! How Cheshire newspaper reports Cameron's latest gaffe.

ROUND TWO: As posted earlier today a Tory MP has apologised to his local hospital staff admitting King's Lynn Hospital is not under threat either.

ROUND THREE: Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust say neither the A&E department nor the maternity unit at City Hospital, Birmingham, one of those listed by Mr Cameron, was under threat of closure.

ROUND FOUR: Horton General Hospital say David Cameron was wrong to say their A&E department was under threat, was seeking a correction from the Tories.

ROUND FIVE: Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, say: 'We totally refute any suggestion that Huddersfield Royal Infirmary has been downgraded or is under threat of closure.'

ROUND SIX: George Elliot Hospital, Nuneaton says a review has concluded that there should be no changes to either A&E or maternity.

ROUND SEVEN: North Bristol NHS Trust say the Tory claim that Frenchay Hospital A&E service faces the axe was 'simply not the case'.

ROUND EIGHT: South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, say the A&E and maternity departments at Warwick Hospital were not under threat, adding that such stories were destabilising for staff and patients.

Is Cock-Up Cameron out for the count...?

UPDATE: Top story on Channel 4 News: 12 hospitals say Cameron has got his facts wrong - one of them is the Huddersfield hospital Cameron visited today to launch his 'bare-knuckle' fight! C4 reports one Conservative front bencher saying 'Conservatives have got their facts wrong.'

But Tory health spokesperson Andrew Lansley sticks to his guns: He says: 'We can see a pattern emerging...!'

Indeed we can Mr Lansley. Indeed we can.

Tory MP says sorry to hospital after Cameron's false claims...

David Cameron's 'fightback' has floundered in its first day. A Tory MP has admitted that the Conservative Leader was wrong yesterday to claim that maternity services at his local district hospital were under threat.

Norfolk North West MP Henry Bellingham has confirmed that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn is not facing cuts as claimed yesterday by David Cameron.

Mr Bellingham has apologised to hospital workers for his Leader's remarks and said he wasn't even consulted by Cameron's staff before they were made.

Mr Cameron has yet to apologise for his gaffe.

Only last week, fellow Norfolk MP Norman Lamb was forced to apologise to his local hospital - the Norwich and Norfolk - after claims he made about kitchen hygiene were proved not to be true.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lincs no longer the baddest council...

A couple of years ago Tory Lincolnshire County Council was in the running for "The Baddest Council in Britain" after a shameful catalogue of events which ended with former Leader Jim Speechley being sent to prison for abuse of power.

Now the Daily Mirror has found a new contender for the title in Lib-Dem Southwark Borough in London...

The clue is in the photo...

DEVASTATED brides-to-be broke down in tears after discovering their dream dresses lay blackened in a bridal shop gutted by fire.

Tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph carries a front page photo of Tracey Cox who says losing the dress for her wedding in three weeks time was her worst nightmare.

Businesswoman Tracey has launched a 'crisis fund' for other couples affected and has donated £500 to get the ball rolling.

Kind gesture, but isn't that what insurance is for..?

She went on:
I can't get through to the shop or leave a message.
I'm not surprised Tracey can't get through to the shop.

The clue is in the photo...

Tory writer says losing is the best Cameron can expect...

As David Cameron arrives back from his holiday anxious to launch a fresh come-back, a leading Tory writer writes off his chances and says he needs to find ‘at least one obviously Conservative policy’.

Former Tory MP Matthew Parris, now columnist for The Times says today that while David Cameron should 'play to win' the next General Election:
the best result would be to wing Brown then let Britain see him flap around for a year or two with a shrunk or non-existent majority.
Writing on the Conservative Home site, Paris goes on

At least one solid, distinctively and obviously Conservative policy should be found – death duties, whatever – headlined, showcased, and stuck to regardless.
And he says there should be
No more pictures with poor people...A sense of command should be exuded as he settles the final shape of his potential Cabinet. Some of the faces and voices are not right from the viewpoint of the world outside his party, and that’s the viewpoint that counts. An act of ruthlessness would come in handy.
Who can he be thinking of for the boot: surely not wee Georgie Osborne...?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Greenpeace: naked double standards in global warming stunt...?

Where did the hundreds of people who posed naked on a Swiss glacier today come from…? And more importantly, how did they get there…?

The stunt was organised by Greenpeace to raise awareness about global warming.

Greenpeace, of course, are one of the environment groups also backing the ongoing protest at Heathrow to raise awareness about what they call “binge flying”.

Today’s stunt in the Alps was designed to draw attention to the effects of global warming on Switzerland's shrinking glaciers.

(Fortunately, that’s all that was shrinking today, as fortunately the picture was taken below the snow line…)

But back to my point: After hearing the BBC Radio 4 report this evening, it seems a lot of people travelled a lot of miles to take their clothes off on ice.

The New York artist who snapped the scene has travelled the world creating art forms from groups of nudes in various settings.

So how exactly how did he and his cast of hundreds get to the Alps…?

Greenpeace aren’t saying. Like David Cameron when he went to the Arctic to pose with a huskie, I bet they didn’t get there on bikes.

£30,000 in wedding dresses destroyed...

The impact of the Deepings blaze is spreading - owners of the Bridal Centre are appealing to up to 30 brides whose wedding dresses have gone up in flames to get in touch.

Tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph reports that owners of the burnt out Bridal Shop have made a desperate appeal for brides to get in touch, as all their customer records were also destroyed

Manager of the Bridal Centre Sandy Smith told the ET the dresses were worth about £1,000 each.

She said: "We are appealing for our customers to contact us via our special helpline number..."

But she also admitted "...there's nothing we can physically do for them."

Customers are asked to call a helpline number 0798 493 4696 or log on to

Meanwhile the whole site has been cordoned off for safety.

