Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tory 'fightback' begins with Golden Silence...

Tories in Blackpool discovered that silence is golden on the opening day of their make or break Conference as the sound was cut off to the main hall for at least 20 minutes.

The silence descended just as the opening speakers attempted to rally despondent delegates with talk of a great week ahead for Conservative fortunes and how the Great Tory Tory fightback had begun...

Then the mikes were apparently switched off, and delegates started moaning that they couldn't hear.

According to Michael White of The Guardian, one hack from a Tory paper suggested the delegates turn up their hearing aides...

One (Labour) MP quipped that the Golden Moments of Silence provided the most sense anyone has heard from the Tories for years...!

Wasn't it the hapless IDS, one of David Cameron's many predessessors over the past few years, who told a previous Tory Conference that he was about to turn up the volume (shortly before losing his job as Tory Leader...)

Seems the current leadership has managed to turn the volume OFF...!

Anne tells hubby: You are the weakest link: Goodbye...

I wonder how many of tomorrow's papers will have this headline after today's news from the BBC about Anne Robinson's marriage.

I realise her nasty TV persona is supposedly an act to boost her ratings, but don't think I've managed to get through an entire episode of her show without discovering the 'off' button.

Personally, it always amazes me how people queue up to be humiliated by her icy-tongued put-downs on her awful show.

My attitude did thaw a degree or two recently when I happened to see a documentary on how Annie fought - and beat Fleet-Street-induced alcoholism, how she lost her job at the top of journalism and how she climbed (clawed??) her way back to greater fame and fortune through a break on television.

But if her long-suffering husband and one time agent John Penrose, has managed for 27-years - some of them clearly very difficult - and there's no-one else as reported on the BBC, one wonders why they don't patch up their current problems and stay the course now she's a mega-star...?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Deepings Freemason and teacher jailed for vile paedophilia...

A well-known Deepings teacher and prominent Freemason who mercilessly beat young boys with a hosepipe is starting a lengthy jail sentence this weekend for vile paedophile offences.

A judge heard he has lost his job at Bretton Woods School, Peterborough. He has also lost his wife, his family, his home, his reputation.

And now, thank goodness, he has lost his liberty.

Story in a number of national papers and broadcasts, and also in our local evening paper, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph

More good news for Gordon

More evidence that Labour is enjoying a double-digit lead over David Cameron's Tories.

A Populus survey for The Times published today confirms what we all knew: Gordon Brown blows David Cameron away when it comes to leadership ability. The Prime Minister rates almost twice as highly on the percentage of people who has what it takes to be a good PM:

Brown 59. Cameron 30.

Populus also asked who cares most about the problems faced by ordinary people?

Brown 60. Cameron 45.

Three months into Gordon Brown's Premiership, it is clear that people now realise he has the strength and vision needed to lead Britain.

As The Times says today, as Tories gather in Blackpool, their Conference is make or break.

Torygraph delivers the good news...

The Conservatives are now trailing Labour by 11 points, a new Daily Telegraph poll shows, leaving David Cameron on the brink of a landslide defeat if an early election is called.

The Tory leader faces a crucial party conference as the survey shows that Gordon Brown's lead almost doubled in the past week.
Intro and graphic from Saturday's Daily Telegraph

With a queue of prominent Tories queuing up to handbag their leader in Blackpool this week, Cameron's Conservatives might just implode this week.

But don't write them off just yet. Endless speculation this weekend about the possibility of a snap November General Election, coupled with Gordon Brown and Labour ten points ahead in the polls might be grim enough news for some Tories to actually back their Leader.

An interesting week ahead...

Fair Deal Phil beats Boris...!

Chuffed to bits to see I've been voted number 26 out of the Top 500 in Iain Dale's new Guide to Political Blogging 2007 published tonight.

A huge THANK YOU to readers and fellow bloggers who voted for me.

Last year I was thrilled to be placed seventy-something in Dale's top 100 Labour blogs.

So I'm delighted to be 26 in this year's all-comers league table. Iain says 14 of his top 20 are on the right and only two on the left. (and i notice some are professional writers and broadcasters).

