Saturday, December 29, 2007

Honours for Lincs people...

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Police to investigate Tory donations...?

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

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

Hypocrisy or what?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

That's not surprising.

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

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

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cameron frustrated at 'lazy' Boris...?

So says Peter Oborne in today's Mail.

The story rounds off an awful week for Boris:

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

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

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

Remember Greg Dyke?

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

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

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

Who's faking now...?

Tory hypocrisy or what...?

You couldn't make it up!

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

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

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

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

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

The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chameleon Cameron flip-flops on mortgages...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the flip-flops?

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

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

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

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

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

Flip-flop, flip-flop.

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

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tory Boris backs Conrad the Crook

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

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

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

You can read Karen's EDM HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's hope so.

Support our local heroes...

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Free the Sudan teddy...

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

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

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

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

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

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

But still no sign of teddy.

Blogging again...almost

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