See Video of the Deepings fire...

The Deepings blaze which I posted on HERE and HERE yesterday, didn't start in the Bridal Centre as first thought, but next door at Fushion, the blinds and fabric shop, according to a report on the Lincolnshire Free Press website.

Spectacular photos showing flames billowing from the building at the height of the Deepings blaze - sent in by a reader - are also published on the Free Press site.

Meanwhile the Peterborough Evening Telegraph has gone one better with a dramatic video.

Friday, August 17, 2007

UPDATED WITH PHOTOS: Gowns for this weekend's wedding go up in flames...

The impact of the Deepings blaze which destroyed six shops today will touch the lives of many people - such as the young lady who turned up at the Bridal Centre expecting to collect a set of bridesmaids dresses for a wedding tomorrow.

She was met with a scene of total devastation as 40 fire-fighters tackled the fire and left with wedding plans in tatters.

As the mess is now being damped down and the roads re-opened, the only evidence that a bridal shop ever existed are the remains of a couple of sad mannequins in black-charred wedding gowns.

The Bridal Centre - a local business partnership - is trying to do everything possible to help its customers and has a website and email for anyone concerned about their wedding outfits.

The fire totally destroyed the Bridal Centre, a book shop, Fushions Fabrics, and a men's barber shop.

Fire-fighters did well to partially save Hop-Scotch kiddies shoes shop and ACS wedding photographers - but their premises are flooded and stock likely to be a complete write-off.

I'm no expert, but I'd be surprised if any of the structure can be saved.

In my earlier post breaking the news today, I wrote that it was unlikely that asbestos was involved as the structure had been rebuilt. But it appears that the old roof of Todd's Garage - which appears to be asbestos - remained in place when Terry Wright converted the premises into a parade of shops some years ago.

I spoke with Terry as he surveyed the damage this afternoon. He was badly shaken and his first concern was to help his tenants who could only watch on as years of hard work and investment went up in flames in moments.

Meanwhile, here's how local media are covering the Deepings blaze:

Stamford Mercury

Peterborough Evening Telegraph

BREAKING NEWS: Fire crews tackle biggest Deepings blaze...

A row of at least four shops in the centre of Deeping St James has been destroyed this morning in the biggest blaze seen in the Deepings for at least a generation...

Fire crews were called to The Bridal Centre just after 8.30 this morning, but the fire quickly spread along the row of shops.

The Bridal Centre, next door Fabric Shop, HopScotch kiddies clothes shop and the men's barbers all appear gutted.

The picture frame shop on the end of the row appears less damaged at first sight.

Half a dozen fire tenders and 20 fire-fighters are trying to get the blaze under control.

It is not believed that anyone has been injured.

Police have cordoned off the centre of Deeping St James from the Godsey Lane roundabout to the old bridge at The Bell. Spalding Road is closed from Deepings School...

Emergency services are keeping people well away from the blaze as they are concerned as the danger of chemicals in the acrid smoke.

Fire crews have mentioned the possibility that asbestos may be involved. I'd be surprised if this were true as the entire row of shops was rebuilt by local businessman Terry Wright about ten or so years ago.

It is believed Terry Wright still owns the row of shops which he vacated about five years ago when he moved Terry Wright Cycles across the road to the former Ford car showrooms.

A number of local families have seen years of hard work investing in small businesses go up in flames this morning. My thoughts are with them.


The site of the blaze is the former Todd's Garage which closed about 25 years ago.

Terry Wright took over the Todd's site and moved from the former Coop across the road, which was then used as the Coop dairy and I recall is now a funeral home.

Terry Wright's has become a nationally known specialist cycle shop as it has grown and grown.

Terry opened his first shop as a young man in the 1970s in the former Cross Brothers Drapery in Church Street, Deeping St James - the house where I have lived with my family since 1983.


The Deepings blaze started hours after a much bigger overnight blaze in the centre of Skegness which has destroyed much of the tourist-based business sector on Grand Parade including amusement arcades and local shops. See BBC Lincolnshire report.

It's reassuring to know that despite having 100 fire-fighters tackling the Skegness blaze, half a dozen fire engines and 20 fire-fighters responded to the Deepings call within minutes.


There's bound to be a lot of heartache and tears as a result of the Deepings blaze which gutted a parade of shops.

A number of people have seen years of hard work and investment in building up a local family business literally go up in flames in a few minutes.

There will also be consequences for many of their customers.

The Bridal Shop will have dozens of wedding outfits in store for brides, bridesmaids and grooms for upcoming weddings.

And the photographers will have wedding photos from recent ceremonies.

But people are more precious than possessions and at least it appears no-one has been injured...

Lincoln Uni: must do better...

Disappointed to see the University of Lincoln ranks a poor 109th out of 113 in the 2007 Times Good University Guide, a similar placing to last year.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who makes John Redwood look more foolish...the BBC or John Redwood?

Tonight's London Standard picks up the BBC apology to John Redwood which I posted HERE yesterday.

The Standard says:

Faced with accusations of anti-Tory bias and gratuitously trying to make the former Cabinet minister look foolish, the corporation's director of news Helen Boaden admitted it was "wrong" to use the clip.
The BBC trying to make John Redwood look foolish...? Didn't he do that all by himself...?

Tomorrow, David Cameron will wheel out the same old John Redwood to announce policies which would lead to massive cuts in vital public services if the Tories are ever trusted to run Britain again.

Tories are desperate to airbrush out their appalling boom-n-bust record, including two recessions and mass unemployment and misery delivered by John Redwood and his Tory mates.

Shamefully, the BBC have buckled under pressure.

Fortunately, the Tories can't gag blogs. This is what the Tories don't want you to see.

MP claims he's victim of Facebook fakery...