So he appears to rank me about fifth highest Labour blogger.

Just noticed I'm ten places higher than Boris Johnson in the all-comers table and 16 places above John Redwood.

Bet you can't guess who's at the top of Iain Dale's league table...

Anyway, the top 300 are on his site. He says you'll have to buy the book to see the full list of the top 500!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Petty Tories cancel tribute to Barbara Castle...

All you need to know about the state of the Tory Party under David Cameron in this story in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph

Back from Conference...

Arrived home from Bournemouth with minutes to spare before Deeping St James Parish Council's monthly meeting. Cream-crackered and totally hoarse after burning the candle at both ends for the past week.

What a Great Conference!

Sorry no posts since Tuesday.

Normal service will resume this weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gordon's big tent just got bigger...

I've been invited on BBC Radio Lincolnshire's morning show at 8.10 (Tuesday) to talk about Gordon Brown's speech to Conference yesterday - his first as our Prime Minister.

And what a great speech: clearly demonstrating that he has the strength and vision to change our country for the better.

Not just for a few, but for everyone.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quentin does it from the heart...

Brilliant speech here at Bournemouth from Labour's newest MP - Quentin Davies, member for Stamford and Grantham.

No notes. From the heart. The best endorsement of Gordon Brown as having the strength and conviction to meet the challenges ahead - and destruction of David Cameron's all-spin and froth. Labour for the many. Unchanged Tories as ever for the few.

Standing ovation.

Welcome to Labour Quentin...!

UPDATE: Telegraph confirms standing ovation and quotes from the QD speech...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Will he or won't he...?

Thanks to the Torygraph, we discovered today that Gordon Brown is on course for a landslide victory if he calls an early General Election.

That's the prediction of their latest YouGov poll which gives Labour a lead which would deliver an increased Labour majority of over 100 if translated into a general election.

The Prime Minister of course, will decide when to call the only poll that counts.
But today's YouGov poll - and tomorrow's similar good news in another poll for the Mirror - has ramped up election fever on the eve of Labour's Conference here in Bournemouth.

Gordon was giving no clues tonight at a welcome event for North West delegates he attended with his wife Sarah.

But he was on top form - and given a rousing reception as he congratulated North West activists on their recent wins in council by-elections in Rossendale and Darwen where Labour took two seats from the Tories on Thursday. He also mentioned Liverpool where Labour won a seat from the LibDems last week.

He didn't have to mention the spectacular 17% swing from Tories to Labour at a by election in Worcester where the Tories lost control of the council in the early hours of doubt he saved that one for the West Midlands Reception!

A very British event...

This takes some swallowing...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heart-wrenching, just heart-wrenching...

Peterborough ET has been speaking with the family of Aydan Roebuck-Wilson, the 14-year-old Deepings schoolboy killed on his bike near his home in Spalding last week.

I trust the ET won't mind me using their photo of Aydan.

LibDems stage a photo-call...

Whoever thought this would be a good idea for a Conference photo...?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Praise for Gordon from LibDem peer...

Former Labour Foreign Secretary David Owen is the latest politician to lavish praise on Gordon Brown

Lord Owen left Labour in the 1980s to become one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party which later joined the Liberals to form the Lib-Dems.

Wonder if he'll be next to enter 'Gordon's big tent'...?

Twiggy wins Labour selection for West Derby...

Former Schools Minister Stephen Twigg could be back in Parliament after the next General Election. He has this afternoon defeated sitting MP Bob Wareing in an open selection contest to be Labour's candidate for West Derby, Liverpool at the next General Election.

Stephen Twigg spectacularly beat former Tory Defence Secretary Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate, London in Labour's 1997 landslide - as recorded in the book "Were you still up for Portillo?"

Twiggy held Enfield Southgate in 2001, but narrowly lost the the Conservatives in the 2005 General Election.

The Labour majority in West Derby at the 2005 General Election was 15,225.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Even 1-in-4 Tories trust Brown-Darling over Cameron-Osborne...

Times analysis of latest Populus poll:

The most striking finding is over a hypothetical – but perhaps all too real – question: “If Britain’s economy were to face problems in the months or years ahead, who would you most trust to deal with it in the best interests of Britain?”

