Monday, November 26, 2007

Problems at Deepings Recycling Centre...

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

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

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

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

Watch this space...!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Best ham and bacon is on our doorstep...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did anyone see it worth repeating?

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonjour indeed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you seen Roger...?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 10, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't hold your breath...

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

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

Thursday, November 08, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. Didn't think so.

Cameron's Conservatives Coop Cheek...

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 05, 2007

One permanent unsightly scar replaces another...

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

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Race row Tory says 'no regrets...'

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

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

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

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

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

He was right then.

He's wrong now.

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

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

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

Same old Nasty Party.

Two questions:

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

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

Saturday, November 03, 2007

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

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

Friday, November 02, 2007

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

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

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

UPDATE: see Peterborough Evening Telegraph