I’ve been finally given in and joined the incredible Facebook frenzy, which seems to have gripped the nation.

But I'm still wary about the whole mullarky which is attracting millions of people to sign up to the internet ‘social utility’ as the coolest way to stay in touch with friends.

I remain sceptical about the whole craze, despite already re-discovering friends I haven't heard from for years.

The problem is there's 'too much information' and anyway, you just can’t trust everything you read on Facebook. Not even about a LibDem MP.

I know that you're probably thinking that a LibDem MP doesn’t have to be on Facebook for us to know there’s just the slightest possibility he or she might be telling porkies…

But as this clip from the Fakenham & Wells Times shows, a fake profile of Norman Lamb MP has apparently been posted on Facebook.

And the faker is not even Mr Lamb. Not this time anyway.

He complains about the mischievous attempt to mislead the public.

His words ring with irony, given my earlier post today highlighting his grovelling apology after he was caught out published wrong information about his local hospital.

Information which misled the public.

I have two questions:

1. Why on earth would anyone want to impersonate Norman Lamb?

2. Which Facebook site would be more reliable: the ‘real’ one or the ‘fake’?

What do you think?

Top LibDem admits attack on hospital hygiene was wrong...

Ming Campbell's health spokesman has been forced to issue a grovelling apology to his local hospital after publishing a so-called research document that turns out to be duff.

Norman Lamb MP failed to check the facts before wrongly labelling kitchen hygiene standards at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as among the worst in the country.

A damning LibDem report grabbed the headlines earlier this week with a national hospital league table based on the number of breaches uncovered by environmental health officers.

Of course, the report nicely fitted the LibDem agenda to attack the NHS as failing under Labour.

Just one problem. It was wrong and they've been caught out!

The hospital points out that the LibDems failed to distinguish between serious breaches and minor infringements. And they say it would have been nice if the LibDem MP had actually contacted them to check the facts before grabbing a cheap headline.

Iain Dale's Diary points out that inspection reports at the hospital

made five sensible but minor suggested improvements - including fixing some flaking paint behind a dishwasher, and putting a can opener in the dishwasher rather hand washing it.
The Eastern Daily Press prints Norman Lamb's apology.

If flaking paint behind a dishwasher put the Norfolk and Norwich among the wrost in the country, I look forward to the LibDem report which praises hospital workers.

But I won't hold my breath eh Norman?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Updated Redwood clip, absolutely brilliant...

A much improved version of the John Redwood classic clip HERE.

The original was funny. This is brilliant. Do watch it and let me know what you think...

LibDems bet both ways on super-casino...!

‘Jaw-dropping’ hypocrisy by LibDems on the super-casino is highlighted by John Hacking at Chorlton Park Labour.

John says the LibDem Group on Manchester Council voted AGAINST a super casino.

And in Parliament, all LibDem MPs - including Manchester City Councillor John Leach MP - voted AGAINST a super- casino.

Now Gordon Brown has announced a review of the decision.

And guess what the LibDem Leader on Manchester City Council is saying…?

Yep, he’s now attacking the review which could mean Manchester won’t get a casino which they were against in the first place!


See the Classic Redwood clip the BBC wish they hadn't re-shown...

The BBC says they were wrong at the weekend to re-show John Redwood bumbling through the Welsh national anthem.

Thankfully, you can see it on u-tube.

Pure gold.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Don't let Iain Dale silence your voice: here's 20 fave blogs...

If you've been kind enough to nominate me for Iain Dale's Top Blogs, he may have ruled your vote null and void...

Iain has emailed me to say that a number of people have nominated my blog only - when he is looking for a minimum of ten and a maximum of 20.

Seems a bit unfair to me: you have to be a blog anorak to know more than a few political blogsites...

But I’m not giving up. You can vote again up to midnight on Wednesday. So here's my slate of 20 of my favourites. Please cut and paste them into an email - and amend to your own taste before sending to:

Please put “Top 20” in subject box.

Thanks...Well, I suppose that makes me a blog anorak...!

UPDATE: A few excellent sites were inevitably squeezed out, but one that slipped away by mistake was Luke Akehurst...he should be in at number 5...

Bus operator wins East Coast rail franchise...

Britain's biggest coach firm National Express has today won the franchise to run the main East Coast Rail line.

National Express promises an increased service with new, more environment-friendly trains, better timekeeping, fewer delays and free wi-fi internet for all passengers.

...Er, and higher fares.

National Express takes over the service from GNER in December and has won the contract to 2015.

3-m news update at The Guardian.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Let's celebrate Dubya losing his brain...

Emotional speeches today as Karl Rove - said to be the brain of President George Bush - announces he is to leave the White House at the end of the month.

The hidden hand of Karl Rove was widely believed to have orchestrated the campaign which may have stopped a Democrat from entering the White House in 2004.

Astonishly, the GOP managed to turn John Kerry's exemplary war record in Vietnam from an asset to a millstone, as the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were pushed onto the US airwaves night after night to successfully knock the Democrat's prospects.

The fact that Dubya never went to Vietnam, and Kerry fought for his country seemed to get lost in the hype and spin.

True, the Democrats fought a poor campaign with a weak message in 2004 - as they had done in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote for the Democrats, but lost the Presidency in the legal battle of the chads...

But without Karl Rove, Bush may well have been sunk in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

And today, the world may be a very different place.

So today's news is not a cause for tears.

It's cause for celebration.

War heroes not honoured because of their names...

Our local council agreed to honour Stamford's fallen in the Second World War by naming new roads after six of them...

But after much debate, only four will be remembered.

It's finally been decided that the name Green is too common...and the name Titman on a street sign would only get vandalised!


Full story: Stamford Mercury.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tories lose their agent...