According to Populus, this is a clear victory for Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling over David Cameron and George Osborne, by 61 to 27 per cent. Even a quarter of Tory voters (23 per cent) favour the Brown/Darling team, as do two thirds of Liberal Democrats.
Flip-flop Dave in Downing Street and Wee Georgie in charge of the nation's economy...what a nightmare thought!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quality of Life better with Labour - says Tory panel...


Last chance to comment on proposals for Gypsy and Traveller sites...

Today's the last chance to comment on the controversial proposals for gypsy and traveller sites in the Deepings which I posted on HERE and HERE.

The consultation period ends at 4.30 this afternoon. You can comment at SKDC's website.

See Peterborough Evening Telegraph update.

Nasty Jim...

Pleased to see Mirror columnist Brian Reade agreeing with me about that nasty piece of work Jim Davidson.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tory blogger joins Tory politicians to trash Tory 'blueprint for environment'...

The Tories so-called Quality of Life Commission is going down like a lead balloon...amongst Tories. It's even provoked leading Tory blogger Iain Dale to write from his holiday in Italy to join the Tory politicians trashing the Report.

Iain says:
the best thing to do with it would be to immediately recycle it. And that's all I'm saying...
So as well as business up in arms with the plan, we now have:

A Tory MP who says its 'bonkers',

A Tory MEP who says it's a full frontal assault on Tory values,

A Tory newspaper - the Daily Mail - who says it's 'dumb politics'

And now a leading Tory blogger who says it should be 'recycled'.

Oh yes, and a Tory leader trying to extracate himself from a backlash from his own party.

All this, and David Cameron thought he's 'distanced' himself from the most radical idea it contained - taxing shoppers who park at out-of-town supermarkets.

I can only imagine what our own Tory MP John Hayes thinks...

UPDATE: Easyjet was hardly likely to welcome Tory plans for extra taxes on flights, but for the record, here's their comments as reported on Conservative Home. Briefly, they say:
The Quality of Life Report is factually wrong, arrogantly London-centric and would tax the holidays of hard-working families.

Driver in fatal crash was also a teenager...

The Deepings Schoolboy killed on his bike yesterday has been named as Aydan Roebuck-Wilson who was out cycling near his home in Spalding when the accident happened.

Tonight's Peterborough Evening Telegraph also reports that the 18-year-old female driver of the Vauxhall Corsa, was also taken to hospital. She was treated for minor injuries and shock and later released. It is believed she lives in Spalding.

Tory MP attacks 'bonkers' Tory tax plans...

Another Tory has attacked Tory tax proposals HERE and HERE as 'bonkers'. David Wilshire told BBC Radio Four that the Tory plans to tackle environmental issues don't make economic sense, will cost jobs and will not cut a single mile of air travel.

Amid a backlash from business leaders and his own MPs, Tory Leader David Cameron has distanced himself from proposals by senior Tories to tax supermarket shoppers for parking, but has said most of the proposals will find their way into the Tory manifesto.

Cameron's flip-flop on Tory plan for supermarket parking tax...

I've been pulled up for missing David Cameron's comments backing away from today's Tory policy report which calls for an end to free parking at supermarkets. I had to search, but have found that the Tory Leader did indeed get his rebuttal in early to the Tory Report he commissioned, before it was published, but not before the backlash against the idea had started...!

Here it is, from yesterday's Daily Mail:

David Cameron today began backing sharply away from a Tory green policy report calling for the end of free parking at supermarkets and the expansion of airports.

Amid a backlash from activists, MPs and a major party donor, the Tory leader moved to extricate himself from proposals that threaten a renewed bout of in-fighting.

The proposals were attacked by Tory Party donor and advisor to Cameron, the chief executive of Next Simon Wolfson.

He said: "It is very unfair to impose taxes people were not expecting. If you have made an investment under a current tax system, it is wrong to change that."
And here's the Daily Mail from the day before yesterday when David Cameron appears to warm to the idea of a tax on supermarket parking...

Flip flop, flip flop...

