Saturday, March 29, 2008

Heard the one about the date at T5...?

Heard about the bloke who went out with the check-in operator at the new Heathrow Terminal 5...?

She dumped him after the first date.

Said he had too much baggage!

Life good here in Lincs...

Lincolnshire scores well in the latest quality of life survey - and has the lowest house prices of the top 50 counties.

Low levels of crime and plenty of sunshine were two of the indicators on measuring quality of life...

More in tonight's Lincs Echo

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lincoln councillor sacked after Facebook comments...

A Tory councillor has today been forced to resign from his job on the Executive of Lincoln City Council following a row over 'inappropriate' comments about terrorism and serial killers that he apparently made on Facebook, the social networking site.

Lincolnshire Echo has more on this breaking news...

Councillor Oliver Peake admits he's made a misjudgement.

I've not seen the comments he made, so I'm unable to judge whether political correctness gone mad - as alleged by Echo readers...or whether it's a case of Tory jitters over the prospect of losing control of Lincoln City Council in local elections in a few weeks time...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Petitions launched after massive council tax rise to fund Lincs Police...

Two petitions have been launched regarding the massive rise in council rates to fund Lincolnshire Police. The Lincolnshire Echo says that so far, only 200 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to intervene to stop the increase.

But that's ten times as many as have signed another petition calling on the Government to come up with more cash for Lincolnshire Police...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Will Government stop massive rise to fund Lincs police...?

Will the Government intervene to stop Lincolnshire Police Authority imposing an increase in council tax of 78.9 per cent...? The Lincolnshire Echo seems to think we'll know in a few days...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tories 'unable to work happily together'...

Splits in Tory ranks in Stamford are coming to a head, with the biggest branch in the town under threat of closure.

Seems they've completely lost the plot since their MP Quentin Davies defected to Labour last summer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No wind power in my back yard, says Lincs MP

Another member of the Flat Earth Society comes out against wind power. Sir Peter Tapsell, MP for Louth and Horncastle, is apparently against wind farms anywhere in his constituency.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Shannon found alive against all odds, but police block family reunion...

Astonishing against-all-odds story of the missing nine-year-old girl found alive today, cowering in a divan drawer, less than a mile from her home - 24 days after going missing.

Channel Four News says the 39-year-old-man arrested at the West Yorkshire flat where little Shannon Matthews was found is a distant relative.

They also say police, who were apparently acting on a tip-off, have tonight taken out an emergency place of safety order preventing a reunion with her family.

Shannon apparently planned to run away from home on the day she went missing. I've no idea, of course, what Shannon has told police since she was rescued, but this little girl has clearly seen much more of life than any nine-year-old should.

UPDATE: BBC latest.

£225 million rail boost for Lincs

Plans by Network Rail to invest £225 million to improve Lincolnshire's railways have been warmly welcomed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Teenage driver dies after crash with school bus...

Tragedy of a local lad killed at the wheel reported in today's Spalding Guardian

PM slams Boris on bus blunder...UPDATED

Gordon Brown has added to the pressure on Boris Johnson to withdraw his £100 million-a-year bus blunder which I posted on earlier.

At Prime Minister's Questions a few minutes ago, Gordon Brown said:

Bus usage in London is now at its highest level since 1965, there are more people using buses in London than in any time in forty years.

This would be put at risk by proposals that would cost £100 million if applied by the Conservative Party, that would mean bus fares would rise. It would discourage ordinary people from using the bus service.

We are determined to maintain bus ridership in London, and we are determined to maintain bus services in London.
This follows demands from Transport Minister and London MP Jim Fitzpatrick for the Tories to officially withdraw Boris Johnson's botched Transport Manifesto after his £100 million a year gaffe was exposed.

Before the Prime Minister spoke Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport, said Boris Johnson's bus policy was in tatters. She said:

Boris Johnson's got it wrong and it's time for him to come clean to Londoners.
Boris again avoided commenting on his £100 million gaffe a few minutes later when he asked a question.

Instead, he helpfully provided Gordon Brown with the opportunity to praise Ken Livingstone on delivering 10,000 more police to get crime down.

Gordon Brown said:
There are more police in London than ever as a result of a Labour Mayor.
The PM also highlighted Boris's previous demand for cuts on police spending in London.

UPDATE: Guardian writer Dave Hill digs deeper...

Boris attacks pedestrians and a civil servant after bus blunder…

Boris Johnson’s transport manifesto for London is in tatters as he desperately attempts to divert attention from his spectacular £100 million a year bus blunder...

On the Vanessa Feltz show, Boris Johnson pledged to replace all London’s bendy buses with new vehicles with conductors. He claimed it would cost just £8 million-a-year.

But his £8m claim has been widely rubbished - transport experts calculate the real cost to Londoners would be £112 million a year. That's more than 13 times difference and a massive £100 million-a-year Boris black hole which would inevitably mean steep fare rises.

It will also lead to serious questions about Boris's competence to deliver over £40 billion of investment to modernise London's transport over the next few years. It is crucial for instance that the massive £16 billion Crossrail project is delivered on-time and on-budget.

Today, Mayor Ken Livingstone issued an open email challenge to Boris over his gaping gaffe:

Boris responded by attacking London’s Transport Commissioner, claiming he never used London buses – which is rich indeed coming from Oxfordshire MP Boris!

Then Boris went on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and uttered this gem:

"…as a cyclist I think pedestrians are the most dangerous features on the road at the moment."
I wonder how many cyclists he thinks have been killed lately by pedestrians on the streets of London...

But Boris's out of touch moment-of-the-day must surely go to Boris’s attempt to try to change the dates of the Bejing Olympics, as reported by journalist Andrew Grice

* More on Boris Johnson’s £100million bus blunder at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The real difference between Ken and Boris...