Tories in Alan Duncan's constituency have sacked their agent because they can't afford to pay his wages...

One local Conservative activist tells the Stamford Mercury that losing their agent is a retrograde step - specially with the odds on a General Election within the next 12 months tumbling by the day...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What a mess...

Wonder how long it will be before some well-meaning do-gooder wants to send this hooligan on a course at taxpayers expense to learn how to do it properly...?

No, we need to catch 'Robo' quick and make him - or her - clean up the mess they are responsible for.

Are you a Godly miracle worker...? Here's your ideal job!

Are you a Godly miracle worker looking for loadsa money for a few hours a fortnight...? I've discovered an amazing job opening made for you... This is a serious job advert on an Ohio employment agency website called Craigs List:

Greetings to the followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ! We are looking for a faith healer to officiate over our healing services we will be conducting every other Saturday in Avon Lake, Ohio. The far westside of Cleveland.

We are looking for a Godly man of Christ who has a proven track record of miracle healing by laying-of-hands or by saying the word. Someone who is filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit to cure illness and infirmities in the Body of Christ.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience if the Holy Spirit is calling you to our ministry.
Don't send your CV to me. Apply directly to Pastor Julius and Elder Tom at the Kingdom Church of Jesus Christ. If you're the right person, I'm sure you'll already know how to contact them.

The good news is that the hours are minimal and the 'compensation' (which I assume is a polite American word for wages) is a cool $150,000.

The bad news is that's a year, not per appearance...

I note that there's a banner ad on Craigs List which warns Beware of Scams...You have been warned.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I used to attack people, but I'm better now...

If you're in court for criminal damage by punching, kicking and head-butting a fence after eight cans of lager and a blazing row, there's not much your solicitor can do for you.

But the Lincolnshire Free Press quotes these words of mitigation to the magistrates:

Mr Michael Alexander, defending, said that (his client's) behaviour was improving as he had previously committed three similar offences through drink, which had always resulted in him attacking other people.
So there we are. Things are getting better!

A chance to vote for your favourite blog...

Iain Dale is inviting nominations for the best political blogs for his 2007 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK.

He's asking for your top 20, but says 10 will do. I notice many people are voting in his comments box for one blog or a couple of their favourites...

May I rely on your support in this election?

You can take part at this link or email your nomination to:

type 'Top 20' in subject line.


Madeleine's parents refuse to be hounded out of Portugal...

The nasty smear campaign against the parents of missing Madeleine McCann intensified yesterday. Friday's Daily Mail has the latest.

Bill trebles for road that cost Tory Leader his freedom...

The road project that led to the jailing of former Tory Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Jim Speechley is back in the news after it has been revealed that it is to cost more than three times original estimates - and that's before work has even started.

Speechley went to prison three years ago for dishonestly attempting to influence the route of the A1073 round Crowland.

But work on the controversial road has still not even begun - latest start date is next April.

Meanwhile, delays and engineering complications have seen the estimate cost soar from £24 million to over £80 million.

So the road is costing us all much more than we bargained for - not just Jim Speechley!

As county councillor for Deeping St James, I have serious concerns about the spiralling costs of the road and intend asking a number of questions.

More later...

Manwhile, the Lincolnshire Echo report on the rising costs...

'Blood on the wall was Cameron's...'

Northern Tories have given David Cameron a ferocious ear-bashing. Angy activists dismayed with his performance as Leader warned him that Yorkshire Conservative Party is on the verge of meltdown.

The Mirror reported that blood was on the walls and most of it was his. He was reported to have been badly shaken by the mauling at what was supposed to have been a charm-offensive lunch.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New York Times website invites ideas for most horrific terror attack...

'If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?' was the title of a highly irresponsible post published on the New York Times website yesterday.

The writer speculates what kind of outrage would most scare America and invites readers to comment with their most horrific idea to create maximum terror for minimum effort.

If this crazy nonsense is not a criminal offence, isn't it time it was...?

Hattips to and Conservative Home

How Americans exploit u-tube in race for White House...

Fascinating to see how the latest technology is quickly exploited in American campaigning. Here, Barack Obama attempts to shore up his support by emailing his supporters with clips of a TV debate with other front runners for the Democrat ticket.

He was trying to clarify his controversial comments on intervention in Pakistan to deal with terrorists in Pakistan which angered many hard-line Democrats.

Obama, campaigning to be the first black President, came out fighting after slipping further behind Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning to be the first female President.

Abolish all prisons says LibDem's Mark Oaten...

This man would now be Home Secretary if we'd been daft enough to vote LibDem. Soft on crime, or just plain soft...?

Chameleon Cameron turns broccoli blue...

He's tried pretending to be green, yellow and even red. But despite his Chameleon appearances, the real David Cameron only ever came in one colour - Tory blue.

Today, the Tories return to their true colours. The £40,000 green tree squiggle which they launched less than a year ago has turned blue...

The Daily Torygraph explains:

The Tories' green oak tree logo has turned a more traditional shade of blue as an embattled David Cameron seeks to reassure Conservative activists that he is not abandoning the party's core values.

A year after the controversial doodle replaced the party's traditional red white and blue flaming torch of freedom, it has lost its environmentally friendly green leaves.

The "vote blue, go green" oak tree logo has been one of the most visible demonstrations of Mr Cameron's attempts to move the party back to the centre ground and show voters that it is no longer the "nasty party".
When the traditional Tory blue torch logo was extinguished last year, former Tory party chairman Lord Norman Tebbit said the green tree which replaced it looked more like a bunch of broccoli.

David Cameron's tried to show his green credentials by being photographed cycling to Parliament - but he was caught out when journalists discovered that he was followed by a car which carried his shoes!

There were attempts to portray him as the natural heir to Tony Blair, and even a campaign to paint him as a Liberal.