UPDATED: Tory plan for tax on supermarket shopping...

"If the answer is new taxes we’re asking the wrong question…half-baked proposals…telling people we are taking away their plasma TVs and charging them to park at the supermarket..."
Who’s leading the attack on the latest Conservative proposals?

Step forward Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, Roger Helmer who ridiculed the plans announced earlier today. Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Roger Helmer said most Conservatives he’s spoken to were horrified at the plans which have been largely endorsed by David Cameron.

From today's Daily Mail:

Their document may have many virtues, but these will be obliterated by one much leaked notion that shoppers at supermarkets and DIY stores might have to pay parking charges under a Tory administration.

The thinking, which most of us would probably endorse, is to encourage shoppers to use High Street shops, some of which are threatened by the supermarkets.

The trouble is that this suggestion would penalise ordinary families who have little or no choice but to use supermarkets.

Many of these people are struggling to make ends meet, and the last thing they want is to have to pay for parking on top of everything else.

Isn't it ludicrous that Mr Goldsmith, who inherited a vast fortune from his billionaire adventurer father and who has probably seldom ever been to a supermarket, should conceive of a poll tax on ordinary people who have to shop?
The article goes on to say the idea is "dumb politics".

Deeping schoolboy dies in bike crash...

A 14-year-old boy has been killed while riding his pedal bike in Spalding.

His bike was in collision with a green Vauxhall Corsa car on Albion Street, Spalding shortly after six last night (Wednesday).

He died at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

Lincs Police have not yet released his name. Meantime they are appealing for anyone who saw the accident to call the witness hotline on 01522 558855.

UPDATE: The lad who died was a student at The Deepings School, where a special Year 10 Assembly was held earlier this morning.

I understand the accident happened on the road outside his home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nasty Jim Davidson gets his marching orders...

I’ve always suspected so-called comedian Jim Davidson was an unsavoury character – and his behaviour on the 'reality' TV show “Hell’s Kitchen” last night shows just what a nasty piece of work he really is.

Full marks to ITV for quickly chucking Davidson off their show after his offensive homophobic rant against one of the other celeb guests in the kitchen...

And credit to former boxing champ Barry McGuigan who pulled no punches, telling Davidson on air that he has “issues that he should get sorted”.

As host Angus Deayton commented as Davidson's attempt at returning to mass audience TV was cut short: " Mr Davidson begins his long journey back to....the 1970s."

Nic Nic Not funny Jim. Good riddance.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dumbest yobs in Britain..?

The writing was on the wall for a young hooligan who left police a a vital clue which led to his capture.

Lincs airmen send Russian Bears packing...

Good to see Lincs airmen playing their part this week in seeing off one of one of the biggest shows of Russian air power since the end of the Cold War...

Could it get any worse for Cameron...? Er, it just did!

Bad news and worse for David Cameron: First, boxer Amir Khan refuses to back him as a photo-stunt backfires on CameronHERE.

Cameron's national service plan is then exposed as a sham HERE

But the best news of the day was still to come.

After two of Cameron's senior MPs revealed this week they were working for the Prime Minister, the Tory Leader probably thought it couldn't get any worse.

Then he discovers that the Conservative's Deputy Treasurer has not only quit the Conservatives over Cameron's lack of leadership, but he too has accepted an invitation to become personal adviser to Gordon Brown on environmental change.

Just another day in the life of the latest Tory Leader...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A champion for rail commuters...sometimes

Bourne Tory Mark Horn is attacking plans which could see rail fares from Peterborough rise by more than two-per-cent above inflation over the duration of the seven year franchise recently won by National Express.

The bus company justifies its fare hikes to pay for increased and improved services with more trains and more seats - and promises to cap season ticket increases to one per cent above inflation.

But Mark, a member of the ruling Conservative Group on Lincolnshire County Council -
and also a regular commuter - tells the Peterborough Evening Telegraph that the increases can't be justified and complains that they will force commuters back into their cars.

He may have a valid argument.

But then I don't recall Mark championing the commuters' cause when his Tory mates at Peterborough City Council doubled charges recently for on street parking near the station used by commuters.