In the Mayoral elections in 2000, Ken Livingstone turned down a donation of free campaign offices from a wealthy businessman to avoid a potential conflict of interest in any future planning application, in which the Mayor might have to make a ruling.

But The Guardian revealed last month that Boris Johnson, the Tory candidate in the current election, accepted a similar offer from the same Japanese businessman.

It's a story which starkly illustrates the real difference between Labour's Ken Livingstone and Tory Boris Johnson.

Following the headlines, Boris has apparently now agreed to pay rent on the offices which he is using as his campaign HQ.

I look forward to seeing a follow-up by the London Standard hack Andrew Gilligan who is running a nasty campaign to get his mate Boris elected Mayor of London...but I won't hold my breath...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Uniform row: MP says abusers likely to be Muslim...

Muslims are likely to have been responsible for abuse to members of the Armed services on the streets of Peterborough says Tory MP Stuart Jackson.

The Peterborough MP was interviewed by Jon Gaunt on the radio show Talk Sport following the ban on RAF Wittering personnel wearing their uniforms when visiting Peterborough as posted HERE.

Stuart Jackson told Jon Gaunt that the vast majority of people in Peterborough strongly support the armed forces.

But when the radio presenter asked if people have been abusing our troops, Mr Jackson said it had been mentioned to him that Muslims may be responsible and he thought that was likely, but said they would be unrepresentative of the local Muslim community in Peterborough.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Our Armed Forces should wear their uniform with pride...

As an ex-TA soldier based in Peterborough for almost 20 years, I'm delighted the Evening Telegraph has launched a Wear it with Pride campaign after the deplorable insult of RAF personnel banned from wearing uniform in Peterborough.

Sign up and leave your comments now to send a message loud and clear that we're proud of our Armed Forces and not ashamed to see them on our streets.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Obama makes it 12 states in a row...but Clinton wins RI

Looks like Barack Obama is about to claim his 12th victory in a row by beating Hillary Clinton for the Democrat primary in tiny Vermont tonight...

But it's still too close to call in both the crucial big states of Ohio and Texas, where there are also primaries tonight.

Hillary was expected to do well in the rust-belt depressed areas of Ohio - like Youngstown where I worked briefly in Al Gore's campaign eight years ago!

(Remember Al: he used to be the man who was the next President...!)

Despite Barack's victory in Vermont, I suspect Hillary will do enough to hang on.

But if she loses both Ohio and Texas, I hope she listens to her husband Bill.

He's said if she loses both, it's all over for her.

We've seen enough of Democrats tearing lumps out of each other and if it's not settled soon, the only winner will be John McCain, who sealed the Republican nomination in Vermont tonight...

UPDATE: Hillary has won Rhode Island, the fourth state choosing it's favoured Democrat candidate tonight, ending Barack Obama's month long run of wins...still too close to call in the big states of Ohio and Texas.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another of Boris's mates goes to prison for fraud...

The Tory candidate for Mayor of London - who wants to be in charge of law and order in the capital - saw another of his fraudster mates go to prison today...

Former newspaper tycoon Conrad Black started a six-and-a-half year prison term for multi-million dollar fraud.

Boris Johnson provided a character reference for his friend Mr Black and urged a light sentence.

It's not of course the first of Boris's fraudster mates to end up behind bars.

His old Eton school-chum Darius Guppy also served time at Her Majesty's pleasure for fraud.

As I posted last month, Boris offered to provide information to Darius Guppy for the purposes of having a man beaten up.

Yet despite his record in these matters, if he is elected Mayor of London, he intends taking over the running of the Metropolitan Police.

It's not a joke.

Irony of Alan Duncan's civil partnership...

Ironic that the first MP to take advantage of Labour's progressive civil partnership laws is a Conservative elected in 2001 on a manifesto which promised to keep Tory homophobic Section 28 legislation firmly in place.

I congratulate Alan Duncan, MP for Rutland on his news revealed on the website of my local paper, the Stamford Mercury.

It is unlikely that such historic and progressive laws to allow civil partnerships would ever have been passed by a Government of Mr Duncan's party - and certainly not under David Cameron's leadership.

As recently as 2003, Cameron himself voted against scrapping Section 28 which stigmatised homosexuals.

It was introduced in the Thatcher Government by Michael Howard - who went on to become the Tory Leader before David Cameron.

And when Labour advocated abolishing Section 28, Cameron attacked the Blair Government which he claimed was "obsessed with a fringe agenda".

In fairness to Alan Duncan, he has in the past paid tribute to Labour's record on equality.

I'm pleased that Mr Duncan felt able to 'come out' a couple of years ago and publicly declare his homosexuality.

The Civil Partnership laws have brought joy to thousands of same-sex couples who have made their decision to share their lives, their home, their finances and the care of their children or older relatives.

Yet until a couple of years ago, their relationships were invisible in the eyes of the law.

Labour's civil partnership laws were a historic step in giving respect and dignity to lesbians and gay men in Britain and built on Labour's record of equalising the age of consent, outlawing discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of sexual orientation, securing protection from homophobic hate crimes...and abolishing Section 28.

I'm delighted that so many people are benefitting from Labour's legislation - including Tory MPs!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

After the Quake, storm damage hits home...

Just arrived home from Labour's Spring Conference in Brum to discover some of the damage caused by the weekend gales right in my back garden.

Two sections of my neighbour's fencing landed in my driveway and two more lie on top of my favourite rose-bed of climbers, floribundas and tea-roses.

Many other people have lost more than a few roses of course.

According to the BBC, Lincolnshire Police dealt with 500 calls overnight on Friday, most of them weather-related.

All this just days after Lincolnshire was the epi-centre of an earthquake.

What is the world coming to...?