Labour's launch of Dave the Chameleon warned voters that the real colours of Dave would always be true-blue.

Well, now the broccoli has turned blue.

Maybe they'll try purple sprouting next...?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tory MP says Gordon is moving Labour deeper into 'Conservative territory'...

Gordon Brown is moving Labour deeper into 'Conservative territory' according to South Holland and Deepings Tory MP John Hayes.

Tory strategy to deal with Gordon Brown as new Prime Minister was clearly to create a fear that he would move Labour away from the centre-ground of British politics with more 'left wing' measures.

But writing today on Conservative Home, Mr Hayes says not only has that not happened, but it will not happen. A prominent figure in the right-wing Cornerstone Group of Tory MPs, Mr Hayes says:

We already know that Gordon Brown will not shift the Labour party to the left in any way that is meaningful to voters. Indeed, his pronouncements on a unified border force, super casinos and 24 hour drinking demonstrate that he is actually moving Labour further into Conservative territory.
Read the full article HERE

Free bus travel to end farce is no thanks to Tory council...

Have the Tories who run one of the UK’s meanest concessionary fares schemes for pensioners and disabled people had a sudden burst of generosity…?

No, of course not. But you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking so if you read last night’s Peterborough Evening Telegraph (not on the online version so no link).

Under the headline Free bus travel for the elderly, news of a new scheme to provide free national bus travel for the elderly and disabled from next April.

Conservative councillor Maureen Spencer-Gregson is quoted:

From April 1 2008 the new scheme will enable our residents who qualify and use bus passes to travel free beyond our district.

This represents a significant service improvement from the current arrangements which restrict free travel within the council’s boundaries.

Funny that there's no mention that Maureen and her mates have had to be dragged kicking and sreaming to do the decent thing.

The change is entirely due to Gordon Brown, not Maureen and her mean mates.

Gordon Brown has introduced nation-wide off-peak free bus fares for pensioners and disabled people precisely because of the meanness of councils like Grantham-based South Kesteven District Council.

I’ve been campaiging for years for this change – that’s how I became known as Fair Deal Phil.

For years, SKDC has been the only council in Lincolnshire which refused to join a county-wide scheme which extended concessionary fares to nearby towns such a Peterborough.

So we have had the ludicrous farce of pensioners from other districts travelling on a concession through South Kesteven to shops and hospitals in Peterborough – while our own pensioners are forced to pay full fare for a shorter journey on the same bus!

Now at last the discrimination against our local pensioners – and disabled people – will be stopped.

Thanks to Gordon Brown and a Labour Government.

No thanks to the mean Tories who run our local council.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Portuguese papers claim missing Madeleine died in the apartment...

Another sinister turn in the hunt for Madeleine McCann: Unconfirmed reports in the Portuguese media that police believe she died in her bedroom and that she was not kidnapped.

The news reports prompted her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, to give a fresh round of TV interviews today. They are convinced that their little girl is alive and say Portuguese Police have assured them in recent days that they are still hunting for a little girl - not a body.

Meanwhile, more disturbing news on reports that blood traces have been found (as I posted HERE last night).

BBC TV reported tonight that Portuguese Police have confirmed blood particles have been found in the past week by British detectives examining the apartment where Madeleine was last seen alive almost 100 days ago. The blood is now being analysed to see if it could have come from Madeleine.

But the discovery of blood in the apartment has changed the mood of the media coverage in Portugal. Newspapers there are now claiming that senior police sources have revealed they have definitively abandoned the theory that she was abducted and are convinced she died as a result of negligence or murder.

According to British press reports, Portuguese Police have confirmed that Madeleine's parents are not suspects.

Officers from the Policia Judiciaria are to interview the McCanns again - as well as six friends.

Three months on, the nightmare continues...

UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph website has an update.

UPDATE 2: Leicester Mercury

Top Tory donor attacks Eton-toff Cameron as out-of-touch...

One of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party has withdrawn his support - and attacked David Cameron's arrogant, Old Etonian leadership.

Sir Tom Cowie, millionaire life president of the Arriva transport group, pulled the plug on the Tories after giving hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years.

He's just the latest figure in recent days to mount a stinging attack on Mr Cameron's poor performance and lack of judgement. In the last few days alone, former Tory treasurer Lord Stanley Kalms attacked Cameron's leadership. Then former Tory chairman Lord Saatchi warned Cameron that nicey-nicey policies won't get the Tories elected.

Top of today's list of criticisms by Sir Tom was Mr Cameron's lamentable handling of the self-inflicted Tory Grammar Wars. Self-made Sir Tom blamed much of the Tory infighting on the privileged educational background of Mr Cameron and many of his close friends who now run the party.

Sir Tom says:
The Tory party seems to be run now by Old Etonians and they don't seem to understand how other people live. They seem to be very arrogant like I suppose Old Etonians can be. They certainly don't understand about grammar schools.
When Cameron's self-inflicted Grammar-wars hit the headlines, I was lambasted by comments on my blog saying I was over-egging its significance.

Looks like my hunch was right on the money.

UPDATE: Story picked up by The London Standard.

Tory MP reveals how even the good news turned sour in Ealing Southall...

A month after the Ealing Southall by election, here’s what a Tory MP says about disastrous performance by David Cameron’s Conservatives:

The Party needs to learn from the very serious mistakes we made (especially the manner in which we were manipulated by the defecting Labour councillors during the campaign).
So reveals London MP Mark Field writing today on Conservative Home He was commenting on the defection to the Tories of five Labour councillors during the by-election campaign.

There was little media interest at the time in the real story behind the defections which were led by controversial Ealing councillor Gurcharan Singh.