Closer to home, I also don't recall him saying a dickie bird when his own Group at Lincolnshire County Council trebled home care charges for vulnerable people he was elected to represent.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Should police hold the DNA of all of us...?

The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire is at the heart of a debate this morning after a top Judge says the entire population of the UK should be on the national DNA data-base.

DNA evidence solves 20,000 crimes a year - and helps put scores of villains behind bars for crimes they thought could never be detected.

DNA has proved a huge asset to the police, particularly in bringing rapists and paedophiles to justice for horrific sexual attacks committed a generation ago - long before the technology which has solved them was developed.

According to the BBC, Lord Justice Sedley says the entire population - and every visitor to Britain - should be on the DNA datebase.

Chief Constable Tony Lake - who chairs the national DNA Board - sensibly says the DNA of people arrested or convicted for violent or sex offences should remain on the database for life. But he says that need not be the case for minor offences.

That seems a sensible way forward - at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, Shami Chakrabarti director of the human rights outfit Liberty, is outraged at the thought of putting the entire population on the DNA database.

Maybe she should give more thought to the victims of crime. Don't they have human rights too?

If it could be shown that taking the DNA from everyone in the country could help make our communities safer, then we'd be daft not to go for it, wouldn't we?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Strike leader drags trade unionism down the tubes...

Luke Akehurst has just published an excellent post attacking the politically motivated London Underground strike which is affecting millions of hard-working London commuters.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union deserve better than their militant leader Bob Crow who showed himself to be a complete ass when he was interviewed on Channel Four News tonight.

Crow refuses to follow the more moderate union leaders who have called off their strike threats - despite on-the-record pledges from management that appear to meet all the stated demands of the RMT. Even worse, he hides behind others, implying that the strike's nothing to do with him: He says the Union's Executive makes the decisions on behalf of his members, not him.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the strike is politically motivated as a curtain-raiser to political conference season which starts with the TUC gathering next week.

The result is three days of chaos on the London Underground which is frustrating for millions of people who simply want to get to work - and home again.

Dinosaurs like Bob Crow seriously damage the cause of trade unionism for millions of workers in this country.

Underground workers should send Crow a message by getting the Tube running again without delay.

UPDATE: Tomorrow's FT reports on the chaos and questions why the RMT pressed on with its strike when the leaders of UNITE and the TSSA called off their action.

UPDATE 2: The RMT called off today's action last last night - but not in time to prevent further chaos for millions of people who just want to do their jobs.

Another day, another mauling for Tory Leader...

Another day, another mauling for David Cameron - from a former Deputy Leader of his own party!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: British troops pull out of Basra City...

Tonight's news that British troops willpull out of Basra City over the next few days will no doubt intensify fever for an autumn General Election...

Top Tory quits over Cameron's lurch to the right...

Tory Deputy Treasurer quits over Cameron's lurch to the right says Mail political reporter Ben Brogan

UPDATE: The Times now reporting on this story, saying it is another blow to Cameron's leadership.

Why Cameron is silent on big drop in divorce rates...

David Cameron claims to champion marriage - so why hasn't he welcomed the news this week that divorce rates in Britain are the lowest for 22 years .

Trouble for Dave is that the good news on divorce is yet another blow for his street cred - and his campaign that Britain is a broken society that only he can fix.

Top Cop slates Cameron for distorting crime figures...

Another day, another blow to David Cameron's street cred, as one of the country's highest ranking police officers tells the Tory Leader he's talking nonsense on crime.

The President of the Association of Chief Police Officers says Cameron's talk of anarchy and a broken society is well wide of the mark and says he should remember the riots in Thatcher's Britain.

The top cop also points out that despite Cameron's scaremongering, crime is actually at its lowest since the Tories were in office!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Today's correction on NHS finances...

Interesting correction on NHS finances in today's Times: Yesterday, the Thunderer reported the East of England Strategic Health Authority as expected to slip into deficit this year. Today, The Times points out that in fact the Authority is on target to achieve a surplus of £30 million in the current year!

So The Times joins the Tories and the LibDems in admitting they've been telling porkies over NHS finances.