Mr Singh had been desperate to become Labour’s candidate in the by-election. He was furious when he was told he wasn’t good enough to make Labour’s selection shortlist, that he jumped ship, taking four of his followers with him.

The facts didn’t stop the Tory spin machine:

David Cameron hailed the defections as an important moment in British politics (Tory Central Office press release, 9th July).

Tory blogger Iain Dale claimed the defections showed Labour’s campaign was disintegrating by the day.

Conservative Home even commissioned a Brown’s Ealing Bombshell graphic to celebrate the defections, claiming:

This is not only a massive boost to Tony Lit's by-election campaign it is also a serious blow to Gordon Brown.

Grant Shapps MP deserves a lot of credit for engineering these defections. By all accounts he is running a superb campaign in Ealing. Many congratulations to him and his team.
At 18 Doughty Street you could read:

The stage is set for a potentially huge by-election upset, with the Conservatives facing their best opportunity ever to take the seat from Labour.
The result showed that it was the Tory campaign, not Labour's which disintegrated - with far reaching consequences for the Tory Leader.

As for Grant Shapps getting the credit, many Tories - particularly local Ealing Southall activists believe he deserves full credit for his Party's disaster.

In fairness, it's not just Tory by election spin that proved laughably wide of the truth. Last week I reported on bizarre LibDem claims that Labour’s victory in Ealing Southall was a blow for Gordon Brown…

Former Leader Chas Kennedy let the cat out when he later admitted the result was in fact a boost for Gordon Brown

In the days following the disastrous result for David Cameron’s Conservatives, Mark Field upset many Tory activists when he said:

I believe that our by-election campaign in Ealing Southall may have done lasting damage to the Party’s outreach work in the British Asian Communities.
If a week’s a long time in politics, it seems a month is, er, even longer…!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Missing Madeleine: grim find in holiday flat...?

I hope reports that traces of Madeleine McCann's blood have been discovered at the holiday flat where she was last seen prove to be untrue.

Portuguese Police have not confirmed reports carried in the tonight's London Standard. The reports were first made this morning in a Portuguese newspaper today.

The Standard also reports:

in recent weeks, some elements of the Portugese media have been conducting what appears to be a smear campaign against the McCanns, in an apparent attempt to distract attention from the police's failure to crack the case.
What a truly awful nightmare.

Tories ahead in the key marginals says New Statesman editor...

New Statesman editor John Kampfner says the Tories have been quietly pouring money into the crucial marginal seats which could decide the outcome of the next General Election.

Under the headline: The Tories are still ahead in the real election battleground, he writes in today's Guardian that while Cameron's Conservatives currently appear to be in a mess, much of their campaigning work with the swing voters in key marginal seats is going on below the radar.

Kampfner says after the Tory panic in reaction to the Brown bounce, the smartest money will be on an improvement once the new political season opens in September...

Well, after Grammar wars, Ealing Southall, floods and Rwanda, things couldn't get much worse for David Cameron and the Conservatives.

But as he says: there is still everything to play for.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Lewis wins again...

Third F1 win for British sensation Lewis Hamilton in his rookie season.

The boy done good to overcome a week of controvery and let his driving do the talking.

Winning in Budapest today extends Hamilton's lead in the world championship over his team-mate and rival Fernando Alonso.


Proud to be Royal Anglian...

Excellent article in today's Observer on the tough life endured by Royal Anglian squaddies in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan.

I wish more people here at home appreciated the efforts and sacrifices of our soldiers in the war to defeat the Taliban and bring stability to Helmand.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Boris can never be credible candidate when he describes black people as 'piccaninnies'...

Difficult to see how Boris Johnson can remain a contender for London Mayor after the Guardian reveals today how he describes black people as piccaninnies and talks about water melon smiles of Africans.

Thankfully, our country has moved on from the 1950s generation of my parents when terms like that were widely accepted.

Today, I suspect as many white Londoners as black Londoners will find Boris's colourful language offensive. I hope they agree with the mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence that he is not fit to be Mayor of our multi-cultural capital city.

David Cameron's quest to find a credible Tory candidate to take on Ken Livingstone has been seemingly endless and everyone knows he was scraping the barrell when Boris agreed to stand. But if thinks the answer to Ken is Boris, his judgement is worse than anyone thought possible. Mr Cameron needs to once again back to the drawing board...

Waiting for Armageddon: Disturbing evidence of American pro-Israeli hysteria...

This is one of the most disturbing videos I’ve ever seen – it’s of radical pro-Israeli Americans looking forward to Armageddon and calling on President Bush to take out Iran in a pre-emptive strike.

This is not a small group of harmless nutters. It is an influential Christian-right mass movement led by one of the highest paid TV evangelists in America.

Christians United for Israel has links to the Bush White House and lobbies at the highest level for a unilateral military attack on Iran and an expansion of Israeli territory.

The megachurch Pastor John Hagee leads his flock praying for Armageddon tomorrow: ‘I’ve got my bag packed’ says one disciple.

They believe that after the coming battle of Armageddon, Jesus will return to Jerusalem to cleanse the earth of evil. All non-believers – including mainstream Christians and Jews - must convert or suffer the torture of eternal damnation.

Most worrying is the close links Pastor Hagee is said to have forged with the Bush White House and leading members of Congress both Democrat and Repuplican.

It was disturbing to see such a senior Democrat as Senator Joe Lieberman praising Pastor Hagee as a man of God.

A couple of weeks ago I posted HERE on a chilling Channel 4 news interview with Mansour Dadullah, new leader of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. He made it clear that the Taliban goal is kidnap as many westerners as possible, to fight infidels all over the world and to implement one religion around the world.

Dadullah has no qualms about seeing children trained to behead infidels and he predicts a spectacular terrorist attack will succeed soon in Britain.

Christians United for Israel is every bit as frightening as the Taliban.

Friday, August 03, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Gordon Brown ends holiday to deal with foot and mouth outbreak...

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has scrapped his family holiday in Cornwall to take charge of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth which has been confirmed at a farm in Surrey tonight.

A nationwide ban on the movement of all sheep, cattle and pigs was immediately announced and all livestock on the affected farm near Guildford are to be slaughtered.

The last major outbreak of foot and mouth in 2001 led to the slaughter of millions of animals and had a devastating impact on the farming and tourist industries.

I understand that Gordon Brown chaired an emergency meeting tonight by telephone and will return from his family holiday in Cornwall in the morning to chair further meetings in Downing Street.

Environment Minister Hillary Benn is also returning from his holiday to deal with the outbreak.

Let's hope the disease can be contained and isolated as quickly as possible.

BREAKING NEWS: Ex-MP Red Ron dies...

One of the most outspoken hard-left MPs from Labour's wilderness years has died, it was announced a few minutes ago.

Ron Brown was one of two MPs infamous for picking up the historic Mace in the House of Commons.

Tory Michael Heseltine earned himself the nickname Tarzan when he swung the Mace above his head.

Ron Brown managed to drop - and damage - the Mace when he picked it up - and taunted Michael Heseltine with it.

Mr Brown then added insult to injury by refusing to apologise for his antics - despite being handed carefully drafted words. The Speaker had no alternative but to suspend him from Parliament.

He was also involved in a number of rather more colourful episodes and was finally deselected as Labour's candidate in Leith, Edinburgh for the 1992 General Election.

He stood as an independent but was beaten by Labour's new candidate - Malcolm Chisholm and was expelled from the Labour Party.

Kilroy was here...but now he's not there...have you seen our Euro-MP?

Robert Kilroy Silk misses more than half the votes in the Strasbourg parliament and when he does vote, he almost always abstains according to complaints led by his East Midlands colleagues.

Kilroy Silk was elected to represent the East Midlands as one of our six Euro-MPs -and he's paid handsomely to do just that.

This week, the two Tory MEPs for the region complained this week that perma-tanned Kilroy Silk is 'taking the pith'.

Right-winger Roger says MEPs have to participate in at least 50% of recorded votes to claim their daily expense allowance, and that means voting Yes, or No, or abstaining.

Roger Helmer claims: “He’s not voting to represent his constituents. He’s abstaining to get his expenses”.

Kilroy Silk was elected on a UKIP ticket three years ago, but fell out with UKIP after his bid to become leader failed. He launched his own party, Veritas, and I was was humiliated when he stood for Westminster against Labour's Liz Blackman in Erewash in 2005.

(For me, the sweetest moment of the 2005 campaign was seeing a solid hard-working constituency MP triumph over the here-today, gone-tomorrow, flash-in the-pan tactics of Kilroy Silk).

Roger Helmer says since then, Kilroy has only been an occasional visitor to the parliament but still draws his salary and expenses.

Fellow Tory MEP for East Midlands, Lincoln based Chris Heaton-Harris says:

”I’m guessing he abstains because he has no idea what he’s voting on, and would rather abstain than risk voting for something he disagrees with. But he’s paid to represent the people of the East Midlands, and to vote in their interests, and he’s just not doing his job”.

I look forward to seeing Kilroy Silk's response to these very serious charges against him.

When the lead goes limp, it's a clue that the dog's gone...

As I scanned today's police blotter, a report of three boxer dogs stolen from kennels at Fishtoft near Boston caught my eye.

Two things struck me.

First, the monetary value put on the trio of three-year-old female boxers was a cool £7,000. That's three very special bitches (one ginger brindle, one fawn and white, one red and white).

And second, was the time they were said to have been stolen:

sometime between 1.00pm on Monday 30 July 2007 and Thursday, 1 August 2007 around 11.00am.
So the dogs could have been gone for up to three days before they were missed.

I may be out of touch - it's well over ten years since Sam, my beloved labrador, popped his clogs. And I know boxers are meant to be smarter than the average mutt. But surely canines have not evolved so far since Sam that they actually feed themselves these days...have they?

And if prized mutts are in kennels, don't they get pampered with walkies at least twice a day?

Wouldn't you at least notice that the end of the lead had gone limp...?

Bogusity of Beckham Bender exposed: only in America...

I've long given up getting snippy at what Americans do to the English language…but my hackles did rise slightly today when I spotted a newly made-up word in a news report from California...

Officials in Los Angeles have been dealing with a crank who made a series of calls pretending to be David Beckham.

The LA Times reported that the imposter telephoned LA’s Department of Children and Family Services inviting underprivileged kids to a practice session of Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham's new team.

Officials realized the calls were a hoax after quizzing the caller.

County Chief Executive William T. Fujioka claimed they were never really duped. We're not country bumpkins, he said.

While department spokeswoman Louise Grasmehr added: It just smacked of bogusity,

I wonder how long it will be before bogusity graces the pages of the Oxford Dictionary…

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Grammar Wars: Roger Helmer's helpful words of advice for David Cameron...

More welcome words of advice for Conservative Leader David Cameron who has been under intense pressure since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister.

Today's call for a new direction is from Roger Helmer, East Midlands Conservative Euro-MP, who helpfully re-opens Tory Grammar Wars which exposed David Cameron's poor judgement and hopeless leadership.

Roger's views are published at Conservative Home .

Right-winger Roger is also chairman of something called The Freedom Association.

He suggests putting Graham Brady in charge of schools...remember Graham Brady?

He's the Tory MP who lost his job on Cameron's front-bench for standing up for Grammar Schools after Cameron said it was wrong to separate children into 'sheep and goats' at the age of 11.

Ironically Mr Brady lost his job for promoting a way forward which became official Tory policy a few days and a u-turn later.

I'm sure Dave is all ears...

Snakes alive...

Pre-school children had plenty to talk about on their summer nature walk in Deeping St James - they spotted a three-foot snake.

The ET says the snake was trapped in a waterfall on the River Welland - since there are no waterfalls on our local river, I assume they are referring to High Locks.

It turned out to be a harmless grass-snake, and was eventually freed by a man with a net.

The children on a nature walk from the appropriately named Caterpillar Day Nursery, in Bridge Street.

It's the second snake spotted in the area this week. Earlier, a 5-feet long snake, possibly a python (but maybe another grass-snake!) was spotted in bushes in Werrington, but slithered away before it could be identifed and caught...

The RSPCA are investigating reports of the Werrington snake and urge people to call the police on 0845 456 4564 if they spot a snake.

Police name Bourne man killed in forklift tragedy...

A forklift driver killed when his truck toppled over at a Bourne industrial unit was named today by Lincolnshire Police.

He was Shaun Porter aged 32 of Exeter Close, Bourne who was trapped in the accident at premises on Pinfold Lane on Wednesday morning.

Mr Porter died at the scene. The Heath and Safety Executive are investigating. An inquest will be opened in due course.

UPDATE: The Peterborough Evening Telegraph reports that fire and rescue crews from Deeping and Bourne used blocks and other equipment in attempts to release the trapped driver but were unable to save him.

Shame of millionaires row who shunned families of war-wounded...

I hope the 86 residents of a millionaires row who protested at having families of war-wounded soldiers in their midst are hanging their heads in shame.

They disgracefully objected to a charity converting a £1.7 million house into a 'home from home' for families visiting injured servicemen and women at a nearby rehabilitation centre.

Residents of the upmarket Surrey neighbourhood complained that servicemen's families 'would not be welcome' would lower the value of their homes, increase traffic noise and ruin the tranquil area's 'community spirit'.

What sort of mean-spirited community attempts to reject our servicemen and women who return maimed from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Every one of them deserves proper respect and full support of every community in Britain.

Fortunately, councillors at Mole Valley District Council rejected the protests and granted planning consent after a massive campaign supported by Defence Secretary Des Browne, head of the Armed Forces Sir Richard Dannett, veteran's campaigners...and 43,000 signatures on a Downing Street petition.

SSAFA - the well respected Soldiers, Sailors and Airmens Families Association can now press ahead with their plans to provide accommodation at the house for up to six families at a time.

It was a battle they had to win.

Cameron under a cloud...

In case you missed it: Ann Treneman's parliamentary sketch in The Times. Well worth reading...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Missing Madeleine Day 90: 'Cracker' called in...

A team of 'Cracker-style' British psychologists has flown out to Portugal to assist in the hunt for Leicestershire girl Madeleine McCann who has now been missing for 90 days.

The Daily Express says the team includes senior police officers and criminologists specially trained in tackling child sex abuse and abduction cases.

As part of a full review of the case, the fresh team will fine-toothcomb every interview, contact and clue carried out over the past 90 days to build a psychological profile of the kidnapper which could provide the vital clue to help track him down.

The Express says all leave has been cancelled for Portuguese detectives and that every British Police Force has so far played their part in the search.

My last post on Missing Madeleine was HERE when the Leicester Mercury shut down a a nasty web campaign against parents Gerry and Kate McCann.

Tories only seen as the nasty party because 'we've been nasty,' says Lincs MP...

The full article by Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh in which he calls on David Cameron to change direction and talk more about immigration, low tax and Europe has appeared on the right-wing Cornerstone website.

I mentioned Mr Leigh's words of advice to his Leader HERE yesterday when Lord Saatchi had a pop at the Tory Leader.

The full article is well worth a read: Edward Leigh says David Cameron should dump "liberalism" and be honest enough to admit that he is a "high Tory". He goes on:

We are not the nasty party. And if some people think we are, it’s not because we’re right-wing, but because sometimes we’ve been nasty to each other.

...we must stop self-obsessing and worrying too much what people think of us. No doubt they’ve always thought we were toffs, or out of touch, or on the make. But they also used to think we were competent. All that changed on Black Wednesday.

But Black Wednesday was fourteen years ago. For God’s, sake move on! Most of the electorate has, but we still agonise about what someone failed to do in our Conservative family fourteen years ago. Families do that sort of thing. No one else cares. So throw all the tedious Central Office presentations which tell us how much we’re despised in the dustbin.

Edward doesn't mention David Cameron's role as Special Advisor to the Chancellor at the time of the Black Wednesday debacle...

Gypsy and Traveller site proposals: SKDC invites your comments...

Grantham-based South Kesteven District Council have issued a press release outlining their six week consultation process on their controversial plans for gypsy and traveller sites in The Deepings.

SKDC invites comments on their plans from next Monday.

British Bulldog Brown wins world backing...

Gordon Brown has won world backing to launch a massive international peace-keeping force to end what he believes is the greatest humanitarian disaster the world faces today.

Our new Prime Minister is on his way home from New York after notching up what pundits describe as a dramatic first foreign policy victory to help end the bloodshed in Darfur.

He used his first face-to-face meeting with George Bush since becoming Prime Minister, to secure the crucial support of the American President for a United Nations mandate to deploy 26,000 UN troops to Darfur, to stop the massacres of civilians and end a year of international drift on the carnage.

Gordon Brown had promoted the idea last week when he met French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr Brown went to UN HQ in New York hours before the vote to call for support for the resolution.

His diplomacy paid off last night when the Security Council approved the troop deployment. New UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said the decision was historic and unprecedented.

A Washington Post headline on his meeting with George Bush described the British prime minister as more bulldog than poodle.